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Are They Worthy?

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Marinette arrived at school to her Adrien talking with Alya. She looked on, too nervous to go up and say anything. Adrien saw her and called out to her. “Hey Marinette!” he said.

Marinette smiled, and then rushed up, only to trip on her way there. When she got there she said “Hey Adrien. What’s up?”

“Well, Alya and I were just talking, and-” before Adrien could finish what he was saying, an unfamiliar car pulled up to the school. It caught the attention of the three, rendering them. It was a white limo. An assistant walked out of the front of the car to open the back door.

A student around their age stepped out of the limo. He had blond, downward spiky hair, red eyes, a purple button up shirt, a brown zip up hoodie that was completely unzipped, a ring on his right middle finger that has an extended section on the outside so it goes up the finger narrowing to a point, black jeans, and black shoes. As he steps out, he looks up. His eyes light up and he calls out “ADRIEN!”

“Vlad?” said Adrien, confused, which in turn confused the two girls.

Vlad ran up the stairs and gave him a hug. “Man, it’s so good to see you again.”

“Adrien, aren’t you going to tell us who your BFF is here? I’m sure Nino will be jealous” said Alya.

“Sorry” said Adrien, breaking the hug. “This is Vlad. A fellow model. He’s from Toulouse, so I don’t get to see him terribly often. Just at high-end events. But, what are you doing here?”

Vlad smirked. “My family moved” he said. “We live here now, and I go to school here now. Isn’t it great? I didn’t expect to go to the same school as you. What are the chances?”

Adrien was shocked, but then he smiled and said “That’s great Vlad. Don’t hesitate to ask me anything. Or Marinette here, for that matter” he gestured towards her. “She’s the class rep.”

“Is that so?” said Vlad, looking at Marinette.

“Come on” said Adrien. “We better get to class before the bell rings.” The four walked over to class.

At the beginning of class, Ms. Bustier introduces Vald. “This is Vlad Brodeur. He just moved here from Toulouse, and he’s joining our class today.” The class gives applause. “Since there’s no other room,” siad Ms. Bustier, “why don’t you sit next to Lila?”

Adrien grew worried. “Wait!” he said, surprising everyone else. “Um, it’s just that I think Vlad might benefit from being up front. So, I’ll move to the back.”

Marinette scowled at the thought of Adrien sitting next to Lila, but Vlad smiled. “It’s OK Adrien” he said. “I’ll be fine back there, trust me. Besides, if anything happens,” he said, turning to Ms. Bustier, “I’ll take full responsibility for it.”

“Well, I don’t see a problem then” said Ms. Bustier. “Please take your seat, and we’ll get started.” Vlad walked to his seat, while Adrien looked concerned. Marinette, meanwhile, is confused by all of this.

Later, at the start of a free period, Marinette is leaves the classroom and rushes to the library. Meanwhile, Lila begins talking with Vlad. “So, what was that about earlier with Adrien?”

“Oh, it’s nothing” said Vlad. “Adrien and I go back, so he knows me well. He thought I might have a problem sitting next to you.”

“What a silly thing to say,” said Lila, trying to hide her rage.

“Don’t worry about it. Adrien’s just a bit over overprotective. Which is odd, considering his dad.”

“Yeah, well you know what they say. ‘Like father, like son’” said Lila. “So, why was Adrien concerned?”

“Do you want me to be honest?” said Vlad. Lila nodded. “Well, I’m not the easiest person to get along with. And from what Adrien tells me, neither are you.” Lila was shocked, while Vlad continued to smirk. “Anyway, I gotta go. I need to talk with Marinette. Adrien says that within seconds of getting to know her we’ll be fast friends. I wanna see if that’s true” Lila grew furious as Vlad left.

Marinette was in the library, looking at fashion magazines and articles about Vlad. “Whatcha doin’ Marinette?” said Alya. This shocked Marinette, as she flung her materials about. Alya picked one up and said “Don’t tell me a third boy has caught your attention. Pretty soon, you’ll have your own ‘reverse harem’, as Nathaniel calls it.”

“Very funny” said Marinette. “It’s not that. Ever since Adrien was concerned about Vlad sitting next to Lila, I got curious.”

“Yeah, that was super weird” said Alya.

“So, I’m doing research on Vlad. I’m trying to figure out what the problem is. Maybe I could fix it” said Marinette. “I doubt it” she said under her breath.

“Why do you get it straight from the source?” said Vlad, showing up to meet them.

“Well, I, uh” said Marinette, flustered.

“It’s fine” said Vlad. “Miss, Alya was it?” Alya nodded. “Would you mind leaving the two of us alone?”

“No way! Marinette’s my friend! If you have something to say to her, you can say it to me” said Alya.

“It’s fine” said Marinette. “I’m sure Vlad would just like some privacy on the matter. It’s OK. I’ll be fine.”

“Well, if he’s as troublesome as you think, you run away and give me a call right away!” said Alya.

Alya left. Vlad sat down across from Marinette. “A lot of overprotective people today” he said.

“Well, when something’s worth protecting, you want to keep it safe” said Marinette.

“You mean that much to her? I like that” said Vlad.

“So, why was Adrien concerned about you sitting in the back?” Marinette asked.

“I’m going to be real” said Vlad. “I’m a bit rough around the edges sometimes. Adrien told me that Lila is a chronic liar. I just can’t stand people like that.”

“Oh” said Marinette, surprised by Vlad’s directness.

“Of course, it’s a little deeper than that,” said Vlad. “I’m not one who trusts people easily. I need to get to know them. Adrien has spoken highly of you-”

“Adrien spoke of me?!” said a giddy Marinette.

Vlad looked at this and laughed to himself. “But I want to hear from you. Why should I trust you as class rep?”

Marinette was taken aback by this question. She was confused on how to answer for a second, but then she thought to answer Vlad’s honesty with her own. “The truth is, if you got to know me, I don’t know how much you would trust me. I’m clumsy, and I’m prone to mistakes. But I love my class. I will fight for them, and do whatever it takes to make them happy. Or keep them safe…”

“Has the need for that arisen before?” Vlad asked.

“Well, yeah” said Marinette. “Before I became class rep, a villain attack our class. I somehow managed to organize everyone to keep them safe as long as I could before Ladybug and Cat Noir showed up.”

While Marinette was explaining the Dark Blade attack, a small yawn came from Vlad’s hoodie pocket. Then came the sniffing. A mysterious small creature kept to the shadows, and rose to Vlad’s head to whisper something in his ear. Vlad nodded to the creature. The creature then returned to Vlad’s pocket.

“So, basically, that’s what happened” said Marinette.

“Wow. Adrien was right about you” Vlad said. Marinette grew nervous. What did Adrien think about her? What did he tell Vlad? “You are easy to get along with. I’m sure we’ll become good friends.” Marinette sighed a sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, Adrien was chatting with Nino before Lila approached him. “Adrien. A word.”

“Sorry Nino” he said, before getting dragged off. Once they were alone, Adrien asked “Is this about Vlad?”

“What do you think?” Lila hissed.

“Look, Vald’s a nice guy, but he can be a bit forward sometimes” said Adrien. “I’m sure whatever he said, you can take it with a grain of salt.”

“He told me you told him I’m not the easiest person to get along with!” Lila howled. Adrien was shocked, and then determined.

Back in the library, Vlad gets a call. He checks his phone before answering. “It’s Adrien” he says. “Hey, do you want to listen in?”

“Ummmmmm” said Marinette.

“It’ll be fine” said Vlad. He puts the phone on speaker, and sets it on the table. “Hey Adrien. What’s up?” He gestures to Marinette to keep quiet.

“Did you tell Lila I said she wasn’t easy to get along with?” said Adrien

“Yeah. Isn’t that what you told me?” Vlad asked.

“I didn’t say that” said Adrien.

“You told me she lies a lot” said Vlad. “I don’t see the difference.”

Adrien looked at Lila, and covered his mouth. “Just because she lies doesn’t mean she’s not easy to get along with. I think that if we can show her kindness, she’ll change her ways.”

“Look Adrien, you know I love you and all, but you gotta stop giving people the benefit of the doubt” said Vlad.

“Maybe you should trust people more” said Adrien.

“Tomato, to-mah-to” said Vlad. “But I will say, you were right about Marinette.”

“Huh? You spoke to her?” said Adrien.

“Yeah. She’s with me now” said Vlad. “Say hi Marinette.”

“Uhhhhhh, hi?” said Marinette.

“See? We’re the best of friends” said Vlad.

“Yeah, well, don’t go around telling people I said things I didn’t say” said Adrien, hanging up. “Well, I just talked with him, and as I suspected it was a misunderstanding.”

“‘Misunderstanding’?” said Lila. “You told him something unflattering about me behind my back!”

“Well, uh, nobody’s perfect?” said Adrien.

Lila stormed off. “You’re going to regret this!” She entered the bathroom and made sure no one was there. She took out her phone and gave a call.

At the Agreste Manor, Gabriel receives a phone call. He answers it “Gabriel Agreste.”

“Akumatize me!” demanded Lila.

Gabriel smiled. “I thought I felt a vengeful presence.” He hangs up and goes into the elevator.

In Hawkmoth’s lair, the window opens and Hawkmoth monologues to himself. “I feel the presence of someone who just found out that people were talking about her behind her back.” He enfuses his energy into a butterfly. “Fly away my little Akuma, and evilize this poor soul!” The Akuma flies off. It arrives at Françoise Dupont High School, enters the girl’s restroom, and fuses with Lila’s phone.

“Receiver Deceiver! I am Hawkmoth. Somebody said something bad about you in an online message? Well, don’t worry. You’re not alone. And with your powers, you will be able to expose it all. All I ask for in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous!”

“It’s as good as done” said Lila. A purple-black aura forms around her. When it dissipates, we see a figure with blue boot, a jumpsuit that was orange on the sides and white in the middle, blue gloves, a blue ring on one hand, a blue phone in the other hand, and a blue cell phone screen where the head should be. The screen lights up to reveal an orange light and Lila’s face on the screen. She looks at her phone and gives it a call.

Class is starting and everyone takes their seats. Sabrina’s phone goes off. “Sabrina, why isn’t you phone silenced?” Ms. Bustier asked.

“It was,” said Sabrina. She took out her phone to see what was up. The screen flashed, and then Receiver Deceiver appeared out of it. The class gasped.

“I am Receiver Deceiver!” she said. “And I’m going to make you regret everything you say in secret! Starting with this!” Receiver Deceiver had a piece of mail in her hand. She opened it up, changed Lila’s face for Sabrina’s, and started reading it in Sabrina’s voice. “‘Thanks dad. After spending time with Chloe, I could use some ice cream. I mean, Chloe’s great and all, but today she’s just being meaner than usual. Maybe she’ll be nicer tomorrow. Love you!’”

Chloe was shocked at what she had heard. “Chloe, I-” said Sabrina.

“How COULD YOU?!” Chloe screamed. Receiver Deceiver then aimed her ring at Chloe and hit her with a beam Chloe’s eyes turned red. “YOU THINK I’M MEAN?! YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW THE MEANING OF THE WORD!” She charged at Sabrina, while Sabrina ran away from her.

“Too easy” said Receiver Deceiver.

Marinette looked stunned at what was happening. Alya had her phone out. “Alya?! What are you doing?!”

“I’m filming this for the Ladyblog! Ladybug is bound to show up soon” said Alya.

Receiver Deceiver saw this, and called Alya’s phone. She disappeared from where she was and was now hovering by Alya and Marinette. She had another piece of mail. She opened it, changed to Alya’s face, and started reading it in Alya’s voice. “‘Honestly Nino, what did you expect? I’m sure if Marinette were here on time, she’d trip over her own feet and drop the sweets. I  love her and all, but that girl is clumsy.” Alya looked at Marinette in disbelief.

“Alya…” said Marinette.

Vlad saw Receiver Deceiver ready her ring and aim it at Marinette. He got up from his seat and ran over. “LOOK OUT!”  he said, as he charged at Receiver Deceiver, who had fired her beam. Vlad was quick enough so that the beam hit him and that he tackled Receiver Deceiver. Since the message wasn’t about him, he wasn’t put under her control.

“What are you doing?” Receiver Deceiver asked.

“If you want to air some dirty laundry, why don’t we start with that ridiculous getup” said Vlad.

Marinette was shocked at what had just happened. She then looked at the class and came up with an idea. “EVERYONE! TURN OFF YOUR PHONES!” she yelled. Everyone looked toward her. “She might not be able to access a device that is off!” Vlad smiled. Everyone listened to Marinette and turned off their phone.

Receiver Deceiver grew angry. “Look at that, your plan worked Marinette” said Vlad.

“Don’t think you’re so lucky!” said Receiver Deceiver. She raced into the computer on Ms. Bustier’s desk.

“She got away” said Alya.

“Come on, we gotta warn the school!” said Marinette.

“Right. To the principal’s office!” said Ms. Bustier. Everyone left the room. The last person to leave was Sabrina, who closed the door on Chloe. Chloe then glared at Sabrina once she got back up.

The students and Ms. Bustier ran to Mr. Damocles’s office. However, before they could open the door, Mr. Damocles rampaged out. “‘Childish?! Immature?! Not a good way to teach?!’ I’ll have you Ms. Bustier that Knightowl taught me countless valuable lessons as a kid. They are extremely applicable in teaching children!” Ms. Bustier was being confronted by Mr. Damocles.

The class saw Receiver Deceiver behind him. “Oops” she said, before disappearing into her phone.

“It’s no use, we can’t warn the school like this” said Alya.

“Uh, I think we’d be too late anyway” said Nino, looking down. Everyone else looked over to see a bunch of people with glowing red eyes congregating in the courtyard.

“We have to leave! It our only way of being safe” said Marinette.

“How are we going to get through them all?” Adrien asked.

“SABRINA!” growled Chloe. She was right in front of them now, and Mr. Damocles was on the other side.

Vlad got an idea. “Adrien! Orleans!” Adrien nodded in agreement, took off his white button up shirt, and gave it to Vlad. Vlad took off his own jacket and started tying the two together.

“Everyone, give your excess clothing to Vlad!” Adrien shouted. Marinette took off her jacket. Alya took off her button up shirt. Nathanial took off his jacket. Mylene took off her sweatshirt. Kim took off his sweatshirt. Ms. Bustier took off her button up shirt. Finally, Sabrina took off her sweater vest. Vlad tied them all together in a rope as quickly as possible. He tied it to a pole and let it down. “Alright, climb down!” he said. Ms. Bustier went first, and soon the whole class was down by the entrance. The last person to come down was Vlad. Once he was down, he whipped the makeshift rope and freed it from the pole. He untied everything and gave it back to everyone just as fast as he had tied it. “Now let’s go!” he said. The entire class was running out the door. Eventually, they spread out. Marinette was hiding behind the street pole sign. She made sure no one was looking and then called out “Tikki! Spots On!” She then transformed into Ladybug. She lept into action.

But someone was watching. Not too far from her was Vlad, who saw everything. “Aren’t you going to help her?” said the small creature, still encased in shadows.

“Not yet” said Vlad. “I wanna see how she does as Ladybug.”

Meanwhile, Adrien was hiding behind the stairs. “We gotta do something” he said, letting Plagg out. “Plagg! Claws Out!” Adrien then transformed into Cat Noir. Cat Noir also jumped into the fray.

Ladybug and Cat Noir met each other in front of the school. “Good to see you, M’Lady” said Cat Noir. “Shall we?”

“Of course” said Ladybug. They both entered the school. “Alright Receiver Deceiver! Show yourself!”

Receiver Deceiver popped out of a student’s phone with a piece of mail. Her screen had changed to the face of that student, and she began reading in their voice. “Honestly, why does Cat Noir need to be there? Ladybug is the only person whose powers are actually useful. Cat Noir just gets in the way.” Cat Noir’s jaw dropped. Receiver Deceiver aimed her ring at Cat Noir and fired, but Ladybug blocked the beam with her yo-yo.

“Cat Noir! You know that’s not true, right? You’re just as important to the team” said Ladybug.

Cat Noir snapped out of it. “Of course, M’Lady. Your opinion is the only one that matters to me.”

Receiver Deceiver scowled. “Grrrrrrrrr. GET THEM!” she called to her minions. The crowd that had been taken under control of Receiver Deceiver started charging toward Ladybug and Cat Noir.

“The Akuma must be in the phone” said Ladybug.

“Then I suggest we get it before the bell tolls for us” said Cat Noir. Ladybug and Cat Noir kept avoiding the crowd and charged ahead to get to Receiver Deceiver. Before Cat Noir and Ladybug could get to her though, she disappeared into her phone.

“Well, that’s not fair,” said Cat Noir. “Talk about a bad reception.”

The deceived horde came after Ladybug and Cat Noir again. “Cat Noir, the roof!” said Ladybug.

“Good thinking” said Cat Noir. They both hopped to the roof. “So, now they can’t get us, but we can’t get close to Receiver Deceiver because she’ll keep running away.”

“We need to make her come to us,” said Ladybug. She called out her power. “Lucky Charm!” A flash drive appeared. “A flash drive?”

“Do you need to download something maybe?” said Cat Noir.

“Maybe” said Ladybug. “Let’s head to the library and see what’s on it.”

“Got it!” said Cat Noir. Ladybug and Cat Noir hopped down to head to the library, defending themselves against the horde. They made it to the library and Ladybug checked the flash drive. “Empty” she said. However, she looks at the files on the computer, then her yo-yo, then the flash drive, then the modem in the library, and finally Cat Noir. “Of course!” She started to load the files onto the flash drive. Once she had all the files, she moved to the next computer to load those files, and so on.

Meanwhile, Receiver Deceiver was going around town putting people under her spell. Between appearances, she was traveling through an electrified tunnel filled with all sorts of messages. She would grab one, and then read it hoping to provoke a response. However, on the way to her next victim, Receiver Deceiver was suddenly flooded with incoming messages. There were too many to keep track of, and they were burying the older messages. Receiver Deceiver grabbed a message. She found that it was filled with a bunch of operating jargon. She saw that the other messages were similarly filled with reports, ebooks, or other operating jargon. She looked, and it was all coming from one source. She fled to the source and appeared in the library, out of Ladybug’s yo-yo phone.

“About time” said Ladybug, taking the flash drive out of her yo-yo. “Cat Noir! Now!”

“Cataclysm!” he called out. He touched the library’s modem, which black out the internet in the entire library. “We’ve got your number now!” said Cat Noir.

“You can’t run away any more” said Ladybug.

“I can still fight!” said Receiver Deceiver, as she threw a punch at Ladybug. Ladybug blocked it. She and Ladybug got locked into combat, giving ample time for Cat Noir to steal her phone out of her hand. He jumped, grabbed the phone, did a flip, and then sent the phone hurtling toward the ground, smashing it. “See kitty? What did I tell you?” said Ladybug. “You’re an important part of the team, and you know it.”

“Never doubted it for a second,” said Cat Noir.

Receiver Deceiver froze in her tracks.The Akuma flew out of the phone. “No more evil doing for you, little Akuma” said Ladybug, readying her yo-yo to capture the Akuma. She catches it and says “Gotcha. Bye-bye little butterfly” she said, releasing the butterfly. She threw up the flash drive and called out “Miraculous Ladybug!” The magic ladybugs flew all over, fixing the damage caused by Receiver Deceiver.

The purple-black aura surrounded Receiver Deceiver and changed her back to Lila. “Ugh, what happened?” said Lila.

“Pound it!” said Ladybug and Cat Noir. Their jewelry then started to flash.

“Uh, gotta go” said Ladybug. “Are you OK here by yourself?”

Lila nodded. “Yes” she said.

“Then bug out!” she said, leaving, with Cat Noir leaving in a different direction.

At Hawkmoth’s lair, the super villain was cursing his latest attempt. “I’ll soon figure out who you really are Ladybug and Cat Noir. Then the public will know too. Then everyone will be talking about it!”

Meanwhile, afternoon classes are about to start, and Ms. Bustier’s class is getting seated. Lila walks into the room solemnly. “I just want to say…I’m sorry,” she said, in a tone she hoped would garner sympathy.

“What do you have to apologize for?” said Vlad. Everyone looked at him confused.

“Um, did you not see that she turned into a freakish super villain with access to our phones?” said Alya.

“Of course” said Vlad. “But I also stated at the beginning of the day that if something were to happen, I’d take the blame for it. Something happened. So I’m taking the blame for it. It’s all my fault everyone.”

Everyone was confused, but impressed. “That’s Vlad for you,” said Adrien. “Vlad, you don’t need to do this. It’s just as much my fault.”

“Adrien. Always too nice for your own good” said Vlad. “But nah, it’s my fault. You tried warning me, but I insisted, and all of this happened.”

“Yeah, well, it’s also partially my fault too” said Adrien. “Lila, I should have been more honest with you about how I feel.”

“Well THAT we can agree on” said Vlad. “In fact, I think if today’s taught us anything, it’s that we should be more honest with each other. Or else people will think you hate them for no reason.” Everyone clapped, but Lila was low-key angry.

“You say that, but I doubt you like anyone here” said Adrien.

“For the last time Adrien, I like people, I just don’t trust people” said Vlad. “At least, not until I get to know them better.” Vlad looked at Marinette and gave her a wink.

Later, Marinette and Alya were talking, when Adrien stepped up to them. “Hey Marinette. I gotta say, getting Vlad to trust someone he just met is not an easy feet. Whatever you said to him to get him to trust you, I’m sure it was great.”

“Ummmmmmm, thank you…” said Marinette, embarrassed. Alya nudged her. “So, um….”

“Ahem” said Lila.

“Sorry Marinette, I gotta go explain myself” said Adrien, walking off.

Marinette got angry and jealous of Lila. “Easy girl” said Alya. “You’ll have you chance.”

“Yeah” said Marinette, dejected. “But speaking of explaining themselves…” Marinette pointed to Alya.

Alya was slightly surprised. “Listen girl, you know I love you. But you have to admit that you have some faults.”

“I know” said Marinette. “I just didn’t expect to hear it so bluntly.”

“Yeah” said Alya. “I didn’t expect to hear it like that either. Friends?”

“Friends” said Marinette, as they both hugged.

Vlad was observing this scene. He looked around and saw others making up from the chaos caused by Receiver Deceiver. He smiled and left.

Later that night, outside of Marinette’s home Vlad stands and stares at the building. “Are you ready?” said the small creature, who is now revealed to be a kwami. The kwami was grey, had wolf ears, a wolf snout, a wolf-like mane, red eyes, and a bushy wolf tail.

“Of course Beyyo” said Vlad. “But remember, just because we think alike doesn’t mean we’re the same. I might give her the seal of approval, but you may not.”

“Duly noted” said Beyyo.

Vlad held out his right hand. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” Beyyo flew into Vlad’s ring and Vlad began to transform. Vlad transformed into a figure who was wearing a grey cloak. The cloak was joined in the middle, but flew open near his feet in the front. The torso of the cloak was a darker shade of grey than the rest of the cloak. His arms and legs were covered in a black material that clung to his body. He had a belt going across his chest that held a holster for a sword on the back. He had his hood up, which covered his face, except for his piercing red eyes, and it had wolf ears on top. “Alright Ladybug” said the figure. “Let’s see what you’re really made of.”