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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.”

Chapter Text

Vlad, who had now transformed into the mysterious grey figure, lept to the top of the building. He casually walked toward the hatch and opened it. He saw Marinette sleeping right below him “Yeah, this is creepier than I first thought,” he said to himself, as he remembered an earlier conversation with Beyyo.

“So, how are you going to knock her out?” Beyyo asked.

“I just figured I’ll wait until she’s asleep” said Vlad. “Then I’ll sneak into her place.”

Beyyo gave him a look. “You do realize how creepy that is?” he says.

“I know, but it’s the least conspicuous method” said Vlad. “Imagine a mysterious cloaked man assaulting a girl in brought daylight to put a mystic curse on her. I’d be France’s Most Wanted in a heartbeat.”

Beyyo hesitated. “Fair point. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“And you did warn me” said Vlad in the present. “Too late now.” He jumped down and was now standing over Marinette. “Man, if anyone saw that that didn’t know what was going on,” he said, drawing his sword, “I’d be painted in a VERY bad light. Now let’s see. What kind of situation would best suit her? Oh, I know.” He made a circle motion with his sword and a cloud appeared.

Just then, Tikki woke up and saw what was happening, and she panicked. “MARINETTE! WAKE UP!” she yelled.

“Huh?” Marinette said, still half asleep.

The figure called out his power “Wolf Mist” and he thrust his sword forward so that the mist could hit Marinette. Once it got to her, Marinette went back to sleep, although her head was surrounded by mist.

Tikki nodded to herself and started to leave, but the figure caught Tikki in his hand. “You’re needed for later” the figure said. He took Tikki, and hopped into the mysterious wolf mist.

Marinette woke up in class. She didn’t know when she had fallen asleep in class, but she was used to it at this point. Suddenly, Hawk Moth appeared on the screen. “Hello Paris” he said in his chilling voice. “Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I am too frustrated at this point. Ladybug and Cat Noir have stood in my way for too long. I will finally admit my goals to all of you. I am after world peace. You might find that odd, considering my methods, but I assure you it’s true. I have been informed that fusing the miraculous of Ladybug and Cat Noir will grant the user one wish. That is why I want their miraculous. I didn’t even want credit for giving peace to the world. Peace is enough of a reward as is. However, because I’ve been denied so many times, I have no choice but to go public.”

Marinette could believe what she was seeing. Neither could the rest of the class. However , while it was true that a wish could be granted by the miraculous, Marinette also knew that the wish came at a price. “Do you want world peace? Then go after Ladybug and Cat Noir! Their real identities are Marinette Duapin-Cheng, and” Marinette could only hear a guttural noise for Cat Noir’s real identity. “Hawk Moth out.” The screen turned black and everyone turned to Marinette.

“What? You don’t believe him, do you?” Marinette said.

“Well, it would explain a lot” said Alya.

“It would explain everything!” said Nino.

“Guys, come on, there’s no way I’m Ladybug. Me little ol’ clumsy Marinette” she said, trying to charm her way out of the situation. When she realized that wouldn’t work, she bolted out the door. She took out Tikki. “Tikki! We have an emergency!”

“I know” said Tikki. “I’m sorry Marinette, but I’m leaving.”

“What?! Why?!” Marinette called out.

“The magic only works if I’m there” said Tikki. “Bye Marinette.” TIkki left.

“Tikki” said Marinette.

Meanwhile, the real Tikki was being held in a box. She was trying to bust out of it with all of her might. “Why are you doing this?!” she called to the mysterious figure who imprisoned her. Tikki and the figure were in a white room, with only the box Tikki is being held in and a screen projecting Marinette’s dream in it.

The figure answered her. “You should know better than anyone what the purpose of the wolf miraculous is.” Tikki continued to pound against her confines. “That’s not going to do you any good.” Tikki gave him a look. “Don’t worry, I’ll let you out when the time is right. In the meantime, just sit back and watch.”

“Who are you, anyway?” Tikki asked.

The figure looked at the struggling kwami. “You can call me Judgement Wolf” he said.

Back in Marinette’s dream, Marinette was struggling with the fact that Tikki had left her, when suddenly the door opened behind her. “Grab her!” Alya called.

“Alya?” Marinette said. Marinette thought it was now or never. She rushed to the stairs and ran down as fast as she could. However, everyone was coming after her. The teachers. Her friends. Even Adrien. She sprinted through the courtyard, but everyone was gaining on her.

Suddenly, a car pulled up. The door opened, and in the driver’s seat was a figure bathed in white. “Get in, M’Lady” he said.

“Cat Noir?” said Marinette, confused. She didn’t have time to process it, however, as everyone was gaining on her. She jumped in, and closed the door. The figure then floored it. Marinette put her seatbelt on. “So, did your kwami leave you too?” Marinette asked.

“Yeah, but don’t worry,” said Cat Noir. “We can make it through anything.”

“I wish I could believe that” said Marinette. “But right now, I bet the whole world is against us.”

“Well, M’Lady, if it is us against the world, I’ll take those odds” said Cat Noir. “Because when we’re together, there’s nothing we can’t do.”

Marinette couldn’t help but smile. Usually, she would deride Cat Noir’s flirting, but at a moment like this she found comfort in the fact that something didn’t change. The car suddenly stopped. “Why’d you stop, Cat Noir?” Marinette asked.

“I didn’t” said Cat Noir. The doors opened, the seatbelts came off, and the car shook them out.

Outside, the two of them saw Robustus. “Great job Robustus” said Gamer coming over to meet them. Soon they were joined by an endless parade of Akumatized villains. Among them was Gorizilla, who picked up Marinette and Cat Noir and took them to Hawk Moth’s lair.

Soon, Marinette and Cat Noir were face to face with Hawk Moth, who had become Scarlet Moth once again. “Cat Noir, Ladybug, I assume you know why you’re here?”

“Yes” said Marinette.

“Good, then I expect this’ll go over easy” said Scarlet Moth.

“Not on your life” said Cat Noir.

“Even though what you want is good, we can’t let you have it” said Marinette. “When someone makes a wish, a price must be paid.”

“There is no price to pay for world peace” said Scarlet Moth.

“Exactly. We don’t know what kind of consequences it’ll bring about if you wished for peace” said Cat Noir.

“Fools. Do you think you still have a choice?” said Scarlet Moth. “Just hand over your miraculouses. This is the last time I’ll ask.”

Marinette thought to herself about what to do. It felt like she didn’t have much of a choice. But then she got an idea. “Fine” she said.

“Wha?” said Cat Noir.

“You win” said Marinette, taking off her earrings.

Cat Noir “Look M’Lady, just because you’ve given up hope, doesn’t mean-”

Marinette turned to Cat Noir and said “Come on Cat Noir, we’re totally outnumbered.” She then winked at Cat Noir.

“Fine” he said, taking off his ring and giving it to Marinette.

“Here you go Scarlet Moth” said Marinette, holding out the jewels.

Scarlet Moth approached her and Marinette dropped them in his hand. Immediately after, Marinette grabbed Hawk Moth’s miraculous, and put it on herself. Hawk Moth depowered turned into another figure bathed in white. All of the other Akumatized people detransformed too. “Nooroo! Dark Wings Rise!” Marinette called out. Nooroo fused to the jewel and Marinette transformed into her own version of Hawk Moth. This version had a black elegant evening dress, a black mask similar to that of her Ladybug mask, black heels, and black arm-length gloves.

“It doesn’t matter” said Hawk Moth. “I still have your jewels!” He tried putting them together, but it did nothing. “What?!”

“I’m sorry, but our kwamis left. Which means that they are no longer magic jewels. Rather, they are just jewels” said Hawk Moth Marinette. “Get up kitty. You were right. You and me against the world.”

Cat Noir chuckled. “We never lose.”

“Although, it isn’t going to be just the two of us for long,” said Hawk Moth Marinette. She spotted Adrien. A butterfly flew over to Hawk Moth Marinette. She infused it with energy. “Go, my little Akuma, and Heroize him!” She sent him after Adrien. The Akuma fused with Adrien’s ring and Hawk Moth Marinette introduced herself. “Gentleman. I am Hawk Moth. I’m giving you the power to protect the ones you care about. All I want in return are the jewels that the former Hawk Moth currently has.

“At your service, Hawk Moth” said Adrien. A purple-black aura consumed Adrien. Once it was done, Adrien was in a black tuxedo, complete with a white ascot, and a boutonniere.

Hawk Moth was surprised by this. Gentleman then charged at him and just beat him up. Once Hawk Moth was down for the count, Gentleman grabbed the miraculous and took Hawk Moth Marinette’s hand. “Are you ready?” he said.

Hawk Moth Marinette was blushing. Cat Noir was jealous. “Um, could we bring Cat Noir as well?” she asked.

“Of course. Anything for you” said Gentleman, kissing Hawk Moth Marinette’s hand. Hawk Moth Marinette got on Gentleman’s back.

Cat Noir looked on in disgust. “Fine. I’ll come along too” he said, also getting on Gentleman’s back.

“Now hold on tight” said Gentleman. He lept out of the window and landed safely back on the streets of Paris. Cat Noir and Hawk Moth Marinette got off of Gentleman’s back. “Miss Hawk Moth,” said Gentleman, “may I have a kiss?”

Hawk Moth Marinette was stunned. But then she said “Yes.” Gentleman placed his lips against Hawk Moth Marinette’s. It was a passionate kiss. They were bathed in the Paris moonlight, and dressed to the nines. You could not ask for a more perfect kiss.

Once the kiss broke off, Marinette was no longer in Paris. She was in an white empty area. She also looks,and she was back in her regular clothes. Needless to say, she was thoroughly confused.

“Bravo” said Judgement Wolf, giving a round of applause.

Marinette turned to see this mysterious figure. “Who are you?”

“The name’s Judgment Wolf” he said. “And I believe she belongs to you.” He threw Tikki at Marinette.

Marinette caught Tikki and said “Tikki! I was so afraid I lost you.”

“Oh Marinette, you should know that I would never abandon you” Tikki said.

Marinette inquired “But what about-”

“Marinette, that was a dream,” said Tikki.

“A dream?” said Marinette.

“Yes. And it was caused by that man!” Tikki said. “Now turn into Ladybug so we can beat this guy!”

“Is he Akumatized?” Marinette asked, worrying about what that means if that were true.

“No” said Tikki. Marinette sighed. “He’s just in possession of the wolf miraculous. A dangerous miraculous, which should never be used.”

“I was told you had a grudge against the wolf miraculous” Judgment Wolf said. “However, I’m not the same one you met last time. But you knew that already. I would like to avoid conflict as much as possible. So if you want your revenge, you gotta take it up with Beyyo.”

“Beyyo?” said Marinette.

“The kwami of the wolf miraculous” said Tikki. “An evil little thing.”

“Easy now” said Judgement Wolf. “We don’t want to say things we can’t take back.”

Tikki growled at Judgement Wolf. “I don’t get it,” said Marinette. “What are you doing this for?”

“Simple” said Judgement Wolf. “The wolf miraculous is the miraculous of doubt. It has a lot of interesting quirks to it, but all you need to know right now is that Beyyo and sniff out other kwamis, which is how I found you, and Beyyo believes that the holder of the wolf miraculous should test the users of other miraculous to see if they are worthy. An idea that I agree with. To do this, those who posses the wolf miraculous use a mist to create situations in the heads of people when they are unconscious. Based on the results, we decide if the user is worthy or not.”

“So, that whole thing was a test?” said Marinette.

“Yes” said Judgement Wolf. “And you passed.” This surprised both Marinette and Tikki. “You proved that even in a situation where everyone was against you, you would still do the right thing. And even if Hawk Moth’s goals were noble, he was doing them in the wrong way.”

“Of course” said Marinette. “If he wants to create peace, why doesn’t he use the powers he has to do that, instead of banking on a wish?”

Judgement Wolf laughed. “Oh Marinette, you continue to surprise me. I trust you completely to do your job as Ladybug.” Judgement wolf was about to leave, but he had one more thing to say. “Before I go, this is just me we’re talking about. Beyyo might have other ideas. He’ll meet you tomorrow to tell you what he thinks.” Judgement Wolf jumped out of the mysterious white area.

Marinette and Tikki were both confused, but before they could process anything, they fell asleep.

Back in Marinette’s room, Judgement Wolf reappeared. “Sleep tight Ladybug” he said, before climbed out the top window, and left the building. He made it back to his place just before he was about to transform back. “Beyyo! Fangs Dull!” he called out softly, so as not to disturb anyone. He transformed back into Vlad. “So, what did you think?” Vladd asked.

Chapter Text

Marinette woke up. “G’morning Tikki” she said. She checked her phone. “AH!” she screamed. “I’m going to be late!” She quickly got dressed, and ate breakfast, and left. She ran to school as fast as she could.

“You know Marinette,” said Tikki, “we have to discuss what happened with Master Fu.”

“Of course Tikki” said Marinette. “But that can wait. I just have to get to school on ti-” Marinette bumped into someone, and fell over. “Sorry” she said.

“Don’t be” said Vlad, giving her a hand.

Marinette was confused. She took his hand and he helped lift her up. “Oh, uh, thank you” she said.

“Rough night?” Vlad asked.

“Uh, yeah, something like that” said Marinette.

“Yeah, I feel the same,” said Vlad. “Something came up so suddenly.”

Marinette was familiar with that sentiment. He and Adrien were both models. He must lead a busy life. “I’m sorry” she said.

“It’s OK, really” said Vlad. “I met someone interesting, and that made it all worth it.”

“Really? Who is this person?” Marinette asked.

“It’s a secret,” said Vlad, as they were heading up the stairs.

Vlad and Marinette entered the classroom just as the bell rang. As Vlad sat down, Lila looked at him and remembered the conversation she and Adrien had yesterday after she was DeAkumatized.

“Look, I’m sorry” said Adrien. “I talk to Vlad about all my classmates. It feels great. I like having friends to talk about. But Vlad himself is a tough cookie. He’s very distrusting, and rather selective about who he socializes with outside of work. No matter how much I talk someone up, he always has to test them. It’s not just you.”

“Odd, isn’t it?” said Lila. “You don’t have trouble trusting people, and yet you claim this guy is your friend.”

“He is my friend Lila” said Adrien, sternly. “I’m sorry. It’s just Vlad and I rarely had the chance to see each other until now. When people see us, they often ask why we’re friends. I don’t like people questioning my friendships, and I get defensive.”

Lila smiled. She couldn’t stay mad at Adrien. “So, how did you two become friends?”

“Well…” said Adrien. “It’s a long story. But the gist of it is Vlad noticed I was sad. Thinking I was just playing it up, he intimidated me. I explained to him why I was feeling down, he apologized. We had a back and forth, and he helped me get over my issue.”

“Sounds like a great story,” said Lila. “Can’t wait to hear the full version.”

Lila was walking away, when Adrien said “One more thing…Try not to get on Vlad’s bad side. I don’t want what happened yesterday to become a daily occurrence. Whether it’s you getting Akumatized, or him.”

“I understand” said Lila.

In the present, Lila turned her attention to Ms. Bustier, who was pairing people up for a project. “Our next pair will be Vlad and Alya” she said.

“Um, could I be paired with Adrien or Marinette instead?” said Vlad.

“Sorry Vlad, all selections are final” said Ms. Bustier. “Besides, it’ll be a good chance for you to get to know Alya. She’s the assistant class rep, you know.”

“Great” said Vlad.

Lila smirked. “Our next pair will be Marinette and Adrien” said Ms. Bustier. Marinette was so shocked she fell out of her chair. “Are you alright Marinette?”

“Yup” said Marinette. “He’s fine. I mean I’m fine” she said.

“That girl’s an open book” said Lila, hoping to break the ice properly with Adrien’s friend.

“Don’t you buy books to open them?” Vlad retorted. Lila was not amused.

“Lila, you will be paired with Nino” Ms. Bustier said. Lila looked at him, and smirked. Ms. Bustier continued to list off pairs.

During the free period Vlad approached Alya while she was talking with Marinette. “Hey” he said. “You wanna start working on that project now, or after school?”

Alya sighed. “I should do it now. I gotta babysit the twins as soon as school is over.”

“Sounds great” said Vlad. He and Alya left.

“Pst” said Beyyo. Marinette noticed him in the corner of her eye and approached him cautiously. Tikki popped out and glared at him. “You have a good Ladybug in Marinette” he said. “Don’t lose that over our history. I’ve changed since then. And this new person is also different. Don’t judge him based on the previous holder.” Beyyo flew off.

Tikki was still mad. “What happened last time?” Marinette asked her.

Before she could answer, Adrien came up to Marinette. Tikki hid. Adrien said “Marinette. Do you want to work on the project?”

“Anything for you. AH! I mean, yes of course” said Marinette.

Beyyo re-entered Vlad’s pocket without alerting Alya. “So Alya, Marinette tells me you two are close” Vlad said.

“Are you in love with Marinette or something?” Alya said. “Ever since you got here, your focus has been on her.”

“No no” said Vlad. “Nothing like that. It’s just right now, she and Adrien are the only people here I trust.”

“Are you saying you don’t trust me?!” Alya said, incensed.

“Yeah” said Vlad.

“How rude” said Alya, turning her back toward him.

“It’s not just you” said Vlad. “I don’t trust anyone I don’t know that well. Adrien and I met a while ago, so I trust him, and I learned to trust Marinette yesterday.”

Alya turned around “Like, during that meeting you had with her?” she asked.

“Yup” said Vlad.

“Well, if all it takes is a meeting, then let’s have this meeting,” she said, dragging Vlad.

“Oooo. You’re feisty” said Vlad. “I like that.”

Marinette and Adrien were in the library studying for the project. Marinette thought to ask him about Vlad, and what he said this morning. “Um, Adrien?” she said. “Do you know what Vlad was doing last night?”

“I think he had a photo-shoot at the Arc de Triomphe” said Adrien. “What’s this about? Do I have competition now?”

Marinette was shocked. “Competition, what?”

“For fashion inspiration” said Adrien.

“Oh. No” said Marinette. “I just ran into him this morning. Literally. He seemed like he had a rough night.”

“Yeah” said Adrien. “He enjoys modeling, but he doesn’t always enjoy what comes with it.”

“Is that why you two are close?” Marinette asked. Adrien stood, mouth agape. She realized what she had just asked. “AH! I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s cool” said Adrien. “I never really thought about it like that before. But that totally makes sense. So, what is he doing now?”

“Oh, he and Alya are also working on the project together,” said Marinette. A look of concern hung over on Adrien’s face. “Is something wrong?” Marinette asked.

“It’s just, Vlad is unique. He doesn’t trust people easily” said Adrien. “He likes to gauge a person’s character before he decides to trust them. I’m worried that depending on how it goes, he might learn to hate Alya.”

Marinette was now concerned. “Why?”

“It’s not just Alya” said Adrien. “I’m worried about all of the class. Vlad has a tepid relationship with people. He gets along with them fine, but Vlad has a high bar when it comes to forming bonds. I’m just worried that the bar might be too high for everyone. Especially if they don’t know him too well.”

“Well, I’m sure everything will work out” said Marinette.

“You trust him that much already?” said Adrien.

“I trust our class” said Marinette.

“Spoken like a true class representative” said Adrien. Marinette blushed.

Meanwhile, Alya and Vlad were facing each other. “So, what do you need to know?” Alya demanded.

Vlad scoffed. “I just need to see what kind of person you are,” he said.

“Well, what did Marinette tell you?” Alya asked.

“Hey now, trying to figure me out like that is cheating” said Vlad. “But, since Marinette is a commonality between us, why don’t you tell me how you two met?”

Alya sighed. “Fine. It was the first day of school. I was new, and Chloe was giving Marinette a hard time. I couldn’t let that stand, so I talked to Marinette to help give her the confidence she needed to confront her.”

“So, you’re friends out of pity?” Vlad asked.

“NO! Of course not!” Alya shouted at him. “I mean, yes, Marinette was a bit timid when I first met her, but I didn’t pity her. I don’t think Ladybug would pity people she is rescuing from an Akuma attack. It felt like that.”

Vlad smiled. “I see.”

“To be honest, I’ve always been a fan of super heroes. And when Ladybug and Cat Noir showed up, I was ecstatic. But I can get a little overzealous sometimes, and at those times Marinette rescues me as well.”

Vlad put his arms on her shoulders. “I’ve heard enough. You’ve earned my trust, Miss Cesaire.”

“HEY!” said Nino, charging in.

“Nino?” Alya said, surprised.

“What do you think you’re doing?!” Nino asked.

“What’s the matter?” Vlad asked.

“Lila told me the reason you didn’t want to be paired with Alya is because you’ve got a crush on her and didn’t want to reveal it!” said Nino. “Well too bad! Alya and I are dating.”

“Wait, WHAT?!” said Alya. “As much as I like seeing how seriously you take this relationship, I don’t think that Vlad is into me whatsoever. At least not like that.”

“Are you sure?” Nino said.

“He told me to my face that he doesn’t trust me” Alya said.

“Yeah, that’s not a good way to pick up girls” said Vlad. “Or, you know, whatever you’re into. Who told Lila that anyway?”

Nino was confused. “Lila said you told her,” he said. “Just as we were beginning to work on the project together.”

Vlad sighed. “Of course she did. Look, I know you all like her, but you know she’s a liar, right?” he asked.

“Did Marinette tell you that?” Alya asked.

“What? No” said Vlad. “Adrien did.” Alya and Nino looked at each other, confused. “Look, Adrien has told me a lot about you guys. He told me that Lila lies constantly, but maybe if we set a good example, she might feel the need to stop lying so much. Adrien sees people through these rose-tinted glasses. So, when he tells me about you all, he is so enthusiastic about you. To hear him say something negative about someone, even if it’s the slightest thing, is odd.”

Alya and Nino were stunned by this realization. “I had no idea” Alya said.

“And hey, if you wanna give your boyfriend here an advantage on this, ask Adrien what he told me about him. I’m looking to see if what he said is the real deal, or if it’s just Adrien being too kind for his own good” said Vlad. “Now, do you want to work on the project?”

“Sure” said Alya. “Nino, are you going to be OK?”

“Of course” said Nino. “I trust you completely.” Alya and Vlad walked off to start their project.

Nino turned back around and rejoined Lila. “So, how did it go?” Lila asked.

Nino realized that Lila was indeed a liar. At least, about this. But he didn’t want to set her off. What if she got Akumatized again? Or worse? “It was just a misunderstanding” Nino told Lila, who was shocked. “Yeah, uh, it turns out that Vlad is a little weird. So, whatever he said to you, he might have meant it differently.” Nino wasn’t lying, exactly. Vlad was weird.”I got all mad for nothing.”

“That’s not true” Lila said. “You got worked up for the woman you love. I find that to be very noble.” Nino was surprised by this. He blushed and said “Thanks.” Lila began working, and Nino looked at her. That wasn’t a lie. He had to ask Adrien about this. After all, maybe that was her just changing her behavior to be more positive, like his bro said.

After school, Marinette and Alya said goodbye as Alya left to look after her sisters. “She off to babysit?” Vlad said, approaching Marinette.

“Uh, yeah” said Marinette. “How was working with her?” Marinette was anxious about the answer.

“It was delightful” Vlad said. Marinette sighed a sigh of relief. “What’s that about?” Vlad asked.

“I just told her you might not trust her best friend” said Adrien, joining the scene.

“Come on Adrien, give me some credit” said Vlad.

“Adrien did say you have trouble trusting people” said Marinette.

“I guess that’s true” said Vlad. “But I gotta say, you were right about Alya.”

“Maybe you’d be better off if you trusted what I said more” Adrien said.

“Yeah, we’ll see” said Vlad. “By the way, that Nino guy is next.” Adrien giggled. “I thought you would take that harder” Vlad said, confused. “Considering you said he’s your best friend and all.”

“Well, I would be,” said Adrien, “but Marinette told me she trusts our friends, and it’ll all be OK. And I believe her.”

Vlad smiled. “You never cease to amaze me, Marintte” he said. “Hey, I’m stopping by Adrien’s house this afternoon. Wanna come?”

Marinette was surprised. “Thanks, but I’ve got another matter to attend to. Seeya!” she said, as she rushed off.

“Looks like it’s just you and me” Vlad said. From Vlad’s pocket, a sniffing noise could be heard.

“Yeah” said Adrien. Adrien’s limo pulls up. “Ready to go?”

“Of course” said Vlad. The two boys walked to the car.

Chapter Text

Marinette walks into Master Fu’s place. “Marinette, what is wrong?” Fu asks.

Before Marinette could answer, Tikki pops out, and says “The wolf miraculous is back!”

“I see” said Master Fu. “Wayzz has informed me of such.” He pulls up the pages for the wolf miraculous and shows them to Marinette. “The wolf miraculous is a tricky one. Its properties are unlike any other miraculous.”

“How come?” Marinette asked.

“The wolf miraculous is the miraculous of doubt” said Master Fu.

“He told me as much” Marinette said.

“So. you’ve spoken to the holder of the wolf miraculous?” said Master Fu.

Marinette nodded. “He came to me when I was sleeping,” she said.

“I see. As I was saying, doubt is a powerful concept. It can be used for good or bad things. Beyyo, the kwami of doubt, decided that because his power was strong, he didn’t want anyone to have it if he didn’t agree to it himself.”

“But, aren’t other miraculous more powerful?” Marinette asked.

“Yes. Beyyo noticed this as well” said Master Fu. “He was mad with the other kwamis, who trusted the humans who possessed their miraculous. They all tried to convince him that it was alright, but Beyyo didn’t believe them. He decided to tailor his powers to testing other miraculous users to see if they were worthy to have those powers.”

“He also told me that” said Marinette. “He told me that Beyyo could sniff out other kwamis, and that he can use a special Wolf Mist to create tests in an unconscious mind.”

“Yes, those are two of its powers” said Master Fu. “But the wolf miraculous has three other things that make it different. First, a guardian doesn’t give out the wolf miraculous. Beyyo carries it with him and wanders the Earth until he finds someone who he deems worthy of holding onto it. Second, its other power allows it to force a kwami out of its miraculous. Lastly, it isn’t affected by any of the other miraculous powers. For instance, say you had to fight him. If you used your lucky charm in order to try and best him, nothing would appear.”

“Almost every power…” said Tikki.

“Um, Tikki is very mad at the wolf miraculous” said Marinette. “Could you tell me the reason?”

“Of course Marinette” said Master Fu. “One of the previous Ladybugs operated in Japan. The identity of this Ladybug was the operator of an orphanage. She would protect everyone, but one of the people attacked most often was a daimyo, or feudal lord. She would be joined by the holder of the wolf miraculous, who was the head samurai for that daimyo. The two of them were friends, and they trusted each other. However, when the daimyo died, the title was passed down to his son. The holder of the wolf miraculous didn’t believe that his son was worthy of the title, and that his younger sister would make for a better daimyo. The new daimyo refused to give up his position, so the wolf miraculous holder resigned his position and became a ronin. He and Ladybug would still fight together when needed, but they had ideological fights between what they thought was right.

Eventually, the holder of the wolf miraculous decided to kill the daimyo, so that the person who he believed should have the power would take it. He warned his friend Ladybug he was doing this. So Ladybug learned the most powerful technique among miraculous users. Before the ronin could make the final blow, Ladybug interrupted him. She challenged him to a fight. They were evenly matched. Then Ladybug decided to use the technique she learned.”

“What was the technique?” Marinette asked.

“It is a powerful, but dangerous technique” said Master Fu. “It is in the grimoire, but I will not teach it to you. Any miraculous holder can use this technique, but it is strongly advised against learning, and only meant to be learned as a last resort. Before I can explain it, do you understand?” Marinette nodded. “Good. The technique is that the miraculous user channels all of the combined power of every previous holder of that miraculous, and then unleashes it in an all-powerful attack. However, both the focus of the attack and the user die in the process.” Marinette put her hands over her mouth, and a tear fell down her cheek. “Before she did it, the ronin asked why she was protecting an incompetent fool. She answered ‘everyone deserves to be protected.’ Once the two bodies fell, everyone knew it was over. The guardians came, and just like every time before, they picked up the ladybug miraculous, but the wolf miraculous was nowhere to be found. It hadn’t been seen since then, until now.”

“Tikki, I’m so sorry” Marinette said, crying and hugging Tikki.

“It’s OK Marinette” said Tikki, hugging her friend back. “It’s not your fault.”

“I know” said Mainette through her tears. “But, had I known…”

“It’s OK” said Tikki. “There was no way you could have known. I wasn’t expecting Beyyo to show up again after so long.”

“There is a little more to the story,” said Fu. “After the altercation, the daimyo did some introspection. You see, that Ladybug also didn’t like the daimyo. And yet he saw her sacrifice her life to protect him. He decided he wasn’t worthy, and abdicated to his younger sister, saying ‘these people deserve a daimyo worth dying for. You will make an excellent daimyo.’ He then left, to never return.”

“That doesn’t make the story less sad” said Marinette.

“You are right Marinette” said Fu. “I just thought you would want to know that.”

“What if I have to fight Judgment Wolf?” Marinette asked herself.

“You were found worthy, correct?” said Master Fu.

“Yeah, but so was that Ladybug” said Marinette. “And…”

“Marinette, I know how you feel” said Master Fu. “But cast those thoughts aside for now. You need to focus on the real enemy instead of inventing a fake one.”

“Yes Master” said Marinette. “Um, Judgement Wolf knows my identity. Should I be worried?”

“I don’t think so,” said Master Fu. “Since he trusts you, he won’t reveal your identity. If he didn’t trust you, he would have taken away your miraculous and given it to someone else. The wolf miraculous is strange, but even it follows a pattern.”

“One more thing” said Marinette. “Beyyo says that he’s changed, and that this user is different. After hearing this, I don’t know how much of that is true.”

“You’re starting to have doubts of your own” said Master Fu. “Like I said, doubt isn’t evil. For instance, if Nooroo could test Hawk Moth, he wouldn’t be in the situation he’s in right now. Just be careful, and remember, if both a guardian and the holder of the wolf miraculous trust you, you have nothing to worry about.”

“Thank you Master” said Marinette. “Uh, should someone warn Cat Noir?”

“I shall send Wayzz” said Master Fu. “You should go. I’m sure you’re busy today.”

“Thank you Master” said Marinette, leaving. Once she had left, Marinette asked Tikki “Do you still want to fight Beyyo and this Judgment Wolf?”

Tikki shook her head no. “It didn’t seem like either of them wanted to fight us. It would be pointless to fight them. Not to mention disastrous.”

“I agree” Marinette said, tickling Tikki.

Earlier that day, Vlad and Adrien entered Adrien’s limo to go to Adrien’s house. “So, why did you move from Toulouse?” Adrien asked.

“Eh, you know how it is. My folks said it would benefit my modeling career” said Vlad. “Besides, how could I say no to seeing you on a regular basis?”

Adrien chuckled. “Of course. Listen, I know you, and I know how you operate. But could you please not give my friends such a hard time? You don’t have to trust them, but you don’t need to get angry with them either.”

“Relax Adrien” said Vlad. “I trust you enough to know that these people are at least decent. Well, most of them are, anyway.”

“I just don’t want a repeat of yesterday” Adrien said.

“You and me both” said Vlad.

Beyyo was moving around in Vlad’s pocket. Vlad noticed this and turned to look out the window so Adrien wouldn’t see Beyyo. “Adrien is Cat Noir” Beyyo told Vlad. Vlad nodded, and Beyyo flew back into his pocket.

Vlad decided to put his new-found information to the test. “So Adrien,” he said, “what do you think about Ladybug and Cat Noir?”

“Don’t tell me you don’t trust them as well?” said Adrien.

“Did you expect any less?” Vlad asked.

“I can’t argue with that,” said Adrien.

“That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear your rave reviews” said Vlad.

“Very well” said Adrien. “I think they’re both great. They work together to save Paris. They make a good team.” Vlad noticed that he didn’t say anything about how cool Cat Noir was. But then again, that’s just the type of person Adrien was, and he knew it.

They arrived at the Agreste manor, and was greeted by Nathalie. “I’m sorry Adrien, but your father’s busy. Although he does give his regards to Mr. Brodeur for just moving her.e”

“Aw, tell him I said thank you,” said Vlad. “Well looks like it’s just you and me.” The two had a great time, doing all sorts of activities that Adrien’s room allowed for. Eventually, Vlad got a call. Sorry Adrien, that’s my dad. He wants me to meet the mayor this evening. It’s kind of a hassle, but whatever.”

Adrien smiled. “Do you want me to come with you?”

“Nah” said Vlad. “I’ll be fine. Even if I did want you, I’m sure your dad would object.”

“Yeah” said Adrien. “You’re probably right on that.”

“Well, seeya” said Vlad.

“Later” said Adrien. Vlad left. Adrien sprawled across his bed.

Plagg came out and said “Sometimes, I wish you’d tell more people that you’re Cat Noir. I missed out on all that fun because no one can see me.”

Adrien sat up. “We still have fun Plagg” said Adrien, handing him a piece of camembert. “I still have some time, what do you want to do?”

Before Plagg could answer, Wayzz came in “Cat Noir! You must listen” he said.

“Wayzz?” Plagg said.

“What’s going on? Is Master Fu alright?” Adrien asked, worried.

“Master Fu is fine, Adrien” said Wayzz. “But something has come up.” Wayzz explained what Master Fu and Ladybug talked about.

“So, this wolf miraculous user wants to make sure that the miraculous holders are worthy?” Wayzz nodded. “And he already tested Ladybug?”

Wayzz nodded again. “You should be ready in case he finds you” Wayzz said.

“Right, but how?” said Adrien. “If he uses his Wolf Mist when I’m asleep, I can’t be prepared for that.”

“I’m just giving you a heads up” said Wayzz. “Master Fu is certain he made the right choice by making you Cat Noir.”

“I won’t let you, or this Judgement Wolf, down!” said Adrien. Wayzz nodded and left.

Later that night, Vlad lands on the sidewalk outside his window. “I was wondering if you were actually going to test Adrien” said Beyyo.

“Being friends is one thing,” said Vlad. “Protecting an entire population is something else. You can’t be too careful.”

“I couldn’t agree more” said Beyyo.

Vlad walked a few blocks and then called out “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He transformed into Judgement Wolf. Judgement Wolf made his way back to Adrien’s house and snuck in through the window. “Ready Cat Noir?” he said.

Chapter Text

Judgement Wolf was standing over Adrien. He drew his sword.”Ladybug seems to put a lot of trust in you. Let’s see if that trust is correctly placed” he said. “Wolf Mist!” he called out. He threw the mist at Adrien.

Plagg woke up and saw what was happening. “ADRIEN!” He called out. He saw Judgement Wolf. “Why you!” he said, charging at him.

Judgement Wolf caught Plagg. “Hello there. Are you ready to see if Adrien passes or fails?” he asked. He then jumped into the mist.

Adrien woke up in the middle of the Champ-Elysees. “What happened?” he said. He looked, and saw Ladybug fighting a villain. “I gotta transform” he said. He then looked down and saw that his ring wasn’t there. He then remembered that earlier in the fight, he was knocked down. Hawk Moth then approached him and took his ring. Soon after, he passed out. “Oh no.”

“WAAHHHHH!” said Ladybug, being knocked over.

Adrien rushed to her side. “Are you OK, M’Lady?” he asked.

“Cat Noir” said Ladybug. “Take this” she slipped a note to him. She started to take off her earrings.

“What are you doing?” Adrien asked.

“Hawk Moth can’t have both of these” said Ladybug, who was now a figure bathed in light. “Take them and run.”

“But Ladybug” said Adrien.

“GO!” said Ladybug, and without thinking, Adrien took off.

Hawkmoth, and the Akumatized Villain approached Ladybug. The Akumatized villain looked like a stone goblin with a flag attached to its back. “Good job Gargoyle” said Hawk Moth. Hawk Moth saw that Ladybug didn’t have her earrings. “Where are they?!” he demanded.

“Gee, I forget” said Ladybug.

“You’ll be sorry you did” said Hawk Moth.

Adrien kept running. He heard a loud noise. He had hoped that everything was alright. But the next day proved him wrong.

Nadja Chamock was reporting. “I am sad to report that yesterday Paris lost one of its heroes. Ladybug, real name,” Adrien heard a guttural noise, “fell at the hands of Gargoyle and Hawk Moth. Needless to say, all of Paris is shook. Countless vigils are being held all over town for the fallen hero. The funeral will be held in three days.”

Adrien turned off the screen. He laid back down on his bed. He then felt the letter Ladybug had given him, and decided to read it. “Cat Noir, I know who Hawk Moth is. It’s,” the name was blurred. “Please take the Ladybug Miraculous and give it to someone you can trust so they can take him on.”

Adrien looked determined. This is Ladybug’s last request. He doesn’t want to let her down. He grabbed the earrings and left.

At the Dupain-Cheng bakery, Tom and Sabine were working on a cake for Ladybug’s funeral. Adrien walked in. “Hi” he said. “Is Marinette here?”

They nodded. “She’s upstairs in her room Adrien” Sabine told him. “Just try to be gentle. She’s been taking what happened hard.”

“We all are” said Adrien. He walked up stairs.

Marinette heard a knock on her door. “Come in,” she said in a sad tone.

“Marinette?” Adrien said, coming in.

“Adrien?” Marinette said surprised. “What are you doing here?”

Adrien sighed. He had to be honest with her. “Marinette, there’s something I have to tell you.”

“Wait” said Plagg in a box, watching what’s going on in an empty white area with Judgement Wolf. “If you’ve tested Ladybug already, then shouldn’t you know who she is?”

“So, you know as well?” said Judgement Wolf. “But Adrien doesn’t. This dream is the product of Adrien’s imagination. I just begin with a thought. Adrien does the rest.”

Back in the dream, Adrien continued “The truth is, I am Cat Noir. Ladybug entrusted me with her miraculous. She also told me who Hawk Moth is. She asked me to find someone I can trust and give them to her. Marinette, do you want to be the next Ladybug and take down Hawk Moth?”

Marinette was stunned. She realized the gravity of the situation. Still, she nodded.

“OK” said Adrien, giving her the earrings. “Put them on and say ‘Tikki! Spots On!’”

Marinette put them on. “What’s a Tikki?” she asked.

“I am” said Tikki.

“AH!” said Marinette. “What is that?”

“It’s a kwami” said Adrien. “A magical being that gives people powers. My kwami’s name is Plagg.”

“It’s OK Marinette” said Tikki. “If Cat Noir trusts you, so do I.”

Marinette nodded. “Tikki! Spots On!” she called out. She transformed into Ladybug. “Great! Now it’s your turn.”

“Actually,” said Adrien, “I lost my miraculous in the fight. You’re going to have to do this alone.”

“WHAT?!” said Marinette. “I can’t do this by myself. Please can you come with me?”

Adrien looked at Marinette. He couldn’t say no. Marinette’s probably scared. He should be there to support his friend. “OK” he said. “But I need to keep my distance. I don’t have my powers anymore.”

“Thank you” she said hugging him. He gave her a hug back. “Now let’s go!” She picked up Adrien and lept through the window.

On their way to confront Hawkmoth, Adrien was explaining Marinette’s powers to her. “Do you think you understand?” he asked.

“I think so” she said.

“Good” said Adrien. “We’re here.” The two had approached the house of Hawk Moth. “Ready when you are” Adrien said.

Just then, Gargoyle appeared in front of them and roared. “Adrien! Run!” Marinette said.

Adrien began running, but then stopped for a brief moment. He turned around and said “The flag! The Akuma is in the flag!”

“Got it” said Marinette, keeping her distance from the monster. Adrien continued to run and hide. When Marinette decided she was far enough away, she called out “Lucky Charm!” She received a lighter. “This is odd” said Marinette. Gargoyle threw a punch at Marintte’s position, but she dodged it. Gargoyle’s fist got caught in the building Marinette was on. She noticed that Gargoyle was made out of stone. She approached Adrien. “Adrien, do you have anything I can set on fire?”

Adrien felt around in his pockets. He found the note Ladybug left him, but he didn’t want to set that on fire. “He took off his jacket. “Here” he said.

“Are you sure?” Marinette asked.

“It’s fine” said Adrien. “I have plenty.” Marinette nodded. She took the coat, set it on fire, and attached it to her yo-yo. Gargoyle broke free and then charged at the two. Marinette flung the on fire shirt at Gargoyle.

It landed in his mouth. Gargoyle wasn’t bothered by this and roared at the two of them, but then the smoke from the fire started to rise, blinding Gargoyle. Gargoyle flailed his arms around his eyes to dissipate the smoke. Marinette saw this, and took this opportunity to climb onto Gargoyle and take the flag out. She lept to solid ground and broke it.

An Akuma flew out. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma” she said. “Time to de-evilize!” she captured the Akuma. She freed the butterfly and said “By By, little butterfly.” She threw up the lighter and said “MIraculous Ladybug!” The magic Ladybugs fixed the damage, caused by Gargoyle. Gargoyle turned back into a man, who was confused.

Hawk Moth walked out. “What’s going on?!” he asked. Marinette threw her yo-yo at him, knocking the miraculous off. She picked it up. “It looks like there’s no more evildoing for you either, Hawk Moth.”

“Ladybug?” said Hawk Moth, who was now a figure bathed in light.

Ladybug’s earrings started to beep. Adrien ran up to her. “That means you’re about to transform back. Run and find a safe place. I’ll catch up with you as soon as the police arrive.”

“Thank you, Cat Noir” she said. She left. Adren smiled.

“I know that wasn’t the actual Ladybug” Hawk Moth said.

“So?” said Adrien.

“Aren’t you mad?” said Hawk Moth. “I took your true love away from you. I’m the reason you’re so miserable. I am completely at your mercy right now. Don’t you want to punish me? Don’t you want me to feel as bad as you do right now? Don’t you want to take revenge?”

“That may be how you work, Hawk Moth, but I’m not like you” said Adrien. “Of course I’m upset. And angry. And yes, there’s nothing I want more right now than to Cataclysm you out of existence. But that’s not what she would have wanted. She would have wanted you to pay for your crimes the correct way.”

“She’s not here anymore. You don’t have to worry about what she thinks” said Hawk Moth.

“But if she was, she’d be disappointed in me if I acted on my negative emotions right now. I don’t want to let her down, even if she’s no longer here” said Adrien. Police sirens start heading this way. Adiren closed his eyes in a smug way. “Anything else you want to say as a free man? You only have a couple of minutes left.” When Adrien opened his eyes, he was in an empty white area, and surprised.

“Well done, Cat Noir” said Judgement Wolf. “You might want this back.” He threw Plagg.

“ADRIEN!” Plagg called out.

“It’s OK Plagg, I’m right here” said Adrien, giving him a hug. They broke the hug and Adrien stared down Judgement Wolf. “I assume that you’re Judgement Wolf.”

“So you’ve heard of me?” Judgement Wolf said.

“So, this was all just a test?!” Adrien said.

“Yes, and you passed with flying colors” said Judgement Wolf. “Aren’t you happy?” Adrien was staring him down. “For the record, the prompt I gave you was ‘What if Ladybug Wasn’t Around?’ You filled in all of the other blanks.”

Adrien gasped. “I killed Ladybug?”

“Relax. She’s fine” said Judgement Wolf. “And had I known you would have jumped to that, I would have done something different. I don’t mean to upset anyone. I just need to figure out what lies behind the mask.”

“Well, you could have done this easier” said Adrien.

“The wolf miraculous is the miraculous of doubt” said Judgement Wolf. “If I were to trust people easily, I wouldn’t have this power to begin with.”

“Fine” said Adrien. “But know this. If you hurt anyone for real, I will not hesitate to fight you.”

“Trust me. If that happens, I’ll wait for you” said Judgement Wolf. He left, and Adrien and Plagg fell back asleep.

“Sleep tight, Cat Noir” said Judgement Wolf, leaving Adrien’s room.

The next day during the free period, Adrien approached Marinette and asked “Hey Marinette, do you want to work on the project now?”

“Of course” said Marinette, blushing. She then spotted Beyyo. “Uh…you go on ahead, I’ll meet you there.”

“Alright” Adrien said. He left, and looked sad when he was alone.

Marinette approached Beyyo and made sure no one else was around. “What’s up?” Marinette asked.

“We tested Cat Noir last night” Beyyo told them “Things got intense. You should talk to him soon.”

“Will do” Marinette said as she nodded. Beyyo flew off. Marinette sped to meet Adrien to work on the project.

After school, Marinette transformed into Ladybug and swung to the rooftops of Paris. Adrien saw Ladybug swinging up. He hid and transformed into Cat Noir. Ladybug landed and Cat Noir was not far behind. “Ladybug?” said Cat Noir. Ladybug turned around. Cat Noir ran up and gave her a hug.

“Cat Noir, what happened?” she asked.

Cat Noir broke the hug. “Well, that Judgement Wolf character that Wayzz told me about appeared and tested me. In my dream, you had died. I was incredibly sad. I didn’t know what to do. I just kept following your lead.”

“It’s OK, Cat Noir” Ladybug said, hugging him. “I’m here.”

Cat Noir started to cry. “It’s just, I don’t know what I would do without you,” he said.

“I think you do” said Ladybug, comforting her partner.

Vlad and Beyyo were watching from the ground. “Looks like everything’s going to be fine,” said Vlad, walking away.

As Ladybug and Cat Noir were hugging, an explosion could be heard. “What was that?” Cat Noir asked.

“Sounds like another Akuma” said Ladybug. “Are you fine Cat Noir, or do you want to sit this one out?”

Cat Noir smiled. “And miss talking to you, buggaboo? Not a chance.”

Ladybug smiled. “Then let’s go!” Ladybug and Cat Noir raced to the action.

Chapter Text

Earlier in the day, when free period began, Vlad approached Alya and Nino. “Hey Alya” he said. “Can I borrow your boyfriend for a bit? Then we can meet up to work on the project.”

Alya nodded. “Sure thing” she said.

“Hey, wait a minute” said Nino. “What if he doesn’t end up liking me?”

“Oh sweetie, it’ll be OK,” said Alya. “Besides, what does it matter if he doesn’t like you? I still like you, and Adrien still likes you as well.”

“You’re right” said Nino. “I have nothing to worry about.” Alya left. “I hope.”

Meanwhile, Beyyo left to tell Marinette about last night. “So,” said Vlad, “Adrien says your his best friend.”

“Uh, yeah dude” said Nino. “Do you want to fight for that spot, or something?”

“No no” said Vlad. “If Adrien says you’re his best friend, I believe him. I’m not asking for the top spot. I’m asking why.”

“Well, uh, when Adrien first came to school, Chloe was all over him,” Nino said. “Initially, I dismissed him as being as bad a Chloe was. She was pranking Marinette that morning, and Adrien wanted her to stop. Marinette blamed the both of them.  I asked him about this, and he told me Chloe was his only friend. I could tell Adrien had a lot on his plate, so I offered to be his friend. We’ve been best buds ever since.”

“I see” said Vlad.

“But, uh, he never really mentioned you before” said Nino. “Might I ask why, dude?”

“Not at all” said Vlad. “Adrien and I have only met up at big events for models. While we make the most of our time, we’ve had little time to do it. And, as you can tell, I come across strong sometimes. So I don’t blame Adrien not mentioning me in conversation.”

“So, did I pass yet, or do you need me to tell you more?” Nino asked.

“I’d say you passed” said Vlad. “I see why you’re Adrien’s best friend.”

“Whew” said Nino. “I was worried.” He headed out, but before he left, he turned to Vad and said “By the way, don’t sell yourself short. You’re Adrien’s friend too.”

Vlad smiled. Nino left. Beyyo returned. “Did you tell Marinette?” Vlad asked.

“Yes. And I also told Adrien I approved of him as well” said Beyyo.

“Good. Now we can get to work figuring out who Hawk Moth is” said Vlad.

At present, Vlad is watching Ladybug and Cat Noir on a screen fighting a villain by the name of Jet Engine. A villain who is wearing an old timey pilot’s uniform with the brown jacket which has a medal on it, scarf, and aviator helmet, and has wings on his arms, and jets on his legs. “So, are you ever going to help Ladybug and Cat Noir?” Beyyo asked. “Or do you just enjoy watching them struggle?”

“If Ladybug and Cat Noir don’t know who Hawk Moth is after this long, what chance do I have at finding him?” Vlad said. “I still have the element of surprise, and I want to keep that. I’ll help them if it’s necessary, but until then I’ll be waiting.”

“What’s this?” said Nadja, narrating the scene. “Ladybug has left. Cat Noir is doing his best to hold off Jet Engine.”

“That’s unusual” said Vlad.

A few minutes later Nadja reported. “Oh look! Ladybug is back! And she brought Rena Rouge and Carapace!”

“Other heroes?” said Beyyo.

“Well then, let’s investigate” said Vlad. He left the screen he was watching.

Meanwhile, at the battle, Jet Engine was taunting the heroes “Just because you have more heroes, doesn’t mean you can beat me!” He was zooming all over the place.

“The Akuma’s gotta be in the medal” said Cat Noir.

“OK, but how are we going to slow him down?” Rena Rouge asked.

“I’m sure I could do it, but he won’t just run into Shell-ter” said Carapace.

“We need to get him to focus on something” said Ladybug. “Lucky Charm!” she called out. An anchor appeared. Ladybug felt it was a bit too heavy to catch and fell down with it.

“I assume we’re supposed to tie him down with it, but how do we get him to stay still?” Cat Noir asked.

Ladybug looked around and saw all of her teammates. “Everyone, I’ve got an idea!” The heroes all gathered around Ladybug so she could tell them her plan.

Jet Engine saw them planning. “Now’s your chance. Don’t let them escape!” Hawk Moth told him.

“(W)Right on, Hawk Moth” said Jet Engine. He charged at the heroes, but the Cat Noir threw a punch at him, but Jet Engine dodged it.

Rena Rouge then played her flute and then called out “Mirage!” and threw her vision out.

Suddenly, Jet Engine was surrounded by a bunch of Carapaces. “Shell-ter!’ they all called out. A bunch of force fields appeared.

Jet Engine was nervously looking around as force fields were appearing, and he found an opening. “You fools!” he called out. “I’ll just double back before any of these get to me, and I’ll clear them out with my supersonic speed!” Jet Engine raced toward the opening, but just as he got there, the opening faded, and he hit the actual Shell-ter, with our heroes behind it.

Carapace let the Shell-ter down and Ladybug tied the stunned Jet Engine’s foot to one end of her yo-yo, and the anchor to the other. “You may have me tied down, but I’m still faster than you” Jet Engine said.

“We’ll see about that,” said Ladybug. “Cat Noir!”

“Cataclysm!” he called out. He then touched the ground around the anchor, and Jet Engine was now falling through the empty area. He blasted his boosters to full power to try and stay aloft, but the anchor was too heavy for him. Ladybug grabbed his medal and smashed it, freeing the Akuma.

Jet Engine De-Akumatized and began to fall. Ladybug caught him, and with the help of the other heroes, pulled him and the anchor up. “Miraculous Ladybug!” Ladybug called out, throwing the anchor up. The magic ladybugs fixed all of the damage, including the broken road. “Time to de-evilize!” Ladybug captured the Akuma. “Gotcha! Bye bye, little butterfly.” She let the butterfly free.

Hawk Moth was venting his frustrations in his lair. “Soon Ladybug and Cat Noir, my ambitions will take off, and you will be left on a wing and a prayer!”

“Sorry everyone” said the formerly Akumatized man, now dressed in a modern pilot’s uniform. “Being a pilot is a stressful job.”

“It’s OK” said Ladybug. “We all have our stressful days.”

“Thanks” said the pilot.

Everyone’s charms started beeping. “Gotta go” said Ladybug.

“Seeya” said Cat Noir.

Cat Noir went one direction, but Ladybug, Rena Rouge, and Carapace went in another. “I see” said Judgment Wolf, lurking in the shadows.

At a far away location, Ladybug, Rena Rouge, and Carapace landed. Judgement Wolf landed a fair distance away and began spying. Rena Rouge began to call out her de-transformation chant. “Trixx Let’s R-” but before she finished, she spotted Judgement Wolf peering over.

Carapace was doing the same. “Wayzz! Shell O-” Rena Rouge quieted him.

“Wait!” she said. “There’s someone over there.”

Ladybug turned around and gasped when she saw Judgement Wolf. “You have a keen eye, Rena Rouge” said Judgement Wolf, coming out to face them fully. “A good trait to have in a hero.”

“Ladybug, who is this guy? Is he another Akumatized dude?” Carapace asked.

“No. This guy’s name is Judgement Wolf” said Ladybug. “You’re about to transform back! I’ll explain everything later! Just hide!” Rena Rouge and Carapace ran off. Judgement Wolf jumped up to try and catch them, but Ladybug used her yo-yo to catch him and throw him down. “Nice try!” she said. “What are you even doing?”

“I thought I told you, my job is to test the holders of the miraculous” said Judgement Wolf.

“I know, but you’ve already tested me, and I passed, remember?” said Ladybug.

“You passed, they didn’t” said Judgement Wolf.

“You trust me, right? Can’t you trust the company I keep?” Ladybug said.

“That’s not how this works,” said Judgement Wolf, getting up. “Where are you keeping these other Miraculouses anyway? Beyyo only managed to sniff out two kwamis.”

Meanwhile, Rena Rouge and Carapace ran and hid, and then de-transformed. “So, what’s this Jugement Wolf guy’s deal anyway?” said Alya.

“He’s the holder of the wolf miraculous” said Trixx.

“The wolf miraculous?” said Nino.

“Yes” said Wayzz. “He seeks to inform himself if a hero is worthy. But I don’t know why he’s here. He’s already tested Ladybug.”

“Maybe he no longer find Ladybug worthy” said Nino.

“That’s crazy” said Alya. She looked through her bag and pulled out some food for Trizz and Wayzz. “Eat up. We’re going to help Ladybug!”

Ladybug was backed into a corner. “Come on Ladybug, just tell me who they are,” said Judgement Wolf. “You’re about to transform back. You’ll have no way of fighting back.”

Rena Rouge’s flute could be heard, and then she called out “Mirage!” Then a bunch of Ladybugs appeared in front of Judgement Wolf. He smirked.

“Wait!” Ladybug called out. Judgement Wold slammed his sword on the ground, crating a dust cloud which destroyed the mirage and covered Ladybug, as she transformed back into Marinette. “Tikki! We have to hide.” Marinette carried Tikki to a hiding place. She took out a macaroon and gave it to Tikki.

“Looks like you can’t retest Ladybug now” said Rena Rouge.

“It’s you I’m after” said Judgement Wolf, turning around. He jumped to meet Rena Rouge and Carapace. “What luck that my prey would come to me.” Rena Rouge and Carapace began fighting Judgement Wolf. Judgement Wolf held his ground well, despite it begin two against one.

“Come on Tikki, we have to help them” said Marinette.

Tikki finished the macaroon. “I’m ready Marinette.”

“Tikki! Spots On!” Marinette said, transforming back into Ladybug.

Meanwhile, Carapace was flung to the ground. “Well well, looks like I win” said Judgement Wolf. “You can’t use your power to get out of this. You’ve already used it. I, on the other hand, still have mine.” He raised his right hand in the air. He then circled it down to his chest, while he raised his left hand above him sideways. He bent his fingers on both hands so that they were completely folded but didn’t touch the palm. He called out “Reveal Claw!” An aura that looked like a wolf claw appeared on his right hand.

“Reveal your true form!” he announced.

Carapace saw this, got up, picked up his shell, dashed toward Rena Rouge, and called out “Shell-ter!” crating a force field between Judgement Wolf and him.

Ladybug came back to help them, but saw what was happening. “Carapace, no!” she called out.

Judgement Wolf’s Reveal Claw went through Carapaces Shell-ter, and struck Carapace. Carapace was flung away, and Wayzz flew out of the bracelet, leaving Nino to land. Judgement Wolf saw Nino and said to himself “Figures.”

“Carapace, are you alright?” Rena Rouge said, running up to him.

“Yeah” said Nino. “Are you?”

“Rena! Get Carapace out of here!” Ladybug said, meeting them. “I’ll take it from here.” Rena Rouge picked up Nino and left the scene. “Well well, it looks like the tides have turned.”

Judgement Wolf looked down and noticed that his ring started beeping. “Well played Ladybug” he said. “But I still know the identity of one of your acquaintances. That’s enough for now.” Judgement Wolf left. Ladybug followed Rena.

Rena Rouge landed in a place that was hidden, let Nino down, and then de-transformed. “That was harsh” said Nino.

“Are you two OK?” said Ladybug They both nodded. “Good. Now that I’m not about to transform back, I can explain everything clearly.” Ladybug explained to the couple everything she knew about Judgement Wolf and the wolf miraculous.

“No way! That’s crazy!” said Nino.

Miraculous powers don’t affect him?” said Alya. “Then I guess making a Mirage to try and hide you in a crowd didn’t work either.”

“It’s OK” said Ladybug. “What were you doing anyway?”

“Well, we were trying to protect you,” said Alya. “We thought he no longer deemed you worthy.”

“But I guess that backfired,” said Nino. “So, what’s he going to do now?”

“I’m guessing he’ll come to your house when you’re sleeping to test you” said Ladybug. “He’ll make this Wolf Mist and have you dream of a situation that tests you. Based on what you do, he’ll decide if you pass or fail. But don’t worry about it. Just be yourself, and I believe Judgement Wolf will see the hero inside you.”

“I sure hope you’re right Ladybug” said Nino. “But what if he finds out I know who Rena Rouge is?!”

“Well, then I think that’ll just lead to Alya getting tested” said Ladybug. “I don’t think he’s out to cause too much trouble, so I wouldn’t be too worried. Although it doesn’t hurt to be careful.”

“Thanks Ladybug” said Alya.

“You’re the best” said Nino. Ladybug left.

Back at Vlad’s house, Vlad sat down at his computer. He fed a jerky bite to Beyyo. “Now let’s see what the Ladyblog has to say about Carapace” he said. He did some research. “Anansi, huh?” He looked into the situation more. “I’ve got my idea.”

“Vlad! Dinnertime!” Vlad’s mom called out.

“And don’t forget, you have a shoot tomorrow after school, so you better get some rest” said Vlad’s dad.

“Coming” said Vlad, leaving his computer chair. “I can make the dream a quick one.”

Vlad left his house and made his way towards Nino’s. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He called out, transforming into Judgement Wolf. He continued to Nino’s house. “Nino Lahiffe. Ready to be tested?”

“Wait!’ said Ladybug. “Mind if I see how your process works?”

“Of course Ladybug” said Judgement Wolf. The two of them snuck into Nino’s room.

Chapter Text

“Ladybug and Judgement Wolf were standing over Nino. “Doesn’t this seem a little…” Ladybug began asking.

“Creepy?” Judgment Wolf finished. “I know, but I thought doing it in broad daylight would be worse. Especially because the subject has to be knocked out.”

“I see” said Ladybug.

Judgement Wolf readied his sword. “Wolf Mist!” he called. He thrust the mist onto Nino. “Alright, now to catch the little green kwami.”

“Wayzz?” asked Ladybug. “He isn’t here.”

“What?” Judgement Wolf asked. “Forget it, you can explain it to me later. Right now, I have a job to do. Take my hand.” Ladybug did. Judgement Wolf walked into the Wolf Mist with Ladybug. They are in an empty white area, and Ladybug is befuddled. Judgement Wolf put his thumb, index, and middle finger together than then separated them to bring up a screen. “This is what Nino is dreaming.” He said.

Nino was walking by himself, listening to his headphones, walking passed the ferris wheel. He takes note of the fireworks. Suddenly, a large woman with six arms, wearing headgear that looks like a spider, and whose uniform is gold and brown hops onto the ferris wheel. She begins spitting webs and then crawls up to one of the carts. She rips it off, jumps back down, and takes out one of the passengers.

“Don’t I have class with her?” Nino asked himself. The spider-lady ran off with the passenger, while another gets out. Nino rushes to her. “Are you alright?”

“NINO! It’s awful! That spider-lady took my friend Alya!” said Marinette.

Nino then remembered that this was his class rep, Marinette, and the person that the spider-lady ran off with was her friend Alya. They didn’t know each other too well, but he at least thought that this Marinette would make a better class rep than Chloe. “What should we do?” Nino asked.

“Wait, how come Nino doesn’t seem to know me too well?” Ladybug asked.

“Good question” said Judgement Wolf. “I’m not sure myself. The only thing I asked was ‘what would you do if Anansi attacked and you and Alya weren’t dating?’ I guess Nino’s mind took it to a place where you guys don’t know each other too well.”

“Well, we should try to rescue her,” said Marinette. “But, I don’t know if we can hold our own against that spider-lady.”

“Well, we’ll think of something when we get there, dudette” said Nino. “Let’s go!” Nino and Marinette ran down the web-covered Champs-Elysees and confronted the spider-lady, who had made a web in the Arc de Triomphe, and was holding Alya there. Marinette and Nino hid behind a car.

“Nora! Let me go!” Alya shouted.

“The name’s Anansi now!” Anansi said. “And I’m not going to let anything happen to my baby sister.”

“I’m not a child anymore! Let me go!” Alya kept demanding.

“Should we wait for the authorities?” Marinette asked.

“They might not shoot cause she has a hostage. The last thing we want is for your friend to get hurt” Nino said. Nino sees a metal bar by his feet. He picks it up. “Marinette. I’ll distract this Anansi character, while you see if you can’t do anything about that spider web.”

“Nino wait!” said Marinette. “What if you get hurt?”

Nino smiled. “I’ll be fine. I’ll get out of the way if the situation gets too hairy. Just focus on freeing your friend.” Nino ran out, metal bar in hand. “Hey Spider! Let her go!”

“Seriously? And what are you going to do about it?” Anansi said.

“I’ll…I’ll fight you!” Nino said.

“Now THIS I gotta see” said Anansi, climbing down.

“What are you doing?!” Alya asked.

Anansi met Nino. “Just to make this interesting, I’ll only use 10% of my strength.”

“You’re going to need that other 90% when I’m through with you!” Nino said. He swung his bar, but Anansi blocked it. She then threw a punch, which sent him to the ground. Nino got back up and charged at Anasi.

The two kept fighting. Alya watched in horror. Her sister was going to pulverize this guy. She then heard footsteps approach. She looked down and saw her friend. “Marinette?” Marinette put her finger in front of her mouth to signal to be quiet. Marinette began inspecting the web as best she could. It was far up, so she decided she needed a closer look. She found a ladder and climbed up to the web.

When she touched it however, she got stuck. “WAH!’ she yelped, as the ladder fell out from under her and she was now hanging from the web by her arm.

Anansi was staring down Nino when she heard that. She turned around and saw Marinette hanging from her web. “Thought you could fool me” said Anansi, walking toward the web.

Nino was panicking. Two of his classmates were now caught in this web. Even though he didn’t know them well, he still knew he had to do something.”Hey Anansi!” he shouted. “We’re not finished yet!”

Anansi turned back. “You still wanna go?” she said. “I’ve got better things to do.”

“What? Are you scared?!” Nino said. “Why did I say that? He said to himself.

“Scared!” said Anansi, now giving him her full attention. “Fine! If you wanna go, I’ll go! But I’m not holding back anymore!” She charged at him, readying her fists to strike.

Nino was out of breath. He was scared. But he was determined not to give up. As soon as Anansi began to punch, he jumped backward and slammed the bar against her head, sending her to the ground. Nino landed and propped himself up with the bar and was breathing heavily.

“HER HEADGEAR!” Alya shouted. “IT’S THE SOURCE OF HER POWERS!” Nino nodded, took the headgear off, and ripped it, revealing and Akuma.

Anansi turned back into Nora. “What happened?” she asked. She looked up to see Nino. “Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m just the guy that saved your sister” Nino said.

The dream started to fade into all white. Nino looked around and saw Judgement Wolf and Ladybug. “Congratulations,” Judgement Wolf said. “You passed.”

“Ladybug? And…YOU!” Nino said.

“Yes me” sad Judgement Wolf.

“Nino, how are you feeling?” Ladybug asked.

“I feel…fine” Nino said. “But what are you doing here?”

“Well, apparently Cat Noir’s dream got very intense” said Ladybug. “I just came along to see how Judgement Wolf operates. He trusts me to protect the city, so I need to trust him to do his duty.”

“Of course” said Judgement Wolf. “Trust is a two-way street. So, how did I do?”

Ladybug smiled. “I think you did fine. Just be careful when you do this.”

“I will” said Judgement Wolf. “Goodnight Nino. My kwami should meet you tomorrow to tell you what he thinks.” He grabbed Ladybug’s hand, and together they lept out of the Wolf Mist, as Nino fell back asleep.

Ladybug and Judgement Wolf leave Nino’s house. “Before we part ways, I want to get back to what you said earlier” said Judgement Wolf. “Why doesn’t Nino have his miraculous with him?”

Ladybug was shocked. “The truth is, there’s a guardian of the miraculous here in the city. He lets Cat Noir and I keep our miraculouses full-time. But when other miraculouses are needed, he asks me to only give them out temporarily.”

“I see” said Judgement Wolf.

“I would like it if everyone kept their miraculouses” Ladybug said. “And I would like it if we could tell everyone who we were. But it’s just…”

“I get it” said Judgement Wolf. “You have to protect your identity from Hawk Moth. Tell you what? I do plan on meeting this guardian, but I’ll do it on his terms. Just as a courtesy to you.”

Ladybug smiled. “Thank you Judgement Wolf” she said. She left.

“I guess it’s time for me to leave as well,” said Judgement Wolf.

The next day, Nino arrived at school and walked up to Alya. “Hey Alya. Wanna go play some Super Penguino?”

“Sure thing” said Alya. The two of them went to a corner to play it.

Just as Alya was about to kiss Nino, Nino interrupted and said “There’s something I need to tell you. I got visited by Judgement Wolf last night.”

“What happened?” Alya asked.

“Well, he used his power to make me dream of a situation where Anansi was attacking. In the dream, I hardly knew who you were. Yet I still tried saving you.”

“Nino” Alya said.

“I actually kind of feel relieved” Nino said. Alya was confused. “See, I’ve been having doubts myself. The only reason I became Carapace was to save you. I sometimes wonder if I’m an actual hero. But now knowing that I’m willing to save someone I barely know, I feel better.”

“Nino” said Alya. “Come here.” She gave her boyfriend a hug.

Nino spotted Beyyo floating around. He went to whisper in Alya’s ear. “Hey, do you want to get tested as well?”

Alya thought about it. This meant having to tell someone other than Nino her secret. But as she looked into his eyes, she could see that her boyfriend came out the other end stronger and more confident. “OK” she said.

“Great” said Nino. “Hey little dude” he said, waving down Beyyo. Beyyo was shocked and hid while Alya was turning around. “No need to be shy. I just want you to meet my girlfriend. You might know her as Rena Rouge.”

Beyyo popped back in. “I was going to give you my approval, but if you go about blabbing secrets like that, I may have to reconsider.”

“Don’t worry, he asked me beforehand” said Alya. “It’s fine.”

“Are you sure about this?” Beyyo asked.

“Well, you seem dead set on testing every miraculous holder, and I’d rather you not hit my girlfriend with that Reveal Claw” said Nino. “Besides, if Ladybug trusts you, why shouldn’t I?”

Beyyo nodded and left. “Wait, when did Ladybug say she trusted him?” Alya asked.

“Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Ladybug was with him last night” Nino said.

“Jerk. You could have told me that sooner” Alya said.

“Sorry” said Nino.

“It’s fine” said Alya. “Now, how about that kiss?” The two started to make out.

Beyyo returned to Vlad and whispered the information he gathered. “Alya is Rena Rouge?” he said. “Why am I not surprised? But I am intrigued.”

More people were walking into class. Eventually, Alya and Nino walked in holding hands. “Oh you two” said Adrien.

“Oh yeah” said Nino. “Adrien, we need to talk to you about something.”

“Huh? What is it?” Adrien asked.

“Well, it’s-” Nino began. Lila then walked it. “I’ll talk to you later about it.”

“Oh. Um, OK” said Adrien. Everyone took their seats as class began.

Chapter Text

After school, Adrien asked Vlad if he wanted to hang out, but Vlad said “Sorry Adrien, but I got a gig this afternoon. If I have some time afterwards, I’ll give you a call.”

“OK” said Adrien.

“Seeya” said Vlad leaving.

Adrien saw Marinette and asked “Hey Marinette. Are you doing anything? Do you wanna hang out?”

“Sorry Adrien. As much as I want to, I have something I need to take care of” said Marinette.

“No sweat, Marinette” said Adrien. “Just give me a call when you have time. I’m free from my obligations for today.”

“I will. Thanks” said Marinette, also leaving.

“Nino, Alya” said Adrien. “You said you had something you wanted to talk to me about.”

“Yeah dude” said Nino.

“Oh? And what might that be?” Lila asked.

“Uhhhhhhhhh” said Nino, looking around nervously. “It’s a guy thing. You wouldn’t understand.”

“Then why is Alya here?” Lila asked.

“Well, uh, we were just in class” said Nino. “We didn’t get a chance to break off yet.”

Lila glared at Nino. “OK,” she said.

“Great. Seeya ‘round” said Nino, walking off with Adrien. After they left, Alya received a text from Nino. “This works out OK. You can keep an eye on Lila. I think she’s somewhat suspicious of me ATM.”

Alya nodded. She caught up with Lila and said “Hey Lila, what are you doing?”

“Huh?” said Lila. She was indeed following Nino and Adrien.

Alya took note of this. Maybe Marinette is right she thought to herself. “Come on girl, let’s go get some ice cream from Andre’s” she said, putting her arm on her shoulder and guiding her out of school.

Nino pulled Adrien into a corner. “What’s this about?” Adrien asked.

“It’s about Lila” Nino said. “Do you really believe she’s a liar?”

Adrien was shocked. “Unfortunately, yes.” he said.

“Why didn’t you tell me, bro?” Nino said.

“I’m sorry Nino” Adrien said. “You guys were ganging up on Marinette when she was trying to tell you. I didn’t want the same to happen to me. I guess that makes me selfish.”

“Nah, it’s cool” said Nino. “You’re right. We were all mean with Marinette.”

“Besides, maybe if we can set a good example, Lila will stop lying” Adrien said.

“Vlad said the same thing,” Nino said.

“Wait. Vlad told you this?” Adrien said.

“Yeah” said Nino. “But it was only after I confronted him about a lie Lila told me.”

“What did she tell you?” Adrien asked.

“Well, he told me the reason he didn’t want to pair with Alya was because he had a crush on her, but was too shy to admit it,” said Nino.

“That… doesn’t make any sense” said Adrien.

“Alya told me the same thing,” said Nino.

“Wait, Alya knows?” said Adrien.

“Yeah. She was with him when I confronted Vlad” said Nino.

“Wait. Sorry, I’m thinking of something else” said Adrien. “What happened?”

“Well, I confronted Vlad, then Alya said that it probably wasn’t true because Vlad didn’t trust Alya and he said it to her face, and then Vlad explained that you said Lila was a liar.”

“Oh” said Adrien. “Well, yes, Lila does lie a lot, but maybe she’ll tell us the truth when she’s ready.”

“Are you sure about this?” Nino asked.

“Well, we’ve been setting a positive example for Chloe, and she’s changing,” said Adriien. “Even though she still has a ways to go still.”

“I guess you’re right” said Nino. “But don’t be afraid to cut the line if it becomes too much.”

“I’ll keep that in mind” said Adrien.

“Hey, should we warn everyone else?” Nino said. “Just so that if Marinette explodes on Lila again, we know to stand up for her.”

“Great idea” said Adrien, getting his phone out. The two boys started text their friends and warning them to be cautious, but not confrontational, with Lila. They explained that Lila is a liar, and explained what happened between Nino and Vlad. “That should do it” said Adrien.

“Maybe we should text Marinette and Vlad as well. Just so they know where we all stand.”

“You’re right” said Adrien. “I’ll take Vlad, since I believe I’m the only one with his number.”

“I guess that leaves me with Marinette” said Nino. The two boys continued texting. “I’ll text Alya about this too.”

“You know Nino, you’re always there for someone who needs it,” said Adrien.

“Uh, thanks” said Nino, blushing.

Earlier, Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s parlor. “Master!” she screamed.

“What is it?” Master Fu asked.

“It’s Judgement Wolf” she said.

“What about him?” Master Fu asked.

Marinette looked a little sad. “He found out who Carapace is. I assume he tested Nino already.”

“Marinette, what is it that I always say to you when you come here in an emergency?” Master Fu.

“You tell me to pick someone I can trust” Marinette said.

“Exactly” said Master Fu. “Do you trust Nino?”

“Of course I do” Marinette said.

“Then I see nothing to worry about” Master Fu said. “If you trust your allies, you should trust them to pass.”

“I know Master,” Marinette said, “but it’s so hard. I know Judgement Wolf wants what’s best. I know my allies are good. It’s just a lot of pressure. I’m supposed to protect everyone. Including my friends. If Judgement Wolf can undermine me like that, then who’s to say Hawk Moth won’t get to me either?”

“A doubt’s greatest weakness is confidence” Master Fu said. “It is possible that Hawk Moth can overwhelm you, but if you start thinking he can, he will.”

“Right Master” Marinette. “Um, there’s something else.”

“What is it?”

“I kind of told him that you were in town” Marinette admitted. “But he did agree to meet with you on your terms. So, um, what might those be?”

“I expected him to figure out I was here, if he didn’t already know. just have one before he meets with me” said Master Fu. “He must reveal himself to you.”

“Me?” Marinette said.

“He knows your secret. I will meet with him when you know his” Master Fu said.

“OK” said Marinette, now more confident. “Thank you Master. Seeya” she said, leaving.

After she left, she received a text from Nino. “Marinette, Sorry we didn’t believe you about Lila. I talked to Adrien, and we’re going to try his subtle approach to help Lila lie less. We texted everyone else about this, so they know now too. Again, sorry. -Nino”

“Wow, that’s incredible” Marinette said.

“Well, you do trust Nino, right?” Tikki said.

“Of course Tikki” said Marinette. Marinette texted Nino back “Thanks Nino. I feel a lot better knowing everyone is with me.” “Oh hey. I just remembered. Adrien invited me to hang out with him.” She gave him a call.

“And done” said Adrien.

Nino got Marinette’s message. “Marinette just texted me back.”

“I wonder if that means she’s done with what she needs to do” Adrien said. Adrien’s phone then rang. “Marinette?” he answered.

“Hi Adrien” said Marinette. “Are you still free?”

“Yeah” said Adien. “Meet me at school.”

“Great. I’ll see you then” said Marinette. She hung up.

“Nino, are you free?” said Adrien.

“For you, I always am” said Nino. “I’ll text Alya and ask her to come too.”

“Great” said Adrien.

At Andre’s, Alya and Lla are hanging out, eating ice cream, when Alya got a text. “Who’s that from?” Lila asked.

“It’s from Nino” Alya said. “He’s done talking about his guy stuff with Adrien. I’ll text him to tell him I’ll meet him later. You and I aren’t doing hanging out.”

Lila smiled and said “That’s OK. He’s your boyfriend. You should to see him.”

“Really?” Alya said. Lila nodded. “Well, OK then. Seeya” she said, getting up to leave.

“Bye” said Lila, keeping a smile up for a few seconds until she turned angry. She walked away in a huff.

“Andre thought his treats were as cold as ice, but the aura on that girl was anything but nice” Andre said after Lila left.

Marinette met up with Adrien and Nino in front to the school. Alya was not far behind. “Hey ladies” Adrien said.

“Hi Adrien” Marinette said.

“So, are we waiting on anyone else?” Alya asked.

“Just Vlad. He texted me during his break. He said he had half an hour left and then he could come” said Adrien.

“So, it’s just the five of us?” Marinette asked.

“Yeah, everyone else was busy with something” said Adrien.

“I see” said Marinette.

“Marinette. Again, I’m sorry about the whole Lila thing” said Nino.

“It’s OK Nino, you don’t have to apologize anymore” Marinette said. “I forgive you.”

“It was a good idea for you to tell everyone else” said Alya. “But I don’t know how she’ll take it. She was following you two after you left. I had to take her to Andre’s to get the heat off you.”

“What better way to get rid of heat than Andre’s cold treats?” said Adrien.

“Hey, that sounds like something Andre would say” said Marinette, giggling.

“Oh yeah, it does” said Adrien, also starting to giggle. The two of them got into a giggle fit. While that was happening, Alya pulled Nino aside and whispered to him “And you thought you weren’t worthy of being a hero. You saved Marinette fro having to deal with Lila by herself.”

“Yeah well, I didn’t realize there was a problem before” said Nino.

“But when you figured it out, you did everything you could” said Alya. “Don’t worry about being the brightest guy. You’re a good person  through and through.”

“Hey! I’m smart” said Nino, playfully shoving Alya. Alya shoved back. Soon they were in a giggle fit all of their own.

Vlad’s limo pulled up and rushed out. “Hey guys! He said. “Ready to go?”

Everyone broke from the laughing fit they were in. Yeah, we should be ready” said Adrien.

“Great. I can get us there” said Vlad, gesturing to his limo.

“Cool. Thanks” said Adrien. Everyone got into the limo. Vlad was sitting on one end, Adrien on the other, and Marinette in the middle. Alya and Nino were on the other side. Marinette couldn’t help but be nervous and fidgety.

“By the way Vlad, I need to talk to you about something” Adrien said in a more serious tone. Marinette nervousness went away and was replaced by concern.

“What is it?” Vlad said.

“Well, Nino told me about what happened with the two of you” Adrien said.

“What happened?” Marinette said.

“Well, Nino said that Lila told him that Vlad told her that the reason he didn’t want to get paired with Alya was because he had a crush on her?”

“What?” Marinette said. She started laughing uncontrollably.

“Um, what’s so funny?” Alya asked.

“Should we tell them?” Adrien said.

“It’s public information” Vlad said.

“What is?” Nino said.

“Vlad’s gay!” Marinette said.

“WHAT?” Alya and Nino said loudly.

“Yeah, that’s why I was confused earlier Nino” said Adrien.

“But how do you know Marinette?” Alya asked.

“Well, when I was doing research on him the day he came to class, I came across the article where he came out” said Marinette.

“Oh” said Alya.

“Uh, sorry again” said Nino.

“You don’t need to apologize to me” said Vlad. “I’m just stunned that despite it being public, Lila didn’t know that.”

“Well, you are new to the school,” said Marinette. “Lila fools everyone and gets them under her thumb by knowing who everyone is already. You’re basically an X factor in this.” Marinette was shocked and then said “I’m sorry I just called you guys foolish.”

“It’s OK Marinette” said Alya.

“Alright, from here on, this is the limo of no apologies” said Vlad. “We’re here to have fun, not feel sorry for ourselves.”

“You’re right” said Adrien. “But I do want to know. What happened that Lila decided to lie about you?”

“Oh. That” said Vlad. “Well, I thought Lila was making a joke at Marinette’s expense. So, I did what you asked, and responded calmly, but still defending Marinette.”

“Oh” said Adrien. He noticed Marinette looking down. “I’ll just talk to her later. I’ll see what’s up.”

“Thanks Adrien” she said, giving him a hug. It took her a few seconds before she realized what she was doing. She broke the hug and turned away embarrassingly.

Just because a book is open, doesn’t mean that people can read it Vlad thought to himself. He laughed at his own joke for a bit.

They arrived that Agreste Manor and walked in. “Hello Adrien. I see you have company. Unfortunately, your father will be in his office all night” said Nathalie.

“That’s OK Nathalie” said Adrien. “We’ll be in my room if he needs anything.” Nathalie was surprised by what Adrien said.

“And by the way, don’t go into Mr. Agreste’s office unless it’s strictly professional” Vlad said, laughing.

Nathalie’s face went from shock to stern. “Well, I suggest you get to whatever you plan on doing” said Nathalie, as she walked into Gabriel’s office. “And this IS a professional visit.” She slammed the door.

“Vlad” said Adrien, shoving him.

“I’m sorry. It’s just too funny” said Vlad. “The look on her face every time is worth it.”

“What was that about?” Marinette asked.

“It’s just about how we first met” said Adrien.

“Wanna here the story?” Vlad asked.

“YEAH!” said Alya. “Spare no detail.”

“If you must” said Adrien, embarrassed.

“Let’s go” Vlad said. Everyone started walking up stairs and to Adrien’s room. “So, we were both getting ready for a model show, along with some other models.”

“Alright everyone, you’re on in 15!” said an assistant. The other models were ready with their make-up and decided to go to get their clothes on. Vlad was putting on some finishing touches. He got out of his seat and saw Adrien sitting there, looking sad.

“Hey!” said Vlad. “What are you doing moping around?! I don’t like the type of model who pretends to be sad and gloomy. Those people are always out for more attention. Well guess what? You're a model! You get lots of attention already!”

“Yeah” said Adrien, still sad. He got out of his chair and was beginning to leave.

Vlad was confused. “Wait, hold up” he said. “Are you actually sad?”

“I guess. Not like it matters” said Adrien. “I just gotta get out there and smile and wave, and then I’ll be done for the evening.”

“Woah, stop” said Vlad, appearing in front of him. “Listen, I’m sorry. It’s just I don’t trust people easily. I can get angry at people easily. Especially at people I don’t know.”

Adrien smiled at this guy’s apology. “It’s OK” he said. “Don’t worry about it.” He kept walking, head still down.

“Wait!’ said Vlad catching up. “You tell me not to worry about it, but you’re still clearly worried about whatever you’re worried about.”

“I guess I am” said Adrien. “You’re not still worried about looking like a jerk now, are you?’

“No. But” said Vlad. “But now I’m worried about you. You’re a strange guy, you know that?”

“Yeah” said Adrien.

Vlad was surprised. He then sighed. “Alright. It seems like you need a friend. At least for now.” He held out his hand. “I’m Vlad.”

Adrien was surprised by the gesture. He grabbed his hand and shook it. “I’m Adrien.”

The two of them walked into the dressing room. “Now tell me, what’s wrong?” Vlad asked.

“It’s just, my mother went missing recently…” said Adrien.

“Oh Geez! I’m so sorry” said Vlad.

“Enough. It’s fine” said Adrien. “But as worried as I am about that, I’m more worried about my father. See, ever since she went missing, he’s been acting more distant. Sure, he’s not the warmest person, but lately something's changed.”

“Well, he’s going through something too” said Vlad.

“I wish” said Adrien. “But lately he’s been spending so much time with his new secretary, Nathalie.”

“You think he’s…?” said Vlad. Adrien nodded. “DUDE! That’s not right. You should confront him about that.”

“What if he hates me?” Adren said.

“Look, I don’t know your father,” said Vlad, “but you two are going through something together. You both should understand that. If what you say is true, he might just be acting out.”

“You think so?” said Adrien.

“Trust me” said Vlad.

“Well, you don’t trust me” said Adrien.

“Yes I do” said Vlad, slouching.

“When did this happen?” Adrien said.

“Just now” said Vlad.

“OK” said Adrien.

“Vlad, you’re up. Adrien, you’re on-deck” said an assistant.

“Well, looks like it’s my time to shine” said Vlad.

“Break a leg,” said Adrien.

Vlad modeled his clothes off, and Adrien soon followed. They were both very popular on the catwalk. Later, after the event was over, Vlad and Adrien were laughing it up in the dressing room. Gabriel busted in and said “ADRIEN! Let’s go!” Nathalie was standing behind him.

“Yes father” said Adrien, getting sad.

“Hold on!’ said Vlad. “Tell him.”

“Not now” said Adrien, shocked.

“Tell me what?” Gabriel said.

Vlad pouted “Ugh! Tell him about how you think he’s-”

“Having an affair with your secretary” Adrien said in the present, interrupting the story.

“That’s not what I said,” said Vlad.

“Please pretend it is” said Adrien.

“Fine” said Vlad. “Ayway…”

Gabriel, Adrien, and Nathalie were shocked. Nathalie blushed, and turned around to maintain a professional appearance. Gabriel yelled “Listen, I don’t know who you are-”

“He’s my friend!” Adrien screamed back. “He’s my friend, father. And as...forward as he can be, he’s right. I’m worried that you’ve forgotten about mom already. I just-” he put his hands on his face, and slumped down.

Gabriel saw his son in disarray. He knelt down to meet him. “Son. Of course I haven’t forgotten about your mother. You and her mean the world to me. I...haven’t been having an affair with Nathalie. But she does help me. Without her, I’d be a nervous wreck. That’s why I hired her. Please, don’t think for a second I don’t care about you.”

Adrien peered through his fingers. “Thank you father,” he said.

“Now grab your things, and let’s go. It’s been a busy day” said Gabriel getting up. “We have to leave soon if we’re going to make it back to Paris tonight.” He and Nathalie left.

“Paris?” said Vlad.

“Yeah” said Adrien, gathering his things. “Why? Where are you from?”

“Toulosse” Vlad said.

“Oh,” said Adrien, looking down.

Vlad took out a piece of paper and wrote something down. “Here. Here’s my email address. We can still talk and stuff.”

Adrien took it. “Thank you Vlad. I’ll see you at another one of these, I guess.”

“Sure thing” said Vlad. “Seeya.” Adrien left.

“And we’ve been friends ever since” said Vlad in the present.

“Wow. That was a wild story” said Alya. “Do you mind if I post about it on the school blog?”

“What?” said Adrien.

“Between working on the project, Alya’s been profiling me for a piece on the school blog. She wants to introduce me to the school, and I trust her to do it well.”

Adrien smiled. “That’s real nice of you. But please don’t tell the school everything.”

“Relax, I won’t” said Alya. “Now, shall we have some fun?”

The gang had fun in Adrien’s room for hours. Adrien had a lot, but he never really appreciated it until now, when he was sharing it with everyone. Eventually, it got late.

“Should we call it?” said Nino.

“Hey, since it’s the weekend, why don’t you guys just stay the night?” said Adrien.

“Really?!” said Marinette.

“Of course” said Adrien.

“Just give me a second” said Marinette. She stepped out of the room called her mom. “Hey mom, can I stay at a friend’s house tonight?”

“Sure honey” said Sabine. “Where are you staying?”

“Adrien’s” said Marinette.

“Awwwww” said Sabine.

“MOM. Don’t embarrass me” said Marinette. “Besides, Alya, Nino, and Vlad are with me.”

“Sure thing” said Sabine.

“I’ll call you tomorrow” said Marinette. “Bye mom.”

“Bye” said Sabine. They hung up.

Marinette walked back in the room. “Well, it looks like I can stay.” Vlad, Alya, and Nino were looking weird. “What’s going on?”

“Well, you see,” said Alya, “I’ve got to look after the twins again.”

“And I gotta look after Chris” said Nino.

“I’ve got a gig in the morning, so it’d be easier if I slept in my own bed” said Vlad.

“WHAT?! But i-” stammered Marinette.

“It’s OK Marinette” said Adrien. “We can have a sleepover, just the two of us.”

Marinette was stiff as a board.”Relax girl, you got this” said Alya in Marinette’s ear as she was leaving. The three of them left.

Nathalie came to Adrien’s room. “I assume that Miss Marinette will be staying a little longer,” she said.

“Actually, she’ll be spending the night” said Adrien, slightly blushing.

“Oh,” said Nathalie. “In that case, I’ll make the necessary preparations.”

 She returned a few minutes later with an evening gown that fit Marinette. “Oh, um, thank you Nathalie.”

“It’s no trouble at all” said Nathalie. She closed the door and left.

“Well, uh, I should get changed” said Marinette, stepping into Adrien’s bathroom.

“OK” said Adrien. Marinette closed the door.

She came out in the evening gown. “Well, what do you think?” she said.

While Marinette was changing, Adrien also changed into some sleep attire. “You look...beautiful” said Adrien.

Marinette blushed and turned around. “Th...Thanks you” said Marinette.

Adrien chuckled. “You know, we can still have fun,” he said.

Marinette turned back around. “So, what do you want to do?”

“Well, honestly,” said Adrien, blushing, “I’m a bit embarrassed by it.”

Marinette started to blush as well. “What is it?” she asked.

“Well, I’ve been able to get all of the achievements for Ultimate Mecha Strike III” said Adrien. “Except one.”

Marinette was a mixture of disappointed, relieved, and interested. “Let me guess. It’s the double-perfect the true final boss one, isn’t it?”

“Yeah” said Adrien. I was wondering, could you maybe get it for me?’ Adrien asked, sheepishly.

“Sure thing” said Marinette. She grabbed the controller. She played the campaign as LB-03, her main. She got through it with ease, and met the conditions to fight the true final boss. Adrien was amazed the entire time.

Eventually, Marinette was face-to-face with the game’s true final boss; An ominous, chrome black, spherical robot, with one eye, and two axes. Its name was AXX3. “Watch and learn” said Marinette. Marinette battled fiercely with AXX3. It was a notoriously hard opponent, but Marinette was one step ahead. Every input was a dance, every hit was like honey, and every dodge was a reminder that they needed to be careful.

After a long fought battle, Marinette did it, and the Achievement “Literally! Untouchable!” appeared on the screen. “WOOHOO!” said Marinette.

“Thanks Marinette” said Adrien, putting her hand on her shoulder.

Marinette looked at him. Her heart was pounding. Her stare was like a deer in the headlights. She then said “Yeah, well, it’s been a while since I’ve done this. It’s great practice. Well I’m tired. Should we head off to sleep?”

“Sure” said Adrien. He walked up and left. Marinette beat herself up about what she just said.

Adrin returned from the bathroom with a sleeping bag. “You can take the bed” he said.

“Are you sure?” said Marinette.

“Yeah” said Adrien. “I sleep on it every night. I’d like the chance to sleep on the floor. Even if it’s for one night.”

“Thank you Adrien” said Marinette. She got into the bed. Adrien’s bed. He’s slept in it every night. It  had his smell, his feeling. Marinette couldn’t believe it.

“So Marinette, have you ever slept on the floor before?” Adrien asked. “Marinette?” He stood up and saw that Marinette was already asleep and giggling to herself. “I guess she really was tired,” he said, laying back down. “Good night Marinette.”

Meanwhile, on the streets, Beyyo was talking with Vlad. “You could have stayed” he said.

“Yeah, but we’ve got work to do,” said Vlad. “And I don’t want to wake up Marinette or Adrien in the middle of the night. Especially considering that they’re Ladybug and Cat Noir.”

“Good point” said Beyyo. “We’re close. Get ready.”

“Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” Vlad called out. He transformed into Judgement Wolf. He continued his path until he got to Alya’s apartment. He snuck in and found Alya. “Wolf Mist!’ he called out.

Chapter Text

Earlier in the evening, Nathalie walked into Gabriel’s office. “Adrien has friends over,” she said.

“I’ve heard” said Gabriel. “Is that all you wanted to say?”

“No sir” said Nathalie. “When I told him you weren’t going to be available, he didn’t seem to mind.”

“What are you getting at?” Gabirel said.

“It’s just, while in your pursuit of Emilie, you seem to have neglected Adrien” Nathalie said.

“Nonsense. I give him everything he could ever ask for” Gabriel said.

“But he asks to be with people. He asks to go out more. He asks you to spend more time with him” Nathalie said. “I just think you should know this. Your fear of losing Emilie for good might cause you to lose Adrien for good. I agree with your pursuit of the miraculous, but you need to keep everything else in order as well. Or else you’re going to need more than one wish.”

Gabriel looked at Nathalie. “Thank you Nathalie.”

Nathalie left. She was a bit worried that she didn’t get through to him. Gabriel could be stubborn. But he did have a heart. Maybe she did. Whatever Gabriel’s decision, she could only accept it. She just hoped he made the right one.

Later, she had heard that Marinette was staying the night. Nathalie, thinking about Adrien’s best interests, allowed it, and even had a nightgown express delivered. She didn’t want to bother Gabriel because he was busy. It wasn’t a lot to them anyway. Besides, he already allowed them into the house. What’s another few hours or so?

Presently, Judgement Wolf was standing over Alya. He already used his Wolf Mist. He then jumped in.

Alya was at school. She got her phone ready and peered over the corner. She had finally convinced Marinette to confess to Adrien. Marinette was there, talking to Adrien, pouring her soul out, when Alya heard “I’m sorry Marinette. I don’t feel the same way about you.” Adrien walked off. Marinette ran to the bathrooms.

Alya ran after her. “Marinette!” she called out.

Marinette locked herself in one of the stalls. “Go Away!” She shouted.

“Marinette, I’m so sorry” Alya said.

“Why did I even listen to you anyway?” Marinette said.

“Marinette…” said Alya. Marinette had a point. It wasn’t too long ago when Ladybug and Cat Noir exposed her for being Rena Rouge after she refused to give the fox miraculous back after the Sapotis incident. The fact that anyone trusted her after that was a miracle to her. But now, she lost that trust in her best friend. “I’m still here if you need anything.” She crunched down to the floor.

Alya’s heart sank as well. Everyone looked at her like that kid that wanted to play hero. That wanted attention. She didn’t feel like that. She wanted to be a hero. Like Ladybug and Cat Noir. She wanted to help people. She wanted nothing more than to eliminate every crying face in the world. Now? Now she just made her best friend cry. “I’m so pathetic” Alya said to herself.

Hawk Moth sensed Marinette’s sadness. “A delicate flower who just got crushed by her crush, and betrayed by her best friend? What perfect fodder for my Akuma? Fly away my Akuma, and evilize her!”

The Akuma took flight and made its way to the bathroom. It fused with Marinette’s earrings, and Hawk Moth began talking. “Miss Misery. I am Hawk Moth. Drowning in sorrow all by yourself? With the powers I’m giving you, everyone will be drowning with you. All I ask for in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“Everyone will feel sad forever. Just like me” said Marinette. A purple and black aura consumed Marinette. When it dissipated, Marinette was now blue, had no pupils, had a continuous stream of tears, and was wearing a white dress.

The bathroom started flooding out from the stall Marinette was in. Alya noticed it right away. “Marinette?” she said.

Miss Misery busted the door down. “I’m Miss Misery now,” she said. “Everyone will drown in my sorrow. Starting with you!” Miss Misery made a gun with her fingers and began shooting tears out of it at Alya. Alya dodged and ran to her classroom.

As Ms. Bustier was calling attendance, Alya busted open the door and shouted “Everyone leave! Marinette’s been Akumatized!”

“Like anyone’s going to believe you,” said Chloe. “You probably just made this up so you can play hero again.”

“I’m serious Chloe!” Alya snapped back. “We have to leave!”

The water started to enter the classroom. “How about you don’t run?” said Miss Misery. “How about you join me in despair?!” She fired her tears. Alya dodged it, but it hit Chole.

“Mother…” Chloe said. Her eyes started leaking tears. A bubble formed around her, and Chloe’s tears kept leaving the bubble, flooding the room more.

“Who’s next?” Miss Misery said. She hit two more students before Ladybug and Cat Noir showed up.

“Everyone! Get over here!” Ladybug commanded at the window. She and Cat Noir helped the remaining students and Ms. Bustier out the window and to the roof.

Alya was the last one there. “Ladybug? Could I be Rena Rouge again?” she asked.

“What?! We don’t have time for this. The answer is no” said Ladybug.

“But she’s my best friend” said Alya. “I need to help her!”

“I’m sorry, but you betrayed our trust” said Ladybug. “You just need to get to safety, like the rest of your class.”

Alya stood there for a second. “OK” she said, dejected. The heroes helped get her to the roof. However, when she got there, she didn’t feel better.

“I bet this is all her fault,” said Alix.

“Yeah, I bet she made Marinette cry” said Nathanial.

“The last person who trusted her, and she blew it,” said Kim.

“Well, what’d you expect?” said Chloe.

Alya heard all of it. She believed it to be true. Why should anyone trust her? Why would anyone want to be friends with her? She would just blow it.

“Should I intervene?” Judgement Wolf asked himself, watching what was happening. “This feels intense.”

In the dream though, Adrien approached Alya and said “It’s because I rejected her, isn’t it?” Alya looked at Adrien, confused. “Sorry. I just couldn’t stand there and watch you shoulder all the blame yourself.”

“But, I was the one who put her up to it” said Alya. “Besides, nobody trusts me anyways. Why shouldn’t I take all of the blame?”

“Because, it wasn’t your fault,” said Adrien. “You were only trying to help.”

“Some help I am” said Alya.

“Look, I might have less of a leg to stand on than you do at the moment,” said Adrien, “but if you really want to help Marinette, then you should. Be there for her. You’re her best friend.”

“You’re right, Adrien” Alya said, standing up. “Wallowing in this self-pity is not what I should be doing.”

Alya walked over to the air vent and started to take off the cover. “What are you doing?” Adrien asked.

“I’m going to save Marinette!” said Alya.

“Wait, I didn’t mean now! I meant after Ladybug and Cat Noir have de-Akumatized her” said Adrien.

“Too late. Doing this” said Alya, who finished taking the cover off. She jumped into the vent. She made her way over to the hall above the courtyard. She loosened another grate and then gently let herself down. She saw Ladybug and Cat Noir, now in their Aqua Forms, fighting Miss Misery, who had grown gigantic, and had flooded the entire first floor.

“OK Alaya. You can do this” said said. She got up on the guard railing, and dived into Miss Misery. She was surprised at first. She started swimming, and noticed how many people were in bubbles, crying their eyes out to flood this place. She then spotted a bubble bigger than all of the other ones, and inside was Marinette. She swam towards it vigorously. She managed to slip into the bubble without breaking it, but it still felt like she was swimming. Marinette was in a ball in the middle of the bubble.

Alya swam over to her best friend and gave her a hug. “Marinette, if you’re in there, I’m here” said Alya. Alya then took out her phone. Luckily, it was waterproof. She began streaming. “Hi everyone. I don’t know who’s still paying attention to the Ladyblog. But if someone is, I am in the middle of Miss Misery. She has a bubble inside of her where Marinette is. I’m with her right now. I don’t care what you think of me, just help Marinette.”

Meanwhile, while the fight was happening, Ladybug called for her Lucky Charm. “An inflatable boat?” she said.

“Ladybug, you gotta see this” said Cat Noir, gesturing toward his staff. He had the Ladyblog up, and was watching Alya’s video.

Ladybug got an idea. “Cat Noir, can you distract Miss Misery and then Cataclysm that bubble?”

“Sure thing, M’Lady” said Cat Noir. He jumped in front of Miss Misery. “Boy, isn’t today lovely? I’ll tell you, everything is sunshine and rainbows.” Miss Misery got mad and started firing at Cat Noir, while he dodged.

Ladybug meanwhile had made her way to the hall, and began inflating the boat with an air pump she found. Once she was done, she called out “Cat Noir! Now!” Cat Noir got ready to dive in. However, Miss Misery was still taking aim at him. However, Ladybug said “Cat Noir’s right. Today is a perfect day. Nothing bad has happened yet.” Miss Misery shifted her attention to Ladybug, giving Cat Noir room to dive in.

He found the giant bubble Alya had mentioned. “Cataclysm!” he called out. He touched the bubble, popping it.

Just as Miss Misery was about to fire at Ladybug, she fell apart. “Told ya” said Ladybug. She then saw Marinette and Alya fall. Alya was screaming, while Marinette remained motionless. Ladybug then rushed in and guided them to the boat which landed safely, if a little rough, on the water.

“Thanks Ladybug” said Alya.

“Don’t sweat it” said Ladybug, guiding the two to dry land. “In fact, I should be thanking you. Without your video, we never could have defeated Miss Misery.” Alya was shocked, then smiled.

The three got off the boat and Alya said “I think the Akuma is in her earrings.” Ladybug grabbed them and crushed them in her hands, freeing the Akuma.

Ladybug prepared to capture the Akuma. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize!” She caught it. “Bye bye, little butterfly.” She threw up the inflatable boat. “Miraculous Ladybug. The magic ladybugs fixed all of the damage.

The purple-black aura surrounded Marinette and then disappeared again. “What happened?” she said.

“Pound it!” said Ladybug and Cat Noir.

“Marinette, are you OK?” Alya said, approaching her.

“Yeah, I’m alright” said Marinette. “I…I thought I heard your voice. And I knew everything would be OK.”

Alya smiled. Ladybug and Cat Noir approached the two of them. “I think what today proves is that you are a hero with or without the fox miraculous” Ladybug said.

“Yeah, we couldn’t have done it without you,” said Cat Noir. Alya looked at Marinette and they gave each other a hug.

Once the hug was broken, everything faced to white. “What a touching ending” said Judgement Wolf.

Alay was shocked. “So, this was your test?”

“Yes, and you passed” said Judgement Wolf. “So tell me, how do you feel?”

“How do I feel?” Alya said.

“I noticed that things got intense in there” said Judgement Wolf. “I just want to make sure you’re OK.”

“Oh, so you care about me?” said Alya.

“Of course I care” said Judgement Wolf, defensively.

“Relax, wolf boy” said Alya. “I’m fine. You saw that dream, right? I come out the other side, no matter how bad the situation gets.”

“You’re confident” said Judgement Wolf. “Just be sure to know where to place that confidence.”

“I will” said Alya.

“My kwami should find you and tell you what he thinks. Although, since its the weekend, it might take longer to get to you” said Judgement Wolf. “I mean, I gotta relax too, you know?”

“It’s fine” said Alya.

“Well the, good night Alya” Judgement Wolf said, leaping out of the mist. Alya fell back asleep.

The next morning, Alya woke up. She called Nino. “Nino. Judgement Wolf visited me last night, and I want to talk to you about it with you. Where are you?”

“Uh, I’m at my place” said Nino. “But I’ll meet you at the cafe we usually go to in 20 minutes.” A crash could be heard. “Make that half an hour. Chris is acting up again.”

“No worries. See you then” said Alya.

Later, at the cafe, Alya had told Nino everything. “Woah! That’s a lot” said Nino.

“I know” said Alya. “It didn’t feel good, trust me.”

“But, you’re OK now?” Nino said.

“Yeah” said Alya. “But I’m always worried about disappointing Ladybug and Cat Noir. Not being Rena Rouge doesn’t bother me half as much as that.”

“Well, don’t be” said Nino. “I mean, that dream proved that you don’t need anyone else to be a hero. Just have confidence in yourself.”

“Thanks Nino” said Alya. The two of them saw Vlad at the cafe. “Vlad?” Alya asked.

“Oh, hey guys” said Vlad. “What are you doing here?”

“We usually come here to talk” said Nino.

“Wow” said Vlad. “I just came in here, since I’m on a break. What a coincidence? Hey, how’s Marinette?”

“Marinette?” Alya asked.

“Yeah. Is that not what you’re talking about?” Vlad asked. “About how she spent the night at Adrien’s house?”

“Oh no!” said Alya. “I totally forgot about it. I just had a weird dream that I needed to talk about.”

“That’s OK. Marinette should be home by now, since Adrien is meeting me for the second half of this shoot” said Vlad. “Why don’t you give her a call and have her meet you here?”

“Good idea” said Alya. “Thanks.” She pulled out her phone and called Marinette.

“Well, I gotta get going,” said Vlad.

“Seeya” said Alya. Vlad left.

“Well, now we know where they’re going to be” said Vlad. “Give it some time, and then go tell her.” Beyyo nodded.

Earlier, Marinette woke up to the sound of Adrien and his dad having a fight, as Nathalie stood on the sidelines. “I just wanted to sleep on the floor once, father,” said Adrien. “Everyone else gets to do it!”

“It is undignified” said Gabriel.

“I’m just in the company of Marinette. It’s not like the whole world is watching” said Adrien.

“What if she tells everyone? We can’t trust her” said Gabriel.

“Maybe you can’t, but I can” said Adrien.

Marinette yawned. “Why are you fighting?” she asked.

“Marinette!” said Adrien, coming to her side. “I’m sorry our fighting woke you up.”

“It’s OK. I needed to get up sometime” said Marinette. “I felt like I could have slept forever. How do you get up every morning sleeping on a bed like that?”

“Well, I have reasons  to get up” said Adrien, smiling. “Look father, as undignified as it is to sleep on the floor, Marinette is our guest, and it would be rude for her not to sleep on a bed.”

“Then why didn’t she sleep in the guest bedroom?” Gabriel asked.

Adrien was confused. “We have a guest bedroom?” he asked.

“Even I didn’t know that sir” said Nathalie.

“I guess that’s what comes from not letting people in much, huh father?” Adrien said.

Gabriel was in shock. He then composed himself. “I have a lot to think about. Adrien, get ready for your photo shoot this afternoon. Marinette, our driver will take you home when you are ready.” Gabriel left.

Nathalie smiled. Maybe she got through to him after all. Marinette went and changed out of the nightgown and back into her clothes. “Uh, here Ms. Nathalie” she said, giving the nightgown to her.

“You keep it” Nathalie said.

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly” said Marinette.

“I insist. It’s a gift. You look absolutely radiant in it” said Nathalie. “Besides, it was only a couple hundred euros.”

“A couple HUNDRED?!” said Marinette. “Oh no. I can’t.”

“Marinette” said Adrien, putting his hand on her shoulder. “Nathalie’s right. You should keep it. You look good in it.”

Marinette stared at Adrien. “O…OK” she said.

“Great. See you at school” said Adrien. “We still gotta finish the project.

“Oh yeah” said Marinette. “Uh, thanks for having me.”

“Thanks for being here” said Adrien.

“Bye” said Marinette. She turned around and walked with Nathalie to the limo. The limo drove her home. She got out and thanked Nathalie and the driver. She walked in, and her parents were there. “Hi mom. Hi dad” she said.

“How was your night at Arien’s, sweetheart?” Tom asked.

“And how did Alya Nino, and Vlad enjoy it?”Sabine asked.

“Well, actually, after we got off the phone, Alya, Nino, and Vlad had to leave” said Marinette. “So-

“Awwwwww” said Tom and Sabine. 

“MOM! DAD!” said Marinette. Her parents laughed. “Anyway, it was nice” she said.

“Where’d you get that nightgown?” Sabine asked.

“Oh, uh, they bought it for me” Marinette said.

“They?” said Tom.

“Nathalie. Mr. Agreste’s assistant” said Marinette. “She insisted I keep it.” Marinette got a call. She checked her phone. “It’s Alya” she said.

“You can answer it” said Sabine.

“Thanks mom, you’re the best” said Marinette. She answered her phone. “Hi Alya. I’ll meet you there after I get changed” she said, walking up the stairs.

“So, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Sabine asked her husband.

“That we need to thank this Nathalie properly for the gift she got Marinette?” said Tom.

“Exactly” said Sabine. “Now, let’s get to work.”

Chapter Text

While Alya and Nino were waiting for Marinette, Beyyo showed up to greet Alya. “I agree with the assessment that you are worthy of wielding a miraculous” he said.

Alya nodded. “Thanks, um…”

“Beyyo. My name’s Beyyo” he said.

“Oh. Well thank you Beyyo” said Alya. Beyyo left.

Beyyo was returning to Vlad, when he saw Marinette. He decided to say hi. “Marinette.”

“Oh, hi Beyyo” Marinette said, as Tikki popped out.

“What do you want?” Tikki asked.

“I suppose it’s only fair to tell you that we tested Rena Rouge” said Beyyo. “Don’t worry, she passed.”

“Well, that’s good” said Marinette.

“But how did you figure out who Rena Rouge was?” Tikki asked.

“Carapace told me with permission from Rena” said Beyyo. “Wait, what am I saying, we all know who these people are, right?”

“Nino just told you it was Alya?” Marinette said.

“Good, so we are on the same page” said Beyyo.

“Why?” said Marinette.

“They thought that since we are determined to test everyone who has a miraculous, it would be easier to tell me and just get it over with” Beyyo told them.

“I guess that’s true” Marinette said.

“Speaking of, this guardian you mentioned” Beyyo said. “Judgement Wolf said that he would do it on his terms, but I’m not willing to wait. Where is he?”

“We’re not telling you” Tikki said.

“Besides, we already talked to him, and he only has one term” Marinette said. “It should be simple enough, and in line with your ideals.”

“Well, what is it?” said Beyyo, now curious.

“He wants Judgement Wolf to tell me who he is” said Marinette. “After all, he knows I’m Ladybug. I should know who he is, right?”

Beyyo was shocked. “We’ll talk about this later” he said, leaving. Marinette and Tikki giggled.

Marinette arrived at the cafe and satd at Nino and Alya’s table. “Hey Marinette” said Nino.

“So, how was spending the night Adrien’s?” Alya asked.

“It was great” Marinette said in a normal voice.

Nino and Alya were shocked by this. “Wow. You said that like a normal human being” Alya said.

“Is that weird?” Marinette asked.

“Well, it’s just, when you talk about Adrien, you usually get really nervous, or really into it” said Nino.

“NINO!” Alya said.

Marinette was shocked. Nino was right. She does usually do stuff like that. “It’s OK. I know he knows” she said.

“Marinette, I’m so sorry I told him” Alya said.

“It’s fine” said Marinette. “But, for the most part, it really was just like hanging out at anyone else’s house.”

“So, what happened?” Alya asked.

“Well, Nathalie’ the Agreste’s assistant, bought me this really gorgeous nightgown” Marinette began. “Then, after I changed, Adrien complimented me” her voice started to squee.It went back to normal as she continued “Then Adrien asked me to do something for him.” Alya and Nino were intrigued. “He wanted me to get the last achievement in Ultimate Mecha Strike III.” Alya and Nino were shocked. “So, I just spent the remainder of the night doing that, while Adrien watched. Then, he thanked me and put his hand on my shoulder.” Marinette got nervous and then said “Then I freaked out, and said I was tired, and we just went to bed.”

Alya and Nino chuckled. “Marinete, you gotta get out of your own head sometimes” Alya said.

“I know” said Marinette, disappointed in herself. “But I did get to sleep on Adrien’s bed” she said, really into it.

“So, where did Adrien sleep?” Nino asked.

“He got out a sleeping bag and slept on the floor” Marinette said. “He and his dad had a fight about it, which woke me up.”

“Not cool. You’re the guest. You should get the bed” Nino said.

“Adrien said that, but then his dad asked why I didn’t take the guest bedroom” Marinette explained.

“That place has a guest bedroom?” Nino asked.

“Adrien said that as well” Marinette said.

“Looks like you two are rubbing off on each other” Alya said. “Look Marinette, you’ll get your chance” she said, putting her hand on Marinette’s. “And when you do, know that I’ll be there for you.”

“Thanks Alya” said Marinette.

Earlier, Beyyo returned to Vlad at the photo shoot. “So, how’d it go?” Vlad asked.

“Well, the telling Alya part went fine,” said Beyyo, “but I ran into Marinette afterwards.”

“Oh? And what’d she say?” Vlad asked.

“Well, I told her that we tested Alya, and then she told us this guardian’s condition” Beyyo said.

“‘Condition’? Asin, only one condition?” Vlad asked.

“Yes” said Beyyo. “He demands that you reveal yourself to Ladybug.”

“Is that all?” Vlad said. “Should be simple enough. Just gotta find the right time.”

“Why not right away?” Beyyo asked.

“Because we’re busy. Besides, I like being dramatic” Vlad said.

“Of course you do” said Beyyo.

“Look, this guardian isn’t using any of these miraculous, is he? We should be fine for a while.”

Beyyo sighed. “I guess.”

“Hey Vlad!” Adrien called out. Beyyo hid.

“Hey Adrien” Vlad said. “How was spending the night with Marinette?”

“It was fun” Adrien said.

Vlad did not detect a hint of embarrassment in his voice. “Well, what happened?” he asked.

“She just helped me with a video game problem. Marinette’s good at video games” Adrien said.

“That’s it?” Vlad said.

“Yeah. Marinette was tired afterwards” said Adrien. “So, she slept on my bed. I got to sleep on the floor!”

Vlad sighed. “Adrien, Adrien, Adrien. What are we going to do with you?”

“What do you mean?” Adrien asked.

“You had a girl alone in your room,” Vlad said, “and you didn’t even think about doing something romantic?”

Adrien laughed. “Marinette’s just a friend” Adrien said. “I gotta go get ready. I’ll meet you back here when I’m done.”

Vlad took out Beyyo. “I thought Adrien was just bad at picking up signals, but the problem seems to be deeper than that. Am I missing something?”

“Yeah, you’re missing the fact that Adrien is in love with Ladybug” Beyyo said.

“But she is Marinette” Vlad said.

“But he doesn’t know that” said Beyyo.

Vlad gasped. “You’re right Beyyo. We gotta figure that out one of these days.”

Meanwhile, when Adrien was alone in getting ready, Plagg popped out and said “as much as I’m not a fan of romance, I have to agree with Vlad on this.”

“Come on, Plagg, you know I’m in love with Ladybug” said Adrien.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t practice, or ask her for advice” Plagg said.

“Yeah, but you saw how she acted when I mentioned I liked someone after the wax museum incident” Adrien said. “I wanted to avoid that as much as possible. Marinette really likes video games, so I asked about that.”

“So that was a ploy to keep her happy, and nothing else?” Plagg said.

“Well, I really can’t double perfect the true final boss of Ultimate Mecha Strike III. So, I guess you got me there” said Adrien. He finally got ready and joined Vlad for their photoshoot

Meanwhile, in front of Agreste manor, Tom rang the doorbell. The camera peered out to see Tom and Sabine holding a box of cookies. “I didn’t order any cookies” Gabriel said.

“We know, Mr. Agreste. These are for your assistant, Nathalie” Tom said.

There was a slight pause. “Nathalie, did you order cookies?” Gabriel asked.

“She didn’t. We made these for her as a thank you gift. She bought our daughter, Marinette, an absolutely wonderful nightgown” Sabine said.

There was another pause. “Put them in the box. I’ll see to it she gets them” Gabriel said, opening the box. The couple put the cookies in the box. The box then closed.

“Well then Mr. Agreste, have a good rest of your day” Tom said.

“And they’re fresh, so you better eat them quick” Sabine said. The couple left.

Gabriel grabbed the box of cookies and approached Nathalie, who was working on stuff. “Nathalie” said Gabriel. “These are for you. A thank you gift from Marinette’s parents for the nightgown you bought her.” He put them on her desk.

Nathalie looked at the box, and then at Gabriel. “Did you think about what I said last night?”she asked.

Gabriel looked at her. “Yes” he said. “Adrien is my son. The last thing I would want is for him to abandon me on his own free will. However, I am also Hawk Moth. I have to create an unfeeling world that makes super villains. Despite my best efforts, Ladybug and Cat Noir have given the people of Paris hope. People are people, however, and people have bad days.”

Lila is in her room looking at the picture she took of her and Adrien, when she receives a text. Gabriel continues “Besides, we have an agent in the field that can make people’s lives more miserable.” Lila reads the text. “I’ve already instructed her to step up her game and cause chaos around Paris.”

Back at the manor, Gabriel continued on “I’ve decided to relax the rules around Adrien. And that once a week, I will spend some time with him. Between my job and being Hawk Moth, I have a lot on my plate. But I can always make room for my son.”

Nathalie smile. “Thank you sir.”

“You should eat those right away. They’re fresh” Gabriel said, walking out. Nathalie took one of the cookies and took a bite. Her face was delighted.

Adrien got home from the photo shoot. “I’m home father” he said. He looked up, and found that surprisingly, his father was actually there.

“Hello Adrien. We need to talk” Gabriel said. “Step into my office.” Adrien was worried. Still, he walked to his father’s office. They both took a seat. “I’ve decided to relax some of my restrictions around you” Gabriel said. Adrien was pleasantly surprised. “Of course, you still have to practice piano, Chinese, and fencing, and still model, but outside of that, you are free to do as you please. As long as you return to the house by midnight. Also, once a week, you and I will talk.”

Adrien gave his dad a hug. “Thank you father” said Adrien. Gabriel hugged his son back.

They broke the hug. “I have to admit something” Gabriel said. “I’ve...never gotten over what happened to your mother. It’s why I bury myself in my work so much. It eases the pain of her not being here. However, you find relief elsewhere. I don’t want to lose you, son. That’s why I’ve been protective of you. But it’s unfair for me to ease the pain with what I do and not let you do the same. Nathalie helped me realize that.

“Thank you father” Adrien said again. “I gotta go find Nathalie and thank her too.” Adrien went to Nathalie’s office. Gabriel smiled and followed behind him.

When they got there, Nathalie was lying down on her desk. “Uggggghhhhhhhh” she groaned.

“Nathalie?” Adrien said.

Gabriel saw the box of cookies empty. “Nathalie, did you eat all of those cookies?” he asked.

“They were soooooooooo gooooooooooood” Nathalie groaned.

“Come on son, let’s let her rest” Said Gabriel, leading his son out of the room. “We can tell her afterwards.”

“Uggggghhhhhhh” Nathalie groaned again.

Chapter Text

After the weekend, everyone was heading to school. Marinette walked into school. “Oh, hang on a minute Max” said Kim. He ran up to Marinette. “Marinette! I wanted to show you the gift I made Ondie.” He pulled out a scarf.

“Good job Kim” said Marinette.

“I couldn’t do it without your help,” said Kim. Kim had asked Marinette for advice earlier. Marinette said that she makes a lot of her gifts, and Kim immediately clung to that idea. Marinette decided to teach Kim how to sew. “I just hope she likes it,” said Kim.

“I’m sure she will” said Marinette. “And, sorry about the last time I said that.”

“Marinette, you don’t need to apologize for that,” said Kim. “I’m with Ondine now. It’s all good. See you in class.” He walked back to Max.

“Hey Marinette” said Adrien. Marinette froze. “Ready to work on the project this afternoon?”

“Uh, yeah” said Marinette. “I’m super ready.”

“We should get to class,” said Adrien, walking to class.

“Yeah” said Marinette. She then groaned and facepalmed herself, and then walked to class.

During class, Ms Bustier said “Now remember class, today is the last day to work on you projects. They are due tomorrow.”

When free period began, Lila walked to Nino and asked “Ready to work on the project?’

“Sure” said Nino.

“Hang on” said Adrien. “Lila, can we talk for a minute?”

“Sure thing Adrien. Meet you down there Nino?” said Lila.

“Of course” said Nino, as he left.

“So, what’s this about?” Lila asked.

“Could you tell me what happened with you and Vlad the day we were given this project?” Adrien asked, treading lightly.

“We just had a brief conversation” Lila said.

“Vlad is under the impression that you were insulting Marinette” Adrien said.

So he told you, did he? What else did he say? Lila thought to herself. “I guess I’m still a little upset at Marinette for doubting me. It must have slipped out.”

“Look, I know you and Marinette aren’t on the best of terms, but she hasn’t done anything to you recently,” said Adrien. “You need to stop these attacks and lies before someone gets hurt.”

“I was just trying to make conversation with Vlad” said Lila. “He was so kind after I transformed into Receiver Deceiver.”

“Vlad isn’t the type of person that falls for those types of tricks. If you really want to be friends with him, be real with him. He respects that” said Adrien. “I gotta go. I’m meeting Marinette to work on the project.” Adrien left.

Lila was furious. All morning, she tried to get her classmates Akumatized, but to no avail. Everyone seemed to work things out. Gabriel was counting on her to make new Akuma victims. She didn’t want to let him down.

“Kim, ready to work on the project?” Alix asked.

“I’ll meet you down there in a sec” said Kim. “Ondine’s meeting me in the locker rooms. I’ve got a present for her.”

“Good luck” said Alix. 

Lila smiled. She knew Alix had a short temper. She just needed to make it work for herself. “I thought you two were supposed to be competitive?” Lila said.

“We are” said Alix. “But the project isn’t a competition. We need teamwork.”

“Yeah, but Kim told me he thinks you’re getting soft” said Lila. “I’m only telling you this to give you the upper hand the next time you two compete.”

Alix was mad. She had received warning that Lila lies sometimes. Still, if she was right, Kim deserved a piece of her mind. She decided to go and talk to Kim. “Thanks Lila” she said, walking off.

“You’re welcome” said Lila.

In the locker rooms, Kim was waiting. “Hi Kim” said Ondine, approaching him. Ondine’s civil attire was a red shirt with blue edges, a dark green coat, dark blue jeans, red and white tennis shoes, and a black shoulder bag. “You wanted to see me.”

“Uh, yes” said Kim, nervously. “It’s been about three months since we started dating…and…I made you this!” He showed her the scarf.

Ondine was ecstatic. “Kim! This is great! Thank you” she said, giving him a hug.

“Well, thanks…” said Kim. “I made it myself, so I wasn’t sure if it would turn out good.”

“You made it yourself? That’s amazing!” Ondine said.

“Hey!” said Alix.

“Alix, I thought I’d meet you in the library,” Kim said.

“Do you think I’m getting soft?!” Alix asked.

“How DARE you say that about Kim!” Ondine said, defending her boyfriend.

“Ondine, it’s alright,” Kim said. “This is Alix. We can get a bit competitive sometimes. But I never said I thought you were getting soft. Where’d you get that idea?”

Alix was relieved. She knew Kim wouldn’t do that to her. Still, she almost fell for it. “Let’s get to work on that project. I’ll explain on the way” Alix said, leaving.

“Uh, sure” said Kim. “Ondine, you going to be OK?”

“Of course” said Ondine. “You’ve got a project to work on. We can meet after school.”

“Great! Thanks Ondine. Seeya then” said Kim, catching up to Alix.

“You know those two used to date, right?” Lila said, stepping in.

“What?” said Ondine. “Who are you?”

“My name is Lila” Lila said. “I’m one of Kim’s friends. Anyway, they decided that things didn’t work out between them, but they agreed to be friends. They have these competitions to remind each other why they don’t work as a couple. But after working on this project, Alix is starting to have feelings for him again.”

“That can’t be true” said Ondine.

“Why do you think she confronted him like this when she knew he was there to see you?” Lila said. “I know it’s hard, but you’ve got to know the truth.”

Ondine was shocked. She could hardly believe it. “Thank you” she said.

“You’re welcome” said Lila.

“I’d like to be alone now” Ondine said.

“Of course” said Lila, walking off. She could tell that Ondine really believed her. Finally a success. She walked to the library as well.

“I knew I could count on you, my little protege” Hawk Moth said. “You’ve given me a princess who wants to defend her boyfriend. How wonderful.” He made an Akuma. “Evilize this soul, my little Akuma.”

In the locker room, Ondine was crying her eyes out. The Akuma came and fused with the scarf Kim had given her. “Princess Charming. I’m Hawk Moth. Some other girl wants to challenge your boyfriend’s honor and take him away from you? I won’t allow it! So I’m giving you these powers. In exchange, I demand Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous!”

“I shall defend his honor, and give you your reward, Hawk Moth!” Ondine said. She put on the scarf, and then a purple-black aura surrounded her.

“Lila said that?” said Kim, talking to Alix in the library.

“Yeah” Alix said. “I didn’t want to believe it, but at the same time, I don’t like the idea that I’m getting soft. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t like the idea of you getting soft either,” said Kim. “Otherwise I’d have to find someone else to compete with.” Kim and Alix laughed.

“ALIX!” a booming voice shouted. They peaked around and saw that a white knight had entered the library on a white horse. The knight had a long thin sword and a shield. “I heard you like competition! Let’s see if you can outrace my horse!” The knight swung their sword, knocking down a bookshelf.

“Run Alix!’ Kim said. Alix ran.

“Where are you?” the knight said.

Kim approached the knight. “Hey, um, I’m just wondering. But who are you?”

“I am Princess Charming,” said the knight, “and I am here to defend your honor.” Princess Charming’s horse began to walk around Kim

“Well, that’s very nice of you, but my honor doesn’t need defending,” Kim said.

Princess Charming spotted Alix. “Charge!” said Princess Charming. The horse charge to Alix’s position.

Marinette was hiding behind a bookshelf. She took Tikki out. “Tikki, we need to transform” said Marinette. “Tikki! Spots On!” Marinette transformed into Ladybug and swung around.

Adrien was hiding behind another bookshelf. “Plagg. We gotta transform” he said. “Plagg! Claws Out!” He transformed into Cat Noir and lept around.

Princess Charming caught up to Alix. “Well, it seems like you couldn’t outrun my horse,” she said. She raised her sword, but Ladybug caught it with her yo-yo.

“Sorry, your highness, but I can’t let you do that” said Ladybug.

“But, if you want a competition, I’m game” Cat Noir said.

“Ladybug. Cat Noir. I’ve been expecting you” said Princess Charming. She turned around and charged at the heroes. Ladybug retracted her yo-yo, and the two lead the villain out of the library.

Kim rushed to Alix. “Are you OK?” he asked.

“Yeah” she said.

“Then let’s get you out of here” said Kim, helping her.

Out in the courtyard, Ladybug and Cat Noir were defending against Princess Charming’s attacks. “She’s putting up a good fight” said Cat Noir. “I think we need a Lucky Charm about now.”

“Good idea” said Ladybug. As she prepared to use it, Kim and Alix were exiting the library. Princess Charming noticed this, and began to attack. Ladybug defended the two of them. “RUN!’ she called out. Alix and Kim ran. I can’t call out my Lucky Charm if I keep playing defensively she thought to herself. Princess Charming knocked Ladybug to the ground.

Vlad, still in the library, pulled out Beyyo. “I think Ladybug needs us this time,” he said.

“Just say the word” Beyyo said.

“Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” Vlad said, transforming into Judgement Wolf.

Princess Charming approached Ladybug on the ground. “Hand over your Miraculous” she demanded.

“Never!” said Ladybug.

Princess Charming raised her sword ready to strike. Kim saw this, and stood in front of Ladybug “Kim?! What are you doing?!” Princess Charming said.

“I’m protecting Ladybug” Kim said.

“But I’m doing this for you!” Princess Charming said.

“I told you. I don’t need defending” Kim said.

Princess Charming was silent for a bit. “Well. It looks like you two deserve each other then!” She said, swinging her sword.

Just before it hit Kim, Judgement Wolf stepped in and blocked the attack with his sword. Kim saw this mysterious new hero and was shocked. “You’ve been very noble” Judgement Wolf said. “Now get to safety!”

“Judgement Wolf?” Ladybug said.

“Who are you?” Princess Charming asked, unlocking blades.

“I am Judgement Wolf. Holder of the elusive wolf miraculous” Judgement Wolf said. “And I’m here to stop you!”

“The wolf miraculous?” Hawk Moth said. “How intriguing. Princess Charming! Grab his miraculous too!”

“I got this Ladybug, just use your Luck Charm” Judgment Wolf said, leaping onto Princess Charming’s horse. Princess Charming also stood on her horse. The two locked blades again. “Perfect” Judgement Wolf said. “Reveal Claw!” he called out, holding onto his sword with the other hand. “Who is hiding under the helmet?” he asked, striking Princess Charming. Princess Charming’s helmet shattered, revealing Ondine’s face. Her hair and freckles were unchanged, but her skin was now pure white.

“Ondine?” Kim said. He noticed the scarf he made for her. Ladybug stood up. “Ladybug! I think the Akuma is in the scarf I made for her!”

“Thanks Kim, now get out of here!” Ladybug said. Kim gave a thumbs up and ran. Judgement Wolf and Princess Charming continued to duel on the back of her horse.

Ladybug lept up to the second floor. “Lucky Charm!” Ladybug called out. A paper bag appeared.

“I’m guessing were not packing this princess a lunch, are we M’Lady?” Cat Noir said, joining her.

Ladybug looked at the bag, and then Cat Noir. She then noticed the horse and Princess Charming standing on it. “I’ve got a plan. It’s simple, but I’m going to need you to Cataclysm the scarf” Ladybug said.

“Got it. Cataclysm!” Cat Noir called.

Ladybug blew into the paper bag and lept toward the side of the horse. Cat Noir lept soon after. Judgement Wolf saw the two of them jump and got off the horse. Princess Charming was confused. Ladybug then popped her paper bag, startling the horse. The got up on its hind legs and whinnied, which flung Princess Charming off. Cat Noir grabbed the scarf with his Cataclysm. It then disintegrated, and an Akuma came out.

“No more evildoing for you, little Akuma” Ladybug said, preparing to capture the Akuma. “Time to de-evilize!” She captured the Akuma, and released the butterfly. “Bye bye little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” she threw up the paper bag. The magic ladybugs then fixed all of the damage caused by Princess Charming.

Ondine returned to normal. “What happened?” she asked.

“Pound it” said Ladybug, Cat Noir, and Judgement Wolf.

Judgement Wolf’s miraculous started to beep. “Gotta go” he said, finding a place to hide. He de-transformed.

“Why didn’t you tell Ladybug who you were?” Beyyo asked.

“There were too many people out there. I only have to tell Ladybug. I can’t let anyone else know” said Vlad.

“Soon your honor will be shattered Ladybug and Cat Noir. And the same goes double for you, Judgement Wolf!” Hawk Moth said.

Ladybug and Cat Noir also left the scene. Kim approached Ondine. “Ondine, what happened?”

“I’m sorry Kim” said Ondine. “It’s just your friend told me you and Alix used to date, and-”

“Wait, who told you that?” Kim said.

“Her  name was Lila” said Ondine.

“Lila” said Kim. He glared. “Listen. What Lila said wasn’t true, alright. I’ll explain it all later. For right now, go back to class. I’ll handle it.”

Later, as class was just about to begin, Kim burst in the door. “Alright Lila. You’ve got some explaining to do!”

“What’s going on?” Adrien asked.

“I’m sorry Adrien” Kim said. “I know you and Nino said to not confront her like this, but she’s gone too far. First she told Alix that I thought she had gotten soft, which made Alix confront me in front of Ondine. Then she told Ondine that Alix and I used to date, which caused her to get Akumatized.”

Everyone gasped and was talking amongst themselves. Lila was scared. “So?” Vlad asked. “How does it feel to be opened?”

Lila didn’t know what to do. Everyone was turning on her. Normally, she’d lie to get out of the situation, but it was clear that they wouldn’t believe “I made a mistake” or “I thought you were dating”. Instead, she opted for a half-truth. “Hawk Moth forced me to do it,” she said. Everyone was confused. “It’s no secret that I’ve been Akumatized a lot, and that I’ve also caused a lot of trouble. But Hawk Moth forced me to do it. He told me that I was easy prey for him, and if I didn’t work for him and get other people Akumatized, he would Akumatize me every day. I couldn’t bare the thought of hurting you all, so I did as he asked. I hope you can forgive me.”

She closed her eyes, prepared to cry. She was hoping Marinette would call her out like she always did, so that she could get upset and Hawk Moth could Akumatize her again. She was not prepared for what had happened. She felt a hug. She opened her eyes and it was Marinette. Everyone, including her, could not believe it.

“I’m sorry” Marinette said. “I had no idea you were being used like that. But now that we know, we can help.”

“Yeah, and so can Ladybug and Cat Noir” Adrien said.

“We’ll protect you,” said Alix.

“Just don’t do stuff like this again,” said Kim.

“Maybe we got off on the wrong foot” said Vlad. “We can try again, if you want.”

Lila was shocked. Her plan had backfired. Still, she remained calm. “Thank you everyone,” she said. “Just knowing that you’re helping me out makes me feel better.”

After school, as everyone was leaving, Vlad called out “Marinette! Can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Uh, sure Vlad” she said, walking up to him. “Can you make it quick? Adrien and I are going to put the finishing touches on our project.”

“Sure, but let’s go someplace private” Vlad said. They went to a corner. “So, do you trust Lila?” Marinette was confused. “About her being blackmailed by Hawk Moth.”

“Oh” said Marinette. “Well, it’s hard to say. I don’t think she was lying, exactly. It feels more like there was something she wasn’t telling us.”

“I see” said Vlad.

“Perhaps she was being blackmailed by Hawk Moth. But even if she wasn’t, that was the best way to handle the situation” said Marinette. “At least this way, Lila can’t rely on her tricks anymore. Whether she’s changed or not has yet to be seen.”

“Yeah” said Vlad.

“Although I hope she does learn from this” said Marinette. “I hope that we can get to a point where we can be friends for real. I don’t like disliking people.”

Vlad laughed. “You’re something special Marinette” he said.

“Is that all?” Marinette asked.

“Not quite” said Vlad. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet. Come on out.” Beyyo popped out. Marinette was surprised. Tikki aso came out and was surprised. “I am Judgement Wolf.”

Meanwhile, at Andre’s. “Ah, noble Kim, and charming Ondine. It’s been a little while. How have you been?” Andre said.

“Great” said Ondine. “Kim made this scarf for me.”

Andre replied “Ah, such beauty. What a noble thing to do. How about I get some ice cream for you?”

“That would be great,” said Kim.

Near Andre’s kart, Gabriel’s limo was pulled up near Lila. “So that’s what happened,” Gabriel said.

“I’m sorry Mr Agreste. I guess I can’t get any of my friends Akumatizd anymore” Lila said.

“Paris is a big city Lila” Gabriel said. “Just because you can’t get people at your school Akumatized, doesn’t mean that you can’t get anyone Akumatized.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Lila said. Gabriel’s limo drove off.

Chapter Text

“Nooroo” said Gabriel, demandingly. “Tell me about this wolf miraculous!”

“Well the wolf miraculous is mysterious” Nooroo said. “It cannot be taken.”

“Why not?” Gabriel said.

“The wolf miraculous is the miraculous of doubt. In order to have it, Beyyo, the kwami of the wolf miraculous, has to give it to you” Nooroo said.

“How hard could that be?” Gabriel said.

“The wolf miraculous hadn’t been seen since the mid-to-late 1800’s in Japan. Not even the guardians could control him” Nooroo said.

Gabriel huffed. “So, what is the purpose of the wolf miraculous?”

“The user of the wolf miraculous determines if someone is worthy to have their miraculous” Nooroo said. “He must have already tested Ladybug and Cat Noir, or else he wouldn’t have helped them.”

“So, he’s on the side of Ladybug and Cat Noir, eh?” Gabriel said.

“Well, he could also be on your side” Nooroo said. “If you allow him to test you, that is. It is possible you could pass.”

“I doubt that someone who agrees with Ladybug and Cat Noir will also agree with me,” Gabriel said. “So let’s hold our course. If the time comes when he finds me, we’ll be prepared.”

Marinette could not believe it. She was staring face-to-face with Judgement Wolf. Furthermore, it was her new friend Vlad. “So, do you have any questions?” Vlad asked. “Or can I meet this guardian now?”

“Well, I, uh” Marinette stumbled. “You can use your Reveal Claw on more than just Miraculous users?”

“Yup. I can get anyone to reveal a truth” Vlad said.

“Then, why didn’t you free the Akuma?” Marinette asked.

“Akumas are a bit different from kwamis” Vlad said. “I’ll let Beyyo explain.”

“It’s simple” Beyyo said. “Marinette, would you consider yourself and Ladybug two different people?” Marinette shook her head no. “Exactly. An Akumatized person is different. They are a different person than before they were Akumatized. If we asked them to reveal their true form, that would be it. To them, they ARE the villain, and the person they were before no longer exists.”

“How horrible” Marinette said.

“Well, it wasn’t meant to be horrible, Marinette” Tikki said, reassuringly. “I’m sure you’ve noticed, but the power an Akumatized person gets is tremendous. If Nooroo was being used for a good purpose, someone gaining and losing that much power would be traumatic on them. It’s meant to protect people from that much stress.”

“It still is” Beyyo said. “If anyone who was Akumatized could remember all of the horrible things they’ve done, that would be a much higher burden on them. The thing that’s making them evil is the same thing that keeps them sane.”

“Well, still. This just gives me another reason to stop Hawk Moth once and for all!” Marinette said.

“That’s the spirit” Vlad said.

“So, are you ready to meet the guardian?” Marinette asked.

“Of course” Vlad said. They got up and left.

On their way out, they passed Adrien. “Hey Marinette. Ready to work on the project?” he asked.

“Sorry Adrien, but I’m going to borrow Marinette a little while longer” Vlad said. “But she’ll be back soon. Is that alright?”

“Yeah. No problem” Adrien said. The two left. Plagg came out. “I’m glad to see the two of them getting so close” Adrien said.

“What do you suppose they’re doing?” Plagg asked.

“I don’t know” Adrien said. “But I’m glad they’re talking.”

Marinette and Vlad arrived at Master Fu’s parlor. “Come in” Master Fu said.

Marinette opened the door. “Master Fu, this is Vlad. He’s also Judgement Wolf” she said.

Vlad walked in. “Hey” he said, coldly.

“Hello Judgement Wolf” Master Fu said.

“Marinette, this might take a while” Vlad said. “Beyyo tells me that when guardians and holders of the wolf miraculous meet, it’s like a game of chess. You’ve got that project to finish, right?”

“AH! Yes. I should go” said Marinette. “Um, are you sure you’ll be fine by yourself Master?’

“Yes Marinette” said Master Fu.

“Then, I’ll see you later” said Marinette, leaving.

“So Vlad. Beyyo. Why don’t we talk?” Master Fu said. Beyyo popped out. “What is your problem with the guardians?”

“Well, it’s a power problem” Beyyo explained. “The guardians are the only ones trained to give out the miraculous. Not only that, but they’re the only ones who can heal kwamis. Even if I did want to get rid of you, or take all the miraculous away, I couldn’t, because you force us to depend on you.”

“I see” Master Fu said. He got up, and got the Miracle Box out. “If you don’t find me worthy, you can take the box, and all my notes.”

Vlad and Beyyo were confused. “What kind of trick is this?” Vlad said.

“No trick” Master Fu said. “You said it’s like a game of chess, right? In this instance, the box is the king. Capture it, if you can.”

Vlad and Beyyo looked at each other. “Do you want to use our power, or just talk with him?” Vlad asked.

“We don’t know a lot about him yet” Beyyo said. “I have knowledge of the guardians, but everyone is different. It wouldn’t be wise to give him a prompt based on our limited information.”

“But this way, he can challenge us as well,” Vlad said.

“It’s a risk we’re going to have to take” Beyyo said. “I took it on you, didn’t I?”

“Alright” Vlad said. “So, why did you choose Marinette and Adrien to be Ladybug and Cat Noir?”

“I tested them” Master Fu said. “Of course, I didn’t have your powers, but I determined that the two of them were selfless and courageous. They were the perfect candidates to be Ladybug and Cat Noir.”

Vlad had to give it to him. He was right on that. Beyyo asked the next question. “So, how did Hawk Moth come into possession of the butterfly miraculous?”

“I do not know the specifics” Master Fu said. “But I do know that it was my fault. In my youth, the Guardian’s Temple came under attack. I was tasked with protecting the Miraculous and the grimoire. But I failed, and lost the butterfly miraculous and the peacock miraculous, as well as the grimoire.”

“Well, he’s honest, I guess” Beyyo said.

“So, how did the temple come under attack?” Vlad asked.

Master Fu was shocked. But if he wanted Vlad and Beyyo to trust him, he had to be honest. “A group of marauders had attacked the temple in search of the miraculous” he said.

“How’d they know it was there?” Beyyo asked.

“Again, that was my fault” Master Fu said. “You see, I had made a friend outside of the temple. He told me that he didn’t have anywhere to go. I believed him, and I let him in. I told him about what this place was. Not too much, but enough that he picked up on what was going on. One of the other guardians saw him, and cast him out.

He left looking sad. I had argued with him, saying that I was trying to protect him. My elder had said that while it was noble of me, we can’t trust outsiders. He was proven right when the person I thought was my friend came back with a group of people to storm the temple. They had been planning this from the start. And I fell for it.

The other guardians defended the temple, while I was tasked with protecting the miraculous. My ‘friend’ had met up with me in my escape and tried to take it from me. He pushed me over, and took the peacock miraculous. I had no choice but to use the turtle miraculous to defend myself and take it back.

I managed to win, but another from his group had showed up and took the peacock miraculous. The same person who reprimanded me jumped to my aid. He took the butterfly miraculous and told me to go. I took the remaining miraculous and left. I lost the grimoire somewhere along the way. It was only after I had escaped and the temple was in ruins that I had noticed. My biggest regret is that I never got a chance to properly apologize to my master.”

Vlad and Beyyo were shook. “Um, it doesn’t really sound like you lost the two miraculous” Beyyo said. “The grimoire, maybe.”

“It was because I couldn’t escape that the miraculous were lost” Master Fu said. “However, this experience taught me to be careful of who I trust. Something I believe you can relate with Vlad.”

Vlad was shocked. “How’d you know?”

“I could sense it in you” Master Fu said. “Now, might I hear your story? Seeing as I gave you mine”

Vlad looked down. “It all started one night. A fire broke out in our building. My parents managed to get me out, but not themselves. Soon after, I was taken in by the landlord of the building. It was later found out that he burned the apartment down for the insurance money. I couldn’t stand it. Someone who valued money over life didn’t have a heart. And I let him into mine. It was upsetting.

After he got arrested, I was taken in by an orphanage. I was closed off from everyone for a while. However, this one couple came by. They wanted to understand me. They listened. They cared. They reminded me that good people exist, and that people aren’t all selfish. Soon, they adopted me, and became my parents.”

“I imagine that this came up when Beyyo gave you your miraculous” Master Fu said. “Tell me Beyyo, are you just using his emotions to your own end?”

“OF COURSE HE ISN’T!” Vlad interjected.

“You must trust each other a lot for you to do that” Master Fu said.

Vlad got embarrassed. Beyyo explained “I do look for people who are cautious with their trust, but one thing I look for is if that caution extends to me. Vlad didn’t trust me after I had appeared to him and tested him myself. If he had believed me right away, I would have escaped.”

“So, how did you get him to trust you?” Master Fu said.

“We talked. Just like we’re doing now” Vlad said.

“I prompted Vlad to dream about ‘What if Ladybug and Cat Noir didn’t solve actual problems, and only Akuma-based ones?’” Beyyo said. “He dreamed about the fire, and Ladybug and Cat Noir refusing to help. After he woke up, I appeared. We had a talk, where I explained to him who I was, and what I was doing. He explained everything about his dream and his attitude in general. After a night of talking, we became friends, and I gave him the wolf miraculous.”

“I see” said Master Fu. “So, do we need to talk more, or are you both satisfied?”

Vlad and Beyyo looked at each other again. “I have my answer” Beyyo said.

“I have a few more questions” Vlad replied.

“The floor is yours” Beyyo asked.

“So, how do you let Marinette decide who gets a miraculous?” Vlad asked.

“I tell her to pick someone she can trust. The rest is up to her” Master Fu said.

“So, you just trust Marinette like that?” Vlad asked.

“I sometimes have my doubts, but I have confidence in Marinette” Master Fu said. “I believe in her to do what’s best for Paris.”

“I wish I could have that level of confidence” Vlad said.

“While we are similar, we are not the same” Master Fu said. “Our differences makes me a guardian, and you Judgement Wolf.”

“One more thing” Vlad said. “When can Cat Noir and Ladybug tell each other who they are? Or anyone else for that matter? It might make them better at fighting the Akumas and finding Hawk Moth.”

“If I am to understand, you came to Paris not too long ago” Master Fu said. “Wayzz sensed your power. However, you only revealed your presence to the public just today, correct?” Vlad nodded. “You wanted to remain a secret so you could get the jump on Hawk Moth. It’s the same principle.”

“I see” said Vlad. “So, when the time is right then?”

“Correct” said Master Fu.

“Well, I have my answer” said Vlad. “On three.”

Vlad and Beyyo counted together. “One. Two. Three. He’s worthy!” they both said. They looked at each other and smiled.

“It was a tough call, but I think he’s got a good heart in him” Vlad said.

“Yeah” said Beyyo. “I think he’s one of the best guardians I’ve met.”

Master Fu was shocked. “But I-”

“Relax” said Beyyo. “You learned from your mistakes. You are cautions, but you trust people. You care about the safety of others. That makes you better than some of the guardians I’ve met.”

“Although, to be completely fair, there were stretches of hundreds of years where Beyyo didn’t interact with guardians, so he probably has a low bar” Vlad said.

“Even then, I still he’s he’s fine” Beyyo said.

Master Fu smiled. “Thank you. Both of you.”

“Thank you for meeting with us,” Vlad said. “Seeya.” Vlad left.

Meanwhile, at the library, Adrien and Marinette were finishing the project. “And done” said Adrien.

“Great!” said Marinette. “Um, do you want to hold onto it? In case I forget?”

“”Sure thing” Adrien said. “Actually, I have a favor to ask.”

“What is it?” Marinette asked, her heart beating a mile a minute

“I wanted to stop by your shop and buy some cookies” said Adrien. “Would that be alright?”

“Oh” said Marinette. “Yeah, of course” said Marinette.

“Great. I’ll have my driver takes us there.

They arrived at the bakery. “Oh, hello Adrien” said Sabine.

“Hi Ms. Cheng” Adrien said. “I’d like to place an order for a box of cookies. Nathalie loved hers so much that she ate all of them too fast and got a stomach ache. She’s fine now.”

“Well, that’s good to hear,” said Sabine. “Her being well, I mean. And her enjoying our craft.”

“I wanted to see for myself how good they are” Adrien said.

“Sure thing” Sabine said. “One box of cookies!” she called to Tom.

“Coming right up,” Tom said.

While they were waiting, Adrien asked Marinette “So, what were you and Vlad talking about?”

Marinette was shocked. “Well, we first talked about what had happened with Lila, then we just talked about other stuff. You know?”

Adrien smiled and nodded. “I get it” said Adrien.

“Adrien” Marinette said, disappointed in herself. “It’s not like I wanted to distrust Lila. I kind of believe her now. It’s just-”

“Relax Marinette” Adrien said, putting his hands on her shoulders. “You’re Marinette. The kindest person I know. I know you don’t want to be angry at anyone.”

Marinette blushed. She then heard a camera click. “MOM!” she said, turning around to see Sabine holding her phone.

“You just looked so cute. I couldn’t resist” Sabine said. “Adrien, don’t you think she looks cute in this photo?” She showed the photo to Adrien.

“She sure does” said Adrien. Marinette covered her now completely red face.

“One box of cookies, fresh out of the oven” said Tom.

Adrien paid for the cookies and got them. “See you tomorrow, Marinette” he said.

“See you then” Marinette said.

Adrien got in the car. Plagg popped out. “Do you want one?” Adrien asked.

“You know I prefer cheese” Plagg said. “What I want to know is what do you think of Marinette?”

“She’s my friend Plagg” Adrien said.

“Yeah, but do you think she could be something more?”

“I thought you didn’t like this stuff” Adrien said.

“Yeah, but I know you do” Plagg said.

“Fine” said Adrien. “Honestly, if I didn’t love Ladybug, maybe I’d ask Marinette out.”

“Well, what’s stopping you from doing that now?” Plagg asked. “It’s obvious Ladybug isn’t interested in you.”

“Yeah” said Adrien. “I just need to wait for that wound to heal.” He took a bite out of a cookie. His face lit up. “Wow” he said, after he swallowed. “These are good.”

When Adrien got home, his driver had opened the door for him. However, he could barely move because he had a stomach ache from eating all of the cookies. When he got in the door, he told Nathalie “You’re right. Those cookies were soooooooo gooooood.” 

Nathalie was concerned, but slightly amused. “Let’s get you to your room,” she said. She guided him to his room, where he laid down on his bed.

Chapter Text

The next day at school, Lila was walking in, when Sabrina came up to her. “Hi Lila” she said. “Can you come with me to the principal’s office for a second?”

“Uh, sure” said Lila. The two of them walked to Mr. Damocles’s office. Not only was Mr. Damocles there, but so was Sabrina’s father, Roger. “What is the meaning of this?” Lila asked.

“Sabrina told me about your encounter with Hawk Moth, ma’m” Roger said. “If you don’t mind, I would like to ask a couple of questions.”

“It’s alright Lila, we’re here to keep you safe,” Mr. Damocles said.

Lila was taken aback. She couldn’t believe how quickly everyone was eating out of her hand again. Still, she had to be careful. One wrong move, and everyone will be staring her down again like yesterday. “Thank you, officer Roger,” she said. “Um, I don’t know where to begin.”

“Just tell me what happened when Hawk Moth met you,” Roger said.

“OK” said Lila. “Well, I was sitting on a bench at the park, when from behind Hawk Moth walked up to me. This was during an Akuma attack, so no one else was around. Hawk Moth wanted me alone. He told me that I was flowing with such negative emotion. He told me to join up with him, or else he would Akumatize me every day. It’s no secret that I’ve been Akumatized a lot, but I didn’t want it to become a daily occurrence. So, out of fear, I did as he said, and started guiding people to becoming Akumatized. Hawk Moth is ruthless, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. I’m sorry I was too afraid to do anything.”

“You did what you could” said Roger. “Thank you for the information. You’ve been very brave. Now, I was thinking. Since you’ve told everyone about your interaction with Hawk Moth, he might come after you. Therefore, I believe having a police detail on you might be a good idea.”

Lila was shocked. She couldn’t fool a police officer. At least, not without alerting everyone else. “Actually dad, the class and I had a discussion about this,” Sabrina said, “and we think it might be better if we took care of Lila.”

“What?” said Roger and Lila in unison.

“Hawk Moth is attracted to negative energy, right? So, we thought if one of Lila’s dear friends was around, Lila would feel less negative” Sabrina explained.

“Officer Roger, I don’t mean to be rude, but an officer hovering around me all the time would just make me feel nervous and embarrassed” Lila said. “I like Sabrina’s idea.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense,” Roger said. “But maybe we should have an officer close by, just in case.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Lila said. She could work with that. Still, her freedom would be limited a little bit. But it’s better than having an officer of the law by her side all the time.

“Thanks again ma’m” Roger said. The two girls left the office.

“So, who is my guardian angel today?” Lila asked.

“Well, we discussed it, and Alix volunteered” Sabrina said.

“I see” said Lila.

As class started, Ms. Bustier told everyone “Alright class, turn in your projects.” Each group handed their project. “Great. I’m looking forward to grading them. Now, before we begin, Mr. Chastain has an announcement he’d like to make.”

“Thank you, Ms. Bustier” said Mr. Chastain, the art teacher, walking into the room. “I’m here to tell you that we are hosting a student art exhibition at the end of the month. I’m telling you all now so that you can get a jump on your ideas. I’ll be accepting ideas until the end of next week. All ideas must be original. Any type of art is allowed.”

“Thank you, Mr. Chastain” Ms. Bustier said. Class went on, as usual.

During free period, Vlad approached Kim and said “Hey. I saw what you did yesterday. Protecting Alix. Protecting Ladybug. Standing up for your girlfriend. That’s very cool of you.”

“Thanks, but it was nothing,” Kim said.

“It’s not nothing” said Vlad. “As far as I’m concerned, you have my trust.”

“Well, thank you” Kim said. He walked off.

Vlad walked off not long after, but was stopped by Alix. “Hey!” she said. “I read Alya’s blog about you. It says that you don’t trust people right away and they have to earn your trust.”

“That’s correct” Vlad said.

“Where do you get off thinking that we would want your trust in the first place?” Alix said. “You’re the one who’s new here. You should be earning our trust.”

“I agree” said Vlad, throwing Alix off. “Trust is a two-way street. It would be unfair for me to ask you to earn my trust without expecting me to earn yours.”

Alix was surprised. “I’m sorry” she said.

“Don’t be. You’re right” Vlad said. “Especially since I know about you all already.”

“How?” Alix demanded.

“Adrien told me,” Vlad said.

“Oh right. You two are friends” Alix said.

“Wanna know what Adrien said about you?” Vlad asked.

Alix was still suspicious, but curious. “Sure” she said.

“Adrien told me that you’re brave. You’re cool. You’re free-spirited. A bit hotheaded, but your heart is always in the right place” Vlad said. Alix blushed a little. “And from the looks of it, he’s right once again.”

“Why didn’t you believe him before?” Alix asked.

“Eh. It’s complicated” Vlad said. “Besides, I like seeing things for myself.”

Alix smiled. “You know what? You’re alright too” she said.

After school, Rose, Juleka, Ivan, and Mylene came up to Marinette. “Hi guys. What’s up?” Marinette asked.

“Marinette, we are going to work on a new song for Kitty Section for the art exhibition!” Rose said.

“Yeah, um, and we were wondering if you could make costumes for us” Juleka said.

“Of course” Marinette said.

Meanwhile, Lila was leaving, but Alix called out to her. “Hey! Lila!” she said. “Ready to go?”

“Right, Sabrina explained this to me this morning,” Lila said. “Yeah, I’m ready.”

“Great. Now, is there anything you need to do?” Alix asked.

“Not really” Lila said. “I was thinking we’d go to the store and get some new clothes.”

“Is that what you do usually?” Alix asked.

“Sometimes” Lila answered.

“Then no can do” Alix said. “We’re heading to the Louvre.”

“What? Why?” Lila asked.

“If Hawk Moth were to come looking for you, he’d go to all of the places you usually hang out” Alix said. “Part of this plan is to throw Hawk Moth off track. This is why we’re rotating. If you’re at the Louvre today, but at City Hall, or the botanical gardens tomorrow, it makes it harder for Hawk Moth to track you.”

“I see” said Lila. “That makes sense.”

“I thought so too” Alix said. “So, let’s go.” Lila followed Alix. While on their way to the Louvre, Lila was texting Gabriel about the situation, when Alix asked “So, you tried to Akumatize me yesterday, huh?”

Lila was shocked. “Well, I…”

“Relax. It’s fine. Hawk Moth was making you do it” Alix said.

Lila was shocked. “Yeah” said Lila.

“So, what about me made you think you could?” Alix asked.

“Well, don’t take this personally,” Lila said, “but you can be a bit hotheaded at times.”

Alix laughed. “You’re the second person to tell me that today,” she said. “Well, at least I know what to work on.”

“Yeah” said Lila.

They arrived at the Louvre and went inside. “I gotta drop my stuff off in my room” Alix said.

“Wait, you live here?” Lila asked.

“Yeah. My dad’s one of the directors here” Alix said. “Oh, there he is now. Hi dad!’ she said, waving.

Mr. Kubdel turned and came to meet his daughter. “Hi Alix. How was school?’

“It was good” Alix said. “Listen, this is Lila, the girl I was telling you about earlier.”

“Ah, the one who is being hunted by Hawk Moth, right?” Mr. Kubdel said. “No need to worry Miss, the Louvre is one of the safest locations in all of Paris.”

“Thank you, Mr. Kubdel” Lila said.

“As I was telling Lila, I’ve got to put my stuff away. Can you keep her company?” Alix asked.

“Sure thing” said Mr. Kubdel.

“Thanks” Alix said, giving her dad a hug. She then went to her room.

This was the perfect moment. Lila was away from her guardian, and alone with a person who could be Akumatized. However, she couldn’t be direct. Otherwise, people would know what she was up to. She needed to find a discrete way to push this man’s buttons. “So, Mr. Kubdel, what’s it like working at the Louvre?”

“Hm? Why, it’s wonderful” Mr. Kubdel said. “Spending my days surrounded by art and history. I just love it.”

“But, don’t you get bored with it once in a while?” Lila asked.

Mr. Kubdel looked at her. “A fair question, if a bit rude” he said. “To be honest, not really. Every piece in here is a key to another time. Another world. That fascinates me to no end.”

“But don’t you worry you might miss some stuff in the present?” Lila said.

Mr. Kubdel froze. “Alright, I’m ready” Alix said coming back. She saw her dad looking down. “Did something happen?”

“Well…” Lila said.

“It’s alright” Mr. Kubdel said. “Lila was just curious about my job. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to my office.” Mr. Jubdel left.

Alix looked at Lila with suspicion. “Come on,” she said, grabbing Lila. “You’re going to apologize to my dad.” The two followed Mr. Kubdel.

Mr. Kubdel was on his way to his office, when he bumped into a tourist. “Oh, sorry sir,” he said.

“Hey, do you know where the Mona Lisa is?” the tourist asked.

“Of course sir, it’s in that direction” Mr. Kubdel said.

“Thanks” said the tourist. “I don’t know why this place is so big, if that’s all that people come to see.”

Mr. Kubdel was seething, but remained calm. “The Louvre has much to offer in the way of art and history.”

Alix and Lila were rounding the corner when Alix saw her dad talking with someone. The tourist said “I don’t care about that stuff. I just wanna see the famous thing.”

Mr. Kubdel was getting angrier. “Uh, dad” said Alix, rushing over to him. “Maybe we should go. Now. Well sir, you know where the Mona Lisa is, so you best be on your way.”

“Thank you, Miss” said the tourist. “Why can’t you be more like her?” he asked Mr. Kubdel before leaving.

Mr. Kubdel was furious. “Dad. Calm down” Alix said. “This happens all the time. You need to not let it get to you.”

However, in Hawk Moth’s lair, Hawk Moth was sensing his newest prey. “An aficionado of art and history being snubbed by people who don’t understand it,” he said. “What a perfect canvas for my latest masterpiece. Fly away, my little Akuma, and evilize him!”

“What are you even doing here?” Mr. Kubdel said. “I could have handled it.”

“Dad, it’s alright” Alix said. Now I know where I get my hotheadedness she thought.

“You’re right,” said Mr. Kubdel. “I just need to go to my office, and do some work. That’ll help me compose myself.” He walked off to his office.

Alix looked at Lila. “We’ll talk to him later,” she said. “So, what do you want to see while were here?”

In his office, Mr. Kubdel picked up a red pen. However, the Akuma snuck into the building and fused itself with that pen. “Art Vader. I am Hawk Moth. People don’t appreciate art and history nowadays, don’t they? I’m giving you the power to change that. In return I only ask for the miraculouses of Ladybug and Cat Noir.”

“I find their lack of faith disturbing” Mr. Kubdel said. A purple-black aura formed around him, and the entire Louvre.

“What’s going on?” Alix asked. The Louvre was now being lifted. From the outside, the Louvre pyramid was now large, floating, and grey with a black line going around it.

Back in his office, Mr. Kubdel has transformed into a golden Vader-looking figure, but his mask is customized to his face, the panel on his chest was an art pallet, and his cape was Napoleon’s cape. He breathed heavily. He clicked his pen and a red light-saber, which he called his art-saber, came out. “Soon, they will all appreciate art and history.”

Alix and Lila rushed to the window. They looked out and saw that they were floating above the ground. “OK. This is weird” Alix said. “Let’s see if we can’t find a way out.”

Marinette was sketching in the park, when she heard an ominous hum. She looked up, and saw the Death Art. “That can’t be good” Marinette said. She found a place to hide and then called “Tikki! Spots on!” She transformed into Ladybug. She rushed to the scene.

Adrien was walking around. “Doesn’t this feel good Plagg?” he asked. “No restrictions. Being free to do what you want. It’s amazing.” He then saw Ladybug dashing through. “What do you suppose that’s about?”

“Probably that” Plagg said, pointing out the Death Art.

Adrien found a place to hide and called out “Plagg! Claws Out!” He transformed into Cat Noir.

Ladybug arrived at the scene where the Death Art was hovering. Cat Noir arrived soon after. “Please tell me this is a publicity stunt for the Louvre” he said.

“I wish” Ladybug said.

Suddenly, a voice could be heard coming from the Death Art. “Ladybug! Cat Noir! Once I prepare my Death Art to fire, everyone in Paris will bow to me, and become as enamored with art and history as I am.” A bunch of golden Stromtroopers started coming out of the Death Art. “In the meantime, you can hand my servants your miraculous.” Ladybug and Cat Noir started fighting the gold Stormtroopers.

“We need to find a way to get inside” Ladybug said.

“It’s a good thing these guys can’t aim” Cat Noir said. “Or else we’d be in real trouble.”

Meanwhile, inside the Death Art, Alix and Lila were running around trying to find an exit. The two of them saw Art Vader approaching some museum patrons. He swung his art-saber at them, and after he hit them, they turned into the golden Stormtroopers, who do his bidding.

Alix recognized the face the mask was fit for. “Dad?” she said.

Art Vader turned to her and said. “No. I am not your father. I am Art Vader!”

Alix and Lila started running the other way. Lila tripped. “LILA!” Alix called out. But it was too late. Art Vader had stabbed her and she became another Stromtrooper. Alix continued to run.

Outside, Ladybug and Cat Noir finished off the Stormtroopers that were deployed. “That’s the last of them, M’Lady” Cat Noir said.

“Now, to find a way in” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm!” A wall scroll appeared.

“Are we supposed to float to the top or something?” Cat Noir asked.

Ladybug recognized it as something Master Fu had. More Stormtroopers came out. “Cat Noir, do you think you can handle them? I’ll be right back!” She left.

“Sure thing” said Cat Noir.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s place. “Master! Cat Noir and I need help!”

“Of course Marinette” Master Fu said. He opened the compartment to the Miracle Box, and then opened the box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

“I need someone who can get us in easily” Marinette said. Marinette had an idea. “I’d like the rabbit miraculous.” Master Fu nodded as Marinette took it.

Ladybug returned to see Cat Noir took out the second wave of Stormtroopes. “Thank goodness you’re back. I don’t know how many more of these I can take.”

“I still need to find her” Ladybug said, looking around.

“Who?” Cat Noir asked.

Ladybug spotted who she was looking for. “Found her!” More Stormtroopers came out. “Cat Noir! Hold them off for a little while longer!”

“On it” Cat Noir said.

Alix was standing alone, when Ladybug pulled her to a safe location with her yo-yo. “Ladybug?!” Alix said. “It’s awful. My dad was Akumatized, and he’s turning people into his own militia.”

“Wait, you were inside?” Ladybug asked. “How’d you get out?”

“Well, I, uh” Alix began. “I pulled myself by my bootstraps, and lead myself out.”

“Well, we’re going to need a way in, and we need your help to do it” Ladybug said. She held out a box. “Alix Kubdel. Here is the rabbit miraculous, which grants you the power of time. You will use it for the greater good.”

Alix took the box, opened it. Fluff, the kwami of the rabbit miraculous popped out. “Hey. How’s it going kid?” Fluff said.

“Once the job is complete, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?” Ladybug asked.

“Of course Ladybug” Alix said. She took the pocket watch out.

“Now, all you gotta say is “Fluff! Clockwise!” Fluff told her.

“Fluff! Clockwise!” Alix called out. She transformed into Bunnyx. “Wow. This is so cool.”

“Isn’t it?” Ladybug said. “But right now, Cat Noir needs us.” She pointed at Cat Noir holding off a bunch of Stormtroopers on his own.

Cat Noir was surrounded, when Ladybug and Bunnyx came in and dealt with the remaining troops. “Ah. A new hero, I see” Cat Noir said. “I could have handled it. But thanks, uh…”

“Bunnyx” Bunnyx said.

“Of course you could have taken them kitty, but right now, we need to focus on getting in” Ladybug said. “Bunnyx, can you help us with that?”

“Sure thing” said Bunnyx. She drew a cyan circle and called out “Burrow! You might wanna hang on.” Ladybug and Cat Noir grabbed Bunnyx, and they all lept through the portal. The three of them were now in the museum.

Cat Noir looked outside and saw himself. “I, but, wha?”

“I transported us back a few minutes” Bunnyx said.

“Don’t worry kitty, we’ll be in sync once the magic ladybugs do their thing” Ladybug said.

“Right” said Cat Noir.

“Now, to find Art Vader” Bunnyx said. The three of them ran through the Death Art and eventually found Art Vader.

“Ladybug?! Cat Noir?! But how?! The Death Art is supposed to be impenetrable” Art Vader said.

“We had a little help” Ladybug said, showing off Bunnyx.

“Well, no matter” Art Vader said. “As soon as I hit you with my art-saber, you will bow to me!” He charged at the heroes. Bunnyx used her umbrella to defend against the art-saber, while Cat Noir used his staff.

Ladybug backed up further and called out “Lucky Charm! A bottle of wax?” She saw Cat Noir fall. Art Vader was about to stab him, but Ladybug used her yo-yo to get Cat Noir out of there.

Bunnyx then struck Art Vader. “Don’t forget about me!” she said. The two of them held their weapons up, like there were dueling samurai.

Ladybug saw Bunnyx, the art-saber, the floor, the wax, and Cat Noir. She called out “Bunnyx!”

Bunnyx smiled. Art Vader was about to strike Bunnyx, but she called out “Burrow!” and she fell through a time hole in the floor she made.

She arrived in her room. The door opened, and she saw her past self walk in. “GAH!” said Alix.

“Relax” Bunnyx said. “I’m on your side. In fact, I’m you.”

“What?” Alix said.

“I’ll explain” Bunnyx said. “See, Ladybug is going to offer you the rabbit miraculous, which allows you to travel through time and space. But she can’t do that, if you’re here. So, I’m going to get you out of here.”

“Uhhhhhh, OK?” Alix said.

“Grab on” Bunnyx said. Alix did so. “Burrow!” she called out. The two of them lept through the portal, and landed in the spot Ladybug found Alix. “Listen, I gotta get back to the fight. Oh, and when Ladybug calls your name, you need to transport and do this. Do you understand what to do?”

“I think so” Alix said.

“Great” said Bunnyx. “Oh, and be prepared. Burrow!” Bunnyx lept through a portal.

“Prepared for what?” Alix wondered. Soon, she was dragged off my Ladybug’s yo-yo.

Meanwhile, Bunnyx was now heading back to the fight. She came in through a portal, and kicked Art Vader in the back. While Bunnyx was away, Ladybug threw the bottle of wax on the floor. So when Bunnyx kicked Art Vader, he stepped into the wax and fell, flinging his art-saber through the air.

“Cataclysm!” Cat Noir. He held his hand out and destroyed the art-saber, releasing the Akuma.

“No more evildoing for you, little Akuma” Ladybug said. “Time to de-evilize” She captured the Akuma. “Gotcha. Bye Bye little butterfly.” She threw up the bottle of wax. “Miraculous Ladybug!” she called out. The Magic Ladybugs fixed everything. Ladybug and Cat Noir fell back into sync. Mr. Kubdel de-transformed. “What happened?” he asked.

“Pound it!” said Ladybug, Cat Noir, and Bunyx.

“History has a bad habit of repeating itself” Hawk Moth said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little crafty.” Hawk Moth left his lair.

Ladybug, Cat Noir, and Bunnyx were now outside the Louvre. “Ladybug?” Lila called out/

“Lila?” Ladybug replied.

“Oh Ladybug, please forgive me,” Lila said. “I may have accidentally gotten someone Akumatized again. But I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Ladyug was thinking it over, when suddenly “Lila Rossi!” Hawk Moth called out. Everyone was surprised to see him in public like this. “You betrayed our bargain.”

Meanwhile, Vlad was walking around after a photo shoot. “Man, that went on forever,” he said. He looked at a TV screen and saw Hawk Moth there in public. He started running, and when he was sure no one could see him, he called “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” and transformed into Judgement Wolf.

Back at the Louvre, Hawk Moth continued his tirade. “Not only did you tell people about our arrangement, but now you have friends who are willing to protect you. So forget it! Our deal is off! I will no longer keep you as a full-time Akuma victim. If you’re going to be surrounded by that much love and affection, then I see no point.”

“It’s over Hawk Moth!” Ladybug called out.

“Don’t be too sure of that” Hawk Moth replied. All three miraculouses started beeping. “You’re about to transform back, and you don’t want me to see that, right?”

Ladybug grabbed Bunnyx and ran off in one direction, while Cat Noir ran off in another.

By the time Judgement Wolf got there, Hawk Moth was long gone. “DANG IT!” he said. He found a place to hide. “Beyyo! Fangs Dull!” He de-transformed. “Man, that was a bust. We could have had him.”

Beyyo started sniffing. “Wait…I smell…chocolate? Could it be?”

“Be what?” Vlad asked.

“Fluff! The kwami of the rabbit miraculous!” Beyyo said.

“You don’t say” Vlad replied.

“Thanks for letting me help out, Ladybug” Alix said.

“Thank you for helping us. And for giving the miraculous back” Ladybug said.

“I don’t want to lose your trust” Alix said.

“Speaking of,” Ladybug began, “do you remember the guy that helped Cat Noir and I fight Princess Charming?”

“Judgement Wolf? What about about him?” Alix asked.

“Well, he is set on testing every person who wield the miraculous” Ladybug said. “If he finds out I gave you one, he’s going to want to test you by making you dream something with one of his powers.”

“You rang?” Judgement Wolf said.

The two ladies turned to face him in surprise. “How’d you find us?” Ladybug asked.

“Beyyo managed to sniff out Fluff” Judgement Wolf said. “Look, I’m sorry I wasn’t here earlier. If only I had been, we could have figured out who Hawk Moth was.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll get him eventually” Ladybug said. “Besides, he said he’d stop harassing Lila, so that’s a good thing.”

“Of course” said Judgement Wolf.

“So, you want to test me, huh?” Alix said. “Well, if you’re methodology is by dreams, then I’d have to be asleep? But, since I live in the Louvre, it’s going to be hard for you to get in.” Judgement Wolf looked down. Alix took the box back from Ladybug. “But not impossible.”

“Are you sure?” Judgement Wolf said.

“If Ladybug will allow it” Alix said.

Ladybug looked at the two of them. “Fine” she said. Her earrings were beeping. “But just give me a few minutes while my kwami recharges.” She left.

Alix opened up the box. Fluff reappeared. Alix offered her some chocolate. “We’ve got another job.”

Fluff looked at Judgement Wolf. “Of course,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Just know, I believe you are worthy.”

“Noted” said Alix. “Fluff! Clockwise!” She transformed back into Bunnyx. “Burrow! Shall we?”

“Of course” said Judgement Wolf.

“Good. Just hang on tight” Judgemnt Wolf listened. The two of them were transported into Alix’s room late at night.

Judgement Wolf looked at the sleeping Alix and called out “Wolf Mist!” He flung the mist at her.

Chapter Text

Judgement Wolf was about to head into the Wolf Mist. “Don’t you want to join?” he asked.

“Wouldn’t that be cheating?” Bunnyx said.

“You’re a fast learner” Judgement Wolf said, jumping in.

Bunnyx sat down at the foot of the bet. “Fluff! Counterclockwise!” she called out, transforming back into Alix.

“We back already?” Fluff said.

“Nah” Alix said. “I just wanted some company. So, what makes you so confident that I pass?”

“Dunno” Fluff said. “Intuition, I guess.”

“You didn’t happen to go to the future at some point to see this, right?” Alix asked.

“Just because I can time travel, doesn’t mean I do” Fluff responded. “Besides, what’s the fun in knowing everything?!” Alix smiled.

Meanwhile, Alix was face-to-face with her future self, who was a time traveling superhero Bunnyx. She was telling her that in order to help her dad, she needed to accept the rabbit miraculous and become the superhero she saw before her.

However, a second portal opened up. It was Bunnyx again, but from later in the future. “Alix!” she said. “You cannot accept the rabbit miraculous.”

Alix asked “Why not?”

Future Bunnyx explained “In the future, where I come from, because we accepted the rabbit miraculous, Hawk Moth got more aggressive with his attempts to take over the city.  Ladybug and Cat Noir gained more allies, but that only made Hawk Moth more aggressive. Eventually, he created a villain so powerful that none of us could defeat it. We are all in hiding, while this villain continues to terrorize the city. You can stop it. Just don’t become Bunnyx!”

“No, dad needs Bunnyx!” said present Bunnyx.

“Ladybug and Cat Noir can handle it” future Bunnyx said. “They can’t handle this.”

“She needs us. We’re so close!” present Bunnyx said.

“Uh, what’s happening?” Ladybug said, appearing before the three of them.

“Ladybug! You cannot give the miraculous to Alix” future Bunnyx said.

“No! You have to give her the miraculous!’ present Bunnyx said. “Otherwise, we can’t beat Art Vader.”

“If you do this, Hawk Moth will eventually create a supervillain so powerful that we can’t defeat it” future Bunnyx said. “You need to put a stop to this here.”

“But they can’t defeat Art Vader without us!” present Bunnyx said.

“Um, I’d like to hear what Alix thinks about all of this” Ladybug said.

Alix was confused. Her future selves had conflicting messages. Both were important, but they were telling her to do the opposite things. Alix then knew what she had to do. “Alright! Here’s what I want” Alix said. “Future Bunnyx, take this Ladybug with you so she can help out. I’ll take the miraculous and transform into Bunnyx and take Cat Noir into the Death Art. We’ll battle Art Vader for a bit, then I’ll take Cat Noir into the future to meet you. I just need a time and a place, so can you give that to me? Once we rally everyone, with two Ladybugs, two Cat Noirs, and two Bunnyxs, and everyone else we can defeat this monster. Then I’ll take this Ladybug and Cat Noir back, finish Art Vader, and then circle back here. Do you understand?” Ladybug nodded.

“But what if we get defeated again?” future Bunnyx said.

“Then we’ll get more people. It can’t stop every superhero, let alone multiples of them. I don’t know what in the future made me so pessimistic, but a real hero never gives up” Alix said. “So let’s go with the plan.”

The dream then faded into all white. “Wow, that was confusing” Judgement Wolf said. “But I think I managed to follow that.” Alix started to laugh. “What’s so funny?”

“Man, did I choose the right day for this” Alix said. Judgement Wolf looked at her confused. “See, you don’t know this, but I thought it would be unfair for you to test me the night of the Art Vader attack, since I’d be more prepared for that. So instead, I opted to send us to the night before the art exhibition, because I figured I’d be stressed out about it. And boy was I right.”

“Well, that was unexpected. Then again, you seem to be good at pulling rabbits out of hats” Judgement Wolf said.

“Do this mean I pass?” Alix asked.

“Yes” Judgement Wolf said. “Unless you knew that was my answer.”

“A friend of mine once told me, ‘What’s the fun in knowing everything?’” Alix said. “One more question. All of these hoops I’ve jumped through. Do you not think that that’s just me trying to be a superhero?”

Judgement Wolf thought about it. “You demonstrated that you wanted it to help people in your dream. I think that’s different from wanting them just because it would be cool. It’s like studying to become a doctor. There might be some reward there, but you’re still learning, and you’re still doing it for a good cause.”

“Thanks Judgement Wolf” Alix said. “I needed this.”

Judgement Wolf snickered. “Well, it seems like you have a big day ahead of you, so I’ll be on my way” he said, jumping out of the Wolf Mist.

Back in Alix’s room, Judgement Wolf reappeared. “Alright, let’s go” Judgement Wolf said.

“Why are you so glum?” Fluff asked. “You sound like you were temporarily tricked.”

“How would you know?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“Let’s just say, this isn’t my first rodeo with the wolf miraculous” Fluff said.

“Sorry, but I didn’t want to have an advantage,” Alix said.

“You explained as much” Judgement Wolf said.

“I guess this means I’m not going to know until before the art exhibition, but that’s OK” Alix said.

“That should tell you enough about whether you’re worthy” Fluff said.

“I’ll be the judge of that” Judgement Wolf said. “Now, let’s head back. Before we do something to disrupt the flow of time massively.”

“Fluff! Clockwise!” Alix called out. She transformed into Bunnyx. “Burrow!”

In the present, Bunnyx and Judgement Wolf arrived. Ladybug came running back. “I told you to wait for me” Ladybug said.

“She didn’t see who you are” Judgement Wolf said. “Did you?”

“Nope” said Bunnyx.

“See? It’s all good” Judgement Wolf said.

“Fine. Can I get back the miraculous?” Ladybug said.

“Sure” said Bunnyx. “Fluff! Counterclockwise!” She transformed back into Alix and gave the miraculous back to Ladybug. “Whether I passed or failed, I’m glad I helped out today.”

“You mean you don’t know?” Ladybug said.

“This one played a little temporal trick on me” Judgement Wolf said. “So she currently doesn’t know yet.” Judgement Wolf’s miraculous started to beep. “Gotta go. I’ll meet you later to discuss all of this.”

“Sounds like a plan” Ladybug said. Judgement Wolf fled.

Ladybug was about to leave, when Alix said “Wait! Can you come with me for a second?”

“Sure” said Ladybug.

The two of them walked up to Lila. “Hi Alix. Ladybug” she said.

“Come on Lila” said Alix. “You’re going to give my dad that apology you owe him.” Lila looked sorry, and followed.

They approached Mr. Kubdel. “Hey dad. Lila has something she would like to say to you” Alix said.

“I’m sorry” said Lila. “I guess I’m still trying to get used to not being manipulative.”

“It’s alright” said Mr. Kubdel. “To be honest, I’m used to people asking me prying questions. In fact, I encourage it. We only get the answers to history’s mysteries by prying. But one thing you said, combined with that dullard, just got to me. I do worry about missing some stuff in the present. That guy. I deal with people like him on a weekly basis. But thinking about it, he knows what he doesn’t want to miss and is going for it. I don’t want to miss my daughter before it’s too late.”

“Oh dad” Alix said, giving her dad a hug. “I know you’re always there for me.”

“You know, there’s a student art exhibition coming up” Lila said. “I’m sure Alix is going to be participating.”

“Really?” said Mr. Kubdel. “Well, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Again, I’m sorry” Lila said.

“It’s not your fault. I let my emotions get the better of me” Mr. Kubdel said.

“Hold on dad” Alix said, breaking the hug. “Are you being honest right now, Lila?”

“Yes” said Lila. “But if you don’t trust me, I understand.”

Alix stared her down. “Fine” she eventually said. “But know that I have me eye on you. We don’t want Hawk Moth Akumatizing you, or anyone else.”

“Of course” said Lila.

Ladybug was watching all of this. She still wasn’t sure if she should trust Lila. She seemed to be doing the right thing, but she still couldn’t 100% trust her yet. She decided it was best for now to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Well, it seems everything is fine here. I gotta go. Bug out!” she said, leaving.

Marinette arrived home. “Hi mom. Hi dad” she said.

“Hi” said Sabine. “Your friend Vlad is waiting upstairs for you.”

“Thanks mom” Marinette said, giving her mom a hug before heading up to the residence. Upstairs, she found Vlad in the living room. “Hey” he said.

“Let’s go to my room,” Marinette said.

In Marinette’s room, Vlad said “Sorry again for not being there to try and get Hawk Moth.”

“Don’t worry about that” Marinette said. “We’ll get him eventually.”

“Yeah, but I should have been there,” Vlad said.

“Look, you can’t keep beating yourself up about this” Marinette said. “If I kept beating myself up about every mistake I’ve made, I’d go crazy.”

“You’re right,” Vlad said. “So, now that Hawk Moth has said he’d stop following Lila, what do you want to do?”

Marinette had to think about this. Vlad was here yesterday, and that’s when they came up with the idea to protect Lila. Marintte remembered what happened yesterday. “Alright, so here’s what I’m thinking” Marinette said. “If we take turns looking after Lila, it would make it harder for Hawk Moth to track her down, right?”

“Sounds reasonable” Vlad said.

“But, it’s also a tool for keeping Lila in line” Marinette clarified. “If we’re watching over her, she can’t manipulate people into becoming villains. That is, if she’s still trying to.”

“Marinette, why don’t you remain suspicious of her?” Vlad asked. “I’m doing it.”

“Right, but I think that’ll only make Lila more susceptible” Marinette said. “Besides, if I want her to be nice, I have to be nice in return. I don’t want to distrust Lila, but she’s just so…”

“I get it” Vlad said. “Marinette, you really are a nice person. Don’t worry. If something happens, I’m your anchor, ready to bring you back down to Earth.”

“Thanks” said Marinette. “You know, sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard to make sure that Lila is nice. But then I remember that it’s for a good cause. Like, studying to become a doctor. Sure, there’s some reward, but you still learned something, and you’re doing something good.” Vlad smiled.

In the present, Marinette and Vlad were contemplating what to do. “It’s not like we can justify keeping a watch on her anymore” Marinette said.

“So, if she’s still lying and manipulating outside of class, we’ll have no way of knowing?” Vlad said.

“I guess” Marinette said. “I’m going to message everyone and tell them the plan is off.” She went to her computer and began typing.

“How bogus” Vlad said.

“I know” Marinette said. “But, look at the bright side. Lila’s not going to lie at school. If she was telling the truth about Hawk Moth, he’s no longer tracking her. And, if we continue being ourselves and demonstrating honesty, Lila might pick it up as well.”

Vlad smiled. “You always know just what to say, Marinette” he said.

Marinette smiled and blushed a little. “Oh yeah, so how did it go with Alix?” Marinette asked.

“She passed” Vlad said. “Though her dream was something else. Oh yeah. Beyyo. I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”

“What’s up?” Beyyo asked.

“You said Fluff smelled like chocolate. What’s up with that?” Vlad asked. Marinette and Tikki were now curious as well.

“Well, you know how I can sniff out other kwamis?” Beyyo asked. Vlad, Marinette, and Tikki nodded. “Well, each kwami to me has a signature scent. That way, I can tell them apart.”

“I saw Alix feeding Fluff chocolate. So, does that mean kwamis just smell like their favorite food?” Vlad asked.

Beyyo shook his head. “Not all the time. Tikki here, for instance, smells like cherries. Plagg, on the other hand, smells like something rotting.”

“That’s gotta sting” Marinette said.

“It’s not pleasant” Beyyo said. “Each kwami’s smell is linked to their trait. Fluff smells like chocolate because it’s sweet, but also can cause problems, much like time.”

“Why does Tikki smell like cherries then?” Marinette asked.

Beyyo began to answer “Because-”

“Because cherry blossoms signify spring, and spring signifies new beginnings, like creation” Tikki finished.

“Oh, so you do remember” Beyyo said.

“Of course I remember” Tikki said.

“I just thought that you were so mad at me that you forgot all the good times we’ve had” Beyyo said.

“Beyyo” Tikki said. “Of course I remember the good times. It’s what makes the bad times hurt so much.” Tikki was tearing up.

Beyyo gave her a hug. “I’m sorry” he said. “I can’t undo the past. I should have stopped him. I really should have.” Beyyo also started to cry. “I’m just glad were here now. With people like Vlad and Marinette by our side. I just hope you can forgive me someday.”

Tikki hugged Beyyo back. “It’s OK. I forgive you.”

Marinette smiled. “See? This happened because Tikki believed in Beyyo. I’ve got to believe in Lila the same way!”

Vlad smiled. “How Marinette of you” he said.

Meanwhile, Lila was meeting with Gabriel in secret. “Thanks for saving me from being confined” Lila said.

“Of course” said Gabriel. “I can’t lose someone like you. However, it might be best if we lay low for a little bit. If I Akumatize someone right away, blame might shift to you.”

“Yes Hawk Moth” Lila said. “Just say the word, and I’ll be ready.”

The next day, as everyone was going to their seats, Marinette approached Lila and said “Hey Lila. Congratulations on not being stalked by Hawk Moth. We’ve decided to cancel the watch on you.”

“Really?” Lila asked.

“Yeah, we figured that since Hawk Moth wasn’t after you anymore, there’d be no reason for it” Marinette said. “Listen, I know we kind of got off on the wrong foot, but it seems like you’re really trying to improve yourself. So, do you want to exchange phone numbers?”

Lila was shocked. “Sure” she said. The two exchanged numbers.

“Great. Thanks” Marinette said. “And sorry for any problems we’ve had.”

“It’s OK Marinette” Lila said. The two took their seats and class began.

Chapter Text

After school, Max approached Lila and asked “Hey Lila, do you want to test my new video game? I got most of the bugs worked out, but I want to check some of the balancing issues.”

Lila was surprised. “I thought we weren’t going to keep tabs on me,” she said.

“We aren’t. I just wanted some help” Max said. “I guess I’ll ask someone else.”

Something felt weird in Lila. She was sad? She didn’t want to see Max dejected. Did she actually care about him? “Oh. Sure. I’ll help you” she said.

“Really?” Max said

“Yeah” said Lila.

“Great” said Max. “Question: How good are you at video games?”

Lila felt actual joy from this conversation. “Honestly, I’m not very good. I hope you don’t mind”

Max said “Not at all. In fact, I prefer getting input from all sorts of people. I like getting input from Marinette and her parents, but they are really good. It’d be interested to see how a rookie plays the game. No offence”

And there it was. Like a note off-key in a symphony, or a bite of a sandwich with too much mayo, the mere mention of Marinette’s name soured Lila’s mood a little bit. Still, she could get passed it. “None taken” said Lila. “Are you ready to go then?”

“Whenever you are” Max said.

The two of them left. Lila sent a text to Hawk Moth telling her where she’ll be just so he doesn’t Akumatize anyone in the area. Meanwhile, Vlad approached Marinette and asked “So, are you doing anything for the art exhibition?” he asked.

“Yeah” she said. “I’m making new outfits for Kitty Section.”

Vlad was shocked. “Right. The band Adrein told me about” he said. “I meant are you doing anything for you?”

“Me?” Marinette said. “Uh, I don’t know if I would have the time.”

“That’s a shame. Adrien tells me you’re a great designer” Vlad said. “I wanna see what you come up with for yourself.”

“Well, I’m meeting with them today” Marinette said.

“Great! I’ll come with you” Vlad said. Marinette was stunned. “Adrien says that they’re cool. Besides, it gives me a chance to get to know more people. Maybe I can convince them to let you work on a ‘you’ project.”

“Gee, that’s nice, but…” Mainette said.

Vlad was confused. “Do you not want to make something for yourself?”

“Well, I do, it’s just…” Marinette stammered. “I don’t want to let anyone down.”

“Relax Marinette. I’m sure you won’t let anyone down” Vlad said. “Let’s go.” The two left to go to the Liberty.

“Here we are” Marinette said.

“Hey Marinette” Rose said. “Hi Vlad.”

“Hi Rose” Vlad said.

Mylene approached the two as they boarded the ship. “So, are you ready to here Kitty Section’s latest work?”

“Work in progress” Ivan said.

“From what I’ve heard, it sounds great” Mylene said.

Ivan blushed. “Thanks” he said sheepishly. “But we’ve still gotta work on it.”

“So, is everyone here?” Vlad asked.

“Almost. I still don’t see Luka” Marinette said.

“I’m here” Luka said, stepping out with his guitar.

Vlad took a hard look at Luka and was enamored. His blue fringes. His cool demeanor. His steady eyes. The fact that he played guitar. Vlad’s heart skipped a beat. He turned to Marinette and nervously said “Marinette! How do I look?!”

Marinette was confused. “You look fine?” she answered.

“Fine? FINE?! I need to look better than FINE!” he panicked.

Marinette giggled. “You look great. What’s this about?” she asked. Vlad glanced at Luka and started blushing. Marinette caught on. “Oh,” she said. She then tried to speak and tell Vlad what Luka’s deal was, but was so taken aback that she couldn’t.

“Marinette? What’s wrong? Why aren’t you speaking to me?” Vlad asked.

“Marinette?” Luka said. “Is this guy bothering you?”

Vlad was shocked. “No, I-”

“Come on Marinette. Let’s go” Luka said, dragging the stunned silent Marinette to his room. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

Vlad watched at this cute boy dragged off Marinette like it was nothing. “GAH!” he said. He heard Juleka giggle. “What are you laughing at?”

“Nothing” she said. “It’s just fun watching another person crush on my brother.”

“Another?” Vlad said.

“Yeah” Juleka said. “Marinette has somewhat of a crush on him as well.”

“I thought she liked Adrien” Vlad said, regaining some composure.

“She does” Juleka said, sitting down. Vlad sat down with her. “But she also likes Luka. At least a little bit. And Luka likes her back.”

“Oh” Vlad said, depressed.

“Cheer up” Juleka said. “Marinette might still go for Adrien.”

“Yeah, but does Luka go for guys?” Vlad asked.

“Um, maybe?” Juleka said.

“MAYBE?!” Vlad said.

“He hasn’t said he does. But he hasn’t said he doesn’t” Juleka said. “Hey, can I talk to you about something?”

Vlad was intrigued. “Sure” he said.

Meanwhile, in Luka’s room, Luka was questioning Marinette. “Who was that guy?”

Marinette was still in a stupor. “That guy? Oh, he’s just Vlad” she said, nervously. “He’s new here. He joined me today because he wanted to come check you guys out, and stuff.”

“Vlad? Juleka told me about him” Luka said. “She says he’s a model friend of Adrien’s. Does he have a thing for you?”

“What? No. I mean! Who would ever have a thing for me” Marinette said. “I mean! He doesn’t have a thing for me, but it’s cool that people have things for me. I mean! Ohhhhhhh.”

Luka giggled. “It’s OK Marinette” Luka said. “I just want to know why he was freaking out so much.”

“Well, that’s, you see, because, uh” Marinette bumbled. She didn’t want to tell him about Vlad’s crush on him. After all, she wouldn’t want anyone else telling Adrien how she felt about him.

“Why don’t we go ask him?” Luka suggested.

“Great idea” Marinette said. The two of them left Luka’s room and met back outside.

Vlad and Juleka were finishing talking. “Hey Vlad” Luka said

Vlad was taken aback. He knew his name. “Yyyyes?” he said.

“What are you so nervous about?” Luka asked.

Vlad wasn’t sure how to answer. “Well, it’s just, uh…”

Luka smiled. “You and Marinette are so alike. Is that why you like her?”

“Like her?” Vlad said. Juleka laughed.

“What’s so funny that you are laughing?” Luka said.

“I’m sorry” Juleka said. “It’s just Marinette isn’t the one he has eyes for.”

“Oh. Then who?” Luka said.

“Wow this guy is a bit dense” Vlad said.

“You can kind of see the similarities between him and a certain blonde boy” Juleka said. She and Vlad laughed.

“What’s going on?” Luka said.

“Alright Luka. When did he start getting nervous?” Juleka asked.

Luka answered “I don’t know. The minute I showed up he was nervous.” Juleka nodded. Vlad blushed and looked to the side. “Oh. Um, thanks? I’m sorry, this has never happened to me before.”

“It’s OK” Vlad said softly.

The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Thankfully the singer for Kitty Section had the sharpness of a knife, but the sweetness of honey. “Ready to go everyone?” Rose said.

“Sure Rose” Luka said. The band got on the stage, while Vlad, Marinette, and Mylene sat down.

“This is our newest song!” Rose said at the mic. “We don’t have a name for it yet.” Ivan counted them down and they started playing.

Not too far away, a street dance troupe was dancing. A guy with a white shirt with a red tank top over it, a red bandanna, black pants, and a cellphone with turquoise earbuds which he was grasping to calm his nerves and pump himself up. He then walked up to the troupe and said “Hey guys. Could I try out again?”

The troupe looked at him and one of them said “Yo Marshall, I thought you told your brother he couldn’t join.”

“I did” said Marshall. Marshall was a bit older than his brother, but he was wearing mostly the same outfit. Except he had a blue tank top and bandanna, and pink earbuds.

“You told me that I couldn’t join until I got better at dancing” the brother said. “I’ve been practicing.”

“Look, Micah” Marshall said, pulling his brother aside, “I know you’ve been practicing. But being a part of my squad is a whole ‘nother level. I just don’t think you’re ready. You understand right?”

Micah couldn’t believe it. He started to cry and broke off from his brother’s huddle. “I just wanted to be like you!” he screamed running away with his phone tightly in his grasp.

Hawk Moth could sense this. “Someone just wanting to emulate their older brother but can’t live up to his standards. What a perfect first step in this latest dance.” He infused his energy onto a butterfly. “Fly my little Akuma, and feast on his anguish!”

Micah ran until he was out of breath. The Akuma flew until it hit his phone. “Rhythm Robber! I am Hawk Moth. Your brother doesn’t think you have rhythm? Well now you can have all of the rhythm you can take. The only thing I want in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s Miraculous!”

“Don’t worry Hawk Moth. They’ll be dancing on two left feet before you know it” Micah said, as a purple-black aura surrounded him.

Back at the dance troupe hangout, Marshall asked “So, what should we do now?” Suddenly, music blasted down upon them The group turned to look at a man who wearing an all black skintight suit that turned dark red at the feet and white palms, a forearm-sized rectangle on his right forearm that looked like a mini-turntable, turquoise lines going from that turntable going up to his head, a blue face, and speakers on his shoulders.”Micah?” Marshall said.

“Nope. I’m Rhythm Robber now!” Rhythm Robber said. “And I’m here to take your rhythm.” He touched everyone in the dance troupe. The dark red on his shoes started growing on his leg and changing from dark red to red to orange to the slightest bit of yellow.

“What happened?” Marshall said. Rhythm Robber then did a dance. “Don’t get cocky” Marshall said, but as soon as he took a step, he fell over.

“Oh, what’s the matter?” Rhythm Robber said. “Do you not feel it anymore? I guess I’m on a whole ‘nother level now. How does it feel to be this low?” He then heard Kitty Section practicing. “Oooooo. They sound like they have rhythm. Soon it’ll be mine!” he said, jumping off in that direction.

Kitty Section finished playing and the audience was clapping. Soon they were joined by a fourth clapper. They all looked up to see Rhythm Robber clapping on top of one of the speakers. “Nice job. Really good rhythm. Too bad it’s going to be mine soon.” He jumped down and touched Ivan and then Juleka. His suit grew more yellow. Rose, Luka, Marinette, Vlad, and Mylene ran off of the ship.

Meanwhile, Adrien was walking by the Seine. “I can’t wait to tell Kitty Section that I’m available more. I can hear the keyboard calling my name” Adrien said.

“Oh great. Someone who hears instruments talking” Plagg said.

“It’s a figure of speech” Adrien said. They then saw everyone running off of the Liberty being chased by a supervillain. Adrien hid. “Plagg! Claws Out!” He transformed into Cat Noir.

Rose tripped, just just as it looked like Rhythm Robber was about to steal her rhythm, Cat Noir swept her away. “Sorry, but I can’t let you do that” Cat Noir said.

“Cat Noir. How lovely for you to join us” Rhythm Robber said. “Care to have this dance?”

“Sorry, my dance card’s full” Cat Noir said.

“What a shame. It doesn’t matter anyway” Rhythm Robber said, doing some dancing. “Soon you won’t be able to keep up.” He charged at Cat Noir, but Cat Noir kept his distance.

Marinette said “Split up! He can’t get us all!” Everyone followed her lead. She hid and called out “Tikki! Spots on!” transforming into Ladybug.

Vlad also hid and pulled Beyyo out. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” he called out, transforming into Judgement Wolf.

Cat Noir and Rhythm Robber kept attacking and dodging each other. “Sorry, but I only wanna dance with somebody who loves me” Cat Noir said.

“”Well, three is a crowd” Ladybug said.

“If I’m a crown, what does that make this guy?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“Trouble” Cat Noir said.

Rhythm Robber was confused. “Who’s this new guy?” He asked.

“That is Judgement Wolf” Hawk Moth said. “You don’t need to worry about grabbing his miraculous, so just destroy him.”

“Got it” Rhythm Robber said. He charged at the heroes.

“Ladybug, Judgement Wolf, look out. I think he steals you rhythm if he touches you” Cat Noir said.

“Got it” Ladybug said. The heroes dodged the villain. “Where do you suppose the Akuma is?” Ladybug asked.

“Probably that thing on his arm” Judgement Wolf said. “It’s the only thing asymmetrical about his costume.”

“Got it. Lucky Charm!” Ladybug called out. She received a clay tea cup.

“You suggesting we offer him some tea to cool down?” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug looked at it, and it reminded her of Master Fu. “I got it. We need more help” Ladybug said. “Keep him busy!’ She left.

“Got it” Cat Noir said. “First one to hit him wins” He told Judgement Wolf.

“Interesting. Wins what?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“Well, what do you want?” Cat Noir asked, dodging Rhythm Robber while trying to hit him.

Judgement Wolf responded while also dodging and trying to attack “Well, this guy’s got the kind of rhythm that can be so smooth. I reckon the prize should be high. How about if I win, you confess to Ladybug in your civilian form?”

“Got it” Cat Noir said. “And if I win, you tell me who you are.”

“Agreed” Judgement Wolf Said.

“Will you two just shut up and dance?” Rhythm Robber asked.

“Nope. Talking’s part of my charm” Cat Noir said.

“Besides, you’re the one that needs to evacuate the dancefloor” Judgement Wolf said.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s “Master! I think I’m going to need some help.”

“I understand” Master Fu said. He got out the Miracle Box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

I need someone who can keep up rhythmically. Got it. “I’m going to need the snake miraculous.” Master Fu gave it to her and she left.

Meanwhile Luka was watching from a distance as Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf kept fighting and dodging Rhythm Robber. As Judgement Wolf was distracting Rhythm Robber, Cat Noir struck his back. “Oh yeah! I win!” he said. Eat your heart out!”

Judgement Wolf replied “Settle down, we’ve still gotta deal with this guy.”

Luka was looking on, wishing he could help. “Luka?” Said Ladybug. He turned around to see Ladybug.

“Oh Ladybug” Luka said.

“You wanna help, right?” Ladybug said.

“More than anything” Luka said.

Ladybug nodded. “Luka Couffaine. Here is the snake miraculous, which grants you the power of repetition. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is complete, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

Luka looked at the box, nodded, and grabbed it. He opened it and out popped Sass. “It’ssss been a bit, hassssn’t it” Sass said.

“It hasssss” Luka said. Ladybug giggled. He put on the bangle and called out “Sass! Uptempo!” he transformed into Viperion.

“Let’s go” Ladybug said. The two of them lept away.

Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf were battling it out with Rhythm Robber. Rhythm Robber was struck on the back. “OW! What was that?” He turned around to see Ladybug and Viperon. “Another one?”

Judgement Wolf saw Viperion and again his heart skipped a beat. He shook his head. “Focus” he told himself.

“You’re not going to get away from me this time!” Rhythm Robber said, charging at Ladybug and Viprion. They dodged it and met up with Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf. 

“Lucky Charm!” Ladybug called out. “A blindfold?”

Viperion marked this point on his bangle. Rhythm Robber saw Ladybug standing there. “Standing still will be your downfall!” He charged at Ladybug and stole her rhythm, his suit turning up from yellow to the slightest shade of green.

Viperion slid his bangle back. Again, Rhythm Robber charged at Ladybug. “Ladybug! Look out!” Viperion called out. Cat Noir noticed this and jumped in the way. Rhythm Robber stole his rhythm instead.

Viperion slid it back again. “Ladybug! Cat Noir! Watch out!’ Viperion was ready to jump in the way this time, but Judgement Wolf pushed him aside and blocked with his sword. “How’d you do that?”

“I’m immune to miraculous powers” Judgement Wolf said. “I know what’s going on.” Rhythm Robber grabbed Judgement Wolf and stole his rhythm.

Viperion rewound one more time. “Judgement Wolf! Now!” Judgement Wolf blocked and dodged Rhythm Robber’s attack.

Ladybug noticed the white palms, the black suit, and the blindfold. “I got it!” Ladybug said.

She went up to Cat Noir and whispered her plan to him. “Good thinking, M’Lady” Cat Noir said.

“Hold him closer” Ladybug shouted to Judgement Wolf. Judgement Wolf got in, while making sure not to get grabbed. Ladybug jumped on Judgement Wolf,  blindfolded Rhythm Robber, and took Judgement Wolf away.

“You think this’ll stop me?” Rhythm Robber said. “I can still feel the rhythm.”

Cat Noir came up to Viperion and whispered in his ear. “Got it” Viperion said. Viperion charged at Rhythm Robber.

“Gotcha!’ he said, about to strike Viperion. However, Viperion dodged under Rhythm Robber’s legs. Cat Noir then jumped and pushed Rhythm Robber’s hand against his body. Rhythm Robber then began to short circuit. The levels in his body went up and down rapidly. His face was contorting wildly.

“Cataclysm!” Cat Noir called out. He touched the box on his forearm and freed the Akuma. Rhythm Robber was then surrounded by a purple-black aura and turned back into Micah.

Ladybug prepared to capture the Akuma. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize!’ She captured the Akuma and freed the butterfly. “Bye bye little butterfly. MIraculous Ladybug!” she said, throwing the blindfold in the air. Everyone’s rhythm was returned.

“You may have stepped on my feet today Ladybug, but soon you’ll be dancing to the beat of my drum!” Hawk Moth called out.

“What happened?” Micah said.

“Pound it!” said the heroes. Viperon’s bengal started to beep.

“Let’s go” said Ladybug. She, Viperon, and Judgement Wolf started to leave.

“Woah! Why does he get to know who I am?” Viperon asked.

“And how come I don’t?” Cat Noir asked.

Ladybug turned to Cat Noir. “It’s because its his job,” she said.

“Yeah. I test users of the miraculous” Judgement Wolf said. “I’ll explain it to you better later.”

Cat Noir smiled. “Got it.” The three left, while Cat Noir left a different way.

Once Ladybug, Viperon, and Judgement Wolf were in a safe location, Ladybug said “Look, Viperon-”

“Don’t worry. I trust you Ladybug” Vieron said. “Sass! Downtempo!” He transformed back into Luka and gave the miraculous back to Ladybug.

Judgement Wolf gasped, but then caught himself. “Yes, well, if you want to continue being Viperion, I’m going to have to see if you are worthy of Ladybug’s trust. Understand?”

“Of course” said Luka. “I should probably get back and check on everyone.”

“Bye Luka” Ladybug said. “I gotta get this back to Master Fu.”

“See you in a bit” Judgement Wolf said. Ladybug left. “Beyyo! Fangs Dull!” He transformed back into Vlad.

“I can’t believe you fell for the same boy twice in one day” Beyyo said.

“Shut up” Vlad said. Beyyo giggled. He walked back to the Liberty. He saw everyone else coming back, and Luka helping the former Rhythm Robber up.

Suddenly, Marshall and his crew ran up and saw Micah. “Micah!” Marshall said. He ran to his brother and gave him a hug.

“Bro, I’m sorry,” Micah said.

“It’s OK. You’re safe now” Marshall said.

“Marshall?” Luka said.

“Oh, hey Luka. That was you making that killer noise earlier?” Marshall said.

“Yeah. I didn’t know this guy was Micha” Luka said.

“What’s going on?” Ivan asked.

“Sorry. This is my friend Marshall. We’re in the same class” Luka said.

“Luka sometimes makes music for me and crew to dance to” Marshall said.

Micha looked down. “Hey. Your brother loves you” Luka said. “He tells me how hard you try at dancing.”

“He won’t let me join his crew” Micah said.

“Then start your own” Luka said. “Marshall tells me how much you try to be like him but you should come up with your own style that works for you. At least, that’s what he told me when he kicked me out of the crew.”

Micah looked at Marshall. “You kicked him out?”

“Yeah, but it was for the best. He needed to do his own thing” Marshall said.

“Which I am. With Kitty Section” Luka said. “We’re working on our new song. Wanna listen?”

“Sure” said Marshall. “You’re coming too” he said, grabbing Micah.

“Sorry! Sorry!” Marinette said, running back. “I just kept running until I saw the ladybugs, so it took me a while to get back.”

“Hey everyone!” Adrien said, walking by. “I’ve got some good news!”

They both saw each other and then the crowd. “What’s going on?” they both asked.

Luka explained everything to them. “Oh. Cool!” Adrien said. They began walkinging onto the Liberty. “So, working on a new song? Is there a chance I could be a part of it?”

“Um, don’t you have a bunch of restrictions?” Juleka mumbled.

“Not anymore” Adrien said. “My father is being more relaxed with his policies.”

“Cool” said Luka. “We’ll see about the song.”

Everyone had a seat, and the band got back on stage. Kitty Section then played their newest song again. Everyone gave a round of applause.

“Thank you!” said Rose. “So Marinette, do you have any ideas for a costume based on this?”

“Well, I, uh” Marinette said.

“Actually,” Vlad said, “I was thinking Marinette could do something for herself for the exhibition.”

“Marinette, is that what you want to do?” Luka asked.

Marinette looked at everyone. She took a deep breath and said “Well, kind of. I mean, I would also like to help you, and I wouldn’t want to let you down, but I don’t know if I would have the time to do both.”

“It’s OK Marinette” Luka said. “Do whatever you want to do. You make cool stuff for everyone else all the time. Maybe you should do something for yourself.”

Marinette blushed.

Vlad looked disappointed, but also blushed. “He’s so cool.”

Clapping was heard from the shore. Everyone turned to see who it was. It was an older gentleman who had salt and pepper hair, wearing a black trench coat, green pants, and had a briefcase beside him. Marinette thought something about him looked familiar. “Dad?” Juleka said. That’s when it hit Marinette, and everyone else. He had Luka’s kind eyes and Juleka’s sincere smile. This was their father.

Chapter Text

Juleka couldn’t believe it. Standing before her was her father. She had not seen him in person since he moved to England after the divorce. She was just talking about him today, and here he was. Was it magic, or just coincidence?

She remembered the conversation she had with Vlad earlier. “Hey, can I talk to you about something?” she asked

Vlad was intrigued. “Sure” he said.

“So, on Alya’s blog, she mentioned that you were gay, and from the way you’re crushing on my brother, that seems true” Juleka said.

“It is” Vlad said.

“How did it go after you told your parents?” she asked.

“Are you worried about what’ll happen if you tell yours?” Vlad asked.

“No” Juleka said. “I’ve already told them. But…”

“But what?” Vlad said.

Juleka sighed. “A month after I told my parents I was a lesbian, my mom came out as a lesbian as well. My dad said that his job was moving to London. They said that everything wasn’t working out between them and that they were getting a divorce. I blame myself.”

“Well that’s crap” Vlad said.

“Huh?” Juleka said.

“Like I told you, that’s crap” Vlad said. “You coming out had nothing to do with that.”

“But what if it did?” Juleka said. “What if I’m to blame for my parents getting a divorce?”

“Look, they’re your parents. They would never do anything to hurt you, right?” Vlad said. “Unless, did they?”

“No. Nothing like that” Julkea said, smiling the fastest she smiled after talking about this. The thought of her parents hurting her in any way was ridiculous to her.

“Then I don’t see the problem. If they love you, they wouldn’t blame you” Vlad said. “Every family’s different. Your parents are different. It sounds like they had some problems before.”

“But they didn’t tell us until after” Juleka said. “And they seemed to get along well enough.”

“Look, if you’re really concerned, you should just talk to them about this” Vlad said. “The worst thing you can do is keep it bottled inside. It will destroy you. Trust me on this. The six months it took me to come out to my parents were some of the hardest times for me.”

“But what if they do blame me?” Juleka said.

“That just sounds like ‘but what if they kick me out?’ to me, and you don’t need to worry about that” Vlad said. “You were brave enough to confront them when coming out, and they accepted you. You have to be that brave again. Understand?”

“Yes. Thanks Vlad” Juleka said.

“Anytime” Vlad said.

Now her dad was right in front of her; as if fate that brought him here. No matter the circumstances, Juleka had to be prepared. She had to be brave.

Luka left to get his mom. “Mom,” he said. “Dad’s here.”

Anarka was confused. She went to the deck to see her ex-husband. “Richard?” she said.

“Hi Anarka” he said, nervously.

“We should get going” Marshall said.

“Yeah” said Micha. The brothers and the dance troupe left.

“Ivan, you promised me to take me to Andre’s tonight” Mylene said.

“I did?” Ivan said. He realized what was going on. “I mean, I did. Yes.”

“Marinette, you should leave too” Luka said.

“Are you sure?” Marinette said.

“Yes. We’ll be fine for now. We just need to sort whatever is happening out alone” Luka said.

“OK” Marinette said. “Just call me if you need anything.”

“We should go too” Vlad said. “Adrien, I’ll keep you company on your way home, how does that sound?”

“OK?” said Adrien.

“Great! Let’s get going” Vlad said, dragging his friend off of the ship. He looked back and gave Juleka a thumbs up and a wink, signifying everything will be OK.

“Juleka, are you sure you’re going to be OK on your own?” Rose said.

Juleka looked at Rose. They girl of her dreams. She had always wanted to ask her out, but she never had the courage to. Juleka promised herself that if she could tell her parents how she felt, she would ask Rose out. “Yes. I’ll be fine. Just wait for me at school tomorrow” Juleka said.

“OK” said Rose. She left the ship.

Adrien and Vlad were walking to Adrien’s. “It was nice how you helped Marinette like that” Adrien said.

“Yeah, well, what are friends for?” Vlad said.

“You two have gotten awfully close” Adrien said. “I’m almost jealous.”

“You’ll get your chance” Vlad said.

The two continued walking. “So, why’d you wanna walk home with me?” Adrien said.

Vlad smiled. “Because I’d like to get this over with sooner rather than later.”

“Get what over with?” Adrien said.

“There’s someone I’d like you to meet” Vlad said. Beyyo flew out of his pocket. “We had a deal, right?”

Adrien was surprised. “You’re Judgement Wolf?” Vlad nodded. Adrien giggled. “I should have known. That’s such a you name.”

Plagg flew out and confronted Beyyo. “Hello. BEYYO!” he said, menacingly.

Beyyo backed up. “Whatever you want, can’t you tell me farther away?”

Plagg was shocked and offended. “HEY! You can’t speak to me like that after… How many years has it been?”

“It’s been too long and not long enough” Beyyo said, plugging his nose.

“Plagg, maybe you should cut down on your Camembert intake” Adrien said.

“It’s not that” Beyyo said. “You know that I can smell other kwamis? Well Plagg perpetually smells like something rotting. I have long since given up on determining what it is that’s rotting.”

“What are you doing popping up here now?” Plagg asked.

“Well, ever since Hawk Moth first showed up, I’ve been hanging around Paris” Beyyo said. “I’ve tested a few people to see if they were worthy, but none of them were. Then I sensed something on a train. A kindred spirit. Vlad. I tested him, and he passed. He told me he was moving to Paris, and you know the rest.”

“If you were here this whole time, you could have said hi” Plagg said.

“Yeah, but I didn’t have an owner until recently” Beyyo said.

“I guess that’s fair” Plagg said.

“You two seem to know each other well” Adrien said.

“Beyyo tells me he knows all of the kwamis rather well” Vlad said. “He just doesn’t get to see them as often due to their opposing natures.”

“And in Plagg’s case, his smell” Beyyo said.

“You don’t have to be rude about it” Plagg said.

“Wait. This means you know who Ladybug is!” Adrien said, excitedly. “Do you think you can help me with her?”

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh” Vlad said. He did know who Ladybug was. He also knew that Ladybug had a crush on Adrien. BUT he couldn’t just give that information away. It just didn’t feel right. “Maybe you should just give up on Ladybug. Maybe someone else might be more your speed.”

“What are you hiding?” Adrien said.

“It’s complicated” Vlad said.

“Complicated, or stupid?” Beyyo asked.

“Both” Vlad said.

Adrien sighed. “I’ll figure it out eventually” Adrien said. He started walking again.

“I somehow doubt that” Vlad said, following soon after.

Meanwhile, back on the Liberty, Anarka said “It’s been so long. What brings you back here?”

“Well, my job transferred me back to Paris” Richard said. “So, I’m just back. I wanted to see the kids. And I think we need to have a talk.”

Anarka nodded. “Well, come on in,” she said. Richard stepped onto the Liberty

“Oh, before anything else, kids, I got you something” Richard said. He gave his children each a different signed CD of one of their favorite British artists. “And something else” he said, pulling out an authentic British chocolate bar for each of them.

“Thanks dad” Luka said.

“Thanks” Juleka said.

“Well, it’s getting late” Luka said. “If you and mom need to talk, I should probably just go to bed.”

“Alright son” Richard said. “What about you, sweetie?”

“Well…” Juleka said. “I’m going to go to my room too.” She left.

“Alright. Take care” Richard said. He was alone with his ex-wife. “Sooooooooo. I guess we should just get started.”

“Yes” said Anarka.  The two also went inside the ship.

Vlad and Adrien arrived at Adrien’s. “Well, I gotta get going” Vlad said.

“Hey, why don’t you join me?” Adrien said.

“As much as I’d love to, I gotta test Viperion” Vlad said.

“Oh yeah. Why is that?” Adrien asked.

“I gotta test everyone who wields a miraculous. Not just you and Ladybug” Vlad replied. Otherwise, Beyyo would leave me.”

“And you wouldn’t be holding yourself up to your own standards” Beyyo said.

“That to, but what I said is more dramatic” Vlad said.

Adrien laughed. “You certainly have that dramatic flair. Wanna take all of my modeling work?”

“No way. I’m busy enough as is” Vlad said.

“How do you think I feel?” Adrien asked. The two friends laughed. “Alright, I guess I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah. Seyya ya” Vlad said. “You know, you should be more real at school. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for.”

“I’ll keep that in mind” Adrien said. The truth is, he wanted to, but he was afraid his father would get mad at him. He just let him have more freedom. He didn’t want that taken away from him. He figured he’ll ask about it eventually, but for now he’ll take what he can get.

Meanwhile, Vlad pulled out his phone. “Whatcha doin’?” Beyyo asked.

“I’m searching the Ladyblog for any mention of Luka” Vlad answered.

“Good. I was worried you wouldn’t because of your little crush on him” Beyyo said.

“I’m dramatic Beyyo, not an idiot” Vlad said. “Besides, while I like him, I don’t know if he’s boyfriend material. Maybe this’ll help me understand.” Vlad came across a post about Silencer, who was Luka when he was Akumatized. He read it in depth, and he got his idea.

Back on the Liberty, Richard and Anarka were talking. “So, you’re back in Paris” Anarka said.

“Yeah” Richard said. “I just got back today. I wanted to see the kids first thing. It became the third thing after getting everything into my new apartment and eating.”

“I don’t think they’d blame you for that” Anarka said.

Richard smiled. “I was walking up to the ship and I heard a band playing. I could tell immediately that Luka and Juleka were involved.”

“So, what do you want to talk about?” Anarka said.

“Well, since I’m back, I want to see the kids more” Richard said. “I was kind of hoping we could talk about that. What this means, and what might occur.”

“Sounds reasonable” Anarka said. “Do you think we should get our lawyers?”

“Maybe, but I wanna talk about some preliminary stuff before they get involved,” Richard said. “First, I agree that the kids should stay with you. But I still want to get them sometimes.”

“Of course” Anarka said. “I wouldn’t mind talking to you more either.”

“We’ll see about that,” Richard said. “I just hope May is OK with that. And that the kids like her.”

“May?” Anarka asked.

“Sorry. She’s my girlfriend” Richard said. “I met her in London. She’s moving to Paris with me. You’d like her.”

“Hopefully not too much. Otherwise, I might steal her from you” Anarka said.

Richard laughed. “This is what I missed.”

Juleka was staring into the room her parents were in. She knew she had to confront them. Still, she was scared. “Juleka” Luka said. “You alright?”

“Yeah” Juleka said.

Luka put his arms on his sister’s shoulders. “Remember what I said when you came out to them?”

Juleka nodded. “‘You always have me in your corner.’”

“Those words are still true” Luka said. “If you need anything, don’t be afraid to come to me with it.” Luka went off to his room.

Juleka opened the door and faced her parents. They were surprised to see her. “Juleka” Anarka said.

“Is something the matter sweetie?” Richard asked.

Juleka focused. She took a breath, and faced her fears head on. “Mom. Dad. Am I the reason you got divorced?”

The two parents looked at each other. “Of course not” Richard said.

“What makes you say that?” Anarka said.

“It’s just… a month after I came out, you came out, and you said you were moving to England” Juleka said. “I know it sounds crazy, and I know that this was for the best, but I keep thinking that none of this might have happened if I hadn’t come out at all.” She started to tear up.

The parents looked at each other again and nodded. They then went over to their daughter and gave her a hug. “Of course it wasn’t your fault sweetie” Richard said.

“We’re sorry that we made you think that” Anarka said. “Truth be told, I came out to your father a week before you told us.”

“And I heard that my job was moving to London around that same time,” Richard said. “We had already made the decision to separate.”

“We didn’t want to upset you right away, so we held out as long as we could” Anarka said.

“We had no idea you felt like this,” Richard said. “And we’re sorry.”

“It’s going to be OK” Anarka said. Juleka started bawling in her parent’s arms. She was happy that she didn’t cause her parents to divorce, and sad because she spent all of this time blaming herself. She let it all out. Her parents kept holding onto her to reassure her that everything was OK.

Meanwhile, Judgement Wolf snuck aboard the Liberty and made his way to Luka’s room. Luka was asleep. Judgement Wolf remarked on Luka sleeping “He’s so cute, even when he’s sleeping. Alright. I gotta focus. Wolf Mist!” he called out.

Luka was in the TVi studio. He was Silencer. He had Ladybug and Cat Noir’s Miraculous, and had gotten Bob Roth to confess to his theft. He looked around and saw Marinette. “Marinette. It’s OK” Silencer said. “I got Bob Roth to confess. Nothing can stop me now. We got exactly what we wanted.”

“I never wanted any of this” Marinette said, frightened. She ran away.

Silencer looked on. “Wait! Marinette!”

Luke then woke up. He sighed a sigh of relief. He was just dreaming. Ever since Silencer, this was his recurring nightmare. However, he felt something in his hand. He pulled it out over the sheets and found a box. It looked like the box his miraculous was in “Sass?” he said, opening it. Out popped a red kwami with black spots. “You’re not Sass.”

The kwami shook her head. “My name is Tikki. I’m Ladybug’s kwami.” Luka then cowered at the corner of his bed. He remembered now. Silencer did win. But as soon as Hawk Moth showed up, he lost Ladybug’s miraculous. Hawk Moth took away his powers until the miraculous was found. He then realized everything he did and got frustrated with himself. He found Ladybug’s miraculous and decided to take it home with him. He’d figure it out in the morning.

“What-What have I done?” Luka said to himself.

“Calm down Luka” TIkki said to him. “You still have the chance to make this right. Just return me to Ladybug, and she can fix everything.”

“You’re right” Luka said, calming down.

“Or better yet, we can give the miraculous to Hawk Moth and gain our power back” a voice said in Mr. XY’s voice. Luka and Tikki then looked and saw Silencer.

“Please tell me you see this too” Luka said.

“Yeah” said Tikki.

“Come on. Let’s just go pay Hawk Moth a visit” Silencer said. “After all, what makes you think I could use the miraculous anymore?” he said in Ladybug’s voice.

Luka grabbed the box and started running. When he was in the street, Tikki asked “Um, where are you running too?”

“I don’t know. Away from there though” Luka said.

“Silly Luka” Silencer said, gaining on him. He then switched it up to Roger’s voice. “Do you actually think you can escape me? After all,” he switched to Cat Noir’s voice “I am you.” Silencer was now in front of Luka.

“You’re not me,” Luka said.

“Oh, but I am” Silencer said in Mayor Bourgeois’s voice. “And soon, I will be all that is left of you.” He threw a punch, but Luka dodged and ran the other way

“Tikki! What do I do?” Luka said.

“You can’t keep up with Silencer at this pace. You have to transform using the ladybug miraculous” Tikki said.

Luka thought about it for a minute. “I can’t” he said.

“Why not?” Tikki asked.

“Because I made this mess by becoming Silencer. I’m not worthy of Ladybug’s Miraculous. She’s perfect” Luka said.

Tikki shook her head. “Believe me. I work with Ladybug all the time, and she’s not perfect” Tikki said. “She’s just a regular person like you. And like you, she makes mistakes.”

“Really?” Luka said.

“Yes” Tikki replied. “But she fixes her mistakes. You have the chance to do the same.”

Luka looked at the kwami. “Time’s up” Silencer said.

Luka quickly put the earrings on. “What’s the phrase?” he asked.

“Tikki! Spots On!” TIkki said.

“Tikki! Spots On!” Luka said. He transformed into a male Ladybug.

Silencer switched to Ladybug’s voice. “You think you can defeat me now? Pathetic.”

Luka then took out his yo-yo and called out “Lucky Charm!” He received a mirror.

“You want to defeat me with a mirror? The real Ladybug couldn’t defeat me with a vacuum!” Silencer said.

Luka looked into the mirror. “I don’t need to defeat you,” he said.

“What?!” Silencer said in XY’s voice.

“You’re right. I am you. And you are me” Luka said. “But there’s a difference between us.” He started walking forward. “You’re only a part of me. The part I hate about myself. My anger and frustration. My cowardice and fear. But you’re not all of me. You’re not my joy. My calm. My fighting spirit. My love. You’re none of those. I have to accept that you’ll always be a part of me. You’ll never go away. However, you’re nothing without me.” Luka then walked into Silencer and Silencer disappeared into Luka. Luka threw the mirror up and called out “MIraculous Ladybug!” The Ladybugs fixed all of the damage that Silencer caused. Luka then used the yo-yo to travel across town.

Luka, back in his civilian attire, knocked on a door. A figure bathed in white answered. “Luka?” she said.

“Hi Ladybug” Luka said. “I believe this belongs to you.” He handed her the box containing her miraculous.

Ladybug took it. “Thanks. I was wondering where those ladybugs came from that gave me back my voice.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t get back Cat Noir’s miraculous” Luka said. “And that I caused this mess in the first place.”

“It’s alright” Ladybug said. “You’ve clearly learned from your mistakes. That’s what counts.”

“Thanks Ladybug” Luka said. The world around him then disappeared before him, leaving a white area surrounding Luka.

“I expected no less” Judgement Wolf said.

Luka was surprised. “So, this is how you test people?” Luka said.

“Yup” Judgement Wolf said. “And you passed.”

“Hm. By the way, thanks for helping out earlier” Luka said.

“You’re welcome” Judgement Wolf said, nervously. “Well, my work here is done. Goodnight.” Judgement Wolf jumped out of the Wolf Mist and Luka fell back asleep.

Luka woke up the next morning and got out of bed. He saw his sister looking more cheerful than ever. “Morning Juleka” he said.

“Morning Luka” Juleka said. “You look well.”

“So do you” Luka said.

After breakfast, the two of them headed off for school. They passed by a flower shop, and Juleka stopped and looked inside. “You go on ahead Luka, I’ll catch up later” Juleka said.

At school, Rose was talking Alix and Marinette when she heard “Rose!” She turned around and saw Juleka holding a bunch of pink roses.

Rose walked over to Juleka, Juleka handed her the flowers. Inside the bouquet, there was a note. Rose took the note out and read it. “‘Will you go out with me?’”

“I know you have a thing for Prince Ali,” Juleka said, “and I know I can’t compare., but ever since the first time I laid eyes on you, I can’t stop thinking about you. I’ve always wanted to say this, but I never had the courage before.”

“What are you talking about?” Rose said, hugging Juleka. “Of course I’ll go out with you! I mean, Prince Ali is great, but you’re my everyday Prince Ali. You’re kind, caring, sweet. You’re everything I ever wanted.”  The two girls looked into each other’s eyes and gave each other a kiss.

“How romantic!” Marinette said, tears welling up in her eye.

“I know someone who could learn a thing or two from Juleka” Alix said, looking at Marinette. Marinette blushed.

“Isn’t love amazing?” Adrien asked, looking on.

“I had a feeling this would all work out” Vlad said. “Oh by the way, don’t you call Marinette your ‘everyday Ladybug’?”

“What are you getting at?” Adrien asked.

“I’m just saying, if it works for Rose, maybe you should try it” Vlad said.

Adrien looked over at Marinette. “Maybe” he said.

Luka looked on as his sister was kissing the girl of her dreams. He smiled, knowing that she faced her own inner demons last night as well. They both came out the other side better.

Chapter Text

Marinette and Vlad were in Mr. Chastain’s office. “So, I was thinking, I could maybe create some designs for the art exhibition” Marinette said.

“Of course Marinette” Mr. Chastain said. “I’m surprised you didn’t come to me day one.”

“Well, I thought I might be too busy” Marinette said. “Vlad kind of talked me into it.”

“Don’t drag me down like that. You wanted to do this, right?” Vlad said.

“Of course” Marinette replied.

“Then just do it” Vlad said.

“So, who are you going to use to model your clothes?” Mr. Chastain asked.

“Well, I was just thinking of using models” Marinette said.

“Nonsense. I’m available” Vlad said. “And I think Adrien wouldn’t mind doing this either.”

“You…think so?” Marinette said.

“Sure, let’s go ask him” Vlad said.

“Of course I will” Adrien said.

“Really?! You mean it?!” Marinette said.

“Yeah. I model professionally all the time. It would be nice to do something just for fun” Adrien said. “In fact, why don’t you come over after school today? We can ask my father if you could borrow some of his things. He’s actually been pretty cool lately.”

“Your father? As in Gabriel Agreste? As in THE Gabriel Agreste?” Marinette said, panicking. “There’s no way he’ll let me-”

“Of course I’ll help out” Gabriel said, later at the mansion.

Marinette’s mouth hung agape. “Told ya he’s been cool lately” Adrien said.

“Of course, I’m not going to buy anything new for this, nor will I allow you to use anything new” Gabriel said, “but I have plenty of unused material if you need it. Also, you have access to my machines.”

“Are you sure, Mr. Agreste?” Marinette said. “I’m just some high school girl.”

“Nonsense Marinette. From what I’ve seen, you’re an excellent designer” Gabriel said. “You’re better than everyone else.”

“What he means to say is ‘don’t sell yourself short’” Adrien said, covering for his dad. “Marinette, you designed a derby hat that Audrey Bourgeois loved. You’ve designed an album cover for Jagged Stone. You are amazing Marinette, and you deserve the best.”

Marinette couldn’t stop blushing. “Thank you” she said.

“You can get started right away, if you want,” Gabriel said.

Marinette checked her phone. “AH! I forgot. I’ve got to babysit this afternoon. I’m going to be late! At my own house nonetheless!”

“In that case, our driver can take you home” Gabriel said.

“We should come along too” Vlad said. “If we’re going to be your models, you’d need our measurements, right? Besides, I’m great with kids.”

“Vlad, you’re not great with people” Adrien retorted.

“Yeah, but kids are different” Vlad said.

“We can have this conversation later!” Marinette said, angrily.

“Marinette’s right, let’s go” Adrien said. The three of them left.

Gabriel walked back into his office. He approached a metal case, opened it, took out his miraculous, and put it back on. “I’m sorry I have to do this Nooroo, but since you’ve told me that this Beyyo can sniff out other kwamis, I have to be more careful than ever.”

“Yes master” Nooroo said. “But just a reminder, it is possible for you to pass his standards.”

Gabriel quickly responded “I can’t take that chance Nooroo. Remember when I Akumatized myself to keep people off of my trail?” Nooroo nodded. “If there’s any chance that I could get caught or lose my powers, I have to eliminate it. If I were powerless, if I couldn’t get the ladybug and cat miraculous, I wouldn’t be able to bring back Emilie. I don’t know what I would do if I actually had to let go of her.”

Meanwhile, a little after the three of them arrived back at Marinette’s, Nadja was telling Marinette “Thanks again for babysitting Manon.”

“No problem Mrs. Chamack” Marinette said. “And thanks for understanding why I got here just as you arrive.”

“I get it Marinette” Nadja said. “Everyone has a lot of things to do at times. I’m just glad you could make it work.”

Marinette lowered herself to Manon. “Ready to go upstairs Manon? I have some quick work I need to do, but after that, we can do what you want.”

“Who is that guy? I feel like I’ve seen him before, but I don’t know where” Manon said.

“Who, Vlad?” Marinette said. “He’s a model, like Adrien. He just moved to Paris recently from Toulouse.”

“I remember now!” Manon said. “You were in a magazine! Mommy was looking you up to prepare for an interview. She says you can be rude sometimes.”

“Manon!” Nadja said.

“It’s OK Mrs. Chamack, I can be rude sometimes” Vlad said.

Nadja replied “Yes, but-”

“Don’t worry about it Mrs. Chamack” Adrien said. “Vlad prefers that level of bluntness. He’s not one to take to common courtesy.”

“It’s part of my charm,” Vlad said. Adrien rolled his eyes. “So, we’re still on for that interview then?”

“Yes” Nadja said.

“Good” Vlad said. “I’m heading upstairs.”

“Come on Manon, we should get upstairs too” Marinette said.

“OK” Manon said. The two of them headed upstairs.

“Nadja” Adrien said. “I know Vlad can seem rude at times, but he has his reasons. He’s a nice guy once you get to know him. And once he gets to know you. Just relax and be yourself.”

Nadja nodded. “Thank you Adrien” she said.

“Don’t mention it” Adrien said.

“Well, I’m off. Take good care of Manon for me” Nadja said, leaving.

“Will do Mrs. Chamack” Adrien replied. He headed upstairs.

Marinette was getting Vlad’s measurements, while Manon was playing with the Ladybug-related dolls. “Did you make those dolls yourself?” Vlad asked.

“Yeah” Marinette said.

“Is there anything you can’t do?” Vlad asked.

“Play croquet” Marinette answered. Vlad was surprised, but then laughed. “Don’t laugh! Now I have to do the legs again” Marinette said, frustrated.

“I’m sorry” Vlad apologized. “I just wasn’t expecting that answer.”

“Well, it’s true” Marinette said. “I’m too scared of it to do it well.”

“Scared?” Vlad said.

Marinette sighed. “When I was about Manon’s age, my parents bought a movie from when they were younger. I wanted to watch it with them, but they wouldn’t let me. So I snuck down and watched it while they weren’t looking. Turns out, my parents were right. It was a gruesome movie. I had nightmares for weeks. It starts out with croquet, and I’ve been too afraid since. And done.” Vlad started to relax.

Adrien got up. “Hey guys. What’s up?”

“What took you so long?” Vlad asked.

“I had to cover for your behavior” Adrien said.

“Adrien” Vlad said. “When will you stop doing that? People need to see me unvarnished.”

“I don’t think most people are ready for you unvarnished” Adrien said.

“You were” Vlad retorted.

“Yeah, but I’m not most people” Adrien said.

“I know” Marinette said, joyously.

“What was that?” Adrien said.

“Ah! Nothing!” Marinette said. “Let’s just get your measurements.”

Adrien got ready to be measured. He was used to people doing this to him a thousand times over. But this time, it felt different. Maybe because this was his friend doing it this time. Maybe it was because he knew that this would result is something just for him, and not a product to be sold. Whatever it was he felt happy. “Oh, I just remembered. Nathalie found my parents’ old croquet set. Wanna come play sometime? I can invite everyone else.”

“Croquet? Uhhhhh, sure” Marinette said.

“But I thought you just told Vlad that you were afraid of croquet Marinette” Manon said.

“WHAT?! No I didn’t” Marinette said.

“You most certainly did” Vlad said. Marinette groaned.

“Don’t worry Marinette. We can do something else if you want” Adrien said.

“Thanks” Marinette said. She finished getting Adrien’s measurements. “And that’s done. Well Manon, what should we do now?”

Manon thought about it. “Why don’t we go to the zoo?” she asked.

“Sounds like a plan” Marinette said. “Do you guys wanna come with?”

“Sure” Adrien said.

“I got nothing better to do today” Vlad said.

“Thanks” Marinette said. “We should go then.” Marinette and Adrien left.

Manon was just about to leave as well, when Vlad stopped her. “Manon” he said. “Can you keep a secret?”

“What kind of secret?” Manon said.

“Well, it’s just, Marinette and Adrien like each other a whole lot” Vlad said.

“I know” Manon said.

“You know?” Vlad said.

“Yup. I just know that they were meant to be together forever and ever” Manon said.

Vlad smiled. “Right. But they don’t know that. And they’re afraid of asking each other out because they don’t want to be rejected.”

Manon looked sad. “That’s terrible.”

“I know” Vlad said. “I’m working on a way to get them together, and I was wondering if you had any ideas?”

Manon thought about it for a little bit. “I would invite them somewhere, but not tell them the other one was showing up. Then you can set it up to be super romantic, and when they get there, they’ll realize they’re on a date.”

Vlad chuckled. “What a great idea Manon. I’ll keep that in mind. But first, there are a few other complications I need to work out first. Is that alright?”

Vlad reflected on a meeting he had with Master Fu. “So, when do you think Marinette and Adrien will be ready to know each other’s identities?” Vlad asked.

“Well, there are two big problems” Master Fu said. “They aren’t ready to be honest with each other. But in different ways.”

“How so?” Vlad asked.

“Well, think of it like this: Marinette is a pot of water” Master Fu said.”Normally, she’s boiling at the right level to interact with  noodles, or people. However, when it comes to Adrien, she’s boiling over before the noodles are even in the pot.”

“I understand,” Vlad said. “I’ve definitely seen that in Marinette.”

“Adrien’s situation is a bit more complicated” Master Fu said. “As Cat Noir, he is a lot more free-spirited. A lot more loose. As Adrien, however, he is stiff. He creates this aura of perfection around him.”

“I get that as well,” Vlad said. “It’s the same when he and I are goofing around backstage. He needs to loosen up a little more when he’s among friends.”

“So until they’re ready to be honest about themselves in front of each other, I would advise not telling them” Master Fu said.

“Sure. But, it wouldn’t hurt to maybe help move them in that particular direction, would it?” Vlad asked.

“If that is how you want to proceed” Master Fu said.

“Great. Thanks Master Fu” Vlad said.

In the present, Manon said “Of course! If it means they won’t be afraid.”

Vlad rubbed her head. “Thanks for understanding” he said.

Marinette popped back up. “Manon! There you are. What were you doing?” she asked.

“Do you want to tell her Manon?” Vlad asked.

Manon looked at Marinette, said “It’s our secret”, and giggled.

Marinette panicked. She pulled Vlad aside and asked “You didn’t tell her, did you?”

“Tell her what?” Vlad asked confused.

“That you’re Judgement Wolf!” Marinette whispered.

Vlad burst out laughing. “Oh man! No. Just no.”

“What are you talking about?” Manon asked.

“Well, it’s our secret” Vlad said.

Manon was stunned. “OK” she said kind of sad.

“Come on Manon. We’re about to go to the zoo” Marinette said. The three of them went downstairs, met Adrien, and the four of them left for the zoo.

Thy had an exhilarating day at the zoo. Manon loved every second of it, and the three teens loved seeing Manon so happy. When Marinette had to take Manon to the restroom, Vlad and Adrien found themselves alone.

Vlad took this opportunity to try and move Adrien closer to honesty. “So, when do you break out backstage Adrien?”

“Vlad, what are you talking about?” Adrien said.

“Come on man, you know what I mean” Vlad said. “Yes, you’re always the gentleman, but where are the jokes? Where’s your ability to relieve tension?”

“That’s Cat Noir, not Adrien” Adrien said. “I don’t know what father would think if I started doing that all the time.”

“Even among friends?” Vlad said. “I mean, you do it with me.”

“Yeah, but you know me better. We’re in the same boat” Adrien said.

“Yeah, but I always act the way I do backstage” Vlad said.

“I guess” Adrien said.

“I know you’re worried about your dad, but you’ve gotta open up more” Vlad said. “Maybe Ladybug will like you more if you spread yourself out more, instead of overpowering her and only her with your true self.”

“I thought you told me to give up on Ladybug” Adrien said.

“Yeah, well, I know you well enough to know when you’re actually listening to me” Vlad said.

Adrien giggled. “Maybe. I might be listening to you. A little bit.”

“Ooooo. Do tell” Vlad said.

“Well, lately I’ve been thinking that if it doesn’t work out with Ladybug, I might just ask Marinette out” Adrien said. “She kind, considerate, funny, diligent. There’s a lot to like about her.”

“You know that’s right” Vlad said.

“Still, I’m slightly holding out hope for Ladybug” Adrien said.

“Well, it would help to loosen up either way” Vlad said. “Everyone in class thinks you’re this perfect being, including Marinette. If you asked Marinette out now, she would explode.”

“I’ll keep that in mind” Adrien said.

Marinette and Manon returned. They spent the rest of the afternoon at the zoo. They went back to Marinette’s place. Nadja came and picked up Manon. Adrien decided to leave as well. He had an early morning fencing lesson and wanted to get some sleep.

“So Marinette,” Vlad said, “why do you get so intense around Adrien?”

“Intense? What me. Pshhhh. I don’t get intense” Marinette said.

“Marinette, you said you would play croquet with him after you just got done telling me how it gave you nightmares” Vlad said.

“Yeah” Marinette relented.

“Why can’t you treat him like you would me?” Vlad asked.

“Because Adrien’s perfect” Marinette said. “The way he walks, talks, eats, down to how he smiles. I, uh, I’m not saying you’re bad.”

“Relax, I get it,” Vlad said. “You’re in love. But remember, no one’s perfect. Not even Adrien.”

“Well, there’s also the fact that there isn’t a chance the two of us will go out anytime soon” Marinette said.

“True” Vlad said. “So, what about someone who you might date? Like Cat Noir, for instance.”

“Cat Noir?” Marinette said.

“Well, you did kiss him” Tikki said.

“TIKKI!” Marinette said.

“When did this happen?” Beyyo asked.

“Well, a supervillain named Oblivio wiped our memories” Tikki explained. “They kissed after figuring out how to use their powers again and defeating Oblivio, but before the magic ladybugs could fix everything, including their previous memories.”

“I see” said Vlad.

“Look, Cat Noir is great and all, but…” Marinette said.

“He’s just a friend to you” Vlad said. “I know. What I’m asking is how do you maintain a cool head like that when talking to Cat Noir? Or anyone else?”

“Well, with Cat Noir, I’m usually focused on stopping a supervillain” Marinette said. “I don’t have time to think about all the things. But when I’m near Adrien, it feels like time slows down, and everything piles up.”

Vlad nodded. “I get it. But maybe I can help you work on that. So you won’t be as much of a nervous wreck if and when you and Adrien are alone.”

Marinette got an inquisitive look on her face. “Is this what you and Manon were talking about?”

“Maybe” Vlad said. “Like she said, it’s our secret.”

Marinette smiled smugly. “Well, whatever you’re planning, I wouldn’t mind some help.”

“Anytime” Vlad said. “I should get going too. Seeya.” Vlad left.

Marinette sat down. “Tikki, do you think he’s right?” Marinette asked.

“Well, you do go overboard when it comes to Adrien” Tikki said. “Maybe it would be helpful to learn how to calm down around him. Treating him like Vlad or Cat Noir might be a good idea.”

“You’re right Tikki” Marinette said. She started to sketch possible designs.

Vlad was on his way home when Beyyo popped up. “I just don’t understand. How can any two people be like this? It’s almost infuriating” Beyyo said.

“Yeah, but that’s where we come in,” Vlad said. “We’re there to help. If they’re going to continue being Ladybug and Cat Noir, they need to be at their best. Otherwise, we’d have to take away their miraculous. And we don’t want that, do we?”

“I guess you’re right” Beyyo said. “They are great superheroes.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask you something” Vlad said. “If I’m not affected by miraculous powers, how was I able to travel through time with Bunnyx?”

“Yeahhhhhh, soooooooo” Beyyo began explaining. “You’re able to interact with the powers, but you always have to maintain a balance.”

“Meaning?” Vlad said.

“Well, in this case, since you went through time, you will disappear from that moment and appear in the same place you were right before you appeared in Alix’s room during the time you missed” Beyyo said. “You can’t exist simultaneously on the timeline.”

“Well that’s something you could have told me sooner” Vlad said.

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t expecting she’d take you that far out” Beyyo said. “It’s been a bit since Fluff and I interacted.”

“Well then, I guess that’s another thing we need to prepare for” Vlad said, walking through the night to his place.

Chapter Text

In the morning, Kim was getting ready to run. Max and Markov were monitoring him. “And go” Max said. Kim started doing laps.

Vlad noticed this and walked up to Max. “Hey, what’s going on?” he asked.

“Kim is training for a 5K this afternoon,” Markov said.

“Oh. Hi Markov” Vlad said.

“Hi Vlad” Markov replied.

“I hope this isn’t his first training session” Vlad said.

“Of course not” Max said. “We’re just doing some last minute prep. Kim wants to be on top of his game.”

“I hear that” Vlad said. Kim continued to run.

“And that’s 10!” Markov said. Kim stopped and started to catch his breath. Max came over and gave him some water. “By my calculations, you were going 3.5% faster than yesterday!”

“Thanks Markov” Kim said.

“So, what’s this 5K for, anyway?” Vlad asked.

“Have you not been paying attention?” Kim asked.

“Actually, he’s been more focused on the art exhibition and Marinette, as well as his upcoming interview with Nadja Chamack” Markov said.

Vlad glared at Markov. “Thanks Markov.”

“I get the feeling that you don’t trust me Vlad” Markov said.

“Well, it’s true” Vlad said. “I don’t trust people easily.”

“Max told me as much,” Markov said.

“I’m just not comfortable with people knowing too much about me before meeting me,” Vlad said.

“I can relate, actually!” Markov said.

“You can?” Vlad asked.

“Yes. See, when I was first shown to Max’s class, Ms. Mendeleiev just thought I was some toy” Markov recounted. “That I didn’t have emotions or I didn’t understand anything outside of what Max told me.”

“So, what happened?” Vlad asked.

Max grew nervous. “Well, um, you see-”

“It’s OK Max” Markov said. “I got Akumatized.”

Vlad was stunned. “Huh. I’m actually impressed. I’m sorry.”

“Impressed? Sorry? For what?” Markov asked.

“Well, I was just worried that you were just a cold, calculating machine who just gathers information” Vlad admitted. “But seeing that you have more volatile emotions, I realized I was wrong. You’re actually kind of cool. Just like Adrien said.”

“Huh. Apology accepted” Markov said. “But, if you don’t like people knowing too much about you, why are you OK with you knowing about people?”

Vlad smiled. “I only knew what Adrien told me. I’m fine with people knowing some stuff about me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do interviews or be a model.”

“Speaking of,” Max interjected, “are you prepared for your upcoming interview? I can help you, if you want.”

“I’d like that. Thanks Max” Vlad said.

“Can it wait until after the 5K?” Kim said.

“Of course” Vlad said. “You still haven’t answered my question, by the way.”

“Which was…..?” Kim said.

“What’s this 5K about?” Vlad asked again.

“Oh. Right” Kim said. “It’s a charity 5K. To help rebuild populations affected by severe weather. People can donate at the event. It’s really great actually. Ondine gave me the idea. We’re running together.”

“Well, you can count on me to be cheering you on” Vlad said.

“Thanks. I just hope that Jeremy isn’t too smug” Kim said.

“Jeremy?” Vlad asked.

“A frequent runner for charity 5Ks, and especially this one” Max explained. “He’s always obsessed with getting a good time.”

“At a charity 5K? That seems pretentious” Vlad said.

“Well, a little competition never hurt anyone,” Kim said. “It’s just he gets rude sometimes.”

“I see” Vlad said. “Well, we should get to class then.”

“Right” Kim said. The three teens headed to class, while Markov went to Max’s locker.

During break, Vlad came up to Marinette. He noticed she was really tired. “Hey Marinette. Did something happen last night?”

“No” Marinette said , yawning. “I just stayed up a bit too late working on ideas for the art exhibition.”

“Can I see them?” Vlad asked.

“NO!” Marinette, suddenly awake. “I mean, they aren’t ready yet.”

“Marinette, you need to relax” Alya said.

“I’ve been telling her that as well,” Vlad said. “I know. Kim is doing a charity 5K today. Come and watch that with me. It’ll put your mind at ease.”

Marinette yawned again. “I guess I could use a break. This all happened so suddenly.”

“Then it’s settled” Vlad said. “Meet you after school?”

“Sure” Marinette said.

“I’m in too” Alya said. “I’m pretty sure Nino would want to come as well.”

“The more the merrier” Vlad said.

After school, Vlad, Max, and Markov were waiting by the door. Marinette, Alya, and Nino joined them “Alright, let’s go” Vlad said.

“Where’s Kim?” Marinette asked.

“He left already. He’s getting ready at the starting line” Max said.

“Oh. Makes sense” Marinette said. “Let’s get to our spot then.” The six of them left.

At the 5K, Kim and Ondine were doing some stretches to warm up. “Thanks for doing this with me Kim.”

“Are you kidding? This is great. Thanks for inviting me” Kim said. The two of them giggled.

“Hey” said a man.

The couple turned to look at him. He was wearing the same white tank top and red shorts that all participants in the 5K were wearing, as well as blue sweatbands. He had medium length brown hair, hazel eyes a medium build, and serious look on his face. “Hello Jeremy” Kim said.

“If you’ve got time to giggle, you’ve got time to run” Jeremy said.

“We can do both” Ondine said.

“Yeah, we’re all here for the same reason,” Kim said.

Jeremy went back to stretching. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The group took their seats. “Hey guys” Adrien said, standing over them.

“ADRIEN?!” Marinette said.

“Oh, cool. What are you doing here?” Vlad said.

“My father helped plan and finance the 5K” Adrien said. “He’s also donating a lot of money for relief efforts. Unfortunately, he’s not here, but I wanted to show a public presence in his place.”

“Cool” Vlad said.

“What are you doing?” Adrien said.

“Kim is running in the race with Ondine” Alya said. “We’re here to support them.”

“Cool” Adrien said, taking a seat next to Marinette.

“So much for relaxation”Alya said, rolling her eyes. She, Nino, and Vlad giggled.

“It’s starting” Max said.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer said. “The 5K is just about to begin. Remember, you can donate all throughout the even at any of our tents.”

Kim was at the starting line next to Ondine and Jeremy. “Hey Jeremy” he said. “Good luck out there.”

“I don’t need your pity” Jeremy said. Kim was surprised and then frustrated. The race began.

“And they’re off” the announcer said. “This is the 5th charity 5K in as many weeks for Jeremy Gobel. All eyes are on him, as he attempts to set yet another record.”

“Well, not all eyes” Max said. “YOU CAN DO IT KIM!”

The 5K went on. Kim’s friends were all cheering for him. However, Marinette’s focus was divided between Adrien and the event. When the 5K reached the point where they were sitting, it was at a fever pitch. Kim and Jeremy were leading the pack, neck and neck. However, Kim tripped and fell onto of Jeremy, planting them both on the ground. The entire crowd went silent.

Ondine, who was not too far behind, caught up and picked Kim up. “Are you OK Kim?” Ondine said.

“Yeah” Kim said. He then gasped. Jeremy started getting up. Kim offered his hand to him. “Want some help?”

Jeremy was shocked, but then got angry again. He slapped Kim’s hand away. “I don’t need help. I need to win.” he said He got back up and started running. Kim and Ondine were surprised.

“I hope he’s OK” Alya said.

“Yeah, but that Jeremy guy was rather rude” Vlad said.

“Totally” Nino said.

“Kim was just trying to help” Max said. “But it is odd.”

Marinette was thinking intently. “I wonder why he did that?”

The 5K continued on. The crowd was speculating on the fall and Jeremy’s behavior afterward. Jeremy felt resentment from the crowd. “I don’t care. I need to keep going” he said. He sped up. “Gotta break that record.”

Jeremy reached the finish line. He checked his time. “14:37?!” he said. He was upset because his previous time was 14:34. He didn’t break his record.

Kim finished soon after. “Alright! 14:44. Not bad for falling down at one point.”

“YOU!” Jeremy said, angrily and walking up to him. “You cost me my record!”

Kim was surprised by this sudden vitriol. “I’m sorry” he said. “I didn’t mean it. But hey, you still did well.”

“That’s NOT the point!” Jeremy said. A camera was filming him now. “Because of you, my streak is ruined. Do you know my numbers have been attracting more attention to this charity?!”

“Well, I’m sorry, but we are working towards the same thing,” Kim said.

“You keep saying that, but you don’t know how untrue that is!” Jeremy screamed. He then noticed the camera.

“Uh, Jeremy,” Nadja said. “What do you have to say about your performance? Or your sudden outburst?”

“Get that camera out of my face!” Jeremy said, pushing the camera out of the way.

“How rude!” Markov said. “He should apologize to Kim and Nadja. They didn’t mean any harm.”

“I guess that’s what you get when all you care about is a high score” Nino said.

“I don’t know. He seemed upset about something more” Max said.

“I agree” Marinette said. “I’m going to go talk to him. I’ll meet you by Kim and Ondine.” Marinette ran off.

“Someone should go check on her” Vlad said. “I guess I’ll do it.” Vlad followed Marinette.

Jeremy found a place to sit down. He took out a picture, and was looking at it, frustrated.

Hawk Moth could sense the flurry of negativity within him. “A rising star with a short fuse who feels like he just lost everything” Hawk Moth monologued. “What perfect prey for my Akuma. Fly away little one, and evilize him.”

The Akuma flew to Jeremy and fused with the picture he was holding. “Hello, Rocket. I am Hawk Moth. Embarrassed? Ashamed? Frustrated? You should have beaten your time. With the powers I’m giving you, you can win any race. All I ask for in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“I’m going to run circles around them,” Jeremy said. He put the picture in one of his sweatbands, and a purple-black aura surrounded him.

Marinette caught up with Jeremy to catch him transforming. “Oh no!” She said. She ran away to find someplace to hide. She bumped into Vlad. “Vlad?”

“I came to check on you. Is everything alright?” Vlad asked. A strong gust of wind flowed as a blur moved quickly. “What was that?”

“An Akuma!” MArinete said. “Jeremy’s been Akumatized!” Vlad nodded. The two of them hid. “Tikki! Spots on!” Marinette transformed into Ladybug.

Vlad called out “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” Vlad transformed into Judgement Wolf.

At the finish line, everyone one else was meeting Kim. Suddenly, Kim was pushed really hard to the ground by something fast. Kim sat up and turned to look at who pushed him. He looked like Jeremy, but he had red skin, his tank top, shorts, and shoes were white, and his sweatbands and hair were blue. “So, how does it feel to be pushed down? Humiliated in front of everyone?”

“Jeremy?” Kim asked.

“Jeremy’s not here. The name’s Rocket. And I want a rematch” Rocket said.

Kim stood up. “Well, you’re not getting one!” he said.

“That’s fine” Rocket said. He zipped to where Kim was. “I know I’d win anyway.” He then picked up Kim and ran off. A few seconds later he returned.

“WHAT DID YOU DO WITH KIM?!” Ondine screamed.

“Wanna find out?” Rocket asked. He picked her up and ran off with her, returning shortly after. “Anyone else?” Rocket asked.

“You have to return them!” Max called out.

“Max” Markov said, concerned.

“Not until I have my revenge!” Rocket said. “Perhaps you would like to join your friend.”

“Perhaps you would stop harassing people” Ladybug called out with Judgement Wolf.

“Heh” Rocket said. “Guess I found myself a new target.” Rocket rushed over. Ladybug jumped out of the way, while Judgement Wolf swung his sword to hit Rocket.

“Next time, watch where you’re going” Judgement Wolf said.

The crowd dispersed. Adrien found somewhere to hide. “Plagg! Claws out!” he called, transforming into Cat Noir. He jumped into the mix. “Sorry I’m late, but I don’t have this guy’s apparent speed.”

“Cat Noir! Good to see you” Ladybug said.

“I agree” Rocket said. “It makes it easier to get both of your miraculous for Hawk Moth.” He ran up to Cat Noir.

Cat Noir defended himself. “Sorry, but I’m not letting you close the distance. You’re just too fast, too furious for me.” Rocket backed up and rammed him, sending Cat Noir flying. Judgement Wolf slammed his sword down, but Rocket dodged it. Ladybug got back into the fight, and Cat Noir soon joined them.

Max and Markov were hiding close by. “Alright Max! I think it’s time to deploy my latest program!” Markov said.

“Are you sure?” Max said. “It’s dangerous out there.”

“I’ll be in and out. I promise I’ll be safe” Markov said, flying off. While the three heroes were battling Rocket, Markov snuck by and began his program. “Scanning Akuma Energy.” Markov scanned Rocket’s body at moments when he was standing still. Markov found that the most energy as concentrated in Rocket’s sweatband. “LADYBUG!” Markov called out. “I think his Akuma is tucked in his left sweatband!”

“Thanks, but you have to leave!” Ladybug said.

“Too late!” Rocket said. He ran to Markov, grabbed him, and took off.

“NO!” Ladybug said.

“MARKOV!” Max screamed.

“That guy has taken three people” Cat Noir said. “We need a Lucky Charm, and now!”

“Right. Lucky Charm!” Ladybug called out. She received a blanket. “This seems familiar. Got it. We need some help. I’ll be right back.”

“And just where do you think you’re going?” Rocket asked.

Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf stood in Rocket’s way. “Go Ladybug!” Cat Noir said.

“We can handle this guy!” Judgement Wolf said. Ladybug nodded and left.

Rocket charged at Ladybug, but Cat Noir got in his way and was flung back once more. Rocket was determined to get to Ladybug, but Judgement Wolf struck him with his sword. “You’ve still gotta deal with me, you know” he said.

“Wanna bet?” Rocket said. He rushed over to Judgement Wolf and then knocked him into the air. “That’ll buy me some time.” He then rushed in Ladybug’s direction. After he got far enough away, he stopped to look around. No sign of Ladybug in sight.

“We just missed her” Hawk Moth told Rocket. “No matter. She’ll come back soon enough. In the meantime, work on Cat Noir!”

“Yes Hawk Moth” Rocket said. He returned to the fight.

Marinette was hiding behind a building. “That was too close” Marinette said.

“We’ve gotta hurry” TIkki said.

“Right” Marinette said. Marinette ran to Master Fu’s parlor. “Master! I think I’ve been called here.”

“Very well. Although, we do need to talk about how this has been happening often recently” Master Fu said.

“We can talk about this later. We have to act quickly” Marinette said.

Master Fu nodded. He opened the Miracle Box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

I’m going to need someone who can trip this guy up. “That’s it. I’m going to need the horse miraculous” Marinette said. Master Fu nodded.

Rocket returned to the scene. “Cat Noir! I’m not done playing with you yet!”

Cat Noir was woozy. He got up and saw Rocket. He wasn’t sure what to do. He then got a call. “Hello?”

“Hey Cat Noir” Judgement Wolf said from the other end.

“Where are you?” Cat Noir asked.

“About half a mile in the sky” Judgement Wolf said. Cat Noir looked up and confirmed it. “Listen, I have a plan. Can you lead him to where I’m going to land?”

“Sure. What are friends for?” Cat Noir said. They hung up. Cat Noir went to where Rocket was. “Hey buddy. Think you can catch me?” Cat Noir antagonized.

“Think? I know I can!” Rocket said. He started running towards him, but Cat Noir dodged.

“I’m guessing you don’t take turns well” Cat Noir said. Rocket tried again. “You know, you could upgrade to a V8 engine if you want.” Rocket kept trying to catch Cat Noir, but Cat Noir kept dodging right before Rocket started running every time, spewing out jokes all the while. “This is the point you take off your weighted clothing, right? I’ve seen snails move faster than that. I wonder how many steps have you taken to try and get me? You know you would make an excellent waiter with that speed.”

Max was hiding out, watching the events unfold. “Max” said a voice from behind him.

“AH! Oh, Ladybug” Max said. “You startled me.”

“Sorry” Ladybug said. “You want to help your friends right?”

Max nodded. “They’re in danger. I don’t want to sit by and do nothing. I’ve done some calculating. Rocket moves at 200 kilometers per second-”

“Max” Ladybug said. “Thanks for the information, but you can help more directly.” Max was confused. “Max Kante. Here is the miraculous of the horse, which grants you the power of space. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is complete, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

“Yes Ladybug” Max said.

He opened the box to find a pair of glasses. Kaalki popped out. “Hello again Max,” she said.

“Hello again Kaalki” Max said.

“Do you remember what to do?” Kaalki said.

“Yes. Are you ready?” Max replied.

“Yes” Kaalki said.

“Then let’s go” Max said. “Kaalki! Shoes on!” He transformed into Pegasus.

Meanwhile, Judgement Wolf was just about to land. He called out “Reveal Claw! Where are you hiding your prisoners?!”

Cat Noir dodged once again. He noticed that Judgement Wold was just above him, so he decided to take his time. “Oh I get it! You’re called ‘Rocket’ because you’re supposed to be fast!”

Rocket rammed into Cat Noir, smashing him into a building. “Finally” Rocket said. He was then struck from above by Judgement Wolf’s Reveal Claw. He couldn’t help what he said next. “The Eiffel Tower, In Gustave Eiffel’s office.” Judgement Wolf smirked and then landed. “Why did I do that?” Rocket said.

“No lie can escape my Reveal Claw” Judgement Wolf said. “His victims are in the Eiffel Tower.”

“It doesn’t matter. You can’t catch me anyway! I’ll take all of Paris!” Rocket said, running off.

“How are we going to keep up with this guy?” Judgement Wolf said.

“Please tell me I don’t need to get hit anymore” Cat Noir said, trying to recover.

“We’ve got help” Ladybug said, standing next to Pegasus.

“Pegasus!” Cat Noir said.

“Pegasus?” Judgement Wolf said.

“Yes, it is I. Pegasus” Pegasus said. “And based on that information, I‘ve got a plan on how to get him to play by our rules. You three meet him at the Eiffel Tower, while I free everyone. The Ladybug can use her Lucky Charm to figure out phase two.”

“Great idea” Ladybug said.

“Let’s go” Judgement Wolf said.

“So long as it doesn’t involve me being in a collision course” Cat Noir said. The three of them left.

Pegasus stayed behind. “Gallop!” he called out, opening a portal to Gustave Eiffel’s office. He walked through, keeping one foot on the other side.

“Pegasus!” Kim said.

“We’re so glad you’re here!” Markov said.

“Quickly! Step through!” Pegasus instructed. The three of them walked through. Rocket kept bringing people to the office, but Pegasus kept letting them out.

Rocket then saw the three heroes outside of the office. “You think I’ll let you save them?”

“Uh, you kind of already are” Ladybug said, pointing to Pegasus and his efforts.

Rocket looked and screamed “NO!” he then ran off.

“Lucky Charm!” Ladybug called out quickly. “Fly paper?”

“We’re already in a sticky situation” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug looked down and saw the tower, then she looked at Pegasus. “Got it.”

Back at the other side of the portal, Kim was thanking Pegasus. However, Rocket showed up and grabbed Kim. “KIM!” Pegasus called out. Markov got question marks in his eyes.

Ladybug pulled Pegasus through to the office. “Pegasus! I have an idea, but we need to lure Rocket here.”

“Well let’s see if we can find where he’s taken Kim” Pegasus said.

Ladybug took out her yo-yo and scrambled to find footage. They found footage from the many different places where Rocket was taking Kim. Rocket was taking Kim to all sorts of locations and terrorizing him. At each point, Rocket would give parts of a speech. “So how does it feel to be helpless? To know that no matter what you do, nothing will come of it? No one can help you. Because that’s how I felt. When you pushed me down.”

“There! They’re at the Seine!” Pegasus said.

“You think you got a few more in you?” Ladybug said.

“Yes” Pegasus said. “Gallop!” A portal opened.

Rocket was throwing Kim across the Seine, and then ran to the other side to catch him. However, Pegasus’s portal opened between them, and he took Kim back to the office. Rocket was furious.

In the office, Ladybug exclaimed “Great! Now we just need to wait for him to return and then strike. You ready?”

“Yes” Pegasus said.

“Uh, I don’t think we’re going to be doing much waiting,” Kim said. He pointed to a blur heading toward the tower.

“Let’s get you to a better vantage point” Ladybug said, taking Pegasus outside to face the tower. She then went back to the tower to begin her plan.

Rocket started running up the tower. Pegasus studied this, and then knew where to strike. “Gallop!” he called. A portal opened to the side of the tower and Pegasus threw his horseshoe through it, knocking Rocket off. “That’s a ringer!”

Rocket started to fall. He then through to grab onto the tower. He reached for it, but just as he was about to slap his hand down, Ladybug swooped in and placed the flypaper down. Rocket was now stuck on the Eiffel Tower. “That oughta slow you down” Ladybug said.

“May I do the honors, M’Lady?” Cat Noir said, joining her.

“Of course” Ladybug said. Cat Noir fished around the left sweatband and pulled out the picture he tore it up, revealing the Akuma. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize!” Ladybug caught the Akuma. “Gotcha!”

Rocket transformed back into Jeremy and he slipped off of the flypaper. Judgement Wolf caught him. “It’s OK, I got you,” he said.

Ladybug picked up the flypaper and threw it up. “Miraculous Ladybug!” she called out. The magic ladybugs fixed all of the damage and returned Kim back to the finish line.

“Pound it!” said the heroes, after meeting up.

“I might not have been victorious today, Ladybug. But I’m racing toward my ultimate goal, and NOTHING CAN STOP ME!” Hawk Math called out.

Ladybug’s earrings, Judgement Wolf’s ring, and Pegasus’s glasses started beeping. “We’ve got to head out!” Ladybug said. “Cat Noir, can you make sure that this guy gets back to the 5K?”

“Sure thing Ladybug” Cat Noir aid. The three heroes about to transform left. Cat Noir picked up Jeremy and said. “I know you might be used to faster speeds at this point, but I get the job done.”

Once the other three were hidden, Pegasus asked “So, why does he get to know my secret?”

“I’ll explain” Judgement Wolf said. “It is the job of the wielder of the wolf miraculous to judge other miraculous user to see if they are worthy enough to wield them. Do you understand?”

Pegasus nodded and called “Kaalki! Shoes off!” and transformed back into Max.

Kaalki was floating around again and spotted Judgement Wolf. “I see” Kaalki said. “You want to be tested as well.”

“Well, yes. It’s intimidating, but if I pass, I know it’ll be worth it” Max said.

“So you don’t believe you’ll pass?” Judgement Wolf said.

“Well, this isn’t the kind of test I can study for” Max said. “I can’t guarantee the results.”

“Well, I’ve got your back” Kaalki said. She teleported behind his back and held it. “Literally.”

“Thanks Kaalki” Max said. He put the glasses back in the box and ran off. “Thanks Ladybug!”

Ladybug and Judgement Wolf de-transformed. “Aren’t you going to return that?” Vlad asked.

“That may take a while. I’ll do it later. C’mon, let’s check on Kim” Marinette said, running. Vlad followed.

Back at the finish line, everyone came up to Kim, Ondine, and Markov. “Are you guys alright?” Alya asked.

“Yeah, he didn’t mess you up too bad, did he?” Nino said.

“Relax. We’re fine. Ladybug, Cat Noir, Judgement Wolf, and Pegasus fixed everything.

“I was so worried when he took you” Ondine said.

“Same goes for you Markov” Max said.

“Right…” Markov said.

“Is something the matter?” Max asked.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Markov said.

“Hey” Jeremy said. Everyone turned to face him. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry.” Everyone was surprised. He pulled out the picture he had. “See, my brother lives in the Caribbean with his wife.” He showed the picture of everyone of his brother and his sister-in-law.  “They were right in the path of one of the hurricanes. I haven’t been able to contact them since. I didn’t know what to do. I’m a good runner, so when  I saw a charity 5K, I thought maybe I could try to draw attention to this by breaking records each time. Maybe I could help in my own way. But I acted like a jerk. I’m sorry.”

Kim approached him, put his hands on his shoulders and said “It’s OK. I get it. You wanted to help your brother. But that doesn’t make any of what I said a lie. I do want to help everyone affected. Including your brother.”

Max interjected “You know, Adrien’s father has ties to the charity. Maybe he could pull a few strings to see if your brother’s alright.”

“Sure” Adrien said. “We can go right now.”

Jeremy started crying. “You guys are helping after I treated you all poorly. I don’t deserve this kindness.”

Sure you do” Kim said. “Everyone does.” Jeremy looked up and smiled through the tears.

“Is everyone coming?” Adrien said.

“Uhh, I can’t. I’ve got an errand I need to run” Marinette said.

“And Max promised to help me with my upcoming interview” Vlad said.

Adrien was surprised. “Max, you know Vlad is just using that as an excuse to test you? He doesn’t need help on that front.”

“Oh, I know” Max said. “Why do you think I invited him? I plan on testing him as well.”

Vlad was impressed. “Oh. You ARE clever! I’m starting to like you already.”

“Well, we should get going” Max said. “Come along Markov.”

“Right” Markov said.

“We’ll come with you, dude” Nino said.

“Marinette, we’ll meet up later” Alya said.

“OK” Marinette said. Everyone left in different directions. Adrien, Nino, Alya, and Jeremy to see if Gabriel could help find Jeremy’s brother. Vlad, Max, and Markov to Max’s place to test each other. And Marinette to Master Fu’s to return the horse miraculous and discuss what to do, now that she’s starting to rely on more and more miraculous users.

Chapter Text

“So, you see Mr. Agreste, Jeremy is really worried about his brother” Kim said. “And we were wondering if you could find out if he’s alright.”

Gabriel looked at the group. “Follow me” he said. He went into his office. Before any of the teens walked in, Gabriel pushed a button to hide the case his miraculous was in. Gabriel walked up to his screen and pressed some buttons to make a call. The teens all gathered around.

A man in a yellow polo, with slicked back brown hair, and white sunglasses answered. “Hello Mr. Agreste.”

“Hello Cameron. There’s someone who would like to talk with you” Gabriel said, moving out of the way to reveal Jeremy.

“Jeremy?” Cameron said.

Jeremy couldn’t believe it. His brother was fine. He walked up to the screen. “BRO!’ he said. He started sobbing uncontrollably. “I can’t believe you’re alright.”

“I’m sorry Jeremy” Cameron said. “I would have called you, or messaged you, or posted something, but all of our stuff got damaged. Thankfully, we weren’t hurt. Since I was able to work, I found this organization that Mr. Agreste set up to help. I asked to volunteer, and they gave me a position right away.”

“You should have done something. But I’m glad you’re OK” Jeremy said.

“I know. I’m sorry” Cameron said.

“You know, Jeremy has been running in charity 5Ks to help bring more attention to this effort,” Gabriel said. “He’s become something of a local celebrity.”

“Really?” Cameron said. “That’s so like you.”

“No” Jeremy said. “I did it for you. I was so concerned about you, I didn’t think about anyone else. You’re helping everyone.”

“Come on now Jeremy, don’t be like that,” Cameron said. “‘If you help one person, you help all people.’ That’s what mom taught us, right?”

“Yeah” Jeremy said. “But I got so upset that I lashed out at people who didn’t deserve it.”

“Well, I hope you apologized to them,” Cameron said.

Jeremy finally stopped crying. “I apologized to them at least” he said, pointing to his new friends. “They’re the ones who brought me to meet Mr. Agreste.”

“Well that’s a start,” Cameron said.

“So, where’s Sophia?” Jeremy asked.

“Ah, yes. Well, she’s at the hospital right now” Cameron said, nervously.

“WHAT?! Is she OK?” Jeremy said.

“Don’t worry, she’s fine,” Cameron said. “In fact, we have a little surprise for everyone.” Jeremy was curious. “Oh boy, I really wasn’t expecting to do this so suddenly. But Sophia did say that it was OK to start telling people.”

“Telling people what?” Jeremy asked.

A smile grew on Cameron’s face. “You’re going to be an uncle, Jeremy.”

Jeremy’s face lit up. “SERIOUSLY?! Congrats bro!” he said, hugging the monitor.

“Yes, thank you” Cameron said. “Well, I should get back to work soon.”

“Congratulations Cameron. I will send over a gift with they next care package” Gabriel said.

“You don’t need to do that Mr. Agreste” Cameron said.

“I insist” Gabriel said.

“Very well. Thank you. I’ll talk to you both later” Cameron said.

“Bye” Jeremy said. Cameron hung up. Jeremy fell to his knees in excitement. “Not only is my brother OK, but he’s going to be a DAD?! I can’t believe it!”

Kim came over and placed his hand on Jeremy’s shoulder. “Hey. Congratulations” he said. Jeremy looked up at him and smiled.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s place. She gave back the horse miraculous.  “I think we should have that talk now,” she said.

“Agreed” Master Fu said. They sat down. “The amount of different Miraculous being put to use is concerning.”

“Do you think Hawk Moth is trying to take stock of what we have?” Marinette said.

“That is a possibility” Master Fu said. “However, it could just be a result of Hawk Moth getting more powerful.”

“Either way, it sounds bad” Marinette said.

“Indeed” Master Fu responded.

Marinette asked “What should we do?”

Master Fu was hesitant. “I am considering a few options. None of them are easy to do, but we must strengthen ourselves against Hawk Moth. If he is gaining power, we need to gain power too.”

“What can we do?” Marinette asked.

“I will inform you later” Master Fu said. “For now, just be Ladybug.”

“Can do” Marinette said. She got up and left.

Wayzz floated out. “You aren’t thinking what I think you’re thinking, are you Master?”

“You said it yourself, I’m no longer in good enough condition to transform” Master Fu said.

Wayzz nodded. “If you decide to do it, you know I’m going to miss you.”

“You’ll still see me sometimes” Master Fu said.

“I know, but it won’t be the same” Wayzz said. “I just hate moments like this.”

“We still have time” Master Fu said.

Max, Markov, and Vlad were walking to Max’s place. Markov was fidgeting. “What’s wrong Markov?” Max asked. “You seem nervous.

“Um. It’s nothing. Could I talk to you in private?” Markov said.

Max nodded. “Of course. Vlad, would you excuse us for a second?”

“Sure” Vlad said. Max and Markov broke away. Vlad took out Beyyo. “Hey. could you check on them?”

“Seriously? They wanted privacy” Beyyo said.

“I’m worried Markov might know something about miraculouses” Vlad said. “He’s smart. He could figure it out. If it has nothing to do with that, just don’t tell me.”

Beyyo sighed. “Fine.” Beyyo left to spy on the two.

“What is it Markov?” Max asked.

“Um, this could be nothing, but um, I was wondering…” Markov stammered.

“What?” Max asked.

Markov decided to play the footage he recorded from that day’s earlier attack by Rocket. Specifically, when Rocket took Kim for the second time and Pegasus called his name. “By chance, you wouldn’t happen to be Pegasus, would you?”

Max was surprised, but played defensively. “What about this footage indicates that I am Pegasus?”

“Well, A. I find it hard for Pegasus to know Kim’s name despite just meeting him” Markov began. “B. Pegasus’s vocal pattern in most circumstances is 80% similar to yours, but when he screamed, it goes up to 98%.” Markov showed Max more footage. This time, of Rocket being thrown off of the Eiffel Tower. “And C. This plan was excellent. But it would require Pegasus to know how fast Rocket was going. The only person I can think of who could calculate that during the attack is you.”

Max adjusted his glasses. “Well, I guess I can’t argue with logic. You got me.”

“Oh Max! Thank you! Thank you for saving me! And everyone!” Markov said, his eyes turning into hearts.

“Settle down Markov” Max said. “I need you to promise me two things. 1. You can’t tell anybody who I am. The only people allowed to know are you, Ladybug, and Judgement Wolf. and 2. I can’t stop you from being curious, but if you were to find out who anyone else is, don’t tell me unless they’re comfortable with it.”

“Understood” Markov said. “Question: Why does Judgement Wolf get to know who you are?”

“Well, according to him, the wolf miraculous’s job to test other miraculous users. If want to be Pegasus again, and I do, I need to pass his test” Max said.
“I see” Markov said.

Beyyo nodded to himself and returned to Vlad. “You were right. Markov figured out that Max is Pegasus. However, he made Markov promise not to tell anyone, or if Markov were to figure anyone else out, not to tell Max.”

“Interesting” Vlad said.

Max and Markov came back. “Sorry about that” Max said.

“It’s fine. There’s stuff that needs to be between friends, right?” Vlad said.

“Well then, let’s go” Max said, getting a move on. Vlad and Markov followed. When they got to Max’s room, Max offered Vlad a choice. “Do you want to just talk, or do you want to talk and play video games?”

Vlad, intrigued, said “Let’s talk with video games.” Vlad sat down while Max got everything ready. “You have an impressive rig.”

“Thank you” Max said. “So, do you wanna play anything you might know, or do you wanna play a game I made?”

“You made a game? I’ll take that choice” Vlad said.

“Thanks, but it’s not quite done yet,” Max said. “I need to test it a bit more. I’m actually hoping to present it at the art exhibition.”

“Cool. Did you talk to Mr. Chastain yet?” Vlad said.

“Well, no” Max said. “I’m worried that me might not see video games as an art. So I haven’t talked to him yet.”

“If you want, I can come with you” Vlad said. “Assuming I pass your little test. And you pass mine.”

Max looked at Vlad. He took note of Vlad’s confidence. Max smiled and said. “Sure.” The game booted up and the two started playing.

“Oh. So, it’s about Ladybug and Cat Noir? I dig it” Vlad said.

“Yeah” Max said. “However, if I want a finished product, I can’t start including more people until after I get it out there. So none of the villains you’re more familiar with will appear. Or Judgement Wolf for that matter.”

“So, do you want to start with interview questions, or should I?” Vlad asked, picking Anansi as his first character. He at least knew her somewhat from Nino’s dream, so he thought that maybe he could get used to the game, and maybe throw Max off.

“I’ll start” Max said, picking Volpina. The battle started. “So, is there a specific reason you don’t trust people that much?” Max questioned.

“Yes” Vlad responded. “But I am not very comfortable divulging that to people. It brings back some painful memories.”

“I see” Max said. “Well, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.” Vlad was holding his own against Max in the game, but Max definitely had the upper-hand.“So, how do you guarantee the people you trust will become your friends?” Max said.

Vlad was taken aback by this question. “Ring Out!” the video said, as Anansi fell due to one of Volpina’s illusions. “Round 2: Begin!”

“The truth is, I don’t” Vlad said. “We’re all human. We all make mistakes. I just try really hard not to make those mistakes.”

“Then how does your testing process work?” Max asked.

“Well, for starters, I don’t always test people” Vlad said. “For instance, I trusted Kim after he shielded Ladybug during the Princess Charming attack. Or when Alix confronted me on her own. I didn’t test her, but she gained my trust. My whole thing is I want to see you for who you really are. I wanna see you be honest not just with me, but with yourself. I’ve honed my senses to try and determine that.”

“K.O.” The game said. “Volpina wins!”

Max and Vlad chose change character. “I think that’s about it for me,” Max said. “So, how do you want to test me?” Max chose Rogercop.

Vlad chose Kung Food. “Well, you seem fairly smart” Vlad began. “You’ve made Markov, as well as this game. I’m sure that if you were to apply at a place that’s tech savvy, you’d get a job almost instantly. So, why don’t you?”

Max was shocked. “Begin!” the game said. Max was still in command of the game, but Vlad had gotten the hang of it.

“The truth of the matter is that part of it because I can’t, and part of it is that I don’t want to” Max said.

“Do tell” Vlad said, confused by Max’s answer.

Max was hesitant, but he pressed on. “See, a while ago I was part of a professional gaming team. We were doing well. However, Carter, the head of the team, was a jerk. He’d often do bad things. None of us called him out on any of it because we didn’t want to lose our position on the team. Also Carter’s dad works at one of the highest-rated tech companies, so he was powerful in that sense too.

Carter told us that we were this close from not having to go to school anymore. All we had to do was win the next event, and we’d be golden. However, one day in class, I had noticed that a student was in trouble. I approached the teacher and asked what was up. She told me that if this student fails another test, he would flunk out. I decided then and there to tutor him.

Of course, this made Cater mad. He threatened to cut me from the team if I didn’t come to practice for this. I decided then and there to stand up to Carter.”

“Look Cater!” Max said. “I am sick and tired of doing what you want to do! Oftentimes, it is mean for no reason.”

“I have my reasons,” Cater said. “I’m a winner. Other people aren’t. I’m better than most people.”

“Really? Because from my point of view, you’re one of the worst people I’ve ever known. Whenever I’m with you and the rest of the team I feel alone. Like I’m drowning. I saw someone else drowning, and I didn’t want them to feel that way too, because it feels awful. From the time I’ve spent with him, he’s shown nothing but dedication and care. If you won’t let me do this and be on the team, then I quit!”

“Hold on Max!” Carter said. “You walk away from this, you can say goodbye to any tech job in Paris! My dad has connections. I’ll make sure he blacklists you from everything!”

“Then do it” Max said, walking away.

Back in the present, Vlad was surprised. “Dang. You’re hardcore Max” he said.

“Yeah” Max said. “Despite the fact that I’m going to have to leave Paris to find work, it’s been worth it. I’ve made real friends. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

“K.O. Rogercop Wins!” the game said.

Vlad started laughing. “Oh Max. You’re something else alright. You have my trust.”

“Well, thank you” Max said. “Although you made it easy. Are you sure you didn’t want to be friends with me in the first place?”

“How do you mean?” Vlad said.

“You opened up yourself,” Max said. “You told me what you’re looking for, so I gave it to you.”

Vlad smiled. “You’re still giving it to me. You’re admitting that you knew what to do. Besides, it’s not like I don’t want friends. I’m just selective.”

Max smiled back. “True. I don’t usually tell people about that. You and Kim are the only ones who know. I don’t like bothering people with that story because I want to put it behind me.”

“Even I didn’t know that story,” Markov said.

“I only opened up to you about that because I too want friends” Max said. “Real friends.”

“I getcha. So, why does Kim know the story?” Vlad asked.

“He’s the kid that was about to be expelled” Max said.

“Oh” Vlad said.

“Shall we continue?” Max said.

“Sure” Vlad said. The two played late into the evening. “That was fun” Vlad said after a long session. Vlad hadn’t won at all, but he got a few good hits in.

“Markov, do you have notes about the game?” Max asked.

“Yes I do” Markov said.

“Well, I should get going. It’s been fun. See you Monday?” Vlad said.

“Sure” Max said. Vlad left. Max then took down some notes that Markov gave him.

Outside, Vlad was walking around. “Man, that Cater guy sounds like a jerk” Beyyo said. “Someone should put him in his place.”

“In due time. We’ll figure that out later” Vlad said. “But for right now, let’s focus on what’s in front of us.” Beyyo nodded. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” he transformed into Judgement Wolf. “Let’s go” he said. He jumped into the night.

Chapter Text

Judgement Wolf arrived in Max’s room. Max was already asleep. Judgement Wolf looked around. “I guess he sleeps elsewhere” he said.

A microscopic camera blinks behind Judgement Wolf, which alerts Markov, who pops out. “INTRUDER!” he said. He and Judgement Wolf were surprised. “Judgement Wolf? Are you here to test Max?” Markov asked.

“Wanna find out?” Judgement Wolf said. “Wolf Mist!” He created his mist and threw it on Max.

He grabbed Markov and jumped in. “WOOOOAAAAAH!” Markov said.

Judgement Wolf pulled up Max’s dream. “By the way, if you figure me out, you can tell Max.” Markov got confused.

Max was running late. He barely just got there in time. “Sorry I’m late everyone,” he said.

“It’s fine” Carter said. Carter was dressed in his usual all black look. Backwards cap, baggy sweatpants, tennis shoes, and hoodie for his team, “The Paris Nighthawks.” “We’re just getting set up. Just don’t be late to the match. Got it?!”

“Yes. Yes of course” Max said. The reason Max was late was because he was concerned about a student in his class. He saw him get a good talking to about getting expelled. He wanted to help, but he knew Carter would be mad if he was late because of it. This group was all Max had.

“So, you must be Vlad!” Markov said, watching Max’s dream.

“Oh yeah? What makes you so sure?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“Well, this dream is about Max’s past, which outside of myself, only Kim and Vlad know” Markov said. “And you mentioned the thing about me figuring out people, which I told Max while walking back with Vlad. Ergo, you must be Vlad!”

“Logical” Judgement Wolf said. “However, it can be explained by coincidence. I’m not usually joined by someone in here. You apparently know my deal, so you know Max is Pegasus, and that I’m here to test him. I didn’t want to underestimate your capabilities, and I wanted to give you my permission before blabbing my secret. As for this, just do a search for Max Kante it’ll come up on page 3 I believe.”

Markov did a search. “Page 2 actually” Markov said. “But you’re right. There’s a lot of information here about Max’s time with the Nighthawks.”

“I am thorough in my research” Judgement Wolf said. “I don’t want to go into this unprepared.” Judgement Wolf wasn’t lying. Everything he said could have happened. However, it didn’t, he just wanted to throw Markov off the scent.

Back in the dream, Max continued to practice with his team, still feeling sorry for that boy.

Meanwhile, Kim was at home studying. He had to pass this next test, or he’d get expelled. The week went on, and as Max and his team were about to leave for the match, Kim was crying his eyes out because he failed. He just couldn’t understand what he was given

“A young man that is being taken advantage of because no one understands him, and he can’t understand the world” Hawk Moth said. “What perfect prey for my Akuma. Fly away, and evilize this poor boy.”

“Question:” Markov said, “If this took place a while ago, why is Hawk Moth here? From what I’ve read, Hawk Moth didn’t start attacking until after these events transpired.”

“It’s a dream. It doesn’t make logical sense all of the time” Judgement Wolf said.

“Fascinating” Markov said.

Back in the dream, the Akuma got to Kim and fused with his hoodie. “AnarKim. I am Hawk Moth. Nothing seems to make sense to you, so I’m giving you the power to make the world make no sense to anyone. All I want in return is the miraculous of Ladybug and Cat Noir.”

“Consider it done” Kim said. A purple-black aura surrounded him.

Just as Max was about to leave the school, he heard an explosion. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“Max, hurry up. We don’t want to be later” Carter said. Suddenly, AnarKim busted onto the scene. “I don’t know what that is, but we need to get outta here.” Carter and the rest of the team ran away.

Max stayed behind to observe. He saw a man with gold skin, a dark purple sweatshirt that turns into a cloak with a white anarchy symbol on it, black sweatpants, and a gold bo staff. “He looks like the guy I saw getting in trouble,” Max said. He gasped. “Maybe he is!” Max followed him

AnarKim went around the school, messing up everything he could with a single touch of his bo staff. “Isn’t this great?! Now nothing makes sense!” Anarkim shouted, terrorizing the other students. He would destroy walls, distort images, reorder words, and change people’s outfits so they don’t match whatsoever.

Max was following all of this and taking notes. “Hold it right there, AnarKim!” Ladybug said, arriving with Cat Noir.

“Ladybug. Just in time to see the perfect mess I made” AnarKim said.

“There’s only one thing puuuur-fect here, and that’s my bugaboo” Cat Noir said.

“Not now Cat Noir” Ladybug said. AnarKim swung at them. They dodged and AnarKim hit a table, distorting it. “We need to avoid getting hit.”

“Yeah, that bo is bad news” Cat Noir said. AnarKim kept swinging, and Ladybug and Cat Noir kept dodging.

“Cat Noir, keep him distracted!” Ladybug said.

“Got it” Cat Noir replied. Ladybug went one direction, while Cat Noir circled behind AnarKim and struck him from behind. “Your bo staff is cool and all, but mine’s better.”

“Really? My’s gold. Yours is silver” AnarKim said. “Mine’s obviously better.”

“I thought you didn’t like order and rules” Cat Noir said. AnarKim struck again, but Cat Noir missed. Cat Noir kept doing that, while getting a hit in every so often.

Meanwhile, Ladybug called out “Lucky Charm! A basketball?”

She started to look around, but before she could see anything, Max peered from behind a doorway and said “Ladybug! I think his Akuma is in the cloak!”

Ladybug nodded. “Thanks. Now get out of here!” Max hid. Ladybug looked at the cloak, then looked at the table that AnarKim hit, and then the basketball.

AnarKim had Cat Noir pinned down. Suddenly, AnarKim was hit with a basketball. “Cat Noir! Up for a little game?” Ladybug said, gesturing him towards the table.

Cat Noir got the idea. “Sure. Anything for you” he said, going down.

“Why you” AnaKim said. Ladybug bounced the ball off of AnarKim, and into Cat Noir’s hands. AnarKim charged at Cat Noir, but Cat Noir bounced the ball off of him again, and to Ladybug, who was further down. AnarKim kept chasing whoever had the ball, and both heroes kept their distance, while hitting AnarKim with the ball. Cat Noir passed it to Ladybug, who was by the table now. AnarKim charged her, while she bounced the ball under the table and she hopped over. AnarKim followed Ladybug, but once he cleared the table, the basketball bounced off of the floor and into AnarKim. “Cat Noir!” Ladybug called out.

Cat Noir called out “Cataclysm!” and ran up to the dazed AnarKim and grabbed the cloak, destroying it.

The Akuma flew up. “No more evildoing for you Little Akuma. Time to de-evilize!” Ladybug captured the Akuma. “Gotcha. Miraculous Ladybug!” The magic ladybugs fixed everything.

“Kim reverted back to normal. “What happened?” he asked.

“Pound it” Ladybug and Cat Noir said.

“You maybe have brought order today Ladybug, but soon I will turn your world into nothing but chaos!” Hawk Moth called out from his lair.

Kim looked sad. “I’m sorry” he said. “I guess I can’t do anything right.”

“No!” Max said, emerging. “You can. I know you can!”

“Thanks, but who are you?” Kim asked.

“Just come with me” Max said, dragging Kim. “Thanks Ladybug and Cat Noir.” The two heroes left.

Max blew open Mr. Damocles’s door. “Young man, have you ever heard of knocking?” Mr. Damocles said.

“I’m sorry Mr. Damocles” Max said, entering with Kim in tow. “But you have to give this man here another chance to not be expelled.”

“And why is that?” Mr. Damocles.

Max looked down. “Because I saw he was struggling and did nothing about it. I was too selfish, and I let a fellow student get Akumatized for my behavior. I can help him. I can tutor him. Just please give him one more chance.”

Mr. Damocles looked at Max’s determination and said “Alright, fine. But if he fails again, he WILL be expelled. No exceptions.”

“Understood Mr. Damocles” Max said.

“HEY!” Carter said. “What do you think you’re doing?!”

“I’m helping someone Carter” Max said. “I’m not surprised you had to ask, because you’ve never helped anyone but yourself.”

Carter was furious. “You can kiss any future you had in technology or video games goodbye. And that includes being on my team!”

“Fine then,” Max said. “I’d rather be helping people, instead of a sentient blob of selfishness such as yourself.” Carter stormed off.

“Is he going to be alright?” Kim said.

“Yeah. He’s always like that” Max said. “Thankfully I don’t need to deal with him anymore.”

“Need to?” Kim asked.

“Yeah” Max said. “The team were my only friends. Now I have no one.”

“That’s not true. You have me” Kim said.

“Really?” Max said.

“Yeah. The way you stood up for me like that. That’s something friends do” Kim said. He extends his hand, and Max shook it.

The dream then faded into white. Max seemed confused. “Congratulations. You passed” Judgement Wolf said.

“Judgement Wolf? Markov? What’s happening?” Max said.

“This was your test” Markov said. “And you passed! You can keep being Pegasus!”

“Huh. So that was just a test then. It felt so real” Max said.

“That’s the idea. If you knew you were being tested, you might have behaved differently” Judgement Wolf said. “And I like to see you for who you really are.”

“AH HA!” Markov said. “So you really ARE Vlad.”

“Vlad?” Max said.

“It’s possible” Judgement Wolf said. “But where’s your hard proof?”

“Well, I, uh,” Markov said. “It is all circumstantial, but it’s hard circumstantial evidence.”

“So, you are certain that I am Vlad” Judgement Wolf said. “Tell you what. The next time you see this Vlad, ask him about it. See what he says.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Max said.

“Anyway, seeya” Judgement Wolf said, jumping out of the Wolf Mist. Max and Markov fell back asleep. “I’ll be waiting” As Judgement Wolf was making his way back home, he called out “Fangs Dull!” and became Vlad.

“Are you sure that was a smart thing to do?” Beyyo asked.

“I’m not revealing anyone else” Vlad said. “Besides, we can trust them can’t we?”

“I guess” Beyyo said.

“Which reminds me, how did it go with Luka?” Vlad asked.

“It went fine” Beyyo said. “It took a while to find him after school. However, I did, and gave him my blessing. He was cool about it.”

“He sure was” Vlad said.

“Well, next time, try to slow down a little bit” Beyyo said. “By the time I returned, you were just leaving for the zoo.”

“Hey, I bought time for you. And I got ideas” Vlad said.

“Fair enough” Beyyo said.

The next morning, Marinette got a call. “Yes?” She answered, half awake.

“Hey Marinette” Vlad said. “Adrien and I were doing some modeling today. I was wondering if you would like to come by. Since we’re going to be your models, maybe you can get a sense for how we work and use it to help you design something.”

“Really?!” Marinette said, waking up. “Uh sure. I’ll be there. Where are you?”

“We’re down at the park outside your house” Vlad said.

“OK. I’ll meet you there in half an hour or so” Marinette said.

“Seeya” Vlad said, hanging up.

“Was that Marinette?” Adrien asked.

“Yup. And she’s coming” Vlad said.

“Great!” Adrien said. “Can’t wait. You should see her in action. She’s like a whole different person.”

“You don’t say,” said Vlad, getting ideas. “Are you going to be more open today, by the way?”

“Well, I’m going to ask my father about that tomorrow when he meets with me” Adrien said. “I’m meeting him after your interview. I don’t want to miss that.”

“Of course” Vlad said.

Chapter Text

Marinette arrived at the park with her sketchbook, panting. “Sorry. It’s just your call woke me up” Marinette said.

“It’s OK Marinette” Vlad said. “You look good. Maybe you should be a model.”

Marinette’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “I couldn’t” she said, sheepishly.

“Relax Marinette” Adrien said. “Today you’re here to observe and keep us company.”

Marinette nodded. “Right.”

“Alright, places everyone” Vincent said. Vlad and Adrien posed, while Marinette was taking notes and sketching some ideas.

Meanwhile, in Chloe’s room, she was watching a report on what happened yesterday. “A terrible villain named Rocket who had super speed was terrorizing Paris. Fortunately, Ladybug and Cat Noir saved the day, along with two new superheroes; the mysterious Judgement Wolf, and cool, calculating Pegasus. It seems like Ladybug and Cat Noir are gaining allies left and right these days. However, it has been a little while since we’ve seen Queen Bee in action. Could it be that Ladybug and Cat Noir no longer trust her? Tune in later to find out.”

Chloe turned off the TV. It had been a while since Ladybug told her she could no longer be Queen Bee. She knew it was for a good cause. Still, people were starting to talk. They were saying mean and nasty things about her. “Is this how I make other people feel?” she asked herself. Even Sabrina, her only real friend, had commented on her meanness. “Maybe I should… No. I can’t. GAH! This is so ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous!” She threw a pillow in frustration. One thing she knew for sure was that she needed to think, and being in her room wasn’t helping. She just saw all of the stuff as the stuff she was burying her feelings in. She needed to dig out of that.

She left Le Grand Paris, surprising the doorman. “It’s OK. I just need some fresh air” she told him. She continued walking. She didn’t know where to go since someone usually drove her, but she decided to walk nonetheless. She kept thinking about everything. Was she really that mean to everyone? Was she that mean to Sabrina even? Why would Sabrina stay with her if she was? Then she thought about Queen Bee.

Being a real superhero was fun. Feeling like she could do anything was exhilarating. I mean, sure, she may have caused some trouble the first time around, but Ladybug and Cat Noir came to trust her again. When she was given the opportunity to be Queen Bee again, she took it. Fighting alongside them, as well as Rena Rouge and Carapace, she felt like she didn’t need to care about what others thought.

Then there was Pollen. She had only met her briefly, but the two of them grew close. Chloe had found a mysterious box at the Eiffel Tower and grabbed it. Little did she know, it would change her life. When she opened the box in her room, it revealed Pollen.

“Who, or what are you?” Chloe said.

“I am Pollen. I am a kwami” Pollen said.

“What does that mean?” Chloe asked.

“Kwamis are beings that can give people powers” Pollen said.

“Wait, does this mean Ladybug and Cat Noir have little things like you?” Chloe said.

“Indeed they do” Pollen answered. “Ladybug has Tikki, the kwami of creation. Cat Noir has Plagg, the kwami of destruction.”

Chloe stared at Pollen for a little bit. She reminded her of the little toy thing that she stole from Marinette that one time. “…Couldn’t be” Chloe said. “So, what are you the kwami of then?”

“I am the kwami of subjection” Pollen said.

Chloe liked the sound of that. “So, how did you end up at the Eiffel Tower?” Chloe asked.

“Well, that’s a bit complicated” Pollen said. “See, what I think happened was that Ladybug was going to recruit someone to help beat Style Queen, but she lost me.”

“Poor thing” Chloe said.

“But, it’s alright now. You’ve found me” Pollen said. “Now you can return me to Ladybug!” Chloe was shocked and a little upset upon hearing that. “What’s wrong, my Queen?”

“It’s just…” Chloe said. “I’ve always wanted to be a superhero. Could I just maybe just be a superhero with you? For a little while?”

Pollen looked at Chloe. “How could I say no to a face like that?” Pollen said. Chloe was giddy. “Are you sure you have what it takes to be a hero?”

Chloe stopped. “I don’t even know if I have what it takes to be a daughter.”

“How can you say that? You seem extraordinary, my Queen” Pollen said.

“I wish my mom thought that” Chloe said.

“Well, you know what will make her think you’re extraordinary? Being a superhero” Pollen said.

“Thanks Pollen” Chloe said. “You know, it feels like I can talk to you about anything.”

“Mademoiselle, it’s time to get back to the fashion show” Jean told Chloe, entering her room.

“Coming, Jean-Jones” Chloe said. She closed the box, and put it in her pocket.

And sure, that turned out poorly, but for a brief moment, she felt more alive than she felt before. If nothing else, she just wishes she had Pollen to talk to. She certainly would help right now. She just wanted someone to talk to who wouldn’t judge her. Someone who she could be herself around. She thought about asking her parents about therapy, but they would ignore her out of the gate on that. She couldn’t talk to Sabrina because Sabrina liked her for the person she was being. Or at least, she thought that. Now she doesn’t know what she thinks.

Somehow, Chloe ended up at the park where Adrien and Vlad were doing their photoshoot. She looked at them, and then saw that Marinette was there as well. She grew furious.

She walked up to Adrien in the middle of a photo. “ADRIEN!” she shouted.

“Chloe?! We’re kind of in the middle of something right now” Adrien said, nervously.

“CUT!” Vincent called out. “Miss Bourgeois, please leave. You’re ruining the shot, and we only have so much time.”

“Why is Dupain-Cheng here?!” Chloe asked.

“Well, see, she’s making outfits for us for the art exhibition, so we thought it would be a good idea to let her see us in action” Adrien said.

“You never take me to any of these!” Chloe said.

“Miss Bourgeois, please” Vincent said.

“No! I am not leaving!” Chloe said.

“Adrien, is she going to be alright?” Vlad asked.

“Uhhhhhh” Adrien said.

Meanwhile, Hawk Moth just made his way to his lair. “Another chance to capture Chloe Bourgeois? Just when everything feels out of reach for her. What could possibly be better? Fly away my little Akuma, and evilize her!”

“Miss Bourgeois, we really need you to stop” Vincent said.

“Look Chloe, if you’re not leaving, at least come sit next to me” Marinette said.

Chloe was taken aback by that suggestion. She then recomposed into her angry self. “No! I’d rather leave!”

“Then please go” Vincent said.

“Maybe I will! Maybe I’ll go someplace where no one can ever find me!” Chloe said, running off.

“Chloe” Marinette said.

“I’ll go check on her” Adrien said, running off.

Marinette and Vlad saw an Akuma fly by in the direction of Chloe and Adrien. Marinette and Vlad looked at each other and nodded. “Hey Vincent, can we take our break now then?”

“I guess” Vincent said. “Adrien’s already ran off. Just don’t go too far.” Vlad and Marinette left.

Adrien was chasing Chloe. “Chloe wait!” Chloe was running down the street with tears in her eyes. “Chloe!” Adrien said. He took her arm. “Chloe! What’s this about?”

Before Chloe could say anything, Ladybug and Judgement Wolf showed up. “There’s an Akuma in the area, and we think that it might be after you, Chloe Bourgeois!” Ladybug said.

“Are you sure?” Adrien said.

“Positive” Judgement Wolf said.

Just then, the Akuma fly by and fused with Chloe’s sunglasses. “Hello again, Miss Bourgeois” Hawk Moth said. “Everything you’ve ever loved is being taken from you. Don’t you want to get it back?”

“I can get it back on my own terms, thank you very much!” Chloe said. “I don’t need your help!”

“Is she fighting back?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen this before” Ladybug said.

“Why fight it Chloe?” Hawk Moth continued. “I know what you’re really like. I know your true nature.”

Chloe was offended by that. “You know nothing about me! Be gone already, and never come back!” The Akuma unfused from the sunglasses. Ladybug captured it quickly. “Bye bye little butterfly” she said, releasing the butterfly.”

“I’ll get Chloe one of these days” Hawk Moth said. “However, I always have a contingency plan.”

Adrien and Chloe returned, as did Marinette and Vlad. “Hey, where’d you two run off to?”

“Well, we uh” Marinette said.

“Marinette went to her place to grab a snack, while I just took in some of the sights” Vlad said.

“Yeah” Marinette said. She then shot Vlad a confused look.

“Oh, OK” Adrien said.

“MY CAMERA!” Vincent said, coming back! The four teens turned around and saw Vincent’s camera had been messed with. “Who did this?! Who?!”

“Well, I don’t know” Adrien said.

Vincent glared at Chloe. “I bet it was you!” he said.

“Me?” Chloe said.

“Yes. You didn’t want to leave, so you ruined me out of spite” Vincent said. “Well no more.”

“She didn’t do it Vincent!” Adrien said. “I was with her the whole time!”

“Bah! You’re too nice for your own good!” Vincent said.

“It seems like things are going according to plan” Hawk Moth said. “Let’s hope his rage blinds him harder than Chloe’s.” He sent off another Akuma.

The Akuma flew and bound itself with one of Vincent’s gloves. “Justice Fist. I am Hawk Moth. Want to know the truth? I’m giving you the power to see if people are innocent or guilty. You will punish the guilty at you discretion. In return, I ask for Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“The guilty will roam the streets of Paris no more, Hawk Moth” Vincent said. A purple-black aura surrounded him. When it dissipated, Vincent’s skin was green, and he looked like a movie detective, with a brown trench coat, a black fedora, and black pants and shoes, along with giant red gauntlet. “Let’s see you get out of punishment now!” Justice Fist approached Chloe. Adrien grabbed her and ran. “You’re not going to get away from me that easily!” Justice Fist followed the two.

“Are we really doing this again?” Vlad said.

“We don’t have a choice” Marinette said. They both ran off to hide and transform.

Justice Fist could no longer see Adrien and Chloe. “Justice Fist” Hawk Moth commanded. “It appears that they are out of your reach for now. Why don’t you go around and punish others? Maybe You’ll find those kids.”

“Of course Hawk Moth” Justice Fist said. He walked off.

Chloe and Adrien were hiding. “OK, I think you’re safe now” Adrien said. “You should run.”

“What about you, Adrikins?” Chloe said.

“I’ll be fine, It’ll be better if we split up” Adrien said. “He can’t get us both.”

“OK Adrikins. I trust you” Chloe said. She ran off.

Adrien took Plagg out. “Plagg! Claws Out!” he called out. He transformed into Cat Noir.

Meanwhile, at Andre’s cart, Andre called out “HELP! ICE CREAM THIEF!”

The thief was getting away, when they bumped into Justice Fist. “Did you steal that ice cream?” he said, punching the thief. His gauntlet buzzed red for guilty. “Too bad for you.” He revved up his hand and turned the thief into an ice cream sculpture. “Who’s next?”

Ladybug and Judgement Wolf were not far behind. They reached the ice cream thief. “WHAT?!” Ladybug said. “First this Justice Fist, and now Glaciator is back?!”

“I don’t think so, M’lady” Cat Noir said, dropping in. “Look around.” He pointed out an assortment of people in odd situations. A boy was crying because he made a girl cry. A girl was wearing mismatching clothes because she insulted the style of another girl. A boy became a duck because he refused to share with the ducks.

“This is horrifying” Ladybug said. “We have to stop him.”

Justice Fist came to a guy who double parked. “Did you double park?” he asked, throwing a punch. His gauntlet buzzed red. “So sorry.” He revved his first. The guy’s car came to life, and started chasing him. Luckily, the three heroes came and stopped the car before anything could happen to the man.

“We’re putting a stop to your brand of Justice” Ladybug said.

“Ladybug! Cat Noir! How nice of you to drop in” Justice Fist. “I serve up justice for all. Including the two of you.”

“Really? No mention of me? THAT’S an injustice right there” Judgement Wolf said.

“Plus, you’re also stealing his powers” Cat Noir said. “That’s worth him getting a tattoo on his head labeled ’THIEF!’ in his mix-up brand of justice, don’t you think?”

“Hey, that’s right” Judgement Wolf said. “You’re just as bad as anyone you’ve punished.”

“NO! I am righteous!” Justice hand said. “Do you hide your identity from others?” he asked, throwing a fist. The heroes dodged.

“The Akuma has to be in one of his gauntlets” Cat Noir said.

“Yeah, but how are we going to get to it?” Ladybug said. “We can’t touch his fists now without being punished.”

“I’ll play keep-away with him” Judgement Wolf said. “You work on a plan. Reveal Claw! Why do you believe Chloe messed up your camera?” Judgement Wold went in. Judgement Wolf and Justice Fist kept trying to strike, but they kept dodging the other’s attacks.”

Ladybug nodded. “Lucky Charm!”

“A menu from Le Grand Paris?” Cat Noir said.

“Maybe I could use it as a shield?” Ladybug said.

Judgement Wolf backed up. “This guy’s good” he said. The three heroes continued to dodged, while Ladybug used the menu as a shield. She eventually fell to the ground, but she blocked Justice Fist’s fist with the menu. Ladybug looked around and saw Chloe.”Chloe?” she then saw Chloe glow. “That’s it!”

“This will be it!” Justice Fist said, about to strike with his other fist, but then Judgement Wolf struck him in the back. “Because she has done this before!” he said.

“Oh. Makes sense” Judgement Wolf said.

The shock from the Reveal Claw gave Ladybug enough time to get to Chloe’s position. Hey Chloe” she said.

“Ladybug? What are you doing by me?” Chloe asked.

“Well, I got this menu as a Lucky Charm, and I think it’s telling me I need you” Ladybug said.

“Well, I don’t have a miraculous anymore, so how can I help?” Chloe said.

“I think I need you. Just be yourself” Ladybug said. “Are you willing to be a hero as you are now?”

Chloe looked at Ladybug. “Are you kidding? I’m always a hero. After all, I’m Queen Bee.”

“Thank you Chloe. Just be prepared” Ladybug said She whispered her plan to Chloe.

Just and Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf were backed up, Ladybug said. “OK Justice Fist. You win. I will allow you to hit me with your justice.”

“Finally. Someone who’s making sense. Someone who is willing to do what I ask” Justice Fist said. He walked over to Ladybug. “You’ll pay for your crimes!”

Ladybug then used her yo-yo to grab Chloe and drag her in front of herself. The punch landed on Chloe and it buzzed red for guilty. Justice fist was confused.

“CAT NOIR! NOW!” Ladybug yelled.

“Right! Cataclysm!” Cat Noir said. He raced over to Justice Fist, and touched his gauntlet , destroying it and freeing the Akuma.

“No more evildoing for you little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha. Bye bye little butterfly.” Ladybug said. “Miraculous Ladybug!” She threw the menu up in the air and the magic ladybug fixed all of the damage. Vincent returned to his normal self.

“Pound it!” the heroes said.

“You may have stopped my brand of justice today, but soon you’ll be getting your just desserts!” Hawk Moth called out.

Judgement Wolf’s ring started to beep. “I’ll catch you later” he said, running off.

Cat Noir went up to Vincent. “Don’t worry. I’ll take you where you need to go” he said. He carried Vincent and then left. This left Ladybug and Chloe.

“Chloe” Ladybug said. “Thanks again for helping today.”

Chloe started to blush. “Yeah, well, I always do stuff like this.”

Ladybug’s earring started to beep. “Hey, um, could I come over later?” she asked. “I want to talk to you about what happened earlier, and I think you need someone to talk to.”

Chloe was surprised. “Sure…” Chloe said.

“Great! Can’t wait! Bug out!” Ladybug said, leaving. Chloe also left as well.

Back in the park, Vincent took out his extra camera and started photographing Adrien and Vlad again. “Hey” Chloe said.

“Not again” Vincent said.

“I just wanted to say…I’m Sorry!” Chloe said. “I was in a bad mood, and I took it out on you.”

Vincent looked around and said “Yeah, well, I shouldn’t have blamed you. It’s clear that you didn’t do it.”

“Why did you leave in the first place anyway?” Adrien asked.

“Well, I was hungry” Vincent said. “A stranger approached me and told me about a bakery not too far from here. I decided to go and get something to eat.”

“You don’t think that stranger was the one who messed up your stuff, do you?” Vlad asked.

“Hmmm. Now that you say that, it’s possible” Vincent said. “They were wearing a trench coat, with sunglasses, a hat, and a scarf. I think that person was trying to lure me away!”

Vlad, Marinette, and Adrien’s eyes grew wide. They all knew that this meant that Hawk Moth had a new ally. Marinete and Adrien ruled out Mayura because no Sentimonster appeared. Meanwhile, Vlad just thought it was someone else.

Behind a tree, the mysterious person was listening to the fruits of their labor. They took off their disguise, and it was Lila. She texted Gabriel “Sorry it didn’t work out.”

Gabriel replied “It’s OK. We’ll get them next time.”

Later, after the photoshoot wrapped up, Marinette said “Well, this was great. I think I’ve settled on a design.”

“Really? Can I see?” Vlad asked.

“Not you. I still need to finish it” Marinette said. “I’m going to go home and work on it. Seeya!”

“Later” Adrien said. After Marinette left, Adrien ribbed Vlad. “So, ready for the interview tomorrow?”

“Yeah” Vlad said. “I’ve got in some good practice with Max.”

Chloe was sitting in her room when she heard a knock. She turned, and it was Ladybug. She opened the door and said “About time!”

“Look, I had other plans” Ladybug said. “Plus, I needed to let my kwami rest,”

“I guess that’s fair” Chloe said. “Well, come in.” Ladybug stepped into Chloe’s room. They both had a seat. “So, what did you want to talk about?”

Ladybug sighed. “I want to talk about what happened earlier. When you rejected Hawk Moth.”

“No big deal” Chloe said. “This wasn’t the first time.”

“It wasn’t?” Ladybug said.

“Hawk Moth tried to Akumatize me before…” Chloe began, “ but he Akumatized Sabrina into Miracular.”

“Oh” Ladybug said. “Why do you think Hawk Moth is going after you?”

“I think it’s because of my reputation” Chloe said. “You may not know this, but I can come off as mean sometimes.”

“Tell me about it” Ladybug said, under her breath.

“He says he knows the real me, but he’s wrong” Chloe said. “I’m a hero. Or, at least, I want to be.”

Ladybug smiled. “I think today proved that you were a hero, with or without powers.”

Chloe smiled back. “Thanks Ladybug.”

“Is there anything you want to talk about?” Ladybug said.

Chloe was surprised. “Yeah” she said nervously. “I think I want to start showing everyone the real me. But I’m too scared. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me too much. But since it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to be Queen Bee, people have been saying mean things about me. It makes me feel awful, and I realized that I’ve been making other people feel like that.”

“So, who is the real you?” Ladybug asked.

“Well, don’t get me wrong, I still like expensive things, and Mr. XY’s music, and sushi, and I’m still prone to outbursts,” Chloe began, “but I also like my classmates. I want to show that. I also really like one of my classmates in particular.” Ladybug rolled her eyes. “Or at least, I thought I did. But now, someone else is catching my eye.”

Ladybug was confused. Who could that be? “Well, why don’t you be yourself then?” Ladybug said.

“Are you crazy?! I can’t do that. I’m afraid of what they might think” Chloe said.

Ladybug could see Chloe’s concern. “You wanna know a secret? When I first became Ladybug, I was afraid too. I almost gave up being Ladybug.”

Chloe was intrigued. “What made you change your mind?”

Ladybug nodded. “Someone needed me.I know it seems hard, but maybe you can take it one step at a time. Start small.”

Chloe smiled “Thanks Ladybug.” She looked at Ladybug. Then, for a split second, Chloe’s mind flashed to an image of Marinette. Chloe was surprised.

“Well I’m glad we had this talk” Ladybug said. “I’ll keep you updated on anything I can.”

“Yeah…” Chloe said.

“Bug out!” Ladybug said.

Chloe stared off as Ladybug went into the distance. “Could it be?” she asked herself.

Chapter Text

“We’re on in 10” a stagehand said.

Vlad was sitting opposite of Nadja. Nadja was doing some last minute preparations for her interview. “Hey” Vlad said. “I didn’t get a chance to say it earlier, but Manon’s a good kid.” Nadja was surprised. “She’s smart, nice, and very perceptive.”

“Well, thank you” Nadja said. “I don’t get it. Ralph le Mont told me you were rude, but you don’t seem like it right now.”

“Ralph, psh” Vlad said. “That guy’s a hack.”

Nadja responded “Well, yes, but-”

“So you agree with me?” Vlad asked.

“I’m trying to remain professional” Nadja said.

“Hm. Well, the reason I was rude to Ralph was because I didn’t like him” Vlad said. “Manon is a good kid. I think that reflects well on you as a parent. I just hope you don’t disappoint.”

Nadja smiled. “So this is what Adrien meant.”

Meanwhile, Richard was getting ready to leave his apartment. “Are you sure you need to go in today?” a woman said. She had short orange hair, sunglasses with white rims, a green sweater, a yellow-green vest, a bracelet with a turtle on it, a black miniskirt, black nylons, and black boots.

“It’s just a quick in and out May” Richard said to his girlfriend. “We’re just going to go in, meet with them for a few minutes, give them the money, and then we’re done. I’ll be back home by the time you get back with Luka and Juleka.”

“But, what if they don’t like me?” My asked.

“They’re going to love you,” Richard said. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” He gave May a kiss on the head and then left.

“I sure hope you’re right,” May said.

Meanwhile, Chloe was pacing in her room. “Do you think she likes me still? Do you think she’ll come? Maybe I should call her again” she said, nervously.

“Chloe, who are you talking to?” Sabrina said, entering the room.

“SABRINA!” Chloe said, surprised. “Ah ha ha, when did you get here?”

“Just now. Are you alright Chloe?” Sabrina asked.

Chloe took a deep breath and composed herself. “Sabrina, we need to talk.”

“What’s this about? Am I in trouble again?” Sabrina said, walking in.

Chloe noticed that she was scared that she was going to berate her, but brave enough to step forward anyway. “No. Nothing like that” she said. They took a seat. “So, uh, did you hear about yesterday?”

“Where you help Ladybug defeat a villain?! Of course. You were so brave!” Sabrina chimed in.

“Yeah, well, afterward, I talked with Ladybug, and she helped me realize something” Chloe said.

“What is it Chloe?” Sabrina asked.

“I realized that I want to stop being the me that is mean to everyone,” Chloe said. “I’ve been slowly losing that part of myself for a little while now, but I still fall back on it a lot. Part of it is that I want to keep my image up, but part of it is that I don’t want to lose you as a friend. You’ve been with me at some of my truly most awful moments. I’m afraid that you might just be there for that, and if I’m nice, you’ll have no reason to stay with me.”

Sabrina gave Chloe a hug. “Chloe. Do you know why you’re my best friend? It’s because I know the type of person you are. I know you as the person you want to be.” She broke the hug. “You make mistakes, sure. But I never gave up on you. I want you to be the best you you can be. I’ve stayed with you all this time because I never wanted you to be alone. I’m not going to stop now.”

Chloe was shocked, but not surprised. Just as Sabrina said she knew who Chloe was, Chloe knew who Sabrina was. She was earnest, and hardworking. She knew that when Sabrina complimented her, she meant it. Even when Chloe didn’t feel that way about herself. She knew that Sabrina knew her. Unlike Hawk Moth. Chloe hugged Sabrina. “I should have never doubted you for a second.”

Sabrina returned the hug. “It’s OK Chloe.”

They stopped hugging. “However, I’m going to be doing it in baby steps” Chloe said. “I’m not ready to let go completely.”

“It’s OK Chloe. Take your time” Sabrina said.

May arrived at the Liberty. Anarka spotted her. “Oh hello. You must be May” she said. “Richard told me you’d be picking them up.”

“Yes, that’s right” May responded. “Are Luka and Juleka ready?”

“KIDS!” Anarka called out. “You’re dad’s girlfriend is here!”

Luka and Juleka emerged. “Hey” Juleka said.

“Hi” May said.

“You have a good time at your dad’s” Anarka said, as they left.

“3….2…1…” the camera person counted down at Vlad’s interview.

A title card showed up for Nadja’s interview show. “Hello, I’m Nadja Chamack. Don’t be bemused. It’s just the news. Today, I’m sitting down with Vlad Brodeur; a model who has just moved here to Paris from Toulouse. Now, tell me Vlad, how do you view being a model?”

“Great question” Vlad said. “I always get asked ‘what’s it like to be a model?’ and my answer’s always the same. ‘Be one yourself.’ But for me personally, it’s fun but exhausting sometimes. I like doing it, but there’s also a lot of hullabaloo I wouldn’t mind not doing.”

“Of course. Like with any job, there are perks, and there are issues” Nadja said.

Vlad responded “I hear that.”

May, Luka, and Juleka got into the car. May was nervous, but she started the car. She started driving back to her apartment. Juleka noticed something off. “Um, May?” she said.

“Yes?” May said. “AH!” she corrected herself. “Sorry. I’m not used to driving in France yet. Ah ha ha.” Juleka shrugged. May felt down.

Luka, getting listless, decided to turn on the radio. A children’s song came on. May was surprised. “What is this?” Luka asked.

“Oh. Well, I’m a music teacher” May said, nervously. “I got offered a job here at a primary school. I’m just brushing up on some of the curriculum.”

“OK” Luka said.

May was nervous. “Do you want to switch it to something else?”

“No. It’s cool” Luka said. May kept driving. Her mind was bouncing around many different thoughts, while her heart went at 100 miles a minute. “Oh hey. A record store. Can we stop and check it out?” Luka asked.

“Oh” May said, snapping back. “Sure.” She parked on the street. “I’ll meet you inside.” Luka and Juleka went in. May slammed her head on the steering wheel. She switched the radio from her work CD to what was broadcasting. She had caught Vlad’s interview.

“Now Vlad,” Nadja asked, “why did you move to Paris?”

“Honestly, it wasn’t my choice,” Vlad said. “My parents wanted to move. My mom’s work moved her here, and my dad can generally work anywhere.”

“Was it hard for you to move at all?” Nadja asked.

“Not at all” Vlad said. “Truth be told, I didn’t have many friends back in Toulouse. My temperament can make it hard for me to get along with people. And my friend, Adrien Agreste lives here, so I knew I’d be in good company.”

“Right. Your temperament is kind of infamous in the model scene” Nadja asked. “Does that hinder you relationship with your parents at all?”

“Well, maybe a little bit” Vlad said. “But honestly, my parents are two of the most understanding people I know. I couldn’t ask for better parents.”

When May heard that, she started to cry. “Of course. I’ll never be able to live up to that” she said, punching the horn.

Hawk Moth emerged from the floor into his lair. “Ah, parenting. Always a tough thing. Especially if the children aren’t yours. Fly away my little Akuma, and evilize this shattered soul.”

The Akuma flew off into May’s car and fused with her turtle bracelet. “Fun Lover. I am Hawk Moth. Afraid your boyfriend’s children don’t think you’re fun? Well now everyone can see how fun you truly are. All I ask in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“They’ll be splitting their sides, and then splitting with their miraculous” May said. She and her car got covered by a purple-black aura.

Luka and Juleka were in the record store. “Hey Luka. Do you think May is doing OK?” Juleka asked.

“She’s probably just nervous about meeting us” Luka said. “She’ll probably settle down once we get to the apartment.”

The door to the record store opened. The person entering looked like a harlequin in white and red. Her face was entirely hite with two little red dimples. The only other oddities is that she was wearing a purple-black turtle bracelet. She did a handstand and then a roll.

“Hey! Who are you?” the cashier said, coming out to meet her.

“I am Fun Lover” she said. Luka and Juleka understood what was happening and began sneaking behind Fun Lover.

“Well, whoever you are, you need to leave” the cashier said.

“Aw, you’re no fun. Allow me to fix that” Fun Lover said. She blew up a balloon and released it onto the cashier’s face. It popped and the cashier now had a face painted similarly to Fun Lover. He then started laughing. “See? We can all have fun here.”

Luka and Juleka made their way out of the store, only to see a circus-style carriage where May’s car was. “What happened to May’s car?” Luka asked.

“What happened to May?” Juleka said.

“I’m sorry” Fun Lover said, exiting the store. “But there will no longer be boring, clueless, childish May. From now on, you’ll be having fun with Fun Lover!”

Luka and Juleka were scared. Luka took his sister’s arm and ran off. “Where are we going?” Juleka said.

“I don’t know, but we need to get away from her” Luka said.

“You really think you could get away from me?” Fun Lover said, meeting them on her carriage. “That’s cute. You guys are so cute.”

“You’re really freaking me out right now,” Luka said.

“Aww, I don’t like it when people are sad” Fun Lover said. She blew up a balloon and aimed it at Luka.

Luka propelled his sister down a different street “RUN!” The balloon appeared in front of Luka’s face and popped. His face was now painted white with red dimples, and he was smiling.

“Care to join your good pal Fun Lover up on the carriage?” Fun Lover asked.

“Of course” Luka said, getting on.

Fun Lover looked around. She could no longer see Juleka. “Fun Lover. You can worry about her later” Hawk Moth said. “All of Paris will soon feel your joy anyway. Get me Ladybug and Cat Noir!”

“Of course Hawk Moth. Anything to put a smile on your face” Fun Lover said. “And I know just how to get their attention.”

Nadja was continuing her interview with Vlad. “So Vlad, what can you tell us about-” Suddenly the studio doors opened. Fun Lover emerged from a field of balloons. The balloons hit different members of the crew, putting them under her spell. “I’m sorry, who are you?” Nadja asked.

Before she got an answer, Lover blew up a balloon and hit Nadja with it. “Seriously, who are you?” Vlad asked.

“I am Fun Lover, Mr. Sassy Sour Sometimes Man!” she said. “And I am hear to turn that frown upside down.”

Vlad tried to run, but Nadja grabbed him. “Where are you going Vlad?” Nadja asked. “The fun is just about to start.”

Fun Lover blew up a balloon. Vlad broke away from Nadja, and managed to outmaneuver more of Fun Lover’s victims and started running. Fun Lover finished blowing up the balloon and unleashed it. The balloon was chasing Vlad, and both were out of the room at that point.

Fun Lover looked at the camera. “Hello Ladybug. Cat Noir. If you’re watching this, meet me at Le Grand Paris. You’ll find a bunch of people having a lot of fun. And soon, you’ll join them.” She walked up to the camera, breathed onto the lens fogging it up, and drew a smiley face in it.

Of course, Marinette and Adrien were watching and lept into action immediately. “Tikki! Spots On!”

“Plagg! Claws Out!” The two heroes left their homes.

Meanwhile, Vlad was still being chased by that balloon. “I can’t believe I’m running away from a balloon. Vlad then spotted a door and got an idea. He opened the door, and them slammed it on the balloon, make-up going across the door and halls. “Great. Now that the possibly weirdest thing that has happened to me is over, we can get to work. Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” he transformed into Judgement Wolf.

Ladybug and Cat Noir arrived at Le Grand Paris. “I’m guessing you were watching the same show” Ladybug said.

“Yup” Cat Noir said. “I know you’re supposed to smile for the camera, but I never thought the cameras would smile back.” They both entered.

“Hello Ladybug and Cat Noir” Fun Lover said. “So nice of you to join me. Now let’s see those smiles!” She blew up two balloons, one for each hero.

The heroes destroyed the balloons before they could reach them. “Sorry, but my bugaboo is the only thing that’s allowed to put a smile on my face” Cat Noir said. Ladybug facepalmed.

“It’s rude to reject a gift, but don’t worry, there’s plenty more where that came from” Fun Lover said. “However, I’ve got some other smiles I need to create. But don’t fret. You’ll still have company.” The cavalry of smiling faces turned and marched toward the heroes. “And just to add to the fun.” Fun Lover began blowing a balloon animal balloon. She then twisted it up into a bear. The balloon bear came to life and started approaching the heroes. Fun Lover cartwheeled into one of the elevators. “Have fun!”

“WAIT!” Ladybug said.

“Uh, M’Lady. We have a bit of a situation here” Cat Noir said. The balloon bear started attacking him. He managed to block, but the horde of smiling people kept trying to grab him. Ladybug came in and assisted.

The two heroes kept playing defensively, when Judgement Wolf showed up. “I’ll drive away your targets, Ladybug. You go up and try to stop Fun Lover.” He charged in, and distracted the smilers that were attacking Ladybug.

Ladybug nodded, left through the doors, and used her yo-yo to climb up to Chloe’s room in Le Grand Paris. “Ladybug?! What are you doing here?” Chloe said. “Do you not trust me on following through? Because I am, as you can see here!”

“No, it’s not that. There’s a supervillain in the building” Ladybug said, swinging he yo-yo. “I trust you Chloe.”

Chloe smiled. Fun Lover kicked down the door to Chloe’s room. “Ah, some fresh faces,” she said.  Fun Lover blew up a balloon and aimed it at Chloe.

Before it could hit Chloe, Sabrina stood in the way and got hit. Chloe was stunned. Sabrina turned around and when Chloe saw her friend in clown make-up, she got scared.”Hey Chloe. Ready to have fun?” Sabrina said.

Chloe ran around her room while Sabrina chased her. Fun Lover blew up another balloon, but Ladybug popped it before it could go anywhere. “Sorry Fun Lover, but playtime is over!”

“Ladybug, you don’t need to play to have fun” Fun Lover said.

Ladybug closed in on Fun Lover, tackling her. “Gotcha!” Ladybug said.

“Do you?” Fun Lover asked, blowing up a balloon. Ladybug backed off and popped the balloon. “Join us Ladybug. Together we can be happy.” Ladybug was using her yo-yo as a shield.

Meanwhile, Sabrina finally caught Chloe. “Gotcha. Now we can be happy.”

“I don’t want this happiness” Chloe said. “I want the kind of happiness that hanging out with you, the real you, can give me. This isn’t who you are, and you know it!”

Sabrina stopped in her tracks. He make-up started to melt off of her face. “Chloe?” she said.

Fun Lover saw this and began blowing up more balloons. Ladybug popped them, as she circled to protect them. “Well well, it looks like you did put a smile on my face” Ladybug said, figuring out Fun Lover’s weakness.

Fun Lover scowled. “Well, no matter. I have so many people smiling already. There’s no way you can stop me.” She flipped over to the balcony and fell backwards off of it, holding an empty balloon. She began blowing it as she fell. Ladybug, Chloe, and Sabrina observed as Fun Lover came back over the balcony riding a balloon eagle away from the hotel.

“Ladybug, you take care of her. I’ll see what I can do about Sabrina” Chloe said.

“Thanks Chloe” Ladybug said. She left as well.

Meanwhile, Cat Noir was packing in the smiling people into confines that they wouldn’t escape from. “That’s the last of them” he said Meanwhile, the balloon bear snuck up on him, but then popped.

Judgement Wolf stood their with his sword drawn. “They’re balloons. I can’t believe neither of us thought of that.”

“Well, we had a lot to deal with” Cat Noir said. “Thanks for saving me.”

“Anytime. Now let’s check on Ladybug” Judgement Wolf said. The two left the hotel as Ladybug was coming down.

“Ladybug. Did you stop Fun Lover?” Cat Noir said.

“No. She got away. But I do know her weakness” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! A triangle? Wait! This is familiar. We need help! You two, find Fun Lover. I’ll be back.” Ladybug left.

“So, do you know where she goes?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“I have a general idea” Cat Noir said, leaping into action. Judgement Wolf followed behind.

Marinette arrived in Master Fu’s parlor. “Master, we’re going to need help again.”

“Of course. But maybe we can continue our talk afterward” Master Fu said. He opened up the miracle box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

We’re going to need something real, and that can reach multiple people. “Ah. Master, I’m going to need the tiger miraculous.”

“As you wish” Master Fu said.

Marinette was running down the street. “Tikki! Spots on!” she said, transforming back into Ladybug. She checked her yo-yo and saw that Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf had Fun Lover’s location. Ladybug made her way to that area. She jumped on a rooftop and saw that Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf were fighting off an entire smiling parade, with Fun Lover on her Carriage as the float.

“Ladybug” Juleka called out.

“AH! Oh. Sorry. I thought you were one of those smiling demons” Ladybug said.

“No” Juleka said. “Ladybug, can you help her?”

“Of course Juleka” Ladybug said.

“Good” Juleka said.

“What’s wrong?” Ladybug asked, sensing some concern.

“Well, it’s just that Fun Lover is my dad’s new girlfriend” she began. “I think she was nervous about meeting us, and it just got the better of her. She has my brother already. I don’t know what to do. Should I have done something more?”

Ladybug was surprised. She put her hand on Juleka’s shoulder. “You still can” Ladybug said. “Juleka Couffaine. Here is the miraculous of the tiger, which grants you the power of sound. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is done, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

Juleka nodded, took the box, and opened it. Roaar popped up, yawning. “Ah, it’s great to be out and about again!” he said. “Are you ready to rock and roll?”

“Sure” Juleka said, smiling and putting on the miraculous.

“Then all you have to say is ‘Roaar! Show Stripes!’” Roaar instructed.

“Thanks. You know, you’re pretty cute” Juleka said.

“Thanks. So are you” Roaar responded.

“Roaar! Show Stripes!” Juleka called. She transformed. Her outfit was similar to Ladybug’s, but magenta with black stripes, instead of red with black spots, and also a tail. She also had a cowl going over the top half of her face. The cowl was shaped like a tiger’s head, with ears on top, eye holes for Juleka’s eyes, a tiger nose over her nose, and small little fangs coming down from the bottom of the cowl. Juleka’s hair was also did up in a ponytail and put through a hole on the back of the cowl. She also got some magenta escrima sticks.

“Ready?” Ladybug said. Juleka nodded. “Then let’s go.” The two jumped to the action. Cat Noir was defending himself against the smiling parade, when Ladybug came and assisted him. “Hopefully, I’m not too late to the party” Ladybug said.

Judgement Wolf was similarly backed into a corner, when Juleka in her hero outfit came to his rescue as well. “I got you, wolf boy” she said.

“The name’s Judgement Wolf” he said. “How would you like it if I called you ‘Tiger Girl’?”

“Meh. I’d prefer Tigress” she said. “Sorry about that, Judgement Wolf.”

“It’s fine Tigress” Judgement Wolf said.

“You think adding another hero into the mix will save you?” Fun Lover said. “I have many smiling faces to do my bidding! Not to mention, my balloon animals!” She unleashed an army of balloon animals from her circus carriage.

“She’s right, we can’t get close to her at this rate” Cat Noir said.

“Let’s hope the help you brought can do it” Judgement Wolf said.

“Don’t take it personally, Tigress. He’s always like that” Cat Noir said.

More smiling people came. Judgement Wolf, Cat Noir, and Tigress defended, while Ladybug called out “Lucky Charm! Glue?” Ladybug looked around. She saw a crowd of people leading up to Fun Lover, some balloon animals in the sky, Cat Noir, and Tigress. “Tigress! Follow me! Cat Noir, on my word, Cataclysm one of the flying balloon animals.” She and Tigress left.

“OK, and how am I supposed to get up there?” Cat Noir asked.

“Need a lift?” Judgement Wolf said.

Cat Noir smiled. “This oughta be fun!”

Ladybug and Tigress landed in front of Fun Lover’s carriage about 100 feet away. “OK Tigress. Think happy thoughts, and then use your power” Ladybug said.

“Why do I need to do that?” Tigress asked. “Couldn’t I just say ‘be happy’?”

“That’s not quite how it works” Ladybug said. “Sounds reflect what people are feeling. In order for your power to work, you need to experience the feeling you want to express. In this case, pure jubilation. I’ll cover you. You just get ready.” Ladybug started fending off smiling people.

“Got it. Thanks Ladybug” Tigress said. She crossed her escrima sticks, closed her eyes, and began thinking happy thoughts to charge her power. Her class. Her family. Her band. Hanging out with her friends. Then she thought about Rose, and how she said yes. She was still over the moon on that. She opened her eyes and called out “Reverb!” She uncrossed her sticks dramatically, and let out sound waves that hit and bounced off of everyone and everything in her path. The make-up started to melt off of the people who got hit, and they were all wonder what was going on.

Ladybug started running up to Fun Lover and called out “CAT NOIR! NOW!”

Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf were subduing smiling people, and popping animal balloons. Judgement Wolf cupped his hands and Cat Noir jumped on them and Judgement Wolf lifted him up into the air. “CATACLYSM!” Cat Noir said, striking the eagle.

Ladybug made her way to Fun Lover and squirted the glue on her. Then, just as Fun Lover was about to blow up another balloon, one of the bits of latex from the eagle came down, and Ladybug grabbed it and applied it to Fun Lover’s face so she couldn’t blow up any more balloons.

“LADYBUG! THE BRACELET!” Tigress called out.

“Good eye” Judgement Wolf said.

“Thanks” Tigress said.

Ladybug saw the turtle bracelet, grabbed it, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it, releasing the Akuma. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. TIme to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye bye. little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” she threw the glue up in the air, and the magic Ladybugs reverted everyone back to normal.

Fun Lover transformed back into May. “What happened?” she asked.

“Pound it!” the heroes said.

“How dare you rain on my parade, Ladybug! But I’ll put a smile on my face once I get your miraculous!” Hawk Moth said, cursing his latest attempt.

“May!” Luka called out, rushing over to her. “What happened?”

“I don’t know. One minute, I was nervous, and the next, I can’t remember” May said.

“It’s OK May” Luka said.

“You were just Akumatized” Ladybug said.

“What does that mean?” May asked.

“Right. She’s from England, so she might not know” Luka said. “May, these are heroes. There’s a villain in the city named Hawk Moth, who turns other people into villains. He preyed on your nervousness and turned you into one.”

“Oh no,” May said. “I hope I didn’t hurt anyone.”

“It’s OK, May” Ladybug said. “We fixed everything.”

“Besides, this was kind of…fun!” Cat Noir said.

“Cat Noir” Ladybug said, shaking her head.

“JULEKA!” May said. “Where is she?”

“Uhhhhh, she’s around” Ladybug said. “Don’t worry, we’ll find her. You just stay here.”

The heroes left. When they were far enough away, Cat Noir said “I’ll search for Juleka as long as I can. Once you get the miraculous back, you do the same.” His miraculous beeped. “Gotta go!” he left.

Tigress waited for Judgement Wolf to leave. “Um, why is Jugdement Wolf still here?” she asked after a few seconds.

“Oh, right. Sorry. I didn’t mention it before” Ladybug said. “Judgement Wolf here tests other miraculous users. He needs to know your identity to test you.”

“And if I don’t want to give it to him?” Tigress said.

Judgement Wolf answered “Well then, I’m just going to have to get it out of you one way or another.”

Tigress thought about it for a bit. “OK then. Roaar! Hide Stripes!” she transformed back into Juleka.

Roaar reappeared. “Oooh, the wolf boy! Are you prepared?”

“It’s Judgement Wolf!” he said.

“I guess” Juleka said. “To be honest, I don’t care if I get to use the tiger miraculous again. I’d like to, but I’m just glad I saved May.”

“Ah, cute, brave, smart, and caring. You have it all” Roaar said. “I look forward to working with you again.”

“I do to. If Judgement Wolf says I can” Juleka said.

“Don’t worry about that guy” Roaar said. “I’m sure you’ll pass.”

Juleka smiled. “Thanks Roaar.” She put the miraculous back in the box. “I’m going to go find Cat Noir. She left.

“Marinette, you go return that to Master Fu. I’ve got some business here I need to attend to” Judgement Wolf said.

Ladybug nodded. “Sure thing Vlad” she said, leaving.

“Beyyo! Fangs Dull!” he called out, turning back into Vlad.

Cat Noir found Juleka, and returned her to Luka and May. “Here you go” he said.

“Thank you Cat Noir” Juleka said.

“Cat Noir! Thanks. For everything” May said.

“No problem” Cat Noir said. He left.

The three of them hugged. Vlad approached them. “Hey Juleka. Luka. What’s going on? The last thing I remember was that some clown lady attacked me during my interview.”

“Vlad?” Luka said. Vlad blushed when Luka called him by his name.

“This is Vlad?” May said. She looked down.

“What’s the matter?” Vlad asked.

“Well, I think what pushed me over the edge was your interview” May said.”I tuned in when you were talking about your parents. I was already feeling pretty blue, and when you said that I just broke. I mean, how could I compare to someone’s birth parents like that?”

Vlad sighed. “Alright. I’ll let you in on a secret” Vlad said. “The truth is I’m adopted. The parents I was talking about? They aren’t my birth parents. But they are still two of the most amazing people I know. I’m sure that if Luka and Juleka got to know you, they’d feel the same.”

“It’s true” Luka said. “I think it’s cool that you teach music.”

“Yeah. You seem like a really nice person” Juleka said.

“Kids” May said with tears in her eyes.

“VLAD!” a male voice called out.

“MAY! KIDS!” Richard called out. They all turned and saw Richard and one other man running to them. The other man was wearing a suit, and had curly hair, a big nose, and a mustache.

“Dad?” all three kids said.

“Richard?” May said.

The two men were out of breath. “Are you OK?” Richard said.

“Well, we are now” Juleka said. “Thanks to Ladybug.”

“I saw the attack on TV” Vlad’s dad said. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine” Vlad said. “Thanks dad.” He gave his dad a hug.

“So, you’re Vlad’s dad?” Juleka said.

“Yup” he said. “But you can call me Conrad.”

“Dad. This is Juleka. She’s in my class. And this is her brother, Luka” Vlad introduced.

“So this young man is in your class, eh Jules?” Richard said.

“That’s right” Juleka said.

“Huh” Richard said. “Well, if he’s anything like his dad here, he’s super cool.”

“He is. In fact, he helped me get over my fears and talk to you about…well..you know” Juleka said.

“Wait, so you’re on the Paris Pride commission?” May asked.

“Yup” Conrad replied. “To be more specific, I work for them as a graphic designer. But I also help them in other ways.”

“He was just at our impromptu meeting today at the record company, with a few other people from Paris Pride” Richard said. “He was actually really cool. We bonded over our kids very quickly.”

“So Juleka, did you want to do anything for Paris Pride?” Vlad asked.

Juleka was surprised. She nodded. “Sure I’d love to.”

“Great” Vlad said.

“Well Vlad, we should get you back to the TV station to finish your interview” Conrad said.

“And we should get back home” Richard said. “Ready to go?” Luka, Juleka, and May nodded. They left to go back to their car. Conrad and Vlad left the other direction.

On their way back, Richard passed by the record store again. “Oh hey. Can we pull over?” Luka asked.

“Sure. What for?” Richard said.

“We were at this place earlier” Luka said. “To get you gifts to repay you for your gifts.”

“Oh, you don’t need to do that,” Richard said.

“We insist” Juleka said. “I found you something really cool.”

“Alright” Richard said. “Just hurry up.” The kids left the car. They returned in a few minutes. “So, what did you get me?”

“Well, I got you ‘Look Now’ on vinyl” Luka said. “I know you’re missing that one still in your Elvis Costello vinyl collection.”

“Well thank you son” Richard said. “What about you, Jules?”

Juleka unfurled her poster. “Honestly, I’m amazed I found this” she said. It was a poster for a live performance by an old band called Pest Control. “It’s for that specific date. I can’t believe I found it still, or that the guy was willing to part with it.”

Richard was shocked, as was May. “They know about Pest Control?” May asked.

“May, these are mine and Anarka’s kids” Richard said. “Of course they know.”

“Pest Control is actually very cool” Luka said. “They’re right up there with Jagged Stone for me.”

“Me too” Juleka said.

May was blushing. She then looked at the date. “Why is that date important?” she asked.

“Ah, yes well,” Richard said, “Anarka and I went to that concert that night,” he put up his hand, “and ‘agreed’ to have Luka there.”

“Oh” May said. She started laughing. “I can’t believe it.”

“I know, right? Think I could get it signed later?” Richard said.

“Um dad? Don’t you need someone from Pest Control to get it signed?” Luka asked.

“Right. Of course. Can I tell them?” Richard asked. May nodded.

“Tell us what?” Juleka answered.

“May here is actually May from Pest Control” Richard said.

“No way!” Juleka said.

“How’d you manage to swing that?” Luka asked.

“Well, I was helping distribute stuff from my company to the school May worked at, and I met her” Richard said. “We kind of hit it off right away.”

“Richard here is just the sweetest” May said.

“Right. But it took me months to realize she also played in one of my favorite bands” Richard said.

“Well, I didn’t want you dating me just because I was in Pest Control” May said.

“Yeah” Richard said. “But I’m glad you kept it a secret. I got to know you for who you really are, and I fell in love with you. I wouldn’t be able to contain myself if I knew right away.” The couple kissed.

“So, you really do teach kids now?” Juleka asked.

“Um, yes” May said.

“Cool” Juleka said. May smiled. She knew everything would be alright.

Marinette returned with the tiger miraculous. “Here you go Master” she said.

“Thank you, Marinette” Master Fu said. He put it away. “Now, let’s talk.”

Chapter Text

“I can tell something is bothering you. Why don’t you go first?” Master Fu said, delaying the inevitable.

“Sure” Marinette said. “Well, it appears that Hawk Moth has someone else working for them. Yesterday, a mysterious person lured Vincent the photographer away and they messed up his camera, which lead Vncent to be Akumatized.”

“It is as I feared” Master Fu said. “Hawk Moth is gaining more allies.”

Marinette grew concerned. “Master, what if Hawk Moth is blackmailing more people? What if it isn’t just one person? Now that he no longer has Lila, he might be targeting others like her.”

“We cannot deny that possibility” Master Fu said. “Marinette, I have come to a difficult decision. Since Hawk Moth is trying to stack the odds in his favor, we need to do the same.”

“What do you suggest we do?” Marinette asked. She noticed the Miracle Box was still there. “Uh, why is the Miracle Box still out?”

“I didn’t want to do this, but Hawk Moth has forced our hand” Master Fu said. “Marinette, I want you to take the Fox and Turtle miraculous and give them to Alya and Nino.”

“For what? The Akuma is gone” Marinette said. She then saw the look in Master Fu’s eyes. “Oh. Are you sure about this, Master?”

“This was a difficult choice to make. But with heroes out there that Hawk Moth is familiar with, it might reduce the amount that he isn’t needing to show up” Master Fu said. “Plus, it strengthens our numbers.” He took off the turtle miraculous and gave it to Marinette.

Marinette grabbed the fox miraculous, She saw the bee miraculous and had a thought. “Master? I know this might sound crazy, but do you think we can give Chloe the bee miraculous for keeps as well?”

“What makes you say that?” Master Fu asked.

“Well, it’s just yesterday I talked with Chloe. It seems Hawk Moth is also targeting her as well. Like how he targeted Lila” Marinette said. “I know that it’ll put a lot of hardship on Chloe, but since he’s targeting her anyway, with or without a miraculous, I think it might be better if Chloe could defend herself.”

“Hmmmm. I will agree to it” Master Fu said. Marinette lit up. “On one condition: She has to be proven worthy.”

“You mean by Vlad” Marinette said, frowning.

“You seem concerned” Master Fu said.

“Well, it’s just that Chloe is difficult” Marinette said. “I don’t know if Vlad or Beyyo would come to trust her. I believe in her, she is changing, but I’ve also seen what she’s capable of. I don’t want to leave her alone though.”

“Marinette, if Chloe is changing like you said, then everything should be fine, correct?” Master Fu said.

Marinette smiled. “Right Master.” Marinette left.

After Marinette left, Master Fu went to the miracle box, took out the goat miraculous, and put it on. “Hello Ziggy.”

Meanwhile, Vlad enters his room after finishing up his interview. “I have to say, despite it getting interrupted by a maniacal clown bent on making people smile, that was one of the better interviews I’ve had,” he said.

“Well, it’s all a first for me” Beyyo retorted. “Most people with the wolf miraculous don’t usually talk to others this much outside of other miraculous users.”

“Do you mind me being an exception?” Vlad asked, sitting at his computer.

“No” Beyyo said. “I kind of think it’s fun. A bit challenging, but fun.”

Vlad laughed. “I’m rubbing off on you.” He did some research on the LadyBlog. “Reflekta, huh?” He read the details of the story.

“Are you going to make her fight herself?” Beyyo asked. “Like brother, like sister?”

“Not Really. Let me tell you what I have in mind” Vlad said. He went over his plan with Beyyo.

At the Liberty, Richard and May were dropping off Juleka and Luka. “The kids had a great time,” Richard said.

“Mom. You’re not going to believe it” Luka said, excitedly. “Oh. Wait, can I tell her?” he asked May.

“Of course” May said.

“May is May from Pest Control” Luka said.

“Really?” Anarka said. “Richard, you lucky duck.”

“Ha ha, yeah” Richard said. He looked at his girlfriend. “But not because she used to play for the best band ever. Because she’s May.”

“Oh stop” May said. The two shared a kiss.

Anarka shrugged. “That’s Richard for you,” she said.

“Well, we should get going,” Richard said. “I assume we’ll meet to finalize our new arrangements.”

“Of course Richard” Anarka said.

“Bye kids! Bye Anarka!” Richard said, getting in the car.

“Bye everyone!” May said. They drove off, and Anarka, Juleka, and Luka waved goodbye. They all went into the boat to get some sleep.

Judgement Wolf hopped onto the Liberty sign. “Good. She’s here. I’d hate having to track down where Richard lives.” He hopped down onto the boat. He snuck in, and found Juleka asleep. “Wolf Mist!”

Juleka was in school, smiling ear to ear. She was the most popular girl in the class after all. She walked in and was greeted with the usual his and hellos from fiends. “Hey Juleka” Nathanial said.

“Hey Nathanial” Juleka replied.

“Hi Juleka” Max said.

“Hello Max.”

“Hey Juleka. Wanna try on my newest design after school?” Marinette asked.

“Of course Marinette” Juleka said. Juleka was feeling confident. She sat down.

Rose came in the class, looking down as usual. No greeting for her, except a quite “Hey Rose” from Marinette. Rose took her seat next to Juleka.

Juleka could tell something was wrong. “Rose? Is something the matter?”

“Not more than usual” Rose said, in her usual downer voice. Juleka didn’t understand it. Rose used to be so outgoing and fun.

“We all know what’s the matter with Rose” Chloe said. “She scares everyone off. She’s so cheery, it’s detestable.”

“Back off, Chloe!” Juleka said.

“It’s OK Juleka” Rose said. “What she says is true.”

“But it isn’t Rose!” Juleka said. “Why are you letting her get to you?” Even though Juleka said that, everyone else in the class was murmuring. She knew that Rose’s strong approach to meeting people wasn’t well received. Juleka enjoyed it though. But it wasn’t enough. Not for Rose anyway.

After school, Juleka headed to the art room. She noticed Rose leaving the other way. “Rose? What are you doing? The art room is this way?”

“That’s OK. I don’t feel like scrapbooking today. You go on ahead” Rose said, leave.

“Well, I’ll come with you” Juleka said.

“DON’T!” Rose yelled. “I just want to be by myself.” Rose left. Juleka was concerned, but she wanted to respect her friend’s wishes. She headed to the art room.

“Hey Juleka. Ready to try on my design?” Marinette asked. Marinette took notice of Juleka’s sour mood. “What’s wrong?”

“Rose isn’t coming today” Juleka said.

“Oh” Marinette said. “Well, I’m sure she just needs to work things out.”

“I hope you’re right” Juleka said.

Meanwhile, Rose was hiding under the stairs, looking through her scrapbook. All she saw were pictures of things and herself. Not one other person. She had even tried to ask Juleka, but Juleka was always busy with something else. Of course she was. Everyone loved her.

“A lonely heart that just wants some friends. I can sympathize with that” Hawk Moth said. “Fly away my little Akuma, and evilize this poor unfortunate soul.”

The Akuma flew and fused with Rose’s scrapbook. “Hello Scrap Heart. I am Hawk Moth. Anyone whose picture is in your scrapbook will instantly become your friend. What I want in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“Friends loan each other stuff all the time,” Rose said. A purple-black aura surrounded Rose.

Juleka was trying on a hat Marinette made. She was enjoying it, and she loved whatever Marinette designed, but she was still worried about Rose. “I’m sorry Marinette. I just want to check on Rose” she said.

“OK Juleka” Marinette said. Juleka put the hand down and left the room. Juleka went one way, but from behind, coming up the stairs, was Scrap Heart.

Scrap Heart looked like Rose, but she was made of paper folded like an origami figure, and was wearing a samurai body armor, and a headband. She also had a belt, which had a scrapbook on one side, and a camera on the other. She walked into the art room.

“Hello” she said.

“Rose?” Marinette said, shocked.

Scap Heart shook her head. “I am Scrap Heart. And from now on, we’re going to be best friends!” She took out her camera and took a photo of Marinette. The photo came out of the camera, and Scrap Heart placed it in her scrapbook.

Marinette’s eyes turned pink. “Scrap Heart!” she said, leaping into her arms to give her a hug.

Scrap Heart returned the hug. “Now, let’s make some more friends.”

Juleka was still looking for Rose. “Rose? Rose? Where are you Rose?” Juleka heard some clicks and some commotion. She decided to follow it.

She ran into her classroom, where Scrap Heart had amassed numerous friends. Juleka saw Scrap Heart take someone else’s picture, as her friends were holding them down. Scrap Heart put the picture in her scrapbook, and suddenly she gained a new friend. Scrap Heart turned around and saw Juleka. “JULEKA!” she said, excitedly. Juleka ran away and hid. “Juleka? You’ve never had time for photos before. Now we have all the time we could ask for. We can be together forever. I just need a picture.” Juleka was afraid. She wanted what Scrap Heart was saying, but not like this.

Suddenly, Scrap Heart was hit from behind. “This isn’t how you make friends” Ladybug said.

“If you want advice, I have a few pointers” Cat Noir said.

Scrap Heart smiled. She took out her camera. Juleka became worried. She came out of hiding and shouted “DON’T LET HER TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU!” Ladybug and Cat Noir lept out of the way. The picture Scrap Heart took came out blurry. She got frustrated and crumpled it. 

She kept trying to get a picture of the heroes, but the two kept dodging. “We can’t keep doing this” Ladybug said.

“You’re right, this needs to end in a flash. Where do you think the Akuma is?” Cat Noir responded.

“It’s probably in the scrapbook” Ladybug said.

“OK. I’ll keep her distracted” Cat Noir said. Ladybug nodded and ran off. “Yoo hoo. Try to get my good side” Cat Noir taunted, while running in the other direction.

When Ladybug thought she was safe, she called out “Lucky Charm! Diet soda?” she looked around and saw some Mentos on a teacher’s desk, and also took stock of Scrap Heart’s paper body. Ladybug smiled.

Scrap Heart noticed Ladybug standing still. “Picture perfect” she said,aiming her camera at Ladybug.

“No!” Juleka said. She rushed in and stood in front of the hero as the picture was being taken.

“Juleka!” Ladybug said.

“It’s OK. You’ll save the day. And afterwards, so will I” Juleka said. Ladybug rushed into the classroom and grabbed the Mentos. Scrap Heart put the photo in her scrapbook. Juleka’s eyes turned pink.

Ladybug closed the door and locked it. She found some string and a stand. She placed the Mentos in the diet soda, and put the cap back on.

“Oh Juleka? Would you be a dear and get the door for me?” Scrap Heart said, coming up the stairs.

“Of course. Anything for a friend” Juleka said. She tried opening the door. “I’m afraid it’s locked.”

“That’s OK” Scrap Heart said. “Someone as sweet and delicate as you shouldn’t be confronting superheroes on your own anyway.” Scrap Heart kicked down the door, which pulled the string, opening the diet soda bottle with the Mentos aimed directly at Scrap Heart. “NOOOOOO!” she said, as her paper body started to collapse on itself.

Ladybug grabbed the scrapbook and tossed it to Cat Noir. “Cat Noir!”

Cat Noir Caught it. “Thanks bugaboo. Cataclysm!” Cat Noir destroyed the scrapbook, freeing the Akuma.

“No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha. Bye bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug” she threw the bottle in the air, and the magic ladybugs undid everything Scrap Heart did.

“Take a picture of your victory, Ladybug. It’ll be all you have of you winning once I have your miraculous!” Hawk Moth said.

Rose returned to normal. “Pound it” said the heroes. Their miraculous started to beep.

“It’s OK. I’ll take it from here” Juleka said.

“Thanks” Ladybug said. “Bug out!” She and Cat Noir left.

Juleka walked up to Rose. “What happened?” Rose asked.

“You were Akumatized. But it’s OK now” Juleka said. She lifted up Rose and together they walked to their classroom. They entered on a bunch of confused students. “Everyone. I have something to say” Juleka said. All eyes were on Juleka. “Rose is the sweetest, gentlest people I know. If you can’t accept that, then you can’t accept me either. From now on, I will be with Rose constantly. She got Akumatized because she felt alone. No one should feel that way. So either you get me and Rose, or you don’t get me at all.”

“Juleka…” Rose said. The group of students looked at each other, and one by one came up to Rose to apologize to her.

Later on, Rose and Juleka were sitting on a bench together. “Thank you for sticking up for me earlier,” Rose said.

Juleka smiled. “You’d do the same if our roles were reversed” Juleka replied.

Rose got nervous. “Hey, can I tell you something?”

“What are friends for?” Juleka said.

“Well, about that…” Rose said. She put her hand on Juleka’s leg. “I was kind of hoping we could be more than friends.”

Juleka was surprised. She then smiled and said “I was kind of hoping you would ask.” The two of them kissed.

“Why don’t we take a picture to commemorate this moment?” Rose asked.

“Good idea” Juleka said. Rose took out her phone and took a picture. In the flash, Juleka was warped to a mysterious white void.

“Hello Juleka” Judgement Wolf said.

Juleka was confused. “So, was this my test?” she asked.

“Yes” Judgement Wolf said. “You always aspire to be part of the group. To never be left alone. I wanted to give you that, but give someone else that burden. And it turns out you were true to your morals either way. So you passed.”

Juleka smiled. “Thank you. You’ve given me such wonderful things.”

“You’re welcome. You’ve also given such wonderful things to me as well” Judgement Wolf said. “Well, good night.” He lept out of the mist, and Juleka fell back to sleep.

The next morning, Vlad woke up to a text from Marinette. “Hey Vlad. We need to talk ASAP.”

Vlad looked at it. “Well, it looks like today is going to be busy. Isn’t that right Beyyo?”

“You’re the one who made it that way” Beyyo said.

“Well, do you mind?” Vlad asked.

“Not really” Beyyo responded.

“Then let’s go” Vlad said. He started getting ready for school.

Chapter Text

After Adrien finished watching Vlad’s interview, he left his room. He was nervous, but he knocked on the door to his father’s office. “Come in Adrien” he said. Adrien walked in. “I had a feeling you would wait until Mr. Brodeur’s interview was over before you wanted to talk.”

“When will you start calling him Vlad?” Adrien asked.

“When the first thing I think about regarding him isn’t him vulgarly insinuating something” Gabriel said.

“Well, to be fair, I told him that that’s what I thought was going on” Adrien said. “But I get your point.” The two Agreste men took their seats.

“So, is there something particular on your mind?” Gabriel asked.

Adrien was nervous. “Yes. Father, I thank you for giving me more freedom, but I still feel caged somewhat.”

“I’m not ready to cancel anything” Gabriel said.

“No, it’s nothing like that” Adrien said, defensively. “I just want to act like myself more around my friends.”

“What are you talking about? You’re the perfect gentleman” Gabriel asked.

“I agree, that is a part of me,” Adrien began, “but there’s more to me than that. There’s the fun side of me. The nonsensical. I appreciate jokes, and wordplay. I might appear clueless at times.” Adrien looked down. “I’m afraid of not being perfect in your eyes. I maintain a perfect persona in your eyes so you don’t take me away from my friends.”

“Adrien, you don’t have to be perfect.”

“You yelled at me for sleeping on the floor!” Gabriel was stunned. He didn’t know he meant that kind of imperfection. “I’m afraid of being alone. But if I keep this perfect persona up, I’m afraid I’ll be left alone again when something slips, or I make a mistake. They’ll seem that I’m not flawless, and they’ll leave me.”

“Adrien…” Gabriel said. He knew he was overbearing. He knew he didn’t let him out much. He knew that he gave him a lot of extracurricular activities. But he never thought he was wearing Adrien down like this. “Sometimes, you take after your mother so much, it hurts.”

Adrien was confused. “What does that mean, father?”

“Years ago, when we started dating, she tripped on her dress coming to dinner. She was OK physically, but she was so emotionally distraught, she hid in her room. I went up to talk to her. She was upset because she thought my perception of her was shattered. I told her it was anything but.” Gabriel smiled. “I still remember that night fondly. I told your mother that she was perfect in every way. Even in her imperfections. That night, the meal we had planned to eat was donated to a local shelter. Your mother wanted to eat like a commoner, so we ordered a pizza. We spent the rest of the night eating it and talking in her room.” Gabriel smiled. That night was magical for him.

“Adrien, do you know why I ask you not to do certain things?” he asked. Adrien shook his head no. “Growing up, I faced hardship after hardship. I didn’t grow up rich like your mother did. So, when we had you, I wanted to protect you from some of the things I went through.”

Adrien smiled. He knew his father on a level he didn’t before. “I understand father. But sometimes I want to face some of those dangers.”

“I just don’t want to lose you too” Gabriel said. “But I understand as well. Your mother liked facing some of those dangers as well. Of course, if you get into any serious danger, I want you to run away, OK?”

“Of course father” Adrin said. 

“So tell me, what brought this on so suddenly?” Gabriel asked.

Adrien blushed. “Well, I’ve been thinking. See, there’s this girl I think I like-”

“Say no more” Gabriel said, putting his hand up.  He smiled. “I understand. Love can make you do all sorts of things.”

Adrien was stunned. “Well, you see, I don’t know if I LOVE her yet. But I was thinking that if I did, I wouldn’t want to disappoint her, and-”

“Enough” Gabriel said. “You don’t need to explain yourself to me.”

“Thanks father” Adrien said. “I know your busy, and it’s getting late. I’m going to go back to my room.” He left.

Gabriel sat there long after Adrien had left. He had not thought about that night in a long time. It was just him and Emilie. A young designer and a young actress just being themselves.. He started crying. “Soon…” he said. He then got out his phone. “Hello, Papa Leone’s? I’d like to place an order for delivery.”

The next day at school, Adrien was about enter school, when he saw something on the cylindrical poster board thing that caught his attention and grabbed a picture.

Meanwhile, Vlad was entering with his father. Marinette looked at the door and called out “Vlad!” she yelled. She ran up to him.

“Dad, is it OK if I talk to my friend in private?” Vlad asked.

“Of course son” Conrad said. “I think I can find the principal’s office from here.” He walked off.

“Who was that?” Marinette asked.

“My dad” Vlad answered.

“Oh. What’s he doing here?” Marinette asked again.

“You’ll see soon enough” Vlad said. “Shall we go someplace more private?”

“Of course” Marinette said. The two of them walked off.

They found a private spot. “Oh hey, does Beyyo need to be here for this?”

“Well, I’d like him to be” Marinette said, Tikki popping out.

“I guess we’ll just do that later” Beyyo said, also popping out.

“So, what’s this about?” Vlad asked.

“Well, we’ve talked with Master Fu,” Marinette said, “and he wants us to strengthen our hand.”

“What did he have in mind?” Vlad asked.

“Well, he said her had a few ideas, but he only told us one of them” TIkki said.

“And that would be?” Beyyo asked.

Marinette took out the two miraculouses. “We agreed to give these to Alya and Nino full time.”

“Oh” Vlad said. He was surprised.

“I’ll talk to them later today as Ladybug” Marinette said. “I just wanted to run that by you. I also wanted to run it by Cat Noir, but you are easier to get into contact with.”

“No worries” Vlad said. “I’ll talk to Cat Noir. After all, he knows who I am now.”

“Wait, WHAT?! Since when?” Marinette asked.

“Since Rhythm Robber” Beyyo interjected.

“It’s alright. He only knows who I am” Vlad said. “I haven’t told him about you.”

“Are you going to?” Tikki asked.

“When the time is right” Vlad replied.

Tikki and Marinette were concerned, but they thought to ask him about that later. “Um, there’s something else” Marinette said. “See, there’s someone else I want to give a miraculous full time to, but…”

“Who is it?” Vlad asked.

“So, a little while ago, I lost a miraculous. On accident! I didn’t mean to lose it” Marinette said, trying to defend herself. “It somehow ended up in Chloe’s hands, and when she first used it, she revealed to everyone who she was, and ended up Akumatized. However, a few times since then, we have used Chloe to help us. But then we figured since everyone knew who she was, Hawk Moth might try to use that against her. On Saturday though, I learned that Hawk Moth was targeting Chloe specifically, with or without her miraculous. Like he did with Lila. I figured that if she had it, she could at least defend herself.”

“I see” Vlad said. “In that case, why not give Lila a miraculous as well?”

“WHAT?!” Marinette said. “I mean, well, Hawk Moth said he would be avoiding Lila for the time being. Plus, Chloe is starting to change. I trust her a little bit. At least, more than Lila. And she has fought off being Akumatized twice. I think Chloe could handle it. But…”

“You want me to test her” Vlad said.

“Right” Marinette said.

“No sweat, Marinette” Vlad said. “I can handle that.”

“Thanks” Marinette said.

Adrien then saw Vlad and Marinette. “VLAD! MARINETTE!” he said, rushing towards them.

“What is it, Adrien?” Marinette asked.

“Whatever it is, you can tell me later” Vlad said. “I’ve got some business to attend to.”

“Oh right. I saw your dad was here” Adrien said. “Well, I’ll tell you later then.”

“Seeya” Vlad said, leaving. He walked down the hall, when he spotted Max and Markov. “Right on cue.”

“Ah-HA!” Markov said, spotting Vlad. “There he is.” Markov flew to meet Vlad, with Max not far behind.

“Hey Max. Markov. Something you want to tell me?” Vlad asked.

“Of course there is!” Markov said. “Are you by chance Judgement Wolf?”

“Are you asking, or…?” Vlad said.

“What? No! You are Judgment Wolf!” Markov responded.

“I see. What makes you so sure?” Vlad asked.

“Well, I don’t have any physical evidence,” Markov began, “but I can tell in my heart of hearts, it is you.”

Vlad smiled. “Well Beyyo, what do you think? Am I Judgement Wolf?”

“No way” Beyyo said, popping up. “There’s no way I would give the wolf miraculous to someone as dumb as you.”

Markov was perplexed. “You’re saying no, but the evidence suggests yes.”

“I’m just messing with you, Markov” Vlad said.

“Oh” Markov said. He laughed. “Very funny.”

“So, you’re really Judgement Wolf?” Max asked.

“That’s right” Vlad said.

“By the way Max, I approve of you as well” Beyyo said.

“Oh. Thank you, uh, Beyyo, was it?” Max said.

“Yes” Beyyo said.

“Remember. Not a word to anybody, OK?” Vlad said.

“Of course Vlad!” Markov said. The students went to class.

“Now, before we get started, we have a special announcement from Conrad Brodeur, Vlad’s father” Miss Bustier said.

“Thank you, Miss Bustier” Conrad said. “As you know, Paris Pride is coming up soon. A week after the art exhibition, I believe. I’m on the committee for the event, and I’m here today to help spread the word, and get volunteers. If you don’t have the time, that’s fine. If you do, just talk to my son Vlad, and he will give you all the necessary information. If you also want to walk in the parade, you can ask Vlad about that as well.”

The class clapped. “Thank you, Mr. Brodeur” Miss Bustier said. Conrad left to go tell the rest of the school. “Alright, now, let’s begin.”

“WAIT!” Chloe said, raising her hand. She then shrunk her presence after everyone was looking at her. “I have an announcement I want to make too.”

“Um, OK Chloe. But make it quick” Miss Bustier said.

Chloe stood up in front of the class. She was nervous. All eyes were on her, but not in the way she liked. “As you know, I can be selfish, vicious, and mean at times…” she began. “However, after recent events, I’ve decided I wanted to change. I no longer want to be that person. I have come to hate the animosity from all of you. I want to try. Try and be friends with all of you. And that’s why…I’m sorry.” The entire class gasped.

“Well, thank you Chloe” Miss Bustier said. The entire classed talked amongst themselves.

“I wasn’t expecting that out of Chloe” Alya said.

“I know. It seems weird” Nino said.

“It’s OK” Adrien said. “This is the Chloe I knew once upon a time. I’m glad she’s getting back to that.” Marinette was processing a lot. Had their talk really impacted her that much? She then saw Adrien smiling, and was glad that he could smile because of Chloe. Maybe she can also learn to smile like that for her.

Vlad smiled, figuring out how to test Chloe. He asked Lila “So, when are you going to do that?”

Lila scoffed. “I’ll have you know, I’m starting to make friends for real.”

“Really?” Vlad asked.

“Yes” Lila said. She thought about everything she had done after the Art Vader incident. “I’ve hung out with Max and Markov. I apologized to Alix, and we’ve hung out, along with Kim and Ondine, who I also apologized to. I’ve even agreed to listen and give some thoughts on Kitty Section’s newest song. It’s weird. I was only making friends to make friends, but they’ve opened up new possibilities for me.”

“Sounds delightful” Vlad said. Vlad was going to check on all of that.

During free period, Vlad took Adrien aside. “So, what Chloe did this morning. What’d you think?” Adrien said, nervously.

“I thought it was something else” Vlad said. “Actually, that’s part of the reason I wanted to talk to you.”

“Do I need to be here again?” Beyyo saked. “I can smell Plagg from here.”

“Hey!” Plagg said.

“No,it’s fine” Vlad said. “You can talk to Tigress now, if you want.”

“Good. I’m outta here” Beyyo said, leaving.

“So, what’s this about?” Adrien asked.

“Well, I talked with Ladybug earlier” Vlad began. “She told me that Master Fu has some plans to strengthen us against Hawk Moth. One of those is giving Rena Rouge and Carapace their miraculous full time.”

“Woah, really?!” Adrien said.

“Yup. But that’s not all” Vlad said.

Beyyo caught Juleka alone. He appeared in front of her. “Woah!” she said. “Who are you?”

“I am Judgement Wolf’s kwami, Beyyo” he said.

“Cool” Juleka said.

“Anyway, I wanted to inform you that I too agree to you having access to a miraculous” Beyyo said.

“Oh. Cool” Juleka said. “Is that all?”

“Yes. I’m afraid I have to get back to Judgement Wolf now.”

“OK. I’ll tell Roaar you said ‘hi’ the next time I see him” Juleka said.

“Thank you” Beyyo said, leaving. Juleka blushed ecstatically.

Meanwhile, Alya and Nino were just outside of the school by themselves. “Ahem” a voice said, The couple looked up and saw Ladybug. They were about to speak, but Ladybug shushed them. “I’m here on a top secret assignment. Not a word, OK?” The two nodded their heads. “OK. Alya Cesaire. Nino Lahiffe. These are the miraculous of the fox and the turtle.”

“Is there another Akuma attack? I haven’t seen anything yet” Alya said.

Ladybug shook her head. “These are yours to keep.”

“Oh. OH” Alya said.

“For real, Ladybug?” Nino asked.

“Yes. Of course, you don’t need to appear every time an Akuma attacks” Ladybug said. “But since you are two of the most experienced heroes, aside from Cat Noir and myself, we agreed that you should keep them full time. At least, while Hawk Moth is still at large. Can I trust you?”

Alya and Nino looked at the boxes. “We understand Ladybug” Alya said.

“Of course we will help whenever we can”Nino said.

“Great. Thank you” Ladybug said. She left.

“You’re planning on testing Chloe?” Adrien said.

“Yes” Vlad said. “Ladybug is worried about how Hawk Moth is targeting her. As this morning proved, Chloe seems more ready and willing to change than ever. I just hope she’s more than just talk.”

“I hope so too” Adrien said.

Beyyo returned to Vlad. “Well, we should be getting to class.”

“Hey wait” Adrien said. “Meet me and Marinette after school today. I found something cool this morning.”

“OK” Vlad said.

School ended for the day, and Adrien looked at Marinette and they both nodded. “Max!” Marinette said, waving him down.

Max and Markov met Marinette. Vlad saw this and joined them. “What is it, Marinette?” Max asked.

“Well, Adrien found something this morning, and we thought you’d like to participate.”

Adrien noticed that Nino and Alya were leaving. “Nino. Alya. Where are you going?”

“Uh, I promised to take Alya somewhere this afternoon” Nino said. “Just fill me in later.”

“Of course” Adrien said.

“What is it?” Max asked.

Adrien got out his phone and showed them the picture he took. “The Paris Nighthawks are hosting an exhibition match against anyone willing to challenge them in Ultimate Mecha Strike III this Friday. I was thinking we could make a little team and challenge them.” Max was surprised.

“What’s wrong Max?” Marinette asked.

Kim was talking to Lila, when he noticed what was on Adrien’s phone. He rushed over to Max and asked “Max, are you alright?”

Max sighed. “I’m more than alright” Max said, looking confident. “I’m ready!”

“Ready for what?” Adrien said.

“Well, I used to be a part of the Nighthawks. But they kicked me out” Max said.

“For what?” Marinette asked.

Max was hesitant. “For helping me,” Kim said. Marinette and Adrien were shocked. “Not only did they kick Max out, but they also blacklisted Max from getting a tech job in Paris.”

Marinette and Adrien looked down. “It’s OK. You didn’t know” Max said. “But now, I feel ready. I’m going to demand that Carter gets me un-blacklisted once we win.” The little group celebrated. “Now, how about we go someplace and practice?”

“My place is good” Adrien said. “I probably have the most high-tech equipment, so it’ll be like their set-up I bet.”

“That’s perfect, because Marinette also has to begin work on her outfits for the exhibition” Vlad said, surprising Marinette. “Which, speaking of, did you talk to Mr. Chastain today, Max?”

“No” Max said “But I can do it now.”

“I’ll come with you” Vlad said. The two of them left.

Marinette was now worried. She had to focus on two things at once. “It’s OK Marinette” Adrien said. “You recently double-perfected the true final boss. You should be ready.”

“Thanks Adrien” Marinette said nervously. “Still, we’re going up against professionals.”

“It’s OK” Adrien said. “You’re not alone on this. Now, you spend as much time as you need today, working on the outfits. You can come and check on us whenever you want, and do a few practice rounds as well. As long as you’re in my house, I want you to feel comfortable.”

Marinette looked up at Adrien and smiled. “Thank you.” She said. Adrin thought about this, and the story his father told him last night. He thought about how his father said he takes after his mother. Thinking about what just happened, he realized he was a lot like his father as well. Cheering up someone who needed it. He also thought about Chloe and the speech she gave this morning. Hopefully soon, father will be ready to change as well.

“We’re almost there” Wayzz said, leading Nino and Alya.

“You’re going to like Master a lot” Trixx said.

Alya and Nino walked into Master Fu’s place. “Hello Rena Rouge. Carapace” Master Fu said.

Chapter Text

Alya and Nino were stunned. “You may call me Master Fu” he said, trying to welcome them.

“Master Fu is the Last Guardian of the Miraculous” Wayzz said.

“I bet you have several questions” Master Fu said.

“Um, yeah” Alya said. “Do you know why Ladybug chose us? I know that we use the miraculous temporarily, but to give it to us permanently…it’s a lot.”

“Ladybug’s reasons are her own. I am not at liberty to divulge them. If I were, it would be as if I told you who Ladybug was under the mask” Master Fu said.

“Well, if you can’t tell us that dude, I mean Master Fu, then can you tell us why you need more full-tie superheroes?” Nino asked.

Master Fu sighed. “We are afraid Hawk Moth has more allies.”

“He has more miraculous?” Alya said.

“No” Master Fu responded. “But we believe that he may be blackmailing other people, like he did with Lila. He’s making moves to strengthen his hand, so we have to follow in kind.” Alya and Nino looked sad. “Ladybug did tell you that you did not need to dawn the costume every Akuma attack, didn’t she?”

“Yeah, but why wouldn’t we?” Alya said.

“She’s right. We’re heroes. We have to do what we can to protect people” Nino chimed in.

“I admire your spirit” Master Fu said. “You know, she didn’t tell me she was doing that.”

“Then, how’d you know?” Nino asked.

“I could see it in your heart” Master Fu said. “It weighs heavy on you. I think she just wants to protect you from the hardships she has to endure. All of the secrets. The lies. The running away from the people in your life just to save them. It’s a lot to take on.”

“It’s not fair” Alya said. “Why does Ladybug have to go through all of that, and yet she wants to protect us from it? It’s not fair!” Nino comforted his girlfriend.

“I understand your reasoning” Master Fu said. “I also understand Ladybug’s reasoning. She’s been keeping Paris safe for so long, it’s become second nature to her to want to protect people.”

“I know. It’s just hard” Alya said. “Thinking about her all by herself, struggling to keep everything together. She should be doing it alone.”

“She isn’t” Master Fu said. “She has Tikki, Cat Noir, Judgement Wolf, and myself. Not to mention she has her friends and family in her civilian life.”

Alya smiled. “I guess you’re right.”

“So, what should we know that Ladybug knows?” Nino asked. Master Fu smiled.

“A video game?” Mr. Chastain said.

“Yes sir” Max said nervously, with Markov to his left, and Vlad to his right.

Mr. Chastain sighed. “I wish you had come to me sooner. Now, I’m going to figure out how to get the set-up just right so it doesn’t disturb anything else.”

“You mean?” Max said.

“Of course” Mr. Chastain said. “I did say all forms of art, didn’t I?”

“I can help with setting up” Markov said.

“As can I” Max said.

“I gladly appreciate that” Mr. Chastain said. “Luckily, this isn’t last minute.”

Max, Vlad, and Markov left the art room. “I can’t believe he accepted.”

“Told ya. You just need more confidence in yourself” Vlad said.

“Of course, we might need help setting up the game, but with enough people, it should work,” Max said.

Adrien, Marinette, and Kim met them in the hall. “Ready to go?” Adrien asked. “I got my driver waiting for us out front.”

“Of course Adrien” Max said. The six of them went to the limo.

“So, what’s the game plan?” Adrien asked.

“Me?” Max said.

“Of course you, Max” Kim said. “You’re the one who knows the Nighthawks the best.”

Max thought about it for a minute. “OK. First, we need a fifth.”

“I’ll talk to Nino” Adrien said. “I’m sure he’ll be willing to help.”

“Let’s not forget Alix, or anyone else in our class good at the game,” Kim said.

“Right” Max said. “The exhibition match is a best of five. We only need to win three matches, but those three match-ups should be favorable. I suggest Adrien be the final fight.”

“Adrien?” Marinette said.

“But what about Marinette?” Adrien said.

“I know it sounds weird, but according to Markov, yours is the latest gamertag that has gotten the achievement for double-perfecting the final boss” Max said. “We need that kind of skill and freshness at the match.”

“Oh, that?” Adrien said. “Well, see, Marinette recently stayed at my place, and I asked her to get that achievement for me.”

“So, that was Marinette playing?” Max said.

“Yup” said Adrien. He felt it was a good time to crack his first joke among friends. “That achievement was nothing but ‘nette.” Marinette giggled. She then looked at Vlad who was rolling her eyes at her. She glared at him.

“OK. So Marinette, you’re going to be fighting Carter” Max said. “Adrien, I’m putting you against Gerard. Unless any of your other achievements in the game were performed by Marinette as well.”

“No, of course not” Adrien said.

“Good” Max said.

“Why aren’t you taking on Carter Max?” Kim asked.

“As much as I want to, I want to win this thing,” Max said. “That spot needs to go to the most experienced player. I could never topple Carter even on a day when he sprained his wrist. No, I will be taking on their replacement for me.”

“Max, that’s crazy!” Kim said.

“Is it? Because he’s the only one who wasn’t on the team when I was” Max said. “Everyone else knows me too well. I’m a bit rusty, so they would easily beat me.”

“I see” Kim said.

The limo arrived at the mansion. The group walked in and were greeted by Gabriel Agreste himself. “Father!” Adrien said, stunned.

“Hello Adrien” Gabriel said. “I see you have company.”

“Yes father” Adrien said.

Gabriel smiled. “What’s the occasion?”

“Well, I saw a flyer advertising that the Paris Nighthawks are doing an exhibition match against anyone willing to step up” Adrien began. “Then we found out that Max here used to play for them, but their relationship soured. Now, we’re going to form a team and give them a fight.”

“I see” said Gabriel.

“Actually, I’m also here to begin work on my outfits, Mr. Agreste” Marinette said.

“And I’m here to keep her company” Vlad said. “I’m not great at video games.”

“I see” Gabriel said. “Well, you three head to Adrien’s room, I’ll lead Marinette and Mr. Brodeur to my work station.”

“Four” Markov said. Gabriel looked at Markov. “I am also here, and real.”

“Of course. My mistake” Gabriel said.

“Apology accepted” arkove said.

“WAIT!” Marinette said. “Um, before we split up, I was wondering what two-color color scheme the two of you want. I need a base and an accent.”

“Black and green” Adrien said.

“Purple and gold for me” Vlad said.

“Thank you” Marinette said. The group split up.

“That’s…a lot” Nino said.

“Yes” Master Fu said. “But if we want to defeat Hawk Moth, we all need to be on the same page.”

“Of course” Alya said. “Speaking of same page, do you think you could tell us who Ladybug, Cat Noir, or Judgement Wolf are? So that we’re all on the same page?”

“As well as any of the other temporary heroes?” Nino added.

“Ladybug and Cat Noir don’t even know each other’s identity yet” Master Fu answered. “I don’t see how I could reveal that information to you yet.”

“Yet?” Alya said.

“I have someone working on that front” Master Fu responded.

Marinette couldn’t believe her eyes. This was Gabriel’s private clothes making office. It was stocked with all sorts of fabric, sewing machines, and anything else necessary for making clothes. “As the head of the company, I don’t usually get the opportunity to manufacture my designs much” Gabriel said. “I use this room for personal projects. Or, at least I did. Now all this room does is collect dust. I haven’t really used this room since…since my wife’s disappearance.”

Marinette looked at Gabriel and saw how depressed he looked. “I’m sure she’ll return” she said. “In fact, I think Ladybug would be willing to search for her. You know, if you told her.”

“A nice sentiment, but my wife disappeared half-way around the world,” Gabriel said. “And so long as Hawk Moth is running amok, Ladybug’s place will always be in Paris.”

“Of course” Marinette said. “But I’m sure after they’ve saved Paris from Hawk Moth, they’d be willing to help you.”

“Ladybug is doing enough just by being there,” Gabriel said. “Anyway, if you need me, I’ll be in my office.” Gabriel left.

Marinette started grabbing some fabric to begin working on her design. “By the way, what was with that eye roll earlier? Don’t pretend I didn’t see it” she said.

“It’s just, you never giggle when Cat Noir makes puns, but the instant Adrien does it, it’s comedy gold” Vlad retorted.

“Well, I don’t want Adrien to think I don’t like him” Marinette said.

“But it’s OK for Cat Noir to think that?” Vlad asked.

“NO! Of course not” Marinette said. “I just…”

“You just love him” Vlad concluded. “Look, I get that, but Adrien doesn’t like being coddled. I mean, you’ve heard him complain about how restrictive his father has been. He likes it when you’re open and honest with him, even if it means pointing out his faults.”

“But, when I’m open and honest, I’m probably going to say something about how I love him so much he consumes my every thought, and I dream of he and I together on a candlelit beach, staring at the stars, hoping for moments like that to never end” Marinette spewed, while continuing her work.

“You know, Adrien is that much of a sap when it comes to love, so maybe saying that will work” Vlad said.

“I’m not going to say that to him!” Marinette said, bright red.

“Of course. Just take it slow” Vlad said.

“He’s right Marinette” Tikki said, popping out.

“Thanks Tikki. Vlad” Marinette said.

“After all, you’re here today working on two very important tasks” Vlad said. “I’m sure your mind will be consumed by things other than Adrien.”

“Markov, you’re taking notes, right?” Max asked, in Adrien’s room.

“Affirmative” Markov said.

“Alright then” Max said, taking the second controller. “Who’s up first?”

“Um Max, why do you have the second controller?” Adrien asked.

“Well, I know how everyone else on the team plays” Max explained. “I can recreate their style fairly well. Not to the point where I can execute it as well as they can, but I can replicate it well enough so that you have an idea on what to do when the time comes.”

“I see” Adrien said. “Kim, mind if I go first?”

“By all means” Kim said.

Adrien sat down and grabbed the first controller. He selected his main, NAD03. “Like I said before, I’m putting you against Gerard” Max said. “He usually plays UFO.GR.”

“Isn’t that a bad match-up for NAD03?” Adrien asked.

“Yes, but I’m confident you can overcome the odds” Max said. “You’re a really good player Adrien. I think you can do it.”

“I sure hope you’re right” Adrien said. The two begin a match.

“So you mentioned that Marinette stayed over” Max said.

“Yeah” Adrien replied.

“What was that like?” Max said.

“It was fun” Adrien said. “My first sleepover with someone who isn’t Chloe. It was wonderful.”

Max smiled as Adrien was focusing on the game, while answer his questions with ease. “Did anything happen?” Max asked.

“Well, we were hanging out with Vlad, Alya, and Nino before” Adrien said. “Really, the only thing that happened after they left was her getting that achievement for me.”

“I see” Max said. “Was she wearing anything special?”

“Why do you need to know that?” Adrien said.

“Because this is how Gerard battles” Max said. “Not only does he play his character well, he also tries to get into the mind of his opponent.”

“Oh. So, he presses buttons and talks?” Adrien said.

“Basically” Max said. “You need to be prepared for whatever he says. This is the other reason I suggested you play Gerard. You know how to keep cool in almost any situation.”

“I see” Adrien said. “If you must know, Nathalie bought her a nightgown. It looked radiant on her.”

“Oh, well, thank you” Max said, surprised. Based on that, he was sure that Adrien was the right man for the job.

Despite this, Max won the fight. “Alright Adrien I’m just going to program your CPU to mimic my movements, and I want you to practice against it as much as you can until Friday” Max said.

“Sounds like a plan” Adrien said.

“And done. Kim, you’re up” Max said.

“So, Judgement Wolf is working on a plan to get Ladybug and Cat Noir to a place where they can reveal their true identities?” Alay asked.

“That is correct” Master Fu said.

“Why?” Alya asked.

“You two know each other’s identities, correct? Does this help you when you are in action? Or when you are discussing ideas or things that happened?” Master Fu inquired.

“Yeah…” Alya said.

“Imagine if Ladybug and Cat Noir could do that” Master Fu said.

“I see” Alya said.

“I mean, they knew who they were after Oblivio wiped their minds, and they came back and won” Master Fu said.

“Wait, they knew each other?!” Nino said.

“Yeah, what?!” Alya said.

“I can say no more” Master Fu said.

“We should get going” Trixx said.

“Right. We shouldn’t be here for too long” Wayzz added.

“Of course” Alya said.

“You got it, little dude” Nino said. “Seeya, Master!” The two of them began to leave.

“Come by anytime you need some help” Master Fu said.

“Will do” Alya said. They left.

Gabriel was looking into the Paris Nighthawks. “Sir, why are you taking an interest in a professional video game team?” Nathalie asked.

“Adiren told me that one of his friends had a falling out with them. Now they’re going to go head-to-head this Friday” Gabriel said. “Just imagine the intense emotion.” Gabriel pulled up some information on Carter. “And things just got more interesting. In the meantime, I feel a strong emotion. A seething hatred.” Gabriel got an alert on his phone. He checked and it was a text from Lila. “You’re welcome boss” it said. “I wouldn’t expect any less.”

Marinette was working on her design when she asked Vlad “By the way, why did you tell Adrien we went to different places on Saturday?”

“Oh, that” Vlad said. “Well, I didn’t want Adrien getting suspicious is all. It covers our tracks better.”

“Oh. OK” Marinette said. An explosion could be heard from outside. “What was that?”

Adiren, Max, Kim, and Markov heard the same noise. “What was that?”

Alya and Nino heard it as well. Only, they were a lot closer. “What was that?” Nino asked.

“Probably an Akuma” Alya said. She looked around for a place to hide. Once she found one, she dragged her boyfriend to it and they both transformed. “Trixx! Let’s Pounce!”

“Wayzz! Shell On!”

Chapter Text

Rena Rouge and Carapace went to the epicenter of the sound. They hid on the roof and got a look at their enemy. It was a person in a dark green hazmat suit with a mop attached to his back. He was riding what looked like a giant floor waxer with a giant canister on the back that held other janitorial equipment. The canister also had a nozzle attached to it. The heroes saw the nozzle spray out a burst of water, creating the loud noise herd earlier. The water sprayed down a building, making it look sparkling clean.

“Wow, that guy gives a new meaning to the words ‘clean freak’” Carapace remarked. “What’s our game plan? I mean, we can stop him, but Ladybug is the only one who can purify the Akuma, right?”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything” Rena Rouge said.

“I know” Carapace said.

Rena thought for a little bit. “I don’t think he’s seen us” she said. “And he’s probably expecting Ladybug and Cat Noir…So let’s give him what he wants.”

The nozzle finally stopped. “Another spotless job” the villain said.

“Hey!” Ladybug called. “I appreciate a good cleaning job, but you might be doing too good of a job.”

“Yeah, for a cleaner, you sure have a dirty heart. You should one of those adjustable cleaners. It gets those hard to reach places really good” Cat Noir said.

“Power Washer. Ladybug and Cat Noir have showed up. If you want Paris to be completely spotless, you’re going to have to get rid of those two” Hawk Moth told his latest victim.

“Understood, Hawk Moth” Power Washer said. “Ladybug! Cat Noir! I’m afraid I’m the only one who will clean Paris from here on. So give me your miraculous!”

“Why don’t you come and get it?” Cat Noir said.

“Or are you too scared?” Ladybug said. Power Washer began firing from his water cannon, but the two heroes kept dodging it.

Meanwhile, Vlad and Marinette were discussing what just happened. “An Akuma attack?” Vlad said.

“Most likely” Marinette replied. “We should go!”

“You go on ahead” Vlad said. “I’ll stay here for a little bit, in case anyone stops by. Then I’ll grab Cat Noir, and we’ll meet you there.” Marinette nodded and left to transform.

Meanwhile, Adrien was ready to move, but he had to make sure to keep his secret. “Everyone, in the bathroom!” he said.

Max, Markov, and Kim headed into the bathroom. “Aren’t you joining us Adrien?”

“I will. I just want to make sure everyone else is OK” Adrien said.

“I’ll come with you,” Kim said.

“No! It’s dangerous, and out of all of us, I know this place the best. You just work on being safe” Adrien said.

“Alright then,” Kim said.

Adrien closed the door He ran out of his room, and saw Nathalie guarding his father’s office. “Nathalie! I think there’s an Akuma attack! Is father-?”

“He is fine, Adrien” Nathalie said.

“Oh. Well, what about you? Shouldn’t you hide as well?” Adrien asked.

“I’ll be fine” Nathalie said.

“Are you sure?” Adrien asked. Nathalie nodded. “Then, I’m going to check on Marinette and Vlad.” He ran to Gabriel’s private studio. “Marinette?”

“Relax” Vlad said. “She’s safe. She’s hidden.” In plain sight. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah” Adrien said. The two of them ran off.”

Back at the fight, Power Washer kept missing the heroes. “Hold still!” he yelled.

“Why? Just so you can hose us down?” Ladybug said.

“Yeah, I’m a Cat. I clean myself, thank you very much” Cat Noir said. Power Washer began firing, and just as the two were about to dodge, he adjusted his aim so he was about to hit Ladybug. “NO!” Cat Noir cried out, jumping in the way of the blast. The water sprayed the two heroes, eventually consuming them.

“Gotcha!” Power Washer said. Once the water stopped flowing, he saw that Ladybug and Cat Noir were nowhere to be found. “Where’d they go?!”

“Something’s not right here” Hawk Moth said. Power Washer turned around and saw that Rena Rouge and Carapace were about to strike. Power Washer dodged, and the heroes landed. Rena and Carapace began to combat Power Washer, using their style of alternating between strikes and using each other to push forward. Power Washer drew his mop and defended himself against the heroes. He tried to get a hit in, but the hero’s fighting style proved too much for the villain. Eventually, he backed up out of their range. Rena’s necklace started to beep. “Ah, so that’s what happened” Hawk Moth said.

“What?” Power Washer said.

“Power Washer, Rena Rouge’s ability is to create illusions” Hawk Moth explained. The Ladybug and Cat Noir you were fighting were mirages. If they’re here before Ladybug and Cat Noir, then perhaps Ladybug gave the miraculous to them permanently.” Hawk Moth said to himself. “Power Washer! Grab their miraculous as well! I know a certain somebody quite taken with the fox miraculous.”

“Rena Rouge! Carapace! Give my your miraculous!” Power Washer demanded. He then got hit in the back with Ladybug’s yo-yo.

“Funny. The villain usually demands mine and Cat Noir’s miraculous” Ladybug said, her yo-yo coming back to her.

“Maybe Hawk Moth has given up trying to get our miraculous and figured any one will do” Cat Noir said.

“If only we were that lucky” Judgement Wolf said.

“Ladybug? You’re here for real this time?” Power Washer said.

“Of course. What’d you expect?” Ladybug replied. She then noticed Rena’s necklace beeping. “Oh, I see.”

Power Washer jumped back on his machine. “Let’s see you hosed down for real!” he said, firing his cannon. The heroes got out of the way. 

“Carapace! Get Rena out of here before she transforms back!” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! A tennis ball?”

Carapace picked up Rena and got here out of there. She transformed back. “I could have gotten out of there myself, you know?” Alya said.

“I know, but I know you, and you would have stayed a little too long, saying ‘just a little longer’” Carapace said.

Alya averted her gaze. “Yeah, you’re probably right,” she said.

“Just come back when Trixx is ready to pounce again” Carapace just. He then jumped back into the battle. Just as he got back in, he saw Judgement Wolf trying to block the spouting water with his sword. Ultimately though, he got flooded against a building, knocking him out.

“Anytime you’re ready, M’lady!” Cat Noir said. “You know cats have an aversion to water!”

Ladybug took notice of the tennis ball, the waxing apparatus spinning, the nozzle on the cannon, Cat Noir’s staff, and Carapace. “Cat Noir! Aim for the waxers!” Ladybug said, throwing the tennis ball.

“You got it!” Cat Noir said. He jumped out of the way of another blast of water and stuck the tennis ball, hitting it towards the spinning waxers. The ball was forced back out at a rapid speed.

“CARAPACE! NOW!” Ladybug called out.

Carapace nodded. “Shell-ter!” he called, summoning a shield. The tennis ball hit the shield, and bounced it into the nozzle, clogging it.

The canister was filling up from the pressure, and exploded on Power Washer, blasting him on to the ground, and destroying his machine. “Now that’s what I call watertight” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug smiled. “I bet the Akuma is in the mop” she said.

“I’ve got this” Cat Noir said. “Cataclysm!” he grabbed the mop, destroying it.

The Akuma flew out. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” she threw the tennis ball into the air, releasing the magic ladybug, who cleaned (or dirtied, in this case) everything Power Washer did.

“Pound it!” said Ladybug, Cat Noir, and Carapace.

“You may have taken me to the cleaners today, Ladybug, but rest assured, once I am through with you, Paris will truly be spotless!” Hawk Moth groaned.

Power Washer then reverted back to a janitor, who had a green jumpsuit, and white hair. “What happened?”

“It’s alright now, sir” Cat Noir said.

“You were Akumatized, but we saved you” Carapace said.

“What happened that lead to this?” Ladybug asked.

“Well, I work at Montparnasse tower” the janitor began. I was just doing my job, minding my own business, when Jean pointed out that I missed a spot. Jean does this often, and it makes my blood boil. Then, someone came by. She was so nice. She told me I was doing a fine job, but someone should make him pay. I latched onto that idea, and that’s all I can remember.”

“What did this person look like?” Cat Noir asked.

“I…I don’t remember” the janitor said.

Ladybug smiled. “That’s OK,” she said. “Just make sure you get home safely.”

“And take it easy” Cat Noir said.

“Yeah. Thanks Ladybug. Cat Noir. Carapace” the janitor said, picking up his mop and leaving.

“Is it over already?” Judgement Wolf said, joining them.

“Um, yeah…” Ladybug said. “I thought the ladybugs fixed everything.”

“Remember. I remain unaffected by miraculous powers. For better or for worse” Judgement Wolf said.

“I see” Ladybug said.

“Did I miss it?” Rena Rouge said.

“Unfortunately, yeah” Carapace.

Rena looked sad. “Don’t worry” Ladybug said. “You did everything right.”

“Yeah, for your first mission as a permanent holder of the miraculous, I’d say you did a pretty good job” Cat Noir said. “Man, I can’t wait to see this fight on the LadyBlog!”

“The Ladyblog?” Ladybug asked.

“Yup. Alya was up there, filming the whole time” Rena pointed out. Alya was standing on the roof, filming. She waved at the heroes. Meanwhile, Alya’s real phone was taped to the building, filming everything.

“Oh. Cool” Ladybug said. All of the activated miraculous then beeped. “We should get going. Bug out!” the heroes went their separate paths.

Rena grabbed her phone, and then she and Carapace hid. “Gotta keep my identity from being revealed somehow,” she said.

Before she could continue, Carapace grabbed her arm and said “Hey. You’re a good hero.”

Rena smiled at him. “You too.”

Judgement Wolf and Cat Noir were heading back together. “I’ll grab Marinette, and I’ll meet you” Judgement Wolf said.

“OK then” Cat Noir said. The reached the manor.

Marinette was running back into the studio, where she met up with Vlad. “Just play along” Vlad said, walking her the rest of the way. “Hey Adrien” he said.

“Adrien?” Marinette said. Sure enough, he was standing there.

“Hey Marinette” Adrien said.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“Well, I checked to see if everyone was alright Adrien said. “I then hid myself, until I heard the Akuma had been dealt with.”

“Oh. I see” Marinette said.

“Come on. Let’s go upstairs and check on everyone else” Adrien said. He took her hand, and Marinette was blushing like crazy. He lead her upstairs, while Vlad followed.

“Honestly, those two are going to be the death of me,” he said.

Max, Kim, and Markov had left the bathroom, and were setting everything up again. “Adrien! Where were you?!” Max asked.

“Yeah, you were supposed to come back,” Kim said.

“Well, once I got done making sure everyone was OK, I realized that it was safer to hide right away, rather than come back” Adrien said, nervously. “You know, in case the Akuma reached here.”

“I see” said Max. “Smart move. We need moves like that for Friday.”

“I agree” Adrien said.

“Anyway, Marinette, we decided that Adrien will fight Gerard, Kim will fight Terry, and as you know, I’m up against our mystery man. Since you’re fighting Carter, you’re going to need to get used to his battle style.”

“Oh? How does he battle?” Marinette asked.

“Well, there’s one of two options” Max began. “He can use IRON, or, if you allow it, he prefers to use AXX3.”

‘The true final boss?” Adrien said. “I thought he was banned in tournament play.”

“Well, yes, but A. This isn’t a tournament, and B. It is up to the discretion of his opponent” Max said. “However Marinette wants to fight him, it is up to her.”

Marinette looked at everyone, and then smiled. “I’ll take on AXX3!” she said.

“Are you sure?” Max asked.

“Of course!” Marinette said. “If we’re going to beat him at his own game, we’re going to go the whole nine yards!”

Max smiled. “Then get ready!” he said, handing her the controller. Marinette sat down. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to see you attempt the double-perfect again. You don’t need to win, I just want to see how you do.”

“Fine by me” Marinette said. Marinette loaded the game up and began going through the campaign.

Adrien was content watching Marinette play, but he was called over. “Adrien. A word?” Vlad asked.

“Sure” he said, walking over. They huddled. “What’s this about?” he whispered.

“What should I expect from Chloe?” Vlad asked. “You know her well enough. I’m not entirely sure how I should pass or fail her.”

Adrien nodded. “With Chloe, you need to what, or who, she cares about,” he explained. “I know she has a hidden heart of gold, but knowing you, you’re going to want to see if what I say holds water.”

“Gotcha” Vlad said. They broke off.

“What were you two talking about?” Markov said.

“Model stuff” the two of them said.

“OK” Markov said

Marinette finished off AXX3, double-perfecting him once again. “How do you do that?” Max asked.

“Sometimes, when I feel rusty, I undertake this challenge again. You know, to keep my skills up” she answered.

Max smiled in amazement. “Well, just practice that one or two more times this week, and you should be good.”

Marinette smiled. “Hey!” Adrien called out. You’re coming over to work on your outfits right? You can practice whenever you need a break. Even if I’m not around.”

“Why wouldn’t you be around?” Marinette said.

“I’ve got a few things” Adrien said. “For instance, Saturday is a fencing tournament. Mr. D’Argencourt is having us practice hard this week.”

“Wait, so I’m going to be here ALONE?!” Marinette said.

“I can continue keeping you company” Vlad said.

“I almost trust her to be here by herself” Adrien said. Vlad huffed.“Besides, father will allow it, since you’re coming over to work on the outfits.”

“Oh…O-OK” Marinette said.

“Well, it’s getting late” Max said. “I still need to stop by Kim’s a program a CPU for him to fight.

“Yeah, and I’ve got some personal matters to attend to” Vlad said.

They all started to leave. “So, will I see you here tomorrow?” Marinette asked Adrien.

“Maybe. It depends on how long you stay” Adrien said.

“Well then, see you later,” she said. She left not too long after.

Later that night, Vlad was walking down the street. “Hey Beyyo. What do you suppose Chloe is going to be like?” he asked.

“I don’t know” Beyyo responded. “We’ve seen her be nice, and we’ve seen her be rude. But from what I can tell, she’s genuine, no matter what her mood is.”

“You don’t say…” Vlad said. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He transformed into Judgement Wolf, and lept out into the night.

Chapter Text

Judgement Wolf found his way to Chloe’s balcony. He looked into Chloe’s room. “I don’t see anything.” He turned and saw Chloe sleeping on her balcony, wrapped up in a Ladybug blanket. “Well that’s convenient.” He drew his sword. “Wolf Mist!”

Chloe walked out of her limo at school, Sabrina already there to meet her. “Good morning Chloe. I did your homework last night.”

Chloe scoffed. “Of course you did.”

“I mean, it’s not like you’d get a bad grade either way” Sabrina said. “I just like doing it.”

“Uh, yeah, and- wait what?” Chloe said. “What do you mean?”

“Oh Chloe. It’s not like the teachers are going to flunk you out at all” Sabrina said.

“Right. Of course not” Chloe said. The two walked into school. Chloe thought Sabrina was being weird. Maybe she’s just over enthusiastic. After all, I did buy her a new dress. She looks so cute in it too. Alix bumped into Chloe. “Hey! Watch where you’re going!”

“OK” Alix said. She stared confidently at where she wanted to walk and started walking.

Chloe was stunned. “Sabrina! Did you just see that?”

“Of course I did” Sabrina said.

Chloe was confused. “And that didn’t bother you at all?”

“Why would it? You told her to do something, and she did it” Sabrina said.

“Bu…” Chloe could not find the words to express her disbelief.

“Hey Chloe. Wanna go out with me?” Kim asked from behind.

Chloe turned around and shouted “NO! Now just go away!”

“Alright then,” Kim said. He started to leave school.

“Hey! Where do you think you’re going?!” Chloe said.

Kim looked back at her, confused. “You told me to go away.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d listen” Chloe said.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Kim asked.

“Just…get to class” Chloe said.

“OK” Kim said. He started walking to class.

“Chloe, are you alright?” Sabrina asked.

“Yeah. No. Maybe. I don’t know” Chloe said.

“But you’re Chloe” Sabrina said. “You know everything.”

“Then what’s going on?” Chloe asked.

“Chloe? Are you alright?” Marinette asked, walking by. “Do you want a free croissant?”

“Ugh. Go away Dupain-Cheng. I don’t need you pity” Chloe said.

Marinette looked sad. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know what I was thinking.” She started to leave.

“Wait” Chloe said. “You’re still Dupain-Cheng, aren’t you?”

“I am” Marinette said, turning around to meet her gaze. “Unless you don’t want me to be.”

“What?” Chloe said. She shook her head. “Look. How can you be Dupain-Cheng and apologize when I got nasty and still listen to me in the process?”

“Are you sure you’re alright Chloe?” Marinette asked.

“She’s been like this all morning” Sabrina said.

“Chloe, surely you haven’t forgotten, right?” Marinette said.

“Uhhhh…Forgotten what?” Chloe said.

“That everyone listens to you” Marinette said.

Chloe stared at Marinette. She then busted out laughing. “Yeah, good one. Had me fooled there for a second.”

“She’s not joking” Sabrina said.

“Puh-lease. The day Dupain-Cheng actually listened to me is the it rains chocolate pudding.” Chocolate pudding started raining from the skies. “What’s going on?” Chloe asked.

“You wanted it to rain chocolate pudding Chloe” Sabrina said.

“What-I did NOT!” Chloe said. It suddenly stopped. Chloe was scared.

“Chloe? What’s wrong?” Sabrina said.

Chloe ran away to the locker rooms. Once she was inside, she was breathing heavy. “Chloe? What’s the matter?” Adrien asked.

“Oh Adrikins!” Chloe said. “It’s awful. Something bad must have happened. We need to call Ladybug and Cat Noir.”

“Slow down Chloe. Tell me what happened while I give them a call” Adrien said.

“Well, I-” Chloe began. “Wait, give them a call?”

“Of course. Anything for my girlfriend” Adrien continued to call.

“GIRLFRIEND?!” Chloe said.

“Yeah. Remember? You asked me out at your birthday party last year. I immediately said yes. Of course, everyone does, but I meant it” Adrien said. “Hello? Ladybug?”

Adrien told Ladybug what was happening. Meanwhile, Chloe was panicking. “This can’t be happening,” she said.

“They’re on their way” Adrien said. “Now, why don’t you tell me what’s wrong.”

“Hello” said Ladybug, appearing with Cat Noir.

“Oh good, you’re here” Adrien said. “Now Chloe doesn’t have to repeat herself.”

“Well, we wouldn’t want that” Cat Noir said.

“Chloe? Where are you?” Sabrina called out. She saw Chloe. “I found her everyone!” The rest of the school gathered around Chloe. When Marinette walked in, she turned translucent and so did Ladybug.

Everyone gathered around Chloe and they all asked her what was wrong. She could take it anymore. “Everyone STOP!” Chloe screamed. Everyone else stood still. The clocks didn’t move. Everything turned silent. Chloe was confused by this. But she left the locker room, walked into the middle of the courtyard, curled up into a ball, and then cried her eyes out.

“Well, this is clearly not going well” Judgement Wolf said, watching the events unfold. He snapped his fingers and the dream was over.

Chloe was now in a blank white area. “Oh great. Did I wish for this too?”

“Not exactly” Judgement Wolf said.

“AH!” Chloe said. “Wait. You’re that new hero. Judgement Wolf!”

“That I am” Judgement Wolf said.

“Wha-What do you want?” Chloe asked, fearful that the answer was going to be “Whatever you want.”

“That’s kind of a long story” Judgement Wolf said. Chloe sighed. “See, the wolf miraculous is the miraculous of doubt. I have the responsibility to test other miraculous users to make sure they are worthy to wield the miraculous.”

“Oh. So, why test me?” Chloe said. “After all, Ladybug said I’d never get to use the bee miraculous again.”

“Well, that’s the thing” Judgement Wolf said. “See, Ladybug was talking with the person who gives out the miraculous, and they figured that Hawk Moth is trying to strengthen his hand, and that those who oppose him should do the same. So they decided to give Rena Rouge and Carapace their miraculous full time. Which leads this story back to you.

See, Ladybug thinks you could benefit from having a miraculous. Not only is Hawk Moth targeting you, and you having a miraculous would be a solid defense, but she’s also taking note of how you’re slowly changing. Here’s where I come in. The Master agreed to give you miraculous privileges only if Beyyo and I deem you worthy. Any questions?”

Chloe was trying to process everything. “Who’s Beyyo?”

“Beyyo is my kwami” Judgement Wolf said.

“Did I pass?” Chloe asked.

Judgement Wolf looked at her. She then looked down at the floor. “It’s hard to say” Judgement Wolf said. Chloe looked up. “On the one hand, you understood that what was happening was wrong, but you broke under the pressure of it all.”

“Well that’s understandable, isn’t it?” Chloe said.

“Yes, and admittedly, it was partially my fault” Judgement Wolf said. “The way my power works is I give you a prompt, and your dream gives me an honest answer to that question. What I asked is ‘What if everyone actually listened to you?’”

“Well, that makes sense” Chloe said. “But look here, if I wanted that, I wouldn’t act the way I do, OK!” Chloe then shrunk into herself. “For a little while now, I’ve felt like I couldn’t be myself in front of people. So I created this persona. I like things that are real. Real diamonds. Real gold. Real friends. So, when I thought people wouldn’t actually like me, and only pretend to be kind because I was the mayor’s daughter, I thought that I could get people to hate me for real. At least that way, I’d have to deal with real emotions.”

Judgement Wolf saw Chloe at her most vulnerable. “Chloe. What made you think people wouldn’t actually like you?”

Chloe stood silent for a minute. “I can’t tell you.”

Judgement Wolf sighed. “Well then. It doesn’t seem like you’re ready.”

“I guess I’m not” Chloe said.

“Well, this is a surprise” Judgement Wolf said.

“Don’t get me wrong, I want to be Queen Bee again more than anything” Chloe said. “I know I need to change. I’m just not ready to tell everyone yet. I need time to work up the courage. I hope that’s alright.”

“Hm. I think so” Judgement Wolf said. “But just between us heroes, a hero’s bravery doesn’t come from not being afraid. It comes from being afraid, but doing it anyway.”

Chloe smiled. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“One more thing before I go. Why are you out on the balcony?”

“Oh. That. Well, I felt like my room was a little too hot. So I came out here to enjoy this nice breeze” Chloe said.

“I see. Well, thank you, Queen Bee, and good night” Judgement Wolf said. He jumped out and Chloe fell back asleep. Judgement Wolf left the balcony and started walking home. “Fangs dull!” He transformed back into Vlad. “So, what did you think? Should we give her another chance?”

“I’d say that’s a fair assessment” Beyyo said. “You can see she’s trying, but like she said, she isn’t ready yet.”

“By the way, good call” Vlad said.

“On what?” Beyyo asked.

“On Chloe being genuine” Vlad replied.

Beyyo smirked. “Well that kind of keen perception is what you get when you’ve been around for millennia.”

“Can’t argue with that” Vlad said. They walked home.

Chloe woke up the next morning. “Man, that was weird,” she said. She noticed that her Ladybug blanket was wrapped around her. “Jean-Pierre” she said, lovingly.

At school, Vlad was talking to Marinette. “Inconclusive?” she said.

“Yeah” Vlad said. “There was some complications that arose. Mainly she started crying in her dream. I put a stop to it though and explained what was going on.” Marinette looked worried. “Don’t you trust Chloe?”

“I don’t trust Hawk Moth” Marinette said. “Every night she’s alone is another night he could try preying on her.”

“I understand how you feel. But even Chloe herself said she wasn’t ready” Vlad said.

“Yeah, you’re right” Marinette said.

“Tell you what” Vlad said. “I’ll talk to Adrien about this. He knows Chloe the best out of anyone. He might have an answer.”

“But how will you avoid telling him you’re Judgement Wolf?” Marinette asked.

Vlad put his hands on her shoulders. “You just leave that to me.”

“Marinette!” Chloe called out.

Vlad and Marientte turned to face Chloe. “Yes Chloe?” Marinette said.

Chloe stood there, her face turning red. “Nothing.” She said, walking off.

“What was that about?” Marinette said.

“I’ll tell you one thing, that wasn’t nothing” Vlad said. “Tell me, what was different from any other interaction with Chloe?”

“Well, it was short” Marinette said. “She just said my name and-” Marinette realized what Vlad was getting at. “She…She called me Marinette.”

“Yup, and I gotta say, that seems like a big step for her,” Vlad said.

Meanwhile, Chloe was standing by herself. “I can’t believe I said her name finally! It felt good!” Chloe was on cloud nine. She knew she was going to be Queen Bee again. She just had to give it time.

Chapter Text

Vlad spent some of his free time during the school day manning a little booth he set up to sell Pride flag pins and sign people up for Paris Pride. Juleka and Rose were some of the first to stop by. “Hey Vlad.”

“Hey Juleka. Rose” Vlad replied.

“Hi Vlad. I love that you’re helping out with this event” Rose said.

“You can too. All you gotta do is sign here” Vlad said, displaying a piece of paper.

The two of them signed it. “So, does this also allow us to walk in the parade as well?” Juleka asked.

“No” Vlad replied. “For that, you need to sign THIS piece of paper.” He presented a second piece of paper. “If you want to walk together, you only need to take up one slot.”

“Ooooo. How fun!” Rose said. The two of them signed that one as well.

“Now, can I interest you ladies in some pins?” asked Vlad.

“Of course! That’s why we’re here!” Rose said.

“I’ll take a lesbian one” Juleka said.

“I’ll take a bi one!” Rose said.

“Sure thing” Vlad said.

After school, Marinette was walking out when she saw Adrien’s car. “Um, I thought Adrien had fencing after school,” she said.

“I do” said Adrien appearing behind her. “It’s for you.”

“Me?! No. I couldn’t, I-”

“Relax Marinette” Adrien said. “Father is helping you in any way he can. This is him trying to help.”

Marinette paused. “O-OK then” she said. She walked up to Adrien’s bodyguard. He opened the door for her. “Thank you.” She said Adrien’s bodyguard was caught off guard by this. He looked away and blushed at the compliment. Marinette got in, and then the bodyguard got in, and they drove off.

Adrien’s stare lingered a little bit. “Isn’t Marinette cute when she gets nervous?” Vlad asked from behind Adrien. “Or is it cuter when she’s confident?”

Adrien turned around. “Vlad” he said. “I’m not fully over Ladybug to admit what I think yet.”

“Well, you don’t need to be fully over her, you just need to be over her enough” Vlad said.

“Is this why you’re here Vlad? To get me to maybe ask Marinette out?” Adrien said.

“No, that’s just a bonus” Vlad said. He went to whisper into Adrien’s ear “I actually need to talk about some hero stuff.”

“Well can it wait? I’ve got fencing” Adrien said.

“No problem. I can watch” Vlad said.

Adrien was surprised. “I’m not sure if Mr. D'Argencourt will allow it.”

“No harm in asking, right?” Vlad said.

When they asked, Mr. D'Argencourt said “I will allow it.” Vlad and Adrien got excited. “IF you can beat one of my students.”

“Sure, I’ll go against him” Adrien said.

“Part le fer! If Vlad is to face off against anyone, it’s someone who won’t let him win because he has a vested interest in it” Mr. D’Argentcourt.

“I get it. Fencing is serious business” Vlad said. “So, who am I taking on?”

“How about Kagami?” Adrien asked.

“She wouldn’t happen to be in on this” Mr. D'Argencourt said. “I know how close you and her are.”

“No sir. They haven’t even met yet” Adrien said.

Mr. D’Argencourt stared Adrien down. “Well, since I know you wouldn’t lie to me… KAGAMI!”

Kagami ran over after wrapping up a practice match. “Yes sir” she said, lifting her helmet up.

“This young man is named Vlad. He wants to watch today’s practice. Please see to it that he earns that spot” D’Argencourt said.

“Yes sir!” Kagami said.

“Is that all you know how to say?” Vlad said.

“Vlad. Don’t antagonize her” Adrien said.

“He’s right. I don’t play nice” Kagami said.

“Oh ho ho. Interesting” Vlad said. “Wanna know something? I don’t play nice either.” Kagami lowered her helmet. “Anyway, where do I suit up?” Adrien led Vlad to the locker rooms.

A few minutes later, Vlad and Kagami were squaring off. “Pret… allez!” Mr. D’Argencourt called. Vlad and Kagami were going against each other really hard. Their movements were aggressive, yet elegant. Eventually though, Vlad got a hit on Kagami. Mr. D’Argencourt was shocked. Still, as a gentleman and a lover of the sport, he signaled Vlad and declared him the winner.

Vlad lifted his helmet and said “Still got it.”

“Young man, how did you become such a good fencer?” Mr. D’Argencourt asked.

“I was the top fencer back at my school in Toulouse” Vlad explained.

“Well, if you are interested in joining, we could certainly use a talent such as yourself” Mr. D’Argencourt said.

“Unfortunately, I can’t” Vlad said.

“Why not?” Kagami asked angrily.

Vlad sighed. “Because I was eventually kicked off the team,” he explained.

“What happened?” Kagami asked.

“Well, as I said earlier, I don’t play nice” Vlad said. “When I don’t like someone I am very clear about it. One person I didn’t like just happened to be on the fencing team. He gathered a bunch of other students, and tried to ambush me. Lucky for me, I can hold my own. They however could not, and things got messy. I explained to everyone what had happened, and he promptly kicked both the orchestrator of the attack and me off the team. Although, mine was supposed to be temporary, I made it permanent. I didn’t feel like I could work well there. I really only liked one other person on the team. It just wasn’t a good fit.”

“Well, if you change your mind, my invitation stands” Mr. D’Argencourt said. “Although, I do want to check on this incident. What was your instructor’s name?”

“Mr. Renaud” Vlad told him.

“Renaud? As in Bernard Renaude?” Mr. D’Argencourt said.

“Yeah. Why?” Vlad said.

“I used to go to school with him” Mr. D’Argencourt said. “Anyway, you may watch. Everyone else. ALLEZ!” Vlad went to sit on the sidelines while everyone began practice. Kagami looked at Vlad, concerned. She eventually went to practice as well.

Meanwhile, Marinette was busy working on her designs in Gabriel’s home work station. “Your design looks great Marinette” Tikki said. “I’m sure Vlad and Adrien will love them.”

“Thanks Tikki” Marinette said. “I sure hope so. It’s nice of Mr. Agreste to let me use this room and his supplies. It gives me the confidence that I need to finish these.”

“Marinette you need to have to be confident in yourself” Tikki said.

Marinette came back with “Yeah, but-”

“Trust your instincts, Marinette” Tikki said.

Marinette smiled. “Thanks Tikki.” The door was opening. “Tikki, hide!” she whispered. Gabriel entered the room. “Mr. Agreste?”

“I thought I would keep you company” Gabriel said.

“Um, aren’t you busy?” Marinette asked.

“Not at the moment,” Gabriel said. “Besides, I know it can get kind of boring working on something alone.” He sat down next to Marinette. Marinette continued to work. “So, you like Adrien huh?”

Marientte was shocked by this sudden topic of conversation. “Well, of course. I mean, I like all my friends.”

“Marinette” Gabriel said in a tone that indicated he knew.

Marinette looked down. “Is it that obvious?” she asked.

Gabriel chuckled. “Relax. I don’t think he knows yet. I won’t tell if you won’t.”

Marinette turned to Gabriel and said “Well, I’m going to have to tell him eventually.”

“I suppose that’s true” Gabriel said.”But you know what I mean.” Marintte giggled. “You know, he speaks highly of you.”

Marinette was curious. “He does?”

“Yes” Gabriel said. “I’ve heard him refer to you as your class’s ‘Everyday Ladybug.’ You must be impressive to earn that title.”

“Well, I just do what I think is right,” Marinette said.

“Wouldn’t it be right to tell him how you feel?” Gabriel said.

“Oh. Well…” Marinette said. “Whenever I try, I get all nervous, and I freak out super hard. I mean, Adrien is just so perfect.”

“No he isn’t” Gabriel said. Marinette looked confused. “Well, at least that’s what he told me. He hates being seen as perfect. I’d agree with you, but after we spoke, I began to see his flaws. In his heart, he’s just as much a child as anyone his age. Maybe even more so.”

“In what ways?” Marinette asked.

“Well, this is his first time going to school. Meeting people outside of social events.To him, it’s like being in a candy store, and he’s allowed to pick whatever candy he wants” Gabriel explained.

“Oh. I didn’t know. He seems to be so calm about everything” Marinette said.

“It’s alright” Gabriel said. “You know, he gets that from his mother. She was such a calm, caring person. She loved seeing what the world had to offer, yet she remained calm. To be honest, sometimes I worry that I might be a bit too distant and Adrien gets nothing from me.”

“I don’t think that’s true” Marinette said. “I think he gets some of your kindness from you. I mean, you came here to keep me company apropos of nothing. Plus, I think you both function better with other people around.”

“What do you mean by that?” Gabriel asked.

“Well, it’s just that Vlad told me the story of how he and Adrien met” Marinette said. “He said you told Adrien that Nathalie is helping you maintain your sanity after your wife’s disappearance. I think it’s the same with Adrien. While his presence does light up the room, I think the room lights him up too.”

Gabriel was aghast. “I had never thought about it like that before. But you’re right. Having someone there certainly helps me. I don’t understand why I didn’t see why it could help Adrien as well. Especially since he has his mother’s ability to socialize. She was a social butterfly. Me? I’m more of a moth. Still, she knew when someone was sincere or not. Wanna hear about how we met?” Marinette nodded.

“Alright then” Gabriel said. “It all began when I had won a design contest. My prize was a ticket to a high class social event. I had trouble socializing, but I managed to keep a low profile. Or so I thought.”

“Hi there” Emilie said, reaching her hand out. Gabriel looked at her. “I thought when people do that, the other person was supposed to shake their hand.”

“Oh, uh..” Gabriel said, nervously. He reached out and shook Emilie’s hand.

“Thank you” Emilie said. “Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you the talented young designer that won your way in here, correct?”

“Well yes I am, but…” Gabriel stuttered. “I…don’t do well at parties.”

“Wanna know something? Me either?” Emilie said. “Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting people, but these events just seem so overwhelming. I mean, there’s just so much I have to do to keep up appearances.”

“I more have trouble with the people aspect” Gabriel said.

“So, why did you enter the contest?” Emilie asked.

“Well, I’m an aspiring designer” Gabriel said. “I wanted to get my designs out there, simple as that. Tell me to talk to a stranger and I turn to stone. But if you ask me what their ideal outfit should be, then I’m your man.”

“So, what would my ideal outfit be?” Emilie asked.

Gabriel was taken aback. Nevertheless, he accepted the challenge. “Well, I think it would be an elegant yellow dress with one shoulder, a pair of white pumps, and a green necklace to match your eyes.”

“Wow” Emilie said.

“But, I also love what you have on currently” Gabriel said. She was wearing a white tank top, a yellow coat, a black fluffy skirt, white and black striped stockings, and a pair of white flats.

“You think so too? My friend Audrey designed this for me” Emilie said. She pointed her friend out.

“Wait, you’re friends with Audrey Bisset?” Gabriel said.

“Yeah. You know her?” Emilie said.

“Not personally” Gabriel said. “But she is the up and coming name in the world of style.”

Emilie took Gabriel’s hand. “She won’t be the only one.” Emilie dragged Gabriel to meet Audrey. “Hello Audrey. I just thought you would want to meet the young man who won the design contest.”

Audrey turned to Gabriel. “Well it’s about time you make yourself known. Just so you know, I was the deciding vote on the committee. So, you better thank me for letting you in here. And you should have met me first” she said.

“Audrey. Don’t be like that” Emilie said. “He doesn’t do well at parties.”

“I gathered that from when you had to drag him to me,” Audrey said.

“Thank you, Miss Bisset” Gabriel said.

Audrey handed Gabriel her business card. “If you have any more good ideas, let me be the first person you call.” She walked off.

“Well, that could have gone better,” Gabriel said.

“Nah, for Audrey, that was a great first encounter” Emilie said.

“I take it she’s not as personable as you” Gabriel said.

“Nope. But she’s really sweet once you get to know her” Emilie said.

“I’ll take your word on that, Miss…?” Gabriel said.

“Oh. Right. Emilie” she said. “Emilie Blanchet.”

“Gabriel Agreste” he responded.

“Enchante” she said.

“We spent the rest of the evening together” Gabriel said, telling the story to Marinette. “We laughed. We ate. We learned about each other. It was a magical evening. By the time the party was winding down, I found myself having a great time.”

“So, Miss Blanchet?” Gabriel said.

“Please, call me Emilie” she responded.

“Fine. Emilie” Gabriel said. “I had a great time with you tonight.”

“Me too, Gabriel” Emilie said.

“I don’t suppose we could meet again sometime. Could we?” Gabriel asked nervously.

“Of course” Emilie said. “Here, do you have a pen?” Gabriel handed her a pen. “Now, can I have Audrey’s card?” He gave that to her as well. Emilie wrote her number on the back of Audrey’s card. “Here you go.”

“Thank you, Emilie” Gabriel said. “I should give you my number” he said, trying to find something to write on. “You know? Because I’m not the best at socializing. Especially with someone as pretty as you.” Gabriel then blushed when he realized what he had said.

Emilie giggled. “You know? A lot of boys say that about me, but this is the first time I believe it.”

“Why is that?” Gabriel said, nervously.

“Partially because I didn’t tell you exactly HOW rich I am” Emilie began. “But more importantly, because I want to.” She gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Oo. Here.” Emilie grabbed a napkin. Gabriel focused as he wrote his number down. He had never been quite as flustered before. “Thank you” she said. “Well, I’ll see you later then.” She walked out the door.

Audrey was waiting for her. “Really? You wanna go out with that guy? You just met him” Audrey said.

“Well, when you know, you know. I have a good feeling about this guy” Emilie said.

“If you get bored, or he breaks your heart, I have a number of gentlemen callers. I’m sure one of them would like you” Audrey said.

“And yet, you always go back to Andre” Emilie retorted. Audrey scoffed and walked off. Emilie giggled, following her.

“And that’s how we met” Gabriel said.

Marinette was on the verge of tears. “What a beautiful story.”

Gabriel smiled. “Mind if I look at your designs?” he asked.

“Uhhhhhhhhh” Marintte said.

“It’s alright” Gabriel said. “I’m sure you did a good job. You’ve impressed both me and Audrey Bourgeois before. You don’t need to worry about anything.”

Marinette stared at him. “Well, OK,” she said, grabbing he sketches. She handed them to him. Gabriel looked over them. “I wanted to keep the design simple because I only have so much time to work on it but I also wanted it to be bold.”

“Well, I’d say you succeed in both of those” Gabriel said. “These look good Marinette. I’m sure you’ll have a bright future in the world of design.”

Marinette blushed. “Thank you, Mr. Agreste.”

After fencing practice wrapped up, Adrien met up with Vlad. “Ready to go?” Vlad asked.

“I need to change, but then I’ll be ready” Adrien said.

“Sure thing” Vlad said. Adrien walked off.

“Hey! Kagami called out. “How did you get so good at fencing?”

“Practice” Vlad said.

“That’s it?” Kagami said.

“Yeah” Vlad replied. “Although I’m a bit rusty. If I were battling you for the heck of it, you probably would have won. But because there was something I wanted, I tried harder.” Kagami looked perplexed. “What’s wrong?” Vlad asked.

“It’s nothing” Kagami said. “I just come from a family of fencers. I hate to be embarrassed. It reflects poorly on my mother and my grandfather.”

“Nonsense” Vlad said. “I’d say you have something worth fighting for there. That’s half the battle in my opinion. You’re an excellent fencer. You just gotta learn how to move forward after a loss.”

“I’ve been trying since I’ve got here…” Kagami said. “Sometimes it’s hard.”

“What happened?” Vlad asked.

“The day I arrived, I challenged Adrien to a match. It got really intense” Kagami explained. “It got so intense that we moved around, and the only person who was witnessing the event was this girl, Marinette.” Vlad’s eyebrow raised. “She called the victory in favor of Adrien. I was so upset that I was eventually Akumatized.”

“Sounds rough” Vlad said. “But it happens to the best of us.”

“Have you been Akumatized?” Kagami asked.

“No. But I’m new here. Give it time” Vlad said.

“I’ve been Akumatized twice” Kagami said. “Three times if you count Hero’s Day.”

“You know what that tells me?” Vlad asked. “It tells me your emotions are strong. You just need to not let them get the best of you.”

Kagami stared at Vlad. “Thanks” she said.

“OK. I’m ready” Adrien said. “Kagami?”

“I was just here talking to your friend,” she said. “He seems really nice.”

“I’m surprised” Adrien said.

“Why’s that?” Vlad said.

“It’s just that both of you can be hard-headed at times” Adrien said. “I was worried that it would turn ugly if you two met.”

“Well, if I were to fight him, you might be upset with me, and I don’t want that” Kagami said. “Even though I believe you are also worth fighting for.” Adrien smiled.

“We just had a lovely chat about fencing” Vlad said. “I didn’t want things to turn south either. Especially since you recommended I fight her in fencing.”

“What makes you say that?” Kagami said.

“Well, knowing Adrien, he wouldn’t let just anyone fight me” Vlad said. “He’s a little too nice for his own good sometimes. He wouldn’t recommend someone who would lose to me in a heartbeat. He’s not that under-handed. No, he selected someone who he thinks could be a fair fight. And that scares me a little. Seeing how much he trusts you to do your best made me think ‘I don’t want to get on this person’s bad side.’”

Kagmi was shocked, and then blushed. “Thanks.”

“What can I say, Vlad? You can read me like a book” Adrien said. “Oh, by the way, Kagami.” Kagami looked up. “I have been thinking of switching targets recently. Would you mind giving me pointers?”

“Oh. Uh, sure” Kagami said. “Just give me a call.”

“Thanks” Adrien said. Kagami walked off to change.

“Boy, you are really bad at this, aren’t you?” Vlad said.

“Bad at what?” Adrien said.

Vlad giggled. “You seriously can’t see it? Boy, you’re hopeless.”

“Hey, come on. What’s this about?” Adrien asked. Vlad started walking off. “Vlad. Where are you going?”

“The exit” Vlad said. “Your ride is almost here, right?”

“Uh, yeah. Vlad, can you tell me what’s going on?” Adrien said.

“Maybe when we get in the car” Vlad said.

Back the Agreste’s, Marinette was wrapping up her work for the day. “Alright, that’s a good place to call it for now,” she said. “I should get going.”

She walked out of the room and was about to leave. “Finished for the day, Marinette?” Gabriel said.

“Oh, yeah” Marinette said. “I just wanted to get home before it’s too late.”

“My driver should be back any second. He can drop you off” Gabriel said.

“Oh. Thanks” Marinette said.

“You know, if I had known someone like you was out there, I might have let Adrien go out sooner,” Gabriel said.

Marinette blushed. “Oh. Thank you, Mr. Agreste.” Marinette walked out the door. Adrien’s car pulled up. The bodyguard walked out and opened the door. “Adrien? Vlad?”

“Oh, hey Marinette” Adrien said.

“You leaving?” Vlad asked.

“Uh, yeah. I didn’t want to stay too late. It is a school night, after all” Marinette said.

“Well, my bodyguard can take you home” Adrien said.

Marinette giggled. “You father told me as much. But thank you anyway.” She got in the car. “See you tomorrow?”

“Of course” Adrien said. The bodyguard got back into the car and drove off.

“Hey father” Adrien said. He was getting used to seeing his father more. “Vlad’s going to hang out for a little bit. He needs to talk to me about something. We’ll just be in my room.”

“Of course” Gabriel said. After all, he’s your friend, right?”

Adrien smiled. “Right.” The two of them went to Adrien’s room.

Gabriel walked into his office. “What’s on your mind, sir?” Nathalie asked.

“I was just thinking. If Emilie were here, she would have gobbled Marinette right up” Gabriel said.

Nathalie looked at her boos. “She will, Mr. Agreste. Just give it time.”

“Of course, Nathalie” Gabriel said. “Now I have another reason to get her back.”

In Adrien’s room, Adrien asked “So, you’re saying Kagami likes me?”

“Yup” Vlad said.

“I knew that” Adrien said, setting up Ultimate Mecha Strike III

“Really? Then why’d you play dumb?” Vlad said.

“Because I only know it as Cat Noir” Adrien said. “I didn’t want to raise suspicions of anyone there by saying something I shouldn’t know.” He started playing.

Vlad was confused. “It was fairly obvious from the outset.”

“I don’t know about that” Adrien said.

Vlad sighed. Beyyo popped out. “Can we please talk about the matter at hand? I’m getting a headache hearing all of this love talk!”

“I second that” Plagg said. “Also, where’s my Camembert?”

“Vlad, can you get Plagg some cheese? It’s in the safe” Adrien asked.

“Sure” Vlad said. He went to the safe and grabbed some and gave it to Plagg.

“Thanks” Plagg said.

“Sure thing. Just stay far away from Beyyo” Vlad said.

“In a room this big, it should be manageable” Beyyo said.

“Whatever” Plagg said. He began munching on his cheese.

Vlad reached into his coat. “Here’s something for you too, Beyyo” he said, handing him some jerky.”

“Thanks” Beyyo said, munching down.

“So, what’s the problem?” Adrien asked.

“Well, last night we tested Chloe, and things got a little intense” Vlad said.

“In what way?” Adrien asked.

“Well, we asked what would happen if everyone listened to Chloe” Vlad began. “It ended with her stopping the world and crying.”

“What happened afterwards?” Adrien continued.

Vlad went on. “I stopped the dream and I had a chat with Chloe. She told me that she felt like she couldn’t be herself in front of people, so she came up with a mean persona so that when people hate her, at least it will be genuine, instead of hiding behind fake appreciation.”

“Did Chloe tell you why she couldn’t be herself?” Adrien inquired.

“No. But I assume you know” Vlad said.

“I’m not telling” Adrien said.

“I wouldn’t expect you to” Vlad retorted. “Anyway, Ladybug is worried about leaving Chloe alone for too long. So I came to you because you know Chloe so well. How would you recommend speeding things up?”

Adrien smiled. “Well, if it is what I think it is, I don’t think Chloe will be ready until she admits that secret to people. And you can’t force that. However, it seems like Chloe is at least ready to change. So maybe we just need to keep pushing her in the right direction.”

“I see” Vlad said. “Say, if I were to learn her secret, would you agree to meet with her about it with me as Judgement Wolf?”

“Sure, but how do you plan on doing that?” Adrien asked.

“I think I’m going to run some more tests,” Vlad said. “If that’s alright with you.”

“Of course. Just don’t push her too hard. Maybe give her a break” Adrien said.

“Fine” Vlad said. “I’ll put it off until tomorrow. But Ladybug would like an answer sooner than later. For Chloe’s sake.”

“I know” Adrien said. “I want one too. She’s my oldest friend. Of course I want to protect her.” Vlad smiled.

“Double K.O.” the game said.

“I think I’m getting better” Adrien said. “Come Friday, I should be able to win.”

“Let’s hope so” Vlad said.

Chapter Text

Vlad was once again was manning his Paris Pride booth. A nervous boy carefully approached, but he eventually tripped, dropping his book. “You alright?” Vlad asked.

“Uh, yeah,” the boy said, standing up and picking up his book.

“Well then, what can I do you for?” Vlad said.

“Um, well, I uh don’t know how to do this” the boy said.

Vlad was confused, but intrigued. “What’s your name kid?” he asked.

“Marc” the boy answered.

“Well Marc, you can either sign up to walk in the parade, sign up to volunteer, or buy a pin for a nominal fee” Vlad said.

“Well, that’s the thing,” Marc said. “I’ve never actually told anyone. But with you here to inspire me, and everyone being so friendly, I feel like I have the courage to tell people.”

“Tell people what?” Vlad inquired.

Marc hesitated. “That I’m gay.” He was surprised. “That felt surprisingly good.”

Vlad smiled. “It always is. So, you want a pin?”

“Yeah. Just for now” Marc said. “I might sign up later. I don’t know yet. Oh, maybe I shouldn’t.”

“Marc. I want you to relax” Vlad said. “I’m going to sell you the pin. You wear it. If people ask, tell them the truth. If not, then just don’t say anything. You got that?” Marc nodded. “Good. Here you go.” Marc took the pin and put it on him. He smiled and walked away. “Let’s hope it goes well for him.”

Marc was walking around when he passed by Marinette. “Hi Marc. Nice button” she said.

“Thank you, Marinette. I’m gay” Marc said. He felt a little awkward after that. Why did he volunteer that information. Was it because Vlad told him to? Marc felt embarrassed.

Marinette looked him in the eye and said, “I’m so proud of you. I know how hard it is for you to admit stuff. I’m glad you’re at a place where you can do that.”

Marc was delighted. Of course she would be supportive. She’s Marinette. “Thanks Marinette” he said. “Um, it sounds like you knew somehow?”

Marinette said “Well, I had a feeling.”

“What gave it away?” Marc asked, nervously; worried about what everyone else thought about him.

“It was the way you looked at him” Marinette said, gesturing to Nathaniel. Marc was in awe. “It’s the same way I look at Adrien. Trust me, I’ve been living in that stare for about as long as I’ve known him.”

“Oh” Marc said. Marc showed a look of determination. “Marinette. If I confess to Nathaniel, would you do the same with Adrien?”

“What?!” Marinette said.

“It’s people like you who give me courage” Marc said. “You seem so unafraid in everything else you do. Like, when you helped me for example. I just want to know that the people I depend on are strong.”

Marinette noted his resolve. “Alright, fine. For you Marc.”

“Great” Marc said. He made his way to Nathaniel.

“Wait, NOW?!” Marinette said.

Marc reached Nathaniel. “Hey Marc. Ready for the editor’s meeting?” Nathaniel said. Nathaniel then saw Marc’s pin and was stunned. “So, that pin…Does that mean what I think it means?”

Marc stood silently. He then said “If you think it means I’m gay…then yes.”

“Oh. I see” Nathaniel said. “Is that all you wanted to tell me?”

Marc shook his head. “There’s someone I like…and it’s you…”

“Oh!” Nathaniel said. Nathaniel was flustered.

“You don’t like me back. I can tell” Marc said.

“Hang on” Nathaniel said. “I haven’t said no yet.”

“But you’re going to” Marc said.

“I don’t know” Nathaniel said. Marc was curious. “Look, I’m flattered. I just don’t know at the moment. I need to think about it. Is that alright?” Marc nodded. “Thank you. By the way, if my answer does come up as ‘No’, would you still be willing to work with me?’

Marc was paralyzed. “I…I don’t know…”

Nathaniel smiled. “I get it. It took a lot of courage for you to even say this much, and I’m glad. I hope to have an answer for you soon.” Nathaniel walked off.

Marc watched as his emotions were stirring up inside him. Marinette walked up to him and said “Well, this is a start. I’m so glad you were able to tell him how you feel.”

“Thank you. So, are you going to tell Adrien?” Marc asked.

Marinette nodded. “I’m a woman of my word” she said. “However, Adrien’s pretty busy this week, and I don’t want to weigh him down further. I’ll tell him when the time is right. Is that OK?”

Marc nodded. “I hope you’re more successful than I was here.”

Marinette blushed. “Thanks, but this could still be a success.”

“I sure hope so,” Marc said.

After school, Max was standing near Nino and gathered Kim Adrien, and Marinette. “So, I have decided that Nino should be our fifth” he said. “Nino, mind if I come over and set-up your training?”

“Of course not, dude” NIno said. “We can head out right now, if you’re not busy.”

“Sure thing” Max said.

“I’ll come with you,” Kim said. The three of them walked off together.

“I’ve got fencing again today. Seeya” Adrien said. He left, and Marinette stared at him.

Marinette and Vlad were alone in the room. “So, something seems new about your stare” Vlad said.

“What? Oh yeah” Marinette said. “I made a promise to a friend that I would tell Adrien that I like him.”

“Do you feel like you can do it?” Vlad asked.

Marinette said. “I think so. I don’t feel as intimidated by Adrien. Especially since I talked with his father yesterday. I realized that I can have with Adrien what he had with his wife. I just need to be a little less afraid. I’ve been working on it gradually, but I feel like I can do it.

Vlad smiled. “So, what are you waiting for?”

“Well,” Marinette began, “I kind of want to wait until after the fencing tournament. He and I both have a lot on our minds as is. I don’t want to pressure him further.”

“Fair enough” Vlad said. “Anyway, I’ve got a few things of my own I’d like to tell you.”

“What?” Marinette said.

“So, I talked with Adrien about Chloe” Vlad said. “And since we know Chloe isn’t ready to admit something, we agreed that until she’s ready to admit it, she won’t get her miraculous.”

“So, what are you going to do about that?” Marinette asked.

“Well, I’m going to run a few more tests on her” Vlad said. “Her heart is in the right place, but she’s not all the way there yet.”

“I know” Marinette said.

“There’s one other thing you should know,” Vlad said. “Max knows who I am. So does Markov. Markov also knows Max is Pegasus,”

“WHAT?!” Marinette said.

“I wanted to tell you sooner, but I couldn’t find the right time” Vlad said.

“Do they know anything else?” Marinette said.

“Not to my knowledge” Vlad said. “Besides, Max made Markov promise not to tell anyone if he figures out someone again.”

“Well, I guess that’s reassuring” Marinette said.

“Relax” Vlad said. “Markov is smart, but he’s also human. In a sense. I’m sure he only figured out Max because the two of them are so close.”

“I sure hope so” Marinatte said. “But we should keep our guard up.”

“Nah. That might make Markov suspicious” Vlad said. “Let’s just go with the flow.”

Marinette thought about it. “OK,” she said.

“Great. Now, I’ve got some personal investigations I need to attend to” Vlad said, walking out. Marinette left to go work on her outfits.

Vlad went to talk to the people Lila listed off to see if Lila really was changing. “Yeah, she apologized” Alix said. “We’ve been cool since.”

“Well, it is a bit hard for me to be around her, but she has apologized, and since Hawk Moth was blackmailing her I accepted” Ondine said. “Maybe one day we can get to a place where I feel comfortable around her.”

“Lila’s give us a few good pointers for our new song” Rose said. “I really feel like it’s coming together. Everyone else in Kitty Section can vouch for her as well.”

After Rose left, Vlad said “OK. Just gotta check with a few other people.” He walked to Nino’s place and rang.

Chris answered the door. “What do you want?”

“I’m a friend of Nino’s from school” Vlad said.

“I know who you are. You’re that famous model that just moved here” Chris said.

“Right” Vlad said. “Anyway, I was wondering if Kim and Max were still here. I know they stopped by earlier.”

Chris turned his head inside. “Hey Nino! Are your friends still here?!”

Nino came to the door. “Vlad? What are you doing here?”

“I just wanted to ask Kim and Max some questions” Vlad said.

“I thought you trusted them already, dude” Nino said.

“I do” Vlad said. “This is about Lila.”

“Lila? What’s this about?” Nino asked.

“I want to see if she really changed” Vlad said.

“She was blackmailed by Hawk Moth before. But now that she’s not, she should be fine, right?” Nino said.

“I’m not sure” Vlad said. “But that’s just who I am. You can believe her if you want.”

“Well, OK then, dude” Nino said. “Max and Kim are still here. Wanna come in?”

“Sure” Vlad said. Max and Kim told Vlad what he had heard before. That, while it was a bit uncomfortable, Lila does seem like she’s changing. Vlad was hoping they were right. Vlad spent the evening at Nino’s place hanging out with Nino, Kim, Max, and Markov.

“Well, seeya later” Vlad said, leaving. Nino waved and closed the door.

Beyyo popped out. “I wish we could tell Nino who we are,” he said. “I just LOVE smelling Wayzz.”

“Really? What does Wayzz smell like?” Vlad asked.

“Mint” Beyyo said.

“Why?” Vlad asked further.

“Mint is the primary ingredient in toothpaste, which protects your teeth” Beyyo said.

“Mint is in a lot of things” Vlad said. “But I’ll take your word for it.” Vlad walked for a few blocks until it was night time. He then hid in an ally and transformed. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He lept up to the roof.

Judgement Wolf was jumping rooftop to rooftop until he arrived at Le Grand Paris. He saw that Chloe was sleeping in her bed tonight. He managed to get in and was ready to perform his second test. “Wolf Mist!”

Chlo was at school. She was socializing with her friends, when she heard Marinette ask “Hey Chloe. Um, could I talk with you for a second? Alone?”

Chloe smiled. “Sure Marinette.’ The two of them walked out into the hall. “What do you want?”

“Chloe…” Marinette said. “Oh, I can’t stand it anymore! I love you Chloe Bourgeois! Will you go out with me?!”

”Of course I will, Marinette Dupain-Cheng! I love you too!” Chloe responded.The two hugged. The two then shared a kiss. It got intense quickly as their fingers ran through the other’s hair. Chloe then opened her eyes and saw herself in a familiar white void.

“Well, I didn’t quite expect that” Judgement Wolf said.

“YOU! You made me dream this, didn’t you? Just so you can see me make out with another girl. HM!” Chloe said.

“A healthy dose of doubt is good” Judgement Wolf said. “However, my power doesn’t work like that. I want the truth. So when I ask questions, I get the truth. What I asked was ‘What is your ideal interaction with Marinette Dupain-Cheng?’” Chloe felt embarrassed. “So, you like girls then. When did this start?”

“It started when I was about 10” Chloe said. “It just clicked all of a sudden. I realized that that’s just how I feel.”

“It always is” Judgement Wolf said.

“Ugh. You say that like you know how I feel” Chloe said.

“Maybe I do” Judgement Wolf said. “You don’t know the man behind the mask.”

“True” Chloe said.

“So, how come you’ve never told anyone?” Judgement Wolf said.

Chloe stood still. “I’m afraid. My parents expect a lot out of me. And if I don’t live up to that, I’m worried that they won’t love me anymore.”

Judgement Wolf said “Hm. Understandable. But it isn’t healthy for you to keep this bottled up.”

“I know” Chloe said. “And I want to tell people, but I don’t know how.”

“Want some help?” Judgement Wolf said. Chloe looked at him. “After our previous encounter I talked with Adrien.”

“What?! Why?!” Chloe said.

“Because Ladybug is worried about you. She wants to protect you” Judgement Wolf said. “She’s worried that the longer you’re alone, the more opportunities for Hawk Moth to attack. Since you and Adrien have known each other for so long, I figured he would be of some help.”

“I guess…” Chloe said.

“Anyway, Adrien didn’t tell me any of this, but I had the feeling that he knows” Judgement Wolf said. “Would you happen to know why he knows?”

Chloe remembered an incident in which she was playing by herself, pretending to be a starlet, and introducing the press to her wife. Adrien had come into her room, and Chloe was nervous. However, since Adrien didn’t bring it up, Chloe thought that maybe Adrien didn’t notice. “Ummm, yeah. I think so” she said.

“Well, whatever the case, maybe you should try talking to Adrien about it” Judgement Wolf said. “I can be there too, if you want.”

“That’s OK” Chloe said. “I’m sure you have other stuff to do. Besides, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to open up to Adrien. Just the two of us.”

“As you wish” Judgement Wolf  said. He lept out and Chloe went back to sleep.

Vlad met up with Adrien the next day. “So, I figured out Chloe’s secret” he said. “She likes girls.”

“Huh. So that wasn’t just pretend” Adrien said.

“I thought you knew for sure” Vlad said.

“Well, I only had a feeling” Adrien said.

“Well, I told her that you knew” Vlad said. “Anyway, she’s going to want to talk to you about this.”

“Why?” Adrien asked.

“Because I told her to” Vlad said.

“So, is she ready?” Adrien asked.

“That is up to how things go with you” Vlad said. “I trust that you’re going to do well.”

“No doubt” Adrien said.

“Hey Adriki-Adrien” Chloe said.

Adrien turned to face her. “Yes Chloe?”

Chloe gathered her resolve. “Um, what day are free next? I want to hang out. Just the two of us. If that’s alright with you.”

Adrien smiled. “My next free day is Sunday. Do you want to come to my place, or should I come over?”

“I’ll stop by” Chloe said. “Sunday it is then.”

“Great. Can’t wait” Adrien said. Chloe shuffled off.

“Well, I’m going to go report to Ladybug” Vlad said.

“You didn’t tell her first?” Adrien said.

“Nah. I figured you’d be the best person to talk to first on this” Vlad said. “Since you have such a big role.”

“OK then” Adrien said. Vlad started walking off. “By the way, what was Chloe’s dream this time?”

Vlad thought about it. “I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.” He kept walking.

“OK then” Adrien said.

Vlad met up with Marinette. “So, I tested Chloe again last night. I think we’re closer than we were before.”

“Really?” Marinette said. “Great, what do we do next?’

“We don’t do anything” Vlad said. “I’ve informed Adrien of what happened, and he and Chloe are going to have a heart-to-heart on Sunday.” Marinette looked worried. “Before you say anything Adrien picked that day. He didn’t know that you wanted to confess after the fencing tournament.”

Marinette said. “I’m more worried that Chloe might try to confess to Adrien. And with this new and improved Chloe thing going, I’m afraid that it might work.”

“I wouldn’t be too worried about that,” Vlad said.

“I’m also worried about how long this is going to take” Marinette said. “I mean, sure they’re meeting on Sunday, but who knows how long it will take for Chloe to open up to someone who isn’t Adrien.”

“Marinette” Vlad said. “The reason she’s meeting with Adrien is to figure out how to open up to someone who’s not Adrien. Relax. Trust Adrien to do his part.”

Marinette smiled. “Thanks. So, what was Chloe’s second test like?”

Vlad thought about it. “It’s not my place to say” he said.

“OK then” Marinette said.

“Come on. We should get to class” Vlad said.

“Sure” Marinette said. The two started heading out. Marinette wondered what could have happened, but decided that if Vlad didn’t want to tell her, that’s fine with her.

Chapter Text

After school on Friday before everyone left, Vlad quickly approached Max and asked “Hey, mind if I tell everyone about tonight?’

“Why?” Max asked.

“You know. Just to get a cheer squad” Vlad said. “So that everyone on the team knows they have people cheering them on.”

Max smiled and said “Sure.”

“Thanks” Vlad said. He then called out “Alright everyone, listen up!” The class turned their attention to Vlad. “As you may know, tonight the Paris Nighthawks are holding an exhibition match. As it just so happens, Max put together a team and they are aiming to take them down. Now, they would really appreciate it if they could get some support. If you have prior engagements, that’s fine, but to those who can make it, I would ask you to come. Tonight at Parc des Princes. Seeya there.” The class applauded Vlad and his efforts as well as the team, who was now standing side by side. After they were done, the class dispersed.

“I gotta get to fencing” Adrien said.

“I should go too. Alya said she wanted to take me somewhere before the match to get psyched” Nino said.

“Ondine said the same thing to me,” Kim said. The three headed out.

“Well, I should go too,” Max said. “I want to get in a few more practice rounds before tonight.” Max left.”

“So, where does that leave you?” Vlad asked.

“Well, I was hoping to do a check on your outfits for next week” Marinette said. “I might do a few little things here and there, if need be. Then after that, I think I’ll work in a few practice rounds as well.”

“Cool” Vlad said. “I’ve got a gig this afternoon, but I’ll be sure to be there tonight.”

“Great. Can’t wait” Marinette said. The two left. Marinette road in Adrien’s car as she had been doing for the past week. She was starting to get used to it.

In Gabriel’s office, Nathalie walked in and told Gabriel “I have that information you wanted.”

“Excellent” Gabriel said. He took the papers and skimmed them over. “I have a good feeling about tonight. Whether we win or lose, the Porter family is going down.”

“Sir, why not just inform the police now?” Nathalie said.

“I’m giving them the chance to do the right thing first. This also helps us work towards our goal” Gabriel said. “Besides, I want to give Adrien’s friend a chance to prove himself. It’s not everyday that someone gets to carry out their revenge.”

“Understood, sir” Nathalie said. She got a notification. “Marinette’s here.”

“Good” Gabriel said, handing the papers back to Nathalie. “I assume that you know what to do with these when the time comes.” He left to go greet Marinette.

Marinette walked in. “Hello again, Marinette” Gabriel said. “I thought you were focused on the match today.”

“I am, sir” Marinette said, nervously. “It’s just that I wanted to check on the outfits quick. You know, see if there’s anything I can fix up.”

“I understand” Gabriel said. “A good artist wants to look over everything before they make their art public. I know what that’s like.”

“Right” Marinette said. “But after that, I was thinking of heading home and practicing a bit before the match tonight.”

“I thought Adrien said you can use his set-up here,” Gabriel said. “Besides, we’re picking up Adrien after he gets done fencing. You can ride with us.”

“Well, that’s very nice of you, sir” Marinette said. “Wait…did you say ‘WE’ are picking Adrien up?”

“Yes. I have decided to make an appearance at this event” Gabriel said.

“Why?” Marinette asked.

“I’m sure you know this, but I have been a bit distant with my son. I mean to rectify that” Gabriel said. “I want to let him know that I support him.”

Marinette smiled. “Thanks, Mr. Agreste. It’ll mean the world to Adrien.” She went off and checked on her outfits, making slight adjustments as needed. Then she was off to Adrien’s room to practice.

“Marinette, it’s almost time to leave” Nathalie said, walking in.

“I’ll be there in a few” Marinette said. She was about to beat AXX3 again. Nathalie closed the door. Once Marinette secured her victory, she shouted “YEAH! WOO HOO! I’m the best!” She then did a dance celebrating her victory. After she was done, she left Adrien’s room and made her way downstairs.

Gabriel was waiting by the limo. “After you, Marinette” he said.

“I see the gentleman apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” Marinette said. Gabriel smiled. The two of them entered the limo. “Is Nathalie coming with us?”

“I’m afraid she has some clerical business to take care of” Gabriel said. “It’ll be fine. I can’t count the times that Nathalie has been there instead of me.”

“I guess” Marinette said. “But I’m sure he’d like it more if everyone were here.”

Gabriel said “I know.  But when you’re as busy as I am, it can be impossible to find the time.”

“Yeah” Marinette said.

Gabriel thought to himself Don’t worry Marinette. We will all join Adrien for every event in his life. Just as soon as I defeat Ladybug and Cat Noir and take their miraculouses.

Nathalie watched as they drove off. She then entered Gabriel’s office. She took the remote, pressed the button, retrieved the butterfly miraculous, and put it on. “Hello Nooroo” she said as he appeared. “Are you ready for tonight?”

“Yes Master” Nooroo said.

Adrien finished getting changed. He saw Kagami leaving and ran up to her. “Hey Kagami!” he called. Kagami looked at him. “Listen, I’m doing this thing tonight. I was wondering if you wanted to come along.”

Kagami was perplexed. “Um, sure? What is this thing?”

“Well, it’s an exhibition video game match” Adrien explained.

“Hm” Kagami said.

“Not interested?” Adrien aid.

“It’s just, I’ve never played video games before” Kagami said. “I never had the time.”

“I see” Adrien said. “Are you still interested?”

Kagami said “I guess… I don’t know.”

“Come on. It’ll be fun” Adrien said.

“Well… I guess I can come… if my mom is OK with it” Kagami said.

“Great. I’ll give my dad a call too” Adrien said. The teens called their respective parents.

“Hi mom. Adrien invited me to something tonight… Yes, I know the tournament is tomorrow… I’m just going to watch… I’ll be at my best tomorrow… Thank you” Kagami said. She hung up.

“Hey father. I was wondering if Kagami could come along as well” Adrien asked.

“Of course Adrien” Gabriel said. “In fact, your ride should be there any second. There’s a surprise waiting there for you.”

“Really? Thanks father!” Adrien said. He hung up. “My father gave me the OK.”

“As did my mother” Kagami said.

“Well then, shall we?” Adrien said, gesturing to the door. The two walked out to the limo to see Adrien’s bodyguard. He opened the door to reveal Marinette. “Marinette?” Adrien said. Kagami was perplexed. Adrien looked into the limo and saw Gabriel. “Father?”

“Hello Adrien” Gabriel said. “Kagami.” The two got in and the door closed. The limo took off.

“Um, what are you doing here father?” Adrien asked.

“I wanted to be there to show you my support” Gabriel said. “Even though I don’t know much about this stuff.”

“Kagami is in the same boat” Adrien said. Kagami smacked Adrien out of embarrassment. “Ow! What was that for?”

“Honestly Adrien, you should never reveal a lady’s secret” Gabriel said. “Didn’t I teach you anything?”

“You’re right father” Adrien said.

Kagami looked worried. “It’s OK Adrien…” she said. Adrien smiled.

The limo arrived at Parc des Princes. The group stepped out. “Over here” Max said.

“We have to get going” Adrien said. “You’re going to have to sit in the crowd.”

“It’s alright” Gabriel said. “I hope you do well.” Marinette and Adrien walked off to meet their team. Gabriel and Kagami walked over to the ticket booth. “Do you mind if I pay for your ticket, Kagami?”

Kagami looked up at Gabriel. “Sure…” she said. Gabriel handed over the money and got two tickets.

Adrien and Marinette met up with the rest of the team as well as Markov. “Hey guys. Ready to do this?” Adrien asked.

“I sure hope so” Nino said.

“I’m sure we’ve got this” Kim said.

“I admire your enthusiasm Kim” Max said. “Marinette? Your thoughts?”

Marinette got confident. “I’m sure we can win.”

Max smiled. “That’s what I like to hear.” The team and Markov walked into the area.

“And that’s game!” the announcer said. “The Paris Nighthawks have beaten another set of challengers!”

“Honestly, why bother with this?” Gerard said.

“Yeah, why do we gotta do this?” Laurence, the last member Max was familiar with said.

“It’s a show of strength” Terry said.

“Yeah. We gotta prove we’re the best every once in a while” Carter said. “Otherwise, how will the commoners know what to aim for? Isn’t that right?”

The fifth, who was in the shadows let out an unenthusiastic “Whatever.”

“That’s the spirit. Save it all for the match” Carter said. “Anyway, who’s next?”

“We are!” Max called out.

Carter was befuddled. “Well well, if it isn’t Kante-ke the heat” Carter said. “What brings you here?”

Max smiled confidently. “Your defeat!”

“Oh. I see you haven’t lost your edge” Carter said. “Who’d you bring with you?”

“My friends” Max said, with the team emerging.

Carter got a look at his competition. He also saw Markov. “What’s with the toy?”

“I am not a toy” Markov said. “I am Markov. And I am Max’s best friend.”

Carter chuckled. “Classic. You had to invent a best friend.”

“Markov might be a machine, but he has more heart that you ever will” Max called out.

“Max” Markov said.

Carter sighed. “Whatever. As long as he isn’t playing, you can keep him here.”

“That’s the idea” Max said. “Although after the thrashing you’ll get, you’re going to WISH you fought Markov!”

“Whatever. Just send your warriors up” Carter said. “We’re ready when you are.”

“Hold it!” Max said. “If we win, you’re going to get your dad to unblacklist me!”

Carter was surprised. “Alright then. But if we win, I want you back on our team. You’ve got nothing to lose. You’ll get unblacklisted anyway.”

“Very well” Max said. The team gasped.

“Max…” Markov said.

“It’s OK. I don’t plan on losing” Max said. “Besides, I do have something to lose. I’d lose spending time with all of you. So I’m going to be giving it my all.”

“Ugh. Let’s just get this over with” Carter said. He walked over to his team and gave Laurence a nod. Laurence nodded back.

Max looked at Nino and nodded. Nino nodded back. The two approached their stations. “Hey dude” Nino said. He looked at his opponent.

Laurence had red hair that spiked up to a point, a black Nighthawks shirt, red suspenders, red and black plaid pants, and black shoes. “Whatever. Let’s get the show rolling” he said. The grabbed their controllers. Nino chose WI2NY. Laurence chose IRON.

“Ready?! Begin!” the announcer said.

Nino and Laurence’s match was intense. Nino managed to get a few good hits in and always get Laurence to at least half health, but Nino could not pull a single win. Laurence was declared with winner. Nino turned to Laurence and held out his hand. “Good game.”

Laurence shook Nino’s hand but said “Yeah. Cause I won.” Nino was angry and walked back to his team. Laurence laughed his way back to his. “We’ll get Max back in no time!”

“Don’t get cocky” Carter said. “You saw that he got you down below half health both rounds, right?’

Laurece meekly said “Yeah, but-”

“No buts” Carter said. “This is going to be a battle. Max trained them. Of course they know what they’re doing. Still, we can win this. Terry. You’re up.” Terry ran out.

“Sorry about that” Nino said.

“It’s OK Nino” Adrien said.

“Yeah. You didn’t get as much practice as everyone else” Max said. “Still, you did well.”

“Thanks guys” Nino said.

Max saw Terry run out. “Kim, you’re up to bat.”

“Right” Kim said. He went to meet his opponent. Terry had long hair like Juleka’s, but his hair was black. He was wearing a black t-shirt and black jeans. “I bet I can guess your favorite color.”

“Har-dee-har” Terry said. “Let’s just get this over with.” Terry picked R2D3. Kim picked 2TO.

“And begin!” the announcer said.

The first round between them ended in a tie. Terry was caught off guard by this, while Kim maintained focus. He was used to focusing while swimming laps. He could focus on this as well. Terry eventually got back in it, but it was too little too late, because Kim eventually won, 2-1-1.

Kim went to shake Terry’s hand. “Good job.”

Terry begrudgingly shook his hand. “Whatever.” They both walked up to their respective teams.

“What happened out there? That’s not like you” Carter asked.

“I don’t know. That tie at the beginning threw me off. I don’t know how he managed to keep his head above water.” The fifth giggled. “Quite you.”

“Look, we can still take this thing. We just need to be careful” Carter said. “Just shake it off. Gerard. Bring your A game.”

“Got it, boss” Gerard said. He walked out.

“That was great Kim!” Marinette said.

“Thanks” Kim said.

Max saw Gerard. “Adrien, it looks like you’re up.”

“Great. See you when I’m done” Adrien said. He walked out to greet his opponent. Gerard was a heavy-set man with blonde hair similar to Adrien’s. He was wearing a white shirt, but had a black dress jacket and black pants. “Ready to go?”

“I’m ready to win” Gerard said. They selected their mains.

“And begin!” the announcer said. The first match between Adrien and Gerard was a bit rocky. No matter what happened, Gerard always had the upper hand. “The first round goes to Gerard!”

“Hey, pretty boy” Gerard said. “See that blue-haired girl on your team? Once I mop the floor with you, I think I’ll ask her out.”

“How do you know she’ll say yes?” Adrien asked.

“Trust me. She looks like she knows a winner when she sees on” Gerard said.

This made Adrien’s blood boil. “Well, we’ll see about that.” Adrien grew furious and got serious. Adrien would take that energy and win the next round and perfect Gerard in the following, giving him the victory.

“ADIREN!” Marinette cheered.

Gerard was confounded. “Well, I guess she does know a winner when she sees one” Adrien said, smugly. “Seeya.” He walked back to his team.

Carter met Gerard. “GERARD! What was that?!”

“I don’t know boss” Gerard said. “I was doing my thing. I told pretty boy that I’d ask the girl they have out once I beat him. Then he just went insane.”

Carter was furious. “Ready to give up, Carter?” Max called out.

“Not a chance” Carter responded. “Hey! You’re up!”

The Nighthawks’s fifth emerged from the shadows. Max was surprised. “You actually got a girl to join the team?” he said. “How did you do it?”

“Well, Katelyn here is pretty good at games” Carter said, condescending. “And she knows a good deal when she sees one. Unlike a certain someone I know.”

Max huffed. “Well, if that’s the case, I’ll have the honor of facing her.”

“And here I thought you wanted to face me,” Carter said.

“As much fun as that would be, I’d taking winning any day,” Max said.

Carter growled. “Katelyn, take him down a peg.”

Max Approached Katelyn. Katelyn had short, dark red hair, black glasses, a black hoodie with black stripes, a black skirt, black and green striped knee-high socks, and a pair of black Mary Janes. “So, you’re Max” she said.

“Yes” Max replied.

“Let’s get started” Katelyn said.

They both picked MX-01. “Well, this is awkward,” Max said.

“And begin!” the announcer said.

The first round was evenly matched for the most part. Whenever one got a hit in, the other got a hit in as well. Eventually though, that back and forth lead to Max taking the first round. “I thought you used to play for the Nighthawks” Katelyn said, confused.

“Correct. I USED to play for them” Max said. Katelyn smiled. The next round began, and Katelyn appeared to have stepped up her game. She was out predicting and out maneuvering Max at every movement, which lead her to win the next two rounds.

“And the Nighthawks take their second victory!” the announcer said.

Katelyn reached out her hand. “Thanks. That was the most fun I’ve had since joining the team.”

Max reciprocated. “You’re welcome” he said. They walked back to their teams.

“Now THAT’S what I’m talking about” Carter said. “I knew choosing you was a good decision.”

Katelyn, fed up with Carter’s attitude, said “Whatever. Just go and do your part.”

“Will do” Carter said. He walked out.

“Sorry about your loss Max” Marinette said.

“It’s OK Marinette” Max said. “At least this way, you can put Carter in his place once and for all.”

“Yeah, I get the sense that they don’t respect women too much” Adrien said.

“They don’t” Max said. “Well, more so, Carter doesn’t, and the rest of the team falls in line out of fear.”

“Well, I’ll be sure to give them a beacon of light to drown out that fear” Marinette said.

“I’d expect nothing less” Max said.

Marinette walked out. “So, your secret weapon is this little lady right here?!” Carter said. “And things had just gotten interesting.”

Marinette smiled and calmly said “Don’t count your nighthawk chicks before they hatch.”

“Well, aren’t you confident” Carter said.

“I’m so confident, I’ll even let you choose AXX3” Marinette said.

“Woah! There’s bravery, and then there’s sheer stupidity” Carter said. “However, since I am such a gentleman, I’ll go easy on you. Heck, I’ll even give you the first hit.” They chose their fighters.

“And begin!” the announcer said.

Marinette took advantage of Carter’s “generous offer” and proceeded to perfect him in round one. Carter was dumbfounded. “See, you might talk a big game, but I let my actions speak for me” Marinette said. Carter grew angry. This time he went to strike first, but Marinette dodged it. She was in completely control, as Carter was losing it. Marinette perfected him again, giving the overall win to her team. “Well, this was fun” Marinette said. “You don’t have to shake my hand. Just remember your promise to Max.” She walked back to her team.

Carter fell to his knees. “Bro, what happened?” Laurence said.

“You did the worst out of all of us!” Terry said.

“We were counting on you. And you let us down” Gerard said.

“You said it yourself, this was a battle. And you gave the opponents an advantage, which they took” Katelyn said.

“Maybe we don’t need to listen to you as much anymore,” Laurence said.

“Yeah, maybe we don’t need to do every little thing you say” Terry said.

“Maybe I should be the one at the top,” Gerard said.

“Nah, if we learned anything tonight, it’s that I should. You know, girl power” Katelyn said.

“Well, you and I were the only ones who won their match” Laurence said.

“It makes sense” Terry said.

“All in favor of making Katelyn our new captain?” Gerard said.

Carter couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His team blamed HIM for their loss? They wanted a NEW leader? How is this happening? How did I lose control? He looked at Max’s team. Max… It’s all his fault!

At that moment, Nathalie Hawk Moth emerged into the lair. Her Hawk Moth outfit looked like her Catalyst outfit, except with Hawk Moth’s mask instead of Catalyst’s helmet. “I can feel it. A heart crying out because they’ve lost control of everything in their life. All in one moment. How pitiful” she said. She prepared an Akuma. “Fly away, little Akuma. Give this heart what it seeks.”

The Akuma flew to the park and fused with the controller still in Carter’s hand. “Nighthawk. I am Hawk Moth. Worried that nothing is in your grasp anymore? To rectify that, I’m giving you the power to control people. All I want in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s Miraculous.”

“At your command, Hawk Moth” Carter said. The purple-black aura swallowed him, and the entire stage. Everyone was afraid. The stage was replaced with a giant sphere. Inside the sphere, Nighthawk’s eyes opened. “Let’s play!”

Chapter Text

The sphere in the middle of the area confused and frightened everyone. Still, their leader was inside. So Laurence went and knocked on the sphere. “Carter? You OK?” Suddenly, these extendo-claws popped out of the sphere, grabbed the remaining Nighthawks, and gathered them on top of the sphere.

An image of Nighthawk projected to the crowd. Nighthawk looked like Batman, except he had his team’s symbol instead of the bat symbol on his chest, his cowl was shaped like a nighthawk, and he was wearing a golden controller around his neck. “Hello Paris” he said, greeting a frightened crowd. “As you know, Carter failed you tonight. Well, there’s no more Carter to disappoint the masses. There’s Nighthawk now! And Nighthawk will stop at nothing to make sure he doesn’t disappoint.”

Two halves of robotic Nighthawks surrounded each member of the Nighthawks and began closing in. “Soon, I will regain control of my team” Nighthawk said. “And soon, I will control all of Paris!” The robots were complete, and their eyes lit up green. Three of them began to terrorize the crowd, who were running in a panic. The last one went to attack Max’s team. Nighthawk’s voice came out of the robo-puppet. “Let’s add some of you to my team.” They went in to grab someone.

“Run!” Max said. The rest of his team ran. Max was grabbed.

“MAX!” Marinette said. Max got turned into another Nighthawk drone. Marinette then noticed he wasn’t the only one. Whoever got captured by the Nighthawk drones was also being turned into Nighthawk drones. She kept running, trying to outrace the drones.

Once she was out of the park, she noticed that the drones were also leaving and going all around town. Tikki came out and she and Marinette nodded at each other. They didn’t need a Lucky Charm to tell them what to do next. They kept running.

Adrien hid in a stall in the men’s room and transformed “Plagg! Claws Out!”

Cat Noir came out of the stall and was face to face with Vlad. “I was in line” Vlad said.

“Well, it’s ready” Cat Noir responded.

Vlad smiled and went in. Cat Noir left. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” Judgement Wolf emerged from the stall and went to fight.

Nino was running when he was grabbed and pulled into an ally. “Please don’t turn me into a mindless drone!” he yelped.

“Nino! It’s me!” Alya said. “We have to transform.”

“Oh. Yeah” Nino said.

“Trixx! Let’s Pounce!” Alya said.

“Wayzz! Shell On!” Nino said. The two heroes lept into action.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s place. “Master! There’s a villain grabbing people and making an army. I think we need to do the same.”

“Very well Marinette” Master Fu said. He opened the Miracle Box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

Marinette grabbed the miraculous of all of the known heroes. She then glanced at the bee miraculous. “No. Not yet. I’m sorry Chloe. Uh, Master? Do you have any post-it notes and a pen?”

“Sure” Master Fu said. He grabbed them for her.

“Thanks Master” she said, She drew quick little sketches of each animal the miraculous represents and stuck them on each box. “Just because I don’t want to get them confused. Like what happened with Backwarder.”

“Good thinking” Master Fu said.

Marinette headed out. Once she was far enough away, she hid and said “Tikki! Spots On!”

At the stadium, Cat Noir, Judgement Wolf, Rena Rouge, and Capace all me up. “Where’s Ladybug?” Cat Noir asked.

“I’m sure she’ll be here” Judgement Wolf said.

“Well well, if it isn’t the hero brigade” Nighthawk said talking though one of his drones. “Hand over your miraculous, and I might let you remain out of my control.”

“You do know that’s another form of control, right?” Rena Rouge asked.

“Yeah, it’s not much of a choice, is it?” Carapace added.

“Don’t want to play by my rules, huh? Well, we’ve got ways to fix that” NIghthawk said. The drone then went on the attack. The four heroes dodged. Rena and Carapace going one way, Judgment Wolf and Cat Noir going the other.

“It’s like he doesn’t even hear himself” Carapace said.

“Well, we’ll get him to listen” Rena said.

“What do you suppose is keeping Ladybug up?” Cat Noir asked.

“She’s probably working on recruiting” Judgement Wolf said. “Look how many of those drones there are. And they keep going.”

“I get ya” Cat Noir said. “In the meantime, let’s try and reduce that number!” Cat Noir tackled one of the drones and beat it down. The drone freed a captive person after enough damage was done. Surprised, Cat Noir asked “Are you hurt?”

“From your attack? No” they said.

“Great. Thank you” Cat Noir said. “Hey everybody! You free people by doing damage to the drone, and they aren’t hurt once they’re free! Do as much damage as you want!”

“Glad to” Judgement Wolf said, drawing his sword. He charged at another drone and sliced it down the middle, freeing another person. Carapace threw his shell, freeing more people. Rena Rouge tackled someone and used her flute to finish them.

Meanwhile, Ladybug was racing back to Parc des Princes when she saw some drones trying to kidnap people. Ladybug used her yo-yo to grab one of them and fling them into the other one, freeing both. “Are you OK?” she asked.

“Yeah. We’re fine” one of the freed people said.

“I’m just glad I can move on my own accord again” the other one said.

“Great” Ladybug said. She saw Juleka running from another drone. “Gotta go. Be safe, and keep away from any other drones”

“Will do Ladybug” the first captive said as she swung off.

Juleka was running when Ladybug swung into the drone and smashed it against the wall. “Thanks Ladybug” the captive said.

“No problem. Now, please take care of yourself” Ladybug responded.

“Yeah. I will. Go on and defeat this bad guy!” they said, running off.

“Thanks Ladybug” Juleka said. “But, why aren’t you at the stadium?”

“Well, I’m heading there now” Ladybug said. “But first, I need to do a few things.” She held out the box to Juleka’s delight. “If I’m going to stop this villain at the source, I’m going to need help taking care of things on the outside. Will you help me?”

Juleka nodded and took the box. She opened it and Roaar appeared. “Back at it again, I see. Well, always a pleasure.”

Juleka put the miraculous on. “Roaar! Show Stripes!” she said, turning into Tigress.

“Great” Ladybug said. “Now keep people from becoming drones, and free the ones that are out here.” Ladybug left. Tigress saw some drones heading east and followed them.

Ladybug found Luka next, also running from a drone. After she freed the drone, Luka asked “Ladybug! What are you doing here?” he asked.

“I need some help,” she said, handing him the box. “Are you willing to provide it?”

“Of course, Ladybug” Luka said.

He opened the box and Sass appeared. “Well, it ssseemsss that Paris issss in a real doozzzy” Sass said.

“Well, we just have to un-doozy it” Luka said. “Sass! Uptempo!” He transformed into Viperion.

“I’m going to get to the heart of the problem” Ladybug said. “You need to free people from the drones and make sure no one else gets taken.”

“Understood Ladybug” Viperion said. Ladybug said. Viperion saw some drones and went after them.

Ladybug then found Alix out-skating a drone chasing her. Ladybug freed that drone too. “Thanks Ladybug” Alix said. “But I could handle it.”

“Of course you could” Ladybug said. “But wanna handle it better?” she said, holding the box out.

“Judgment Wolf didn’t tell me I passed yet” Alix said.

“He didn’t say you failed either” Ladybug respond.

“Fair enough” Alix said. She took the box and opened it.

Fluff popped out. “So, ready to go?” she said

“Always” Alix said. “Fluff! Clockwise!” She turned into Bunnyx.

“OK. Now, you gotta make sure that no one else gets turned into a drone” Ladybug said. “As well as freeing any drone you come across. Can you do it?”

“Roger” Bunnyx said. Ladybug left. Bunnyx saw some drones and decided to go and free them.

As Ladybug was heading towards the stadium, she said “Now I know where the rest are. Let’s just hope everyone else is doing OK.”

At the stadium, the rest of the heroes were busy taking down drones. “We need to shut down that sphere!” Cat Noir said.

“I’d like to, but we can’t get close” Judgment Wolf said.

Rena Rouge thought of something. “Judgement Wolf. You can see through my illusions, can’t you?”

“Yeah. What d’you have in mind?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“Cat Noir. Carapace. Cover your eyes” Rena said. She played her flute. “Mirage!” She made a giant light bulb. Cat Noir and Carapace shielded their eyes as told. The drones were all blinded. “GO!” Rena called out.

“Smart thinking” Judgement Wolf said. While the drones were distracted, Judgement Wolf made a bee-line for the sphere. He drew his sword and forced the door open. “LEROY!” Judgement Wolf kicked Nighthawk out of the sphere. “JENKINS!”

The light bulb mirage faded. “Right, now we can get him” Rena Rouge said.

“Don’t count on it. I’m still in control” Nighthawk said. He picked up the controller around his neck and started using it. The drones were back on the attack.

“So much for that” Cat Noir said.

“No. Now our target’s out in the open” Judgement Wolf said.

“Catch me if you can” Nighthawk said, turning the drones on them. The heroes kept fighting.

Meanwhile, Ladybug arrived at Parc des Princes. “Kim?” she called out. “Are you here?” A drone then appeared in front of Ladybug. Ladybug jumped back, took her yo-yo, and smashed the drone against the wall, revealing Max. “Max! Are you alright?”

“Yeah. I’m fine” Max said.

“Good” Ladybug said. “So, now that you’re free, wanna help?” she asked, holding up the box.

Max was surprised. “Of course Ladybug” Max said, taking it.

He opened the box and Kaalki appeared. “I take it that you were deemed worthy,” she said.

“Of course,” Max said.

“Ready?” Kaalki asked.

“Always. Kaalki! Shoes On!” he transformed into Pegasus.

“Work on reducing the drone numbers, and keep people out of harm” Ladybug said.

“Got it” Pegasus replied. He left.

“Meanwhile, I’ve got to find the linchpin of this plan” Ladybug said.

Meanwhile, Tigress was fighting off some drones. One was about to get her, but Viperion’s lyre took care of it. “So, you must be Tigress” he said.

“And I take it you’re Viperion” Tigress replied.

“Don’t worry. I’ve got your back” Viperion said.

A group of drones was about to swarm them, when Bunnyx landed on them with her open umbrella. “And I’ve got his back” Bunnyx said.

The three heroes looked at the sky and saw the amount of drones. “There’s no way we can get them all” Viperion said.

“Hey Tigress” Bunnyx said. “Couldn’t you use your sound to disrupt them all.”

“Well, I could” Tigress said. “But there are two big problems. One, my power takes a long time to charge.”

“We’ll cover you” VIperion said.

“The other thing is sound can only travel so far” Tigress said. “We cannot be everywhere at once.”

“Well, you can’t” Bunnyx said. “This gives me an idea. I can open up some timeholes around town that the sound can travel through. That way, we can hit pretty much all of the drones. If anything goes wrong, we have snakey here to give us a second chance.”

Viperion smiled. “Good plan” he said, setting his bangle.

Tigress began charging her attack. “Incoming” Bunnyx said. The two available heroes took out some of the drones that were attacking. However, one of them grabbed Tigress, which disrupted her concentration. Viperion saw this and turned back time. He saw where the drone was coming from and tackled it. “Nice moves” Bunnyx said.

“Well, it helps when you’ve got a second” Viperon said. “…chance.” Bunnyx was confused. “I don’t care what you say, that was funny. Shouldn’t you be getting ready now?”

“Right” Bunnyx said. She prepared herself.

Tigress finished charging her attack. “Reverb!” she called out, unleashing a disruptive sound that shattered all of the drones in the area.

“Burrow!” Bunnyx called out. She slipped through time with the sound, continuously creating portals all around town. It was a difficult task, but she managed to keep up with the sound. At every stop, all of the drones in the area would break down. The sound started to spread out more. Once it had fully run out, Bunnyx made one last timehole. “Burrow!”

She ended up back with Tigress and Viperion. “We just saw you leave” Tigress said.

“What can I say? Time is on my side” Bunnyx said.

Tigress giggled. “That was funny?” Viperion said.

“Focus. We need to make sure everyone’s alright” Tigress said. All of their miraculous started beeping. “As fast as we can. Go! Go!” The heroes swept the city.

Meanwhile, Cat Noir, Judgement Wolf, Rena Rouge, and Carapace were fighting drones to get close to Nighthawk. Nighthawk controlled one of the drones to attack Cat Noir. However, one of Pegasus’s horseshoes hit it, notifying Cat Noir that someone was there. He finished the drone off. “Thanks for having my 6 Pegasus” Cat Noir said.

“No problem” Pegasus said. Nighthawk got frustrated. A sound washed over the stadium. “What was that?” Pegasus asked.

“It sounds like we have some outside help” Judgement Wolf said.

“Cool” Carapace said.

Nighthawk grew more furious. He then turned all available drones onto the heroes. “Let’s get that bread!” Nighthawk screamed.

“Kim?” Ladybug said, looking around.

“Ladybug?” Kim said, popping out of the closet he was hiding in. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be out there fighting the villain?”

“I will” Ladybug said. “But I’m going to need your help for this plan to work.”

“Whatever you need, I’ll do it,” Kim said.

Ladybug held out the box. “Le Chien Kim. Here is the monkey miraculous, which grants you the power of jubilation. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is complete, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

Kim was surprised. “Of course Ladybug” he said taking it and opening it.

Xuppu popped out and said “It’s been a bit. How are things on your end? You haven’t gotten soft since the last time I’ve seen you?”

“Of course not” Kim said. “Have you?’

“What does it look like?” Xuppu said.

Kim put on the miraculous and said “Xuppu! Show Time!” He transformed into King Monkey. The two heroes snuck to a vantage point. Ladybug and King Monkey looked at each other and nodded. “Uproar!” King Monkey called. He summoned a pair of cymbals, which he flung at Nighthawk.

Once they hit, Nighthawk grabbed them and was confused. He looked up and saw that all of his drones were freaking out. “What’s going on?” he asked, angrily.

“Cat Noir! The Sphere!” Ladybug called out.

Cat Noir replied “On it. Cataclysm!” He then rushed to the sphere and touched it, dissolving it. One by one, the rest of the drones popped open, freeing everyone. Ladybug swung down and confronted Nighthawk, King Monkey following behind her. “Looks like you can’t create any more drones,” she said. “I’d give up if I were you.” The seven heroes surrounded him.

“Don’t count me out just yet” Nighthawk said. He reached into his belt, pulled out some computer chip looking things, and flung them at the heroes. Ladybug swung up to avoid it.

“Gallop!” Pegasus called. He grabbed King Monkey and Judgement Wolf and took them in his portal.

The chips hit Cat Noir, Rena Rouge, and Carapace. They stood still. “Well, three of them ain’t bad” Nighthawk said. He started to control them. He looked around, but couldn’t see Ladybug, or the other heroes. “If you want to save your friends Ladybug, you could just give me your miraculous!” he yelled. Rena’s miraculous started to beep. “And it looks like you’re timed!”

Ladybug was looking around for the other heroes. She eventually found them in the concessions stand. “Are you guys alright?” she asked.

“Yeah” Judgement Wolf said.

“Sorry I couldn’t do more” King Monkey said.

“No King Monkey, you did well” Ladybug said. “I didn’t count on him having those things.”

“Can we stop playing the blame game and cook up a plan?” Pegasus said.

Ladybug nodded. “Right. Lucky Charm! A crowbar?” She looked around and saw Pegasus, King Monkey’s staff, and a deep fryer. She looked outside and saw the controller and Cat Noir’s belt. “OK, I’ve got a plan,” she said. Pegasus, you stay here. King Monkey, you take Rena Rouge. Judgement Wolf, you take Carapace. I’ll handle Cat Noir and work on getting the controller. Ready?” The heroes nodded.

Ladybug, King Monkey, and Judgement Wolf appeared in front of Nighthawk and the controlled heroes. “Ready for a 3v3?” Ladybug said.

“I’d thought you’d never ask” Nighthawk said. “Charge!” The three heroes under his control ran forward to confront the three heroes.

Ladybug’s team made their way forward as well. King Monkey clashed with Rena and the two started to duel. King Monkey’s miraculous started to beep. He noticed Rena’s almost going down as well. Looking around, he saw the janitor’s closet. He ducked under a swing from Rena and grabbed her. He jumped up to the closet and hid her in there. Rena tried to force her way out, but she eventually detransformed. King Monkey saw the flash, and blocked the door with one of the empty drones. “Rena’s kwami? You OK in there?” King Monkey asked.

“Yeah” Trixx said. “I just need to eat. Luckily, she has some stuff for me. I just need to get to it.”

“OK” King Monkey said.

“The name’s Trixx, by the way” she said.

“I’ll remember that” King Monkey said. He left to get back to the action.

Judgement Wolf was charging at Carapace. “Shell-ter!” Carapace called. Judgement Wolf charged through it and knocked over Carapace.

“What?” Nighthawk said.

“You really need to brush up on your match-ups” Judgement Wolf said.

Ladybug charged Cat Noir. Cat Noir pounced and Ladybug slid under him, and grabbed his belt. She flung him onto Nighthawk. The collision caused his controller necklace to fling up. Ladybug used her crowbar to pull the controller off of the chain. She looked around and saw King Monkey land. “King!” she said. She threw the controller like a baseball.

King Monkey immediately understood what to do. He took his staff and swung at the controller, sending it flying. Pegasus saw this and remarked, “So that’s what she wanted. Gallop!” He created a portal to where the controller was flying to and grabbed it once if came through. He put the controller into the deep-fryer, releasing the Akuma.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!” Nighthawk cried out. He fell to his knees and reverted back to Carter.

The Akuma flew through Pegasus’s portal. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize. Gotcha! Bye bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” She threw up the crowbar. The magic ladybugs fixed all of the damage done by Nighthawk, and freed the three heroes under his control.

“So, I made a villain that Ladybug needed to call everyone in for” Nathalie Hawk Moth said. “Not bad for a first attempt.”

Carter got up and asked “Wha’ happun?”

Ladybug looked at the scene. “Hey” Judgement Wolf said. “How much other help did you get?”

“Just the ones you’re familiar with” Ladybug answered.

“OK” Judgement Wolf said. “Want me to take care of them while you stay here?”

“Sure” Ladybug said. “But I think you’ll want to talk to King Monkey first.”

The heroes looked at King Monkey. “Right. Of course. Hey! King Monkey! A word!”

“Uh, I’m almost out” King Monkey said.

“Then let’s head somewhere private” Judgement Wolf said.

“It’s OK” Ladybug said.

King Monkey nodded. They found a hiding place. “So, what do you want?”

“Well, Judgement Wolf needs to test you” Ladybug said.

“Why?” King Monkey asked.

“Because that’s the reason he has his power” Ladybug explained.

“Look, the wolf miraculous is the miraculous of doubt” Judgement Wolf elaborated. “I have to make sure you’re fit to hold a miraculous. Otherwise, I have to prevent you from having it. Understand?”

King Monkey was shocked. He then nodded and said “Sure. Xuppu! Show’s Over!” He detransformed.

Xuppu appeared. “So, you’re letting the big bad wolf test you” Xuppu said.

“Yeah. You have a problem with that?” Kim said.

“Nah” Xuppu said. “I have full confidence. If you can get my approval, getting his will be no problem.”

“I’d like to think my standards are high” Judgement Wolf said.

“So are mine!” Xuppu snapped. Kim smiled. He put the miraculous back in the box and gave it to Ladybug.

“Anyway, I’m out” Judgment Wolf said. He left.

“I should go too” Ladybug said. “You should regroup with your friends.” Ladybug left. Kim left not too long after.

Ladybug went to the concessions booth to grab the horse miraculous. Carapace was looking for Rena, when Alya grabbed him and allowed him to detransform in the closet with her. Cat Noir went to the bathroom again and changed back. Ladybug did the same in the ladies bathroom. Vlad went back and forth between himself and Judgement Wolf to let Beyyo track down the remaining heroes and get their miraculouses.

Eventually, everyone  on Max’s team regrouped. “That was a wild ride,” Max said.

“Tell me about it” Adrien said. “I sure am glad Ladybug managed to save everyone.”

“Well, she couldn’t have done it without everyone else” Kim said.

“So true” Marinette said.

Carter’s teammates regrouped as well. “Carter. Are you alright?” Laurence asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be fine” Carter said.

“Dude, you became a real supervillain” Terry said.

“Well, it’s not uncommon in this day and age” Carter replied.

“Still, great to have you back,” Gerard said.

“Yeah. It’s great to be in control of myself as well” Carter said.

“So, are you going to keep your promise?” Katelyn asked.

Carter looked down. He walked over to Max. “Hey” he said.

Before he could get any more words out, a man in a suit with jet black hair came out and said “Carter! What are you doing?”

“We had a deal, dad” Carter said. “I lost. He gets to be unblacklisted. Those are the rules.”

“Rules, shmools” Carter’s dad said. “We still have this over him. Make him bend to your will!”

“That’s not what was agreed upon!” Marinette shouted.

“And you, missy” Carter’s dad said. “You have some nerve beating my son. I’m going to make sure you don’t have any credibility anywhere!”

Gabriel was watching this entire exchange. He finished texting Nathalie and then came up to Carter’s dad and said “Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Porter, but for one thing, Marinette wants to become a designer, which is in my field. So you have little say in what her future in that field is. That is, if you have any future left to speak of.”

“What do you mean?” Mr. Porter asked.

“I gave you the opportunity to do the right thing,” Gabriel said. “But apparently, being evil is in your nature.”

“Pardon?” Mr. Porter said.

“I have found evidence of your wrongdoing” Gabriel said. “As we speak, my assistant is handing that information to the police.” We see Nathalie handing the documents to Roger outside the mansion. “The police should be here soon. You’re going to prison for insider trading. Goodbye Charles. I never liked you. Oh, by the way, Max.” Max’s attention turned to Gabriel. “I’ll take care of unblackliting you. I have friends in high places as well.”

“Max was shocked. “Thank you, Mr. Agreste.”

The police arrived and arrested Charles. “So, what are you going to do, now that your dad’s in jail?” Gerard asked.

“Yeah” Laurence said.

Carter stood still for a minute. “Well, I have money of my own, and I still have mom,” he said.

“And you still have us” Terry interjected.

“Well…” Carter said. His team was perplexed. “After tonight, I’m unsure of what I want to do. Of what I am even. I need to think about that. So, as of right now, the Paris Nighthawks are on hiatus. Dismissed.” His team was shocked. Carter left the stadium.

Max ran up to Carter. “Carter! It’s going to be alright” he said.

Carter smirked. “Let’s hope you’re right.” Carter continued to leave. Katelyn looked on at Max.

“Well, we should get going” Gabriel said. “We have to take Kagami and Marinette home. And you have to get up early for your fencing tournament.”

“Yes father” Adrien said. He and Marinette joined Gabriel as they met up with Kagami and left. Everyone else left soon after.

Before Gabriel got back, Nooroo popped out and started talking with Nathalie. “Um, while you were transformed, I took the liberty of fixing up some of the damage the peacock miraculous was going to you.”

Nathalie was shocked. “Thank you” she said.

“Just so you know, this is a temporary fix” Nooroo said. “You will continue to get injured if you don’t stop using the peacock miraculous.”

“I will take that under advisement” Nathalie said.

“You’re not going to stop, are you?” Nooroo said.

“Not until we get Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous” Nathalie said.

“I thought so” Nooroo said.

“I still appreciate your help” Nathalie said. “As well as Duusu’s.”

“Thanks” Nooroo said hollowly.

Chapter Text

Vlad and Beyyo were walking to Master Fu’s place. Beyyo was ecstatic. “Man, it’s been so long since I got a smell of Sass and Roaar” he said.

“What do they smell like?” Vlad asked.

“Sass smells like a meadow after the rain. It encapsulates a cycle. It rains, plants get their nutrients and grow. Then the sky absorbs the water, and it rains again. The cycle repeats” Beyyo said. “As for Roaar, he smells like raw meat.”

“I can see why you’d like that. But why raw meat?” Vlad asked.

“Because that’s what a good sound is. Raw” Beyyo said.

“I mean, that’s cool and all, but modern music can be made from technology” Vlad elaborated.

“It doesn’t matter the source” Beyyo said. “It just has to FEEL real to be good.”

“I see” Vlad said. “We’re here.”

Vlad knocked. “Come in” Master Fu said. Vlad opened the door. “I wasn’t quite expecting you.”

“I’m sure you sensed me” Vlad said. “Ladybug had a few things to wrap up back at the park, so I brought back most of the miraculous. She’ll have the rest” Vlad handed over the rabbit, tiger, and snake miraculous.

“Thank you Vlad” Master Fu said.

Vlad stretched. “Well, I gotta get going. I need to test King Monkey tonight.”

“I hope he passes” Master Fu said. “I’m the one that chose him, not Marinette. So it would be good to see if I still have the touch.”

Vlad stopped. “Well, you chose Marinette and Adrien, didn’t you?” He said. “I’ve gotta hear that story sometime thought. Not now. It’s getting late as is, and I don’t need to waste any more time.”

“Good luck” Master Fu said as Vlad left.

On his way out, he bumped into Marinette. “He’s expecting you” Vlad said.

“So is King Monkey” Marinette replied.

“Heh. You’re right” Vlad said, continuing to walk.

Marinette walked into Master Fu’s parlor. “Here Master” she said, giving the horse and monkey miraculous to him.

“Thank you Marinette” Master Fu said.

“So, I guess our plan isn’t working out, is it?” Marinette said.

“Give it time” Master Fu said putting the miraculous away. “Tonight might just be an exception to the rule. Hawk Moth once  launched a city-wide attack when there were only five of you. He can be unpredictable.”

“Yeah, but how can we figure out how to stop him if we don’t know what to do?” Marinette asked.

“Sometimes, less is more” Master Fu said. “Hawk Moth is no fool. He plans for everything. However, if his plans get too complicated, we can use the simple actions we’ve been perfecting to beat him.”

“Thank you Master” Marinette said.

“You should get going. It appears you’ve had a long day” Master Fu said.

“You’re right. Seeya” Marinette said.

When she got back home and detransformed, she asked Tikki “Do you think Master Fu is right? About keeping things simple?”

“Marinette, he’s also saying that because you have other things to worry about as well” TIkki said. “You’re not just a superhero. You’re a teen. You should be living your own life as well.”

“I know Tikki” Marinette said. “I want to. But I’m always afraid of that being taken away from me because of Hawk Moth. That I have to worry about being Ladybug 24/7.”

“Marinette, you shouldn’t worry about that” Tikki said. “We’ll fight to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“Thanks Tikki” Marinette said. “Good night.” She fell asleep. Tikki looked out the window.

Meanwhile, Judgement Wolf was standing outside of Kim’s house. “Let’s see if you can bring the monarchy back into fashion,” he said. He slipped through the window into Kim’s room. “Wolf Mist!”

Kim woke up in the middle of the street. It was late at night, the city was blacking out. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“Kim Run!” Ladybug said.

Kim turned to look at her and saw that she was charging into battle with Cat Noir. “Ladybug!” He called.

“There’s a dangerous villain. We need you to evacuate right away before you get hurt further” Ladybug said.

“Ladybug, wait!” Kim said. “Could I help? You know…”

Ladybug sighed. “I’m sorry but this is a job for heroes. I need you to be safe. Hurry!” she ran off.

“Ladybug!” Kim called.

“She’s right, you know” Cat Noir said. “We can work a lot better if we didn’t need to protect anyone.” Cat Noir left. Kim then saw Ladybug had brought in the help of other heroes. Judgement Wolf. Rena Rouge. Carapace. Bunnyx. Viperion. Pegasus. Tigress.

Then Kim saw something that shook him to his core. He saw someone else with the monkey miraculous. “But I’m King Monkey” He said.

Kim turned around and headed away from the villain’s path.”I guess I’m not needed after all.” He turned back and got a glimpse at the villain. He looked like a high school student. He had brown wavy hair, and green eyes. He was wearing a black jumpsuit with yellow gloves and boots, an orange backpack, and had an electricity symbol with a circle with a line going through it. He was stealing electricity from wherever it was coming from.

Kim then saw something that made him scared. “Ondine.” She was in the clutches of the villain. He knew he had to do something. But what could he do? He didn’t have powers. He couldn’t last a second against him. The actual heroes had a hard time against him as well. But he couldn’t sit idly by and do nothing. Someone was in trouble.

He looked around and saw an abandoned cop car. He formulated a plan. He got in the car and hotwired it. It took him a few tries, but he managed to do it. He drove carefully towards the villain so as not to alert him. He looked at the heroes fighting him and gulped.

“It’s over Blackout!” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! A mouse trap?”

“Ha! How will that work?” Blackout said. “I already know it’s there, so I know to look for it.” Ladybug was worried. Blackout had a hostage, and they couldn’t get close to him. He had already used the electricity he stole to knock out Bunnyx and Pegasus.

Just then, the police car came barreling down, headlights on, radio playing, sirens wailing. Blackout stopped the car and drained it of its electricity, which took a bit. “Alright, let’s see what wise guy tried this stunt out.” He opened the door, only to see no one and the gas pedal weighed down by a brick. “What’s the meaning of this?”

Kim the zoomed down the street that Blackout had abandoned with a bike and grabbed Ondine. “You can take it from here, Ladybug!” Kim said.

“Hey WAIT!” Blackout said. He went to chase Kim. Ladybug threw the mousetrap on the ground. Blackout, too focused on losing his hostage, stepped on the mousetrap and sprung it. “Ow! Ow! Ow!” he screamed in pain. He was hopping on his good foot, grasping his caught foot in his hands.

“I thought you knew it was there” Ladybug said. “Cat Noir! Now!”

Cat Noir got up. “On it. Cataclysm!” He Cataclysmed the backpack, freeing the Akuma.

“No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye bye, little butterfly.” She grabbed the mousetrap off Blackout, who then de-Akumatized, and threw it up. “Miraculous Ladybug!” The Ladybugs fixed all of the damage Blackout had caused.

“Pound it!” Ladybug and Cat Noir said.

“You might have knocked my lights out today, Ladybug, but soon I will be the one who shines the brightest!” Hawk Moth growled.

“What happened?” The student said. He was now wearing a green tank top, black cargo shorts, and green sandals. He still had his backpack.

“You got Akumatized” Ladybug said.

“What caused that?” Cat Noir said.

The student sighed. “I wanted to ask my friend Ondine out. I wanted it to be perfect. Part of that was that I wanted to show her the night sky. But there was so much light pollution, it fell through. I got so angry that it wasn’t perfect that I guess I was Akumatized.”

“Oh” Ladybug said, solemnly. “I guess you didn’t know.”

“Know what?” the student asked.

“She’s going out with someone already” Ladybug said.

“Oh” the student replied. “I guess it was all for nothing then.”

“Hey, it’s OK” Ladybug said. “I’m sure you’ll find someone else.”

“You’re right. I just need time” the student said.

Meanwhile, Kim was carrying Ondine and riding through Paris. “That was really brave of you Kim” Ondine said.

“Thanks” Kim said, blushing. “I would have done it for anyone.”

“But you did it for me” Ondine said. The ladybugs fixed the damage, causing the area around them to light up. “You know, Paris isn’t the same when it’s blacked out.”

“It is the city of lights, after all” Kim said. “But as bright as these lights are, there’s one light that shines brighter.”

“Which one?” Ondine asked.

“The light in your eyes” Kim said.

“Oh Kim” Ondine said, blushing as well. The two shared a kiss.

Kim then found himself in a white void. He was confused. “What’s going on?”

“Your test” Judgement Wolf said. “And I’ve gotta say, you passed.”

“Relly? Does that mean I can continue being King Monkey?” Kim said, gleefully.

“Well, kind of” Judgement Wolf said. “I’ve OKed you. Now Beyyo needs to OK you.”

“Beyyo?” Kim said.

“He’s my kwami” Judgement Wolf said. “And it might take a bit for him to get to you. But don’t worry. He’ll show up sooner or later.”

“I see. Well thank you for giving me your OK at least” Kim said.

“My pleasure” Judgement Wolf said. “Well, good night.” He left, and Kim fell back asleep.

Vlad made his way home, but he was shocked to find TIkki in his room. “GAH! Oh it’s you. What are you doing here?”

“Marinette is really worried” Tikki said. “I think she needs a break. Would you mind doing something with her tomorrow? You know, to take he mind off of her troubles?”

Vlad sighed. “Sure” he said. “Let me get some sleep.”

“That’s all I needed” TIkki said. She flew out.

Vlad asked “Hey Beyyo? What do you think of Tikki?”

“Why do you ask?” Beyyo said, answering with a question.

“I want to know. Would other kwamis do that? Has Tikki done this before?” Vlad said.

“I see” Beyyo said. “Tikki is a gentle and caring kwami. She adores everyone of her users and would do anything to make them happy. However, she also wants them to do what’s right. The ladybug miraculous is powerful, so they need their users to be at their best. Tikki decides to use kindness to get them there.”

“I see” Vlad said. “Very interesting.”

The next morning, Marinette is lying in bed when she hears her mom call out “Marinette! Your friend Vlad is here!”

Marinette woke up with a hearty “GAH!” Once she got out of bed, she said “Thanks mom! Just give me 15 minutes to get ready!”

“Take your time sweetie” Sabine said. She walked back to the door to meet Vlad. “She just needs to get ready.”

“Yeah, this was a surprise on my part” Vlad said.

Marinette eventually came down and greeted Vlad. “Sorry Vlad” she said.

“Hey, it’s my fault” Vlad said. “I didn’t warn you.”

“So, what’s up?” Marinette asked.

“Well, I wanted to check out Adrien’s fencing tournament today” Vlad said. “Then I thought about how busy you’ve been this week. I thought you could use a break. Wanna come and watch it with me?”

Marinette was surprised, but excited. “Sure” she said. “Mom, dad, I’m going out with Vlad today!”

“OK sweetie!” Sabine said.

“Have a good time!” Tom said.

“Thank you” Marinette said. She and Vlad headed for the tournament.

Chapter Text

Adrien woke up to his alarm. “Morning Plagg” he said.

“You sure are cheery this morning” Plagg said, sarcastically.

“It was just a long night last night” Adrien said.

“Are you sure you want to go through with your fencing tournament?” Plagg asked. “I’m sure your dad won’t mind.”

“It’s alright Plagg” Adrien said. “I want to do it. Besides, if I didn’t show up, I’d be letting Kagami down.”

“Ladybug, Marinette, Kagami. Just pick one already” Plagg said.

“It’s not that. I’d hate to disappoint any of my friends. Including you.”

“Well, the only way you could disappoint me is if your ran out of Camembert.”

“Adrien!” Nathalie said.

“Coming!” Adrien said. He got dressed and he got his fencing gear.

He opened his door to find Nathalie. “Are you ready to go?” she asked.

“Yeah” Adrien replied. “Um, by chance, is my father coming to this as well.”

Nathalie was shocked for a moment. She then said “I’m sorry, but your father is, well, he’s still asleep. Apparently all of the commotion from last night tired him out.”

“Huh. Well, I guess it’s the first time in a while he’s been out” Adrien said. “Not to mention, one of the few times he’s been involved in an Akuma attack.”

“He’d like to come to every future event of yours, I’m sure of it. Just give him time to readjust” Nathalie said.

“Thanks Nathalie” Adrien said.

“Well, you should get going. I’ll stay here for when your father wakes up” Nathalie said. Adrien nodded and left for the fencing tournament.

Meanwhile, Vlad and Marinette were walking to the tournament. “Thanks for bringing me along” Marinette said.

“No problem” Vlad said.

Once they got there, a person caught Vlad’s eye. “Is something the matter?” Marinette asked when Vlad suddenly stopped.

“No way” Vlad said. Vlad was looking at a boy his age. He was buff and tall, and wearing a black fencing outfit. He had short orange hair with an untied braid coming over the front of the right side of his face. “Travis?”

Travis looked over as his name was called. “Vlad?” he said. He walked over to him. “I don’t believe it. How have you been, man?”

“I’ve been doing well. I find Paris suits me better than Toulouse” Vlad said.

“Oh, you two know each other?” Marintte said.

“Who’s the girl?” Travis said.

“Right” Vlad said. “This is my new friend, Marinette. She’s the first person I made friends with in Paris. Well, apart from Adrien.”

“Uh, hello” Marinette said, nervously.

“‘First person’ you’ve made friends with?” Travis said. “Does that mean you’ve actually made friends with more than one person since you’ve got here?”

“Yup. And it’s all thanks to Marinette here” Vlad said.

“Wait. I can’t take credit for that” Marinette said. “Everyone is so nice.”

“Yeah but I find you bring out the best in them, Miss Class Rep” Vlad said.

“Woah! You’re friends with the Class Rep even?” Travis said. “You’ve sure grown.”

“Um, well, nice to meet you” Marinettte said, extending her hand out.

Travis grabbed it, but didn’t shake. “Enchante” he said. He then pulled Marinette in and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“Woah!” Marinette said, pulling back and blushing.

“Slow down” Vlad said. “Sorry about Travis. He can come across really strong.”

“Coming from you, that’s something” Marinette said, still a little flustered.

“Ahahahahahaha!” Travis said. “She’s got you there. But he is right. I do come across as strong. Sorry about that. I just get really excited sometimes. And I’m really excited today!”

Marinette smiled. “It’s OK.”

“I take it you qualified for the fencing tournament?” Vlad said.

“Yup! The only one from Toulouse to do so” Travis said. “Honestly, the fencing team has gone downhill since you were forced out.”

“Well, you know” Vlad said.

“Come to think of it, why haven’t you tried out for the fencing team here?” Travis asked.

“Honestly, my heart isn’t in it at the moment,” Vlad said.

“Say no more” Travis said. “Well, I should go. It was nice meeting you Marinette.”

“Same” Marinette said. “Good luck.” Travis gave a thumbs up as he was leaving to prepare.

“I thought you were going to cheer for Adrien” Vlad said.

“Well, I am. Of course I am. But Travis seems rather nice” Marinette said.

“Yeah. He’s one of the few people I’m friends with back in Toulouse” Vlad said. “Well, we should get going.” The two entered the area.

Adrien and Kagami met each other. “Well, this is it” Adrien said. “You ready?”

“Of course I’m ready” Kagami said. “I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

“Great” Adrien said. “Let’s go.” The two went out to the area.

“Alright. Here’s the set-up for today’s tournament!” the announcer said. The screen displayed all of the combatants and where they were placed. Kagami and Adrien were placed on the complete opposite ends.

“Huh. Meet you in the finals?” Adrien said.

“You know it!” Kagami replied.

“We will begin in five minutes” The announcer said. “Contestants, make your final preparations.”

“So, Kagami is here as well” Marinette said, sitting next to Vlad.

“How do you feel about Kagami?” Vlad said.

“Oh. Uh, well” Marinette stammered. “I like her. She seems like a good person. But…”

“But she has a thing for Adrien” Vlad said. “I get it.”

“I don’t want to dislike her for it” Marinette said. “I mean, who am I to say that someone can’t like Adrien. I know why they would.”

“You don’t need to justify yourself to me, Marinette” Vlad said. “I get it.”

Marinette smiled. “Thanks.”

The tournament was now underway. Kagami, Adrien, and Travis won all of their matches hands down. Vlad and Marinette cheered for them. It got to the semi-finals, and the first round was Kagami vs Travis. Everyone was on the edge of their seats. They had seen the skill on display from both of them.

“Pret Allez!” the referee called. Kagami and Travis wasted no time fencing. The battle was intense. Every strike rung out through the arena. Everyone could feel the heat from their intense battle.

In the middle of the bout, Travis started laughing. Kagami was confused. “YES! THIS IS FENCING!” Travis yelled. He continued with the match. He rampped up his fencing by a large margin and won the round. Kagami was eliminated.

“I don’t believe it” Adrien said.

Kagami walked off the field and back to the sidelines. “You’re up” she said, disappointed in herself.

“Hey, don’t beat yourself up” Adrien said. “You did well.”

“Thanks” Kagami said, not quite believing in it. But it was coming from Adrien, so she believed it a little.

Adrien won his semi-final round without breaking a sweat. He was given five minutes to rest up and prepare for the final match. “It all comes down to this!” the announcer said.

“No fooling” Vlad said.

Meanwhile, Gabriel just got up. He was a bit groggy. When he looked at his clock, he saw the time, and immediately woke up. “NATHALIE!” he yelled.

“Nathalie burst in the room. “Yes sir!” she said, panicked.

“Why did you let me sleep in this late?” Gabriel demanded.

“I didn’t” Nathalie said. “I tried getting you up earlier, but you just simply refused.”

Gabriel huffed. “Very well.”

“It has been a while since you were out of the house for an extended period of time, sir” Nathalie said. “Plus the Akuma attack was much bigger than expected. Sorry I wasn’t able to get their miraculous.”

Gabriel smiled. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You did well for your first time using the butterfly miraculous. I mean, I haven’t done it either. Why should I expect you to do it?”

“Thank you, sir” Nathalie said.

Back at the arena, Adrien and Travis were battling it out. It was a hard-fought battle. “Something seems different from Travis’s battle with Kagami” Vlad remarked.

“Really?” Marinette said. “Like what?”

Vlad then realized something. “Oh no. I think I should go check on him after this is over.”

“Is it bad?” Marinette asked.

“Well, you know how I said Travis can come off strong?” Vlad asked.

“Yeah. I’ve seen it first hand” Marinette said.

“If that isn’t well received, then things can go south fast” Vlad said. “And I think I know what makes Travis’s movements feel different.”

Adrien got finished defending himself and then countered, giving him the match. Once it was over, Adrien extended his hand. “Great job out there” he said.

Travis tentatively shook his hand. “Thanks. You too” Travis said. Vlad’s suspicions were all but confirmed.

In the halls to the changing rooms, Adrien met up with Kagami. “I’m sure Mr. D'Argencourt will appreciate bout of our efforts.”

“Yours more than mine” Kagami said.

“That’s not true” Adrien said. “You did really well. You made it to the semi-finals. Your opponent was tough. I’m sure he’ll be impressed by the both of us.”

“Yeah” Kagami said, smiling.

“We should change and head out. I’ll take you somewhere if you want” Adrien said.

“That’d be nice” Kagami said. Adrien walked into the boy’s changing room.

Kagami was about to walk into the girl’s changing room, but she heard “Hey.”

She turned and Travis was in front of her. “What do you want?” She asked. “Came to gloat?”

“No. Far from it” Travis said. “I came to ask you out.”

Kagami was confused. “Where did this come from?” she asked.

Travis smiled. “During our battle. I realized you’re just like me.”

“How?” Kagami said. “I lost.”

“Yes, but you have the same passion for fencing as I do,” Travis said. “I could tell when our sabres first struck.”

“Is that why you started laughing and yelled ‘This is fencing’?” she asked.

“Yes” Travis said. “I think we could go places. We could take the fencing world by storm.”

“What about Adrien?” Kami asked. “He actually beat you, and I don’t see you asking him out.”

“Believe me, if he had the same passion as you do, I’d be asking him out,” Travis said. “However, while he is a good fencer, he’s not as passionate as you. His heart and mind lie elsewhere. Even though he beat me, I couldn’t care less about him.” Kagami got mad.

Vlad and Marinette were walking the halls. “I just hope we’re not too late” Vlad said.

“How DARE you!” Kagami screamed.

“We are” Vlad said. He and Marinette ran toward the sound.

“Adrien is perfection! He is 10 times the man you will ever be!” Kagami continued. “So I suggest you get out of my face before you embarrass yourself even further.”

Travis was taken aback. “A simple ‘no’ would suffice” he said. He walked down the halls out the door.

Vlad and Marinette caught up with Kagami. “Marinette? Vlad? What are you doing here?” Kagami asked.

“Well, we came to watch the tournament” Vlad said. “And I bumped into my friend Travis.”

“Interesting” Kagami said. “I just told off some guy named Travis.”

“Yeah…” Vlad said.

Travis was outside of the arena. He took out his sabre and stared blankly at it.

Meanwhile, Gabriel was eating lunch when he felt Travis’s negative energy. “For just getting up, this is going to be an exciting day” he said. He stopped eating and made his way to his lair.

“A man driven by passion having it extinguished by someone he deemed as passionate. What lovely prey for my Akuma. Fly away, and evilize him!”

Travis was still staring at his sabre when the Akuma fused with it. “Sabren. I am Hawk Moth. Someone trying to cool down your flaming passion? I won’t allow it. From now on, you will ignite the world with your flames of passion. In return, I ask for Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous!”

“I’ll set the world on fire for you, Hawk Moth” Travis said. The purple-black aura surrounded him.

“So, that Travis guy is your friend?” Kagami asked.

“Yeah” Vlad said. “Look, I’m sorry about whatever he said to make you mad. He has a tendency to come on strong. Especially when he thinks he found someone who can match him.”

Kagami sighed. Adrien walked out, changed back into his civies. “Ready to go Kagami?” he asked. “Huh? Vlad? Marinette? What are you doing here? Did you come to watch?”

“Yeah…” Vlad said. 

“ADRIEN!” a voice called out. The four of them looked down the hall to see Travis’s fencing uniform, but instead of Travis’s head there was a flame with a white coal-like head that had pupil-less eyes and a mouth.

“Travis?” Vlad said.

“That’s Travis?” Adrien said.

“Not anymore. From now on, I am Sabren!” he said. “And I challenge you to a rematch!”

“I’d be glad to take you up on that” Adrien said, nervously. “But can it wait until after you’ve been De-Akumatized?”

“That’s too bad” Sabren said. He licked his sabre, causing it to catch on fire. “I want it now.” He struck the ground causing a trail of fire to head towards Adrien.

“Look out!” Kagami said, tackling Adrien to avoid the fire. “Are you OK?” she asked.

“Yeah. Thanks Kagami” Adrien said. Kagami relaized she was on top of Adrien, blushed nervously, and got off. Sabren’s flames grew hotter as he was annoyed at this.

Marinette was also jealous, but Vlad said “Marinette, focus. We have to get out of here!”

“Vlad’s right. Let’s split up” Adrien said. Marinette and Vlad went one way, Kagami and Adrien went the other.

“GET BACK HERE!” Sabren called out. He chased after Kagami and Adrien.

When they were far enough away, Marinette and Vlad decided to transform. “Tikki! Spots on!”

“Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!”

Kagami and Adrien were still running, but Sabren managed to catch up with them. “Now, time for that rematch.”

“Why do you want one so badly?” Adrien asked.

“Because if I win, I might have a chance with this lovely lady here” Sabren elaborated. Adrien looked at Kagami, and Kagami blushed. Partly out of embarrassment that someone could like her this much, partly because she didn’t want Adrien to know about this.

Adrien looked determined. “Alright fine!” he said. “I’ll take you up on that.”

“What?” Kagami said.

“Excellent!” Sabren said.

“Why?” Kagami asked.

“You rejected him, right? That’s why he’s like this” Adrien said. “If he thinks that beating me is a way to get to you, then I’ll make sure he doesn’t win.” He took out his sabre. “In this moment, it’s my job to protect you.” Kagami blushed a little more. Adrien readied his stance. Sabren did the same. “Pret…Allez!” Adrien and Sabren charged in, but before their sabres could collide, Judgement Wolf swept Adrien away.

“I admire your courage, but leave this to the professionals” Judgement Wolf said.

Kagami watched and was stunned by what just happened. She got a tap on the shoulder. She turned around and it was Ladybug. “Come on. We have to leave” she said, taking Kagami’s hand and running.

“Get back here!” Sabren said He chased Ladybug and Kagami.

“I’ve gotta take care of this” Judgement Wolf said. “See you in a few.” He followed Sabren.

Adrien looked around and saw no one. “Plagg! Claws Out!” He transformed into Cat Noir, and followed.

Ladybug was leading Kagami to the door. “Get out of here! The villain could cause the building to catch on fire!” Ladybug said.

“What about Adrien?” Kagami asked.

“He’ll be fine” Ladybug said. “Just focus on you.” Kagami nodded and started to leave.

“Ladybug!” Sabren said. “Hawk Moth wants your miraculous!” Kagami opened the door and ran out. When the door closed, the gust of wind cause Sabren’s flame to dance a little before setting back into place.

Ladybug took notice of this. “Sorry, but he’s not going to get it.”

“Very well” Sabren said. He charged to strike Ladybug, but Judgement Wolf came in the nick of time to block with his sword. “A real sword? In a fencing dual? How dare you!” Sabren said.

“You’re one to talk” Judgement Wolf said. “Your sabre is on fire.”

“That is true. I guess we’re even” Sabren said.

Cat Noir landed a strike on his back, pushing Sabren forward. “Thanks for warming this guy up for me guys,” he said.

“You want me to bring the heat?” Sabren said. “I haven’t even begun to light it up.” He then focused and grew his flames.

“Time to put him out before he causes any more damage” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! A pair of sunglasses?” Ladybug recognized them as the pair Master Fu used when he went out. “Cat Noir! Judgement Wolf! Keep this guy busy! I’ll be back!” Ladybug left.

“You heard the lady” Judgement Wolf said.

“Running away? How pathetic” Sabren said.

Cat Noir got enraged. “Ladybug is the bravest person I know!” he said. He swung at Sabren, but Sabren blocked it. “I’ll make sure you pay for those words.”

“Man, what is it with me and lovebirds today?” Sabren said. Sabren flamed up even more and overpowered Cat Noir, but Cat Noir quickly got back on his feet.

As Ladybug was leaving the arena, she saw a crowd of people had gathered, and in the crowd was Kagami. She addressed the crowd. “Everyone Listen up! There is a fire-based Akuma in the arena! If things get worse, you need to evacuate the area!” The crowd murmured among itself, except for Kagami, who was focused on the building, hoping Adrien was alright. Ladybug left the scene.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s. “Master! The Lucky Charm called me here. I think we need help.”

“Very well” Master Fu said. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

Marinette looked carefully. She picked the dragon miraculous. “I think we need to fight this element with other elements.”

“Very well” Master Fu said.

“Bye Master!” Marinette said, running out the door.

Meanwhile, Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf were holding off Sabren. They took turns going on the attack. Cat Noir noticed the sprinklers above. “Cataclysm!” he called. He touched the sprinkler system, unleashing the water from it.

“Ha! You think a little water is going to keep me down?” Sabren said. He grew his flame even more to outpace the water. This caused the ceiling to catch on fire, and it spread quickly.

“Uh oh” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug returned to the arena to see that it was starting to catch fire. Luckily, everyone who was there earlier had evacuated. All but one that is, and lucky for her, it was just the person she was looking for. “Kagami!” she called.

Kagami turned around to face Ladybug. “Ladybug, I’m sorry I didn’t leave. I’m just worried about my friends.”

“It’s OK” Ladybug said. “I’m actually glad you didn’t leave.” She held out a box. “Kagami Tsurugi. Here is the miraculous of the dragon, which grants you the power of weather. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is complete, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

Kagami looked shocked and then determined. “Of course Ladybug. On my honor” she said, taking the box.

She opened the box to reveal Longg. “So you’re the one that Ladybug trusts to handle the dragon miraculous” he said. “I can tell by the fire in your eyes that you’re going to be good at this.”

Kagami smiled. “I can say the same for you” she said.

“Just put it on and say ‘Longg! Bring the Storm!’” Longg said.

Kagami put it on and said “Longg! Bring the Storm!” she transformed into Ryuko.

“Great. Now let’s get in there, uh…” Ladybug said “What should I call you now?”

“You can call me Ryuko” she said.

“OK. Ryuko is it” Ladybug said. She looked at the area. “Oh, dangit.”

“What?” Ryuko said.

“I just thought of something” Ladybug said. “Now would be a good time to use one of my transformations, but I didn’t think to ask the Guardian for the recipes for you or Judgement Wolf.”

“It’ll be fine” Ryko said. “There’s more than one way to remain fireproof, right?”

Ladybug nodded. “You go on ahead. I’ll meet you inside.”

“OK” Ryuko said. She ran into the arena.

Ladybug called out “Tikki! Spots Off!” She transformed back into Marinette. She went into her purse and grabbed the container with the transformation macaroons. She took out the red one. “Are you sure Ryuko and Judgement Wolf will be alright?” Tikki asked.

“Cat Noir and I will be there to save them if things get too out of hand” Marinette said. “Besides, Ryuko’s right. There’s more than one way to be fireproof.” She handed Tikki the macaroon. “Tikki! Power up!”

Tikki powered up. The spots on her head grew little flame-like patterns and she had a small fire on her lower back. “Ligh Tikki!” she said.

“Tikki! Spots On!” Marinette called. Marinette transformed into Fireproof Ladybug, which looked like Ladybug’s usual uniform, but it looked metallic. She also had a pair of gloves and a helmet with a breathing apparatus for her head. “Cool!” she said. She headed into the arena.

Judgement Wolf and Cat Noir had taken the fight with Sabren into the main stage area of the arena. Ryouko was spying on the fight, waiting for her moment to strike.

“Hey” Ladybug said.

“Gah!” Ryuoko said. “Oh, it’s just you Ladybug.”

“Yeah” Ladybug said. “So, what’s your read of the situation?”

Ryuko went to look back. Ladybug was also watching. “Look at his suit” Ryuko said. “Despite all of the commotion, it still hasn’t caught on fire. I’m thinking it’s flameproof as well. That’s my target. I don’t want to cause an even bigger fire to break out.” Ryuko readied herself. “Lighting Dragon!” she called. She transformed into lightning and zapped to Sabren and stuck him in his suit. The strike caused him to crash into the wall.

“What’s going on?” Sabren asked, getting off of the wall. The lighting continued to hit him for every direction. Finally, he saw it coming and decided to block it with his on fire sabre. Ryuko changed back into herself, drew her sword, and clanged it against Sabren’s. “Ah, you got another hero” Sabren said. The two unlocked blades. “This is so GOOD!” more flames erupted from him.

Cat Noir saw this, and  was impressed. He then noticed his ring beeping. “Gotta go. See you in a few!” Cat Noir left to hide.

Ladybug came in. “Give it up, Sabren!” she said.

Judgement Wolf took notice of Ladybug’s new outfit. “What’s with the getup?”

“What? Oh sorry” Ladybug said. “I’ll explain later.”

“No matter what you look like, I’m still going to win!” Sabren said.

“Not a chance! Fireproof Lucky Charm!” Ladybug called out. “A butcher knife?”

Adrien looked back into the fight. “Hey Plagg, why does Ladybug look like that?” he asked.

“That’s another transformation” Plagg said, eating his Camembert. “It makes you fireproof.”

“I see. And what color does it coordinate with?” Adrien asked.

“Red” Plagg answered. Adrien took out his transformation cheeses, picked out the red one, and gave it to Plagg. “Why did I say that?”

“Plagg! Power Up!” Adrien said.

Plagg ate the cheese and called out “Flam Plagg!” He grew four little flames on each of his whiskers, and a small flame on his lower back.

“Plagg! Claws Out!” Adrien called out. He transformed into Fireproof Cat Noir, which again looked mostly like Cat Noir’s regular outfit, except it was more metallic, had an extra pair of gloves, and a helmet with a breathing apparatus . His helmet had cat ears.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” Ladybug asked. Sabren charged Ladybug, but Judgement Wolf blocked again. Ryuko came from behind to attack Sabren, but he blocked it.

Cat Noir got back into the fight. “So why aren’t the other two heroes fireproofed?” he asked.

“It just slipped my mind” Ladybug said.

“I guess even you make mistakes” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug looked around and saw Cat Noir, Sabren’s suit, his flaming body, Ryuko, and the butcher knife. “I’ve got an idea. Ryuko! Clear a path!’ Ryuko looked at Ladybug, nodded and backed up.

Sabren tried to lunge at her, but Judgement Wolf struck him with his sword. “Forget about me?” Sabren’s attention turned to him.

Ladybug threw the butcher knife at the back of Sabren’s armor. She changed in to grab it. Once she got it, Sabren’t turned around to strike, but Ladybug blocked with the butcher knife. “Judgement Wolf, give it a tear!”

Judgment Wolf saw the tear in Sabren’s armor and decided to rip it even further, causing Sabren to turn back around. Ladybug backed up. “Cat Noir! Now!”

“Cataclysm!” he called. He touched the frayed edges for Sabren’s suit, causing it to be destroyed while leaving Sabren, now a body of fire, intact.

“Ryuko!” Ladybug called. Ryuko looked at her. “Bring him up, then take him down!”

Ryuko nodded. “Wind Dragon!” she called. She transformed into a gust of wind. She blew Sabren, who no longer had his suit to anchor him, up into the air. Ryuko changed back and then immediately called out “Water Dragon!” She turned into water and summoned more water to splash and crash down on Sabren, bringing him back to the floor.

Sabren, now a burnt husk, tried to reach for his sabre, but Judgement Wolf used his sword to split it in half.

Ladybug readied her yo-yo. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” She threw the butcher knife into the air, and the ladybugs fixed everything and stopped the fire.

“You might have caused my plans to go up in flames today, but soon, your star will burn out, Ladybug!” Hawk Moth called.

Travis got up. “What happened?”

“Pound it!” the heroes said.

Ladybug, Cat Noir, and Ryuko’s miraculous started beeping. “We should get going.”

“See you again, M’Lady” Cat Noir said, getting out.

Ladybug approached Travis. “Are you going to be OK?” she asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be fine. I should give Vlad a call” Travis said.

“Great” Ladybug said. She, Judgement Wolf, and Ryuko left.

Once they found a safe place to transform, Ryuko asked. “So, why is Judgment Wolf here?”

Judgement Wolf sighed. “I hate having to keep explaining it, but fine. Basically, as the holder of the wolf miraculous, it is my job to test the users of the other miraculous to make sure they are worthy of having them. Do you understand?”

“Completely” Kagami nodded. “Longg! Open Sky!” Ryuko transformed back into Kagami.

“Well look at you,” Longg said. “Brave enough to face the big bad wolf.”

“I have to be brave” Kagami said. “If I don’t face whatever weakness I have, how can I grow stronger?”

“That’s the spirit,” Longg said. Kagami gave the miraculous back to Ladybug and left.

“So, what’s the deal with your new outfit?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“Oh right” Ladybug said. “They are transformations. I kind of forgot to tell you about those earlier. Basically, with these special ingredients, we can transform into different versions of ourselves depending on the situation.”

“I see” Judgement Wolf said.

“I can ask Master Fu to make you some when I return the miraculous” Ladybug said.

She was just about to leave when Judgement Wolf took her hand. “Wait!” he said. “Can we put that off for now?”

Travis was walking out of the arena when Vlad called out “Travis!”

Travis turned to see his friend, as well as Marinette. “Oh. Hey guys. Sorry about what happened. What with me turning into a supervillain and all.”

“Nah. It happens to the best of us” Vlad said. “How are you feeling?”

“Well, physically, I’m alright, but emotionally…” Travis said.

Kagami was searching the halls for Adrien. “Adrien!” she called.

Adrien emerged from the boy’s changing room. “Kagami?”

Kagami gave Adrien a hug. “I was so worried about you” she said.

Adrien embraced her back. “It’s OK. Judgement Wolf got me out before everything caught on fire. I came back to see if you were still here.”

“Ladybug rescued me” Kagami said, breaking the hug.

“Well, you should change. Then we can get out of here” Adrien said.

“Be right back” Kagami said. She entered the girl’s changing room and emerged in her civies soon after.

“Let’s go” Adrien said. The two of them walked to the exit, only to see Vlad, Marinette, and Travis. Kagami got nervous. Adrien sensed this and said “Relax. We’ll face this together.” The two approached the three. “Hey Vlad. What’s going on?”

“Adrien” Vlad said. “This is my friend Travis. You face off against him in the finals.”

“Right” Adrien said. “You did well” Adrien said.

“Thanks” Travis said.

“Why do you seem so down?” Adrien asked.

“Because I got Akumatized” Travis said. “I said something stupid and it came back to me in a harsh way. I got upset” Travis said. He noticed Kagami. “Hey, Kagami. Listen. I’m sorry about what I said earlier. I didn’t mean to make you mad.”

Kagami was curious. This was different than the hot-blooded man who confessed to her. “It’s alright. You were just a little excited. Vlad explained everything to me.”

“He did, huh” Travis said, looking at his friend.

“What can I say? I have your back. Especially when you come across as weird” Vlad said.

“Now you know how I feel” Adrien said. Marinette giggled.

“Very funny” Vlad said.

“I think it’s great that we can explain each other” Travis said, perking right up. “It just shows how close we are.”

“I guess you’re right” Vlad said.

“Listen Kagami” Travis said. “My offer still stands. If you want to take a chance on me, I’m ready.”

Kagami smiled. “Sorry Travis. I’m just not there yet. But I do hope we can be friends.”

Travis smiled back. “That’s fine. I’m always open if you change my mind. Well, unless I’m not. In that case, I’ll tell Vlad to tell you.”

Adrien got an idea. “Hey Kagami, why don’t we invite the out with us?” he said.

Kagami was concerned. She wanted to go out just the two of them, but they all looked like they needed it. “Sure” she said.

“Great!” Adrien said. “Let’s head out. My treat!” The five of them left. The went to a restaurant and ate. The talked and got to know each other a little better. Most importantly, they had fun.

“Well, I should get going” Travis said. “I’ve gotta get back to Toulouse tomorrow morning, so I should get some rest now.”

“Alright. Seeya” Vlad said.

“It was nice meeting you!” Marinette said.

Adrien paid the bill. “We should get going too. I’ll drop Kagami off and you can take Marinette home Vlad. How’s that sound?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Vlad said.

“Great. Seeya” Adrien said.

“Goodbye” Kagami said. The two left.

“Alright, let’s go” Vlad said. Marinette nodded. They left as well.

Adrien and Kagami were in Adrien’s limo. Kagami spoke up. “Adrien. I have a question.”

“What is it Kagami?” he answered.

“I was just wondering…” Kagami began. “How are you so skilled that you can win an important video game match and then the next day win a fencing tournament?”

Adrien smiled. “It’s because both of them balance each other out,” he said. Kagami was confused. “See, I play video games to relax. It takes my mind off of whatever problems I have at the moment. Whether it’s worrying about my dad, or fencing. Video games help alleviate that stress. So when I’m up there fencing, I’m less worried, and can focus better. I get so good at video games because I have a lot to think about. It just helps.”

Kagami smiled. “Do you think they could help me too?” she asked.

“Sure” Adrien said.

“Thanks” Kagami said. They pulled up to Kagami’s place.

“Well, here we are” Adrien said.

“Good night” Kagami said, walking out.

“See you later” Adrien said. Once Kagami was out, Adrien’s limo pulled out.

Kagami walked into her house and approached her mother. “What is it?”

“Mom” Kagami said. “Is it OK if I play video games?”

“Only if it will improve your fencing” Tomoe said. “I noticed your performance at the tournament today. You could use some more training. The only reason I didn’t stick around was because of the Akuma attack.”

“Well, as Adrien explained to me, it will” Kagami said. Tomoe looked confused. Kagami had confidence and explained to her mom what Adrien had said.

Vlad and Marinette walked into Master Fu’s parlor. “Hey Master” Marinette said.

“Vlad? What are you doing here?” Master Fu said.

“Well, I saw Marinette and Cat Noir had fancy suits” Vlad said. “I was hoping you can make them for Beyyo and me. That is, if they work.”

“Of course they work” Beyyo said. “I’m only immune to miraculous abilities. This is a Guardian technique. I’d make them myself, but the guardians would never let me read the book.”

“Understandable” Master Fu said.

“Oh, I almost forgot” Marinette said. “Here.” She gave back the dragon miraculous.

“Thank you, Marinette” Master Fu said.

“Looks like this relaxation day you suggested turned out to be not so relaxing, huh Tikki” Beyyo said.

“Tikki?” Marinette said.

Tikki appeared. “Last night, after you fell asleep, I asked Vlad and Beyyo to take you out. You seemed so stressed about everything.”

Marinette thought about today. While the Akuma attack was rough, everything else was nice. “Thanks Tikki. You’re always looking out for me.” She tickled her kwami.

Vlad looked at that and smiled. “Oh, by the way. Could you whip some up for Carapace and Rena Rouge?”

“Of course” Master Fu said. “Why didn’t I think of that earlier?”

“Great. Then I can take it to them” Marinette said. “Nah, I’ve got it” Vlad said. “You should go home and relax. Besides, I’ve got some business I need to take care of.”

“Well, alright then” Marinette said. “I’ll see you later.”

“Seeya” Vlad said. Marinette left.

Later, Alya was in her room when she heard a knock at the window. “Judgement Wolf?” She opened the window.

“Is anyone else in here?” Judgement Wolf said.

“No. Just me” Alya said. “What’s up?”

“Here” Judgement Wolf said, handing her a box. “These will help Trixx transform.”

“Sweet” Trixx said.

“The Master told me that Trixx likes berries, so he took the ingredients and turned them into mini-berries that were then put into tiny muffins” Judgement Wolf said.

“I see. Thanks” Alya said.

“I can’t wait to try these out” Trixx said.

“Listen, sorry Carapace and I didn’t show up” Alya said.

“Relax. Carapace explained everything” Judgement Wolf said.

“Oh.OK” Alya said. “Is there anything else?”

“Yes” Judgement Wolf said. “As long as I’m here, wanna interview me for the Ladyblog?”

“Really?” Alya said.

“Yes” Judgement Wolf said. “But we gotta make it quick. I need to test Ryuko.”

“Great” Alya said.

“This is such a good get for you” Trixx said. Alya squeed.

She grabbed her phone. “Ready?” Alya said. Judgement Wolf nodded. She started her Camera. “Greetings Ladybug fans. I’ve just scored an exclusive interview with Paris’s mysterious new superhero, Judgement Wolf!”

Chapter Text

Later that night, Marinette got a call from an excited Alya. “Marinette! You will not believe the scoop I just got for the Ladyblog!”

Marinette almost dropped the phone from Alya’s loudness. “What is it?”

“I just scored an exclusive interview from Judgement Wolf!” Alya said. “It’s already up. I want you to watch as soon as possible.”

“That’s great Alya” she said, concerned. “But, how did you score this exclusive interview?”

“Watch the video and find out for yourself” Alya said.

“OK. I’ll watch it right now” Marinette said. “I’ll call you back when I’m done.”

“Great!” Alya said. Marinette hung up.

“Do you think Vlad might have said too much?” Tikki asked.

“I don’t think so” Marinette said. “But I can’t help but be concerned.”

“I understand” TIkki said.

Marinette loaded up the video. Alya’s intro was excited, as always. “Greetings Ladyblog fans. I’ve just scored an exclusive interview with Paris’s mysterious new superhero, Judgement Wolf!”

“Alya’s enthusiastic, I’ll give her that much” Marinette said.

“So, tell me, how was I Iucky enough to get this exclusive interview?” Alya asked.

“Simple” Judgement Wolf said. “I am tired of having to reiterate my deal to Ladybug’s recruits. And since you are the premier source for all things Ladybug, I thought this would be the best way to share that information.”

“Really? I’m the premier source?” Alya asked.

“Of course” Judgement Wolf answered. “Whenever I need to do research, the Ladyblog is the first place I go to.”

“You hear that? I just got endorsed by Judgement Wolf” Alya said. “So, what information about yourself did you want to share with everyone? Your deal, if you will.”

“Right, about that” Judgement Wolf said. “As you know, I possess the wolf miraculous. This miraculous is elusive, but it has a great responsibility. It is my job to test miraculous users to make sure that they are worthy of wielding such power.”

“Let me ask, is that a necessary thing?” Alya asked.

“I think so. And so does my kwami” Judgement Wolf answered. “We believe that such power cannot get into the wrong hands. As such, we test people who hold miraculouses to make sure they can handle it.”

“Right. We don’t want any more Hawk Moths” Alya said.

“Of course” Judgement Wolf said. “However, I’m still open to testing, and even OKing Hawk Moth, if he’ll let me.”

“Why?” Alya asked. “Hawk Moth is a bad dude who regularly causes chaos!”

“True” Judgement Wolf said. “But I have my doubts that Hawk Moth is entirely bad. Of course, if he is, I wouldn’t waste a second to fight him.”

“Why do you insist on giving him that much credit?” Alya asked.

“It’s just who I am” Judgement Wolf said. “I can’t dismiss him outright, because I keep thinking ‘What if he is good?’ Luckily, I have Ladybug and Cat Noir to keep me focused. As good a person as Hawk Moth might potentially be, I can’t let him get a hold of more miraculous before I at least test him.”

“Well, that’s certainly insightful” Alya said. “Now, for these tests, do you have to know who the miraculous holders are?” Alya asked.

“Unfortunately, yes” Judgement Wolf said. “I know Ladybug isn’t too keen on letting people know who they are as superheroes, but I can only test them if I know who they are.”

“Why can’t you test them when their in their hero forms?” Alya asked.

Judgement Wolf sighed. “Because, that’s testing them with their kwami” Judgment Wolf said. “I need to test them and them alone. My kwami, Beyyo, generally vouches for the kwamis, so it’s my job to isolate the kwami from the user before I test them. I need to see what they’re made of.”

“Let me ask, has anyone failed so far?” Alya said, nervously.

“Surprisingly, no” Judgement Wolf said. “Ladybug keeps good company. Having said that, I still need to test Ryuko. She did only show up today.”

“I see” Alya said.

“However, I am told that this is a rarity” Judgement Wolf said. “Whether or not you want to believe that is up to you.”

“Great!” Alya said.

“Do you have any more questions for me?” Judgement Wolf said.

“Well, if I want answers, then no” Alya said. “Unless you’re willing to speak freely about your identity.”

“Pass” Judgement Wolf said.

“Very well then. That will do it for this interview. Thanks for watching, Ladyblog fans!” Alya said.

“Is it that much of a rarity?” Marinette asked Tikki.

“Well, it’s not as common” Tikki said. “But I think it’s more common than Beyyo likes to think it is.”

“Why is that?” Marinette said. “He doesn’t seem like the type to lie.”

“I don’t think he’s lying. I think he’s more a glass half empty kind of kwami when it comes to this” Tikki said.

“I understand” Marinette said. “Oh right. I’ve gotta call Alya!” She picked up her phone and gave Alya a call.

“Did you watch it?!” Alya said.

“Yes” Marinette said. “You did a great job!”

“Thanks” Alya said. “I just wanted you to be ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“Because I’m thinking you could be the next person Ladybug give a miraculous to!” Alya said.

Marinette fumbled the phone a little, but she didn’t drop it. “Me? A superhero? I’m not sure about that.”

“Marinette, you’d make a great superhero. You’re brave, and kind, and compassionate. If Ladybug gave you a power, I’m sure you’d do great things with it.”

“I dunno. I think she’d be more willing to give you one first” Marinette said.

Alya got a little nervous and said “Yes, well, I guess it’ll be a contest to see who gets one first between you and me.” Marinette silently laughed. “Hey! Do you think the reason Judgement Wolf came over was because he knew Ladybug was thinking of giving me a miraculous?”

“Well, we’ll see” Marinette said.

“Well, anyway, good night girl” Alya said.

“Good night Alya” Marinette said. She hung up.

“That was close” Alya said.

Marinette started to laugh a little louder. She then smiled. “I’m so lucky to have a friend like Alya” she said. She got another phone call. “Hello?” she answered.

“Hey Marinette” Vlad said.

“Vlad?”

“Yeah. Listen, if you have the time, I’d check out the Ladyblog if I were you” he said.

“Alya already called me” Marinette said. “I watched the whole thing.”

“Really? Cool. How’d you like it?” Vlad asked.

“Well, you didn’t give away any key information” Marinette said.

“Of course. I’m not an idiot” Vlad said.

“Besides that, I think you did well” Marinette said.

“Glad to hear” Vlad said.

“Hey, get this” Marinette said. “Part of the reason Alya called me was because she thought I would be next to be given a miraculous.”

“HAH! Seriously?” Vlad asked.

“Yeah” Marinette said. “And when I turned it around on her, she didn’t reveal that she was Rena Rouge.”

“Interesting” Vlad said. “Well, thanks for your support. I’ve gotta go. I’m on my way to test Ryuko.”

“Well, see you later then. Hope it goes well” Marinette said.

“Bye” they said at the same time, hanging up.

“Well?” Beyyo asked.

“She liked it” Vlad said.

“OK. Good” Beyyo said.

“Why were you so worried?” Vlad asked.

“I just haven’t participated in many interviews” Beyyo said. “I guess I’m just nervous. Hey, let’s ask Tikki the next time we see her.”

“Still nervous?” Vlad sighed. “Honestly, you weren’t even in the interview.”

“I know. But I still feel like I was a part of it” Beyyo said.

“Right” Vlad said. “We’re close. We should get ready. Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He transformed back into Judgement Wolf.

He eventually made his way to Kagami’s. He was staring out at the building; trying to be careful. He jumped the fence and snuck in through the window. Before he could make it a step further, the light came on and Tomoe said “FREEZE, INTRUDER!” she was holding up a sword. Judgment Wolf didn’t know what to do. “Who are you? What do you want?” Judgement Wolf remained silent. “If you don’t speak up, I’m going to contact the police; whether you get away or not. And don’t think that just because I’m blind it would be easy for you to get away”

Judgement Wolf didn’t want that. “Alright, but if I do get away, what are you going to tell the police? It’s not like you can describe me.”

“You’re a high school student with an above average build. You came alone, wielding a sword” Tomoe said. “This is my house. I can use it to get what I want.”

“You’re good” Judgement Wolf said.

“The best” Tomoe said.

Judgement Wolf sighed. “Well, since I don’t want to fight you, or have the police called on me, I guess I should be upfront. I am Judgement Wolf.”

Tomoe put down her sword. “I see. So Tagami is Ryuko” she said.

“Ladybug’s going to kill me” Judgement Wolf said.

“It wasn’t your doing” Tomoe said. “When she came home, I could sense something different about her. I know my daughter well. A hero appears under the name ‘Ryuko’ at the place she was at. Her coming home with a sense of accomplishment despite losing. It couldn’t be just a coincidence. Though your presence here did confirm it.”

“How did you guess I’d be here?” Judgement Wolf asked.

Tomoe smiled. “I enjoyed your interview very much.”

“Of course” Judgement Wolf said. “And I thought I was so good at hiding information.”

“Don’t beat yourself up” Tomoe said. “I knew what to look for.”

“Very well” Judgement Wolf said.

“Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. Not even Kagami” Tomoe said. “I just want what’s best for my daughter.”

“As every parent should” Judgement Wolf said. “Even so, I’m going to have to tell Ladybug about this.”

“I expect as much” Tomoe said.

He then had a thought. “Say, can you see when you dream?”

“Why do you ask?” Tomoe responded.

“Well, if you could, you could watch Kagami’s test” Judgement Wolf said.

Tomoe thought about it. “No thanks. Just tell me if she passes or not.”

“Very well” Judgement Wolf said. He made his way to Kagami’s room. “Wolf Mist!”

Kagami was meeting Adrien for fencing practice. “Hey Adrien!” she said.

“Hey Kagami. How’s it going?” Adrien responded.

“Great. Ready for fencing practice?” Kagami asked.

“Of course” Adrien said.

Marinette came up to Adrien and gave him a hug. “See you tonight?” she said.

“You know it” Adrien replied. The two kissed. Kagami was shaken, but barely showed it. Marinette let go and left. “Well, shall we?” Adrien said.

Kagami snapped back. “Huh? Oh, yeah” she said. She went to the girl’s locker room. She opened her locker and saw a picture she had of her and Adrien. She took it out and began to well up.

“A heartbroken maiden whose crush is going out with someone else” Hawk Moth said. “I love this opportunity. Fly away, my little Akuma, and evilize her!”

The Akuma flew and fused with the photo Kagami had. “Hello Kagami” Hawk Moth said.

“No! Not again!” Kagami said. “Not now!”

“Why not? I can sense your overflowing with negative emotion? Don’t you want revenge on the world for not getting what you want?” Hawk Moth said. “Don’t you want to take Adrien for yourself?”

Kagami was struggling, but managing to stay on. “I would like Adrien, yes, but I wanted him to like me for me! Not whatever monster you’re turning me into this week! Just go!” The Akuma flew out. Kagami started breathing heavily.

“So, Kagami was a miss” Hawk Moth lamented. “But I sense that she’s not the only one heartbroken about the news. Find her!”

Lila was sitting in the classroom, writhing in anger. “How could Adrien love someone as awful as Marinette?” she wondered.

The Akuma fused with one of her hairbands. “Maneater. I am Hawk Moth. The boy you love has been taken away from you. Why not take him back. As well as any other man you so desire! All I ask for is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous!”

“Of course, Hawk Moth” Lila said. A purple-black aura formed around her.

Adrien was in the courtyard doing some stretches when Lila, who now looked like a vampire, with her usual outfit given a palette swap so everything was black and white, as well as a cape, swooped down. “Lila?”

“It’s Maneater now” she said. “And soon, you’ll be all mine.” She closed in on Adrien and bit him in the neck.

Kagami was still trying to get steady when she heard Adrien yell in pain. “Adrien!” she said. She grabbed her kendo stick and ran out.

She saw Adrien, who had bite marks on his heck, tenderly hugging Maneater. “Oh. Hey Kagami” he said. “I’d like you to meet my new girlfriend: Maneater.”

Kagami was shocked. “What about Marinette?” she asked.

“What about Marinette” Adrien said. “She never loved me anyway.”

Kagami got furious. “You! What did you do to him?!”

“I just helped him see the truth” Maneater said.

Kagami charged to strike Maneater with her kendo stick. However, Adrien stood in the way, causing Kagami to stop. “I won’t let you hurt her!” Adrien said.

“Aw. How chivalrous” Maneater said. “But don’t trouble yourself honey.” Maneater disappeared and reappeared behind Kagami. “I can take care of her.” She was about to bite down on Kagami’s neck.

Kagami was scared. She didn’t know what was going to happen. Suddenly though, Ladybug’s yo-yo grabbed Kagami and pulled her out of harm’s way. “Sorry, but you’re not going to get your mark on her!” Ladybug said.

“Finally, a villain I can sink my teeth into” Cat Noir said.

“I think you have that the other way around, kitty” Maneater said. She then turned into a bat, flew up to Cat Noir, turned back and bit him in the neck.

“Cat Noir!” Ladybug said.

Once she was done, Cat Noir said “Well, if it isn’t my wonderful girlfriend, Maneater.”

“Cat Noir, no” Ladybug said, disappointed.

“Aw, you’re the best” Maneater said. “Can you take care of Ladybug for me?”

“Anything for you” Cat Noir said.

“Thanks” Maneater said. She turned into mist and snuck into the boy’s locker room.

“Well, you heard my lady” Cat Noir said, taking out his staff.

“Cat Noir. I don’t want to do this” Ladybug said. She begun swinging her yo-yo defensively. “But I will if I have to.”

The two began circling around, with Cat Noir’s back facing Kagami. Kagami looked around, and found a book. She threw it at Cat Noir, which turned his head. Ladybug, taking the distraction, knocked Cat Noir off of the roof and then used her yo-yo to tie him up and smash him into the wall and then onto the floor, knocking him out. “There. That should buy me some time. I’m going to get some help. Are you OK down there?” Ladybug asked Kagami.

Kagami stood up. “Yeah, I should be OK.”

“Great! Bug out!” Ladybug left.

Kagami went to storm the boy’s locker room, but Adrien came up behind her and grabbed her. “And where do you think you’re going?” Adrien said.

Kagami stomped on Adrien’s foot, which caused Adrien to let go. Kagami then grabbed Adrien’s arm and flung him over herself to the floor. “Sorry Adrien, but you’re not yourself right now” Kagami said.

Just then, an army of Maneater victims came out of the boy’s locker room. Kagami picked up her kendo stick. Maneater walked out and said “Get her!”

The swarm charged Kagami. Kagami took her kendo stick and hit one in the stomach. She then used it to smack another across the face. As she was ducking, one tied to get her, but she used the momentum of getting up to fling him. She jumped on the wall and smack another guy, careening him into two more guys. She took the last guy out by smacking him in the stomach again, but this time she held it until he fell over.

She began walking to wards Maneater. “Well. It looks like it’s just you and me” Kagami said. She charged in with her kendo stick, and as she was about to strike, Maneater blocked it with her hand and crushed it. She then brought Kagami into biting distance. “What are you going to do?” Kagami asked defiantly with a hint of panic. “Your name gives away your weakness,. You can only put men under your spell.”

Maneater giggled. “I can make you just like me,” she said. “We can have all the men we can eat. I’ll even let you have Adrien when I’m not using him.”

“That’s why I don’t like you” Kagami said, struggling. “You and Hawk Moth think people are things to use.”

Maneater’s face soured. “Well, it’s not like I’m giving you much of a choice anyway,” she said. She was about to bite, when she was suddenly struck by lighting. This gave Kagami the opportunity to free herself. Maneater scowled. She then got hit more. “Where is that coming from?” she wondered. She turned into a bat, but the lightning struck the bat, bringing her to the ground. She changed back.

Kagami looked and saw all of the female heroes minus herself. She then saw the lighting join them and reform into a different user of the dragon miraculous. Their mask was the same as Ryuko’s, but the pattern on the body was different. The dragon pattern on this user had the tail on her left arm, extending out to her torso, the body of the dragon encircling the tri-color pattern that showed off her powers, and then the head of the dragon formed on her right hand. She did retain the black boots. Kagami was confused.

“Your reign of terror stops now, Maneater!” Ladybug said.

“Wanna bet?” Maneater said. She turned into mist and made a move.

“Wind dragon!” the Dragon miraculous used called. She turned into a gust of wind and circled around the mist, containing it.

Maneater shapeshifted back. “I think you’re forgetting something,” she said. “Cat Noir dear. Time for you to wake up and protect your girlfriend!”

Cat Noir got up and said “With pleasure, darling.” He then began to attack.

The other heroes all dodged, with Bunnyx calling out “Burrow!” to slip through a time hole.

Maneater braved the storm and walked through the wind. Ladybug noticed this and said “Dragonnette! Regroup!” Dragonnette immediately turned back into a human and used her sword to strike Maneater. Meanwhile, Cat Noir was chasing the other heroes. “We should split up!” Ladybug said. Rena Rouge, Queen Bee, and Tigress nodded. They went in four separate directions.

Cat Noir decided to follow Tigress because her power took a long time to charge. “Cataclysm!” he called.

“Bad move, kitty” Queen Bee said. “Venom!” Just as Cat Noir was about to reach Tigress, but then he got struck with the Venom, stopping him in his tracks.

“Thanks Queen Bee” Tigress said.

“No problem” Queen Bee replied. “I am a superhero, you know.”

They looked over and saw that Maneater was fighting Dragonnette. “I’ve got an idea. Keep Maneater on that side of the room!” Tigress said. She went to the wall and began charging her power. Queen Bee Came over to assist Dragonnette.

Maneater managed to dodge one of Queen Bee’s attacks and grab her. “Chloe” she said, persuasively. “I know it’s you in there. Don’t you want Adrien as well? I can give him to you.”

Maneater went to bite Queen Bee when Tigress called out “Reverb!” She then unleashed a sound that created a hole straight across the courtyard. “Dragonette! Your last power!”

“Right!” Dragonnette said. “Water Dragon!” she turned into water and filled up the hole and kept moving around it.

Tigress joined Ladybug and Rena Rouge and said “Vampires can’t cross running water.”

“Good thinking” Ladybug said.

Maneater got mad. The Queen Bee kicked her and backflipped her way to the other side of the water. “Like I’d stoop to your level to get Adrien!” Queen Bee said.

“Lucky Charm!” Ladybug said, summoning a bag of rice. “Well, this seems fairly self-explanatory.” She threw the bag over the water and knocked it open with her yo-yo. Maneater was sweating bullets, refusing to count. “Trying to resist, eh? Well, let’s just make those pieces of rice irresistible. Rena, could you make each grain look like a tiny Adrien?”

“Sure thing, Ladybug” Rena said. She played her flute and called out “Mirage!”

Just as Ladybug had asked, each grain now looked like Adrien. Maneater got excited and began counting. “One Adrien, two Adriens, three Adriens…”

Bunnyx came back and said “Ladybug! The Akuma is in that hairband!” pointing to the one that was hit with the Akuma.

“Thanks Bunnyx” Ladybug said. She used her yo-yo to grab it while Maneater was busy counting. She then destroyed it. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha. Bye bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” She threw up the bag of rice and the ladybugs fixed all of the damage.

The hole was fixed, which caused Dragonnette to start sliding around on the floor before she turned back into a human. “Woah!” she said.

Maneater turned back into Lila. “What happened?” she asked.

Cat Noir returned to himself and said, “What happened?”

“Pound it” the female heroes said.

“Maneater might have bitten off more than she could chew, but don’t count on you always being victorious!” Hawk Moth said.

The rest of the boys started waking up. All of the miraculous started to beep. “We should probably get out of here” Ladybug said. They all split off.

Kagami decided to follow Dragonnette. She found her in a corner and watched. “Longg! Open Sky!” She transformed back and it was Marinette.

“Marinette?” Kagami said.

“GAH!” Marinette said, falling over. Kagami came and helped her up. “Thanks.”

Ladybug then showed up and said. “Wait. Did she find out your secret?”

“Well, uh…” Marinette.

“It’s not her fault” Kagami said. “I specifically followed her. I promise I won’t tell.”

Ladybug was shocked, but then said “It’s OK. I get it.”

“Get what?” Marinette asked.

“I guess it’s only fair I tell you” Kagami said. “I’m Ryuko.” Marinette gasped.

“Sorry I didn’t come to you” Ladybug said. “It’s just you were keeping Maneater distracted, and we needed someone right away.”

Kagami sighed. “It’s fine. She can keep being Dragonnette if you want her to be. I just gotta refocus.”

“What? No, you can keep be Ryuko” Marinette said.

“Looks like you two are really good friends” Ladybug said.

Kagami chuckled. Then, everything around her disappeared and turned into a white void. “Congratulations. You passed” Judgement Wolf said.

Kagami smiled. “I should have known this was the test.”

“It’s my job to make sure you don’t” Judgement Wolf replied.

“Either way, I’m honored by your approval and glad I passed” Kagami said. “I’d hate to think what my mother would say if I failed this as well.”

“If you’re thinking of telling your mother, I might just have to revoke that approval” Judgement Wolf said.

“I have a feeling she knows already” Kagami said. “She’s pretty perceptive, especially when it comes to me.”

Judgment Wolf glared. “I see you two know each other very well.” Kagami giggled. “She did say she wouldn’t tell anyone, including you. Are you going to tell her?”

“I think it’s the right thing to do” Kagami said.

“Very well” Judgement Wolf replied. “Say, this is just a personal curiosity. So, the way my power works is that I give you a prompt. My prompt was ‘What if Adrien decided to date someone other than you?’ It’s fairly evident that there is no shortage of people pinning for Adrien. Why did you choose Marinette as the other girl in this?”

Kagami fidgeted.”Well…” she began. “I think most people who like Adrien like him because he’s famous. They don’t like him as a person. They just want his fame and money. Marinette though… Marinette is the only other girl I know who like Adrien for Adrien. I’d hate to lose on this, but if I were to lose to anyone, I’d be glad it was her.”

“I see” Judgement Wolf said.

“By the way, I do think she would be a good miraculous holder” Kagami said. “Maybe you could pass that along to Ladybug.”

“I’ll see what I can do” Judgement Wolf said, trying to hold back a cheshire grin. ”Anyway, my kwami should meet you soon to tell you whether or not he approves. Your mom is waiting for me, so I bid you goodnight.”

Judgement Wolf left the mist and exited Kagami’s room. “Well?” Tomoe said.

“She passed” Judgement Wolf said.

“Good. I expect nothing less” Tomoe said. “But what about your kwami?”

Judgement Wolf sighed. “I’d have to detransform to get his opinion. His miraculous started to beep.

“Looks like that’s close to happening anyway” Tomoe said. “Relax, I can’t tell what you look like either way. You can even keep quiet and sneak out the window so I can’t hear what you’re like under the mask.”

“Very well. Beyyo! Fangs Dull!” he transformed.

Beyyo shook himself while Vlad fished for a piece of jerky. “Well little one, what do you think?”

Beyyo looked at Tomoe. “She passed” he said.

“Good” Tomoe said. “No offence, but I value your opinion more as a being that’s been around for a long time.”

Vlad gave a shocked look. “You mean you’re familiar with kwamis?” Beyyo asked.

“Of course” Tomoe said. “I even have a few things about them.”

“Um, do you mind if I send Ladybug over to see what you have?” Beyyo asked.

Tomoe smiled. “Sure. As a reward for passing my Kagami.”

“Thanks, but Kagami did all of the work” Beyyo said.

“You should get going” Tomoe said. Vlad walked over to the window and carefully stepped out of it. He gave Beyyo the piece of jerky as he walked home.

Chapter Text

The next day, Gabriel was watching Judgement Wolf’s interview for the Ladyblog. “I can’t dismiss him outright, because I keep thinking ‘What if he is good?’ Luckily, I have Ladybug and Cat Noir to keep me focused. As good a person as Hawk Moth might potentially be, I can’t let him get a hold of more miraculous before I at least test him.”

Gabriel stared intently at the screen. Nathalie walked in. “Are you going to give him the chance to test you?” she said.

“Of course not” Gabriel said. “Although I am curious. I would let him test me if I could guarantee the results. Unfortunately, I can’t. Although I am glad.”

“What makes you say that?” Nathalie said.

“Because of this, I can ask you not to use the peacock miraculous as much” Gabriel said. “You’re out in the open more than I am. If this Judgement Wolf were to find you, he could figure you out. From now on, no using it without my express permission. This is for the good of both of us.”

“Yes sir” Nathalie said.

“So what’s Adrien doing today?” Gabriel asked.

“Actually, he’s getting a visit from Chloe” Nathalie said

Gabriel sighed. “Very well.”

“What do you mean you can’t?” Kagami asked on the phone.

“I already have plans for today” Adrien answered from his place. “But don’t worry, I’ll have one of my friends come and help you. He’s the best when it comes to this. I’ll have him meet you at the Place des Vosges.”

Kagami was a little disappointed. Still, she said “Thanks Adrien. I’ll see you at fencing practice?”

“Of course. Can’t wait” Adrien said. They hung up. Adrien immediately sent a text.

Kagami looked down then determined. “What was that about?” Tomoe asked, coming in.

“I was just talking to Adrien” Kagami said. “I was hoping he would help me select a video game for me. He’s sending on of his friends though because he’s busy.”

“Very well” Tomoe said.

“Mom” Kagami said. “I know you know.”

“Know what, dear?” Tomoe asked.

“Don’t pretend” Kagami said. “Look, I know you think I’m still just a little girl who needs to be protected. But I’m not. And I think we both know that. I still have a long ways to go, but I can’t get anywhere if I’m still being treated like I’m seeing everything for the first time. I have to have room to grow. Room to fail. Room to live.”

Tomoe looked at her daughter. “Very well” she said. “I know you’re Ryuko. I found out last night when I caught Judgement Wolf sneaking in here. Of course, I had my suspicions earlier. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. I know how important it is to keep that secret safe.” She took a pause. “Perhaps I’ve been sheltering you a bit. Go out and buy your video game.”

Kagami smiled and said “Thanks.” She left.

Vlad was out walking. Beyyo popped up and asked “Are you going to tell Marinette about last night?”

“I’d like to, but I got a shoot all day” Vlad said. “I’ll just tell her tomorrow. Besides, I’m sure she’s busy. She’s probably working up the courage to talk to Adrien tomorrow. Say, I have an idea. Since I’m going to be busy all day, why don’t you go out and find King Monkey and Ryuko.”

“Are you sure? What if something happens?” Beyyo said.

“It’ll be fine” Vlad said. “You can travel fast. And besides, we can run a little late.”

“Very well” Beyyo said. He flew off.

Chloe appeared in front of the gate of the Agreste manor and rang the doorbell. When the camera popped out she said “Um, I’m here to see Adrien.” The camera disappeared and the gate opened and she walked in.

She made her way to Adrien’s room. “Hi Chloe” he said.

Marinette was pacing back and forth in her room. “Marinette, what’s wrong?” Tikki asked.

“Well Tikki, I’m going to confess to Adrien tomorrow” Marinette said. “I mean, I knew this day had to come, but I never thought it would get here.”

“Relax Marinette. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can just put it off” Tikki said.

“No” Marinette said. “I made a promise. A hero always keeps her promises.”

“Way to go Marinette” Tikki said.

Marinette thought about it. “Although, a hero can always use some help.” She got out her phone and started calling.

Kagami was waiting in the Place des Vosges. “Hello” Max said, approaching her. Kagami looked at him. “Adrien asked me to meet you here” he elaborated. “I’m Max.” He extended his hand.

Kagami reciprocated and the two shook. “Right. I saw you at the match on Friday.”

“Oh, you were there?” Max said.

“Yeah. Adrien asked me to come” Kagami said.

“Really?” Max said.

“Yeah” Kagami said. “My name’s Kagami.”

“Well, Kagami, shall we head to the store?” Max said. The two walked off.

Alya and Marc were sitting in Marinette’s room. “OK. The reason I asked you two here is that I’m about to ask Adrien out, and I need some help” Marinette said.

“Sure thing, girl” Alya said.

“Um, why did you invite me?” Marc said.

“Because Marc, I made a promise to you” Marinette said. “I don’t want to let you down. I saw how nervous you were talking to Nathaniel. But you did it. I want to find some of that courage in me.”

“Oh, well, uh…” Marc trailed off. “Thanks? But it wasn’t really courage. I was scared the entire time.”

“But, you did it anyway” Alya said. “Which IS courageous.”

“Yeah” Marinette said. “So please. I need some help.”

“Um… OK” Marc said.

Marinette gave him a hug and said “Thanks Marc.”

Chloe was staring at Adrien. “Are we going to talk, or…?” Adrien said.

Chloe knew she had to do this. For herself. For her class. For Paris. “So, do you know why I’m here?” she asked, nervously.

“Well, I have an idea” Adrien said. “Judgement Wolf told me about what he and Ladybug were planning.”

Chloe was nervous. “What did he tell you exactly?”

“Well, he told me a bit about the first test” Adrien said. “He also told me that you like girls, which I already kind of knew, but he didn’t tell me the full extent of the second test.”

“I see” Chloe said. “Well, it is as you say. I am a lesbian.”

“If that was the case, then why try getting my affections?” Adrien asked.

“It’s complicated” Chloe said.

“We have all day” Adrien said.

Chloe sighed. “I guess I should start from the beginning. As you know, my parents expect a lot out of me. Moreso my mom, but I think my dad expects me to act in a certain way. And when I discovered this about myself, I got really scared. I was afraid that they wouldn’t love me. And if they couldn’t love me, then who would? And that’s when I began to change.

I was worried that everyone would hate me for who I was. So, I decided to accentuate the worst parts about myself. I figured that if people were going to hate me for being nice, I might as well be mean and deserve whatever hate comes my way.”

“So, you were trying to push me away?” Adrien asked.

“Maybe” Chloe said, tearing up. “I don’t know.” She buried herself in Adrien and started bawling. “I mean, I felt like I wanted to, but when you threatened to actually let me go, I realized I didn’t want that.”

Adrien hugged Chloe. “It’s OK Chloe. Just let it out. I won’t hate you.”

Chloe sniffled. “More than anything, I think me constantly asking you out was a cry for help” Chloe said. “I wanted you to notice I was in trouble. So you could save me before I did something I would regret.”

Adrian gasped. “I’m sorry Chloe. I didn’t realize” Adrien said. “I should have been a better friend. But I’m here now, and I’m supporting you the whole way.”

Chloe smiled, her eyes still red. “Thanks Adrien” she said. “Although, I can’t say I’m too surprised. You’re kind of oblivious.”

“I’m…not…THAT oblivious…am I?” Adrien said.

Chloe laughed. “It’s fine, Adrien. You have your own problems with your parents that you have to deal with. I can’t expect you to save me when I’m drowning when you’re drowning as well.”

Adrien thought about it. He looked at the ring on his finger and what it means. I should be able to save people. Even when I’m in trouble. I protected Marinette in my dream, even though Ladybug was dead. I need to be there for the people I care about. He put his hand on her shoulders. “Really Chloe. I’m sorry. I got so wrapped up in what’s troubling me that I didn’t even see you drowning right beside me. You know I would have tried to save you if I had.”

Chloe thought about it. “Yeah…” she said.

“Wanna talk some more?” Adrien asked.

“About what?” Chloe asked.

“I dunno. Just anything” Adrien sat down. Chloe sat down next to him.

Meanwhile, Kagami and Max arrived at the electronics store. “I come here all of the time. This is the place I trust the most when it comes to anything technological” Max said. Kagami was taking in the store. “Shall we?” Max said. The two walked in and Max guided her to the video games section. “Now, is there anything that might limit you in what kind of gaming experience you want?”

“Well, I don’t know how much Adrien told you, but this is going to be my first video game experience. So, maybe a lack of skill might be an issue” Kagami said.

“Right, Adrien told me that” Max said. “But no, what I’m asking is are there any financial issues that might burden you.”

“Money isn’t an object” Kagami said.

“Oh. Well… that’s blunt” Max said. “OK. So, I assume you aren’t as technologically adapt, so I’d think the best course of action is a console rather than a gaming PC. Is that OK with you?”

Kagami shrugged. “You’re the expert.”

“Right. Very well” Max said.

They made their way to the video game section when Kagami saw someone. “Um, I think she was at the match on Friday as well,” she said.

Max turned and saw Katelyn playing one of the demos. “Oh” he said.

Katelyn finished the demo. She looked up and saw Max and Kagami. Max waved awkwardly. “Oh. Hi” she said.

“OK Marinette, let’s try this again” Alya said. “I’ll be Adrien. Ahem. Marinette? Is there something you wanted to say to me?”

“Yes, well…” Marinette said. “GAH! I can’t do it. No matter how many times I try, I always stumble.”

“It’s OK Marinette” Alya said.

“If it’s too hard, you don’t have to…” Marc said.

“No! I made a promise. I intend to keep it” Marinette said. “Marc, how did you do it?”

Marc thought about it for a moment. “Honestly, it was a lot of things,” he said. “I’ve been working with Nathaniel for a while. I’ve gotten more used to him. That’s part of it.” Marinette nodded. “But more than that, I realized that the pain I was feeling now about not telling him was greater than any rejection I could face. That, and I had help.”

“Help how?” Marinette asked.

“Well, there was you, who helped me make a comic book with Nathaniel” Marc began. “Plus, you’ve always been generally supportive. My other friends support me as well. Then there was Vlad, who reassured me when I was too nervous to buy this pin from him. But what really truly helps me a lot of the time is thinking about Ladybug.” Marinette was surprised. “Ladybug does so much for our city. She’s so brave in the face of danger. When someone is having a bad day and turns into an Akuma, she reminds me that you have to look at the positives in life. She would have wanted me to confess to Nathaniel, and she would want you to confess to Adrien. It might seem painful, but Ladybug has to go through countless painful experiences so that Paris can be safe. Ah! I’m sorry. I rambled on.”

Marinette thought about what Marc had said. She couldn’t believe she made such an impression. She knew people liked her, but this was on a whole nother level. Then again, Marc is a writer, so he knew how to express ideas in such a beautiful way. She saw Tikki hiding and Tikki nodded. “No. It’s fine” Marinette said. “I actually needed that. Thank you so much. I feel like I’m ready now.”

“Oh… Well… your welcome then” Marc said.

Beyyo was flying around looking for Kim or Kagami. “How hard could it be to find two people in a city of 2 million?” he said, sarcastically. He then spotted Kim running. “If you say it, it will come. Though, I’ve been flying around all day. I guess I could take a little rest.” Beyyo flew into Kim’s hood and started to nap. Kim noticed right away though, and reached into his hood and picked up Beyyo. “What? I just got here?”

“HI there. You wouldn’t by chance be Judgement Wolf’s kwami, would you?” Kim asked.

Beyyo sighed. “Yeah. I am.”

“So, did I pass your standards?” Kim asked.

“Yeah kid” Beyyo said. “You’re brave, but not dumb enough to cause trouble if it isn’t needed.”

“You seem tired. Are you OK?” Kim asked.

“Well,” Beyyo said, “I’ve been flying around for… what time is it?”

Kim checked the time. “It’s almost 2 pm,” Kim said.

“Jeez, I’ve been flying around for like four hours, trying to find you and Ryuko” Beyyo said. “I’m a little tired.”

Kim smiled. “No problem. You can sleep in my hood if you want. Though I am going to stop by the electronics store later. My friend Max wanted me to help him with something, but I wanted to get a good run in, so we agreed to meet there.”

“Very well” Beyyo said. He fell asleep in Kim’s hands. Kim put him in his hood and continued running.

“So, you like this place too?” Katelyn said.

“Yeah. It’s the best” Max said. “What brings you here today?”

Katelyn looked down and said, “Well, since Carter put the Nighthawks on hiatus, I don’t know what to do with myself. I became listless. I just came here to get out of my head for a minute.”

“Ah. Well, sorry about all of that” Max said.

“You don’t have to apologize” Katelyn said. “You know as well as anyone that Carter is to blame for what happened.”

“Yeah… But, he seems to be trying to mend those fences” Max said.

“I guess” Katelyn said.

“These things take time,” Max said.

“Yeah” Katelyn responded. She saw Kagami. “Who is she?”

“Friend of a friend” Max said. “I’m helping her pick out a video game.”

“Oh, what one?” Katelyn asked.

“Well, we’re unsure,” Max said.

Katelyn scoffed. “What. It’s not like she’s never played a video game before.” Max and Kagami looked around awkwardly. “Oh. Well, here, why don’t you try some demos and see what you like” Katelyn said, moving aside so Kagami could play some demos.

Kagami stepped forward, picked up the controller, and said “Thanks.”

“Marinette?” Adrien said.

“Yeah” Chloe said. “I had a crush on her. Like big time. I guess that’s why I acted the meanest to her. I wanted to push her away before she pushed me away. In fact, that’s what my second test was about.”

“How did Judgement Wolf know that you liked Marinette?” Adrien asked.

“He didn’t” Chloe said. “He just asked me what my ideal interaction with Marinette would be and it lead to him finding that out.”

“I see” Adrien said.

“To be honest, I think I’m starting to like Sabrina more in that way” Chloe said. “She said she’d always be by my side, but I’m still too afraid to say anything.”

Adrien smiled. “You wanna know something?” he said. “Remember the fashion show?” Chloe nodded. “Remember when your mother was immediately taken with Marinette after you spent all day trying to get her attention?” Chloe started to get upset. “It’s because Marinette was herself. You were hiding behind this persona. And granted, while it does contain pieces of the real you, it’s not the whole thing. Your mother respect authenticity. I’m sure that if you were real with her, she’ll respect you more. The same goes for your father.”

Chloe looked down. “Yeah… But I don’t feel ready to tell them just yet.”

“And that’s OK. These things take time” Adrien said. He took her hand. “Just know I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

Chloe looked at Adrien and smiled. “Thanks Adrien. Although, I was thinking of telling a few people. I might even tell Sabrina now. I feel less afraid knowing you’re behind me.”

“Really? That’s great!” Adrien said.

“Yeah, well, I need to figure out what I want to say and how to say it” Chloe said.

“It’s OK. Take your time” Adrien said. Chloe smiled.

Kagami was playing one of the demos. “YES!” she said. “Got another one! I’ve made my decision. I want this one.” Max and Katelyn were surprised. “What’s with that look?”

“Well, it’s just that game is kind of hard,” Max said.

“There are easy options” Katelyn said.

“Yeah, but I don’t know if she’ll get turned off by that” Max said.

“Well, she’s enjoying it, isn’t she?” Katelyn said.

Max smiled. “You’re right. That’s the most important thing.”

“So, can I get it?” Kagami asked.

“Sure” Max said.

Kim arrived. He found a place to hide and woke Beyyo up. “Hey. We’re here. You can continue your search now.”

Beyyo woke up and said “Thanks.” Kim went off to find Max. Beyyo was about to fly out when he saw Kagami. “Well, I guess it’s my lucky day. He flew over, careful not to get spotted.

“Hey Max” Kim said. “You wanted me to come over.”

“Yeah, um, we already figured it out,” Max said. “Sorry to drag you out here.”

“It’s OK” Kim said. “I was running by here anyway.” He then noticed Katelyn. “What’s she doing here?”

“Oh, well, we kind of bumped into each other,” Max said. “She’s the one who helped me in the end.” Katelyn blushed.

Kim noticed this. “I see.”

“Oh right” Max said. “Kim, this is Kagami She’s the one Adrien asked us to help.”

“Oh. Pleasure to meet you” Kim said.

“Likewise” Kagami replied.

“Well, we’re almost ready to go” Katelyn said. “We just need to pick up a few things and we’ll be off.”

“Cool. I’m going to pick up a date movie for me and Ondine while I’m here. Meet you at the register?”

“Sure” Max said. Kim left to browse the movies.

Max and Katelyn were busy picking out the system and the necessary accessories when Kagami spotted Beyyo out of the corner of her eye. She discreetly approached him and said “What’s the consensus?”

“You passed” Beyyo said. “Did you talk to you mom?”

“Yes. I think we’ve gotten closer” Kagami said.

Beyyo nodded. “That’s all I needed to hear.” Beyyo flew off. Kagami rejoined Max and Katelyn.

The left the store after buying what they came for. “Do you need help setting it up?” Max asked.

“I think I can manage” Kagami said.

“OK. Well, seeya” Max said. Kagami walked home with her purchases while Max, Kim, and Katelyn walked off in a different direction.

“Hey Katelyn” Max said. “Wanna come over to my place a bug-test this game I’ve been working on?”

A game YOU’VE been working on?” Katelyn said in surprise.

“Yeah. I’m actually presenting it at an exhibition this Friday” Max said.

“That sound hard” Katelyn said. “If you need help with the set-up, I could give the rest of the Nighthawks a call and ask. They’d probably be good for it.”

“Really?” Max said.

“Totally” Katelyn replied.

Kim smiled all the while and texted Ondine. “I picked up a movie for us to watch. Also, I think Max is hitting it off with the girl he fought on Friday.”

Ondine replied “Really? That’s great! Maybe we could get together sometime!”

Kim texted back “Hold on. They aren’t going out just yet. But when they are, I’ll be sure to ask them.” He then looked and saw Max and Katelyn walking side by side, enjoying each other’s company. He knew that moment would come soon.

Chloe gave Adrien a hug. “Thanks for today Adrien. I really needed it.”

“Of course. Anytime” Adrien said.

Chloe left the Agreste household and made her way back home. On her way, she bumped into Marc. “Ow. Watch where you’re going!”

“Sorry. Sorry. I’m so sorry!” Marc said.

Chloe realized that this guy was nervous and felt bad at yelling at him. “No. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you.”

“It’s OK” Marc said.

Chloe noticed his gay pin. “Oh, so you’re gay too, huh.” Chloe then froze and then panicked. Why did I say ‘too’? GAH! I’m such a mess.

“You’re gay?” Marc said. Chloe nodded hesitantly. Marc started to chuckle.

“What is so funny?” Chloe said.

“I’m sorry” Marc said. “It’s just you remind me of me when I first told someone. You’ll get there. Don’t worry.” Chloe found his words oddly reassuring. “Hey, you know who could help? That new kid, Vlad. He’s very supportive.”

Chloe thought about that. She didn’t know Vlad too well. She knew he was Adrien’s friend, but she didn’t know too much else. But somehow, she trusted the nervous boy in front of her. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Well, see you around” Marc said. The two went their separate ways.

Beyyo flew through the city and found Vlad, who had just gotten done with his shoot. “So, how’d it go?” Vlad asked.

“It went surprisingly well” Beyyo said. “How about you?”

“Ah, well you know, same ol same ol” Vlad said. “Ready to head home?”

“You know it” Beyyo said. The two of them began to walk home.

Chapter Text

There was an air of nervousness walking into Francois Dupont High School. Marc was nervous because he still hadn’t gotten an answer from Nathaniel. Chloe because she was still a little scared about being open with her sexuality. And Marinette because she was finally going to confess to Adrien. Still, they walked into the building ready to face what was going to happen.

Nathaniel walked up to Marc, Chloe up to Vlad, and Marinette up to Alya. “Hey, can I talk to you?” they said.

“Sure Marinette, what’s up?” Alya said.

“I’m still nervous about talking to Adrien” Marinette said.

“But you are going to do it, right?” Alya asked.

“Right” Marinette sad. “If Ladybug can be brave enough to face off against villains on a day-to-day basis, I can be brave enough to face Adrien.”

“That’s the spirit girl” Alya said.

“I just want to know if you’ll be there for me” Marinette said.

“Marinette, I’ll always have your back” Alya said.

“Thanks” Marinette said.

“Sure Chloe. What’s this about?” Vlad said.

Chloe stood nervously. “Well…” She pointed to Marc. “That kid in the red told me you’d be a good person to talk to about this.”

“Ah yes, Marc” Vlad said. “Wait, about what?”

Chloe took a deep breath. She looked around and whispered into Vlad’s ear “I’m a lesbian.”

“Huh” Vlad said. “Follow me.” The two walked off.

“Oh. Hey Nathaniel” Marc said, nervously.

“I want to talk to you about what you said to me Thursday” Nathaniel said. The two sat down. “I’ve put a lot of thought into it. Before I give you my answer, I have to ask: Did you know I was bisexual?”

“What? No” Mac said. “Oh my! I didn’t even consider the fact that you didn’t like boys. I was so caught up in my own thing I-”

“Relax” Nathaniel said. “I get it. It must have been hard for you. Now, let me say what I think. I think we make a killer team. I think we compliment each other very well. And despite how timid you appear to be, you’re really bold. So, I’m willing to give this a shot.”

Marc was surprised. “You mean?”

“Yes Marc. I will go out with you” Nathaniel said.

Marc gave him a big hug. “Thank you” he said.

Nathaniel picked up Marc’s head. “Why celebrate with a hug?” They shared a kiss. Marc’s face turned completely red.

Vlad and Chloe found a place to talk in secret. “OK. We’re good. What do you want to talk about?”

Chloe said “Well…I don’t know how to tell people.”

“You told me,” Vlad said.

“I know” Chloe said. “But we don’t know each other very well. I want to tell people I’ve known for a long time, but I don’t want them to be upset with me.”

“You mean like Adrien?” Vlad asked.

“No. He knows already” Chloe said. “I mean more like the rest of the class.”

“I see” Vlad said. “Well, here’s the thing. If you want to come out to people without being too afraid, then you should control the circumstances in which you do it. That way, if something goes wrong, you can dictate what happens next.”

Chloe thought about it. “That’s a good idea. I think I have the perfect way to do it.”

“Then by all means” Vlad said.

“That Marc kid was right. You were good to talk to” Chloe said.

“By the way, if you’re ready to be more open, my Paris Pride booth is open today” Vlad said.

Chloe looked at him. “I’ll…think about it.” She walked off to class. Vlad wasn’t too far behind her.

Class was starting, and Ms. Bustier walked into the classroom with a skip in her step. “There’s something new about Ms. Bustier” Alya said.

“Yeah, she seems even cheerier than usual” Nino said.

“You don’t think…” Marinette said.

Adrien raised his hand. “Ms. Bustier. You seem different today. Why’s that?”

“Oh, you noticed” Ms. Bustier said. Her eyes shifted. “Well, to be honest, I’ve been seeing someone recently.” The entire class clapped for her. “Thank you class. Anyway, we had a date last night, and it went very well.”

“What’s their name? Who asked out who? What happened on the date?” Rose asked.

“Rose, settle down” Ms. Bustier said. Rose stopped asking questions. “We’ve only been on a few dates so far, so I’m not ready to divulge that information quite yet. Although, things have been going so well. I wouldn’t be surprised…”

“Surprised if what?” Alix asked.

Ms. Bustier sighed. “If he’s the one.”

The class collectively went “Awwwww.”

“Ahem. Yes. Well. Anyway, we should get started” Ms. Bustier said.

During their break, Vlad was at his booth. Nathaniel and Marc walked up. “Hey Vlad” Nathaniel said.

“Hey Nathaniel. Marc. What’s up?” Vlad said.

Nathaniel and Marc looked at each other. “Marc and I started dating. We wanted to sign up for the parade.”

“Really?” Vlad said. “Congratulations. Might I also interest you in a pin?” Vlad held up a gay pin.

“I’m bi” Nathaniel said.

“Sorry. My mistake” Vlad said. He put down the gay pin and picked up a bi one. “Here you go.”

“Thanks” Nathaniel said. Nathaniel got his pin, they signed up, and went off.

They passed by Marinette and Alya. “Marinette!” Marc said. “Thanks.”

Marinette immediately knew what was going on. She smiled and said “You’re welcome. But you did this by yourself.”

Marc smiled back. “Thanks. I hope things go well with you.” He leaned back on Nathaniel’s arm and they continued walking.

“They’re so cute together” Marinette said.

“I’ll say” Alya said. “You know, first Ms. Bustier, then Marc and Nathaniel. I think love is in the air. Today is the perfect day to confess to Adrien.”

“You’re right Alya” Marinette said. “First thing after school.”

The bell rang. “Come on. We’ve gotta get back to class.” The two walked over to the classroom.

After school, Adrien left right away. “Marinette. Go” Alya said.

Marinette chased Adrien. “Adrien wai-” she bumped into Adrien and fell to the ground.

“Yes Marinette?” Adrien said, helping her off of the ground.

Marinette got up. She stared at Adrien and gulped. “Well…here’s the thing…” she said. She took a breath. “I just need to say it. Adrien. I’m in love with you.” Adrien’s mouth hung agape. “And not like I have a little crush on you, I’m in LOOOOOOOOOOOVE with you. To the point where it’s a little weird. But I figured I needed to tell you at some point, otherwise I’d go through life regretting everything. And I MEAN everything. I hope that you’ll say it back, but I’m prepared if you don’t…” Marinette stood there waiting for something.

Adrien was confused. This was an unambiguous confession of love coming from Marinette. Once she got going, she didn’t trip over her words. She was confident. She knew what she was doing, and Adrien’s heart skipped a beat. He started to blush. However, he said “Marinette…” He sighed. “I appreciate the thought and the effort it took for you to get to this point. But there’s this other girl I like.” Marinette started to tear up. “However, she doesn’t have that much of an interest in me, and everyone I’ve talked to about it says I should give up. And I want to. And you’ve just made it easier. But I still need to think this out. This isn’t a ‘No.’ This is a ‘Maybe.’ Once I settle this, I’ll give you an answer. Is that OK?” Marinette was breathless. She nodded. “Thanks.” Adrien said. He left.

Alya walked up to Marinette and said “Well, it wasn’t as bad as it could be, right?”

Marinette looked down. “He likes someone else.”

“Yeah, but she doesn’t like him back” Alya said. “He just needs to think things through, like he said. Are you OK?”

“Yeah” Marinette said.

“Do you need anything?” Alya asked.

“No. I just want to be alone right now” Marinette said. She walked to her locker.

She grabbed what she needed to get out of her locker and closed it. Hey” Vlad said.

“GAH!” Marinette said.

“I saw what happened back there,” Vlad said. “Wanna talk about it?”

Marinette smiled. “No. That’s OK. I just want to be alone right now.”

Vlad smiled back. “Very well. If you need anything, I’m available.” He walked out of the locker room.

Tikki popped out and said “Marinette that was very brave of you.”

“Yeah” Marinette said.

“Are you feeling alright?” Tikki asked.

“I’ll be fine. But I need to put on a brave face” Marinette said, giving Tikki a look.

“I understand” Tikki said, nodding.

“Tikki! Spots on!” Marinette said. She turned into Ladybug and left the building.

When Adrien was far enough away from school he took out Plagg. “Can you believe it Plagg? Marinette confessed to me.”

“Why didn’t you say yes?” Plagg asked, sternly.

“Because, I want to figure out my deal with Ladybug” Adrien said.

“She said she wasn’t interested. She said she liked another boy. Why do you still pine for her?” Plagg said.

“Well, it’s almost faded” Adrien said. “But a small part of me hold onto hope.”

“Oh good grief” Plagg said.

Adrien spotted Ladybug swinging through the air. “I know. I’ll talk to Ladybug about this” he said.

Plagg was in disbelief. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea kid.”

“Oh, what do you know about love?” Adrien said. “Plagg! Claws out!” He turned into Cat Noir and started heading in Ladybug’s direction

Ladybug landed on a roof and sat down. “Hey Ladybug” Cat Noir said.

“Go away Cat Noir. I’m not in the mood” Ladybug said.

Cat Noir was shocked. “I just needed someone to talk to.”

“Well, I want to be alone right now” Ladybug said. “I haven’t had the best day.”

“Wanna talk about it?” Cat Noir said.

“No! I told you Cat Noir. I want to be left alone for right now” Ladybug said.

“You don’t have to be rude, you know!” Cat Noir said.

“I’m kind of going through something right now! I can act how I want!” Ladybug said.

Meanwhile, a guy with brown shoulder-length hair, a light blue jacket and pants to match, a black shirt underneath, a watch, and black dress shoes was walking down the street with some flowers. “I sure hope Caline likes these,” he said. “Hopefully she won’t get too mad that I left something at her place last night.” He continued walking and stopped at Ms. Bustier’s house. He looked through the window and saw her with another man. A big buff man with short orange hair, wearing a tan jacket and pants with a black shirt. Caline then picked up a young girl while a young boy walked up to her. The guy outside could not believe it. His heart was shattered.

“Well well, someone who just found out they were a toy in someone’s game. A pawn used just for love. How cruel” Hawk Moth said. “Fly away, little Akuma, and evilize him!”

The Akuma flew to the guy and fused with his watch. “Homewrecker! I am Hawk Moth. I’m giving you the power to smash through relationships, especially ones where infidelity is present. In return, you are going to give me Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“I won’t cheat you on that, Hawk Moth” the guy said. The purple-black aura formed around him.

Vlad was walking around when he saw someone Akumatizing. “This is bad” He said. He hid behind a wall and called “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He transformed into Judgement Wolf.

Homewrecker appeared out of the aura. He had an orange skintight suit, with yellow gloves, yellow boots, a yellow hardhat, a yellow safety vest with a broken heart symbol on the back, a sledgehammer, and his watch. He took his sledgehammer and broke down the door to Ms. Bustier’s house. Ms. Bustier, the man, and the children looked at the damage and the man coming in. “Hello, darling!” Homewrecker said.

“Hugo?” Caline said.

“I was” Homewrecker said. ‘But then I found out I was just a piece of meat to you. Something to have fun with on the side while you enjoy your life with your family. Now? Now I’m Homewrecker. And I’m here to ruin that relationship.”

“Hugo, please, just listen” Caline said.

“Shut up!” Homewrecker said. “Talking is over! It’s time for action.”

He swung his sledgehammer down, but Judgement Wolf dived through the window and blocked him. “Run!” he said.

Ms. Bustier and her guests ran outside.

“Get out of my way, wolfy. This is justified” Homewrecker said.

“Violence is never justified” Judgement Wolf said. Outside, they heard a car start. They saw the man Ms. Bustier had over driving off with her and the kids. Homewrecker ran outside to chase them, while Judgement Wolf was not to far behind.

“Do you think Marinette will be alright?” Nino asked.

“Yeah” Alya said. “She’s gotten really tough since I first met her.” They then saw the car racing down the street. Then Homewrecker. Then Judgement Wolf. Nino and Alya looked at each other, knowing what to do.

The man kept driving, but Homewrecker wasn’t too far behind them. He threw his hammer and took out one of the wheels. He then summoned his hammer back to him.“Get out!” He demanded. The four got out. “Heh” he said. He picked up his hammer and was about to strike, but Carapace blocked it with his shield “Run!” The group ran away.

“Don’t get in my way, turtle boy!” Homewrecker said. He smashed his hammer on the ground, causing pillars to erupt at Carapace. Carapace used his shield to cut through them, but Homewrecker jumped up.

Luckily, Rena Rouge appeared from above and smack him down to the street. “Is it OK for me to get in your way?” she said. Homewrecker growled and began to fight the two.

Judgement Wolf struck Homewrecker from behind. “You didn’t forget about me, did you?” Homewrecker struck the ground, creating a hole that blasted away the three heroes.

“Where’s Ladybug and Cat Noir?” Rena asked.

“Good question” Judgement Wolf replied. “Keep him busy. I’ll find out.” He jumped out of the way. Rena and Carapace readied up to fight Homewrecker.

They charged him. “I thought I told you to stay out of my way!” Homewrecker said, swinging his hammer at them, Carapace jumped while Rena Rouge ducked under it, and they struck him, pushing him back.

“We make a good team” Rena said.

“Totally” Carapace said. The two did an intricate fist bump.

“So, you’re lovebird heroes, huh?” Homewrecker said. “Well, I can fix that.”

“Why would that be fixing anything?” Carapace asked.

“Because you think you love someone, but then she has a husband and kids she doesn’t tell you about!” Homewrecker said. “Love always ends in heartbreak!”

“Um, I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t” Rena Rouge said.

“Shut up! I don’t want to hear it!” Homewrecker said. They charged each other.

Meanwhile, Ladybug and Cat Noir were still having a shouting match. “I told you! I want to be left alone!” Ladybug said.

“I need to talk to someone!’ Cat Noir said.

“Find someone else!” Ladybug responded.

“You’re the one I want to talk about this with!” Cat Noir spoke back.

Ladybug’s yo-yo went off. She picked it up. “Hello?”

“WHERE ARE YOU?!” Judgement Wolf screamed from the other side. “We’ve got a situation!”

Once they stopped screaming, Ladybug and Cat Noir could hear the commotion going on. “Sorry. Cat Noir and I got into  little fight, and-”

“We don’t have time for that!” Judgement Wolf said. “Just get down here!” He hung up.

“An Akuma?” Cat Noir said.

“Yeah” Ladybug said. “We’ll figure this out later.” Ladybug and Cat Noir left.

Rena was knocked to the ground. “Well well” Homewrecker said. He lifted his hammer and began to swing down.

Before it could land, Carapace got in his way and called out “Shell-ter!” Homewrecker’s sledgehammer landed on the barrier and it bounced off of it, flying back.

Rena picked up her flute and played it. “Mirage!” She flung the mirage forward, and then a lot of copies of the sledgehammer littered the streets. “Good luck finding the real one,” she said.

Homewrecker panicked and tried grabbing his hammer, only for it to be a mirage each time. Judgement Wolf picked up the real one and said “Good thing I can tell.” He then smacked Homewrecker across the street with it. Cat Noir and Ladybug arrived. “Finally.”

“Sorry again” Ladybug said.

“Ladybug! Cat Noir! You finally showed up!” Homewrecker said. He summoned his hammer back to him. “Hawk Moth wants your miraculous.”

“And we want to stop you! Let’s see who gets what they want!” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! A teacup?”

“Does it come with a tempest?” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug looked at Homewrecker and noticed his watch. “I’m betting the Akuma is in the watch.”

“Let’s hope it’s not a bad bet” Cat Noir.

“Cat Noir. Keep his attention while I figure out what to do with this!” Ladybug commanded.

“On it” Cat Noir said.

“Me too” Judgement Wolf replied. They went to meet him. They battled him, and eventually Rena Rouge and Carapace joined in.

Ladybug looked around. She saw a cafe and ran towards it. “Cat Noir! Follow me!”

Cat Noir looked at Ladybug and said “ Coming!” He ran off. Homewrecker was confused. He knocked away the other heroes and chased after them

Cat Noir met Ladybug in the cafe.”Cat Noir. I need to to be ready on the other side of the counter.” Cat Noir nodded and took his position. “One Chamomile tea please” Ladybug asked the clerk, giving him the teacup. “As fast as possible.”

“Sure thing, Ladybug!” the clerk said. He got some tea for her. “Here you go.”

“Thanks” Ladybug said. She started drinking it. “Ah!”

Homewrecker walked in and smelled Ladybug’s Chamomile tea. “That’s Caline’s favorite… GAH!” He said, charging at Ladybug.

“Cat Noir!” Ladybug said.

“Cataclysm!” Cat Noir said. He destroyed one of the machines, which caused a stream of hot water to blast in Homewrecker’s face.

Ladybug lifted the watch off of Homewrecker and destroyed it, freeing the Akuma. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” She threw the teacup in the air. The Ladybugs fixed the damage caused by Homewrecker.

“What happened?” Hugo said, returning to himself.

“Pound it!” Ladybug and Cat Noir said.

“Homewrecker my have lost” Hawk Moth said. “But I will never end up like him!”

Ladybug and Cat Noir walked Hugo out of the cafe. “Hugo?” Ms. Bustier said, returning with the people that were in her house.

“Listen Caline. I don’t want to be a footnote in someone else’s happiness” Hugo said. “And when I saw you with your husband, I panicked. So, as much fun as we’ve had recently, I’m afraid it’s over between us.”

Ms. Bustier smiled. “I was trying to tell you earlier. This is my brother.”

“What?” Hugo said.

“His wife is in the hospital right now” Ms. Bustier said. “He wanted to visit her, and he asked me to look after his kids.”

“Oh” Hugo said. “I’m so embarrassed. I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK” Ms. Bustier said. “It happens to the best of us. Why, I once tried to get all of Paris to love each other and turned them into love zombies.”

“Yeah. I remember” Hugo said. “Listen, I’m sorry. Do you still wanna go out with me?”

Ms. Bustier smiled. Of course” she said. “But, why were you outside my house anyway?”

“Oh. That” Hugo said. “Well, I accidentally left my keys at your place. I was coming to see if I can get them back.”

Ms. Bustier smiled. “Why don’t you come and spend the day with Geraldine, Rupert and I?”

“Can I?” Hugo asked.

“Well, it’s up to Leo” Ms. Bustier said.

Ms. Bustier’s brother sighed and said “Well, you talked him up so much, and he seems like a nice guy. What the heck.”

“Thanks Leo” Ms. Bustier said.

Geraldine and Rupert were hiding behind Ms. Bustier. Hugo lowered himself and said “Sorry I scared you earlier. What can I do to make up for it?”

The kids looked at each other Rupert said “Can we go to the merry-go-round?”

“We can do whatever you want” Hugo said.

The kids smiled. “Thanks Mr. Hugo” Rupert said. The four of them walked off, while Leo got back in his care to visit his wife.

“What a sweet ending” Cat Noir said.

“Indeed” Judgement Wolf said, appearing behind Ladybug and Cat Noir. “Now, what can we learn from this?”

Ladybug and Cat Noir looked at each other. “Right” Ladybug said. Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous started beeping. “Can we talk about this later?”

“Nope” Judgement Wolf said.

“Where is Rena Rouge and Carapace?” Cat Noir asked.

“They left when the ladybugs appeared. They used their powers earlier” Judgment Wolf said. “Now let’s go!” Judgement Wolf grabbed Ladybug and Cat Noir and dragged them off. They went into an ally, and Judgement Wolf hid them from each other as they detransformed. “Feed your kwamis. Then we’ll talk.” They fed Tikki and Plagg and then transformed back. “Now. What was all of this about?”

“Well, I wanted someone to talk to, and I saw Ladybug and figured I should talk to her” Cat Noir said.

“I was having kind of a bad day and I wanted to be alone” Ladybug said. “I’m sorry I took it out on you.”

“It’s OK” Cat Noir said. “I should have been more understanding with you. I’m sorry you had a bad day.”

Ladybug smiled. “It’s OK. It might not be all bad.”

“Are we good?” Judgement Wolf said. The two nodded. “Good. I don’t want to see your teamwork dissolve over some argument. Cat Noir! I’ll lend you an ear. Then I’ll talk to Ladybug. I’ve got some stuff I need to tell her anyway. Are we clear?”

“Yeah” Ladybug said.

“Alright. Let’s move out!” Judgement Wolf said.

Ladybug went her own way, while Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf went to Adrien’s house. They destransformed and entered from the front door. “It’s funny” Adrien said. “I’m so used to going through my window that coming in through the door after a fight seems weird to me.”

 “So, what do you want to talk about?” Vlad asked.

“Riiiiiiight” Adrien said. “Marinette kind of confessed her love for me.”

“I know. I saw the whole thing” Vlad said.

“You don’t sound surprised. Did you know?” Adrien asked.

“As far as I know, you’re the only one that didn’t know” Vlad said. Adrien pouted. Vlad chuckled. “Still, what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know” Adrien said. “I want to talk to Ladybug about this, but she’s not in the mood to listen.”

“Why Ladybug?” Vlad asked.

“I want to be sure that my feelings for Ladybug can be put on hold” Adrien said. “I’ve kind of started notice Marinette as more than just a friend, and when she confessed to me, it was a surprise. I just want to be sure that it’s right, you know?”

Vlad smiled. “Tell you what. I’ll talk to Ladybug and see when she wants to meet with you. How does that sound?”

Adrien smiled. “Sounds like a plan.”

“Great” Vlad said.”Seeya.” He left.

He headed to Marinette’s place. “Hi” Marinette said, answer the door.

“Let’s head upstairs” Vlad said. They did.

“What did Cat Noir say?” Marinette asked.

“He wanted to talk with you about something” Vlad said. “But he’s willing to wait for you to want to talk to him again.”

Marinette smiled. “That’s sweet of him.”

“So, how are you feeling?” Vlad asked.

“To be honest, I feel alright” Marinette said. “Adrien didn’t immediately turn me down, I helped save Paris again, and I got to meet Ms. Bustier’s boyfriend. He seems nice.”

“Indeed” Vlad said. “Tell you what. Let me talk to Adrien. I might get to the bottom of his issues.”

“Really? You’d do that for me?” Marinette said.

“Of course” Vlad said. “What are friends for?”

Marinette hugged Vlad. “Thank you thank you thank you!” she said.

Vlad broke the hug. “OK sweetie” he said.

“Didn’t you say you had other information for us?” Tikki asked.

“Oh, yeah” Vlad said. “Two things. One, Kagami’s mom knows she’s Ryuko.”

“Oh no!” Marinette said.

“Relax” Vlad said. “The other thing is she has some artifacts relating to the miraculous. She knows some things. So I don’t think we have to worry about her telling anyone.”

Marinette sighed. “Good.”

“I told her you’d go and look at it” Beyyo said.

“I’ll check it out. Thanks guys” Marinette said.

“You’re welcome” Beyyo said.

“Well, we gotta get going” Vlad said.

“Take care” Marinette said.

Once Vlad was out of the building and walking home, Beyyo came up to him and asked “What are you going to do?”

“Well, I have an idea, but I need to ask you something” Vlad said. “Do you think they’re ready?” Beyyo was shocked. He then nodded. “Good. Then it’s time to put the wheels in motion for Operation: Hero Love!”

Chapter Text

Before he went home, Vlad stopped by Master Fu’s place. “What is it?” he asked.

“I believe they’re ready to know” Vlad said.

Master Fu looked at him. Beyyo nodded. “Very well” he said. Vlad left.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Ziggy asked.

“If the holder of the wolf miraculous and the kwami of doubt are ready to reveal it to them, then I don’t see that much of a problem” Master Fu said.

Ziggy looked at him. “You know, as guardian, you have some level of authority over him. You seem to be letting him boss you around.”

“That is true, but you could tell the level of conviction he had” Master Fu said. “If I had said no, he still would have done it anyway.”

“I guess that’s true” Ziggy said.

“It is wise to learn to pick your battles” Master Fu said. “Otherwise, you’ll end up losing whatever power you have.”

“I see” Ziggy said.

The next day at school, there was a noticeable distance between Adrien and Marinette. Both of them wanted to say something, but neither knew what to say. Marinette knew that anything she said wouldn’t speed up Adrien’s answer and Adrien wants to say ‘yes’ but needed to talk with Ladybug.

Once it was time for a break, Vlad pulled Nino and Alya aside. Beyyo left to take care of something else. “Alya. Nino. I need your help” Vlad said.

“With what?” Alya said.

“Isn’t obvious?” Vlad asked. “Marinette and Adrien.”

“Oh” Alya said.

“I have a plan that will get them together tonight. However, that’s going to be time consuming. So I’m going to need you to set up the rest of the evening. Plus, you know them better” Vlad said. “Can you do that?”

“Sure sure” Nino said. “But, what makes you so sure that they’ll even talk to each other, let alone go on this date?”

Vlad put a hand of each of their shoulders. “That… is a story for another time. And worst case scenario, it doesn’t work, and you guys can use the date. Deal?”

Nino and Alya looked at each other, smiled, and said “Deal!”

Meanwhile, Beyyo had gathered Tikki and Plagg. “What’s this about?” Tikki asked.

“Yeah, I was just about to take a nice nap, you know” Plagg said.

“My user and I are working on telling Ladybug and Cat Noir who they are to each other” Beyyo said. Both of the other kwamis were stunned silent. Beyyo continued “I just needed to see if both of you were on board for it.”

“Well, I’m on board” Plagg said. “I’m sick of him not doing anything when it comes to women. Besides, I told him yesterday not to visit Ladybug, but he didn’t listen.”

“Is that true?” Tikki asked.

“Of course” Plagg said.

Tikki glared at him. She then broke the glare and said, “Well, I have some concerns. Do you think Ladybug would be able to handle it?”

Beyyo smiled “We wouldn’t be doing this if we thought she couldn’t.”

Tikki now glared at him. “Very well. But if things go wrong, I’m taking it out on you.”

“By all means” Beyyo said. The three went back to their owners. Tikki and Plagg hid, while Beyyo conversed with Vlad before hiding. “I got their OK” he said “Although, if things go wrong, TIkki’s going to beat me up.”

“Well, let’s hope this goes without a hitch,” Vlad said. “I got Alya and Nino to plan the night. Things are going well so far.” Vlad then got a text message. “‘Party at Chloe’s tomorrow night! Don’t tell anyone if you got this message.’ Huh? Good thing it’s not tonight.”

“Yeah, that’s lucky” Beyyo said.

“It looks like our plans are coming together nicely, huh?” Vlad said. The bell rang. “Hide Beyyo.”

After school, before Adrien left, Vlad caught him. “Adrien!” He pulled him aside. “I can get Ladybug to talk to you. Tonight at 6 at the Place des Vosges.”

“Really? But how?” Adrien asked.

“You leave that to me” Vlad said.

“Well, thanks” Adrien said. He had a confused look on his face, but as he kept walking, it turned to a smile.

Marinette and Vlad walked up to each other and Marinette asked “What was that about?”

Vlad smiled. “I got Adrien to agree to meet with you so he can give you his answer. Tonight at 6 at the Place des Vosges. Can you make it?”

“Of course” Marinette said. “But, how did you get him to do it?”

“Well, we’re friends. I have ways of being persuasive” Vlad said. “Anyway, seeya.” Vlad took off.

Marinette grabbed Alya and asked “Hey Alya, can you come and talk with me?”

Alya noticed her friend’s nervousness, but she also knew that blowing her off was for her in the end. So she said “Sorry girl. I promised Nino we would do something this afternoon.” Marinette looked disappointed. “Relax girl. You got this! You’ve already confessed to him. That’s the biggest hurdle.”

Marinette smiled. “Thanks Alya.” Alya left with Nino, and Marinette went off by herself.

“What are you going to do?” TIkki asked.

“Well, I’m going to meet Adrien tonight” Marinette said. “But I need something to take my mind off of it until then. So, maybe we can head over to Kagami’s and see what her mother has?”

“Whatever you want, Marinette” Tikki said.

“Tikki! Spots on!” Marinette called, transforming into Ladybug. She then left for Kagami’s.

“Really? Thank you SO much!” Alya said on the phone. She hung up. “Alright, I found a nice little bistro that had tables available. Their online ranking is about 3 ½ stars, so it should be good.”

“And done” Nino said, dripping the last of the cookie dough on the baking pan. “Now we just gotta put it in, and we’ll have a nice gift for the two of them as well.”

“Now all we gotta do is find out where Andre is going to be tonight” Alya said.

“It’s so nice of you to do this all for your friends” Trixx said.

“Indeed. I believe it’s, how you say, radical” Wayzz said. Nino and Alya rolled their eyes. “By the way, can we get a helping of that cookie dough?” 

“Yeah. Can we? Please?!” Trixx joined in.

“OK you two, but save some for us” Alya said. The two kwamis began to chow down. Nino was writing something down. “And what are you doing?”

“I’m writing them a note” Nino said. “To send with the cookies. Wanna say something?”

Alya looked at her boyfriend. “Sure” she said. She took the pen and began writing.

Ladybug arrived at the Tsurugi household and rang the bell. Tomoe answered. “Hello?”

“Hi ma’m. It’s Ladybug” she said.

“Come on in” Tomoe said. Ladybug entered.

Ladybug heard a song playing. “…Frustration is getting bigger! Bang! Bang Bang! Pull my Devil Trigger…”

“Um, what’s that?” Ladybug asked.

“Oh , that? My daughter recently convinced me to let her play video games. She’s been enamored with that one since she got it” Tomoe said.

“I see” Ladybug said. “Anyway, my friend told me you have stuff for me?”

“Yes” Tomoe said. She grabbed some of the artifacts. “Here.” She gave them to Ladybug. “They might not be much, but it’s what I’ve got.”

Ladybug took them. “Really. Any little bit helps. I’ll take them to the guardian.”

“There’s a guardian in Paris?” Tomoe said. “I thought they were all wiped out.”

“Well, mostly” Ladybug said, sadly. “But there is one. And he thanks you for these.”

Tomoe smiled. “When you see him, please give him my gratitude.”

“Will do” Ladybug said. She left with the artifacts.

Alya got an alert on her phone while Nino was taking the cookies out of the oven. “Woah!” she said.

“What is it?” Nino asked.

“Look where Andre is going to be tonight” Alya said, sharing her phone with him.

Nino looked. “Woah!”

Trixx and Wayzz were sitting on top of the fridge. “So, how do you think Vlad is managing to get them both there?” Trixx asked.

“Well, this is just a guess, but I think he’s using his secret” Wayzz said, tapping the front of his face.

“Ohhhhhhhhhh. That makes sense” Trixx said. “Wait, do you think that that means…?”

“I do” Wayzz said.

“Woah!” Trixx replied.

“What are you two talking about?” Alya asked.

“Nothing!” Trixx said. Alya was curious.

“Wayzz. Come on bro. What’s up?” Nino asked.

“We’re just talking kwami stuff” Wayzz answered.

Nino sighed. “Well, whatever. We’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Especially from you Trixx. You’re pretty bad at lying” Alya said.

Trixx pouted “I’m the kwami of illusion. I’m better at lying with images than words.”

“Alright, I’m sorry” Alya said.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s with the artifacts. “Master Fu! These are some artifacts that someone gave to me regarding kwamis and stuff” Marinette said, setting them down.

“Thanks Marinette” Master Fu said.

“She also told me to tell you thanks for being a guardian” Marinette said.

“I see” Master Fu said. “She’s very welcome.”

“Anyway, can you look through this by yourself? I’ve got an important meeting tonight, and I have to get ready.”

“Of course” Master Fu said.

“Great. Seeya!” Marinette ran out the door.

Ziggy popped out and said “You don’t even need my power to tell how she’s feeling.”

“That’s what makes her a good Ladybug” Master Fu said. “She projects an earnest truth wherever she goes. That way, people can know what she’s like and trust her right away.”

“Of course” Ziggy said.

Marinette finished preparing herself. “Tikki, how do I look?”

“You look great!” TIkki said. “And Alya’s right. You don’t have anything to be so nervous about.”

“Thanks Tikki” Marinette said. “I just hope it goes right.” She headed downstairs. “I’m meeting someone. Be back tonight.”

“Very well” Sabine said.

“Take care now,” Tom said.

“I will. Bye momon. By papa” Marinette said. She left her building.

Adiren was walking down stairs. “Where are you going?” Gabriel asked.

Adrien turned to meet his father. “I’m meeting someone in the Place des Vosges. It’s kind of important.”

Gabriel nodded his head. “Very well. You know the rules. Just be back by midnight.”

Adrien smiled. “Thanks father!” He ran out the door. He continued running until he found a place to hide. “Plagg! Claws out!” He transformed into Cat Noir.

Marinette was in the Place des Vosges, looking around for any sign of Adrien. Cat Noir lept into the area and started to look for Ladybug. That’s when he saw Marinette. “Marinette?” he said.

“Cat Noir?!” Marinette said. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m supposed to meet Ladybug here” Cat Noir said.

“Oh” Marinette said. “Well, what if she doesn’t show?”

“That’s impossible. Judgement Wolf said she’d be here” Cat Noir said. “Well, what about you. What are you doing here?”

Marinette was confused, but answered honestly. “I’m supposed to be meeting this guy I like. My friend Vlad said he’d be here.” Cat Noir looked equally confused.

“Allow me to explain” Vlad said, coming out of the woodwork. He walked up to Marinette, put his arm around her shoulder and said “Marinette. Meet Adrien.” He then did the same to Cat Noir. “Cat Noir. Meet Ladybug.”

Marinette can Cat Noir stared at each other blankly for a few seconds. Cat Noir then said “Plagg! Claws in!” Turning back into Adrien.

“Adrien?” Marinette said. Tikki then appeared in front of her.

“Ladybug?” Adrien replied.

“I don’t understand” Marinette said.

“It’s simple” Vlad said. “You two are Paris’s premiere superhero duo.”

“So, I was in love with you this whole time?” Adrien said. “Just my luck. The girl of my dreams was a lot closer than I realized, and I didn’t notice.”

“You were, in love with me?” Marinette said.

“Well, yeah…As Ladybug…” Adrien said.

“Oh” Marinette said. “If I had known, I might have said yes to you all those times.”

Adrien smiled. “It’s OK Marinette. This gives me a chance to say yes to you.”

“You mean?!” Marinette said.

“Of course” Adrien said. “I’d like to go out with you.” He gave her a hug. Marinette started blushing uncontrollably. She eventually gave him a hug back.

“Good” Vlad said. “Your first date is tonight.”

“Tonight?!” Marinette said.

“But, I haven’t prepared anything” Adrien said.

“Relax. I got Nino and Alya to help out” Vlad said. “They also sent you these cookies and a card.” He handed the cookies to Marinette.

“Wait, do THEY know?” Marinette asked. “You know… About…” she gestured to Tikki and Plagg.

“Of course not. I was very careful about that” Vlad said. Marnette sighed.

Adrien took the card and opened it. Marinette looked on. “Hey dude. I assume if you’re you’re reading this, you’ve at least agreed to go out. Congratulations dude and dudette! I knew you’d get there eventually. Well, as soon as I figured it out. You two make a good couple. I hope things go well for you tonight and for the rest of time. -Nino.”

“Hey girl. You finally did it! You finally got Adrien to go out with you. I am so proud of you! And Adrien, if you break her heart, I will beat you up. But I know you won’t. You’re such a good person, and I know that you’ll cherish her forever. -Alya.”

“We have such good friends” Adrien said.

“Anyway, you have reservations at a restaurant at 7” Vlad said. “Here’s the address.”

Marinette read the address. “That’s not too far from here. Ready?”

“For you? Always” Adrien said. The two walked hand in hand, sharing the cookies along the way.

Vlad watched on. “Well, my work here is done.”

“I gotta say, that went well” Beyyo said.

Marinette and Adrien arrived at the bistro. They asked about their table, and the waiter lead them there and took their order. The two were sitting opposite of each other. “I’ve gotta say, this isn’t exactly how I imagined our first date would go” Marinette said.

“Me either. But I’m glad we have friends like Alya, Nino, and Vlad to push us” Adrien said. “Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be having this date at all. We’d still be caught up in out own little fantasies.”

“Yeah. You’re right” Marinette said. She took a sip of her water. “So, might I ask, what made you fall in love with Ladybug?”

Adrien smiled. “I fell in love almost instantly. It was during the second Stoneheart fight. They way you were concerned. The way you saved everybody. The way you challenged Hawk Moth when he tried to spin things. You were amazing.”

Marinette blushed. “Thanks” she said. “To tell the truth, after I had failed to capture the Akuma the first time, I almost considered giving up on being Ladybug.”

This took Adrien by surprise. “What made you change your mind?”

Marinette smiled. “Alya was in trouble. I needed to help.”

Adrien smiled. “That’s so like you.” He paused for a moment. “So, when did you fall in love with me?”

Marinette was shocked. She then answered. “It was when you gave me that umbrella and apologized to me. I could see just how sweet you were then. After I got mad and wrote you off you talked to me anyway. You were still nice to me. I admire how you always make people feel at ease.”

“I see” Adrien said. “Well, Nino was the one who encouraged me to talk to you after that.”

“It sounds like our friends were setting us up before they even knew it” Marinette said.

“You’re right” Adrien chuckled.

The two continued their date and talked about all of the trouble they seemed to cause themselves because of this secret. Evillistrator. Horrificator. Simon Says. Santa Claws. Riposte. Glaciator. Gorizilla. Zombizou. Frozer. Style Queen. Backwarder. Weredad. Homewrecker. Despite the amount of embarrassment that caused for them, they had fun anyway.

“I’m having a lot of fun tonight” Adrien said.

“Me too” Marinette said.

“Do you think this is how we felt during the Oblivio attack?” Adrien asked.

“Oh no” Marinette said. She started banging her head on the table.

“What’s wrong?” Adrien asked.

“I just realized that when we kiss, it’ll be our THIRD kiss” Marinette said. “Once to break you from Dark Cupid’s spell, and the Oblivio kiss.”

Adrien laughed. “Well at least it won’t be our fourth” he said, reminding her of the incident at the wax museum. Marinette groaned. “Don’t worry Marinette. When we kiss, it’ll be one we know and cherish for all time. Promise.”

Marinette stopped banging her head on the table. “Thanks.”

They finished their dinner and Adrien footed the bill. He smiled, looking at Marinette. “What?” she said.

“Nothing” Adrien said. “I just love you.” Marinette blushed.

They then got an alert on their phones. Marinette got one from Alya, and Adrien got one from Nino. Despite this, they said the same thing, and Marinette and Adrien knew it. “The night’s not over yet!” with a picture of Andre’s in front of the Eiffel Tower.

“Well, shall we?” Adrien said.

“We shall” Marinette replied. The two headed out of the restaurant and to Andre’s.

Once they got there, Andre got a good look at the two of them and said “Oh my! Such love! Such passion! I can only assume you’re coming here for sweethearts ice cream as a couple!”

Marinette and Adrine looked at each other. Marinette said. “We are.”

“My! How wonderful!” Andre said. He got out his ice cream scoop. “Peach pink like his lips, and mint like his eyes. Don’t think Andre can’t see through your lies.” He handed Marinette her ice cream.

“Yeah. Sorry about that. I was just a little upset and embarrassed” Marinette said.

“It’s alright, cause in the end, I really cherish you AND your boyfriend!” Andre said.

“Thanks” Marinette said.

“Woah. Was that about me?” Adrien asked.

“Yes! And now for you” Andre said. “Strawberry with black chocolate chip! Blackberries for her hair! And blueberry ice cream, just like her sky-blue stare!”

“Thanks” Adrien said.

Andre looked a little confused. “I can see the blackberry and blueberry, but the strawberry puzzles me. I know it to be true, but is there something I don’t see?”

Marinette froze. Adrien answered. “It resembles how I fell in love with her. I usually refer to her as our Everyday Ladybug. She’s so kind and helpful that I couldn’t help but fall in love with her.”

“Ah! How wonderfully delightful!” Andre said.

The couple went to enjoy their ice cream. The fed some to their kwamis. Adrien stopped eating his for a little bit. “Is something wrong?” Marinette asked.

“No” Adrien said. “For once, everything is right.” He looked at his new girlfriend. “And it’s all because of you.” Marinette smiled.

They finished their ice cream and started heading out. Adrien stopped Marinette and said. “I had a wonderful night.”

“Me too” Marinette replied.

“Wanna make it even more wonderful?” Adrien said. Marinette knew what was about to happen. Their faces grew closer. Their eyes closed. Their lips locked.

Tikki and Plagg were watching from the sidelines. “Isn’t this sweet?” Tikki said. She looked at Plagg. “Are you crying?”

“No!’ Plagg said. Tikki giggled.

An onlooker recognized Adrien and snapped a photo of the kiss. Pretty soon,it was all over the internet. When Alya and Nino saw it, they both smiled and Alya said “Way to go!” The rest of the class saw it and had a similar reaction, except for Lila, who was seething. She expected Hawk Moth to Akumatize her.

But he didn’t. Instead, Gabriel saw the picture and smiled. “Nathalie. Find whoever took that photo.”

“What are you going to do?” Nathalie asked.

“I don’t know. I’ll think of something” Gabriel said.

“Are you happy for Adrien?” Nathalie asked.

Gabriel said. “Of course Nathalie. I’m over the moon.”

“Very well, sir” Nathalie said.

When Tom and Sabine saw the photo, the collectively went “Awwwwww!”

Tom then said “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Sabine answered “Make a cake with that picture on it for their next date?”

“You know it!” Tom said.

Luka was playing his guitar when he got the photo. He laughed to himself and started playing an upbeat melody. “This is how you feel now.”

Kagami was just got done practice when she saw the photo. She smiled smugly and said “I’m glad it’s to her. I won’t lose next time.”

Master Fu saw the photo and said “Well done Ladybug. Cat Noir.”

The kiss ended. “Wow” Marinette said.

“Wow” Adrien said. “Shall I take you home?” Marinette took Adrien’s hand and they walked to Marinette’s.

When they got there, Tom and Sabine gave the two a big hug. “What’s this about?” Sabine held up her phone and showed them the picture. “Oh no.” Marinette said.

“Cheer up Marinette” Adrien said. “It’s a lovely photo.”

“It is” Sabine said.

“I’m so happy for you two,” Tom said, wiping a tear out of his eye.

Adrien and Marinette walked upstairs to Marinette’s room. “How about one just for us?” Adrien asked. They shared another kiss. “Goodnight” Adrien said, leaving.

“Goodnight” Marinette said back, moments after the door was closed.

Adrien staggered home after midnight. His dad was there waiting for him. “I can explain,” he said.

“You don’t have to” Gabriel said, smiling.

Adiren smiled back. “Thanks father!”

Chapter Text

Vlad was walking to school when he ran into Nadja and Manon. “Oh, hello” he said.

“Hi Vlad” Nadja said.

“Vlad! Did you see the picture? Marinette and Adrien kissed!” Manon said.

“She’s been obsessed with that picture since she saw it last night” Nadja said.

“It’s alright” Vlad said. He knelt down to Manon’s level. “You know, that happened because of you.”

“It did?” manon said.

“Yes. Remember when we talked and you gave me that idea?” Vlad said. “Well, I used it.”

“Yeah! So that worked?!” Manon said.

“Indeed it did” Vlad said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to school.”

“Bye” Nadja said.

“Tell Marinette congratulations for me!” Manon said, walking off with her mother.

“Will do” Vlad said.

Marinette walked into school. All eyes were on her. She was nervous. “Hey” Adrien said from behind her.

“GAH!” Marinette shrieked.

“Woah!” Adrien said.

“Sorry” Marinette said. “It’s just all these people are staring at me. I don’t know what to do.”

Adrien looked around. Everyone was staring at the two of them. Of course, Adrien was used to it. However, this was sort of new territory for Marinette.

“Don’t worry Marinette” Adrien said. “Remember when you helped me to the theater? It’s like that.”

“Yeah, but back then we weren’t dating” Marinette said, freaking out. “Is this what dating you is going to be like? Eyes on me at all times?”

Adrien saw his new girlfriend clearly not taking the situation well. He then looked at the crowd and boldly said “Yes. Marinette and I are dating.” There were murmurs from the crowd. “However, I will give you a free-autograph signing this afternoon provided you stop staring and hovering around Marinette. Our relationship is friends only.”

The crowd took well to Adrien putting his foot down. They were really excited about autographs. “Thanks” Marinette said. “How’d you do that?”

“It’s a trick you pick up when you’ve been in the  public eye as long as I have” Adrien said. “You give them something they want in exchange for what you want.”

“Well, I could have used that trick for Nadja’s interview” Marinette said.

“Speaking of, shouldn’t you be used to everyone looking at you” Adrien said. “You know, cause you’re Ladybug?”

“Yeah, but that’s Ladybug” Marinette said. “No one knows it’s clumsy little Marinette behind the mask. I assume that that’s why you’re such a goof as Cat Noir.”

“Well, kind of” Adrien said. “To be honest, I just do the things my father said I shouldn’t do on camera that I want. Same idea, but different, you know.”

Marinette giggled. “Hey!” Chloe called out, walking up to them.

“Hi Chloe” Marinette said, sweating nervously.

“Look, I’m…glad you and Adrien are dating…” Chloe said.

“You…are?” Marinette said.

“Yes…” Chloe replied. “But here’s the thing. You’re both invited to my party tonight. And I really need it to be about me. I don’t want you two to steal my thunder. Got it?”

“Believe me Chloe, the last thing I want is everyone looking at me right now” Marinette said.

“Good” Chloe said.

“But, what’s this about? Why the secrecy?” Marinette said.

“Well, that’s for you to find out, Marinette” Chloe said. “Adrien! Don’t tell her. I need to do this on my own!”

“Wouldn’t dream of it” Adrien said. Chloe walked off.

“You know what this is about?” Marinette said.

“Yeah, but I can’t say anything” Adrien said. “Well, I can tell you one little thing. It does have to do with her earning her miraculous back. She just needs to stick the landing is all.”

“Well, let’s hope tonight goes off without a hitch” Marinette said, smiling ear to ear.

Chloe kept walking and bumped into Vlad. “Gah!” she said.

“Hey Chloe, about tonight” Vlad said. “If this is what I think it is, should I feign surprise? I need to know now because I’m not great at lying.”

“You can do whatever you want” Chloe said.

“Cool. I’m going to check on the newest pair lovebirds” Vlad said. He walked off.

“After tonight, that title will belong to me” Chloe said, smugly. She quickly realized her hubris. “If all goes well.”

Vlad walked up to Marinette and Adrien. “Sup?” he said.

“Oh, hi Vlad” Marinette said.

“I just want to see how you two are doing” Vlad said. “By the way, I ran into Manon this morning. She wanted to congratulate the two of you.”

“Thanks” Marinette said.

“We’re doing great” Adrien said. “Well, for the most part.”

“I’m not huge on people staring at me” Marinette said.

“I mean, I love it, but it’s not for everyone,” Vlad said.

“Yeah, but you also know how to drive people away without transforming” Adrien said.

“Harsh. But accurate” Vlad said.

“Don’t worry Marinette. We’ll figure something out” Adrien said.

“Thanks” she replied. She gave him a kiss. “Well, we better get to class.”

Meanwhile, at the bakery, Tom and Sabine were preparing something when the heard someone come in. “Hello. How may I help you?” Sabine said. She saw Adrien’s bodyguard. “Oh. What brings you here?”

The bodyguard took out a tablet and turned it on to reveal Gabriel on the screen. “Hello Mr. Dupain. Mrs. Cheng” he said.

“Oh. Hello Mr. Agreste” Sabine said. “How may we help you?”

“As you may know, our children have started dating” Gabriel said. “I wish to speak to you about this at the soonest possible opportunity.”

“Certainly, Mr. Agreste” Sabine said. “Does tonight work?”

“Unfortunately, no” Gabriel said. “I’m…expecting company. And the next two days might be busy for me as well. I have an exhibition of my company’s latest works on Friday, and I need to prepare for it.”

“I see” Sabine said.

“But, I think Saturday will work” Gabriel said. “Perhaps we can even bring the children.”

“Oooo. I like that idea” Sabine said.

“Very well. See you Saturday” Gabriel said. The screen turned off.

“Did you hear that sweetie?” Sabine asked.

“Loud and clear” Tom said.

At the Agreste manor, Nathalie asked “Who are we expecting?”

“I’m sure Miss Rossi has some choice words for us” Gabriel responded.

Whenever they had a break, most of the class would huddle around Marinette and Adrien and ask about last night. “Could you give us some room, please? My lady isn’t too comfortable with people invading her personal space” Adrien said. The class backed up a little, but the questions kept coming. Marinette was happy to answer each of them because they were her friends. Plus, she had some new found confidence because her boyfriend was right there. She looked into his eyes lovingly.

Lila was pouting at her seat. “I take it you wanted to go out with one of them” Vlad said. Lila rolled her eyes at Vlad. “Well, let me tell you this, you didn’t have a chance with either of them until you got really, truly serious about being a nicer person. And even then, it was an outside chance at best.”

“Shut up” Lila said.

“Very well” Vlad replied.

Lila then looked at him. She didn’t LIKE Vlad, per say, but she wasn’t filled with the same seething hatred she had for Marinette. She sighed and offered an olive branch. “Why didn’t I have a chance with Adrien?” she asked.

“Well, that helps” Vlad said. “You want the honest truth?” Lila nodded. “I honestly think you had a better shot with Marinette out of the two. Adrien is naive, sure, but he’s also caring and stupidly loyal. The amount of trouble you caused under Hawk Moth’s wing, especially to those close to Adrien, would make it difficult for him to get intimate with you on any level. He’ll be friends, sure, but he couldn’t see you as lovers. At least, not for a very long time.” Lila was shaken to her core. “Hey, you said you wanted the honest truth.”

“I didn’t want THAT truth” she said.

“Alright. What kind of truth did you want?” Vlad asked.

“One where Adrien loved me and no one else” Lila said.

“Well, that’ll never happen” Vlad said rolling his eyes. “And not because it’s you. The thought of Adrien ONLY loving one person is laughable at best. When Adrien walks into a place and sees all of his friends, he is reminded of how much he loves each and every one of them. Sappy, yes. But that’s just who he is.”

As much as Lila hated to admit it, Vlad had a point. Adrien was the type of person who could get close to anyone. She then thought to ask something else “Hey Vlad?  Since you’re in such a truth-bomb giving mood, why is it hard for me to…get close with Marinette? You know…as friends?”

“Well THAT’S simple” Vlad said. “It’s because she bested you. I’m willing to bet that everywhere you went, you got your way due to the tactics that Adrien described. You would take down anyone who stood in your way. But Marinette was the first person who you tried taking down and failed to do so. That’s why I think it’s hard for you to like her. But you’ll get there eventually. That is, if you keep trying to improve yourself. Marinette isn’t so petty that she wouldn’t have you as a friend if you were ready.”

Lila smiled. “Thanks. This has been eye-opening.” She turned back to face the front of the classroom. She eyed Marinette. Could we really be friends?

Meanwhile, Trixx and Wayzz pulled Tikki and Plagg aside. “So, do they know each other’s secret identity?” Trixx asked.

“Yeah” Plagg answered.

“How did they find out? Was it gradual?” Wayzz asked.

Tikki shook her head. “Vlad just told them.”

“If you’re concerned, we did ask Master Fu first, and he said it was OK” Beyyo said, appearing at the conversation.

“Beyyo!” Trixx said, giving him a hug.

“Yes, yes, I missed you too” Beyyo said.

“Master Fu just gave you permission?” Wayzz said.

“Yes” Beyyo said.

“Fascinating” Wayzz said.

“Well, whatever the case, I’m just glad I don’t have to hear Adrien pining for Ladybug hopelessly anymore” Plagg said.

“Yeah, now you have to hear him talk about his relationship with Marinette” Tikki chided.

Plagg glared at her and then said, “Well, at least he’ll be happy.”

“We should probably get back before someone finds us” Wayzz said.

“Or if one of our owners notices we’re missing” Plagg said.

“Wait! I have one more question” Trixx said. “Are you ever going to let our users in the loop?”

Beyyo thought about it. “I’d have to bring it up with Vlad, but it’s a possibility!”

“Oh, thank you!” Trixx said, giving him another hug.

“Yes, well, we should head back” Beyyo said. The five headed back into the classroom.

Marinette and Adrien walked out the door after Adrien’s mass autograph session. “Sorry Marinette, but I have Chinese lessons today” Adrien said, rubbing his hand. “See you tonight.”

“Of course” Marinette said. “And you don’t need to worry about that stuff. We might not be together 24/7, but the moments we are together count the most.”

“Aww!” Adrien said. The two kissed. Adrien left for home. 

Marinette stood still until Adrien left. She then started bouncing. She STILL couldn’t believe that she and Adrien were DATING! She just hoped that the casual onlookers would stop looking at her like she was just someone dating Adrien. She wasn’t just someone. She was Marinette.

Lila watched the interaction and texted Gabriel. “I’m coming over tonight. Adrien has something going on, so we can meet safely.”

Gabriel received the text. “I knew it” he said. He texted back “Very well.”

At Chloe’s penthouse, she and Jean were setting up for the party tonight. “Thanks for doing this, Jean…uh…what’s the second part of your name again?”

“It’s Antoine” he said. “And it is my pleasure.”

“Um, no offence, but when the guest start arriving, could you maybe…leave?” Chloe asked. “I’ve got some things I want to say in private.”

“Mademoiselle, I have been looking over you for years now” Jean-Antoine said. “You may not have realized, but there’s hardly a thing I don’t know about you. I know that you’ve had trouble being nice since your mom moved away. I know you care for your classmates, despite you wanting them to think otherwise. I know that you enjoy the company of women more.”

Chloe was shocked. “You mean you KNEW?! And you didn’t say anything?!”

“Yes, well, I didn’t want to get yelled at or fired for that” Jean-Antoine said. “You didn’t seem comfortable accepting it in yourself. If I had said anything, I would have been grossly overstepping my boundaries.”

Chloe ralized he was right. She thought about how she treated poor Jean-Antonie. It wasn’t a surprise to her that he was afraid of that. “I’m sorry…” she said, sheepishly.

“Mademoiselle” Jean-Antoine. “I have been supporting you ever since I was first hired. I have seen you at your worst, yes, but I’ve also seen you at your best. You are special. You are brave. You are ready.”

Chloe gave her butler a hug. “Thank you, Jean-Antoine!’ She said.

After Adrien got done with his Chinese lesson, he headed out “I’m heading out father! I’ll see you later.”

“Wait!” Gabriel said. “Is Marinette going to be with you?”

“Uh, yes?” Adrien did not understand this line of questioning.

Gabriel smiled. “I trust you’ll keep her safe.”

“Of course” Adrien asked. “What’s this about?”

Gabriel sighed. “I’ve been thinking about your mother recently in ways I haven’t thought of in years. I was there when she disappeared. Adrien, I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did. If you really love Marinette, don’t let her go.”

Adrien was puzzled. That was a lot to take in for his not-even-a-day-old relationship. Still, he thought about how long he’s loved Ladybug, and how much he cared for Marinette before he found out they were one in the same. He smiled and said “Don’t worry father. I wouldn’t even think about letting her go.”

Gabriel smiled. “Very well.” Adrien left.

Soon after, Lila entered. “We need to talk!” she demanded.

”Let’s go into my office” Gabriel said. They walked into the office. “What do you want to talk about?”

“I was angry last night! More angry than I’ve ever been!” Lila said. “Why didn’t you Akumatize me?! I’m sure even Adrien would understand why that would happen!”

“The reason is because I didn’t want to ruin my son’s first date” Gabriel said.

“Yeah, well, it’s just Marinette” Lila said. “It’s not like he’s actually in love with her!”

“I beg to differ” Gabriel said.

“Oh, please” Lila said. “We both know he’s going to end up with me.”

“If you’re going to be this petty, I suggest you leave” Gabriel said.

“Fine! But I’m going to tell everyone who Hawk Moth is!” Lila said.

“And I’ll send them the texts you sent me confirming Akuma victims” Gabriel said, intensely. Lila was shocked. “You had your opportunity to break away from me. I would have even let you do it.”

“Yeah, but that was when Adrien was still in my reach” Lila said. “But now…now he’s dating Marinette…and it sucks…because I wanted him to date me…and Marinette is great with him…”

“Well now, that’s not something I’d thought I’d hear you say” Gabriel said.

“Well, it’s the truth” Lila said.

“Exactly” Gabriel replied. “Look, I can see that you’re going through something. Clearly, you need some room to breath. So I’m going to give you a vacation from Hawk Moth work while you figure this out. And if you decide to quit, that’s your prerogative. But if you revel me, I will take you down with me. Now go.” Lila left the Agreste manor.

Meanwhile, a half hour before all of the other guests were to arrive, there was a knock at the penthouse door. Jean-Antoine opened it. “Well, hello Sabrina.”

“Sabrina!” Chloe said. She rushed over to the door. “Yes, well, come on in.”

Sabrina looked around. “Wow. It’s beautiful” she said. She noticed she was the only other person here. “Um, did I get here too early? I thought your invite said 5:30.”

“Well, here’s the thing,” Chloe said. “That’s what it says on your invite. I asked you to come here earlier than everyone else.” She took a deep breath. “OK. Here goes. There’s something I’ve been struggling with for a little while now. But thanks to some help, I am ready. Before everyone else shows up, I wanted to tell you first.” She took another breath. “The truth is, I’m…a lesbian. And I was wondering…if you would like to go out with me…you know…as my girlfriend…”

Sabrina was shocked. Her face turned redder than a strawberry She then found the words “Oh Chloe. Of course I will.” She ran up and gave Chloe a hug.

Chloe hugged her back. “Oh, thank you so much. I was so worried you would say no” Chloe said.

“I would never say no to that” Sabrina said, tears in her eyes. The two shared an intimate kiss.

On his way to Chloe’s, Adrien ran into Marinette. “Hey Marinette” Adrien said.

“Hi Adrien” Marinette said.

“You ready for tonight?” Adrien asked.

“I don’t know if I can be” Marinette said. “I’m not sure what Chloe’s doing, so it’s hard to say.”

“I understand” Adrien said.

“But I did manage to figure something out” Marinette said.

“What is it?” Adrien asked.

“The reason I’m not comfortable with people staring at me like they do” Marinette answered. “It’s because they’re only doing it because I’m dating you. I just feel like an attachment in their eyes. Like, ‘Adrien Agreste and Girlfriend!’ That’s not to say I want to be more in the public eye, but if I were to do something that warrants it, I’d be more than happy to take on those stares.”

“I getcha Marinette” Adrien said. “I felt that way when I started modeling.”

“You did?” Marinette said.

“Yeah. Back then, I felt like I was just ‘Gabriel’s son!’” Adrien clarified. “But over time, I felt like I came into my own as a public figure. Whatever you want, we can work on it. Whether it’s being more comfortable in the spotlight, or just not being there at all. We’ll do it together.”

“Thanks sweetie” Marinette said. They arrived at Le Grand Paris.

When they got up, they saw that everyone from Ms. Bustier’s class except for Lila, along with Marc and Ondine. Everyone was wondering what was going on.

Sabrina was in the front of the room. She said “Everyone! May I have your attention?! Chloe has something she wants to say.”

Sabrina stepped out of the way, and Chloe stepped up. “Hello” she said. “I know that you all might not have the highest opinion of me. I am aiming to change that. I’m trying to be kinder, gentler, more approachable Chloe. In order to do that, I need to be honest about myself. So, that is why I am having this party. There is a truth about myself that I have rejected until now. And in doing that, I’ve been rejecting you all as well. The truth is I am a lesbian. I first realized this when I was ten, and I’ve been suppressing it until now. But now, I am ready to be who I am. At least, in front of you. I’m not quite ready to tell everyone I know. But I’m working on it.”

The crowd sat silently, unsure of what to do. Vlad figured he better start clapping, but before he could, he heard someone else clapping. It was Marinette. Soon, everyone else joined in. Chloe had never felt more alive than in that moment.

During the party, Chloe was socializing with people. “Hey Chloe” Mylene said. I have to say, this party is going a lot better than your last party.”

“Sorry you had to go through what you did” Ivan said.

“It’s fine. And thanks” Chloe said.

“Hey Chloe. You should have told us sooner. But I understand why you didn’t” Juleka said. “So, um, do you want help looking for someone? Cause I know some places you can check out.”

“Thanks Juleka” Chloe said. She grabbed Sabrina’s arm and held it tight. “But I’ve already got a girlfriend.”

“Right on” Juleka said.

“You two are so CUTE together!” Rose said.

Chloe walked up to Max, Markov, Nathaniel, and Alix. “Hey, sorry about all of those times I antagonized you” she said.

“It’s OK Chloe” Nathaniel said.

“Water under the bridge” Max chimed in.

“You are most assuredly forgiven” Markov said.

“Just, don’t go doing it again” Alix said. “I like this new Chloe.”

Chloe smiled. “I like it too.”

“Hi Chloe” Kim said, standing next to Ondine. “I understand all of those times you rejected me now.”

“Yeah, about that…” Chloe said. “I wanted you to be here for this as well Ondine. I’m the one who is sorry. If I had been honest about myself, it wouldn’t have taken you as long to get together. I think you’re perfect for each other. Sorry I kept standing in the way unnecessarily.”

“It’s fine Chloe,” Kim said.

“Yeah. We’re together now, and that’s what counts” Ondine said.

“Thank you” Chloe said.

“So, this is what your party was about” Alya said.

“Yeah” Chloe said.

“I’ve gotta say, you know how to throw a heck of a coming out party” Alya said.

“Yeah, well, it isn’t a party yet” Chloe said. “Nino! Get DJing!” she commanded.

“Yes ma'am” Nino said. He immediately jumped to the turntables.

“Thanks” Alya said.

Chloe walked up to Marc and Vlad. “Thanks for helping me get to this point.”

“No problem, Chloe” Vlad said.

“Um, yeah. We’ve all gotta stick together” Marc said.

She gave the two a hug. “For real. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you.” She walked off.

“Hi Chloe” Marinette said. 

“Hi Marinette. Adrien” Chloe said.

“How are you doing?” Marinette asked.

“Honestly? I feel great” Chloe said.

“I knew you’d get there” Adrien said.

“Yeah, well, thank you for helping me Adrien” Chloe said.

“What are friends for?” Adrien said.

“And if you need anything else, don’t be afraid to come to me” Marinette said.

Chloe mind flashed an image of Ladybug on Marinette this time. “Yes, well, if I need anything, I’ll come talk to you for sure.”

“Great” Marinette said.

The party went on for a while, but since it was a school night, Jean-Anoine asked everyone to leave. “Hey Chloe” Sabrina said. “I had a great time tonight.”

Chloe blushed. “Me too.”

Once he left, Vlad stopped at Master Fu’s. “What is it Vlad?”

“I’m here for the bee miraculous” Vlad said.

“Are you going to give it to her?” Master Fu said.

“Not right away” Vlad replied. “I want to give her one more test. But I want Pollen to watch.”

“I see. Very well” Master Fu said. He got out the Miracle Box and gave Vlad the bee miraculous.

Later that night, Judgement Wolf arrived at Chloe’s. He snuck in and called out “Wolf Mist!” He opened up the Miracle Box and Pollen appeared. “Hello Pollen. Do you want to see your queen’s final test?”

“I do” Pollen said.

“Then let’s go” Judgement Wolf said.

Chloe was at the table with her parents. She was nervous, but she knew she had to do it. “Mom. Daddy. I have something to say.”

“What is it, darling?” Audrey said.

“Yes darling, what is it?” Andre said.

“Mom. Dad. I’m a lesbian” Chloe said. Chloe’s parents were frozen. “Are you alright?”

“Are YOU?!” Audrey said. “You can’t be serious. This is ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous!”

“Yes, are you sure you’re not mistaken?” Andre said.

“This is what I was afraid of” Chloe said, angrily. “Well guess what mom and dad! I don’t need you anymore!” One by one, the attendees of the party showed up behind Chloe. “I have my friends now, and they accept me for who I am, unlike you. I can count on them to help me. I don’t need your stupid rules, or your stupid attitudes, or even your support.” She held Sabrina’s hand. “Because now I’ve got real happiness. And I’m not allowing you to take that away!”

The dream faded into the white void. “Well well” Judgement Wolf said. “That must have felt good.”

“It did” Chloe said. “But that doesn’t mean I hope it turns out like this.”

“Of course” Judgement Wolf said. “But in the meantime, there’s someone who wants to say hi.”

He threw Pollen at her. “Pollen!” Chloe shrieked.

“Hello, my queen” Pollen replied.

“Wait, does this mean what I think it means?” Chloe said.

“Of course. You passed” Judgement Wolf said. Chloe started jumping up and down. “But! There is something I need to say. Since people know you’re Queen Bee, I would suggest maybe holding off on transforming for a little bit. Jump in when you need to, but before then, if you can help it, maybe keep a low profile.”

Chloe looked at Judgement Wolf. The Pollen. Then Judgement Wolf. “I understand,” she said. “I have a question.” Judgement Wolf raised an eyebrow. “Since you must have tested Ladybug, you know who she is, right?”

“That is correct” Judgement Wolf said.

“Um…Is Ladybug Marinette?” Chloe asked.

“If that is so, do you think I would tell you?” Judgement Wolf said.

“I guess not…” Chloe said.”But should I ask her myself?”

Judgement wolf paused. “I’m not sure how to answer this question.”

“Well, I’ll think about it” Chloe said.

“Great. Then with that, I bid you goodnight” Judgement Wolf said. He jumped out of the Wolf Mist and let Chloe sleep.

Chloe woke up the next morning. She felt something in her hand. It was the bee miraculous. “Pollen?” she said.

“Yes, my queen” Pollen said.

Chloe smiled. “Good. It wasn’t just a dream. Come on, let’s go to school.” Pollen hid in her bag, as Chloe put the comb in her hair.

When she got to school, she sat down next to Sabrina. Sabrina noticed the comb right away. “Is that the bee miraculous?” she asked.

Chloe remembered what Judgement Wolf said last night. As much as I want to tell her, it’s for her own good. “Not really…I ordered a replica a while ago. But I didn’t feel like wearing it until last night. I want to feel good about myself, and this is how I choose to express it. I might not get the bee miraculous again, but this reminds me that in my heart, I will always be a hero.”

“Wow” Sabrina said. Vlad looked on at the new couple and smiled.

Chapter Text

After school Thursday, Alix, Nathaniel, and Marc went to the art room to finish their works for tomorrow’s exhibition. In the courtyard, Max and Katelyn were standing with Mr. Chastain. “Are your friends coming, or aren’t they?” Mr. Chastain asked. “I need to go check up on the student in the art room soon.”

Then, Laurence,Terry, and Gerard walked in. “Hey guys” Terry said.

Katelyn looked concerned. “Where’s Carter?” she asked.

Laurence rubbed the back of his head. “Well…”

“I’m right here,” Carter said.

“Carter?” Gerard said. “I thought you said you weren’t going to make it.”

“Yeah, I thought so,” Carter said. “But I argued with myself. I was taking the cowards way out. I’ve been doing that a lot. If I want to be the person I talk myself up to be, I need to put up or shut up.”

“That’s great” Katelyn said.

Max took Carter’s hand. “I’m proud of you. I know you can do it.”

Carter flashed a genuine smile. Is this what he feels like all the time now that he has friends who don’t lord things over him? “Thanks Max.”

“Well, I assume you all can work on setting up the machines necessary for Max’s game” Mr. Chastain said.

“Of course. We’re the best” Gerard said. Mr. Chastain gave them a nod and then left while the group left for one of the rooms to begin working on setting up for Max’s game.

Meanwhile, Adrien was meeting Marinette out by the entrance. “I can’t wait to wear your outfit tomorrow. I know it’s going to look superb” Adrien said.

“Yeah, well, you’re going to look superb in it” Marinette said. The limo pulled up to the school. “I should get going. Are you going to be alright?”

“I think so” Adrien said. “This is my first fencing practice since we’ve been a couple; the first time I’ve seen Kagami since we’ve been a couple. I just hope things don’t go too poorly.”

“I’m sure she’ll be fine…” Marinette said. “Maybe. I hope…”

“Is something the matter?” Adrien asked.

“Yeah, well, since I finished up my outfits, I had a little spare time to work on a little something for Kitty Section” Marinette said. “I’m going over there today…so, I’m kind of in the same boat as you on this…with Luka…”

“I see” Adrien said. “Well, let’s hope things go well on both of our fronts.” Adrien left for the lockers and Marinette entered the limo.

On the Liberty, Luka was lying on his bed, listening to music. “Have I waited too long? Have I found that someone? Have I waited too long to see you?”

Juleka walked in. “Honestly Luka, how long are you going to be like this?”

“I just need to do this for myself” Luka said.

“Yeah, well, the band is here” Juleka said. She paused the music coming from his phone on a playlist called “Luka’s Heartbreak Playlist.”

“They’re early” Luka said.

“Not really. They wanted to get their hair done for the concert, remember?” Juleka said. “Speaking of, are you going to be OK for tomorrow?”

“Yeah” Luka sighed. He then took out a notebook from under his pillow. He wrote down “OK for Tomorrow” in it. He closed it, revealing the cover and it reading “Solo Projects.” He put it back under his pillow and got up.

Marinette walked into Agreste Manor, and was greeted by Gabriel. “Hello Marinette.”

“Hello Mr. Agreste” Marinette said.

“No need to be so formal, Marinette. Just call me Gabriel” he said.

“Well, uh, thanks…, Gabriel” Marinette said. “And thanks for giving me a ride here, even though I just want to do a last minute check on my outfits.  I could have walked here, you know.”

“But it’s such a distance from the school to here” Gabriel said. “I couldn’t bare to see you get hurt if an Akuma suddenly showed up.”

“Is that why you didn’t want Adrien to go out?” Marinette asked.

“Kind of” Gabriel said. “I was just over cautious in general, but with the appearance of Hawk Moth, I wanted to be extra safe. But Adrien has a bit of a free spirit. So I let go little by little.”

“I see” Marinette said.

“Sir, you failed to mention the other reason you gave her a ride” Nathalie said.

“Other reason?” Marinette said.

“Yes” Gabriel said. “See, tomorrow there is an in-house exhibition at Gabriel HQ. I need to go and check on that.”

“Oh. So, does that mean you’re not coming tomorrow?” Marinette said.

“I haven’t made up my mind,” Gabriel said.

“Marinette, you should probably go and check on your outfits now” Nathalie said. “We need to leave soon, and as much as we like you, we would prefer it if no one was in the house while we’re out.”

“I understand” Marinette said. She rushed to take a look at her outfits. She found them too her liking and then grabbed them. “OK, I’m back.”

“You know you can leave them, right Marinette?” Gabriel asked.

“Yeah, but I have a tendency to…not sleep…as much as other people” Marinette said. “I want them to be at my place just so I can grab them for school tomorrow if need be. Plus, I might still make some adjustments.”

Gabriel smiled. “You’re an artist through and through. Burning the midnight oil. Making sure everything is OK. You have the raw energy that I’m looking for. Maybe once you graduate, you can intern at Gabriel.

“Really?” Marinette’s face lit up like the Fourth of July (or Bastille Day, in their case).

“Of course” Gabriel said.

“Sir, we should head out Nathalie said.

Gabriel gestured to the door. “Shall we?” The three walked out.

Adrien walked out of the locker room after getting changed. He saw Kagami standing there. Waiting for him. He gulped and approached cautiously. “Hey Kagami!”

“Draw!” she said.

“Pardon?” Adrien asked.

“Draw!” Kagami commanded.

Adrien was confused, but never refused a challenge. He readied his stance and said “Pretz…

“…Allez!” Kagami finished. The two started to dual.  The match got really intense quickly. The movements were so fluid and rapid between the two of them, neither leaving much room for the other to get an attack in.

They backed up. “Come on Adrien!’ Kagami shouted. “You’re dating someone now! If I were an attacker, you need to be able to subdue me quickly! Otherwise, how are you supposed to protect Marinette?”

“Marinette can protect herself just fine, thank you very much” Adrien said. “Though I see your point.”

The two began circling around. “You know how much I cared about you?” Kagami said.

“‘Cared’?” Adrien asked. “Do you not care for me now that I’m dating someone who is not you?”

“What? No. Of course not” Kagami said. “I could never hate you. I’m just a little upset is all. Why not me Adrien?”

Adrien had to give Kagami an honest answer. “To be honest, I’ve been in love with Marinette ever since I laid eyes on her. I was just too stupid to realize it” he said.

Kagami got tense. “Do you hate me now? Now that I’m challenging you?”

“I could never hate you” Adrien said.

Kagami blushed. She then charged in angrily. Adrien blocked the two spared a little more. “See? It’s things like that!” Kagami said in a moment of mutual blocking.

Adrien sighed. “I’m sorry Kagami. But I can’t stop being who I am just for your sake!” The two broke off.

”I know you can’t. But you can’t ask me to stop being me either!” Kagami shouted. She rushed in. “The me that loves every little thing about you! The me that sees you as a goal to reach in terms of skill! The me that is somehow both upset and happy about your new relationship!”

Adrien defended every strike. “I wouldn’t ask you to compromise yourself” Adrien said. “I’m sorry I don’t feel the same way about you as you do about me. I just hope we don’t lose what we have over it!”

Kagami backed off. “Of course I don’t want to lose this!” she said. “It just I need to get through this.”

“Well, I’m here if you need me” Adrien said. The two continued to clash. “So tell me. Do you not like Marinette?”

“Of course I don’t!” Kagami said. “I think she’s amazing, and if I were to lose anyone I’m glad it was her. She’s honest, compassionate, and cares about you outside of your status. She might have a few flaws, but don’t we all?”

“I agree” Adrien said. The two continued to spare until they both ran out of stamina and fell to the floor. “Friends?” Adrien asked.

“Friends” Kagami answered.

“Are you going to be OK?” Adrien continued.

“Yeah” Kagami said. “But this is something I need to work through.”

“I understand” Adrien said. “I’m sure there’s someone out there who you will love and who will love you back.”

“Maybe” Kagami said.

“Don’t be like that” Adrien said, sitting up. “You’re amazing Kagami. Anyone would be lucky to have you…I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

Kagami sat up and smiled. “Yeah. But I don’t mind it as much right now. You’re just trying to be a good friend.”

“Well, that’s a start” Adrien said.

The limo dropped off Marinette at her house. “Thank you again, Gabriel.”

“My pleasure” Gabriel said. They waved goodbye. Gabriel closed the door and the limo drove off. Marinette walked up to her room and placed her outfits on her chaise lounge, and picked the t-shirts she put together for Kitty Section off of her desk, and left.

“And there” Juleka said. Ivan was sitting in a chair with a small, newly added, l grey-blue streak in his tuft of blonde hair.

“Thanks” Ivan said, looking in the mirror.

“It looks really good on you” Mylene said. Ivan blushed and giggled.

“Now it’s you turn Rose” Juleka said. Ivan stood up and Rose jumped into the chair. Rose’s hair took a lot longer, but when they were done, Rose had tips like Luka only pink. “Rose, that looks really good on you.”

“Thank you Juleka” Rose said. “We should probably go to practice now. After all, tomorrow’s our big day!”

“Right” Luka said. The band and Mylene headed out .

The band got their instruments ready, but before they started playing, Marinette walked aboard. “Hey Marinette” Mylene said. “Whatcha got there?”

“These? Well… After I finished making my outfits for tomorrow, I found I had some spare time” Marinette said. “So, I decided to make those shirts for you. Now, keep in mind, I didn’t take as much time as the elaborate outfits I made for you all last time, but I think these capture your new song well. At least, what I remember of it.”

“It’s fine, Marinette” Juleka said, taking her guitar off. “We made some improvements, but it’s more or less the same.”

“Yeah. I’m just glad that you could make anything” Rose said. The band started to walk up to Marinette to grab their shirts.

“Thanks. Love your hair by the way Rose. You too Ivan” Marinette said.

“Thanks” Ivan said.

“Thank you Marinette!” Rose said. “Juleka and Luka did it for us!” Luka stayed back as much as he could. Rose grabbed the to shirt. It was pink, so she knew it was for her. She unfolded it to reveal a design of a white shirt with a pink wave coming out of a pink ocean at the bottom, and a line dripping down from the wave but not touching the ocean. “Wow Marinette! This is simple, yet it conveys the heart and soul of our new song.”

“Really? I was worried” Marinette said.

“You don’t need to worry Marinette” Juleka said. “You’re an amazing designer.”

Marinette smiled. “I gave you each a different color,” she said. She gave Juleka a purple, Ivan a red, and then she was about to give Luka a blue one, but she stopped.

Juleka stared at the two of them. “OK. You are going to have to talk to each other eventually” Julka said.

“I know” Luka said.

“Do you want me to play Marinette your heartbreak playlist?” Juleka asked.

“What! No!” Luka said.

“Kidding” Juleka said. “You’ve been down since you heard the news. I just thought you needed something to get you out of it.”

Luka sighed. “Sorry Luka” Marinette said. “I didn’t mean to make you sad. You’re really sweet. I just…”

Luka looked at her. “You don’t have to apologize Marinette” Luka said. He went up to her and grabbed his shirt. “You did something to make yourself happy. I’m glad for that. I’ll always be happy that your happy.”

“Yeah, but seeing you like this…I don’t know if I can take it” Marinette said.

“Marinette, I’ll be fine” Luka said. “It’s not easy, but I have everyone here to support me. That includes you, right?”

“Of course” Marinette said. “I do want you to be happy. And I do want to remain friends.”

“Good. I’m glad you don’t hate me” Luka said.

“I could never hate you” Marinette said.

“I know. You’re Marinette. Incapable of hate” said Luka. Marinette blushed. “By the way, these shirts are amazing!”

“Thanks” Marinette said.

Meanwhile, at school, Adrien was getting out of the locker room after changing back into his regular clothes. He met up with Kagami. “You did well today” Adrien said.

“Thanks” Kagami said. “I think part of it is because of your suggestion to get a video game. I felt more relaxed. You know, as relaxed as I could be.”

Adrien smiled. “Well that’s good. Wanna tell me about it?”

“Sure, it’s…” Kagami was then interrupted when she saw something. “Adrien, look out! She pushed him back into the locker room. Something hit Kagami causing a sudden transformation.

“Kagami…” Adrien was horrified at what happened to his friend.

From a first person perspective, someone was looking around. A butterfly insignia appeared in front of it. “They aren’t here. Don’t waste your time searching. Remember, the more victims you make, the more he’ll pay attention to you, and the more likely you’ll flush out Ladybug and Cat Noir!” Hawk Moth said.

“Yes Hawk Moth” replied the latest Akuma victim.

Marinette sat down next to Mylene. Kitty Section was now on stage wearing the shirts Marinette made for the. Rose took the mic. “We are Kitty Section, and this is our second song: Comforting Waves!” The band played the song and Mylene and Marinette clapped for them after it was over.

A blur of white flew through the city. The Akuma didn’t notice Vlad just getting off of his latest shoot. He noticed them however, and sprung into action.

Suddenly, a needle and thread wrapped around Mylene. “Huh?” she said. It was then pulled tightly and Mylene turned into a mannequin and was given a different look. She had her bandanna on, but she was wearing a lime green tank top, black spandex pants, and running shoes.

“MYLENE! What did you do to her?!” Ivan said, turning to the source.

The Akuma victim was a woman in a white dress, with light purple skin, a purple headband, light blue pixie wings, and a needle and some thread. “I just designed her perfect outfit for running,” she said.

Rose could not believe what she was seeing. “Courtney?”

Chapter Text

Courtney had woken up Thursday morning. She took a shower, brushed her teeth, did her make-up, and got dressed. Her usual outfit was a green dress, black leggings, white chunky heels, and her brown headband that sit across her light brown hair. She looked in the mirror and saw a picture of her and her friends from college, smiled, and sighed.

She went to the kitchen and grabbed some pancakes that her step-dad had made. “And how’s my favorite designer today?” her step-dad said.

“Well, tomorrow’s the big exhibition” Courtney said. “I’m a little nervous.” She had recently taken an internship at Gabriel. It was a paid internship, but it wasn’t enough to live on her own just yet. Her mother and step-father allowed her to live with them until the internship was over. And she had hoped tomorrow would be that day.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll do just fine” her step-dad said.

“I don’t know… only a select few interns get a full-time position at Gabriel each year. I don’t want to screw it up” Courtney said.

Her mom and half-sister, Rose, entered the kitchen and got some pancakes of their own. “Morning Courtney!” Rose said in her usual cheery way.

“Morning Rose” Courtney said.

“Is something the matter, pumpkin?” her mom asked.

“She’s just worried about the exhibition tomorrow” her step-dad said.

“Courtney, you’re an excellent designer. I’m sure you’ll get the job” her mom said.

“Yeah Courtney. You’re very talented and very smart” Rose chimed in.

Courtney smiled. “Yeah. I guess I’m just overthinking things.” She continued to eat her breakfast.

“Hey mom. Dad. Could I get my hair done for my school’s exhibition tomorrow?” Rose asked. “I told Juleka I could already, but I forgot to ask…”

“Sure” her mom said.

“I don’t see why not?” Rose’s dad/Courthey’s step-dad said.

“Thank You!” Rose chimed, giving her mom a hug. Soon after, the four of them left for their day’s activities.

Courtney was at Gabriel HQ working on her design. “Nervous?” a voice asked. Courtney turned around and saw her mentor Julian. Julian had short, black, curly hair, light purple eyes, a maroon jacket and pants combo, a black shirt, and black shoes. He was just a regular employee at Gabriel, but he showed her the ropes when she first began here.

“Is it that obvious?” Courtney asked.

“Well, tomorrow is the big day. I’d be surprised if you WEREN’T nervous” Julian said.

Courtney sighed. “I just hope I do well.”

“You’re going to do great,” Julian said, putting his hands on her shoulders. Courtney blushed. “When I was in your position two years ago, I had half of the raw talent you’ve shown. You’ll get the job just fine.”

“Thanks…” Courtney said. She had promised herself that if she did manage to get a position she would ask Julian out. She needed to be confident. For herself AND Julian.

That afternoon, Gabriel himself showed up. He inspected the floor where the designs would be shown. One of the managers went up and talked to him. “Are you ready sir?”

“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t” Gabriel said

“Alright. OK! Everyone listen up!” the manager said. “Mr. Agreste is here to give some words of encouragement to our interns and make sure everything runs smoothly! Remember, he is not to see the designs until they are ready, so I hope every intern has their workstation covered!” Courtney did. She couldn’t wait until tomorrow to show Gabriel what she had.

“Thank you” Gabriel said, dryly. All eyes turned to him. “As you know, it is time of our yearly assessment of our interns! We will see if their time spent here at Gabriel has improved their skill! This year’s batch of interns has been exceptional! I am expecting great things!” Courtney figured that he said that same thing every year, but part of her still loved hearing it. What came next, however, was something she didn’t want to hear.

“Unfortunately, I might not be there tomorrow!” Gabriel continued.

What?

“My son is participating in an exhibition his school is hosting! I recently have been trying to be more active in my son’s life! There is a chance I might skip out on this event for that!”

This isn’t boding well.

“However, I will be sending someone over to get their thoughts and taking pictures! I will look over them and make my decisions then!”

No no no NO!

“I haven’t made up my mind yet! So keep on your toes! If I’m not here that doesn’t mean you can slack off either! Dismissed!” Gabriel left.

Courtney was on the verge of tears. Everyone else was confused, but clapped anyway. After Gabriel left, everyone went back to work. Julian walked up to Courtney and asked “Are you OK?” Before Courtney could answer, she ran to the bathroom, tears streaming down her face.

She locked herself in one of the stalls. Why? She thought. Why me? Why this year? Why can’t Gabriel see my designs as soon as possible? Does he hate us? Did I do this all for nothing?

Meanwhile, in Hawk Moth’s lair, Hawk Moth felt her woes. “Ah. Someone nervous trying to win over her boss. But now, he won’t even show up! What a pity. And what perfect prey for my Akumas. Fly away, my little Akuma, and evilize her!”

The Akuma flew into the bathroom and fused to Courtney’s hairband. “Hello Seamstress. I am Hawk Moth. Your boss doesn’t want to see your creation that you’ve spent weeks on? Well, I’m giving you the power to give someone their perfect outfit in a matter of seconds, so that no matter where he goes, he can’t HELP but see your designs! All I want in return is Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous!”

“They’ll be the perfect accessories for you, Hawk Moth!” Courtney said. The purple-black aura swallowed her and she turned into Seamstress.

Seamstress left the women’s bathroom and found Julian waiting outside. “Courtney?” he asked.

“Nope!” she said. She threw her needle and tied Julian up. “Seamstress.” She pulled the thread back and turned Julian into a mannequin sporting a green suit with yellow tails. “I always thought green was a better color for you.” She gave the Julian mannequin a kiss and then flew around the office changing some other people, and then decided to attack Paris at large.

Her first stop was at the school. She went through each room, turning others into mannequins with an outfit of her choosing. Once she was done, she decided to leave. She changed her mind when she saw Adrien. “Let’s see how Gabriel likes his son in one of my designs!”

She threw her needle, but Kagami saw it and pushed Adrien out of the way. “Adrien, look out!” The thread tied around Kagami. It wasn’t what she was expecting, but she made the most of it. She pulled the thread back and gave Kagami a red shirt with a blue coat, black pants, and black boots.

Seamstress kept looking around to find anyone else.  “They aren’t here. Don’t waste your time here. Remember, the more victims you make, the more he’ll pay attention to you” Hawk Moth told her.

“Yes Hawk Moth” Seamstress said. She flew off.

Adrien, having watched what happened, decided it was time to spring into action. “What do you suppose that was about?” Plagg asked.

“It doesn’t matter right now!” Adrien said. “Plagg! Claws out!” He transformed into Cat Noir. “It’s time to hightail it!” Cat Noir followed Seamstress.

Vlad saw Seamstress fly through the city. He transformed as well. “Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” He chased Seamstress.

Eventually, he and Cat Noir were side by side. “Hey Judgement Wolf” Cat Noir said.

“Cat Noir” Judgement Wolf replied. “So, do you know this Akuma’s deal?”

“She can turn people into mannequins and change what they’re wearing” Cat Noir said.

“Noted” Judgement Wolf said.

Seamstress reached the Liberty. She saw the perfect opportunity to strike. She threw her needle and got Mylene. “MYLENE! What did you do to her?!” Ivan said.

Seamstress smiled. “I just designed her perfect outfit for running,” she said.

She looked over the scared crowd, designing possible outfits for each other them. That’s when she saw her half-sister. And she noticed as well “Courtney?” she said.

“I’m Seamstress now!” she said. “And there isn’t a person I can’t design for!”

“Everyone, RUN!” Luka called. Everyone left the ship and split up.

Ivan decided to carry Mylene’s mannequin. “Ever the gentleman” Seamstress said. She tied Ivan up and pulled the string. Ivan was now a mannequin with a black tank top, orange shorts, and running shoes. His platform was joined with Mylene’s, and the two were holding hands. “Perfect!”

“Now only if they were able to enjoy those clothes” Judgement Wolf said.

“Although, I do have to say, your stylistic choice is impeccable” Cat Noir said.

“Thanks kitty” Seamstress said. “I’ve got just the design for you. Although it requires you to ditch the ring. It just clashes with what I have in mind.”

“That’s OK. I think my outfit is puuur-fect just the way it is. Especially my ring” Cat Noir said.

“It wasn’t a question” Seamstress said. She threw her needle. Cat Noir dodged the thread, but Seamstress maneuvered the needle to scratch Cat Noir.

“OW! That stung!” Cat Noir said. How can father or Marinette deal with that when making clothes? Seamstress continued to strike, but Judgement Wolf blocked the needle with his sword.

When Marinette was alone, she found a place to hide. “Tikki! Sports on!” she transformed into Ladybug. She raced back to the Liberty and knocked the needle out of the way of Seamstress’s latest attack. “Sorry, but I won’t allow you to change anyone else’s clothes.”

“Ladybug! How ‘bout I give you a new outfit? Red is so last year!” Seamstress said.

“You’re one to talk!” Ladybug said. “White after Labor Day? Please.”

“Hey, you made a joke” Cat Noir said.

“I’ll admit, it is fun” Ladybug said. “But we have to focus. Lucky Charm! A record?” She recognized it as one Master Fu had. “I’ll be right back! Keep them busy!” Ladybug left.

Seamstress tried following Ladybug, but Cat Noir jumped on top of her and grounded her. “Sorry. No one gets in my lady’s way!”

Seamstress threw her needle and it hit a building. “How about a little cat walk?” she asked. She pulled the thread and jettisoned her and Cat Noir at the building. She managed to stop herself and throw Cat Noir against the building. Once Seamstress was flying again, she took off.

“Hey!” Judgement Wolf said, chasing after her. Cat Noir got up and followed soon after.

Marinette arrived at Master Fu’s. “Master! We need help!”

“Very well, Marinette!” Master Fu said. He opened the Miracle Box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

Marinette looked into the box. She grabbed the tiger miraculous, but she felt like she needed something else. “Ah. I know just the thing.” She grabbed the pig miraculous as well. “Thanks Master” Marinette said, running out.

Ladybug met up with Juleka. “Ladybug” Juleka said. She handed her the tiger miraculous. “Thanks!”

“You go on ahead. I need to find a new recruit” Ladybug said. Juleka nodded and went somewhere to transform. Ladybug went off in a different direction.

Seamstress was turning more people into mannequins. When she was about to hit someone else, Judgement Wolf knocked it out of the way. “You ruined my latest creation!” Seamstress said.

“Sew what?” Cat Noir said, jumping in.

“Really?” Judgement Wolf said. “That’s low hanging fruit, even for you.”

“Eh. Work with what you got” Cat Noir said. Seamstress kept flinging her needle at the two of them, and they kept blocking it.

Tigress jumped off the top of the building behind Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf and slammed Seamstress with her escrima sticks. “Tigress!” Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf said.

“Hope she didn’t wear you two down too much,” she said.

“Aw man. Why didn’t I think of that?” Cat Noir said. Seamstress got back up. “Heads up!” Seamstress attacked again and the three defended it.

Ladybug caught up with Rose. “Ladybug! You have to help. My sister has been Akumatized!”

“Your sister?” Ladybug said.

“Yes, and I don’t know what to do,” Rose said.

“I have an idea.” Rose looked intently at Ladybug. “Rose Lavillant. Here is the miraculous of the pig, which grants you the power of disruption. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is over, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

Rose gain a look of confidence and nodded. She took the box and opened it and Daizzi appeared. He yawned and stretched. “It’s been a while since I’ve gone out. Young lady, do you think you can give me a good work out?”

“Of course I can” Rose said, excitedly, putting the miraculous on.

Daizzi smiled. “Then all you have to say is ‘Daizzi! Let’s Roll!’” he said.

“Daizzi! Let’s Roll!” Rose called. She transformed into a hero with a pink latex suit with black feet, pink domino mask with a black nose, brown shoulder pads, brown torso armor, a red band around the waist, a pair of tonfa, and a respirator that went across the bottom half of her face. The nose and mouth section looked like a pig’s snout, while the jawline looked like a pair of tusks. “Wow! This is AMAZING!”

“It never stops being amazing” Ladybug said. “Now let’s move!” The two heroes lept into action.

At the fight, Seamstress kept flinging her needle, and the heroes kept blocking it. It looked like Seamstress was going to get Tigress, but Rose’s hero form came in and knocked the needle out of the way with one of her tonfa, and jabbed Seamstress with the other, knocking her back.

“Wow!” Cat Noir said.

“A new hero?” Judgement Wolf said.

“Yup” Ladybug said.

Tigress was shocked. “Thanks” she said.

“It’s what heroes do” Rose’s hero form said.

Seamstress got up and asked “And just who are you?”

The hero looked directly at her and declared “My name is Hog Wild!”

“Cool” said Tigress.

“Thanks” Hog Wild said.

“Well Hog Wild, you look so Pretty in Pink! Let’s see what we can do!” Seamstress said. She threw her needle, but Hog Wild kept defending herself.

“Now that we’re all hear, let’s see what the plan is” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! A skateboard?” Ladybug looked around. She saw Seamstress’s headband, the path she was on, Hog Wild, Tigress, and the skateboard. “Got it! Tigress! Charge an anger-filled attack sound! Cat Noir! Judgement Wolf! Defend Tigress while she’s charging her attack! Hog Wild! Over Here!” Hog Wild came to Ladybug while the other heroes took their positions.

Ladybug whispered her plan into Hog Wild’s ear and Hog Wild said, “That’s a great idea!”

“Ready?!” Ladybug asked.

“You know it!” Hog Wild said. She jumped between the heroes defending Tigress and Seamstress. She lifted one of her tonfa in the air. An energy gathered around it. “Pig Sty!” she called. She twirled her tonfa and struck the ground with the charged part of it. The move caused the ground around Seamstress to curl up into a tunnel.

“You think this can stop me? I’ve made pantsuits in the dark!” Seamstress said. “You can’t stop me!” Ladybug threw the skateboard forward, ran up, and jumped on it. She skated her way into the tunnel as Seamstress threw her needle.

Ladybug dodged it by circling up the wall of the pipe-like structure. Once she was above Seamstress, she grabbed her hairband. She skated back down to the ground. She stopped and kicked the board up. “Tigress! Now!”

Seamstress threw her needle at Ladybug, but Tigress unleashed her attack. “Reverb!” The attack, combined with the echo chamber-like quality of the distorted walkway knocked Seamstress out of the tunnel and on to her face.

Ladybug broke the hairband in front of her, releasing the Akuma. “No more evildoing for you, little Akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye Bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” The Ladybug turned everyone back into humans and gave them their original clothes back.

“My plans may have come undone tonight, but one day I will have you on pins and needles, Ladybug!” Hawk Moth cursed.

Courtney sat up. “What happened?”

The five heroes joined fists and said “Pound it!”

Ladybug, Tigress, and Hog Wild’s miraculous started to beep. “We should get going. Ladies.”

“Wait!” judgement Wolf interjected. “I’ll take Hog Wild, you take Tigress. If it’s all the same to you.”

Ladybug looked at Judgement Wolf and said “Sure.” Ladybug left with Tigress and Judgement Wolf left with Hog Wild.

“I should get back before Kagami gets worried about me” Cat Noir said. He left.

Ladybug and Tigress found someplace private. “Roaar! Hide Stripes!” She turned back into Juleka. “Thanks again, Ladybug.”

“Thank you” Ladybug said. Juleka ran back home.

Judgement Wolf and Hog Wild found a different hiding place. “You know why I’m doing this, right?”

“Of course” Hog Wild said. “I saw the interview. And I’m OK with it. Daizzi! Let’s Stop!” She turned back into Rose.

“Woah! I haven’t felt like that in a LOOOOOONG time!” Daizzi said. “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it” Rose said.

“And by the way, don’t worry about this little test” Daizzi said. “He might not seem like it, but Beyyo’s a big ol’ softie. I’m sure that if you carry the same spirit into the test, you’ll be fine.”

“That’s for me to decide!” Judgement Wolf said.

“Oh yeah. How is Beyyo?” Daizzi asked.

“…Beyyo’s doing well” Judgement Wolf said.

“That’s good. I hope he’s getting enough sleep. You know, when he doesn’t have a holder, he waders around sleeplessly trying to find someone” Daizzi said.

“He’s sleeping well” Judgement Wolf said. “Thanks for your concern.”

“No problem” Daizzi said.

Rose gave back the miraculous. “Thanks” Judgement Wolf said.

“You’re welcome” Rose said. She grabbed her sister and headed back to the Liberty.

Kagami was looking for Adrien at the school. “Hey Kagami” he said, approaching her.

Kagami was shocked, turned around, and smiled. “I’m glad you’re alright.”

“I’m glad you’re alright too” he said. “Oops. I did it again.”

Kagami shook her head. “You’re just a concerned friend who saw your friend get turned into a statue. No need to apologize for it.” Adrien got a text. “What’s that?”

“Oh. That was Marinette. She’s wondering where I am and if I’m alright” Adrien said. He texted her back.

“OK” Kagami said. She smiled. The two walked out of the school.

Rose and Courtney met up with everyone else at the Liberty. “Hey…” Courtney said.

“Hey Courtney” Juleka said.

“Are you feeling alright?” Mylene asked.

“Yeah…” Courtney said.

“What happened, big sis?” Rose asked.

“…Well, I learned that my boss wasn’t coming in tomorrow,” Courtney said.

“Wait, isn’t that usually cause for celebration?” Ivan asked.

Courtney stood there silently. “You should tell them,” Rose said. “I know you told me not to because you didn’t want to be jinxed, but I’d say being Akumatized is worse than any jinx you can get.”

“…” Courtney sighed. “Fine. The truth is I’m an intern at Gabriel.” Everyone was shocked. “Tomorrow’s this big intern exhibition…to see if we can get full-time positions at the company. However, Gabriel said he might show up at your thing instead. I panicked. I thought that all of the work I had done, all of my struggles was for nothing…”

Marinette put her hand on Courtney’s “Don’t worry. I can talk to Gabriel” she said. She got her phone out.

“Wait, you KNOW Gabriel?” Courtney said.

“Yeah” Luka said. “She’s going out with his son.” Juleka smiled.

“I see…” Courtney said.

“I just got a text back!” Marinette said. “He says he’s found time to attend both!”

“Really?” Courtney said.

“That’s Great!” Rose said.

“Courtney!” Julian called out.

She turned around. “Julian?”

Julian caught up with her, and then caught his breath. “I’ve been looking for you all over.”

“You…have?” Courtney said.

“Yeah. You seemed so upset earlier. Then you turned into a super villain” Julian said. “But I’m glad you’re OK now.” Courtney averted her gaze. “So, mind if I take you home?”

“Uh, sure” Courtney said. “We should take my sister as well.”

“I thought she was your half-sister” Julian said.

“Yeah, well, we’re close like full sisters” Courtney said.

“I see” Julian said. “How ‘bout it Rose?”

“I’d like that,” Rose said. “Seeya everyone!” The three walked off.

“We should get going as well” Mylene said.

“Yeah” Ivan said. “See you tomorrow!” The couple left.

“I should go too. I wanna be well-rested for tomorrow” Marinette said. She left.

Luka smiled as he saw Marinette walk away. “You seem better” Juleka said.

“I’m not there yet, but I feel better after talking to Marinette” Luka said.

“Well, we should sleep. We have a big day ahead of us” Juleka said.

They went to their rooms and Luka hit play on his playlist. He usually listens to music to fall asleep, but his heartbreak playlist kept him up a little. He got up when “One Little Lie” by Simple Creatures started its chorus. He didn’t feel like he was lying to himself anymore about being OK, so that didn’t resonate with him.

He put on his Cheer Up Luka playlist. He felt better. He fell asleep during the chorus to “Weightless” by All Time Low. “Maybe it’s not my weekend, but it’s gonna be my year…”

Kagami got home and started playing her video game. For the first time, she didn’t imagine every enemy as all the worst parts about hrself, which usually manifested as herself trying to steal Adrien away from Marinette. She saw them as enemies. That made her smile.

Rose, Courtney, and Julian had arrived at Rose and Courtney’s house. “By the way, I saw the footage,” Julian said.

“What footage?” Courtney asked.

“I figured I need to pay you back” Julian said. He then planted a kiss on her lips. Courtney’s face was beat red. “So, date tomorrow? After the exhibition?”

Courtney was still in shock. “Uh, yes! Yes a lot!” she said. She then got embarrassed.

Julian just giggled. “See you then” he said, leaving.

“What just happened?” Courtney asked.

“Rose gave her a hug. “You just got asked out by JULIAN! I know how much you’ve been wanting to go out with him!”

Courtney looked down at Rose. She gave her a hug back and said “Yeah.”

Chapter Text

Vlad was walking with Beyyo to Master Fu’s parlor. “So, is Daizzi always like that?” Vlad asked.

“Pretty much” Beyyo answered. “He’s just so overpowering. But he does have everyone’s best interests in mind.”

“Sounds like he’s a perfect match for Rose” Vlad said.

“Yeah” Beyyo responded. The two walked in.

“Vlad? I wasn’t expecting you” Master Fu said.

Vlad looked around. “Marinette didn’t tell you?” Vlad asked.

Master Fu shook his head. “She hasn’t shown back up yet.”

“Huh. Well, things got a little complicated. I’m returning the pig miraculous” Vlad said, handing it to him.

“I see” Master Fu said. “Thank you.” He took it.

Marinette ran into the parlor. “Sorry Master. I was busy checking up on the aftermath of the situation. Anyway, Vlad should be here soon with the pig miraculous.” Marinette was breathing heavily. “But here’s the tiger miraculous.” She handed it over. “Oh, hey Vlad…Vlad?”

“Hey Marinette” Vlad said. Marinette groaned. “Relax. You did good. I just needed to come here early because of Bunnyx.”

“Bunnyx?” Marinette asked.

“Yeah” Vlad said. “You know that trick she pulled?” Marinette nodded. “Well, since I’m not affected by miraculous powers, sometime tonight, I am to be sent backwards in time so I don’t exist in two places at the same time.”

“I-I didn’t know” Marinette said.

“It’s fine. I brought this on myself” Vlad said. “I willing bent the rules a little bit, so now I’m paying the price to keep it balanced. Now, I just need to find a non-conspicuous place to hide. Anyway, seeya tomorrow!” Vlad left.

“You seem upset, Marinette” Master Fu said.

“Yeah. I was kind of hoping that with the five or six full time heroes, we wouldn’t rely on more part-time heroes as much” Marinette said. “But I just brought in a new one today…”

“It’s OK Marinette” Master Fu said. “Do you trust this person?” Marinette nodded. “I admit, reducing the amount you need to come here isn’t working as intended, but more allies will be helpful during the final confrontation of Hawk Moth.”

“Yeah, but who knows when that will be” Marinette said.

“We will find Hawk Moth” Master Fu said. “Once you start thinking we won’t we won’t.”

Marinette smiled. “Thanks Master. Well, I’ve gotta get going. Good night.” She left.

Judgement Wolf made his way to the top of the Arc du Triomphe. “Well, no one will notice me up here.” He lied down. Suddenly, he warped through time on his own to the minutes he missed that day. “That was weirder than expected. I wonder if Beyyo feels the same.” He then saw a figure dashing around the rooftops. “Is that Hawk Moth? I promised I would stay still, but this is a good opportunity to make up for missing out that day.”

He rushed to follow Hawk Moth running away. Hawk Moth kept running father, but Judgement Wolf could tell that he didn’t know he was behind him.  Soon enough, Judgement Wolf was able to close the distance, but as he was about to hit Hawk Moth, he was warped back to the present. Judgement Wolf sighed and said “Second chances are overrated anyway.” He then gasped. “That is, when they’re out of your control…yeah. Yeah I think I saved it” he said, to no one in particular.

Judgement Wolf made his way to Rose’s house and snuck into her room. He knew just how to test Rose. “Wolf Mist!”

It was class picture day. Rose just loved getting her picture taken. She couldn’t wait. However, she heard her friend Juleka say something to get her down. “At least you’re going to be in the photo.”

“No, Juleka, I’m telling you, you’re not jinxed!” Rose told her “This time it’s gonna work out, I can feel it, right here!”

“What’s this about being jinxed?” Marinette asked.

Juleka sighed. “Ever since I was little, every time someone takes a photo of me, something always goes very wrong.”

“You’re wrong Juleka, you’ll see!” Rose said.

Marinette jumped in. “For sure! We’ll do everything we can to make sure it goes right this time. Don’t forget to smile!” Juleka smiled.

The photographer was setting up the class. He initially forgot about Juleka, but Marinette got him to get Juleka in the photo. Rose like Marinette’s kindness, and she was really impressed with her new found sense of courage. She thought if Marinette wasn’t so into Adrien or she wasn’t so into Juleka, or perhaps her pipe dream of Prince Ali, she might ask her out.

Chloe was complaining about their arrangement. She wanted to stand next to Adrien, which is where Juleka was standing. There were some troubles with the camera, which caused the photo to be delayed. Juleka needed to use the restroom, and Ms. Bustier allowed it.

Rose could hear Chloe and Sabrina whispering. “Ms. Bustier, I need to go too!” Sabrina said.

Rose immediately knew what was going on. “Me too!” Rose said.

“Alright, but make it quick” Ms. Bustier said.

Rose rushed to the bathroom. She passed Sabrina on her way there. Juleka was struggling to get out. There was a chair blocking her stall. Rose wasn’t sure why there was a chair in the bathroom, but she didn’t have time to worry about it. Rose freed it and opened the door. “I missed the photo. Didn’t I?” Juleka asked.

“No, but we have to hurry!” Rose said. She grabbed Juleka’s hand and the two raced back to the courtyard Rose and Juleka took their places, and Chloe got angry.

“OK, say spaghetti!” Vincent, the photographer, called.

“Spaghetti!” the class called out. Chloe still smiled, despite the fact that she was angry. The most important thing was Juleka had a good class photo, and she knew it.

Later that night, Chloe broke into the school and made her way to Principal Damocles’s office. The pictures were going up online tomorrow, so this was her only chance to “fix” the photo. Chloe found her class’s photo and began editing. She took Juleka out completely and replace her with herself. “There. Now the picture is just right” she said.

The next morning, everyone went to check on the pictures, only to discover what Chloe had done to everyone’s shock and horror. When they got to school, the first thing Marinette did was yell at Chloe about this. Chloe insisted she didn’t have any solid evidence to back up her ridiculous, utterly ridiculous, claim. Marinette was furious.

Rose looked on. She wondered why Chloe would do such a thing. She hoped Juleka was alright. She saw Luka coming in, went up to him, and asked “Hey Luka. Where’s Juleka?”

Before Luka answered, the somber look on his face told her everything she needed to know. “I’m sorry Rose. Juleka isn’t coming to school today.”

Rose was extremely disappointed. Chloe had better have a good explanation for this.

Meanwhile, in Hawk Moth’s lair, he had just found his latest victim. “Poor girl, feeling so lonely and ignored. How terrible it must feel that you don’t even exist. Come here my little friend. Fly my vile akuma and give this transparent soul a voice and a vision!”

The Akuma flew into Juleka’s room. Juleka was sitting on her bed crying her eyes out. The akuma flew into her wrist mirror. “Reflekta, I am Hawk Moth! From now on you will be the only one people see! No one will ever ignore you again! However, you must do me a favor in return, when the time comes!”

“Yes Hawk Moth!” She transformed into Reflekta. She took a good look at herself and headed off to school.

Marinette and Chloe were still in their shouting match when Reflekta first arrived on the scene. “Chloe Bourgeois!”

The two girls looked at Reflekta. “Who are you?” Chloe asked.

“Take a good look at me because I am your future face!” Relfekta said. She aimed her wrist at Chloe and transformed her into a Relekta-double. Marinette ran away.

Chloe was horrified. “What in the? Do you realize how much my outfit cost!?”

“You should be thanking me! You look a thousand times better looking like this!” Reflekta said. She then laughed. Reflekta went all around school, transforming people to her likeness.

Eventually, she got to where Rose was and Reflekta transformed everyone around her. Rose was scared at what her friend had become. Reflekta walked up to her and said “Don’t worry Rose. I’m not going to transform you. You’re perfect just the way you are!” Reflekta gave Rose a kiss on her forehead and went on her merry way.

Rose was confused. She walked out to the courtyard to see that Cat Noir had shown up. Just as he was about to Cataclysm his way out, Reflekta hit him.

A few minutes later, Ladybug showed up and demanded “Juleka, stop this now!”

Reflekta retorted “I’m not the Juleka nobody notices anymore! Now, I’m the unmistakable Reflekta!” She waited a few seconds before continuing. “I’m sure you’ll love your new image, Ladybug!”

“Thanks but no thanks, I prefer the one I’ve got!” Ladybug said.

“Are you sure? Ask Cat Noir! I’m sure he loves his new look!” Reflekta said. She aimed at Ladybug but she kept dodging. Eventually though, Ladybug was cornered.

Just as Reflekta was going to change her, Cat Noir said “Time to face off! Catch her!” the other Reflekta-fied students surrounded Reflekta, making it impossible for her to change Ladybug.

“You’re no match for me Ladybug, this will all be over soon for you!” Reflekta said before escaping.

The people who had been transformed were worried about their transformation. Ladybug assured them “Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out.”

“Yeah, these shoes are killer on the feet, my lady!” Cat Noir said.

“Cat Noir?” Ladybug responded in disbelief.

“Excuse us, move out of the way” Cat Noir told everyone.

Ladybug asked “Cat Noir, is it - is it really you?”

Cat Noir responded in his usual way. “'Course it is! Can’t you tell by my swagger! Am I still the cat’s meow or what?”

“I-uh… I don’t know what to say!” Ladybug said.

Cat Noir replied, “How about a thank you for getting you out of that tight spot!”

Ladybug laughed “Sorry Cat Noir but you - you just… you just don’t look like yourself! But uh… thank you!”

Cat Noir smiled “You’re welcome. And in case you’ve forgotten, we’ve got to de-akumatize Reflekta!”

“We? You’re powers are gone, what are you gonna do? Throw your shoes at her?” Ladybug laughed again.

Cat Noir smugly said “Remind me who just saved you a minute ago?”

Ladybug told her partner “I have to find Reflekta fast! You’d slowed me down!”

“Maybe, but you know, sometimes I do have ideas” Cat Noir reminded her.

“Ok, sorry, yes?”

Cat Noir pointed out “I don’t think taking on Reflekta face to face is the best idea unless you want a facelift too.”

Ladybug thought about it. “You’re right and that gives me an idea!”

She grabbed Cat Noir, but before the two took off, Rose went up to them and said “Ladybug! Can I come too? She said she wouldn’t transform me. And she’s my friend…”

Ladybug approached Rose “Sorry, but it’s still too dangerous.”

“I understand…” Rose said, dejected.

Ladybug realized she needed to cheer Rose up. “Look, I’m going to be busy enough carrying around Cat Noir as it is. I can’t worry about him AND you at the same time.”

“I’ll be fine” Cat Noir said.

“I’ll believe that when you can walk 10 feet in those heels without tripping” Ladybug said. Cat Noir rolled his eyes while Ladybug giggled. “But more importantly, Reflekta is a villain now. And villains go back on their word all the time. But I will give you a hero’s promise: We will get you friend back! The best thing for you to do is be safe. For us and your friend.”

Rose smiled. “Thank you, Ladybug.” Ladybug and Cat Noir took off. Rose then began to walk around. “Chloe?! Chloe?!” She was going to give Chloe a piece of her mind once she found her. Fortunately for Chloe, the only good thing about being transformed for her was that Rose could not pick her out from a line-up.

Rose gave up and decided to do the next best thing. She snuck into Mr. Damocles’s office and sat at the computer. She looked through the files and eventually found the original image. She deleted Chloe’s photo off of the school website and replace it with the original. She added the caption “Attention! Due to some prankster’s idea of a joke, the original picture had been altered and uploaded instead of the original image. We are rectifying this now. Our sincerest apologies. We are looking into the incident.”

“And done” Rose said, making it public. The magic ladybugs flew around, fixing all of the damage caused by Reflekta. Rose smiled.

Ladybug got an alert on her yo-yo. She checked it to see the update to the school website and smiled. “Thank you” she said. She went over and showed Juleka the change. Juleka gave Ladybug a hug and Ladybug hugged back. She then asked “Could you take this girl back to her school please, Mayor Bourgeois?”

“Yes, of course Ladybug!” the Mayor answered

Ladybug said “Thank you! See you later Cat Noir! Bug out!”

Hawk Moth was cursing his latest attempt. “You might’ve pulled it off today, Ladybug but everything is not as it appears to be! Watch out Ladybug! I’ll destroy you when you least expect it.”

At school, Marinette was fidgetting. “What’s up Marinette?” Rose asked.

“Well…I know that the original photo got uploaded, but I kind of feel like that isn’t enough” Marinette said. “I have an idea, but I would need to talk to…Adrien…”

Rose smiled. “You can do this, Marinette! For Juleka!”

Marinette nodded. “For Juleka!”  She walked up to Adrien, and despite stumbling, she managed to start a conversation. “Hhhhey Adrien.”

“Yes Marinette?” Adrien asked.

Marinette gulped. “Well, uh, you see, I know you know the class stenographer-”

“You mean photographer?” Adrien asked.

“Right. That guy” Marinette said. “I was, um, wondering if you could ask him to come to the park after school. I was thinking maybe that we could have our own little photoshoot…you know…For Juleka…”

Adrien was shocked. He then smiled “What a great idea, Marinette. I’ll give him a call right now.” Adrien walked off. Marinette stood there and smiled.

Rose thought that they looked cute together. Still, she had other business to take care of. She found Chloe. “Hey! What’s the big idea?!” she yelled.

“Ow. You know, that voice is too loud. You may have hurt my eardrums!” Chloe said.

“You hurt Juleka’s feelings!” Rose said. “I demand to know why!”

“Ugh. Really?” Chloe said. “Fine! I did it because Hawk Moth told me to.”

Rose was confused. “Hawk Moth TOLD YOU TO?!”

“Easy!” Chloe said.

“WHY ARE YOU WORKING FOR HAWK MOTH?!” Rose said.

“Because, he promised me that after he was done with Ladybug’s miraculous that I could have it! How amazing would that be. Me. As a superhero!” Chloe said.

Rose couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Why are you telling me this?”

“Oh” Chloe said. “Because I know you’re too nice to do anything to stop us. Now, be a good girl and head back to class.”

Rose slapped Chloe across the face. “How DARE you! All this time, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, and yet here you are. You don’t have any real troubles. You’re just a vain, whiny, little brat who wants her way all the time! Well guess what?! I might be too nice for my own good sometimes, but you have gone TOO FAR! I’m going to the principal’s office to tell EVERYONE what you told me, and there’s NOTHING you can do about it!”

Rose started heading over. Chloe tried to stop Rose, but Rose backhanded her with her fist, knocking Chloe to the ground. When she opened the door to the office, everything around her turned white. “What’s going on?” Rose asked.

“Well well. I didn’t know you had it in you” Judgement Wolf said

“Judgement Wolf?” Rose said. “Wait, so, was this my test?”

“Yes. And I gotta say, you passed” Judgement Wolf said.

“Thank you” Rose said, giving Judgement Wolf a hug.

“Yes, well, you’re welcome” Judgement Wolf said.

“Wait!” Rose said, leaving the hug. “So, does that mean none of that was real?”

“It does” Judgement Wolf said.

“Whew!” Rose said. “I’m glad it was just a test. Chloe has really been improving. I didn’t want to hate her after all of that.”

“Of course” Judgement Wolf said. “But you proved you can, and that’s what I was looking for.”

“I can sleep easy knowing this” Rose said.

“Speaking of, I should go home and get some sleep of my own” Judgement Wolf said. “Beyyo should be meeting with you soon to see if he agrees with my assessment. Anyway, good night Rose.”

“Good night” Rose said. Judgement Wolf left and Rose fell back asleep.

Chapter Text

The day of the student art exhibition had arrived. Marinette woke up and got ready. “Are you excited?” Tikki asked.

“Of course” Marinette said. “I’m a bit nervous, but I’m ready!”

“That’s the spirit!” Tikki said.

Marinette got a phone call. “Hello?” she answered.

“Hey Mari, it’s me” Adrien said.

“Mari?” Marinette said.

“Do you not like it?” Adrien asked.

“No. I mean, I like it, I just-” Marinette sighed. “So, what’s up?”

“Well, I thought I’d walk you to school today. You know, since it’s the big art exhibition and all. I figured you could use some help,or at least some company” Adrien said.

“Thanks Adrien, but you don’t need to do that” Marinette said.

“Well…” Adrien said.

“What’s going on?” Marinette asked.

“I’m kind of already here” Adrien said.

“WHAT?!” Marinette shrieked.

Marinette went downstairs and opened the house door to see Adrien standing outside. “Hi Mari” Adrien said.

Marinette was somewhat frustrated, but then smiled. She couldn’t stay mad at Adrien. “Alright fine. Come inside. I just need to grab a few things.”

Marinette went back upstairs while Adrien went into the kitchen. “Morning Mrs. Cheng” he said.

“Oh, hello Adrien” Sabine said. “Want something to eat?”

“Sure” Adrien said. “I’ve had breakfast already, but I always get a little nervous before a gig, so I like to eat a little more.”

“Oh my. It must be hard for you” Sabine said.

“Yeah, it can be” Adrien said. “But today will be worth it because I get to model Marinette’s outfit.” A smile graced Sabine’s face.

Gabriel finished his breakfast. “Thanks for helping me find the time to attend both events, Nathalie,” he said.

“Of course sir” Nathalie said.

“Remember, you don’t need to get the miraculous to make me proud. Though I would prefer it” Gabriel said.

“Yes sir” Nathalie said. Gabriel left.

Alix was finishing putting on all of her skating equipment. “You’re coming, right dad?”

“Of course” Mr. Kubdel said. “I just need to take care of a few things here. You go on ahead.” Alix skated out of the Louvre with a smile on her face.

Juleka and Luka were on the deck of the Liberty watching the street. They saw their dad pull up with a trailer on his car. “Mom! Dad’s here! We’re leaving!” Luka said.

Richard came out. “So, is everything ready?” he said.

“Yeah dad” Juleka said. They started packing the instruments and stage equipment in the trailer.

Max and the Nighthawks were already at the school, working on finishing setting up Max’s game. “Hey guys” Carter said.

The rest of the crew turned to look at him. He was still wearing his baggy pants and black shoes, but he had taken off his hoodie to reveal a long-sleeved red t-shirt, and he had taken off his hat to reveal his long brown hair with blonde highlights. “Carter” max said.

“Yeah, I know” Carter said. “It actually feels nice.”

“Does this mean the team is breaking up for good?” Gerard asked.

“Nah” Carter said. “But after a week of thinking, and working on this, I think I’ve decided that we should maybe limit ourselves. We aren’t ready for the big leagues yet. I thought we were, but last week proved me wrong. We need to start small. So, we’ll only be a weekend team.”

“But what will we do with our weekdays?” Laurence asked.

Carter smiled. “We’ll finish high school. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not as smart as we think we are. Of course, we might need a tutor…”

Max smiled. “I’m proud of you Carter. And I’ll gladly tutor all of you”

“Ooo! Can I help?” Markov asked.

“Of course” Carter said. “Now let’s finish setting this up.” The gang got back to work. Carter pulled Max aside. “You know, I wouldn’t be at this point if it wasn’t for you.”

“Me?” Max said.

“Yeah” Carter said. “I was so angry with you after the match. But then, after I calmed down, I thought about you and your team. You were actually close. I could see it in your eyes. I never felt that close with anyone. You gave me a goal. I needed that.”

Max smiled. “Well, I’m happy to help. Say, um, you wouldn’t happen to know Katelyn’s deal, would you?”

Carter looked over Max to Katelyn. “Later” he said.

Nathaniel and Marc arrived at school, each carrying a box of  their latest comic. “I’m so glad we get to show this off” Marc said.

“Yeah” Nathaniel replied. “I think it’s our best work so far!” Marc giggled.

Marinette and Adrien were in the building. “Thanks for walking with me” Marinette said. The two kissed.

“Well well, if it isn’t Paris’s number one couple” Vlad said, walking up to them.

“Stop that” Adrien said. Marinette blushed. “Are you OK? You look a little tired.”

“Yeah, well, I had a long night” Vlad said.

“Who’s fault is that?” Adrien asked.

“Hawk Moth’s. Always Hawk Moth’s” Vlad said.

Adrien shook his head. “Um, Vlad, here’s your outfit” Marinette said. She gave Adrien his outfit as well.

Vlad was impressed. “Wow. I like how it looks already.”

“Yeah, well, put it on. It’ll look even better” Adrien said. The two headed to the locker room to change.

A few minutes later, the two emerged. “Wow, you weren’t kidding” Vlad said. The two were wearing a dress shirt-dress pants combo with a series of V-shapes with a 128 degrees of separation on the inside angle going down the entirety of the outfit. Vlad’s was purple with gold Vs and Adrien’s was black with green Vs.

“I’ve gotta say Mari, you’ve really outdone yourself” Adrien said.

“Oh, it was nothing. I was trying to keep it simple” Marinette said.

“…Mari?” Vlad said.

Marinette blushed. Her hands went in her face. “Um, maybe I should be the only to use that” Adrien said.

“Noted” Vlad said.

“Ah, Marinette. Are these your outfits?” Mr. Chastain asked. “They look wonderful.”

“Thank you, Mr. Chastain” Marinette said.

“So, where are you set up?” Mr. Chastain asked.

“Well, I was promised I could use the stage that Kitty Section was using before they performed” Marinette said. “I just hope that we still can…”

Mr. Chastain was confused. “What does that mean?”

“Nothing” Marinette said, nervously.

“Just teen drama stuff” Adrien said.

“I see” said Mr. Chastain. “Well, if your drama isn’t settled, I’m sure Alix wouldn’t mind splitting the art room with you.”

“Really?” Marinette said.

“Sure. I’ll go ask her now.” Mr. Chastain left.

“I’m gonna grab a drink of water” Adrien said, leaving.

“Speaking of talking to Alix…” Marinette said.

“Right” Vlad said. “Well, Beyyo, you heard where she was.”

“On it” Beyyo said. Beyyo raced to the art room to see Alix. He hid before Mr. Chastain entered and asked Alix about the room. Alix nodded and Mr. Chastain left.

Beyyo appeared in front of Alix. “Woah! Oh, hello. You my be Beyyo” Alix said.

“Indeed it is” Beyyo sad. “I am here to report that you have gained my approval.”

“Well, that’s good” Alix said. “Anything else, or can I get back to preparing?”

“You’re good to go” Beyyo said.

“OK. Thanks” Alix said. Beyyo left. He saw Kitty Section and Richard enter with a bunch of equipment. He thought to tell Rose in a more private setting. He hid in the corner to keep watch from above.

Marinette approached Luka. “Hey Luka” she said.

“Hey Marinette” Luka said.

“So…Could we still use the stage when you’re not using it?” Marinette asked.

Luka smiled. “Of course. What would make you think otherwise?”

Marinette hugged Luka. “Thank you!” She realized what she did and broke off. “Ah! Sorry…”

“Relax Marinette” Luka said. “I’m doing better.” Marinette smiled.

Rose went to get a drink of water, and that’s when Beyyo decided to strike. Once Rose was done, she looked up and said “Oh hello. You must be Beyyo!”

“Yes” Beyyo said. “I am here to inform you that I have passed you as well.”

“Really? That’s great!” Rose said.

“Yes, now run along. We don’t want to arouse suspicion” Beyyo said.

“Right” Rose said. She put her finger to her lips and then walked away. Beyyo returned to Vlad.

Everyone finished setting up. “Well, this looks wonderful” Mr. Chastain said. “And with that, I declare this student art exhibition officially open!” The students not participating walked around taking in the art. Soon after, people from all over the city came by to check things out.

Max got a lot of good feedback on his game, Marinette got many compliments on her outfits, everyone loved Alix’s street art, and Nathaniel and Marc sold more copies of their comics than ever before. All of the other students participating all got positive feedback as well. Nathaniel had to leave to use the restroom for a second. “I say, things are going well” Mr. Chastain said.

“Simon?” said a voice from behind. Mr. Chastain got nervous instantly. “Simon Chastain?” Mr. Chastain turned around.

Sure enough, with his balding hair, moustache, suit, glasses, and notebook, it was who he thought and feared it was. “Hello Raphael” he said in an angry tone.

“I didn’t expect to see you here” Raphael said. “What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same thing” Mr. Chastain said.

“Well, I’m here to do a piece on today’s exhibition” Raphael said. “And I’m supposed to interview the art teacher…” Raphael looked through his notes. “Oh. Look at that. The art teacher’ name is Mr. Chastain as well. Where can I find him?”

“You’re looking at him” Mr. Chastain said.

Raphael burst out laughing. “Seriously? Good one” Raphael said. “Now, where is he, really.” Mr. Chastain glared at him. “Oh. You’re serious.”

Nathaniel was walking back to his table when he saw Mr. Chastain staring down Raphael. “Woah! What’s going on here?” he asked.

Mr. Chastain sighed. “Nathaniel, this is Raphael Beaumont. An art critic.” Ice seeped from every word from his mouth.

“I’m familiar with who Mr. Beaumont is” Nathaneil said. “He’s one of the harshest art critics there is. But, what is he doing here?”

“He’s doing a piece of today’s exhibition” Mr. Chastain said.

“Did you tell him I’m harsh, Simon?” Raphael said.

“No. I found that out by reading your articles” Nathaniel said.

“Then you should know that I’m not harsh” Raphael said. “I just believe art has standards.”

Nathaniel rolled his eyes. “Hey, you’ve been gone for a long time,” Marc said, coming up to Nathaniel. “Oh. Uh, what’s going on here?”

“Simon, are you still mad about art school?” Raphael said.

“You two went to art school together?” Nathaniel asked.

“Yes. We did” Mr. Chastain said.

“Look, you could ask any art critic, ‘The Mad King’ is not a good piece of art” Raphael said.

“Wait. You mean the piece you showed us recently?” Marc asked.

Mr. Chastain looked worried. “Oh no. Tell me I did NOT just here you kept your dumb painting all this time” Raphael said.

“You made the painting?” Nathaniel asked.

“Yes” Mr. Chastain said.

“Oh man. This is almost too good to be true” Raphael said. “I can’t wait to see what drivel comes from The Mad King’s subjects.”

“Hey! Our comic is NOT drivel!” Marc shouted.

“Comic? As in comic book?” Raphael said. He then laughed.

“Comic books ARE art!” Nathaniel said.

“I agree. Now, if you just came here to insult me, I suggest you leave” Mr. Chastain said.

“Well, I didn’t come here to do that” Raphael said. “I’ve got a piece to write. I hope your students don’t expect to have careers in creative fields. If they’re being taught by you, then there’s only so much they can learn. Let’s start with this dynamic duo. Show me your ‘artful’ comic book.”

“Very well” Nathaniel said, angrily. He, Marc, and Raphael walked over to the comic booth.

Mr. Chastain angrily walked over to the art room. Alix was explaining her art when she noticed Mr. Chastain. “Mr. Chastin, are you alright?”

“I’ll be fine” Mr. Chastain said. “I just need a break.” He went to the back of his room and stepped into his office. In his office was ‘The Mad King’. It was a painting of a king dressed in all white, with a red crown with a gold rim and ordained with jewels, a gold scepter and a red cape, giving a declaration to a scared populace. Mr. Chastain looked at it before sitting down and grabbing a paintbrush. “He can push me around all he wants, but I won’t let him tarnish my students!” He slammed his fist on his desk.

“Well well, nothing stings worse than the reopening of old wounds” Nathalie Hawk Moth said. “Except maybe failing to protect the people you’re supposed to. Fly away, my precious akuma, and evilize him!”

The akuma fused to Mr. Chastain’s paintbrush. “Hello, Mad King. I am Hawk Moth. Art should be cherished, not criticized. I’m giving you the power to bring art to life and punish those who would dare criticize it. In return, I only ask for the small fee of Ladybug and Cat Noir’s miraculous.”

“Indeed. I shall grant you that” Mr. Chastain said. A purple-black aura surrounded him.

The Mad King kicked down the door. He looked similar to the painting, except the scepter was a giant paintbrush, and he had Hawk Moth’s traditional purple skin for akuma victims. “Mr. Chastain?” Alix said.

“There is no Mr. Chastain anymore. Only The Mad King!” he said. “Though we do share a similar appreciation for your street art, Miss Kubdel. Although, it is a pity that it has to stay confined to such a space. Perhaps I can help with that.” He aimed his paintbrush at Alix’s art and shot a colorful beam at it. Alix ran out of the room, but the graffiti grabbed a hold of everyone else in the room. “There. Nobody move.”

“It’s an emergency!” Alix yelled from the second floor. “Mr. Chastain has been Akumatized!” Everyone was shocked.

“And here I thought we got along” Mad King said.

Alix was afraid, but she knew she had to stand up to this. “I got along with Mr. Chastain!

“Well, I suppose one can’t be king without having a few enemies” Mad King said. “But I still like you, so I’ll let you go for now” Mad King said. He jumped onto the railing. “I have a different enemy in mind!” Raphael was quivering. He started to run before Mad King aimed his paintbrush at the comics. The comics came to life and grabbed Raphael and dragged him.

Mad King met up with the now upside down critic. “I never knew why you attended art school” Mad King said. “All you ever do is tell people their art is bad. That’s not fair. That’s not even constructive! But don’t worry. We’re going to deal with you now!”

Marinette, Adrien, and Vlad looked at each other and nodded. They all left for the lockers and transformed. “Tikki! Spots On!”

“Plagg! Claws Out!”

“Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!”

When the three of them got out there, The Mad King had taken the stage. Surrounding him was a plethora of student art projects. In the middle, Raphael was being held down. “You feel that? That fear? That iciness? That’s how you make everyone feel when you walk into a room. Although that won’t be for much longer.” He grabbed a sword out of a painting of a pirate. “Thank you, Captain Abelard. Now, it’s time!” Ladybug knocked the sword out of his hand with her yo-yo. “Ladybug. I didn’t expect to see you here so soon.”

“If you’re not one for critics, then take me on first!” Ladybug said.

“Oh, I’m fine with critics” Mad King said. “Critics are a tool meant to help artists. Except some of them would rather use it to make people give up on art altogether!”

Cat Noir and swooped in and destroyed a lot of the art surrounding Mad King. “We’re not at a Van Gough exhibit, but I’ll make you see stars!” Cat Noir said.

“I’ll mess you up like  Dali clock” Judgement Wolf said.

“Good references” Mad King said. “But you’re forgetting I still have a hostage completely at my mercy. So  suggest you be a patron of the arts and give me your miraculous!” Mad King looked at Raphael only to see Marc free him. “What are you doing?”

“Run!” Marc said. Raphael ran out of the school.

Mad King grabbed Marc. “Why’d you do that?”

Marc was struggling while being lifted off the ground. “Because he doesn’t deserve that!” he shouted. “No one does!”

“Well, how noble of you” Mad King said. “But you’re wrong!” He threw Marc. Judgement Wolf caught him. “And now I need to find him again! And I’m all out of art too!”

“Mad King, surely you can’t be out” Nathalie Hawk Moth said. “This city is filled to the brim with art. Think creatively.”

“Of course Hawk Moth!” Mad King said. He saw the sword on the ground. He picked it up and threw it at Ladybug and Cat Noir. While they dodged it, he made his escape.

“I’ll track him down!” Cat Noir said, rushing out after him.

Ladybug ran up to Judgement Wolf. “Is he alright?” she asked.

“Yeah. He’s fine. Just unconscious” Judgement Wolf said.

“I’ll take it from here!” Nathaniel said. Judgement Wolf handed Marc to Nathaniel. Nathaniel gently hugged him and took him to the nurse’s office.

“So, what should we do now?” Judgement Wolf.

“We need a plan” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! An incense burner? Wait, I’ve seen this before. Judgement Wolf. Make sure everyone here is safe then go join Cat Noir! I’ll catch up with you!” Ladybug left. Judgement Wolf made his way around the school.

Marinette busted into the parlor. “Master Fu! We need help!”

“Of course” Master Fu said. He opened the Miracle Box. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, pick an ally you can trust to fight alongside you on this mission. Choose wisely; such powers are meant to serve the greater good. Once the mission is over you will retrieve the Miraculous from them.”

We need someone who can calm down this Mad King. “Ah! I need the rooster miraculous!”

“Very well then” Master Fu said. Marinette took it and left.

Cat Noir kept chasing Mad King, but kept having to fight pieces of art that Mad King brought to life. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Catalyst used their power on Mayura!” he said.

“Who’s Mayura?” Judgement Wolf said, catching up to Cat Noir and taking out another piece of living art.

“Oh. Right. I guess you wouldn’t know” Cat Noir said. “She holds the peacock miraculous and sometimes helps Hawk Moth.”

“You’re telling me that there’s ANOTHER person with a miraculous?!” Judgement Wolf said. “Forget it. We don’t have time to get into it.” The two kept fighting art.

Nathaniel was watching over Marc. “How’s he holding up?” Alix said, entering the room.

“He’s doing OK” Nathaniel said. “I can’t believe he did something like that. The little guys is something else.”

“Yeah” Alix said. “He just went up there without thinking. Like a hero.”

“Hey Alix. Can you watch him? I’ve gotta use the bathroom” Nathaniel said.

“Of course” Alix said. Nathaniel left.

Once Nathaniel left the bathroom, Ladybug appeared in front of him. “Ladybug? Shouldn’t you be taking care of Mad King?” Nathaniel asked.

“I’m going to, but I need some help” Ladybug said. “Nathaniel Kurtzberg. Here is the miraculous of the rooster, which grants you the power of tranquility. You will use it for the greater good. Once the job is complete, you will return the miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

Nathaniel was in awe. “Of course Ladybug!” he said. He grabbed the box and opened it.

Orikko appeared once the box was opened. “Hello. My name is Orikko. I am the kwami of tranquility.”

“Hi Orikko. I’m Nathaniel” he said, putting on the miraculous.

“Once the miraculous is on, all you have to do is say ‘Orikko! Comb Up!’” she explained.

“Orikko! Comb Up!” Nathaniel said. He transformed into a hero with an orange domino mask with a little beak, an orange jumpsuit with decorative feathers on his arms, a strap going across his torso to carry a crossbow, and a bandana to make his hair stand up to form a comb-like structure. “Woah!”

“‘Woah’ indeed” Ladybug said. “Now let’s move!’ The two left the school.

While they were running across rooftops, Ladybug gave Cat Noir a call. “Hey honey. What’s up?”

“‘Honey’? Are you two dating now?” Nathaniel’s superhero form asked.

Ladybug made a nervous noise, while Cat Noir said “Oh. I didn’t know we had company.”

Ladybug groaned. “It’s OK. Most people kind of expected it” Nathaniel’s superhero form said.

“Well, then, I don’t see what we need to worry about” Cat Noir said.

“And if there is something, your secret is safe with me” Nathaniel’s superhero from said.

“Aw, thanks buddy! What’s your name?” Cat Noir asked.

He smiled. “Rooster Gold!” he said.

“Huh. Well, welcome to the team!” Cat Noir said.

“Cat Noir! Focus! Have you tracked down Mad King yet?” Ladybug said.

“Yeah! We tracked him to the Arc de Triomphe!” Cat Noir said. “Judgement Wolf, Rena, and Carapace are keeping him busy. I’m hiding his target.”

“Great! Meet you there!” Ladybug said.

Ladybug and Rooster Gold made it to just before the Arc. They kept out of sight. “Hey Ladybug” Cat Noir said. “Do you have a plan yet?”

“Not yet. Where’d you hide his target?” Ladybug asked.

“He’s in one of the buildings here” Cat Noir said.

“OK. Let’s see if we can’t take him out before he realizes something!” Ladybug said. Ladybug, Cat Noir, and Rooster Gold charged further. Rooster Gold fell back after he thought of something.

Ladybug and Cat Noir arrived to join the fight. “Ah, Ladybug. Cat Noir. Have you come to admire my collection?”

“Not really” Cat Noir said. “But we’d like to add a new piece. It’s called my foot in your face!” Cat Noir jump kicked, but a pierce of art blocked him.

“Get them!” Mad King commanded. The variety of art works kept storming the heroes.

“Do these ever let up?” Rena Rouge said.

“Yeah. It’s like every time I turn, he has a new piece of art after me” Carapace added. A piece of art was about to take out Carapace, but it got hit with a feather and went down. Carapace looked as saw Rooster Gold in the distance sniping pieces of art. Carapace acknowledged him, and he acknowledged him back.

Rooster Gold kept taking out pieces of art from a distance. “What’s going on?” Mad King asked. He started to panic, but then he looked up and smiled. “It occurs to me that the Arc de Triomphe is also art.” He aimed his paintbrush up and brought the Arc to life. It started to move, causing quakes whenever it landed.

“This is bad” Cat Noir said.

“I didn’t want this to happen” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm! Mustard?!”

“My condiments to the chef” Cat Noir said.

Ladybug looked around and saw all of the artwork, the mustard, Mad King, and Rooster Gold. “Of course. Cat Noir! Take care of the Arc. I’ll handle everything else!”

“‘Take care of the Arc’ she says” Cat Noir said. “Sometimes, I wonder if she realizes just how strange things have been getting.

The Arc was about to step on Rena when Carapace joined her and called out “Shell-ter!” The Arc stepped on the Shell-ter and began to fall over after not breaking it.

“Cataclysm!” Cat Noir said, touching and destroying one of Paris’s most iconic landmarks.

“Thanks you two” Rena Rouge said.

Meanwhile, Ladybug was squirting mustard all over the different art pieces. Once they were hit, they became lifeless. “What’s going on?” Mad King asked.

“By vandalizing them, I’m ruining them as art” Ladybug said. “Making it so you can’t control them anymore!” She continued to squirt mustard all of the art.

“NOOOOOOOO!” Mad King said. Once the last one was down. “You’re forgetting something. I still have the Louvre. The Eiffel Tower! This city is FULL OF ART! You can’t stop all of it!”

“I don’t need to” Ladybug said. “NOW ROOSTER GOLD!”

“On it!” Rooster Gold called back. He held his crossbow in the air and pulled back on the launcher. The feather loaded in it became gigantic. “Down Strike!” he called. He unleashed the giant feather.

“Uh oh” Mad King said. He got hit with it. He loosened up a little bit. “MhmhmhmhmhmhmAhahahahahahahahahahahahahAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” The Mad King laughed heartily. “Oh, what a wondrous day!” he said.

“What are you doing?” Nathalie Hawk Moth said.

“I dunno. I just feel more relaxed” Mad King said.

“Rena, could you make him something to help him relax a little more?” Ladybug asked.

“Sure thing Ladybug!” Rena said. She played her flute. “Mirage!” She generated a vision of their class.

“Ah, children. How are you today?” Mad King said. He walked over lazily. The smiles on those kids faces relaxed him further to the point of letting go of his paintbrush and falling over. Judgement Wolf quickly destroyed the paintbrush, releasing the akuma.

“No more evildoing for you, little akuma. Time to de-evilize! Gotcha! Bye Bye, little butterfly. Miraculous Ladybug!” She threw the mustard in the air, and the ladybugs fixed all of the damage.

“Well, I’ve yet to create my masterpiece, but I suppose I can review what I learned” Nathalie Hawk Moth said.

“Uh. What happened?” Mr. Chastain said.

“Pound it!” The six heroes said.

The miraculouses started beeping. “I’ll take these guys back to the school with Rena and Carapace, while you and Judgement Wolf take off with Rooster Gold?” Cat Noir said.

“Sure” Ladybug said. Carapace grabbed Mr. Chastain while Cat Noir fetched Raphael, and the three took off. Ladybug, Judgement Wolf, and Rooster Gold went off a different direction.

Cat Noir, Carapace, and Rena Rouge dropped Mr. Chastain and Raphael at the front door.

Meanwhile, on the side of the school, Ladybug, Judgement Wolf, and Rooster Gold arrived. “Orikko! Comb Down!” he transformed back into Nathaniel.

“You do realize what you are doing?” Orikko asked.

“Of course” Nathaniel said. “But I can’t afford to be stressed out about it. I just need to relax.”

Orikko smiled. “Well, I sure hope you pass. I wouldn’t mind teaming up with you again.” Nathaniel smiled. He place the miraculous back in the box and ran off.

“Why don’t I take this back?” Judgement Wolf said. “I have more a charge.”

“Alright, but be quick. I’m going to need my art to actually be here, you know” Ladybug said.

“Of course” Judgement Wolf said. He took the box and returned it.

Nathaniel walked into the nurse’s office. “Hey. What happened?” Alix asked. “You were gone a really long time.”

Nathaniel smiled. “I guess I just got lost in thought worrying about Marc is all.

Marc started to wake up. “Is everything alright?” he asked.

“MARC!” Nathaniel said, hugging him. “I’m just glad you’re alright.”

“Oh, uh, thank you” Marc said, blush.

Nathaniel broke the hug, but kept his hands on his shoulders. “Don’t scare me like that again.”

“I know…I’m sorry,” Marc said.

“It’s alright” Nathaniel said. The two exchanged a kiss.

A few minutes Later, Vlad left the locker room to join a crowd gathered in the courtyard. “I’m sorry about today’s disturbance” Mr. Chastain announced. “But, now that everything is back in order, I declare this exhibition: Re-Opened!”

The rest of the exhibition went off without a hitch. Later on, parents began to arrive. Mr. Chastain was smiling proudly at his student’s accomplishments. “I gotta say, you have some fine students” Raphael said, standing next to Mr. Chastain. “You certainly make a good teacher.”

Mr. Chastain smiled. “Raphael, do you know why I show my class ‘The Mad King’ every year?”

“No” Raphael said.

“The composition, the coloring, the technique, it’s all there” Mr. Chastain said. “But you’re right. Anyone could tell you that it’s not a great painting. I only made it because it was for an assignment. I didn’t put my heart into it. That’s not what art is to me. Art has to come from within. Not because someone told you to do it.”

“I see…” Raphael said.

“The night’s not over yet” Mr. Chastain said. He walked over to the stage, as Vlad and Adrien got off. “Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the musical stylings of Kitty Section!”

Kitty Section was walking to the stage. “Miss Lavillant” Gabriel said. Rose turned to meet him. “Your sister wanted me to give you this.” He handed her a note.

Rose read it. “Dear Rose, I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to your concert tonight. But maybe you can give a private concert later. Anyway, the reason I’m not there is because I finally became a full-time employee of Gabriel! AND Julian is taking me out tonight to CELEBRATE! I am completely ecstatic right now. I hope your concert goes well! Tell mom and dad for me! Love, Courtney.”

“I hope your date is going well too,” Rose said.

“She also wanted me to give you this” Gabriel said. He held out a box with a white lace wristband with a pink rose. “She made it for you just before she left.” Rose’s face lit up. She put it on and made her way to the stage.

She joined everyone up on stage. “Thank you for coming tonight!” Rose said. “Right now, we are debuting our second song, ‘Comforting Waves’. Hit it!” Ivan counted down and the band started playing.

“When it’s calm in my heart, that I can’t stand

Cause when where the ocean meets the sand

Is at peace I just see nothing at all

So no one’s looking at me when I fall

But I see your face

And my heart starts to race

And I know my place

Is by your side

Standing there on the ocean’s shore

Wishing, wanting you forever more

You flow through me so we don’t drift apart

Comforting Waves crashing in my heart

Comforting Waves crashing in my heart

Your affection has swallowed me in your tide

And you couldn’t lose me if you tried

Right now I’m at peace surrounded by you

I can’t be the ocean, cause I’m not blue

Cause I see your face

And my heart starts to race

And I know my place

Is by your side

Standing there on the ocean’s shore

Wishing, wanting you forever more

You flow through me so we don’t drift apart

Comforting Waves crashing in my heart

Comforting Waves crashing in my heart

(solo)

And I see your face

And my heart starts to race

And I know my place

Is by your side

Standing there on the ocean’s shore

Wishing, wanting you forever more

You flow through me so we don’t drift apart

Comforting Waves crashing in my heart

Comforting Waves crashing in my heart”

After the song was over, everyone cheered. Rose smiled and gave the peace sign. Juleka and Luka fist bumped. Ivan crossed his arms.

Once the day was over, Adrien and Vlad approached Marinette. “What is it, you two?” Marinette asked.

“Well, we were just wondering…” Vlad said.

“Can we keep these?” Adrien asked.

“Of course!” Marinette smiled.

“Ah, Marinette” Tom said. “Wonderful designs. I know for sure you’re going to make it as a designer.”

“Thanks dad” Marinette said.

“Oh, right. We should get home soon” Tom said.

“Why?” Marinette asked.

“Well, we wanted to tell you sooner, but you were so busy” Sabine said. “We were invited over for lunch tomorrow at the Agreste manor.”

“WHAT?!” Marinette and Adrien said.

“I’m sure it’s going to be great!” Tom said.

“We’ll leave you two be for now” Sabine said. They walked away.

Marinette and Adrien stared at each other. “Well, good luck you two” Vlad said. He walked off as well.

“So, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then?” Adrien said.

“Yeah” Marinette said. The two tried to awkwardly step around each other and then insisting the other should go first. They managed to walk around each other eventually and catch up with their parents.

Vlad rolled his eyes. “I thought that when they started dating, there’s be no more awkward moments like this” Beyyo said.

“”It’s just who they are” Vlad said.

Max was heading out when he was stopped by Carter. “Hey. My house. Tomorrow.”

Max nodded. “Gotcha” he said. He then left.

“So, what do we do about this Mayura?” Beyyo asked.

“The same thing we do with every miraculous, Beyyo” Vlad said. “We figure out the person behind the mask and test them.”

“But we haven’t seen them since we got here. They must be more secretive than Hawk Moth” Beyyo told him.

“True. But they can’t hide forever” Vlad reminded him.

“I guess” Beyyo said.

“Right now, we need to focus” Vlad said. “We’ve got to test our chicken before he hatches into a problem.”

Beyyo stared at him. “I think Adrien is a bit of a bad influence on you.”

“Eh. It is what it is” Vlad said. They walked out of the school.

Chapter Text

“Nooroo! Dark Wings Fall!” Nathalie Hawk Moth called.

Nooroo reappeared as Nathalie returned to being herself. “I see you haven’t been using the peacock miraculous” Nooroo said.

“Yes, well, Mr. Agreste said I shouldn’t unless we absolutely need to” Nathalie said.

“I’ll tell you this as well” Nooroo said. “There is a chance Judgement Wolf could pass the both of you if you allow him to test you. He could help in other ways. I know Beyyo. He would never choose someone who upon finding out who you are will have you taken in right away. Please listen.”

Nathalie looked at the kwami. “I’ve heard what you had to say, but I’m still going to listen to Mr. Agreste.”

“You’re so devoted to him. Why is that?” Nooroo said.

Nathalie sighed. “Very well.”

She began telling the story of when she worked at an agency for secretaries. Her boss, Phillip Forestier, was working her to the bone as his own personal secretary. Most other secretaries of his quit or were fired because they weren’t good enough. Rumors speculated that some left because they wouldn’t submit to his advances.

It was tough on Nathalie, but she needed to persevere. She was looking through her notes when she got a call. “Hello” she said.

“I’m coming over. I’ll see Mr. Forestier in 15 minutes” the voice on the other end said, angrily. He hung up.

Nathalie walked into Philip’s office. “Sir, a man just called saying he’s coming over now,” she said.

“Did he sound angry?” Philip asked. Nathalie nodded. He sighed. “Figures.”

15 minutes later, Gabriel stormed Philip’s office. “You keep giving me bad secretaries!” he said.

“Gabriel, baby” Philip said. Nathalie rolled his eyes. “What was wrong with Corey?”

Gabriel slammed his hands on Philip’s desk. “I have several things I need to keep track of. I need the latest fashion new, appointments, ideas, meetings, interns, workers, contracts, and a son, whose mother just went missing, and Corey can barely keep a hold of my coffee order and whatever meetings I have in the day! He has the potential to be a good secretary, but pawning him off on me is throwing him in the deep end!”

“What do you want me to do?” Philip asked.

“I want your best secretary!” Gabriel demanded.

“Well, unfortunately, all of our best secretaries are busy” Philip said.

“What about her?” Gabriel asked, pointing at Nathalie. She was shocked.

“What, Nathalie?” Philip asked. “I’m sorry, but she’s MY secretary.”

“You can have Corey” Gabriel said. “He’s free, and I can guarantee you that being your secretary is going to be a lot easier.”

“But he’s-” Philip began. Halfway through, he realized he didn’t want to finish that thought. “Whatever, I’m paying Nathalie a lot to be my secretary.”

Gabriel laughed. “Philip, we both know I could match what you’re paying her 5 times over.” Philip growled. “This is a fight you can’t win. However, I am in such a mood right now. You could have her back in a few weeks if she’s not great.” Philip relented and handed Gabriel the paperwork to sign. “Now, Nathalie, was it?” Nathalie nodded. “Come!” The two left the office.

At the Agreste manor, Gabriel was going over her new tasks. “Uh, sir” she spoke up.

“What is it?” Gabriel asked.

“Why did you want me?” Nathalie said.

Gabriel explained “I saw you roll your eyes at him. You were able to follow our conversation well enough, and I have to meet with people and talk with them at that speed on a regular basis. You seem like you’re up to the task.”

Nathalie was confused about something. “What does rolling my eyes have to do with anything?”

“It shows that you don’t just go along with things,” Gabriel said. “Natalie, my wife recently went missing. As you can imagine, I am in disarray. I’m not always make the right choices because I’m so worried about her. I need someone who can stand up to me. Tell me what I’m doing is wrong. No one else I’ve hired so far can do that for me. But you? You can. I need that. I need someone to keep my head above water. Otherwise, I’d be more of a mess than I am.”

Nathalie nodded. “I will do my best” she said.

“Thank you, Nathalie” Gabriel said.

“Truth be told, I’m glad to not be working for Philip” Nataline said. “He works his secretaries to the bone. He’s very controlling and forces them out of the company if they don’t comply with his every whim. Also, there have been some rumors that he makes advances on his secretaries, so giving him Corey is a nice little touch to leaving.”

Gabriel glared. “If what you said is true, he shouldn’t be where he is. He should be in jail. Nathalie, I want you to investigate this, and if you find any evidence of your claims, give it to the police.”

“Yes sir” Nathalie said.

“I’ll be in my office” Gabriel said.

“You have a phone meeting at 4” Nathalie said. Gabriel smiled, knowing he picked the right person for the job.

In the present, Nathalie finished the story. “I collected information from everyone, and we got Philip arrested. The company is being run by someone more forgiving now. Ever since that first day, I could tell that Mr Agreste’s heart was in the right place, he just needs help from time to time figuring out how to use it.”

“And you don’t think this is a bad idea?” Nooroo said.

Nathalie looked at Nooroo. “I don’t think it’s the best idea, but it’s either this, or Mr. Agreste giving up on his wife. Which would mean giving up on the world to him. That would leave Adrien truly alone. I’m trying to do what’s best for everyone, but sometimes there are no good options.”

“I keep telling you, Judgement Wolf!” Nooroo said. “He could help. He could be the key to this!”

“I’ll talk to Mr. Agreste about this” Nathalie said. “In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I have to do.”

“I understand” Nooroo said. “I’m just worried.”

“We all are” Nathalie said.

Meanwhile, Marinette flopped on her bed. “A meeting? Tomorrow? At ADIREN’S?”

“Marinette, calm down” Tikki said. “It’s going to be fine.”

“I know, Tikki” Marinette said. “But, it’s just so sudden!”

“Marinette, akuma attacks are sudden, yet you’re always prepared for those!” Tikki said.

Marinette smiled. “You’re right TIkki. I just hope things go well. Good night Tikki.”

“Good night Marinette” TIkki said.

Adrien flopped on his bed. “Can you believe it? I’m having my girlfriend and her parents over tomorrow!” he said.

“You know, most people would be more worried about that” Plagg said.

Adrien put his arms behind his head. “But Marinette’s going to be there. She always knows what to do during an akuma attack. I just need to follow her lead.”

“Look, kid, she’s a great Ladybug, but you know how she manages in social situations” Plagg said.

“Well, that’s why I’m there” Adrien said, nervously. “Look, tomorrow is going to be a great day, and nothing you say can make me think otherwise.”

Plagg looked at Adrien. “You right. Sorry.”

“It’s OK Plagg” Adrien said.

“Well, good night” Plagg said.

“Good night” Adrien said.

Judgement Wolf was standing outside of Nathaniel’s house. He made his was to Nathaniel’s window, and snuck in. Nathaniel was sound asleep. “Wolf Mist!”

“Huh? Where am I?” Nathaniel said. He looked around and realized he was in Chloe’s penthouse.

“Pound it!” Ladybug and Cat Noir said.

Ladybug then noticed something. “Cat Noir…We have a problem.”

“What is it, bugaboo?” Cat Noir asked. Ladybug turned his head to Nathaniel. “Oh.”

“What is it? What’s going on?” Nathaniel asked. He stood up and felt something on his arm. He looked at it and saw it was a drawing tablet. “GAH!”

“I thought we deakumatized him already” Cat Noir said.

“We did…” Ladybug said.

“Wait, was I akumatized?” Nathaniel asked. “I’m sorry.”

Ladybug smiled. “It’s OK,” she said. “You’re fine now.”

“But maybe we should have a chat” Cat Noir said.

“Right” Ladybug said. “Grab on.” She extended her hand and lifted Nathaniel up. The heroes and Nathaniel took off to a different rooftop in Paris. 

Once they landed, Cat Noir asked “OK, what’s going on here?”

“I’d like to know as well” Nathaniel said

“I don’t know. This never happened before” Ladybug said.

“Do you think it works?” Cat Noir posed.

“Only one way to find out!” Ladybug said. “Nathaniel, can you draw something on that tablet?”

“Uh, sure. I just need a pen” Nathaniel said. He felt around and found one in his pocket. He was surprised. He drew a flower and it materialized. “Woah!”

“That was your power when you were Akumatized” Ladybug said. “You can also erase things.”

“Yeah, it was really troublesome” Cat Noir said. Ladybug gave him a look. “But we won anyway.” Ladybug facepalmed.

“So, does this mean I retained my powers?” Nathaniel asked.

“Looks like it” Ladybug said.

“So, can I be a superhero with you two?” Nathaniel said, excitedly.

“I don’t see why not” Cat Noir said.

“Well, we have to look into how he retained his powers, but I suppose in the meantime there’s no harm in it” Ladybug said. Nathaniel smiled. “But, you have to only use your powers in emergency situations.”

“Understood” Nathaniel said. “Um, could you let me down?” The heroes took Nathaniel to street level. “Thanks again. Now, how do I compact this so it’s not just there all the time?” The drawing tablet compacted itself. “Oh.”

“Well, see you around” Ladybug said. The two heroes left.

The next day at school, Chloe was giving Marinette a hard time. “Seriously? Do you even have half a brain? Watch where you’re going next time!”

“Sorry Chloe” Marinette said.

Nathaniel saw this. He wanted to intervene. He pulled up his arm and was ready to draw something. But then he looked at the wristband that could turn into a tablet and thought about what Ladybug has said. This isn’t an emergency, but I can’t leave Marinette alone like this. Nathaniel instead decided to walk up to Chloe. “Hey. Leave Marinette alone!”

“Oh, and what are you going to do about that, loverboy?” Chloe snarked.

Nathaniel glared at her. “We don’t need this. Marinette, let’s go.” Nathaniel took Marinette and walked away.

“Ugh! Whatever” Chloe said, walking the other direction.

“Thanks” Marinette said.

“No problem” Nathaniel said. “So, what did she mean by ‘Loverboy’?”

“Well… when you were akumatized, you kind of asked me to go on a date with you” Marinette explained.

“Oh no! Did I hurt you?” Nathaniel asked.

“Not at first” Marinette explained. “I agreed but I made you promise not to hurt anyone. However, I met with Ladybug. She saw you and came up with a plan to get your akumatized object away from you. She said she had a secret mission to go on, so she sent Cat Noir to help me. But once you picked up on what was going on, you trapped us on a sinking ship. Luckily, Cat Noir got us out in time.”

“Oh” Nathaniel said, sorrow filling his eyes. “Marinette, I’m sorry.”

“It’s OK” Marinette said. “You weren’t yourself.”

Nathaniel smiled. “So, um, would you go out with me for real?” he asked nervously.

Marinette fidgeted nervously. “Sorry…but I like this other guy…”

“I understand” Nathaniel said, disappointedly.

“But, I still want to be friends”! Marinette said.

Nathaniel smiled. “Of course.” Marinette walked away. Nathaniel saw Adrien. Marinette was fairly obvious about her affections. Nathaniel thought he could use his powers to thoroughly embarrass Adrien. No. Not only is that not an emergency, but that would make me just as petty as Chloe.

Nathaniel walked to class. On his way, he saw another kid getting bullied. But this isn’t the type of bullying Chloe usually does. The kid was pinned to the wall. The bully raised his fist. OK. This is an emergency! Nathaniel took out his drawing tablet and drew a wall between the bully and the victim.

“OW!” the bully said after punching the wall. “What the?”

“Run!” Nathaniel said. The victim complied.

“So, who are you?” the bully asked.

“Me? I’m just someone who won’t stand for innocent people getting hurt” Nathaniel said. He added more walls around the bully until he was completely encapsulated. “There. Now all we have to do is wait for the teachers to arrive.”

“Nathaniel” Lady Ladybug appearing behind him.

“Ladybug?” Nathaniel said, turning around. “This was an emergency! Someone was going to get hurt!”

“There weren’t any akumas” Ladybug said.

Nathaniel was shocked. “So, you think an emergency can only happen whenever Hawk Moth strikes? I’m sorry Ladybug, but I can’t agree to that. The reason Hawk Moth strikes in the first place is because of incidents like this. One bad day is all it takes from someone to become an akuma victim.”

“Well, we have powers. And it’s our responsibility to not use our powers in everyday life” Ladybug said.

“I know we can’t use our powers for selfish reasons” Nathaniel said. “But that kid was going to be hurt.”

Ladybug looked sad. “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to fight you.”

“How?” Nathaniel said. “I’m not working for Hawk Moth anymore! I don’t care about your miraculous. I can just as easily erase it!” Ladybug was shocked. “I can create whatever you could using your Lucky Charm! Meanwhile, you don’t even know why I still have these powers.”

“Nathaniel…” Ladybug said.

“I don’t want to fight you, Ladybug” Nathaniel said. “You’re amazing. You save Paris all the time. And I even understand you not using your powers in everyday situations. But we need to be heroes both in and out of akuma attacks. I believe that sometimes my powers are necessary.

And look! I didn’t do anything more than just prevent someone getting hurt! The bully is fine by all accounts. I didn’t create anything that could seriously injure him. I just stopped him from hurting someone.”

Ladybug smiled. “You’re right. I’m sorry.” Nathaniel lowered his guard. “Your powers are different. You’re different. You seem to be very responsible with your power. I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions.”

Just as Nathaniel was about to say something, an explosion happened. “What was that?” Nathaniel asked.

“An akuma!” Ladybug said. She reached her hand out to Nathaniel. “Do you still want to save Paris with us?”

Nathaniel smiled. “Of course Ladybug!” He grabbed her hand.

Suddenly, everything around him disappeared into a white void. “Well well, it looks like you’ve passed” Judgement Wolf said.

“Judgement Wolf?! So this was my test?” Nathaniel said.

“Of course” Judgement Wolf said.

“Fascinating” Nathaniel said.

“Of course, Beyyo still has to approve. But I have a feeling he will” Judgement Wolf said.

“Beyyo?” Nathaniel asked.

“He’s my kwami” Judgement Wolf said.

“Oh. OK” Nathaniel said.

“Well, good night” Judgement Wolf said. He left the Wolf Mist and headed home. Nathaniel fell back asleep.

The next morning, Marinette’s alarm went off. She sleepily silenced it and sat up. “Marinette! Get ready! Were heading to Adrien’s house!” Sabine called.

Marinette woke up instantly. “Right! I’m on it!” she said, nervously. She began her morning routine.

Chapter Text

Max had arrived at Carter’s place with Markov. He rang the doorbell. Carter answered. “Come in” he said.

Max entered and noticed that a lot of stuff was being boxed up. “What’s all this?” Max asked.

Carter looked stern. “Since dad’s arrest, we’ve lost a lot of money. We’re doing what we can with what we have, but we’re moving.”

“Oh. I’m, uh, sorry to hear that” Max said, nervously.

“Don’t be” Carter said. “It’s..liberating. All my life, my father dictated what I should be doing. Selling this house. Selling a bunch of his stuff. It’s like I’m clawing my way out of this deep hole.”

“I see…” Max said.

Carter smiled. “We’re still going to be in Paris,” he said. “We’re just not going to be in the lap of luxury. We’re budgeting ourselves. We’ll be fine.”

Max looked at his new old friend. “I know you invited me over to talk about something concerning me, but do you want to continue venting before we do that?” he asked.

Carter sighed. “A little.” They went into his room. His hoodie was thrown over his computer chair, which he sat in. Max sat on his bed. Markov floated around Max. “Heh. Remember when you first came here?” he asked.

Max nodded. “You had just gotten Ultimate Mecha Strike: II. I wanted to play it, so when I heard you had it, I asked if I could come over.”

“Yeah” Carter said. “I miss days like those. Just playing games for the fun of it. My dad pushed me to play games competitively” he said in a somber tone. “I mean, I’ve enjoyed it, but I never wanted to do it as much as he did.”

“Pardon me asking, but why did you not say no to him?” Markov said.

“Markov!” Max said, nervously.

“It’s fine” Carter said. “You’re just a curious little thing, aren’t you?”

“Why yes” Markov said.

Carter smiled. “My dad was a very powerful man. It was really hard to say no to him. He had everything over me. Wealth. Power. I didn’t want to upset him. I’ve seen him upset at people before.”

“So, you were scared?” Markov said.

“Pretty much” Carter said. “When you guys beat me, I was more scared that I’ve ever been. I guess that’s why I got akumatized so easily. But even then…” He sighed. “One thing I did to make my dad happy was inherit some of his attitudes. He thought in order to get what you want, you have to control people. I kind of fell into that same trap.”

“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that as much” Max said. “Hawk Moth’s the one who gives powers. He’s the one who made you Nighthawk, not you. Trust me. I’ve been on the receiving end of akumatization as well.”

“As have I” Markov said.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t change the fact that I inherited some of his other terrible behaviors as well,” Carter said. “Part of me thinking through things was trying to undo all of that. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I feel like I’m getting better.”

Max smiled. “Glad to hear it.”

Carter then realized something. “Wait, did you say ‘He’?”

“What?” Max asked.

“When describing Hawk Moth. You said ‘He’” Carter elaborated.

“Yeah…?” Max said.

Carter held his head. “I know it’s a bit fuzzy, but I remember a female Hawk Moth.”

“WHAT?!” Markov said. “What does this mean?”

“I dunno. But we should tell Ladybug this” Max said.

“It could be nothing…” Carter said. “I mean, villains need to be themselves as well. Hawk Moth could just be trans.”

Max looked at Carter surprised. “I think you’ve made a lot more progress than you think.” Carter smiled.

“That could be true” Markov said. “But at least that could give us a lead as well.”

“Yeah” Max said. “Anything that could lead to Hawk Moth’s capture is valuable. No matter the circumstances.”

“Great! But, how are we supposed to meet with Ladybug?” Carter asked.

“Well, she patrols the streets sometimes” Max said, nervously. “Maybe if one of us sees her, we could tell her.”

“Right” Carter said. “Well, I’m feeling better. Wanna talk about your thing?”

“Sure” Max said.

“So, I don’t know about asking Katelyn out right away,” Carter said.

“Why not?” Max asked.

Carter got serious. “That has to do with how she joined the team. See, her ex-boyfriend was Mitchel Baume.”

“Wait, of the Orleans Alphas?” Max interjected.

“Yes” Carter said. “They two had dated for a long time. But when Mitchel moved to Orleans to be a part of the team, Katelyn got upset that a team was more important than her. She came to us after she found out we were looking for a fifth. She was on a mission to destroy the Orleans Alphas. We let her on because she was talented. We did beat them in many tournaments with Katelyn on the team. But she was always distant. Though, I can hardly blame her.”

“I see…” Max said.

“I’m not saying you don’t have a chance,” Carter said. “I’m saying tread lightly. Despite my attitude, I don’t want to see anyone on my team get hurt.”

“Right” Max said. Max looked around and noticed that Carter’s consoles were not packed yet. “Hey, wanna play some games? You know, for old time’s sake?”

Carter smiled. “I’d like that.”

Meanwhile, Marinette and her parents arrived at the Agreste Manor. They rang the doorbell. The camera came to meet them. “Come on in” Gabriel said.

The Dupain-Cheng family walked in and were greeted by Gabriel and Adrien. “Hi” Adrien said, clearly embarrassed.

“Hi” Marinette said, equally embarrassed.

“Shall we have lunch?” Gabriel said. They all moved to the dining room. Adrien usually hated that room, but his father, his girlfriend, and her parents were there. Adrien’s face lit up. Everyone sat down and their lunch was plated. “So, shall we get started?”

“Um, sure?” Tom said. “But what’s this about?”

“Yeah. Isn’t it a little early to be talking about their future?” Sabine asked. “Unless…” Sabine looked at Marinette.

Marinette was eating when she picked up on what her mom was implying. “Mom, NO! We haven’t even been dating a week. We haven’t even had a second date yet!”

“Well this could be our second date” Adrien said, trying to lift Marinette’s spirits.

“With our parents?” Marinette said.

The adults chuckled. “I understand it’s a bit early before anything serious happens,” Gabriel said. “I just wanted to have a talk. I’m not sure what you know about me, but I can be a bit overprotective of Adrien here. He’s all I have, after all. I’m just concerned is all.”

Tom was offended. “Are you saying that Marinette isn’t good enough for your son?” he asked.

“Not at all” Gabriel said. “Marinette is a wonderful young lady. I just can’t help but be concerned. I want what’s best for my son.” There was a distinct sadness in his voice

Tom smiled. “I understand” he said. “As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. Why, I remember when my little Marinette was rejected by Cat Noir. I got so mad that someone wouldn’t want to date my little girl that I ended up akumatized.”

Adrien coughed up his drink at the mention of the Weredad incident. “Is something the matter?” Gabriel asked.

Adrien looked at them staring at him. “It’s just… I can’t stand the thought of someone saying that Marinette is not good enough for them…”

Tom looked at Adrien. “AHHHHHHHHH. You and I are going to get along just fine. If we weren’t at a table, I’d give you a hug right now.”

“Yay” Adrien said, nervously. Marinette put her head down on the table.

“Well, regardless, I still think Marinette and Adrien are a great couple,” Sabine said.

“Of course. Based on the limited amount of times I’ve seen them together, they seem to bring out the best in each other” Gabriel said. Marinette and Adrien thought about that. That certainly was the case with Ladybug and Cat Noir, but it was a bit more subtle when it comes to them specifically. 

“Still, I have a greater concern,” Gabriel said. “Now, I don’t mean any disrespect by what I’m about to say. It just comes from my overly cautious nature. Adrien and I are very well known figures around Paris. I don’t WANT to think Marinette is like that, but…”

“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that” Adrien said. “Marinette couldn’t stand me at first.”

The rest of the table was surprised. “Adrien!” Marinete said.

“Pardon?” Gabriel said.

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

Marinette sighed. “Yeah…” She said. “When Adrien first came to school, I thought he was helping Chloe pull a prank on me. I just kind of wrote him off as another spoiled rich kid. It was only after he apologized to me and gave me an umbrella that I saw the real him.” She began to think about incidents with he and Adrien and her and Cat Noir. “Someone whose kindness knows no bounds. Someone who puts others over themselves. Someone who will do whatever it takes to cheer you up. That’s the Adrien I fell in love with.” Adrien was stunned at Marinette’s words.

“I see” Gabriel said. He was starting to well up. “Please excuse me.” He left the table.

A few minutes later, a loud noise was heard coming from Gabriel’s office. “Father?!” Adrien said.

“Let’s go!” Tom said. The four left the table and ran out.

They got to the doors. “I’m sorry, but Mr. Agreste told me not to let anyone in” Nathalie said.

“Move!” Tom said, pushing her out of the way. Sabine caught her. Tom burst through the doors. “Are you OK, Mr. Agreste?!” he shouted. Everyone else entered. They saw Gabriel’s office in complete disarray. Gabriel was sitting down. “Mr. Agreste?” Tom said much more calmly approaching him.

Gabriel looked up and saw the kind faces surrounding him. “I’m sorry” he said, tears in his eyes. “I just hate people seeing me like this.”

“It’s OK” Tom said.

“What’s the matter?” Sabine asked.

“Nothing” Gabriel said. “It’s just, when Marinette was describing Adrien she reminded me a lot of myself and my wife back when we were dating. I miss her every day.” Tom and Sabine sat next to him and gave him a hug. “Thanks” he said, a smile coming over his face. “If you don’t mind though, I’d prefer to be alone.”

Sabine and Tom broke the hug. “We understand” Sabine said.

“We’ve gotta get back to the bakery anyway,” Tom said.

“Marinette, are you coming?” Sabine asked.

“Well…” Marinette said.

“If it’s alright with you, maybe she can stay here a while?” Adrien said.

“Of course son” Tom said. “You to have fun!”

“But not too much fun!” Sabine said.

“MOM!” Marinette said.

Tom and Sabine were about to leave when the ran into Nathalie. “Sorry about pushing you out of the way like that” Tom said.

“It’s alright’ Nathalie said. “You were concerned for Mr. Agreste.”

“Thanks for being so understanding,” Tom said.

“Of course” Nathalie said. Tom and Sabine left.

“Marinette why don’t we go to my room?” Adrien said. Marinette nodded. The two walked off.

Back at Carter’s, after some gaming Carter got up to go to the bathroom. Max took out his phone and texted Vlad. “JW. We have some information on HM. Need to talk. -P.”

“Got it. Tomorrow” Vlad replied.

Max sighed. “Alright, no where were we?” Carter said, getting back Max got another text. “What’s that?”

Max checked his phone, worried that it was a more specific text from Vlad. However, much to his delight, “Katelyn?” he said.

“What does she want?” Carter asked.

“She wants to meet with me,” Max said. “Right now.”

“Well, what are you waiting for?” Carter said.

“Right” Max said, getting up. Just as he was about to leave. “Before I go, since we were reminiscing, why don’t you pursue that goal you told me about the day I first came here?”

Carter smiled. “I’ve been thinking about that. I kind of want to move first.”

“Fair enough” Max said. “Anyway, seeya.” He left.

Adrien and Marinette made their way to Adrien’s room. “Well, that could have gone a bit better” Adrien said.

“Well, it could have gone worse” Marinette said. “So, what did you want to do?”

“Well, I had something in mind” Adrien said. He put his phone on his speaker and played “Rebel Girl” by Angels & Airwaves. He then held out his hand. “May I have this dance?” Marinette took his hand and the two started to dance together.

Max was running off to meet Katelyn while Adrien and Marinette were dancing their hearts out. Max eventually found Katelyn and ran up to her. “*huff….huff…..” he said. “You wanted to see me?”

Katelyn looked at Max. “Yeah… So, I had a really bad break-up. I haven’t been able to move on. The only reason I joined Carter’s team was because I was still caught up in all that petty nonsense. But, being with you this past week had made me let go of all of that stuff. What I’m saying is, I think I might like you-A little bit! But I can understand if you don’t feel the same.” Tears started streaming down her eyes. “I’m sorry.” She started to run away.

Max grabbed her hand. “Wait” he said. Katelyn looked back. “Carter told me the whole story. I understand what you’re going through. But I also like you too. In fact, that was the reason I was talking with Carter. We can take it as slow as you want. But I do feel the same about you. You’re so amazing. It feels like even though I’ve known you for a week, I know you well.”

Tears continued to flow down Katelyn’s face, but they were tears of joy. “Thank you” she said. The two held each other. Markov looked on, proud of his creator. If he could cry, he would.

Meanwhile, after the song wrapped up, Marinette said “Wow. That was amazing.”

“Not as amazing as this” Adrien said. He then kissed her. She kissed him back. They sat on his bed. “Marinette. There IS something I need to talk to you about.”

“Was all of that to try to butter me up?” Marinette said, teasingly. “You don’t need to do that. But I appreciate it.” She nuzzled her boyfriend.

“Yeah…” Adrien said. “So, we know who we are as superheroes, right?” Marinette nodded. “So, is there anything I should know? You know, since we’re dating and all.”

Marinette was surprised. But she dd think she owed him something “What do you want to know?” Marinette asked.

Adrien rubbed the back of his head. “Well, truth be told, Master Fu told me a lot about what’s going on already. But I want to know who everyone else is.” Marinette was shocked. “You and Vlad both know everyone else already. I kind of feel out of the loop.”

Marinette looked concerned. “Well, it’s not necessarily up to me” Marinette said. “I’d have to ask everyone.”

Adrien smiled. “I understand.” They both got a text. “Possible HM information. Meeting tomorrow?” “It’s from Vlad” Adrien said.

“We can meet tomorrow” Marinette said. They both texted Vlad about agreeing.

“There” Adrien said. “Now, with that out of the way, allow me to butter you up some more.”

“What is it this time, kitty?” Marinette said.

“Just for fun, bugaboo!” Adrien said. They spent the rest of the day hanging out in Adrien’s room.

Chapter Text

Early Sunday morning, a middle-aged Chinese man gets off his plane at Charles de Gaulle. He is dressed in a black turtleneck, with black pants, black boots, and black gloves. He goes to pick up his black bag and leaves the airport.

Later in the day, Marinette left the bakery. “I’m going to meet with some friends” Marinette said.

“Take care sweetie,” Tom said.

A few minutes after Marinette left, the middle-aged Chinese man walked in. “Yes? Can I help you?” Sabine asked.

“I’d like a croissant please” the man said.

“Sure thing” Sabine said. She left to get one.

The man pulled a golden compass-like thing and looks behind the counter. “Is there someone here with you two?” he asked.

“Not right now” Sabine said. “Here’s your croissant. Can I help you with anything else?”

The man stared her and her husband down. “No” he said. “He paid for his croissant. “Thank you very much.” He started to eat it as he left.

Marinette met with Vlad and Adrien in a secret place, away from prying eyes. “So, what’s this information you have?”

“I don’t have it yet,” Vlad said. “I need to check with my source first. But I do want to know about Mayura.”

Marinette and Adrien looked at each other. “Well, Mayura wields the peacock miraculous” Marinette explained. “It has the power of emotion. She works alongside Hawk Moth sometimes.”

“Sometimes?” Vlad said.

“She’s not there all the time” Adrien elaborated. “She first appeared during the Hero’s Day attack. We had Hawk Moth cornered, but then she came in and made an amok to save him.”

“I see” Vlad said.

“We, kind of wanted to ask about something else” Adrien said.

“What is it?” Vlad asked.

“Well, Adrien wants to know who all the other heroes are” Marinette explained. “I want to go and ask them all first.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Vlad said. “I can help. My source is one of those heroes anyway.”

Great, so it’s settled” Marinette exclaimed. “I will talk to some of the heroes, Vlad you take the ones I don’t get, and Adrien, can you patrol around as Cat Noir? We could disguise our true intent by passing it off as a patrol.”

Adrien smiled. “Of course Marinette.” Marinette and Vlad split up who got who and then they all transformed. “Plagg! Claws Out!”

“TIkki! Spots on!”

“Beyyo! Fangs Sharpen!” They then split off.

Marinette’s first stop was Kagami’s. Since both she and her mom knew about their secret, she just knocked on the door. Kagami answered. “Ladybug?”

“Hi. Mind if I talk to you for a second?” Ladybug asked.

“Sure” Kagami said. “What’s this about?”

“Well, Cat Noir wants to know your secret. Is that OK?” Ladybug said.

Kagami was stunned. “Well, of course. But why haven’t you told him already? You two are practically dating, right?”

Ladybug blushed. “Ah, yeah, well, we’ve only recently figured out our own secret identities. We’re still trying to figure things out.”

“I see” Kagami said. “Hey, did Judgement Wolf talk to you about allowing Marinette to have a miraculous?”

Ladybug froze. “Yes, well, I’m not allowed to divulge who gets a miraculous without express permission.”

“I see” Kagami said. “Well, I still think she’d be good.

“I’ll keep that in mind” Ladybug said. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome” Kagami said. She closed the door.

“Phw” Ladybug said. She left.

Max was playing some video games when he got a knock at his window. He turned to see it was Judgement Wolf. Max opened the window and let him in. “So, what’s this information?”

“Well, it’s not much…” Max said. “But anything is helpful.”

“Go on…” Judgement Wolf said.

“See, here’s the thing. Carter remembers being controlled by a female Hawk Moth” Max said.

“And?” Judgement Wolf said. He then realized what Max was getting at. “Oh. I see.”

“Yeah…” Max said.

Judgement Wolf smiled. “Well, like you say, any little bit helps. By the way, I have something I need to ask of you. Is it OK for Cat Noir to know that you’re Pegasus?”

“Huh?” Max said. “Uh, sure, I guess? Why?”

“He wants to know” Judgement Wolf said.

“Did something happen between him and Ladybug?” Max asked.

“…You could say that” Judgement Wolf said.

“Well…OK” Max said.

“Max! Katelyn’s here!” his mom called.

Max looked at Judgement Wolf, but before he could say anything, Judgement Wolf said “I understand” and left. Max closed the window.

Ladybug and Judgement Wolf kept asking everyone. During one of Ladybug’s trips, she passed by that middle-aged Chinese man. “Ladybug” he said. He started chasing after her. Cat Noir saw Ladybug taking off. He also saw the man chasing her. “Ladybug!” he screamed.

“That can’t be good” Cat Noir said. He jumped into the middle of the street to meet this man. “Hey, what’s the big idea? Don’t you know there’s only one man in black for Ladybug, and that’s me?”

“Cat Noir” the man said. “Please! Take me to Wang Fu!”

Master Fu? This could be a problem. “Why should I?” Cat Noir asked. “He keeps off the radar for a reason.”

“And yet, I know of him,” the man said. “I figured asking one of Paris’s superheroes would be easier than relying on this.” He pulled out his compass-like device.

“What’s that?” asked Cat Noir.

“It’s a kwami tracker,” the man said. “It can detect kwami energy. But it seems to be on the fritz. It reacted in a bakery, but the couple their didn’t have miraculouses, and they said they were alone in the place.”

Marinette’s bakery? This is bad. Cat Noir stared him down. “Again, why should I take you to Master Fu?”

“Doesn’t my knowledge proceed me?” the man asked.

“You could be using that knowledge against us” Cat Noir exclaimed.

“How rude” The man said. “Maybe Ladybug will be much more kind.”

He tried running past Cat Noir, but he blocked him. “Sorry. Not gonna happen.”

Alya and Nino were chilling in Alya’s room when they got a knock at the window. “Ladybug?” Alya said. She opened the window.

“Hi” Ladybug said.

“What’s up?” Nino asked.

“Well…” Ladybug said. “Would it be alright if I told Cat Noir about you two?”

Alya and Nino were stunned. Still, they had an answer. “Sure Ladybug” Nino said.

“IF you tell us who you are” Alya said.

“That includes Cat Noir!” Nino concluded.

“What?” Ladybug said.

“We’re full-time superheroes too, you know” Alya said.

“If Cat Noir gets to be in the loop, so do we” Nino said. Ladybug was shaken.

The man got mad with Cat Noir. “I guess I have no choice” he said. He opened up his bag and took out an antique sword.

“Woah! I don’t want to fight you” Cat Noir said.

“Unfortunately, that shoe has already dropped” the man said. He charged at Cat Noir. Cat Noir blocked it.

Judgement Wolf was standing on a building. “Where are they?” he said to himself. “I’ll have a look around. If they get here while I’m out, they were late anyway.” He left. He searched the area and found Cat Noir clashing with the man. Cat Noir had pushed the man back and that’s when Judgement Wolf went to meet him. “So, where’s the akuma?” he asked.

“There isn’t one” Cat Noir responded.

“What?” questioned Judgement Wolf.

“Maybe you’ll be a bit nicer,” the man said. “Though I doubt it. Take me to Wang Fu!”

“What?” Judgement Wolf said, even more confused.

“He won’t tell me what’s up” Cat Noir said. “He has intricate knowledge of miraculous stuff.”

“How intricate?” Judgement Wolf asked.

“He has a kwami tracker” Cat Noir said.

“Oh!” Judgement Wolf said.

“This is your final warning before I get serious,” the man said.

“You pulled a sword out! How are you not serious already?!” Cat Noir exclaimed.

The man growled. In Hawk Moth’s lair, Hawk Moth delighted at a new emotion he’s found. “There’s nothing quite like the determination of a man on a mission. Fly away my little akuma, and evilize him!”

The akuma flew off and fused with the kwami tracker. “Hunter Dragon. I am Hawk Moth. You want to meet with the Guardian of the Miraculous? Well, as it turns out, so do I. With the powers I’m giving you, you can push your way past these heroes!”

“Yes Hawk Moth” the man said. A purple-black aura formed around him.

“This is really bad” Cat Noir said. The aura dissipated and out of it came a man wearing golden armor in the image of a Chinese dragon. He retained his sword, which looked a lot more elaborate now, and the kwami tracker. “Get Ladybug!” Cat Noir exclaimed. He charged in, but Hunter Dragon blocked his attack. Judgement Wolf feverishly called Ladybug.

Ladybug got the call. “Ladybug!” Judgement Wolf said. “We have a major situation!”

Ladybug noted the urgency in his voice. “On it! I’m with Rena and Carapace! We’ll come meet with you!” She hung up.

Alya and Nino nodded. “Trixx! Let’s Pounce!”

“Wayzz! Shell On!”

Soon, the three heroes joined Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf. “This guy’s difficult!” Cat Noir said.

“Ah! Ladybug!” Hunter Dragon said. “Take me to Wang Fu!”

“That’s also a problem” Cat Noir said.

“I see!” Ladybug said. “What do you want?”

“I want to meet with Wang Fu!” Hunter Dragon said.

“Not good enough!” Ladybug said. “And there’s no way you’re getting passed all five of us!”

“You’re right, Ladybug!” Hawk Moth said, communicating with Hunter Dragon. “Perhaps we ought to level the playing field.”

Mayura was waiting in the shadows. She plucked a feather from her fan and infused it with energy. The feather flew and hit the kwami tracker, fusing with it as well. “Hunter Dragon. Let your determination create a beast to stop those heroes from getting in your way.”

“Of course” Hunter Dragon agreed. Above him formed a giant, gold, Chinese dragon, that let out a loud and disturbing roar. The heroes looked at Golden Dragon. “Go!” Hunter Dragon called. Golden Dragon swooped down.

Just as it was about to tackle Ladybug, Rena Rouge pushed her out of the way, taking the blow instead. “RENA!” Carapace called out.

Hunter Dragon left the scene. “Cat Noir! Judgement Wolf! Rena, Carapace, and I will take care of the sentimonster! You two keep Hunter Dragon distracted until I get back to you!”

Cat Noir nodded. “Be safe.”

“I will” Ladybug said.

“Judgement Wolf. Let’s go!” Cat Noir said. He followed Hunter Dragon. Judgement Wolf was not far behind. Ladybug and Carapace went in the direction of Golden Dragon.

Rena Rouge was being carried off in Golden Dragon’s mouth. Rena took her flute and struck Golden Dragon in the eye, causing it to let go of her.  She began to fall. “Gotcha!” Carapace said, catching Rena. They landed safely, with Ladybug landing soon after.

“I could have landed on my own, you know” Rena Rouge said. “But thanks.”

“Don’t mention it” Carapace said.

“We need to focus” Ladybug said. Golden Dragon let out another vicious roar. It went in for another tackle, but all three heroes dodged it.

Carapace took note of its large sweeping movements as it came around. Golden Dragon tried to strike again, but again they dodged. “I have an idea,” he said. “It’s a bit risky, it should work. I need it centralized around something though.”

Rena got a look at the creature. “It’s big, but not too big… What about the Luxor Obelisk?”

“Perfect!” Carapace said.

“So, now we have a plan” Ladybug said. “All we need to do is get it to Place de la Concorde.”

“I think I can help with that” Rena said, readying her flute.

Meanwhile, Hunter Dragon was alone on a rooftop. Hawk Moth contacted him. “Hunter Dragon. I don’t know where the Master is exactly, but I know where to start looking. Check the right bank of the Seine.”

“On it Hawk Moth” Hunter Dragon said. He continued his trek to find Master Fu.

While he was jumping from building to building on the right bank, Cat Noir smacked him down. “Gotcha!” Cat Noir said.

“Did you?” Hunter Dragon said. He took out his kwami tracker. “Because it looks to me like Wang Fu is nearby.”

Uh oh Cat Noir thought.

“Maybe he is” Judgement Wolf said. But we won’t let you meet him. Especially like this.” He drew his sword and began charging. Hunter Dragon did the same. Before the two clashed swords, Judgement Wolf let go of his sword with his right hand. “Reveal Claw!” The swords clashed. Hunter Dragon pushed down on Judgement Wolf, but that’s exactly what he wanted. “Why do you want to meet with Wang Fu?” He thrust the Reveal Claw into Hunter Dragon.

“I. I want to apologize” he said.

Judgement Wolf was confused. He unlocked his blade and backed up. “Alright, so he may have good intentions” Judgement Wolf said. “But we can’t let him meet the Master like this,” he explained.

“Right” Cat Noir said. The two charged at Hunter Dragon. Hunter Dragon blocked both attacks.

Meanwhile, Golden Dragon was chasing Ladybug, Rena Rouge, and Carapace. “Hey! Over here!” Ladybug said. Golden Dragon charged. However, the heroes they were following were illusions. The real heroes took turns striking it to wear it down, while Golden Dragon was distracted with the mirages.

Eventually, they all made their way to Place de la Concorde. The fake Ladybug  went to the top of the Luxor Obelisk, while the fake Rena and Carapace jumped up. Golden Dragon rushed in and wrapped its body around the Obelisk, destroying the fake Rena and Carapace. It then uses its hand to grab the fake Ladybug at the top, only to be confused when it disappeared.

“So, what’s the plan?” Ladybug asked.

Carapace looked determined. “Well, nothing can penetrate my shield” he said. He ran up to the Luxor Obelisk, got as close as possible, and called “Shell-ter!” A shield appeared, surrounding Carapace and Golden Dragon.

“Carapace!” Ladybug called out.

Golden Dragon got irritated. They tried to move, but because they were wrapped around the Obelisk and the shield was present, Golden Dragon couldn’t move. “Yes! It worked! It can’t move because it’s too tight!” Carapace said. “Ladybug! Go help Judgement Wolf and Cat Noir! We should be fine, so long as you can purify the amok and akuma in time!”

Ladybug nodded. “Thanks Carapace! Rena Rouge!” Ladybug left.

Judgement Wolf and Hunter Dragon locked blades again. This time Judgement Wolf was holding his own. They unlocked, and Judgement Wolf jumped up to make way for Cat Noir to strike. However, Hunter Dragon blocked it. Judgement Wolf came down to try and strike from above, but Hunter Dragon dodged. “ENOUGH!” Hunter Dragon said. You will not interrupt my search any longer!” He tried to jump. But Ladybug’ yo-yo caught his foot and he fell to the ground.

“Ladybug!” Cat Noir said. “Is everything OK?”

“For now. But we have to act fast!” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm!” Ladybug got confused when she got a box that the miraculous are usually kept in. “I don’t get it.” She looked around and saw nothing. “I feel like it’s telling me to go to Master Fu’s, but that seems like a bad idea.”

“Do you know what to do when you get there?” Judgement Wolf said. “Because I’m almost out. I can do it.” Ladybug nodded. She went up to Judgement Wolf and whispered in his ear. “Ah. Clever. Now, you just need to keep him busy!” Judgement Wolf left.

Hunter Dragon tried to follow Judgement Wolf, but Ladybug tied him up again. “Sorry, but you’re going to have to deal with us now.”

“What can you do that the wolf miraculous user can’t?” Hunter Dragon asked.

“Simple. We’ve been a team longer. We know how to move fast and more efficiently” Cat Noir said. “Ready, bugaboo?”

“Ready kitty” Ladybug said. They both ran up together. Cat Noir charged ahead to strike, but Hunter Dragon blocked it. That left Ladybug an opening, which she used to slam her yo-yo into Hunter Dragon.

Hunter Dragon slide back. Ladybug threw her yo-yo , but Hunter Dragon blocked it with his sword. Cat Noir came up and slammed him in the face once he was open. Ladybug realigned her yo-yo and grabbed Hunter Dragon’s sword and yanked it out of his hands.

Hunter Dragon felt his kwami tracker going off. “It appears your efforts were all in vain. The kwami tracker is picking up a huge signal. I see that Wang Fu has appeared.”

Ladybug smiled. “Why don’t you give it a second look?”

Hunter Dragon looked down. The strong signal he once saw split up into many different signals. “Wha?” Kwamis were darting all around him. He turned to face whichever was closest, but he failed to keep up.

“Cat Noir!” Ladybug called.

“On it! Cataclysm!” He ran up and destroyed the kwami tracker. The akuma and amok were set free.

“No more evil doing for the both of you” Ladybug said. She caught both of them “Gotcha! Bye bye you two. Miraculous Ladybug!” she threw the box into the air. The ladybugs fixed all of the damage caused by the incident. The man deakumatized.

At the Place de la Concorde, Carapace was just about to lose endurance while Golden Dragon flailed about. Soon after though, Golden Dragon disappeared. He let his shield down and started breathing heavily. “Hey” Rena said, approaching him. “You did good.” Carapace smiled.

“You may have ruined my hunt this time, Ladybug!” Hawk Moth lamented. “But rest assured, one day I will get your miraculous, and then I will be golden!”

The man got up. “What happened?” he asked.

“Pound it” said the original duo. Both of their miraculouses started to beep.

“I’ll take it from here” Judgement Wolf said, appearing on the scene.

Ladybug and Cat Noir nodded. “Bug out!” Ladybug said. They left together.

Once the two were hidden, they released their transformations. They handed their kwami something to munch on. “Well, that certainly was something” Adrien said.

“Yeah” Marinette said. “Hey, um, about telling you who everyone is… “ Adrien was puzzled. “Rena Rouge and Carapace want to know who we are. Is that alright?”

Adrien smiled. “Of course.” He smiled.

Meanwhile, Judgement Wolf approached the man. “So, might I ask what you want to apologize about?” he asked. The man was confused. “When you were akumatized, I hit you with my power. You said you wanted to apologize to Master Fu.”

The man chuckled. “I guess I can’t keep my pride after all” He said. “Many years ago, my grandfather befriended Wang Fu as a trick to help him and his gang to steal the miraculous and use it for themselves.”

“He’s told me that story” Judgement Wolf said.

“In order to make up for his transgressions, I became an archaeologist, specializing in the miraculous, the Guardians, and all of that,” the man said. “Well, I taught myself all of that. There really isn’t a field of archaeology about all of that.”

“Yeah, I’m not entirely sure why that is” Judgement Wolf said. “It seems to be prevalent throughout history.”

“ During my studies, I learned many things,” the man said. “I was studying one such thing for a while, so I only recently learned about Paris’s superheroes. Based on what I learned, the last Guardian, Wang Fu, had to be there.”

“I see” Judgement Wolf said.

“I was hoping we could team up and figure out what to do from there,” the man said. “But the first thing that happens when I get to Paris is I get akumatized. What luck.”

“It’s alright” Judgement Wolf said. “It can happen to anyone.”

“Except you” the man said.

“You really know your stuff” Judgement Wolf said. He gave Ladybug a call.

“Yeah?” Ladybug answered.

“Meet us at Master Fu’s” Judgement Wolf said. “Our former victim is good.”

“Wow. That means a lot coming from you” Ladybug said. “Hey, listen. One of the caveats to letting Cat Noir in on it is Rena Rouge and Carapace want to know who we are. Is that alright?”

Judgement Wolf smiled. “Fine by me. Have them meet us there as well. We’re going to go over a few things.”

“Right” Ladybug said. She hung up. She looked at Adrien. “Well you know where to go then.”

“Right” Adrien said. Ladybug took off. Adrien walked off.

Alya and Nino were walking down the Champs Elysees. “Man, today was rough” Alya said.

“Tell me about it” Nino said. The two were then grabbed by Ladybug’s yo-yo and dragged into an ally. “Woah!”

“What gives?” Alya asked. She saw Ladybug. “Oh.”

Ladybug took a deep breath. “Tikki! Spots off!” She transformed back into Marinette.

Both of them were stunned. “Marinette…” Nino said.

Alya stared at her. “I can’t believe it…” she said. “My best friend is LADYBUG! Come here, you!” She dashed to Marinette, lifted her up, spun her around, and gave her a hug. She set Marinette down. “I don’t know what to say” she said with tears in her eyes.

“Sorry I had to hide it from you for so long” Marinette said.

“Don’t be” Alya said. “I get it. I completely get it.”

“Thanks” Marinette said.

“So, what about Cat Noir and Judgement Wolf?” Nino asked.

“Follow me” Marinette said. The three walked to Master Fu’s. “Master. I’m here with Rena Rouge and Carapace. Is everyone here?”

“Yes. The kwamis returned safely as well” Master Fu said.

“Great” Marinette said. “Are you ready?” Alya and Nino nodded. Marinette opened the door to reveal Master Fu, the previously akumatized man, Adrien, Plagg, Vlad, and Beyyo. “Now we all know” Marinette said.

“Adrien?! You’re Cat Noir?!” Nino said.

“Yeah” Adrien said.

“WOW!” Alya said.

“I’m here too” Vlad said.

Alya shook her head. “I’m almost not surprised you’re Judgement Wolf” she said. “I felt it when you first tested me.”

Vlad pouted. “Don’t worry, she figured me out right away as well” Nino said.

“Anyway, Zhang Hao-yu here was just explaining to me his situation” Master Fu said. “Please continue.”

“Right…” Hao-yu said. Everyone sat down and listened to his story.

“That’s…a lot” Alya said.

“Indeed” Master Fu said. “I will accept your deal and forgive you,” he said.

“Thank you” Hao-yu said. “Maybe we can work together to take down Hawk Moth!”

“I would like that” Master Fu said.

“Speaking of,” Adrien said, “Vlad, you say you had some info on Hawk Moth?”

“Right” Vlad said. “So, according to Max, Carter distinctly remembers a female Hawk Moth. Not sure what it means.”

Marinette and Adrien looked at each other. “You don’t think…?” Adrien said.

“It could be…” Marinette said.

“Mayura!” they concluded.

Alya giggled. “You two compliment each other so well.”

“Wait, how does Max know who you are?” Nino asked.

Vlad sighed. “Now, it’s time for the juicy stuff,” he said. “Promise you won’t tell anybody!” Alya and Nino nodded. Vlad gave Marinette a look and she nodded. They let out all of the identities of the other heroes.

“Well, as much as I would like to continue, I would actually like Zhang Hao-yu’s help with something” Master Fu said.

“Really?” Hao-yu said.

“Of course. This might take a while, and it is a school night for all of you. So, it might be best for you to leave” Master Fu said.

Marinette nodded. “Thanks Master.”

“By the way, those were her parents you met earlier” Adrien said.

“What?” Marinette said.

“I stopped by a bakery while I was out” Hao-yu said. “My kwami tracker pick up Tikki’s presence. I guess I must have missed you.”

“Oh, I see…” Marinette said.

“The croissant I got was really good. I might have to stop by again” Hao-yu said.

“Thanks” Marinette said. “Bye!” The five teens walked out, unified and stronger than ever.

Chapter Text

Marinette went to her room. She sat on her chaise. “What’s wrong?” Tikki asked.

“I just want to know if I did the right thing by telling everyone” Marinette said. “It felt good, but…”

“Marinette, they gave you express permission to do so” Tikki said.

Marinette interjected. “Yeah, but-”

“No buts Marinette” Tikki said. “You are Ladybug. You are worthy of their trust.”

“I sure hope so…” Marinette sighed. “I’d hate to let everyone down.”

“Marinette, you aren’t letting anyone down” Tikki said. “I know we made a big deal about not sharing identities, but the instant Beyyo came on the scene that went all out the window.”

“Don’t be mad at Beyyo” Marinette said. “He’s just doing what he thinks is right.” Tikki gave Marinette a look. “OK, I get it. I am also doing what I think is right.”

“Exactly Marinette!” Tikki said. “Trust your instincts. You’re an amazing Ladybug, and I can’t think of anyone who would disagree.”

“I think Hawk Moth might disagree” Marinette said.

Tikki shook her head. “I imagine even he would say ‘I despise Ladybug, but she is good at what she does.’”

Marinette laughed. “Thanks Tikki” she said. “You’re right. This was the right decision. This was bound to happen sooner or later. I’m just glad it was on my own terms.”

“You did well” Tikki said.

“Well, we should head to bed” Marinette said. “We need our rest.” She climbed up the ladder to her bed.

Adrien walked into his room. “I should have known,” he said.

“Should have known what?” Plagg asked.

Adrien smiled. “That Marientte would have chosen her closest friends to be heroes” he said.

Plagg sighed. “Look. The magic of the miraculous masks the identity of the user” he said. “No matter how obvious it might seem once you know, you can never tell based on sight alone.”

“Well, what about Alya? She seemed to know that Nino was Carapace and Vlad was Judgement Wolf” Adrien said.

“That’s because they interacted” Plagg said.

Adrien raised his eyebrow. “I know when Alya and Carapace met, but when did she and Judgement Wolf meet?”

“Probably when he was testing her” Plagg said.

“Oh yeah. That makes sense” Adrien said.

“Look, it’s not your fault you didn’t notice” Plagg said.

“I wasn’t beating myself up about it” Adrien said.

“Oh” Plagg said.

“You do care” Adrien said.

“I just hate seeing you upset is all” Plagg said. “A happy you is a better Cat Noir.”

“Thanks Plagg” Adrien said, handing him a piece of cheese. Plagg gobbled it up. “So, how long have you known?”

“Known what?” Plagg said, mouth full of Camembert.

“Who everyone was?” Adrien clarified.

Plagg gulped down his cheese. “I only knew who Ladybug was before you did.”

“Really?” Adrien said.

“It’s true” Plagg said. “I’ve known since Dark Owl when we were forced to drop our transformations.”

“Why didn’t you know everyone else?” Adrien inquired.

“Like I told you: Magic” Plagg said.

“I get that, but don’t you converse with other kwamis?” Adrien said.

“Seeing as I spend most of my time with you these days, not really” Plagg said.

“Oh” Adrien said. “You know you can go visit them if you’d like.”

“Thanks kid” Plagg said.

Vlad entered his room and sat in his computer chair. “What a day” he said. He noticed Beyyo looking upset. “Are you still having doubts about spilling as much info as we did?”

“No” Beyyo said. “I have strength in my convictions. I hoe you do too.”

“Of course” Vlad said. “So, what’s bothering you?”

Beyyo shifted his eyes. “I was just thinking about Zhang Hao-yu.”

“You don’t trust him?” Vlad asked.

“It’s not that!” Beyyo said. “It’s… He came to Paris to seek out Master Fu because of what his grandfather did, right?”

Vlad knew what this was about. “Are you worried about your past?” he asked.

“Yeah…” Beyyo said.

“Well, why’d you give the wolf miraculous to him, anyway?” Vlad asked further.

Beyyo sighed. “He was determined. Normally, I wouldn’t give the miraculous to someone involved in such a power structure, but at the time he was a ronin. He got kicked out of every regiment he was a part of for his convictions. He was right each time, but no one had that foresight. As a ronin, he fought for the people wherever he went. I tested him, and he passed.

Later, the daimyo found him and trusted him completely. Eventually, the daimyo would gain his trust, as well as mine. He was a beloved daimyo. And you know the rest of the story.”

Vlad looked concerned. He got a piece of jerky for Beyyo. “Look, we all make mistakes” Vlad said. “Apparently Alya knew who I was this whole time. I know that doesn’t compare, but…”

“I know” Beyyo said. “He was a great holder of the wolf miraculous until that point. I’m just worried that some decedent is going to find me. I don’t know if I’ll be prepared for that.”

Vlad smiled. “Well, you know you have me in your corner,” he said. “If things go south, I’ll defend you.”

Beyyo look