After an akuma attack that had lasted well into the morning hours. Ladybug landed on her balcony and quickly jumped through the trapdoor into her bedroom.
Marinette collapsed onto her bed. “spots off” she grumbled as her ladybug outfit transformed back into the clothes, she had been wearing the day before. She was too tired to get change, so her and her kwami swiftly drifted off to sleep. Marinette woke with a start, she looked at her clock and realized she had slept past her alarm. SHE WAS LATE AGAIN! Marinette collected all the things she would need for the school day but when she went to grab her phone it wasn’t there. “that’s weird” she said to Tikki “I always leave it right there”. “you will just have to find it later Marinette, there’s no time now” replied tikki. Marinette nodded in agreement as she rushed out the door and was on her way to school.
Marinette crept into class hoping no one would call her out for being late. *CRASH* Marinette tripped over one of her classmate’s bags and was sprawled across the cold ground. “nice off you to finally join us, next time your late please try not to disturb the rest of the class” said miss bustier. Marinette looked up and saw that everyone was glaring at her, and no one even had asked her if she was okay. It’s as if everyone had become Chloe. That’s when she realized that Adrien wasn’t in class today. As she crawled into her seat next to Alya she whispered, “why isn’t Adrien here today?”. Alya turned to face Marinette but was cut off by miss bustier telling Marinette and Alya to wait to finish their conversation until after class. Marinette listened and turned away from Alya not wanting to get In trouble again .
The rest of the class flew by and soon she was out the door and on her way to her next class. Marinette went up to Alya to talk to her, but she quickly turned her head and walked away from Marinette. That’s when she realized everyone was avoiding her, no one would maintain eye contact or return her quiet greetings. Marinette hastily went to the washroom in between her classes. Once in a stall she opened up her purse and tikki flew up to see her. “why is everyone avoiding me tikki? Did I do something wrong?” “I’m sure you didn’t do anything wrong, there is probably a simple explanation”. Marinette decided to just ignore it and hope the problem worked itself out. The rest of the day seemed to drag on and Marinette found her thoughts drifting away from her worries about her classmates to wondering why Adrien had missed class.
It was nearly the end of the day and Marinette decided she would rush out of class and head home. She didn’t want to stay around to find out what had everyone in such a bad mood.
Marinette’s eyes wandered to the back of the classroom and that’s when her eyes locked with Lyla’s, there was a grin on Lyla’s face that worried Marinette. What was she so happy about? Marinette wondered. The school bell rang, and she was freed from what felt like an eternity of endless stares. Marinette collected her things and headed to her locker, she was able to get her things from her locker and get out the door without any confrontation. Until she bumped into Alya during her rush to head home.
“sorry” she practically shouted as Alya’s books and phone went tumbling onto the sidewalk. Alya just grumbled, picked up her stuff, and went to continue on her way. Marinette grabbed her arm and mustered up the courage to confront her “hey Alya, what’s up? Why is everyone acting so cold towards me todays?” Alya shrugged out of Marinette’s grip on her arm. “Marinette what did you think would happen, I know your jealousy of other girls hanging out with Adrien makes you do stupid stuff, but I never thought you would go this far! You have unfairly judged Lila since the beginning” snarked Alya. “WHAT??!?!?!?” shouted Marinette, tears starting to form in her eyes due to the extremely angry tone in her best friends voice. “don’t play dumb everyone at the school knows about the stuff you’ve done to Lila, what did you think everyone wouldn’t see the picture you sent out to everyone last night!” said Alya, who at that point was practically shouting at Marinette. Then Nino walked up “hey Alya ready to go” he asked his girlfriend. “yeah” Alya said “I’m done here”. “Nino?” Marinette questioned, hoping to get a kinder response. “not cool dude, not cool” Nino said as he walked away with Alya. The tears started streaming down Marinette’s face. Everyone is mad at me! And I don’t even know why. Is this why my phone was missing this morning? Did Lila steal it. Marinette wondered.
“Soon my plan to ruin Marinette will be put in motion” Lila thought about her flawless plan to turn everyone against the girl who saw through her lies. They were at war and nothing was off limits to her. She started by constantly acting very upset, but whenever someone would ask her if she was okay, she would avoid the question and tell them it was nothing. People became concerned for her and that’s exactly what she wanted. After she put the final part of her plan into motion, she would reveal that she was always sad because Marinette had been “bullying” her and was the reason she was always so sad.
(later that week)
Lila entered Marinette’s family bakery. She walked up to Sabine and smiled. “hello, you must be Marinette’s mother, I’m Lila! I’m new in Marinette’s class. Because she’s class representative the teacher asked her to show me around and help me adjust to a new school. Marinette is a really amazing person! She told me to come by tonight because she was going to let me borrow her notes to catch up on everything I had missed. Is she home?” Sabine smiled at Lila and replied “no sorry, she is out with friends tonight, your welcome to go up and grab them though. Marinette keeps all her schoolwork on her desk”. Lila thanked Sabine and headed upstairs. When she had reached Marinette’s room, she took a good look around. Look at all these photos of Adrien, she thought, how pathetic. At least after she ruins her Adrien will stop hanging out with this loser. Lila spotted Marinette’s phone and grabbed it and a couple pieces of paper she could pretend were the notes she was borrowing. She quickly left the bakery and went to find someone who could help her unlock the phone.
Once the phone was unlocked, she took a photo of herself crying and a mess. She thought about how great an actress she was as the photo came out awful. She sent it out to everyone at their school pretending to be Marinette. Now all she had to do was act sad, lean on people for moral support, and let everyone else’s imaginations do the work for her.
(back to present day)
Marinette noticed, through her blurry vision, everyone was staring at her. She ran inside the school where no one could watch her and collapsed onto the ground. Tikki flew out of Marinette’s purse and flew up to comfort her holder. Tikki had to quickly hid though when Adrien walked into the school. He quickly noticed the girl huddled in a corner crying and went over to check on her. Why did Adrien of all people have to show up right now she wondered. “hey Marinette, are you okay?” Adrien asked. “of course not. Its Lila, she succeeded in her mission and turned everyone against me. Even my best friend turned against me. And the worst part is I still haven’t found out what everyone thinks I’ve done. I had a chance to avoid all this, to expose her but you told me that exposing her wouldn’t make things better. That if I humiliate her, she will just be hurt more, making a bad guy suffer has never turned them into a good guy. But let’s be honest she was never going to turn into a ‘good guy’.” She said between sobs “I believed you when you told me ‘as long as you and I both know the truth does it really matter’. But it does matter, I’ve lost everyone and now any attempt I make to prove I’m innocent will just get spun against me.”
Ah, a girl accused of a crime she didn’t commit. She is lost and lonely with everyone she cares for turning away from her. She is the perfect prey for my little akuma. Feeling betrayed and untrustworthy, creates just the emotions I need. Fly away and evilize this broken little girl.
Adrien’s pov earlier that morning
Cat noir made his way home after the akuma attack that had kept him and his lady up all night. He had to leave halfway through school for a photoshoot, so he decided to just skip the morning and get some sleep. He knew his father would be upset if he couldn’t focus during the photoshoot. Plagg was happy, maybe the kid had finally realized that not going to school was a good thing. But Adrien quickly reminded him that they would be returning the next day. After the photoshoot Adrien decided to head to school to collect all the work he had missed. But when he walked in the front door, he saw his friend curled up in a corner. He didn’t know what was wrong (he never brings his phone to a photoshoot) but he was going to go help her. Marinette told Adrien everything that was wrong, and he started to worry it was all his fault and he was sad that Marinette was mad at him. Adrien knew that Marinette was just upset, and he didn’t take any of the words she said to heart. That’s when he saw it in the corner of his vision, a little black butterfly on a mission to akumatized his friend.
The little akuma evaded being noticed by Marinette and made its way into her purse. Marinette looked up at Adrien and the akuma mask appeared over her face. But unlike all the other victim’s Marinette didn’t look angry. She looked scared and in pain. “Hello Exposer, I am hawkmoth, I can help you get revenge on the friends who betrayed you and help you expose the lies being told about you”. “GET OUT OF MY HEAD! I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP- OWW” Marinette said cutting of hawkmoths little speech. She fell to her knees and put her hands on her head, she couldn’t let him win. “you are very strong willed, but I promise this won’t be like the last time you were able to fight off my akuma.” Hawkmoths voice boomed through Marinette’s head. “You can fight him Marinette, don’t let him get to you”. “I don’t know how long I can do this for, he’s so much stronger this time!” this time? has an akuma come after her before? Adrien wondered. While struggling she realized she wasn’t going to win this fight, the only person who could devilize her is ladybug. Hawkmoth didn’t know she was ladybug yet so, she decided it was time for someone else to borrow her miraculous. “A-A-Adrien, can I trust you?” she struggled to get her words out through the pain yet there was a demanding tone in her voice. “what?” Adrien replied confused by the question. Marinette repeated the question “can I trust you?”. Although he was still confused, he told her “of course” he would do anything to help a friend in pain. Marinette opened her purse and her little kwami flew out. Wait, why does Marinette have a kwami? Could she be… Adrien started to become distracted by his own thoughts while Marinette conversed with her kwami. “I know you won’t approve tikki, but this is my only option” “I trust you Marinette” Adrien caught parts of their brief conversation but was snapped back to reality when Marinette handed him a pair of earrings. He looked down at the earrings then back at Marinette. “go find cat noir! He will know what to do. RUN ADRIEN”.
Without even knowing it Adrien was on his feet and leaving Marinette. He hated that he had to leave her and couldn’t stay and help, but he couldn’t let hawkmoth get her miraculous. Her miraculous. It was weird to say. His partner the girl he loved had been right in front of him the whole time! now it was time for him to save his lady. He was told cat noir would know what to do, but he is cat noir and he was at a loss for what to do without his lady. He decided visiting Master Fu was his best option. “Plagg, claws out” he yelled as he sprinted off to find some help.
Marinette hoped she had given Adrien enough of a head start, the pain started to become unbearable. She had never experienced a worse pain than when she was fighting off hawkmoths control. She felt him, his power. She wished that she was stronger, that she was able to fight him off. But his power is growing, and she had never felt more broken as a person. She finally gave into hawkmoth. “are you ready to get your revenge on everyone who wronged you, Exposer?” hawkmoth asked her. “yes, hawkmoth” she replied. “in exchange for your powers I ask for only one thing, bring me cat noir and ladybugs miraculous’s. can you do that for me?” Exposer told him it would be easy for her.
Marinette’s outfit she had worn to school that day began to change into her new costume. She was no longer Marinette; she was the Exposer and she knew exactly where she was going first.