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Love Struck

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“W-what do you mean ‘breaking up’?! Jonathan, our wedding is in two weeks!”

“I’m sorry, Eleanor. I’ve realized I made a mistake, I just...I’ve fallen out of love. It’s my fault, not yours I swear. You’ve been perfectly lovely ever since I met you, but...I-I’m just...I can’t do it.”

“Now isn’t the time for cold feet! All our family is coming, it’s taken almost two full years of planning, preparing, dreaming!! You can’t do this!!”

“...I’m calling it off, all of it. They can still come, have a family reunion on me, most of my family is from Europe anyway. It’s not such a big deal for them to cancel, so…”

“Jon...please, please , rethink this…”

“My decision is final. I’ve already packed and booked a flight, so...do what you wish with what I have left. Goodbye, Eleanor.”

“No...no…”

The woman, Eleanor, sunk down into the couch as she sobbed with despair. Her fiance...ex-fiance left, taking a duffel bag he had by the door. In his hurry to leave, Jonathan didn’t close the door quite right and left it open just a bit, enough room for a particularly nasty pest to flutter in.

A black winged butterfly landed on Eleanor’s engagement ring, and a voice echoed in her mind.

“Love Struck, how tragic is it for your beloved to run out on you? I will give you the power to make anybody, man or woman, to fall deeply, irrevocably, insatiably in love with the first person they see, and all I ask for in return is-”

“Ladybug and Chat Noir’s Miraculouses!” Eleanor snarled, standing with her fists clenched at her side, a deep violet and black magic bubbling around her, forming her into an archangel with a platinum halo/helmet on her face that covered her eyes and the top of her head, woven with sterling silver roses, with donned long, flowing black roman robes with three sets of metallic gold wings sprouting from her back.

In the hand with the ring, a long bow made of light appeared and she pulled back the string, flying out the door to seek her ex-fiance…

Chapter Text

“Any chance of you getting out of your extra school day to come join me, Alya and Marinette at the movies today?” Nino asked, hand on his friends’ shoulder as they walked down the steps of Francois Dupont, the aforementioned female friends lingering just a few steps behind them.

“I wish,” Adrien sighed, eyes cast downward. “I have advanced Piano lessons today, my instructor will be waiting for me.”

“One of these days I’m gonna go up there and kidnap you,” Nino warned, pointing at Adrien’s face. “Or maybe I’ll get Chat Noir to do it for me. He seems like the type to accept a bribe.”

Adrien laughed. “Please, kidnap me. I’ll leave the window open for you.”

The black car parked at the curb honked loudly, the large and gruff man in the drivers’ seat staring at the blonde across the short way between them.

“Ah, sorry. Wish I could stay longer.” Adrien said, going off ahead. “See you tomorrow!”

“Yeah! Go tickle them ivories, man!” Nino shouted back, waving as Adrien went to the passenger side door.

“No luck, huh?” Alya said as she and Marinette came down to join Nino on the stair landing.

“Of course.” Nino said, hands raised in surrender.

“Disappointing, but not unexpected,” Marinette sighed, lips set into a thin line. “Oh well. We’ll get him next time.”

The three were about to continue on their way, towards the metro when suddenly a black cloaked figure swooped overhead, and beams of light shot down at those exiting the school.

“Akuma!!” Alya shouted, ducking for cover with Nino as Marinette dived to dodge one of the glowing laser shots.

“Gah!!” A voice shouted in alarm. “I’m hit!!”

“Adrien!!” Marinette shrieked, stumbling to her feet to get to her crush. Adrien was on the ground just in front of the open passenger door, seemingly unhurt but rubbing his head where he lightly bonked it in an ineffective effort to dodge the Akuma attack in limited space.

Adrien blinked, looking up at Marinette as she helped him sit up.

“Adrien, are you okay?” Marinette asked, worried. Slowly, she realized that something was indeed off-

Adrien’s pupils had turned into little black hearts amidst his light green eyes.

“I...ah...Marinette, I...I think I’m...falling in love with you…” Adrien breathed out, enchanted. The way Marinette’s hair had frazzled in the dodge, how concern softened her features, brows knit together delicately, soft, rose-petal pink lips parted for panicked breath, eyes like bluebells shining with shock.

Adrien’s hand brushed against her cheek, feeling her warmth and heat against the skin of his palm, pulling her closer, feeling his heart well up, nearly to bursting, their lips nearly touching, when-

Marinette flailed and pushed him away, back onto the dirt. “T-the Akuma!!” She squeaked, recoiling and jumping to her feet. “H-hurry, into your car, get away! Go hide!”

“B-but Marinette!” Adrien called as he scrambled to follow. “W-wait up! I want to hide with you!! Marinette!!”

Adrien passed by Nino and Alya, unaffected by the Akuma and very clearly confused. Gorilla ran after Adrien, but both teenagers were a bit too fast for the lumbering lunk of meat.


“Plagg, did you see where she went!?” Adrien asked, whirling around in an attempt to find his beloved. “Marinette!! Please, come back!!”

“Oh, brother. Just when I thought you couldn’t get anymore annoying in the love department.” Plagg snorted, floating out so he was eye-level with his holder. “Look, why don’t you just transform, get the Akuma, and then we can start looking for your little girlfriend? Prioritize.”

“I-I can’t!” Adrien said, swinging around with his head in his hands. “All I can think about is her! She’s so cute, and beautiful a-and smart and everything about her is just…so...” Adrien paused, eyes welling up as he collapsed onto his knees. “ Marinette …”

Plagg rolled his eyes. “Okay, prioritizing clearly isn’t going to work so what about this; The longer that Akuma is out there, the better change that pigtail girl is going to get hit and fall in love with the first guy she lays eyes on which, spoiler alert, probably isn’t going to be you.”

Adrien froze, his heart-shaped eyes turning to heart-shaped pinpricks. “No.” He said gravely. “No! Absolutely not! I will not let that happen!! Plagg, Claws Out!!”

“Here we g-ohawaaaah!!” Plagg shrieked as he was sucked into the ring for another transformation…


“-and that , kitty cat, is how you do it!” Ladybug declared, tossing the ring to Chat Noir.

“Cataclysm.” The resident cat boy opened his palm to catch it, decaying the ring to release the Akuma. “Ah...Ladybug, just a request if you don’t mind.” Chat Noir said as Ladybug did her purification routine. “Would you mind not calling me ‘Kitty cat’? Or any of those familiar sort of pet names, please.”

Ladybug blinked, pausing in her ‘Bye-bye, little butterfly’ farewell to look at the cat. “Huh? I...sure, but...is there a reason? You usually love it when I call you Kitty cat.”

“Well...I think I may have fallen in love, and while I know I can’t tell her the whole...superhero deal, I can’t have ‘us’ on my consonance when I’m with her.”

Ladybug’s eyes narrowed. “...Chat, were you hit by Love Struck?”

Chat Noir blinked. “What? You were here before I was! You didn’t see me get hit at all!”

“C’mere, Chat.” Ladybug requested, motioning. “Let me check your...ah…” Ladybug trailed off, realizing that Chat Noir’s pupils were more slit-like than heart like. He must be telling the truth then. “I’m gonna miss calling you my kitten, but if that’s what you want then okay. I’m glad you’ve moved on, Chat Noir.”

“Thank you, Ladybug. I think you’d like my girl, she’s...she’s really something else.” Chat sighed, visibly melting a bit. He shook his head, pulling out his stick. “Wish me luck, Ladybug!” He called as he pogo’d himself away. “By the by, you’re invited to our wedding!!”

Ladybug snickered a bit, waving farewell to Chat Noir with her lucky charm item in hand. “Good luck! Remember not to come on too strong!” She threw the item into the air. “Miraculous Ladybugs!!”

And, just like that, all was right in Paris again…


Adrien waltzed into his father’s office, Gabriel lifting his gaze from his computer indignantly. “Adrien, what is the meaning of this? You know I don’t like to be disturbed during-”

Adrien flopped onto one of the chairs. “Father, I know your future daughter-in-law. You’ll love her, but not nearly as much as I do. She’s perfect, and creative, and lovely...Father, would you design my wedding day suit? I think she’ll prefer to design her own wedding dress, so I’ll happily leave it to her discretion. I’m sure it’ll be perfect, and even if it wasn’t, it’ll still be perfect on her. She’s so amazing , father. She could wear a potato sack and it’d turn into haute couture. She outshines any outfit she could ever wear…”

“...Nathalie!!”

Chapter Text

Nathalie used her phone flashlight to look into Adrien’s eyes and finding that, yes, they were still heart-shaped. “He’s still under the effects of today’s Akuma Attack…” She said softly.

“Didn’t Ladybug fix everything? Why is it persisting?!” Gabriel said, chewing on his lower lip.

“I’m in love, Father.” Adrien sighed dreamily. “And nothing could ever wash away what I feel.”

“Adrien...is it Ladybug that you’ve fallen for?” Nathalie asked. Perhaps the effect was lingering because of the target…

“What? Of course not. It was a silly heroic ideation,” Adrien snorted. “I’m in love with Marinette .”

Gabriel’s brows furrowed. The designer girl? “...Gorilla, take him to his room.” Gabriel commanded. “Nathalie, my office please.”

Adrien was gently shepherded away, still seemingly loopy from his ‘love’.

“Where is Love Struck?” Gabriel asked as soon as the doors closed. “Could I have given her more power than I intended? I’ve never seen an Akuma affect someone past Ladybug’s reset power.”

“Maybe Adrien was just out of it’s range, or somehow missed it.” Nathalie suggested. “Perhaps it would be prudent to have another Akuma and hope that a second hit of the Ladybugs will fix him.”

Gabriel sighed, rubbing the temples of his forehead. “...Monsieur Pigeon?”

“I’ll swing by the Louvre and kick a pidgeon.” Nathalie said, walking out.

Then he had to get Adrien close enough…Ah, he had the perfect idea!


“Father is really excited about me and Marinette,” Adrien hummed, looking into his mirror as he lightly fluffed his golden hair and straightened out his lapel. “He even told me a story about him and mother and their first date at the movies! I’m sure this is going to go well.”

“Boy, you are in a three piece suit .” Plagg said. “Aren’t you a little overdressed for a date you haven’t even asked her out to yet?”

Adrien paused, staring at his reflection. “...Maybe a little...But Plagg! I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with her! The wait is unbearable !!”

“You heard what Ladybug said, don’t come on too strong.” The Kwami reminded him, floating to the closet and digging around, tossing an outfit to Adrien. “Look, I gotta go see old man Fu for...an issue. You go la-dee-dahing in your little dream world and try not to do anything too embarrassing, alright? I suffer from extreme second-hand embarrassment.”

Adrien caught the tossed clothes. “Really? Aw, I was hoping you’d be there for the moment Marinette and I have our first kiss. You’re one of my best friends, Plagg.”

“First, yuck. Second, no. Go enjoy your only sanctioned night out in this lifetime, I’ll be right back!” And, with that, Plagg phased out of the glass window and out into Paris.

Adrien sighed softly, undoing his tie and laying out the clothes Plagg had picked out for him.

At least the kwami had some pretty good taste…


“It’s the later showing, but at least we made it!” Alya hummed, approaching the ticket booth.

“I’m glad,” Marinette said, smiling. “That Akuma today was rough! I almost had a heart attack.”

“What was it, anyway? I couldn’t figure out what it’s deal was.” Alya said, arms crossed.

“I heard it was a woman who got broken up with,” Marinette said, shaking her head. “And she was making people fall in obsessive love with the first person they saw.”

“Oooh...That makes sense, I guess. I was wondering why Adrien was running after you.” Nino said, a hand on his chin as they got to the front of the lie. “Three to see Midnight Rose, please!” He requested.

“Make it four!” A slightly breathless voice shouted from the distance.

“Adrien!!” All three called, surprised. “How did you get out of your lesson?” Nino asked his friend.

“Well, apparently the instructor got held up during that Akuma today, and he wasn’t up for teaching me after it was over. You know how musicians can be and all that.” Adrien said, panting.

“Did you sneak out?” Alya asked. 

“No, actually! My father let me out today.” Adrien was damn near beaming, he was so excited.

“That’s great, Adrien.” Marinette said, but...she noticed something a bit off. Not bad, just off.

He was wearing a black leather jacket, open to show the grey undershirt and a chain necklace resting against his chest, with black jeans and designer sneakers. His hair was also swept back a bit more than usual, showing more of his forehead.

“Yeah...I’m...I’m really happy I can spend time with you,” Adrien smiled, cheeks lightly pinkened. Marinette froze for a second, heat rising to her ears. Adrien blinked, eyes widening when he realized, a second later, exactly what he’d just said. “- guys!! With you guys! C’mon, let’s hurry, it might already be starting…” The blonde said, quick walking into the cinema.

Alya and Nino, witness to all this shenaniganry, glanced at each other and then a catatonic Marinette, frozen in place by the sudden charm and the equally sudden swerve.


Something was definitely wrong with Adrien...There was an entire seat shuffle once they were in the cinema. The usual order was Adrien next to Nino and Marinette next to Alya with Alya and Nino next to each other, putting Marinette and Adrien on opposite sides of a four person row, but Adrien seemed determined to sit next to Marinette.

Halfway through the previews, he got up and left, came back shortly after just to sit next to her. Nino questioned if he smelled or something and he and Adrien had an entire whispered conversation/half-hearted argument over Marinette and Alya’s laps about how Nino smelled fine.

Adrien was not...fairing well. Thinking about Marinette was one thing, but actually being near her?! He was amazed she couldn’t hear his heart beating a million miles an hour in his chest.

Her hand was on the arm rest, and Adrien couldn’t pay a seconds’ worth of attention to the actual movie. Marinette’s hand was by far the more interesting subject to him.

The pale peach of her skin, the slight callous bumps on the sides of her fingers that came with writing and drawing, bumps that Adrien so desperately wanted to kiss, her fingernails, painted a neutral colour and kept pristine, the light smattering of scars on the pads of her fingers she got from accidentally pricking her skin with pins, like she was Sleeping Beauty at the spinning wheel and Adrien was her Prince Charming that would wake her with True Love’s Kiss…

Adrien’s teeth clenched, he couldn’t stand this anymore! A second longer without Marinette knowing his feelings was a second of agony!

He took Marinette’s hand in his, leaned over and whispered. “I need to talk to you, please.”

Marinette blinked, looking to him. She saw something strange in his eyes, something like pain in his expression- sincere yet severe. “I...O-okay…” 

“Come, please.” Adrien whispered, pulling her out of the chair and out the theatre.

“Adrien, what’s wrong?” Marinette asked once they were outside. “You’ve been acting...really strange.”

“I...Marinette, today, when you came to me outside the car, I...something changed, changed me , and I think it was for the better.” Adrien began, a hand on his chest as if he couldn’t breathe quite properly. “It was like...like all the world finally started making sense, o-or like I finally saw reality after a lifetime of not knowing I was blind! Everything just...fit together when you came and I realized that....I love you.”

Chapter Text

“I...I…” Marinette’s mouth gaped open. “Adrien, you...J-just wait, let me…” Marinette scrambled for her phone, lifting it and taking a flash photo of Adrien’s face. She zoomed in on his eyes and found that something was definitely wrong. His pupils were still heart shaped.

Marinette stared at the photo, her lips trembling. “...This isn’t real…” She said softly, on the edge of tears. “Adrien, you’re still under the effects of that Akuma from earlier. You don’t...you don’t actually feel that way about me.”

“What?” Adrien leaned, holding onto Marinette’s shoulder with one hand and tilting her chin to look up at him, leaning in, closing the distance between their faces. “No. Never. I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life, Marinette. I love you. I love you. I lov-”

Marinette held up her phone, putting it between them. “Look,” she commanded. “It’s faint, but still there. Your pupils are heart shaped.”

“I-I have a condition, a mutation. It doesn’t mean anything.” Adrien said, lowering her phone to her side. “Please, believe me Marinette. I do love you, I swear on my mothers’-” Marinette put her palm to his mouth, stopping him short.

Slowly, her hand lowered. “...I...I love you,” Marinette confessed, tears rolling down her cheeks. “A-and, under different circumstances, this would be...be a dream come true, but...I...I can’t love you, not like this.”

“Then...then like how?” Adrien asked softly. “How can I make you believe me?”

Marinette breathed in deeply, exhaling with a slight, shuddery sigh. “...Just...stay here, until I’m back, okay? I’ll...I’ll go find Ladybug and she can fix you and we can forget this ever happened, so-” Marinette started to pull away, step back from the blonde of her dreams.

“Marinette, I don’t want to forget.” Adrien said, getting just a bit closer. “What if I don’t want to be fixed? What if…” Adrien shook his head. “There is no ‘what if’, I don’t care if the Akuma did this, I want to be with you. Is that so wrong?”

“Yes, it is, because it’s not you!” Marinette snapped, wrenching herself free from Adrien’s gentle hold. “You don’t really like me! Not in this way, you’ve always said we were just friends! Adrien, if I were to accept this, in five, ten... twenty years, you’ll wake up and see that you’ve wasted your life with me! I can’t live with that!”

“...If I let Ladybug fix me, and I still feel the same, would you accept me?” Adrien asked softly. “Would you believe me then?”

“In a second, in a fraction of a second.” Marinette affirmed, nodding. “But...it has to be confirmed. Your eyes can’t be heart-shaped when you tell me.”

Adrien closed his eyes, and breathed in deeply. “...Okay. I’ll...I’ll just stay here, then. I’ll wait for you and her.”

Marinette took a few more steps away, out towards the building exit. “I’ll send her as fast as I can.”

Adrien leaned against the wall, pulling out his own phone and taking a picture of his eyes.

He stared resentfully at the heart-shaped pupils he saw…


Inside, with Nino and Alya, the theatre screen burst open and a flock of Pigeons swarmed in. “Ladies and Gentlefowl, I am taking this entire theatre hostage!! Until Ladybug and Chat Noir give me their miraculouses, all of you are my prisoners!!” Monsieur Pigeon declared, followed up with a coo and laugh as everyone leapt out of their seats in an attempt to escape, only for the doors to be blocked by the flock.

Adrien, despondent, didn’t even notice the rattling of the doors nor the screaming.

When Ladybug came and, with the help of a lucky-charmed summoned box of theatre popcorn, deakumatized Monsieur Pigeon she quickly made her way to Adrien just as everyone was filing out of the theatre.

“Adrien!” Alya said upon seeing him. “There you are, where did Marinette go? What happened?”

“I...I confessed to Marinette, and...she said I was still under Love Struck’s spell,” Adrien said, standing up. “She said she was going to go find Ladybug.”

Said superhero jumped down from the top, coming to them. “And here I am. I was told the story by your friend while I was patrolling.”

“Since you finished deakumatizing Monsieur Pigeon, do you think…?” Nino asked, glancing at his friend. 

Ladybug pulled the empty, black polka dotted popcorn box off her belt. “Let’s find out,” She threw it into the air, summoning her Miraculous Ladybugs.

They fluttered through the air, fixing the theatre screen, the mess of popcorn, putting all the pigeons back outside and…

“Well, Adrien?” Alya asked gently, a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “How do you feel?”

“I...I feel…” Adrien began, taking stock of everything he could think of. He focused on Marinette, and his heart soared. “I-I have to go! I have to find Marinette!!” He started forward, looking like he was about to run before Ladybug wrangled him up with her Yoyo string.

“Hold your horses there. Let me see you for a second.” Ladybug said, pulling the blonde and forcing his back against the wall with a wall-light just above his head.

Ladybug looked into his bright green eyes, and, sadly, only saw hearts. “He’s...still under Love Struck’s influence…” 

“How is that possible?” Asked Alya.

“I-I don’t know…” Ladybug said, releasing Adrien.

“She’s not going to believe me, not with my eyes like this.” Adrien said, standing up and dusting himself off. He shook his head, teeth grit with determination as he walked forward, back towards home. “...I-I don’t care! I’ll convince her, somehow! It’s only a matter of time!”

“This can’t end well…” Alya said softly as he left.

Chapter Text

In his office, Gabriel and Nathalie were talking. “He was in the direct line of fire and he still wasn’t fixed?” Gabriel asked, staring straight ahead into empty space with a hand on his chin. “How? I didn’t intend for this to happen at all!”

“A first love is felt far more deeply than any other,” Nathalie said, hand tightening a slight around her clipboard. “Perhaps if we just let this stay it’s course, it’ll fade eventually.”

Gabriel sighed, eyes closing. “...Fine...We don’t really have a choice, here.”


Adrien sat at his piano, plucking at the keys mournfully as he thought, trying to come up with a way to convince Marinette that his feelings were real

“I sense there's something in the wind
That feels like tragedy's at hand.
And though I'd like to stand by her,
Can't shake this feeling that I have.
The worst is just around the bend,
And does she notice
My feelings for her?
And will she see?
How much she means to me.
I think we’re meant to be…”

Adrien sighed, pausing in his playing and singing. With one hand, he moved over they keys, slowly tapping out a tune.

“Under a tree at quarter three
I had some hope in me.
But life was taken from me
And I did not feel peace.
A made a vow upon my crown,
That love will come to me.
But there she was and suddenly
I had been found.
I adore her.”

“So, I’m guessing that second round of Ladybugs didn’t fix you?” A voice hummed behind Adrien’s shoulder. Plagg flew around his head, sitting on the music sheet holder right in front of Adrien. “Didn’t go well, kid?”

“It went well, just didn’t end well.” Adrien sighed, putting an elbow on the keys and causing it to clang disjointedly. “I told her how I felt and she...I-I don’t even know where to go from here. She rejected me, but only on the premise that my eyes are weird.”

“That’s because you’re still under-”

“I’m not under Love Struck’s spell!!” Adrien said sharply, hands slamming on the keys as he stood. “I know what I feel and I know that it’s real! I love her, I love Marinette Dupain-Cheng!! I’ve never been more sure of anything before and I’ll never be more sure of anything after! I have less faith in gravity, in the moon rising tonight or the sun rising tomorrow, I have less faith the sound of my own voice, in reality itself!!” Adrien trounced about his room with his impromptu soliloquy, walking around his couch, over the coffee table and onto the edge of his desk before flopping, back first, onto his bed. 

“...Am I crazy, Plagg…?” He asked quietly.

“Yes, but that’s besides the point.” Plagg said as he floated above the boy’s head, sitting on top of his blonde mop. “Fu says that the Akuma is probably lingering because you’re meant to be with pigtails. It opened a floodgate and it’s not gonna close, not yet anyway.”

Adrien’s head popped up, catapulting Plagg to the bedsheets. “Are you serious?! Then I’m not wrong, I’m not crazy! We are supposed to be!”

“Hey, just because you’re meant to be with her, doesn’t mean that she’s meant to be with you.” Plagg said as he was picked up, cupped in Adrien’s hands. “Just keep on keeping on, alright? This’ll fix itself eventually.”

“That doesn’t matter! Marinette will choose me, she has to! Nothing in this world could keep us apart, not heaven, not hell or anything in-between! I just have to convince her…”

Plagg watched the lovestruck boy melting into his sheets, absolutely giddy with adoration as he began to babble out plans for decades in advance, starting to rattle off names for future children and hamsters.

This was going to get annoying quick, wasn’t it?


“Alya, I will pay you to give me your seat.”

“I don’t know, Adrien...This whole thing isn’t easy on Marinette, it’s probably not a good idea…”

“I...look, I have two limited edition Ladybug figurines, on a 1/12th scale, as accurate as a photograph, in her Aqua Form and Ice Princess form, both mint in box and I will give them to you if you swap seats with me.”

Alya listened to him rattle off the specs of his figurines, stars growing in her eyes at the mere idea of such rare and valuable merch when, suddenly Marinette came into the class, shaking her from her fangirl trance.

“Marinette!” Both she and Adrien said, eyes lifting. “Good morning!”

“Ah...Good morning,” She said, sipping on a take-out coffee, looking just a bit worse for wear. “You both seem...bubbly today.”

“Any day I see you is as bubbly as the sea and twice as beautiful.” Adrien chirped, smiling. Marinette tried to smile back, but it was slightly strained. “I was just making a little trade-off with Alya, so…” The blonde looked to her, but the brunette grimaced a bit.

“Sorry, Adrien. I can’t...what you want is just too valuable to me.” She said, though regret tinged her voice.

“...What if I threw in an autographed poster and a replica yo-yo?” Adrien offered in a lower whisper.

But, it was too late. Mrs.Bustier came into the room and called for everyone to sit down for a pop quiz, and groaned along with everybody else. Apparently, this was not a pop quiz she approved on either.

The next hour or so was filled with the sound of pencil scratching on paper, and then silent reading as Mrs.Bustier corrected the quizzes.

Half way through the pile, she noticeably paused. “...Ahem...Mr.Agreste?” She called, holding her paper. “If you don’t mind me asking, why did you sign your paper with the... wrong last name?” She flipped the paper to show him.

Alya, who was directly behind Adrien, and Nino, who was right beside him, could clearly see that Adrien had signed the top of his quiz with the name ‘Adrien Dupain-Cheng’, with a little heart over the ‘i’ in Dupain.

“Mrs.Bustier, isn’t it a little sexist to expect a woman to change her last name when she marries, especially in this day and age?” Adrien asked, unperturbed. “Aside from that, the fact that Marinette is certain to become a world-famous fashion designer and I’ll just be another no-name model attached to her work, it only makes sense that I’d be taking her name! My father will understand that I don’t want to continue the Agreste brand myself, since I’m not particularly business savvy anyhow.”

Mrs.Bustier froze, unable to quite understand or process the sudden and strange conversation, and nobody else knew what to make of it considering how everyone had turned to look in quiet confusion. She glanced to Marinette, whose face was bright red and frozen in total shock. Clearly, she had no idea of what was going on in the boys head.

“Adrien, if I may have a word with you outside?” Mrs.Bustier requested, pointing.

“Sure,” He said, walking out without looking like he’d done anything strange.

The room burst into giggles as soon as he was gone, the girls congratulating Marinette on her relationship, only for Alya to get between her and them to explain.

Marinette, who’d been spending the night crying into her pillow, just laid her head down and tried her hardest to dissolve into the table.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t long before all the teachers of Francois Dupoint High were made aware of Adrien’s akuma situation, and told to do their best at keeping the pair apart, lest it affect their academic standing- Marinette dealing with fending off the boy of her dreams and Adrien from being distracted by the girl of his dreams.

Little good it did though.

During Science Class, Ms.Mendeliev confiscated a doodle page from Adrien, who was sketching out plans for a wedding at Notre Dame Cathedral, going through which flowers would line the pews.

During Gym Class, Adrien was too busy preening, showing off his muscles during a game of basketball to actually win the game with teamwork, making his side lose by a significant margin.

Art Class was a particular mess, as Adrien attempted to paint Marinette in the style of the Mona Lisa, only to end up with a blobby, abstract looking mess of blues and browns.

By the time lunch rolled around, Marinette looked like she was on the end of her rope.

“Why is this happening?” Marinette asked, frustrated as she sat on the courtyard bench with Alya and Rose. “I don’t get it, this is absolute torture!”

“Why don’t you go on and take it?” Rose asked gently. “Adrien is absolutely crazy about you now, isn’t this a good thing?”

“He’s crazy about her because of an Akuma.” Mylene reminded her. “If that akuma spell fades and he finds out she took advantage of it…”

“He’d hate me forever…” Marinette said softly, tears at the edge of her eyes. “He’d never trust me again and I can kiss any real chance of us goodbye.”

“Maybe...maybe if you kissed him just once?” Rose suggested. “Wasn’t Kim Akumatized with something sort of similar and Ladybug kissed Chat and that fixed him?”

“Hey...yeah! That’s a good point!” Alya said, a lightbulb going off in her head. “It’s worth a shot, isn’t it Marinette?”

The girl shook her head, a hand going up to grip her dark black hair. Her first kiss with Adrien...and it would be to dispel his love? She hated it. She hated everything about it, hated how her first kiss with the boy she loved more deeply than anyone or anything before...would be to make him fall out of love with her.

It made her stomach churn, made her chest squeeze like she was being strangled, her throat tighten to the point of near suffocation. Heat rose up her back, crawling over her neck and head like a hood as she began to sob.

Across the courtyard, a floor above and behind a corner, a certain blonde watched from a distance. 

...He messed up, hadn’t he? He came on too strong, he embarrassed her, and now here she was, crying into the arms of her friends.

All because he was too selfish to leave her alone when he’d made her uncomfortable. A sick sort of feeling rose up in his stomach, regret and anger, mixed with longing that spread across his skin from the inside out.

He didn’t mean to hurt her, he really didn’t! But...she was hurt, and he couldn’t deny her hurt nor push the blame for it on someone else. Not for Mrs.Bustier for showing him the paper, not for his father for letting him go to school in this state, and certainly not Marinette for not reciprocating his feelings…

Adrien was certain he loved her. More than that, he was certain his life would never feel as complete if she weren’t in it, but...He loved her and wanted the best for her, more than he wanted her for himself.

Adrien left the school, going out the back way and catching up with his driver and bodyguard to take him home to eat.

He requested his meal be taken to his room. He left the plate on his desk, not touching it as he dug around in the corners of his storage. Plagg was happily munching on the lunch, seemingly unconcerned as his holder tossed out shoes and boxes until, at last, he found them!

A pair of glasses, silver rimmed with invisible wire bottoms. They were a light prescription, more reading glasses than actual glasses, so he’d been given the option to wear them or not until he needed something stronger. 

He went to his mirror, putting them on and feeling their weight on the bridge of his nose. He blinked, staring at his reflection…

Good, the hearts of his pupils were almost indistinguishable with the slight curve of the glass. Someone would have to be nose-to-nose with him to actually tell that his eyes weren’t normal.

“Plagg, let’s go.” Adrien said, picking up his bag and swinging it around his shoulder, knocking the glasses a bit askew. These were going to take a bit of getting used to.

“Mmph? ‘Kay.” The Black Cat Kwami said though a mouthful of meat, flying to hide in Adrien’s shirt as they made their way back down the stairs to the waiting car.

Chapter Text

“Marinette…? If it’s not too much trouble, could I speak to you for a moment?” Adrien said, approaching his...friend. She sat on the benches, both she and Alya not having moved since Adrien last saw her.

“I was...I was going to ask you the same thing.” Marinette said, swallowing tightly as she stood. As they left to a more private corner of the courtyard, where they couldn’t be seen.

“I...I’m sorry. What I did was wrong, a-and I didn’t take your feelings into account at all. I just got too excited, so if you’d rather not speak to me ever again, I’d understand, so-” As Adrien’s lips pursed on the word ‘so’, Marinette leaned into him, going on her tippy-toes to kiss him.

Adrien’s eyes widened as Marinette’s closed, and slowly, he relaxed into her, one arm winding around her waist as the other went to frame her face, pulling her just a fraction of an inch closer as their lips moved against one another.

His first kiss, or at least the first kiss he could remember , was gentle to the point of hesitancy, but it was everything Adrien had hoped and dreamed. The softness of her lips, the slight, easy sway of their bodies as they leaned into one another, the faint, floral scent of her shampoo and her subtle perfume…

He didn’t want it to stop. He wanted to kiss her everyday for the rest of his life, wanted to hold her and love her.

But, all at once, it stopped.

She pushed against him, forcing them apart and breathing hard. “I-I’m sorry, Adrien! It was my first real kiss and I-I just...I thought that...maybe the key to breaking your spell was this, so...I-I’m sorry, please don’t hate me!” She turned, about to flee when Adrien quickly reached out to grab her arm.

“Was that...was it just to free me?” He asked, a sudden pit opening up inside him.

She wrenched her arm from his hand, and nodded.

“I...Thank you, Marinette.” Adrien said, trying to keep his tone as even as possible. “I know...know that it must’ve been...hard, to sacrifice your first kiss like this…I’m...I’m so sorry for everything I did. I didn’t mean to...I didn’t mean any of it.”

Marinette, still not facing him, nodded again. She started walking, and Adrien didn’t stop her a second time.

Adrien put his back to the wall, and slid down. “Why…?” He said softly, tears sliding down his cheeks.

“She thinks your cured now, so just confess again.” Plagg advised, hovering at eye level with Adrien.

Adrien pulled out his phone, lifting his glasses and taking a flash picture of his eyes.

Still heart-shaped, still under Love Struck’s spell. “I can’t,” He said, hugging his knees to his chest. “I’m still...I’d be lying to her.”

“So? She already said she loves you and with those glasses, nobody can tell your eyes are weird. Then you’re all good, right?”

“I...I can’t lie to Marinette, no matter what!” Adrien said, fists clenching.

“Kid, you’re already lying to her everyday.” Plagg reminded him, sitting on his wrist and patting the ring on Adrien’s finger. “What’s one more to the pile?”

“Not about this! I can’t! It’s...she’s too important.”

Plagg sighed. “...Fine. Just wait until you’re completely cured, and then do this whole dance again.”

“...Plagg, what if I’m never cured?” Adrien asked, his voice small, thin and tinny as he fought off a sob.

Plagg floated, resting on top of his head. “...I don’t know, kid.” He admitted softly.

-

Class resumed that day without any more incident.

School was let out, and Nino wrung an arm around Adrien’s shoulders as they left the school grounds. “Any chance of a second miracle? Luka called for band practice, apparently he has a new song!”

Adrien laughed, or at least tried to. He hoped Nino didn’t notice how hollow the sound was. “I wish, man! That piano instructor from yesterday got back into his groove, so the lesson was rescheduled.”

“Suuuck! Maybe next time?” Nino asked, patting his friend on the back.

“Maybe,” Adrien said, going to the pick-up car with Gorilla behind the wheel.

As soon as the door closed and they were moving, he slouched in the seat. Everything sucked…

-

He tried to listen to the instructor, tried to hit the key’s just right, but his fingers felt like they were made of wood for all the finesse they had. All he could think about was that kiss, think about how complete and full and...and happy he felt in that instant.

It felt wrong, though. It felt wrong to dream about it, to think about it.

He knew he felt right in that instant, but Marinette...it was a sacrifice for her. It was to fix him. 

If he loved that kiss so much, and she hated every second of it, then...Maybe she’d lied, yesterday outside the theatre doors.

Dimly, he realized a massive fact in his life. His father was Gabriel Agreste.

Rejecting him could make or break her career. His father would never work with someone who’d rejected his son, and he was massively influential in the fashion world and anybody who was anybody would follow his lead, so…

Plus, he had dragged her out, he backed her into a corner, and she took the first chance she could to run and find Ladybug.

“Francis, do I deserve love?” Adrien asked hollowly, interrupting the man’s sentence.

His teacher, Francis Bonnefoy, had blonde shoulder length hair he tied back, with a light beard on his chin and sparkling, deep blue eyes that nearly edged on violet, paused in his gentle instruction. “...Adrien, darling, everyone deserves love.” He said softly, tapping on the keys. “Is there someone you love?”

Tears welled up in Adrien’s eyes. “...Yes, a-and she said she loved me too, but...but it’s uneven. I-I have all...all this -” He gestured wildly to the room around them. “-a-and she’s a fashion designer too, and I know she’s amazing at it, and she’s going to go far with or without me, but my father, he’s...he…”

“A shadow that overtakes your life?” Francis asked, lightly tapping at the keys. “Yes, I know the feeling.”

Adrien looked to the man with tear-filled eyes. “Do you?”

Francis nodded. “Once, long, long ago, I was in love just like you, with a strong, beautiful, fierce young woman that I felt my heart beating for. My love was as bountiful as the sea, and ran near as deep, but...she too was from a humble life, and I just..wasn’t. I too worried that she might fall in love, not with me but the money I had, and then I felt horrible for thinking so lowly of her. I thought we would wed, and be together for a lifetime, but there was a man from across the channel.”

“Did he love her too?” Adrien asked, looking up at the man.

Francis chuckled, shaking his head. “Non, he hated her, loathed her. They were bitter enemies to the end of their days and possibly even beyond. He fought her, she fought him, and she died.” Francis sighed deeply, his hand laid onto his lap. “The fighting was too much, and the world is less without her in it. Point being, Adrien, if your darling is the woman you think she is, do you really think she would take advantage of you like that?”

Adrien’s stomach twisted hard in his gut, shame gnawing at the edges of his mind. “...No, she wouldn’t.” He said, his voice tightening a bit. “She’s the kindest, most generous, caring person in all of Paris. Why would I even…? I have more faith in her than in the sunrise, than in gravity, and I…I…” Adrien laid his head down, forehead smashing on the keys.

Of course she wouldn’t care who her father was.

She just didn’t care about him .

Francis played a little solo, using only half the keys since Adrien’s head was blocking the other half of the board.

He called an early night, giving Adrien his space. As he left the estate, a certain little black Kwami trailed after him.

“Was that really the best story to hell him, Francis?” Plagg asked, right next to the man’s ear. “I know you loved Joan, but…”

“He asked, I gave him the truth,” Francis replied, sighing and gently swatting the black cat. “Someone ought to.”

Ah, first loves were always so hard, weren’t they?

Chapter Text

Chat Noir could be seen walking the parapets of Paris, looking more like he was on a midnight stroll than night patrol.

“Hey, Chat.” A familiar voice said as she swung overhead, landing on one of the rooftops and repelling her Yo-Yo string. “Spot anything?”

“No, My Lady.” Chat said, sighing deeply as he sat. A good thing too, he felt so drained, he couldn’t imagine fighting anything stronger than a puppy.

“What’s wrong?” Ladybug asked, sitting next to him. 

“...Relationship problems,” He admitted, leaning into her a touch. “It’s not going exactly as I’d hoped.”

“Welcome to the Heartbreak Club,” Ladybug snorted, pulling out her Yo-yo and actually producing a stack of Macarons in various colours from her bug phone. “We have snacks.”

It actually got Chat to laugh, snorting as he took one from the stack. “Thank you, Ladybug. I needed that.”

Only, as he bit into the macaron, he noticed something about the taste. “Dupain-Cheng Bakery?” He asked, finishing it off.

“Y-yeah. How’d you know?”

“They’re the best pastry shop in all of Paris, they’re my favorite.” He said, smiling thinly as he held the last sliver of his macaron in his black gloved palm. “Somehow, they always get it just perfect with whatever they make.”

“Yeah, probably took a lot of practice.”

Chat chuckled lowly, weakly, thinking of Marinette. “...Nah, they did perfect on their first try.”

Ladybug lightly smacked the cat with the back of her hand, knuckles tapping against his chest. “Yeah right, when is anything perfect on the first try?”

He rubbed where she hit. “First of all, ow.”

“You baby.” Ladybug giggled. “You routinely fall from the Eiffel Tower when we fight, it’s not like me hitting you would actually hurt .”

“It hurts my soul, m’lady.” Chat snorted, smiling. “And, for your information, my first kiss was perfect.”

Ladybug burst into giggles again. “I wonder what the other person thought? I bet every baked good I have in my bug phone that you went straight for the tongue!”

“Well then you better hand ‘em over, buggaboo! Every last Macaron, cookie and chouquette you’ve got!” Chat made a playful grab for the phone, but Ladybug just laughed and leaned back, keeping it out of his reach.

“In your dreams, tomcat!” She giggled, but he was still tapping his claws against the surface of her bug phone because, quite frankly, his arms were just longer than hers.

She fell to her side, and Chat sat up a bit so he wasn’t right on top of her.

Still laughing under her breath, she sat up. Chat watched her, feeling, for a bit again, happy and contented with the world. On her cheek, he saw a bit of the Macaron’s powdered sugar on her cheek, and he reached to brush it off.

She didn’t move away, letting those sharp, gloved claws brush against her cheek, her cheek that was so warm and flush and pink from laughter, her lips curved into a calm, relaxed smile, and…

Neither of them knew what they were doing.

Perhaps they were just a bit lonely, in need of a gentle, easy moment as they both leaned in, heads tilting to the sides as they kissed. The only contact between then was Chat’s hand gently resting on her cheek, Ladybug’s palm held against his shoulder and the touch of their lips as they kissed.

A kiss, Chat found, that tasted faintly of Macaron.

It was short, a quick brush, before they pulled away. Ladybug blinked, her face screwing up like she made a mistake as she stood. “I-I’m sorry, Chat. I wasn’t thinking, I just…” She sounded on the verge of tears. “Y-You’re just having girlfriend troubles, a-and my crush at school just got all...a-all screwy and that was just a mistake.”

Chat rushed to his feet, trying to reach out to her before she could leave. “Ladybug, wait!”

However, it was too late. Ladybug quickly repelled away, leaving him behind on the roof. He sure as hell wasn’t going to pursue, he’d already made the mistake of coming on too hard with Marinette…

He watched her leave, swinging through Paris and into the night as unspeakable regret filled his heart.

Ladybug, passing over the Seine, gave pause as she saw and heard Kitty Section playing a new song...

Chapter Text

Adrien woke that morning, a blessed weekend, with his eyes red from crying and a head pounding headache.

Groggily, he trundled his way to the shower and cleaned himself up. What did he have to do on Saturdays again?

Ah, right. Chinese Class in the morning, and fencing in the afternoon with the rest of his evening free.

For once in his life, he was almost dreading his freetime. With all that’s been going on, he had too much to think about and agonize over. Maybe he could convince his father to let him take up tap dancing to fill whatever time his already packed schedule didn’t cover.

He was about to go downstairs to take his breakfast and go over the itinerary with Nathalie when he saw his glasses on the bedside. Right, right, those .

Adrien sighed, going to pick them up and going to his mirror to put them on.

He stopped short, however, when he saw his eyes.

Round. They were round !! Not heart-shaped!!

Adrien dropped the glasses, fumbling with them for a second before stuffing them in his pocket. Then, he nearly jumped out of his skin in excitement. He was free!! His curse had ended!! He…

The blonde stopped, his hands flying to his head as he thought long and hard about Marinette Dupain-Cheng, and…

His heart dropped into his gut, teeth clenching as his heartbeat quickened. Still…? Was he still cursed, then? But...but Ladybug! She kissed him last night too! Willingly, without an Akuma, and he could remember it!! So...So…

What did he do now…?

“What’s with all the racket?” Plagg yawned, floating slowly to Adrien’s side. “It’s Saturday , why aren’t we sleeping in?”

“Plagg, the curse!” Adrien said, snatching the Kwami out of the air. “Look into my eyes, it’s gone, right?!”

Plagg yelped as he was nabbed, blinking and confused as he was held up to his holders’ face. “Let me go, let me go! I’ll check, just give me a second to wake up!” He smacked at his face, getting Adrien to release him.

After a second of grumbling, Plagg took a closer look. “Hmm...yep, round as a wheel of cheese.”

“What now?” Adrien asked, biting his lower lip as he began to pace while Plagg floated over to the desk. “W-what do I do?! I-I kissed Ladybug, a-and doesn’t true love cure curses, so she must be my true love, b-but you said that I belong with Marinette and I-” Adrien’s head shot up. “Oh no... Marinette !! I-I did all that embarrassing stuff, a-and then she...she kissed me, but she was trying to cure me, a-and-”

“Kid,” Plagg called, tossing a coin from Adrien’s desktop junk cup. “Flip a coin. I’m going back to bed.”

Adrien caught it as it was thrown. “Plagg! I can’t decide my future on a coin toss!”

“Well you’re sure as hell not getting anymore advice from me, so take it up with Master Coin. Goodnight.”

“Plagg!”

“I said goodnight!”

Adrien was close to grabbing the Kwami out of his sock sleeping bag when someone knocked at the door.

“C-come in!” Adrien said on instinct, mentally cursing himself for doing so.

Nathalie walked in. “Adrien, your breakfast is getting cold. It’s best to hurry, you still have lots to do today.”

Adrien winced a bit, nodding. “Y-yes, ma’am. Coming.”

He followed her out, leaving behind Plagg, comfortable and already half asleep.


Sitting in the car, he thumbed the coin he’d unwittingly kept clutching after Nathalie came into his room. Could it really be so easy? Just...assign each girl a side of the coin, flip and then go with what it said?

Part of him thought it was so scummy though, leaving it up to random chance..He loved…

He liked each girl for slightly different reasons. 

Ladybug was strong, with a no-nonsense attitude that always made it fun to tease her at times but always made his day or night brighter when she was relaxed enough to tease him back. That fierce sense of right and wrong, the determination to move heaven and earth if it meant making the world right again, and him getting swept up with her, trusting in her, following her, finding purpose through her...

But...Marinette was so kind and considerate, so selfless to the point of causing her own destruction and Adrien both hated and adored her for it. He wanted to see her happy too, wanted to be by her side too! Just like Ladybug, he wanted to be with her, help her help Paris and it’s people in a way that even Ladybug couldn’t.

Ladybug saved the world, but Marinette made it a world worth saving .

Gorilla stopped at a policeman directing traffic. They were almost at the language center where his Chinese Class would be taking place, just past this crosswalk and maybe another block or two.

Adrien rested the coin on his thumb, flipping it.

As it twirled in the air, he watched it, teeth grit.

Catching it, slamming it against the back of his palm, his hands shook. 

Eyes closed, he dropped the coin onto the car floor, throwing open the door as he bolted out, not even looking at the results. Gorilla tried to rush out after him, but he was too slow and Adrian was running with purpose.

He knew his choice, he knew it while that coin was still in the air. He just hoped Marinette would choose him too…

Chapter Text

Marinette walked off the Couffaine Houseboat, followed by Luka.

She’d spent the night there, staying at first to listen in on the Kitty Section practice and then, after asking for permission from the relevant adults, staying with Luka, Juleka, Rose and Alya, who was there with Nino, for popcorn and movies. Juleka, it seemed, had already briefed her brother on the Love Struck curse Marinette had just finished dealing with, explaining why the girl seemed so drained during the impromptu slumber party.

“It was nice having you over, Marinette.” Luka said as he walked her off the boat. “I didn’t know you could pop popcorn in a can, that was interesting.”

Marinette giggled, feeling a couple pounds lighter after the fun, easy evening. “Yeah! I learnt it from this Chinese media star, my cousin keeps sending me her clips! She’s absolutely hilarious. I think she made a roast chicken in an office one time.”

“Ah, send me a link. I think Christmas Dinner is my responsibility this year.”

Marinette laughed, snorting a little in the middle.

“I don’t think I will. It’ll be ironic for a houseboat to burn down in the middle of the winter.” She said, smiling.

Luka nodded understandingly. “Yeah. Yeah, that’s fair.” The blue-haired rocker put a hand on Marinette’s head, pulling her into a one-armed hug and kissing the top of her head. “Welcome back, Marinette.”

Marinette’s eyes widened, eyes closing as she breathed in the lingering scent on Luka’s shirt. Has she really been so out of it these past few days? She had to be, at least enough for Luka to have noticed.

Though, admittedly, it was hard for her to hide anything from Luka, even if she wanted to.

She hugged him back, holding onto his coat. “...Thank you, Luka.” She said softly, sincerely.

He let her go, and she walked back up streetside, Adrian was walking down to the banks of the Seine. He blinked upon seeing her, and smiled. “Good morning, Marinette! Fancy meeting you here.”

“A-adrien! What are you doing here?” Marinette said, freezing where she stood.

“Well, Nino told me that Luka wrote a new song, and that it had a piano part so I came down for the music sheet is all. I still want to be a part of the band, even if I can rarely make the practices.” He said, smiling thinly.

“That’s great! I heard it during the practice last night, and it was great! Though, I do think it was missing something. I didn’t know there was supposed to be a piano bit, that makes a lot more sense!” Marinette babbled on, giving a far more plastic grin than the smile she’d given to Luka, and Adrien knew it.

He’d seen and heard the entire exchange from above, and neither had noticed him creeping.

She liked Luka .

Of course she did. After all that happened, she probably didn’t even want to look at him anymore. 

Awkwardly, he and Marinette went through a stiff and formal exchange, before Marinette dashed off at top speed.

On the edge of the boat, Luka sat with his guitar in his lap as Adrien approached, staying on the riverbank. “You lied to Marinette.” He said. “Why?”

Adrien stared up at him, then lowered his gaze.

Luka’s lips were set into a thin, unamused line. “...I can hear you, you know.” He said, strumming a slow, sad tune. “It sounds like...heartbreak.”

“...It is.” He admitted.

“You know, she likes you back.” Luka said, still strumming. “I had to squeeze and inch my way into her heart, because you were taking up all the space there.”

Adrien raised a hand to his hair, gripping it. “I know! I know, and…and I wasted it. My chance with her is shot, and now...now I don’t know what to do. I can’t hurt her anymore than I already have!”

Luka’s fingers stopped short of plucking another string. “...Then maybe you do love her, but that doesn’t mean I love her any less.” Luka said, starting to play again. “How is this going to work, Adrien? Fight for her hand?”

“...We’re not animals, Luka.” He said softly, quietly. “And besides, you know she’d hate us both if we fought like a couple of stupid meat heads with more hormones than sense.”

Luka couldn’t help but smirk a little, a bit sad at how right he was. “You’re right. What are you going to do now?”

“She’s...she’s still my friend and I want to be there for her.” Adrien’s teeth grit, holding his head as he felt the beginnings of a migraine as Luka put aside his guitar. “So...so I will. I’ll give up these feelings, I have to.”

“You’re going to tear yourself apart doing that,” Luka said sagely, hopping down to the river side as he pulled Adrien’s hands away from his head. “You’ll be ripping your heart out every time you see her. I know you love her, and you love her so deeply, it’ll be impossible to ignore.”

Adrien let his hands fall, let Luka hold his wrists. He shook his head, wrenched his hands free from Luka’s hold, and turned back down the bank, going in the opposite direction from where Marinette had gone. “...I don’t care. She’s worth it.”

Luka watched him go, a sense of dread growing in his gut.

He ignored it, and went about his day.

Chapter Text

He was gone for the entirety of his Chinese lesson, but he did make it to his fencing class at Francois Dupont High. Instead of picking up his gear and fencing foil, however, he holed himself up in the music room, playing a slow, one-handed melody on the piano.

There was a knock, but he didn’t reply.

Kagami came in, dressed in her red fencing padding. “Adrien, the instructor is asking for you.” She said as she approached. “Are...are you okay?”

“...No, no, I’m not.” Adrien’s music stopped, his hand going to his side. “...I think Father is Hawkmoth.” He said, very much not looking at her.

“What? Adrien, what on earth makes you think that Hawkmoth is-”

“I’d be the most powerful Akuma that Paris has ever faced,” He said, sounding so certain as he straightened his back, and looked up at the ceiling, imagining. Kagami saw dried tear tracks trailing down his face. “I’d level the entire city, I’d take Ladybug and I’d get her miraculous in a heartbeat. She couldn’t stop me even if she wanted to. All her friends, Rena Rouge, Carapace, Queen Bee, Pegasus, Monkey King, Viperion ...None of them could hope to stop me, but…” Adrien laughed, but it rang hollow and sang of absolute misery. “But I’m not akumatized. Even Gabriel Agreste isn’t willing to Akumatize his own son. I suppose I should thank him, so I don’t have to face Ladybug and hurt her again.”

“Adrien, that...that doesn’t prove anything! There could already be an akuma out there, or someone could be having an even more miserable day than you are!”

“Then I’ll wait till tomorrow, because that’s going to be even more miserable than today.” Adrien said, going back to his piano.

“What’s going on?” Kagami asked imploringly. “What happened? You’re...you’re worrying me, Adrien.”

Adrien’s hand froze in midair, looking back at Kagami. “...I fell in love.” He said quietly. “I fell so hard and fast, I was reeling. I could barely breathe, I thought I might just die of happiness when she kissed me and...and I messed it up. I know who I’m meant to be with, but...but she’s not meant to be with me. A man across the Seine has her now.”

Kagami listened, each word striking her heart like a hammer on a string inside that damned piano. Adrien...he fell in love, and by the sounds of it, he was certain he’d never love again…

Part of her felt hurt. They haven’t seen each other since last practice the week prior, and in that short span of time he’d found his soulmate, which meant it wasn’t her. But the hurt she was feeling, it wasn’t...wasn’t jealousy or despair for her own love, but for him, for Adrien.

Sympathy? Empathy?

She couldn’t put a name to it. 

“Who?” She asked in a whisper. “Who did you fall in love with? Who took her?”

“...If I tell you, a butterfly will come down and akumatize you.” Adrien said quietly. “And then I’ll know for certain that my father is Hawkmoth, because he’s willing to do it to you, but not me.”

“Adrien!” Kagami almost snapped, her own tears falling down her face. “Who did this to you?! Who hurt you?! I...I’m your friend , Adrien! Please! Please…”

Adrien stared at the keys of the piano. “Marinette, and Luka.”

As if they were waiting outside the window, both a butterfly and a feather came wafting in.

Far, far away, Hawkmoth stood in his lair alongside Mayura. When his butterflies weren’t attached to anybody, he couldn’t hear a word. He had no idea what his son had figured out, only sensing his immense sadness from somewhere in Paris. 

The butterfly fluttered down towards Kagami, still trying to process the information she’d just been given, when it paused.

Kagami’s rage and sadness were potent, yes, but there was another in the room. Someone whose despair so deep, so all consuming, so whole and complete, the Akuma couldn’t stay away.

It fluttered towards Adrian, and landed on an item in his pocket- the glasses he hadn’t put on again as the feather, following the butterfly’s lead, landed on the piano Adrien was sitting at.

Hawkmoth opened his mouth to begin his speech when, with a shock, realized who it was he’d unintentionally captured.

He stumbled for words, trying to quickly come up with something when Adrien took the glasses out of his pocket, put them on and got the first words out. “I’m done taking orders, Father.” He said, raising his hands and starting to play a terrible, beautiful melody.

Kagami screamed, running out of the room only for her to be pulled back by an inky darkness that soon swallowed all of Francois Dupont.

As she fell into shadows, hearing the agony of her dearest friend, she couldn’t help but think;

Adrien was right.

He makes for a fearsome Akuma.

Chapter Text

“W-what is that?!” Alya shouted, pointing at the horizon as a dark, splotchy... thing rose up in the sky.

“An akuma?! I-I’ve never seen one so huge!” Nino said, eyes wide. “And it’s getting bigger!!”

“We have to go,” Marinette said, pulling at her friends. “It’s coming towards us!!”

The three turned, starting to run. Everyone around them also started to run, and Marinette braced herself for a fall, purposely tripping over herself once the crowd was big enough and Nino and Alya were swept up in the flow of traffic.

“Gwah!!” She squeaked as she fell, quickly side strafing so she wouldn’t actually be trampled on by the panicked runners.

She dashed down to the river banks, hiding behind the wall and checking, left and right, for any bystanders. Thankfully finding none, she opened her purse and let out her Kwami. “Something’s telling me that this isn’t going to be an easy one, Tiki.” She said gravely. “Preemptive strike, we have to get to Master Fu first .”

Tiki nodded. “I think that’s the right idea, Marinette. Hurry!”

“Tiki, Spots on!”

-

A short while later, with absolutely everyone she could gather. However, she fell short of finding Kagami, no matter how loud she shouted. She even returned Queen Bee’s Miraculous.

“This is... massive ,” Money King whispered in awe. The giant black blob fell over a good ten, fifteen city blocks worth, and it was still growing. It was like the entire city was being Akumatized.

“Did you know Hawkmoth could do this?” Queen Bee asked, looking to Ladybug. 

“No…” Ladybug said, brows knit with worry. “The only thing I’ve ever seen close to this is-”

“Max Kante’s mother, when she was too far to take orders from Hawkmoth,” Pegasus finished her thought. “What could it mean, though?”

A set of silver shoes landed on the chimney beside the team of teenagers. “It means I didn’t intend for it to go this far.” Hawkmoth rumbled lowly. “I underestimated him, and his emotions.” 

All the teenagers jumped back, arming themselves. “Hawkmoth! What are you doing?! What’s your plan?!” Ladybug demanded, pointing at him.

Beside Hawkmoth, Mayura landed. “Calm yourself, Ladybug. We’re here to help.”

“What sort of help would you be?!” Rena Rouge snarled, flute at the ready.

Hawkmoth pointed at the still-growing darkness with his cane. “At the center of that mess is Adrien Agreste, and he’s trapping anybody who falls too near him and making them fall into his madness. I’ve already tried to recall my Akuma, but his emotion is too strong. It’s trapped inside him and he’s beyond my influence.”

“A...Adrien…?” Ladybug echoed, visibly shaken. “I....how?!”

“The boy fell in love,” Mayura said gravely. “A love so deep, it’s suffocating Paris.”

From the sidelines, Viperion listened. “...This is all my fault...I should’ve stopped him, I...I should’ve been there for him.”

“Viperion, what are you talking abou-” Ladybug began, reaching out to him.

However, the snake boy slapped her hands away, pacing away from the group. “Adrien is in love with Marinette Dupain Cheng.” He said, hands clenching tightly at his sides. “His...his curse or whatever went away, and...and he was still in love with her. I knew it would rip him apart, but I didn’t say enough. I wanted her for myself and I didn’t care who I had to hurt to do it. When he said he’d still stay with her but wouldn’t pursue her...I saw my chance. I saw it and I took it even though I know that they love each other! Because I didn’t care enough about the people I said were my friends !!” Viperion fell to sit on the floor, hands covering his face. “I’m so stupid...so fucking stupid!!”

Viperion threw the harp with force, and with his added super strength it lodged itself into the concrete of a Parisian chimney. Viperion sobbed, shaking where he sat. He reached for the bracelet on his wrist, and started to pull it off.

Ladybug quickly stopped him, grabbing his wrists. “Viperion, stop .”

“I don’t deserve this,” He said quietly as he cried, tears flowing over his mask. “I’m too selfish, I hurt him, I hurt them both. What sort of hero am I?”

“...A human one,” Ladybug assured him, keeping his hands apart. “And one we’re going to desperately need right now.”

“Enough of the teenage angst, boy.” Hawkmoth rolled his eyes. “We have enough of it on hand as it is.”

“Hawk, shut up.” Ladybug said, pointing at the far taller man. “If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be in this mess! It all started with that Love Struck curse!”

“I didn’t expect that to last as long as it did either!” Hawkmoth growled, leaning over a bit to glare at Ladybug.

“ I know you’re a villain, but even as a person you’re worse than that stuck up, pompous jerk Gabriel! You’re nothing but a pain in my butt ever since this whole thing began, you’re not even a good bad guy !”

Hawkmoth actually reeled back, visibly insulted. Before he could shoot back, however, a smaller voice chirped from above.

“Hey! Nice seeing you again, Buggaboo!” Everyone turned to look, and saw a little black Kwami floating through the air.. “What? Is it not as cool when I say it?”

“Plagg! What’s going on, where’s Chat Noir?!” Ladybug said, reaching for him.

“He was in the blast zone of mister misery down there,” Plagg said, landing in her cupped hands. “I couldn’t get him out in time. Ryuko is in there too.”

Ladybug’s brows knit in worry. “Plagg...is there anyway for you and my kwami to-”

“It wouldn’t be as strong, since you don’t have the ring,” Plagg said, sitting cross-legged in her hands. “But since the Ladybug Kwami and I are tied together in ways that every other Kwami aren’t, it is still possible, even if it’ll suck for me. Going into a ring that isn’t mine is seriously uncomfortable! We won’t be granting any wishes, but we might make some miracles.” 

“What do I have to do?” Ladybug asked.

“It’s a bit more difficult than saying some words, but since you’re already a one-in-a-million Ladybug, I’m sure you can handle it. Just call for your Lucky Charm, and if you’re on the right track, something specific is gonna fall out.”

Ladybug pulled out her Yoyo, breathing hard and praying that whatever Plagg needed to make this work would actually come. She threw it up. “Lucky Charm!!”

In the shimmering light, something small fell out, and she quickly caught it. A ring that was perfectly rounded and smooth, without the upraised bit that had the green pawprint like on the Black Cat Miraculous.

“Great, let me see that for a second…” Plagg said, flying to Ladybugs’ other palm. He pressed a tiny paw to the ring, and it turned completely black. “Just...give me a minute to brace myself and then get your claws-”

“I’m sorry, but we don’t have a minute. I’ll pay you back in whatever cheese you want once this is all over, I promise.” Ladybug apologized, slipping the ring on. “Plagg, Claws Out!”

It was a second transformation, she stood stock still as a black ring formed around her.

Her outfit changed, turning into a white qipao shirt, edged with black at the collar and short sleeves, her mask turning half black and half white, separated at the horizontal eye line with white on top but twisting together at the center, right between her eyes.

She had on black, Chat Noir-like gloves, her fingertips ending in claws. The gloves went up to her elbows but no further, leaving a space of open skin between. The top extended down to her waist where two belts, a white one with black dots that held the Black Cat staff and a black one with white dots that held the Ladybug Yoyo, criss crossed over her waist, and an additional grey bag that was level with her hips and resting on her backside. Underneath, she had black battle leggings, tucked into white boots. Her hair grew like in her Lady Noir form, falling down to her knees but this time separating into two braided ponytails, tied off with black on white polka dotted ribbons.

“How is it?” Hawkmoth asked, genuinely intrigued. “T-that power, that strength!!”

“...All I want is Adrien to be safe, and that isn’t happening with a wish.” She said gravely, looking down into what had been her school.

She breathed in deeply, focusing on maintaining the balance of her power. Hawkmoth was right, this strength was immense, it was like trying to hold up a mountain, or push back against the tide. 

It felt futile.

But she was doing it, somehow. She was holding it together.

“L...Ladybug…?” Queen Bee asked hesitantly, noticing her quiet.

“Harmony.” She corrected as she pulled the Yoyo from her belt, she clutched onto it, seeing her reflection in its surface. “I’m just...Harmony, now.”

Please let this work…I’m coming Adrien. She threw up the Yoyo, and called out. “Lucky Charm!!”

Chapter Text

A box of earplugs.

Harmony held them, staring. They came in tiny little plastic bags, one black and one white.

She took in a steadying breath, picked a handful and started handing them out to everyone in attendance, even Hawkmoth and Mayura.

“His items, what are they?” She asked as she put the plugs into their hands. 

“His glasses,” Hawkmoth said, eyes closing. His helmet disguise phased up, uncovering his ears long enough for him to plug them.

“The Francois Dupont piano.” Mayra said, plugging her own.

So everything was centered at the music room. Good, she had an endpoint.

“Lady…” Rena began, before shaking her head and taking a set of earplugs. “Harmony...Are you sure we can trust them?”

“We have no choice.” Harmony said, taking out one of the earplugs for herself. There was still a single set left in the box, they had to be for Kagami then.

“How are you doing?” Carapace asked, concerned. “You usually have to go feed your kwami after this long…”

“...I think I’m okay,” Harmony said, looking at her clawed hands. “I can keep this up for a while longer, I should be fine.”

Carapace and Rena Rouge didn’t look convinced, but didn’t go against her judgement.

Standing on the edge of the roof, she swung her Yoyo to latch onto a higher ledge, ready to swing down into the ever-growing darkness. 

As soon as her feet left solid ground, everyone followed after her, diving into the shadows.

Chapter 13.1 - The Cathedral Hall

Past the shadows, there was light.

A bright, sunny spring day, with white flowers falling from nowhere and a thousand people, dressed in white with hats on their heads, covering their faces near completely, all crowded and swayed up against a guard rail as someone rode by.

A tall, willowy woman in a white wedding gown was sitting in a carriage made of platinum, silver and white gold and pulled by pure white horses, surrounded by white roses, rode on by.

The Lucky Charm Earplugs seemed to block out the evil magic rather than sound altogether, so they could still hear each other and the ambiance, just not whatever it was that was transporting people to this strange pocket dimension.

So they could still hear everyone around them as they cried and clamored for her, a wordless cacophony of cheer and happiness and well wishes.

“They’re going towards Notre Dame!” Carapace said, turning away from the crowd to run.

“What? How do you know that?!” Queen Bee questioned.

“He got in trouble for doodling their wedding, he wanted it there!” Carapace shouted back. 

It was enough proof for everyone to follow, running after him.

The doors were open wide, and the people were all around, acting as a buffer between them and the path that the carriage would take. Carapace, the first one there, tried to jump over the crowd but somehow, someone had caught his ankle and dragged him back down, throwing him to the back.

“W-what the-?! What just happened?!” Carapace gasped as he was tossed out.

“They climbed up on top of each other and plucked you out of the air,” Harmony said, helping him back to his feet. “Whatever these things are, they’re not...human. These aren’t the people Adrien captured.”

“They’re a defense created by the amok.” Mayura said, a hand on her chin. “This entire world, it’s the amok’s creation. The piano is warping space and time, using Adrien as a power source.”

“Saying ‘powersource’ implies that Adrien can run out of battery!” Queen Bee said, alarmed. 

“...Exactly,” The woman said softly. “We must find him quickly!”

“Then how are we supposed to get over the great wall of fans?!” Rena said, pointing to the still frothed up, frantic civilians.

“...Rena, Carapace, get ready!” Harmony said, snapping her fingers.

It was a quick go through of an even quicker plan.

Rena would make a mirage of the bride arriving and greeting her fans, and everyone would (hopefully) rush to meet her, giving those around a change to get through the throngs.

Carapace would stay close to Rena and hold onto the Yoyo. When her Mirage faded or the ‘real’ bride arrived, he would use his Shelter over them both, and Harmony would pull them over the gap without being yanked out of the air.

Rena moistened her lips closed her eyes and imagined the sight of her best friend on her wedding day, in the finest carriage in the world, about to meet up with her future husband Adrien Agreste. As she imagined, a ball of light formed at the end of her flute.

She pulled the instrument back like a baseball bat, and flung the ball at the end over the crowd. “Mirage!!”

The illusion formed, passing by the people closest to the super hero group. The fake bride stepped out, as beautiful as a sunbeam in May and went to appease her fans, smiling as she pulled back her veil to show her face to her adoring crowd.

Thankfully, the people did move towards her, some even began to sob as they shook her hand and as she signed autographs.

Quickly, the hero set dashed through the thinnest part, punching out those few who were still lingering and hopping over the guard rail and running to the doors of Notre Dame, pulling along Carapace and Rena Rouge in the shelter bubble as they did so.

There, at the end of the isle, which was decorated stunningly with gaussy white cloth and a mountain of flowers arranged immaculately, was Adrien.

An adult Adrien, dressed in a pure black suit with a single white rose in his lapel with his glasses firmly on his nose. By his side was his father, slightly greyer, far more softer and kinder looking, straightening out his tie. Gabriel was significantly shorter than his son now.

Behind this adult Adrien were a couple other guys, his best men as it were. Nino at the head, with Ivan, Nathanial, Marc, even Luka, all dressed in sharp, dove grey suits with white roses in their lapels.

When they burst in, Adrien looked. He didn’t seem surprised by their appearance.

Infact, he stepped forward and held out his arms, as if he intended to hug the person in front- Harmony. “Ladybug! I like your new costume! Thank you for coming, it means so much to me that you did!”

Ladybug kept her guard up. “My name is Harmony!”

The man blinked, head tilting. “Harmony....Yes, Harmony! I like it! Well, anyways, please take your seats, my darling will be arriving soon.” He requested, smiling. 

Before anybody could say anything, all the rose vines that decorated the hall lashed out, grabbing each and every hero and putting them into different pews, lashing them to their seats.

It was at that moment that the ‘real’ bride showed up, still covered in the veil, walking her arm interlocked with Tom Dupain on one side and Sabine Cheng on the other, both of them dressed in white.

Harmony struggled with the bonds, but found that with every step the Bride took, the restraints got tighter and tighter. They’d all be strangled at this rate!!

Teeth clenched, she raised her hand. “Cataclysm!!” And put her palm onto the pew beneath her.

The entire bench decayed into nothing, freeing Harmony but causing all the guests to look at her, and the bride to run into Adrien’s arms in panic.

Adrien, at the head of the altar with an arm wrapped around the bride’s waist, scowled. “If you can’t be a gracious guest, then you have no place at my wedding!!”

He raised a hand, and all the guests rose up on one another’s shoulders like a wave made of people, falling onto Harmony. Harmony, unable to dodge in time, was swallowed by the mass.

Adrian turned back to the altar with his bride held close as the dogpile of guests started to melt into one another, tuning from distinguishable individuals into a non-solid white blob as it consumed Harmony, pulsing around her as if it were a digesting stomach.

The priest, who was quite clearly Ms.Mendeliev in a white robe, began her spiel, going through the holy matrimony bit as all the heroes in the crowd kept trying to get out of their restraints.

“-if anybody objects to this union, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.” Ms.Mendeliev said, gesturing to the pair.

Carapace struggled, trying to rip the vines off him but more growing with every one he tore off. He was almost a rose-vine burrito at that point. “Adrien!!” He shouted, still wiggling until he felt a familiar rush of power. “Shelter!!”

Around him, the green sphere projected itself around him, blasting away all the vines. Released, he jumped to the isles in an attempt to reason with his friend  “Adrien, what’s the point of this?! This isn’t real, none of this is real and you know it!!” 

He swung at the man with the side of his shield, but Adrien simply held a hand out to stop him.

“Of course I know it isn’t real,” All the noise of the world, the vines constricting around them, the chirp of birds outside the cathedral, the shuffle of feet and seats and whispers, cut out. Only Adrien’s voice could be heard as he leaned into the bride, their foreheads touching as he gently held her, held her as if she were the most precious, delicate thing in the world. And in that sudden, complete silence, his voice boomed. “Can’t a man dream, though?”

He flicked away Carapace’s shield, sending him skittering down the isles.

“C-carapace, your shield, you just-!!” Rena Rouge gasped as the turtle hero flew past her. 

He used it twice without detransforming. He was getting stronger!!

Queen Bee saw too, and swallowed. If that shellhead was getting stronger, maybe she... ? She reached for the spinning top on her belt, holding it tightly. “Venom!” The power pulsed through her fist as she slammed her knuckles down onto the thickest part of the vines. They froze, stopping constricting her and she began to tear them off, as quickly as she could, joining Carapace on the isles. 

“Damnit Adrian, you might be in love with breadhead but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to snub me at your wedding!!” She shouted, throwing her spinning top at the man with another ‘Venom!’ 

Adrian put himself between her and his bride, launching himself at Queen Bee and grabbing the wire of her top. Carapace quickly slid in beside Queen Bee, however, and shielded her from a direct hit from the adult sized blonde. 

The pair, for a while, worked in absolute tandem all while arguing.

“You could’ve used that second Venom to free more of the others!” Carapace snapped as he fended off a hard hit from Adrien’s fists, the blonde pushing him further back down the isle.

“Why didn’t you use your freakin’ Shelter then?!” Queen Bee retorted, swinging her spinning top to get his ankle and pulling to unbalance the man.

“You have more long range than I am, you Ladybug knock-off!!”

Knock-off ?! I only wear genuine couture!!”

That split second of Queen Bee turning to yell at Carapace was enough for Adrien to grab her by the back of her suit and throw her towards the turtle, knocking them both down and careening into one of the bouquets, trapping them both.

“Just let me make believe, please?” Adrien requested softly once the pair were trapped. He sighed deeply, turning and going back to the altar where his bride awaited him.

Ms.Mendeliev was going through the whole ‘hold your peace’ part again when the pulsing blob around Harmony suddenly burst, chunks of white flying every which way as Harmony whirled around her yoyo, which had turned black. “I object!” She snarled, swinging the yoyo and hitting the benches.

Her Yoyo powered additionally with the Cataclysm, was a swinging destructo-disk and decayed anything it touched, freeing everybody from the pews.

“So you really couldn’t go without the cliche?” Adrien asked, glaring at her from behind his glasses. “Fine, I’m done playing!”

All the guests melted away, dissolving into the floor like a sandcastle on hightide, but the groomsmen stepped up. The hard bang of wood against wood brought their attention to the doors of the cathedral, and they saw all the Bridesmaids they hadn’t noticed missing from the affair- Alya, Rose, Juleka, Mylene, Chloe, and Kagami, all dressed in ivory white-cream short dresses, armed with black rose bouquets and ankle-snapper high heels.

Adult Luka, at the head, pulled off his black coat, tossing it to the side and unbuttoning his shirt cuffs, rolling them up his arms. “Get ready, kid. No do-overs here.” He sneered.

‘That’s what you think.” Teenage Luka thought as he lifted his own wrist, breathing in deeply. “Second Chance!”

Surrounded, the heroes stood back to back in a circle, and then raced forward.

During the scramble, Monkey King threw his power disrupting banana at Adrien, but Gabriel, the elderly one, got between them and burst into dust, disappearing. 

“One good hit and they’re done for!” The money relayed, striking at Rose. His staff hitting her head made her fade into dust as well.

“I’msorryI’msorryI’msorryI’msorry-” Carapace kept repeating as he fought off an adult Alya, before closing his eyes as he made the final hit, forcing the side of his shield into her neck.

Queen Bee squeaked, wrapping her spinner wire around the Adult Ivan’s neck and pulling, strangling the illusion.

Pegasus opened up a massive portal under several of the adults, and set the exit point for high above in the Notre Dame Cathedral, letting them all fall to their apparent deaths.

Hawkmoth was stabbing people in the chest with his staff with Mayura at his back, slicing at their necks with her fan.

But, by far, the most destructive one was Harmony herself, swinging her Yoyo and disintegrating anything it came in contact with.

By the end, it was only Adrian and his bride left, with all the heroes panting but victorious. Around them, the bodies of the groomsmen and bridesmaids melted into the ground.

“...I’m done,” Carapace said, looking at the beeping bracelet he had on. “I’m at my limit, and I don’t have anything to feed Waze.”

“Carapace, I-” Harmony began.

“I’m out too,” Agreed Rena. “We’d just be holding you up.”

“I only had the one teleport in me, I’m not getting any stronger,” Pegasus said, shaking his head. “If we stick around any longer, then our identities are going to be found.”

“Sorry, Harmony.” Rena said, holding Harmony’s shoulders before pulling her into a hug. “Keep your head up, eye on the target.”

“Where are you going to go?” Viperion asked, looking to them. “There’s nowhere for you to go!”

Carapace, close to his time limit running out, lifted his hands to his ears. “Save him, please.” He said as he pulled out his earplugs.

“Carapace, no!!” Harmony shouted, reaching to try and cover his ears before he heard the song.

Even she wasn’t faster than sound though, and as soon as the plugs left his ears he sunk into the ground instantly, falling like the floor had turned into water underneath his feet.

“Later, Harmony. I’m looking forward to being an actual bridesmaid someday, so make sure that stupid blonde gets the message, alright?” She requested, pulling out her earplugs.

“Farewell.” Said Pegasus raising his hands to his ears. “I give you a 50/50 chance, and it’s growing in your favor every second.”

Hawkmoth actually reached for Mayura’s ears himself, but she stopped him short. “Sir, I can still-” She began, only to half fall into herself with pain. 

Hawkmoth shook his head. “Thank you for your service, Mayura. You’re dismissed.” He pulled out one plug, and she disappeared as well.

All that was left was Hawkmoth, Harmony, King Monkey and Queen Bee.

“Are you fairing alright?” Harmony asked Queen.

“I’ll be fine.” Queen said, going down the isles. “I’m not willing to give up just yet.”

“...You really care for him, don’t you?” Harmony asked quietly.

“Yeah, well.” She huffed, glancing away. “When you only have one friend growing up, you get attached.” She snorted, not looking back at her, instead turning her stony stare to Hawkmoth. “Mothboy, where’s the akuma?!”

“The glasses.” Hawkmoth reminded her, standing back.

“Queen Bee, I’ve got this.” Harmony said, quickly going past her. She raised her hand, still filled with the power of the cataclysm. “Adrien, hand them over. Enough of this, we need to get you help .”

Adrien, standing, stared down at her. He sighed deeply. “This isn’t how I expected my wedding day to go,” He admitted, pulling the frames off his face. “I think I really am still under Love Struck’s spell, Ladybug. I can’t imagine anything else making me feel so…” His eyes closed, and he shook his head. “...I shouldn’t expect you to understand, especially when it’s something I can’t even understand myself.” He held out the glasses for her.

“It’s not...it’s not that I don’t understand, Adrien.” She said, reaching out to grab them. “In fact...I think I understand too much. Everything about this, the spell I couldn’t fix, the sudden fall, how Marinette reacted to all your confessions...It was hard to believe your feelings could change so suddenly. You used to be all for me.”

At the last second, before her cataclysm made contact with the glasses, he dropped them and took her hand in his, like he was shaking it. “Heh,” Adrian chuckled as Harmony reeled back, as all the heroes left in attendance jumped back in shock as they witnessed a human being subjected to the ultimate destroying move. Harmony had been too slow in that instant to withdraw her hand as she unwittingly cataclysmed her rescue. He smiled as the rot climbed up his arm, affecting his body rather than his clothes that remained pristine and untouched. 

The rot went slowly, following his veins up his arm, over his shoulder and towards his neck. “I do still love you, Ladybug,” He admitted, eyes closing as the decay crawled up his chin and over his cheek. “But I know you’ll always put the world first, no matter what. It’s one of the things I love most about you, even if it means we could never be.”

His hands went behind his back, and he smiled as the wave of grey rot overcame his handsome face, turning into dust that collapsed into a heap. Nothing but dust in fine clothes.

“I...is he…?” Viperion began, still as stone, uncertain of what had just transpired.

“He’s…” Hawkmoth stopped, eyes wide, hands shaking. He stared at the pile of dust, disbelieving, some part of his mind unwilling to accept this reality.

“Oh god...oh god, Adrikins…” Queen Bee hiccuped, recoiling. “Y-you...he’s…” 

“Why is the dream still going on, even if the dreamer is dead?” A soft voice asked quietly. Everyone turned to look, remembering that the Bride was still there, behind Adrian the entire time. She dropped the flowers, picking up the skirt of her gown with one hand and pulling off her veil with the other. Of course, it was Marinette Dupain-Cheng underneath.

She stepped over the suit her husband was wearing, and knelt to pick up the glasses. With silk gloved hands, she snapped them at the bridge and tossed them aside.

“What are you!?” Harmony demanded, taking a stance. 

“The Francois Dupont Piano,” Marinette said, pulling hairpins and combs out of her hair to let it down from the updo. “Or, perhaps just the music coming from it.” The Bride said, turning away and going back up the altar.

“Where is he?!” Hawkmoth demanded. 

“The Dancing Hall,” She said, lifting her skirts a bit to curtsey. “And you are cordially invited to join him.”

From the ashes of the Adult Adrien, what at first looked like a pole sprouted, before it stretched out into a rectangle. A set of large double doors had appeared before them.

Harmony recognized these doors, they were the ones that led into the school! She went around the door to confront the Bride. “What sort of game are you play…”

She had disappeared, vanished like she had never been there to begin with.

Back on the front side of the door, Harmony pulled it open. Across the threshold was Francois Dupont High, but it seemed just a little strange from what she could see without stepping in.

It seemed to be evening, the sky seen from the open air courtyard was a deep pink, fading into purple at the edges, with a road of stars already shining despite, logically, it being too light out for them. There were people in the center, dancing but it seemed casual, fun even. A school dance?

It had to be.

“What do you think, Harmony?” Asked Viperion, on her right side. “Should we go?”

She considered her options. “...How many times did we go through that last battle?”

“Thirty four,” Viperion answered. “They were trying to take out the earplugs mostly, I don’t think they were trying to hurt us.”

“Will you be able to give us a second Second Chance? In case this turns out to be a trap.”

Viperion looked to his wrist and the bracelet. The eyes hadn’t begun beeping despite the snake having returned to its original spot. “...Yeah, I think I can manage.”

“Do it.”

He pulled back the head. “Second Chance!”

And with that, everyone went forward. 

Chapter 13.2 - The Dance Hall

Strings of fairy lights and lanterns, all shades of red and pink, lined the open-air courtyard of Francois Dupont. Students all around were dancing, swaying to an up-tempo beat played by a guitar. At the corners of the courtyard, adults could be seen, sitting and chatting, chaperoning it seemed but not paying particular mind to the kids as they had their fun.

Behind them, the door slammed shut and everyone jumped back a bit, turning to face the closed door. Queen Bee ran to open it, but just as she laid a hand on the door knob it pushed open on it’s own.

The door opened up to the street rather than the cathedral, and a pair of kids excitedly ran in, a tiny Adrien that was 10 years old at the most accompanied by a tiny Marinette, pushing aside Queen Bee and shoving past the legs of all the heroes in their way.

The boy wore a bright red shirt with an orange undershirt, while his tiny lady friend had on a bright red dress and a pink cardigan. 

“Viperion?” Harmony asked. “How does it look?”

“No resets, there’s nothing yet.” He answered.

She went ahead into the school. Everyone was here, just...small. There was a tiny stage at the back, just under the basketball hoop with Anarka, Luka and Juleka’s mother, stood with her guitar and some no-faced extras standing in for drums, base and whatever miscellaneous instruments she needed as she sang. 

“Love is just the gum
That we replace without a care.
Had your heart forever,
Now another day is here.
The puzzle pieces
Of our life will rarely make a fit,
But we take our chances
And go along with it.

The pouring rain fills up your brain
Again…
It takes so much to weigh down your regrets
This life is drifting on the open sea…
This boat is not enough for you and me~”

Behind them, the door that was still open widened yet further. In walked a beautiful blonde woman, dressed in mom jeans and a sleeveless button up with a purse on her arm. “Adrien, slow down!” She sighed, passing by all the heroes as if she didn’t see any of them. “The party isn’t going anywhere you know!”

The kid Adrien didn’t listen, rushing hand in hand with the obviously tiny Marinette, towards his group of friends spotted in the corner around a table.

“Auntie…” Queen Bee whispered, staring after her. She went up to her, reaching to grab her shirt to catch her attention, but she fell right through as if she were nothing but smoke. Emilie didn’t even react.

Just then, Gabriel could be heard. “He gets that from you, you know.”

Yet more came through the door. Gabriel, with Tom and Sabine beside him. Gabriel chuckled, passing by the heroes himself.

“I’m glad. At least he didn’t inherit the stick you have up your ass.” She snorted, pushing him lightly with a smirk. He laughed again, shaking his head and going deeper into the school.

Hawkmoth stared, speechless before the sight of his beloved Emilie, alive and well again, and of himself with her, happy.

“That’s the most... Dad looking dad ever.” Monkey King said, poking his stick through Gabriel’s middle, only for it to faze through. Indeed, the usually fashionable Gabriel Agreste was dressed in a button down with a close-knit sweater vest, his hair, usually so prim and perfect, pushed back haphazardly as if he’d just gotten out of the shower and didn’t use any product before leaving the house, donned in simple, department-store blue jeans and sneakers.

Tom and Sabine walked right through the heroes, going past Gabriel and Emilie to join the other parents on the fringe of the dance. Emilie went with them, arm in arm with Sabine and chatting with the couple as they walked.

“Spirited as ever,” Nathalie hummed, coming up behind Gabriel, resting her head on his arm and threading their fingers together. “You verbally spar with her almost everyday, and yet you’re almost always unarmed.”

Gabriel pulled her close, a hand underneath her chin and tilting her chin close to gently kiss her forehead. “Mmn. She’s too quick on the draw. And she tends to use club rather than a sabre.”

Nathalie snorted, laughing into Gabriel’s arm, going forward with him into the school.

“...Adrien’s Dad is banging his secretary,” Monkey King said, pointing.

“W-what in the world-?!” Hawkmoth began, nearly jumping out of his skin after forgetting where exactly he was and what he was doing.

“Duh,” Snorted Harmony.

“Clearly,” Viperion agreed, going forward with Harmony.

The kid Adrien had moved to the dance floor, and as they got closer they realized that all the people still went through them, as if all the children were simple holograms. Well, almost all.

Harmony knelt, tapping the kid on the shoulder. “Hey, buddy.” She said softly, pulling his attention from the imaginary kid-Marinette. “Those glasses, we’re gonna need them.”

Kid Adrien slowly turned, hands going up to grip his glasses, holding them to his face. “...No, you’re gonna break them.” He said stubbornly. “Then all this is gonna go away. I’m gonna be alone again.”

“You’re alone now,” Monkey King reminded him just as another dancer flit right through the kid. “You’re not really a kid, you never met us when you were this tiny.”

Adrien’s lower lip trembled, still holding his glasses to his face. 

Viperion grabbed Harmony’s shirt, throwing her back into Monkey King, forcing both away from the kid, and jumping back himself with Hawkmoth behind him as the Kid Adrian descended into deafening wails as he cried, the air-pressure shockwave punching all the air out of Viperion’s chest, the guests seemingly unaffected by it, since it seemed like they hadn’t even noticed in the first place.

Clearly, the snake hero had seen and felt that blast first hand before coming back to save them all from it.

A string wrapped around Adrien’s middle and pulled him up to the second floor. It was the Ladybug Yoyo! 

“I thought you could only pull that ‘Second Chance’ trick once, Viperion.” A voice hummed from above.

Everyone turned to look, and saw Chat Noir on the second floor, just above the band and Anarka, leaning his cheek on his palm, leaning over onto the railing. “You must be getting stronger.”

“C-chat, what are you-?” Harmony gasped. 

“Not Chat,” He assured her, eyes closing as he sat up straight.

“Honestly, you think you’d start understanding the rules of this place a little better after the last room.” Ladybug said, coming up behind Chat and putting a hand on his shoulder, having clearly put the kid behind them, safe and out of sight.

Harmony stared up at them, a strange, sick sort of feeling rising up in her gut as she saw herself and her crime fighting partner beside each other again, acting as if that...that rooftop kiss had never happened.

“Where are the glasses?” She asked, teeth grit as tears edging the corners of her eyes.

Chat reached back, pulling them from off his belt and showing them to the heroes. “Don’t ruin the party, Harmony.” He said as he tossed them.

She reached out to grab them out of the air, but, again, Viperion went for them. He pushed her aside and outstretched her, touching the eyewear first. 

As soon as he grasped them, they changed form into a red rose, and it’s vine grew, expanding and wrapping around his arm, consuming his entire body and dragging him down into the ground just as Anarka’s song finished and all the people around them fell into dust.

The pair, Chat Noir and Ladybug, jumped down to the gym floor swinging their weapons in that brief fraction of second that those who remained, Queen Bee, Monkey King, Hawkmoth and Harmony, stood in their shock. 

Chat extended his staff, separating Queen Bee from the pack by swinging her to the side, jumping and grabbing at her ears. She screamed, trying to fend him off, but he was at full strength and she’d just been through barely-won battle.

He managed to dislodge one earring when Monkey King pulled him off and slammed him down to the ground.

Queen Bee fell into the floor, disappearing like the others had in the Cathedral.

Chat Noir, a second after landing on the ground, dissolved into bright red sand.

In that second of fighting, Hawkmoth and Harmony had subdued and thrown Ladybug back into the stage, with Hawk wielding his staff like a sword to strike at her until she, too, had dissolved into red sand.

Harmony shook her head, pushing past the pain of losing yet more of her team and having only Monkey King and Hawkmoth left to her. Going up to the second floor, she saw that the Kid Adrien had retreated somewhere after being captured by the Fake Ladybug. “Let’s go.” She said, feeling remarkably exhausted.

“Where to?” Asked Monkey King, following despite his question.

“The music room,” She said. “I don’t think we need the glasses, we’re almost there.”

Hawkmoth was bringing up the rear, not feeling particularly talkative after the last few minutes.

When she got to the door and opened it up, only darkness greeted her. A void so deep and total, not even the sunlight above their heads nor the fluorescents of the hall itself could penetrate it. It was like looking into nothing. “Are you sure about this Lady-” Monkey King began. “I mean, Harmony?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” She said, walking into the total emptiness, Monkey King right behind her.

Hawkmoth was about to join them, but froze when he heard someone crying out. “Mom?! Dad?! Nath?! Where are you?!”

The man stood, a hand on the doorknob, clutched so tightly he might’ve actually dented it with his fingers, as the little voice he recalled from years of hearing it, cried out.

A little boy, the only thing that was remotely real in this pocket dimension, was alone. All alone, not even given the mercy of being decayed like that adult version at the cathedral. Left to wander until this nightmare was over...if the nightmare ever actually ended, that was.

He could hear tiny, panicked breathing, doors opening and slamming shut, screaming rising louder and louder, begging for help, for anyone.

Across the threshold, he could still see the backs of Ladybug and Monkeyboy. She seemed to have noticed him not following along, and turned to him. He could still see her lips moving, but no sound reached across the doorframe.

All he could hear was Adrien as he quietly sobbed in some corner downstairs, alone and afraid.

Hawkmoth swung the door closed with a final, resounding ‘click’ of the door latch, sending the two heroes into total darkness.

“Nooroo, Dark Wings Fall.” He called, hand still on the door.

“M...Master…?” The tiny Kwami asked, uncertain of the man. Gabriel went back down to the basketball court, looking for his son...

Chapter 13.3 - The Concert Hall

Falling, falling, falling yet further. 

As soon as the door had shut, whatever was beneath their feet fell out like trap doors.

When she landed, Harmony was alone and standing somewhere rather familar- the front of a movie theatre, though everything had been washed out with a black and white filter. The carpet, the lights, the posters. Everything had become Monochrome.

Slowly, realization dawned. 

The cathedral had been a wish, the school had been a want, this was a regret- the movie theatre where he’d first confessed under Love Lock’s spell.

Adrien was sliding further and further from what had been, more or less, a pure love into...whatever this was. 

“Hawk!” She shouted. “Monkey King!!”

No reply came back to her. She went forward, staying vigilant all the while, on her toes to the point of paranoia. Though, admittedly, Paranoia wasn’t exactly unwarranted at the moment.

There was someone standing in the ticket booth at the front. Harmony got closer. “Hello? Who is that?” She half expected another Marinette Clone, or maybe even Chat again.

As she got closer, she realized that it was Kagami, dressed in a sparkly black flappers’ style dress, feather plume stuck behind her head and all. 

“Good evening,” She said with a plastic looking smile, and Harmony shivered when she saw Kagami’s eyes- Absolutely pitch black. “Welcome! Will you be joining us for the concert?”

“Concert…?” Harmony echoed. “What concert?”

“Adrien Agreste’s concert,” She said, motioning inwards with a black silk-gloved hand. “It’s going to be the greatest finale of all Paris.”

“You mean…’The greatest finale in all of Paris’, right?”

Kagami shook her head. “Not at all. This concert will be Paris’s finale.”

Harmony’s heart felt like it was stuttering in her chest. She shook her head, reaching back to pick the box of earplugs she hadn’t yet used, with only one pair left inside. “Excuse me, could you put these in your ears, please?” She requested, putting the little package on the table between them.

“Ah? Certainly.” Kagami took the earplugs, ripping open the packaging and sticking the black and white plugs into her ears. As soon as both were set, Kagami fell back into the booth, down to the floor. Harmony hopped up over the counter to help her. She hadn’t expected them to work so quickly!

The flapper clothes she’d been wearing turned pack into her usual outfit, white blazer and all. Harmony hadn’t been witness to the transformation since it happened behind the counter when she went down.

“I...ugh...ouch…” Kagami groaned, blinking hard. “What...what happened…?”

“Kagami! I’m so glad you’re okay!” Harmony said, relieved.

After a few seconds, she seemed to regain herself a bit. “I...A-Adrien, he- his father, a-and Marinette!! Oh god, where is he?!” She said, eyes darting back and forth, clutching onto Harmony. “W-wait, who are you!? Where’s Ladybug?!”

It was a little strange seeing her so expressive. Harmony held her arms just a bit tighter to try and ground her. “ I’m Ladybug,” She said assuringly. “I just...I just got a new form. It’s temporary so, call me Harmony.” 

Kagami swallowed, still looking a little shaken as she slowly sat up on her own. “O...okay...Harmony.” 

“There isn’t any time to lose,” Harmony said as she pulled the Dragon Miraculous out of her Yoyo Storage. “We need to hurry. Monkey King is still here, but I think Hawkmoth got caught on the other side of the door-”

“Hawkmoth ?” Kagami said incredulously, gingerly taking the box.

“I know, I know.” Ladybug said, putting the box into her hand. “He’s lost control of Adrien, so we’ll go back to being enemies once all this is over. But it doesn’t matter now, he got stuck on the other side of a pocket dimension door. He isn’t here.”

Kagami put on the necklace as Long popped out of the box. “I-I still have so many questions, but I recognize that now isn’t the time. Long, Bring the Storm!”

“Thank you, Kagami. Lets go” The pair hopped back over the counter, running into the theatre to face their friend in battle. Hopefully for the last time.

-

Empty black seats among black carpeted isles, with high up balconies filled with people, up and up like a vertical honeycomb, each filled with people dressed in black, with black feathered masks, unmoving but breathing, listening closely to every note that was being played down below.

Below, there was a stage with black curtains and a stark, white light shining down on one spot of colour.

A boy, his golden blonde hair pushed back and out of his face, shining like a sunbeam among the monochrome as his fingers skillfully tapped away at the keys, playing a slow, meticulous tune. He wore a suit, a rather familiar one- the suit he’d once modeled when he wore Marinette Dupain-Cheng’s hat for his fathers’ fashion show.

His eyes opened slowly, verdant green eyes had turned pale white, the scela turned black as he beheld his beloved as she slowly swayed in time to the music he played.

Sitting on the edge of the grand piano itself was Marinette, wearing a long black, sleeveless and high-collared gown, barefoot and as pale as paper with hair as dark as ink, monochrome herself save for bright, blood red lipstick and her eyes, which had turned a burning, demonic red.

“Darling,” She called, standing and setting her bare feet onto the stage floor. “Someone’s here.”

‘Darling’ she said. He wanted to scoff. How sad was this? He was almost embarrassed. Just a fake, a song given form because of a magic feather in his piano. He continued to play as the doors slammed open and in walked Monkey King, alone without Harmony to help him.

Marinette held out a hand, creating a fencing lance out of nothing and jumping across the empty seats to engage the super hero.

“What is this?
A painful twist,
Is this a bitter kiss?
There’s so much pain left in her eyes,
It should not end like this…”

-

Ryuko and Harmony ran through the halls, slamming open doors to find nothing but empty theatres in all of them- full stages with bright spotlights, but nobody inside. 

They couldn’t follow any sort of music because their earplugs were covering up the worst of it’s magic.

“This place is massive, it’s like a labyrinth.” Harmony said, continuing to run and bust in doors to no avail.

“If I turned into vapor, I could spread out and find him more easily.”

“Ryuko, if you do that then you’ll have to transform back.” Harmony said. “You’ve already been weakened by the Akuma, and we don’t have anything to feed your Kwami.”

“It’s fine,” She said, stopping in her tracks. “I trust you to finish this and save Adrien. Wind Dragon!”

Harmony stepped back a bit as Ryuko turned herself into a gas, spreading out over the entire area and slipping through doors to find their way.

A short minute later, Ryuko returned to Harmony’s side. “I found him, Monkey King is already there!” She said, starting to run and pulling along Harmony by the hand.

Ryuko burst through the door, both of them finding Monkey King and an evil Marinette clone in the middle of a heated battle.

It all happened so quickly.

Just as one of Monkey King’s power-disrupting banana slipped past Marinette’s defenses, hitting and bouncing off the piano, the evil Marinette’s fencing foil was thrust and just clipped Monkey King’s ear, dislodging the earplug enough for the sound to reach him.

Monkey King fell slack, detransforming just as the effect of the Banana hit, causing the world to warp around them as Kim was turned into one of the bystanders, flying upwards and forced into one of the balcony seats above, now in a bright, cherry red suit.

The concert hall began to flood, the stage rising with it as Ryuko and Harmony jumped onto floating concert seats, jumping to that same stage that Adrien was playing on as, around them, the concert hall morphed into a bizzare, head-ache inducing blend of shapes and colours, almost like an abstract painting.

Adrien stood, knocking the piano bench back. When he stopped playing, the clone Marinette disappeared fading away like mist in the sunlight. All around them, the audience burst into uproarious applause.

“Ryuko, take out an earplug,” Harmony said, pulling out her Yoyo.

“But, Harmony-”

“It’ll be fine.” Harmony said. “Didn’t you say that you trusted me?”

Ryuko glanced down, breathing in deeply. “...Good Luck, Harmony.” She bade, reaching up to remove one of her earplugs. Like Kim, she detransformed, turned back into her flapper outfit (though this time it had become white) and was teleported up into the balconies.

Now, only they two were left. Harmony and...and whatever Adrien had become.

“You have a name?” Harmony asked, swinging her battle-yoyo in circles.

“I’ve never been clever enough to make up my own.” Adrien said, putting a hand on the piano. The instrument began to glow, and it morphed into a new, smaller shape. An iron black fencing sabre with little white bits along the blade, like the keys of a piano as, around them, the audience cried out for an encore. “Lets finish this, Harmony.”

The pair faced off, rushing at each other as the water rose up around them...

Chapter Text

I did some good, didn’t I? Adrien thought as he swung his sword, the dull back end hitting the yoyo like a baseball bat and stopping it from whirling as Harmony slid back, avoiding Adrien’s swipe at her head. I helped save Paris a couple times. I made a lot of really good friends. I even fell in love.

Harmony rolled to the side, the weight shifting on the stage and causing them both to, momentarily, stumble. The audience above their heads were still applauding, clapping and whistling echoed through the concert hall as colours blended together, a swirling mix that rained down onto what had become their battle arena.

I tried my best. I really did, and for what?

Adrien ran at her, jumping and swinging down as she lost her footing for half a second, taking a knee to steady herself. She pulled out the Chat Noir staff, raising it above her head to block his strike.

Everyone hates me. My classmates, my friends, Plagg. Even father would hate me for what I’ve become.

Behind his glasses, tears formed at the corners of his eyes as his heart ached in his chest, throat tightening as he fought.

I’m destroying Paris, destroying my home. Stealing all its citizens to share in my misery. All I am is another monster for Ladybug to fight.

The blade of his sword dug into the metal of the staff, and she pushed it and him away, tossing him to the side and sending him chest first into the ground. With her other hand, she swung her Yoyo at him, attempting to pull the sword from his grasp.

He held tight to it, pushing his glasses back up his nose with his free hand and reeling back his leg to kick Harmony in the chest. She grunted, losing the grip she had on the Yoyo wire, causing it to slacken and Adrien to throw the weapon into the water.

“In the end, everything has balanced out.” He panted, standing shakily. Harmony got to a stand, pulling her staff back out. Once the Yoyo was far enough from her, it would teleport back to her belt. “All the good I’ve ever done, all the good I could’ve done, it’s all been wasted. I might as well have done nothing.” Adrien’s trembling hand reached up, holding his glasses to his face as they slipped down his nose.

“It wasn’t...wasn’t wasted.” Harmony said, holding the staff tightly. “Adrien, please . Let me save you, just give me your glasses and the sword and I’ll-”

“I...I can’t remember,” Adrien said, sliding back into his fencing stance. “Harmony, can you tell me? What was so worth protecting? What were we fighting for?”

“We?” Harmony echoed, uncertain. In that brief flash of confusion, Adrien struck again, rushing at her with a thrusting attack so she had a harder time defending with just the Chat Noir stick.

He went high, then aborted the thrust, striking low instead towards her legs. He didn’t hit her, but once the tip of his sword touched the staff, he swung upwards and sent it flying above their heads. Harmony, now unarmed, looked at the boy with panic for a few, short nanoseconds before Adrien raised his foot and booted her off the platform and into the water.

He jumped after her, landing on the floating, technicolour seats as the stage tipped over, sinking into the water with a crashing wave. He stood, waiting for her to surface as he raised his hand, catching the falling Chat Noir staff, fitting it into his back pocket. 

When she arose next, she leapt out and onto one of the seats along with him.

They leapt at one another, meeting in midair and pushing against one another with such force that they flew in opposite directions. Harmony, this time, fell back and landed on one of the seats while Adrien fell into the water.

‘My heart filled up with envy and hate…’ He thought as he sunk deep into the murky depths, the concert sea as black as ink with no light to be seen anywhere. Monkey King had properly messed with the physics of his world- he could still breathe despite being underwater. ‘Everything fell apart. It got so bad, I even hurt the girl I came to love. I hurt Marinette.

The thought of her made an unknowable agony rise up inside him. Pain blossomed across his chest as his head pounded, his own skin felt like it was crawling, like maggots were squirming inside his flesh and burrowing into his bones.

The memory of her sitting in the school courtyard, curled up on herself as she cried, sobbing into her friends’ arms…

His feet met with something solid just as he felt the pressure around him ease ever so slightly. Water drained off into nowhere.

The effect of the Monkey King was fading.

When the water fell past his head, the world came into dim relief yet again. Harmony stood on a pile of broken, black concert chairs, the entire arena back to it’s previous Monochrome. Adrian was back on the stage with a white light shining down on him, both of them drenched to the bone.

“Adrien, will you please let me save you?” She asked, swallowing hard and holding out a hand to the boy.

He gripped his sword just a bit tighter. “I’ve had enough of being saved!!” He snarled, lashing out at her offered hand. She reeled back as the blade scraped against her glove. Had she not been wearing them, he may have severed her hand completely. “The last girl who saved me hates me now!” He continued, going forward and swinging, pushing her back to the edge of the stage with the spotlight following his every move. “She gave up her first kiss to save me!! And she hated it!! I made her do that because I was too stupid to see what was going on!!”

He swung sideways at her, holding the sword parallel with his shoulders and swiping at her arm. She raised a hand to block rather than try to dodge a direct attack. “Cataclysm!!” She called. The sword made contact with her hand, and it stopped but it also didn’t decay.

Harmony mentally cursed. Her Cataclysms were all out, or they weren’t strong enough to destroy an Amok without the real Black Cat Ring. 

With her holding the sword blade, but unable to destroy it, he pushed forward and shouldered her, throwing her back and, forcing her to collide into the concert seats, which cratered beneath her as she gasped.

Light surrounded her, and out popped a little black Kwami, falling to the weyside as he fell unconscious. She turned back into Ladybug, and slowly rose back into a sitting position, gasping. 

Adrien’s hand’s trembled, seeing Ladybug return from her Harmony form. With him on the stage and the spotlight behind him, he cast a large, dark shadow over her as she lay among broken, empty seats. She staggered to a stand, reaching for the yoyo that had returned to her side.

Nobody deserves this. Nobody deserves this pain, this pointless anger. Nobody.

He slowed, the ache in his chest growing sharper, stabbing, tingling pain racing across his skin like a thousand microscopic needles digging into him as he cried, hand going to his face again, gripping his glasses.

“I didn’t mean to...I’m so sorry, I didn’t…” He sobbed, starting to sway unsteady on his feet, his breath shortening as his chest squeezed tightly, as if something were compressing against his chest.

“A...Adrien…?” Ladybug asked, still not approaching him for fear he’d have another outburst or hit for her, this time one she couldn’t survive without Plagg.

Teeth grit, Adrien sobbed as he dropped his sword onto the stage, the hand that held his glasses tightening, until the glass itself broke. “I never wanted to hurt anybody!!”

The audience began to scream. They whooped and whistled  and hollered and clapped as the reality they resided in began to break down.

The ceiling, high above them, began to crack as light poured in and everybody flew up, just like Kim and Kagami had done when they first heart Adrien’s music, escaping the Concert Hall all while cheering.

Ladybug reached for Adrien to try and protect him, but with the concert hall collapsing and the pocket dimension shattering, it was all she could do to stay on her feet. The cracks in the ceiling grew, going down the sides of the hitherto unseen walls and spider-webbing across the floor, until there was a blinding white light beneath them as the ground opened up into a blinding void that caused Ladybug to close her eyes and scream as she fell, unable to see, let alone find, Adrien as the entire world collapsed in on itself.

Half a second later, she jolted back into waking. 

Looking around frantically, heart racing as she tried to understand what had just transpired.

The music room! She was in the music room!! Standing on shaky legs, she went towards the piano. Kagami was unconscious, leaning against the classroom wall, and Adrien was sitting at the piano- a white butterfly fluttering around his head and a white feather on top of the piano lid.

“A-adrien, you’re okay!” She gasped, rushing to him with tears in her eyes.

Adrien, however, didn’t look back. His hand still raised over the keys, one hand held up to his face, he began to sway. She didn’t slow even as he began to fall back, his body slacking like a ragdoll.

“Adrien!!” She caught him before he could hit the ground, and her heart almost stuttered to a stop when she saw the state he was in.

He’d broken his glasses, causing shards to fall into his eye and dig into his skin, his palm left bleeding profusely, and his one uninjured eye was hazy and unfocused, the pupil blown wide. His skin was cold and clammy, his lips, and nose tinged blue.

He held up his head for a second, before his head tilted back unnaturally.

No...nononono, what was happening to him?! Quickly,with the arm that wasn’t holding Adrien’s head up, she reached back. She just needed that box of earplugs, she could still use her Miraculous Ladybugs to fix him!!

Only, her hand couldn’t find them. Blinking hard past her panicked tears, she realized that her hand wasn’t gloved. She had untransformed, and her lucky charm item had gone with her costume. Even the replacement ring Plagg had used had been broken when he couldn’t fuse with her and Tiki any longer.

Adrien was dying and she couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

“No...no, please…” She sobbed, clutching onto him, hands clawing into his shirt as she shook.

Marinette felt light headed as she cried, gripping onto the boy she loved so dearly, so catatonic that she didn’t hear the door slamming open as she too descended into unconsciousness...

Chapter Text

Kim had just been outside the door when the world had turned bright and sunny again. He couldn’t quite remember what happened after that evil Marinette nicked his ear and removed the earplug, but he was back!!

He ran inside the room, expecting to see Harmony pulling Adrien back to his feet and explaining how freaking scary the dude was while akumatized!!

Instead, he saw Marinette, crying and hiccuping until she suddenly wasn’t, falling to the floor beside the blonde.

Kim ran to them, shocked and running on autopilot. As a swimmer, he’d been expected to learn basic CPR incase of an injury or accident at the pool. It was mostly practical stuff, repeat counting and routines, so he knew what to do.

He wasn’t even aware someone else, or at least someone conscious, was in the room when he called out “Phone for Emergency Services!!”, just like he’d practiced during class as he started counting out beats as he pumped Adrien’s heart for him, pressing down onto his chest.

He heard a voice call back that they were on their way.

Then, a face appeared out the corner of his eye. Kagami. “What about Marinette?!”

“She’s fine, she just fainted!” He said, focusing entirely on the beat of his chest compressions. He pinched Adrien’s nose and tilted his head back, breathing into his lungs. “Get her out, put her on her side!!”

It was a long five minute wait for the ambulance…

-

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a stress-induced condition wherein temporary weakness of the muscular portion of the heart causes heart attack-like symptoms, and can occur in people with otherwise healthy and functioning hearts, but more prone in those with added stress in their day-to-day lives. Possible triggers are brought on by emotional distress such as the death of a loved one, a break up, or severe and constant anxiety.

More colloquially known as; Broken Heart Syndrome.

Or, at least that’s what Gabriel had gathered from the nurses as he sat, watching his son as he lay in a medically induced coma.

Nathalie stood outside, head bowed and clutching her tablet as she awaited visitors to tell them the prognosis before sending them in, so they wouldn’t ask Gabriel about it themselves.

And they did come. Most, if not all, of Adrien’s classmates and a good number of his entire school. While she couldn’t allow them all to come in, she did let them put their get-well gifts outside the door. Within three hours of Adrien’s hospitalization, he had an entire garden outside his hospital room.

The coma was just until they could get his blood pressure down and get a few different scans of his heart, doing it now while he was down rather than adding the stress of loud machines. 

By midnight of the same day, Adrien was taken off the medication and allowed to wake up. 

He found that his eye had been moderately damaged by the event and, as a result, he’d have to wear actual glasses for the foreseeable future, and some of his ribs were broken due to Kim saving his life with CPR. Adding to that, the stresses of his life; all the photoshoots, the added classes, and sports in general were off the table, at least for the next three months as his heart recovered, and when the doctor learnt of Adrien’s everyday schedule, they advised him to lighten up his schedule permanently.

The blonde boy listened to all this quietly, sitting back in his bed. Once the doctor left, it was just him and his father.

“I...realize that I’ve made an unforgivable mistake, pushing you as hard as I have, son…” Gabriel began, stone faced as he spoke. “So...I trust you to dictate your schedule, to what you feel is best.”

“A....are you... sure , Father?” Adrien asked, almost...uncertain. This sounded too good to be true, honestly…

“Yes.” Gabriel nodded. “Whatever you choose to continue with or cancel entirely, I will allow it.”

Adrien stared ahead, trying to think. He could...have his own schedule now?

“You don’t have to choose now,” Gabriel added rather quickly, seeing that far-away look in his sons eyes and knowing it meant he was going a mile a minute inside his head.

“I...okay, Father. Thank you.” Adrien said rather monotonously, sinking back into his bed a bit.

Gabriel stood. “I’ll...I’ll leave you to rest a bit, alright? I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Adrien nodded, not even saying goodbye to his father as he left.

Now alone with only his thoughts, he began rattling through what had happened.

He couldn’t remember much of these past few days, let alone the time he’d spent as an Akuma, honestly. Everything felt like one giant heartache, and he really didn’t want to remember any of it.

He knew he’d fallen in love with Marinette because of Love Struck and that it was over now, but…

Still, everytime he tried to think of her, imagine her, that hard, stabbing pain in his gut came roaring back and made tears prick at the corners of his (functional) eye. 

He tried to think of something, anything else.

The damage he’d caused was more or less negligible. Since he’d apparently teleported everyone to some other plane of reality or something, no buildings had been damaged and there was no actual need for Ladybug to use her reset power this time. Paris was safe, intact and entirely okay despite what, in Adrien’s mind, was the most epic tantrum the world had ever seen.

God, he felt so stupid.

He sighed, pulling his knees up to his chest. He just....everything felt so damn exhausting.

‘Maybe I should ask father to homeschool me again…’ He thought, eyes closing.

...He couldn’t rest. Aside from the fact that this room was too quiet, he’d already spent the better part of a day in a coma. He couldn’t sleep even if he wanted to (and he desperately wanted to).

He reached for the IV pole, sliding out of bed on slightly shaky legs. He gathered his strength, breathing slowly as he stood. It felt horrible standing, the blood rushed down from his head and made him a bit woozy, but he kept standing until the feeling went away.

He walked to the door, gaining a bit of confidence with every step. At least he wasn’t hobbling…

Opening the door, he looked out both ways into the hallway and found a tiny forest. Eyebrows knit, he walked out and let the door close behind him, kneeling to see one of the many flower vases, finding a card next to one of the largest bouquets.

‘Welcome to the Akumatized Survivors’ Club!’ It read, followed by the signatures of nearly everyone who’d ever been akumatized at Francois Dupont.

He read through all the names, stifling a sob he felt bubbling in the quiet hallway as he gave a slight, watery smile at the card. God, he couldn’t cry. It made his injured eye hurt too much…

He sat in that hallway for perhaps another twenty minutes, reading through the cards and notes left in the pile, gathering the notes and cards to keep. Even those across Paris had sent him get well cards, his photographer, the ice cream man, the ice dancing instructor…

It seemed that all of Paris knew that he’d been responsible for that day’s akuma attack, and everyone had an idea of the severity of his emotions during it. Severe enough to take control from Hawkmoth.

He got back to his feet, shaking himself a bit to try and regain his senses.

Pushing the IV pole with him, he went on a little wandering walk. At least with this, he was too focused on making sure his knees didn’t buckle that he couldn’t have a very long train of thought…

He found his way to a common area, an actual garden in the middle of the hospital, it’s lights dimmed down for the night. There wasn’t a soul to be seen anywhere, and a stand up piano in the middle, ontop a stage with half a dozen other instruments in cases. The small stage itself was just above a large, round skylight that let moonbeams shine down.

Adrien almost wanted to laugh at it.

He stood at the edges of the garden for a bit, staring at the piano. Part of him was...afraid. Being near this thing could end up dredging up bad memories, and what if he got taken again? He might not survive a second akumatization, especially in his state.

He knew now that his father wasn’t Hawkmoth, and the accursed super villain might still try and make a repeat appearance now that he was weaker...

Adrian been akumatized entirely on accident. Hawkmoth probably knew he’d end up too strong and avoided giving him superpowers in the first place.

Frankly, that made far more sense than his father being Hawkmoth . It was silly to even imagine.

In the end, the temptation was too much. He just need a distraction, something to...to get out his feelings, just a little. It was better than bottling them up and adding stress to his already weakened heart, right?

He got up to the stage, lifting his IV pole and making his way up to the piano bench.

He uncovered the keys, tapping experimentally on them. He reached for a key with his finger, and couldn’t ignore the obvious any longer.

He looked down at his hand. No ring.

Waze probably took it off him to return it and Plagg to the Miracle Box. Who would want a Black Cat that could be captured so easily? Another Chat Noir would probably be prowling the streets with Ladybug soon…

He rubbed at his face, taking deep, calming breaths. It was for the best. It was for the best…

He went back to the piano, closing his eyes and trying his hardest not to cry, not to think of Plagg with a new holder, arguing over the fact that Camembert was too expensive and smelly to have in a smaller home with a smaller budget.

He started playing a song on memory, paused, sighed, and continued playing as he sang under his breath, thinking all the while about a certain baker’s daughter...

“My dreams were slain,
My face was stained,
With memories of my pain,
But peace still came, I’ll give her the same,
I will be okay…
And will we ever,
End up together…?
No, I think not.
It’s never to become, for I am not....
The one…”

His hand fell to his lap. He needed to let go, let her go...But first, he needed to accept it.

“...I love Marinette Dupain-Cheng.” He admitted quietly, eyes closed.

“I love you, too.”

Adrien’s back went ramrod straight, and he whirled around in the chair to face the newcomer. 

Marinette, real and there in all her glory, stood at the foot of the stage, her hands folded behind her and slight tears at the corner of her eyes as she smiled. “Marinette, I-” Adrien began, shocked.

She got onto the stage,. “May I sit there?” She asked as she set a cloth-covered basket on top of the piano.

Of course, Adrian quickly scooted to the side, giving her space to sit. “Marinette...I-I’m so…” He trailed off, lips set into a thin line. He sighed deeply. “...I can’t even begin to tell how how sorry I am. I don’t...I don’t remember much, but...I know I did some awful things that made you feel horrible.”

“You did,” Marinette agreed, leaning slightly into the blonde. “I think I know a way for you to make it up, though.”

Adrian blinked, a bit surprised by her easy acceptance. “...Which is…?”

“I believe there’s a reprise to that song you were just playing,” Marinette said, looking up at him. “Play that for me, and I’ll forgive you.”

Adrien stared, taken aback for a moment. In the moonlight, her eyes shone like sapphires set ablaze with white fire, her deep black hair reflecting a similar blue hue, her cheeks dusted pink, a slight blush that made Adrien’s already-weak heart flutter just a bit harder in his chest, and those soft-looking, lightly-glossed lips, the smell of flour and sugar lingering slightly on her clothing and her gentle, calm and even breath. 

His fingers rose to the keys, playing the song without even looking where they were going.

“My dearest friend, if you don’t mind,
I’d like to join you by your side.
Where we could gaze into the stars,
And sit together, now and forever…
For it is plain, as everyone can see,
We’re simply meant to…”

Adrien trailed off as Marinette held the frame of his chin, slowly drawing him closer as, at long last their lips met in the middle...

Chapter Text

There was a cough behind the two teenagers. A nurse had come to find Adrien for a routine test to see if his blood pressure was fairing well, and had stumbled across their ‘moment’ together at the piano.

“I’m sorry, Miss, but visiting hours are over at nine o’clock,” She said, a thin, knowing smile on her face.

“A-ah, yes, I-I’m so sorry, I-I just finished making these a-and they’re best fresh so-” Marinette stammered, reaching for the basket she’d brought. 

Only, she’d stood up too fast and the piano bench was both old, and only meant for one person, so she knocked it off balance and tilted Adrien back, causing him to flip over onto the floor and his IV pole to tip over.

Adrien burst out into slightly pained laughter as he rolled onto his side, Marinette furiously apologizing the entire time as she, and the nurse, rushed to help him back up. Adrien, breathless from laughing as he was pulled back onto his feet, simply said. “I think I have an idea for you to make it up to me.” 

Marinette’s ears went red, and she held up the basket to hide her equally bright red face.

He reached in, plucking out one of the macarons inside. “Perfect. I forgive you.” He hummed, smiling.

The nurse snorted slightly, helping Adrien back down from the stage.

Marinette, still on the stage, called out. “A-Adrien! I...I’ll...see you tomorrow…?” She said, sounding more like a question than a promise.

Adrien looked back. “Yes, of course. We’ll make it official over breakfast?”

“O...offical…?” She echoed.

“Well. Aren’t we dating now?”

Marinette squeaked a bit, nodding. Adrien and the nurse continued on their way back to Adrien’s room, but before they got too far, Marinette came running to the blonde.

She quickly kissed him on the cheek and fled, running down the hall like hell was at her heels.

Adrien watched her go, a happy, glowly sort of feeling blossoming in his chest as the nurse stifled a giggle.

-

“Master,” Kim said, sitting in the park as the elderly man approached. It was the evening after the worst Akuma Attack Paris had ever suffered, and since even Ladybug didn’t know who Monkey King was, he’d been waiting for Fu to show up somewhere. “I haven’t seen Xuppu around, but I suppose you must be looking for this.” The teenager reached into his bag, pulling out the folded-up circlet, out of its box so that, wherever the monkey kwami was, he wouldn’t be sucked back in.

“...I did intend to retrieve it, but problems have arisen.” Fu said, sitting next to the tall young man. “The BLack Cat Kwami is in a bad state after being improperly fused for an extended amount of time, the ring has gone missing, and the holder himself-”

“-is hospitalized?” Kim asked, digging into his pocket and pulling out the Black Cat Ring. 

Fu’s stared down at his hand, then back up at his face. “You know-!?”

“In the music room, when I was doing the CPR thing. I saw it on his hand and took it before anyone noticed,” Kim began, fiddling with the ring a bit. “Xuppu and that dragon kwami from Kagami, they took the ladybug and black cat one away before the ambulance got there. So…”

“So, you know who both Ladybug and Chat Noir are…”

Kim sighed. “Yeah. Is there some kind of memory magic you can do, or…?” He really didn’t want to be responsible for the end of Paris’s heroes...

“No...but, frankly, Kim.” Fu held out his hand, and Kim put both the Monkey Circlet and the ring into his palm. “I don’t think that’s necessary.” 

Fu put the circlet back into Kim’s hand. “Master, what are you doing?” Kim asked, not taking it out of the man’s hold.

“You said it yourself. Chat Noir is unable to fight, so his role must be supplemented by other heroes for the time being.” Fu said, pulling Kim’s hand open and placing the circlet into his grasp. “Until he and his kwami are at full health again, they must not strain themselves.”

Kim opened up the circlet, thumbs sliding across the gold. “Heh. People don’t think I’m too smart, so it’s probably best that it’s me who found out. Nobody would ever believe I know.” 

“Son Wu Kong was once a holder,” Fu said, getting off the bench. “He grew beyond what simple people thought of him, too. A playful monkey became the all-powerful and immortal monkey king and protected his friends and master with all his strength, as well as his cleverness.”

Kim watched him go for a bit, before he fit the circlet around his neck. He’d push it up over his forehead when the time came to use it.

-

Gabriel was over at the crack of dawn, as early as he’d been allowed to enter the room after another round of check up tests on his son.

“...I’d like to discuss something with you,” Gabriel said rather severely. “Recently, I’ve...become aware of some rumors about Nathalie and I that-”

“You’re dating?” Adrien offered up, eyebrow raised. “Are you ready to tell me, then?”

Gabriel’s eyes shut tight. “No, it’s not like...like that, really. I’m still married to your mother and-”

“Father, she’s been missing for almost an entire year now,” The blonde reminded his father. “And that aside, it’s not like you two were ever happy together.”

“Adrien, I-” Gabriel began, only for his son to shake his head.

“You argued almost every other day, you hated that she wanted to keep being a model and she hated that you were never around. I know you put my room as far away from yours as possible so I wouldn’t hear you, but sound travels far in that big empty foyer and I know you both fell out of love a long time ago. I...I do miss her, a lot but...it’s been long enough, Father. She ran away.”

“No...no, no, no, Adrien, it’s not...that isn’t what happened, I swear, I just…”

Adrien stared at him, waiting for him to continue. The man put his hands over his mouth, taking a steadying breath. Maybe...maybe he was right...Maybe he and Emilie hadn’t had the... best marriage in the world, but…

Maybe it was just guilt that was driving him. Putting his wife into a coma for reasons he could barely remember, having her beneath his house, trying to parent his son into greatness and ending up with him hospitalized…

Gabriel exhaled. “...I’m...not dating Nathalie.” He said rather firmly. “It would be highly unprofessional for me to do something like that with my assistant, especially since she’s a design student and making a name for herself.”

“She’s not going to be your assistant forever.” Adrien said, glancing away with a smirk. “Are you ever going to bring it up, then?”

“...I hadn’t...considered the possibility.” Gabriel said rather stiffly, just as his phone began ringing.

A video call with his contact for pure, traditionally woven spider silk in China, scheduled for an hour, he’d forgotten completely… Gabriel was so, so close to canceling it…

“Go,” Adrien sighed, already knowing 

Gabriel looked up, about to speak. 

Go .” Adrien stressed. “I know it’s important, it always is. And besides. Marinette is coming over and I honestly don’t want you here for it.”

The man sighed, standing. “...If you’re certain. I’ll come back as soon as time allows me.”

Adrien almost wanted to quip ‘See you in three business days’, but bit his tongue. “Okay.”

Gabriel left the room. Halfway out the door to his awaiting car, he met up with Marinette on her way in. It was a short exchange, mostly awkward, before they parted ways again.

Nathalie, in the drivers seat, glanced at him through the rearview mirror. “Is everything okay, sir?”

“...Drive.” He commanded instead of answering, and Nathalie pulled away from the curb…

Back inside the hospital, Marinette had spent the day arranging Adrien’s flowers all around his room, going through random flower-based trivia and helping each other through homework that Adrien had missed and Marinette was having a few problems with. More visitors came, too.

Nino and Alya swung by with food unsanctioned by the hospital. Juleka and Rose brought schoolwork that Marinette and Adrien had missed that day. Kagami visited and chatted for a bit over tea. Chloe gave him a gilded get-well card and fancy chocolates.

But eventually, Marinette had to leave. Girlfriend or not, she was also subject to visiting hours just as much as anybody else. 

She had to leave the hospital at 9 PM. 

Around 11 PM, one of the nurses came and gave him some great news. Adrien would be out of the hospital by the end of the week and have a check up in two more weeks.

Now alone and working on his homework himself, he sighed. He wasn’t exactly used to being alone these days, usually he had Plagg ringing in his ear about something or another…

Homework done, he decided to pull up the news. Maybe he’d catch sight of Ladybug’s new partner.

No new Akuma attacks, but Adrien kept the hospital TV on just incase one popped up. After a while, he noticed a sound that wasn’t coming from the TV.

There was somebody tapping at the window. Adrien’s brow furrowed, confused. He was on the sixth floor…

Getting out of bed, he unlatched the window and pushed it open. “...Ladybug…?” He asked into the empty air, looking back and forth.

“Up here!” 

Adrien twisted around, looking up to seeing Monkey King, dangling off the window ledge from above. The blonde backed into the room as the hero hopped down, landing on the window frame feet first and somersaulting into the room before closing the windows.

“M-Monkey, what are you doing here?!” Adrian asked, alarmed. 

“Master sent me.” Monkey said, reaching back onto his belt and pulling out a tiny sack.

“Master? W-what master?!” Adrien said, perhaps a bit unconvincingly. “I-I don’t know any master!”

“Shove it, I know who you are.” Monkey King snorted, pulling a ring out of the tiny sack, holding it out to Adrien. “Your kwami is still hurt after he and Tiki fused, something about it putting more strain on him cause it was a replacement ring? Anyway, you and he have been benched for now. I and a few others are going to back up Ladybug till you’re better.”

Adrien reached out and Monkey King dropped the ring into his hands. “I...I can’t believe...Oh my god, thank you so, so much…” Adrien said softly, clutching the ring tightly. 

“Get better quick, man. We’re not going to be able to survive long without you.” Monkey said, going back to the window. “Especially when we’re dealing with those things.”

Adrien looked to where Monkey King was staring, and saw that, indeed, an Akuma had appeared- some sort of dragon with a wizard on its head that Ladybug was currently engaging alone. He turned back to Monkey King. “What are you doing here?! Go, go!” He hissed, pushing him out the window.

“I’m going!” Monkey King held up his hands, stepping off into the darkness before leaping his way across the city scape.

Adrien closed his window again, going back to his bed as he slid his ring back on. He felt remarkably whole again…

Chapter Text

A one month later

"What?"

"Still getting used to the glasses. You look like a nerd."

"You are a nerd though."

Marinette burst into giggles, lightly smacking at her boyfriend’s shoulder. “I take it back, you’re not a nerd. You’re a loser.”

“Ah. Then are you a loser for dating a loser?” Adrien snorted, pulling the girl closer to him.

“I guess I must be.” She sighed, smiling as she pulled him into a kiss.

It was the middle of a Parisian Winter, and the pair were all snuggled up on Adrien’s couch as they watched a movie with a mountain of gourmet, untouched popcorn on the coffee table, though neither were really paying attention to said movie.

Behind them, near Adrien’s desk, a pair of magical beings were whispering. “I’ll be fast, she won’t even notice me!”

“Plagg, no! We can’t risk it, she absolute cannot know!”

“They’ve been dating for over a month! And I want popcorn!

“Rules are rules!! Until Hawkmoth is found and defeated, nobody can know, it’ll jeopardize their secret identities!”

“But Sugarcuuube ~!” The cat kwami whined, floating down to the floor in a spiral.

Tiki put a hand on her forehead, severely annoyed with the other kwami.

They stayed dutifully hidden as the couple had their moment.

The movie they were watching got interrupted. An Akuma attack…

“Hey, isn’t that between your place and here?” Adrien asked, pausing the TV to see that- yep, it was the park right next to the Dupain-Cheng Bakery.

“Seems so...Guess that means I’ll be here for a while longer.”

“Oh, what a shame.” Adrien hummed, leaning into the girl.

She giggled. “An absolute shame.” She agreed, pulling him into a deep kiss.

‘Carapace and Rena can handle it, especially with Monkey and Ladybug around.’ Adrien thought, pulling away from the kiss to hold his and Marinette’s foreheads together, happy at long last.

‘Monkey King has that special capture tool that Master gave him. They should be fine till I can meet up with them and purify it.’ Marinette thought, unconcerned as she leaned into Adrien, kissing his nose lightly.

-

The following Monday...

“Marinette, Adrien!” Alya called, arm raised to catch their attention in the crowd. “You finally got your glasses! Looking sharp.”

“Welcome to the glasses gang!” Nino said, side-hugging his best friend. “Sorry Marinette, it’s very exclusive.”

Both Marinette and Adrian chuckled. “I think I’ll survive not joining, I’ll just appreciate my 20/20 vision.” Marinette snorted, starting to walk down the snowy cobblestone street.

“Ouch,” All three bespecticled teenagers said in unison, before descending into laughter.

“How long have you been here?” Asked Adrien as they walked. 

“Not long, enough to stop for hot chocolate.” Alya said, walking side by side with Nino. “I love the winter festival, it’s so…”

“Touristy?” Nino offered up.

Romantic ,” Alya gently, teasingly, shoved Nino, who immediately tossed himself into an open snowbank in reply.

“Ack! Help, I’ve been attacked!” Nino yelped, flailing in the snow.

Adrien went up to the snowbank, falling back onto his friend with his arms held out as the girls watched, bent over as they laughed when Nino was squished under Adrien’s heavier weight, genuinely failing as his face was smushed against powdery snow.

Adrien soon rolled off his friend, snorting in laughter as Nino tackled him, trying to shove a gloveful of snow down his coat.

It would be another few months before he and Plagg were given the okay to be Chat Noir again, but he was enjoying his impromptu break till then…

After all, with the girl he loved and his best friends around him, life was going pretty good for him lately...