When they lands on the roof of the veterinarian's office, Luka looks at the scene before him, he takes in the Snake akuma, their legs smooshed together to be tail-like; a fan of, supposedly, snake teeth on the end. their skin is smooth, their head bald and elongated, their arms freakishly skinny and long. The snake sentimonster is huge, probably 30 meters long and 10 meters tall at least. He doesn’t find what he was expecting. Well, he wasn’t expecting any of this today. He was setting up for Kitty section when Ladybug landed before him, holding the snake miraculous out to him. He wasn’t expecting Ladybug to be angry at her partner. He wasn’t expecting to hear that Chat Noir hasn't shown up for an akuma attack for over half an hour.
He was expecting for Chat Noir to still not be there or make a dramatic entrance, unapologetic and frustratingly cocky. To be weaving between the sentimonster and akuma with ease. Making even Luka jealous of his agility.
So, standing next to Ladybug and taking in the scene, Luka is shocked to the core.
Not at the akuma or sentimonster, they’re both common enough. No, what shocks him is Chat Noir. The superhero is silent, and his movements unsure, doubtful; like a first time guitarist. He isn’t using anything but evasiveness to avoid being hit, and even then, if it isn’t the transforming beam from the akuma, Chat Noir isn’t as cautious. It's like he doesn't care for himself.
Luka watches as Chat Noir freezes at the sight of a flying snake tooth flung from the Akuma’s snake tooth fan. He winces as it connects with him, embedding itself deep into the hero's bicep.
If Luka looks hard enough, he can see that there are other snake teeth embedded all over Chat Noir’s body.
Even from a distance, Luka can tell that the superhero’s internal song is broken, almost to the point that it is beyond repair. The Chat Noir that is fighting this akuma may look to be the same person, but internally, he is a completely different man. A broken, wrecked, terrified man, who hasn’t been able to find out how to heal. A replica song in an octave almost too high to hear. Chat Noir hasn’t been the same since Desperada, but he hasn’t been this bad... or maybe he has been this bad and is good at hiding it, but gradually getting worse at that. Maybe he couldn’t hide it anymore?
“What’s the cat doing! Is he trying to get himself killed?!” Ladybug throws her arms up, huffing.
Luka turns a critical eye toward her. Does- she not realize that her own partner isn’t okay? Has- does she not see it?
“Ladybug...” Luka starts, looking into her eyes, his tone strained, griping the lyre and making his gloves squeak, “he might actually be...”
Her eyes widen precariously, the pupils growing almost as wide as her irises, eyebrows shooting up. “W-what?”
“Look at him.” Luka points down at Chat Noir, a few more teeth in his body, dark red stains on his suit, a tooth dangerously close to his neck. “Does he look like the Chat Noir you've grown to know?”
Ladybug follows his finger, and her eyes soften. “I-... how... how couldn’t I see this? I... I thought he was just...”
Luka takes in her distress, and decides to help her. He makes sure to soften his tone. “Just what?”
She looks over to him, tears in her eyes. “I thought that he was being petty again...”
Luka pulls her into a quick hug. “Let’s go help him?”
“Yeah.” Ladybug pulls back and determination flares in her eyes. Anger fueling that determination. Her inner song bumping up a few tens of beats and changing from a frustrated melody to a hard-rock-head-banger. He isn’t sure why, exactly, she’s angry, but at least she still cares for her partner.
As they near the akuma, Ladybug flings her yo-yo our to wrap around Chat Noir’s waist and pulls him back. A yelp and whimper escape from the cat themed hero.
As Ladybug reels him back to her, to safety, Luka darts from behind cover and starts distracting the akuma and sentimonster. Up close, the akuma is even more freaky. The tail isn't smooth, the legs are still visible slightly; the tip of the tail spreads out in a fan like manner, fangs spread throughout it. Their scales are multicolored, and rough looking . Their arms are inhumanly skinny and long. The fingers are clawed, green liquid dripping from them. Their head is slightly elongated, no hair, and their eyes are a deep blue with vibrant pink slitted pupils. Unnaturally large jaw, and long, sharp fangs protrude from their mouth making it impossible to close their mouth. Around their neck rests a black and gold snake charm. That’s probably the akumatized object. He notes.
The sentimonster is a huge snake, easily 10 meters tall and 50 meters long.
By the time Luka gets back behind cover, after spending a few minutes shaking off the akuma and sentimonster, all the snake fangs have been pulled out from Chat Noir's body and the wounds are slowly, magically being sealed, the holes in the suit already mostly closed. Chat’s head is lowered, staring at his miraculous, his ears are dropping so much they’re almost flat; his tail isn’t moving at all but wrapped tightly around his wrist. Ladybug is huddled up over him, keeping him protected, her voice soft, calm and quiet.
“Ladybug, what’s the plan?”
She looks up at him, then back down at her partner. She hesitates for a second, but relents. “Viperion, I need you to activate Second Chance when I say so.”
Ladybug turns back to Chat Noir. Her voice softens considerably. “Chat, can you take care of the sentimonster?”
Chat hesitates, and it looks like he’ll say he can’t, but he nods.
Ladybug eyes him, but does’t pry. She looks back to Luka, and the anger he saw before flares up more intensely.
“Viperion. We’re going to go out first. Once we are a good distance from Chat, we’ll go to keep both of their attention until Chat gives me the signal. Once that’s done, you'll activate your Second Chance and I’ll summon my Lucky Charm.”
Luka nods and looks to Chat Noir. He hasn’t moved, but his ears are less droopy, and his tail is giving the slightest of flicks, only its tapping his wrist lightly. Tapping in one second intervals.
But, he doesn’t have time to focus on it as Ladybug stands up and drags Luka away.
They get a few exhibits away before they both emerge to fight the akuma and distract the sentimonster.
While Luka is fighting the sentimonster, Ladybug is narrowly dodging flying snake fangs and beams. He hasn’t really appreciated how much Chat Noir does, but seeing how close Ladybug keeps getting to being hit, he can see where Chat Noir would step in. Where he would keep the akuma distracted and keep them frustrated enough to throw off their aim.
Suddenly, the sentimonster turns it's attention elsewhere and Luka lunges at the akuma to give Ladybug enough cover to get away.
Westling with the akuma, he sees Ladybug slip away and throws off the akuma to do the same.
Once he’s covered, he activates Second Chance and looks around for Ladybug. She didn't say to, but he has a feeling it's a good time.
She’s hidden quite well, but, as Luka turns away, the akuma appears above Ladybug and 5 fangs embed themselves in her head, chest and neck.
Gaging, Luka pulls back the snake head, and a hiss resounds as time is reset.
With purpose, he turns to Ladybug and sprints toward her.
But, just as he reaches her, the akuma appears and flings its fangs. A stray one catches Ladybug’s neck, and blood starts oozing.
He sprints away, and snaps back the snake head.
Another hiss resounds and he turns to Ladybug, and starts sprinting. Just before he reaches her, he shouts out, and flings his lyre at the akuma.
He’s able to get her away, but when he looks back, he finds that Chat Noir has two teeth driven through his chest.
Angrily, he snaps the snake head back, and a hiss resounds. Once he finds Ladybug, he starts sprinting. The second he’s out of cover, he flings the lyre at the akuma with a shout, and looks to Chat Noir.
This time, as Chat Noir whips around to see Luka, their eyes meet, and Luka knows that he’s caught on. He doesn’t know how, but he has; if the snarl and burning eyes indicate anything.
The snarl catches the akuma further off guard, and Luka is able to drag Ladybug away far enough. By the time they’re safe, and Luka looks back, the Sentimonster is gone, a blue feather turning to dust on the breeze, and Chat Noir is flying at the akuma with a furious, animalistic roar; long, crackling, black lines trailing from his claws.
Adrien gets into position and takes the giant snakes attention, running up and down it’s massive body and pricking it with his claws. Sometimes just small pricks, other times, he shoves his claws in and drags them a meter down. All the while, fighting the urge to flee to another country. His lady needs - wants - no needs him.
But, at some point, he feels a strong sense of Deja Vu. Then, a flash of teal and a shout catches his attention and he whips around to look at Viperion/Luka, sprinting toward Ladybug, his lyre connecting solidly with the akuma; and looking meaningfully at Chat Noir.
Wh- oh. Oh no. No, no, no, nonononono! If his look is as meaningful as he thinks it is and if the Deja Vu isn’t a trick of the mind...
Suddenly, a snarl rips from his throat, and his vision goes red. He will not lose her again. He will not fail her again.
His energy spikes, and he shoves his claws into the sentimonster, and the scales start to crack with black lines and rot; then Adrien drags them up to the giant snake’s head, where he rips his claws from the snake's scales, slides down to the snakes eyes, and sinks his dripping claws into them.
Then, he leaps from the decaying snake and at the akuma. His claws breaking down the molecules around them, leaving a trail of blackness in the air.
He slams into the akuma, and tears apart the Akuma’s fan, before kicking and punching the akuma, pushing it back with a fury that no one has ever seen from him. And all that he can think of is: I will not fail her. I will not lose her. I will not fail her. I will not lose her. Then, his fist connects with the necklace hanging from the Akuma’s neck and a black butterfly tries to escape.
He won't let it escape.
He grabs the corrupted butterfly from the air, and sinks his claws into the wings, a sense of enjoyment rushes through his system as the wings lose the purple. But, the akuma doesn’t die. He only incapacitates it.
When it’s over, he looks up, and finds Ladybug and Viperion. He bounds up to them, and holds the broken akuma out to Ladybug. His tail swishing angrily.
She opens up her yo-yo and closes it around the corrupted butterfly, a second later, the butterfly is released and Ladybug throws her yo-yo into the air, calling for the restoration.
Gabriel is on his knees, coughing up blood, his feet throbbing. His head is killing him.
Nooroo is on the ground next to him, breathing shallowly.
What in the Kwami’s name happened to the Cat wielder? How...
Nathalie’s coughing and puking sends Gabriel prone, coughing up more blood.
“Noo-roo...” Gabriel croaks out.
Weakly, Nooroo groans in response.
“What... happened... to-“ Gabriel spits out blood that was starting to clog up his airway.
“Feral.” Nooroo responds.
He- he can’t let an akuma happen like that again. He can’t allow Chat Noir to go feral again.
And, for the love of all kwami, he hopes that Chat Noir will never find him...
He nearly killed him and Nathalie through the mental connection alone. Only the heavens know what will happen if they meet face to face again.