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The Power In Numbers

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Marinette laughed as she flew around in the clouds over the city of Paris. The view of the city was stunning from this angle, All the buildings were engulfed with the orange light of the afternoon sun and the Eifel tower was glittering with a golden glow, almost like a crown casting its big shadow on the ground below. Marinette felt so relaxed flying around contemplating all the activity down in the city. Thousands of cars were driving on the streets, honking at each other trying to get through and the pavements on each side of every road where full of people going all different directions. Occasionally when the cars stopped big swarms of people walked across the streets and disappearing in the crowd. Marinette smiled as she took in the view, then she floated up over the clouds to feel the warmth of the sun. This was how life was supposed to be. The only thing that could make this feel a little less pleasant for Marinette was the fact that school would start tomorrow..... 

Suddenly she felt something bumping into her stomach. Startled she opened her eyes and looked straight into the blue luminescent eyes of a black cat.

She screamed as she woke up from her dream. She sighed in relief as she understood that it was only a dream and that she wasn't falling to her death. That damn cat had invaded her dreams again, making her wake up. The past week the black cat had haunted her dreams making her wake up screaming with her heart in her throat and this morning was no exception. Yawning she looked at the alarm clock on her bedside table and nearly fell out of her bed.

Shit. It was the first day of school and she already slept through the alarm. As she was scrambling around her room to put some clothes on and get her things she thanked the black cat in the back of her mind for waking her up and ran down the stairs to eat breakfast, almost tripping on her own feet in the process.

"Good morning" she greeted her mom while pouring yogurt and cereals into a bowl.

"Good morning honey. Aren't you a bit late for school?"

"Yes, mom. I can't believe I slept through my alarm" Marinette groaned.

"Oh honey, don't stress yourself, it's not so bad as you think" Sabine replied looking at Marinette with a concerned look. "You're not that late after all."

"I am going to start the year off by coming late and probably get placed beside Chloe again" Marinette rambled on. "Ugh, why does Chloe have to be in my class?"

Marinette had had a few bad experiences with Chloe over the years. Chloe was the daughter of Paris' mayor and a spoiled bully who always managed to be a pain in the ass to everyone around her. Since the first day they met, Chloe had disliked Marinette and made her schooldays a lot worse by tormenting her what seemed like every waking moment. She did NOT want to sit anywhere near her again. Marinette sighed and looked at her yogurt-splattered shirt. This was going to be a long day. She quickly ate the rest of her meal and went to change her shirt and fetch her school stuff. Marinette kissed her parents goodbye for the day with a few minutes to spare. She wasn't as late as she first thought and was in a good mood going to school. With her head up in the clouds as she walked she almost didn't notice the crosswalk ahead of her and nearly stumbled out in the road.

'Phew, that was close' she thought with her heart beating like crazy. She really needed to pay more attention to where she was going, otherwise, she might end up causing a road incident. The lights turned yellow for the cars as a black cat walked out on the road. Marinette swallowed as she saw a speeding car trying to pass before the red light and acted without thinking.

She ran out to grab the startled cat and jumped to the safety of the other side of the pavement as the car continued down the road. The people around her seemed not to have noticed what happened and walked over the crosswalk as Marinette put down the cat. She flinched when she saw that it looked just like the cat that had haunted her dreams. The cat gave a suspicious look at its rescuer and sniffed cautiously on Marinette's hand. It purred and stroked itself against her leg making Marinette smirk.

"Okay little kitty, since I saved you, can you leave my dreams alone now?"

She studied the cat while it stroked itself against her leg and purred, satisfied. It was completely black, from the tip of its nose to the very end of its tail. Marinette looked at the cat's collar to see if the cat had a phone number to call the owner. Since the cat was roaming around freely and walking on the road she suspected it to be a fugitive. On the collar, a plate formed like a paw hung beside a golden bell that jingled when the cat continued to show its affection to Marinette. The plate had a name carved on it with squiggly letters. 'Plagg.'

'Huh, that's a weird name' she thought. 'And no phone number either.'

The cat stroked itself against marinates leg another time, then it stretched itself, yawned and walked a little bit forward to look back at her as to say: 'are we going or not?'

"Do you want to go with me to school little ki... Plagg?"

As a response, the cat started walking in the direction of her school and Marinette followed close behind.

"Well, I guess that means you are coming with me for the time being" she said to Plagg.

Plagg didn't seem to notice Marinette talking with him and looked at his surroundings with a very snobby look on his face. Marinette snickered under her breath. This cat was so adorable! She resisted the urge to pick him up and give him a big hug that probably would have resulted in Marinette receiving scratches to her face so she continued walking, looking at Plagg instead. After a few minutes, they reached the school. The old three-story building stood proudly facing an open area where a lot of students were standing in little groups chatting with their friends after the long summer vacation. Good, that meant she wasn't as late as she thought. She picked up Plagg so that he wouldn't get lost and looked around to find her friends. 

"Hey, Mari!" A voice from behind her shouted.

She turned around and smiled at the person that greeted her.

"Nino!" She said and ran to embrace him.

Plagg, not enjoying getting squished, snarled jumping down from Marinette's grip and scowled at them.

"Whoa, I didn't know you had a cat" Nino said looking at Plagg with a surprised look.

"I didn't until this morning," Marinette said to him while picking up the upset Plagg again. "I met him ten minutes ago when he was walking out on a road so I saved him from being run over and now he follows me everywhere. He doesn't have a number to call on his collar which means I don't know how to contact his owners, so he's staying with me until I figure something out."

"You're a strange dude, you know that?" Nino said to Plagg who gave him a suspicious look. "And you have a strange name too apparently" He added looking at the plate. "I've never heard of a name like that."

"Yeah, it's a bit strange" Marinette agreed. She was not going to tell Nino about her dream though. If she did, he would laugh at her saying that it was fate that she met Plagg and he would probably not stop teasing her for the entire day.

"Hey Mari, I saw Nath. Let's go!" Nino said to her and turned around. "HEY NATH! OVER HERE!" He shouted at the redhead standing a little further away.

"Hey guys" He said to them as he approached the duo.

"Hi, Nathaniel" Marinette said with a smile giving him a hug.

"Dude" Nino said to Nathaniel. "Did you know that Jagged Stone just released a new song yesterday? It's awesome!"

Marinette smiled as she watched her friends talk about the musician. As usual, Nino the music fanatic as Marinette called him, was talking about music. he was a great friend who loved to talk with everyone about his favorite artists. He had grown even taller during the summer, almost as tall as Ivan. His charisma and golden eyes sparkling with joy had made a few girls look twice in his direction recently. Of course, the distracted Dj hadn't noticed yet and Marinette was waiting on the day someone came to him asking him out. Nathaniel, on the other hand, was shy and introverted, not at all like Nino. With his bright red and long hair and tiny frame, he was almost the opposite of Nino with his long arms and legs, black, curly hair and mocha-colored skin. Even though he didn't talk much, he was always kind to everyone and lately Marinette had started to suspect that he had a secret crush on her. Lastly, there was herself, known as 'sassy Marinette' who didn't take shit from anyone. She couldn't stand someone being treated unjustly and when someone was being bullied she always went to stand up for them. She also wanted to be a fashion designer and had already made a few garments. She loved animals, which was probably the reason this cat was following her around now.

As Nino and Nathaniel went ahead she put down Plagg and spoke to him.

"Plagg, you can't enter here so if you wait out here while I go to school I'll come back and get you when I'm done okay?"

Marinette looked anxiously as Plagg stared at her with his iridescent blue eyes. He then meowed softly, stroked himself against her leg and walked away. Relieved Marinette walked through the doors with the other students adjoined up with Nathaniel and Nino again.


——<><><><><>——


In the classroom, everyone sat down at their usual places and packing up notebooks and pens while chatting with each other before their teacher arrived. Behind her, Nathaniel and Ivan talked lively about some Youtuber she didn't recognize, occasionally getting interrupted by Nino commenting something they said. Marinette sat down at her usual seat and thought about the day so far. First waking up from the usual strange dream and then accidentally meeting a cat with looked exactly like the one in the dream. Well, it couldn't get better than last years first day of school anyways because...

"Hey!" A voice interrupted her train of thought. "You are sitting on my spot!"

Marinette sighed. Of course. The obligatory harassment from Chloe. How could she have forgotten?

"I'm sorry Chloe, but I was here first" she said. "I really don't have the energy to deal with her right now' she thought as Chloe looked like she was about to swell to double her normal size in anger.

"Move Maribrat" she snapped at her. "Adrien is going to sit in the front seat. Shoo"

"Who is Adrien?" Marinette asked.

"Don't you even know who Adrien Agreste is? And you are supposed to like fashion?" Chloe said with a look of disdain. "He's the son of Gabriel Agreste the fashion designer. And he's like my best friend EVER so don't even dare to lay a finger on him."

"Well if he is your friend I don't even want to be near him. Go sit somewhere else and stop disturbing me. I'm not moving."

There was a time when she wouldn't have had the courage to go against Chloe's bullshit, but that time had passed with the help and encouragement of Nino and Nathaniel. She was known as sassy Marinette for a reason after all.

"You heard her. Go sit somewhere else and stop bothering everyone" a voice behind her said.

Marinette turned around to see a brown-haired girl scowling at Chloe. Chloe huffed and walked off with Sabrina trailing after her.

"Wow, that girl needs a major attitude adjustment" the new girl said.

"You tell me" Marinette replied shaking her head. "I've been in the same class as her for as longs I can remember."

"My name is Alya, by the way" the brunette said and stretched out her hand.

"Marinette, nice to meet you" Marinette responded taking the outstretched hand.

"I just have to say, the way you handled that Chloe was fantastic, girl!" Alya said to her. "You don't let her affect you at all."

"Yeah, I had enough of Chloe's attitude a looong time ago" Marinette snorted.

Alya and Marinette smirked at each other when their teacher entered the classroom and asked the students to quiet down.

"Today is the first day of school as you all know, and we have two new students in this class. Adrien Agreste, would you come here to introduce yourself?"

"He's not here Miss" Chloe chirped.

Miss Bustier frowned and looked down on the class list again.

"Well then, Alya Cesaire, would you come here instead?"


——<><><><><>——


The rest of the day proceeded like a usual first school day would. They introduced Alya to the rest of the class (to Chloe's annoyance) and then continued with regular lessons. At lunch, Marinette, Nino, Nathaniel and Alya sat together and had a great time. Alya was a really nice person and she immediately became a member of their friend group. They joked around so much that Marinette felt like Alya had been her best friend forever, even if they only just met that same day.

After finishing lunch they hung out with the rest of the class, except for Chloe and Sabrina who had disappeared somewhere. Marinette noticed that Ivan was looking discretely at Mylene. She sighed and whispered to Alya how cute they would look together if Ivan would muster up the courage to ask her out. She agreed and they burst out giggling. They got interrupted by Ivan shouting angrily at Kim.

"Hey stop it, Kim!"

"I'm just saying" Kim replied in a teasing tone. "If you don't get a move on....."

"SHUT UP! IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!" Ivan screamed angrily and walked off to the school building.

"Was that what I think it was?" Alya asked Marinette with a frown.

"Most definitely" she responded with a sigh.

"Well, I would get pretty angry too if someone was about to say that out loud when half the school and my crush could hear" Alya remarked dryly.

Marinette agreed with her completely. It was very mean of Kim to say that so everyone could hear. She walked over to Kim.

"Was that really necessary Kim?" She asked him.

"I just said that..."

"It doesn't matter what you said" Marinette scolded him. She lowered her voice so that only Kim could hear her and continued. "We all know that Ivan has a crush on Mylene, but that doesn't give you the right to spill it like that! It's his secret to tell, not yours. He obviously didn't want you to say it"

Kim rolled his eyes at her and turned to walk away. Marinette grabbed his arm to make him face her again.

"Go and apologize" she added firmly. He held her gaze for a moment before looking away and mumbling "okay, fine" and walking off in the direction that Ivan walked off too.

Marinette sighed and returned to Alya and her friends. They all gave her an understanding look and continued to talk about the classes they had left. They had chemistry next period and Mrs. Mendeleiev would probably scold them if they arrived only a minute late. They went to tech their things when a rumble shook the earth startling everybody.

"What the heck was that?" Marinette screamed.

"An earthquake? I've never seen anything like it in my entire life!" Alya shouted back. "We've gotta run or the school will crumble around us!"

Students were screaming and running in all directions in a panicked rush to get out. They all ran outside and all their jaws dropped to the floor when they took in the scene that unfolded before their eyes. An enormous stone monster almost as tall as the school was tearing the roof of the school, evidently searching for something. Then it stopped and screamed with the full might of its enormous lungs.

"KIIIIIIIIIIM! WHERE ARE YOU? GET OUT HERE AND SAY THAT TO MY FACE AGAIN!"

Marinette gulped. "Oh my god. It's Ivan." She whispered.

"Run!" Nino said and dragged Alya and Nathaniel out of the way from the enormous fist that plunged from the sky right where they stood a few seconds ago. It smashed a hole in the wall and made it crumble down right beside Marinette, obstructing the way to her friends.

"Marinette! Are you okay girl?" Alya shouted to her.

"Yes, I'm fine! Though I'm blocked in here by all the rubble" she shouted back to her.

"Stay right there! We're going to find a way to get you out" Alya shouted and said something to Nathaniel. "We'll get the police! Stay strong until then!"

"Okay!" She shouted back.

She heard a loud meow behind her and turned around.

"Plagg! What the hell are you doing here?" She said to him and picked him up.

"Listen Marinette, we don't have much time before that stone-idiot destroys half of the city. You've got to listen to me"

Marinette's jaw dropped for the second time. Wait what? Plagg could talk?

Plagg sighed and jumped down from her arms standing in front of her. Looking her in the eye he said: "Look, kid, just say 'Plagg, transform me' okay?"

"Wait why can you talk" Marinette blurted out, too confused to talk properly. "And why should I say Plagg, transform me, that's..... whooaaAAA WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!" She screamed when Plagg dissolved in a black mist enveloping her body with a flash of blue light.

The mist cleared and she looked at herself. She was wearing a black leather suit that consisted of a skintight jacket, a pair of black leather gloves with a ring on her right hand, black leather pants and a pair of thick boots with steel caps that looked like the top of a paw. To complete the outfit she had a belt wrapped around her waist with the end exiting from the buckle that was positioned on her back like a tail and a golden bell that hung around her neck, just like Plagg's bell but bigger. On the side of the belt hung a metal stick with a blue paw print on it. She felt something moving in her hair and reached up to grab a pair of cat ears. What in the world just happened?

'Now that you are transformed I can explain this much easier to you' Plaggs voice echoed in her mind.

Just what was happening to her this day? Which wicked god was playing her a joke?

'I haven't introduced myself properly' Plaggs voice once again said to her in her mind. 'My name is Plagg and I am a kwami, a spirit animal that can give humans powers. My power is the power of the black cat, with gives you better eyesight and sense of smell, superhuman agility and reflexes, the ability to climb on things and the power of destruction to put it simply.'

'What?' Marinette thought.

'Kid, I've just made you into what you humans nowadays call a superhero. A real one with awesome powers. Would you be so kind as to test them out on your stone friend over there?' Plagg huffed.

'Well okay but I'm not sure I'm the right person for the job. I'm super clumsy and...'

'Just shut up and get going before he makes half of Paris homeless' Plagg interrupted her. 'You are perfectly capable of fighting that guy. Why do you think I chose you? I'll explain everything when you fight him.'


——<><><><><>——


When Marinette swung herself out of the rubble after Plagg explaining everything a little more she jumped up on the roof to look at the mess Ivan had created. Half of the school's roof was gone and big holes in the wall where punched out when Ivan had taken out his anger on the building. Marinette prayed anxiously that no-one had been hurt and that Ivan hadn't found Kim yet because he would probably kill him by accident even if he wasn't so angry. She tried not to freak out thinking that she had to fight something that could do this much damage and sighed.

She heard a roar in the distance and looked over to see a trail of damaged buildings where Ivan had passed through. She gulped and swung herself in that direction.

'Jeez, that kid needs to calm himself down, otherwise, he seriously will make half of Paris homeless' Plagg commented.

'I know, I need to stop him as fast as possible' she replied.

When she finally caught up with Ivan he had reached the Eiffel Tower. She groaned as she saw that the police had made it before her and they were shouting at Ivan to stand down. She swooped down to snatch the megaphone from the police officer and shouted to all the people around her.

"Don't shoot him! I doubt that it would hurt him so please stand back and let me handle this!"

"And who are you supposed to be?" an officer shouted to her.

'Think of a name kid, Quick.' Plagg said to her.

Marinette stopped to think for a second and then replied using the megaphone so that everyone could hear her.

"I'm Chat Noire, The superhero that will protect you all from now on" She said. "This boy has been transformed by someone and is being used. He can't control his actions but I know how to defeat him without harming him."

"Who did this then? And how do we know we can trust you?" another officer shouted.

"I don't know yet, but I am going to protect you all and defeat him."

As an answer to that Ivan shouted "Chat Noire, give Kim and your miraculous to me peacefully or I'll destroy the whole city!"

"No, I can't. Just surrender and stop this Ivan!"

"I'm not Ivan anymore! I'm Stoneheart! And I'm going to take your miraculous!" he said and jumped towards her to catch her.

"Oh no you don't" she said and quickly grabbed the officer beside her and jumped out of the way of Ivan's enormous fists.

"Thanks, Chat Noire. He would have killed me for sure."

She smiled and winked at him. "What are superheroes for?" She said and jumped away to Ivan again.

'Well, they seem to have accepted your help at least' Plagg said to her. 'That went much smoother than I thought it would go.'

'It helps that they have a stone-man as tall as a building attacking them' she replied, exasperated. 'Plagg I don't know if I can do this.’

'Of course you can! Like I said before kid, I chose you for a reason. You are smart and brave, you have a very good chance to beat him in my opinion.'

She collected all her courage and swung her staff to hit Stonehearts leg. He lost his balance and crashed into the ground right in front of a police car. The police officers beside the car ran away and signaling to the officers to retreat, finally letting Chat Noire Handle things properly. She helped Officer Raincomprix out of his bashed car and focused on Stoneheart again. He slowly got to his feet again and threw a punch at Chat who dodged it and smacked him on the back his head, making him fall on his face.

She smiled in triumph only to get bashed by his arm that he had swung at her as he fell. She slammed into the wall of a nearby building, busting right through it. She winced as she got up to continue fighting Stoneheart. She jumped down from the building, nearly getting hit by a giant fist again.

'Plagg, talk to me! How do I defeat him?' She thought to him.

’Okay, kid. You need to look after an object on him that is colored purple. That’s where the acuma is.’

'Well, it seems like he is closing his fist around something. That's probably where it is if its the work of the butterfly miraculous. Okay then' she thought. 'I need him to open his hand. How can I make him do that?'

She ran around Stoneheart and jumped up on his back to smack him on the back of his head but he noticed and grabbed her before she managed to hit him. He started to crush her with his enormous fist and Chat Noire began to feel lightheaded from the lack of oxygen. She extended her staff to open his hand and jumped out. She landed hard on her back, gasping for air. She needed to stop him now, otherwise, things would get really ugly. Dodging Stonehearts fists again, she got an idea and used her staff to launch herself on the roof of a house where she started to tease Stoneheart so that he would follow her.

"You are so slow, you know that? Over here, gravel pile!"

"Shut up!" he shouted back and ran to smash her.

She jumped out of the way when his fists hit the house and it crumbled over his right hand. She then put her staff in-between his fingers, bending them to open his hand. It opened and a crumpled piece of purple paper fell out. She snatched it and followed Plaggs' previous instructions to destroy it. A purple butterfly flew out while a cloud of purple and black smoke enveloped Stoneheart.

'So I was right' Plagg said to her. 'This complicates things'

The smoke dissipated and where there previously was a big stone monster Ivan now sat on the ground looking confused. She caught the acuma and went to check on Ivan.

"Are you okay? What happened?"

"I swear, I didn't do anything on purpose! It’s like I woke up from a nightmare. The last thing I remember before that was a guy in my school saying to me that I didn't have the guts to tell a girl that I like her and I got mad. Then I went to fetch my headphones to listen to some music to calm myself down and a strange voice said that he could help me get back at Kim" Ivan replied. "He said his name was Hawkmoth or something like that"

"Hey it's okay, it's over now" Chat Noire said to him.

A flock of reporters ran up to them and started to bombard Chat Noire with questions.

"What happened here?"

"Was it a terrorist attack?"

"Is this the boy that turned into a monster?"

"Are you the new superheroine of Paris?"

"I will explain everything if you stop asking me questions!" Chat told them exasperated. She was still full of adrenaline from the fight making her a bit jumpy. The reporters calmed down and she cleared her throat. "This was the work of the butterfly miraculous holder, Hawkmoth. He acumatises people that have had a bad day with these little purple acuma butterflies." She held up the acuma so that everyone could see. "Therefore I am here to protect you from the acumas he creates" She said and whispered 'cataclysm'. The acuma turned into dust in her hand.

”What’s a miraculous?”

”So this is means that anyone could get acumatized?”

”You said that you will be protecting this city from now on. Are you also going to help the police with criminals?”

The reporters began to question them again but Chat put the dust in her pocket to grab Ivan and used her staff to get on top of a building, away from the reporters. She asked Ivan where he lived and took him home. His parents thanked her and wanted to invite her for tea, but she excused herself to get away because her ring was beeping signaling that she didn't have a lot of time left in her superhero form. As she swung herself back to the Eiffel Tower she looked at the damage the city had taken. She had asked a police officer if someone got hurt and miraculously the people that where hospitalized all had wounds that weren't deadly. But some of them had gotten badly hurt and one was in a coma. The police and families of the people that were hospitalized thanked her for saving the city. Jumping away on the rooftops of Paris, she stopped on one that had a good view of the city. 

'Good job kid, I am very proud of you. You handled that really well.'

'Thank you Plagg, but I didn't do such a good job' she replied with a gloomy tone. ’People got hurt and the acuma damaged loads of buildings. I was so nervous, what if everyone noticed that I was afraid? The people need an icon, something they can trust and rely on. I’m still not sure that I’m the right person for the job Plagg.’ 

’You may feel afraid kid, but you never hesitated when saving the police officers and defeating the acuma. But most importantly you prevented it from getting even worse. Can you imagine what would have happened if you hadn’t defeated the acuma?’

’I guess you have a point’ she replied to Plagg and sighed.

The beep of the ring on her hand signaling that she had very little energy left in the suit scattered her thoughts. Chat Noire got up and jumped away towards her home on the rooftops. She landed in a deserted back alley and detransformed. After checking that no-one saw her she walked towards her parent's bakery with Plagg strolling after her.

"What should I do with this acuma dust?" she asked plagg after realizing that she was still holding on to it.

"Put it in a jar or something, as a trophy of your first victory" he replied. "You deserve it."

 

——<><><><><>——

 

In his lair, Hawkmoth swore through his teeth. His minion had gotten completely outmatched by that Chat Noire! His minion, that was supposed to be unstoppable! He sighed in frustration and watched as she destroyed his acuma through his telepathic link with it. He got surprised when he still felt it hold on to its life after it got turned into dust. He had to ask Nooroo later what that meant. Wouldnt it be perfect if he could revive the acuma and per say, destroy Chat's home? That sure was a great idea.

"Just you wait, Chat Noire" he whispered to his acumas that where fluttering aimlessly around him. "I am going to make your life into hell!"