Chat Noir was running, fear making him move faster than usual, and using his staff to push himself farther than he ever had before. His pursuers were intently following him, Chat couldn’t risk looking behind him otherwise he would slow down and then he would be caught. Seeing a green flash out of the corner of his eye, Chat allowed himself to drop between two buildings. He felt the wind as the green shield passed over his head.
As soon as his feet hit the ground Chat was moving. He couldn’t afford to pause or stumble or he would be caught. He just needed to find a spot to hide, and then he could think about what was happening.
“Where should hide?!” , he looked down both sides of the street, looking for anything that could offer a place to hide.
“ There!” , his eyes zeroed in on a manhole covering, further down the street. It would be close, but if he made it he could jump into the sewers and lose his pursuers in the dark. Not his first pick in hiding places, but he was out of options and negotiation had been tossed out the window about 30 blocks ago.
Moving forward he jerked to the side, just barely dodging a yo-yo that would have entangled him. It instead hit the road, and he raced forward, now heading towards the covering. If he made it in, he would have much better chances of getting away.
“Stop right there!” he heard behind him. “Stop? Yeah, right” , he thought, his thoughts almost hysterical. Reaching the manhole, he used his staff to help throw the cover off, and he tossed himself headfirst into the darkness.
And then jerked to a stop as someone grabbed his ankle.
“I got him!”, someone shouted above. Chat scowled, “No, you don't actually” , and he used his staff to hit the black gloved hand that had grabbed him. The person yelped in pain and let go. Chat dropped the rest of the way, hitting the floor with a thump. He didn’t wait to hear what they were going to do, choosing to sprint down one of the tunnels.
“ They’ll need to make a quick plan, now that this chase is in the dark and in tunnels. They can’t just charge after me” he thought. Which would allow him to put some distance between them, and to find a spot to hide.
He raced down the tunnels, taking random turns, every step bringing him farther away from capture. After what felt like an eternity, he slowed to a stop, breathing heavily through his nose. He glanced around the room he was in.
He was standing in a tunnel, on the top of a small staircase, trenches where the water would flow were in front of him. At one end of the tunnel he could see a ladder leading to the surface. Chat stepped off the stairs, trying to force his legs to stop shaking.
In the distance he could hear snatches of conversation from his pursuers. “—him here – down this tunnel! – go, our time – next time.”
Well, it sounded like they were going to stop the search for now. Chat took a deep breath. That chase had been, well, terrifying. He hadn’t wanted to get caught, and he didn’t want to hurt anyone either. Looking down at his arm, he could see where one of them had managed to hurt him, a wound on his arm was bleeding slowly. He wasn’t sure when it had happened or who had done it, but it’s presence just showed that they either didn’t care about whether they hurt him, or they were intentionally out to hurt him. And they had been so angry when it happened, and he had no clue why.
Glancing back down the tunnel he just came from; Chat made his way to the ladder.
“Home, I just need to make it home” , was all that was going through his head. Everything else was secondary. Once home, well, he could figure out more once he was home.
At the top of the ladder he carefully lifted the covering, peeking outside. The sun was starting to set, and it looked like no one was hanging around . Chat slipped out of the sewer and quickly made his way to the nearest alley. He paused once hidden in the dark again.
He didn’t want to take off his ring because that would make it difficult to sneak back into his house. But he also didn’t want to leave it on because then he would be spotted, he could’ve already been spotted, just coming out of the sewer.
Ok, the important thing here is that he needed to get home. He knew that the others wouldn’t be able to chase after him for some time. And he also knew that he couldn’t sneak into the house properly, as tired as he was. So, he would stay as Chat Noir, and just make a beeline for home.
“Ok”, he breathed out, “ok, so let’s do this.” Chat stood up fully, looking in the direction his home was in. He pulled himself onto the roof of the building he was standing next to and started running towards home.
He closed the window behind him and landed on the floor of his room. It didn’t look like anyone had really noticed him. Well, he hadn’t heard any shouting, and he hadn’t seen anyone chasing him.
“Claws in”, he says, the area around him covered in black before it seemingly got sucked into the ring on his finger.
“Kid!” Plagg appeared next to Adrien’s head moving around frantically, “What happened out there! You’re bleeding! And why were we being chased?!” Adrien just shook his head.
“I - I don’t know,” Adrien said, voice starting to shake, “I just- they just- I don’t know.” His whole body felt like it was shaking. The whole thing had shocked him. An akuma had appeared, and luckily it had been just after school finished. And he had gone as Chat Noir to the scene.
It had been a little odd, Ladybug hadn’t answered any of his attempts to contact her, and on his way, people had, well they hadn’t reacted badly to him, but he had noticed that people seemed to be afraid of him? They would shrink back when they caught sight of him, something he found odd but hadn’t really had time to think about it.
And then, when he made it to where the akuma was, he had seen that Ladybug had already brought in Carapace and Rena Rouge, which was also odd because from the looks of it the akuma itself hadn’t been dangerous. It had already been taken down by the time he got there.
He of course had started to approach them, and asked what was going on, and they had turned to him and started to attack. Claiming he was a murderer and that they needed to bring him in. He hadn’t really stuck around after that. And thus, had begun the chase into the sewer.
“They thought I was a murderer?”, Adrien said, his voice laced with confusion. Plagg stopped with his wild gestures and stared at him in shock.
“Murder?!”, Plagg sounded completely shocked, “you-- why in the world would they think that?! You can’t even hold a grudge!”
“I don’t know,” Adrien said morosely, his head dropped into his hands, “I was kind of hoping you would know what they were talking about.”
Plagg shook his head, “I’m as in the dark as you are, this time.” He turned to Adrien’s computer, “But maybe there’s something on the Ladyblog? As annoying as she is, that reporter is pretty good at keeping her blog up to date,” he suggested.
“Yeah,” Adrien said slowly, taking a minute to reply, too long for Plagg’s liking, but he would take what he could get. Adrien moved towards the computer, and unfortunately passed next to Plagg, allowing Plagg to get a whiff of him.
“Ok, wait, you need to go shower, you stink like a sewer. And take care of that wound too. As urgent as this is, I don’t want to be responsible for it getting infected or something.”
“Ah, that’s true,” Adrien chuckled, his voice sounding hollow, running his hand through his hair, “I think I have a med-kit somewhere in the bathroom, so I should be able to put some bandages on it.”
“Great, go take care of that. The computer isn’t going anywhere.” Plagg encouraged Adrien.
After Adrien closed the door Plagg collapsed on the bed. He didn’t know what was going on. All he knew was that there had been an akuma, Adrien had transformed, and then there had been an incredible amount of fear coming from Adrien and Plagg hadn’t been able to help.
And now Adrien was injured, in shock, and apparently Ladybug, Rena Rouge, and Carapace had all been after him for murder. Which made no sense to Plagg because Adrien was about as far from murdery as you could get. Well, for the moment. Plagg wasn’t going to hold out on him not ready to murder Gabriel in a few years if their relationship didn’t change.
Plagg looked out the windows that encompassed the entire wall, and he wondered if he should quickly go and see Tikki. Just to ask her if she knew what had happened.
He turned back to the bathroom door, where he could hear the water running. No, he couldn’t leave Adrien right now. But he would definitely head over to talk to Tikki once Adrien was asleep.
Adrien pulled up the Ladyblog, dread pooling in his stomach at what he might find. The words ‘murderer’ echoing in his head. He just hoped that this was all the work of some akuma and would be taken care of quickly.
He looked at the most recent news on the blog, and his heart felt like it would stop.
Ladybug and company seen chasing down the murderer of the Saville Family
He scanned through the news, trying to find anything that would tell him more about the situation.
“Wait,” Plagg interrupted Adrien’s scanning, “there’s something odd about this.”
Adrien gave Plagg a confused look, “Ummm, yeah, they think we murdered this family.”
Plagg shook his head, “No, look close kid. Throughout this whole thing, they haven’t mentioned your name once! They just say, ‘the perpetrator’, not ‘Chat Noir’.”
Adrien paused. Yeah, that was actually pretty weird. Adrien’s face brightened, “Does this mean that this whole thing has just been a case of mistaken identity?”
Plagg shook his head, “If it were just that, then Ladybug wouldn’t have chased you. You’re her partner, she should have recognized you.” Plagg hated the way Adrien’s face fell when he finished, “Hey, keep your hopes up, you never know what we’ll find.”
They both continued scanning the report. Plagg’s eyes were wide with shock by the end of the report, Adrien looking like someone had sucked the life out of him.
“But-- what-- how?!”, Plagg stuttered, not believing what he was seeing. The report was making the claim that the person that Ladybug was chasing down had murdered the Saville family just two days ago.
The family consisted of the mother, two children, and an unknown father. The mother and two children had been killed apparently, but no mention of the father was made. Witnesses claimed that a figure in a black cat suit, with a belt for a tail, green eyes, and blond hair, had committed the murder.
And looking through the rest of the Ladyblog provided even less information. As in, any mention of Chat Noir that used to be there, was gone. The stories saying that Ladybug was the only hero that France had until Rena Rouge and Carapace appeared.
Adrien kept looking, he felt like his whole world was being torn apart. Chat Noir was his freedom, his way of just being himself. There wasn’t any worries about being his father’s son, he was just-- well, he was just him. And now it was gone.
Adrien slumped back in his chair, a hand over his lower face, his eyes filled with horror. Plagg flew to his shoulder and patted his cheek.
“Hey, it’s ok, we’ll figure this out,” he said comfortingly, “No one forgets my kittens that easily.”
Adrien smiled slightly at that, at least he had Plagg still. At that though a thought dropped into his head. Adrien’s head jerked to Plagg ,“I can’t go out as Chat Noir can I? Not with everyone thinking I did this,” he waved to the screen.
“Well, I mean, you can, you just can’t get caught!”, Plagg said mischievously, hoping that news would cheer Adrien up a bit.
Adrien was shaking his head fervently before Plagg finished his sentence, “No Plagg, I don’t want--” he stumbled over his words, looking at the floor, a pit of dread building in his stomach, “I don’t want them to chase me down again. I don’t want to chance that.” He looked up, eyes glistening, “Today was horrible, I felt like a bad guy. And I had to hurt Rena Rouge to get away, so I’m not going to go out as Chat Noir while this is unresolved.”
Plagg sighed sadly, “How did I end up with a responsible chosen?”, he said fondly.
Adrien snorted, “You ended up with me cause you chose me, remember?” Plagg rolled his eyes, but didn’t answer back.
Adrien looked back at the computer, thinking. “Tomorrow I have school, so I can probably ask everyone there if they know what’s going on?” he planned out loud. Perhaps someone would have something helpful. Well, something more than ‘he’s a murderer’ at least.
Plagg nodded, worry showing in his eyes, “It’s as good a plan as any. We don’t have anything else to go off of, and we can’t really do anything else.”
Adrien sighed, the plan, as small and short as it was, helped bring a sense of calmness to his mind.
Tomorrow then. He and Plagg would figure things out, and fix it. Hopefully.