It was early morning. Adrien was trying to wake up Marinette, though he was failing miserably. Chloé was in the bathroom changing, though the door wasn't completely closed. And he, Nathaniel, was finishing up a bit of inking while he waited for Chloé. The blonde had gotten better at taking so much time in the bathroom, using Marinette's vanity-space to do her own makeup. Doesn't mean she still doesn't hog the bathroom for more than Nathaniel thought anyone could, though.
His hand started to cramp, so he dropped the pen, leaning back against the desk chair. His mind wandered to an increasingly frequent thought, "What if we made an app?"
There was a moment of pregnant pause, so Nathaniel continued, "Marinette and I could design it, and you two could fund it. Only if you wanted, though!"
"Foxie," Chloé said in a tone that made his cheeks flush in sheepishment, "It's a good idea, but none of us know how to make an app."
Adrien stopped trying to rouse Marinette from sleep to add, "And we can't really ask anyone to do it for us, either. They could do some weird thing where it tracks us to find our identities."
He can feel himself frown, "Oh, right."
Guess it's just a hope, then.
School was... uneventful. Lila still lied, everyone still soaked them up like sponges. By the time lunch rolled around, the group was certain it would be a boring day. Except Markov had flown in front of them before they could leave.
His face-screen looked worried, maybe anxious. "Would you please wait for Max? He wants to confirm something."
The three glanced at Marinette, only accepting after she smiled kindly and nodded, "Of course."
They stayed there for five minutes before the Kanté boy showed up. It wasn't long, but with the robot still there they couldn't talk about their hero-work. Chloé almost wanted to hate the little thing so she would be determined enough to shut it down. But she didn't and if she tried, she'd be regressing further into being a bad person.
Max almost looked nervous, as he walked up the steps. Vaguely, it reminded Marinette of someone walking up to a Queen's throne. But she was no Queen, and Max was not one of her subjects. He clasped his hands behind him, straightening his back and steeling his nerve. "Is... Is Lila lying?"
Oh, thank god. Marinette almost thought he was going to ask if she was Ladybug, since the last two conformations were exactly that. She watched Nathaniel tilt his head in confusion, "How'd you figure it out?"
"Markov alerted me to Mlle Bustier talking to the principle about Lila's disease. A disease that causes her to lie. Constantly. As this is not on her medical file, I asked Markov to run the statistics of that being true. The only results were sociopathy and compulsive lying."
Oh. Well, the compulsive lying thing wasn't new(they figured that was the case) but Lila being a sociopath? The possibility never crossed their mind. Marinette put the little tidbit of information in the back of her mind(for now) and focused on looking like she already knew this. "And what are you going to do about it?"
Max pushed up his glasses, a tick Chloé noticed happened in changes of his emotion or mood, "The probability of successfully alerting everyone of this and them believing me is a slim-to-none 3.26%. I will do as you do and stay quiet, but not supportive."
The blue-black haired girl nodded, pleased. If things kept going this way, the class will soon realize what Lila actually is- a liar. And then they can use evidence and their connections to further prove the girl's behavior. The thought made her giddy, a mix of serotonin and adrenaline rushing through her veins. She can't wait until that day comes.
"And one other thing, Marinette."
"Are you Ladybug?"
Silence rang through the empty classroom, before Nathaniel burst out in laughter. Adrien followed close behind, though his laugh was much more subdued. Chloé hid her smile behind her hand, watching as Marinette's face morphed into one looking utterly, completely done.
"Is it really that fucking easy? Really? What's stopping the whole of Paris figuring it out? Nothing, apparently. Absolutely fucking nothing. Is the world against me? It that it? Has my shitty luck finally caught up to bite me in the ass?"
Max pushed up his glasses, a little unnerved at hearing Marinette swear. It was a first for him, but there was a 56.89% this confrontation would have profanities. Granted, most of it was because of Chloé, but that made little difference, now. He filed this little piece of of information carefully in his mind, making a mental note to have Markov add it to her actual file.
Was keeping files of all his classmates and teachers weird? Probably. Did he care? Not at all.
When Marinette finished her rant, she looked him over. Not in the I-find-you-attractive way, but more in the are-you-useful-to-me way. It made a suppressed shiver travel up his spine. She didn't look like the kind, sweet girl he had previously thought he was. Instead, she looked calculating, decisive. The other three settled half a step behind her, reinforcing the look of a Leader.
Max also stored that info in his mental-folder.
Marinette nodded to herself. "We'll talk to you later- about what exactly you know. Do keep your window unlocked, unless you'd like to have to get a new one."
It didn't take a genius to realize what that meant, so the Kanté boy figured it out quickly. He watched the four of them leave, and is suddenly reminded of the Miraculous Team. "Markov," He called, "Run the statistics of Adrien and Nathaniel being Filou and Chat Noir."
The little robot was silent for a minute, then two. Max couldn't blame him. There was a lot of information and possible, reasonable, excuses to factor in. And he was doing two statistic scans at the same time. Seven minutes passed before he got the results. "There is a 97.63% chance of Adrien Agreste being Chat Noir. There is a 94.85% chance Nathaniel Kurtzberg being Filou."
Those were some high numbers, especially since Marinette's were 99.98%.
He shakes his head to rid of the theories, and goes back to the courtyard.
He'll get his answers later.
Max was used to staying up late. Markov and him would talk numbers and theories, debunking crazy ones on reddit. On the days his mom was home, on Earth, he would talk to her about space and astronomy until dawn's light spread across the horizon and spilled into the sky. Those were his favorite days.
So when he heard his window slide open at 10:58 p.m., Markov had just gone to bed and he wasn't too tired. He turned to face Ladybug, who was closest to him. Chat was at her right, Queen Bee at her left, and Filou by the window. The first crossed her arms raising a brow hidden behind her mask.
He took that as a cue to speak.
"You are Marinette, as mentioned earlier, Filou is Nathaniel, and Chat Noir is Adrien. I assume Alya was Rena Rouge, and Nino was Carapace."
Ladybug nodded, strangely pleased. Max was smart, smarter than anyone on the Team. Logical, if a bit hubristic. "How did you find out?"
"Alya wanted me to try and find out Ladybug's identity. I wanted to confront her after I talk to you. I realized who Filou and Chat Noir were after you left. And since Alya's being Vengess, her 'outfit' being close in likeness to Rena Rouge's, it would be safe to assume she felt betrayed for being replaced by Filou. Since Carapace and Rena Rouge were dating, that would make Alya's boyfriend, Nino, Carapace. I have no intentions of telling anyone, as that would put as much danger on me as well as you four."
Ladybug held out her hand, a small box in her palm. "My Team and I have debated over this for a while, and we've finally come to a decision. Max Kanté, we are lending you the Horse Miraculous, which grants the power of Teleportation. Use it for the greater good."
Chloé came a little closer, a hand on Ladybug's shoulder as she leaned on her. "And this," she waved a bag with MDC Originals printed on it, "Is a Team-Warming gift."
What the fudge?
Where was the logic in letting him be Pegasus again? He just figured out their identities! He'd sworn to keep them a secret! And, yeah, he was smart, but so was Marinette!
Ladybug must have seen his inner-turmoil, because she smiled softly. "Max, we chose you because you're, frankly, smarter than the rest of us. We're all idiots. Having someone who knows how to use his power to it's most effective is a win for us, even if we won't use Pegasus often."
Oh. That makes sense... sort of. The 'we're all idiots' part definitely isn't true. They all have good grades, except for Nathaniel, but the chance of it being the cause of him focusing more on his comic than homework is 76.49%.
"Um, alright." He grabbed the MDC bag first, then the box. Setting the bag down on his desk chair carefully, he turned his attention to opening the box.
The god-like light revealed the same tiny floating horse, Kaalki if he recalled correctly, that defied the laws of physics. But he guessed physics don't apply to them, since they're magical creatures.
Kaalki deflates as soon as she sees him. "Oh, I am still tied to you. Have you become famous in the time I have not seen you?"
Max shook his head, mind whirring with possible answers to make the Kwami like him more. "No. But Pegasus has only been seen once, and that wasn't even on Earth."
The little god stared at him, smart enough to see the cogs in his mind spinning, quicker than most of her other Chosen. Finally, someone who wasn't completely incompetent.
"I grant you the permission to use my Miraculous."
Ladybug smiled at him, and so did the others. "Do you want to patrol with us? You'll be paired with me and Chat, since your new."
Max wasn't a very expressive person, almost bordering on reserved, but he could feel the grin spread across his face. It was wider than the day his Mom passed the astronaut tests, than the day he got to play in the Ultra Mecha Strike competition. "Kaalki, full gallop!"
He was 100% sure this would be the best night of his life.
While on patrol Ladybug made sure to 'lecture' him about how to properly care for Kwamis. Although they are gods and can take care of themselves, they are small and lonely. Even if they, like Kaalki, won't admit it.
He made sure to ask the small horse goddess what she wanted to eat when he got back. He didn't blink when she told him she wanted peppermint candies. Horses can eat peppermint, and Ladybug had already shared how weird their requests for food are. That fact seemed to only affect the Ladybug and Black Cat, though, since the Fox and Bee seemed to eat berries and honeycomb, respectively. And even some turtles and tortoises will drink natural tea, so Wayzz(if he remembers correctly) drinking it isn't all that surprising.
Despite the tiny goddess' original cold attitude, she looked extremely pleased and joyful as she ate the peppermint candies, floating next to the still-sleeping Markov.
Max couldn't wait for the little robot to, once again, meet Kaalki.