Chapter 1: HoneyBee
It happens gradually. Sure, in a group of seven teenagers, one Team Mom(?) and a Team Dad(?), things like these tended to take a lot of time. Especially when they were important.
This was important.
It was also unavoidable. They’re seven teenagers, they’re all (more or less) dating, and despite having a lot of luck on their side, they weren’t very good at keeping secrets. They’re seven teenagers in the same class.
In the same class.
Yes, that’s important too.
One stutters when talking to their crush, another is generally energetic, there’s one star-struck because they’re all celebrities, one that thinks all this superheroing is too tiring, another that puts more importance on their nails than on protecting bystanders, one shy as a person could be, and the last…
“Oh, look!” Queen Pea squealed as she found a reporter with a camera covertly watching them. She bounded over, catching the man trying to flee, and happily filling the camera’s vision with her face. “Daaaaarliiiing~~ We’ve finished the fight, and we’re all okay!” The hearts in her speech were almost visible.
Vixen used the opportunity to escape. Her miraculous had begun to ring, and Chat was kind enough to give her a boost to a roof. HoneyBee huffed, crossing her arms as she and Monarch floated gently above the others. Ladybug followed after Vixen, no doubt to make sure Vixen found somewhere safe to detransform and leave as a civilian before Ladybug detoured to her own house.
They were all ridiculous, HoneyBee decided. So ridiculous, and she had no idea why she’d begun to spend her precious time with them. She tilted her head to look at her clothes.
Well. The superhero thing was nice. And she’d missed Chat’s freer, idiotic self. There wasn’t anything quite like a stupid pun when you were down to make you laugh. And okay, Monarch wasn’t all that bad. She side-eyed her flight companion.
He fluttered gently, still slightly distressed at receiving the miraculous a villain had used before him, but he’d at least stopped shadowing them like a shameful secret.
They all felt marginally better once they’d figured out Nooroo was in good hands, too.
That stupid Turtle gave them a two-fingered salute before wandering away, and Chat yelped as he realized he had another appointment soon, scampering off. Pea was still gushing at the camera and reporter, all about her Darling, and Bee slid her eyes heavenward before turning her back and fluttering away. Or buzzing away, as it were.
Monarch was the one who fluttered after her.
“Are you alright?” He asked gently.
She resisted the urge to demand he draw her as ‘his french girl’. “Fine,” she huffed, still annoyed at everything in general.
He stayed silent.
“I said I’m fine,” she insisted, “just annoyed at those idiots. Chat and Ladybug, they should just kiss already, really.”
Monarch chuckled as they slowly made their way to their...headquarters. At least that way they’d avoid a phone call full of mother henning. And she’d get her bag back, because she had at least taken it there before going off to be support in the fight. “They should,” he agreed, “I’m just not sure they even realize how much it’s mutual.”
“Oh please,” she exclaimed, exasperated, “She’s so fallen over that if another girl even gets closer to Chat Noir, she begins actually buzzing. In anger or jealousy, not sure. And that idiot is only that stupidly romantic with her, I--” she made a strange gesture that made Monarch hide a chuckle, “I wanna lock them in a closet until they sort it out, for heaven’s sake.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good solution,” he offered hesitantly, “They’re not going to deal well with discovering each other’s identity…”
“In the first moments,” she told him dismissively, “It’ll work out.”
She didn’t interfere, however.
If there was one thing Chloé Bourgeois knew, it was how to recognize those she’d claimed as hers. Adrien, the sweet, little naïve boy, she’d recognize the stupid puns of their childhood anywhere.
Sabrina, the loyal girl, Chloé kept her happy with some (barely) thoughtful gifts. And visible and impossible to mistake for anyone else.
That boy, on the other hand. Well. After spending so much time and so many days draping herself over him and making him blush to tips of his ears, she would recognize him.
She twirls her fan in one hand as she admires the HoneyBee statue she’d demanded from her father, and that Theo had delivered so well. Lost in the contemplation, she almost missed him.
But Nathanaël’s red hair was truly difficult to miss, even distracted. Chloé settled more comfortably on the chaise of the hotel, as Nathanaël admired the statue.
“Do you like her?” Chloé asked, opening the fan and moving it to her side, watching him.
He startled, hugging his notebook to his chest. “Y-yes,” he muttered after a moment.
“Why?” Chloé asked, beginning to fan herself.
He eyed the fan for a moment, before his gaze slid back to her face. “She’s sweet,” he began slowly, “she doesn’t dance around false words. What she says, she means. She’s not false, and-- people always know where they stand with her. There aren’t doubts.”
He went on. Chloé barely realized that she had stopped her fanning motion and was watching him, fingers closing slowly, as she brought her hand to her chest.
“She’s sweet or fierce when she wants to be,” Nathanaël smiled gently at the statue, “Strong and compassionate… in her own way,” he chuckled.
Chloé felt her ears burn as she clutched her fan close. O-of course he thought that..!
“I’ll, uh,” Nathanaël scratched the back of his neck sheepishly, “Leave you be…” and skittered out of the hotel, still flustered.
That boy, she thought dazedly, was so hers.
They finished the next fight even faster. Something about how driven HoneyBee was.
Monarch did not expect her to latch onto his arm and drag him out of sight of the others before kissing him within and inch of his life-- not that he was complaining.
She could have let him down a little more gently instead of letting him fall on his ass while she went to deal with her ringing miraculous.
Chloé was on a mission. She had no real idea what kind of materials were good for the kind of drawings he did, but she was going to get something. Expensive meant better, right? So the more expensive, the best.
She was going to get him the best pens.
Now if only that didn’t sound so lame in her head…
Well, all she had to do was buy, wrap it up nicely and leave it on his desk, right? With a card, of course. And Sabrina would make sure it was the best.
This was not going according to plan, she found. It wasn’t even Sabrina’s fault, so she couldn’t scream properly at her.
No, Nathanaël was rejecting her.
“I like someone else,” he was saying. To her face. Did he have no self preservation? At all?
“No,” she told him plainly, “You like me.”
He tried to hand the gift back to her, but stopped once she gave him a furious glare. She didn’t have time to stake her claim, though, because the teacher had entered and the redhead fled to his seat.
Monarch was snogged to an inch of his life. Again.
He rejected her the next two times as well, and by then, Chloé had insisted more than ten times, and he continued with that stupidity of his. She was going to hit him if he went on.
She was very annoyed, and Monarch still didn’t get it. Annoyed, and the idiots were all happily sharing those terrible and cheap foods in their headquarters as she… she did not sulk, to the side. She huffed.
“Chat,” she heard Monarch call softly in a lull of conversation, “How do you deal, with, uh.”
Chat Noir turned to him, mouth stuffed with croissants before he swallowed and gave Monarch an encouraging smile.
“W-with a girl pursuing you?”
“Ah?” Chat blinked, “Well, usually just, uhm. A thank you and an apology. Most of them seem to be okay with that?”
“And if…” HoneyBee felt her face twitch with her anger, “if they’re really insistent?”
“Uhm, do you like her?” Chat scratched his cheek, and he must be remembering the ways his father dealt with interested parties. Not ways to use if you wanted to keep the person around, later on.
“Well,” Monarch clearly didn’t understand his question, “I’m already interested in someone els--”
“Oh, for!” Honey Bee slapped her hands on the ground where she was sitting-- the indignity-- and rose to stomp over to Monarch, “You,” she hissed dangerously, snagging his collar and bringing him up, “like ME. Haven’t I already said that?!”
Even with the shadow his hood threw over his face, they all saw the blood leave Monarch’s face.
“Me,” Bee shook his collar slightly, annoyed frown still in place.
“You!” He babbled again, and then devolved in half-baked words about how she’d been right there.
“Uh, Bee?” Now much calmer, she turned her head. The others were staring, particularly Vixen and Ladybug.
“Yes?” She chirped.
“GIFT! WRAPPED!” Monarch babbled hysterically in her grip.
“What…?” Vixen eyed him, “Is he okay?”
“Perfect!” Bee chirped again before dragging him off. Pesky things like secret identities really didn’t play into her plans, anyway.
Monarch was smooched into an inch of his life. Again.
This time Nathanaël accepted her gift with a blush that turned him into a veritable tomato. Chloé giggled before returning to her seat in the best mood she could have, even giving Sabrina an extra necklace.
Let the other idiots sort themselves, Chloé had sorted out what was hers.
They’re not complete idiots.
...well, no, they are. The only difference is that sometimes they hit the proverbial jackpot. They’re seven teenagers growing up, learning from their mistakes. Unfortunately, complete idiots and superhero powers means bigger mistakes than most.
And bigger responsibilities. And bigger appetites. And…
Chat Noir looked like a hamster.
No, seriously, he stuffed his cheeks until he couldn’t anymore, and all Monarch could think about were those hamsters he once saw in a pet shop, stuffing their cheeks, then going to run on their little wheels with too much weight.
Monarch dearly hoped Chat wouldn’t try acrobatics with his cheeks like that. He wondered if it would be okay to comment, or if--
“Chat, stop that.”
Monarch breathed a sigh of relief. If Ladybug said it, he wouldn’t have to. That was also usually enough to keep the cat boy under control. If not, they’d have to get Theo, and no one wanted to get Theo.
“Bff ahm hffnry!”
“Chew, swallow, then speak!” Bee scolded from where she was helping Pea with her feathered hair, “At least remember that you have manners!”
“I am a perfect gentleman!” Chat retorted, then stuffed another sweet bread in his mouth. And displayed it proudly.
Ladybug snorted. “The bread says otherwise.”
Monarch felt his shoulders relaxing as he watched them bicker. They were friends. Nice people, all of them. He took out his...newer, fancier notebook (courtesy of Bee, who’d snottily claimed he had to look absolutely fabulous) and began drawing them.
His friends. First Queen Pea, with her hair spanning up and around her, full of peacock feathers and her dramatic cape. Even her little telescope. He wondered if she’d ever introduce her Darling to them. One day maybe.
Then Vixen, with her flute (which she still griped about having to learn how to play the damn thing), her tail and her cute mole. Few people managed to pull off both her hair and the orange outfit. He added her trusty, tiny camera she liked to carry around.
Then Ladybug. Her red suit, her yo-yo, her hair-ties. Tall, strong and decisive. And also stubborn, self-conscious and lovable. Things he’d never have learned if Nooroo hadn’t been given to him.
Jade Turtle; or Ninja Turtle, as he preferred to be called, with his shield, his goggles and his relaxed posture. Always complaining about battles and all the work they caused.
Chat Noir, in all his goofy, woobie, dorkish glory. Monarch caught him staring at the butterfly brooch more than once, but Chat didn’t say anything. Just shrugged and affirmed that Nooroo was in good hands. (Did he know?)
And leaving the best for last… HoneyBee.
Who’d given him a heart attack more than once. Who’d made him ashamed of all the gifts she’d given, but also alleviated his guilt by saying he was hers and that that meant only the best things could be in his hand.
Who more than once had held her fan to her chest, or pressed its handle against her lips while looking at him.
Who had offered her hand and pulled him out of the shadows to join their group.
He pressed a kiss to his drawing, raising his eyes in time to see her give him a look. He smiled.
The only problem with this, Nathanaël found, was that Nooroo liked Soda Pops. The more filled with sugar, the better. It was relatively easy to find, especially when in the middle of a battle, but carrying extras to school destroyed his back.
If he never had to see another can of soda ever again, he’d die a happy man.
He forgot to bring extra. He forgot to bring extra, and Nooroo was hungry. He was a terrible superhero. No wonder his backpack had seemed lighter.
He left the school at lunch in a hurry, trying to find somewhere quick and closeby that sold sodas, and please have some -- Marinette’s bakery!
He almost tripped changing directions, but scampered to the bakery as quick as he could.
It was also just his luck that Marinette was at the counter. He’d yet to stop feeling the stab of guilt from the incident where he’d been possessed, finding out from Alya that he’d tried to take her on a date.
He’d been so infatuated it wasn't even funny.
“Nathanaël! Hi!” He tried not to flush too much at her greeting. Tried. It wasn't easy. He swallowed.
“M-marinette! Hi. Do you ha--”
“Sweetheart! Open the fridge for the mousse!”
With an apologetic look, Marinette moved to open the doors for the display of cooled sweets, moving out of the way for her father to cheerfully fill it up with several cups of cookie-decorated chocolate mousse. Nathanaël watched as the big man cheerfully and dexterously placed the cups side by side.
“Aaaah, your mother is the Mistress of cookies!” He chirped at Marinette.
“She is,” Marinette giggled, returning to the counter and turning to him, not even batting an eye at his request for five Oranginas, “Her cookie dough is the best!”
Then something happened. Nathanaël saw an impish gleam flit over her father’s eyes, and her smile froze. Something in the air felt strange.
“But of course!” Her father blurted with a devilish smile, “She is, after all, the Cookie Doe to my Chocolate Moose!”
Nathanaël paused. That was a pun Chat Noir would actually like and be proud of, really. Maybe he’d appreciate it if he told him next time? He’d try to write it down.
Marinette’s smile fell as she turned to give her father a deadpan stare. “Really.” The man only continued to grin, absurdly proud of himself. “Daaaaaad…” she groaned.
...Nathanaël stared at her as he mechanically paid for the cans and stuffed them in his backpack.
He’d know that annoyed groan anywhere.
The daze he’d been in since lunch hadn’t abated. He’d managed to find an empty classroom to allow Nooroo to drink the soda, then returned to class. Sat on his desk. Pulled out his class materials.
Then stared at the back of Marinette’s head. And spent the whole afternoon doing so.
Did she always get annoyed by puns? Marinette was always quick to lead, too. She hadn’t been, once, but now…
When did it begin?
...But he knew when.
Rare were the fights that actually needed all seven of them to finish, because Ladybug was a good strategist-- and they were rather in tune after so long fighting together, spending some afternoons together in Theo’s studio and learning each other’s cues.
They liked to spar. They fought side by side, against each other, trained with each other’s weapons, created group movements and spent time learning each other when relaxed.
Monarch was support, surveying from higher up and calling info to Ladybug, creating soldiers when they needed either protection or distraction in one form or the other.
It gave him the opportunity to watch Ladybug without being a hindrance or acting strange for the others. He didn’t even know how he could have missed it. He’d been drawing her, both of her, and he’d missed it.
Monarch allowed himself a moment to facepalm. This was HoneyBee all over again, wasn’t it.
Ninja Turtle was startled when he suddenly burst into a torrent of swear words.
He was not touching that wasp’s nest with a ten-foot pole. Nope. Nu-uh. Refused. He liked his behind intact, thank you.
Shout out for thelastpilot on tumblr for a certain Turtle :3
Curiosity: Monarch in french is Monarque. Also for the butterfly <3
Chapter 3: Ninja Turtle
Other times, something so very obvious slapped them in the face. Impossible to ignore. And some help from the Team Mom, because otherwise…
They were still complete idiots.
Nino was not stupid. At least he believed so.
It was just. No one can honestly expect that their actual classmates were their superhero buddies.
Before he was pulled into the mess, he had an excuse. He didn’t know any of the heroes personally, so he couldn’t compare with the people he knew. And frankly, he took longer because he hadn’t thought to compare them at all.
Until Queen Pea joined them, at first hesitant, but once she’d grown into her suit, a complete and actual… peacock. Strutting about, dramatic and absolutely happy. Talking to anyone who’d like to listen about her Darling.
More than once, she’d been their saving grace: when reporters tried to swarm them and half of them needed to go because their transformations were ending, and Queen Pea would command all the attention and talk about her Darling or gush about just about anything, giving them time to flee without anyone following.
She gushed about her Darling to them, too. All the heroes were about the same age, somewhere between fifteen and eighteen, but Queen Pea spoke about her dating her Darling a long while before, even.
And then he heard Mylène cheerfully call Ivan “My Darling”.
He spent three school days trying not to turn around in his seat to stare at Mylène, three whole days shadowing her without seeming… too creepy.
He was so creepy.
But see, Mylène? Soft-spoken, terrified Mylène? Who was afraid of her own shadow?
Was Queen Pea, the peacock incarnate?
How in the hell did she get chosen? Don’t get him wrong, she was wonderful as Queen Pea, but who guessed that? Master Fu?
…Mylène. Dude, it was Mylène.
Nino laid down on his bed wide eyed still. But he blinked.
Wasn’t he the same, though? Wayzz was supposed to be the kwami of the “all wise and patient guardian”, and while he was patient (or maybe just lazy), he certainly wasn’t wise. Master Fu still hadn’t finished teaching him all the important stuff about the Miraculous, and while he’d been shown where the cute box for the jewels was, he wouldn’t be responsible for it for a while still.
Tikki, Plagg, Nooroo, Wayzz, Ziina, Bonni, Shassi.
Nino did not feel ready to become the guardian of the stuff.
Well, Shassi was accounted for, Nino thought wryly as he tried to concentrate on new tunes to create. So was Wayzz, who flitted happily around him with his strawberries.
Should he find the others?
It didn’t seem like an easy task, and Master Fu didn’t seem inclined to help him at all. Something about an exercise to recognize candidates.
“Theo,” Ninja Turtle wandered closer to him, “you know who everyone is, right?”
The artist set down his newest work-- some strange scraps of metal that he didn’t pretend to understand-- and turned to face the kid. “Why?”
“Well,” Ninja Turtle scratched his neck, “I’m supposed to be the new guardian of the stuff, and I was thinking… if it would be far-fetched for me to, uh. Figure them out.”
Theo looked at him. “Seriously?”
“What?” the green-clad hero answered defensively, hunching his shoulders up.
“The lot of you still haven’t figured each other out?” Theo looked incredulous.
Ninja Turtle felt something tilt, but not sure what. “...do we all know each other?”
Theo’s facepalm answered everything.
Nino supposed he should be grateful that he’d even gotten that out of Theo. The man was frighteningly tight-lipped, although that was a point in his favor-- he’d been taking care of seven teenage superheroes for a while, and even if he had the tendency to freak out about them (Nino’s ears still ached from the last time he was reckless in a fight and brought back to Theo to be patched up, the man first fretting over his wounds, then scolding him for two hours straight about being careful) he was also a kind of support that they all felt was needed.
Even Master Fu had approved of him (well, more like been thoughtfully amused, but that worked too) and pulled him aside for a few comments about the miraculous.
No one mentioned The Spring Incident. No one.
Anyways, Nino had to think. If he was going to be responsible for this stuff, he had to know how to choose the next ones, right? ….how in the world did Master Fu choose the seven of them? (And why did he ever think it was a good idea to choose them, too.)
Then again, Nino himself didn’t seem like what the Miraculous hero was supposed to be, anyway.
...was it the same for the others? Queen Pea was supposed to be the Peacock Miraculous, a symbol of nobility, refinement, integrity, glory… and Mylène did not bring that to mind. Mylène was the cute, cuddly and easily frightened of the class, maybe a rabbit. (If there was a rabbit Miraculous at all.)
But she’d grown into the Peacock. There was a good reason why she was the Queen of the group, and not HoneyBee.
“This is just too…” Nino raised his cap, ruffled his short hair, not that it changed anything, and put it back. Wayzz flitted over slowly, biting into his strawberry, “How does this work?! If it’s not about who we are, then…”
The little green kwami settled close to the boy, mulling what to say. Nino rested his elbows on the desk and his chin on his hands. Looked at Wayzz. “Every Miraculous needs a certain trait from their owners,” he recited, and Wayzz nodded. “But neither I or Mylène have the traits for the Turtle or the Peacock…”
Wayzz swallowed, “But..?” he prompted.
“But…?” Nino frowned, “But… we… uhm. Mylène is kinda growing into the Peacock thing…”
Wayzz gave him an expectant look.
“Am I..?” he asked dubiously.
Wayzz snickered. “Yes, Nino, you are,” and he flew up to fondly pat the boy on the forehead, “Do you think my other master started as he is now?”
“No,” he flipped in the air with another snicker, “he was a rowdy young man, impossible to stay still and very, very rash. Do you think he is better now?”
Nino pondered. “I don’t know about better,” he started slowly, “But he is… was… a good Turtle, right?”
“Then… he grew into it. Is that it? The chosen are those that can grow into the traits?” Nino frowned, “How in the world would I ever be able to recognize that?”
Wayzz laughed lightly, “Not quite, Nino! You are on the right track, however.”
The boy huffed.
Nino is annoyed. Very annoyed. No, see, he is feeling so very annoyed.
He likes puns. They’re simple jokes that anyone can spout. Eyebrow wiggle, amend something that was already spoken, either laughter or groans.
And there are certain people that are good for puns, just are there are some that don’t look like they’d spout them.
Adrien fits in the latter. He is far too shy to spout ridiculousness, and Ninja Turtle had felt comfortable spouting them on and off with Chat Noir.
He had not expected to ever hear one of Chat Noir’s lamest puns to fall from Adrien’s mouth.
No, okay. No.
Ninja Turtle stared at his friend. Chat Noir shrugged sheepishly at him.
“This is not happening,” the green-clad hero facepalmed.
“Should I feel insulted?” Chat muttered with a light frown.
“Dude,” he hissed, “Dude.”
“It is already far too weird to see your civilian self spout puns, Chat,” Ninja Turtle lowered his hand to glower at him, “Don’t go all sweet, homeschooled boy on me when you’re in the suit!”
“I just asked why would someone put a sock on their doorknob, that’s not strange!” Chat paused and Ninja Turtle could see the moment he realized what his comment actually meant, “NT, WHA--!”
He slapped a hand on Chat’s mouth to muffle his voice. “Quiet, you dolt! I’m starting to think we’re all in the same goddamn class, because this is just….” he flailed and couldn’t find a word.
“Did you say… in the same class?” The cat-boy was staring at him wide-eyed.
“Dude,” Ninja Turtle deadpanned at him, “We sit at the same desk. Dude.”
It took Ninja Turtle (and Nino) a couple of days to make Chat Noir (and Adrien) stop being his new (excitable) barnacle.
Ninja Turtle looked at the others in their headquarters and sighed.
Theo was never going to let them live it down.
The other thing to remember is that they are still not completely used to their powers or their secret identities, and they are, essentially, navigating blind.
To be precise, navigating blind, with very unhelpful companions.
Kwami never argued for being good teachers. They're mostly there to mooch from their chosen and be generally unhelpful. And annoy them. And tease them.
...sometimes they bring out the good part from their chosen. Sometimes.
It was one of the worst Nightmares they had found to date, and Ladybug was struggling to find the right point for the purifying light. It was Chat who called the retreat to regroup, and Vixen breathed a sigh of relief as she threw a smoke screen for them to hurry away.
One note from her flute and it was enough for them to be shrouded away as an abandoned box that the Nightmare glossed over, screeching.
The group breathed heavily, trying to recover. Ladybug hissed an angry breath, checking over each hero with narrowed eyes. Vixen tried not to grin too brightly when blue eyes asked the silent question her way, nodding in confirmation.
“We need a plan,” NT hissed, wiping his shield clean, “we can’t go on like this--”
“Well, can you think of anything?” Vixen hissed back, trying not to let her hackles rise. She and the Turtle had gotten slightly out of hand, but they did try not to fight. Ladybug had already impressed them with the need to keep it down.
“We need a plan, and we should come up with one now,” NT glowered at her. She felt her pulse quicken, her blood heat, and bared her teeth at him, “And soon.” He looked away and up where the Nightmare was moving. The area it had appeared was already evacuated, but it was attracted to people.
“Shit, they didn’t concentrate everyone again, did they?” Chat muttered as he retracted his baton to check the news, “Haven’t they learned?”
Vixen turned at Monarch’s half panicked call, to catch sight of Honey Bee--
Honey Bee, with her ponytailed hair burnt at the edges. Pulling a lock of it to tremulously check, eyes watering.
Vixen looked at Monarch, who seemed torn between comforting Bee or… running away?
Why would he be afraid of Bee? They’d been making out and basically glued to each other ever since that day Bee had simply finished the fight and dragged Monarch off, and Vixen still wanted to bleach her eyes of the time they’d all found out the hard way that the two were dating.
But then Bee looked up and narrowed her eyes at the Nightmare, and Vixen felt the… the… killing intent?!
She leaned away from Bee and noticed the others doing the same, although Monarch flailed his hands somewhat, uncertain where to put them to calm her down-- or even if he could, Vixen thought as she eyed Bee nervously.
Bee stood up, stepping in the Nightmare’s direction, leaving them behind. She clenched the lock of hair in her hand.
Vixen felt her heart stop with shock. Stared at Bee, who quickly jumped in the air and left to catch the Nightmare, then slowly turned her head to the side.
Ninja Turtle met her gaze, an equal expression of shock in his face, and made a vague gesture in Bee’s direction. Vixen felt her shoulders shrug automatically. Out of morbid curiosity, she turned to look at the others.
Chat had a bizarre expression on his face, seemingly caught between emotions, but Vixen realized that while he was as shocked as she was, he also looked happy. Why. Ladybug had a look she almost expected, somewhere between what the hell and eating a lemon. Pea had covered her mouth with a hand, and was reaching for her phone with the other. Probably to call her Darling.
And Monarch-- Monarch, who Vixen knew was dating Honey Bee, had hidden his face in his hands and groaned.
They’d all recognize that scream, that tone of voice, and...the subject…
...wasn’t Chloé dating Nathanaël?
Vixen stared at the exasperated Monarch, who slowly steadied himself to stand, looking as if he wanted to be anywhere but here, and for the first time… Vixen realized he had red hair under his hood.
“Be right back,” Monarch avoided their eyes and flew after Honey Bee.
“....what just happened?” Ninja Turtle asked faintly.
“I’m not sure,” Chat grinned, tail flicking happily, “but I like it!”
“Oh god,” Ladybug finally muttered.
Vixen heard Pea faintly saying into her phone “Darling, you won’t believe what just happened….”
Bee took down the Nightmare alone and left just as quickly.
Vixen was distantly grateful that none of them, having stayed behind to look at the aftermath, commented on what they’d just found out. They stood on the nearby rooftop, still half in shock, even as Chloé left a building, fuming, with a harried Nathanaël following her. They could hear her complaining about having to get a hairdresser, ASAP, from where they stood.
Nathanaël spotted them, hesitated, and shrugged sheepishly before trotting after her.
Vixen sat down hard.
“What the fuck.”
“Second that,” Ninja Turtle said faintly.
Vixen tracked him down later on, faintly annoyed. “Did you know?”
“No,” NT sighed and turned to face her, “I didn’t know they were...uh…”
“Don’t you know who all of us are?” she snarked at him, “I thought you were the ‘guardian’ or something…”
“Oh, come on!” he groaned, “No one told me, okay? Neither Master Fu or Theo!”
“Then how do you know who Chat is?” she challenged him, hands on her hips, “Because last I knew, none of us were supposed to know!”
“I figured him out, okay?” NT rolled his eyes, “And if you wanna get technical, I figured out Chat and Pea!”
“Turtle!” she hissed, tail springing straight up in anger.
“Shit,” he muttered.
That stupid turtle had decided to flee, and she’d lost sight of him. He had some nerve, finding out the other's identities, when they were all supposed to, you know, stay in the dark.
As tired as she was, she didn’t think dealing with her family was a good idea, but they would all wonder how she appeared in her room if she snuck through the window. Maybe it was a better idea to crash at a friend’s. Or something.
“Or maaaaybe… you could feed me. No pressure. Just, you know, all tired after helping you, and all that?”
She snorted. “You’re the furthest thing from helpful, Ziina.”
"That's a lie," the little fox plopped on her head, "I am the best."
"Uhuh," she nodded, "You don't suppose you could tell me why Turtle gets to know all of us?"
"Naw, but I can help you prank him!"
Theo’s apartment might be a good idea. Even if all seven of them crashed there, Theo had mysterious ways to keep them from finding out each other’s identities.
How had Ninja Turtle figured out Queen Pea and Chat Noir? Admittedly, Pea probably called attention anywhere she went, but Chat Noir was one of the two first to be heroes between them and should be the more difficult to sniff out?
“You’re lucky you liked meatballs,” she grunted, pulling out a small pot to get one and feed the annoyingly orange not-quite-a-furball, “I refuse to carry around steaks.”
“Don’t diss the best food in the world,” Ziina turned her snout up, even as she daintily bit into something the size of her head.
Theo’s apartment was always open for them, and it seemed he’d made copies of his keys for all of them. It was apparently easier than him being always on standby for when one of them decided to surprise him. He did have a life outside babysitting superheroes.
He wasn’t home this time, but she was too tired to care. Bypassing his couch completely, she got two blankets for her nest of pillows in the corner and made herself comfortable, checked that her camera was still in one piece, and curled up.
She slept like a baby.
“Don’t thank me,” Theo’s dry tone cut through her sleepy haze, “It’s just painful to watch. Even Master Fu agrees.”
A door closed. She yawned, popping her head up from under the blankets. Ziina’s weight fell on the top of her head even as she stretched, feeling her back pop into place. Quietly, she transformed again, nose leading her to the kitchen.
Theo was there, humming as he prepared scrambled eggs, fruits and breads already on the table. “G’morning,” Vixen yawned as she sat at the table, readying buttered toast and biting down.
“...oh no,” she turned at the groan, toast in her mouth, to see Ninja Turtle with an exasperated expression. Considered him for a moment, then looked at her breakfast. If she started a fight there, Theo would throw them both out, and then she’d be without breakfast.
“Just sit down,” she groused, “I wanna go to school on a full belly, thanks.”
With a cautious glance, he did.
“You two out of odds?” Theo asked, a warning glance to them as he set one egg for each in their plates.
Vixen shifted guiltily, and saw Turtle look down at his plate. “We’ll deal with it,” she told Theo.
Theo shook his head. “What are you two going to do about Ladybug and Chat Noir, by the way?”
“What do you mean?” Vixen frowned, back to eating because school.
“I mean,” Theo rolled his eyes, “If the lot of you haven’t figured each other out yet, I’m forced to think that those two idiots aren’t together yet?”
“They aren’t,” Turtle said drily, even as she gaped at Theo, “They’re more oblivious than we are.”
The man released an exasperated chuckle, shaking his head, “That’s a lot.”
“Why are you so certain they’ll get together?” Vixen set her toast down and eyed them both.
“If they don’t,” Turtle made an exasperated noise, “I might just lock them somewhere until they fix this. It’s getting ridiculous, I don’t think I can take him mooning over her for much longer. It’s kind of painful.”
“...you’re so certain Ladybug feels the same.”
“On a level, yeah,” Turtle sighed. Theo rolled his eyes and busied himself with finding new quick jobs to get cash, ignoring both of them, “I’m just not sure she realizes it.”
Vixen frowned down at her toast. “If you force it, she may freak out.”
“Only reason why I haven’t done anything yet.”
Alya checked her phone, took a deep breath, and entered her class. She wasn’t late, at least. Nino greeted her, pulling down his headphones. He discreetly pointed at the window. Marinette was there, watching Adrien leave his car and enter the building.
“Oh god,” Alya rolled her eyes. Nino snickered. She pulled out her phone and recorded her best friend sighing Lovely Adrien. “I am so playing this stuff at their wedding.”
“Why are you so certain they’ll get together?” Nino set his chin on a hand, as she sat down behind him.
“If they don’t,” Alya deemed enough embarrassing material was recorded and pocketed her phone, “I might just lock them somewhere until they fix this. It’s getting ridiculous, I don’t think I can take her mooning over him for much longer. It’s kind of painful.”
Nino eyed Marinette for a moment. “...you’re so certain Adrien feels the same.”
“On a level, yeah, I’m just not sure he realizes it,” Alya could no more take Marinette’s googly eyes than she could Adrien blushing sweetly and giving out gifts. That no one else got.
“If you force it, he may freak out,” Nino yawned, and turned to fiddle with his player.
“Only reason why I haven’t done anything yet,” she could just picture it, the poor boy fainting, face red.
And then she paused. And looked up. Nino turned to look at her.
(They both looked at Marinette. Then at Adrien when he came in.
"I am pranking them so hard," Alya blurted out.
Nino patted her shoulder.)
She owed Theo an apology. A lot of apologies. The man must be a saint to be able to deal with all of them.
Dear lord, but did this chapter not want to come out. But I got it. Finally. ....somehow.
Mylène had no idea how she was chosen for this, but she wouldn’t change it for the world.
“You seem happy today,” Shassi floated gently over her shoulder as she carefully styled her hair and hid her pin under her headband.
“I am happy,” Mylène smiled at the tiny blue peacock, “it’s been…”
Shassi giggled, “I know! I’m so glad you’re my chosen,” he patted Mylène’s cheek and chirped happily, pirouetting through the air as his tail flipped around him with a shower of glitter.
Mylène laughed with him.
She still remembered being deeply surprised at finding the pin and getting Shassi along with it. And then to be welcomed by the group, just like that…
They were so sweet, always listening when she gushed about Ivan, always wondering if she was okay, and… and caring . They might not know each other personally, but.
They don’t make fun of Mylène. Not for anything. (Not for being fat. Not for her hair.)
They tease about her height, but she’s the shortest and Chat Noir and Ninja Turtle are never serious. If she didn’t know they were so fixated on Ladybug and Vixen, she might have thought they were flirting with her.
Regardless, the whole group is the sweetest. Ladybug, as a popular figure, might have cared-- but she was the first one to look past it and care only about her abilities as Queen Pea. Even Honey Bee, with her acidic words, doesn’t say cutting things that could truly hurt.
Mylène had never been this happy.
She stood from her bed and got her bag for school.
Fights like these are the worst ones, but they soldier on.
With or without Ladybug, the Nightmare had to come down. Pea didn’t know where the other four were, but at that moment it didn’t matter.
“Trip it up!” Bee shouted and Turtle hit his shield on the pavement to bring it up enough. It wasn’t enough to bring the Nightmare down to the ground completely, but it did make the giant fall to its knees.
Pea used her wand to flash its eyes, and Bee wasted no time in flipping closer and stinging its flailing limbs while Pea ribboned them still. It gave Turtle just enough time to bash its head.
Pea and Bee landed, looking at the sight a tad incredulous.
Turtle gave them a grumpy look. “What? I’m missing me-time, okay! I have a date in half an hour! ”
Pea gasped. “Ooooh, you can’t be late for those things, no sir!” she went on, preening, “You have to dress nice, and did you get Alya some flowers? Does she like flowers? Maybe chocolates might be better. Oooh, you have to take photos! Please, it will be so sweet!”
Both their faces made her pause. Bee looked horrified and Turtle just seemed resigned.
“I’m not even going to ask how you figured it out,” Turtle muttered, setting his shield on his back, “Everything else is already ridiculous enough. I’ll show the photos to you in class, Mylène.”
When Bee’s face twisted in surprise, Pea realised what she’d let slip. “Oops.”
She’d never spread her glittery purification that fast before.
“Well,” Mylène blushed slightly as she went over to talk to Nino and apologize, “After seeing you two on the cushions at the HQ, and then how you started commiserating in class…”
“It’s alright,” Nino shook his head with a small smile, “Besides, Master Fu wanted me to figure out on my own. Although,” and a teasing glint came into his eyes, “You might not want to call Ivan ‘Darling’ when you’re a civilian. It’s… distinctive.”
The little bugger had the nerve to laugh at her embarrassment.
At least Chloé hadn’t changed her behavior. Mylène had actually expected the girl to have a tirade, but besides squinting slightly at her, she hadn’t done anything else.
Mylène went back to her seat and made herself comfortable, just in time to see Adrien come in and greet Nino with enthusiasm--
...wait. Mylène squinted. Tilted her head slightly to the side. Nino messed up Adrien’s hair, and the blond yelped with a laugh.
Behind them, Marinette turned to the corridor between the seats, hands on her cheeks while trying to calm a raging blush that left her face red.
To her credit, Mylène did try to cover her mirthful smile.
“Darling!” Ivan smiled gently and caught Mylène as she threw herself at him, “So remember what I told you about Vixen and Turtle?”
She prattled on, and Ivan listened raptly as she updated him on all the gossip of their group, talked about the newest fights and the panicked faces of reporters as she closed in on them to prattle about any and everything she could just to keep them occupied.
They settled on his bed, and when Mylène ran out of things to tell, the silence didn’t weight of become awkward.
She could stay like this forever.
Theo’s studio was empty, but it didn’t deter Pea from happily bouncing in and using her wand to spread glitter and ribbons all over the place. She paid special attention to Ladybug’s chaise, tying a glittery ribbon at the head and then going on around the whole place.
Theo got smacked by her ribbon wand.
“At least,” he muttered nasally as he held his nose, “at least you’re happy.”
She was, she realized. She was happy. They were all close. Ladybug and Chat Noir would love each other. Bee and Monarch were so good together, and Turtle and Vixen had fixed everything between them.
They were a good group. They were… friends. Best friends.
Theo groaned as he held his nose and searched for tissues.
Sheepishly, Pea sprinkled his nose with her glitter to heal him. “Sorry,” she beamed, “I just realised how close our whole group really is!”
Theo chuckled at her, even as he padded over to get coffee ready. “Oh? Did you all finally figure it out?”
Pea grinned sheepishly at him. “Not everyone, no,” she admitted, “I don’t think Bee was expecting me and Turtle to be...well.”
Theo snorted, and she giggled.
“It’s going to be a weight off my shoulders when you lot finish that adolescent drama,” Theo muttered a complaint, prodding his nose to test before relaxing.
“We’ll try to keep the screaming to a minimum,” she giggled.
“Hopefully it works.”