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The Tale of Creation and Destruction

Chapter Text

 

There once was a girl named Marinette.
Though she descended from a simple family, she was a special girl. She was born with magic.
Being born with magic wasn't unusual, many people could control the elements or had other superhuman abilities. Her powers, however, were unique.

The literal incarnation of Creation is only born once every few centuries after all.

xxxxxxx

Her parents had been ecstatic when they discovered the mark of magic on their baby girl, despite neither of them having magic. On her right shoulder was a swirly red pattern, vaguely reminiscent of some kind of beetle. Their happiness was crushed the very next day, by a council member who came by to register the newborn and identify their magic. She recognized the infant as the Ladybug.

"Run," the woman had said, "and don't look back. Don't let the priests find her. Take her to the countryside, have a quiet life and pray that nobody finds her. I will register her as unmarked. Pack your bags and leave at sundown, I will help you out of the city. This is for the good of your daughter, I'm sure you remember what happened to the last Ladybug."

And so they did. They left the city for a quiet life, a few kilometres away from a tiny village. Tom and Sabine raised their daughter in the isolation of the countryside. There, they started a wheat farm and a little bakery.

These were the best years of Marinette's young life. She was a very easy but introverted child. She hardly ever cried and was happiest alone. She played with the animals that lived around their house and had imaginary friends to keep her company. She was happy.

But her powers didn't go unnoticed.

Even in the driest years, the harvest was good. Their house was miraculously spared by a vicious storm. The little family never got sick. Their garden consisted of plants that shouldn't be able to grow in this climate.
After a while, their bakery became famous for their 'lucky bread', because whoever bought their merchandise had good fortune for the rest of the day.

At the age of ten she was a happy young girl. She helped her parents on the fields, in the garden and sometimes in the bakery though she had trouble speaking to the customers. On one of those days, the incident happened.

xxxxxxx

"Next please," the girl chanted with a monotone voice. Her parents were in the back, taking a fresh batch of bread out of the oven. An old woman with a walking cane came forth, a regular customer of their lucky bakery. She was visibly sick, the disease had started in her –now paralyzed- leg and continued to eat at the left side of her body. Marinette wondered how long it had taken her to hobble to their bakery in the middle of nowhere.

"One small lucky bread please, young lady, and a prayer for my health," she cackled.

Marinette silently handed her a bread and held out her hand to request payment. The woman, however, didn't take the bread from her. Instead she dove for Marinette's hand.

"I know it's not the bread that is special. It's you! I beg you, please pray for my health!" the woman with the cane begged. She grabbed the girl's right sleeve and pulled until the cloth shredded and left Marinette's shoulder bare, revealing the mark.

"Aww, you're hurting me, let go! Papa, help me!" Marinette cried out. She looked at the other customers in the shop, but nobody dared to step in. They were afraid of the woman with the cane, terrified of her disease and held back by her fury.

"Not until you pray for me!" The woman with the cane nearly pulled her over the counter, nails digging into her skin. Her desperation and determination made her strong. "Grant me my wish you witch! It's selfish to keep your gift to yourself, didn't anybody teach you to share?"

Marinette finally gave in: "Fine! I wish you a long an healthy life. Now let go of me!"

The woman with the cane smiled and let go. She took a step back as the girl held her bleeding arm. And another step. She threw her cane away and walked to the exit, suddenly able to use her leg again. In the doorway she turned back and shouted: "I knew you were her, the witch of Creation!"

The woman with the cane was healed and would live until the age of 115.
And the witch of Creation was found..

A few days later, the priests came for her. They placed her into a carriage and shipped her off to the temple in the capital. Her parents did everything they could to stop them, but it wasn't enough. Tom and Sabine had to watch while their most prized possession got taken away by people they had trusted in the past.

Nothing was the same after the incident happened.

xxxxxxx

"Miss Ladybug, it is time to get up. Your breakfast is ready and your classes will start shortly." The young priest dodged the pillow that was clearly aimed at her head.

"I told you not to call me that," a voice sounded while the girl attached to it rose from the pile of blankets. "Geez Alya, I know you're new as my roommate, but the least you can do is use my real name. You're not my servant." The girl had been assigned to her about a week ago. They had told Marinette they would get her a roommate, someone to assist her in the her daily duties. She knew that was a lie. What they got her was surveillance to discourage her from running away.

"As you wish, Miss Marinette."

Marinette sighed. "Whatever. What's scheduled for today? Anything new happening?"

"I'm afraid not, Miss Marinette. Class in the morning, private magic lessons at noon and consultations in the afternoon. I'm sorry to disappoint you."

The girl groaned as she rolled out of bed. Today was going to be another day of hell.

xxxxxxx

"I can't do it!" the girl yelled at her teacher as she threw the dead rat across the room.

"Yes you can, you will keep practicing until that rat walks again. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. You are the witch of Creation, the witch of Life. One of your powers is to overcome death itself. I don't want to hear you complaining, don't forget who you are talking to," the head priest said calmly but forcefully. "We will return to him tomorrow, this lesson is over. Now go prepare for the consultations." He walked out the door, allowing Alya to enter.

Marinette was happy to see him go. The Gods knew she hated that man, but he was the head priest for a reason. He was one of the most competent witches of the country and had a lot of influence.

"Follow me, Miss Marinette, I have prepared your gown for today."

This was the part Marinette hated the most. The general classes were not that bad, even though she had to sit on the balcony, away from the other students. The private lessons were not fun at all but they were useful. This part however…

She reluctantly put on the dress of the day, a huge green strapless ballgown with fresh irises sewn into the tulle skirt. The bodice looked like it was made by braiding long leaves together. The shoes -if you could call them shoes- resembled vines wrapped around her feet. The mask for the day was made from purple flower petals. And of course, no consultation outfit was complete without gloves.

She didn't hate the gorgeous gowns. Every day another one, designed to make her look like a goddess. It was what she had to do in them that she hated.

Dressed up like a sacrifice, she was led into the temple by the head priest, Alya, and four guards. As she sat in her chair -she refused to call it a throne-, the temple doors opened and people started lining up. By now, everybody in the land had heard of Creation and her abilities. They came from far to see her and have their wish fulfilled.

The first people came forward, a young man and his very pregnant spouse. They bowed for the girl high upon her "throne" and turned to the head priest.

"We came to ask for good luck for our child. We've had children before but they all died very young. We pray for this child to survive the sicknesses of youth and live longer than us. In return we offer half of our pumpkin harvest for the next two seasons."

The head priest stayed silent for a bit, thinking. "Wish granted," he said while waving them towards Marinette.

The couple ascended the few stairs to Ladybug. She took her right glove off and put her hand on the woman's exposed belly. "Live. Grow up. Outlive," she whispered. The air around them resonated with magic power as she blessed the child. She smiled at her vision caused by the skin-on-skin contact and turned to the parents to be. "You'll have a handsome and successful son. He will continue the family business and have a big family of his own."

"Thank you, thank you so much!" the couple sobbed as they were let out by a guard, ecstatic to finally have hope for a lasting family.

This went on for hours, people came in with requests big or small, and an offering to make up for the trouble. The head priest decided their fate, sometimes asking for more payment, sometimes refusing to help altogether.

And Marinette, the miraculous Ladybug, was simply a tool in his hands.

 

Chapter Text

But every coin has a flipside and every blessing comes with a curse.
So let me restart this story.

There once was a boy named Adrien.
He was a special boy, born as a prince. His parents were pleased when they saw the mark of magic on his left shoulder, as they were both talented witches. His was a black mark that consisted of geometric shapes. It resembled some kind of feline with piercing green eyes. Animal marks were the strongest ones, the royal couple was proof of that.

But when a council member came by to register the boy's magic, their dreams faded like snow on a sunny day. She told the parents that their baby was destined to be the Chat Noir, the witch of Destruction.

"Hide him," she said. "Don't let anyone know of his magic. I will register him as unmarked. Help him to control and conceal his powers. Don't let him be found, I'm sure you remember the tragedy of the last Chat Noir."

xxxxxxx

At first, the pair payed no attention to the council member's warning. Adrien was a difficult child and needed constant attention, which everybody in the palace was happy to supply. But after a while, those who spent the most time with the crown prince started to fall ill. They didn't think much of it until the queen was a victim of the boy's powers.

After that, the king had an additional wing built to their palace, custom made to meet Adrien's every need while growing up. There he received schooling fit for a prince. Adrien knew that the constant stream of classes –Chinese, fencing, piano…– was to prevent him from going outside, but he didn't mind.

On the day of Adrien's tenth birthday, his mother cancelled his classes. She spent the day with him, despite her sickness and against the wishes of her husband. You can only keep a mother away from her child for so long. It was the best day of the boy's young life and the last day of his mother's.

After the queen had passed, Adrien's isolation became final. Only the necessary classes remained in his schedule, the others were replaced with books. What the boy craved most -contact with other people- was kept to a bare minimum. Adrien slowly faded away in his royal prison.

xxxxxxx

Adrien was staring at the garden outside, an Eden he was forbidden to enter. He studied the trees from a distance and tried to identify the occasional passing bird. He loved nature, but it didn't love him back. One day when he was a child, he had gone into the garden. It was a catastrophe. The plants died under his touch and wilted under his gaze. It had taken ten royal gardeners and two witches of Nature several years to convince plants to grow there again.

His thoughts were interrupted by unusual sounds. Footsteps. Panting. Yelling in the distance. A young man around Adrien's age turned around the corner and ran his way. He wore ragged clothes and was clearly running for his life. The prince ducked but the stranger had already seen him.

"Dude, please let me in. I promise I'll repay you, just help me." The man begged. He sounded desperate.

Adrien laughed sadly. "You don't want to come in here, believe me."

"Believe me, I do. Now move, I'm climbing through your window." He was inside before Adrien could protest any more. "I'm Nino by the way."

"I'm Adrien," the prince replied. "What did you do that you need shelter so badly?"

Nino grinned. "I might have stolen someone's loaf of bread, it seems they were very attached to it. Want some?" He asked while looking out the window nervously, searching for his pursuers.

"Only if you tell me about your life outside. You can calm down, nobody ever passes here. I haven't seen another person in months."

 

That day, the two formed an unusual friendship. Nino came by nearly every day with a new story about his life on the streets. In return Adrien taught his storyteller something he knew. The both of them had lived alone for so long, it was nice to see a friendly face for a change. And somehow, his new friend didn't fall ill after a few weeks.

xxxxxxx

"Can I ask you a personal question?" Adrien asked his guest after he finished his story for the day.

"Sure, ask away bro."

"Are you marked?" He had been wondering for some time why his new friend seemed unaffected by his bad luck. Not that he was complaining. He wanted to know if he actually could control his powers or if Nino was just immune to them.

Nino smiled and pulled up his right sleeve. There, a pattern of colourful bubbles – blue, red and yellow - spiralled around his forearm. They were small and concentrated around his wrist and got bigger and sparser towards his elbow.

Adrien opened his mouth in awe. "So what kind of witch are you?"

"I don't know," Nino said while shrugging. "Hey, don't look at me like that, I really don't know. I never learned how to use my magic. I was practically born on the streets, man, I'm not even registered by the council."

"Don't you want to know? I know people who could help you."

"Nah, I'm good. I like my life how it is. I don't want to become a professional witch and work for the council. Or even worse, a priest. That's not my style." He paused and grinned. "I'm probably the witch of Fun! Or the witch of Rebelling, if that is a thing."

Adrien laughed. "That sounds about right." He was thankful his friend didn't ask him the same question.

xxxxxxx

On his eighteenth birthday, the dreams started.

Adrien was walking through the forest at night. He was lost, didn't know where to go but kept on walking. His feet were guiding him towards a goal unknown. He looked up and tried to recognize the constellations he loved so dearly. Though the stars that poked holes in the charcoal sky where not the ones he had studied. This world existed only in his dreams.

Suddenly he came by an open place. In the middle stood a girl. She seemed otherworldly, bathing in the moonlight like that. Her skin seemed to glow, only interrupted by freckles dusted across her body, and stood in stark contrast against het midnight black hair. She wore a simple red dress and a matching mask. Adrien felt his face and noticed only now that he was wearing a mask too. He walked up to her. She seemed to have expected him.

"Chat Noir," the girl said.
"Ladybug," he answered.

He didn't know where the names came from, but they felt right. He knew that she had been his destination from the very beginning, that he hadn't been lost at all. They remained as they were, standing in front of each other. They didn't dare to break eye contact, afraid to lose the other forever. No additional words were spoken.

Standing here like this, in a dream forest with a dream girl, Adrien felt at peace.

xxxxxxx

"Do you ever think about leaving this place?" Nino asked. "I could take you anywhere you want, you know. Consider it my birthday present."

"I told you that I don't need any presents Nino, I'm just glad that you came by. You're literally my only friend. To answer your question, I haven't thought about leaving for a while now."

"Really dude? Why not? Are you afraid your dad will find out? Because I doubt that. I mean, he hasn't even noticed me yet and I practically live here."

"Yeah you do," Adrien snickered. "It's just that… Some really awful stuff tends to happen around me. There is a reason I live isolated from the rest of the palace. I don't want to risk anybody's safety. Besides, everything I need is right here."

"I won't ask what happened man, but didn't you get classes for that? To learn how to control your magic and aura and all that buzz?"

"I did but I haven't really tested if those classes worked. It's too dangerous Nino, just drop it."

Nino didn't drop it. "Adrien, your power is basically bad luck, right? There is someone who can help you with that." Adrien looked up in surprise. "Dude, I'm not stupid. I think you can control it pretty well since nothing bad has happened to me yet. Or at least nothing worse than the usual. Anyway, there's this witch at the temple called Ladybug and people sa-"

"Ladybug?" Adrien interrupted him.

"Yeah, that's what I said. People say she's a lucky charm of sorts, she's a healer and gives away blessings. Maybe she can counter your bad luck or something. You wanna visit her?"

He hesitated. Could this Ladybug be his dream girl? Could she exist outside of his head? "Maybe she can help me. It's worth a shot."

Nino pumped his fist in the air. "I knew you'd come around! The big bad world isn't as scary as you might think."

"Quit mocking me!" He punched Nino's arm. "Don't you think people will recognize me outside? I look a lot like my parents."

"That's no problem at all, just wear a mask!"

Adrien lifted an eyebrow. "A mask? Sure, they won't suspect the crown prince of lurking around the city with a mask on. A criminal however…"

Nino laughed. "You clearly haven't been out in a while. Masks are fashionable nowadays, people wear them for all sorts or reasons. Though it's mostly a witch thing. For example, witch guilds have their own trademark mask, like a kind of uniform. Freelance witches wear designs that fit their powers. Nobody would ask questions if you wore one to the temple. I'll wear one too if that would make you feel better."

"Okay. We'll go as soon as we have masks," Adrien decided.