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Feather's Flight

Chapter Text

                                              

“Got you.” Ladybug said triumphantly as she caught her yo-yo when it returned to her, Akuma caught safe inside. She set it free but as she watched it go, she couldn't bring herself to bid it goodbye, just stared longingly after it and her body sank, its normal pride and confidence slipped away.

Cloak flickering in the wind, Chat walked over and touched her shoulder. “My Lady?”

“Sorry… I just…” She started then closed her hand tight around the yo-yo. “I just can't help but think how much easier that would have been… with an illusion.”

Catching on to what she was saying, Chat lowered his gaze away from her. “Yeah. I miss her too.”

“Where is she Chat? It's been 6 months. Surely she should be back by now.”

Her partner frowned at her. “Ladybug, you can't rush her. She'll come back when she's better but that will take time.”

She sniffed slightly. “I know. But… I wish she was here.”

Carefully he stepped up and gave her a comforting hug, smiling into her hair. “She'll come home. I know she will.”

His arms wrapped around her, Ladybug couldn't help but do the same, leaning into his shoulder and warmth when suddenly someone threw a bucket of cold water over them, making them gasp and jump away from each other before realising they were bone dry.

Looking at each other, the two heroes wondered for a moment what had caused the sensation when a light hearted laugh filled the air and they turned to be faced with a woman with dark brown hair tied up in a bun and in a skin tight blue suit. She smirked at them and lowered her fan. “Sorry, you two were just being so sappy, I had to ruin the moment.”

Ladybug just stared at her. “P-Peacock?”

Her smile grew a little. “Hey bug.”

With a joyful laugh, Ladybug ran forward and wrapped her arms around her shoulders, pulling her in for a hug. “Peacock.” She said, louder this time. “You're back!”

The embrace was equally tight for both involved, Peacock burying her head into her comrade's neck. “It's good to be home.”

Chat soon joined in with the hug, his arms around them both. “How long have you been back Fe… I mean Peacock?”

“It's alright Chat, you can call me Feathers again, I’m good with it now. And I've been back about… an hour.” She chuckled and blushed slightly. “My plane landed, I got off and saw the news saying there was an Akuma attack. So, I transformed and flew right here. I… haven't even told my family I'm home yet.”

Filled with joy at having her back and pride at her commitment, Ladybug squeezed her hand tighter. “And… how are you now?”

“I'm never going to be the same.” She accepted. “But I'm the one in control now. I can't wait to tell you about the temple! The things I've seen and learnt! You won't believe it!”

The two heroes smiled and hugged her once more before Chat suddenly winced when something poked him in the nose. He leant back and spotted three peacock feathers were now sweeping across her hair, the middle one a fair bit longer than the others. And, when he looked over her, there were other differences; her neck now had a collar of colourful eyes with a belt of the same around her hips while her fan now had a frilly edge to it.

She laughed at him and winked. “Yes, I made The Change while I was away, something else I'll need to tell you about. But it hasn't change one problem.” She giggled as a loud bleep filled the air from all three of them. “That.”

“Guess we will see you tomorrow birdy?”

“Same time and place as always kitty.” She winked and hugged them once more. “Take care of yourselves.” She called then took off into the air.

(LINE)

Marinette couldn't help but grin as she sat in class, her mind lost on the memory of last night. It had been short but she was so glad to know that somewhere in the city, Peacock was home and better. She chuckled to herself which brought Alya's attention to her. “Whoa, what's with the face girl?”

“What do you mean?”

“You've looked depressed for weeks now. Suddenly you're… happy again.”

The girl gulped then shrugged. “Well… didn't you hear?”

“Hear? Hear what?”

“Royal Peacock was spotted last night.”

The reporter's face almost broke with how fast it changed emotions. “What! When! Where! How do you know and I don't!”

“It was after the Akuma last night, she turned up on a roof.”

“Are you SURE it was Royal Peacock?”

“Well unless you can think of anyone else who dresses in blue and Ladybug and Chat Noir would go around hugging and laughing, it must have been her.”

Alya laughed happily. “Oh this is great! Everyone was so worried after the whole… Feathers thing but now she's back! I know Paris has missed her.”

“Yeah. I'm glad she's back too.”

“Where did she go anyway?”

“Who knows?” Marinette lied. “Didn't Ladybug say after Peacock was akumatised she had gone away to get better?”

“Yeah but… where?”

Before Marinette had to think up another excuse, the door to the classroom opened and they turned, expecting Madam Bustier to walk in but instead…

“Annamarie!” Four of the class's teens all shouted as she entered the room, getting up quickly and running over so fast that they actually fell over each other, landing in a heap on the floor and laughing.

They carefully sat back up and Annamarie laughed at them. “Well, that's a ‘welcome home’ I'm not going to forget.”

The others all chuckled as well and stood up off the ground, Alya holding her hands. “How long have you been back in Paris?”

She playfully looked at her watch. “Aaaabout… 15 hours. I arrived last night.”

“And you didn't CALL us!”

“It was the middle of the night.” The dancer chuckled, going back to her normal seat between Marinette and Alya on the second row. “Sorry, I know I should have but… I wanted to surprise you.”

“Well you certainly did that!”

The other laughed as she sat. “Well, I'm glad. Anyway, let's catch up after school.” She put her old leather bag down and pulled out her pens and paper. “I'm going to have 6 months of homework to do so I hope you're ready to help.”

“For you, anytime. We have a lot to catch up on. Not to mention your Christmas presents… in the middle of January.”

(LINE)

“Ahhh! It is good to be back.” Peacock sighed as she grabbed an aerial and used it to spin around like a top. “Tibet is all good but it's nothing on Paris.” She laughed then went over to the others, practically dancing around them. “So, I read the blog, see you have been holding out without me.”

“Didn't mean we didn't miss you every battle.” Ladybug explained.

“I know. And I missed you too. But right now all I want to do is get myself back to Paris!” She shouted the last word for all the world to hear before breaking down in giggles. “Oh I have missed this place. Six months is a REALLY long time you know?”

“Yeah, we know.” Chat smirked, crossing his arms.

“And Paris has changed as well.” Ladybug said with a smile. “There's something we want to show you.” She span out her yo-yo and took to the sky, flying off in one direction. Peacock frowned but followed, Chat behind as they made their way to a nearby Park, the same one the 'Ladybug' Festival had been near months before.

They landed and Chat quickly covered his partner's eyes. “No peaking.” He chuckled then began to guide her forwards, Ladybug holding her hand to help. They didn't go very far but finally they stopped and Chat took his hands away with a 'Tada!'

Peacock blinked several times at what she could see. “Is… is that…”

“Yep.”

She blinked again and took it in. Before her was the Ladybug statue but it wasn't the same one she'd seen before; this was a completely new one, not the Cat in crouch and the Ladybug in mid throw. This was the three of them, standing side by side, Peacock on the left, Chat the right and Ladybug in the middle, all three of them smiling and proud, the details were so lifelike. It was odd to look at herself, cast in bronze and frozen for all time.

“Wha… when?” She finally asked.

“When you went away, Théo came up to us and said he wanted to redo the old statue, said he didn't think it was fair that you didn't have your place.”

“The old one has been moved to the square outside the town hall.” Chat explained, walking around and looking at his counter. “And I'm glad he got the height fixed.”

“Yeah but I do feel even shorter now.” Ladybug sighed, looking at herself. Theo had been kind, he'd raised her up a little so they were eye level but the difference was still quite noticeable.

Peacock just smiled. “I think it's perfect.”

“Welcome home Peacock.” Chat said, hugging. “The Miraculous trio are back! Hawk Moth won't know what hit him!”

(LINE)

“Excellent Louie.” Madam Renou said as the boy finished the routine. “And Emilie, wonderful as well. You're really improving.”

“Thank you madam.” Louie said as he walked to the side and picked up a water bottle, taking a long drink while the madam began to speak to some others.

As she did, Emilie walked over to him and smiled at his side. “Hey Louie, great work today.”

“Yeah, you too.” He said, his voice lifeless.

“Hey, you alright?”

The male stopped, looking down at his hands as they held a bar before him. “Look, don't get me wrong Emilie… I really enjoy dancing with you. But…” He trailed off and looked away.

“But I'm not Annamarie.” She finished, watching his face turn slightly red before she laughed. “Oh Louie, you can't even hear her name without blushing.”

“I know.” He said in a long groan, leaning forward until his head pressed on the mirror. “I'm hopeless. I just… want to tell her how I feel but… I just keep getting all mumbled up. She's just so… so… so…”

Emilie laughed lightly at him. “Oh, Louie, you have got it bad.”

He groaned again and turned to look up at the ceiling. “I know. But… next time I see her, I'm just going to come out and say it. I'll just tell her that I'm in… in love with her.”

The other dancer gave him a smile and a pat on the arm. “Annamarie is a lucky one.”

“If she ever comes back.”

“She will. I mean, if Royal Peacock can get better from being possessed by an Akuma then Annamarie can come back from… whatever happened to her.”

He gave her a weak smile and went to pack his own belongings. “Thanks Emilie.”

She smiled at him then looked away, going to get her own things before suddenly noticing someone else in the room. “Annamarie?!”

The teen in question laughed as everyone else noticed her entry and they all hurried over to hug her and ask questions. It wasn't until Madam Renou clapped her hands that they all shut up and parted, allowing the older woman to embrace the returning student. “Annamarie, it's good to see you again.”

“And you madam.”

“How are you?”

She sighed and shrugged. “It's been a long six months but I'm as good as new and better.”

“I'm so glad to hear it. Will you be… returning to us?”

“Of course.” The dancer giggled as she looked at the excited faces around her. “I hear Emilie has taken the spot of Prima.” She said with a smirk at the dark haired girl.

The other girl laughed at her. “Well, we couldn't leave the spot unfilled.”

“I've heard great reviews, Emilie but I hope you're ready to fight for the title.”

“You know it.” The two laughed then hugged quickly.

Madam Renou smiled at their banter. “The current show ends in a few weeks, Annamarie. I hope you be alright waiting until then?”

“Yes, I understand. But, if I could speak to you in private madam?”

“Let's speak in my office.”

“See you all later!” She called and waved to the troupe as she left the studio.

As they left, Emilie went back to Louie as he stood stunned towards the back, staring at the space where the dancer had been. “Guess you have your chance.” She teased, grabbing her bag from the floor and headed away.

The troupe walked off home and Louie collected his things, pulling on a jacket over his shirt but he couldn't help but notice the race of his heart as he stood in the hallway and leant on the wall. As he waited, he began to think about what he would say, how he would tell her. He must have been stood for a while but finally heard someone close a door down the hallway from him.

It was the dancer he'd been waiting for. “Hey! Annamarie!”

She turned at his call and smiled brightly. “Louie!” She jogged over to him. “It's good to see you again! How are you? What are you still doing here?”

“Wanted to talk.” Was all he managed as he looked at her golden eyes once more. She looked different. Her eyes shone with an enlightened wonder of a free spirit, like she was about to break out into song any second.

Or was that just how he saw her?

She blinked and held in a small chuckle. “So? What you want to talk about?”

What did he want to talk to her about? His mind was blank. “I… I… I-I-I-I-I… I…I…” He gulped sharply. He couldn't do it. His hands were clammy and his heart raced, unable to say more than a single syllabub.

Concern washed away any amusement and her hands reached out for his and she touched them gently. “Hey… come on, calm down, it's only me. No need to be nervous.”

Not knowing that her contact wasn't helping, the teen gulped again. “I… I umm… I'm…” Again he failed and fell into silence.

Annamarie laughed and moved a little closer, giving him a warm hug. “I'm glad to be back too. I've missed you.”

Louie swore his heart was going to explode as she held him but as she pulled away to leave, he internally screamed for himself to do something, anything before it was too late. She was getting away but her hand was still in his so he squeezed it to keep her in place, watching her reaction as she turned to look at him again.

Moving before he had chance to reconsider, his other hand grabbed the side of her neck and pulled her forward until their lips clumsily crushed together, a slight pain from their sudden contact but the intention was clear.

He let go after a few seconds and screwed his eyes shut. “I'm in love with you Annamarie!” He said loudly. “I have been from the moment we met and I swore to myself the next time I saw you I would tell you because if I didn't I think my heart is going to burst since I can't think about anything but you and these last few months when you have been away have been so painful for me but I didn't know what was wrong or where you were and…” His rambling was stopped when two gentle fingers were placed over his lips.

He kept still, his eyes gradually opened and looked at her, feeling the bottom of his stomach drop out.

She was fixated at him, her face void of emotion, just staring at him with slow, even breaths. He held her hand tight, waiting for her to do something. To say something. Anything. He felt like he was holding his breath and about to pass out.

Finally her fingers moved off his lips and over to the edge of his jaw, stroking his cheek as her lips slowly curled into a smile. “Why didn't you tell me sooner?”

He shook his head a little, ensuring not to get rid of her touch. “Didn't know how.”

“You're an idiot.”

His eyes moved away from her but quickly returned when she moved her hand to his shoulder and stood on her toes to reach him, kissed him soft and quick, pulling away a little. His heart was pounding and he couldn't believe what he was hearing or feeling or… he grabbed her again and kissed her firmly once more, his lips working gently against hers, deepening it slightly until pulling back with a deep blush on his cheeks.

She was blushing too but made no move to part from him, her hands on his shoulders as she let her heels returned to the floor, licking her lips. “So?”

“So…” He breathed gently. “What… what now?”

“Well… how about we… go out for dinner?”

“Sounds good.” He laughed nervously. “Tonight?”

“Sorry, I'm meeting up with some friends tonight. What about Friday? Give me a chance to get myself together.”

“Friday sounds even better.” Louie nodded, holding her tight. “I… I will see you then?”

“Of course.” Her fingers ran back in his hair softly. “Wouldn't miss it for the world.” She giggled, leaning over for one last peck then walked away, beaming from ear to ear all the way back to her home. It wasn't far and she'd done it a hundred times before but now she felt as high as a kite and sighed as she opened the front door. “Mom, I'm home.”

“How did it go?” Came Estella’s voice from the kitchen.

“Alright. I'm going to be practicing with them but not performing until the next show. Then I'm going up against Emilie for the role of Prima.”

“You will have a challenge beating her now, she's gotten really good.” Her mother said as she cooked.

“I know. But if I don't get it, I'll be happy. I arranged with the madam that whoever she picks, the other will be her understudy.”

“That's very understanding of you.”

“Yeah.” She sighed. “And it was good to see everyone. I've missed them.” She looked away and tried not to blush. “Especially Louie.”

Estella blinked as she looked over her shoulder at her. “Oh? And why especially Louie?”

Her daughter blushed. “I… he sort of… umm… told me… he loves me.”

The other froze then let out a deep sigh. “Well it's about time!”

“Wait… what? You… you knew?”

“Darling the boy was hardly subtle! I mean, anyone who looked at him when you're around could tell.”

The dancer froze, thinking about it before covering her face with her hands. “I'm so dense! Ahhh!” She moaned and leant forward. “Now I know how Marinette feels! I feel sorry for Adrian when he works it out.”

Chapter Text

The warehouse was the same as always, everything left just where it had been, even if there were a few extra marks on the walls from Chat testing out his new weapon. Peacock took in a deep breath, inhaling the smell of everything around her, as she slowly walked across the beam from their entry point in the battered old roof. “I've missed this place.” She confessed, jumping down to the others, the great fall not bothering her at all. “So, ready to train?”

Chat pulled an unconvinced face as he looked at her. “I don't know Pea. You've been out of the game for a while and we… we've been carrying on. Getting used to our new powers and such. I think we might be… a bit much for you now.”

Peacock blinked but then hummed in agreement and shrugged. “Well, I guess you will just have to go easy on me until I catch up.” She stepped back and opened up her fan. “Come on, I'm not going to get better with you standing around there.”

The black cat rolled a shoulder. “Alright, if you're sure.”

“Paw-sative.” She said with a wink at Ladybug as Chat drew his sword and took a traditional fencing stance while Peacock prepared herself by taking a stand like a backwards bow, fan spread out and eyes narrowed on Chat Noir.

Ladybug just stayed away from it all for the moment, eager to see how this would play out.

After a few seconds of eyeing each other up, Chat lunged forwards, aiming for her but Peacock span on the spot at the last moment, closing her fan and slamming the wide edge into his chest to unbalance him while her leg swept under his, sending Chat face first to the ground while she knelt behind him, her knee on his spine to pin him down while her fan was pushed over his shoulder and held to his neck.

The cat let out a startled gasp as he froze. “Wa…”

Peacock chuckled, getting off him and watching as he rolled onto his back to look at her. Playfully she fanned herself as he stared at her. “I haven't spent the last six months at a luxury retreat Chat. I've been at the Temple of Miraculous, training with a master.” She smiled. “If anything, I should be training you now.”

He jumped to his feet and smirked at her. “You could have just said.”

“And miss a chance to knock you on your back?” She chuckled. “As if. But come on, we really need to work on your footwork Chat. I'm not Niji but I learnt a lot from him.”

“Niji?”

“One of the Masters at the temple.” She explained, taking her bowed stand once more. “He taught me how to fight as a way to control Feathers.”

“Feathers?” Chat asked, attacking her again. “I thought it was… Hawk Moth… you were… recovering from.” He said between attacks which she countered easily.

“I thought so too. But it turned out Hawk Moth's power had done more damage than we thought.” She jumped up over him, conversation still easy as they fought. “Turned out he had split my soul in half. And that's what I was fighting. Not Hawk Moth. But… part of myself.”

Chat stopped moving for a moment as he looked at her. “He… he split your soul? Birdie I'm…”

He didn't get chance to finish, suddenly knocked flat on his back by his partner, her smile wide as she pinned him again. “Chat, I don't want to hear it. It wasn't your fault. And while it might have scarred me, I'm just glad it was me and not you.” She pulled away and held out her hand to help him up. “I'm stronger for it. In my own way.”

Ladybug smiled as she looked at the pair. “We all are.”

She smirked then turned to her, fan ready for a fight. “Right… come on then Buggy, show me what you got.”

As Chat stepped to the side, Ladybug nodded and moved towards her, far more careful than Chat had been now that she knew her opponent's skill level was probably higher than her own. Peacock shifted a little, eyes locked on her sparring partner as she copied her and took a fighting stance, both sizing the other up, getting ready for an attack.

With a sly smirk, Peacock charged forwards, opening her fan as she swung for the teen's head. Ladybug quickly ducked, only missing the blue fan by a hair as she try to knock Peacock's legs out from under her. She caught one leg but the bird just jumped away, rolling on the dirt floor and getting back to her feet. “Not bad.” She said with a smile.

“Right back at you, Pea.” She smirked back as she readied herself for another attack, swinging her yo-yo at her side to prepare herself.

This time, the bird ran at her but at the last moment changed directions, darting to the side, catching her off guard and getting behind her, landing a firm blow to her back. Ladybug fell forward, landing on her hands and knees before getting up as quick as she could.

Peacock allowed her to stand, watching her movements then went in again. Her attacks were pushed back by the yo-yo and eventually the blue was pushed back as well. “I’m not used to dealing with a shield.” She confessed.

The red hero smiled as she lifted up her other arm, activating her second shield, holding it across her chest. “Let’s see how you cope with this then.” She said before going onto the attack again. With one yo-yo to attack and the other to defend, Peacock found herself struggling even more to land a hit but at least her partner was struggling to do the same.

Ladybug through her yoyo at Peacock who easily blocked with her fan and as the round device was sent off to the side, Peacock leapt into the air and decided now was the time to show her new skill. She closed her fan into her hand and slid a finger up over the top, a small metal point appearing. With a wide sweep of her arm, a small sharp 'thing' flew through the air and embedded itself in the dirt right next to Ladybug's foot, making her let out a small surprised shriek. “What the…”

Peacock used this to tackle her and pin her to the ground, fan to her neck as she had to Chat. With a smile she said. “Good match, bug”

“How… where did THAT come from.”

She smiled to herself as she jumped of Ladybug and offered her a hand. “I was training with a master for the last 6 months, you know. And did you really think that after undergoing the change I wouldn't have some new tricks?” She looked at her fan again. “I mean, you get a second yo-yo shield and Chat a sword. I have these new… blade dart things.”

“That is really cool.”

Chat hummed as he went over to the blade and pulled it out of the dirt, looking it over. It was flat as a piece of paper and had the same peacock eye design from the fan engraved into the metal. With an impressed nod, he turned it over in his hands before yelping and stepping back, holding out his hand. “Oww!” He yelped, looking at his palm.

Ladybug gasped as she walked over and looked at his hand. “What happened?”

Across the middle of his hand was a short red mark, cutting into the magical leather and his flesh below it. Peacock rolled her eyes. “It is sharp fur ball.” She sighed before taking hold of his hand. “But I guess I get to show you this too.” She placed her hand over his and for a second the underside glowed blue.

When she took her hand away, the cut was healed. Chat looked at his hand with a fond little smile, thinking to the last person he'd seen do that. “You learnt that from the other Peacock.” He said, looking at their friend.

“Learnt it all on my own actually. Turns out it works when I'm in civilian too, cut my hand the other day and the next thing I know, it's healed. Freaked me out until my kwami explained it to me.” She chuckled, looking over the others. “Oh, did you know, they have their own language?”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah and it's really complicated.”

From there, the trio sat on the floor, leaning on a wall and listening to Peacock's stories of her time in Tibet, from the times she learnt how to read the kwami language, the times Feathers had caused her to black out, to the library and the acolytes. She told them about Niji and Dawa but left out what they were. She decided it was not her place to tell them.

As she finished telling them about the temple and its rooms, she sighed and leant back. “Maybe one day, we can go see it together.”

“But…” Ladybug gulped. “You said it takes days to get there. We wouldn't be able to go as Miraculous.”

“I know.” Peacock said, eyes closed.

“You mean… you're talking about… going as ourselves? As civilians?”

“Perhaps.” She shrugged. “It's… just an idea. Something to think about.”

Ladybug looked at her before lowering her gaze and shifting to lean on her, closing her own eyes as she felt herself relax, almost falling asleep. Oddly, Chat had changed his seating position from his normal spot sat beside Ladybug to sitting beside Peacock, resting his head on other her shoulder. She didn't mind, his contact was missed but was so tired and at ease by it that she missed the short, sudden intakes of breath that cat was taking and the sad smile on his lips.

“I'm sorry Pea…” he muttered under his breath.

“Hmm? Chat, did… you say something?” Peacock replied with a kind smile.

“Nothing.” He purred, snuggling closer. “Nothing.”

Chapter Text

After months of 'will-they-won't-they', Alya and Nino had decided to put a stop to the rumours around them and would try to go out on an official date. They kept it casual, just a trip to the local park and had stated before that if things didn't work out, they would go back to friends and no hard feelings would be felt. But as the afternoon together went on, and they sat eating hot dogs in a park, they knew something was there between them.

Just as Nino was preparing to suggest they made a move, they heard a small whine behind them, Alya quickly looking back behind their bench. She soon spotted a small face looking at them out a bush, nose sniffing the air and eyes locked on the last of her hot dog. She smiled at him. "Hello there." She said, standing and walking around the bench to look at the dog, small and cute, it's coat white with brown splodges on it. Its eyes were still on the food as it licked its lips.

Nino chuckled. "I think he's hungry."

"Yeah." Alya said, picking off the onions from the sausage and throwing it to the dog who snapped it up in mid-air.

The boy followed with the last of his, giving the dog a once over. "No collar."

"Yeah, and look at his coat, he's filthy." Alya sighed, tossing her bun in the bin and kneeling down beside him. The dog shied away a little from her touch but after a careful sniff, it stepped forwards and allowed the contact.

Nino frowned as he looked at her. "Alya, he's limping."

"Oh the poor thing. You think he got out?"

"Maybe." He sighed. "Is there a vet around here? He might be micro-chipped. Could find the owner."

"Great idea. But… how we gonna get him there? He can't walk."

Shrugging off his jacket, Nino knelt beside the dog and, after letting him sniff it, wrapped it around him, careful of his bad leg and lifted him up. The dog struggled for a bit but once comfortable, settled with his head on Nino's shoulder.

They walked towards a vet, the dog silent as it was carried, Nino petting and stroking him as they went. Alya smiled at him. "Never knew you were a dog fella Nino." She teased.

Nino shrugged. "Always wanted a dog but mom said I wasn't responsible enough."

She smiled at him before they arrived at the vets, Nino sitting down with the dog while Alya spoke to the receptionist. Luckily the surgery was quiet and they were seen after only a few minutes. The vet in a white lab coat smiled at them. "Hello there. And who do we have here?"

"We don't know. We found him in the park. We hoped you could tell us his owner." Alya explained as Nino put the dog down.

"He won't put any weight on his back leg either." Nino explained, stroking the dog's face as he did.

The vet nodded and looked at the leg. "He's got some nasty bites here… might have been attacked by another dog. I'll bandage it up but it doesn't look too bad." He picked up a small device and scanned it over the dog's neck. When the machine bleeped, he took the code and sent it to his computer.

Alya, sharp eyed, caught the address on the screen and frowned. "Hey, wait up."

"What is it?" The vet said as he turned to bandage the leg.

"That address, its fake. I live on that road and there's no house number 37. It stops at 24."

The vet frowned then turned to the computer, taking the phone number on the file and calling it before putting the phone down. "A fake number too."

Nino grimaced as he looked at the dog. "So… what happens now?"

The man sighed. "He'll have to be treated as a stray… and once he's better, if no one claims him… he'll have to go to the pound."

Alya gasped as she looked at the dog who was unaware of the problems around him and was busy licking Nino's face. Nino turned to the doctor then looked at the animal, smiling at him. "What if… I took him in?"

"What?"

"I'm earning from my DJing now, and our apartment takes dogs… so what if I look after him."

"Are you sure?" The vet questioned. "This is not a choice to be taken lightly."

Nino looked back at the animal and nodded. "I've grown attached to the little dude." He laughed, scratching behind his ear. "I'll check with my mom but… I bet she'll be cool."

"Young man, this dog has already been abandoned once. You have to be completely serious about looking after him."

"I am, I swear, I'll look after him." Nino promised. "Look, I'll do whatever it takes. Promise!"

The man took a moment before sighing and nodding in agreement. "Okay then, I'll get you a collar for him and then we have some paperwork to fill out."

"Thank you." Alya and Nino replied together, watching the man leave the examination room and going to play with the pup while the vet made his way to a store room, sighing as he did.

He stood in the small room and looked at the collection of collars they had before picking out a dark blue one, but froze as he stood holding it. "How could someone do that to a dog?" He muttered, "How can someone be so cruel?"

A butterfly soon merged with the collar in his hands and a voice started in his ears. How right you Dr. Fang. My name is Hawk Moth, a friend to all animals. How could someone abandon a beloved pet? A companion? A child's best friend!? Help me and I can give you the power to change all of that. All I need in return is a little favour when the time is right. Do we have an agreement?.

Dr Fang smiled. "Yes Hawk Moth." He said as the black ooze flowed over him.


Back in the examination room, Nino and Alya were going back and forth with ideas for names of their new dog when the floor began to shake, anything not bolted down trembling until it came to an edge and dropped to the floor. As Alya, Nino and the dog dove under the examination table, the roof and wall began to crumble before a white dog as big as the room stretched out, arching his head back and howled to the sky.

"What the…" Nino cried as he peaked out.

"Is that a..." Alya gasped at a loss for words, fumbling to find her phone while Dr Fang walked out of the rubble, sniffing the floor before growling and running off down the road.

Without a second hesitation, Alya snapped out her shock and had her phone out, broadcasting live as she ran after the Akuma, holding her phone as steady as she could. "Hey Lady Bloggers!" she panted as she ran, trying to keep up with the beast. "What's up? I'm… following… what seems… to be a giant dog Akuma." She tried, gasping as she hurried. "If Ladybug, Chat Noir or Royal Peacock can see this we need you stat! This puppy is a big one!"

Across the city, the moment she started blogging, the three heroes all received an alert on their phones and quickly turned to watch the introduction of the live stream. Once they got the location, they each hurried to hide and transform, running, swinging or flying towards the point of the attack.

Chat arrived first, landing in the middle of the road in front of the Akuma who was sniffing around trees that were nearly as big as him. "Whoa their doggy." He teased, drawing his sword. "Don't think there are any trees around here big enough for you so don't even think about lifting a leg."

Dr Fang snapped his head to face the hero, eyes narrow while growling before a purple mask covered his face. Get me his miraculous! Hawk Moth's voice echoed through his head and the massive beast growled at the cat themed superhero in response, showing off his canines before pouncing forwards, snapping out to swallow the cat.

With a loud yelp the cat jumped, narrowly avoiding the bite but then was faced with a large claw being swiped at him but luckily a wire wrapped around his waist and pulled him away in time.

"My lady!" He called with relief as he landed beside her.

"Hey Chat." She smiled. "Looked like you need a hand."

"From you, anytime."

Dr Fang growled as he turned in the road, hunches high and fangs on show then charged towards the pair, making them split and head up to the roofs but the dog was large enough to jump up and follow them. "Yikes!" Chat called as it followed him. "Someone give this dog a bone!"

"How about a birdie instead!" Called Peacock as she swooped down from above and kicked the Akuma in the side.

The blow caused Fang to lose his balance on the titled roof and went howling down to street level but as the trio looked down, they saw him get back up, licking his paw before looking up and growling at the trio before he began climbing back towards them.

Chat looked at his partner and glared. "Great Peacock, you really got his attention now!"

"I was getting him off your tail fur ball!"

"Less talking, more running!" Ladybug squeaked as she turned and ran while Dr Fang followed them with more gusto than before.

"We need a plan!" Peacock called.

"Let's split, he can't follow all of us!" the red hero replied as she turned from the group, the others following her led.

Fang chose to follow Peacock who groaned as she realised it. "Hate it when that cat is right." She muttered to herself before taking up the sky to try to lose the Akuma but it didn't work as the canine appeared to be able to track her and keep up.

Chat chuckled as he stood with Ladybug, watching as the dog jumped up and tried to bite Peacock only for her to swoop higher just in time. "Well, this is amusing."

"Not the time Chat."

"Yeah, I know." The black cat chuckled "You got a plan?"

"Not yet."

"Okay then, I'll go help Birdie while you come up with a plan." He offered then jumped off the roof to go join his friend.

"Hey kitty! How nice of you to show up." Peacock called from the sky before she pulled up to avoid getting bitten.

"Well I thought you might want a hand so I popped by." He replied, casually sitting on the edge of a nearby balcony.

Finding a safe spot on top of a house, Peacock glared at him. "Well, how about you get this pup off me?"

"Sure thing blue." The cat replied as he jumped down to face the Akuma, sword at the ready once more. "Hey Puppy, I think your barking up the wrong tree."

Dr Fang turned from his attack on Peacock and growled as he stalked towards Chat, fangs glaring and eyes locked on his target. Chat tried his best to hold his ground but as the dog stepped forwards once more, he quickly turned tail and ran. With a bark, Fang was after him.

Behind them, Peacock followed closely, watching as the cat led the Akuma away from the city and into a large park where the trees were much taller and older. It was in one of these that Chat Noir decided to stop and climb up to a point he would be out of the dog's reach.

Peacock swooped in and stood on a branch with him. "So… any ideas how to deal with this Akuma?"

Chat shook his head as he watched the beast jump up and snap, trying to bite at them. "Not a clue. But I would have to guess that the Akuma is in that collar he is wearing."

"I think so too. But with him trying to eat us, how are we going to get it?"

"We need to distract him."

Peacock gave him a smirk. "Could always give him a cat shaped chew toy."

"He looks more of a bird boy to me." Chat teased back just as quickly. "But seriously, we need to get out of here somehow."

Dr Fang was still continuing to snap and claw at them in hopes of claiming one as a prize.

"Hey puppy! Go bark up some other tree will you!" Chat shouted down at the Akuma.

That didn't help much as he only continued to bark at them before pulling away and instead turned to dig at the roots, making the whole tree shake and threaten to topple over. Clinging tight to a branch, the cat looked back down. "Hey! Hey! Watch it! Cat stuck up a tree here!"

Peacock rolled her eyes at his joke as she held to the tree. "Seriously?"

He grinned at her but then the tree shook once more so he turned to holding on tighter. As the tree shook once more, a whistle filled the air and everyone, including Dr Fang turning to see what had caused the noise. Ladybug was stood on top of a statue while in her hands was a large red and black spotted beach ball. She grinned as she saw the Akuma's eyes light up with excitement, tracking every move she made with the ball. The superhero turned it to the left then to the right, grinning as she captured the Akuma's attention before throwing it off into the distance with a loud 'FETCH!'

The Akuma bound off to collect the item while Ladybug looked up at the two stranded heroes. "You two alright?"

"Peachy." Peacock scoffed.

"I have an idea on how to get the Akuma!"

"How?"

"We need to get him to that brick wall, over there. Chat, use Cataclysm and make a hole in the middle. Peacock, use an illusion on the other side. Got it?"

Both of the heroes in the tree nodded, looking where she was pointing before jumping from tree to tree, heading to where she had pointed. Just as they arrived and got to work, Ladybug felt the ground bounce as the Akuma came back, ball in his mouth which he dropped at her feet, bowing forwards in excitement. Looking at the slobber covered ball, Ladybug wasn't overly excited about picking it up again but when she didn't Dr Fang bounced forwards and licked her instead. Being as large as he was, one swipe of his tongue was more or less the whole of Ladybug's body and she found herself completely soaked, her hair sticking up into the air from the force she had been licked.

"Eww." She moaned as she looked at the Akuma. "That... was gross." She complained, stiffly walking over to the lucky charm before picking it up and throwing it towards the wall where Chat and Peacock had been working. A moment later the ball bounced through the hole in the wall and Dr Fang hurried to get his chew toy.

As soon as his head was inside the hole, an illusion shifted away to reveal it was a lot smaller than first believed and when Fang tried to pull back, his head was too big to get out.

Chat and Peacock came down from their hiding place as they saw how he was stuck, grinning at the simplicity of the plan. Chat smirked as he looked at the Akuma. "Looks like someone needs to 'let the dog out'"

Peacock glared at him. "Bad Cat." She scolded before looking at the very slimy Ladybug. "Oh... Ladybug... you... umm, you've got a little..."

"Yeah, I know." She grunted. "Let's just get the Akuma so I can fix all this."

"I'll get the collar." Peacock said, sliding up one of her blades from her fan and throwing it across the street. Without harming the giant dog, it cut the collar off from his neck, letting it fall to the floor where it broke against the ground; a small black butterfly soon flitting away.

Stiffly, still cover in dog slobber, Ladybug captured it and released the pure white butterfly. Chat was kind enough to retrieve the ball for her and with it sent up into the sky, everything was cleaned, fixed and where a dog with his head in the wall was now a very confused looking vet.


With the mess Dr Fang had created cleaned up, Paris found itself back to normality and began counting down to the next Akuma attack. But until it came, they lived their lives in as much normality as they could manage.

Alya and Nino decided that their 'date' had been and overall success and made it official, inviting the other two couples they knew, even if one was 'unofficial' to a picnic lunch date as the park. It was also at this time and place that they introduce 'Fang' the little pup Nino had adopted and Alya had named after the Akuma.

As the group met up for their date, everyone was gushing over how cute Fang was and how he rolled over for belly rubs. Although Annamarie and Louie got a fair bit of the dog's attention, Fang appeared to love Marinette, often going over and trying to lick her face.

Oddly however, Marinette wasn't so keen on being 'licked' by the pup.

Chapter Text

The school had once more paired the class off for the newest assignment and Annamarie had been paired with Adrien on the project for once while Nino got Chloe, a fate no one wished on anyone, Alya got Kim and Marinette got Nathanael. Since the dancer had practically blackmailed him the last time they met, Mr Agreste had allowed her to come to his house to work so now they were sat on the sofa with a spread of homework before them, trying to work out how to pass the lesson.

Annamarie had started to get distracted by it all as she casually sat on the sofa in Adrian's room, looking at her notes from class but she couldn't concentrate on the task at hand. “Hey Adrian.” She said at last after a long silence. “Can I ask you something?”

Her partner for the task nodded as he reached out to get a drink. “Sure. What is it?”

“Are you gay?”

The teen spat the liquid out of his mouth and all over the floor at the bluntness of her question, going red in the face as he coughed. “Annamarie!” He spluttered.

The dancer laughed manically at him, holding her sides from his reaction. “Oh, oh god that was… Oh, that was priceless!”

He glared at her before shoving her to her side and grabbed a pillow to smother her laughter. “You're the worst, you know that?”

She was still laughing under the pillow, trying to push him back off her. “Alright, alright, I yield!”

Letting her go, Adrian sighed and stared at her. “I hate you sometimes, you know that?”

“You love me really.” She winked at him but then her smile fell. “But… in all seriousness Adrian, you know you can confide in me.”

“Annamarie, I'm not gay.”

“Dam.” She huffed then leant on her hand. “I thought I had you worked out.”

“What?”

She sighed, gazing blindly out the window. “Well, we have known each other for… what? Over a year now? Wow, how the time flies. And in all that time I've never known you to show even the slightest interest in a girl. Even when you have girls like Chloe throwing themselves at you… you never… react. Had me thinking you weren't into girls.”

The boy went pale as he stared at her horrified. “Please tell me you haven't told anyone else this 'theory' of yours.”

“No, just you. I'm not the kind of girl to spread rumours like that Adrian.”

“Good. Because if anyone got that idea, it would ruin me.”

The dancer smiled at him. “Sorry. But that brings up another question. Why?”

“Why what?”

“As I said, you have girls running after you almost every day and you… you're a gentleman to every one of them, a quality very few have nowadays.” She gave him a sly smirk. “Well, not to me but then again I'm 'one of the guys' to you.”

He frowned at her. “Who said that?”

“You did. When you tried to kill me with a pillow.”

Laughing, he shrugged. “Yeah. I guess that's true.”

“So?”

“So?”

“So… you have all these girls after you and yet you turn them all away. Meaning either you are the strangest teenage boy I have ever met… or you are very good at hiding who ever has got your eye.”

He blushed slightly. “Do we have to talk about this?”

“Well, we can talk about it at school tomorrow if you want?” She teased, leaning closer. “But I'm half British so don't think I'm going to drop this. And as I said, you know you can confide in me. I won't tell a soul.”

Twiddling his thumbs, the model didn't dare look at her. “L…ladybug.”

“Ladybug?” The peacock repeated, her smile slowly falling. “Ladybug? As in the Ladybug?” He nodded and she let out a deep sigh. “Well when you aim, you aim high.”

“I know!” He groaned, dropping his head into his hands. “It's stupid I know but… oh she's amazing.”

“Got to agree with you there.” She said, nodding and reaching out for his shoulder. “But Adrian, Ladybug… as amazing as she is… you have to understand… she's not a permanent being. None of the miraculous are.”

“I know. You think I don't tell myself that every night? I just… I can't help it.”

“I'm sorry.” She sighed softly. “I never should have brought it up.”

“No… it's good to talk about it. I mean, I'm just… hopeless about her.”

“Makes sense why you don't look at any girls in class. I mean, you're reaching for a star so… everyone else must be like rocks in comparison.”

“Anyone ever told you that you have a way with words?” Adrian mumbled as he sat back a bit. “But… not all of them are rocks. I mean, I like you, as a friend of course.”

“Should hope so.” She smirked.

“And I like Alya, but… she's kinda like a big sister to me… a very… forward protective big sis.”

“What about Chloe?”

He actually rolled his eyes. “Chlo and I go way back, she's the only person I really knew my own age growing up. But… she's so… much. I can only handle her attitude for a few hours then it gets on my nerves.”

“You've more patience for her than I have if you can last hours. If I make it to a minute I'm lucky. When we were hanging out, all she ever wanted to do was talk about how rich she was. She's so shallow it's unbelievable.” She sighed and looked at him a little more. “So… what about Marinette?”

The boy paused and looked at her. She could almost see the cogs going around in his head. “Marinette?”

“Yeah, you know, dark haired girl, sits behind you in class? My best friend? Hang out with her whenever we can? You know, that Marinette?” she was teasing him but she was actively curious now. He'd come back so quickly for all the other girls. This one he was thinking about. There might be some hope for her dear friend after all.

“Well…” He said eventually. “Well she's… a friend.”

“I'm a friend Adrian. Alya is a friend. Chloe… to a point… is a friend. So you can't just say Marinette's a friend as well when you say I'm 'one of the guys' and Alya's 'a big sis'. Mari must mean more to you than 'just a friend' right?”

He thought about it a bit more. “I… I don't know then.”

“Then, let me just say this.” She shifted a bit and pulled out her phone, checking a text that had just arrived. “If you reach for a stars, that will always be out of your reach, then you might miss the real diamond at your feet.” She stared at him with a sober look before winking and turned back to her work. “Just think about it. Now, this presentation, I was thinking we could go with a 'Star Stuck' theme. After your Ladybug crush.”

“Oh ha ha.” He said sarcastically.


Tom and Sabrina Dupain-Cheng were hard-working, honest, good people and because of that nature, everything they created was hard-working, honest and good, be it bread, cakes or their only child. The fame of the Dupain-Cheng family was known across Paris, people travelling well out of their normal commutes to bypass the bakery and pick up some fresh bread or pastries.

Some of their regulars were so well known that as they stepped inside the shop, Sabrina would move to prepare their food without being asked. “Ah, Mrs Cook, back already? Those three boys of yours will eat you out of house and home.” The short woman said, grabbing a fresh baguette from the counter.

“Mr Talson, you know your wife has told you to lay off the sweet stuff. Think of your heart? Oh alright, but I'm picking the smallest in shop.” Tom chuckled as he picked out an éclair.

“Ah, Peter, how's it going with Harriett? Have you asked her out yet?” Sabrina greeted another, picking out a couple of chocolate croissants.

Sometimes, when she didn't have school or was out with her friends, young Marinette would join them and while she may not remember everyone's names or orders, she did have her family charm and smile, a warm heart and a warmer welcome.

And it can always be said of both Sabrina and Tom that they are selfless and always ready to step up to help others. Many times during Akuma attacks their shop had become a fort of protection for those caught in the streets during the battles.

One day, an Akuma was storming around right outside their shop window, causing a mess everywhere it went. It appeared, from the shop at least, to be a recycling or rubbish monster, made up of nothing but litter and broken things. And it was breaking a lot more of the street around it.

Tom was in the middle of passing around some macaroons to the collection of people taking shelter with them when Ladybug arrived on the scene and began to take on the rubbish creature. One of their shoppers, a Mr Patrick Norton, looked up at Tom as the others arrived to help. “I've never been this close to an Akuma before. Are they always this dangerous?”

“Not always, some of them are harmless enough.” Tom confessed, holding out his samples. “But they have been getting worse.”

“I worry about Ladybug and the others sometimes.” Patrick said after a moment, looking back out the window. “They never say it but they are only kids. Why, that Ladybug can't be much older than your daughter Tom.”

Tom looked as well as Ladybug backed away from the villain while Chat and Peacock went in to distract it. “Yes, she is young. But I'm honoured to say I live in a city with someone like Ladybug to protect it.” He gave a fond smile. “I bet her family are really proud of her.”

“Yes, I bet they are.”

Sabrina, who had been listening in, also looked out the window. “Too bad that our little girl is never around to see them in action.”

Chapter Text

Lounging back on her friend's chair, Annamarie sighed to herself, gazing at just one of the many photos of Adrian around the room. "Hey, Mari, why don't you just ask Adrian out?"

"What?"

"Sorry, it's a habit of mine to blurt things out when I'm thinking." She said, remembering the last time it had happened. "But honestly, why don't you talk to him?"

The dark haired girl turned her gaze to the pictures as well. "Don't think I haven't tried. But you've heard me try and talk to him. I just end up going 'uggh… umm… blah' before blabbing something random and… oh it's hopeless."

"Why?"

"Because why would he like someone who can't even speak to him."

"But why can't you talk to him?" The brunette asked, staring up at the ceiling.

Marinette blushed slightly and glanced at a photo. "He… he's just so perfect."

"He's not." Came an almost instant reply.

"What? Yes he is."

"No." She said firmer, sitting up. "He isn't. And that's your problem."

"What?"

"Hear me out, I've been told I could become a psychiatrist if dancing doesn't work out." She chuckled, rolling over to her feet and looked at a picture of her classmate. "You see Adrian as perfect and it's human to see yourself as imperfect, so you don't think you can't compare. But no one is perfect." She pointed at her raven haired friend. "Tell me what you think is so perfect about Adrian?"

"Well… he's gorgeous."

"That's in the eye of the beholder." She countered, smiling.

"He's a famous model."

"It's a job. And I'm sure if you ask him, he wouldn't think it's perfect."

Marinette's cheeks were beginning to glow as her friend cut down each statement about her crush. "He's kind, smart and wonderful. He's elegant and a real gentleman."

Annamarie thought about it then nodded at that one. "Can't argue there."

"And he can speak Chinese." She added with a flourish.

"Can he speak English?" The other asked in the language.

"Hey?"

Smug, she repeated the question in French. "I said, can he speak English?"

"Well… no. I don't think so."

"But surely someone perfect would?" She pointed out, grinning like the cat (or bird) who got the cream. "They would speak every language available."

Marinette paused and stared at her friend. "I guess."

"And if Adrian can't speak a very common language… I guess that doesn't make him perfect now… does it?"

The two stared at each other, Annamarie with a victorious smile on her lips as she watched the cogs turn for her friend. She chuckled slightly and walked towards the other teen, eyes lowered. "Marinette, Adrian is far from perfect but that is what makes him human. Just like you. So, instead of seeing him as some… other worldly god… why don't you look at him for what he really is?" She shifted her gaze a little. "Then you might find yourself talking to him."

Marinette chuckled at her. "When did you get so… wise Annamarie?"

She let out a deep breath, her face going a little hollow. "While I was away I guess." Her voice was almost a whisper, walking out of the room and to the balcony.

Marinette blinked as she hurried to follow. "You… never talk about what happened. About… that time."

Leaning on the rail, Annamarie sighed to herself. "It's hard for me to talk about it. Maybe one day I'll be strong enough to tell you everything but… not now."

The other nodded. "Alright. I understand." She reached out and held her shoulder. "But I'm here for you, should you ever need to talk."

The dancer smiled at her friend, doubting she would ever be able to tell her the truth but the idea was heart-warming. "Thank you Marinette. And I mean it when I say; meeting you was the best point of my life. And when Adrian works out how he feels for you and you for him, he's going to be the luckiest man alive."

The girls laughed before looking up at the sky for a bit, the first evening stars coming out above them.


Grimacing, Annamarie reached down for her foot, carefully slipping on her pointe but every movement was agony. She cursed under her breath. "Bloody cat." She muttered in English, trying to get her shoe on.

Last night, she had been messing around with Chat while on patrol and once more made one of their stupid bets on who could jump the furthest. She'd won, naturally, but her jump had been too good and leapt over the building and fallen to land in an alleyway, crashing against the floor. She'd hoped she'd escaped without injury but today her ankle was killing her and she couldn't heal it no matter how she tried.

"When I get my hands on that cat…"

"Annamarie?"

She looked up to see Louie stood before her, a look of concern on his face. "Louie."

"Are you alright?" He knelt at her foot, gently picking up her shoe for her. Almost as soon as he did, she hissed with pain and tried to pull away, showing the red and swollen limb. "Whoa, that's a bad sprain. You shouldn't be dancing with that kind of injury."

"It's not as bad as it looks."

Her boyfriend stared hard at her. "I am telling Madam Roue. You can't dance on this leg." He looked down at her foot then sighed. "I'm going to get an ice pack."

"Louie, I don't…" she started but he was already up and moving away, leaving her alone on the floor. If she was honest with herself, she knew she shouldn't have been there with her leg so painful but she hated the idea of skipping practice.

It didn't take long before he returned to her with a pack of ice, kneeling back at her foot and gently pressing the frozen water to her skin. "How did you even do this?" He asked, holding it in place for her.

"Tripped down a curb." She lied and tried not to show her pain. "Stupid really."

The dark haired boy stared at her with a sad look on his face then lowered his gaze. "You should take better care of yourself Annamarie." He sighed, moving closer to her while her foot rested. "I… I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you."

"Louie, I'm fine, it's just a sprain."

"Yeah… I know." He mumbled, sitting beside her and wrapping his arm around her back, head nuzzling into her hair. "I just worry."

"Everyone does." she sighed under her breath.

"Well that's because they all love you so much." He chuckled, cuddling her a bit more before smiling and pulling away, quickly reaching under her leg and lifting her clean off the floor.

Squealing in surprise, she grabbed his shirt and blushed. "Wh-what!"

"I'm taking you home so you can rest that foot up."

She blushed a bit more but tried not to think what people would say should she be seen. "Louie, put me down. I can still walk!"

Louie chuckled as he carried his girlfriend out of the studio and to the pavement outside and headed towards her home. She frowned at him as people on the street looked at them. "Louie, this is enough. Put me down! People are staring."

The teen laughed then put her down but then lifted her arm over his shoulders. "Keep your weight on me, alright?"

Rolling her eyes, she walked beside him but couldn't help but smile. "You're amazing, you know that?"

"Yeah, I know." He looked down at her leg and sighed. "Just… try and be more careful. I'd hate for anything to happen to you."

She rolled her eyes. "I'm alright, promise."

"I just want to make sure."

As they walked, Annamarie lowered her gaze to her bag where Frou was hiding. "I know you do Louie. But believe me, I can look after myself."

"Says the girl with a twisted ankle." He huffed then stopped and looked at her. "Annamarie, I love you and I don't want you to be hurt. Those months you were away, I was… I was beside myself with worry. I was always thinking of reasons why you left, what happened and…"

"Louie, please, don't do that to yourself." She sighed and held his hand tight. "Why I had to leave was… it's difficult to talk about but I'm back now, stronger and ready to carry on. It was a chapter of my life I've learnt from and I'm ready to start new." She smiled at him, limping forwards so her head was on his shoulder. "You helped me, even when you weren't there, I thought about you all the time and I came back for you and everyone in this city. So please, don't think about why I left. Think about why I returned."

Caught a little off by her words, the older teen nodded and hugged her tight. "You know, when you talk like that, you sounded like a psychiatrist."

"You would be amazed by how many people tell me that."

Chapter Text

“Everyone, if I can… class… class…” The madam called over the excited group of students as they all chatted and ignored her. “Class I…”

“ATTENTION!” A much louder, dominate voice shouted and everyone shut up very quickly, turning to see whom was speaking. A man in full dark green camouflage marched over to them, thick boots and a stern 'no nonsense' look on his face. “Now, line up! Single file.” The class shuffled slowly to form a wonky line and looked at the man as he glared at them, unimpressed. “Now, listen here you maggots. You are here today to learn how to work as a team, to test your skills of puzzle solving, dexterity, accuracy and stamina.” He stood, ridged before the teens. “My name is Sargent Balton and for the next 5 hours, you do as I tell you. Do you understand?”

There was a mumbled approval.

Balton frowned. “I said, do you understand?!” He bellowed again.

“Yes sir.” A few replied.

“Right. Now, you will be working today in small groups of three. After that you will be kitted out, armed and trained for battle. Your target is to get to the other end of this forest, passing the many challenges between you and it and claim the flag on the other side.”

The class looked at each other. It didn't sound too hard.

Balton smiled. “Oh, should I mention; you will be going against me and my squad. We will be trying to stop you. You get hit 5 times, you're out. And if you want to, you can take your class mates out as well.”

Max frowned as he put his hand up. “How many people have completed this course? What is the pass percentage?”

“About 10% of teams complete this course.” Bolton said with a grin. “My squad and I are very hard to beat even by adults. So you kids don't stand a chance. For you, it’s not a case of if you can complete it. It’s how far can you complete.”

To one side, Marinette frowned. “I don't like this guy.” She whispered to her friends who nodded.

He didn't hear them, just went on with his plan, lifting up a small black bag. “Five colours. Five teams. Three per team. Step forward, pick a ball and that is your team. No swapping. So, who's first?”

It took a while but finally Alex stepped forward, reached in and pulled out a green ball. Balton nodded and pointed to a tree with a matching poster stapled on it. It carried on from there; everyone picked out a coloured ball and stood by their matching poster. Eventually it was left to the last four, Chloe, Annamarie, Juleka and Kim. Marinette and Adrian were stood under a red poster and she hoped for once her ‘ladybug luck’ came into real life and Chloe didn't draw out the last red ball.

She didn't, pulling out a purple one instead. Mylène and Nathanael winced as she joined them and stepped to the side, giving her some space.

Annamarie was next and pulled out a bright red ball, smiling as she clutched it tight and high fived her friends. Alya, in the green team with Alex and Max shot them a look. “You're going down.”

“Like to see you try.” Marinette trash talked back.

When the rest of the students were put in their teams, they were given a change of clothes, their protective gear, helmets marked in their team colours and finally paint ball guns loaded with their team colour. After a safety meeting which was basically 'Don't aim for unprotected locations' and 'never take your helmet off' were mentioned a few times then the teams were given a map and some tools to help on the mission, before being directed to their starting locations.

The Red Team waited for the starting pistol and as soon as it started, they all ducked low and hurried for some bushes they'd seen not far away. From behind the visor, Adrian nodded and pulled out the map. “Right. This is the target and we are here.”

Annamarie frowned as she studied. “All of the class are going to take this path.” She said, pointing to a bright green dotted line up the middle, a predefined route. “So the most guards will be on that path. But, if we take this one…” She said, pointing to a fainter dark blue route. “We can bypass the trouble area.”

“But it’s a really rocky path. We might find ourselves exposed.”

“We can do it.” Marinette said with a smile. “Just keep on your guard, alright? Adrian, you led, you have the best eye sight. Annamarie, you take the end, watch our flank. I'll go in the middle with the map.”

“Right.”

The three nodded and began to move as they had agreed, Adrian leading the way with his paintball gun at the ready, watching for any movement ahead of them. Even with the canopy of trees and the thick glass over his face, he could still see a great arrangement of detail and held up his hand as they came across an opening. The others stopped and pressed up against a tree. “What is it?” Annamarie asked lowly from his back.

“This space. It’s too open. I don't like it.” He knelt slowly and picked up a rock, throwing it low over the ground. A second later, several white paintballs collided with the bark of the tree they were hiding behind.

Marinette looked up. “Snipers?”

“Yeah. Two of them.” He pointed to a tree. “One's in that tree there. Other's behind that rock.”

“Think we can take them?”

Marinette frowned as she looked at the two locations. “I have a plan. Adrian, you stay here and try and shoot the one behind the rock, draw their attention. Looks like the trees have a gangway to walk around but can't reach this far out. Annamarie and I will split up and try and find a way up; there must be a ladder of some kind. Annamarie, if you find a way up before I do, get up and take the shot. Don’t wait for me.”

The others nodded and Adrian took a crouched position right where he'd been before. The shooter would no doubts have expected him to move in the pause so staying still would get him off guard. He waited for the girls to be to the sides then fired, hitting high on the rock and getting a round fired back.

The one above was also firing on him which was just what he wanted, ducking back just in time to avoid being hit. He concentrated only on the rock shooter, not wanting to risk a stray shot hitting the girls when they got up.

To the sides, Annamarie kept low as she looked for the ladder but couldn't find anything that would lead upwards. She did find a stash of ammo and some smoke bombs, one of the 'loot points' hidden around the map and took as many as she could before moving on quickly, going around the outside towards the rocks.

Marinette on the other had had found the metal ladder and slowly climbed up, peaking out and looking for the target. A dark clad figure was crouched low and shooting on the trees, slow and steady, aiming between shots to try and catch Adrian. Pulling up her gun as slowly as she could, she took aim on her stationary target and pulled the trigger. A few shots went wide but the shooter was soon covered in red spots. At least 5 if not 6 hits.

He stopped firing and looked at the paint before looking for his shooter. Fair sport, he dropped his gun.

There was a loud curse on the other side as the rock shooter found his back peppered with red slots from Annamarie, who had made her way all the way around.

The tree shooter jumped down from his hiding spot and walked over to the teens. “Nice shooting.”

“Thanks.” Marinette said as Adrian and Annamarie came over, Annamarie sharing out her loot.

The rock shooter rubbed his back. “Can't believe they got me!”

“Anyway, since you got us both, we can give you this.” He reached to his pocket and pulled out an almost comically large silver key. “It opens up a tunnel just up ahead. Takes you past a slaughter spot.”

Adrian took it. “Thanks.”

“Good luck to you.”

The three nodded and continued on their path until eventually they came to a large mound, clearly manmade with a wooden door on it, bared with a lock. As Adrian tried to get it open, Annamarie made her way slowly up the bank and looked down on an open space.

“Slaughter spot indeed.” She whispered as Marinette joined her. There were several wooden boards set up to help provide cover, as well as sand banks and from their high view point, the teens could see some of their classmates had already made it to that point only to be pinned down by the squad.

It was also clear that most of them had already been hit, if not with whites but also colours of their own classmates as well.

“I don't see Chloe.” Marinette said with a smile. “Bet you anything she was taken out first.”

“Yeah.”

“Come on, Adrian's got the tunnel open. We can get past them.”

“Kind of feel sorry for them.” She blinked then turned around, sliding down and entering the tunnel, lit up all the way and dry but as they carried on, it soon became clear they hadn't entered a tunnel but a maze.

Adrian sighed as he stood at a cross road. “Now which way?”

Annamarie stepped past him and looked around then knelt down, pulling off her glove and holding it just off the ground. Finally she pointed to the right. “This way.”

“How can you tell?”

“The air is moving that way. Come on.”

The next cross road, they did the same and gradually made their way out before finding themselves blocked by a metal gate and a lock.

“Dam it.” Adrian cursed after trying the key they had been given but finding it didn't work. “I bet the key is somewhere in this maze. But how are we going to find it?”

Marinette nodded down a path. “Let’s try this way.” She said softly.

“But how we going to avoid getting lost?”

Quickly she lifted her gun and shot the wall, a wet red splat coating it. “We mark our path.”

“Great idea!”

“I know, I'm full of them.” She chuckled and headed off down, taking turns to mark the walls as they went to spread the ammo loss. They found the key soon enough and followed the paint back to the gate in no time, unlocking it and heading out.

Once outside, they were faced with an open space. Marinette checked the map and frowned. “Looks like this is the only way forward. We can't get around it now. Not without being disqualified. We have to go straight on.”

“Look.” Annamarie said, pointing on ahead. There, just ahead, was a stone fort and above it was a large white flag marked with a skull and crossbones. “That must be the end.”

“Yeah but how we going to get to it? That place must be crawling with guards.”

After a moment of watching it, Annamarie pulled something from a pocket. “Can anyone say 'distraction'?”


Sargent Balton chuckled as he fired down on some more unsuspecting teens. “Ah, this is no fun! If the school hadn't paid so much, I wouldn't have bothered putting on so many staff! This is like shooting fish in a barrel.”

The other two with him nodded in agreement before going back to firing just before a white cloud began to creep over their vision. “Smokescreen!” One called out.

The Sargent turned to the source. “Well, looks like we got a smart one. Eyes open boys.”

The battle hardened leader kept his weapon locked on the smoke, watching for movement, waiting for them to show themselves. What he didn't know was that after setting up the smoke, the teens had hurried back into their shelter and around behind him, Adrian boosting Marinette up to the wall who then pulled Annamarie up and the two girls both heaved him to the top, getting inside on the other side of the fort.

The three walked as silently as they could, easing their footsteps on the floor and without words or even directions, took their aim on the backs of the Paintball masters and fired together. Having faced hardly any combat the whole day, they had fully loaded tanks and emptied them on the three, coating their uniform completely red. Once their guns were empty, they cheered in victory while Adrian collected the flag from the pole, holding it high above his head. “We did it!” He called in victory.

“Knew we could do it!”

“YES! We win!”

Sargent Balton threw his helmet to the floor in fury. “How! How did you three do that! How did you beat us?”

“We worked together.” Marinette said, looking at the others. “It was weird, it was like I knew what you guys were going to do, before you did it.”

“Me too.” Annamarie added, slightly confused. “Like we'd done it a hundred times before.”

Adrian nodded. “Yeah, I felt it too.”

They paused, looking at each other before laughing. “Guess we're just that close!”

Chapter Text

“There once was a man named… umm… Greg… that everyone thought… was dead?” Marinette tried as she wrote down the words before dropping her pen to the desk. “Ahh, I can’t think what to write next!”

Across the room, Alya did the same, flopping back on the pillow she was sat on. “This is really tough!”

“Your voice sounds gruff.” Annamarie said with a smirk, continuing with her own homework. “Come on guys, open your eyes, poetry is fine when you can think of a rhyme.”

A pillow was soon thrown at the dancer. “Shut up Annamarie.” Alya moaned. “Not all of us are naturals.”

“Little old me? Annamarie? I assure you Alya, that I can rhyme, one, two or three.” The dancer held the pillow and chuckled. “Sorry Alya, it’s just that back in England, I did a whole term on rhyming, I even won a contest for it. But I’ll try and help you how I can.”

“Great. Can you think of a rhyme for phone?”

The trio continued with the assignment for a few more hours, deciding to order in pizza when the hunger became too much. By the end of their session together, they had most of the work done and said their farewells, two of them unknowingly meeting again later that night at the warehouse where they went to train.

Chat was already there when the girls arrived via the roof, swinging his sword against the old shop dummy they had found a few weeks ago. “Ah, here are my wonderful partners. Good evening my Lady! And to you too my dear Royal Peacock.”

“Okay Fur ball, who are you and what have you done with Chat Noir?” Peacock teased as she rolled her shoulders in preparation for their spar.

He turned to her with a smile. “Nothing, I just had a good day, do I need a reason to be happy?” Swinging the sword playfully in the air, he stepped towards his opponent. “So, are you ready to go down tonight Peacock?”

“You say that every night.” The blue hero said as she began to circle him, fan at the ready in her grasp. “And every night, I end up being the one still standing.”

“Not tonight Birdie.” He chuckled before running forwards, aiming to attack his partner but Peacock blocked with her fan and retaliated, blows going back and forth as they trained to hone the skills they would need. After four minutes, Chat stepped backwards but found his back pressed against something. Foolishly, he looked to see what, seconds before Peacock took his feet out from under him, sending him to the floor and pinned him with her fan.

She chuckled as she stood and held out her hand to help him up. “Better kitty, but you still need to watch your attack pattern, it’s too predictable.”

With a small groan, the black cloaked hero rubbed his side where he’d fallen. “Yeah, I’m still working on it.”

Ladybug smiled at the pair but then looked up at the roof, out the crack in the glass at the moon above them. “Hey guys… I know we’re meant to train for a bit longer but… I’m not feeling up to it tonight. Could we call it a night?”

“Yeah.” Peacock said with a sigh. “I’ve got something going on in… none hero life. I could do with a good night’s sleep.”

“Same here.” Chat added. “Meet tomorrow?”

“Sure.”

Agreed, the trio hugged and parted, heading back to their homes but on her way, Ladybug paused to look at the stadium on the edge of the city, checking out the posters advertising the ‘International Rhymers' Poetry Competition Final’ which Paris was hosting, hence why their school work was to come up with a poem and having a miniature version in class.


The next morning, the class met up and presented their work to Madam Bustier and while most was not very impressive, and full of rushed, forced rhymes, there were some, like Annamarie’s, that were quite good. Chloe’s was full of self-promotion but at least it rhymed, which was more than could be said for Nino’s who got stuck trying to rhyme the word ‘orange’ but at least it made everyone laugh.

Across the city, at the stadium, two of the contestants were in a hallway, glaring at each other before one of them huffed. “Get over yourself Robert, you wouldn’t know real poetry if it came up and slapped you across the face!”

“Oh really? Is that why I’ve won six international poetry contests?” Robert countered before smirking. “You’re nothing but a sham, Michel, here as the underdog. You know, just as I do, that you don’t stand a chance of winning!”

Michel closed his hand into a fist. “You’re just jealous because I’m better than you!”

“Please~ you are so far below me, I can’t even see you.” Robert sighed, over confidence radiating off him. “You’re so pathetic, you need one of those silly rhyming dictionaries! And don’t say you don’t, I can see it in your pocket.” He stepped a little closer to his competitor. “You will never think of something that will win you this contest.”

The newer contestant could only stand hopelessly as the other turned and walked away from him, holding tight to the dictionary in his pocket, feeling the hopelessness of his moment filling him. Naturally this called out to Hawk Moth who sent one of his Akumas.

“Know it Poet, I am Hawk Moth…”


Since the contest had gone so well at the school, the class had been taken on a field trip and were being introduced to the main competitors, giving quick samples of their work and talks about how they could become famous poets like them. Most of the students was bored by the subject but any excuse to get out of the classroom was welcomed.

As they left one contestant to find another, the class were met with a colourful looking character, dressed in green and gold, random colourful letters sown onto the trousers while his eyes were covered with a purple face paint to hide his eyes.

The madam, at the front smiled kindly to him. “Oh, hello there. Are you one of the poets in the contest?”

“I should hope so or I would be unimpressed.” The man replied, smirking at the teacher. “I am Know It Poet, the very best. Better than all the rest! So, I have to know, would you like to have a go?”

The teacher chuckled and shook her head. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand?”

“Shame… too slow.” The man said, lifting his hand and snapping his fingers, a sudden chill filling the air before the madam found herself encased in ice, frozen in place.

The class all gasped as they watched the magic surround their teacher before turning and running away, calling out ‘Akuma’ as they went. Behind them, Know It followed but luckily went right past the ladies bathroom where Alya, Annamarie, Marinette, Rose and Juleka had managed to hide.

Alya was beaming as she reached for her phone to record the event. “This is so cool! I can’t believe this!”

“Yeah because being trapped in a building with an Akuma that can turn us to ice is so cool.” Juleka said flatly. “How are we going to get out of here?”

“Guys, we have to stay calm.” Marinette said as she looked over her friends. “We will get out of here if we stay together and think calmly.” She put her finger to her lips as she thought. “How does this guy work? What’s his game?”

“Well, Hawk Moth has been getting pretty predictable recently.” Alya said with a shrug, checking her phone for a list of the recent Akumas. “That guy said his name was ‘Know It Poet’ right? Poetry contest… poetry name… I bet he is poetry themed… so…”

“Rhyming.” Marinette realised. “He rhymes with what you say.”

“And if you fail to rhyme…” Rose added.

“You get frozen.”

The group stood silently while Annamarie checked the door, looking out. “Coast is clear.” She said after a moment. “We should move before he comes back.”

“Come on, if we can get outside, we can warn everyone.” Marinette said, going to the door as well. “Let’s stay together and if you see the Akuma, don’t talk to him, alright?”

They nodded, many of them holding hands as they crept carefully out, finding several people frozen in ice as they went but luckily no Akuma as they finally made their way outside. They soon spotted Nino who was looking worryingly at the doors, watching for anyone else who made it out. There was a look of relief when he saw the girls and came over to them. “There you guys are! We were so worried. Adrian went back in there to look for you!”

“He went back in!” Annamarie gasped. “Is he insane?”

“The Akuma is still inside right?”

“As far as I know yeah.”

“Right.” Marinette said, a look of determination on her face. “Nino, get everyone away from the doors, if the Akuma comes out, you don’t want to be in his radius. I’m going to go back inside and get Adrian out.”

“It’s too dangerous girl.”

“I should go in.” Annamarie stated. “I’m the best rhymer of all of us. If I see the Akuma, I should be able to outsmart him.”

“It’s too dangerous, I won’t let you risk it.”

Eyes hardened, the dancer frowned. “It’s too dangerous for you as well. Marinette, I’m going in there and you won’t stop me.” She allowed her eyes to soften. “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful. And any moment now I know the miraculous will turn up.”

Realising that Ladybug was needed and her friend could do the job, Marinette conceded. “Fine. Get anyone you find out. I’ll check the perimeter, get everyone together so we can do a head count.”

“Right.” Annamarie said, running back towards the doors and inside.

Meanwhile, Marinette ran off only until she was out of sight before opening her purse. “Tikki, time to save the day. Spots on!” She called, letting the magic wash over her. Once ready, Ladybug swung back to where Alya and Nino were organising the people who had gotten out, landing beside her friend who only saw the spotted hero. “I heard the panic.” She explained. “What’s going on?”

“Ladybug!” Alya gushed before shaking her head to get it back in the game. “There is a rhyming Akuma in there. He gets you to rhyme with whatever you say. If you don’t think of one, you get frozen in place!”

“Do Chat and Peacock know about this?”

“I don’t think so. I haven’t seen them yet.”

“Right. You get everyone to safety and we’ll do the rest.” She pulled out her yo-yo once more and headed to the roof, finding a skylight and slipping into the building, hurrying to try and find the Akuma before it could do anymore harm. As she made her way towards the centre, she noticed the number of people frozen in place, stopping to check on them and ensure they were unharmed.

The ice was cold to the touch but the people inside appeared to be fine, perfectly preserved in the last moments. As she checked over Ivor, she heard a door handle being turned and prepared herself for the Akuma.

Chat chuckled as he and Peacock stepped out, as surprised to see her as she was to see them. “Oh, my lady, I didn’t know you were here yet.” He gave her a smile as he saw how her jaw was tightly closed. “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

Peacock pushed past their male companion and shook her head. “He used the same pun on me.” She explained to Ladybug. “He’s getting sloppy in his old age.”

“Old age!” He gasped in offence. “I’ll have you know I’m still on my first of nine lives!”

“Keep it up and I will make that change.” The bird teased back. “Anyway, what do we know about this Akuma?”

Ladybug turned to the ice next to them. “The ice is real and cold but from what I can tell, the people inside are alright.”

“Kinda like cryogenic freezing.” Peacock guessed, opening her fan and scanning the ice. “Short term should do no harm but the longer they stay in there, the more danger they are in.”

“Then we better get a move on with this Akuma.”

Chat waved a hand in the air casually. “This guy’s going to be easy; he doesn’t even attack you! Just gets you to rhyme.”

“Yes and if you don’t do it in time, you become a cat-sicle.” Peacock finished. “And I don’t think it will be a good look on you.”

Ladybug coughed to break the pair up and nodded. “Then we do this like when we were against Silencer; don’t talk to him and you’ll be safe. Find the akumatised item and destroy it.”

“On it.”

“When you find it, let the rest of us know. You should be safe if you don’t talk back to him.”

Plan formed, the trio turned and hurried along the halls, looking for the Akuma as they went until they came to the main stage where the contest was due to be held. Know It was stood in the centre under a spotlight when they came charging in from the side doors, smirking at them. “Well, well, well, would you look at that? A bug, a bird and a cat.”

Peacock glared at him. “This is the end of the line and that is that!”

The Akuma’s eyes lit up with a smile as he took a step towards them. “Oh, what is that I see? Is this a real challenge for me? An honest contestant?”

“Honing my rhyming skills was a good investment.” The bird countered without skipping a beat.

The Akuma jumped down from the stage to the seats where the heroes were stood. “This should be fun, but let me give you a chance to run.”

“Careful feathers.” Chat hissed quietly.

“Said the man hiding in leathers.” Know It rhymed. “But why don’t you three just quit? It will say you having to take a hit.”

“Enough of the rhymes! We don’t have time!” Chat shouted as he ran forwards, drawing his sword as he went.

Peacock shook her head suddenly as he charged, watching as Know It’s face lit up with that purple butterfly mask. “That’s the catch! Rhymes and time don’t match!” She shouted, trying to warn the cat but it was too late. Know It had snapped his fingers and Chat Noir fell to the floor encased in ice.

Ladybug let out a gasp as he fell. “No! Chat!”

“You can’t help him and that’s that!” Peacock called out before the same thing could happen again. “Ladybug please, I don’t want you to freeze.” She grabbed her friend’s arm and stopped her as Know It climbed back to the stage. “Ladybug, He wants you to think he’s easy.” She hissed, pulling her friend to the side. “Chat made the same mistake, his rhyme was too cheesy.” She winced a little, mentally scolding herself for the stupid link. “Remember the plan, and we can take down this man.”

Not trusting her skills, Ladybug just nodded, swinging her yo-yo to form a shield before her then the two of them charged, running to the stage and jumping up. Know It smirked as he did, flicking his hands by his side, the letters on his costume slowly beginning to lift off before flying through the air towards the two. Ladybug took one to the shoulder and gasped at the pain before loading up her second shield to block any future words.

Peacock meanwhile had taken to the rigging above the Akuma, looking down and trying to spot the item they needed to destroy but so far she hadn’t spotted anything, he appeared to be completely Akuma and no item. She frowned before jumping down behind him, grabbing him and knocking him over, her fan coming up to block the letters that were soon attacking her.

Ladybug hurried over, lifting her own shield working to protect them both. “Got an idea?” She asked, eyes locked on the Akuma.

Peacock suddenly snorted back a laugh, hand to her mouth to stop it coming out. “Idea… Ladybug… diarrhoea?”

The other looked at her suddenly. “What did you say?”

“Sorry, that rhyme just made my day.” She stated back before her face became serious. “I don’t mean to cause alarm, but I think we need a lucky charm.”

Ladybug nodded. “Right, I’ll do my best.”

“I’ll take care of the rest.” Peacock said, running out from behind the shield and getting in close with Know It, blocking his letter’s attacks while trying to get closer to him.

The Akuma smiled as he blocked her punches. “You’re very good, my little bird. Or should I call you Feathers? That’s what I heard.”

Her eyes narrowed at him. “Hawk Moth, I know you’re there. And I want you to know, I don’t care. You twisted my mind and split my soul, but I’m stronger now since I am whole.” She backed off a little. “And one day, as sure as the sky is blue…” Her fan spread out in her grasp. “I will defeat you!” She lashed out once more and this time, her blow landed on his jaw, with enough strength to send the taller man to the ground, leaving the hero to stand over him. Now that he wasn’t moving, she was able to look over him closer, mainly at the letters that he had caused to attack them. Embedded into his outfit were only nine letters, y r a c d t i n o.

She frowned, looking at them and thinking, just before a leg came out and caught her by surprise, taking her down while Know It got back up. “You little bird! We will see who gets the last word!”

Rolling to avoid being stepped on, Peacock got up to her feet, swinging to avoid the letters, looking at them as they flew before she realised what was going on. “Ladybug! I think this might be scary but I think the word is dictionary!”

Holding something tight in her hand, Ladybug shook her head. “Dictionary? What dictionary? I don’t see one!”

Know It smiled as he stopped his attack and turned to the spotted hero. “No rhyme? Then you’re out of time.” He said then lifted his hand, snapping his fingers.

Ladybug’s eyes went wide as she moved, throwing what she had been holding into the air, just as the ice consumed her, leaving her locked half way into her lob.

NO!” Peacock shouted, running over to her friend and touching the ice by her cheek.

Know It chuckled behind her. “You were too slow.” He stepped towards the remaining hero and grinned. “You lost. And your miraculous is the cost.

Peacock turned, back to the ice and arms stretched to protect their leader, glancing downwards to see whatever it was she had thrown. On the floor, abandoned, was a small stuffed red with black spots toy shaped like a fox. She stared at it, trying to think what it could mean.

The Akuma was pulling his letters up into the air, surrounding himself with them, preparing for a final attack on the bird, his face lit up with Hawk Moth’s mask. “You gave it a good try. But now, it’s time to die.”

The blue hero took a deep breath, ready for the final moment, touching her hair slide and trying to think what a stuffed toy fox could do to help them. If only the fox mir… Her thought train stopped and she looked up at the Akuma with a smile of her own. “Know It! There is one last line! Then, you win, for all of time!”

The poet tipped his head to the side slightly. “Oh? What do you see? One last rhyme for me?”

“Yes indeed, a rhyme for you. For you see, there is something I wish you knew, as it’s such a shame the fox… is in her box.”

Know it frowned, pausing in his final attack. “How is that going to help you?”

The miraculous stepped forwards, hoping this was going to work. “Well, you see, I am blue, the cat is black and it has been said, that the lady is red. But you see, between you and me… the fox in her box… is orange.”

Poet opened his mouth to speak. “But… everyone knows there’s no rhyme for orange!”

Peacock nodded, lifting up her hand. “I know.” She said, snapping her fingers. Just as she hoped, ice began to form around the Akuma, freezing him in place, stuck in the ice, the letters that had been ready for the attack falling lifeless to the floor around her.

There was a sudden ‘pop’ sound and she turned to see Ladybug and Chat had been defrosted and while they were slightly wet, and Chat was rubbing his arms to try and warm up, they appeared fine. Ladybug looked over the stage, trying to get her head around it. “Wha-what happened?”

“I froze him.” Peacock explained. “I gave him an impossible rhyme. An orange fox.”

Ladybug laughed as she grabbed her friend and hugged her. “Peacock you are a genius!”

“I have my moments.”

“But… where’s the Akuma? We can’t leave him like this.”

Letting out a deep breath, the blue hero moved slowly to pick the letters around her before laying them out to spell something out. “Hawk Moth is getting better at hiding these things.” She decided as she looked at them. “Look. Dictionary.”

“Well I’ll be.” Chat chuckled. “Talk about the power of words.”

Picking up the word, Peacock nodded. “It had me stuck for a while, since there was only one ‘i’ I could see.” She explained, bending them until they snapped and sure enough, a black moth tried to escape.

“Good work.” Ladybug praised before moving to catch and purify it, sending the little white butterfly off on its way. The group sighed as they watched as it went off before sending the fox into the sky, the ladybugs getting to work to defrost anyone caught.

The trio looked at each other and lifted their fists. “Pound it.” They called together before laughing.

Ladybug nodded. “Well, see you tonight!”

“See you later alligator!” Chat teased before vaulting away.

“In a while crocodile.” Peacock returned, flying up into the air and back towards the stadium, finding a spot to hide and change back before heading around to her class.

Alya gasped as she came running over. “Annamarie! There you are! What happened to you?”

She gave a small smile. “Guess I’m not as good a rhymer as I thought.” She chuckled. “I challenged the Akuma and… umm… got frozen.”

The reporter chuckled. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, we’ve all been fooled by Akumas.”

“Yeah.” She said with a knowing smile.


“And finally we have Michel Samura.” The announcer stated and the crowd gave a polite applause, including the school children who had been given tickets to watch the show’s final.

The man took a breath as he stood in the middle of the stage and looked upwards. “This is my newest work, and I dedicate it to the three miraculous I was honoured to meet today.”

In the crowd, the hidden three heroes smiled as they leant forward and listened closer.

“You save the world every day,

You are the ones who know what to say.

You bring joy, love and hope,

Without you we couldn’t cope.

Royal Peacock, with your colours blue,

Bright smile, through the sky you flew.

Chat Noir, bold and brave,

No matter the danger, everyone you save.

And Ladybug, so kind and true,

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.

To all you heroes, whoever you are,

You will always be my guiding star.”

Chapter Text

Annamarie felt tears crawling out of her eyes without her control. She was so angry. She didn't want to cry. She wanted to punch something. She wanted to run until her legs failed her. She wanted to fly into the sun. She just wanted to do anything but hurt.

She and Louie had just had their first fight.

And she hated that it was her fault! It was one hundred and ten percent her fault they had fought.

Louie had invited her to come and meet his grandparents, to have dinner with them at their home at the weekend. The problem was, they lived outside Paris and it would be a two day round trip.

She couldn't risk it. Not with Hawk Moth and his cursed Akumas being so active. And she couldn't give him a decent reason why she couldn't go. He knew the ballet was fine, he knew she was doing great in school, he knew she wanted to go.

But she couldn't.

And she couldn't say why, which led to him thinking she wasn't serious about their relationship.

She stopped for a moment and realised she was out of breath, leaning on a banister and wiped her eyes free of tears. "Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid." She hissed, grabbing her hair.

"P-Peacock?"

She turned at the call and her eyes went wide as saw who had called her. "Marinette?" She looked around quickly and realised she was on her balcony. "Oh… I'm so sorry. I… I didn't know I'd… I just… I mean… I…"

A hand touched her arm. "Hey. Are you alright?"

"Fine. P-per-perfectly…" She winced a little and sniffed. "Just… out for a run."

Marinette tried not to frown; if she'd was Ladybug right then, she knew Peacock would tell her the truth but as herself, she didn't have the same connection. She chose to smile instead. "Would you like some cookies? Always cheer me up."

Peacock looked at her then gave a weak smile. "I couldn't…"

"Nonsense. Come on in." She walked to the door then peered back. "They're fresh. Double chocolate chip~" She said in a sing song, stepping backwards down to her room.

Peacock licked her lips then looked around, making sure no one was watching before walking inside the room. She'd been there a hundred times before as Annamarie but this was her first time as Peacock and in a way it all looked new. Mainly the new thing were the rolls of fabric and the sowing machine on the table. Curiously she stepped over. "What are you making?"

"Oh, just a bag. I have a friend who has this really old one but I think something is wrong with it, I often hear her talking to it. So I thought I would make her a new one. Plus it's a bit of a challenge for me, satchel bags are really tricky."

As soon as she heard the word 'satchel' Peacock knew which 'friend' she was referring to and she had to try really hard not to blush with embarrassment. "Well, just make sure it has pockets." She rambled. "Girls love pockets. I know I wish my bag had more."

Marinette smiled at her as she came over with a plate of chocolate cookies, putting it down between them. "Good idea." She waited until her guest had taken a snack and sat down before asking. "So want to talk?"

Taking a bite of a biscuit, Peacock chewed slowly, contemplating it all then looked away. "I… I shouldn't but… I need someone to talk to." She sighed, shifting on the sofa, her normal perch when in the room. "I… I had a fight with my boyfriend."

She never said she had a boyfriend before. Marinette thought, keeping her features blank. "What about?"

"He… he wants me to meet his family. But… it's a long trip and I'd have to leave Paris to do it. I… I can't risk it, it's too dangerous to leave the city a defender down. Hawk Moth is too active for me to leave, even for a few days."

"And he didn't understand?" She asked, even if she knew the reason.

Peacock looked down at the cookie and brushed a few crumbs away. "He… doesn't know I'm Peacock. No one knows who any of us are behind the masks. Even us." She chuckled dryly. "Well, one person knows who I am but… I can't talk about it. Hope you understand."

The previous peacock, of course. She took her to Tibet. "So… can't you talk to Ladybug about it?"

"I don't want to bother them with my worries. I mean, if she and Chat can have happy relationships of their own and not tell anyone their identities then so can I. I don't want to risk their lives for my own personal gain." She sighed then yelped. "Ahh! Please don't tell anyone that! I know you are friends with Alya and… Well… it's not that it's a bad thing, it's just it would put them in danger."

Marionette smiled. "It's alright, I won't tell anyone."

"Promise?"

"Promise. So, back to your boyfriend, what do you want to do?"

"Well, I want to go of course." She sighed, going back to the plate of cookies for her second. "I want to go and meet his family and… be normal but I'm not, am I?"

"You're still entitled to a normal life."

The blue hero nodded. "True. But ever since I returned from…" She stopped herself, not knowing the other already knew where she had been. "Well, ever since I came back, Hawk Moth's been relentless in trying to get us. I would go over the weekend and I know Akumas are more common at the weekend."

"Yeah but… don't you think Chat and Ladybug could handle a weekend without you?"

She lowered her head. "I know they could but if that weekend is the weekend something happens then I would never be able to forgive myself."

Marionette frowned to herself, torn between admiration for her partner's loyalty and thinking she was an idiot for being so loyal. She finally sighed. "Well, you know what I would do? If I was a miraculous?" The irony was not lost on her as she said the words.

"What?"

"Well, I'd tell Ladybug. You guys are a team, and teams support each other. They would come up with a way to help you."

"But what if something happens?"

"Pea." She said firmly. "You forget, Chat and Ladybug were a team before you came along. And while you were away, they managed. And that was six months. I'm sure they can manage two days."

She didn't reply for a moment, staring at her friend. She didn't say anything but Marinette had called her 'Pea' and while it was a logical nickname, no one but the others called her that.

Coincidence? She wondered, looking down at the plate of cookies before guiltily realising she had eaten most of them.

Marinette chuckled. "It's alright, my family own the bakery below."

"Oh, that's good to know. If I ever need a really great cookie." She laughed before standing up. "Thank you for the advice Marinette. I appreciate it. And thanks for the cookies, they were delicious."

"Anytime Peacock. You always have a friend in me."

"I know." She said with a smile, stepping over to her friend and, for a moment, was about to hug her before thinking better and held out her hand. "Thank you."

They shook and Marinette couldn't help but think how odd the action felt. "Any time."


It had been two days since Marinette had given her advice to Peacock over her relationship problems and every night since she'd waited for the blue hero to tell them. Before they split up for their designated patrols, Ladybug would ask if there was anything they wanted to bring up or say. Chat used it as a chance to unleash his latest puns while Peacock just looked away, waiting to go.

The third night, Ladybug decided to take matters into her own hands and cleared her throat loudly. "So, before we head off, Peacock, I… I just wanted to say that I've noticed you've been a little distant these last few days. Anything you want to tell us? Anything at all? Because you know we will listen to you."

The golden brown eyes stared at her for a bit before looking away and she sighed. "You know, don't you?"

Ladybug smiled softly. "Yeah. Marinette told me. But I was waiting for you to tell us."

"I wasn't sure I wanted to." She confessed, messing with the feathers in her hair.

Chat looked between the two girls and frowned curiously. "Sorry, I'm guessing I'm missing something?"

The red hero gave their comrade an 'it's-up-to-you' look and waited. The one in question took a deep breath then sighed. "My boyfriend wants me to go with him to meet his grandparents out in the country but…" she lowered her gaze away from them. "I don't want to go because I don't want you two to be a pair of hands down."

Chat blinked his bright green eyes out of their shocked state. "T-That's so stupid." He said, reaching out and taking both her hands in his. "Peacock, you shouldn't have to give up your free time and relationship because of us."

"But… what if something happens while I'm gone?" She mumbled to the floor.

The cat slowly ducked so he was in her eye sight instead of the floor, twisting his head to be almost upside down. "What? You have that little faith in us?" He joked, squeezing a small smile out of her as he did. "Pea, listen…" He stood up straight once more, glad to see her gaze following. "Pea, you are entitled to your life. Being Peacock does not change that you are also whoever you are behind that mask." He smiled, reaching out and brushing her hair back off her face. "So, for one weekend, forget you are Royal Peacock and go and have a great time with your boyfriend's family."

Her lips curled in a thankful smile. "I thought you would say that."

"Well, you have given me enough good advice over the years, it's time for me to re-purr-n the favour."

She rolled her eyes at the pun but continued to smile. "Thank you."

"Just let us know when you decide to go, alright?"

"I will." She promised before hugging him. "Thank you for understanding."


The next day, Annamarie called Louie, apologising for her behaviour, telling him that she had just been nervous about meeting them, thinking she was not good enough for that kind of thing. It was a horrid lie but it was enough to ease his frustrations and after a few 'you are more than good enough' talks, they set a date.

Once they had, Annamarie told her friends at school that she was going out of the city that weekend to meet Louie's family. They were all happy and hoped she had a good time.

That same night, Peacock told Ladybug and Chat Noir she would be away for the weekend to meet her boyfriend's family and while they supported her for going, they both looked at her and had the same thought. Got to be a coincidence.

Chapter Text

“Ah man, I missed maths again.” Adrian groaned as he stood with Nino, looking blindly over his friend’s notes from the class.

“Yeah, and we have a test coming up.” His friend said, taking no humour in the situation.

“Seriously!” The blonde groaned, trying to absorb everything on the pages in seconds but it wasn't working. “Come on Nino, can you lend me your notebook?”

“Sorry dude, I need it. Got to study as well.”

Just then, walking past the boys at the other end of the steps, Alya, Annamarie and Marinette looked at the pair. “Poor Adrian.” Annamarie commented. “Maths is his worst subject too.”

Marinette tipped her head to the side but then walked right over to the boy and smiled. “Hey Adrian, I saw you missed maths again and we have that big test coming up. So I was wondering if you'd like to borrow my book?”

Adrian blinked in amazement as she fished it out of her backpack and handed it over to him. “Really? You sure Marinette?”

“Yeah, why not? You need all the help you can get.”

“Wow, thanks. But, won't you need it?”

“I'm pretty confident with the section. And Annamarie is going to go over it all with me later. You can borrow my book until Monday.”

Adrian looked at the textbook in his hands with amazement but then looked up. “Thank you! You know, let’s make a deal. You like to play Ultimate Mecha Strike right? Well, I just got UMS4. Perhaps when you're finished with Annamarie, you can come over to my place and we can play?”

“Sure, sounds like fun. I could even go over any parts you're stuck on.”

“Great. Well, see you tomorrow?”

“See you then!” Marinette laughed as he walked down to his driver and soon went off.

Alya and Annamarie hurried over and stared at her like she had three heads and seven eyes. “Girl! You just spoke to Adrian! And didn't stammer once!” Alya gasped like a fish out of water. “How!”

Marinette shrugged. “I just… did it.” She turned her eyes to the golden eyed teen. “You were right Annamarie, I realised he's not perfect and there went my nerves.”

The dancer smiled and winked at her. “Told ya.”

Alya laughed. “You should become a psychiatrist Annamarie.”

“You're not the first person to tell me that.” She teased.


The next day, after a crash cram with Annamarie on the maths, Marinette went over to the mansion with her arms full of books and a box of macaroons. The evil eye camera terrified her more than the idea of being alone with Adrian but soon she was allowed passage and Adrian greeted her at the bottom the large staircase. “Hey! Come on up, I got us drinks and snacks all set up and my Dad's out for the weekend so we've got the place to ourselves! Come on.”

She smiled and they went to his room, talking about the pains of school and the nightmare of exams easily before settling into studying the textbooks, Marinette constantly noting mistakes Adrian made with the formulas. He kept forgetting the same methods over and over, making her repeat herself to try and explain them to him. It was about two hours before they decided they had gotten far enough to pass the test and Adrian complained his brain was hurting. So they turned to numb it with video games instead.

Naturally Marinette crushed him time and time again, even when Adrian had been practicing alone to prepare himself for the match. Well and truly creamed for the 18th time, he groaned. “I'm gonna get a drink. Want one?”

“Sure. I'll get it.” Marinette said, standing up at the same time. The unnatural forces of luck and misfortune that hung around the two collided at that moment and Adrian managed to get his feet wrapped up around some of the pillows that had been thrown from the chair and lost his balance, falling forwards and knocking into Marinette as she stood, causing them both to fall down, fortunate the other pillows softened the landing.

“Ahh!” Adrian gasped, arms out to try and stop himself but his feet were all over the place and in his socks, he couldn't get any grip and couldn't find anything to hold on to. He felt Marinette grab hold of him, trying to steady him and stop him from falling on top of her but it didn't work, he continued down and ended up banging his head on hers.

It was seconds but it still left them on the floor at the base of the sofa, arms around each other. “Oww.” Adrian moaned as he sat up, rubbing his forehead. “Sorry.”

“Are-are you alright?”

“Yeah, I…” He stopped talking as he looked down.

Below him, Marinette was lying on her back, his hand by her head and his elbow on her other side, propping himself up. He could tell that his legs and hers were tangled but he couldn't look away from her face. She was blushing, a red glow up to her ears and her hair sprayed out behind her head, her lips frozen in a constant parted 'o' and her eyes… her eyes… were a bright… sparkling blue and… they looked like… like diamonds to him.

He blinked, a wave breaking in his mind and washing over his heart, his gaze trailed over her and slowly stopped on her lips, becoming oddly fascinated by them. She must have known he was staring because she licked them a little, her tongue darting out towards him as she did. Before he knew it, he was moving down towards her and casually brushed his lips against hers, eyes closed and keeping still for at least three seconds then leant back, horrified with what he'd just done. “Ah! Sorry, I… I should have asked first.”

Marinette was broken, lost in that moment but as he remained on top of her, not moving away, she realised he was waiting for her to say something and bit her lip. “It's ok.” She managed somehow, her voice a Tikki level squeak.

His gaze shifted to her again and glanced at her lips once more.

As if self-conscious about it, the girl licked them again and he smiled. “Can… can I?”

“Can you?”

“Kiss you again?” He said clearly embarrassed. “Please?”

She quickly looked away but then nodded. “Umm… sure… if you want.”

He didn't take a moment, leaning down again and pecking her lips again, his hands shifted slowly to her side and her hip, the other in her hair. He'd never kissed someone before but he was glad Marinette was his first, her touch warm as it came up into his hair, brushing against his cheek, caressing it softly.

The second kiss was softer than the first but much longer and Adrian pulled back slightly, looking down on her and sighing before a smile filled his face and he moved off her, covering his face with a hand. “Dam it, I hate it when she's right.” He said, barely holding back laughter.

Marinette slowly sat up beside him with confusion with the sudden change of subject. “What? Who?”

“Annamarie.” He sighed, leaning back, brushing his hair away. “I do hate her sometimes.”

“Why? What… what did she say to you?”

He smiled, looking up at the ceiling. “If you reach for the stars then you might miss the diamond at your feet. Or… in my case…” His eyes turned to hers. “Right behind me.”

The girl couldn't help but blush as his eyes locked on hers and slowly came closer until his lips were gently pressed against hers, pulling away almost as soon as they touched and licked the taste off her lips. Then he moved her head to his shoulder as his arm pulled her closer, cuddling up and feeling his body heat.

Adrian smiled as he nuzzled into her hair and held her a little tighter while they sat on the floor of his room. Suddenly he felt her squeeze him. “You know, I hate her too.”

“Oh?” He chuckled. “Why? What did she tell you?”

She sighed and sat away a little. “She told me… you're not perfect.”

“Thanks.” He scoffed in a false hurt.

Marinette giggled as she played with a strand of his hair. “Well… that's what she told me. I…I used to think you were so perfect, you would never like me. Th-that's why I would always trip over my words and could never… be myself around you.”

“So that's why.” He chuckled. “I thought you still had a grudge or something.”

“What? No, never. I just… I don't know. I just couldn't bring myself to talk to you. But… Annamarie told me to look at your flaws, to prove to myself you… you weren't so perfect.” She gave him a shy smile. “It… it worked and I could talk to you without… messing up.”

Adrian smiled as he leant over and kissed the space just above her eyes. “I'm glad. I mean, I'm far from perfect.”

“I know.”

“So come on, tell me, what flaws did you spot?”

She shifted, suddenly uncomfortable, hiding herself in his neck. “Well… you're often late for class… and not just because of your shoots.”

“True. But you are just as bad.” He chuckled, tickling her side.

Wiggling, the other laughed and hugged him closer, hiding herself from his eyes. “You got me.”

“I know.” His whisper was something different this time, warmer and it made them both blush. “Anyway, carry on. I can't just have one flaw.”

“No…” She confessed, smiling to herself. “You're really bad at maths and you're a sour looser when it comes to video games and you have a weird sense of humour.”

“Hey! I'll have you know my jokes are on point.”

She leant back with a half-smile and raised an eye brow, clearly not agreeing. “Yeah right.”

The look on her face sent a wave of heat over his cheeks and Adrian smirked before roughly pulling her towards him and up to his lap, pressing his lips to hers roughly. Caught off guard, Marinette just blinked a few times then gave a low groan of approval as her hands slipped up into his hair until she pulled away breathlessly.

Adrian stared up at her with a proud smirk and a playful glint in his eyes. “Who knew you could be so bold Marinette.” He chuckled, leaning towards her. “I… like it.”

“A-Adrian.”

He grinned, leaning forward and kissing her again, pulling her closer, causing her to moan at the feeling of his contact. He gave a soft chuckle, pulling a breath away from her lips. “I'll have to think of a way to get her back.”

“Yeah.”

“I think I have a plan.”

“Tell me later.” Marinette insisted as she pulled him back in.

They continued to kiss for a while, exploring each other in a blissful joy until they were forced to part, more out of exhaustion than a wish to move. In their make out, Adrian had pulled the dark hair from its bands and now it hung around her face freely, smiling as his eyes locked on her diamond blue ones and brushed her cheek with his thumb.

“Sorry for being such a dunce Marinette.”

She laughed at him then moved back, leaning on the sofa but kept her hand locked in his. “It's alright. Just one more of your flaws.”

Continuing to smile, he leant towards her. “Yeah, guess so.” He mumbled sleepily, letting out a deep breath as an odd exhaustion came over him, closing his eyes and sighing. The two of them soon fell asleep, leaning on each other and the sofa, hands locked together. Over the space of their nap, they ended up moving so they were lying on the ground next to each other, hugging.

After an hour, Nathalie came into the room, aiming to collect Adrian, already speaking as she opened the boy's door. “Adrian, you are late for dinner. Also, we don't know when your friend left so…” She stopped talking on hearing a small female moan and a gentle sleepy 'shush'.

Walking over to the sound and looking down, she blinked in amazement on seeing the two just lying there, embracing each other with sleepy smiles. She blushed before leaving the room and heading down the hall. Once a good distance, she rang the boy's phone.

The noise soon woke both of them and Adrian groaned as he sat up, rubbing his forehead while he looked around. “Wha?”

“Adrian?”

“It's my phone… where…where is it?” He groaned groggily, looking around but Marinette had already found it and lifted it for him, watching as he nodded his thanks and took the call. “Nathalie?”

“You're late for dinner.” She said then hung up.

Adrian frowned with confusion as he looked at his phone. “That was weird. She was never normally calls when I'm in the house.”

“Maybe she thinks you went out.” Marinette suggested as she pulled her hair back into place and fixed the rest of her appearance.

“Maybe. I'm just glad she didn't walk in on us. Who knows what would have happened if she had.”

The other laughed as she stood up. “Yeah, that would have been bad.”

“I should head down for dinner. Unless you'd like to join me?”

“Another time.” She smiled, leaning over and kissing his cheek. “I should head home myself.”

His hand held her almost naturally. “See you at school.”

Her fingers wound with his and smiled. “Of course. I want to see your plan for Annamarie.”

Adrian grinned. “Oh, you are going to love it.”


Monday morning and Annamarie, Alya and Nino was stood outside the school, talking about their respective weekends when the Agreste limo turned up and their model friend stepped out with a large colourful bouquet of flowers in his hands and a shy smile. “H-hey guys. Have… have a good weekend?”

“Yeah.” Alya said, eyes glued to the flowers. “Who the flowers for?”

The blonde man blushed and looked down at them, gently touching one of the petals. “Umm… well… they… they are… umm… for someone… very special to me and… well… I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to think how to tell her.”

The two girls grinned at each other before Alya shrugged, grabbing her camera as subtly as she could. “Well, just tell her. Any girl would be swept off her feet to get flowers from you Adrian.”

With a stiff gulp, he nodded. “Yeah, I guess so.” He let a deep breath out then inhaled just a deeply before turning on the spot and held out the flowers to Annamarie, shoving them right into her face. “For you Annamarie!”

The dancer blinked as she took hold of them and stared at the colourful flowers. “Wait… for me?”

“Yes.” Adrian sighed as he moved closer to her, ignoring Alya who was filming the whole thing, and held one of her hands, kneeling before her. “Surely you know how I feel about you? The way I can't stop thinking about you? The way I can't take my eyes off you? How I dream about you? About… how much I love you? I mean… I just had to do something to prove how much you mean to me. I wanted the whole world to know!”

Annamarie stared at him, the cogs in her mind slowly putting everything together before her wide amazed eyes narrowed and her open mouth drew up into a thin line. “You… you…” She said before frowning. “You twisted jerk!” She snapped, pushing him away. “You think that was funny? Oh you are so dead Adrian Agreste!” She snapped, continuing to slap the back of her hand against his arm. “Everyone is staring at us! Oh I am going to kill you!”

Adrian laughed as he backed away from her and her attacks. “That was the idea! Ouch! Hey Stop hitting me!”

“I'll stop hitting you when I feel like it!” She groaned as she did stop and held the flowers in her arms. “Honestly! You're the worst!”

Alya frowned as she lowered her camera after Adrian's 'beating'. “Wait… what just happened?”

“Someone was pulling a very stupid prank on me!” She growled, snapping the boy a look.

He was still giggling but gave her a wink. “Well, I wasn't completely joking. The flowers are for you Annamarie.”

“Why?”

“For making me see sense.”

“Hey guys!” Came a new voice as Marinette came running over.

Alya nodded to her. “Oh hey girl! You made it in time for class but you missed all the fun. Adrian just confessed his undying love for Annamarie.”

“He was messing with me.” The dancer groaned as she played with a flower.

Marinette chuckled but then felt something move up behind her. “Hey Mari.”

She looked up at him beside her and smiled. “Hey Adrian.”

“Look, I was wondering…” He said, looking away but smiling as he did. “If you'd like to… maybe sit by me in class?”

Annamarie's, Alya's and Nino's jaws all dropped but the dark haired girl just nodded. “Sure, I'd like that. As long as Nino doesn't mind swapping?”

“Nino? Help a bro out?”

Nino slowly lifted his jaw up and nodded a few times. “Sure. Move I will. I mean… I'll move.”

“Great. Thanks.” Adrian laughed as Marinette looked up at him.

Annamarie blinked as she looked at the pair and how they were looking at each other. “Wait… are you two…”

“Dating? Yep.” The boy said, popping the 'p' as he finally put his arm around Marinette's shoulders. “Asked her out yesterday afternoon.”

“OH MY GOD GIRL!” Alya gasped, hands over her mouth. “Why didn't you tell me? How did you not?!”

“Because we wanted to see your faces.” The pair giggled at their shocked expressions.

“Well, you certainly got that.” The dancer sighed. “But… what's with the flowers?”

“Because without you Annamarie, this wouldn't have happened. As you said…” Adrian explained, reaching out and turning Marinette so her eyes looked into his. “My diamond was right behind me.”

The girl grinned at his statement and really had to fight herself not to kiss him as Annamarie just chuckled. “Well, just call me cupid.” She laughed but then stopped when she spotted something behind them. “And… we might want to move. Like… now.”

The others turned to see what she had spotted just as Chloe Bourgeois came walking towards them with a frown on her face. Marinette gulped and took a step to get away from Adrian but he didn't let her move. “Relax. I got this.” He promised with a wink and pulled her back to his side. “Chloe! Hey!”

Her face lit up with a fake smile. “Adrikins.” She chuckled slightly nervously. “How… how was your weekend?”

He shrugged the shoulder that wasn't on Marinette. “Absolutely amazing. But, hey, since you're my oldest friend, I wanted to tell you myself, instead of hearing from anyone else; Marinette and I are dating.” He chuckled lightly. “I know you'll be happy for me, which means a lot so thanks for being such a great mate Chlo.”

The girl blinked her big baby blues, eyes darting back and forth from one to the other. “D-dating? You-you-you-you-you-you-you-you…”

“Yes Chloe.” Adrian said, barely keeping a laugh from his voice. “Marinette and I are dating.”

“But… Adrikins….” She chuckled nervously. “You-you-you-you-you-you…”

The blonde did allow himself to laugh at her this time. “Chlo, you sound like a broken record there.”

“But… you-you-you-you-you-you…”

They were saved from whatever she was trying to say by the bell and headed inside, Annamarie careful of the flowers in her hands as she sat down on the end beside Alya and Nino while Adrian sat in Nino's seat. Marinette set herself in his old seat so that when she glanced at the boy, she didn't have to see the mayor's daughter's shocked and stupid look behind them.

Above them, Annamarie smiled to herself. One down… one to go. She thought, opening her notebook and putting a heart next to the letters MD + AA.

Below those were the letters LB + CN.


Chat Noir sighed as he sat on the edge of a wall, looking down on the streets below, his cape lamely flapping in the loose wind making him near invisible to all, apart from to those who knew where to find him.

“Evening Kitty.” Peacock said as she jumped down to his side. “Got your message. You wanted to talk?”

“Yeah, thanks for coming.”

“It's alright. So, what's up?”

He sighed and shrugged. “Well… it's Ladybug.”

“Kinda guessed.” He turned to her suddenly with a frown but she rolled her shoulder. “Why else would you pass me a note asking me to meet you instead of waiting for patrol?”

“Alright smarty pants.” Chat huffed, pushing her to the side slightly.

Recovering, Peacock ran a hand back over her hair and the feathers in it. “So? What's up?”

“I… I don't know how to say this but… well… I don't… love her anymore.”

Freezing, Peacock looked at him. “What?”

“Well…I… still love her but… not the same way. I mean… sort of…” He shifted, playing with the scabbard of his sword and sighed. “I sort of found someone else.”

She slowly blinked. “Right…”

“Yeah.”

“Someone else?”

“In my other life.” He clarified. “I mean, she… she loves me so completely… like nobody has ever loved me before. It… it's amazing I didn't notice before.”

“I see.”

“The first time I kissed her… she… was so… perfect and… I thought to myself… I didn't want to kiss anyone else ever again. She was just… so… pure and perfect and… I love her.” He sighed and ran a hand back in his hair and over his ears. “I never knew you could love someone as much as I love her. It's still new and I'm worried it might… just be the honeymoon time but… I don't think it will. She… she's everything to me and yet I only just… realised it.”

“I'm happy for you.”

“What?”

“I'm happy for you Chat.” Peacock said with a smile as she looked at him. “But… as your friend, listen to what I have to say and take it in good faith?”

The cat frowned at her. “Why? What do you have to say?”

“You feel like you're falling right now and the rush is intoxicating… but don't fall too fast or you won't make it out of it.”

An odd look of recognition crossed his eyes before he smiled. “You know, you should become a psychiatrist with all the good advice you give out.”

“Who said I'm not already?” She teased.

“You're too young.”

“Ah, caught me.”

“But seriously Feathers, what am I going to tell Ladybug? I've been after her since the day we met. And now… I…”

“You carry on the way you were.”

“What?”

“Look, don't tell Ladybug I told you this but…” She gave him a shy smile. “She quite likes your flirting. Not enough to go out with you but… well, any girl enjoys being flirted with if it's done by the right person and in the right way. Makes us feel… wanted and pretty. Even if the feeling isn't returned, it's still nice.”

“But I wouldn't mean it.”

“Well, that's up to you. I can only advise. But I know I speak for Ladybug when I say we're happy for you Chat. You're more than a comrade to us. You're a brother. And if you found someone who loves you then, well, remember, it goes marriage then baby.”

Chat went bright red. “PEACOCK!"

Chapter Text

Marinette and Adrian had been dating for a few months and it was wonderful for them both; Adrian had even used some of his connections to enable her to visit some of his fashion shoots, filling her wildest dreams of meeting some famous designers and models but also getting to see Adrian in his element, while also providing comfort and distractions for the bored teen. His father hadn't approved at first, naturally, but on seeing the improvement in his son's photos, the way he lit up in photos where he could see her and drooped in photos he couldn't, he decided to let it slide for now. He even lowered the amount of work he had to allow him time in his relationship.

In many ways, it was the same as it was before, none of them really noticed any changes between them apart from they now sat next to each other any chance they got. Alya and Nino were already joking about weddings on how lovely they all looked yet Annamarie kept out of it all, just enjoyed the happiness she had helped bring. Triple dates became quite regular but as the months went on, they turned into 'double plus one' dates as Adrian's work began to creep back up.

"Honeymoon's over." Alya sadly whispered on seeing Marinette walk over to them after another phone call.

Annamarie didn't say anything as she removed herself from Louie's arm and walked to her friend. "Mari? You alright?"

"He… he's not coming." She whispered, not willing to look at them. "Another shoot. Let's just go in."

As they did, Annamarie couldn't help but feel her anger growing. She had ditched a couple of dates before now but normally only because of Akumas and even then all of them had rearranged the meet ups. And if she couldn't make it because of ballet, at least Louie came with her so one of them wasn't left out. "This is the fourth time this month." she mumbled angrily to her boyfriend. "Someone needs to have words with that boy."

"Annamarie, you shouldn't…"

"Don't tell me not to get involved, Louie. Marinette and Adrian are happy together, they really care about each other. But he just… I'm going to talk to him tomorrow."

Her boyfriend sighed and hugged her a little. "Should I be jealous?"

"As if." She scoffed then went on to try and make the most of the day they had planned.


"I understand you're busy." Marinette confessed to her boyfriend as they stood in gym class, waiting for their go on the track. "Just… I don't know… I just would like a little more warning before you… cancel."

Adrian lowered his head. "I'm sorry Marinette, I don't know why but my dad's started dropping surprise shoots on me. I've tried to talk to him about it but he's been really distant recently. I guess he's distracted by something." He sighed and reached out for her cheek, lifting it up to look into her diamond eyes. "Look, I'll make it up to you. How about this; I know I have next Saturday off so I will tell my father and Natalia that under no circumstances am I to work that day. And then I will do anything you want me too."

"Anything~?" She cooed, flirting with everything she had.

She watched with glee as he turned a lovely shade of pink and looked away, rubbing the back of his neck. "Well, I would say I'd take you out to a five star restaurant but… I know you don't like being spoiled like that." He looked at her again. "I learnt that the hard way."

She smiled at him as she took hold of his free hand and held it loosely. "Yeah. But how about a day at mine playing video games?"

"Not very romantic."

"Yeah but I like to watch you lose." She teased. "And you did say 'anything'."

He smiled and moved closer, using the hand she was holding to pull her in, moving his palm to her side. "Yeah, I did." He tipped her head to the side, smirking as her cheeks turned a red similar to his own. "But I thought you'd rather do something a bit more like…" he pecked her lips to finish the statement.

She practically melted with him. "We could to that too."

Behind them, Annamarie rolled her eyes but smiled to herself. Adrian had actually made a date with his girlfriend without being prodded by any of the others. The boy was growing up before her eyes.


"Frou, will you please stop floating around." Annamarie sighed as she looked at the little blue bird. "What's gotten into you recently? You've been really… out of it."

The bird frowned at her. "Sorry. Something's on my mind."

"Want to talk about it?"

"It's a kwami thing."

Annamarie chuckled as she turned back to her homework. "Shame we don't know who the others are; you could go talk to them."

"Yeah. Shame."

The room was filled with the gentle scratch of the teen's pen as she worked before a familiar tone of 'you got a friend in me' rang out. Without even looking at the ID, the dancer opened the call. "Hey Mari, how's your date with Adrian going?"

"He's not here."

"What?"

"He… he cancelled."

The teen gripped her phone tight. "Where are you?"

"Home. Cleaning up."

"I'll be right over." She hung up the call and grabbed her coat and bag, Frou already flying into it to hide while Annamarie headed downstairs. "Going to Marinette's. Girl's emergency." She told her mother before fleeing out the door and running the short way from her house to the bakery.

She waved to the bakers in the shop before letting herself in to go upstairs; the Chengs trusted her enough for her not to require an escort into their home. As she got half way towards the top floor, she heard the door close below her and peeked down to see Alya taking the steps two at a time to catch up. "You heard?" She said when they got to the same step.

"Yeah. He cancelled again."

"I'm going to kill him."

"Get in line."

The two friends headed up the final steps and knocked on the front door, waiting anxiously for a while before Marinette opened it for them, her face red and raw from crying.

Alya instantly swept her in a hug, cooing over her distress while Annamarie walked inside and looked around. The house had clearly been set up for their day; a tray of snacks on the side, bottles of their favourite drinks and a small mountain of pillows ready for playing games by the TV.

The dancer turned and looked at her friend. "What happened?"

"I… I was just getting everything ready and…" She paused and swallowed, her eyes closed for a moment. "He… he texted me about half an hour ago saying he wasn't coming."

The golden brown eyes widened. "He text you? He didn't even call!" She snapped, anger sharp in her voice. "Oh, that boy is so dead!"

"Annamarie…"

She held up her hands, "No. I'm sorry Marinette, I've stayed out of this long enough. Someone needs to have words with that boy." She pointed at the dark haired girl. "I will not see you cry over a stupid boy."

The teen smiled weakly. "Annamarie, it's not worth it." She wiped her eyes. "Clearly Adrian and I just… weren't meant to be."

"Bullshit!" Alya snapped, making everyone look at her. "You two are couple of the millennia! He just doesn't know it."

Annamarie huffed, folding her arms. "Why isn't he here then? It better be a really good reason. Like 'someone died' level." Marinette didn't look at her, eyes closed. The other frowned at her. "Or an interview with a really hard to find reporter?" Still no eye contact. "A fitting for a fashion show tomorrow?" The dancer's voice was slowly getting more and more angry. When her friend still didn't look at her, she closed her hand into a fist. "A photo-shoot?" She whispered now.

A tiny nod, tears leaking.

The other girls looked at each other before Annamarie walked towards the door. "I'm going to kill him." She hissed. "Alya, stay with her." She mumbled, heading out the door.


Adrian forced himself to smile as he posed for the photographer, completing the requests of the directors before stopping to change for the next set, trying not to sigh as he did. Just as he left the stage, there was a loud bang and an even louder shout.

"AGRESTE!"

He flinched at the bellowing call as everyone turned to see the dark haired teenager storm over towards him. The gorilla quickly stepped between them to stop her from getting too close but the dancer just glanced between the large man and her target behind him. "Tell him to back off Agreste or I will punch you harder than I already plan on!"

Adrian gulped and walked over to the pair. "Umm, give us five?"

"You're going to need more than five minutes Agreste." Annamarie hissed dangerously as she grabbed his forearm tightly and dragged him away to a corner, roughly shoving him into the wall. "So, what the HELL ARE YOU THINKING! You are the biggest, stupidest most inconsiderate man I have ever met! You arrange a date with Marinette, without anyone's help and then CANCEL IT! For a god dam photo shoot! You have a wonderful, beautiful, amazing girlfriend and you BLOW HER OFF for a photo shoot that could be done tomorrow! How much of a blind moronic idiot can you be!"

He held out his hands as if to try and defend himself from his friend's words. "Annamarie you're making a scene."

She threw her arms into the air. "Of course I'm making a scene! If you're going to stay and pose for this… NOTHINGNESS then I want EVERY SINGLE PERSON HERE TO KNOW WHAT A BLOODY STUPID MORON THEY ARE WORKING WITH! YOU STOOD YOUR GIRLFRIEND UP FOR A PHOTO SHOOT ADRIAN! Why can't you understand how much you have hurt Marinette! I just came from her place. She was CRYING ADRAIN! You bloody stupid… IDIOT!" She stepped up right into his face, poking him on the chest. "And I'll tell you right now, you keep this up and one day you'll turn around and see her on the arm of some other man."

That made him stop and stiffen for a moment. "No. Mari loves me."

"I know she does! So why the hell are you here and not with her!" Annamarie continued to shout.

Adrian lowered his gaze. "I…I had to do what my father asked."

The room was silent. Clearly everyone was listening to them fight but couldn't bring themselves to stop. After a painful moment, Annamarie gave a loud huff. "Well then." She whispered, turning her back on him. "Be the daddy's boy I know you are. Meanwhile, I am going to take Marinette out for dinner and maybe a movie." She turned sharply back on him. "I will do the job of her INCONSIDERATE ASS HOLE OF A BOYFRIEND! And I'll tell you something else Agreste, I'M SENDING YOU THE BILL!" She turned to walk away before stopping. "Oh yeah, and one more thing." She moved as fast as lightning and forced her fist into his stomach, causing the young teen to buck forward clutching where he'd been punched, the wind knocked out and he fell to his knees, gasping for air.

Annamarie shook her hand out and turned away, leaving the studio as easily as she had entered it.


Alya sighed as Marinette finished off another bar of chocolate and curled up under a comfortable blanket, hiding herself from everyone. "Girl, you can't really think that you and Adrian are over?"

"He doesn't want to spend time with me Alya." The other sniffed. "He… he just… avoids me."

"Marinette…"

They were interrupted by the door opening and Annamarie walked in, clutching a bag of frozen peas to her hand as she did. "Hey." She said, walking over and sitting on her friend's other side.

The two eyed the odd accessory before Alya pointed at it. "Umm, what's with the peas?"

She gave a dry chuckle. "Ah. Turns out, I don't throw as good a punch as I thought." She pulled the peas back to reveal a light bruise across her knuckles. "That or Adrian has really rock hard abs."

Alya gasped. "You PUNCHED Adrian!"

"He disserved it." She said honestly. "Standing Marinette up like that. Anyway, now, both of you, get up, get yourselves sorted, we are going out."

"Out?"

"Yep. You were promised a date and since Mr stick-up-his-backside is busy, I will take you out." She gave her a smile and a wink. "And we are sending Adrian the bill. We will have a girl's day out. No boys allowed."

Marinette looked at her then smiled. "Alright. Sounds like a plan."


The trio of girls decided that Adrian-turned-Annamarie's date would be made up of manicures, buying a new dress each before going out to a very fancy restaurant and finished it off with a horse drawn ride around the city. It lifted their spirits and soon they were laughing and joking together, boys and phones forgotten.

The whole night came to a reasonable 350 Euros, not too much for Adrian but enough to make a dint in his finances. Even more when they went into school on Monday and found three large bunches of flowers on their desks, Marinette's being the largest but the gift message on Annamarie's was the best part.

'Please don't punch me again. It really hurt. A.'

The sender soon crept into the room and was met with folded arms and 'what-do-you-have-to-say' stares. He couldn't meet the glare and lowered his eyes. "I'm sorry guys. Really, I am. I hated what I put you through."

"Then…" Annamarie started before biting her tongue and stopping herself.

Marinette picked her question up. "Adrian, I know you have your work but you promised to book that day off. We all heard you. You said you would tell your dad not to book anything for that day."

"I know. And I did."

"Then why were you at a shoot?"

"He… dropped it on me." He reached out for her hands, holding them loosely. "I am sorry Marinette. Can you forgive me?"

She looked into his eyes and softened a little. "I… I don't…"

"Adrian." Annamarie interrupted, letting out a deep sigh. "When you father told you that you had a shoot, what did you do?"

"I… I told him no. I told him I had a date." He shook his head. "Natalia even confirmed I had told them both I wouldn't work on Saturday."

"And?"

He grabbed the life line she was throwing him. "And then he went into this long speech about disapproval and… expectations and… it was like talking to a brick wall. I had no choice. He just made me feel like… like… like nothing. I couldn't stand him talking to me like that. I… I agreed just to stop him from talking to me like that."

Marinette's eyes blinked. "So he… he emotionally blackmailed you?"

Adrian thought over the choice of words then nodded. "I guess he did."

"Oh Adrian." She cooed, leaning up and wrapping her arms around him, an action Adrian soon returned.

As the couple hugged, Alya leant towards her friend. "Psychiatrist Annamarie strikes again."

The teen sighed. "I just wish I could fix everything." She sighed and looked down at her bag. I wish you were here Sophia. She thought to herself. It should be you doing this, not me. But I promised I'd look after your son. And I will. Until you come back.

Chapter Text

Sitting on the edge of a roof, Ladybug stared hard at her yo-yo as she gripped it tight, thoughts and plans running wild in her mind.

"My Lady?"

She jumped to her feet at the sudden touch on her shoulder, ready for the attack but only to see two confused and concerned masked faces looking at her. "Oh, you're here."

"Have been for a couple of minutes. Chat was teasing me and calling me Peafowl again." She snapped, looking at the cat. "We only realised you weren't listening when you didn't break us up."

"Sorry, I've just been… distracted."

"How so?"

She sat back down and looked at her yo-yo. "I've been thinking about Hawk Moth and how we could… perhaps… capture him."

"What?" Chat said, sitting on one side while Peacock took the other. "How?"

"You know when an akumatised item is broken, the Akuma tries to fly away? Well… I think it returns to Hawk Moth."

"And?"

"We could follow it."

The two sat in silence. "Ladybug, if an Akuma escapes, it multiplies. Don't you remember Stoneheart?"

"Stone what?"

"Before your time Peacock." Ladybug explained. "Our first battle. But when the Akuma did multiply, the original must have gone back to Hawk Moth. How else did he control Ivor? So… if we let an Akuma escape, and follow it, we could find Hawk Moth."

The others sat in silent contemplation.

After a few minutes, Peacock let out a deep sigh. "We… we need to stop him, I know that, but is… is going to engage him the best course of action? You remember the last time."

"We won't be going in blind this time and he won't have the element of surprise on us. We will be ready and have a plan."

"What plan?" She snapped but more out of fear than anything else. "The last time…"

"The last time we weren't as strong as we are now. Last time we didn't have the training and skills we do now." Ladybug said just as sternly. "We… have grown."

"So has Hawk Moth."

"Peacock I understand that out of all of us you are the one scared about facing him but…"

"It's not that Ladybug. I have made peace with what he did to me." She paused and sighed. "But that's not what I mean. I think… I think we need to… understand something."

"What do you mean?"

She stared at her fan for a moment, running her fingers over the frills. "We can plan all we want. We can train and prepare ourselves until the cows come home. But we have to accept, if we go to fight him… we may have to take actions we don't want to."

The others frowned at her. "Peacock… you're not making much sense."

She lowered her head a little more. "We… have to accept the fact… we may have to kill him."

Ladybug gasped at her words. "What?"

"He's dangerous, Ladybug. Even worse, he's getting desperate. You must have noticed how… undefined the Akumas have been recently."

Chat nodded. "They used to have a purpose, their own drive. Now they just want to kill us."

"The last time, he knew he could beat us. He knew we weren't a threat. Now… he knows we are a match to him, if not better." She turned her golden brown eyes to the blue sky ones. "If we fight him now, he will not give in easily. He will fight to the end, his or ours."

"But why should that mean we have to kill him?"

"I never said we will have to kill him. I mean we have to be ready to, if we need to. If he won't give up, if he won't stop, we might have to make him." Her gaze turned back to the others.

Ladybug placed a finger to her lips, thinking. "It's hard to accept but… you're right. We need to be ready."

"My Lady…"

"Chat, remember when Peacock was… akumatised… we… were ready to… to do anything if that meant freeing her."

Peacock nodded. "I know. That certainty is what allowed you to undergo the change. You were willing to destroy me to save me. You made that commitment in your hearts. But this is different." She turned to them both. "Stopping Hawk Moth is not like stopping Feathers. You were doing that out of love. This… this is out of duty."

The others thought silently then Chat nodded. "We have to stop him. And while I don't want to take a life… if the choice has to be made… I will make it. For the good of Paris."

"As will I." Ladybug stated. "So, we have a plan. We allow the next Akuma to escape and follow it. We end this fight."

"This is still risky." Chat sighed. "But it's time to end this."


Adrian sat on the edge of his bed and stared at his ring, eyes narrow as he thought about what was about to happen. Plagg was oddly quiet as he sat on the side and watched his chosen. "You okay kid?" He asked at last in a rare sign of affection.

"Hawk Moth will attack soon…" he said firmly. "And when that day comes… we strike."

"Not having second thoughts now are you?"

"No. I want to end this war. I've had enough of fighting and I don't want anyone else to get hurt." He sighed and looked upwards. "I just… worry about the other side."

"What do you mean?"

"Well… I know we can win, we're stronger now and a better team and everything is a hundred times better than the last time we did this." He looked away. "But there is still that risk. That risk that something… will go wrong. That I… I might not come back."

Plagg paused and floated over to sit on top of his head. "Oh come on, don't think like that. You're gonna win, I know you will."

"I know but… Ladybug is right, we need to… prepare for the worst."

"How?"

"I… I'm gonna talk to my dad."

Plagg blinked and hung upside down from his hair. "And tell him what?"

"Just…" He paused. "I'll think of something."

The little black cat didn't say anything, just flew to his hiding place as Adrian began to walk out of his room, downstairs to his father's office. Natalia wasn't there so he walked right up to the door and knocked. "Father? It's Adrian. Can I speak to you?"

There was a mumble on the inside and not sure if it was permission to enter or not, Adrian pushed the door open a little and peaked inside. "Umm, hello? Father?"

Gabriel turned sharply from the window where he had been stood. "Adrian? What is it? I'm busy." He snapped, voice colder than normal.

Adrian almost retreated but instead lowered his head. "I… I just wanted to talk to you."

"What about?" The fashion designer huffed as he sat down and picked up some papers, looking over them. "I don't have time for this today."

Walking towards the desk, Adrian nodded a little. "I… I just… wanted to… to tell you that… that…" He trailed off, not sure how to say what he wanted to say.

His father finally moved his eyes from his eyes from the paper to the boy, glaring at him. "Adrian, I do not appreciate you wasting my time. I am very busy at the moment so unless it is vital, please leave."

Adrian stared for a moment but words failed him so he turned around and left the room, sighing to himself as he went. He had just made it back to his room when his phone went off and he looked to see his amazing girlfriend was calling him. He smiled at it, wondering how she always called when he needed a cheer up.

Their call was quick as they agreed to meet up at the park in five minutes. Adrian was able to easily get away, since no one was around to stop him from leaving. Marinette was already waiting for him and he smiled at her. "Hey Mari." he said, pecking her cheek and holding her hand. "How's your day been?"

"Not… too bad." She said, clearly distracted by something but decided not to show it on her face. "Yours? You sounded down on the phone."

He sagged a little. "I tried to talk to my dad and he… basically told me to get lost."

"Oh Adrian…"

"I wish I knew what was wrong. He's been so… different recently. I mean he's always been cold but… now it's like he doesn't care about anything, not even his company. Something is on his mind and he won't… share it with me or anyone."

Marinette didn't say anything for a bit, just watched him as he glared into the ground, a mix of anger and worry on his face. Finally he relaxed and gave her a smile. "Sorry, didn't mean to go off like that."

"It's alright." She smiled back. "But you know you can always talk to me about things like this."

"Yeah, I know."

They sat in silence for a bit, enjoying the sun and their company, thinking about their own thoughts. Adrian's drifted back to the reason why he had wanted to talk to his father in the first place and looked at his girlfriend. Should he fail in his fight with Hawk Moth… she would be left alone… never knowing what happened to him.

"Mari." He said at last. "You… you know you mean the world to me, right? And I'd never do something to intentionally hurt you. You… know that right?"

She turned and looked at him, smiling happily at him. "Yes, of course I do Adrian." She looked at him and her smile gradually fell. "Why? What's brought this up all of a sudden?"

He stared at her, feeling horrid that he'd clearly made her worry all of a sudden. But it was too late to turn back now, he had to say what he was feeling. "It's just… if I suddenly disappear… I… don't want you to worry about me." He looked at her and tried to show her that she didn't need to worry. "If I… I went away… I'd have so many regrets. All the things I'd never get to say, all the things we could never get to do… I'd miss it all. Not seeing your smiling face again, the way your eyes light up when you talk about something you like… so many little things." He sighed and held her hand tight. "Marinette what I'm trying to say is that I love you so much that… the idea of leaving you is too much to comprehend. I wouldn't want to leave you but… there may be a time when… I don't have a choice."

Marinette stared at him with tears in her eyes. Part of her wanted to ask why he was saying these things but another part knew she should be saying them back. The ultimate battle with Hawk Moth was quickly approaching and she might not walk away from it and ever see Adrian again. "Adrian… I want you to know… I love you too. No matter what happens I'll always love you." She gave him a sad smile and leant over to his cheek, kissing him and linking her fingers with him. "No matter what, you will… always be in my heart."

He pulled her closer to him, breathing in her love, holding her like a life line as he pressed his lips to her forehead and memorising her. This is what I'm fighting for. For you, Marinette. I'll win and come back, to you.


Running her fingers back and forth over the picture of herself and Sophia as they stood posing in front of Big Ben, Annamarie sighed deeply before looking up at her kwami as he munched on some grapes by the window. "Frou." She said at last. "When I gave Sophia the miraculous… do you know if she told Adrian who she was?"

The bird paused in his food and look at her, contemplating the question. "Yes." He said at last. "She told him she was his mother. But she didn't tell him who you are."

"I didn't expect her too." She confirmed with a smile. "Sophia would never give that kind of information."

"Why do you ask?"

"I was just thinking about perhaps going to see him as Peacock and talk to him, about his mother."

"Is that a good idea?"

"Probably not." she chuckled, walking over and picking the little bird up, nuzzling his head. "But… I want to."

With no complaint from the little bird, she transformed into her superhero self and headed off towards the Agreste home, stopping as she stood on the house across the road, looking at his bedroom window. Adrian was inside, she could see him, sat at his computer doing something but she was too far away to see what.

She stood for a minute contemplating what she would say to him and began to wonder if she should talk to him at all. He was her friend but only as Annamarie; she'd never interacted with him as Peacock. He was almost a stranger to Peacock.

She sighed, leaning on the wall and watched him as he sat at his computer. It was a little… weird watching him like this and she was worried someone would see her and cause rumours to start. Even more when she would be easy to spot since, unlike her partners, her outfit stuck out like a sore thumb in the darkness and could be spotted even in limited light.

Glancing back at the house, she suddenly became aware that Adrian had moved from him computer to the window and was looking at her directly from an open window. "Royal Peacock?" He called. "What-what are you doing here?"

Standing off the wall, she paused then looked around before at her friend. "Can I come over?" She asked, feeling a little stupid for such a request.

Luckily Adrian nodded and opened the window wider, letting her jump in and stand next to him.

They stared at each other for a bit and Annamarie smiled as she saw a little more of Sophia in his curious eyes and the 100 questions in them. "Thank you for letting me in." She said at last to break the silence. "I… I know this is a little unusual but I just wanted to talk to you."

"What about?" He asked instantly. Peacock's eyes moved quickly to the sofa near them and Adrian got the subtle message and held his hand out towards it. "Would you like to sit down?"

"Thank you." She said, sitting at one end while Adrian took the other.

Silence fell for a bit as Peacock placed her fan on the coffee table and Adrian waited. When it became clear she was struggling to start conversation he coughed slightly. "What did you want to talk about?"

Her whole body rose and fell with the sigh she let out and Peacock turned away. "I… I wanted to talk about… you and… and your mother."

His whole body went stiff at the mention of his mother. "You… know who she is?"

"Yes." She whispered. "She was my predecessor and gave me my miraculous. And you must swear never to tell anyone what I am about to tell you but… a few months ago, when I was akumatised, your mother helped saved me and took me to a place where I could heal." She turned and smiled at him. "She is a really close friend to me, has been for a while. She… she's like a second mother to me and helped me get over some very tough and dark things in my life. I owe her so much. Not just for my miraculous but for my life and everything I have in it."

Adrian blinked. He had known his mother knew Peacock behind her mask but he had no idea how close they had really been. He was a little jealous of her but part of him accepted it. He saw his mother in the teen before him and he felt close to her via Peacock. "Do you know where she is now?"

"Yes. But I can't tell you. It's not safe. For any of us. I hope you understand."

"Yeah, I know."

Peacock took a moment then nodded. "Adrian, the last time I saw Sophia, I promised her that I would look out for you."

"Y-you did?"

"Yes." She let out a breath and lowered her head to stare at her hands. "Being akumatised… it shook me up. It scared me and… for a short time… I didn't want to transform again. I… I wanted to give up and find a replacement for my miraculous. I… I didn't think I was strong enough… or worthy to carry on fighting with Ladybug and Chat. I… I failed them."

Adrian's jaw dropped. She'd never told them she had wanted to give up. Yes that she was scared and worried but never that she wanted to stop.

She didn't look at him so didn't see the shock on his face and, after a moment to get her thoughts together, continued. "But Sophia… your mother… I knew she couldn't come back to Paris as long as Hawk Moth was still around so… I carried on fighting. I made myself stronger and I made myself keep fighting. I didn't give up… for you and Sophia." She smiled a little. "I promised her I would stop Hawk Moth… so that one day she could come back to you." She paused and looked up at him with a sad smile. "You… you know she had to leave to protect you, don't you?"

Adrian, not trusting his voice anymore, nodded.

She nodded as well, looking down at her hands. "I have tried to keep my promise as best I can. But soon… we will find out if my hard work has been worth it."

"What do you mean?"

She smiled at him. "I can't tell you. But… if all goes to plan, you'll know soon."

Adrian blinked and realised what was going on. Just like he had made his peace with Marinette in case he didn't come back, Peacock was making her peace with him. His heart swelled at the idea that his partner's promise to his mother was so strong that she would come, in person, to say her 'goodbye'.

Boldly, he reached out and took hold of her hand. "Peacock… when this plan works out… you can come and tell me yourself what it means."

She forced herself to smile and held his hand back. "Sophia would be so proud of you Adrian. And you will see her again. I promise."

(LINE)

Class wasn't due to start for another 10 minutes but Annamarie had already been sat on the step for five minutes, staring intently at the small brown pendant around her neck and the oval sky blue stone in the middle.

"Hey, Annamarie." Yawned a voice from the bottom of the steeps.

Looking up at the unexpected call, the dancer smiled. "Oh, someone's early." She chuckled then looked down again. "Then again, I'm one to talk."

Marinette smiled as she walked up the steps toward the other and sat at her side. "Yeah, I have some class rep things to do before everyone arrives. Why are you here so early?"

"I've had a lot on my mind recently." She confessed. "I didn't want to stay home and think about it… so I came here and I still found myself thinking about it."

Looking up at the sky as they sat together, Marinette nodded. "Yeah, I know how you feel."

Doubt it. The peacock thought to herself with a smile before sighing. "I hate exams."

"Who doesn't?"

Annamarie didn't reply, she just reached up to her neck and fiddled with her necklace again. The unusual action caught Marinette's attention and she looked at her hand. "What's that you got there?"

Lowering her eyes to look at the Soul Stone, the dancer shrugged. "Just… a trinket from while I was away." She confessed. "It's kinda my lucky charm. Helps me focus. Silly I know but…"

"Lucky charms are never stupid." The young fashion designer stated. I should know. She mentally added with an amused chuckle. "Can I have a look?"

After a hesitant moment, wondering if she should let someone else touch the gift from the Kwami gods, Annamarie shrugged and took it off, holding the leather strap out towards her friend, placing it in her hand. Marinette was quick to look over the stone and its carvings, their shape and design similar to what she had seen in the Kwami book months ago but she didn't think much of it, it was only a pretty design after all. After a moment she looked at the stone itself and smiled. "It's beautiful, such a lovely shade of red!"

Annamarie's eyes narrowed. "Red?" She muttered to herself, looking over to see that the blue stone in the middle had turned a beautiful bright almost Ladybug type of red. She frowned at it, wondering what it could mean.

"I wish I could get a necklace like this." Her friend continued, turning the stone over in her fingers, watching the sun shine off the stone. "It's really pretty. You said you got it when you were away right?" The young fashion designer sighed.

Still staring at it and the wondering how it could have changed colour, Annamarie tried carefully not to show her confusion, barely even realised she'd been asked a question until she shook herself out of her thought and nodded. "Yeah… while I was… away." She held out her hand, silently asking for it back. "And it's one of a kind I'm afraid."

The dark haired handed it back with a small smile. "Oh well, you're really lucky to have been given something so beautiful."

She almost choked as felt a cold fear fill her, remembering why she'd been given the stone. "Believe me Marinette, I was not lucky to be given this." Almost as soon as she said it, her smile vanished and she put it back around her neck. She felt a shiver run up her spine at the memory. "You know I don't like talking about that time."

Marinette's eyes when wide as she realised, remembering how scared her friend had been back then, reaching out and taking hold of her hand. "Oh my gosh! Annamarie! I'm so sorry. I… I shouldn't have brought it up."

Holding her hand back, the other smiled and waved her hand towards her friend. "Don't worry about it. I… I'm getting used to talking about it." She sighed then turned away, lowering her head to her hands, picking up the Soul Stone and noticing it had turned blue once more. "I'm just… worried it might happen again."

"What? Why?"

She didn't reply. Just closed her hand around the stone before she stood up quickly and turned into the school. "I need to be alone." She said as she walked away was quickly to the bathroom. As soon as she was inside she closed the door and leant on it, letting out a deep breath.

Frouforu flew out from her bag and looked at her with a worried pout. "Are you alright Annamarie?"

She nodded slightly, sliding down the back of the door to the floor, hugging her knees. "I'll be fine. I just… need a moment. Thinking about that time… isn't easy." After a moment to get control of herself, she lifted her hand and looked at the stone once more. "Frou… why did the soul stone turn red when Marinette held it?"

The kwami blinked and hovered for a moment then looked away. "I have no idea."

His chosen frowned at him, getting the feeling he wasn't telling her something.


A few hours later, at the end of the day as the bell rang out, Marinette was quick to step over to her friend and take hold of her hand. "Hey, you alright now?" She asked, full of concern about their previous conversation.

The dancer sighed loudly. She was far from alright; the battle with Hawk Moth was looming closer and closer with each day that passed without an Akuma attack. But she couldn't tell anyone that. Instead she nodded and tried to smile. "Yeah." She whispered. "I'm fine. Just stressed. Sorry if I worried you."

"No it's okay." The fashionista replied as they walked out the room together. "Trust me you're not the only one."

With a small nod, the dancer looked up at her friend. "Thanks Marinette."

They walked in silence for a bit before Marinette reached down to her bag, biting her lip as she did. "Hey, um can I ask a favour?"

"Sure, anything. What is it?"

She paused, about to make her request when she noticed her friend was fiddling once more with her necklace. "Are you sure you're okay?" Marinette looked at the pendent and back up to its owner.

Tucking the pedant under her dress, Annamarie smiled. "I'm fine, honest. Just got a lot on my mind at the moment. What can I do for you?"

Marinette took a moment then pulled out a small white envelope from her bag. "I… I wanted to ask you to hold onto this for me."

"What is it?"

"It's a letter. But you can't open it unless… something happens to me, alright?"

Her friend stepped over to her and held her wrist with a panicked look in her eyes. "Mari, don't talk like that. Look, I know I upset you but I don't want you to worry about what happened to me. It won't happen to you, I promise. What happened to me could never happen to someone as brilliant as you." She said with a smile before looking back at the letter. "I don't need to have that Mari, honestly."

Marinette stared at her friend, glad for her protective positivity but she still held out her letter. "Please take it… for me? Just in case."

She frowned at her but looked at the letter, sighing as she nodded and removed it from her grip, putting it in her bag. "Alright. But if this is so important, why give it to me? Why not Alya?"

Quickly looking to see if her reporter friend was not in ear shot, Marinette looked slightly embarrassed. "Well, I know Alya and I trust her but… I know she would give into temptation too quickly. I know you have the patience to… to not look."

With a small smile, the dancer nodded. "Don't worry, I won't look. But… please, tell me, what's all this about?"

The other shook her head. "If you need to know, the letter will tell you everything. Otherwise, you don't need to know."

"Alright. But… you are scaring me a little."

"Sorry. I just… as you said, there is a lot on my mind at the moment." Marinette said and forced herself to smile. "Exams and all… you know. Just stuff."

Annamarie gave her a knowing, understanding look. "Yeah." She said, looking out the window. "Feels like… the end of a very long battle is coming."

"You have no idea." Marinette muttered to herself, looking out at the sun and sky as well.

Chapter Text

 

The next Akuma was only four days after they made the choice to end their war.

It was a gambling Akuma that tried to squash them under giant coin, the whole street filled with panic but finally they managed to get the two headed coin the Akuma butterfly had been hiding in, breaking it on the ground without using any of their special attacks so as the butterfly began to fly off, Ladybug looked at her comrades, flinching to keep herself from purifying it. “Ready?”

“Let’s go.” Peacock said, running after the bug, keeping a safe distance from it.

They kept close behind, watching it fly off, waiting for the moment it would try and multiply. However, any time it settled on a building and began to glow, ready to spread, the others would move in and it would fly off again. “If we keep it off the ground, it can't spread!” Ladybug realised, following it.

The bug continued to fly for a bit, leading the heroes around the city before heading towards a building all three of them knew and did not expect to be lead to. The Agreste mansion. They stopped on a nearby roof and stared at it, watching as the butterfly headed down a chimney. “We need to get in there. Now.” Ladybug said sharply, not noticing how Chat had stiffened.

Peacock did and looked at him. “Chat, keep it together.”

“This is the Agreste…”

“Yeah.” She mumbled, looking at it. “And I fear I know who it is.”

“What?” His eyes widened, turning to face her but her eyes were locked on the building. “You… know who Hawk Moth is?”

Her voice was quiet as she said the last words. “I really hope I'm wrong.”

“Just try and stick to the plan.” Ladybug ordered before jumping down to the mansion, getting in via her boyfriend's open bedroom window and into the house.

As they walked out of the room filled with every luxury a teenager could want and down the hallway towards the front door, only Peacock noticing that Chat was hanging back. She said nothing as they walked onwards, the place having an odd cold, haunted feeling to it, the lights dimmed and the air thick with a dark tension. They didn't speak, they just watched their step and moved silently. Finally they arrived at the top of the stairs and looked down to see a masked man with a butterfly on his fingers.

The three tensed as he stared at them but Hawk Moth seemed calm. “It's been a while, Ladybug.” He said as he squashed the Akuma in his hand. “You decided to finally face me again? And in my own home too.”

“We came to stop you.” The leader said, taking a step down the stairs.

He chuckled. “Please… we all know how this is going to end.”

“With you in prison.” Chat hissed, a sick feeling settling in his stomach having worked out what Peacock had.

The evil force frowned at him. “I beat you the last time. A new cape and a sword doesn't change that.” His eyes shifted onto Peacock and his smile grew. “And how good to see you again my dear Feathers.”

Her eyes narrowed on him. “I'm not your anything.”

“You know what? I won't akumatised you this time, Feathers. I'll just kill you. As I should have last time.”

“The only thing dying tonight is your reign of terror.”

“Do you rehearse these lines or something?” He chuckled then span his staff. “Well then, let’s just get this over with. I'm a busy man.”

At that moment, the trio burst forward towards the man, their fight filling the middle of the large room, the three of them lashing out with punches and attacks, the villain blocking most of them but every now and then they would manage a hit and he would stagger ever so slightly.

It was easy to tell that this time things were going to be different. It was clear in his eyes that he knew it, there was fear in his eyes. The heroes saw it and they pushed harder to take him out.

When Ladybug’s hand got very close to his miraculous, he blinked and kicked them away, turning and running for the front door, sprinting out and slamming it in their faces as he got to the other side. The trio followed as fast as they could but the doorway held them back for a few seconds and he got a far distance but Peacock simply flew ahead and cut him off, taking him on one on one until the others caught up, Chat coming in to help her, his sword blocking his cane before it could harm the bird.

Ladybug was close behind as always but kept back a bit when she spotted the police and public surrounding them, eyes wide in amazement at the fight between their heroes and the man that had caused them so much misery.

Now realising there was an audience, Hawk Moth suddenly smirked and turned on the spot, twisting the sword out of Chat’s hands and throwing it far from his reach, sending it skidding across the ground until it came to a stop.

Now disarmed, Chat ducked under a blow from the cane aimed for him but Peacock’s fan came up just before it collided and pushed it away, ducking under the next blow to get behind the mastermind, using the thicker edges of her fan to jab at his back and shoulder to try and disarm him in return. However, Hawk Moth held onto his weapon despite the blows and pain it caused him, turning on the spot to face her, his blind punch colliding with the wood of her fan but Peacock just closed it, thrusting it up under his arm and over his wrist before grabbed it from the other side and twisted sharply.

With a loud gasp of pain, Hawk Moth let go of his cane so he could escape the pin Peacock had on him, kicking her away but Ladybug had already gotten her yo-yo around his weapon and pull it away while Peacock recovered and narrowed her eyes as she lashed out stronger than before. With him disarmed, fighting the man was a lot easier, Hawk Moth just retreating over from her blows.

Peacock and Hawk Moth in combat, Ladybug looked at the male hero and nodded, holding her second shield yo-yo in her hand. “Time for a lift.” She said before running towards him, Chat taking out his baton and using it to push them up into the air.

The two of them didn’t notice their action then turned and dove like an arrow right for the fight. “PEACOCK! MOVE!” Ladybug shouted over the wind, making both of them look up.

The bird jumped away just in time as Ladybug threw her shield down at Hawk Moth's feet and the man was suddenly surrounded in the large red orb. He blinked in horror at the action and punched the wall but it bounced off, keeping him contained. The three heroes stood on the other side, eyes fierce on him. “You might be evil Hawk Moth but you're still a miraculous. You have limitations and you're time will be up before ours.”

He glared at them before continuing to try and break the shield. “I will not stop! I will never give up.”

“You've lost Gabriel!” Chat shouted suddenly, fighting back tears. “It's over.”

The others looked at him as Hawk Moth sneered. “It will never be over. You don't know anything Chat Noir! You don't know why I'm doing this!”

“All I know is that you have hurt so many people.” He shouted back. “You have hurt most of Paris in your search for power.”

“Just give up Mr Agreste.” Peacock said, stepping over to the shield containing him. “You have two options; hand over your miraculous willingly or we just wait until your time runs out. Either way, we win and you will be arrested for your crimes.” She nodded her head towards the police and civilians as they slowly came closer.

The dark masked man turned his eyes to everyone watching him then locked on the heroes. “You realise that my son will be left alone? I'm all the family he has.”

“Don't try that on us.” Chat hissed. “You are nothing like a father. You have ruined so many lives!”

The masked man's eyes narrowed on them before reaching up to his neck. “I should have killed you when I had the chance.” He growled, removing the broach and dropping it to the ground. A quick purplish light and there stood Gabriel Agreste. “Happy now?”

The heroes stared at him, each one with their own internal reasons for hating the man before them. Finally Ladybug stepped forwards and reached out for her shield, retracting it then quickly grabbed the man’s arms. “I’m glad that Paris will finally be free of you.” Her eyes turned to the police that were slowly approaching. “Take him away.”

The officer nodded, taking the famous designer by the shoulder and cuffed his hands.

As they went off, the heroes just stood and watched, staring after him, unable to believe it.

It was over. The battle won. They had finally won.

Chapter Text

It was over. The battle won. They had finally won.

klpThe three heroes stood in the middle of the open space, watching as the police took their arch enemy away in handcuffs. As he was finally taken from view, everything seemed to finally turn right as the full moon came out above them. They stood almost spell bound, unable to consider their next move, trying to wrap their heads around what had just happened.

It was Peacock who moved first, her steps slow, the heals of her boots making a soft 'click' as she moved towards the butterfly broach that had been dropped and left where it fell. She stared at it for a moment then slowly kneeling down and picking it up. "It's alright." She whispered to it as she brushed her thumb against the stone. "We will look after you. Just rest for now."

The broach glowed for a moment but then fell still and the blue hero stood up, holding it tight, staring at the ground then looked over at her comrades as they stared at her. With a small smile, she held the stone tight in one hand and opened her fan with the other and took to the sky, leaving the open streets for a secluded rooftop.

Chat and Ladybug arrived just behind her but still none of them could bring themselves to speak.

Peacock blinked as she looked at him and allowed herself a small smile, closing her eyes. "Feathers down."

The others gasped as a blue light swept up her body and left behind the young woman known in most of Paris as the youngest prima ballerina in Europe. She opened her eyes and gave them a comforting smile in silence. After a few seconds, Chat nodded. "Claws in."

"Spots off." Ladybug said at the same time.

A green and pink light flashed over them and Annamarie stared at them as their civilian forms became visible but as they did, a smile broke across her face. By the time they were done, she couldn't help it as she broke out laughing, long hard laughs, bending over and slapping her hand against her leg. "Oh… oh my… you… you must… must feel like IDIOTS!"

For the first time, Chat Noir and Ladybug looked at each other and shock covered their faces as they realised why she was laughing.

"M-Marinette!"

"Adrien?"

Annamarie was still howling with laughter. "All… all this time! It… it was you two!"

Marinette folded her arms across her chest. "Well it's not like you worked it out and you spend almost every day with us."

"Yeah. But I'm not DATING EACH OTHER!" She snickered, holding her sides from the laughing so much.

Adrien frowned, embarrassed enough he hadn't worked it out before and didn't need his comrade making fun of him as well. "Can I kill her now?" He asked.

His girlfriend nodded. "Yep."

The boy smirked at the permission and sprinted over, reaching to grab her but the laughing teen jumped away and began to run around the roof away from him with the cat in chase. "Ah! No! Don't kill me!" She called, still laughing before grabbing the untransformed Ladybug to use her as a human shield.

It didn't work as she got out of the way, enabling Adrien to grab hold of her in a head lock and nuggy her hair painfully. "This will teach you to laugh at us!" He chuckled.

"Ah! No! Stop! Adrien you're messing my hair up!"

He laughed and released her, watching her scowl and rub the top of her head, her hair sticking up above her, causing the others to laugh before she joined in, laughing at themselves before the brunette sighed. "You know, in all honesty, I'm glad it's you. You're my best friends and I can't think of anyone I'd rather fight beside."

They nodded in agreement and came together for a well needed hug but as they did, Annamarie sniggered and leant back a little, looking at the other woman. "Oh, hey, Marinette, does this mean you have a leather fetish?"

"Annamarie!"

She was already running but Adrien chased her only for a second and turned back to Marinette, walking over and grab her hand. "Wait… you know what this means?"

"What?"

He grinned. "I'm in love with Ladybug all over again!"

Chapter Text

Chapter 14 - Spring Dance

The final fight against Hawk Moth had been only a few weeks ago and Paris was enjoying the return of tranquillity, where they weren't running from giant robots or being zapped into photos every few days.

For five weeks there had been not a single Akuma however the miraculous were still seen every now and then, patrolling the city for more 'human' disturbances but it was noted on a lot of blogs that the three were certainly acting different. They had always been close but now they were almost playful, chasing each other around the roofs, just messing around together, any seriousness between them was gone. Then again, they deserved a break.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Agreste had been arrested and was awaiting trial for his crimes as Hawk Moth and Adrien had been put into Natalia's care since he had no other family. Annamarie had to really bite her lip not to tell him that she knew where his mother was when he broke down at the loss of his father.

The poor boy was flocked by more reporters and paparazzi than ever before, asking about his father but luckily he always had someone to protect or help him get away from them, a whole classroom of friends who looked out for him as well as a girlfriend that let him stay the night with her and her family whenever he wanted and Annamarie was always happy to transform and 'distract' anyone giving the boy trouble.

Gradually, as the weeks passed, the news moved on and Adrien was allowed to return to a normal life and one day, the whole school was abuzz with talk about one subject and the school had only just put the posters up.

A spring dance was going to be held at the end of the month, after the exams as a reward for the student's hard work. Annamarie, Marinette and Adrien were stood looking at one of the posters, the flora design and information clear. "Looks like fun." Marinette said after a bit.

Annamarie put a hand on her hip and smiled. "Well, could be worse." She told her partners.

"How?"

"They could have decided to have a masquerade instead."

Adrien gave her a quick playful punch in the arm. "Not funny."

"Was kinda." Came Plagg's voice from Annamarie's bag since it was her turn to host the 'Kwami's-hiding-place-during-school' Club.

Marinette nodded as well with a smile. "Imagine, everyone would be dressed as Ladybug, Chat or Peacock."

"That would be creepy." Annamarie laughed.

"So, you going to let me design your dress right Annamarie?"

The dancer shook her head. "Nar, I'm not gonna go."

"What? Why not?"

She shrugged. "Formal dances aren't really my thing."

"Ironic coming from a ballerina." Adrien huffed as they walked away from the poster.

"Yeah well… you two can go. I'll patrol the city that night."

Marinette frowned at her. "Oh so that's it. You don't want to miss patrol."

"Someone has to go." Peacock said with a shrug. "Might as well be me."

"Well, the dance will be going on all night. There will easily be plenty of time for us all to go on patrol and still make it for the dance." Marinette countered. "And let's put it this way; you don't go, we don't go. Right Adrien?"

"Right. It won't be any fun without you Anna."

"I hate it when you call me that." She mumbled. "And I hate it when you blackmail me."

"I don't care if it works."

She rolled her eyes and nodded. "Well you have me over a barrel and you know it. Fine. I'll go."

"Great! So, what colour dress would you like?"


"What? They are going with pink and green theme?" Chloe screeched.

"Yes." Sabrina informed her. "With wild flowers and a 'spring meadow' theme."

The mayor's daughter stomped her foot. "Errgh! Those decorators better know what they're doing! This night needs to be perfect!" She sighed then ran a hand back in her hair. "It's my chance to get Adrien back from that Mari-"

"Ahem."

The pair turned at the sound then gulped as they saw Annamarie standing behind them with an oddly natural face. Chloe let out a half confident laugh. "Annamarie. How… how long have you been there?"

"Only just turned up." She said, tipping her head to the side. "I came to ask what colour your dress for the dance is."

"What? Why?"

"It's been agreed by the girls in class that we are going to trade colours so we don't end up copying anyone. Rose is wearing pink and Juleka is wearing black. No real surprise there. Mylène is wearing a dark brown she said, Alix green and Alya is wearing purple. Oh and Marinette is making something dark red." She lifted her head up. "So, what colour are your dresses?"

Blinking, Chloe looked away and folded her arms. "White. White and gold. Sabrina's is orange."

"I'll let the others know." She said with a soft nod, turning away from her.

After a short, internal debate, Chloe swallowed. "Wait, Annamarie."

"Yes?"

The teen took a moment, looking down to the floor. "What about you?"

The dancer gave her a small smile. "Blue. Sky blue." With that, she turned aback and walked off.


The day of the dance finally arrived and the whole school spent most of the day buzzing with excitement to a point where most of the teachers gave up on any kind of academic lessons and just put films on.

When the school bell finally rang, everyone went off to get ready in their own ways. Most of the classes were getting ready together with friends and would regroup at the dance itself; Alya going off with Rose and Juleka while Nino went with Kim and Max.

Adrien, Marinette and Annamarie said they were going to get ready together and excused themselves from everyone else so they could 'make a grand entrance' but in truth once they got to a safe place, Adrien opened his bag for the kwami to get out and transformed them.

Splitting up, the three covered as much of Paris as they could in just an hour and a half and luckily the worst trouble they came across was a young boy who'd been separated from his mother. Ladybug soon found her and reunited the pair.

By 7:30 that evening, they returned to the bakery and headed inside to get changed, Adrien being shooed to the spare bedroom until the girls were suitably clothed.

Annamarie sighed happily as she span before the full length mirror and looked at her dress. "Marinette, this has got to be your best work yet." She said, running her hand over the soft silky fabric.

"I worked extra hard on it for you." Marinette explained as she finished putting her necklace on.

"I hope you didn't put mine before yours." The blue dressed woman said softly. "Although, from the look of it, I'd say you worked just as hard on that one."

Both their dresses were floor length and sleeveless but while Annamarie's had a rounded, jewelled neckline in a pale sky blue with a sparkling overlay, Marinette's had a sweetheart cut in the dark red and a pale pink panel down the front with a long dark flowing bow at the back.

They were both works of art that were completed with white elbow length gloves for Annamarie and wrist length red ones for Marinette. As they finished pulling the gloves on, there was a knock on the trap door. "Can I come in yet?" Adrien called from below.

Marinette smiled at it. "Yeah, alright."

The door opened and he stepped up, looking at them both and his jaw dropped. "Whoa." The girls couldn't help but giggle at his expression as he stumbled up the steps to them, wearing a dark green tuxedo, white shirt and matching tie, looking just as handsome as ever.

As he came in, Tikki, Plagg and Froufrou came in as well and Frou's let out a long whistle. "You girls look amazing!"

"Thank you Frou."

"Yeah, you look… alright." The black cat joined in.

Tikki gave him a nudge in the side. "You all look beautiful. I know you will have an amazing night! But you better get going or you'll miss the whole thing!"

The three nodded and walked down the stairs, heading for the road where Adrien's car had been waiting for them but Tom and Sabrina were waiting downstairs, taking several photos of the group before they were allowed to leave.

They sat in the back of the car and Marinette sighed. "You know, I hate to say it but… I just know Chloe is going to do something to ruin tonight."

Adrien sighed as he held her hand. "I know."

The dance chuckled. "Oh, don't worry about Chloe. I've got her covered."

The two turned to look at her. "What? What have you done Pea?"

She smirked and winked at them. "Nothing bad if that's what you are worried about."

They didn't look as if they believed her but they knew there was no point trying to find out what she was planning; their peacock could be remarkably stubborn on these things. The car ride was slow but finally they made their way to the school where the dance was being held, already in full swing with music and drinks and conversations but as the three made their late dramatic entrance, everyone turned to look as Adrien walked in with Annamarie on one arm and Marinette on the other, everyone soon hurried over to compliment them on their appearance, by far the best dresses in the whole school.

Annamarie was soon swept to the side by a man in a classic black tuxedo who held her tight. "Louie!"

The stranger smiled and winked at her. "You look stunning."

He was rewarded with a kiss but then her attention was taken by a lost looking brunette in a jacket and suit but once he saw her, his confusion vanished, hurrying over and hugging her. "Annamarie! There you are! Whoa, you look beautiful."

"I'm so glad you came."

"Well, when your baby cousin asks you to come to a formal school dance, who am I to deny her?" The other laughed, looking over her. "That is an amazing dress by the way, where did you get it?"

"Well, that's part of why I asked you to come here. Louie, I'll be back in a moment." She promised then pulled the other away and pointed to the side. "Now, you see that girl over there? The one in the red dress?"

"With the guy in green?"

"Yes them." She said with a nod as Adrien and Marinette began to dance. "She designed this dress for me and is a really close friend. So… now… do you see that girl over there?" She pointed across the room to a teen in white with a golden band around her waist.

The other blinked as he looked at who she was pointing at and his breath froze for a second. "Yeah."

"Knowing her, she is going to try and ruin the night for my friends." She turned to her cousin. "Think you can keep her distracted for me?"

"With pleasure." He said, already walking towards the blonde. She didn't notice him approach, too busy staring at Adrien as he and Marinette danced. The young man coughed. "Excuse me?" He said softly as he stood behind her.

Chloe scoffed as she turned. "What do you…" She paused as she took him in, his sharp face, his gentle brown eyes and his gentle soft brown hair. For a moment she forgot herself. "Umm… hi."

"Hello." He said back with a nervous smile. "Would… you like to dance?" He asked, holding out his hand towards her, just as slow romantic music began to play.

Chloe bit her lip and glanced between him and Adrien as he danced with Marinette. She finally gave the stranger her hand and walked to the dance floor with him, watching him place her hand on his shoulder and slowly waltzed onto the dance floor.

For a bit they just danced but then she frowned. "You… you look familiar. Have we met before?"

"I'm sure I would remember meeting someone as beautiful as you."

She blushed deeply and smiled, looking sideways at him. "But I'm sure I've seen you before. What's your name?"

"Tomas. Tomas Darso."

It took a moment but she finally remembered the name. "Tomas? Wait… do you know Annamarie?"

"Yes. I'm her cousin. I'm visiting for a week and she asked me to come here tonight. Now, enough talk about me. Tell me about you?"

They soon began to dance and talk as if they were the only people in the world.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Annamarie smiled, resting her head on Louie's shoulder while they also took part in the slow dance. A few dances later, she moved away to get a drink when someone touched her shoulder. "Annamarie?"

"Hey bugaboo." She teased, turning around. Everyone was too busy to catch the odd nickname but it still made her friend blush red. "What's up?"

"Who's that guy with Chloe?"

"My surprise." She explained, smirking as she took a sip of drink. "Tomas is in Paris with his mother for a few weeks, they are staying with us and I thought… well, he's single and attractive, he could keep her off our case."

Adrien glanced over the room and huffed with amusement. "He's keeping her more than 'off our case' Pea."

The girls looked just in time to see the blonde girl and brunette boy leaning on the wall in a deep embrace, lips pressed to each other's. Annamarie blinked. "Well… I'll be."

Adrien bumped her arm. "Done it again cupid."

"And I thought I was the love bug." Marinette mumbled. "Guess that will keep her off our case." She laughed suddenly then listened as a loud song began to play out and grabbed her partners for a dance.


Chapter Text

A few days had passed since the spring ball and everyone had gradually gone back to normal, even if Tomas had agreed to stay in Paris a bit longer than he had originally planned and spent almost every day with Chloe. The Mayor's daughter had even thanked Annamarie for introducing them and told Marinette she hoped she was happy with a 'second hand' boyfriend. They had a giggle at that but let it slide.

Soon, classes began again and the teachers began preparing them for the next year of their education. One afternoon, they were sat in class with a set of mathematical equations that had them all working hard. As Marinette turned over the paper to begin work on the back collection, she suddenly dropped her pen and let out the loudest scream she could manage, dropping her head to her hands and falling forwards to the desk, a splitting hard pain rushing over her whole body as she held her head but as suddenly as it had started, it stopped and she was able to take a few sharp deep breaths from the experience.

Slowly her mind came back to the room and realised Alya was looking at her with a terrified look on her face as she rubbed her back. "Girl, you alright now? What happened?" She asked.

Marinette took a moment, letting the spots in her eyes fade before trying to think of an answer. "I…"

"Adrien, dude, you look about ready to pass out. You not gonna, right?" Nino asked as he comforted the boy in front.

Worried for her boyfriend, Marinette moved forwards a little but that just made her feel queasy while it also alerted her to the fact that Annamarie was leant forwards with the teacher beside her, the madam's eyes darting between the three. "Are you three alright?"

"I… I feel sick." Marinette confessed, holding her stomach.

"Alya, Nino, take them to the nurse's room."

"Yes madam." The two said and moved to help the trio.

Legs shaking, they slowly made their way out of the classroom, the fresh air helping revive them a little. As they walked, Annamarie suddenly grabbed a railing. "Nino, could… could you get me some water please?"

"Sure. I'll be right back."

Catching on, Marinette turned to Alya. "Alya, I have some painkillers in my bag, could you go back and get it for me?"

Alya nodded and helped them all sit down at a bench. "Alright, don't move."

Once she was done, the others all looked at each other. "You heard that?" Annamarie asked in a pale whisper of a voice.

"Like someone screaming inside my head? Yeah, I heard it." Adrien confessed, rubbing his forehead.

"Same for me. Don't you think it's odd that only we heard it? The three Miraculous holders?"

"Shush, Alya's coming. Look, just pretend to be sick, they should send us home then we can talk."

Agreed, the three put on their best 'sick as death warmed up' acts which wasn't a complete act for them. The Nurse took one look at them and sent for their parents.

Since Annamarie's mother was busy at work and Natalia was trying to manage Gabriel's trial, the Dupain-Cheng took the sick kids in. It worked to their advantage as they were able to sit in Marinette's room and after promising to call if anything happened, they were left alone. Soon the three kwami came out from Adrien's bag, all of them looking unusually worried. Tikki's normal red looked almost pink in contrast. "This is bad." She said with a shake of her head as she began pacing. "This is really, really really bad."

Froufrou gulped. "I… I can't believe this is happening."

"I don't WANT to believe it." Plagg snapped. "This shouldn't be!"

"What shouldn't be?" Adrien asked, his fears made worse by the fact the magical beings were worried too.

The three looked at each other before Tikki frowned. "That sound… it was the seal."

Annamarie, the only one who knew what 'the seal' was, gulped loudly. "Why? What's happened?"

"I don't know but we need to find out. We have to get to the temple as soon as possible."

"That's a three day journey!" Annamarie gasped suddenly. "We can't just get up and vanish for three whole days Tikki."

The kwami looked at each other again before Tikki began to draw a circle with her foot. "Actually… it doesn't have to be."

"What do you mean?"

"Well… there might be a way for us to get you to the temple quickly."

"Really?"

"How?"

"Well…" Froufrou joined in. "It's not easy…"

"'Not easy' he says." Plagg scoffed. "It's downright dangerous."

"What is it?"

"We could… teleport you."

The three humans were silent for a moment. "Teleport?" Marinette finally said.

Tikki nodded. "Yeah. You know how we can phase though solid items?" She said, passing through a photo frame to prove her point. "Well, we can do that to you and go through the earth."

"Is it safe?"

Plagg laughed. "As safe as sticking your head in a hungry lion's mouth! One wrong move and you could rematerialize inside a tree or rock and then 'bye bye'."

"But…" Tikki interrupted before the heroes could faint. "You three have undergone The Change and your own strength will help keep you safe. And we have the advantage of Annamarie knowing where we're going. So while it's still risky… we can do it."

"We would understand if you don't want to." Froufrou said, the middle ground between the optimistic Tikki and the pessimistic Plagg.

After a silent moment and a shared unspoken look, Marinette nodded. "Danger or not, something has happened and it's our duty as miraculous to find out what. We don't have time to go the long way so the three of us will take the risk."

"Agreed." Adrien said with a nod.

"I'm in. So what do you need?"

Tikki smiled at the trio. "You will need to transform and get somewhere high."

"Why high?"

"However high you are on this side is as high as you will be on the other side."

"Less chance of becoming very personal with a rock." Plagg groaned, arms crossed.

"So we will arrive mid-air?"

"Most likely yes."

Annamarie nodded. "Don't worry, we will find somewhere to land. I know those mountains, I went on quite a few walks around them while I was there."

"That's the other thing." Tikki said. "We can guide you to where you want to go but Annamarie knows where you want to be. Her direction and memories will be a strong compass and we will arrive closer with her leading the way."

"As for you two…" Plagg explained, flying over to Marinette and Adrien. "You can't think about anything when we do this. It will be hard enough pulling you alone without you thinking of home or something. So don't think about anything. Shouldn't be too hard for you Adrien."

His chosen shot him a dirty look but the others ignored him. Marinette nodded with determination. "Right so; will the Eifel tower be high enough?"

"More than."

"So we get to the top of there, Annamarie thinks about the temple and Adrien and I don't think about anything. Anything else?"

"Yeah, hold hands and shut your eyes." The black cat added. "Don't want to lose one of you on the way. Also, for the record, I don't like this plan."

"Noted." Adrien said, standing up. "So, how we going to get out of here?"

"We'll tell my mom we feel better and are going out for a walk down to the park." Marinette said before putting on a pouting face. "I hate lying to them but this is important."

Annamarie nodded. "Come on, we need to hurry."

Having explained the situation to Sabrina, the group made their way out and to a quite spot where they transformed and headed off to the peak of the iconic tower. Once at the peak, Peacock let out a deep breath and looked around. "You guys ready?"

Ladybug shook her head slightly with a smile. "Don't think I'll ever be. But we have to do this."

Chat held out his hands and they stood in a circle, eyes closed as they concentrated on their appropriate tasks. Peacock thought about every memory she had of the temple and focused on it, feeling a strange energy flowing in and out of her from her hands and a prickling sensation that coursed over any exposed skin and over her eye lids.

It built up slowly over the next few seconds before she felt the metal below her vanish and gravity began to pull downwards. Chat and Ladybug let go of her hands as they were pulled down away from her, suddenly falling through the air, looking down on a large building below them, screaming in fear as they did. Peacock quickly opened up her fan to its guilder form and swooped down to her friends, catching them on the back and protecting them as they crashed roughly into the ground, the others being thrown across the floor. It was a rough landing for all of them but it was better than crashing at high speed.

After a moment to get her senses back, Peacock groaned as she stood up and looked around the courtyard they had landed in and her jaw dropped. "No." She whispered, turning on the spot quickly as she looked around. The temple was a disaster zone, trees uprooted, the path she once walked was now upturned and deep gashes were cut into the dirt. The wood that acted as windows of the temple had been shattered and there was even a large chunk missing off one of the walls.

Ladybug and Chat looked around as well in horror, looking at what appeared to be a warzone around them.

Peacock gulped again and broke out into a run, her transformation falling around her as she ran, not waiting for the others or to even try and explain what she was doing, just ran as fast as she could down the remains of the path towards a smaller building. The black and gold doors that once marked the entry were blown open, the gold one hanging barely off one hinge while the black lay on the ground a few meters from the entry, a small trickle of smoke coming from inside.

Annamarie ran towards it and inside. "Niji! Dawa!" She shouted, looking around the room that was in as much a state as the outside, the tables were upturned with their content thrown over the floor, the candles knocked over and had created a small fire on the far side the room. The pillows that had once covered the ground were now shredded into tatters and there were deep gashes on the walls.

"Niji!" Annamarie shouted again as she looked around the room. "Dawa!"

"Annamarie! Over here!" Frou shouted from the other side of the room. The trio ran to his voice where a large table had been thrown and was trapping two adults.

The girl grabbed the wood and pushed against it, her friends instantly moving in to help her and they managed to get it away from the pair, Annamarie hurrying to the man and kneeling at his side, reaching for his neck. "Niji? Niji can you hear me?"

He gave a low groan, eyes slowly opening. "Anna…marie?"

"You're alive." she sighed with relief. "I was so worried."

He gave her a smile. "Takes a lot to kill us Annamarie." He said then winced as he tried to sit up.

The peacock quickly moved to help him, looking over her shoulder to see Marinette helping the blonde woman to sit up as well. "What happened?" She whimpered. "What… what are you three doing here?"

"We heard this scream Dawa." Annamarie explained, helping Niji stand. "We knew something was wrong so came to help."

Niji slowly stood away from Annamarie on his own and looked around as Adrien came back from putting out the fires, glancing over the room before settling his eyes on the seal on the far wall.

The others all looked and allowed their mouths to open a bit; the colours of the seal all drained away to leave only outlines where they had once been while several long cracks splintered out from a now black crystal in the middle.

Annamarie let out a sigh. "You should have seen it before." She whispered to her friends. "It was beautiful. But… how did this happen?"

"It just… broke earlier today." Niji explained. "It's been weakening for days but we thought we had it under control." He sighed, limping over to a table and looking under it, picking up a small box before throwing it angrily against the wall. "He took it!" He shouted over the box disintegrating.

"He?" Marinette asked. "Who's he? What's he taken?"

"Shenfa." Niji growled out with a depressed sigh. "He's taken the butterfly."

Annamarie felt cold as she took a deep sharp breath then glanced at her confused comrades. "Shenfa is the force the miraculous and kwami were created to defeat. He's the original darkness. I read about him when I was here last. But… how did he escape? He's been trapped for thousands of years."

Dawa groaned as she managed to sit down. "The balance of the world has been equal between good and evil for thousands of years; there has always been some kind of evil for the miraculous to defeat. But with three of you active and at the second level of your powers, the scale has tipped too far for good. That… must have weakened the seal and gave him a way out."

The group were silent for a bit. "So how do we get him back in the seal?" Adrien asked confidently.

Nothing was said on the matter.

Guessing they didn't have an answer, Annamarie turned away and changed the subject. "Hey, where are the acolytes?"

"They went down to the vault." Niji explained, turning away. "They would have been safe down there."

"I will go and get them. Adrien, stay here and look after them. Mari, give me a hand? Those doors are quite heavy. Tikki, you and the others stay here. I'm sure you need to talk without us."

Once out of the room, Annamarie sighed. "Marinette, I didn't want to say anything in front of Adrien but… you will have to be careful now."

"What do you mean?"

She glanced over at her. "You are the chosen of the Kwami of creation while Shenfa is a creature of destruction. And not to mention you are the leader of all miraculous. You are the one he will come after since you are his opposite."

"But isn't Chat Noir destruction?"

The other teenager shook her head softly. "No, Chat is independence and freedom. His power is destructive but that's just a side effect of 'freedom'." She smiled at her. "If we have time, I will see if I can show you the library. Maybe Niji will let me borrow one of the books. That would explain it a lot better than I could."

Her friend looked around. "I can see why you didn't want to leave here now."

Annamarie quickly stopped walking and grabbed her arm. "Mari, I wanted to come back. As amazing and beautiful as this place is, it's not home. My home is where you and Adrien are. Be that Paris or England or Timbuktu! My place is with you. Honestly, if I had to pick between being with my family and you, I would pick being with you two every time. I waited six months here, waiting for the moment I was strong enough to come home." She let her go and stepped back. "Yes, my time here was good, I learnt a lot and became stronger but that didn't stop the fact that I wanted to leave."

Marinette sighed softly. "I'm sorry, I know you wanted to come home." She stepped over and hugged her friend tight. "It must have been hard."

She shrugged and held her back. "Something tells me the hard part is just about to start."

Chapter Text

 

After the acolytes had been released from the vault and had set to work trying to repair their home, the heroes regrouped in front of the seal and began to talk. At first, the conversation was mainly on what had happened, how the seal had broken and the fight that had happened between the masters. Then it was talk about how they were going to get home, to which Niji explained they had a quick and risk free way to travel by using mirrors, almost creating a passageway between certain locations.

This had then lead to Adrien asking how they could use such power without a miraculous which in turn meant Annamarie had to explain that she hadn't told them about who, or what, Niji and Dawa were as she didn't think it was her place.

The masters appreciated her thoughtfulness but decided to forget the normal tests of worthiness and revealed themselves as the Sun and Moon Kwami.

"So, if you two are the most powerful kwami ever… why don't you just go after Shenfa?" Adrien asked, a little shocked by this new higher tier of knowledge.

Niji shook his head. "Our powers do not work against Shenfa. We do not have the humanity to defeat him."

"Why do you need humanity?" Marinette now questioned.

The gods didn't reply for a while and when they did it was without meeting the miraculous' gaze. "That is not something to talk about now. Our problem at this moment will be finding a way to stop Shenfa."

"He will be weak, having just escaped." Dawa added. "But if he is weak, he will hide from us."

"Indeed."

"So if we can find him while he's hiding, maybe we can get him sealed back away?" Adrien offered.

"The seal is destroyed Adrien." Plagg groaned from his shoulder. "I don't even think we could make a new seal."

"It was just an idea Plagg."

Niji smiled at the pair then looked towards his wife. "Shenfa will undoubtedly be drawn towards the miraculous. He will try and take control of them like he has the butterfly."

"Then the others…" Annamarie came forward with. "They will be in danger?"

"Yes. The fox and the bee are currently dormant but the turtle is with a chosen guardian."

Adrien suddenly blinked at the new developments. "Well where is it? We can protect them. Maybe get them to fight beside us."

The moon swami shook her head. "The current Turtle can't fight, he's too old." She moved her eyes to Annamarie. "He is our contact in Paris."

"The one who got my letter?" She chuckled lightly. "So that's how you did it."

"Indeed."

"So… with all of the miraculous based in Paris, Shenfa will find his way there." Niji said, eyes firm and set. "You three must return there and prepare for whatever may come. Be careful and vigilant. This is a whole new danger you will be facing."


Gabriel sighed as he sat in his cell and looked out the window, hands behind his back and contemplating his next move. Being in solitary confinement gave him a lot of time to think and plan, already designing a whole years' worth of clothes, should he ever be allowed to send them to his company.

"Hello there, Mr Agreste."

He turned at the voice and looked to see a young man stood on the other side of his cell, dressed fully in black and his skin had an unusual pale greyish tint to it. "Who are you?"

"You disappoint me." He said, stepping over and brushing some of his own black hair off his face, revealing a dark tattoo over his right eye. "But I guess I should thank you. After all, your… corruption of the 5th stone is what released me; gave me a crack to push until it broke and I was freed."

Gabriel looked him up and down. "Freed?"

"You've been to the temple. You even stole one of the books. I know you have, I felt your presence there."

The realisation shot into his eyes. "Shenfa."

"In the flesh. So to speak." He chuckled and vanished into black smoke before reappearing on the other side of the bars.

The other staggered away into the far wall. "What do you want?"

"The same thing I wanted millennia ago." He said casually with a shrug. "The destruction of this planet and every living thing on it."

"And… what do you want from me?"

"Those that call themselves Ladybug, Chat Noir and Royal Peacock." His dark red eyes narrowed at their names. "They are shielded from my sight. Who are they?"

"I don't know."

The demon growled. "You hunted them for years and you don't know?"

"If I did, I would have taken their powers when in civilian form." He snapped back, defending himself. "All I was ever able to learn was they have strong connections to the school in the centre of Paris."

"I see." Shenfa mumbled, glaring at him.

Gabriel took a moment then nodded. "But… perhaps together we can find out and stop them."

The eyes locked with his and he held up a hand, revealing the small purple broach shaped like a butterfly. "You think I would work with you? After this?"

"The miraculous?"

"Yes."

"What about it?"

"Your simple, selfish… attempt at evil may have intimidated the humans but it is a poor mockery of my powers." He scoffed slightly. "You didn't even tap into the full power of the miraculous. In other words you are weak."

The designer stiffened. "I am not."

"You are human and therefore you are weak!" The other growled out, closing his hand around the miraculous. "But you see, it took all seven miraculous to seal me away before and it will take all seven to do so again." He tightened his grip on the stone. "I won't let that happen."

"What has this to do with me?"

"You are a chosen. I admit, you 'chose' yourself but that does not matter to magic. You wielded the butterfly miraculous and therefore are linked to it until a new chosen is found." His eyes narrowed on the old man. "Which means, even without this brooch, you can help stop me." He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, opening his palm to look at the stone. "And as long as I have the miraculous, 5th stone will not be able to find a new chosen after you are gone."

Gabriel took a sharp breath, not out of what was said but as a throbbing pain shot into his body, as if an invisible rod had passed into his heart. His breath became cold and he staggered forwards, collapsing to his knees, one hand over his heart as he fell forwards to the ground.

Shenfa stared at him for a moment as he landed face first on the floor and lay still on the ground. Slowly he smirked and chuckled. "Now nothing can stop me." He whispered then vanished into the air.


The three friends couldn't help but laugh as they walked into the Agreste mansion, continuing to joke about their trip to Tibet and how fast they had returned. Stepping into a mirror and suddenly finding themselves in a little Chinese Shop had been quite an experience, even more as they had a quick conversation with Master Fu who hadn't been expecting the visit.

But as they entered the grand white building, there was an unsettling feeling in the air.

They stopped where they were as they saw Nathalie waiting for them by the staircase, her normal expressionless face shallow and slightly saddened. "Adrien… you're back."

"Nathalie." He said, stepping forwards. "What… what's going on?" He looked around. "Why are all the curtains closed? Why aren't the lights on?"

His father's assistant, and his legal guardian, took a deep breath. "Adrien… it… it's your father."

The room suddenly felt even colder. "What about him?"

"The… the prison called… while you were out." She gulped and stepped over to him. "They… they said he had a… a heart attack."

Adrien opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. He only just registered Annamarie taking hold of his shoulder and Marinette his hand but his eyes were locked on Natalie.

Eyes to the ground, she shook her head once. "He didn't make it."

The blonde took a short deep breath then collapsed forward into the woman's chest, holding onto her as his tears began to fall. After a moment to understand what was happening, Natalia gave a rare moment of compassion and hugged him before feeling two others move in and hold the boy around her. Adrien took a moment just to cry but then turned to his girlfriend, burying his head in her neck while his hand clutched tight around Annamarie's.

Marinette was also crying by then as she cooed and held him, feeling him lean on her, depending on her strength. Annamarie however held his hand from a step behind then frowned. "Marinette, take him to his room." She said firmly as she stepped over and patted her friend on the shoulder. "I'll be back soon."

"Where are you going?"

"To make a call." She said, already walking towards the door and touching her bag.


As instructed, Marinette took Adrien to his room and set him on the bed, curling up with him as he cried, offering her support. When he stopped crying, she stayed still and let him hold her until he was able to talk, whispering to each other secrets, dreams and regrets.

It was just before dawn and they were still awake, in the dark as neither wanted to get up so they could turn on a light. Suddenly, a light did turn on and they sat up to see their ally walking in from the unlocked window. Adrien sniffed as he looked at her. "Annamarie? Where… where have you been?"

She blinked and walked over, letting her transformation go. "Sorry I was so long. It was a long flight."

"What?" Marinette said with a confused look. "Where did you go?"

"Home."

"Home?"

"England." Annamarie sighed as she brushed her hair back with her hand.

The other two stood up quickly at her words. "What? You flew all the way? To England?"

"Most of the way. Got the tunnel from Callis." She sighed, standing next to them. "Then had to do a bit of flying in England and then had to come back… it was… exhausting."

"But… why?"

She looked at them then nodded towards the door. "Go downstairs."

Confused, the pair walked towards the door and headed downstairs, the hallway lit dimly but that just made the light coming from behind the door to Gabriel's office all the brighter. The trio walked down and Adrien pushed the door open, looking inside to see what was going on.

On the far wall, the only colour in the room was the golden painting of his mother and stood before it… was the model herself. She smiled sweetly at him but her red face showed how much she had been crying and as her eyes met her son's, they began to swell up once more. "Adrien."

The boy gulped then broke out into a run, his legs failing him at the last moment but his mother caught him and held him close. "Mom… mom." He whimpered, breaking down into tears again, inhaling the smell around her. Marinette was his love and life but his mother was that and so much more and here she was, before him, as herself, holding him tight.

Behind them, Marinette shook her head as she looked at the dancer who was smiling proudly. "I don't… how?"

"Who do you think gave me my miraculous?" She asked back before heading over. "Sophia was my friend in England, saved my life and she was the previous Peacock. And she was the one who helped you save me when I was akumatised. I never said anything for your own good. To protect both of them."

"Don't be angry with her Adrien." Sophia said with a sigh. "I asked her not to tell you."

"Why?"

"Because I… I had reason to believe that Gabriel was Hawk Moth. But I was knew for sure that Hawk Moth knew that I had the peacock miraculous." She stared at him for a moment. "When I left, I made a horrible… horrible choice. When I… I left the country to protect the miraculous… I could have taken you with me. We could have… we could have gone anywhere. But…" She stopped, voice cracking and tears in her eyes. "But I chose to leave you. I chose… to let you stay here… knowing Gabriel wouldn't leave you to follow me."

The office was silent as everyone took in what was being said. Even Annamarie was shocked by what she was hearing.

Adrien finally opened his mouth to speak. "So… you… you used me? To keep him here?"

"It was the only way."

"You left me! For years! Alone! Do you have any idea how… how cold and bitter he became when you left?"

"I'm sorry." She sobbed, covering her mouth with her hand. "I'm so… so sorry Adrien. I hated it. I hated what I did. But you have to understand, being a chosen… it… it means making sacrifices."

"Like your own family? Do these… stupid pieces of jewellery mean more than me? Your son?"

"Yes." She said softly. "Yes Adrien, they do. And you know they do."

The blonde boy didn't say anything for a bit, knowing deep down that she was right but accepting it was too painful so instead he stood shuffling and twitching. Sophia sighed again, tears falling down her beautiful face. "Adrien, I know that nothing I say will ever make what I did right. That we will never get back the time we lost together…"

"Why now?" He interrupted. "Why come back now? Gabriel has been imprisoned for months so… why come back now?" He huffed a little. "I can understand staying away when Hawk Moth was around; you don't have your powers to protect yourself anymore. But… when he was defeated? Why not come back?" He looked at his mother with a sharpness in his eyes. "Surely you knew Hawk Moth was defeated? If you didn't know because of the news then surely Annamarie told you?"

The older woman blinked as she looked away. "I was… I was ashamed. I was ashamed of what I did to you. And coming back… it hard before… when I came to save Annamarie. But… the idea of coming back… permanently… it meant facing what I did. And I wasn't sure I was ready. I didn't think I ever would be."

"So why did you?"

She turned and looked at him. "Because I still love you. And we need to be together in this time. I just hope you can forgive me."

At the side of the room, Annamarie and Marinette just looked at each other, unsure if they should say anything. After a long pause, Adrien let out a breath and walked over, hugging her tight. "Mom, no matter why you did it, I could never hold that against you. You're my mother and your right, I know the burden of wearing a miraculous."

"It doesn't excuse my actions." She sighed, holding him close. "But I swear, I will make them up to you and I will never, ever, leave you again. I love you Adrien."

Chapter Text

He was unseen, invisible to the people around, just a shadow on the wall. They weren't astute enough to see him, these simple minded humans. But as he stood and observed them, he couldn't help but admire their diversity and numbers. When he was free before there had been two, maybe three kinds of humans; the rich, the poor and those in the middle. All of them stupid, petty and not worth a seconds thought.

Now there were the smart, the unintelligent, the bold, the weak, the everyday, the stand out, the tourists, the locals… so many different types of people.

All of them still stupid, petty and not worth a seconds thought but as he stood there, watching them all, he began to plot and wonder. His visit to Gabriel Agreste had drained him of what little power he had, reducing him to an incorporeal form so he'd have to get some strength back before he could do anything else. But how?

He glanced around the train station he had decided to visit and saw a poster on the wall.

'Welcome to Paris! Home of Ladybug, Chat Noir and Royal Peacock! It's been '8''3' days since the last Akuma attack!'

The numbers were on a flip chart almost as a joke but it gave him an idea. Hawk Moth's Akumas might have been weak but they certainly did the job. They drew the enemy out and for Shenfa, they would be an excellent power source if he could harness it. He lifted his hand and looked at it as a dark red glow pulsed across his palm. "Should be just enough." He whispered to himself, not that anyone would hear him. "But I can't waste it. I need the right target…"

He stopped, looking across the station as a man in a two piece business suit came pushing past a loud of people with a massive map and a book as they stood in the middle of the path. He growled at them and hurried on in a brisk walk, straitening his tie as he went. "Dam tourists. Always taking up the platform and making me late for work. And always on the day I have a business meeting. Stupid, good for nothing little pests."

Shenfa smiled as he followed the man, watching him moan and mumble about the sightseers and visitors to the city, being pushed and knocked around by them all over the place. The entity following him grinned before slowly reaching out and placed his hand on his shoulder, pushing in the dark red light. "Why not get rid of them?" He whispered in his ear.

The man froze and lifted his head up from the ground. "What?" He asked the voice in his head.

"Get rid of them. Make Paris a place for business workers. Like yourself."

He smiled and tipped his head to the side. "Yes… a place for business. With no more annoying tourists… where we can work in peace."

The dark force behind him smiled, pushing the power deeper and manipulating it to his will. "Then make it so."

Suddenly the power was pushed back, rejected. "But… how? How can I? I… I'm just a man."

Shenfa growled to himself, not willing to let the chance go and pushed harder, thinking fast. "You won't. Accept my power and… Business Man will do the rest!"

The power was quickly reabsorbed and the man smiled. "Yes… yes, Business Man will. I… Business Man will free Paris of Tourists!"

The dark evil force almost laughed as the power was accepted and the man was absorbed in a dark red haze before leaving a slightly taller bolder man in a black suit and tie who was quick to get to work. So, naming them makes them accept? Interesting. Let's see how this plays out?


Peacock landed quickly on the roof with the others and looked down on the creature below, a man in a normal black suit with white shirt and black tie, throwing papers from the brief case folder at any tourist he saw, transforming them into smartly dressed, serious workers. The hero shook her head. "Please tell me I'm not seeing what I think I'm seeing."

"An Akuma? Sorry but yes."

Chat let out a small whimper. "But… how? We… we defeated Hawk Moth… how can there…"

"We will figure that out later." Ladybug said pulling him out of the past. "We need to concentrate on saving everyone."

"Yes… yes, of course." Chat Noir sighed before getting into the fight, the group jumping down to street level and stood before him. "Hey, don't you know all work and no play makes a dull boy?" He joked.

The Akuma glared at them. "You three… you three are the reason there are so many tourists!"

"Not our fault if we are the only super heroes in Paris." Chat chuckled before jumping up to avoid the papers that were thrown at him for his remarks.

Ladybug was already analysing their opponent, looking for where his Akuma may have been hiding while Chat kept him busy and Peacock backed him up, her feather blades pinning papers to the wall of floor. As she came down from a jump to Ladybug, she glanced at her friend. "Ideas?"

"The brief case. All the papers are coming from it and it appears to be the source of his power."

"Right. Let's try and get it." Chat said as he came over but then quickly split up as the transforming papers flew towards them, Peacock quick spread out her fan to its fullest to block them.

Ladybug nodded as her friends distracted the Akuma and she got up high on the roofs, bobbing her head to Chat who did the same in return with his trade mark grin. "Hey! Business Man! You do know Akumas like you are just as famous as we are right?" He gave a large fake laugh. "You're part of the tour now!"

Business Man growled, lifting up his briefcase towards them, aiming to bring it down on them but as it was raised higher, a wire wrapped around it, trying to pull it away. The Akuma growled and grabbed the wire, pulling hard on it. "You and your children's toys!"

Ladybug was suddenly pulled into the air and flying towards a building but Peacock swooped in to her rescue, catching her on the back of her guilder. "You okay?"

"This guy is a lot stronger than he looks." The spotted masked hero said as they landed. "I think we need some help here." She said, holding her yo-yo tight. "Lucky Charm!"

Into her hand fell a red and black spotted small fountain pen and all three heroes looked at it in confusion. "Well…" Chat said as he held up his sword, papers skewered upon it. "We have plenty of paper. You could write him a strongly worded complaint?"

Peacock gave him an unimpressed look then turned back to Business Man, keeping out of his way. "You can figure it out Ladybug, we'll keep this guy busy. Come on kitty." She said, charging back to the battle, swinging out for the Akuma's legs.

Chat also joined in but the Akuma was just a too fast, dodging each attack with ease, throwing paper after paper at them, the two cutting them or batting them away. Ladybug watched them for a bit but then turned to the pen as her spots vision kicked in. The pen, the Akuma's shirt and the briefcase were all highlighted. She stood, frowning and wondering how she could make it work.

The idea suddenly hit and she pulled the top and bottom off the pen, revealing the ink inside it and the vial that it was contained within. She ran as fast as he could towards the Akuma, smiling at her plan, slipping and sliding under his attacks before swinging her yo-yo around and taking off into the air above his head, throwing the ink vial right at his chest. The glass broke easily and thick black ink burst out over his clean white shirt.

Business Man gasped as he saw the ink seep into his shirt before throwing his hands up in the air. "NO! How dare you! Do you have any idea how much this shirt cost!" He groaned, putting his case under his arm while getting a handkerchief to try and clean the mess that had been made.

As soon as he did, Chat was at the ready, swinging his sword down on it, knocking it both out of his grasp and slicing it in half. The trio smiled as they looked at the remains, waiting for the butterfly to fly away. But as the seconds passed, nothing happened.

Ladybug stared in amazement. "W-Where's the Akuma?"

At that moment, Business Man lashed out for them again, making them back off from the attack, caught slightly off guard by the ferocity of the Akuma.

Business man glared at them and grabbed his case again, his touch repairing it. "You irritating little children! You don't know the how much a good suitcase costs!"

"I don't get it! I was sure the Akuma was in the case." Ladybug gasped as she backed away once more, shield up to protect herself.

"We must have gotten it wrong." Chat guessed as they jumped away from another attack.

Ladybug frowned as she looked at the Akuma, heading for them. "Split up. If you see anything, take it out!"

They did as suggested, splitting up over the street to try and find the weakness. Peacock used her guilder to get above and round the Akuma, looking over him from behind where she noticed something out of place on his shoulder. She frowned and landed on a lamp post, looking at what she'd seen. It was small but it was black and as she watched it, it almost pulsed, like a heartbeat was within it, clinging to his suit.

She bit her lip and took a chance, opening her fan up and sliding one of her sharp feathers up, ready to throw it. When he stood up straight from an attack, she flicked her hand out and the sharp blade flew over and sliced between the suit and whatever this thing was. It came away cleanly from the Akuma but he continued to fight, as if not knowing it was gone.

Peacock frowned as she landed and walked over to what had fallen, looking at it carefully. It was about the size of a chicken egg, jet black and covered with overlapping scales had an almost reddish tint to them. She frowned and slowly picked it up off the ground before suddenly dropping it, clutching her hand as something burnt up her arm, causing her to fall backwards and lie still.

"Peacock!" Chat shouted, running over to her and lifting her up to his arms. "Peacock, what…"

"Akuma…" She gasped, pointing with her other hand to the egg on the ground. "P-pure-purify it."

"But… Akumas are butterflies."

She gasped loudly and held her hand tight again. "Trust me. And don't touch it!"

He nodded then looked around. "Alright, but first, you need to get somewhere safe." He quickly jumped up to a nearby building and placed her slowly on the roof. "Will you be alright?"

"Don't worry about me." She said with a weak smile. "It hurts but I'm alright. Go help Mari and get that Akuma."

Chat nodded then leapt back to the battle below, looking at the black egg on the ground. "Ladybug!" He shouted, running over to her. "My Lady, you need to get that egg on the ground over there."

"What?" She said, lifting her shield up to protect herself. "What egg?"

"That one! There on the ground. Peacock says it's the Akuma."

Ladybug looked where he pointed then nodded. "Alright. I trust Peacock." She jumped away from the Business Man while Chat moved in to keep him busy and Ladybug opened up her yo-yo, observing that its light appeared to be a little redder than normal but she smiled and span it. "No more evil doing for you little Akuma." She shouted, throwing it out and watching as the egg was captured and pulled back to her hands before opening it up again.

Normally a white butterfly would be released but all that left the open device now was a small trail of fine dark red dust that seemed to sparkle like glitter as it was swept up into the air and dissipated. Once it had, she grabbed the lucky charm from where it had been abandoned once proving to be useless and threw it up into the air. "Miraculous Ladybug!"

The ladybugs soon got to work, restoring those who had been hit by the Akuma's power and transforming the man back to his previous form, which in comparison, wasn't too different from his Akuma form just with a different coloured tie.

As the cure continued to work, Chat glanced up at the roof of one building and frowned when the ladybugs were almost repulsed by the area, unable to get too close. As they faded away, he pulled his staff out from his side and pushed it into the ground to vault up to the air. "Peacock?"

Peacock was on the floor where he'd left her, taking slow deep breaths. "Chat."

"I thought you were alright!" He gasped, moving to her side and picking up her arm, turning it over and gulping. The palm of her glove was jet black and it was spreading out over her hand and wrist like a sickened star, originating from the centre of her palm. "Annamarie…" He whispered, holding her wrist tight.

"What happened?" Ladybug gasped as she joined them and looked at the mark.

Peacock chuckled dryly. "I picked that thing up. That's how I knew it was an Akuma. I mean… nothing else could be that evil."

"We need to get her help."

"Adrien…" The blue hero said softly. "My transformation is going to wear off soon."

"It's alright, we'll get you out of here before it does." The blonde slowly moved to her other side and picked her up like a bride. "Honestly Feathers, why are you always the one getting stuck like this?"

She gave a weak smile. "Sorry. But better me than you two."

He said nothing, just carried her to the nearby alleyway where the three were able to release their transformations. Adrien and Marinette were fine, as were the Kwami that quickly hid in Marinette's bag together but on releasing her power, Annamarie bit back a scream and clutched her arm as Adrien held her. The others looked to see what was wrong and instantly saw the long dark black ink like mark going up her arm, visibly spreading before their eyes.

Marinette shook her head. "We have to get her to Master Fu. He'll know what to do."

"Lead the way." Adrien nodded as they began to run.

A few people in the street were worried about seeing the two in such a hurry and carrying a third but they were too quick to be stopped and asked questions. Marinette soon arrived at the doors of a little meditation centre she'd been to before and opened the door. The receptionist looked at them confused but Marinette soon began talking about having to see Fu at once while Adrien put his cargo down and took a few deep breaths. "You're not as light as you look Pea." He teased as he got his breath back.

Annamarie quickly gave his shin a kick. "My arm's busted, not my legs."

"They why didn't you walk?" He taunted back and watched as she set her face stubbornly and pushed up on her good arm but as soon as she was upright, her body caved under the pain and she fell forwards, Adrien hurrying to catch her. "Sorry, that was too far. You keep still."

She took a few painful gasps as Marinette came out with the old Chinese man they knew as Master Fu. He knelt near the teen's hand and looked down at her palm before nodding. "Bring her in. I need some tools."

"Don't… like the sound of that." She confessed as Adrien lifted her again and carried her inside, lying her down on a long mat. Once the door was closed, the kwami flew out and were greeted by the fourth of their kind who flew around to see the black mark on Peacock's hand.

He turned and hurried over to the others. "Tikki, what happened?"

"She picked up a Guaimite Seed." The red bug explained.

Marinette looked at the group. "A what?"

"I will explain in a bit." Fu said as he set a few things down beside Annamarie. "For now, I need to get the stinger out. Annamarie, this is going to hurt but you have to bear it. Understand?"

She nodded and reached her good hand out for her friend, Marinette grabbing it and squeezing her hand tight. Master Fu lifted his eyes to Adrien. "Adrien, can you keep her arm still for me? She is going to move and if this stinger breaks, the pain will be excruciating. You must hold her still." Fu said as he lifted a thin long pair of tweezers and took them to a candle he had burning, holding them over it until the tip was a bright white hot.

The green eyed boy glanced at his friend as she lay beside him then nodded. "Ready?"

"As I'll ever be." She confessed and turned her head away.

Adrien took a deep breath before pressing down on her arm, securing it. "Ready."

Fu nodded then turned the tweezers from the flame right onto her hand, aiming for the centre of the star. Instantly she tried to close her hand into a fist but the kwami jumped into action, each one grabbing a finger and holding it down with all their strength.

Peacock screamed in pain and squeezed Marinette's hand until she was worried about breaking it but the pain was too much to bare alone. Adrien kept pressing down on her arm, stopping her convulsing thrashes from moving her as Fu slowly began to pull something out of her hand.

Gradually, little by little, a thin black needle like splinter came from her hand until, with a little tug, it came out completely, revealing itself to be an inch long, jet black with a little hook on the end which made Fu sigh as he held it up for inspection. "There. It's out. And it's whole, thank goodness."

"That was in her hand!" Adrien gasped as he looked at it.

"Yes. You can let go of her now. Annamarie, how do you feel?"

Relaxing back against the floor, she groaned and flexed her hand. "Much better."

"I'm glad. If you feel able, can you sit up? I need to bandage your hand."

"So… what even is that thing?" Marinette asked as she helped her friend sit up and supported her as Fu began to wrap a bandage on her palm.

The old man sighed. "It's a Guaimite spike. Very dangerous. Deadly, if left in for too long. The pain they cause is excruciating. It was a slow painful way to die." He glanced up at the worried looking teen. "Don't worry, with the spike is out, you will be fine in a few days."

"But, it came from that egg?"

"A Guaimite seed, yes. It's their defence mechanism to stop someone destroying it." Wayzz explained. "You see, Guaimite are a kind of food for Shenfa as they convert anger and hate into a power he can use."

Tikki sighed. "They are the original Akuma but I thought they had died out when the seal was formed."

"Guess Shen still had a few when he was sealed." Plagg groaned. "Dam it, I always hated those things. Nasty leaches."

Marinette frowned. "Leaches? It was an egg."

Plagg shook his head. "The seeds are useless to Shenfa. They have to hatch into a full-on Guaimite. And once a Guaimite has hatched, it begins to draw on the host's anger or betrayal or… whatever they are feeling. An egg can stay attached for days, weeks even, feeding off every negative moment from its host before it hatches."

"When it is full, it falls off and goes to find its master." Froufrou explained. "And it leaves an egg in its place, starting the cycle again."

"Wait…" Annamarie said as she flexed her fingers. "So, when I found that egg on Business Man…"

"It was because the original had fallen off. Yes."

"So that means Shenfa has a power source."

"Yes, but one mite won't keep him going for long. He will make another. He'll have to."

"So the Akumas are back." Marinette sighed. "So much for normality."

Chapter Text

Ladybug let out a deep breath as she watched the ambulance drive away while Peacock came running over. "It's not serious." She explained. "Mild concussion. I healed her as best as I could but they still want to take her to the hospital."

"Can't blame them." Chat shrugged. "Your healing thing is still new."

"Chat, Pea, I think we need to talk to Paris." Ladybug said after a small pause.

"What do you mean?"

A bleep interrupted them and Ladybug touched her ear. "Tell you in a bit. We need to get out of here. Meet back at my place?"

The others nodded then hurried off in their own directions but only to fool anyone who was watching them; their destination was the same, changing back and heading into the house above the bakery, Adrien and Annamarie only lightly knocking as they entered the room. "Hey?"

"Hey guys. Cheese and grapes are over there." Marinette explained and smiled as the kwami headed off to their normal plate.

Sitting down on the sofa, Annamarie sighed. "So, what you want to talk about?"

"Shenfa."

Adrien took his normal spot, leaning on the desk. "What about him?"

"Well… needless to say, his Akumas are stronger."

"Yeah, the guy making them is the ultimate of evils." Annamarie explained with a sigh. "And according to Niji, he's still regaining his powers."

"We can beat him Annamarie, you know we can." Adrien held her knee comfortingly. "We defeated Hawk Moth. We can defeat Shenfa too."

"But it's not us I'm worried about." Marinette sighed. "It's Paris. They are used to Akumas where the worst that could happen would be a transformation and a head ache. Hawk Moth targeted us and left most of Paris alone. These new ones… they… they are hurting people. We need to tell people what is going on."

The group were silent for a moment, the only sound being the kwami eating behind them before Adrien nodded. "You're right. We need to tell them."

"I agree. But… how?" Annamarie wondered aloud.

Their leader turned to the side. "Tikki, once you guys are recharged, we'll go to the mayor, arrange a press conference and tell everyone who Shenfa is and what he's doing."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Plagg said after swallowing a mouthful of cheese. "I mean, that's like an open invite for attack."

"We need to." Annamarie stated to them. "We swore to protect Paris but we need Paris to protect itself as well."

"And if we can warn people about Shenfa, about how he works then perhaps they can keep an eye out for any… unusual behaviour." Adrien agreed. "It's our duty to the city."

"Think about it. Shenfa has been released for three months and he's already sent five people to the hospital." Marinette explained. "We fought Hawk Moth for over two years and in that time his Akumas sent three people for medical help. Shenfa is far more dangerous."

Tikki looked at the others then nodded. "You are right. It's not fair for us to keep this from the people."

(LINE)

"And that's why the Akumas have returned." Ladybug finished off, looking into the cameras. "This original force the miraculous were created to destroy has returned and is out for revenge. But it won't stop us from defeating him. We will find a way to stop him once again so Paris and the world will be safe."

"We appreciate everyone in Paris doing their best to help us." Peacock added with a smile. "So reporting any sudden changes in behaviour or attitude will be of great help to us as it might be the indication of a Guaimite."

"The police have already agreed to set up a help line to report any possible mites." Chat continued. "But please remember, if you see a Guaimite, do not engage it. They are dangerous and their touch is deadly."

"Thank you, everyone for your help in this situation. We will do everything to help and protect you." Ladybug stated. "And please, be safe. This is not Hawk Moth we are dealing with anymore. But something far older and much more dangerous."


"'But something far older and much more dangerous.' That was Ladybug earlier today as she and the other miraculous gave their first official press conference on the recent return of the Akumas. Since then the police have set up the helpline for any reports of the Guaimites. More coming up in a bit. Now…"

Shenfa smirked to himself, floating in front of the TV in a shop window, watching the report. He couldn't help but be impressed by the heroes telling the world about him. In many of the wars between good and evil, the fight had been silent but these heroes were telling everyone about him.

It just made him more determined to find them. If he could just find them in their civilian forms, destroying them would be so much easier. Not much of a fair play but he didn't care about playing fair; he only wanted to destroy the miraculous.

His attention was drawn by a pair of teens laughing as they walked past the shop and heading towards the school. Hawk Moth had deduced that the miraculous were connected to that school but that still left a lot of possible holders. He needed a way to observe them closer.

He looked at his hands and smiled, realising his strength was growing with each passing day and mite that he formed. He could do it even if the idea made him feel sick.

Carefully he began to concentrate his powers inwards, forming a shell around himself, making it solid, ensuring it was the right shape and size for what he needed.

Once finished, he looked at himself in the refection, glad of the outcome and stepped out into the street, looking over towards the school. Now he would find them and destroy them.


"Everyone, we have a new student joining us today. This is En." Madam Bustier said as she stood beside the tall dark haired tanned boy in a red hoodie and ripped dark jeans. "I know you will all look after him. En, do you want to say a few words?"

He smiled but it looked slightly twisted. "Yes, I just want to say; I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you very well."

"Thank you for that. Now, would you like to take a seat at the back of the room, En."

As he nodded and walked towards the back, he stopped on hearing someone snigger. "Yes? Did something I say amuse you?"

Chloe, the one who had sniggered turned to him. "Just wondered what kind of name 'En' is."

He narrowed his eyes on her. "It's my name."

"Well it's stupid."

En's hand closed into a fist but before he could summon the power to punish the blonde, someone else stood up. "Chloe, leave him alone. He's not from Paris so your name probably sounds funny to him. So drop it, alright?"

"Well said Marinette." Bustier explained. "Now, if you would take your seat En?"

Slightly started, the teen turned to look at the dark haired girl who was smiling at him. "Go on En, best sit down."

He blinked then did so; beside Marinette, forcing her to move up closer to Alya and Annamarie.

Madam Bustier frowned. "En, those benches are not meant to hold four people."

"Then the others will have to move." He said, looking up at the teacher, summoning the power to corrupt her mind.

For a second, the madam opened her mouth to argue but then nodded. "Yes. Annamarie, Alya, you will move to the back."

"But Madam Bustier!" Alya complained.

The dancer shook her head. "Alya, it's just for today. Go on. We'll catch up in lunch." Annamarie quickly took hold of her shoulder and pulled her away. "Come on. We're holding class up."

As the pair moved to the back, En leant forward. "Marinette right?"

"Yes."

"Nice to meet you." He smiled as his eyes roamed her face. "I'm quite new to Paris. Perhaps after class you could show me around."

Marinette smiled and nodded. "Yes, of course. I've lived in Paris my whole life so if you need a guide, I'm your girl."

His smile grew larger. "Good."

On the row before them, Adrien turned in his chair and shot the new boy a dark jealous look but swallowed his tongue and turned back to his class.


His first morning as a student went relatively well and painless in his opinion, even if most of the time he was bored out of his mind, entertaining himself by using his powers to influence Madam Bustier into punishing the other students, hoping to make them angry and perfect bait for his mites.

But that still left him with an issue of the humans and requiring new names to become mites. With a pad of paper he had taken from the library, he ended up writing down every name he could think of that might work but it was a lot harder than he thought.

En ripped the page out in frustration at yet another unsuccessful attempt at the name for his newest creation. 'How in hells breath did that worm Hawk Moth managed to create them AND name them right out of his head?' He thought furiously. 'Beginning to wish I'd kept the old man alive, he could do the naming for me! Why do these humans have to insist on having a new name for my Guaimites to take hold? They were never this picky in my day.'

"Hey En, what you doing?"

He looked up to see Marinette before him with a smile. He returned it and covered the page with his arm. "Ah, nothing much. Just… writing down ideas."

"Oh? What for? Can I see?" He bit his tongue at how cute she looked and slowly turned the page around. Her eyes scanned it and she giggled. "Whoa, these are really good. What you going to use them for?"

"Oh… just… stuff. Kinda… inspired by those Akumas. Thought… it would be fun to make some up." He bluffed. "To… make them less scary."

Marinette nodded. "That's a great idea En. I know the Akumas are scary but if you can make fun of them then that's great." She laughed. "I always thought a dentist themed Akuma would be funny."

He smiled. "Like… Sweet Tooth?"

"Yeah!" She laughed. "So how you settling into Paris?

"It's a big city, one of the biggest I have ever seen." He said, leaning back. "And I have seen a few."

Sitting down opposite him, the teen nodded. "You travel a lot?"

"When I was younger." He chuckled. "I saw most of the world… in all its… glory." He smiled, thinking back on when he crossed the world creating war and death. "Good times."

"I wouldn't mind travelling. When I'm older. As a fashion designer."

"You're a designer?" En asked, leaning forwards in honest interest. "You make clothes?"

"I try at least." She held up her small clutch purse where Tiki normally hid but was currently with Adrien and the others. "I made this bag."

Staring at it, he couldn't help but feel a sensation of disgust in its sight, scowling.

Seeing his expression, Marinette lowered the bag and frowned. "Sorry… I know it's not… the best…"

"No, no, it's great!" Shen gasped putting his hands up in surrender. "It's really amazing! It's just… I've got a lot on my mind at the moment. Having just moved and all. Sorry, I didn't mean… to upset you."

The frown slowly turned back to a smile. "It's alright. Well, I'll leave you to it." She said, standing up.

The fake man frowned as he watched her walk away then looked back at his paper, hoping of thinking up a new idea.

Chapter Text

Every few days, a new Akuma would come crashing around Paris, sometimes transforming others to do their bidding but mostly just attacking anyone they came across. Ladybug and the others were holding their own but where before battles would take less than 5 minutes to defeat, the new ones took ten or twenty minutes.

It was getting hard to beat them.

The three heroes knew they were struggling, each battle getting more difficult. And worse, closer together. With Hawk Moth, weeks could pass without a single fight however, with Shenfa it was just two or three days, if they were lucky.

Hiding out in the class room, Shenfa felt his powers growing with each day and the miraculous were struggling to defeat his mites before they dropped so he was getting plenty of food. It made him smile with glee as the stronger he got, the easier it would be to find the miraculous. As he stood in the courtyard, listening to the class talk about their nothingness, he looked them over, trying to narrow down who it was but his power was still being rejected, pushed back. He could be standing right next to a miraculous and not know it.

If there was one or more of them here, he didn't know, he just knew they were close. He just needed a mite to form close to the school, then he could narrow down his suspects. His gaze turned to the students, searching for someone he could target before spotting a dark haired girl standing at the edge of a large conversation with her peers; opening her mouth to speak before being cut off. He could feel the frustration and disappointment ebbing from her as she was continuously ignored.

He grinned slightly before looking around to ensure no one was near him then left an empty shell of his school form and floated over to her, listening to the conversation.

It appeared to be about two rival bands and how one was better than the other, everyone in the circle having an opinion and not afraid to voice it. Apart from Juleka who just stood at the side, opening her mouth to speak before being cut off by someone else.

Shenfa smirked as he got a little closer to her and pressed his hand to her wrist, pushing in his power to her. Shame isn't it? That they won't let you speak?

She blinked, looking back at who was speaking but there was nothing she could see. The darkness smiled to himself and pushed on. They know you are shy, they know you don't speak up... and they don't give you a chance. What a pity, don't you think?

She nodded a little to the voice. "Yes."

He pushed the power a bit more. You should make them listen to you. You should make your voice heard. He thought about the girl, what power he wanted to give her. If you accept my power, Screamer will do the work.

Juleka lifted her head and nodded. "Yes." She said, loud enough that everyone turned to her. "Yes, I accept."

"Juleka? What are you-AH!" Rose screamed as she watched a red smoke sweep up her friend from her feet, transforming her in just a second.

Her skin was now a pale purple and her hair a bright red with purple streaks in it, her body dressed in a sleeveless jumpsuit with three lines running up from her legs and down her centre, coming to a stop at her mouth.

The Akuma chuckled softly. "You wouldn't listen to me before. Well, you will now!" She shouted, visible waves of sound suddenly coming from her mouth and those around her putting their hands over their ears to protect them from the pain it was causing them.

It stopped after a few seconds but the whole group were on their knees, holding their heads as the ringing continued in their ears. Screamer grinned at her work and stepped out over the courtyard, looking at everyone that had seen the attack, smirking before opening her voice and letting out another wave, glass of the windows shattering from the blast.

Shenfa couldn't help but smile as he watched her work, returning to his shell to run and play the part of a 'scared student', making notes of every student he saw running past him. Anyone running away was struck off his suspect list since a hero would run towards the danger.

Of course, he could only see some of the students, there were other escape routes but it wiped off a large collection of the school.

Suddenly, he was forced down to the floor by a wave of sound colliding with his back, bending over in pain. He cursed himself for making this form so sensitive and human like, now caught in an attack by his own creation. It didn't hurt as much as it would for a full human but it still made him unable to move from pain.

Seconds passed and he finally was able to move, glancing back to see why the scream had stopped and snarled in disgust at the power the three heroes were emitting, burning against him like a flame. He hurried away from them as fast as his feet could carry him, paying even more attention to those he saw now than before. Once far enough away, he lost his appearance as En and travelled back to watch the battle against Screamer, invisible to all.

In the time it had taken him to lose his form and return, the three heroes had split up, trying to keep away from the Akuma and her powerful attacks. Chat Noir was shaking his head and rubbing his ears, probably having taken a full blast and Ladybug was rubbing his back comfortingly, while Peacock was flying around the mite, narrowly avoiding the sound waves as they were shot towards her.

She dropped her flyer and skidded on the ground, charging forwards and tackling Screamer, the two of them going back and forth on the floor, Peacock keeping a hand over the other's mouth to stop any sounds while searching for the mite on her. Shenfa frowned as he saw they were getting the upper hand and decided to interfere, flying over to the blue hero and placed his hand on her back.

Peacock screamed at the feeling on her back, as if someone had pressed a red hot coal to her back, the pain making her loosen her grip on Screamer who then twisted her arm away and let out a powerful blast right at the hero but luckily Ladybug pulled her away before it could deafen her friend.

Shenfa growled, holding his hand as he did. As much as it had hurt the blue to be in contact with him, it had hurt him just as much. Retreating away, he watched Screamer get back on her feet and start another attack, the three running away to avoid her but he did notice Peacock was limping a bit.

Ladybug said something to her and Peacock's face scrunched up as she snapped something back. He was sure the red was telling her to back off, typical of her 'care more for others' attitude that sickened the darkness so much. And blue was too stubborn to accept when she was hurt, pushing on. He huffed as he watched the battle, amazed how each miraculous was so similar to those he had seen previously, when he had been locked away in the seal.

The memory of that time burned him from the inside and he swore he'd make them pay for what they did to him. He would make them all pay.

His attention was dawn back to the battle when he felt a burst of power fly up against him, the feeling so light and sweet that it made him want to throw up as red called on her lucky charm power. It was perhaps the most ridiculous power any of the miraculous had, in his opinion, to create a random item that was meant to help in battle.

He went closer, curious to see what the powers thought would be useful this time. In Ladybug's hands was a jar of peanut butter.

A laugh escaped his lips before he could stop himself and panicked when red looked up in his direction. He didn't move as she stared at him, even if there was no way she could see him. Her eyes narrowed in confusion and annoyance but then she suddenly began to move, running away from Screamer, who had turned her attention to the hero.

Shenfa let out a breath as he retreated to a safe distance, watching the heroes charge forwards, the three of them all moving around the school courtyard where the battle had so far been contained to, Screamer doing well to keep them away from her, but as she concentrated on Peacock who was using her glider as a shield from the sound blasts, she failed to see Ladybug coming at her from behind, until the hero was over her head and had forced a spoonful of peanut butter into the Akuma's open mouth.

Confused as to what that could do, the darkness could only watch in horror as the Akuma tried to eat it and got stuck with swallowing the sticky gloop and as such unable to scream. With her disarmed, the three heroes grabbed and held her down with ease, black going behind her and with a perfectly controlled flick of his wrist, disconnected the mite from its host, watching as the black slug tried to slither away to him but the blade soon stabbed into its back and stopped it moving any more.

The cat smiled as he lifted it up and looked at it before bowing to Ladybug, saying something to her which had her rolling her eyes.

Shenfa could only watch with clenched jaw as his power was purified, turned to nothing but dust that floated away in the wind. Then, as the jar was sent up into the sky, he felt his strength almost ripped away by the cure. He glared at the heroes but now, even when they were weakened and tired, he couldn't do anything. They were still too strong for him to fight them.

Cursing, he flew off to find somewhere to return to being 'En' and hurried back to school, checking every face he saw as he went. He was back just in time to see the three hurry off but he had only crossed off just over half of the school. There were still a lot of possible miraculous holders in this place.

As the class returned to lessons, he took his normal seat next to Marinette and blinked when he realised she looked upset. "Hey, you alright Marinette?"

Her beautiful blue eyes looked at him and he felt his heart speed up a little at how warm they were. After a moment she shook her head a little. "It's nothing. It's just Juleka." She said, glancing at the empty seat where the girl normally sat.

"Wasn't she just turned into a Guaimite?" He asked as he looked as well, even if he knew the truth.

His friend nodded. "Yes. You weren't here when it happened but Juleka has already been akumatised. She was 'Reflekta' back when Hawk Moth was making Akumas."

Shenfa was surprised by that news. Part of him had thought that being cured by Ladybug would protect people from his power but clearly she wasn't as strong as he thought. "Is that so?" He asked, trying to keep the joy out of his voice.

Marinette sighed as she looked at her desk. "Yeah. And if this… Shenfa guy can infect people who have already been Akumas, he could hurt a lot more people."

"Where you ever akumatised Marinette?"

She looked at him and for a second he saw a pride in her eyes. "No, I was never akumatised."

"I doubt you ever will be." He said with a smile. "You're too good and happy to be an akumatised. I know I never would hurt you."

"Thank you En."

"It's true Marinette." He confirmed, reaching out for her hand and holding it. "I would never hurt you."

She smiled at him then pulled her hand away, looking at the front of the room as Madam Bustier started the lesson. Beside her, En looked at his hand, feeling the warmth of her touch linger on his skin, more determined now than ever to have her for himself. His eyes turned to Adrien in front of him, his rival for the girl's affections and he reached out with his power, trying to corrupt him but the goodness in him outweighed his jealousy.

For now. The darkness thought as he got on with his maths lesson.

Chapter Text

The three friends laughed as they sat on the bench, treats in hand. "I never thought we would get out of there!" Mari laughed. "I mean, how could so many people want our autographs at the same time?"

Adrien rubbed his wrist with a wince. "Yeah, I think my hand is going to fall off."

The other girl nodded and sighed softly. "I'm exhausted."

"Still, great idea to get ice creams Anna. Really sweet."

She gave him a light nudge in the stomach. "You know I hate you calling me that."

"Would you rather I called you Feathers? Birdy? Blue?"

"I'd rather you call me Annamarie." She retorted, not rising to the bait. "It's my name and don't you forget it."

He laughed and went back to his ice cream, sitting in the Paris sun and enjoying the company even if the conversation had fallen silent. Suddenly, Annamarie gave a loud squeak and looked at her bag. "Hey, what you three doing in there?"

Suddenly a little blue head appeared from inside. "Well, if you answered your phone, I wouldn't have to poke you!"

"Remind me to keep my pens out of my bag when they are in there." She said to Marinette, handing her the remains of her ice cream so she could open her bag and pull out her phone, looking at the screen. "Oh."

"What's wrong?"

"Four missed calls from Sophia." She explained as she tapped in her password and lifted her phone to her ear. "Hey Sophia, sorry I missed your call. We were caught at an autograph signing." The others were silent, watching her as she frowned. "Right… Yeah I'm with them now… yeah but what's this about? … Fine, see you in a bit. We'll be right there."

She lowered her phone looking even more confused than before. Adrien had pulled out his phone over that time and nodded. "She tried to call me too. What did she want?"

"Don't know. But apparently we need to get to Master Fu's. Now."

"Something wrong?"

"She didn't say."

"Come on then. Let's hurry."

"Let me finish my ice cream first." Adrien complained as they began to move.

The girls rolled their eyes at him but as soon as they passed a bin, half-finished treats were thrown inside and they hurried to the small building near the river that had the appearance of a Chinese massage centre. The three went inside and nodded to the receptionist. "Master Fu is expecting you, please, go inside."

The three did and opened the door to the main room and were greeted by four people; Sophia and Master Fu sat on the floor with cups of tea while beside them was a blonde woman and a black haired man, both of them smiling at them. Annamarie was the first to step forward and give a polite bow to the new arrivals. "Master Niji, Master Dawa. It's an honour to see you again."

Marinette and Adrien also bowed to the gods and they returned the formal gesture before standing up and laughing as Dawa embraced Annamarie and Niji shook Adrien's hand. As Marinette was hugged by the moon kwami, Annamarie gasped as she looked over them. "Whoa, Dawa you look amazing!"

Dawa turned on the spot, showing off the pale nightshade blue dress she was wearing. "Isn't it lovely? Sophia took me shopping earlier to buy it."

"It suits you. But, why are you here?"

Niji let out a breath as he and his wife sat back down, waving a hand to prompt the others to do the same. Once they were all sat and Sophia had made some tea, muttering about how Fu couldn't make it to save his life, the Sun kwami let out a breath. "We heard from Fu about the return of the Guaimites and knew we had to do something."

"But what about the temple?"

"Our duty was to protect and guard the seal." Dawa explained. "With the seal broken, there is no point in us remaining there. We are more use to you here, were we can help protect you all, help mask your powers from Shenfa."

"And perhaps here, we can work together to find a way to defeat him." Niji added. "Our main target should be on finding the butterfly. If we can, then we can hopefully find a chosen for it and use the seven miraculous to defeat him, as they did before."

"But that should still mean finding chosen for the bee and fox." Annamarie said. "And… maybe even a…" she trailed off with a blush.

"I'm not that old Peacock." Master Fu snapped.

Niji turned his attention to him. "Fu, you know as well as I do that you have acted as great guardian for far longer than your natural life span. And while you are an incredible aid and protector but you need to accept the need to choose a successor. Even more now that we are at war."

The teens glanced at each other with an expression of fear.

Sophia caught their look and lifted her head. "Master Niji, that may be the case but you need to remember, the miraculous do not create soldiers anymore. They create heroes." Her eyes turned to the three. "Centuries of good deeds, of fights for goodness and life, the power of each miraculous before them has been concentrated and perfected into these three here." She looked back at the sun with a smile. "They are not soldiers but they are the best we could hope for and they will find a way."

The dark skinned man paused then nodded. "Yes. You're quite right Sophia. I apologise Fu, you may keep the miraculous. As Sophia said, you are the concentrated force of the turtle and we need your skills more than fresh blood."

Fu nodded. "Thank you, master. But perhaps you are right. Once this battle is over, I will begin looking for a successor."

Dawa laughed. "But for now, why don't all of us put this behind us and go out for dinner? It's been thousands of years since I was in France and I can't wait to see how it's changed."

"Indeed." Niji agreed, standing up. "And I am starving. I hope you three will be joining us?"

"It would be an honour." Marinette agreed with a nod.

"Great." Dawa laughed then licked her lips. "Oh, I hope somewhere will be able to hold all of us without a reservation."

"There's only seven of us." Adrien shrugged. "I've seen worse."

Annamarie gave him a nudge then nodded behind her. "Count again Agreste."

Adrien frowned then looked behind him and saw three new people, about their age. One was a girl with long dark red hair in a pink and red dress, another a tanned scruffy black haired boy and the last was a long blue haired… well… he wasn't quite sure which way they went. All the same, he was stunned by their appearance and backed off. "What the…"

The trio looked at each other before the black haired one folded his arms and huffed. "What's the matter kid? Don't you recognise us?"

"Plagg!" Adrien gasped.

Marinette was also looking at the girl. "T-Tikki?"

"Hello." She sang softly.

The dancer laughed at them. "Didn't I tell you that kwami can take human form when near the sun and moon?"

"Wha… you… they…"

Froufrou rolled his eyes. "Come on Goldilocks, I'm hungry."

Niji smiled and turned to Fu. "Will Wayzz be joining us?"

"We will have to take the remaining miraculous with us if he does."

"With all of us here, I doubt Shenfa will make a move, not in his current weaken state."

"Hey! Less chatting more moving please!" The blue haired boy shouted before his chosen gave him a quick knock around the head for being rude.

Together the group of four human turned kwami, two god kwami, three teen miraculous, one older miraculous and one previous miraculous headed off and tried to find a restaurant able to host such a large party. Luckily they were able to find somewhere to go and settled to eat.

Over the course of their meal, it was decided that the two gods would be staying with Master Fu to help protect the remaining miraculous while also researching a way to defeat Shenfa. It was also agreed that Master Niji would be joining the three miraculous at their warehouse training ground to help improve their skills. Annamarie was almost excited to be training with him again and promised the others 'a lot of bruises' from the master.

They weren't quite sure how to react to her statement.


Marinette panted for breath as she skidded into the warehouse, stopping just before Niji as he turned to face them. "Sorry I'm late." She gasped. "I got held up at the bakery."

"It's perfectly alright Marinette." He said with a smile. "We were only talking."

She nodded and reached down to her bag. "Well, Tikki is ready to go so…"

"That won't be needed. You won't need your kwami today."

"But… I thought we were going to train?" She said, lowering her hands.

"We are." He turned towards Adrien and Annamarie, both of them sat on a pair of boxes with a third empty for her. "But not as Ladybug. Not today at least. I want to see what you can do without your powers. You see, the stronger you are without your miraculous, the stronger you are with them. Annamarie perhaps you will demonstrate with me?"

She nodded and stood up slowly, shedding the light jacket she'd been wearing and putting it on the box, revealing she didn't have her dress on but a t-shirt and jeans. As Marinette took a seat, Annamarie moved to the open space, bowing forward to the master, an action he returned before going into fast hand to hand combat the likes the others had never seen before. It was a whole new unique style and Annamarie held her own but after a few minutes she was thrown to the ground with Niji over her, holding her down.

He froze before chuckling and held his hand to her. "You've been practicing." He said softly as she stood up. "I'm impressed."

"Thank you Master." She laughed, bowing again.

His gaze turned to the others. "Of course, Annamarie has trained with me before so I don't expect you to be at her level. But that is the level you should aim for and to get that far we spent three months training every day for at least 3 hours. I doubt you will have the same time to spare but if you do, I will be happy to train you, here or wherever you choose."

"Thank you Master. We will do our best."

"Please, you can call me Niji." He gave them a warm smile. "Under normal conditions we would only meet under formal situations but since we will know each other for a while, you can address me as Niji."

"Alright Niji."

"Now then, let's see what you can do already." He requested, holding his arm to the side. "Adrien?"

The boy lasted a few minutes before he was knocked down to the floor but Marinette only lasted as few blows before she yielded but Niji didn't seem offended by her surrender. "It's perfectly alright Marinette. The Ladybug is not meant to be a fighter." He explained as they all sat down again, picking up a bag he'd brought with him. "They are a thinker from afar."

"What do you mean?" Marinette asked as she sat again.

"All seven of you have the roles of a single being."

Adrien and Marinette both looked at Annamarie for some kind of simplified version of what she was saying but she just shrugged while the god pulled out a pad of paper and a ball point pen. "I don't expect you to understand so allow me to show you."

Quickly he drew a very basic stick man, an image that had Adrien snorting a laugh and Marinette giving him a jab in the sides for it.

Niji ignored him and drew seven symbols on the figure, at the forehead, neck, left and right hand, the middle of the legs and towards the lower middle and then at the cross point between the body and arms. Finished, he held it up to show them and the others leant closer to see what he'd drawn, instantly recognising the symbols. "The Miraculous." Annamarie whispered.

He nodded. "Yes. You see, each miraculous can work independently but they are still all interlinked, joined as one." He pointed to the forehead mark. "Here, the brain is the turtle, the place of wisdom and logic." His pen moved to the neck. "The voice, the place of cunning and laughter, the Fox Miraculous." The pen moved to the left hand. "The Peacock, the left hand." His gaze turned to the said holder. "The protector, the shield."

She blushed but said nothing as the pen moved to the other side. "The Black Cat. The right hand, the sword and freedom." His pen slowly moved to the mark in the middle. "The Bee, the stomach, the fuel and gut instinct. And the butterfly, the legs, movement and flight. And finally…" the pen moved to the cross point. "The heart. The ladybug. The very centre of a person, where emotion and life. Any human has these elements inside them but in a miraculous they are more powerful. You are interlinked with each other."

The three looked at the image then at their friends, letting it all sink in before Niji put it down. "Now, back to training."

Chapter Text

 

“You… wanted to see me mom?”

Sophia Agreste looked up from behind a pile of paperwork with an exhausted sigh but it soon lit up with a smile when she saw her visitor. “Yes, Adrien. Come in.” She laughed as she stood and waved a hand over the work. “Your father left… quite a lot of work for me.”

“If… there's anything I can do…”

“Oh Adrien, thank you for the offer but its fine. Once I have this lot done, it'll be over.” She walked with him to a lounger and sat, patting the seat next to her. “I wanted to tell you myself but I've decided to sell the company.”

“What?”

“I don't have a head for big business. Back in England I had a small book store and I barely kept that afloat.” She laughed. “So… I think it would be best for everyone if the Agreste Label was taken over by someone who knows what they are doing.”

“I guess.” The blonde said as he held his mother's hand.

“The other thing I wanted to talk to you about…” Sophia said with a sigh. “Is your extra activities. I've seen your schedule Adrien and no teenager should have that much planned out for him. So… I want you to think about which ones you want to keep and what you don't. And if you want to drop all of them I will be fine with that. I want you to be happy. And if you decide to continue modelling, you will have full power over when and what you do. But…” She gave him a smile, leaning over. “If you want my opinion? Keep up with the fencing. Comes in handy and I want to have a fight against you someday.”

The teen laughed. “I look forward to it mom.”

“You don't have to tell me what you want right now.” She explained, running her hand back in his hair. “Just think about it. And… I want your opinion.”

“On?”

“This house… I… I've been considering selling it, moving to somewhere smaller.”

“But… still in Paris right?”

She laughed. “Of course! I wouldn't dare rob Paris of its black cat.”

He grinned Chat like at her. He loved being so free with his identity around her. “Well, in that case, I'd like it. This place is too big for the two of us.”

“I was hoping we could keep Natalia and Gorilla on as staff? Or at least assistances? I think I might try and open up a book shop here in Paris and I'll need someone like Natalia. I'll talk it over with her of course. She might not want to.”

“I'm sure she would mom.”

Sophia chuckled then leant over and kissed his forehead. “It won't be for a while. I just wanted you to know my plans.”

“Alright. But… I've already decided on one thing.”

“Yes?”

“No more modelling? At all?”

“If that's what you want.”

“Please.”


It was a well-known that the asteroids were going to pass the earth’s atmosphere and would lead to a wonderful view for all to admire. Even better, the weather report was for a warm, dry clear night. Across the city each had their own ideas on how to spend the night, watching the rare display. One couple, out on the roof of his home, were Louie and Annamarie, sat on a blanket together, the dark haired teen pointing up at the stars above them. “Whoa, I’ve never seen shooting stars so clear before.” Louie chuckled as one zipped over the sky. “It’s so clear!”

“Yeah.” Annamarie mumbled, snuggling into his shoulder. “They… they are… amazing.”

He smiled and looked at her closer, brushing her hair back. “You alright?”

“Yeah… just… I’m just a little tired.” She sighed, rubbing her eyes, cuddling into his chest. “Been really busy recently.”

“If you sleep, you’ll miss the show.”

“I… I’m not bothered.” Annamarie yawned, holding her boyfriend tighter.

Smiling at her, the other teen rolled to his side, choosing to ignore the stars and sky above them in preference for his girl. “Yeah… neither am I.” He mumbled, kissing her brow. “Get some sleep.”

At the precise same moment, on the other side of the city, the black cloaked hero and his red lady were busy finishing off some criminals who had taken advantage to most of the city being distracted by the stars to rob some shops. As Ladybug watched the police car take the crooks away, she turned to see Chat looking up at the stars with his hands clenched together.

Stepping to his side she leant on his shoulder and followed his gaze. “I don’t think it counts making a wish in a meteor shower.” She teased, guessing what he was up to.

The boy turned to her and grinned ear to ear. “That is where you are wrong my lady.” He said, reaching out and grabbing her, pulling her into his side. “My wish has already come true.” He winked then leant forwards, quickly kissing her lips.

Pulling away, the red hero tapped his nose sharply. “Not your best line Chat. And no kissing as heroes.”

“But you look so good my lady. My shooting star from heaven itself.”

With a roll of her eyes, she shifted out of his grip. “Well, this shooting star is going to look for more trouble. You can join me if you want.” She smiled then threw her yo-yo out into the distance and going off to continue their patrol, cat on her heel.

Another couple enjoying the stars were Nino and Alya, out in a large park that had hosted a ‘star spotting’ event, blankets and pillows set out for everyone so they could watch the astronomical display. At that moment Alya was aiming her phone up above them, trying desperately to take their photo but failing miserably. “Ah, they move too fast! As soon as I see one they are gone!”

Nino, beside her, laughed. “Come on babe, you’re going to miss them if you just keep staring at the camera.” He chuckled, reaching out to lower her phone. “So, why don’t you lower the camera and make some memories, instead of photos.”

Staring at him as if he was insane for a moment, Alya eventually smiled and nodded. “Alright.” She smirked, reaching out and grabbing his shirt, pulling him towards her and pressing her lips to his while moving the camera to take a selfie of their kiss. As she let him go and checked the image, she couldn’t help but laugh when she saw, in the background above their heads was a perfect streak of light. “Definitely a keeper.”

Another pair that were also enjoying the shooting stars were the blonde daughter of the mayor and her boyfriend, Tomas were sat on a comfortable bench, the blonde curled up happily in the dark haired boy’s arms, candles and the remains of a perfect meal around them. Chloe purred as she rubbed her head into his shoulder, grinning. “Isn’t this just perfect Tommy?”

Tomas sighed as he stared out, not looking out at the stars but into nothingness before him, making a weak ‘hmm’ sound as he did.

The woman appeared to notice and frowned, sitting up and looking at him. “Tommy? What’s wrong?”

Moving his eyes more to the present and frowned at her. “I… I… I umm…” He paused, reaching back and stroking her hair. “I’ve… got something to tell you Chlo.”

“What is it?”

He looked back to the city view. “You know… I’ve been doing my architecture coursework while I’ve been here? Studying the notes online and submitting my work?”

“Yeah?”

“Well…” He whispered. “It… it’s time for my exams.”

The blonde sat back slightly. “Oh?”

“Yeah.”

“Well… can’t you do them here?”

He smiled weakly. “I could. But… I’ve only just been passing on my coursework. I need to ace these exams if I’m ever going to graduate.” His eyes pulled with sadness. “Chlo, I need to go back to revise.”

“Come on Tommy, you’re smart enough to pass!”

The other chuckled. “I like your spirit. But I need to talk to my teachers. I need the books and past papers; I can’t get that from Paris.” His hand reached out for her chin. “I’ll only be gone a month or two. Just so I can catch up.”

Slightly down, the mayor’s daughter poured her lips. “Far too long to be away from you Tommy-Boo.”

The older teen rolled his eyes and smiled at her adorable face before leaning down and kissing her lips. “Don’t worry. You can call me every night.”


Niji sighed as he hung his jacket up on the rack by the door and went over to the sink, getting a glass of water for himself then sitting with his wife.

“How was training?” She asked as he drank.

Empty glass on the table, he shrugged. “Annamarie couldn’t make it, she was in a date, so it went as well as can be expected. They are doing their best and they are progressing nicely. But…” He cut himself off and looked away.

“But?”

“There is always something in the way.” He confessed, standing up. “When I was training Annamarie, there was nothing else. No… interruptions, no homework that had to be done, no… dates to go on or patrols to take… it was just her and me and I had her whole attention.”

His wife frowned at him. “You can't expect them to give up their free time…”

“Of course not! And I would never ask that of them!” The dark haired humanoid said back. “They have enough to worry about without me controlling their lives. I just…” He turned to her and his face was filled with sadness. “They are kids. Why did this have to happen… why did Shenfa have to be released… when the chosen were children?”

“The miraculous work best with those of imagination. You know that.” Dawa answered, standing up and walking over to him, wrapping her arms around him.

“There are adults with imagination. Writers, artists… they all have imagination, they could have been chosen, there must have been someone out there that could have…” He sighed and held her close. “Dawa, I taught Annamarie because it helped her control the darkness, because it was the only choice we had. But now, I'm teaching them how to fight because they are at war. And… they are just… kids… and I might be… getting them ready to die.”

Chapter Text

Cars screamed as they rushed past the spectators, a blur of colours for only a split second before they were gone from sight. Peacock winced at the noise as it hit her and she frowned. “I'm amazed the mayor agreed to this.” She said as more cars went past them. “Shutting down the whole of Paris to turn it into a street racing track.”

“Why not?” Said an excited Chat Noir beside her. “We shut down for those bikes every year.”

“Hey, the Tour De France is completely different!” She huffed.

Ladybug turned sharply on them. “Hey, will you two pay attention? We are on duty.”

The two stiffened at being scolded then settled back down to watch the race from their vantage point. To the public they were there as the guests of honour, to present the prize to the winner but in truth they were there because Master Niji was sure Shenfa would make an appearance at the race.

“Remember, Shenfa doesn't need anger to create an Akuma but I bet he prefers it. And a lot of high strung, excited people, with winners and losers? This race is a perfect picking ground for him.”

From their place on the main stage, the three had a great view of the crowds, the pits and the press, waiting and watching for anything that might give them a clue to who would be the target. Chat was enjoying the race and when his favourite racer went screaming past, he cheered loudly. “GO MICHEAL!” Ladybug gave him a jab in the ribs but he shrugged. “It’s call being undercover Bugaboo.”

He got a harder jab for that one.

On the track, the racers were working hard to make their way up the positions as they began to turn towards the final line. Two cars were in the lead, one a sleek red car with white highlights down the sides and the other was dark green with yellow circular markings on it.

The drivers both pushed themselves and the cars further but as the line came into view, the red pulled out a burst of speed and won by a whole car length. The crowd went wild as the drivers gradually pulled to a stop by the stage and climbed out, removing safety helmets and waving to the crowds.

The winner laughed as they made their way up to the stage, the crowds all cheering and clapping while Ladybug was given a trophy to present them with. The winner was a woman with shoulder length dark red hair and bright green eyes, a confident smile on her lips as she took the trophy and lifted it up into the air.

Peacock took a chance to glance over the other racers but from what she could see, no one was showing any signs of regret or anger towards the winner. They were clapping and cheering along with the crowds as well, even wolf whistling.

Chat nudged her. “Camera Feathers.” He hissed.

Letting her face relax into a smile, Peacock turned back and smiled to the camera as she posed with the others.


Later that evening, the racers had been invited to a dinner at the mayor's hotel to celebrate the race; the drivers, their crew as well as a few other important people were invited, the miraculous heroes along with them and the race cars were proudly on display outside. Inside, a young man by the name of Shawn had been tasked with introducing the trio to the racers, many of them from other countries and were only able to communicate with a translator but all of them were happy to meet the superheroes.

Finally Shawn made his way to a young woman being surrounded by men, her red hair now styled into a very feminine design with a short dark purple dress on. “Eleanor, can I steal you for a moment?”

“Anytime Shawn.” The race winner smiled at him then pushed the men around her aside. “Those guys are sponsors anyway, keep trying to make me sign with them.”

Shawn sighed. “You really should you know, they would keep you stable.”

“I'm stable enough as it is. Anyway, this must be Ladybug, Chat Noir and Royal Peacock.” She held out her hand to each in turn. “I've heard a lot about you. It's great to meet you in person.”

Chat smiled as he took her hand and bowed forwards to place a kiss on the back. “It's a purr-sure to meet you too.”

The woman blinked but then her smile grew. “I'm paw-ative I won't forget it.”

The cat grinned. “Oh I like her.”

Peacock rolled her eyes and decided to interrupt the pun war. “You're from the USA right? Your French is amazing.”

“Ah, Scrap can speak any language in the world.” Shawn said with a huff. “She's the only racer we never have to get a translator for.”

“Really?” Chat tipped his head to the side then licked his lips. “Qingwen ni zhongguo ren ma?”

“Bi ni de hao.” The woman replied smugly.

To the side, Ladybug couldn't help but notice something was in her ears, reaching around the back of her head before suddenly something clicked. “Wait… did you just call her 'Scrap'?”

“It's a nickname.” The racer explained. “From when I was… a less than legit racer.”

“Weird nickname.” Peacock said honestly. “How did you get it?”

She gave them a cocky smile and her eyes shone with a strange mystery. “It’s… complicated. Anyway, Chat, I saw you during the race. You were really into it.”

“Well, not every day you get to see a world class racer flying around your home city.”

“Coming from the guy in the leather suit that uses a magical baton to get around said city? But anyway, I was thinking about sticking around for a few days, the next leg of the tournament isn’t for a few weeks so if you want, you can ride shotgun with me one day?”

Chat beamed at the offer. “OH that would be amazing!”

“Well then, it’s a date.” She laughed before she suddenly went very stiff and looked towards a window, hurrying over and opening it. “Oi!” She shouted outside. “Get away from my car!”

Ladybug and friends hurried to the window to see what was going on as Eleanor ran out of the room and out to the street, pushing some man away from her car, pointing and shouting at him.

Shawn appeared at the window and sighed as he watched them. “Oh great, I thought we lost him in Spain.”

“Who is he?”

“Some fanatic who swears Scrap's cheating in the races. But all the racers and their cars have to undergo tests to prove they have no secret enhancements before they can compete and we've shown him the evidence but he won't listen.” He sighed, watching the man being taken away by some security guards. “He's broken into the garages before now and it’s gotten so bad we had to have a restraining order put on him. I hoped him getting arrested might have deterred him but… clearly not.”

Ladybug frowned as she watched the man being taken away. “Peacock, I want you to go and follow that man.”

“Target?”

“Determined, angry and aggressive?” She sighed. “I fear so.”

“Right.”

“Call the instant you see something.” Chat warned, seriously.

Peacock smiled and winked at him, hurrying to a nearby balcony, pushing past the people there and climbing up. Some of the people gasped as she stood on the bannister before suddenly leaping off but she opened her fan and took to the sky, following the man below from as high as she dared. He staggered for a while, stopping to lean against the walls and she had a feeling the men at the race might have ruffed him up a little.

Eventually he turned into a dark alleyway and she dropped for the roof above, looking down but it was too dark, all she could hear was something being knocked over. Worried by the sound, Peacock jumped down and carefully walked down the passageway, looking for the man in the darkness. “Hello? Are you alright?”

There was silence for a moment, broken only by the scream of a stray cat as she passed its hiding space. The darkness and the silence filled Peacock with a dread as she open her fan up in preparation for whatever might be coming. “Hello? Anyone here?”

Two bright lights suddenly lit up the alleyway and an engine roared loudly before her, revving up gradually then squealed as the wheels fought for grip until they shot forwards towards the hero.

Peacock gasped and turned to run and get into the air, guilder spread out but in the narrow alley it got stuck between the walls. Without time to close it or pull it free, she ran on foot as fast as she could down the path and back to the road, diving out of the way as the Akuma behind her shoot out like a bullet from a gun.

Swearing Peacock began to run for a building, jumping up and onto the roof, looking at what was happening below on the road; the car was jet black with a hot rod flames on the front and down the sides, sleek in design and powerful by the sound of the engine. It did a few donuts on the road then paused and shot off towards the hotel, Peacock following on the roofs but without her guilder, she was much slower than normal.

The car got to the hotel ahead of her and skidded to the side, deliberately smashing into one of the other racer's cars and making it crumple like tin foil while it was untouched. “ELEANOR!” It roared loudly, slowly cruising up and down the line of cars in front of the hotel. “ELEANOR! COME OUT AND FACE ME! LEAD FOOT IS GOING TO PROVE YOU ARE CHEATING!”

Inside, the red haired racer stood by the window and frowned as she looked at the man below. “He wants to race me? Fine, I'll give him a race.”

“No.” Ladybug said, grabbing her arm before she could leave. “That's a Guaimite, a Akuma. He won't try and beat you, he'll try and kill you.”

“I'd like to see him try.” The racer smirked before Shawn appeared at her other side.

He looked at her with a kindness and concern. “El, please, let Ladybug do her job.”

“But Shawn…” she began before they were cut off.

“Ladybug.” They turned to the voice as Peacock jumped down from an open window and let out a deep breath. “It’s that guy but I swear, I was following him every step of the way and nothing happened to him. He went dizzy and started stumbling but then he just… I'm sorry.”

“It’s alright Peacock.” Ladybug said with a comforting smile. “You did your best and we will work this out, don't worry. For now, we have a blood hungry car out front.”

Chat was by the window, watching it prowling around them. “So, how we going to take him out?”

“Well, I'm grounded.” Peacock explained, holding up her hands. “Dropped my fan a few streets away. I could drop and transform, should bring it back to me but do have time for that?”

As if to answer, Lead Foot outside roared again. “ELEANOR! COME AND FACE ME OR I WILL MOVE TO DESTROY MORE FLESHY TARGETS!”

Ladybug sighed. “I guess not… wait… where's Eleanor?”

The others all looked as well but it soon became clear that the driver was missing from the party. Shawn swore then looked out the window as the red car at the centre of the stage suddenly came to life and shot forwards, landing with a flurry of sparks on the pavement, headlights blazing as it span to face the Akuma. “You want me?” Came her voice, abnormally loud. “Come and get me!” With that, the car turned and shot in the other direction, Lead Foot following tight behind.

Chat growled as he began to run for the door. “She's gonna get herself killed!”

Ladybug said nothing, hurrying with Peacock outside. The screams of engines, horns and breaks could be heard all over the place and the trio hurried to follow. “Dam it!” Peacock shouted as they ran. “Never should have let go of my fan. Frou is going to kill me later.”

“Just keep up Feathers.”

They hurried on, following the trails of damage the two cars had clearly caused chasing each other, the Paris traffic brought to a standstill by the race. Finally the trio caught up with them, Eleanor in her red car just keeping out of the way of the black Akuma as they lapped a roundabout.

“Any ideas how to stop him?” Peacock mumbled as they tried to get closer.

“Shove a potato up his exhaust?” Chat recommended.

“We have to make him stop. Get him still. If we take out the tires…”

Peacock nodded. “I can use my… ah… I don't have my fan.”

“We still have Cat Scratch at least.” Chat said, patting said sword.

Ladybug watched the two cars for a bit longer. “At the moment, our priority is to get Eleanor out of here. She's got no idea what she's doing. We can’t have a civilian in our fight.”

“Right. How?”

They were silent before Peacock gave them a poke. “How about that?”

The others looked and grinned at what she'd spotted. “Oh, yeah.”


Lead Foot drifted back and forth with the changes that his target was making, constantly trying to get around to them but when he got close, she got away. “YOU CAN'T ESCAPE ME FOREVER ELEANOR!” He bellowed.

The red car didn't reply, or they did, it couldn't be heard over the scream of the engine, sliding effortlessly out of the Akuma's attacks before suddenly seeing the three heroes she'd met earlier jumping down with their arms full of cartons of eggs, throwing them towards the charging dark Akuma, covering his windscreen in the sticky yellow mess.

He swerved to try and avoid the onslaught of eggs before crashing into a parked car on the side of the road, the other vehicle buckling under the weight while the Akuma was completely fine, if stunned. Ladybug took the chance to run towards it, hoping to find and remove the Guaimite before anyone got hurt but as she did, Lead Foot revved its engines and shot backwards, spinning to face her, egg smeared slowly burning away to clear the window. “YOU DARE TRY AND STOP LEAD FOOT!?” he screamed then charged at her, the red hero pinned to the spot in fear, the headlights blinding her.

Peacock and Chat saw what was going to happen and began to run towards her, steps away when Lead Foot roared his engine and shot forwards, picking up speed with each second before suddenly slamming on the breaks and turned off down the road as another car came charging at it from the side, sliding sideways to a stop to protect the hero, the front and back doors swinging open. “GET IN!” The driver shouted.

The heroes quickly clambered in as Lead Foot swung back around for another attack. In the car, Scrap pulled the drive stick backwards and looked over her shoulder as the car began to reverse up the road, dodging traffic before turning the wheel sharply to the right and spinning back to face the right way. “Hold on, this is going to be a rough ride.” She told the others before pushing the gear box up and moving on.

At that moment, the car's radio came to life with the kind of music that a movie would have for a 'run for your lives' kind of moment. Chat, in the front passenger seat, looked at it with a confused expression. “What's up with your radio?” He asked.

Scrap narrowed her eyes as she turned the wheel, expertly drifting between hazards in the road. “It's got a funny sense of humour.” She pressed a button on the wheel and the music stopped.

Now the only sounds were the engine, the breaks and Scrap's occasional muttering to herself as she tried to navigate the twists and turns of the city. In the back, Peacock and Ladybug held the seats for dear life, amazed at how she could control the machine so well.

Lead Foot was still behind them, a light tap on the rear proof of that but Scrap held on, skidding to the right and slipping down a side road, switching gears as naturally as breathing. It was a rough few minutes, going from one road to another, narrowly avoiding collisions but by some miracle, no one was hurt. Ladybug's luck was strong that day since whenever they came up to a junction, the road would be stopped and cleared to let them pass easily, every light red was green and the roads clear.

As they began to head downhill, Scrap pulled away and somehow lost their tail and slowed down, the engine just purring as she turned in the driver's seat to face Chat. “You know, when I said I wanted to take you for a drive, this is not what I had in mind.” She glanced to the back seats. “How you holding up?”

“We'll be fine.” Peacock groaned, sitting up having been tossed around in the ride.

“Good. Now, any ideas how to get this guy off my case?”

“None yet. Still working on…WATCH OUT!”

Scrap gasped as she turned back to the front window and forced the car to skid sideward when she found herself facing Lead Foot, sitting in the middle of the road and revving his engine at her before, with a loud clicking whirring noise, began to come apart before changing into a large bipedal robot in the same black and fire designs as the robot mode.

Chat's jaw dropped. “He… can transform into a giant robot?”

Scrap shrugged. “I've seen bigger. HOLD ON!” She shouted before moving to avoid the next attack, trying to get around him and head down the streets but Lead Foot's new form allowed him to push objects into their way, hemming them into a singular area, barely large enough for the robot. Scrap frowned as he stomped closer. “You three, get ready to move. When I say, the doors will open and you jump out. I'll keep him busy and you take this frag head down.”

“Scrap, no, it's not…”

“Do NOT argue with me! Just do it!” The older woman snapped, the car zooming off down the road and between the robot's legs, swinging left and right to avoid them before spinning back around to look at the Akuma’s back. “NOW!” She shouted as the doors opened and the heroes scrambled out as Lead Foot turned but Scrap was already back into the fray, dipping in and out of the feet and fists aimed at her.

Chat let out a breath as he looked at the others. “She's insane.”

“She's got guts.” Peacock countered.

“Those guts will be all over the city if we don't find a way to stop this guy. Anyone spotted the mite yet? With how long it’s been, look for eggs as well.”

“Got it.” Chat said, using his baton to get up above.

Peacock looked at him then at Lead Foot. “Even if we find the mite, we need to get him down and immobilise him. And I can't call an illusion without my fan.”

“Well, let’s see if this works.” Ladybug said before throwing her yo-yo up and summoning the charm, catching the red and black spotted thick wire, so long it took both of them to hold it.

“A wire?” Annamarie scoffed behind her mask. “You sure Tikki can't control these?”

“She said she can't.” Marinette mumbled back, looking it over then at the Akuma and smirked. “Hey, you ever seen Star Wars?”

“Of cour… ohh! But… we'll never get near him.”

“Not us. Scrap.”

Peacock turned to her. “First you want to keep her out of the fight, now you want to get her help in winning it?”

“With you grounded, she's the only one fast enough.”

At that moment, Chat jumped down. “Found it. On his neck. Can't reach it though.”

“Great. We have a plan on how to get him down. We need you to distract him while we sort it out. Peacock, tie the end to that lamppost, make it tight.”

Nodding, the pair got to work; Chat flying up to Lead Foot's arm and onto its head, taking his cape off and wrapping it around the robot's face and eyes, blinding it. As it tried to get the cat off its head Ladybug waved her arms in the air, hoping the red car’s driver spotted her. She did and came zooming over, opening the door to see the hero on the street. “Hope you got a plan. I can't keep this up forever.”

“Yes. Take this and drive around his legs.”

“Ah, the old star wars trap. Works every time.” She chuckled, taking the wire and jumping out to tie it to the back end of the car.

Ladybug was sure she heard her mutter 'I know but bear with it' as she did but before she could ask, Scrap was back in the car just as Lead Foot grabbed Chat and threw him into a building, the black hero falling limply at its base. Watching, the red hero had to control her fear over her boyfriend and looked at their partner. “Go to Chat!”

Annamarie nodded and ran to where he'd been thrown while Ladybug watched the racer drive go around and around the robot, the lucky charm getting wrapped around his legs over and over before the wire suddenly broke loose and the red car headed back to the equally red hero, Scrap climbing out and looking at the Akuma as he wobbled in place then suddenly toppled forwards, landing face first right next to them.

The red head smirked as she brushed her hair back a little. “Timber.”

Ladybug rolled her eyes then went over to the robot, looking at its neck before finding the egg, pulsing on the metal. Quickly she opened her yo-yo and caught it, the dark dust floating away a second later. As the city was repaired under the miraculous, the poor man was left lying on the ground with a confused expression but as soon as he saw Scrap, he ran over to her and started shouting in English at her.

Peacock soon came over with a limping Chat and blinked. “Whoa.”

“What's he saying?”

“I wouldn't dare repeat it. But I have a feeling Scrap's…” she was cut off when the other American pulled back her arm and punched the man in the face, sending him to the ground. “Not gonna take much more.”

As the police and ambulance arrived and man was taken away for treatment, Eleanor turned to the others. “Well, that was an adventure.”

“Thanks for your help today Eleanor.” Chat said, holding out his hand. “We wouldn't have been able to do it without you. If there is anything we can do for you, let us know.”

The woman smiled then leant back on her car. “Well, if you want… you could close your eyes for a second Chat.”

The cat quirked a brow. “What? Why?”

“You said anything. Just close your eyes.”

With both Ladybug and Peacock near, he guessed she wouldn't try anything like taking his miraculous so Chat did as told and closed his eyes. Scrap smirked before reaching up and grabbing his bell, using it to pull him over to her and crushed her lips against his for a few seconds then pulled away from a very confused looking cat. The others were looking at her as if she was insane but the driver smirked and shrugged. “What can I say? I like the bad boys in leather. See you around kitty. And work on your Chinese.” She gave them a wave and turned to her car, the door opening for her and she climbed in, soon driving off down the road.

Behind them, Chat was stuck in the same position he had been in before pointing at Ladybug. “That… changes nothing bugaboo.”

Chapter Text

Laura Kast wasn't much for socializing; she was shy, timid and many would call her anti-social but there was one thing she loved that brought her temporarily out of her shell and that was art. When she started attending a painting class the local library was running, she was quite surprised to find a kindred spirit; a shy talented boy with tomato red hair. Nathaniel Kurtzberg had joined the class in hopes of meeting new people and quickly became friends with Laura, at first only meeting in class but then slowly began to meet up more and more out of class.

Since Laura didn't go to Collège Françoise Dupont, they met up at weekends or after school, one Saturday afternoon coming back from their favourite art supply shop with arms loaded with the newest purchases, including several canvases. "What type of paint are you going to use? I think acrylic would be best for this work." Laura said as she balanced the massive board under one arm.

"Yeah, I think I might use acrylic for the base of it then do more detail with some oil paint." Nathaniel agreed, walking on down the street towards his house.

Laura smiled as she walked beside him, eyes drifting to the teen beside her. "Oh! Wow that's a really cool idea! Well, you know where to turn if you need a model."

Nathaniel turned to answer her but then his eyes were caught by someone else across the street, lifting his free hand and waving. Laura turned and looked as well, a trio of teens walking down the street with a tall tanned adult man, listening to him talk intently but as they spotted the waving teen, they all smiled and waved back but made no effort to cross the road to meet them.

"Who are they?" Laura asked as the four continued on their way.

"Friends from school. No idea who the older guy was." Nathaniel explained as they returned to walking but then stopped when he spotted someone else he knew. En stood by a wall just down from where Marinette, Adrien and Annamarie had been walking, staring after them. Nathaniel frowned but then deliberately crossed the road and walked up to his new classmate. "Hey, En."

"Oh hey Nathanael." The dark man said with only a slight disappointment at being disturbed, his eyes turning to the artist and the girl beside him. "Who's this?" He asked, smirking internally. He could already feel this new girl's irritation.

Nathanael nodded to her. "This is Laura, she's a friend of mine from an art class I'm in. Laura, this is En, he's a new student at my school." Once the introduction was made, he turned back to the other. "So En, what you doing out here?"

"Just... chillin' as you say."

The artist didn't believe it. He'd been watching En while at school and saw how he followed Marinette around like a lost puppy. At school it was tolerable; he was a new student, she was class rep but in the street, on a weekend was bordering on stalker. But he forced himself to smile. "Well, you have been at the school for a while now, but I've never seen you talk to anyone but Marinette. Figured you could do with a new friend? So do you want to hang out with Laura and me?" He hated himself for making the offer, something about this new comer made his skin crawl but he needed to get him away from Marinette, for her own protection.

En stared at him for a bit then smirked. "Sure, what you two doing?" He eyed the supplies before them. "Going to do some painting?"

"Just heading back to the studio, we were going to try and recreate the style of Mary Cassatt." Laura snapped quickly, eyes sharp on the new comer. "We even purchased the right materials so we could. Not that you'd understand."

Nathanael frowned at her, a little annoyed at her sudden change of tone and with full knowledge that wasn't what they had planned to do at all. En however smiled at her attempt to humiliate him. "Mary Cassatt? So you would need pastel materials and you'd probably need a human model." He looked her right in the eye. "Am I right?"

The other was silently seething with anger that he'd understood what she'd been talking about, and had been correct. Shenfa could tell she was angry, that she was close to breaking point. She just needed one last push. Turning his attention fully to his classmate, Shenfa smiled. "Tell you what Nath, I've got two tickets to for The Louvre. I was heading that way now so do you want to come with me?" He turned his attention to Laura. "Sorry, only got two and... I don't really know you."

"Nathanael and I already have plans." She growled out. "So why don't you just go back to wherever you came from."

Her friend frowned at her. "Laura! What's gotten into you?"

En nodded, reaching out and putting his hand on the girl's shoulder. "I know. And you seem like such a nice girl." His hand glowed, unseen by the others, as he began to apply his power. "I don't see how you can change so quickly... it's almost like a Split Personality."

Laura glared at him as she mentally accepted his power, pushing his arm away. "Get your hands off me you freak." She snapped, turning and storming off alone.

Nathanael frowned at her then looked at En. "I'm sorry, she's not normally like that. She's really sweet when you get to know her."

"Oh, don't worry about it." En said with a shrug. "Let's not... split up over it." He chuckled internally then stopped and shuddered, scolding himself for the pun.


Having spent most of the morning training with Niji, the sun Kwami had decided to treat the three younger ones to lunch at a local cafe, still talking about the theory of miraculous and their powers.

"So the strength of a chosen has an impact on the strength of the miraculous?" Adrien surmised.

"Indeed. And the skills of a chosen melt into the skills of a miraculous." Niji nodded then looked at Annamarie who was scrapping the last of her ice cream. "Please leave the pattern on the plate Annamarie. You practically cleaned that bowl."

The others chuckled at her but then Adrien slumped. "Oh great."

The group turned to see what he'd seen and the girls also sighed as they saw Chloe, walking right towards them with a set look in her eyes. Adrien smiled as he nodded to her. "Hey Chloe, what's up?"

"Nothing much Adrien. I just saw you guys over here and thought I'd say hello." The blonde explained then turned to the man at the table. "Hello, I'm Chloe Bourgeois. I don't think we have met?"

"Neil." Niji said, holding out his hand for her. "I'm visiting Paris with my wife."

Chloe shook his hand with an honest smile. "Oh? So how to you know Marinette?"

"I'm friends with Annamarie actually and she was kind enough to introduce me to her friends."

Again she nodded. "Well, I will let you go back to your meal. Actually, you know what, let me pay for it. My way of welcoming you to our fair city."

The three teens could only watch in amazement at the kindness of their classmates. Sure, since the spring dance she hadn't been fighting over Adrien but she wasn't this nice. But as she went inside to pay for their meal, the group could only smile. "Maybe she'd finally seen the error of her ways."

"Maybe." Marinette hummed, not sounding convinced as she put the cookie that came with her coffee into her purse for Tikki.

Niji frowned at the others. "While I always hope people will change, there was something slightly... wrong about that girl. When I shook her hand, I could not feel any negativity in her at all."

"That's... impossible isn't it? No one can be pure... happiness? Certainly not Chloe."

"Indeed... I just want to ask her..." he stopped when he saw Chloe once more, this time a sharp frown on her face as she came towards them. The god smiled as she approached. "Ah, Madam Bourgeois, could I just..." He didn't get to finish his statement as Chloe bumped deliberately into him, knocking him back and into the table, knocking over several drinks.

The rest of the table all stood up in fury. "Chloe!"

"What did you do that for!"

"There was no need for that!"

"Shut up you losers. You shouldn't have been in my way." The blonde huffed with a flick of her hair, walking away. "You are all such pathetic nothings, you should just go jump in the river and rid the world of your worthlessness."

The group just stared in amazement at the woman as she walked away. "What was that about?" Adrien finally said, frowning after her.

Marinette shook her head and sighed. "Who knows? Guess that was just Chloe being Chloe. Come on, let's pay for our drinks and go."

As the group headed inside they did find their meal had already been paid for and the mystery continued as the group began to head back towards Master Fu's but as they crossed the road, they spotted Alya walking towards them.

Marinette blinked and waved at her. "Hey Alya!"

The dark skinned girl looked up and walked over before reaching out and shoving her backwards a few steps. "Hey Mari-Trash, what do you want you loser?"

The group stood in amazement at the girl's actions, shocked by it all, Marinette more than anyone else. "A-Alya? W-what… what's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just sick and tired of your sweet nothing-can-go-wrong attitude." She huffed and stuck out her tongue. "Just stay away from me."

As she turned and walked off, Marinette blinked in amazement before feeling her phone vibrating in her pocket, pulling it out to see Ayla's image calling her. But Alya, right in front of her, didn't have her phone out at all. Quickly, Marinette opened the call and put the device to her ear. "H-hello?"

"Marinette." Came Alya's voice. "Marinette, I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I… I borrowed a pencil from your bag during maths when you weren't looking and I didn't give it back. I am so, so, sorry!" She sobbed before beginning to brawl over the line.

Marinette took a moment then lowered her phone, ending the call and looking at the screen with confusion. "T-that was Alya."

"But… how?" Adrien asked as he looked at Alya walking down the street.

Niji frowned as well. "I don't know what but I feel a darkness in this city. I think you three need to go and investigate."

"Very well master Niji." Adrien said as he reached to his shirt and let Plagg out. "Come on guys, we need to transform."

With a nod, the others all turned and hurried off to find somewhere to hide and transform, taking off into the air and looking for whatever was wrong. "I'm not seeing anything." Peacock called from the sky as she scanned the area. "Nothing that might… Wait! Over there!"

The others all looked at her then where she was pointing, coming down on a rooftop and looking over to the street below, watching as a brightly coloured woman with a hand shaped like a scalpel blade, slicing it down on passers-by. The blade didn't appear to hurt them but caused them to glow before the person was pulled apart, making two identical halves, one half quickly going to pick up some litter from the side of the road while the other ran and kicked over a trash can.

The Peacock blinked at the sight before backing up a little. "No." She whispered, looking at the Akuma. "I… I just…"

"Peacock?" Ladybug said, holding her shoulder. "Relax, it's alright. It's going to be okay."

"That Akuma… it turns you into your worst sides…" She shivered, eyes wide and reaching for the necklace that was hidden in her transformation. "If I get hit… then I'll go back to being…" She trembled and grabbed her head. "No… I can't."

Chat reached for the other shoulder. "Peacock, it's alright. You can stay up here, we will take them on. It's okay."

The blue hero took a moment then swallowed and stepped back to look down. "No… no I got this. I can do this. Let's… let's get moving and stop this mite."

The two other heroes looked at each other then nodded. "Alright." Ladybug said at last. "But you help control the crowds; keep those that have been split away from the fight, alright?"

"But…"

"Admit it, you're in no condition to fight." Chat snapped into her face. "You're shaking like a leaf Peacock!"

Slowly she looked down at her hands and saw they were shaking, her whole body trembling. It took her a moment to get her control back, hands tightly clenched into fists as she nodded. "Alright. I'll take crowd control."

"You got this Peacock." Ladybug said then pulled away, hurrying down to the street to take on the Guaimite while Peacock got to work convincing the good and bad versions of those split in half to get out of the way.

Peacock looked back every now and then, watching as Chat held off the mite's blow with his sword, straining to keep it off him. She was tempted to go back and help but then Ladybug swept in and knocked her away so she returned to keeping the victims safe.

She was in the middle of trying to convince a crying woman that the flowers in a shop window were plastic and had not been plucked in the prime of their life when a wave of ladybugs swept over her and took her away. Looking over everyone in the street as they were recovered, she smiled and went over to her partners. "Everything appears to be alright." She explained, glancing back slightly. "Although, I'm sure any damage is going to be physiologically than physical with this one."

"The hospital will get them checked out." Ladybug said with a sigh. "I'm sure they will be alright."

"I hope so."

"What about her?" Chat asked before walking over to the victim as she was rubbing her head, suddenly recognising that she was the same woman they had spotted with Nathanael earlier.

Ladybug smiled and walked over to her, helping her stand up. "Hi there. How you feeling?"

"My head is throbbing." She moaned.

"I'm sorry for what's happened but this is important, do you remember anything before you were akumatised." Ladybug asked, ignoring the bleeps in her ears. "Please, anything you remember is important."

Laura rubbed her head again as she tried to think. "I… was… I was shopping… with my friend… we were buying art supplies." She groaned and sighed. "We paid and… I was going home and… I don't remember anything else. I'm sorry."

"That's more than enough for us, thank you."

"Ladybug, our times up. We need to go."

The leader smiled and nodded. "Alright. You take care there. Bug out!"


While Split Personality hadn't been the hardest of villains to beat, Marinette still sent a message to her boyfriend asking if Ladybug and Chat could meet and talk and while Adrien had half expected a romantic rooftop rendezvous but as he approached his red lady, he realized that was not the reason for this meeting. "Everything alright bugaboo?" He teased, trying to get the concerned look off her face.

Ladybug didn't bite at his tease, just turned to look at him with the same look on her face. "Chat, glad you could come."

"Anything for you my lady. What's wrong?"

"I'm worried."

With a sigh, Chat put his arm around her waist. "About Peacock?"

"How'd you know?"

"Because I'm worried about her too." He confessed. "Her reaction to the akuma today... something is clearly still... wrong with her."

"I know. Have you noticed she still wears that necklace? The one that shows who is in control?"

"Niji said her soul was healed." The cat said as he nuzzled her hair. "She might just like the necklace."

"Yeah, but what if she's still scared?"

Chat let out a deep exhale as he looked over the city before them. "If we were in her position, wouldn't you be scared? What if there had been a... Chat Blanc? Or a Miss Fortune? What if we had been akumatised? Wouldn't you be scared?" He turned to look into her eyes. "We have no idea what she went through. But... we have to be there to support her."

Ladybug nodded, putting her arm around him. "I guess so. But... the idea of us being targeted... that there could be that much darkness inside us... it's a little scary."

"That's true but bugaboo, if that ever happens again, I'm not saying it will but if it does, we'll be there for each other, just like we were there for Peacock."

"Yeah." The lady sighed, leaning into him. "And I know you will save me."

"Always."

Chapter Text

Despite being at the academy on a Sunday, Louie was happy. In fact, he was more than happy, he was ecstatic. Normally training would have him on his own or with another male dancer or busy doing something. But today must have been his lucky day as he had been told to go and stand to the side and wait with his girlfriend for a certain scene. And on top of that, said girlfriend had decided to not stand beside him as she normally did but front of him instead meaning he was able to wrap his arms around her without anyone really noticing or caring. Annamarie was watching the madam closely as she explained a particular sequence to some of the other dancers but the male dancer however, was too busy looking down to care about what was going on above.

He smiled privately as he looked at her from behind. Her hair was up in its normal perfect bun and from his position had a perfect view of her soft silken neck and the little red marks their make out session last night had caused. A smirk covered his lips as he leant down towards her and placed his lips on the base of her neck, gradually moving across to her collar. She tensed and her hand reached back to swat his leg, trying to make him stop.

He didn't and sucked a little, nipping at her skin before working his way up and to her ear, lightly licking the back.

That was the melting point and Annamarie closed her eyes, leaning on him. "Louie." She hissed before gathering herself enough to turn on the spot and glare at him. "Neither time nor place."

He smiled, years of shyness and self-doubt leaving in seconds as he looked at her. She'd always been beautiful to him but now she looked stunning and where he was normally a gentleman, that moment he just wanted one thing.

Hand on her hips, he pulled her roughly forwards and crushed her lips with his own, listening to her moan into him, her tongue slipping out for her mouth.

"MR ALARD!"

He pulled back as fast as he could and blinked as he realised the whole company was staring at him as he held the other dancer tight to his chest. A red burn crossed his face and he realised Annamarie had hidden her face in his shoulder. "Y-yes madam?" He said terrified of whatever was going to be said next.

Madam Renou glared at him. "Will you please refrain yourself from making out in training? And also, please stop leaving bruises on her neck! The photographer for the newest promotional work is coming next week and I will not have my dancer looking like Ladybug."

Fully embarrassed and chastised, Louie lowered his head but Annamarie raised hers. "What do you mean, bruises?" She turned to the mirrors behind her and her eyes widened, gasping in horror at the little black marks across her neck. "Oh my god!"


"This is so nice." Alya said as she looked around the restaurant before going back to the menu. "I'm so glad you asked me to join you Nino."

The boy in question smiled. "Well, I just… wanted to have some time alone with you. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging with Mari and Annamarie, and Adrien is my best bud but… you and I rarely get time to ourselves."

"Yeah. Those three do take up a lot of time. But you noticed how they seem to be hanging out a lot without us? Not that I mind."

Nino nodded. "Yeah, I noticed too. Ever since the spring ball, the three of them are near inseparable."

Alya sighed as she looked at the menu once more. "Man, we're a pair of morons. Here we are on a date and all we can talk about is our friends!"

"Sad hey?"

"Well, let's talk about something else. From this point on, no talking about Adrien, Mari or Annamarie."

"Right."

A waitress came not long after for their orders and once they were taken, the two teens just sat looking at each other or at the decor, messing with the decorations on the table, trying to think of something to talk about.

Finally, Alya sighed. "Ok, so…"

"How's the ladyblog?"

"Great. Just waiting for the next Akuma attack."

"Aren't they Gua…something-mites now?"

"Yeah but everyone is used to them being called Akumas. Hard to change the habit."

Nino nodded and silence resumed as he poked his fork on the table and sighed loudly. "So… Umm…"

"Yeah."

"Umm…"

Alya finally grinned and looked up at him. "Come on, this is stupid. But who do you think will get married first? Adrien and Marinette or Annamarie and Louie?"

"Easy, Adrien. Annamarie's too… lively to settle down. She'll get the job and career and… maybe a kid?"


Chloe walked out of the hotel with her head high and her face stuck in an arrogant smirk, looking at the people walking around the street as if expecting them to pull out their phones and being taking photos of her. But no one did and she felt her shoulders sink slightly. Even if they did, would it make her feel any better? She wanted attention but only from one person.

It has been months and every day they talked or texted or face chatted but it wasn't the same. She almost wanted to blame Annamarie for this pain. If she hadn't introduced them…

Her eyes began to get cloudy, threatening to ruin her makeup and it took all her strength not to let herself cry.

A simple white handkerchief came into view and she looked up to see who was being so kind and her eyes widened, sadness forgotten for shock. "Tomas?"

He smiled gently and reached up, wiping her eyes for her as softly as a feather. "Chloe."

"But… you went back to Strasbourg. You… You have your exams to do."

"Yes." He said with a smile and a nod. "But I managed to get myself into another collage. I admit, it isn't as good as the one in Strasbourg. And it will be really hard for me to support myself and study… not to mention I'll barely know anyone there. And getting a job after won't be easy." His hand reached out and lifted the blonde's chin, a thumb gently caressing her cheek. "But who cares, when I get to be near you."

The mayor's daughter blinked. "What?"

"I've been accepted to the National School of Architecture here in Paris." He confirmed, smile growing. "I'm going to be living in Paris for the next two, maybe three years Chloe."

Her lower lip trembled. "But… why?"

"Didn't I make it clear when I was here last? Or over our chats?" He stepped over towards her, arm around her waist and holding her cheek. "I don't care what it takes, I will do everything I can to stay beside you. No matter what the personal cost."

More tears were forming. "You… you'd do that? For me?"

Tomas nodded. "Yes. Without a second's hesitation."

"No one's ever done something like that for me before."

"Well, they have now. I love you Chloe."

"Tomas…"

"I love you."

"I… I love you too."


Shenfa couldn't help it. She was so warm and bright and brilliant. He'd never met a human as welcoming as Marinette. All the way though his day at school, she was the only thing that made him not destroy that whole building. That and he needed more power but he would have walked away much sooner if she hadn't been there.

He managed to persuade her to sit with him at lunch, even if he did have to sit with the others as well but she gave him most of her attention. He didn't miss the looks dirty looks Adrien kept giving him but he let it slide. If the boy got jealous enough, he would be perfect fodder for one of his Guaimites.

But now school was over and he was free to release his physical form, to save his strength for more important things. No one could see him in this form so had no moral qualms in floating up to the bakery, passing through the glass and sighing as he looked at the room around him.

Marinette was sat at her desk, working hard on her homework judging by the books around her and the mumbling she was doing. Smiling, he hovered over her shoulder, looking down and spotted the English translation homework they had been set, nodding as she got a translation right and turned to look at her face, eyes locked in concentration as she worked on the problems.

Attracted. Only way to put it. He was attracted to her. She was beautiful. More than anything he'd seen in his life. And pure. So perfectly pure. He was a force of darkness and destruction but she… oh she made him want to give that up. He'd become mortal to have her.

He licked his lips as he looked at her. He wanted her. He wanted to hold and kiss and caress her. His hand reached out for her hair, going to touch it when suddenly he was interrupted by an odd scratching noise. Both of them turned to see what it was but Marinette smiled, walking over to her bed and up to the trap door, opening it. "Thought so." She said.

Shenfa frowned as he watched a blonde in black leather sneak into her room and stand beside her. "Hello purr-incess."

"Ugh, still with the nicknames Chat?" Marinette groaned as she wrapped her arms around him. "What you doing here?"

"Wanted to see you." He explained. "Long day, didn't get to spend any time with you in the day… luckily, the night…" He purred and pressed her even tighter to his body. "Belongs to the Cat."

The spirit in the room grit his teeth, even more when he saw her smile and play with his hair, leaning up towards him. "Silly kitty." She whispered then locked her lips with his, leaning back on the closest wall as he held and kissed and caressed her.

Shenfa felt furious. There he was, with the only light in his world and that dam miraculous was stealing her! Adrien he could deal with. He was a mortal. He didn't stand a chance against him, the force of all darkness but a miraculous was a whole other league. And he didn't have the strength right then to fight him.

He moved towards the pair, deciding to leave but before he did, he moved close to the cat's ear. "I'll kill you for this." He whispered, his power making it just audible for the cat. Then he quickly made his way out of the teen's room and off to find someone to plant a seed in.

If he was going to win her back, he would need to go back to school and that would need power.

Back in the room, Chat looked up from his kiss and frowned as he quickly inspected the room. "Did… did you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"I… I swear I heard someone say…" He shook his head and turned back to her with a grin. "Never mind. Just my imagination."

She chuckled and pressed her head to his heart. "I see. Hey, why don't you let Plagg rest? I have some cheese for him and then the two of us can watch a film or something?"

"Sure." Chat said as he let go of his transformation; short haired again, he smiled, cupping her cheek. "I missed going out with you during lunch on Friday."

"I know we had a date but I'm class rep. It's my job to look after the new guy."

Adrien frowned. "I don't like him."

"Kitty, don't get too green eyed. You know you're the only one for me." She smiled, pulling him in for a kiss, ignoring the kwami's sound of disgust.


Chapter Text

The fight was finally over and the cure had fixed the damage of the city but there were still a few wounded so the police were moving in to control the situation while a couple of ambulances had been called for. Not to mention that the press were already on site, ready to ask questions of the heroes and naturally Alya was among them. “Ladybug!” She gasped, mobile phone at the ready. “That Akuma! It looked like it really had you on the ropes. Is it possible they are getting too strong for you?”

Ladybug smiled to her best friend. “No, no, we had everything under control.” She lied and the others knew it. That battle had been too close. They had almost lost if there hadn't been this sudden blinding light that took the mite by surprise at the last moment.

Beside her, the others tried to hold the same bravado, if only to put fears of the public at rest and went to their normal post fight interviews and autographs. As Chat smiled to some cameras, posing for them, he spotted someone towards the back of the crowd with tanned skin and black hair that was tied back in a ponytail, glaring at them. Gulping, Chat nudged Ladybug and nodded towards him as Niji's mouth began to move. By magic or skill, they heard what he said.

“We need to talk.” With that he turned and walked away.

Glancing at each other, the heroes decided to say their farewells to the public and headed up to the roof tops before splitting up and re-joining as civilians at Master Fu's. They nodded to the receptionist and headed into the large treatment room where Niji was waiting for them. “That was a disaster.” He said firmly as they came in. “Do you have ANY idea how close you came to being defeated? If I hadn't intervened…”

“Intervened?” Marinette interrupted.

“Where do you think that light came from?” He said, lifting his hand as a bright white glow surrounded it. “I try not to get in the way, I try to let you do this on your own but it’s clear to me that you three have a long way to go.” He sighed and looked to the floor. “I will have to increase your training.”

“But…” Adrien began before he was cut off.

“No buts!” Niji said firmly making it clear there was no room for argument. “I will be increasing your training and that's that! I will see you tonight and be prepared to work.”

With that he turned and left for one of the back rooms to the living quarters Fu shared with the visiting gods.

The trio looked at each other as he left then Mari sighed and shrugged. “I guess he does have a point; we do need it.”

“Yeah but he didn't need to snap.” Adrien muttered.

Annamarie smiled softly at them both. “Come on, let’s go get the 'kids' some food. After that fight, I think we all need a snack.”

The others chuckled, glancing down at Marinette's string purse where the Kwami were hiding, six big eyes looking out at them expectantly.

(LINE)

That night, the heroes headed off to their training warehouse and entered via the hole in the roof to find Niji waiting. “You’re late.” He said, clearly disappointed. “I've been waiting for half an hour.”

Peacock frowned. “We're not Niji, we always meet up to train at this time.”

“From now on we will meet at 6pm.”

“What? No. We can't.” Marionette gasped. “We don't have enough time for school, patrol and homework and train as it is! Not to mention Annamarie's ballet and Adrien's fencing.”

“I am your mentor! You will do as you are told.” His eyes hardened, the dark red burning a little. “Or did you forget the fate of the world is on your shoulders.”

“Of course not!” Chat snapped back. “But we need time to ourselves so we can keep up with our lives!”

“If we start falling behind on stuff people are going to notice.” Ladybug pointed out.

He glared at them. “Perhaps. But Shenfa isn't going to stop and go easy on you just because your personal lives are holding you down. You have to decide, which is more important.”

“Neither are more important.” Ladybug said, crossing her arms.

“I agree,” said Peacock will her hands on her hips. “Sure saving the world is important but so are our day-to-day lives.” Chat simply nodded in agreement with the girls.

The sun Kwami stared at the three. “You need training. You need to improve. You need to be ready. So, for now, until I decide you are ready, we will intensify your training.”

“We get that but still, we need to be able to balance our identities.” Chat argued back getting an approving nod from his girlfriend.

“And you will. Now, to training.” The solstice kwami called.

The trio decided not to argue anymore and got on with the tasks at hand and soon felt the difference. Whereas before they would have a few hand to hand bouts against each other or the master, then some obstacle course over the boxes in the warehouse with a lot of laughing and talking, that was soon stamped out and now they were put to drills and regimes and while it worked, they did begin to improve, it made them ache and exhausted them and their Kwami.

School became a release from the training but they were often too tired to pay attention and more than once they fell asleep during lunch or class. Annamarie was so busy she had to stop going to ballet, which made her boyfriend panic over her health but she brushed him off as just 'needing a break', glad that she no longer had the burden of Prima as well as miraculous.

By the fourth night, they decided not to go to the warehouse at all.

“So… what are we going to do instead?” Peacock asked as they sat on a wall. “I mean we can't just ditch training altogether.”

Ladybug nodded as she looked off into the distance. “You’re right but I've got nothing, Chat?” She turned to face him, realising his mind was elsewhere. “Chat? Hey kitty?” She clicked her fingers in front of his face, making him flinch back.

After blinking several times he replied. “Yeah..?”

Peacock sighed “Chat, got any ideas for training?”

He pondered for a moment before giving his signature smile. “Just one.” With that he turned to is girlfriend and tapped her shoulder. “Tag! You’re it Bugaboo!”

Ladybug smirked at him. “Oh really!” She laughed, running after him but he had already bolted away so she turned to Peacock but she was in the air. “HEY! That's cheating!”

Guessing it was, Peacock landed down on a roof away from her ally and went on to run on foot.

Laughing for the first time in what seemed like weeks, the trio ran, jumped and danced across the skyline of Paris, laughing and tagging one another as they went. After a few minutes, Ladybug finally caught up with Chat, trapping him between a wall and a billboard, waiting for him to make a move so she could catch him.

But before she could a loud angry voice erupted from behind making them both jump.

“What are YOU TWO DOING?!” The two turned to the voice as Niji stormed over to them. “How dare you miss training for this… CHILDISHNESS!”

Peacock dropped down from where she'd been perched and glared at the other. “We are training.”

“You are playing!”

“This is how we train. It’s how we trained long before you came here, master.” Chat hissed the last word. “We can't keep up with your methods. They don't work for us.”

“And this does?” He growled.

“Maybe if you try it our way…” Ladybug suggested.

“I don't see how playing a childish game on the rooftops of the city is training.” Niji replied crossing his arms.

“Well we aren't soldiers, you know.” Chat cut in. “So you can't train us as if we were.”

“But you are not children. You are the chosen of the Miraculous.”

“Then train us as miraculous!” Ladybug snapped.

“That's what I'm doing!” He replied angrily, noticing the peacock wasn't paying attention and whispering something in Ladybug ear.

Ladybug pulled away with a giggle and a nod before turning to him with a smile on her face. “No you’re not. So let’s make a wager. You chase us and use whatever powers you want to try and catch us and if you can get to all three of us and we go back to your way of training. But if even one of us can make it to the top of the Eifel tower before you can stop us, you have to lay off.”

Niji stood, mouth pressed into a thin line as he looked at the trio then huffed, stepping forwards. “Very well. I will accept your wager.”

Ladybug smiled as she bolting with Chat Noir and Royal Peacock right on her heels. “Cat-ch us if you can!” Yelled the cat in a fit of laughter at both his horrible pun and the recent revelation in their little game of tag.

Watching them go, the sun kwami allowed his civilian clothes to glow in a way similar to a miraculous transformation, making them golden and shimmering in the dark of the sky, a mask over his face. He waited a second then began to sprint after them. He could have turned into a beam of light and caught up to them at light speed but he wanted to give them at least a chance to prove themselves, even more when he noticed Peacock wasn't flying but running along with her teammates. He narrowed his eyes and continued the chase, leaping over the roofs and targeting Ladybug. She was the brains so he was going after her first.

The miraculous up ahead suddenly decided to split up, all going in a different direction but Niji continued to chase Ladybug and he was gaining on her too. As she leapt over a road, Marinette dared to glance back and soon spotted the golden form behind her, smiling as her eyes lit up with the challenge, swinging out to another building and out of sight.

Chat and Peacock had regrouped by then and were stood on a roof, watching the other race. “Stick to the plan?” Chat asked his friend.

Peacock nodded. “You engage him, I'll get her out of there.”

Returning the nod, Chat hurried off to the race, catching up behind Niji and catching him by surprise, since he hadn't expected them to chase HIM while chasing them so when Chat swept his legs out from under him and knocked him to the floor, he yelped so loudly it was hard for the black cat not to laugh as the god got up and glared at him, moving swiftly to engage the cat in hand to hand.

Chat blocked, ducked and weaved through all of Niji's attacks and attempted some of his own. To the god's surprise he even landed a few.

While the two fought, Niji found himself backing up until suddenly he lost his footing and slipped down the edge of the slanted roof a fair bit, giving Chat a chance to make his escape, re-joining Ladybug and Peacock.

Peacock nodded as they returned to the game. “Great work Chat! Ladybug, that was ingenious! Niji isn't used to fighting on a rooftop.”

“We are playing on our home turf.” Ladybug said as they hurried onwards. “Always a winner.”

They jumped from rooftop to rooftop, weaving in and out of chimney and alleyways, careful to avoid leaving a trail as they made their way, knowing just where they needed to go and how to get there. “There's the tower!” Peacock gasped as they turned towards the massive spire. “We can win this!”

“Just a little farther.” Chat encouraged as they made their way closer to it.

“Almost there…” Ladybug said with excitement, the tower right in front of them.

They made a leap for it, landing just before the metal when a bright light blinded them and they skidded to a stop, looking to see Niji suddenly before them, between them and the tower. Ladybug gulped as she prepared herself, the others following suit watching the sun kwami shift his eyes from one to another before opening his hand, a long whip like device forming in his grip. “So… ready to lose?” He said, a sight playfulness in his voice.

Chat cracked a smile, “Ha! Your dreaming sunshine!”

“We don't know the meaning of the word.” Replied Peacock playfully as she fanned her face.

Niji huffed and moved his whip along the floor, watching them carefully before suddenly, with a burst of speed all three charged simultaneously. Ladybug slid in under his feet, yo-yo trailing behind her before it tangled itself around his legs, while Chat and Peacock attacked from the sides, knocking him over. Rolling to her feet, Ladybug jumped over a beam and pulled the string tight, coursing Niji to be pulled off the ground and upside down in the air like a piñata.

Niji narrowed his eyes on the trio and suddenly his body shifted, freeing him of the wire and falling to the floor, righting himself as he did. He stood, the whip reappearing. “You said I could us any of my powers.” He reminded them before the whip snapped out and knocked peacock’s Fan, Ladybugs Yo-yo and chat’s baton away from their hands and over to his side, a golden orb surrounding them. “Let’s see how you cope now.”

The heroes didn't let the new development get in their way and Ladybug soon nodded. “Sweet Nightmare.” She said then charged forwards, the other two close behind her.

Just like their battle against the Akuma, the trio split up and went from different angles, Chat calling on his cataclysm and slamming his hand down on a water fountain. Even if he took human form, Niji was still an embodiment of fire and the water shocked his whole body as it washed over him, making him stagger and steam came drifting off him.

“You are going to regret that.” He growled then swung his whip out, the golden weapon snapping loudly on the ground between Peacock and Chat, making the two split and go in opposite directions. They didn’t waste any time as they charged towards him, Peacock watching as he snapped the whip out towards her each time jumping out of the way, almost dancing around him.

But with his attention on Peacock, he didn’t have a chance to block Chat as he came up from the other side. At the last moment he turned away from Peacock and turned instead to Chat, the leather like material wrapped around cat scratch’s blade. Chat tried to pull his blade free but the weapon was tight and couldn’t be moved.

“Guys! Now!” Chat shouted.

Niji turned just in time to see Peacock making her way up the tower, Ladybug a few steps behind her. The god frowned at them but then let go of his whip with one hand, holding the other up to the top of the tower just above the two heroines. The tower suddenly became gold in colour and as Ladybug landed on it, she slipped and began to fall back towards the ground.

Without hesitation, Peacock let go of the tower herself and flew to her friend’s aid, getting her safely to the ground but then they had to deal with Niji who was now attacking all three of them, the whip moving so fast it was as if there were three of them.

Peacock backed out of his range to get her breath back, watching the fight continue before lifting up her fan, whispering softly. “Feather Illusion.”

The beads of light filled the air around her and suddenly there were two versions of herself, the real and an illusion. The illusion ran towards the battle once more while the real slipped into the shadows and made her way around the tower, slowly working her way to the far side.

The heroes wouldn’t know she was gone or they would risk giving the plan away to Niji. She just needed to get to the top.

Paris sank lower and lower as she rose up higher, the very peak coming into view just ahead of her.

Suddenly something wrapped around her ankle and pulled her backwards, falling back down to the ground. She landed hard with a golden rope, tying her to her partners. The three struggled to get free but Niji smiled as he moved closer to her. “Did you think your illusion would fool me Peacock? I gave you those powers.”

“It clearly did for a while; I got almost to the top floor.” She said with a chuckle.

He frowned at her. “I guess so. But now you have all lost.” He growled and held out his hand, magic glowing around it before suddenly four items appeared in his hand; a pair of earrings, a ring and hair slide.

Miraculous taken, the three found their forms failing and they slumped against the ground while Niji released them from his whip and his own transformation returning to normal. “It's over.” He said at last.

Adrien slowly got to his feet and helped his girlfriend and friend up. “Alright, you win. Deals a deal.”

“You three fought so well, better than I have seen you fight in ages.” The god said as he held out his hand and passed them their miraculous again. “You were that determined to win?”

“We're competitive.” Annamarie said as she fixed her hair. “When you have something to fight for, you fight harder.”

The god paused then nodded. “Well said Annamarie.”

Marinette let out an exhausted sigh. “That’s why we don't like your training Niji. It's too… constructed.”

“Constructed?”

“We don't work like that.” Adrien said shrugging. “Look, we like to just mess around, hone our skills that way. We spar and tease and just… have fun.”

“Being a miraculous is a burden, there is no denying that.” Marinette continued. “To have the lives of so many people on your shoulders. But it is also a privilege and an experience that only we know. So we have to find our own ways to cope with it. And playing games is one of them.”

Niji looked at them then at the tower behind him before giving a small laugh. “I understand. And I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pushed you as I have been. My methods are very much like myself.”

“Ancient?” Chat snorted before getting two elbows to the gut by his alleys.

“No.” Niji said, barely holding back an amused smile. “Strict and formal. Things you are not.” He smiled at them. “Perhaps it time I accept that things are not as they once were. I should adapt to this new way of doing things.”

The trio looked at each other then at him with confusion. “So… what does that meant for us?”

Niji grinned, his body glowing golden. “Catch me if you can.”

Chapter Text

Stretching out once more, Annamarie smiled to her ballet friend as they stood in the empty room. “So, you got any plans for later today?”

“Not really.” Emilie said, copying her moves perfectly. “You?”

“Nothing much really. Wanna go get a drink?”

“Sure. I hear there is a new coffee place down on…”

They were interrupted from their conversation and practice by the door to the studio closing loudly and four unknown people walking inside, all of them about their age and female, dressed in thick warm coats. Emilie glared at them and stepped away from the mirrors. “Excuse me, this is a private studio.”

One of the group which boyish short blonde hair and bright red lipstick gave them a smirk. “Sorry.” She said, clearly not meaning it. “But I am looking for Annamarie Tolrana?”

The two dancers looked at each other trying to work out what was going on. This teen clearly wasn’t English or French but her accent was strong. Finally, Annamarie nodded. “What do you want with me?”

Her eyes lit up as she walked over to them and held out her hand. “Svetlana Monique.”

Still cautious, the dancer shook her hand. “Umm. Hi?”

“I’ve travelled all the way from Russia to meet you.” She explained. “The youngest prima in Europe meeting the youngest prima in Russia. It must be such an honour for you.” She said, voice full of pride before looking her up and down. “I must admit, I expected you to be more… showy.”

Blinking at the statement, unsure if she had been insulted or complimented, the brunette cleared her throat. “Well, I’m not Prima anymore, Emilie is. I’m just her understudy.”

Svetlana looked at the other girl and frowned. “But… she’s so old.”

“Hey, I’m only a year older than her!” Emilie snapped. “Look, what are you doing here? What do you want?”

“I want to dance against the best dancers in all the world. And that means you Madam Tolrana.”

“Sorry, not interested.” Annamarie stated as she went to collect her belongings and headed for the door.

Svetlana frowned but then smirked, looking at her friends who had followed her into the room. “I guess she’s not as good as they say then.” Her gaze went back to Annamarie’s head. “Typical of the French, always exaggerating.”

 Emilie turned on the spot to the Russian. “Hey, Annamarie could dance rings around you!”

“Then why is she playing second to a looser like you?”

“Because…” Emilie started but stopped when a hand held her shoulder, turning to look back at her friend.

“She’s not worth it Emilie.”

“You can’t let her talk to you like that.” Her friend frowned, glaring at their visitor. “I won’t let her insult you.”

“I’m not insulted Emilie. Please, just walk away.”

Svetlana nodded as she looked at the pair. “Of course, walk away like the cowards you are.”

Annamarie tried not to roll her eyes; after everything that Akumas and Guaimites threw at her, petty insults were nothing anymore so she turned and walked back towards the door.

Clearly seeing she wasn’t going to get what she wanted, Svetlana tried one last thing. “You know, I don’t know why I even bothered coming here. I should have known a Tolrana wouldn’t take up a challenge. Just look at your mother.”

The teen froze where she was, turning on the spot. “What did you say?”

“What? That your mother was a… how to say it… a no good second rate dancer? Just like her daughter.”

Hand closing into a fist, Annamarie glared at the other. “I’ll show you what it means to be a Tolrana. Meet me back here tomorrow afternoon.”

Grinning, the Russian nodded. “Good. I look forward to showing you how a true Prima acts.” She chuckled dryly. “And feel free to invite anyone you want to watch.” She stepped right up into the brunette’s face. “I’m sure they will enjoy watching a real ballerina.”


Peacock kept her eyes closed as she lifted her arms and danced across the wide open space of the rooftop, remembering each not of her music as it played only in her memory. As it called for a turn, she moved on the spot and felt something collide with her back, opening her eyes and realising she had an audience, Chat grinning as he clapped a few times. “Bravo, magnificent as always birdie.”

She rolled her eyes then frowned at him. “How long you two been there?”

“Just arrived.” Ladybug explained. “But you should know better than to go around dancing Pea. What if someone saw you and worked out you’re a ballerina?”

“I know, I know.” She sighed, walking to the edge of the roof and looking down. “It’s just… I have this big dance off tomorrow against this rude Russian.” She sighed, sitting down. “I shouldn’t have let her get to me but she insulted my mother and…” She sighed loudly again. “I couldn’t help it.”

Sitting on either side of her, Ladybug and Chat offered their silent comfort before Chat nodded. “Well, I think you should head home, get some rest.”

“It’s patrol night.”

“Pea, you need some sleep.” Ladybug said. “Go home, get some rest and tomorrow you will be as amazing as the first time we saw you dance. We will even come and cheer you on if you want.”

She smiled softly at them. “Thanks guys.”

Chat nodded then made a shoo motion with his hands. “Go on, get flying feathers. Text us the time and location when you get home. Go and get your beauty sleep.” He winked at her. “Not that you need it.”

With a grateful smile, Peacock took her leave of the pair and headed off towards her home.

As she vanished, Chat curled his arm about Ladybug’s waist and smirked. “So… wanna play ‘cat got your tongue’?”

Ladybug rolled her eyes but she couldn’t stop the blush on her cheeks.

(LINE)

“You nervous?” Emilie asked as she stood with her friend, watching her tie up the ribbons on her shoes.

Finishing off and looking into a mirror, Annamarie sighed. “I’m not nervous, more… annoyed. I let myself be played right into that hot head’s hands, just fanning her ego.” She turned, brushing her hand back over her miraculous hair slide. “But I don’t know if I can dance as well as I used to. You know I’m out of practice.”

“Well, if ‘out of practice’ is what I saw from you the other day, then you are going to knock her socks off.” Her friend said with a grin. “You will be… miraculous Annamarie.”

She chuckled at her encouragement and the unintentional joke then hugged each other. “She should have challenged you.”

“It’s your mother she insulted. Now prove how wrong she was.”

With one last hug, the two headed out to the studio where the challenge was being held, a small crowd of people gathered at the back of the room, including Marinette, Adrien, Alya, Nino, Rose, En, Louie, some girls from the ballet and the Russian’s friends.

Svetlana was already there, dressed in a black leotard with a short skirt on top of it and leggings, her lips still painted blood red as she smirked at the other dancer. “You don’t mind if I go first do you?” She asked with a fake consideration. “Set the bar as it were.”

“Please, be my guest.” The other said in a monotone voice, stepping to the side.

Confident smirk on her lips, the visitor took to the stage and someone started the music, the famous music of the swan lake filling the room.

At the side, Annamarie watched as Svetlana began to move, watching her every movement carefully and she had to admit she was good, her movements smooth, her poise careful and delicate. “She is good.” She commented to Emile next to her who nodded and they continued to watch.

After a few minutes, the dancer came to a stop with the last notes, panting hard from the effort the show had taken, the crowd clapping and cheering at the display while Svetlana was given a towel to dry her brow off, looking over at her opponent. “See if you can do better than that Frenchy.”

Rolling her eyes, the teen stepped out onto the stage herself, the small cheering from the audience making her smile before silence fell and the music started. They were dancing to the same music from Swan Lake but as the first few notes came into the air, she felt something inside her shift and change, a warm guiding sensation from inside.

She began to dance and it felt easy. It didn’t feel forced or stressful as it had the last few times she’d preformed. It felt fun. It felt good and relaxed. She completed her performance with a smile and a soft exhale, not even out of breath. She couldn’t help but be amazed by how well that had gone but as she turned to look at her audience she realised it wasn’t just how she felt but how she had performed.

Everyone was staring at her with an odd awestruck expression. Apart from Svetlana whose face was in an even harder snarl. “Why you little… how… how could you… no one is… is better than ME!” She hissed, stepping up to the other’s face. “You… you’re not even out of breath! HOW!”

Annamarie took a step back, wincing as she felt a burning heat radiating off the other. “What the…” She gasped, noticing the floor under her feet was turning black and smoking.

In the audience, everyone was making their way out of the room before Svetlana’s whole body erupted in flames, someone screaming in fear and Annamarie had to duck as a large ball of fire was thrown at her, colliding with the wall and shattering, the fire spreading to anything flammable.

Svetlana laughed, the fire not harming her as it roared over her body. “You!” She hissed, pointing at the dancer as she tried to avoid the flames around her. “You! Burn! Hot Head! Burn! You!” she shouted, throwing another fireball, Annamarie diving away at the last moment and making her way for the doors.

She could feel the heat at the back of her neck as she managed to get outside into the hallway, narrowly avoiding the blow. As Hot Head blew open the doors and the fire began to spread, a high pressured fine white mist was shot into her face, making her splutter and her flames dim for a moment.

Chat Noir smirked as he lowered the fire extinguisher. “Now that’s what I call hot stuff.”

“Not your best line Kitty.” Ladybird sighed at his side then looked at Annamarie. “You better get out of here civilian.” She smirked. “Royal Peacock should be showing up soon.”

Annamarie smirked back. “I guess she will.” She said then ran down the hallway to find somewhere safe to transform. After dipping into a dressing room she smiled to her kwami who had been hiding nearby. “Can I have at least one day off? Just once?”

Frou sighed and shrugged his shoulders. “Heroes life.”

She smiled and nodded, touching her hair slid. “Froufrou, Feather’s up!”


“Woah!” Chat gasped as he ducked under another fireball that was thrown at his head, backing off to the other side of the room. “This is… this one is serious!” He gasped, hurrying to the only spot that wasn't engulfed in the burning inferno.

Ladybug nodded in agreement as she held up a hand to protect herself from the flames, her second shield working hard to protect her from the flames as Hot Head suddenly threw another ball up at them. Just before it collided with her however, a powerful wind came out and knocked the ball off target, Peacock coming to their side but already it was possible to see the sweat from the heat.

“We need to get out of here!” She shouted, looking at the fire.

“What about the studio?” Ladybug gasped.

“It's lost!” The dancer shouted. “If we stay here then we will burn with it! Everyone has been evacuated. We have to get outside now!” She looked around, her school burning around her but she put the fear away as she batted away another fire ball with her fan. “There is a back exit, over there!”

The exit however, was right past the burning woman who was creating another blast ball in her hands that Chat took care of. Taking a deep breath, Ladybug nodded. “On my mark, charge for the door.”

The others nodded, ready for the next attack and for their move. Just as the mite pulled her arm back for another shot, Ladybug nodded. “NOW!” She shouted, the three of them sprinting forwards, past the flames and heat around them.

The trio charged, ducking down as the next blast was aimed at them. Ladybug hit her shoulder hard against the door and it slammed open allowing them to get out and into a rear alleyway. Peacock glanced back as they ran, a small whimper coming from her lips as she saw the studio in flames but then she saw Hot Head chasing after them, the tarmac under her bubbling and melting as she floated over it.

Chat grunted as they kept running. “How are we going to get rid of this one? We can't get close enough to look for a mite without burning, let alone find one.”

Ladybug frowned as well, looking around for something to help them. “Head for the river. If we can get there, we might stand a chance.”

Location in mind the group began to make their way towards the Seine, Peacock taking to the sky in order to ensure their path was clear but as she did she was able to see that the fire at the studio had spread to the next building and was in danger of spreading to the next one. Swooping back down, Peacock looked to her companions. “Ladybug the fire is spreading! We need to end this soon or the whole of Paris is going to AHH!” She screamed as a fireball collided with the back of her guilder, the flames sticking to it and already beginning to eat at the magical device until she had no choice but to let go or the flames would be on her.

She fell for a bit but then someone grabbed her and helped her get safely to a roof top. “Careful Birdie, or your goose would be cooked.”

She glared at the cat. “How long have you waited to use that pun Chat?”

“A while.” He confessed with a rakish grin but then peeked around the corner of the chimney as he saw the Akuma aiming for them. A second before the ball hit them head on, Chat grabbed his ally and knelt down, wrapping his cape around them both.

The blast still hit but instead of burning alive, the black fabric from his back almost absorbed the flames, leaving them unharmed. Everyone involved was confused by the development but the two miraculous took advantage of it and ran for their lives, heading towards the river.

Peacock ran aside Chat to avoid getting hit again, her eyes locked forwards. “Any ideas?”

“Apart from stay alive? Not really.”

“Perhaps we should call for Niji to come help us?”

“We can do this without him.” Chat said shaking his head. “We train for this.”

“We didn't train to be cooked alive!” She shouted back as another fire ball came flying after them, exploding on the roof and cutting off their path. They jumped down to street level with Ladybug at their side but the flames continued to follow them, as if being controlled by the mite.

The trio skidded to a stop as they found the flames hemming them in, wrapping around them, engulfing the walls, trees and anything flammable. The only word that came to mind as they turned to face the fire was 'trapped', hemmed in on all sides while the burning form of the mite hovered before them. Peacock lifted her fan and waved it over the flames to try and extinguish them but it swept up in the gust, the fire almost alive as it wrapped around the blue hero’s wrist and left a darker mark on her suit, making her hiss in pain.

“You!” She shouted, pointing at them. “BURN!”

“Yeah, yeah, we get the message.” Chat huffed but internally all of them were panicking over how to defeat this Guaimite, feeling Ladybug and Peacock pressing against his back as they looked at the flames coming towards them.

Hot Head growled as she began to come closer, the trio backing off as best they could from the heat but it was quickly getting too much.

Panting in the hot air, Ladybug looked at her friends, seeing the looks of horror on their faces.

Hot Head smiled as she pulled back her hands, creating a massive ball of flames. “BURN!”

Before the group could think of a way to get out of it, before Chat could grab his cloak or Ladybug her shield, a sudden stream of water collided with the Akuma's back, the flames being extinguished at once under the liquid and forcing her into a wall where she collapsed.

The three heroes turned in amazement to see what had taken out the mite and standing at the side of the road was the large red and black fire engine, its crew at the ready as the hose dripped while others worked at getting the other fires under control. One of them nodded at the trio before going to fight the flames.

Looking at each other in amazement, the heroes were quick to run to the downed Akuma, watching as the black ash that covered her body began to crack and flames grow over it, her face twisting as she recovered.

Ladybug looked at her quickly and swallowed. “Hurry! We need to find the mite before she wakes up!”

The trio searched but on the ashen body, they couldn’t see the black egg when Hot Head’s eyes snapped open and the fire raced back over her body, forcing the trio back. As she rose up off the floor once more, Peacock spotted what she was looking for and backed off from the heat. “I saw it!” She shouted as they backed away. “It’s on her foot! It’s still a mite, we still have time!”

Chat nodded that he had heard her but then turned away. “Problem is she’s on fire again!” He glanced back. “And the brigade are busy with ensuring Paris doesn’t burn down. How we going to get it!”

As a fireball bounced off her shield, Ladybug frowned and threw her main yo-yo into the air. “Lucky Charm!” She shouted, letting the item fall into her hands. “A pair of tongs?” She said, pinching them experimentally. “Tikki, seriously, we need to have words!”

“Ladybug! Look out!” Chat shouted in warning before tackling her to the ground before a ball of fire slammed on the ground where she had been stood, landing on top of her.

Peacock rolled her eyes as the two rolled to a stop and she stepped up to keep Hot Head busy. “Guys, now is not the time to flirt!”

“Well Hot Head isn’t the only one around here who is smokin’.”

Ladybug also rolled her eyes before jumping away from yet another fireball. “How are we going to get this leach?”

“I have an idea.” Peacock said, opening her fan to its guilder setting. “Ladybug, grab hold! Chat, keep her busy!”

Chat ran to Hot Head and jumped into the air as Ladybug ran for Peacock, grabbing the back of her fan before Peacock took to the air, flying higher over the city and the mite. “Ladybug! Get ready! This is going to be close!”

With one hand holding the edge of the bright blue fan, the other held the lucky charm, working out what her friend was planning. Finally Peacock banked sharply and began to dive down to the floor, right for the ground Hot Head, swooping down under the flames and under her feet. The heat and flames filled the air and she had to force herself to keep her eyes open and keep steady so Ladybug could grab the mite from the sole of the Akuma’s foot.

From the scream the fire let out, Peacock knew she’d done it and landed, looking at Ladybug holding the thick squirming black leach trapped in the tongs. The two masked girls wrinkled their noses at it as it tried to escape. “That thing is gross.” Peacock said, taking it from her hand. “I’ll take that.”

Ladybug nodded and turned to her yo-yo, opening it up. “Ready?”

“Ready when you are.” Peacock chuckled, holding the tongs to the ground, letting it go just as the yo-yo came spinning towards her, snatching the mite up off the floor and trapping it inside. After a moment she released the fine dust and watched it float away, smiling at their victory before sending the tongs up into the sky, watching them extinguish the flames and repair any damage. The cure even took away the excess water that had been used by the fire brigade and changed Hot Head to the Russian dancer Svetlana. Walking over to her, the Peacock nodded. “Hey, are you alright?”

“W-what happened to me?” She said, rubbing her head. “I… I was…”

“Try not to think about it.” Peacock interrupted. “It’s best if you don’t. All you need to know is that you are safe now. It might be best if you are checked out by a paramedic. Come on, I’ll take you.”

As the blue hero saw to the dancer, the black cat and red lady walked over to the fire engine who were putting their equipment away. “Thank you for your help. We really needed it today.”

“It was our pleasure Ladybug.” The man said, holding out his hand. “After all the times you saved us, the least we could do was save you.”


“Excellent.” Niji praised as the heroes surrounded him, stopping any move he had planned. “You are really beginning to improve.”

The trio relaxed from their formation, Chat bending over double as he did.  “Phew! I didn’t think I would have it in me to fight Hot Head and train today.”

“Yeah, it has been a long day. I’m looking forward to going to bed.” Marinette chuckled, also leaning on a wall to get her breath back.

Annamarie nodded before looking at her mentor. “Master, can I ask you something?”

“I wouldn’t be much of a mentor if I refused. What is it?”

“Today, before Hot Head… I was dancing against her… and… I was sure I wasn’t going to do well. Ever since Shenfa’s release, I haven’t been as strong or committed to my dancing… I’ve been neglecting it. But today… it was like I was at my peak once more, I was… I felt flawless, like I could do anything.” She laughed dryly. “Not that I’m complaining but… it was just strange.”

The golden miraculous smiled at her. “Were the others near?”

“Adrien and Marinette? Umm… yes they were actually. How did you know?”

“If a miraculous is in close enough proximity to each other, they provide a... sort of emotional boost to each other.” He smiled at the others. “A miraculous is strongest when surrounded by the others. Even when it is inactive.”

The trio of heroes looked at each other and smiled, Chat more than the others. “Always knew we were stronger together.”

The girls rolled their eyes but couldn’t deny the truth in the words. The sun smiled and nodded. “That’s enough for tonight, it’s time you…” the god broke off suddenly as he jumped away from the others, just in time to avoid a large black blade that came swinging down on where he had been stood.

The blade dissolved into nothingness while the heroes stood in stunned horror as they watched a form become solid right before their eyes; black hair, blood red eyes, black ancient clothes and a cold heartless smile on his lips. “You are losing your touch Sun. I almost got you.”

The three miraculous quickly got ready for the fight, pushing aside their exhaustion of the day as they prepared to face their archenemy but before they could make a move a bright golden dome appeared around them, trapping them inside.

Ladybug ran to it, pounding her hand on the surface. “What! No! Niji!”

Their mentor didn’t look at them, just staring ahead. “What are you doing here Shen?”

The spirit grinned. “I’m here to do what I said I would do all those years ago; destroy you and everything you treasure.”

“We stopped you before. You won’t succeed this time.”

Shenfa hummed as he walked around the golden shield, looking at the three masked heroes within, all of their eyes full of hate as he slowly reached out for them, touching the wall before recoiling quickly, a faint steam coming from his hand. He turned back to the human kwami. “There will come a time when I’m strong enough to destroy your little pets Niji. You won’t be able to protect them forever.” He looked at his hand and hummed. “Even now I grow stronger. My mites infect more and more of these humans with each passing day.” The eyes turned back to the trapped miraculous. “And needless to remind you, I still have one of your little children in my control.”

Chat gave a slight hiss at the reminder. “It won’t be forever.”

“No.” Shenfa agreed. “Soon all of you will be destroyed.”

Niji frowned but then charged forwards, snapping out at the other, a golden blade of his own appearing in his hand as he went after the head but Shenfa vanished just in time to avoid the strike, making himself appear again, his blade in his grasp.

Shen smirked as he backed off and swung his own attack. “You’re slower than I remember Niji.” He teased, blocking the attacks at a rate the heroes didn’t know possible. And terrifyingly, he appeared to be winning.

“Niji!” Peacock shouted out. “Let us help!”

“No!” The sun kwami shouted back as he fought on. “I have this!”

Shen chuckled as he kicked the god in the stomach, sending him across the roof and to the floor. “Why not Niji? Let them out and let me kill them before your very eyes.”

“Your fight is with me Shenfa!” Niji growled, getting back up as he began to attack again.

The spirit backed off a little. “You’re weak, old man. Using too much strength to keep your chosen safe.” He jumped forward, reaching out and grabbing the celestial kwami by the wrist, stopping his attack. “Right now, I am the stronger of the two of us.”

As he spoke, Niji let out a sharp scream, his arm under the other’s hand smoking and the gold of his clothes was slowly turning black. Shenfa grinned as he watched the other slip and fall to his knees, teeth gritting tight to avoid showing his true pain, trying to block out the calls of help from the dome, concentrating on keeping it strong.

“Hurts, doesn’t it?” He asked the god at his feet.

“Let him go Shen!” Ladybug shouted. “It’s us you want!”

“You will get yours soon enough Ladybug.” The darkness shouted back, glaring at the spotted hero. “Make no mistake about that.”

With him distracted, Niji took the moment and lifted the arm not in the other’s grasp, stabbing the form with a short golden dagger where the heart should have been, the weapon embedding in solid flesh. Shenfa looked down at blade in his chest then growled, letting go of the god and watching him fall to the ground. “This isn’t over Niji. I will finish what we started.”

Niji panted as he got to his feet, grasping the burn on his arm, watching as Shenfa’s form began to slowly turn to smoke and vanish. Even when they were left alone, the dome remained in place but when their master fell forwards to the ground, it flickered out of existence. The three of them instantly ran to his side, helping him stand while Peacock looking at the massive burn down his arm. “We need to get him to Fu’s now!”

Together the three heroes managed to get their mentor back to master Fu’s without any problems, glad no one appeared to notice them since they didn’t have time for subtleties. They all but crashed through the upstairs window as they arrived, scaring the life out of Dawa and Fu who had been watching TV. Dawa suddenly panicked when she saw it was Niji that was hurt, hurrying to help him into a chair. “Wh-what happened?” She said, looking over his arm and the black burn on it.

“We… we were out training.” Ladybug explained as her spots came down and Dawa’s hand began to glow a silvery white. “T-then he came out of nowhere… we… we didn’t have a chance.”

“Niji created this shield around us.” Adrien continued. “To stop Shenfa hurting us.”

“And to stop us helping him.” Annamarie hissed, anger clear in her voice. “We could have helped.”

“No…” Niji whispered. “No… you’re… not ready to… face him.”

“We could have helped you.” She repeated.

The group fell into silence, broken only by the painful grunts of Niji as his wife healed him.

Adrien finally let out a sigh. “Know your enemy.” He lifted his eyes to the gods. “If we are going to fight him we need to know more about him. Where did he come from? What is he? We need to know.”

The two gods looked at each other for a while, as if mentally talking before Niji looked away and nodded. “Alright, it might be time for you to know.” Niji sighed, sitting up straighter in the chair. “Shenfa… he… he was once… human.”

“Human? You mean… like us?”

“Yes. It… it was thousands of years ago. To your history books, it was the beginning of civilisation, the bronze age.” Niji explained, looking towards the floor. “Shenfa lived in a small settlement where they worshipped us.”

“Wait, hold up…” Adrien interrupted. “You… were worship?”

Dawa smiled shyly. “Not us… personally but they did worship the sun and moon.”

“Oh.”

“As I was saying.” Niji said, glaring at the boy in a way that would guarantee there would be no more interruptions. “Shenfa began to think that the nightfall and the moon were a sign of darkness in the world, the cause of all his misery and suffering.

“He was not of sound mind but as time went on, it became clear he was dangerous. His obsession began to make him violent and one night…” the Sun kwami paused then looked away. “We could do nothing but watch as he slaughtered his whole village. Not a single person was spared. It was… horrid. So we decided to come down to earth, the first time we took these forms. We stood before him… still covered in their…” He paused then looked away. “Anyway… we stood before him and… told him that he was wrong… that the moon was not darkness, but guidance.”

His head lowered to his hands. “We… should have known… we shouldn’t have interfered in the affairs of humans. It never would have happened if we just… ignored it.”

“What happened was an accident.” Dawa comforted, placing her hand over where he had been wounded. “We had no idea.”

“But it’s still our fault.” Niji said once more.

“What do you mean?” Marinette asked as she looked on the pair.

“Back then, our power was far stronger than it is now. And since we had met a living thing before we had no idea… what would happen.”

Those listening to the story waited patiently with expressions varying from curious to concern.

Niji took a moment then sighed. “Shenfa… absorbed some of our powers, just from being in our presence. It… it was too much for his mortal form to contain… it should have killed him but his anger and… hatred to us and mankind… it consumed him, destroyed him and… created the thing that went on to almost destroy the world.”

“That’s why you created the miraculous.” Marinette said after a short moment to digest the new information. “You felt guilty.”

“Yes.” Niji confirmed, unable to look at them. “Our power created him. He was our creation, we had to do something to stop him.” He gripped his hands tighter. “It’s our fault he is out there now, hurting people.”

“And it’s you that created the powers that stopped him before and will stop him again.” The ladybug said, not a trace of mistrust in her voice. “And it’s that power that will defeat him again. I know we will.”

The gods looked at her and smiled while Niji touched his arm where he’d been hurt just moments ago. “He’s stronger than I expected now. We will have to be ready for him.”

“With you training and guiding us, we will be.”

Chapter Text

Estella sighed once more into her coffee before looking up as she heard the front door open and close. “Mom! I home! Sorry I'm back late, I was with Adrien and Mari.” She chuckled, putting her bag down. “We were playing a game and… well… I just lost track of time.”

“It's alright darling.” Estella said as she had another sip of her drink. “You're back before dark and that's all that matters.”

“Yeah. Guess so.” Her daughter laughed, working her way around the kitchen to get herself a drink. “We were meant to be doing out homework but… well, didn't work out so I'm just gonna go up and get to work.”

“Annamarie, wait a moment.” Her mother called, standing to get her attention. “Can I talk to you?”

“Sure.” The teen said with a slight nervous edge to her voice before walking over and sitting beside her. “Is something wrong?”

Her mother paused for a moment then looked away with a sigh. “No, not really. You see… my manager has offered me a promotion, to become the new deputy manager of the office that's starting in a few months.”

“That's great! Oh mom! I'm so happy for you!” Her daughter chuckled, holding her hands tight. “You've worked so hard for this! It's about time they noticed how good you are!”

Estella gave a weak smile. “It… it's in Nice.”

Suddenly the look on the other's face turned from joy to sadness in just a few seconds. “Oh.” Was all the sound her mouth could make.

The older woman turned a bit more to face her and squeezed her hands tight. “Honey, I know you have made friends here in Paris and… you've settled in but… this is a really big opportunity for me. And the company are going to set me up a penthouse apartment and get you into a great school and… Nice is only a few by train hours away, you can come back at the weekends.”

Annamarie sat silently for a moment, looking at their hands before she shook her head and she swallowed. “Mom, I'm sorry but… I can't.”

“Annamarie… I know you're happy here but….”

“No.” She interrupted. “No, you don't understand. I can't… leave Paris.” She forced herself to stand and look at her mom. “I… I have to remain here.”

“Why?”

“Because… I am needed here in Paris.” She whispered, leaning on the table and not looking her in the eye. “I owe it to the city.”

Remaining seated, Estella shook her head. “Annamarie, you aren’t needed here. This city doesn’t owe you anything…”

“I owe this city everything.” She cut off again, smiling. “I owe Paris so much… because… it's my duty protect it.”

“Annamarie, you're not making any sense.”

They stood in silence for a moment, Annamarie staring at her mother as if trying to come to a life changing decision but finally lowered her head and sighed. “Maybe it’s time. Maybe… it's easier if I just show you.” She chuckled dryly and stepped to the middle of the room. “But try not… to freak out.”

Her mother watched her with confused curiosity as she stood there then closed her eyes and threw back hand, brushing it against the blue fan shaped hair clip on her head that suddenly emitted a bright glow. “Froufrou!” She called and Estella spotted something fly up from her bag. “Feather's up.”

Something flew towards her and into the hair clip and Estella's jaw slowly dropped as a bluish white light began to work over her teenage daughter's body, taking her summer dress away and leaving a skin tight suit. She put her hands to her mouth as the transformation finally completed and there stood Royal Peacock, smiling brightly at her.

She'd seen the heroine before but now as if a veil had been lifted, she could tell it was her child behind the mask. She looked amazing beautiful and powerful, stood there with a fan in her hand and feathers in her hair. Estella shook her head, lowering her hand a little. “I… I don't believe it. You…you're… Royal Peacock?”

“Yes.” She sighed, sitting down beside her mother and putting her fan on the table. “I have been ever since we moved here.”

“And you never told me?” Her mothering instinct kicking in. “Sweetheart, you should have said something.”

“No. I couldn't.” The masked hero turned to look at her and sighed. “It was for your own protection. I've seen what happens when people find out and it's not good.”

“What do you mean?”

She glanced downwards. “Sophia.”

“Sophia?”

“Yes. She… was my predecessor as the Peacock. And when someone found out who she was… she had to leave France to protect her son.”

Estella slowly lowered her head as well. “So that's what happened.”

“Yes. And if anyone finds out who I am, you will be in danger, mom. I would never do that to you but you have to understand; the forces I'm fighting now are even more dangerous than the ones I fought before. They are willing to kill. Hawk Moth, he only wanted to get our miraculous to increase his own power.” She glanced over at her fan. “Shenfa however, he wants them destroy the world. That's why I have to stay in Paris. To protect it and help fight him.” Peacock sighed again and held her mother's hands tight. “I love you mom but I have to stay here.”

They sat in silence, thinking and hoping for a bit before the other gave a proud smile even if her eyes had a terror in them. “I understand.” She said, squeezing the gloves tight. “But, what now?”

Peacock stood again and turned to look at her. “Simple; you are going to Nice, take your dream job as a manager and I will stay here to protect Paris.”

“What? How? You're barely 16, you can't live on your own.”

“I'm not going to.” Her daughter chuckled. “I happen to know that Sophia's new home has a spare room. I'm sure she would take me in until I finish school and can find myself an apartment.”

“Sophia? Are you sure?”

“The bond between the two of us have is stronger than you might think mom.” She gave her a little smile. “She was the one who saved me when I was akumatised.”

The other woman blinked before tears came to her eyes. “You mean… those days when you were missing…”

“Yes. I… I was the Akuma Feathers.” She sighed and reached out, brushing her mother's tears away. “I'm sorry I didn't tell you before but…”

“Oh sweetheart, of all the things that could have happened to you…” She sniffed and wiped her own eyes. “To be honest, hearing you were akumatised makes it all feel so much better.”

Peacock chuckled lightly, leaning into her side. “I'm sorry.”

“Then… when you were away?”

“I was in Tibet. There is a temple there; the home of the miraculous. Normally an Akuma forgets what they do when transformed but I remembered and… I needed time to heal from that. The temple was the only place that I and my kwami could recover.”

“Kwami?”

“Want to meet him?” She asked, closing her eyes as the magic washed up her body and left her in her normal form.

Something popped out of her hair slide and floated out before the daughter and mother. “Ohhh so secret’s out.”

“Mom, meet Froufrou, my kwami.”

Estella blinked. “What… is it?”

“I'm a kind of fairy.” The blue bird said. “Nice to finally meet you Estella.”

“Nice… to meet you too?”

Annamarie laughed. “You know all those times you heard me talking to myself mom? Most of the time I was actually talking to Frou here. And all those grapes? That's his favourite type of food.”

“And now that I can talk for myself…” The bird said, floating near his chosen's shoulder. “Can you please stop buying red grapes?”

“Frou!” Annamarie snapped.

“Sorry but I don't like them!” He huffed, arms folded.

Annamarie rolled her eyes. “Sorry mom. He's a bit picky.”

“It's alright.” Estella said but her voice was a weak shocked whisper. “So… you and… Frou you… save Paris?”

“With Ladybug, Tikki, Chat and Plagg.”

“Right.”

They fell back into silence, Annamarie using the time as a chance to get Frou some food from her bag while Estella contemplated everything she had just seen and learnt and the choices before her, staring at her daughter and fairy. Finally she took a deep breath in and nodded. “Well, I guess that's it then.”

“What is?”

“I can't make a hero of Paris leave her rightful place.” She said with an amused smile. “So you will have to stay here in Paris. And as long as Sophia is alright with it, you can stay with her but only until you can stand on your own.”

“I know Sophia will be alright with it. She'll understand.”

“Explaining to Adrien might be a bit harder.” Estella chuckled. “How are you going to explain it to him?”

“Won't be as hard as you think.” She laughed and scratched the back of her neck. “Since… he's out there fighting beside me.”

“What?” Her mother said with a blink. “You mean… Adrien is… Chat Noir?!”

“Yeah.” She laughed nervously again. “Guess being a miraculous is a family tradition for them.”

Estella lowering her head to her hands with a groan.

“Mom? You alright?”

“This is too much to take in at one time sweetheart.” She sighed then sat back up. “But I have to ask; how have you been able to balance being a student, a ballerina and Royal Peacock all at the same time?”

She smiled and shrugged. “How do you handle being a mother, a businesswoman and keep this house tide?” She teased. “I just take after my mother.”

Estella smiled happily then reached out and hugged her tight. “Oh sweetheart, I'm so proud of you. But from now on, please, tell me the truth about what you're doing?”

“Of course mom.” She said, leaning back. “And in that case; I wasn't playing computer games with Adrien and Marinette; we were patrolling the city looking for clues on where Shenfa is.”

Her mother's eyes widened. “Ok, maybe don't tell me everything.”


Sophia was humming happily as she went around her new home, unpacking the last of the knickknacks from in England. “Adrien, how's dinner coming?” She called.

From the kitchen, a blonde head popped up. “Almost there mom.”

“Can't wait to see what you're cooking.” She chuckled, still not able to believe her son was cooking dinner for her. Since moving, he'd been trying to spoil his mother as much as he could, coming home randomly with flowers or cleaning while she was out. After years of not having her there, he was dead set to make up for lost time.

“Ready mom!” He called suddenly.

Tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear, Sophia walked to the kitchenette were her son had laid out two plates and glasses. “Crostini Variopinti!” He said proudly.

Sophia laughed at him before hugging her son tight. “Adrien Agreste! That's beans on toast!”

“No it’s not.” Adrien laughed with her, pushing away and sitting down. “It's got a fried egg making it Crostini Variopinti!”

“If you say so.” She conceded, sitting down and digging in.

Her son took a few mouthfuls, watching her carefully before swallowing. “I'm sorry it’s not more. I… I'm not a great cook but…”

“Adrien. You're trying. And that's all that matters to me.” She said with a smile. “And besides, I'll teach you. I'll have you a world class chef in no time. And beans… I mean Crostini Variopinti, is a favourite of mine. Had it all the time in England.”

“Thanks mom.”

They returned to their meal but just as they finished, there was a knock at the door. Sophia looked up from her drink and turned to look at the front entrance. “I wonder who that is.” She said as she got up and went over to it, opening it up.

On the other side stood her successor and her mother. “Hi Sophia.”

“Hi Annamarie, Estella.”

“Not disturbing anything are we?”

“No, no, Adrien just made me beans on toast for dinner but we just finished.”

“Adrien cooks?” Annamarie teased as they entered the apartment.

Said teen smirked at her. “Better than you miss I-burn-water.

“Ha ha Agreste.” She said, giving him a light punch on the arm.

“So…” Sophia said, turning to the other adult. “What's the occasion?”

Estella sighed. “I am sorry for popping by unannounced but this is something we didn't want to talk about over the phone and it can't really wait.”

“Well then, come and sit down and I'll get some wine.”

“I'll get it mom. Annamarie, soda?”

“Please.”

The four sat with their drinks and Estella explained her situation about her new job. Adrien frowned as he heard the idea of the pair moving away, already trying to think of a way to keep his partner from going until Estella gave a small laugh. “But I realise now that that won't work.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well…” Estella said with a smile. “Annamarie is Royal Peacock after all.”

The others turned to the teen who was smiling as innocently as she could manage before Adrien shook his head. “You told her?”

“It was the only way out. I can't move to Nice, not with Shenfa still out there.” She confessed as Frou came out and sat by her side. “Besides, I think it’s time she knew.”

“Now is the worst time to tell her!” Adrien almost shouted. “Annamarie, are you insane? If Shen finds out who you are he could target her!”

“If Shen ever finds out who I am, I'm pretty sure he will come straight for me.”

“That's not the point! Mom's got protection; she was a miraculous but Estella isn’t. She doesn’t have anything to keep her safe! How could you be so foolish?”

“It was my choice Adrien.” She snapped back at him.

He glared at her then sank back down. “So great, the cats out of the bag.”

“This is not time the time for a pun.”

“It was an expression, not a pun, just happens to be cat based.” He crossed his arms, glaring at the peacock. “And I still think you're an idiot. What's Ladybug going to say when she finds out?” His frown grew colder. “Or have you told her who she is as well?”

Estella blinked as she watched and listened to the conversation. She'd known Adrien for a while now, he came over for dinner and to do homework with Annamarie quite regularly, although looking back, it was probably a cover for them going out as heroes, and she had never once seen him as anything but the mild mannered, quite polite boy. To see him angry and slumping was a whole new side. It made her wonder what Annamarie was hiding.

Sophia was looking at her son with a slight frown but she kept silent, deciding that this was between the miraculous so she stayed out of it. She did feel a familiar sensation of Frou nuzzling into her leg, having moved around the room to her side.

Annamarie glared at the cat. “No, I haven't told her who Ladybug is. And I told her about you because the solution I was going to recommend was I moved in with you two until I'm old enough to live on my own but now I'm beginning to think that won't work.”

The boy glared at her. “And why do you think that?”

She looked back at him. “What do you mean?”

“Annamarie, I understand you telling her who you are. Sort of. It's your choice who you reveal your identity to but I'm upset that you told her who I am.” He shrugged lightly. “The more people who know and the more they know, the more danger we put ourselves and others in.”

Annamarie was silent for a moment then sighed. “I'm sorry, I didn't think of it like that.”

“Well, secrets out. I'm sure my lady will understand. And as for your problem of staying it Paris, I'm alright with you moving in as long as mom is.”

Sophia beside him smiled. “I'll happily take you in Annamarie, as long as you don't mind paying a little towards expenses.”

“I'll pay for her upkeep.” Estella said before her daughter could interject. “She has enough to do with school and ballet as well as being hero to worry about a job.”

“Alright.” Adrien sighed then chuckled. “But you're doing the washing up.”

“Deal kitty.”

Chapter Text

Ladybug sighed as she met up with the others at the top of the office block, their faces with the same defeated expression as her own. “Nothing.”

“Notta.”

Peacock just shook her head and shrugged. “To be honest, I don't even know what we're looking for. Shenfa could be anywhere.”

“Or anyone. Niji said he’s a shape shifter.” Chat said scratching his head. “And honestly, I'm too tried to think tonight.”

Ladybug nodded. “Me too. And we have that test science tomorrow at school. Let's call it a night.”

“Great. I can almost hear my bed screaming at me.” Peacock chuckled then yawned into her hand. “See you tomorrow Bug.”

“Wait, you and Chat need to go home separate ways.” Ladybug chuckled. “Can't have anyone seeing you and thinking your living in the same area.”

“Or sleeping with each other. Not sure what's worse.” Peacock said as she joined in with the laughter then closed her eyes with a small exhausted groan.

Chat smiled and placed a hand on her shoulder. “You take the short cut Feathers. I'll hang around for a bit.”

She gave him a grateful smile. “Normally I'd argue but… not today. Thanks Kitty.”

“Anything for you. Now get going. I'll see you at breakfast. Sleep well my lady.”

They split up and Annamarie took to the air and jumping from roof to roof over the city, too tried to fly and taking the most direct route to the apartment. Leaping between two roofs suddenly her jump was interrupted, a blast of some kind colliding with her back and throwing her off course, sending her skidding across the tiles with a painful scream, rolling down a roof before falling between with buildings and landing in a dark alleyway.

Even after landing, she curled up on herself, a burning electric pain coursing thought her body before it gradually relaxed its hold on her enough she could open her eyes but what she saw made her panic even more. Her hands and arms, the only part she could see, were coated in a haze of red fire that was licking off her suit. She could feel it biting into her but the suit and magic was keeping it at bay. She pushed herself up with one hand, hoping she could maybe run it off when something grabbed her neck, turning her over and squeezing tight. “Oh no you don't bird.”

Air cut off, she stared at her attacker, reaching up and grabbing his arm on her neck. He glared at her, eyes as red as the fire coursing over her body. “Shenfa.” She wheezed.

The man smirked and held tighter, forcing her head into the ground. “We meet again little bird. At least you know who is going to kill you.”

Between the fire and being strangled, Peacock was in such a conflict of pain she didn't know what to do.

Fortunately, the darkness holding her down let go. “But if only it was that simple.”

Taking in a few breaths, the miraculous rolled onto her side and curled up, the shooting burn coursing through her continuously.

Shenfa watched her for a moment, a malleolus smile on his lips. “Does that hurt little bird? Good. I want it to. But as it stands, I am not strong enough to destroy you yet.” He watched her for a bit longer then grabbed her chin, turning it to look at him, her eyes forced open. “You know, I have watched every one of your incarnations. Each of your chosen from the day you were formed. From behind the seal I could see you; I watched you. You and the others. I watched you fight and die, over and over again. And I noticed that out of all the… miraculous… you, the bird, were always the one to live the shortest.” He scoffed, leaning down. “You are the weakest and the most foolish. And yet, now… it's you.”

Peacock groaned at the pain but her ears and mind was processing every word he was saying even if she couldn't speak back.

Shenfa gripped her chin so tight she swore blood was trickling from his nails but that may have been the fire. He glared into her eyes. “You, Peacock, confuse me. You stand beside the red and black, the two I should worry about most but instead it is you I worry about. You are too strong. You are their equal and yet… I know you should not be at their level. You should not have the power you do.”

He growled at her then pushed her head into the ground. “But don't you fear; once my mites have collected enough power for me, I will destroy you and your friends. And this pain, that you feel now? It is just a taste of the agony I have in store for you.”

As he spoke, the fire near tripled, burning the hero even more, making her scream and trash around in the pain before bolting upright and taking in a deep sharp breath.

Someone grabbed her and she instinctively fought out against them. “Get away!”

“Annamarie! Annamarie calm down!” A blonde woman said at her side. “It's alright, you're safe. It's me! You were just having a bad dream.”

The teen panted for breath a little longer then blinked looking around her room and the woman beside her. “S-Sophia?”

“Yes Annamarie. It's alright. You're safe. It was just a nightmare.”

Her breathing gradually returned to normal and a hand pressed to her forehead. “I… it… it felt so real.”

“What did?”

“The… I… I can't remember.” She sighed, leaning back in bed. “I was… I was… I was with Ladybug and Chat… then… then I was… I was here… I don't remember coming home.”

Sophia gently brushed her hair back off her face with a kind mothering smile on her lips. “Well, you have been working really hard recently. I mean, you might just have… blacked out. I know I did when I was Peacock.”

“Yeah.” She chuckled. “I have been tired.”

“Try and sleep. You have a test tomorrow.”

She lay back down into her bed and sighed, rolling to her side, looking at the little bed by her side. “Hey, where's Frou?”

“Downstairs with Plagg. Would you like me to see if he'll come up?”

“Please. I… I like him to be near.”

“Alright.” She smiled, leaning over and kissing her brow softly. “I'll send him over.” While the teen settled in to sleep, Sophia walked out the room and down to the living area where the kwami spent most of their time. As she got closer however, she heard them talking.

“You what?”

“Shush, I don't want the others to know.”

“But… he attacked her?”

“Yes.”

“Why did you block that out? She needs to know! This is important.”

“You weren't there Plagg, you don't understand… Shen… he burned her!”

“He… he what?”

“He burned her. My poor Annamarie… he… he… if I hadn't… I don't know what else I could do. It was hard enough keeping his fire off her but it still hurt! She has been through enough.”

“Frou.” Sophia said as she walked in on them, glaring at her friend. “Frou, you can't do that to her.”

“Sophia… how long have…”

“Long enough. Look, I know you; you have been at my side for over 10 years. I know you care about your chosen and want to protect them but you have to let Annamarie know what is going on.” She reached out and cupped the bird in her palm. “Please Frou.”

“But… she's only just getting over Hawk Moth. I can't… I don't want her to be hurt again.”

“I hate to say it but I agree with missy there.” Plagg added to the conversation. “She's strong enough to cope.”

The blue kwami lowered his head and didn't look at any of them. After a few seconds, the woman sighed. “Look, think about it. But right now she want you upstairs. She had a nightmare and wants you near. We'll talk more tomorrow.”

He nodded and flew off towards the girl's bedroom. Plagg folded his arms as he looked at Sophia. “He's always been a softy. But it's time he toughened up.”

“You can't blame him for wanting to protect her. It is his thing.”

“He's still a wimp.” He mumbled then went off for the kitchen.

Sophia smiled at her son's kwami then sat down on the sofa, sighing to herself as she did. Just when I thought things were getting easier.


Alya sighed as she looked over the latest footage from the battle earlier that day; the miraculous trio against a giant spider that had wrapped a load of people in sticky webbing before trying to eat them. It was the stuff of nightmares and a great story but with the Akuma attacks being almost every day, the bloggers were beginning to get tired of these kinds of stories.

If she was going to keep her blog alive, she needed something new, fresh and different. She turned to her computer folders and loaded up some of the most recent pictures that had been submitted to her website. A mix of photos of Akumas as well as the heroes as they made appearances at events or patrolled the city but also the most recent mystery to come to Paris.

A man dressed in gold seen fighting the heroes one moment then talking to them the next.

Theories on him and his actions were covering the blogs and Alya was determined to find out what, or who, the man was. She wanted to know the truth.

Suddenly something caught her eye out the window and she hurried over, peering out to see a blue glider swoop up before collapsing and the owner landing in a crouch on the roof right across the street from her!

She could hardly believe her luck as she grabbed her coat, stuffed the pockets with her camera and a note pad and headed for the door before stopping and instead turned for the window, throwing it open as wide as it would go and slowly climbed onto the ledge. Glancing at Peacock, who hadn't spotted her or moved, she reached out for the overhang on her roof, planning on pulling herself up onto it and then make her way across.

She managed to grab to the lip and held on tight, bracing herself before trying to pull herself up but the tiles weren’t designed to take her weight and shifted suddenly an inch, dropping her downwards slightly, startled and screamed in shock.

Peacock, across the roofs, turned to the sound and on seeing a girl trying to climb out of a window, leapt into action and made her way over, kneeling down and used her strength to pull her up. “What are you trying to do?” She said with a slight anger in her voice. “You could have hurt yourself falling from his height!”

Alya took a few deep breaths then stood up. “Sorry... Peacock... I... just wanted to talk to you.”

Frowning at the reporter probably more than she needed, the hero crossed her arms. “You risked your life for an interview? Are you insane?”

The teen smiled at her. “My friends certainly would say so.”

Rolling her eyes, the hero rubbed her brow and gave a low groan. “Hopeless.”

Pushing her luck, Alya moved a bit closer. “So… can I have an interview?”

Looking up, the blue hero thought for a bit then sighed and nodded. “Alright. Only a short one, I still have to complete my patrol. And not on this roof, it's not safe.” Without giving her a chance to ask or explain, Peacock grabbed her arm tightly and pulled her with her, jumping across the roof back to the flatter roof she had been stood on before.

As they landed, Alya groaned. “What was that for?”

“For scaring me before.” She smirked back, sitting down on the edge of the roof across from her. “So, do you need some time to set up or do you want to start the interview now?”

Guessing she had her chance, Alya nodded and quickly pulled out her camera and notepad. “I already have some questions ready... so... just let me set up my camera...” she worked for a moment then set the device to record before nodding. “Right... here we go, ready.”

Peacock nodded softly. “Alright then, go ahead.”

“Alright, so, Royal Peacock, how do you think the battle against Shenfa is going so far?”

The masked hero thought for a moment then sighed. “I won't lie; it has been difficult at times.”

“How so?”

“Well, Hawk Moth's Akumas... they were easy to predict and outsmart. Shenfa's are... wild almost.”

“Do you think you will beat him?”

Peacock turned and laughed at her. “Of course we will! He might fight hard but we will fight harder. The miraculous beat him before and we will do it again.”

Alya smiled with a bit of pride at the words. “So, Peacock, recently we have seen this new ‘being’ running around Paris with you and Ladybug. The one in gold? Who is he?”

Peacock blinked at the question before nodding. “I guess he isn't very subtle...” She said, more to herself before taking a deep breath. “That is our mentor. A master of the Miraculous.”

“You have a mentor?”

“Yes. He helped create the miraculous thousands of years ago and he has been training us in how to defeat Shenfa.”

Alya frowned at her behind the camera. “But... if he is your mentor... and he created you surely he is stronger than Shenfa? Why doesn't he help defeat him? Why is he never seen at the Akuma attacks?”

Another question that got Peacock by surprise and she had to think for a moment over how to answer it. “It’s very hard to explain... the only way I can think is... it’s like Shenfa... is the anti-miraculous. He is has the same kind of power as our mentor so it’s like they are two equal forces pushing on each other.” She pressed her hands together and pushed against them, her fingers moving slightly under the pressure. After a moment to show her point, she lowered her hands and sighed. “But because they are equal, our mentor can't hurt him, not in the way Ladybug and the others can.”

“Others? You and Chat?”

“Yes.” she said then paused and sighed. “But there are, or are meant to be, seven miraculous in total. But we haven't found the others.”

“Then where are the others? But surely you know your team?”

Peacock looked at her then nodded. “I guess it's alright to tell you now. The miraculous are not one person for thousands of years, as Ladybug once made you believe. It is a title, passed on from one person to another. You are chosen.”

“Really!?” Alya stopped, taking in the new information. “Does that mean anyone can be a miraculous?”

“In theory.” The blue bird said with a nod. “But not everyone is worthy of being a miraculous.” She sighed and touched her hair slide. “And while we have been thinking of finding new partners, we've been hesitating since all three of us are at the second level of our powers and have at least a year of battle and training. Anyone who joined us now would be at the starting point and with Shenfa... we don't want to risk a new person getting hurt.”

Alya thought for a moment. “So… getting the rest of your team... would make you stronger... but you don’t want to because then more people would be in danger?”

“It’s a choice we haven’t taken lightly. To make our task easier but endanger others or struggle on but keep others safe.”

The reporter blinked at the honesty of the whole interview so decided to lighten it up a little. “So, final question; what’s going on with Chat and Ladybug?”

“Going on?” Peacock said with a slight confused expression. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I have lots of reports of them being seen in rather... intimate positions shall we say?”

The hero laughed lightly at her. “Ah, it’s not my place to tell you the statue of their relationship.”

Alya's eyes widened a little. “Wait so they are in a relationship?” She gasped in excitement.

“As I said, not my place to say.” She said, standing up. “But for now, it’s time I got back to my patrol.”

Alya nodded as she stood and held out her hand for her. “Thank you for your time, Peacock. And thank you for all your hard work in keeping us safe.”

Shaking hands, Royal Peacock nodded. “It was fun. I just hope Ladybug forgives me for talking without checking with her. But she trusts you enough.”

“Ladybug trusts me?”

“More than you can imagine, Alya.” She gave a smile and winked. “For now... I gotta fly.” With that she opened up her fan and guilder and jumped, taking off into the air and swooping out over the city.

Alya grinned as she turned back to the camera. “Well there you go Ladybloggers! That completes our interview with Royal Peacock herself! Stay tuned for more from the Lady Blog for now, Alya out.”

Chapter Text

En licked his lips as he watched her. She was alone, the others busy elsewhere and he had been waiting long enough.

Fine, she didn't want him? He'd have her anyway.

Checking no one was around, he went towards her, his whole form shifting until it resembled that of a blonde boy, handsome enough to maintain a former modelling career. He didn't care if he was wearing the form of the enemy, he just needed to use it for a short while.

Marinette was sat on a bench, going between looking at her phone and jotting something in a note book. He stood before her. “Mari.” He said, his voice a perfect imitation. “Can I talk to you?”

“Sure Adrien.” She grinning as she put her book down and stood up. “What's up?”

He smiled and pulled her away from the bench and back into the wall, pressing her against it and leaning down towards her, his mind go glad he was finally going to win. She didn't object; why should she? To her eyes, he was her boyfriend, the love of her life. The one she wanted. As she was to him. Without pause or invitation, his lips touched her and the groan he gave was loud.

Oh she was good.

He didn't hesitate in grabbing her shoulders tight and pushing her further, pressing himself onto her, leg between hers, mouth open, tongue devouring her lips and mouth. He groaned louder, feeling her arms around him and begin to push him away but her struggle just made it even better.

He kept going, feeling her resistance slip with each push until she caved and just accepted him. He smiled, pulling away. “Got you.” He whispered before returning to the kiss, moving his hands up and down her body, none to gentlemanly but he didn't care. He needed to touch her.

Suddenly he heard something break, glass from the sound but he ignored it. He couldn’t, however, ignore the force of someone shoving him away from the woman he wanted so much, and pushed him back with enough force that he staggered. Growling he looked up to see Annamarie stood between himself and Marinette with a fierce look on her face, one arm out stretched to the side to protect her stunned friend behind her.

“Do… not touch her.” She hissed loudly.

“Annamarie?” Marinette whispered. “What… what are you doing?”

“That's not Adrien.” She snapped, stepping towards the imposter. “I just left Adrien in the library.”

The other girl gasped as she looked at Adrien but he just smirked and turned his gaze to Annamarie, his eyes filled with anger towards her. “Clever girl.” He said then waved his hand in the air, making himself vanish into smoke.

Once he was gone, Annamarie turned to her friend and grabbed her just as her legs gave out. “It's alright, it's alright. I'm here.”

Marinette clung to her and took in a few deep breaths. “What… what just happens?”

“I don’t know.” The other said with a shake of her head. “I… I’m not sure but… I think… that might have been Shenfa. And I have no idea what he was doing to you Mari.” She swallowed and looked at her closer. “But I don’t think it was good.”

“Hey, what happened?” The two teens turned to see their classmate En walking over to them, careful to avoid the broken glass on the floor. “Marinette, are you alright?”

The two teens looked at him then at each other, Marinette forced herself to smile and nodded. “It’s alright. It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

The young man frowned then nodded. “Alright.” He said with a smile. “Say, Annamarie, I wanted to ask you something… you’re a dancer right? A ballerina?”

“Yeah, I’m part of the Paris Young Ballet Company.”

“Forgive me if I’m wrong but… before you dance, it’s said to be bad luck when you say ‘good luck’ right? So you say ‘break a leg’ yes?”

Confused by the conversation, Annamarie nodded. “Yeah, that’s right.”

“Well then, I hope you break a leg.” He chuckled, twisted his hand so to attach the curse to her.

Although she frowned at him, Annamarie nodded slightly. “Thanks.” She said, even if she didn’t mean it. “Mari, we better get this glass cleaned up.”

“Yeah.” Marinette swallowed as she walked past the boy and headed past to try and find something to clean up the mess from Annamarie had made.

As her friend walked away, Annamarie frowned at the darker boy. “See you around En.”

The darkness in human form smirked at her as she turned away. “I’m sure you will Annamarie.”


Scanning the web page before her, Annamarie let out a deep sigh. It was 3 am, the apartment was completely silent and dark apart from the hum of the laptop and the light it omitted. The teen broke the silence with a yawn, shaking her head to try and stay awake.

“Annamarie?” A soft voice called from the far side of the room.

The light from her laptop was casting an eerie glow over her as she looked at the speaker. “Adrien? What are you doing up?”

“I could ask you the same thing.”

She forced a smile. “Just doing some work, trying to narrow down Shenfa’s movements and plans but so far… nothing.”

The blonde frowned but it became sadder with each second before hurrying over to her, almost collapsing down onto the sofa with her, burying his head into her neck as he hugged her.

Shocked, the dancer just kept still until she began to hear choked sobs and his back went up and down in sync while she picked up his mumbling of ‘I’m sorry’ over and over between gasps. Realisation came to her as she sighed and began stroking the back of his head, playing with hair. “Oh Adrien…” She sighed. “And here was me thinking you had forgotten what today was.”

“Mari has.” He whispered as she held him. “But… I can’t. Not today. Today… today’s date will forever be seared into my memory.”

Annamarie sighed loudly as she brushed his hair back. “Adrien… you have to let it go.”

“It was my fault… it’s my fault you… you… you were…” He stopped, sniffing loudly into her shoulder.

Her hand continued to brush his hair back, trying to calm him down. “Adrien, we were at war, it was the middle of a battle…”

“I should have protected you. It’s my role to keep you safe.” He squeezed her tighter. “And I failed.”

Composing herself, Annamarie took a moment before sighing. “Adrien… it wasn’t your fault. Look, I was akumatised; I became the thing we are meant to stop and I attacked you and Marinette… but none of that was your fault. It was Hawk Moth who changed me and it was Hawk Moth that did it to me.”

“He could have… have killed you Pea.” The other said, shifting so he was hugging her but in a more comfortable position, putting her laptop down beside it. “My father… could have… could have killed you.”

She winced, remembering the beating she had taken but tried to keep herself calm, for Adrien’s sake. “Adrien…” she started but then stopped, thinking over her words. “Adrien, none of us knew Gabriel was Hawk Moth. We had no way of knowing back then. And your father… while his methods were wrong… his motives, to bring peace and create a safe world for you and Sophia… they were pure. But at the end of the day, he was still your father.”

“I wish he wasn’t.”

Quickly the teen clipped him around the back of the head. “Don’t ever say things like that.” She scolded him. “Your father loved you, he would have done anything for you Adrien.”

“He was a monster.” He mumbled, leaning back slightly off her and rubbed where she’d hit him.

“He was human and flawed. None of us are perfect Adrien; not you, me or Marinette are perfect. Not even the kwami.”

His eyes lowered a little and he was clearly struggling to keep his emotions in check but his friend reached out and held his cheek, lifting his head but his eyes remained lowered. “Adrien, look at me.” When he slowly lifted his gaze, she stared at him and smiled. “Adrien, I’m alive. I’m shaken and changed forever but I am alive.” She held his cheek a little tighter. “You saved me. You saved me Adrien. You, Marinette and Sophia saved me. Never forget that.” Her thumb moved to wipe away some of his tears. “You. Did. Not. Fail.”

He let out a small sniff. “Peacock…”

“Instead of worrying about what could have happened to me, think about all the good that did; I met Niji and Dawa, which helped me go through the change. And we wouldn’t have gained the strength to fight back and defeat him.” She rolled her eyes. “So, no, you didn’t fail to protect me because I am still alive. Never forget that.”

If her little pep talk helped she wasn’t sure but there was a smile on his lips now. “Thanks Pea. I guess… I guess I needed to hear that.”

“Anything else you wanted to talk about?”

The blonde shook his head, then looked tenderly at her. “Anything you want to talk about?”

“I made my peace in Tibet.” She sighed, moving the laptop away completely. “I just can’t sleep.”

“Well… why don’t we stay up together?” He gave her a cheeky grin. “I’m sure we can do something together, alone in the dark.”

Annamarie rolled her eyes and looked away. “You’re awful.” She sighed.


The next morning, Sophia, Frou and Plagg came down into the lounge, planning on getting some breakfast before returning to the task of narrowing down Shenfa’s location, pausing when they heard a soft snore coming from the sofa.

Creeping closer, they peeked over before covering her mouth to stop the laughter. Lying back to back on the sofa, fast asleep while every now and then they would twitch and kick each other, leading to a returned action. The trio looked at each other, grinning before backing off, leaving them to sleep.

Chapter Text

Annamarie winced as Master Fu's applied some pressure to her hand and tested the sore spot. “Nothing appears broken my dear.” He said after a moment, lowering her hand gently. “But you should rest it for a bit. I will get you something to ease the pain.” He stood and walked away to his supplies.

The dancer frowned as she watched him. “Please tell me you're not going to get that candle out again?”

The old man chuckled, returning with a glass and something in his other hand. “Here, take this.”

Adrien, who was hovering nearby, looked curiously at it. “What is that? Some magic cure all pain killer?”

Master Fu gave a wise smile as the dancer popped the pill into her mouth and washed it down. “In a way; its aspirin.” He winked at their shocked reactions. “I might be old but even I know the power of modern medicine.”

Marinette winced as she watched her friend struggle with her hand. “I'm so sorry Annamarie, I didn't meant to hurt you.”

“Forget it Mari, we were training.” She chuckled.

Niji nodded as he came towards the trio. “And it was a good strike, if Annamarie had been a Mite, you wouldn't be feeling so bad.”

“Still, I didn't mean to hurt her.”

“I've had a lot worse.” The dancer laughed at her. “Don't worry about it Marinette.”

The girl smiled back at her while Niji nodded to them. “Let's take a couple of days off from training.”

“Niji, I'm fine!”

The sun god shook his head. “Even so, I have been pushing you too hard recently.”

Adrien shook his head. “With all respect we are fighting Shenfa himself. We need to be ready.”

“And you will be. But it’s just as important to take a break. Even the first miraculous knew when to stop and calm down for a bit.”

Plagg laughed suddenly. “Yeah, I remember how Nora used to relax; go out and steal something.”

The teenagers blinked with amazement as they went over to the god as he sat with his wife. “Niji, we know nothing about the originals. Who were they? How did they defeat Shenfa all those years ago? Please, can you tell us?”

The gods looked at each other before nodding. “Very well.” Niji said, turning to them. “I'll tell you their story. Perhaps it will help us now.” He paused, thinking about it. “As you know, Shenfa was created when we came down from the sky and he absorbed some of our powers, making him shed his human form and went off to destroy the world that the two of us cared so much about.”

Again he paused before continuing.

“We couldn't stop him, our powers were neutralised against his. It was like throwing water into the ocean; pointless. So, we realised we needed a force equal to him, one that was like him; human combined with our celestial power. But one human would never be strong enough to hold that much power, it would destroy them. So we divided the power into seven stones and called them the Miraculous. They were cast down on the earth and called to those who would channel them and these became the kwami, our children, a part of our power but they still needed the human element so they split off across the world.”

As he spoke, the children in the room could feel something toying with their minds and closed their eyes, suddenly finding themselves flying through wide open grass fields until they came to a building, the door thrown open to reveal a person in a black outfit, a mask over the face to hide their features as they picked food from a large crate and put it into a smaller sack.

“Nora Mayrhofer was the first to be found.” Niji explained as the woman climbed out a small high window with ease and ran past a hiding Plagg. “She was a thief, having lost her family to Shenfa's killing. Quick on her feet and able to climb into any secure location to steal what she needed. But it wasn't just her own survival she stole for.”

The view changed to reveal a small abandoned house which Nora ran into, quickly finding a three children hiding there and their faces lit up as she split stolen the food between them.

“They weren't related, they were orphans like her but she did all she could to keep them safe. So, Plagg chose her and after explaining everything, she agreed to help as long as the children were safe.”

The memory changed and suddenly the three children were stood outside a large well-kept home, an old woman behind them waving with them as Nora walked away.

Suddenly they were flying again, away from the countryside and towards a large town, passing through the wood of a building to the inside where they found a loud boisterous group shouting at each other and drinking while in the corner sat two who were a bit quieter.

“It was strange that the Moth and the Turtle were found at the same time in the same place.” Niji said with a slight laugh. “But I guess, back then, good people stuck together against the darkness.”

As if directing them, the three contracting on a short man with ginger hair and thick eye brows that only slightly hid the two scars over his left eye. He was drinking from a tanker that was trembling in his grip.

“The first Moth was Lorenzo Malon, a smart man with a slightly short temper but before Shenfa's rising, he was an amazing sculptor, able to practically capture life in his work. But, Shenfa's darkness lead to war and Lorenzo was called to fight in an army and while in battle he was wounded, struck across the head. While he was lucky to still be alive, his hands would constantly shake afterwards. Knowing he would never had the ability to create beauty and joy in his art, he abandoned his post at the war and ran.”

As Lorenzo drank, he turned to the man sat beside him and they began to talk but no one could hear what was being said. His companion was a dark skinned man with long black hair tied back with a gold clasp. He was dressed in a dark purple outfit with a large stone at the front.

“The Fox was an unusual man, a prince from a land far from where he was found; a man by the name of Prince Sirius.”

Sirius and Lorenzo talked and laughed together, the prince smiling happily as he did.

“Sirius loved life; he adored animals and flowers, a very sensitive man in his way. He wanted nothing more than to live in peace and quiet. Of course, with the darkness spreading across the land, he was unfortunately robbed of such a time. When the people of his kingdom were influenced by Shenfa they decided to rise up against their monarch and king before overthrowing him, beheading the king while the son ran for his life. Lorenzo found him not long after he ran from the war, trying to get some boys to stop kicking and beating a small dog but the boys then turned on him instead. They became travel companions and friends after that.”

Behind the two men, it was just possible to see the purple and orange kwami looking down on the two. “Because of Lorenzo’s love of art and beauty and Sirius's love of compassion for animals, they were chosen as the Moth and Fox miraculous.”

As the view changed they saw the two friends leaving the bar behind them with a look of purpose and destination in their minds, each of them now wearing a new unusual brooch on their clothes.

Once more the group found themselves flying over the land, watching as the world changed from damaged farm land to fire burnt and mud turned backgrounds, bodies and weapons littering the place before they found a large tent and were drawn inside.

Beds lined the sides and even on the floor were the bodies of the wounded, people hurrying from one to the other as they tended to the sick. Their attention was drawn to one of these healers in particular; a woman with fiery red hair that was tied up under a cap, her dress covered in blood from the sick as she worked tirelessly to help. “Miles from her older brother, Bianca Malon was tending to those wounded in the war that had, to her knowledge, killed her brother. She had no idea her brother was alive but spent her days regretting not being there to help him.

She was a good healer although she was never treated as such, as a woman in those times but she never let that stop her. She studied all she could about medicine and if she saw someone who needed help, she helped them, even if they were the enemy. This is what drew the original turtle to her.”

The view changed to the same woman in a tiny room as she packed a bag, talking quickly with a green kwami over her shoulder.

Dragged back out and away, they were transported to a large stone and wood building, out towards the back where they found a large kitchen, a roaring fire in the far wall, people bustling about preparing meals all around. Leading the rabble was a tall broad bald man who was barking out orders left and right, snapping at those who got things wrong and purring when it was right.

“Titus, a chef, was the first Bee, a strange choice I must confess. I personally couldn't think how a cook could help defeat Shenfa and his darkness but I decided to trust the kwami.”

As they watched, there was a sudden state of panic and everyone turned to a back area where a cloud of dust was silently blooming out, someone pointing into the room and shouting as everyone ran away from it. The head cook that had been barking orders, ran without hesitation into the room where a massive shelve had fallen over and trapped someone under the weight, the mess of preservatives, glass, flour and other supplies covered the place but the chef right over, kneeling and checking on the trapped man before beginning to lift massive shelf off the trapped man.

“What I had not realised was how strong Titus was; he was able to lift items ten times his weight. He turned out to be a valuable asset to the first miraculous team.”

As the trapped man was pulled clear of the debris, those watching spotted the yellow and black kwami hiding out in a bowl of fruit, nibbling on a piece as they did. Pulled out from the kitchen, the view flew far longer than any other time before finding a small village, in the middle of the night this time where there was a small stage before a water fountain, a man in a very colourful outfit before a small crowd.

“The first peacock was a travelling performer by the name of Samuel Randolph. He was a bit of a show off but a good man, travelling to try and make people smile and laugh, forgetting the pain that the resent wars.”

They watched as Samuel performed for those before him, juggling, dancing and singing. When the show was over and some of the crowd wanted to pay for his show, Samuel closed their hand around the coin and winked, saying something they still could not hear.

“Samuel never accepted payment for his shows, only asking for a place to sleep and eat. His only want was to cheer everyone up when he could. The worst part was that he knew his work would only cheer them for a short time. But he never stopped, carrying to try and brighten everyone's life.”

The view shifted to show the same man leaving the next morning, waving to some children while above him the blue kwami floating behind him, ready to make his choice.

“Ironically it was Ladybug that was the hardest to find. And the choice… was a general, General Rubin Cortot, from one of the largest and most aggressive armies the world of their time.”

The view changed to a man in full heavy armour, his hair jet black and his face quite young as he sat around a table with others, all of them talking and shouting over each other as they looked at a map, pointing to locations to attack next.

“He was a man who had already showed how violent he was; leading the charge into attack the weaker and helpless. Why he was the one chosen… it made me question the Ladybug's power. But Tikki chose him and he accepted, handing in his notice to his comrades and left. Now the seven were chosen and they began to travel to one location but... that was the easy part.”

The view changed and suddenly they were still with General Rubin Cortot as he sat under a tree throwing pebbles across the path. “Are you sure this is the right place?” He grunted. “We have been waiting for hours.”

“Yes, this is the spot. The others are coming here.”

“Yeah… others.” Rubin mumbled. “I still can't believe I gave up my career to follow a flying red rat.”

“I'm not a rat!” Tikki huffed. “I'm a Kwami.”

“And what is a kwami again?” the man asked as he threw a pebble that bounced off the back of the little thing’s head.

Tikki frowned at him and huffed, rubbing the sore spot. “A kwami… a kwami is a… well we are kwami.”

“Yes, because that explains it.” The general huffed before looking away.

The little red creature flew over to him and shrugged. “Look, it's complicated.”

“For the last three days, every time I have asked you a question you have said 'it's complicated'.” He huffed. “To be honest, I don't know why I left the army to follow you. I should have checked myself into the lunatics for seeing flying talking red rats.”

The little creature folded her arms and didn't answer as her attention was drawn down the path. Rubin looked as well and soon began to hear laughter and saw two riders coming towards him. He didn't bother to stand as they got closer, two men looking at him with amazement as they climbed down. “'Ell, ello there. You one too?”

Rubin looked over the ginger haired man that was speaking. “One of these so called miraculous? Yeah, I guess I am. I got the red one. You?”

“Purple, the moth, calls himself Nooroo.”

“And I received the miraculous of the fox.” Sirius said with a nod.

“Alright. So are you two soldiers too? Buggy over there told me we're meant to fight some kind of big bad evil.”

Lorenzo frowned as he climbed down from his horse and walked over to him. “I served, yes. But the wars took me life from me.” He held out his hand, showing how it shook. “I can't keep my hands still anymore.”

Rubin huffed, turning to the darker man. “What about you? You skilled with a sword or bow?”

“Me? By the stars no.” The dark skinned man said with a shake of his head. “I detest violence. I won't even eat the flesh of animals.”

Rubin wrinkled his nose. “Great.” He groaned sarcastically, walking away.

The view suddenly changed, the same location but the sky was darker and the people had moved, Lorenzo and Sirius sat on the ground talking with the kwami while Rubin sat under the tree alone before standing and looking as a horse drawn cart came down the dusty path. The trio stood and watched it pull up to a stop, the driver dressed in a long cloak with brown hair. He looked at the group then smirked. “Good evening gentlemen. I am Samuel Randolph. Would you be the other miraculous warriors I was told to join?”

Rubin smiled at the new arrival. “Aye, you found us. You know your way around a sword I take it then?”

Samuel shrugged. “Enough to keep me safe. I'm a travelling actor by trade.”

The smile vanished. “Not another one.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Never mind.” He said, walking away. “Only three more to wait for. Hopefully they will be of more use.”

As the chosen red hero walked away, the new arrival smiled. “In fact you are only waiting for two.” He turned to his cart. “Bumped into them a couple of days ago. You can show now yourself little lady.”

Slowly from the back of his cart, a ginger haired head appeared, accompanied by a blue and a green kwami. As Lorenzo set eyes on the new arrival, he gasped. “Bianca!”

“Lorenzo?” She whispered, scrambling to get down closer, quickly hugging the other. “I… I thought you were dead!”

“Oh Bianca!”

Samuel smiled at them. “You know each other?”

The man nodded. “This is my little sister.”

The actor laughed softly as he watched the pair. “Well, glad I could reunite you.”

“Yes, yes, its good found your sister but what good will that do us in the war?” Rubin snapped at the pair. “You do know why we have been asked to come here? To stop the evil that has been spreading across our world?”

“Of course we have.” Samuel said with sharp huff. “We want to help people.”

“If you want to help then you'd be warriors! Ready to fight.” Rubin shouted at them. “Not actors and… vegetarian princes and a pair of useless siblings!”

“Excuse me sir, but I am a healer.” Bianca said, pushing off her brother and looking at the man. “So watch who you are calling useless.”

The red miraculous took a moment then bowed his head. “I apologise my lady. But I still don't see how we are going to defeat this darkness that is threatening the whole world! How am I going to lead you lot when you can't even fight!”

“If ya talk like that boy, you're never gonna lead anyone.” Came another voice from behind the man, looking down on the general.

Rubin turned to look at the man towering over him, putting a hand on the sword at his side, ready to draw it. “Where did you come from?”

“Back there. You were making so much noise you didn't hear me comin'. Anyay, I'm Titus Frankon, nice ta meet ya, loudmouth.”

Samuel snorted behind his hand. “Loudmouth.” He hissed to Sirius beside him. “I like it.”

Rubin chose to ignore him and looked at Titus. “So that's six of seven. Any idea where the last one is?”

“Sorry Loudmouth, I have no idea.” Titus chuckled then looked at the sky. “And it's getting dark; we should probably set up a fire.”

“Hate to tell you this but my Miraculous means I in charge.”

Titus stared at him. “Told ya, boy, you ain't ready to lead anyone.” He huffed then pushed past him to the others. “You got any supplies in that cart there?”

Pulled back from the view once more, Niji's voice spoke softly. “From the very start, it was clear that Rubin was going to struggle with his role as leader. Although he was use to fighting and following orders, used to giving orders and them being obeyed without question. And things became even harder for him when Nora arrived. She was the opposite of everything he was; messy, chaotic, rude and constantly arguing with him, more than anyone else did.”

“But these were the miraculous and no matter how many times he may ask the kwami to choose again, they told him, the choice had been made. So he set to the task of making the group like him.”

They watched as the group were put through drill like activities, firing arrows against dummies, sword fighting each other going on long runs as well as other activities to try and make them into soldiers. Then they watched as the group was tested against their first Guaimite, a creature that looked nothing like the mites they were facing now; these looked like the stuff of nightmares, large creatures of black slimy substance, four thin legs supporting its massive body and one large eye in the middle.

“Training this way didn't help them when the first battle came. They succeeded but only by chance and luck but even that wasn't enough for Rubin to realise his methods were wrong, no matter what his team told him. It took tragedy for them to realise the mistake.”

The view changed and the chosen were standing beside a defeated Guaimite but beside them Samuel was lying on his back, Bianca seeing to the massive wound at his side.

Nora gripped the wooden bow staff in her hand before turning on their leader, bringing it down on his head. “This is all your fault!” She shouted as he fell to the floor, standing over him. “Samuel never would have been hurt if you let us take this battle our way! You keep barking orders so far that we don't know which way to look!”

“Nora…” Sirius said softly. “It was no one's….”

“Silence Sirius.” The cat themed woman snapped. “You were almost taken out too! And he needs to hear it.” Her attention turned back to Rubin. “You carry on the way you're going and not only is someone going to die but Shenfa is going to win! This isn't some war for land or gold; this is for the life of every single person on this planet!” Her staff pressed hard on his chest. “We are not your puppets Rubin. You can't control us. We aren’t normal soldiers because this isn't a normal war. You need to realise that. There are only seven of us, the only ones that can stop this thing.”

As the red hero lay on the floor looking up at her, the view pulled back to reveal the group as they worked around a campfire, Titus turning a spit over it with some meat cooking on it while the others saw to the tents, putting them up while Bianca helped Samuel sitting in the back of his cart, the seven kwami flying around trying to help where they could. Everyone was working hard apart from Rubin who was looking over them before spotting Nora heading off on her own.

“Nora.” He called, walking quickly after her. “Where are you going?”

She glared at him. “Sorry, did you give an order that we aren't allowed have a moment alone without informing you?”

The general sighed and ran a hand back in his hair, embarrassed. “Alright, I deserved that.”

“Yeah you did and more. What do you want Rubin?”

The man sighed and looked back at the camp. “I… I wanted to apologise.”

“Come again?”

“You heard me. I… I was talking to Tikki and… she said that although she was first formed, you were the second. So I are meant to be my second in command.”

“Funny, she told me we are meant to be partners and work together as equals. As all of us are. Just because you are the red miraculous doesn't mean you are in charge of us Rubin and get to treat us like dirt. You might be meant to lead us… not as a general but as an equal.”

The man shook his head. “I'm not sure how you would do such a thing.”

“Well start by not sulking all the time and help out with the work.” She suggested. “Then perhaps try setting up your own tent for once? And let us do the thing that is why we were chosen.”

“What do you mean?”

“Let Samuel go into towns and perform or allow Titus to cook whatever he wants. Sirius always wants to help the animals he sees… and Lorenzo… the poor man has been through enough already, you need to ease up on him. Let him spend time with his sister.”

The red miraculous looked at her then back at the camp. “What about you?” He asked. “What would you like?”

Black smirked at him and folded her arms. “You could let me go off and steal some stuff? I've seen some pretty good marks around here.”

Rubin laughed softly at that. “Really?”

“I'm a woman of simple needs.”

“I'll think about what you said Nora. And thank you, for your help.”

“Any time.”

The view pulled again and the world turned as fast and the next time they saw the heroes, it was clear years had passed; Titus for a start was now completely bald but the seven heroes were shown taking out Guaimites with ease, using their unique skills to aid them, individual powers forming within the miraculous.

“After years of travel, training and battle… together they finally decided they were ready. The group set off for the point where the darkness was at its strongest. And that was where they found Shenfa.”

They watched as the heroes battled through the days and nights against a force that took many different shapes; switching between monsters and men while keeping them encased in a mist of dark shadows. Some of them were wounded but they kept on fighting, the miraculous healing them but they did not stop fighting. Rubin, Titus and Lorenzo charged right into the middle of the fight, weapons raised high, the man in black armour and a ragged cloak, his red eyes almost glowing. They crossed blows over and over until suddenly the darkness grabbed the red miraculous by the neck and lifted him off the ground.

Suddenly something glowed in the darkness from around Rubin's neck, a bright red light coming out of it and causing Shenfa to let go and retreat back into the darkness. Rubin gasped as well as he held the stone and ran off as far as he could with the others, finding Samuel holding up the barrier that protected them from the darkness. “I know how to defeat him!” He shouted as Bianca wrapped a white cloth around a cut in Nora's arm.

The orange miraculous blinked in amazement as he checked over the weapons. “How? What happened?”

“He touched my miraculous.” He explained, placing a hand on it around his neck. “It… it hurt him. I think… if we combine our miraculous, we might be able to stop him.”

Samuel frowned as he looked at them. “To do that, we will have to lower the shield. We will be vulnerable.”

“It's a risk we have to take.” Nora said as she stood up. “If we have found his weakness, we need to take it before he has chance to recover.” She held her staff tighter in one hand and her miraculous in the other. “I'm in.”

One by one the others nodded in agreement, standing at the ready. “We follow you Rubin.” Bianca agreed, taking a deep breath.

Rubin nodded to them then looked at Nora, reaching out and holding her hand. “Are you with me my lady?”

“Always buggy.” She teased back but then they turned to the darkness and the shield protecting them.

The red looked back at Samuel, nodding once. Slowly the blue lowered his hands and the shield fell away, the darkness coming in to swallow them, the group shuddering as it wrapped around them but then the seven stones glowed and a new shield began to form, protecting them.

Standing in a line, Rubin stood in the middle and lifted his head. “Darkness! Come out and face us! Let's finish this!”

It took a moment but something began to form before them, a man like shape with red eyes coming out. “This world will end.” He chuckled. “And there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

“That's what you think.” The man said, ripping his miraculous from his neck and held it out before him; the others following suit before turning and slamming all seven together.

The light they created grew brighter when combined before being pulled from their very hands and coming together. Slowly each of the stones created a spire of crystal that shot up in various directions, shining brightly with every colour known, as if it was rotating between fragments of rainbows inside itself.

They stared in amazement at this new thing, the seven combined stones creating a singular crystal that shone before them and pushed the shadows away. Shenfa gasped as he backed off a little and looked at the thing, turning and running but then a bright beam of white light shot up out of it collided with the dark figure, stabbing into him and being impaled by the light.

The creature screamed with pain but then it was lifted off the ground and pulled by this light back towards the crystals, changing from physical to smoke and dust that was sucked into the stone, screaming for every last moment.

Marinette, Adrien and Annamarie gasped loudly as they were pulled back from the historic vision and panted for breath. “Whoa.” Adrien gasped, rubbing his head. “What a rush.”

Annamarie shook her own head and blinked. “So… that’s how they did it.”

“They combined the miraculous and created that crystal?”

“Yes.” Niji explained. “Shenfa was held within that stone for several thousand years, held in place by the power of the miraculous.”

“So… could that crystal defeat him again?”

The sun god thought for a bit, his hand resting on his lower lip. “They named the crystal the Katoenal… and from it chipped off seven smaller parts that became the miraculous you now wear. There is no reason it wouldn’t still work. But it was damaged when Shenfa escaped.”

“Well, where it is?” Adrien all but laughed. “Maybe we can repair it.”

Dawa smiled as she stood up. “It is back at the temple. It is the crystal in the middle of the seal. We can retrieve it easily. Then we just have to work out how to repair it.”

Marinette let a smile grace her lips. “We have it… the way to stop Shenfa.”

Chapter Text

Louie smiled as he released Emile's hand from the hold and moved carefully out of the area marked as the stage with the last notes of the music. Madam Renou clapped twice and nodded. “Excellent, both of you. You are really coming along. Now, if the six sisters would take to the stage, we will just run through them before we finish up for the day.”

As six younger less experienced dancers came to the front, Louie grabbed his water bottle and turned to speak to his girlfriend only to stop when he saw her by the wall with her phone to one ear and her finger to the other, blocking out the music to listen.

He tried not to frown as he watched her talk for a moment then smile and nod, lowering the device and hurrying to the madam, whispering something and going back to her bag, slipping on a pair of trainers and a hoody before hurrying out of the room.

Concerned, the dancer grabbed his own bag and jacket and headed for the door as well, peeking out to make sure she didn't see him. For a few weeks, she'd been acting strange, disappearing irregularly, avoiding his calls and getting odd ones of her own. He hated to think it but… he was worried she was being unfaithful and for her to leave during rehearsal was the final straw. He had to know what was going on.

Careful not to be seen, he followed her at a decent distance but Annamarie didn't look back or check once, just carried on her way, all the way to the river on foot and finally into a building.

Across the street, Louie stared at the building with its green sign and Chinese writing with French translation, images showing the products and services it sold. After his brain restarted, he plucked up the confidence to go over and timidly opened the door. A young Chinese woman stood behind a counter, looking up from a computer. “Hello there.” She said in French. “How can I help you?”

The boy looked quickly around the small waiting room before noting there was no sign of his girlfriend. He swallowed and went over to the counter. “Wh-what is this place?”

“This is Master Fu's massage and treatment centre. We offer a variety of traditional herbal remedies that help with a range of ailments as well as aromatherapy, acupuncture and massage treatments.” She explained happily, passing him a brochure with the prices on.

He took the list and looked them over. “And… would these help with… something like… a sports or dance injury?”

“Yes, many of Master Fu's loyal patients have had injuries that he has helped with.”

The pieces were starting to come together and the dancer felt his heart sink. “C-can I speak to him?”

“I'm afraid he's with a patient at the moment. But if you wait a while, I'm sure he will be able to fit you in.”

“Thanks.” He mumbled, taking a seat with the leaflet, looking over the treatments and prices. He felt like an idiot as he sat, reading it all. For weeks he'd been thinking the worst of Annamarie, only coming to one possible outcome to her behaviour. Never considering something else. Never thinking she might be….

“We will just have to keep working at it.” A familiar voice spoke out, causing Louie to look up as he saw a door up the hallway open and Annamarie stepped out, looking at someone inside the room. “But don't worry, we will find a way to fix it, I promise.”

He stood, watching as she stepped away and locked eyes on him, blinking at him. “L-Louie?”

Behind her, two others stepped out, Adrien and Marinette, looking stunned at him. “Louie? What are you doing here?” Adrien asked, a slight frown on his face.

The dark haired boy sighed. “I… I followed you. I saw you leave rehearsal early after getting that phone call and… I wanted to know where you were going.” He bit his lip then stepped over and took the brunette's hands. “I'm so sorry Annamarie but… I… I… I thought… you were seeing someone else.”

“What?” She gasped, squeezing his hands tighter. “You thought I was… cheating on you?”

“I'm ashamed of myself for ever considering it now! I didn't… I didn't think…” He looked into her eyes, his own ready to burst with tears. “Annamarie, you… you've been coming here, haven't you? You've been getting treatment for an injury… you… you're hurt.” He grabbed her in a hug. “Wh-why didn't you just tell me? I… I could have been here for you. I could have helped you. I… I know you want to keep dancing but if you're hurt then… perhaps it's time to stop. Please…”

In his arms, Annamarie wrapped her arms around him and screwed her eyes shut. “Louie, I… I… I'm sorry.”

“Annamarie.” Someone else spoke up and both turned to see Marinette smiling softly at them, her blue eyes locked on the light brown ones. “Tell him.”

The dancer's face fell slack. “Are you sure?”

“It's not fair on you. Adrien and I can cope with it, we know everything about each other. If you trust him enough… I'm alright with him knowing.”

“As am I.” Adrien added.

Louie frowned as he looked at the woman in his arms, pushing her back a little. “What are they talking about? Tell me what?”

Annamarie stared into his eyes for a bit then leant up, brushing her lips to him then pulled away, looking at the others. “I trust him.”

“Then you should come inside.” Said another man with black hair from the doorway. “This is not a conversation for the hallway.”

The group nodded and began to return to the room, Louie at the back as he looked at the dark haired man. “Are you Fu?” He asked as they stood in the doorway together.

The man shook his head and closed the door. “My name is Niji. It's a pleasure to finally meet you Louie.” He introduced himself before turning to a beautiful pale woman at his side. “This is my wife, Dawa.”

“Annamarie has told me a lot about you Louie. I hope we will get the chance to see you perform someday?”

The teen looked her over and nodded. “Umm, yeah… sure… but to be honest, right now, I just want to know what's going on here.”

“Of course, we can talk later. Please, come, sit.” Dawa said, leading the way to an open space on the floor of the room where an old man in a red Hawaii shirt was sat on the floor, Niji and Dawa at his left side while Adrien and Marinette sat to his right. He gave him a small nod but said nothing.

Annamarie patted the spot next to her. “Louie, sit next to me, please?”

Inhaling through his nose, the dancer did as asked and sat beside his partner. She smiled at him but it was clearly forced, shy and careful. Silence filled the void part from the odd scuffle as the group got comfortable.

Marinette eventually lifted her head a little more. “Annamarie, I'll…”

“No, it's my job to tell him.”

“Tell me what?” He asked, getting irritated. “Look, no matter what is going on, you know I'll support you so please, just… just tell me.”

She looked down at her hands, suddenly fascinated in a loose tread on her dress. “This isn't… the kind of thing you just… blurt out but… well…” She looked up at him and tried to smile again. “You said you've been noticing when I go missing? Have… have you noticed a pattern about them?”

“No, not really. They are random and… whenever. You don't… you don't explain where you go, you just go. And they appear to be happening more often.”

“I'll say.” Adrien huffed before being silenced with a sharp glare from everyone in the room.

Coughing, Annamarie got the attention back to her and nodded. “Yes. Well… the thing is… I don't always come here. In fact, most of the time… when I disappear… I… I'm… well…” She glanced at the others and saw them smiling at her. “Well… I'm going to fight… Akumas.”

Slowly blinking, the boy stared at her. “What?”

“I fight the Akumas Louie.” She said, an attempt at a comforting smile on her lips. “With Mari and Adrien.”

“Wait… you make it sound like… like you're…” he stopped speaking, not believing the word he wanted to say.

His girlfriend nodded. “A Miraculous.” She looked right into his eyes with as much confidence as she could muster. “I'm Royal Peacock.”

Continuing to stare, the boy finally blinked and looked at her closer. “You… you're… you mean you…”

She smiled at him. “I know this is a lot to take in Louie but I just wanted you to know the truth.”

The room returned to its silence again, watching for it to sink in. When it did, they were surprised by the result as the teen frowned. “You're a miraculous. You… you… you're insane!”

Everyone was taken aback by his statement, none more than Annamarie. “What?”

“You… you… you have to stop! You have to give it up!” He said with a fixed tone in his voice. “It's too dangerous.”

“Now wait a minute…” Adrien began, standing up but Niji just held out his hand, silencing the boy.

Louie didn't even acknowledge his interruption, just staring at his girlfriend as she looked at him in silence. When she didn't move, he stood up from where he had been was sat. “Annamarie, please, you have to stop. You… you could get hurt.”

The ballet dancer slowly stood up and looked at him square in the eye. “So could a lot of other people if I don't fight.”

“I don't care about other people! I care about you!”

“Then that is a very narrow way of thinking about it!” She snapped back. “I have the power to protect people, to look after those who cannot look after themselves. Fine, it's dangerous, I know the dangers. And I accept them! But I was chosen to do this.”

“Then choose someone else!” Louie shouted at her, closing his hand into a fist. “You can't… you just put your life in danger for people you don't even know! Think about all the people who care about you! Think about your mother!”

“That's exactly why I do it! To protect them! I want to keep them safe!”

“What would happen to them if you got hurt or killed while dressed up pretending to be a hero?”

That made the air go still for a while. All the eyes moved to the female as she stood, trying to maintain a posture of confidence before she slowly exhaled. “I know just what it would do to them.” She whispered. “It made them worry, and distressed, it made one of my dearest friends sick with concern over what happened to me. It took every joy from their lives as they didn't know where I was or what had happened to me. I know that when it happened… I was terrified and the worst part was I had no one to turn to. No one I could tell my fears to. I had to keep it locked up and put on a brave face, carrying on as if nothing had changed.”

Her hand suddenly lifted and pointed to Adrien and Marinette. “If it wasn't for them, if it wasn't for Adrien's jokes and Marinette's kindness I never would have recovered from being akumatised! So before you go saying 'what would happen' perhaps you should think about what I have!” Her eyes narrowed, fighting back tears. “You think I'm out there alone? Unable to protect myself? Well I'm not. We look after each other! We are like a family, here to help each other. And I wanted to tell you who I am so you could join that family and help support me. But if you want me to give up being Peacock… if you want me to stop being a hero then I'm sorry but… but you have to go.”

Her boyfriend stared at her for a bit then glanced over at the others in the room, all of them now standing and looking at him apart from Annamarie who'd turned her eyes to the ground. Finally he huffed and turned on the spot for the door but paused when he got to it. “You know, I think I would have preferred it if you had been cheating on me.” He spat, almost venomously. “At least then I'd know you were safe.”

The peacock lowered her eyes as he left, standing silently as the door closed. She felt someone hold her hand and wrap their arms around her, another hand brushing her hair gently but her eyes had closed as tears flowed down them, latching onto the shorter body before her and crying. “It's alright.” A soft voice whispered in her ear. “It's gonna be alright.”

“Want me to scratch his eyes out?” A slightly harder voice asked, only a slight joke to his tone.

She shook her head and pushed away, standing upright. “No, it… it's fine. It's his choice.”

Mari reached to her pocket for her handkerchief and wiped her friend's eyes for her. “You know, what you said… we were really touched by that.”

“Yeah. It can't have been easy for you.”

She didn't reply for a bit, just took comfort in her friends and partners.


Lying back in his bed, Louie found that he just couldn't sleep; he just stared up at the ceiling and thought over what he'd discovered that day. He couldn't just accept it; Royal Peacock was his girlfriend. All this time… she had been flying around as some kind of hero. He couldn't comprehend it.

Rolling to his side, he looked up to a picture he kept by his bed; a picture from the promotional information for Gisselle, his first performance with her. Looking at it closer, he couldn't help but stare at her hair clip, so obvious now that he saw it.

He sighed and rolled over away from the image, pulling the covers tight and trying to keep his tempter under control, fighting to force himself to sleep. But then there was a cold breeze that caught his foot and he sat up, looking around to see his window had been opened and someone was standing next to it. Panicking, he turned for the nearest light but stood across the room from him was the masked hero responsible for his sleeplessness.

She was stood in a half crouch, startled by the light. As the shock wore off, he frowned at her. “What are you doing here?”

The golden eyes blinked before straightening. “I wanted to speak to you.”

“I think we have already said all there is to say.”

“Louie, please…”

“I don't want to talk about it.” He snapped, climbing out of bed and staring at her.

He'd admired Royal Peacock ever since her appearance but now, knowing who she was… he had no such admiration. Or patience. And looking at her, she didn't appear as strong and wonderful as she had before. She almost looked scared.

She took a breath and let it out. “Louie, I… I wanted to know why you are so upset about this.”

Eyes wide, he gave a dry snort of laughter then turned away. “How… how can you ask that? I mean… how… how would you feel if you out that found out the person you love is… is risking her life? That she is pretending to be a hero.” He glared at her. “I mean, you're a teenager! You shouldn't be out there fighting for a city!”

She stared at him. “Louie.” She whispered before turning away. “You're right. It is dangerous. I'm putting my life on the line each time I put this mask on.”

“Then why do it?” He hissed, grabbing her shoulders, forcing her back to face him. “Why do it Annamarie? Why?”

“Because I was given the ability to help people. So I use it. I am proud of the work I do. But… I don't want to lose you because of it.”

“And I don't want to lose you, which is why I want you to stop.” He stared into her eyes, sharp and angry. “I… I've already lost someone I love… I can't lose you too.”

Her gaze lowered for a moment. “You're talking about your sister.”

“Elaine would be 13 now if she'd lived. But she didn't. She died.”

“She was sick.”

“I know she was sick!” He snapped, letting go of her and stepping away. “And I could do nothing but watch her waste away. But at least I can protect you!”

Peacock stood still for a while moved to stand behind him. “Louise, I appreciate you want to keep me safe… but… what I am, what I'm part of, is bigger than just me.” She reached out and held his hand softly. “If you had the ability, you would do everything to help Elaine, wouldn't you? Well, those people who get turned into mites and Akumas? They need me to help them, to save them.”

“It's just… dangerous.”

“I know. But you don't choose to become a miraculous, you are chosen and I wouldn't have been chosen if I wasn't meant to fight.”

The other slowly turned and looked at her, his gaze drifting across her face before a light smile came to his lips. “Peacock saved me when I was Silencer… and when I was uglyfied by Star Boy…”

She smiled at him at the memory. “You were upset about not getting to ask someone out.”

Blushing, he gulped and looked away. “Ummm… yeah… about that…”

“It was me, wasn't it?”

He turned an even brighter shade as he turned away. “Ummm…”

She chuckled, running her hand back in his hair. “Relax Louie, I'm only teasing you.”

With a sigh, he leant into her touch, holding her wrist as he did. “Yeah, I guessed.” He stared at her mask then moved his hand to her cheek, tipping her head before placing his lips on hers, a soft little peck as he soon leant back. “Annamarie, I… I'm sorry for how I reacted. Don't get me wrong, I'm still mad you lied to me… and I'm scared you'll get hurt but… you're right.” His thumb caressed her cheek, pressing on the edge of her mask. “You have the ability to protect people… to help them when they need you. And I can't argue they made a good choice in you.”

She smiled at him, touching his cheek. “So… we still… a thing?”

There was a dry chuckle from his lips, leaning forwards. “Annamarie and I are still a thing. Not so sure about Peacock.”

Her lips curled a little as she leant up and pressed her lips to his. “Oh, you'd be surprised the perks of dating a superhero.” She whispered, kissing him again, a bit more forcefully as she pressed him back until he collided with his bed, tumbling backwards with a gasp.

Moving to straddle him, Annamarie leant over his cheek and pecked it. “Close your eyes.”

“Wha?”

“Close your eyes.” She repeated, watching as he did. “Feathers down.”

“What do AHH!” He gasped when the bright blue light blinded him and he struggled to sit up, rubbing his eyes while someone laughed beside him.

Annamarie, back to her normal self, gently stroked his hair as his vision came back. “Told you to close your eyes.”

“Yeah but you didn't say why.” He mumbled, moving to lie down in bed, arm around her back, cuddling her up close. “You don't have any more surprises for me tonight?”

“Maybe one more.” She whispered, glancing behind his head.

Following her gaze, the male dancer yelped when he saw the blue kwami that had been floating above his head. The bird smiled. “Hi, I'm Froufrou.”


“I cannot believe that everyone just walked past that guy.” Adrien huffed still clearly upset. “He was clearly in pain and they just... walked away! Like it was nothing!”

“Adrien, not everyone is as sweet as you.” Marinette said, arm linked around his. “You would do anything to help someone in need.”

“Yeah but still...” He sighed loudly, running his hand back in his hair.

Beside them, Louie shrugged. “Adrien, so people in the world are rude.”

“That’s why we need people like you.” Annamarie chuckled, bumping shoulders with him.

The four chuckled and continued to walk for a bit, just enjoying the afternoon together, doing some window shopping as they went.

As Annamarie was looking at some jewellery, the ground under their feet shook and they looked out to see a cloud of smoke coming out from somewhere. The trio looked at each other before Adrien coughed loudly. “Umm, I just remembered, I got some ... umm... things to...”

“Save it Adrien, he knows remember.” Marinette said, already heading for the door. “Come on, we need to go!”

Annamarie was soon following them but then someone grabbed her wrist, holding her back. Turning, she saw Louie holding her wrist tight, face blank but then slowly, he smiled, stepping forwards and dipping down to press his lips to hers.

He lent back and reached up, brushing her hair back over her miraculous. “Go get ‘um.” He whispered, finally letting her go.

His girlfriend smiled, reaching up and kissing him back before turning and catching up with the others, all three of them hurrying towards the smoke.

Chapter Text

Field trips are always the highlight of any school life, putting up with a hot stuffy coach for just a few hours of educated freedom. So when the history teacher announced they would be going to a chateau that had been used by French nobility for the last 900 years, everyone was excited by the concept.

When the class finally did arrive, everyone filed off and were greeted by two of the chateau's staff who split them up for two groups. “My group.” One guide explained. “Will be coming with me to see the upper levels of the home with the royal quarters and the other group will go to the kitchens and servants areas. We will swap after lunch.”

The 'servant's' team was made up of Chloe, Alya, Nino, Sabrina, Annamarie, En, Marinette and Adrien while the rest of the class were on the other side and soon began their tour. On their way to the chateau, their teacher had told them the visit was to study the palace in the times of Louis XVI, the 17th century but their guide kept talking about its time as a manor for a lord in the 13th century.

“Back then, this castle was a fraction of the size it is now; the tall towers were added in the 15th century and the outer walls were not established until the 14th. And yet, for a building made mainly of wood and stone, the original manor still stood for hundreds of years. In some of the lower areas, you can still see the original stone work.”

“Gehh, who cares about some stupid manor?” Chloe groaned. “I was told this place has whole rooms covered in gold. Why can't we go see those?”

The guide frowned at her. “Well, true, in the 16th century, Louis XVI did introduce a range of art but if the manor had not existed in the 13th century, a far more exciting and adventurous…”

“Who cares?” En joined in. “It's just a load of old rocks. They aren't special.” He had to hold back a smirk. This guide was too easy, winding him up with just a few words. He flexed his fingers, ready for a chance to attach his mite, the power already there and waiting.

Beside the man, Annamarie put her hand up and the guide turned to her with a smile. “Yes?”

“Is it true that they would burn people they thought did magic in the 13th century?” She asked, trying to ease the tension in the room.

It appeared to work as the guide nodded. “Yes, indeed they did. Many women and even some men were executed for simply being good at medicine or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Must have been a hard time to live in.”

“It was. Unless you knew how to adapt. Now, come along.” He said, leading them on in the tour, holding open a door for the teens.

At the back of the pack, En took a chance and pretended to hold the man’s arm to steady himself as they went through the door, attaching the egg as he did. Attached, and invisible to everyone but himself and a miraculous, the egg slowly began to pulse as it started to feed.

The tour went on for an hour more, Chloe always moaning about how dull and boring the place was while En tried to edge on the anger he could feel from the guide. Won't take much more now… He realised as he sat pretending to eat his lunch, eyes on the guide as he mumbled and moaned to himself, the mite already influencing his mood and temperament.

Across the courtyard, Marinette was sharing out some sweets from the bakery for lunch, sighing to herself. “It's nice to get away from Paris for a bit.” She said, leaning back on her seat. “Just hope nothing happens back there.”

“Yeah, I'd never forgive myself if I missed an Akuma attack.” Alya joked.

The three heroes winced. It was something they were trying not to think about. “Yeah, with luck that… what did they call it?” Marinette said, faking ignorance. “Men-fa?”

“Shenfa.” Alya chuckled. “He's the big guy making all these new Akumas. Seriously Mari, do you even read the blog?”

“It's a lot to take in.” Annamarie chuckled dryly, eating her own sandwich. “But let’s hope today is a nice peaceful day.”


Peaceful was the last thing any of them got. Just as they put their lunch away and prepared to swap over so each team could see the other half, the ground shook and the guide from the lower part of the palace came storming over, looking like a noble lord from the past with long cape and spiked mace in hand. The three heroes looked at each other then sighed. “So much for a nice day out.” Adrien sighed.

“Split up and transform.” The dark haired girl said, already in leadership mode, heading for the castle to find somewhere to hide.

The others split up as well, finding safe places to transform and met up on the roof of the palace. Ladybug frowned as she looked down. “This is going to be hard to explain; how we were so far from Paris.”

Peacock chuckled. “Ah, just say we have teleporting powers or something. All that matters is we get this Akuma and fast. We can't afford for Shen to get anymore mites.”

Adrien nodded. “Problem is, we have no idea what this guy can do.”

“Problem is he's got Alya and the other's cornered!” Peacock panicked, pointing at Alya, Nino and Chloe as they huddled behind a picnic table and the Akuma came over to them, mace swinging in the air before slamming it down on the ground.

A bright blue light snaked from the impact suddenly out and over to the three, making them scream as the glow got brighter before blooming out and the trio had vanished without a trace. “NO!” Marinette shouted at the Akuma. “Alya!” she went to leap down but the others grabbed her.

“Ladybug! Stop!”

“He… he…”

“We don't know what he did!” Chat tried to reason with her. “Come on bugaboo, concentrate!”

She took a few deep breaths then lowered her head. “You're right. We need to find out what's going on. We can't find that out up here. Come on!” She said before jumping down to the floor below, yo-yo flying out to wrap around the mace before it could hit the ground once more. “You there! Stop! What did you do to those teens?”

The Lord turned to look at her and smirked. “Just shown them how great this place really was. And now… so can you!” he yelled, pulling back on the wire so hard that she went flying towards him but luckily Chat Noir jumped up and caught her mid-air.

The trio stood and stared at him but the Akuma just smirked and lifted his mace again before striking the ground as he had before. The three covered their eyes as the blue light made its way around them, Ladybug pulling her yo-yo out to try and escape but her body was frozen in place. “I… I can't move!”

“Neither can I!”

“I'm stuck!”

The trio tried to fight it but suddenly the ground below them vanished and they fell forwards until colliding with the floor. Peacock groaned loudly as she felt her knees under her and she collapsed hard onto the ground, her head banging hard against the dirt. “Oh.”

“Ow.”

“Everyone alright?” Chat asked as he pushed himself off the grass and stood up.

Ladybug and Peacock sounded off in the affirmative and stood as well, looking around before blinking. Ladybug almost span on the spot as she took in the trees and grass and little wooden houses she could see in the distance. “What the… where are we?”

Peacock shook her head. “I have no idea.”

“HALT! Who goes there?”

The three turned at the voice as a man on a black horse came riding up to them, sword at his side and shield in hand. Chat quickly drew his own sword and stepped between the girls and the man, much to the heroines' annoyance. “We can look after ourselves.” Ladybug hissed as they stepped out from behind him, yo-yo in hand.

“Sorry, force of habit.”

“I ask again! Who are you?” The rider shouted as he climbed down and looked ready to engage the group. He was dressed in full chainmail, the metal slightly darker than what they would have normally expected and on top was a long black tunic on top of it.

Chat growled at the man. “Could ask you the same thing.”

Peacock however, was looking at the man with wide eyes. “No way. It can't be…” She said at last, closing her fan and stepping forwards. “Sir! My name is Royal Peacock and… this might be hard to hear but…” she glanced at the others. “This is Ladybug and… well… Chat Noir.”

The knight stiffened reaching up and removing his helmet, revealing a handsome young man under the helmet. “Impossible.”

“Oh? Why you say that?” Chat scoffed.

It was Peacock to answer. “Because he is also Chat Noir. Or rather, Sir Noir.”

“What!” The group all gasped.

“Look at the ring on his finger. And the emblem on his shield.” She whispered, pointing at the black shield with a green cat's paw on the front, identical to that of Chat Noir's ring.

The knight nodded with a smile. “You are a knowledgeable wench. Yes, I am the legendary Sir Noir. At your service my lady.” He bowed slightly, putting his sword away.

Chat huffed and put his own blade away. “Doesn't look much like a cat.”

“The miraculous blend with their time frame Chat.” Peacock explained. “Squire Morgan's disguise had to be far more careful than ours. In his time, magic was not as welcomed as it is for us.”

“Wh… How do you know my identity?” The knight said, sounding worried and scared.

Peacock winced. “Ops, sorry, didn't mean to. But in answer to your question, I studied you. You see, we are from the future.”

“Future?” He blinked and looked her up and down. “How far into the future?”

The hero thought for a moment. “About… 700 years. Give or take.”

Everyone stared at her in amazement before Ladybug gasped. “Wait… you mean… we've gone back in time?”

“I think so.” She sighed. “That Mite, his desire was to show everyone how great the 13th century was. I think he sent us… Alya!” She gasped. “They got hit as well! Noir, have you found others like us?”

“Actually… yes, we did find three strangers a few days ago. They were dressed and acted in the most peculiar way so the Commander had them arrested. They are in the dungeons.”

“Alya, Nino and Chloe I bet.” Chat sighed. “But it's been days? How is that possible?”

“We can worry about that later. For now, how we going to get them out of there?”

The group were silent before Sir Noir nodded. “I bet my Lady can help.”

“You… your lady?” Chat said.

Peacock chuckled. “Yes Chat. You will never find the black cat without the Ladybug. But at this time she's called 'Lady Red' not Ladybug.”

“You are very knowledgeable on this matter… Peacock wasn't it?” Sir Noir said, heading back to his horse. “I will see if I can find my lady and send her to you. But I would recommend you take shelter in that tree over there until I return. Not all are as friendly as I when it comes to strangers. I should return soon.”

The group nodded and headed off to where they had been advised, climbing up into the tree and hiding out of sight. It was a good thing they did as a few minutes after Sir Noir left, others riders appeared in the spot where they had been, investigating the area they had 'arrived' in. Ladybug sighed as she watched them eventually leave. “Guys, I think we have to face facts; we might be here for a while. And it isn't fair on Tikki and the others to keep this up.”

“You think we should drop form?” Chat asked, comfortably lounging across a branch.

“Yes. Peacock, what do you know about this Chat and Ladybug?”

“Red and Noir? They had the miraculous in 13th century Europe. Other than that… I can't remember much. I read a lot of Niji's books but they are a little vague on details like that and… there was a lot of books.”

“Can we trust them?”

“Yes.” Peacock said instantly. “They never hid their identities from each other. It enables them to protect each other in both forms. Especially for the ladybug. I told you, magic isn't welcome here. Although she is still a hero, many think she is a witch. A good one but some people would happily see her burned alive.”

“So we would be safe revealing ourselves to them?”

“Yes. But we'll have to be careful with using any kind of magic.”

They nodded just as a white horse with a rider came over towards them, the rider looking up with a smile. “Ahoy, would you three be the travellers Sir Noir was telling me about?”

The trio looked at her, she was about their age with long wild blonde hair, dressed in a golden flowing gown with an unmistakeable pair of black stud earrings in. She smiled charmingly. “Come down, I won't bite. We are allies after all.”

They all jumped down from their hiding place and walked over to her. “Pleasure to meet you Lady Red.” Peacock said with a nod and a smile.

“Please, in this form, call me Melisande.” She climbed down and looked over them all. “And by the lord above, you three are the strangest looking creatures I have ever seen. And I've seen a kwami.”

The trio shared a look before nodding, each one saying their release phrases, standing without their transformation before her. Melisande gave them a cheeky smile. “You know, I think your miraculous forms were more normal than this. How far in the future are you from again?”

“700 years. Give or take.”

“Well, if you are going to stay and have any hopes of saving your friends, you'll need to fit in.” She turned to the horse and the saddle pack on its back, pulling out three wraps of fabric. “Here, a change of clothes. I had to guess your sizes but they should fit. Noir gave me a change for you, Chat.”

“Alright. By the way, I'm Adrien, this is Marinette and Annamarie.”

“Pleasure. Now go, get change. We have to get back to the castle before night fall or we will be locked out. And the lord will not be happy if I miss dinner tonight.”

“What do you…”

“Less talking, more changing!” Melisande snapped.

The trio nodded and walked behind a few bushes, changing as best they could from their modern clothes into more suitable outfits. It took a few minutes but Adrien finally came out in a dark brown tunic with black pants while the girls wore long loose dresses, Annamarie's a pale green and Marinette's a light brown. Melisande nodded at them. “Perfect. Now, put theses on.” She handed them each a long cloak as she took their modern clothes. “The plan for now is that you are going to pretend to be travelling performers from a troupe similar to mine.”

“She's the court dancer.” Annamarie informed the others when they looked at her confused.

“Yes. Now, you three will explain to the lord that you have come to perform for the upcoming solstice festival. It's in three days' time so will work.”

“What about our friends?”

“Noir and I have that covered. You'll say they are your servants and sent them ahead to announce you.”

Adrien laughed. “Chloe? Our servant?”

“Adrien, not the time.”

“Indeed. With the rumours of England preparing to invade us, any strangers are not welcome here.”

Annamarie gulped and scratched her head. “Umm, I should probably say now, I was brought up in England.”

“Then for your own safety, avoid the language.” Melisande sighed. “The three were dressed and acted so strangely they are under suspicion of being either witches or spies. Either way, it's not good for them. But we can talk more once we are inside the castle. Come on, the gate will be closing soon.” With the reins of her horse in one hand, the blonde Ladybug lead the way down the hill to a path to the grand castle.

The trio couldn't help but wonder at the differences between the future and its previous appearance; no longer were there metal rails to keep tourists from falling over but armed archers patrolling the outer ring. The path leading to it wasn't the smooth concrete but mud and uneven stone and where damage had been done from battles and weather and time, it looked fresh and nearly brand new.

Melisande lead them to a draw bridge where four guards were stationed. “Halt!” One shouted. “Who goes?”

“It's me you dolt! Melisande! You saw me leave not 10 minutes ago!”

“And who are these three?”

Melisande turned to look at the new arrivals. “The reason I left. They are dancers from another troupe, here for the solstice festival. Now, if you don't mind, we need to get inside before dinner!” She huffed then charged past the guards, the others hurrying quickly behind them.

On the other side of the great stone walls, a blonde haired teen in a grey tunic similar to Adrien's hurried over to them with something in his hands. “Melisande.”

“Bradley?” The dancer said. “What are you doing? You're going to be late for dinner.”

“I needed to give these to you but you left before I could find them.” He held out a pair of boots and what looked like a sword before his eyes turned to Adrien’s feet.

Adrien looked as well and saw that his feet were still in his trainers, mud turning the white a dark brown. “Ah.”

“Here, hope they fit.” The man said, passing him the boots. “Best pair I could find. And you'll need this.” He added, holding out the sword. “No one travels unarmed here.”

“Thanks.”

“Anything for a fellow Noir. Anyway, I will see you after dinner, my lady. We can come up with a plan then.”

“Alright, just go!” Melisande shooed him away. “If you're late your farther will not be happy!”

“I'm going!” He chuckled, turning and running across the courtyard.

Melisande sighed. “Honestly. Anyway, come on, if we want to eat, I have work to do. Just stay near the walls and don't attract attention.” She hurried to give her horse to a stable boy then walked towards the building Bradley had entered but around the side to a smaller door.

Inside was a large kitchen, filled with people working hard to prepare the meals, food passing over on wooden or stone plates before going up a long pathway. “With the solstice coming, the Lord has been hosting for extra guests.” Melisande explained as she worked around the food and servants. “It's been feasts and hunts for few days now.”

“It all looks amazing!” Adrien said as he sniffed the air.

“Yes now, shush.” She paused then stopped by a door, pushing it open and looking around the room beyond. “Ok, come in and stand by the wall. Once my show is over, I will announce you as here for the festival and then you can say how you are wondering about your servants who were sent on ahead. Alright?”

“Alright.”

“Good.” The dancer pushed the door opened and the three slid around the side, pressing up against the wall while Melisande walked to the middle of the room and held up her hands. “Lords, Ladies and nobility!” She said in a light musical laugh. “Do you wish for me to perform?”

The crowd all slammed their hands or mugs on the table in approval and with a smile, the dancer turned to some musicians on the other side of the room and they began a lively tune.

From the shadows, the travellers also watched as she leapt and span and performed several flexible acrobatic movements, her right to the title of Ladybug quite clear. After a few minutes, she stopped and the crowd all continued to clap and cheer for as she bowed elegantly. “Thank you. Thank you. Now, my lord, I have a surprise for you all.”

Everyone quieted down as she turned and held her hands out to the side, Marinette and others stepping out and standing before them, bowing to the lords. Melisande nodded. “These three are here to entertain you all for the solstice.”

The lord nodded to the three. “Greetings to you all. If you are friends with Melisande then you are most welcome here and I hope you enjoy your stay.”

The three looked at each other before Annamarie nodded and stepped forwards, bowing. “Good evening my lords, thank you for welcoming us here. My name is Annamarie and my friends and I look forward to performing for you. However, we have something to ask; a few days ago, we sent three of our servants on ahead of us to get some supplies. We have not heard from them since. Two girls and a boy, about our age?”

The lord frowned. “Yes, we did come across three travellers but they were… acting peculiarly. We had no choice but to arrest them.”

“Peculiar?” Annamarie pretending to be fazed. “How so?”

“They were dressed in strange ways and two spoke in tongue.”

She blinked then gave a smile. “They are not from this land. We came across them while in the east.”

“And, that girl? She acts as if she is a royalty but with none of the refinery.”

“She's a simpleton. We took her out of kindness that our lord would expect of us.”

Behind, Adrien leant over to Marinette's ear. “Whoa, she's good.”

The lord thought about what he'd been told then nodded. “We will release your servants in the morning. But once they are, you would be wise to dress them in clothes fitting of our land, to avoid this mistake again.”

“Thank you sire.”

“I look forward to seeing you dance.”


Melisande smiled as she stood over the fire and stirred the contents of a pot hanging over the flames before spooning some out into four bowls. “Well, I think that went well. Here, eat, you look starved.” She said, passing the food out.

Adrien nodded as he took his bowl. “Thanks. And hey, Annamarie, you're quite the talented liar.”

The brunette shot him a look. “I think that was a compliment.”

Melisande sighed as she sat down on a chair and lifted a spoon to her mouth just before a bright red blob appeared from behind her. “Melisande, you didn't say grace!”

“Tikki!” Marinette gasped at her.

“Sorry, do I know you?” The red kwami said, looking her up and down.

Just then, another red bug appeared from Marinette's pocket and began squeaking and chippering in a different language, the past kwami looking quite shocked and stunned by what she was being told.

“What are they talking about?” Melisande asked.

The others shrugged but before they could ask their question aloud, they were interrupted by a gentle knock at the door and Melisande stood from her soup and headed to it, opening it. “Bradley, you're late.” She scolded him.

The man smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I was trying to trade duties with the guard in the dungeons but he wouldn't have it. Not from me anyway.” He sighed as he walked inside and smiled at the travellers. “Hello again.”

“Hey.” Annamarie said with a smile as he sat and joined them, opening up his jacket which allowed a small black creature to come out.

Adrien smiled as the familiar shape floated before them, looking at the group then bowed elegantly forward. “My ladies.” He said in a far more charming manor than any of them were used to hearing.

Adrien's Plagg groaned as he came floating out. “Man, I forgot how bad I was back in this time. So stuck up and…” He gave another loud groan.

The other frowned at him. “When did I become so cynical?”

“One word; Camembert.”

The other frowned. “Camembert?”

“Give it 200 years. You're in for a treat.” He purred.

“Now that we are all here… shall we get back to the task at hand?” Adrien interrupted the two as they went to join the other little beings, sat sharing a bowl of soup on their own. “We need a plan.”

“Indeed.” Melisande said softly. “But before we can plan, we need to first identify our problems.”

Marinette sighed. “Ok. Chloe, Alya and Nino are in the dungeons, apparently accused of being spies.”

“The people now think they are our servants and Chloe’s a simpleton, thanks to Annamarie.”

“But they don't know that. We need to inform them. Or they might give it away.”

“Which means getting into the dungeons before tomorrow.”

“And then we need to find the Guaimite and defeat it.”

“But he could be anywhere.”

“Anyone more like. Melisande, Bradley has anyone else joined the palace recently?”

“With the festival, so many new faces have come in.”

“Anyone out of place? Speaks strange or… just odd.”

“No one comes to mind. Sorry.”

“Right so… we need… to inform Alya and the others our plan, of their new roles.” Marinette said, counting on her fingers. “We need to think up how we are going to keep suspicions off us while we're here…” She added another finger. “We need to find the Mite and destroy it which should… hopefully get us all back to the right time.” She looked at her count. “So… Three things.”

“You make it sound simple.” Adrien groaned.

“Well, first thing's first, we need to tell the others the role.” The brunette decided. “The rest we can plan with them but this is the only one with a short time frame.”

“Agreed.” Melisande nodded. “But getting to the dungeons will not be easy.”

Bradley held up his hand to get their attention. “There is only one guard down there, since your friends are the only current prisoners. If we can distract him, we can get to him. But… how to distract him without causing panic…”

“Distractions are my speciality.” Annamarie smirked. “I can get him away. I just need to get close.”

“I can help you with that part.” The knight nodded. “And if you're ready, now would be the right time to go, before the change at midnight.”

“Alright.” She said, looking to her kwami. “Frou, come on, we have work to do.” She put down her bowl and stood up. “Froufrou, Feather's up!”

In a bright blue light, she was changed into her masked alt form and blinked at the other's amazement. Melisande gave a small chuckle. “I never get tired of that.”

Bradley nodded, passing over a long cloak. “Here, we need to move.”

“Be careful Pea.” Adrien said as she wrapped it around herself.

“Don't worry, I'll be back before you know it.” She said, pulling the hood up and heading out the door with the squire. The sky was cloud covered and the air cold, the only light being from torches around the outsides but their light was sporadic and some parts were left in complete darkness.

Keeping to these parts, Peacock and Bradley made their way across the courtyard and to a small door, into the castle itself and down underground. It was even colder here than outside but, as Bradley said, only one man was on guard. Peacock smiled as she pressed her back to the wall and opened up her fan. “Feather illusion.” She whispered, white pearls flying in the air towards the guard.

As they did, the guard looked down to the floor, eyes wide as a large snarling dog appeared, teeth blazed at him. “W-W-what… Bonaparte? W-what are…” He didn't get to reply as the illusionary dog ran towards him, snapping at the air.

The guard chose to run as fast as he could out of the dungeons, running completely past Peacock and Bradley. The squire smiled as he did. “If I didn't know, I would say that was Bonaparte.” He whispered.

Closing her fan, Peacock turned and slipped into the cells, looking inside them until she found her friends and Chloe. “Psst.” She whispered, getting their attention.

Alya and Chloe raced to get to the door, looking at her masked face. “Peacock!” they both called.

The hero held out her hands. “Keep it down. We can't let anyone know I'm here. Listen, I don't have long; the guards could be back any moment.”

“Peacock, what is going on here?” Chloe whined. “No one will listen to me and worse, I've been thrown into this prison with… them!” She snapped, pointing at Alya and Nino. “They wouldn't even give me a cell on my own!”

“Listen, Chloe, this isn't some kind of game; this is real. We have been sent back in time by the Akuma. We can talk about it more later but right now I have to explain something to you.”

“Wait so… you haven't come to rescue us?” Nino asked, his glasses slightly cracked.

“Yes and no.” She explained. “Listen, I'm not here alone, Ladybug and Chat are with us, along with Annamarie, Adrien and Marinette. They are safe, and managed to make the lord believe they are performers. Now tomorrow you're going to be brought before the man in charge of this place to explain yourselves. If you don't want to be executed as spies, you have to do what we tell you.”

The trio looked at each other then at her. “What do we have to do?” Alya asked at last.

“You have to pretend to be their servants.”

“What!” Chloe screamed until Alya covered her mouth.

“Chloe! Shut it!”

Shaking herself free of the hand, Chloe frowned at her. “There is no way I am going to be Maritrash's servant.”

“Would you rather stay in the cell?” Peacock hissed. “Look, it's the only way you are getting out of here.”

“Peacock.” Someone called from behind her. “Someone's coming, we need to go.”

Looking back into the cell, the teen nodded. “Remember what I said.” She told them before turning and hurrying away, slipping into the shadows beside Bradley, seconds before a guard went down towards the dungeons.

The pair quickly hurried back to Melisande's home, slipping back in. Inside, everyone stood to look at them as Annamarie released her transformation. “How did it go?” Marinette said.

Removing the cloak, Annamarie sighed. “I didn't have long but Chloe was, as to be expected, furious. But I think they will go with it.”

“That's good to know.” Marinette sighed, sitting back down. “So, while you were gone, we were thinking of a way to find the mite.”

“How?”

“Well, it like how Alya and the others got caught.” Adrien picked up. “They used something unknown to this time, be it speech or appearance. We were thinking, what could we use that people from this time wouldn't know wasn't from this time but someone from our time would.”

“I think I'm with you.”

“At least one of us is.” Bradley commented. “I'm lost.”

“Like… talking about an event that hasn't happened yet. Some people would think we're crazy but someone from our time would know it was truth.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Well… you could dance.” Adrien recommended.

“What?”

Melisande nodded. “They told me you're a… ballerina? A kind of dancer?”

Annamarie's eyes widened. “Oh… oh of course! Ballet didn't become popular until the 15th century!”

Bradley caught on. “So anyone who recognises the dance style…”

“Is from the future!” Marinette finished. “And anyone else would just think it’s something brand new!”

“That's genius!” Annamarie laughed. “It's so simple!”

The future ladybug smiled. “I thought you'd like it. Think you could pull it off?”

“I think so yes. What about music?”

“I can help with that part.” Melisande explained, picking up a strange violin like device and plucked a few cords. “You tell me the beat, I'll provide the music.”

“What about us?”

“Mari, think you could make me an outfit? And Adrien, you can… can you juggle or anything?”

“No… Not really.” He confessed. “But I can just say we're married Mari, and your bodyguard?”

Marinette blushed but Bradley nodded. “It would work. I thought you already were to be honest.”

As the time traveller’s face turned an even brighter red at the idea while Annamarie just leant forwards, hands behind her back. “Well, that was a very short engagement but mazel tov!”

“Annamarie! Shut up!”

The dancer smiled then chuckled, turning to the blonde. “Right, well Melisande, we have work to do.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 33 - Times Turn – Ready

The group worked long into the night, Annamarie playing some of her music off her phone after having the conversation of what a phone was and how it worked, so the past Ladybug could listen and begin to copy the sounds.

A fast learner, the musician had the main cords memorised by the time they stopped for the night and Marinette had started a decent amount of the costume. The only people who didn’t have anything constructive to show for their time were Bradley and Adrien who spent most of the night talking about life of a 13th century squire, hoping that it would help them fit in.

Oddly it was the Plagg from the past that insisted they stopped and got some sleep. “A good night’s sleep will do you more good than any work.” He said, buzzing around until everyone stopped. The three visitors set themselves on the floor, covered with blankets for warmth while Melisande had the bed and Bradley left for his own quarters. It was a rough night sleep for all but dawn came and the four kwami in the dancer’s room got everyone up, preparing for when the prisoners would be brought forwards, finalising what they would say and do, agreeing that as the ‘leader’ of the troupe and the best at improvising with a situation, Annamarie would be the one to speak.

As the trio waited with the lord of the castle for their classmates to be brought to them, they couldn’t help but panic internally, worrying about what could happen but Alya, Nino and Chloe were brought forward with two guards escorting them to the lord. And amazingly they played their parts perfectly, bowing their heads and kept their eyes lowered as the brunette stepped forwards. “We were worried about you three.” Annamarie said making her voice as stern as she could. “You were meant to announce our arrival and gather supplies. Not get arrested.”

“Sorry Madam.” Nino said, trying to keep a straight face. “It won’t happen again.”

“I should hope not. Now, apologise to our hosts then go clean yourselves up. We will talk more later.”

They bobbed their heads and turned to the lord to make their humble apologise for their behaviour and the confusion before taking their leave.

With so many of them now, Melisande recommended they went outside the castle walls and walked to the market to find fitting clothes for the ‘servants’. While on the walk they explained what was going on and their plan.

Nino was quick to offer his help in the music but soon realised that without a laptop or decks he would be quite useless at anything beyond a trampoline. With a small amount of needlework practice, Alya decided she would spend her time helping Marinette with the costume while Chloe decided she wouldn’t do anything to help anyone and would sit sulking in the corner, moaning about how unfair the whole situation was.

More than once Melisande asked her future counterpart if she really was a simpleton or just really rude but as long as she stayed out of the way inside, away from everyone, they were happy to let her be.

Meanwhile Alya and Nino were, to their best, enjoying this rare experience of time travel, spending the next two whole days preparing for the summer celebration, practicing and waiting, watching for anyone who may be their akumatised guide but sadly no-one stood out. Sadly the kwami both past and future had to remain hidden, to prevent any reveals but Melisande already had a small safe hiding hole for them so they were comfortable.

One night as Marinette and Alya worked on the finishing touches to the costume, Annamarie headed outside into the night air, Frou joining her and cuddling up into her neck as they walked around, heading up to the battlements of the castle, walking to the edge and letting out a small chuckle. “Good Evening Bradley.”

The young man turned to her and smiled. “Good evening Annamarie. What brings you out here at this time?”

“Getting some fresh air and letting Frou stretch his wings.” She explained as the little bird fluttered around. “He’s been cooped up all day.”

“Yeah, staying hidden is pretty hard for them.”

Nodding, Annamarie leant on the wall and looked outwards. “With any luck, tomorrow will be out last day here. We’ll be able to return to our own time.”

“I certainly will miss having you three around, it’s been so interesting to learn about the future.”

“And for us to learn about the past.”

The squire took a deep breath, looking down at his hands. “Indeed.” Was his only reply. Beside him, the time traveller didn’t say anything, just stood looking out over the wall until eventually the other sighed. “You… you seem to know a lot about us Annamarie. Melisande and myself I mean.”

“I studied you.” She explained. “There is a temple in a country… on the other side of the world to here. They have a library with the history of every miraculous that has ever been written there. I went and read those books.”

 “So… you know what happens? To me?”

She gave him a sideward glance. “Yes, but you know I can’t tell you, right?”

He paused then looked at her closer, a hopefulness in his eyes. “Can’t you tell me something? Anything at all?”

“No. I won’t.” She said, finality hard in her voice. “Why? What’s brought this on?”

The other looked skywards and sighed. “I… I had a conversation with my father today. He wants me to go to Paris, to the barracks and prepare for the war against England.”

“Oh.”

“Part of me knows I should go, to follow his orders but…” His hand rubbed softly at the ring on his finger.

Annamarie nodded. “You’re Chat Noir.”

“That… but also… I don’t want to leave my lady.” He sighed loudly. “I don’t want her to be… alone.”

Humming in agreement, the other shifted a little then sighed. “So… what are you thinking?”

“I was thinking I might… run away. Leave the country, become a traveller or a farmer. I could go to that temple you mentioned. I could do it, so easily leave here… but… I don’t want to leave without Melisande.”

The younger woman stood thinking for a bit then tipped her head away. “I could tell you what you choice.” She informed him, ignoring the way his eyes lit up. “But if I told you, would it really be your chose? For me, your future is fact, it’s already happened, its the past. But right now, for you, there is still possibility.” She looked at him. “The past is a history, the future a mystery but the now is a gift… which is why it is called the present.”

The knight stared at her in wonder. “That… was so wise.”

She chuckled and ran her hand back in her hair. “I wish I could take credit but I was quoting a movie.”

Bradley laughed with her. “I have no idea what that means but we should probably head inside; it’s getting late and you have a show to do tomorrow.”

“Indeed I do.” She sighed, letting Frou tuck himself away at her side before heading down, before stopping and looking back at the other. “Have you told Melisande about your plans?”

“No… I don’t know how.”

“You should tell her. She needs to know.” She sighed then looked over at the dancer’s quarters before nodding. “Goodnight Bradley.”

“Goodnight Annamarie.”


The day of the solstice finally arrived and everyone took their places; Nino with a tambourine with Melisande on the other side of the room, while Adrien stood with Marinette beside them. Alya meanwhile was helping serving the visitors while Chloe had been assigned to hold a large jug of wine.

She had protested naturally but the others had pointed out that if she was still in the dancer’s house when the mite was defeated there was a chance she would be left behind in the past. So Chloe Bourgeois was put to work serving wine, grumbling as she did.

Trap set, the bait stepped out between the four tables where the many visitors were sat having just enjoyed their massive meal and smiled before bowing. “Lords and Ladies, Welcome to the Solstice.” She said softly, standing up.

Marinette and Alya had worked really hard on the outfit, a short purple skirt and a white short sleeved vest top, both parts embroidered beautifully while around her wrist and legs to the knee was a thick purple ribbon. Since she didn’t have her ballet shoes, it was the best she could do to avoid performing completely barefoot but it had meant she’d been forced to cut a lot of pointe work.

As the room fell silent, the music began, Melisande playing her violin like device and Nino gently adding the sounds of bells but Annamarie moved more to her memory than what she could hear, eyes closed as she moved, dancing around the small area as the ballet dancer she was.

It was by no means her best performance but to people who had never heard or seen ballet before or heard the music of Swan Lake, it was enchanting. But also so recognisable that anyone from the 2000s would recognise.

As she danced the famous performance, she sighed, missing her partner and the support Louie provided her with but as it came to its end, she stopped elegantly and opened her eyes, looking at her audience, all of them spell bound by what they had just seen.

Even Bradley, who had seen the dance in its rehearsal was dumbstruck and began to clap, the rest of the room soon joining in with him, cheering and clapping for the performance, the dancer bowing once more, trying not to show her disappointment that their target hadn’t shown.

“Maybe this mite is smarter.” Adrien offered as the trio spoke the next morning, nothing having happened all night during the solstice.

“Or maybe he isn’t here.” The dancer grumbled. “Maybe he didn’t come back with us.”

“If he didn’t, and we can’t find a way home, we will be in big trouble.” Marinette said biting her lip. “We need to catch the mite to return home.”

Annamarie sighed. “I guess we will have to think of something else.”

“Let’s not tell Alya and the others, don’t want them to panic.” Marinette requested.

“Alright.” The other’s agreed before separating to look for anything suspicious.

Still disappointed that their plan had failed, Annamarie headed out of the castle and out towards the field where they had arrived, looking up at the tree. “There must be away home.” She whispered.

“You there!”

She turned at the call and spotted a man storming towards her and although she was in her civilian form, she tensed into a defensive position, feeling her senses tingle.

The man stormed right over to her and without stopping, swung a fist for her face.

Fortunately she was ready so jumped away and under his blow, watching as it went flying into the tree behind her, disintegrating a large chunk in the blow.

Rolling over the grass, the teen made her way back to her feet and looked at the tree and the damage before turning to her attacker. As he pulled his arm back for another punch, she spotted a large black leach hanging from his wrist, the sheer size of it far bigger than she had ever seen before. Normally they were no bigger than a fist but this one was as big as a wine bottle. The Akuma growled as he turned to face her, his eyes narrow on her. “You! How dare you! Ballet was first performed in the 1500s in Italy! And Swan Lake is from 1876!”

“I’m flattered you know the dates.” She teased before turning on the spot and running back towards the castle, the baron sharp on her tail.

Luckily as she sprinted past the castle gates, a baton shot out from behind a wall and collided with the baron’s face, sending him tumbling to the floor.

Chat Noir, the one from the 21st Century, grinned. “Well I’m sure glad you finally made an appearance Baron. We’ve been looking all over for you and I didn’t feel like sticking around here much longer.” He shuddered as he put the baton away. “The black death was not a good time for black cats.” He turned to Annamarie. “Go get the others. We are going home.”

With a nod, she turned and ran off to find them while Chat smirked. “Let’s make this easy; send us to our own time and I won’t have to hurt you.”

The Akuma growled while a dark glow came from his hand, forming his mace once more. “You don’t belong in this time Cat!” He snapped before swinging for him.

Chat lifted his sword and blocked blow after blow but he soon found himself backing further off and shaking his arm. “Woo, you’ve got some strength.”

Baron growled and swung once more but this time the blow was caught by a thin wire, stopping the attack from getting anywhere near close.

“Pleasure as always to see you…” Chat stopped as he followed the string up to its source, expecting to see his lady at the end but who was stood on top of the castle wall was someone completely different.

Lady Red winked at him. “Happy to help Chat.” She said, pulling on the wire once more to keep the baron still.

Unlike the Ladybug from his time, this Ladybug didn’t wear a skin tight outfit but instead a loose pair of pants and a billowing tunic with long red gloves, a rounded hood and a short cape but even under the hood she still had a mask and she still had her yo-yo but it looked more wooden than its future self.

Chat smiled at her as she leapt down to his side, still holding the string tight. “So, I was not expecting to see you.”

“Marinette is with Alya and Nino.” She whispered before charging forwards, dragging the string under his legs and pulled it tight, tripping him over so he fell flat on his face before jumping on his back and twisting his arm behind him.

Chat blinked in amazement at the force Melisande was applying but with a villain this strong it was needed. Baron growled as he was attacked, grabbing the red hero from his back and held her by the neck before throwing her across the courtyard and into a hay bail.

Lady Red was quick to shake herself free of the straw and ran back over to the cat who had gone back to attacking the Akuma, backing off with him. “Well this guy is tougher than I’m used to.”

“Perhaps you should stay back.” Chat recommended, sword at the ready. “We are more used to this.”

“No way. This guy is going to take all of us to take him down.” She returned to a defensive stand. “We just need to keep him here until the others arrive.”

Just then the baron charged at them once more, slamming his mace on the floor but unlike the last time he had done so, there wasn’t a glow.

“At least we know he can’t send us back any further.” Came another voice as the blue hero came over and landed besides her black counterpart. “But he is even stronger now.”

“Tell me about it. I went blow to blow and feel like my arm is going to fall off.”

The future Ladybug called. “Must be because the mite hasn’t let go yet because in this time, Shenfa is still sealed away.”

“Good news; he won’t get the power.” Chat guessed. “Bad news; this guy might defeat us.”

“There is no way I’m getting beaten.” Peacock huffed before charging into the battle.

The baron growled as he swung for him after hero, every attack they made fruitless against him. Chat and Sir Noir went in together, bringing their swords down to trap the mace to the ground, while Lady Red ran up the weapon and punched the villain in the face.

The blow did stun him for a moment but then he sneered and growled, punching her in return but before the mace could collide with her, Ladybug got between them, shield powered up and absorbing the blow.

“Thanks.” Lady Red said with a relieved breath.

“Anything for another Ladybug.

“Time for the two of us to call on our powers?”

“I think so too.” Ladybug smiled, the two of them throwing their yo-yo’s into the air and there were two small pops as a black and red spotted nail fell into the older hero’s hands and a spool of thread fell into the time travellers.

The two looked at each other’s in confusion before the hooded hero smiled. “Some things never change.”

“Not really.” The dark haired hero chuckled then looked back to the baron as the others worked hard to stop him. “Ideas?”

Looking at the nail in her hand, Lady Red looked around the courtyard at the same time as Ladybug did. They soon noticed the same thing, cracks in the walls around them and a singular post that horses were tied and then the baron. They looked at each other and nodded, running to put their plan into action.

While Lady Red found a good place to put the nail into the wall, Ladybug began to unroll the thread between the nail and the post, creating a trip wire behind the Akuma, the tread too fine for him to see it. Chat, Noir and Peacock were doing an amazing job of distracting the Akuma, gradually backing him into the wire.

As the two red heroes tied off the tread, Chat Noir gave one final push and the baron stepped back, his leg being pulled out for under him and he fell hard to the floor. Instantly the two leaders shouted out;

“Chat!”

“Sir Noir!”

“Cataclysm the wall!” They both shouted.

The black cats nodded, calling on their powers and while one went for the wall to the right and the other to the left, the large heavy rocks collapsing down onto the fallen Akuma, burying up to his neck, trapped under the weight and unable to stop Noir finding the large leach that was on the underside of his arm and pulling it away.

The Ladybug of the future was the one to sweep it up and as the red dust drifted into the air she smiled and turned to her historic counterpart. “Well, Lady Red, thank you for all your help.”

“I was happy to help Ladybug. And it is good to know the miraculous will be in good hands.”

Chat nodded to his own past self. “Thanks for all the tips Noir. I've learnt a lot from you.”

“And I from you Chat.”

As the heroes stood together, Peacock picked up the two lucky charms and held them to the heroes. “Time for us to go home.”

“Right.” Ladybug said taking what was left of the spool. “Lady Red?”

“Ready when you are.” Lady Red said as she took her own charm.

“Wait!” Alya gasped as she ran over with Nino and Chloe. “What about Marinette, Adrien and Annamarie? They aren't here! We can't go back without them.”

The heroes looked at each other, unsure how to get around the problem. Luckily Lady Red nodded. “Once you three have gone, we will look for them. I will hold onto my Lucky Charm and use it to return the others. We need to send you three home now. For your own safety.”

The teen looked at the five heroes then nodded. “Alright. As long as you find them.”

“We will. Now, Lady Red, you better send your lucky charm up and send them home.”

“Very well. Red Grace!” She yelled, throwing the charm up into the air, the whole area filling with the red and black ladybugs before coming together and wrapping around the three civilians and the tour guide before they vanished.

Once they were gone, the three remaining heroes looked at the other two. “So… how are we going to do now?” Adrien asked. “If we go back as ourselves everyone will know who we are. And if we go back as heroes everyone will ask where the other ‘us’ are!”

Lady Red laughed at him. “Adrien, you really need to calm down. The answer is right before you.” She said, nodding to Peacock.

The feathered hero frowned. “What can I do?”

“You have the power to create an illusion right?”

The trio all made an 'ohh' sound as they realised the plan, Peacock nodding as she did. “Good idea. Why didn't we think of that?”

“I feel stupid for not realising it.” Chat chuckled.

Noir chuckled as well. “Well, our Lady is best at thinking about these things.”

The two ladybugs gave him a slight smile while Peacock lifted her fan. “Feather Illusion!” She called, the pearls of white, yellow and blue drifting down to create an illusion of Ladybug, Chat Noir and Annamarie, the three standing quite stiffly before them.

Chat grinned as he looked over his double. “Am I really that handsome?”

“Careful kitty or you'll hurt yourself.” His girlfriend groaned dropping her spots. “Ready? This is going to be tricky. We need to get out of sight, get the illusions to follow then swap places.”

Peacock chuckled but then heard a bleep. “And make sure no one comes in contact with 'us'.” She said, gesturing to the three teens. “They'll vanish if you make contact with it.”

“Right. Come on, time to go.” Ladybug said, looking at their past incarnations. “It has been an honour meeting you. Thank you.”

“Take care of yourself Ladybug.” Lady Red said with a nod, throwing the *item* into the air.

As it popped and the ladybugs began to fill the air once more, Peacock turned to Sir Noir. “You never know if you don't ask Noir! Tell her what's on your mind!”

Before anyone could ask what she meant, they were consumed by bright ladybugs and when they vanished they were back to the castle grounds with their friends and classmates around them.

“Marinette!” Alya called, already hurrying over to her. “I was so worried!”

As the friends spoke, Peacock stepped over. “I'm glad everyone is safe but we have to get back to Paris.” She glanced at the illusions. “Who knows what Shenfa is up to now.”

With a nod, Alya stepped towards the blue hero. “Yeah, by the way, how did you get here so fast?” She asked, already reaching for her phone, ready to record the answer.

Marinette gulped but luckily Adrien stepped in. “Alya, they are super heroes! Who knows, maybe they can teleport?”

“I'd love to stay and explain but we have to get going.” Peacock said a little firmer, turning and jumping up to the roof with her illusions. “Take care everyone! We will see you in Paris!”

With that, she jumped up into the air and headed around the side of the castle, dropping down and slipping back inside, careful not to be seen as she met up with her civilian illusion, quickly changing back and catching her exhausted kwami before putting him in her bag, hurrying to join the others.

Marinette gave her a small smile and a wink, showing no one had noticed the quick change.


It turned out that while the group of teens had experienced days away in the past, only a few seconds had passed for everyone else and after a quick check that everyone was alright, it was put to a vote on if they wanted to continue with the tour of the castle or head home.

It was unanimously decided to carry on with the tour so the two groups swapping over with Marinette's group now seeing the upper class side of the castle, with all of its 17th century art and details. However, as they were shown around, the guide came to a stop near a very old, out of place looking tapestry. While the colours were faded from time, there was enough colour left to show what was going on.

The three heroes at the back smiled at the image of two male figures in black, two red female figures and a blue, slightly hard to gender, figure battling a larger darker looking man. Alya gasped as she saw it. “OH MY GOODNESS! That's Ladybug, Chat, Peacock, Lady Red and Sir Noir!”

The guide looked surprised. “Well... yes. This mural shows the legend of a battle that took place right here, 200 years ago against the mysterious heroes Lady Red and Sir Noir and their... until today... unknown companions.”

“I know.” Alya boasted. “I was there!”

As the teen dug around in her phone for pictures to back up her claim, Annamarie lifted her hand. “Sir, what happened to Lady Red and Sir Noir?”

“No one knows. But this was the last time either of them were ever seen.” The guide sighed. “It's assumed that without the other three they lost their power as not long after this battle, they vanished, as did two members of the court, the dancer Melisande and the Lord's son, Bradley. Some say they eloped together but no one really knows.”

The three heroes blinked and looked over at Adrien's backpack, knowing three little fairies that would know what happened.


“It's really strange.” Tikki said as she sat on the table while the group cleaned up after dinner at Adrien's. “I remember being with Melisande but I don't remember meeting you three.”

“It's probably part of the cure.” Sophia recommended. “So you wouldn't know about your own future. After all, if the ‘you’ back then had known about Shenfa escaping, you could have done something to stop it, and then there never would have been a mite to send you back so you would never have been warned.”

Annamarie held her head. “Whoa, time travel is giving me a headache.”

“But what happened to Melisande and Bradley?”

“Well, Bradley was going to be sent to the city to serve the king but he didn't want to go. Then, out of the blue, he proclaims his love for Milisande, asks her to marry him and the two of them ran away.”

“What happened after that?”

“I don't know.” Tikki said with a sigh. “They gave the miraculous away. Said they weren't the right ones to fight with the war for England that was coming.”

Annamarie sighed. “So… no one knows what happened to them in the end?”

Tikki giggled a little. “I have an idea anyway.”

“What's that Tikki?”

“They lived happily ever after of course!”

Chapter Text

“Alright Class.” The madam said. “Today, we are going to be doing something a little different. To show the difference between reading a scene and seeing a scene, you are all going to act a small scene from the famous English story of Romeo and Juliet.” She smiled, holding up a hat. “All of them are meant for two characters so you will be working in your pairs.”

Alya shot her hand up. “Madam, what about us?”

En glared at the girl then flexed his fingers. Madam Bustier was so far under his control, he barely had to think when it came to controlling her, watching as she blinked and sighed. “You will work with Annamarie. As normal.”

“But…”

“Enough Alya, or do I make you sit at the back again?”

The journalist said nothing, just sank back down. The madam came around slowly, handing out the scenes. En had his hand, and his magic, in the hat before Marinette had chance to open her mouth. He opened the paper and smiled as he looked the scene.

Act 1, Scene 5 – Sinner’s Hands

“You have 20 minutes to learn your lines and practice. Then you will each be performing to the class. And no Alya, you can't swap scenes.”

En’s smile grew a little as he shifted closer to Marinette. “So, shall we get started?”

Marinette swallowed but nodded, opening her copy of the book to the appropriate page but not before giving those around her a worried look, taking comfort in their proximity.

The next 20 minutes were slightly painful as she and En learnt the lines of the scene and finally were called to the front to perform.

En had not a hint of shyness as he took the first line. “Your hand is like a holy place, that my hand is unworthy to visit.” He said proud and loudly. “If you’re offended by the touch of my hand, my two lips are standing here like blushing pilgrims, ready to make things better with a kiss.”

Nerves racking, Marinette's normal confidence evaporated and she stumbled and messed up her lines and actions from start to end as she took on the role of Juliet.

“G-g-good pilgrim, you don’t give your hand enough credit.” She managed, locking her eyes with the text in the book to keep her attention on anything but her partner. “B-by holding my hand you show polite d-d-devotion. After all, pilgrims t-touch the hands of statues of saints.” She gulped and held up one hand towards En. “Holding one palm against an-another is like a kiss.”

En, without the book anywhere near him, pressed his open palm to hers. “Don’t saints and pilgrims have lips too?” He said smoothly.

“Yes, pilgrim.” Marinette continued to read, blushing brightly. “They have lips that… that they… they are supposed to pray with.”

“Well then, saint, let lips do what hands do.” He said, holding her hand tight and using it to pull her closer to him. “I’m praying for you to kiss me. Please grant my prayer so my faith doesn’t turn to despair.”

Marinette gulped as he came closer and turned her head to the side as he got closer, preparing for a kiss on the cheek as they had agreed while practicing but as he moved in, his other hand came up under her chin and turned her head back to face him. Before she could stop him or ask questions or wonder why his hand was so cold, a force pressed on her lips.

The whole class was frozen in place, staring at the newest student as he lip locked Marinette, one hand on her wrist, the other on her chin, his eyes open as he looked at her, listening to her heartbeat as it rocketed. Madam Bustier was so shocked by the display that her pen slipped from her fingers and clashed loudly on the floor. That was all Adrien needed as his hand closed into a fist and he stood sharply in his seat. “HEY!”

Even with his objection, En slowly backed away from Marinette and made a show of licking his lips before looking at the blonde. “Yes?”

“Look, I know this is for art and class and all but that's enough!” He stormed over to the boy and gave him a weak shove while his arms wrapped around Marinette. “Get your hands off my girlfriend!”

The darker boy licked his lips again and glanced his brown eyes to the girl before smirking. “Now, now, Adrien, I'm not going to steal her away from you.”

“Good.”

“I'll fight you for her.”

The blonde blinked. “What?”

En smirked. “I will fight you for the right to be Marinette's boyfriend. What do you say?”

“I think you're insane.”

He frowned then reached out his power as subtly as he could, trying to warp the boy's anger but oddly, he was still untouchable so instead drifted for the teacher. She blinked under his control and stepped forwards. “Boys, I think that is an excellent idea.”

“What? Madam, you can't…”

“We are learning about romanticism literature and this is just another example.” She said, the magic twisting her senses. “So, we shall have a gentleman's duel. Traditionally they are fought with swords but since we don't want you two hurting yourselves, it will be unarmed.”

Shenfa frowned and tried to push for armed but her resolve was too strong on the matter. The one time I want you to change your mind… he thought angrily towards her then looked at Adrien. “So, what do you say Agreste?”

Marinette held his arm tight. “You don't have to.”

“That's right Agreste.” En chuckled, shrugging. “You don't have to fight me. I always knew you were a chicken.”

“That's it!” Adrien snapped. “I accept!”

Madam Bustier nodded. “Very well. We will hold it outside in the park. Come along everyone.”

The class stood, still stunned this was really happening, many of them telling Adrien he didn't have to do this as they left the classroom. “We'll still respect you dude.”

“En's a creep.”

“You could get hurt.”

“Adrien, please, reconsider.”

As the class continued outside, a firm hand gripped the boy. “Adrien, stop this.” Annamarie snapped, pulling him to a stop. “This is the stupidest thing I have ever seen you do and, if you remember, I've seen you do some pretty stupid things.”

“I'm sorry. But En has pushed me too far.”

Marinette shook her head. “You don't need to prove anything to anyone Adrien, least of all him and certainly not me. You know how I feel about you and nothing will change that.”

He smiled sweetly at her, brushing the back of his hand over her cheek. “Mari, I'm sorry. You know I love you and I won't have some guy just… doing things to you without your permission. This is a matter of honour, not just yours but mine as well.” He said, shedding off his white jacket and passing it to Nino. “It's time someone taught him a lesson.”

The other boy smiled as he rolled his shoulders and cracked his knuckles. “Then come and get it teacher.”

Frowning at the other, Adrien took a stand but not before he caught a glimpse of Annamarie and Marinette as they looked at him in horror but he soon turned to his opponent.

The whole class had created a circle around the two boys, Adrien clearly angry at the other but En was smirking coolly as he lifted up his fists and suddenly lashed out for Adrien, the blow fast and strong but amazingly Adrien dodged and ducked out of the way, bringing his own fist towards En who also blocked and avoided the blow.

At the side, Annamarie held her breath as En tried to land another blow but Adrien deflected. “He’s using his training.”

“Isn’t that good?”

She didn’t reply, just stood watching as the fist fight as the rules appeared to be bending when En tried to kick Adrien away from him. So far, neither boy had landed a solid blow on the other, leading to angers growing in both.

En glanced at the crowd around him for a second, looking at Marinette’s worried expression but it was Adrien’s anger he wanted. He wanted him to get angry so he could attach a Guaimite to him and make him pay. But even as they fought, he failed to get the reaction he needed. Suddenly he found himself backing off as Adrien finally managed to land a strike of his own, punching En square in the cheek. 

For a moment the power in his punch stunned the darkness but before he could think where he’d felt that much power, another punch landed to his stomach and then another to the underside of his chin and he found himself thrown to the ground and too stunned to get up.

With that final punch, Adrien remained where he was, fists raised and glaring at him at his feet. “Now stay away from Marinette!” He snapped, backing away and walking to his girlfriend.

En growled as he forced himself up and wiped the side of his mouth on his sleeve, glaring at the other students. “Oh really? I don't know why you're so possessive Adrien. She's not of you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your second rate compared to her first choice. Or hasn't she told you about her late night visitor?” He gave a cold dark smirk. “The one with a tail?”

The whole class blinked as they caught on to what he meant and turned to look at Marinette who gulped. Adrien frowned at the other. “And how would you know this En?”

“I just happened to be passing when I saw him dropping by. Kinda hard to ignore a superhero when you see them.”

“Well, who knows why Chat was there. He might just like the food; it is a bakery.”

En laughed at the lame excuse. “Oh Adrien, you are so slow! You don't even know when you're beaten.”

“That's enough!” Marinette insisted. “Stop this En! I chose Adrien! You're a good friend to me but that is all. So please, stop this. Enough is enough.”

A cold heartless look washed over the teen as he stared at her. “You know what Marinette, you're right. Enough is enough. I've had enough of you and this school and you pathetic humans.” He lifted his head and looked over them. “I only came here to get stronger. I am now. So… I don't need you anymore.” He lifted his hand to the side and the class almost screamed as a dark red fire consumed it, covering his skin but leaving it untouched.

Everyone backed off a little at the display but En smirked, shifting his fingers in the power. “Don't feel bad, at least you will die painlessly. Unlike the rest of this pathetic world.” He laughed then swept his arm out in front of him, a long wave of fire arching out towards the students who all ducked down, cowering in fear as the magic swept over.

Suddenly a blue light surrounded them in a perfect dome, dispersing the fire and making it pass harmlessly over the group to burn into a nearby tree, causing it to collapse behind them. En gasped as he watched the protective light before it weakened and he saw someone standing at the front, lowering a hand with a stern gaze on her face.

“You.” En said, as if seeing her for the first time.

Annamarie said nothing, just stood staring at him.

“You!” He repeated but this time with a laugh. “I knew there was something I didn't like about you! You're the bird!” He laughed loudly, turning on the spot. “Oh now it all makes sense! Annamarie Tolrana… The Royal Peacock. The protector. Oh, this is too good to be true. All this time, you have been right under my feet.”

She lifted her head a little and glared at him. “Feathers up.” She said before her form transformed, not caring who else saw. Peacock opened her eyes and stepped forwards a little more. “Games over Shenfa.”

En smiled and his whole appearance shimmered, his skin becoming pale purple, his ears pointed, his eyes red and his clothes jet black and ancient designed. “So you worked it out as well.”

“I've seen you're fire before, remember.”

“Yes, I guess you have.” He moved towards her. “But you're quite foolish to reveal yourself to me alone, Blue. I could just kill you here and now.”

“She's not alone.” Another male voice spoke out as two more stepped forwards to stand beside their friend.

Shenfa blinked, looking at them. “What?”

Adrien and Marinette nodded to each other before making their moves. “Spots on.” and “Claws out.”

The evil watched in horror as the pair were transformed, completing the trio. Ladybug smiled as she looked at him. “We're never alone. Never.”

They stood in the open space, staring at each other, waiting for the next move. Shen finally growled and pointed at them. “You three think you can defeat me! I still hold the butterfly! You can't lock me away like before without it! You can't defeat me!”

“We'll find a way.” Peacock said, on the defence.

“No. You won't.” He stated with sadistic glee. “But I will find a way to destroy everything each of you cares about and then I will destroy you and this whole PLANET!” He glared at them all, locking his eyes on Ladybug for a bit longer before vanishing from sight.

Once he was gone, the three heroes looked at each other then back at their shocked classmates. They had just transformed in front of all of them but now was not the time to worry about things like that. Above them, the sun suddenly began to dim and as they looked up, they could see thick dark clouds rolling in from nowhere, blocking out the warmth and light.

Peacock frowned as she watched bright red lightning flash out over the clouds, turning on the spot. “Everyone! Get inside! It's not safe out here!”

“But…” Chloe started, jaw slack.

“We don't have time!” Chat shouted suddenly. “Shenfa is making his move! You are in danger if you stay here. So now, GET TO COVER!”

That appeared to snap them all out of the amazement and they ran towards the school apart from one. Ladybug frowned as she looked at her. “Alya, get inside.” She ordered before another flash of red lightening filled the air.

Peacock looked back at the others. “We need to go.” She insisted, already making a move, the others hurrying to follow her, heading down the roads. They didn't get far before they noticed the ground ahead was covered in small black items.

They skidded to a stop barely before them. “Guaimite seeds.” Ladybug said, backing off and looking around. “Hundreds of them!”

Backing up as well, Annamarie frowned, inspecting them. “Ladybug, I'm sure I don't have to remind you what happens if you touch one of these.”

“Or pick one up.”

Before Peacock could snapped back, Ladybug held up a hand, silencing them both. “Now is not the time to start arguing. But Chat is right, don't touch them.”

“If there are seeds here, I bet there are more elsewhere.”

Chat nodded, pulling out his baton. “I'm already on it.” He lifted it to his ear. “Nadja, this is Chat Noir. Listen, I don't have time to explain, this is urgent. I need you to send out an emergency broadcast message to all of Paris. Tell everyone to stay inside, lock their doors and stay away from the windows. And if they see any odd looking eggs, do not touch them. They are poisonous to the touch and will kill in minutes. Send it out on every system you have alright?” His eyes lifted to Peacock and Ladybug as they worked to destroy the eggs. “And… tell Paris we will do all we can to keep her safe but…” The others turned and looked at him, listening to his every word. He took a deep breath and nodded. “We might not come out of this fight.”

“What are you talking about?”

The trio turned on the spot at the voice and were faced with Alya as she stood, staring at them in horror. Ladybug moved quickly to her. “Alya? What are you doing here?! We told you to get to safety!”

“What's this about you 'not coming out'?” She moved a bit closer and frowned. “Mari…”

Ladybug winced a little at hearing her civilian name said aloud. “Alya, we don't have time.”

“Marinette, all this time… you have been lying to me?” Her voice was a whisper and her eyes wide. “How? How could you?”

“Alya, you have to understand.” Ladybug pleaded. “With everything that has been happening, everything that we do and have done… if you had known, someone would have targeted you to get to me! I was doing it to protect you.”

“We all were.” Chat added.

“You can shut up.” The dark haired girl snapped, attention solely on Marinette. “You… you lied to me. For YEARS you lied to me. All those times… you saved me and you NEVER told me!”

“I was protecting my best friend.”

“And yet you told them!” She pointed at the others who were keeping quiet. “I knew you three had something going on. I had no idea it would be this!” she shook her head. “You… you weren't protecting me, you were protecting yourself. Your little secret. I thought you trusted me Mari!”

The group stood in silence before Mari lowered her eyes. “I do Alya. I trust you with my life.”

“But not with the secret that you're Ladybug.”

“I couldn't take the risk.” She looked up slowly. “I can't tell you the number of times I have wanted to tell you. To confide in you all my problems. But I had to protect you.”

The journalist closed her hands into a fist. “Well I don't want your protection! I want my friends to be honest with me! So tell me now; what is going on?”

Marinette took a moment to try and think of an answer. “I…” She started then fell silent.

“Come on, just tell me the truth.”

Again, words failed the red hero and a blue hand closed around her shoulder. “Alya, Shenfa wants to kill us.” Annamarie whispered softly. “Shenfa murdered Adrien's father because he was the Purple Miraculous holder, the butterfly and now he wants to destroy us as well. We are the only ones able to defeat him.”

“The resent Akumas have been collecting energy for him so he can get his strength back.” Chat added and looked up at the sky as more lightening flashed around them. “And now, he's got enough and is making a move.”

“We have to go and fight him Alya.” Ladybug said, stepping over and holding her friend's hands. “It's our only chance.”

“But… what if you don't come back?”

She gave the best smile she could manage. “Then… it's the end of the world.”

The anger and upset at being lied to drifted slowly from the reporter as she stared at her friends, their faces gradually showing the fear and acceptance of what they were about to do. Suddenly Alya jumped forwards, arms around her friend and hero's neck, hugging her tight. Ladybug hugged her back before pushing her away. “We'll be fine. But right now, you need to get to cover. I… couldn't live with myself if something happened to you.”

“Perfect.”

They all turned to the voice just as a shadowy form appeared behind her and a bright red light surged out, colliding with Alya's chest and throwing her backwards into a wall. Ladybug screamed in horror at the sight, hurrying to her friend while Chat and Peacock tried to catch the villain but he vanished in a puff of smoke only to reappear on the other side of the street and laughed. “Don't worry Ladybug. You'll get a chance to say goodbye. That poison will kill your friend slow and painful.” His eyes narrowed on her. “A death you will get soon enough.”

Mari felt tears in her eyes as she looked at Alya, her lips were a dark painful red and her eyes closed, her glasses thrown off from the attack. “No…”

Peacock frowned as she threw her fan towards the shadow but he disappeared before it could collide, not that her attack would have that much effect. She looked at the others. “We have to get her to Niji and the others. They'll be able to help.”

“I'll carry her.” Chat said, carefully taking the girl from his Lady and lifting her up. “Come on, we need to move!”

Peacock nodded then lifted her fan up, swinging it far and low, cutting into the seeds and destroying them to create a path. “Come on!” She shouted, leading the way and destroying the Guaimites as they blocked the route. As fast as they could, they ran down the streets to the familiar Chinese centre, Ladybug practically kicking the door open and charging in. “Niji! Dawa!”

“Ladybug!” Master Fu called, turning his head from the TV he'd been watching, which was running the emergency broadcast. “Wha… what are you doing here?”

“It's Alya, Shenfa hit her with some kind of blast. He said he poisoned her. Can you help her? Please?!”

Fu glanced at the woman before him and shook his head. “Put her down. I'll do what I can but Shen's powers are far greater than my own.” Once Alya was placed on the bed, Fu set to work with Annamarie by his side, her hands glowing blue as she tried to help heal the poison.

Chat and Ladybug sat on the side as they watched the two work before suddenly Peacock put a hand to her head with a small groan. Fu held her shoulder and frowned at her. “Peacock, don't push yourself, you're not as skilled at healing as Sophia and you need your strength.”

“I have… to try.”

“And you have. The poison has slowed down, I can handle it from here.” He squeezed her shoulder a little. “Take a break.”

She let out a few deep breaths before feeling another hand on her shoulder and looked to see Niji holding her. “He's right. You need to take it easy.” He looked over the others. “I wasn't expecting Shenfa to make a move so soon.”

Adrien gave a dry chuckle. “I… think I ticked him off.”

“Oh?”

“Turns out he's been hiding out at our school, pretending to be a student called En. And… it would appear, he had a… thing for Mari.” He explained, almost hissing the words out. “When I challenged him on it, I beat him into the ground and he got angry, revealing himself and… well he tried to kill the whole class but…” He stopped and looked at Annamarie.

Everyone looked at her as she leant on the wall before she sighed. “I don't know what happened. I charged forwards to stop him and this… barrier formed around us. I wasn't even transformed!”

Niji frowned at her. “It sounds like your power was able to manifest a shield to protect you, as a sort of safeguard. When the miraculous detected Shenfa's power, you were strong enough to produce a shield to protect those around you. I've heard of it happening before; a shield that holds just long enough for the chosen to transform. But if you used it before your class…”

“They know.” Marinette sighed, looking only at Alya. “Everyone knows who we are now.”

“And you are alright with that?”

“We fail against Shen, the whole world will be destroyed. We succeed… we'll deal with it then.”

The sun nodded. “That's a sensible way to look at it.”

“But… how are we going to defeat him?” Chat said, glancing at the TV as it showed a report of what was going on outside the room. “The Katoenal isn't ready yet, we don't have the butterfly or chosen for the fox and bee.”

The group sat in silence apart from the odd whimper of pain from Alya. Finally Dawa took a deep breath. “There may be a way around that, but it is dangerous, for all of us.”

“If it works, we will accept the danger.” Ladybug said, speaking for all involved. “We cannot allow Shenfa to continue.”

Dawa and Niji looked at each other then nodded, Niji standing up. “Very well. We have been working on a theory that we can, hopefully, boost the Katoenal to a point where it can work.”

“How?”

“We give it our powers.” Dawa whispered.

“What!” Annamarie snapped, standing up suddenly. “No!”

“It's the only way, Annamarie.” Niji continued. “The Katoenal requires not only the power of a miraculous but the heart and connection of a chosen to work. Since we do not have chosen for two of the miraculous and the butterfly is missing, that is a large amount of power missing. Our power, although not bound to a chosen, should fill the amount.”

“But it would leave you powerless.”

Niji smiled at her. “We are the solstice kwami, Annamarie, as long as there is a sun and a moon, we will get our power back, over time.”

Chat nodded. “So, you're going to… give the cut-toe-nail some of your powers? Then what?”

“Once it has fully charged, the Katoenal will emit a powerful blast of pure energy that will seal Shenfa away once again.”

“How long will it take to charge?”

The god sighed. “From the moment the first power is given to it, about ten minutes. If all the miraculous have not made contact with it in that time frame, it will not work. And that's not the worst part.” He looked at the pair. “It has to be near him.”

Chat groaned. “Great.”

“Adrien…” Annamarie said, walking over and holding his shoulder. “You know as well as I that we have no other choice. The Katoenal is our only hope in stopping Shenfa.”

“I know. I just…” He sighed, leaning into her for a hug. “I don't like the odds. There are too many… unknowns.”

“None of us do. But if we don't do something then… more people are going to be hurt like Alya.”

Marinette gave a whimper at the mention of her friend who Fu was still trying to help. She hugged her knees for a moment. “I should have protected her.” She confessed weakly. “I knew Shenfa would come back but… he… he… Oh Alya… I'm so sorry.”

The others moved to her side and hugged her but Niji frowned. “Ladybug, I know this is hard but you have to put this behind you.”

“What?”

“I'm sorry but if you continue to worry over what happened to your friend, more people are going to get hurt. Fu and Peacock have done their best to help her and will continue to do so but you must prepare yourself for the fight ahead of you. As soon as we activate the Katoenal, Shenfa will know and he will try and stop it.” He frowned at her. “You must protect it or everything will be lost.”

The trio stared at him with a numbness filling them from head to toe.

Dawa watched them for a moment then stepped over. “We know this is a lot of responsibility to place on three teenagers but we wouldn't ask you to do this if we weren't sure you could handle it.”

“Dawa, that's nonsense.” Chat said with a frown. “We are your only hope and you know it.”

“No, Chat. We may have created the miraculous but over time they have evolved beyond our comprehension.” The woman said with a smile, reaching out and taking his hand, gently caressing the ring on his finger. “With each chosen they have grown to a point I sometimes wonder if they are stronger than even us, their creators. But one thing I do know…” She looked up into his bright green eyes. “They worked their way down the lines, thousands of years, to you three. For thousands of years every chosen before you has worked it way slowly to this point. Every choice, leading here. They have controlled your very fate far longer than you could believe. It was fate that you two lived in Paris when it needed new chosen just as much as it was fate Annamarie moved here. It was fate you went to the same school and became friends! Every step of not only your lives but the lives of your parents and grandparents; every generation's choices was drawing you to this one moment. When you would stand here now, not as yourselves but as the three chosen to save the world.” She smiled and looked back at her husband. “Niji and I have done all we can for you. Now, it's up to you to defeat Shenfa.”

The Sun kwami nodded. “I agree. That's how we know you will succeed.”

The three teens took a deep breath, looking at the pair and each other. Finally Ladybug smiled. “Ready to face the music?”

“You know me.” Peacock chuckled dryly. “I'm always ready to dance.”

“Though never thought we would have a dance-off with the greatest evil.” Chat joked with weak bravado.

They stood still for a bit then, almost at the same time, moved in to hug each other, knowing at the back of their minds, this may be their last moment together. They could die and they had silently accepted that fact. Finally they parted and stepped away from each other, looking the sun and moon and nodded with a new found confidence and steadiness. “We're ready.”

Chapter Text

They stood still for a bit then, almost at the same time, moved in to hug each other, knowing at the back of their minds, this may be their last moment together. They could die and they had silently accepted that fact. Finally they parted and stepped away from each other, looking the sun and moon and nodded with a new found confidence and steadiness. “We're ready.”

Niji nodded then looked at his wife who turned to the mirror on the other side of the room, holding out her hand and letting a pale white light form before reaching into the glass itself and pulled out a large black box, placing it on a table.

Everyone held their breath as Niji unlocked it and there sat the Katoenal, shimmering in the light as it had the last time they had seen it. The Sun gazed at it for a moment then allowed himself to relax before he turned to the old man by his side. “Fu, as much as I honour your skills, I must ask you hand over your miraculous for this process.”

He frowned at them. “Why's that?”

“Your heart may be young Fu but your body is far from it.” Dawa said with an almost tease in her voice. “We don't want to risk you being hurt in this process. It will only be for a short moment then you will have it back. We need to put its power into the Katoenal.”

The turtle grumbled some choice words but slipped the miraculous from his wrist and held it out. In the hands of the god that created it, it glowed even brighter and the crystal took on a slightly greener tint than before. Niji slowly drew his hands over the item and a faint light went from one to the other before it stopped and settled back down.

“Thank you Fu.” He smiled and leant away, passing the miraculous back while Dawa collected the fox and bee from the other box and did the same, a yellow and orange glow coming from the crystal before it returned to its normal state and he paused. “Dawa, it's time.” He looked at the three heroes. “Once we do this, Shenfa is going to know and he will come to destroy. This is our only chance so you will have to move fast. Find him before he can find you.”

“We're ready.” Ladybug said, hand on her yo-yo.

The two gods nodded and stepped over, placing a hand over the stone, one hand glowing silver, the other gold, filling the whole room with blinding light for a few seconds before it dimmed and both gods staggered away. Adrien and Fu both moved to help them but Niji pushed them away. “We're fine. We don't have time to worry about us. You have to go, now!” He looked towards a window. “Once you find Shenfa, place your hands on a crystal. That will complete the power up and the crystal with detonate. But you have to do it in time! Now go!”

The trio nodded then turned, Chat grabbing the crystal in both hands, watching as it shone a low black and ran out of the building, stopping at the doorway as he looked up at the sky; the dark magic storm that had been forming now covered the whole sky as far as they could see and the air was filled with flashes of lightening.

Peacock took a few very sharp breaths and gulped. “We really going up against that?”

“We have to.” Ladybug stated, looking around. “We have to get to Shenfa before he finds us or the Katoenal.”

“I don't think we need to.” The blue heroine said, pointing to the sky where a twisting funnel of cloud was beginning to forming, gradually growing faster and heading towards them. “He's found us.”

“Head towards the Tower!” Chat shouted as he ran off. “It's open space!”

The group did just that, fleeing as the darkness came crashing down on where they had been moving like a wave as it swept over the road, chasing them.

Running for a while, Peacock found her path blocked by more Guaimite seeds so spread open her fan and pressed the control, making it triple in size before throwing it ahead of herself as she and Chat ran along the road. “Chat! Grab hold of me!” She shouted, jumping for the fan just before they were on top of the seeds.

The cat did as told, jumping wide and grabbing her by the waist with one hand and clutching the Katoenal tight with the other just as the magical guilder took them up into the sky. “AAAAHHHHHH!” Chat screamed as he looked back the way they'd come, the darkness washing over the seeds unharmed, hungrily following them. “We've got company Feathers!”

The bird grunted as she tried to aim her guider but with the extra weight it wasn't working. “Chat! Throw Ladybug the Katoenal! I can’t fly straight with you holding onto me!”

“Alright! My Lady! CATCH!” He yelled, throwing the crystal from his own grasp down towards Ladybug who caught it mid leap, landing on a roof and taking off towards the tower while Peacock and Chat crash-landed on a roof before getting back up and re-joining Ladybug.

More twister funnels of smoke began to form ahead of them, crashing down on the roofs but the trio were able to dodge them all and keep just running on ahead. Every now and then, lightening would crash down from the sky, lighting Paris up in a red glow for only a few seconds.

The tower was just ahead of them when Ladybug gave a loud scream, a tendril of smoke wrapping around her leg and knocking her down, the Katoenal flying from her grip. Chat quickly turned back on himself and drew his sword, swinging for the smoke that bound her. “Get your hands off her!” He snapped to it, pulling Ladybug up. “You alright?”

“The Katoenal!” She yelled, pointing at it as it lay on a roof, the smoke coming in to surround it, moving quickly and blocking them from getting too close but as they watched, a blue pair of hands swept in from above and captured it, pulling it close and taking off into the sky. Peacock tried to fly with only one hand but a bright burst of lighting came down from above and collided with the centre of her fan, the electricity ringing up and down her body and forcing her to land hard, skidding over tarmac until she collided with a metal railing before a fountain.

“Peacock!” Ladybug shouted as jumped to her side and knelt beside her.

“I'm alright.” She wheezed, standing back up. “My suit took the damage.” She wheezed then looked down at the Katoenal as it hovered at almost eye level with her, its shifting colours bright but nothing else was happening. A dreaded frightened look filled her eyes. “All three of us have touched it.”

The same look filled Ladybug sapphire eyes. “It's charged.”

“Has been for a while. So… shouldn't it be working?”

The trio came to the same heart stopping concussion at the same time. It wasn't going to work. There wasn't enough power. Their only hope was useless.

Chat looked up at the sky. “What now?”

Before they had chance to answer, the dark clouds they had been running away from came towards them and began to circle them and pool in one point and a form stepped out from the shadows.

The three took a defence stand, Annamarie putting the Katoenal down to stand guard over it.

Before them stood a man with pale purple skin and burning red eyes, messy black hair and long pointed ears. Shenfa, dressed in a black barbed armour, a long ratted cloak hanging from his back while in his hands was a long metal scythe that would normally only be seen in images of death. He looked terrifying as he sneered at the trio. “You think I wouldn't know what you three were up to!” He bellowed. “You think you can seal me away once more? Well, it won't work. I will be the destruction of everything you stand for. I will take this world back to the rightful state of chaos it belongs in and I will destroy it.”

Ladybug shook her head. “We won't let you Shenfa.”

“As long as we stand.”

“We will fight you.”

“Even if it's hopeless.”

“We won't go down without trying.”

“We won't let you win.”

“We won't let you hurt anyone else.”

“And we won't give up!”

He smirked slightly. “I hoped you'd say that.” With a flick of his scythe, he charged at them.

Chat charged forwards first to engage him but Shenfa’s blow was far stronger and sent him bowling backwards, skidding back to his feet and returned to the fight. Shenfa was smirking as he swung for Peacock and Ladybug in turn, each of the pair blocking his blows, being forced back a few steps with each attack. Ladybug grunted as her shield took blow after blow of the horrid black weapon.

Peacock and Chat were also having the same problem, every move they made Shenfa was ready for, as if he could see it coming. His blows were hard, fast and unrelenting, the trio using everything they had to try and stop him but as the red lightening crashed overhead they knew it would all be for nothing eventually. He was too strong and their only way to stop him was hovering uselessly behind them.

Ladybug gasped as she pulled away a little more from him, panting for breath and looking up at the sky, hand closing tight around the yoyo as she watched the fight for a moment, hoping for some kind of sign that could help them win.

Instead of a sign of victory, the darkness swept out and cut off her view of the city, the smoke that was Shenfa’s true form wrapping around them completely, blocking out any sign of Paris or even a hint of the light in their battle. As it swept up around them, Chat and Peacock found themselves flying backwards in the air until they landed hard on the floor.

“We… we can't beat him.” Peacock wheezed as she backed off, clutching her side where it ached, looking around in hopes of an escape but the darkness was continuing wrap around them, hemming them in. “We can't let him win!”

Ladybug frowned to herself before glancing backwards to where the Katoenal had been left, still shining brightly then she looked at her friends, seeing how beaten and wounded they were and felt her own pain. Her gaze turned to their opponent as he stood, smugly waiting for their next move.

She felt a bizarre tingle at the back of her head and an idea formed in her mind, looking at the others. “Do you trust me?”

Chat looked at her. “Yes.”

The other smiled and nodded. “With our lives.”

“Then follow my lead.” She said, stepping back and reaching out a hand, placing it around one of the large crystals of the Katoenal, a pulse of red light flowing from her into it and making it glow brighter. Peacock and Chat didn't hesitate in following her lead, a blue and black light flowing into it.

The crystal pulsed again, brighter and brighter in the growing darkness as it consumed their powers before slowly the rhythm began to flow up the heroes' arms. Instead of going from hero to crystal, the power began to go from crystal to hero.

The trio couldn't control what was happening as they lowered their heads and closed their eyes, letting the uncontrolled power enter them, searching their hearts and souls.

They saw images flash in their minds and with each heartbeat, a new image came about.

An historian by his window, clutching an amulet for hope. A sculptor in his studio with a fearful gaze. A police lieutenant as he stood in a stadium trying to calm civilians. A mime and a mayor stood watching the clouds, a classroom full of teens, each one of them stood by the window and looking up at the never ending storm, holding each other in fear of what was going to happen. All across Paris people stood inside and looked up at the sky in concern for what was going to happen and yet hoped.

A TV presenter, still talking to the camera. “Ladybug, Chat Noir, Peacock, I don't know if you will get this message but know, the whole of Paris is behind you. You always protected us. We know you can do this. We believe in you. Please. Save us.”

The Katoenal pulsed again, brighter than before, as if in accepting something and slowly, a light began to work its way up from where the heroes were touching it and worked up their limbs, leaving a white nothingness behind.

Gone were black, blue and red. Gone were spots and feathers and claws.

There was only a pure untouched white.

It worked its way up and over their suits, covering them completely, leaving their suits completely white while a golden glow was around them. The glow pulsed from their bodies, playing with the ends of their hair as if in a breeze as they stood, heads down and eyes closed before slowly, together as one, they looked up and opened their eyes.

The entirety of their eyes were the single colour to match their miraculous, even the whites consumed in the colour, pupils gone, featureless.

They stood still for a moment before lifting there head a little higher and without warning, they took off into the sky while Shenfa stood in a shocked stupor. The light that came from their bodies was like a physical wall and as it got closer he ducked to avoid any real contact but even as it went over his head, he still felt it.

The heroes came around for another go, their movements perfectly in sync with each other and yet they didn't speak, just dove down for him. The smoke swung for the first one but Peacock just dipped effortlessly down under the blade and twisted around to re-join her comrades.

Desperate, Shenfa threw his hand out towards them, black smoke flying up to try and smother the light yet the heroes held up their hands and a bright orb formed around them and any that touched it dissipated instantly. Shenfa growled, jumping up and floating at an equal level with them. “You will not lock me away again!”

“No.” All three said in perfect unison, their voices almost echoing in the air around them. “We will not. We will end you Shenfa. This world will never again know the pain you cause it.”

“You can't destroy me.” He laughed dryly. “Not even the sun and moon can destroy me!”

“But we are the sun and moon.” They said again. “We are the sun, the moon, the turtle, the fox, the bee, the butterfly, the peacock, the black cat and the ladybug. We… are the miraculous and we will not allow you to continue.”

“YOU WON'T DEFEAT ME!” Shenfa screamed at them, holding out his hand and sending more darkness towards them.

The three held their hands up and the light brightened, destroying the cloud. When it stopped, the three shot up into the sky and split up, a trail of golden warm light trailing behind them as they began to move, wrapping the light like a bandage around the darkness, pulling it in, creating a gilded sphere. Shenfa in the middle pushed to try and escape, swinging his scythe to try and destroy the miraculous but each time they avoided him.

Once complete, the three heroes moved to each other's side and held out their hands, a beam of light forming and concentrating on the orb, slowly compressing it, collapsing it down.

They could hear Shenfa screaming, cursing but his pleas fell on deaf ears as the three continued to press, forcing his darkness to be consumed by the light they were creating.

A last push, one last increase.

The three of them opened their mouths at the same moment and shouted out one word. “MIRACULOUS!”

With that, the orb they had been creating collapsed even further to nothing but a pin prick before exploded outwards in a great wave of light that pushed back and destroyed the dark clouds, leaving a pure blue sky in its place. The Guaimite seeds were cleansed instantly. Those who had been hurt were healed. The damage done was repaired.

The people of Paris cheered as they realised what it meant and from wherever they were in the city, they could see three glowing figures flying in the sky but gradually coming down towards the earth.

They stopped a few feet off the ground in the park before the Eiffel tower and remained still, as if unsure what to do next; just standing and looking at each other without a word being spoken before hearing someone call out names they did not recognise.

Niji, Dawa, Fu and Sophia all ran over to them and looked at them, the gods with looks of fear in their eyes. “Listen to me!” A man shouted at them. “All of you! You have to let go of this power! Now! Or it will destroy you! Please! Release it!”

The woman nodded in a blue dress. “Please! You have to let it go!”

“The battle's over!” Another blonde shouted with green eyes. “You did it!”

“Come back to us children.” An old man said softly.

The three stared at them and blinked before the light that surrounded them grew a little brighter then dissipating, releasing Peacock and Chat who then fell to their knees in exhaustion, Fu hurrying to hold Chat up while Sophia did the same for Peacock. “Let's… not do that again.” Peacock said with a laugh before realising only herself and Chat had let go. Ladybug was still stood, hovering off the ground, glowing white. “Ladybug?”

She turned on the spot to look at her. “I… I can't.” She whispered. “I can protect you all like this.”

“Ladybug no!” Dawa shouted. “If you stay in that form much longer you will forget who you are forever! You will lose your physical form! Please! You have to let go!”

“But… I want to keep the people I love safe.” She said with a smile, the light surrounding her getting a little brighter. “I can do that with this power. No one needs to ever get hurt again.”

“Shenfa has been defeated!” Sophia shouted as she helped Peacock stand. “You don't have to fight anymore.”

“There will always be someone to fight.” Ladybug said, floating gradually away from them all. “I will not endanger anyone.”

Niji shook his head. “Can't you tell! That power is killing you! You can't contain it! This is what happened to Shenfa! Please! I’m begging you! Release it! Please!”

“I will not let it go!” She shouted suddenly and the others all covered their eyes, the power coursing through her growing with each second.

Chat forced himself to stand away from Master Fu and walking over to her, standing right in front of her, ignoring the pain the light was causing to his eyes. “Mari…”

She lowered her gaze and looked at him. “Who?”

“Marinette… listen to me…” He whispered, taking hold of her hand. “It's me. Adrien. Please… you have to stop this.”

Her pure yet warm red eyes stared at him. “I… I told you, I can't.”

“Yes you can. I felt how good this power was, how strong it made me feel but… if you hold onto it… you're going to burn out. And then the woman I love will be gone. Please.” He lifted her hand to his chest, placing it over his heart. “Come back to me.”

The others stood in silence as the white Ladybug pressed her hand against his heart then blinked, the colour gradually drifting from red to white and blue. “A-Adrien?”

“I'm here bugaboo.” He teased, his other hand reaching up to touch her cheek, pulling her towards him until their lips hovered over each other. “Come back to me.” He pleaded then placed a gentle kiss on her lips.

Ladybug closed her eyes as the kiss washed over her and let go of the godly power inside her. Her knees weakened but Chat held her up and let go of their kiss as he gave her a smirk. “That's my girl.”

She gave a low groan and clung to him as her strength came back and she was able to stand alone, looking at the others. “So… now what?” She asked.

“Shenfa has been destroyed.” Niji explained. “You three were able to do what we never could.”

“It was your humanity, your desire to protect those around you and your willingness to sacrifice yourself that enabled you to stop him once and for all.” Dawa continued with a proud smile. “You had something to fight for.”

Ladybug smiled before her face became panicked. “Alya!” She yelped, pulling out her yo-yo and hurrying back towards the shop, Chat and the others following behind her.

She got to the shop first and entered the large room where they had left the reporter, Marinette just in time to see her shift and sit up, rubbing her forehead. “Woah… my head…”

“Alya!” Her friend called as she grabbed her for a tight hug. “You’re alright!”

As they hugged, Alya was oddly quiet before letting out a sigh. “So… it really is you Marinette.”

Even knowing this was coming, Ladybug still winced on hearing it, leaning back from her and looking down at her lap. “Yeah… it’s me.”

“The whole time?”

As she nodded, Royal Peacock and Chat Noir entered the room having finally caught up, both glad to see their friend was alright but also feeling the accusation in her look as she stood to face them. “I knew there was something going on with you three. I had no idea it would be this.”

“We couldn’t risk telling you.” Peacock explained. “It wasn’t safe for anyone not protected by kwami magic to know the truth.”

Alya gave a small chuckle. “I could have kept your secret.”

“Without the protection of a miraculous like we have, Shenfa could have controlled you.” Chat said with a shake of his head. “It wasn’t a lack of trust Alya.”

“I’m sure Shenfa was controlling Madam Bustier while he was En.” Ladybug added. “That’s how he was able to get what he always wanted from her. We didn’t want you to know the truth so we could keep you safe. If Shen had known who we were, he would have targeting our families and friends.”

Alya pouted a little as she thought it over before nodding. “I guess that makes sense.” She mumbled lowly. “But… what now? The whole world is going to know who you are.”

Ladybug sighed, running a hand back in her hair. “I don’t know.”

“Perhaps we can help.” The pale blonde woman said as she stepped into the room, her husband, Fu and Sophia close behind.

The four teens turned to look at them, making room for them all. “How?”

“There is a way to remove all traces of your reveal. Memories, photos… even anything that may be on the internet. It would all be deleted.” She gave a small nod. “If you wish, I will help you do it but the choice is yours.”

The group looked at each other. “What do you think?” Peacock asked. “Should we do it?”

“Shenfa is gone.” Chat reasoned. “We don’t need to hide from him anymore. We could always retire.”

“Paris still needs us. We can’t stop just because Shenfa is gone.”

“Who knows, maybe someone else will try and take over the world.” Alya added before sighing. “I don’t like to say it but… you need to do it.”

The others paused, staring at her in amazement before finally Marinette stepped forwards and held her hand. “Alya… are you sure?”

“Yeah.” She sighed, squeezing it back. “I mean… you are amazing heroes. You just saved the whole world for crying out loud! But… you can’t be heroes all the time. You need time to be yourselves.” She let her lips curl in a smile. “Just… promise me you’ll stay safe? And totally let me interview you all?”

The group chuckled, internally amazed at her understanding. “Thank you Alya.” Marinette said to her best friend. “For everything.”

Nodding, the reporter looked at the other adults at the back of the room. “You guys take care of them alright?”

“We will.” Niji said with a bow of his head. “You have my word.”

Returning the nod, Alya sighed and brushed down her shirt. “Well, I better get out of here… for when my memories get wiped.” She looked at the three heroes then reached out and hugged them all. “See you guys in class.”

“See you Alya.”

With that, she walked out of the room, closing the door behind her. Those left stood in silence for a bit before Ladybug nodded. “Let’s do this. What do you need?”

Dawa nodded and held out a small shard of crystal that was changing colours in his gasp. “Do what you always do at the end of a battle, return the item that defeated it.”

Tentatively, the red spotted hero reached out and took the shard from the Katoenal, letting out a deep breath as she did. “Here we go.” She whispered to herself, suddenly unsure if this was the right thing to do.

As if reading her mind, a black clawed hand reached out and covered her own, making her look up to the emerald green eyes of her first partner and her boyfriend, smiling at her.

Another hand came on top of his, Peacock keeping her eyes locked on the red mask. “Together.”

“The way it’s always been.” Chat added.

Comforted, Ladybug but her remaining hand on top of theirs. “On three.” She decided. “One… two… three.”

“MIRACULOUS LADYBUG!”

They called together in sync, throwing the shard up into the air where it bust into ladybugs once more but where it was normally a red and pink swam, this time it was a wave of green and blue ones as well as the red ones, washing out over the city and the whole planet, leaving the air feeling warm and peaceful as they went off to do their work.

As if waiting for the charm, the three miraculous all bleeped urgently and within seconds the group were stood in their civilian forms, watching their kwami emerge but where they would normally be exhausted, the three beings were zipping around the roof, hugging each other and cheering as they did.

Annamarie chuckled as she watched them. “I guess they have a reason to be so happy; we did just defeat the thing they were created to stop.”

Adrien nodded, watching Tikki hug Plagg from behind while he shook Wazz’s hand and Froufrou just jumped and twirled in the air. “We should have a party after all this.”

Marinette nodded before realising her phone was going off in her pocket, picking it up and looking at the caller ID. “Alya.”

The room fell silent as she accepted the call. “Hey Alya.”

“HEY ALYA! Is that all you can say?!” The reporter all but yelled down the phone. “Do you know what just happened?”

Her eyes went wide in horror, worried the cure hadn’t worked after all. “Umm…”

“Ladybug just defeated her archenemy and I MISSED IT!” she choked back a groan. “I cannot believe I missed the fight of the millennia!”

Despite her friend’s distress, Marinette couldn’t help but smile. “Well… at least you’re safe.”

“Yeah… I guess. But anywhere, where are you? You just took off!”

“I… I went to check on my mom and dad.” She lied. “Sorry if I worried you.”

“As long as you are alright. Hey, do you know where Adrien and Annamarie are? I can’t find them.”

“They must be around.” She guessed, looking at the two missing teens. “I’ll send them a text, see if we can’t meet up.”

“Good idea, meet at your place?”

“Sure, see you soon.”

She let out a sigh as the phone ended and she looked to her friends. “She’s alright and doesn’t remember anything.”

“I feel horrid lying to her.” Annamarie sighed as she hugged her kwami. “But… as she said, we need our lives as much as we need our hero ones.”

Niji nodded as he stepped forwards, looking at the trio. “The world is safe for now. But while Shenfa is defeated, your friend was correct; there is still possibilities of other evils forming. The miraculous are far from finished.”

Adrien nodded as he held his girlfriend’s shoulder. “Hey, we will be here to protect Paris and the earth, always.”

“Indeed.” Niji agreed. “But it will no doubts be a while before a new evil is created. Until then, you three can enjoy the life of normal humans.”

“Normal?” Marinette laughed. “We are three teenagers who run around in spandex defending Paris from evil forces. What about us is normal?”

                                                                                                               

The End