The girls were planting trees when they heard a group of voices coming closer to them. Alya looked up and saw Nino, Ivan, Kim, Max, Nathaniel, Marc, Luka, and… ‘Is that Marinette talking to and laughing with Adrien? Wait, was his face always that narrow? Did his hair get a little darker? That’s not Adrien… has she transferred her crush to a Fakdrien?’
“What the hell is going on, I thought all of you guys had emergencies, and Marinette, I thought you had a birthday gift you needed to make. Also, who is this guy?”
Everyone stops talking and Nino smiles sheepishly. “Hey girls, sorry we’re late. We… uh… I know how important this project is to you girls, but uh…”
Nino feels Marinette pat hid shoulder and whisper into his ear, “You can do this. Just tell the truth.”
Alya notices that Fakdrien is practically bouncing with excitement.
“Right. Uh, well, Adrien’s old man is out of town for the weekend, so we wanted to spend the time with Adrien instead and have a boy’s day, but we didn’t want to let you dudettes down since you’re all so excited about this project, so… I… uh… convinced everyone to lie about why they weren’t showing up.”
Alya’s voice was eerily calm, “Oook, and how is Marinette involved in all of this?”
“Well, she caught us hanging out at Adrien’s, and she told us that we should have just been honest and you would have understood and would have let us hang with Adrien.”
“So, Marinette, you lied to us about some emergency so you could catch them in a lie? Why didn’t you tell us?”
“Well, I didn’t want to mention it until I knew the whole story. If I just told you they were lying but we didn’t know why, we’d probably just wonder and worry about it until someone was Akumatized.”
Alya takes a deep breath and exhales, “Girl, you’re the only one here that worries in circles like that. The rest of us would have tracked the boys down and gotten to the bottom… of… things… which is exactly what you did. Ok, fine, you did good, but you should have more faith in us.”
Marinette gives a big smile at Alya’s complement.
Alya finally turns to Fakdrien, who’s still bouncing.
“Hi, I’m Adrien’s number one fan, and you all must be Adrien’s classmates. Let me see if I got this right, you’re Alya Cesaire, aka The Ladyblogger, aka Ladywifi, and you’re dating Adrien’s best friend Nino. You’re best friend is Marinette Dupain-Cheng over here, and she one that Derby hat contest. Adrien says you’re really amazing…” Marinette squeaks, “and will make it big in the fashion world.” Marinette dissolves into a puddle of goo. “Hm, up next, you must be Alix Kubdel, aka Timebreaker. You’re always up for a challenge, like to wear roller-blades, make good graffiti art, and your father and brother are historians that work at the Louver.”
Alya’s eyes widen, ‘How does he know so much?’
“And you’re Mylene Haprele, aka the Horrificator. You’re dating Ivan, and you protest and do other activism work to help the environment and animals. Hm, you must be Juleka Couffaine, aka Reflecta, and you’re pretty shy, your brother is Luka over here, you play the guitar with him in the band ‘Kitty Section’, and you live on a boat.”
Alya’s breathing quickens, ‘He’s totally a stalker. He’s going to kill Adrien and try to take his place, and if we don’t accept that he’s Adrien, he’ll kill us too.’
“Lastly, you must be Rose Lavillant, aka Princess Fragrance. You sing in ‘Kitty Section’, you love the color pink, you also love sparkles, and as Adrien tells it, you’re ‘just really good friends with Juleka’.”
‘Why are we all still standing here, why aren’t we running? Is this what Akuma attacks feel like for everyone else?’
“So, we’re all planting trees today to beautify Paris?”
“Y-yeah, tha-that’s what we’re doing today.” ‘Why am I stuttering? OMG, does Marinette feel like Adrien will murder her if she confesses?’ “S-say, what’s your name?”
“Sorry about that, I’m Wayhem. Pleased to meet you Alya. Oh, where are Chloe and Sabrina?”
“Th-they don’t really do physical work, or help out with anything in general.”
“I see, and where is that Italian girl that clings onto Adrien even though he doesn’t like it.”
‘Is he jealous? I’ve got to warn her when she gets back.’ “She’s in the Kingdom of Achu, helping Prince Ali build a Puppy Orphanage.”
Alya hears Wayhem mutter, “Yeah, that totally sounds real.”
‘He is jealous!’
‘Oh no, he’s winning Marinette onto his side.’
“N-Now that we’re all here, maybe we should finish up.”
Everyone agrees and they get back to work, but Alya makes sure that Wayhem never leaves her field of view. After a few minutes of working, Alya pulls Nino off to the side.
“Hey Alya, are you feeling ok? You were stuttering a bit earlier.”
Alya continues to watch Wayhem out of the corner of her eye, “No, not really. That Wayhem guy is really freaking me out.”
“He’s just an excitable fan boy.”
“Nino! He knows way too much about all of us. And by looking at him, I think he wants to be Adrien, not just be his fan.”
“Chill Alya. Do you know how many musicians got their start by wanting to be Jagged Stone?”
Alya whisper shouts, “That’s not what I mean! I think he’s going to kill Adrien and pretend to be him.”
“It’s fine Alya. Adrien trusts him.”
“Sunshine boy is still friends with Chloe, so clearly he’s a bad judge of character.”
“Yeah, he’s a little weird, but I think you’re over reacting. Just give him a chance and get to know him a bit, and you’ll feel better.”
Alya huffs, “I think you’re wrong.”
“Come on, just give him a chance. Let’s get back to work.”
They go back to work for a little while, but Alya still feels uneasy about this new guy. She waits until Marinette takes a break and is drinking some water before she pulls her aside. “Girl, how are you so friendly with that Fakdrien?”
“Fakdrien? Oh, you mean Wayhem? He’s just a big fan of Adrien’s, I can’t really blame him for that. Why? What’s wrong?”
“Don’t you think he’s a bit creepy? I mean, look at him, he’s copied everything about Adrien, and he knows everything about us. What if he decides to kidnap Adrien to replace him or something?”
“Oh, I get it. You’re just upset that he defeated Ladybug, but really, you can’t blame him, he was akumatized.”
Alya’s blood runs cold, “What do you mean he defeated Ladybug?”
“You didn’t know? Oh, don’t worry, everything is fine now. His hands were disco balls, and he absorbed anything he touched, and he had the ability to predict people’s movements, so he captured Ladybug, Chat Noir, Carapace, Viperion, and Pegase… but a new Monkey hero, Roi Singe showed up and freed everyone, and then they de-evilized the Akuma.”
“Oh, wow, I can’t believe I missed that. Tonight, you’re going to tell me everything in detail.”
“Um, sure! But wouldn’t finding a video be better? Maybe some were already sent to the Ladyblog.”
Alya pulls out her phone and then sighs, “I promised everyone that I’d leave me phone off, so I wouldn’t get distracted.”
“Oh, right. Well, should we get back to work?”
“Yeah.” They start walking back to the group, and Alya suddenly grabs Marinette’s arm, “Wait a minute, why did he get akumatized?”
“I think it was because there was a party at Adrien’s house, and he wasn’t invited.”
Alya takes a deep breath and slowly exhales, “Girl, people don’t get invited to parties all of the time, and they don’t get akumatized over it. I’m telling you, there’s something is wrong with this guy, my reporter instincts are screaming at me.”
Marinette snorts, “And yet, you still believe all of Lila’s lies. Just chill out about Wayhem, besides Adrien has a bodyguard to protect him.” Marinette walks back to finish her trees.
Alya starts pulling her hair and suppresses the urge to scream.
Sometime later Wayhem interrupts the idle chat chat of the group while they work. “Hey Guys, I’m getting pretty hungry, and I know a really good pizza place a couple blocks from here. Why don’t we take a break an refuel?”
Everyone agrees, and after they finish their current trees, they all head over and order some pizza. The restaurant was fairly small, only a couple of tables for eating in, and they took up all of them. Most of the business came from take outs or deliveries. Alya wanted to keep an eye on Wayhem, so she sits across the table from him. Alya makes sure to watch Wayhem’s hands, so he doesn’t poison the pizza or anything. Everyone’s chatting about… whatever, while Alya tries to figure out what to do about Wayhem, when he interrupts her thoughts.
Under his breath, Wayhem says, “Ug, it’s Theo.”
Alya turns and sees a man paying for and picking up a pizza to go. ‘Is he jealous of that man?’ “What’s wrong with him?”
“I’ve seen him flirting with Mireille the weather girl. He’s 28 and she’s 14, it’s gross.”
‘He is jealous! He must have a crush on Mireille… who is also a celebrity. I’ve got to warn her too.’ “Hm, there’s nothing illegal with a little flirting.”
“True, but it’s still creepy. That’s one of the things I like about Adrien, he can have any girl he wants, and he doesn’t flirt with anyone… he doesn’t flirt with boys either btw.”
It was then that the restaurant’s phone rang, and as luck would have it, Alya was sitting closest to the phone, so she could hear the whole conversation. “Jean Perier’s Pizzeria, what would you like today? ... Oh, Lila!” Alya’s ears twitched and tuned into the mention of Lila’s name, “it’s wonderful to hear from you again. I’ve been working on making my pizza more authentic, just the way your friend, the famous Luigi Ferrari makes it… yes, I look forward to meeting him the next time he’s in Paris. So, what’s your order for today? … Sure thing, it’ll be at your door in 20 minutes. Have a good evening Ms. Rossi!”
Alya starts breathing rapidly, ‘No way, he said Lila and Rossi, is there another Lila Rossi nearby? Was Marinette right this whole time? Was Lila making fools of all of us? Oh no, the interview on my blog.’
Marinette puts her hand on Alya’s shoulder, “Hey, are you ok?”
“I-I… n-no.” Alya takes a deep breath to steady herself. “I heard that guy take an order from Lila.”
“Yeah, that’s what it sounded like.”
“Maybe it’s Lila’s aunt or something.”
Alya glares at Marinette, “What’s with you, I thought you’d jump at the chance to say ‘I told you so’, because of how much of a jerk I’ve been to you. Ug, I’m kill her for making a fool of us.” As Alya says that, she notices Wayhem resting his elbows on the table and clasping his hands together to hide a sinister smirk. ‘Did he plan all of this. He picked this restaurant, at this time, and chose his seat. Did he know I’d sit across from him? Did he know how angry I’d be upon hearing that phone call?’
“I’m not taking her side; I’m just preparing you for whatever cover story she comes up with.”
Alya returns her focus to Marinette, “Ug, you’re right… now that I think about it, her stories always change to fix any inconsistency. Hm, I guess we need to catch her in her lie. Do you know her address?”
“No, I don’t hang out with her. Don’t you know her address?”
“No, I’ve never been there.” Alya gets up and stands between the tables. “Hey guys, does anyone know where Lila lives?”
There’s a resounding no throughout the group.
A curious Mylene asks, “Why do you want to know?”
“Well, I overheard a pizza order just come in from a Lila Rossi, and I want to know if our Lila Rossi or someone else with the same name.”
The sound of a wooden pizza paddle falling onto the floor clatters through the restaurant, “What in the… how did that fall over.” The owner leaves the counter to pick up the paddle.
The group returns their focus to Ayla, and Mylene speaks again, “Well, our Lila is in Achu right now, so it’s probably an aunt of hers or something. There’s no reason to get upset over this.”
‘Ahhhhhh, is this how Marinette has been feeling this whole time?’ “Yeah, I hope that’s the case, but as a reporter, I need to know that I know the truth.”
The group turns to the sound of Marinette’s voice, “Sir, can we get a box for our extra pizza?”
“Sure thing, here you go miss.”
“Thank you!” Marinette takes the box and walks over to the table and fills it with the remaining pizza.
An annoyed Kim shouts out, “Hey! I’m not done with that.”
“Kim, you can have another slice once I make a delivery.”
Juleka mumbled, “But, why are you delivering our pizza to someone?”
“Alya has a question that needs to be answered, and delivering a pizza will answer it.”
Disappointed, Alya responded, “Girl, no one knows her address.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve handled that already. Here Alya, hold the pizza for me, I still have something to do first.” Marinette hands the pizza box to Alya and then heads out the door.
“Dudes, should we follow her?”
Juleka shrugged and mumbled something.
Rose chipperly responded, “Yeah, I’m curious about what she’s doing too.”
The group stands up and head out of the restaurant, they look around to see the street suspiciously empty of Marinette. After a few moments, Alix calls out, “She’s over here!”
The group walks over and looks down an alley, and find Marinette digging through a dumpster. After a few minutes, Marinette has found all of the pieces. There’s a pair of blue sunglasses with a missing lens, she pops out the other lens before putting them on. There’s a rug, and she cuts a hole in it big enough to fit her head through. And finally, she takes the ribbons out of her hair, so she can fold her hair into a hat.
“Ok, I’m ready now, let’s head over to her apartment.” Marinette starts walking and the group follows. “Hey Alya, hand the pizza to Nino and then give me your phone.” Nino takes the pizza and a curious Alya hands over her phone. Marinette unlocks it and starting texting. After a moment there’s a ping, and then Marinette starts texting again. There’s another ping, and Marinette hands the phone back to Alya.
Alya reads the messages to the group.
“Alya: Hey Lila, we’re just taking a break from planting the trees. How’s it going with the Prince and the Puppy Orphanage?
Lila: It’s going great… but it’s taking a little longer than expected. Can you let Ms. Bustier know that I won’t be able to make it to school on Monday?
Alya: Sure, I’ve got you covered girl.
Lila: Thanks, you’re the best!”
After a couple minutes of walking, they arrive at their destination. Marinette takes the pizza box out of Alya’s hands, “Ok guys, hide out of sight for a minute, I’ll wave you over when it’s time.”
The group peeked around the corner of the building and from behind bushes, watching as Marinette waited in front of the door. After a minute a couple exits the apartment building, Marinette exchanges a few words with them, and then they hold the door open for Marinette, who disappears inside. Once the couple is out of sight, Marinette opens the door and waives everyone inside.
“Girl, who are you? How long have you been wearing disguises and sneaking into buildings?”
“When you’ve been dealing with Chloe as long as I have, you tend to learn a few tricks, especially when you need to retrieve stolen belongings.”
“Hm, I see, being in class with Chloe for so many years does make some of your crazy make sense. Where are we going now?”
“Apartment 34, which should be on the third floor, so up the stairs we go.” Marinette marches up the stairs and the rest of the class follows. They reach the apartment, “Ok guys, hide out of sight from the peep hole.” Marinette knocks on the door and in a deeper voice she says, “Delivery, Pizza’s here!”
The door opens to reveal Lila in her pajamas, “About time, I’m starving.”
Alya shouts, “Lila!”
Lila turns her head slowly to see the whole class staring at her.
What no one noticed was Wayhem’s evil smirk as he walked away, making sure he didn’t get caught up in another akuma attack.