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Ce n’est pas de la tarte, mais ça vaut le coup.

Chapter Text

“You don’t like her. I don’t like her,” Marinette tilted her head as she studied the blond girl in front of her. Mikael was trying to eat his lunch while wincing at the glares from the others, and Bourgeois had come up and promptly told the boy that if they couldn’t handle the truth, they should have not listened to the lies. “You’re the HBIC, I’m a queen.”

Sabine Dupain-Cheng made it an effort to integrate as much Chinese heritage into the twins’ life as she could. Food, music, language; it was a lovely blend of Chinese and French that rules the Dupain-Cheng household. Today, the twins’ were eating lunch at the school and mama Dupain-Cheng packed shrimp lo mein. Before Lila, Mikael would be hording his food from his god-brother and friends. Marinette’s eyes sharpened as she watched her brother just push around his food.

She turned back to Chloe, eyes sharp. Studying the other blond who froze, Sabrina had walked over balancing both her and Chloe’s meals. Sabrina slipped into the seat next to Chloe, and across of Mikael. Everything Marinette was doing, they were all warnings, and both Chloe and Sabrina understood, that she would do everything to ruin them if they made her brother’s day gloomier. Sabrina offered Mikael the orange jell-o that came with her meal. Mikael gave the girl a weak smile, thanking her.

“I’m listening,” Marinette said, if only because of the kindness on Sabrina’s part to her brother. She has heard about Chloe and her attitudes, of how she would tease and bully her brother. Marinette didn’t know what kind of game Chloe was playing, but she would listen for the sake of Mikael. And the hundred different way she could use Chloe and her connections in the future if needed.

“I’m proposing an alliance. Between you and me,” Chloe stated. She had overheard Mikael state that Marinette hated talking in circles and listening to people talk in circles. Being as blunt and straightforward as she could be the best course to getting what she wanted. “To get rid of Lie-la Rossi.”

“Keep talking.”

“She’s disturbing the peace, causing drama, and-and-“Marinette’s eyes narrowed. Chloe looked down at her tray of food. “I know I haven’t been the best person for your brother to call a friend. And, that you don’t have a reason to trust me. But if what your brother said was true, that Lie-la was really pushing herself onto him… No means no. And people who don’t respect that, they don’t deserve to be called people.”

Marinette’s eyes softened. She supposed being the Mayor’s daughter got Chloe a lot of attention; some she welcomed, some she tolerated, and some cause for armed escorts. She nudged Mikael and nodded towards Chloe, asking her brother if he thought she was telling the truth. Asking if he would trust her. Marinette believed her brother had learned who could be trusted and who he could call a friend.

Chloe huffed, she bared her soul to the Dupain-Cheng twins and they do this silent twin-speak. Sabrina was the one to speak up and break the silence, “W-well, Chloe could help you wrangle Lila’s parents here. If you wanted to expose her…”

“I already have exposed her. If she does anything that shows she can’t follow my simple rules here, I’ll fulfill my promise.” Marinette returned to her lunch and Mikael winced. Chloe started the boy down until he spoke. Reminding the other two girls of the unspoken promise that Marinette made earlier that day to the Italian girl.

“Miling is going to take her to court and sue her on the counts of harassment, extortion, and slander.”

Chapter Text

It wasn’t even a week before Lila had decided to try and get Mikael to bend to her harassment. Fortunately for Lila, it was Chloe and Sabrina who caught her on film threatening the Dupain-Cheng twins while Marinette was working her shift at the bakery. Not that Marinette didn’t notice something was wrong, as her brother had glued himself to her side the moment she was back on campus.

Marinette was perfectly calm until Chloe and Sabrina came over after school to give her the video of Lila sexually harassing her brother that infamous Chinese temper started to spitfire. Chloe and Sabrina had used Mikael as a shield against the ranting and pacing tiny Chinese-French girl. It would have been an amusing scene for Sabine, her daughter was so protective of her family it was always so cute. “Miling, we do not commit murder in this household.”

“Mama, it wouldn’t be in this household.”

“The answer is still no.”

“Just a little bit?” Sabine watched as her daughter tried and failed to give cute kitten eyes to get her way. She could hear Tom snort from the kitchen of the bakery and Sabine fondly sighed at her daughter.

“Miling.”

“Oh fine,” Marinette huffed. “I won’t murder her… I can still ruin her socially, right?”

The pause that Sabine gave made all the teenagers look up at her, two pairs filled with disbelief while the other two hopefuls. Sabine thought it over, honestly, the worst that her daughter could do would be social ruin and from what she overheard her children talk about, it would be an equal punishment for a girl who hasn’t been punished yet. “Do not lead the girl to think suicidal and take her own life, Miling.”

“Fine, I won’t completely ruin her life.” Mikael sighed and dropped his head in his hands, hiding his smile. The banter between mom and Marinette never failed to put a smile on his face. Marinette hell-bent on ruining someone because of reason A or reason B, and mom leading her around thinking she can get away with it before shutting Marinette down. It was comic relief for him. “But we are suing her.”

“Should I call Monsieur Abreo?” Marinette tapped her chin and smiled while shaking her head.

“I have a better idea.” Three pair of eyes zeroed in on the ominous smirk that graced Marinette’s face. She turned and smiled brightly at her mother, “We’ll be upstairs mama. Could you bring up some snacks and drinks?”

By the time the three teens made it up to Marinette’s attic room, she was already on the phone speaking a rapid Asian language. Mikael sighed. It might be a good thing or a really bad thing. “Who is she talking with?”

“Our cousin’s husband, they met when our cousin was in school in Shanghai,” Mikael explained as he motioned for the girls to take the loveseat couch Marinette had carved out of an old trunk. She made him and their father drag the thing up to her room about two years ago, which is had covered with a tarp. Within two months of summer, Marinette had carved out a French provincial styled loveseat and several jewelry boxes that she sold in her online store. “They’re speaking Shanghainese. It’s a different dialect than what we speak at home.”

“Thank you so much, Cousin Disung! Gege and I really appreciate this,” Marinette said as she ended the call. She scrolled through her phone until she found another contact. Sabine had given Mikael the snacks and drinks for the teens to have while ‘hanging out’ in Marinette’s room. “Allo? Claude Leroy, please. This is Marinette Dupain-Cheng, he knows me as Miling? Yes, I’ll hold. Thank you, ma’am. I hope you have a wonderful day, too.”

Chloe freezes, cookie halfway to her mouth before rounding on Mikael. “She uses the sunshine post child thing at home too?”

Sunshine poster child? That’s Miling’s polite business voice?” Chloe’s eye twitched. She knew that Dupain-Cheng could turn on the mask of being the sunshine poster child of Paris like a flip of a switch, but to understand that she doesn’t just use that mask in public but in the comfort of her own room? “It’s her normal public voice? I’m confused.”

“Claude Leroy, I have a very big favor to ask of you,” Marinette said, as she turned to the others in her room. The phone was being pinned to her should by her head as she motioned for them to eat the snacks and drink. “No, no, my darling, much bigger than that. I need you to ask for your father to check out the Ladyblog… My brother is classmates with the creator and she is the biggest source on Coccinelle and Cat Noir there is in Paris, but there’s something about the last civilian interview she posted that just rubbed me the wrong way… You did see it? What did you think?... I know, right? So could you do me that favor?... You’re the bestest Claude… Yes, I will tell your friends that when you finally decide to introduce me to them… Love you, too you dork… I’ll tell Mikael you said hello and that you’re going to demand a rematch…”

Marinette hung up her phone flopping down on her bed next to Mikael. She fished out a personal organizer and flipped through it before landing on a checklist page. “So, cousin Disung will be getting one of his lawyer friends who owes me a huge, like beyond huge favor, and according to cousin Disung, their office will be sending out subpoenas tomorrow morning. Claude’s dad is the editor and chief of Le Figaro.”

Sabrina squeaked. Mikael groaned. Chloe looked at Marinette like she was the second coming. “You’re going to ruin the Ladyblog’s reputation. Cesaire’s pride and joy, her baby… And you’re going to kill its credibility with the greatest weapon Cesaire would have never expected.”

“I’m confused,” Mikael spoke up. “It’s just a blog. Like, it doesn’t have to be completely true?”

“It’s not my fault the girl doesn’t understand journalism 101. That’s just writing 101, always check if your sources are the truth. Gege, actual reporters use the information on the Ladyblog to fuel their articles. Cesaire tries her best to make sure the Ladyblog is the piece de resistance of her career as an investigative journalist.”

“And your sister is going to have Le Figaro’s editor in chief completely tear it apart because of Lie-la’s interview.” Chloe was so giddy that she just started giggling. Marinette smirked at her brother before popping a raspberry macaroon into her mouth. Mikael’s eyes widened as he realized the danger of his sister’s wrath on his classmates. “And Le Figaro owns TV 5. TV 5 has used Ladyblog as a credited source. Your sister is officially my greatest hero.”

Chapter Text

“Monsieur Damocles?” A young man in a casual suit asked. He was waiting on the sets of Lycee Francoise Dupont with a suitcase and the morning newspaper. “Principal of the Lycee Francoise Dupont?”

“Oui? And you are?”

“Intern for Monsieur Disung Wang at Winston & Strawn,” the young man stood up. Hibou Damocles did not know why an intern from Winston & Strawn would be at his school. He hoped none of his students had family matters gone awry.

“How can I help you, young man?”

“You’ve been served, Monsieur Damocles.” Damocles took in a sharp intake of breath.

“I beg your pardon.”

“Willfully endangering the welfare of minors. Accessory to the extortion of a minor. Accessory to the harassment of a minor. Accessory to the sexual harassment of a minor. Accessory to the slander of a minor. Accessory to the crimes perpetrated on this Lycee grounds that interfered with the education of a minor. Principal in the failure to report reasonable suspicion of a minor being abused. Principal in the failure to uphold your mandated reporter contract.” Damocles’ eyes widened. He was being accused of what? There was no way. Yes, there has been a lot of his students that have been akumatized in the past, but Coccinelle and Chat Noir fix everything. There shouldn’t be any problems, all of the parents have been so understanding of the circumstances. “If that is all? I need to get to a Mademoiselle Caline Bustier, Mademoiselle Mendeleiev, Monsieur Armand D’Argencourt, Monsieur Fred Harprele, Mademoiselle Valentine Beauchamp, Monsieur Henry Sylvain, and a Monsieur Frank Gaudreau.”

That was his entire second-year staff. “I believe, since it is nearing the time of your staff meetings, all of the people on my list are inside then? Thank you for making my job easier, Monsieur Damocles. Normally when giving out these courts summons, I get cursed at. Shall we? I do hope Adrianne is having an easier time with the subpoenas.”

What was going on?! Hidou Damcoles shuffled the papers that he received, the demands to come to court to answer to all of these- He couldn’t even begin to imagine the headache it would be to try and reign this in. The reputation of the school, his job, his employee’s jobs. The intern followed Damcoles into the school a much happier man than Damocles.

Chapter Text

Adrianne Fontaine was the first in her family to go to university, the first in her family to graduate university, to go to American for a law school; the first to become something other than a florist. She straightened her shoulders as she nodded to the other interns that agreed to help her out with getting the subpoenaed documents from the Italian Embassy. She would not be the first to fail Monsieur Moreau.

She refused.

“Bonjour,” she stated as she entered the embassy. “I am Adrianne Fontaine from Winston & Strawn. Here is the subpoena for the travel documents for the minor of one Lila Rossi and her parents. Subpoena for the visa policy and agreement signed by the minor of one Lila Rossi and her parents. And please take your time, I was told by my superior Monsieur Moreau, that I am not to leave the premises without those documents. We have all cleared our day for you.”

Allow one of our precious children to be bullied by a foreigner’s child? I think not! Adrianne remembered the heat of Monsieur Moreau’s rant. Monsieur Moreau and his wife had been trying for a baby for a while before they found that they could not have a child, instead, they decided they were going to make their own home a sanctuary for other children. Madame Moreau was overjoyed, and Monsieur Moreau made it his life’s work to protect the children of Paris against anything and anyone in the courts. Get me the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Italy on my phone, Eloise!

Adrianne gave a smirk worthy of a shark. “I have here, also, a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. A Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi declares that Ambassador Teresa Castaldo is to comply with Winston & Strawn.”

The shocked looks of the Embassy was a balm to the intern who was called into work at 3 AM. Adrianne cleared her throat and watched with glee as everyone started to shuffle around and rush to get them out of their office so they could determine what exactly happened. One of the other interns came up beside her, “It’s a good day to be an intern.”

Adrianne nodded back, a damn good day.


A knock on the door of the Rossi household was the start of Lila’s very, very bad day. Lila watched her mother get up from her seat to answer the door. Instead of paying attention to what was happening, Lila was thinking of how to reign control back from Mikael’s sister. If the stupid pretty boy just went out with her as she wanted, none of this would have been a problem. Mayor’s daughter had her claws sunk into the Agreste model. “Child Protective Services? What on earth? What is going on?!”

Lila was roughly grabbed out of her seat by a woman in a suit, “What are you doing? Get your hands off of me. Babbo! Babbo!”

“Get your hands off of my daughter! Explain yourselves!” Lila was torn from the woman and placed behind her father.

“By order of Judge Valdes-Boulouque and the juvenile courts, Mario Rossi and Giovanna Rossi, you are deemed unfit to raise a child. Accused of the willful endangerment of a minor and the willful neglect of a minor. Mario Rossi, you are placed under arrest for violating your visa agreement, endangerment of a minor, and the neglect of a minor. Officers!”

Lila stood dumbfounded as she watched her father be handcuffed and dragged away from their home. The officers were reading his rights as they pulled him away. The lady in the suit then turned to her mother, “Giovanna Rossi, you are under arrested for violating your visa agreement, endangerment of a minor, and the neglect of a minor.”

“What about my daughter, what are you going to do with her?!”

“Your mother was contacted, she’s flying over now to take custody of her,” the lady answered calmly. Lila recoiled when she heard about her nonna. The strict woman who wanted her to go to a Catholic school? That woman?! “Until then, your daughter will be put in child protective service. Uh uh, no cellphones for you, young lady.”

The lady took away Lila’s cellphone just as she was about to call the Embassy lawyers. “You can’t do this! We have rights!”

“Young lady, your rights ended as of two hours ago.”

Chapter Text

“I thought you were going to get rid of her,” Chloe said during the lunch as most of their classmate’s crowd around Lila and her sob story. It was an actual sob story though as the police have yet to release her parents, the Embassy trying to fight the lawsuits, the public raging as someone leaked what exactly was going on, but the worst was apparently Lila’s strict grandmother had come. “You’re just making her life more difficult.”

“She needs to learn her lessons before she leaves,” Marinette said, as she coolly. All of the second-year teachers, as well as the Principal and his staff, were all held up with their legal aid, Marinette received confirmation that her guests were arriving shortly, and Lila still wanted to challenge Marinette. “Come, we have to get ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“To watch as the linchpin in Lila Rossi’s life falls apart,” Marinette said as she ruffled her brother’s hair and stood up. “Sabrina, be a dear and stay with gege for me? Just video record anyone who comes up and tries to talk smack to him. Cousin Disung wants any and all shreds of evidence we can get to sue for harassment.”

“Sure,” Sabrina said, as she put her phone on the table. She and Mikael started to talk about what Sabine Dupain-Cheng had packed for their lunch today. Marinette linked arms with Chloe as the two left the cafeteria, walking towards the main entrance. When the two girls were out of sight, Sabrina sighed. “Is she always so..”

“Overprotective, intolerant of drama, scheming?”

“Fierce?” Mikael laughed. That was a new way to describe his little sister. Fierce would not be a word that came to mind, but the more he thought about it the more it made sense. “When we go back and visit family in China, we get picked on a lot. We don’t have any cousins around our age, they’re either older than us by ten years or just babies. This one time, we were playing with one of the younger ones when a boy threw a rock that hit me. Marinette got the younger ones to run back to their parents, and marched up to the boy and twisted his ear. She dragged him all the way to our grandmother’s house and then promptly to our parents that she didn’t like it here where everyone thinks it is okay to make fun about us because of who we are.”

Mikael looked at Sabrina with a very mature expression, Sabrina started to feel a bit flustered. He just continued, “Our parents have always made a point to make sure that we know our cultures. To be proud to be both French and Chinese, because we get a different viewpoint that those who live in China and those who live in France. Marinette and I are very proud of our heritage, and to have people mock the two of us for it, they basically spit on the lessons our parents have always stressed. It makes us sad, and very angry.”

“That’s why you were trying to stop Lila from her lies because she’s not being true to herself?”

Mikael shrugged, “In a way... More like she doesn’t understand that she’s hurting people when she tells those lies. A part of it is because she has a different viewpoint from everyone else, instead of showing them her culture and being proud of who she is… It’s like she’s saying that her culture isn’t good enough for her.”

“Well, from what I understand, she isn’t good enough for the Italian culture.”

“No one is good enough for their own culture,” Mikael said. “But that isn’t why we should be proud of it, it is part of us. Our history, the sacrifices of our ancestors, the transgressions they fought for; we bear the weight of our cultures with pride because we’re proud of who they help make us be today. Lila lying about everything in her life, it tells me and Marinette that she isn’t proud of them. And that’s why Marinette wants to teach her a lesson.”

“Not because she has a brother-complex?” Sabrina teased, watching the cute Chinese-French boy blush red.


 

“Prince Ali!” Rose waved excitedly to the prince who stood by a woman talking to Marinette. He waved back with a sad smile.

“Mademoiselle Lavillant,” the substitute hissed. Instantly the class wanted to rally behind their friend and who was the substitute teacher to tell her if she could or could not say hello.

“May I introduce my elder sister, Princess Anika of Achu,” Prince Ali said. His older sister looked like a movie star with her beautiful dress that complimented her light-colored skin tone. She was wearing an embroidered Lehenga in dark blue with pinks and reds designed over it. Princess Anika nodded her head to the classroom before going back to her quiet conversation with Marinette.

“Mademoiselle Dupain-Chenge,” the substitute called. Marinette turned and nodded.

“Princess Anika has been a long term client of mine, and as they were touring nearby I asked them to come and join us. Give us a little lesson on Achu, their history, and culture.”

“Then we will talk about the replacement that Ali broke,” Princess Anika said, chuckling as her brother turned to Marinette in a sheepish manner.

“I’m very sorry? I crashed into the table it was on and it fell off.”

“It is alright, your majesty. As I told your sister when she first purchased it, that it was only a prototype. The real order is waiting at home.” Marinette walked up to her seat by her brother in the back of the room, shared smirks on Chloe and Sabrina’s face matching her own. She stopped at the second row, “I’m surprised that you have yet to greet the Prince and Princess, Lila. Didn’t you say that you were invited by Prince Ali to the palace? Flew with him on his private jet, even?”

Marinette turned around, “I’m more surprised that his majesty hasn’t greeted you yet since you’re such close friends.”

The entire class looked between Prince Ali and Lila Rossi. They could all recall Lila telling them about her close relationship with the Crowned Prince of Achu. Prince Ali looked confused, "Who is claiming to be close friends with me?"

"Lila Rossi, your majesty," Marinette stated. “She’s told anyone who has hearing that you two are close.”

“Ali? Is this true?” Princess Anika asked.

Immediately, Prince Ali turned around and told his sister that, “Sister, even if it were true, my friends would know the consequences of speaking of such. I have never heard of a Lila Rossi in my life! Do you think that Kavya would let someone on the family jet? Without doing a thorough and invasive screening.”

“Ooh, the background check, interview, and security details? It is pretty invasive, I’ll admit,” Marinette said as she shrugged her shoulders. “And that was to have Princess Anika come in for a cup of tea. Mama was amused though, she thought that Nivaan was very cute.”

Prince Ali turned and stared at Marinette with wide eyes. “Cute? Nivaan is worse than Kavya.”

“You mean to tell us that,” Ayla jumped up and pointed back and Lila. “She doesn’t know you, never been to your palace, and you never invited her on your jet?”

“Boy,” Marinette said with sarcasm dripping from the word. Nino flinched at the sound, he heard Marinette use that tone once in his life and he felt like a right idiot when she spoke with it. “You don’t miss anything do you?”

“Marinette that is enough,” Adrien said quietly. Marinette, in turn, snarled at the blond.

“I’ve had just about enough of you and your passive attitude, Agreste. You who knew Lila was lying and did not say anything because you did not want her to get akumatized again, but you’re perfectly fine with my brother, your so-called friend getting akumatized because of her lies turning everyone against him,” Marinette promised her mother she would not murder Lila Rossi, she did not ask anything about a Adrien Agreste. “I’ve had enough of your coward ways of hiding behind everyone as they tear into him because he would rather tell the fucking truth than let it go. APPARENTLY, your father has yet to teach you about what happens when rumors and gossip get out of hand and how that can ruin someone’s career. Back off Agreste, or I’ll make sure it will be the last thing you do in public school.”

The several gaps around the room did nothing to stop Marinette.

“I highly doubt your father would like it if word got out that you were protecting someone who sexually harassed another student. Not after the Labelle scandal where one of his hired photographers was sexually harassing and sexually exploiting his models. I don’t care if you were friends with my brother at one point, your actions said that you don’t value his friendship,” Marinette turned and looked each person in the eye. “All of your actions say that you don’t value his friendship, his sacrifices for you, his kindness, or his worth. So, tell me, why should I give you any of mine?”

Chapter Text

“Wait,” Nino says as the substitute had finally gotten everyone to shut up and sit down for the lesson. The two royals look calmly at him as Nino turns to Adrien. “What does she mean you knew Lila was lying? You knew she was lying and you didn’t do anything?”

Adrien looked at his friend with a surprised face. It was the second time that Marinette had mentioned that he knew of Lila’s lies and no one paid any attention. He was sure that everything would have calmed down soon and things would be back to normal. That’s what always happens, gossip and rumors start and then they calm down. “I just-”

“What the hell, man?! You knew that she was lying and you just sat there and did nothing? Didn’t even try to back up Mikael or tell someone, ANYONE, that she’s a fake?” Adrien had never seen Nino this angry. “What kind of human being does that to someone else? What? Were you just sitting there having a laugh at us falling over to hear another lie? Did that amuse you?”

“What? No! It’s not like that!”

“Then, why the hell didn’t you say anything? Didn’t tell anyone!”

“Her lies weren’t harming anyone! Gossip and rumors always cool down.”

“Oh, my, god! Are you listening to yourself? This isn’t the celebrity world! Her lies were harming EVERYONE! God, are you really this naïve? Lila was lying about public figures, she turned everyone in the class against Mikael, and if Marinette is telling the truth, which she is because I have known the Dupain-Chengs since we were in our first year, then Lila’s lies have nearly caused an akuma twice,” Nino stood up, and everyone ignored the way the substitute sighed. “Adrien, you’re my friend. As your friend, I’m going to give it to you straight. Grow the fuck up.”

Nino then turned around and marched up to the last row where the Dupain-Cheng twins sat. Marinette raised an eyebrow at the boy, who ignored her for her brother. Proud, humble Nino sunk to his knees and bowed his head to Mikael, making the older twin panic. Marinette tilted her head to the side as she watched. “I’m really, really, truly sorry. I was blind and stupid and a horrible friend. I should have known better, I thought I knew better…”

“Nino,” Mikael started, he gave a relieved sigh before he got up and walked to him. Marinette rolled her eyebrows and gathered her stuff.

“Well, since you think you’re so sorry then, Lahiffe. You’re going to sit next to Mikael today, obviously putting you next to the idiot down there wouldn’t be good for the lesson,” Marinette stood on the step higher than her brother and Nino, this allowed her to look the boys in the eyes without having to look up at them. “But I swear to the gods, Lahiffe, I will end you if he isn’t his smiling dork self by the end of the day.”

Adrien gulped as the Chinese-French girl sat next to him, his ears felt hot and his tongue felt heavy. He couldn’t pay attention to the lesson on Achu like she did, and he didn’t have anything to distract him from the pretty girl next to him. He wasn’t sure if this was a punishment or a blessing, as he watched her out of the corner of his eye.

Of all the times to get a crush on someone, he couldn’t have picked a worse time. He jumped back into his notes on Achu as she started to glare at him. He nudged his bag when he heard snickers from Plagg. Adrien wasn’t sure if he wanted to hide away in his room, or if he want the day to never end.

Chapter Text

Of course, Marinette wasn’t finished with ruining Lila’s world yet. There was another guest that came into the classroom. Adrien gasped, “F-father!?”

“Adrien,” Gabriel said, the one word made the boy shut up and sit up straight. Marinette turned and studied her temporary seat partner before turning back to Gabriel Agreste, she raised her hand. “Yes?”

“Can you teach us how to do that? Does it only work with him? Can it possibly work with other people? That was amazing. You’re my hero of the day, congratulations,” Marinette was sparkly-eyed. This man, this wonderful man was able to shut up sheep just by calling their name. It was awe-inspiring. Marinette wanted that kind of influence over people.

“No.” He responded, and although Marinette was pouting, she didn’t change her mind about his hero of the day status. “I’m here because it has gotten around to the parents that a firm lesson in consent needed to be taught. It just so happens that I had a free moment in my schedule, and the Mayor convinced me to come in and have a discussion with all of you.”

Gabriel was probably the only one who noticed Chloe and Marinette sharing a quick look between the two. He schooled his face, it was interesting that the new transfer into his son’s class would get along with the Mayor’s spawn. “Let me make this very simple for you.

Anything that isn’t a clear and distinct yes, is a no. That means you do not have consent, which means any action taken after the fact is considered as an act of rape,” Gabriel glared at the little brat who was about to speak without raising their hand. Honestly, was it so hard to ask for these brats to be polite? No wonder there were so many akumatized victims in connection to this class. The confusion on the faces of the brats made his eye twitch. The Dupain-Cheng girl raised her hand again, at least that one was polite.

“Just to clarify what you’re saying Monsieur Agreste,” she said. “You’re saying that just because we think we have consent doesn’t mean we actually do have consent, right? We can’t think that we have consent just because there is not a strong and distinct ‘no’.”

“That is correct.”

“So,” she continued, pausing for a moment. Gabriel was impressed, a brat was actually asking if she could continue talking? He nodded at her. “If we don’t have a clear and distinct ‘yes’, that means we don’t have consent. And if we continue with our actions with another, it is harassment? Which is against the law, could we be charged as an adult for breaking the law or would we go into juvenile courts for misdemeanors?”

“Excellent question,” he said. It really was, the girl might be fishing for something or just made his entire lecture much easier to get into their thick skulls. “If you do not have the consent of the other person and continue to pursue your actions, it is harassment. Just as bullying is harassment. It is against the law and, according to the legal teams I have spoken to; yes, you will be charged as adults for harassment.”

He continued on with his lecture watching over the interactions between his son and the Dupain-Cheng girl. There was clear tension in the room from the beginning of his lecture to the end of it. He was just about to leave, he had his fill of brats for the week when the substitute asked if anyone had any questions for Monsieur Agreste.

Only one hand shot up in the air.

It did not surprise Gabriel that the hand belonged to Marinette Dupain-Cheng. “Yes?”

“I was wondering if you could tell the class if this is a clear and distinct consent or if it was a case of sexual harassment,” she said as she moved to connect her phone to the projector using the HDMI cable nonsense. Cheeky little brat didn’t even wait for him before she connected it and started to play a video.

And the contents apparently was a secret to everyone, his eyes widened as he watched one of Adrien’s classmates sexually harass and bully the Dupain-Cheng boy into a relationship with her under the threat of having all of his friends turn against him. There was an anger that burned in him when he heard the girl use his son’s name. “I mean, I strongly believe its sexual harassment and sexual assault. Chloe thinks it just a disgusting attempt at a social climb. But your son seems to be under the impression that we should just leave Lila alone. What do you think, Monsieur Agreste? Should I leave my brother to suffer because of a little Italian zhanglang or should I be telling my parents to press charges?”

Gabriel turned and zeroed in on his son. His Adrien thought what?

Chapter Text

Even Alya shirked at the stink eye Gabriel was still giving Adrien from the front of the room. The rolling growl that Gabriel Agreste gave while telling Marinette exactly what she should be telling their family lawyer to do when she got home and if she remembered correctly, he said, the minute you get home, Mademoiselle Dupain-Cheng, in fact, I’m going to escort you, your brother, and my son there so I can talk to your parents and your family lawyer myself on this matter. “Apparently, there’s going to be another guest speaker instead of your history lesson today. I’m getting paid to be a babysitter.”

A man in a suit walked in with Nadja Chamack, a well-known TVi news reporter who lived in the area. Alya sat up straight in her seat when she finally recognized the man. That was Chesare Leroy, the editor and chief of Le Figaro. In her observation of the two adults, she missed how they both nodded their heads at Marinette. Madame Chamack started, “Hello everyone, my name is Nadja Chamack. You can call me Madame Chamack. This is Monsieur Chesare Leroy. We’re here to talk to you about something dangerous that your generation doesn’t really know much about in detail.”

“It’s called defamation of character,” Monsieur Leroy growled as he laid eyes on Alya Cesaire. Marinette started to take notes like a studious sunshine student that Chloe always says she is, no one noticing her satisfied smile on her face. “It’s when you say or write something that isn’t true and never redact the mistake of saying something about someone that isn’t true. As you are all second years in lycee, you should know better than to do something as stupid as to post things that aren’t true on the internet. Once it’s on the internet, it never dies.”

Monsieur Leroy was such an anti-technology man until it came to the news. He believed, quite vocally, that the news (not the BS of celebrity gossip, but the actual news on real events from an unbiased reporting) should be available on all platforms everywhere. Well, that and Spiral. According to Claude, everyone in their family had to watch it together and then they had to talk about it. Marinette knew that if there was anyone who could talk sense into this class, it would be Monsieur Agreste and Monsieur Leroy. The next guest was just icing on the cake.

Monsieur Leroy cowed the entire class in a different way than Monsieur Agreste, and Marinette could honestly say that he was upping himself on the hero status, but Monsieur Agreste was her hero of the day. Once he had everyone’s attention, he began his growling again. Madame Chamack looked amused by the sudden attention the students were giving him. “Slander is a defamatory statement that is spoken about someone. Libel is a defamatory statement that is made in writing. The difference is the medium of which it is delivered, the similarity is that they are both untrue.”

“Defamation is a false statement that people use as a fact that causes injury or damage to a character that is talking about,” Madame Chamack continued on as if Monsieur Leroy wasn’t basically spitting fire at the classroom. “For example, a student in this classroom accused a family friend of mine of being unnecessarily cruel because she pushed her down the stairs.”

Lila froze behind Marinette, it was one of the lies that she was spreading yesterday about the younger Dupain-Cheng girl. There was no way that these people knew Dupain-Cheng. She was just a nobody who followed the words of her elder brother. Forcing herself to calm down, Lila watched Madame Chamack like a hawk. “Now, I know this family friend. I trust this family friend with the life of my only child. My child looks up to this family friend and always feels safe with them and their family. But, this statement is harmful to their reputation. It is defamation.

My family friend, whose reputation has been damaged by the false statement, can bring a defamation lawsuit. Do you understand, children?”

Marinette raised her hand.

“Yes, Marinette?”

“If this family friend needed evidence, a video clip of the act of defamation would be concrete evidence in court wouldn’t it?” Madame Chamack nodded that it would. Marinette hummed and scribed a note on the side of her notebook to make sure that they have gotten all the video evidence complied and sent to Monsieur Abreo. “What about eyewitnesses?”

“Yes, they would be a credible source.” At Madame Chamack’s words, Monsieur Leroy went back to glaring holes into Ayla’s head. As if he suddenly remembered the little girl who was going to make his life a living nightmare as so many reporters had used her blog on the heroes of Paris as a credited source in their articles. Each article was under threat of redaction. “I’m sure Monsieur Leroy has plenty to say on that topic. But let’s move back to defamation for a moment longer.

“Defamation of character is an act of harassment. There is an intent that is behind defamation. You see, children, when a statement is made with the knowledge that it is untrue or with a reckless disregard for the truth, in other words, when someone is lying,” Adrien winced and Lila fought a wince when Madame Chamack put a strong emphasis on the last word.  Madame Chamack nodded to Monsieur Leroy to take over as she set up a game review, if it worked with a primary aged child, like Manon, it should work on these kids too.

“It why we, professionals in the business of spreading the news, have to double, no triple, even quadruple check each and every source. Not just trust the words of one person when more than one people are saying the opposite. Take the LadyBlog for an example,” Ayla sat up, as she was in the second row and not the first one, she couldn’t see the predator-like, sharp grin that Marinette was giving Monsieur Leroy, who ignored the child to glare hole into the brat behind the painful headache of all of the possible redactions he would have to comb through article by article. “It was once the reliable source of information for akumas and the heroes of Paris. It was used by reporters and news channels over Paris to explain to citizens the dangers of staying near an akuma attack.

Now? Now it’s the reason why there will be two years of redactions on new articles and segments on the news channels because it is a gossip rag of a laughing stock for Intel on akumas. If I ever meet the person who created such a website and allowed it’s downfall into this-this camera fodder, star snappers, stalkerazzi insult to investigative journalism…”

Marinette’s hand shot up in the air, Monsieur Leroy nodded to her, “So, you’re saying that instead of believing everything we see and hear, we should check with other sources to see if they say the same time? Like different news outlets reporting the same facts?”

Monsieur Chesare Leroy nodded, “Finally someone from your generation understands the concept.”

“Like, the LadyBlog’s civilian interviews? Say when a person said they weren’t in the country when they met Coccinelle and then showed up saying that he’s been declaring his love for her?” Chloe asked in a faux innocent, confused voice. Ayla froze, her mind working at a timeline of when Lila entered the country and when Lila said she had helped Coccinelle with Reflekta. She turned to her seatmate, in some parts of horror and some parts of anger.

“Lila, what did you do?” She whispered, devastated with the fact that Lila had lied and made all of her hard work into making the LadyBlog into the piece de resistance of her future resumes into some atypical blog on the internet. The more she thought about it the more she felt helpless. “What did you do, Lila? You knew how much the LadyBlog meant to me and my future career!”

It was Marinette who broke the silence, “What? I thought you were going to defend the poor girl who was being attacked by my gege and me? That was being bullied by Chloe? What was it you guys were saying to us? That it isn’t right to be jealous of the new kid? That we need to take the fucking high road and leave her be because everything was going to blow over? That Lila wasn’t lying and we need to stop making her the enemy?”

Marinette coolly examined her nails, “And you had to wonder why I transferred out of my class and into this one to make a big fuss about some zhanglang taking advantage of you and making my gege depressed?”

Chapter Text

The Dupain-Cheng twins were called out of the classroom to the office, and Lila thought she would finally get a break. She needed to think of a way to play all of this in her favor, and she knew that she was losing the sympathy she had from her classmates. It wasn’t like her grandmother was going to let her skip school for a couple of days as her oblivious parents did. They were so busy with their security firm work that they never really checked in with her school to see if Lila was lying about the schools being closed. “Don’t even think about it, Lie-la.”

Lila looked up at Chloe, she quickly adopted a look of innocence that was met with a snort. “You do realize that I’m friends with sunshine poster children Marinette and Mikael Dupain-Cheng? Thanks to you, no less. I’ve seen looks of innocence that actually made cold-hearted men melt, and yours? It reminds me of a cockroach in a pile of trash.”

“Why are you being so mean to me, Chloe?” Chloe scoffed, crossing her arms and looking around the room.

“Do you think anyone is falling for that act anymore? Do you know why people like going to this school? It’s because Dupain-Cheng doesn’t tolerate drama in this school. That means, no stalkers, no petty fights, no paparazzi; it’s a dream come true for most of us. Then you came and ruined that little dream,” Chloe leaned in, a cruel smirk on her face that marred the beauty of the blonde-haired blue eyes French girl. “In doing that, you have awoken the greatest nightmare of this school. And then, you pissed her off. So, really, thank you, Lie-la. You really made the time here with you so very entertaining.”

Lila Rossi was about to retort when the Dupain-Cheng twins bounced inside with wide, excited grins on their faces. “Allow us to introduce to you, the one-”

“The only-”

“The most fabulous of fabulous-”

“The most inspiring of inspiring-”

Penny laughed as she broke the twins off from their scripted introduction of her husband, “Alright, alright, stop fueling his big head, you two. You know how he gets when you guys pump him up like that.”

They turned and whined, “But Auntie Penny!”

Chloe was not the only person in the room to do a double-take at the childishness of the Dupain-Cheng twins, “Sunshine children, what?”

“No, no, you two know better,” Penny said. It was cute how the two children who she knew were more mature than most their age would suddenly revert into hyperactive children whenever they were around her husband. “Jagged, get your butt in here. I’m not letting the twins do that ridiculous introduction you made them memorize.”

“Memorize? Penny, you know that I didn’t make them memorize anything. Marinette, my favorite little lady, favorite little baker’s daughter, tells Penny that I didn’t make you memorize any sort of introduction,” Jagged Stone said as he walked into the classroom, there were immediate screams and exclamations from the class. “Well hello there, little rock and rollers! Watch as I can get these crazy fans under control.”

Marinette, Mikael, and Penny sighed as they watched as Jagged just hyped up the classroom even more. Marinette leaned over and gave adorable kitten eyes to the scarier two adult males who were still in the classroom. Monsieur Leroy chuckled as Monsieur Agreste stayed unmoved, she huffed when it was obvious that there was going to be no help from the peanut gallery. Marching over to where Jagged who trying (and failing epically) to get her classmates to kindly shut their faces up; Marinette stood in the middle of the teacher’s lecture area with her arms crossed, hip cocked, and foot tapping.

Eventually, students started to tear their eyes away from Jagged Stone to the HBIC, Marinette finally spoke when she had everyone’s attention, “Uncle Jagged is here to tell us about stage presence for the speeches we’re supposed to give next week. He’s the last of my guests that are coming in today, after this weekend the teachers should be back and doing their jobs, for once. So, shut up and listen.”

Marinette walked over to her seat before she nodded to Mikael, who skipped up the seats to sit by Nino again. He held up a fist to get a fist bump from Nino before he sat down. Everyone turned their attention to Jagged Stone, who looked like a proud papa. “All grown up and already commanding an intimidating presence! Right, little dudes and little ladies! I’m here, in the flesh, to tell you about stage presence.”

“Mister Jagged, sir! Could you tell us about the song you’re going to write for Lila?” One of the eager children asked. Jagged froze, eyebrows furrowed together. He was obviously confused.

Lucky for Jagged, Marinette had called Penny ahead and told her of the situation. It wouldn’t do well for the couple to have a massive fight when she wanted them to tear apart Rossi’s stories. For whatever reason, Penny decided not to tell Jagged. Marinette looked confused at Penny but schooled her face at Penny’s wink. “Writing songs for other ladies now, husband dearest? Should I be jealous?”

“What? No! Penny! Oh, Penny! No! I couldn’t do anything without you! You’re the best!” Mikael and Marinette held back laughing at their honorary uncle in public as they watched him throw himself, as the drama king he is, down at Penny’s feet while proclaiming his love and devotion to the woman, and that he would never ever write any songs about ladies without her approval.

“And that, children, is how you command a presence. And why would my husband be writing any songs about a Lila?” Penny asked, raising an eyebrow at the class.

“Because she saved Mister Jagged’s kitten?” Penny turned to Jagged.

“I swore you said you hated cats,” she said, amused.

“I do hate cats! The evil little creatures who manipulate humans! They’re the evil messengers of Satan come to path the way for Satan’s return,” he said in a very serious voice. He pulled out a flip board that Marinette had made for him three months ago for Fang. “Besides! Daddy’s little Fang poor little scales gets all scratched up the last time he was near a cat. My poor baby.”

It was the feeling of putting the last puzzle piece in place of a thousand-piece puzzle for Marinette: utter satisfaction

Chapter Text

At the end of the day, Marinette and Mikael both stood at Chloe’s desk with Sabrina. Mikael and Sabrina were talking about a television series that the two were both watching, while Marinette talked to Chloe about the next part of Marinette’s plan. Chloe congratulated Marinette on her continues punches against Lila Rossi. “Well, you’re not going to like the next part of my plan.”

“What? It’s not like you’re going to the principal’s office and demanding detention for bullying a student,” Chloe said sarcastically. When Marinette did not counter her statement, Chloe turned on the girl. “Are you sane, Dupain-Cheng?!”

“It is the only way to get into detention with Rossi, Chloe.”

“So you’re going to turn yourself in?!” Marinette smiled. “Ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous! Do you understand what you’re doing, Dupain-Cheng? Detention.”

The tiny Chinese-French girl shrugs. “I already told my parents and they agree with me.”

“Of course they agree with you, why wouldn’t they agree with you? Oh, wait, because it’s detention?!” Did this girl not understand that she was going to willingly get detention and that detentions go on their permanent records?! As far as Chloe knew, Marinette Dupain-Cheng currently as a perfectly squeaky clean record. “You’re going to ruin your record for that girl.”

“No,” Marinette smiled, watching her brother talk with Sabrina. She turned to Chloe, “I’m doing this for my brother.”

“What? Why?”

“Because he’s my big brother, Chloe.” Chloe didn’t understand what exactly was going on, she studied Mikael Dupain-Cheng. It wasn’t like he had a lot of money, influence, or power. Marinette had that in spades, and she was just willing to do whatever it took to protect him. “He’s family.”

“Whatever,” Chloe didn’t understand, but she was learning that with the Dupain-Cheng family there really wasn’t anything that could change their minds when they make a decision. She supposed that because of this new alliance with Marinette that she would get to see Marinette’s insanity. “I’m coming over with you today. God knows what would happen to Adrikins if I didn’t come.”

“What would happen? Chloe, I wouldn’t kill the son of my hero of the day while he’s in the same house.” Adrien tripped in front of the two girls at Marinette’s declaration. Both girls looked down at him, Marinette continued, “It looks like he can do it by himself. If he dies and they rule it as suicide, I can promise that I won’t assist him?”

“Really?” Chloe asked sarcastically. “That’s supposed to be reassuring? Should I remind you of the conversation you were having with your mother about two days ago?”

“Chloe, it’s my turn to clean the floors this week. Blood is really annoying to scrub out of hardwood flooring. Do I look like I like making more work for myself than necessary?”

“What do you call all of this with Lie-la?”

Marinette shrugged. “She messed with my brother. It’s not his fault that he has standards.”

Mikael and Sabrina joined the group. “Who has standards?”

Chloe threw her hands up before dragging Adrien to Monsieur Agreste, “Ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous! I swear no one can deny that they are twins.”

Mikael turned to his little sister. “What did you do?”

“Why do you think that I had something to do with Chloe dragging away that idiot from me?”

“Because you have murderous tendencies with peoples who are unfortunately idiots,” Mikael countered just as quickly as his sister. His eyes narrowed at her. Marinette gave him a smile before skipping over to the two blondes. That wasn’t really helping her argument that she didn’t have something to do with Chloe dragging Adrien away. Then again, Mikael tilted his head as he approached the group, absentmindedly waving goodbye to Sabrina, Chloe did have a habit of just dragging Adrien around.

=

Marinette stared at her mother, who was making some sort of agreement with Monsieur Agreste about Adrien that Marinette did not pay any attention to until she heard her name. Her eyes narrowed as she leaned into the conversation. There was no way that her mother was willingly going to host the idiot boy who told her brother to ignore the lies of a bully, in their house, three times a week.

Her mother did know that she had some violent and murderous tendencies when it comes to idiot behaviors, right? They had conversations all the time where she wanted to explore those violent and murderous tendencies. And Marinette was always denied to be able to explore those violent and murderous tendencies. And she was supposed to clean the floors this week, too! That means making sure that Adrien doesn’t have a little accident with the stairs and the floor and his stupid empty head.

“Miling? It’s your turn, Adrien beat me,” Mikael called. Marinette turned and replaced her brother’s spot to play Ultimate Mecha Strike III. She grips the controller and picks her and Mikael’s favorite character LB-03.

If he was going to come around more often, then Marinette would show him the same gaming courtesy she does with everyone else. A wonderful 95-hit combo fatality and brutally murder him in the game. As apparently she wasn’t allowed to do so in real life, as her mother would remind her that he is a guest and that murdering guests before dinner just makes more work during after-dinner clean up because the blood is hard to get out of the hardwood floors.