Summary: A small canon divergence of the episode "Ladybug" in which Marinette points out inconsistencies, demands reciepts, Adrien drinks his respect Marinette juice, and things do not end well for Lila afterall.
The moment Lila spoke, Marinette knew that she had been responsible for framing her for the theft of the test answers. And despite the outrage she could feel bubbling up inside of her, she knew she had to play things smart. She took a deep breath, let it out, and then turned to her teacher.
"Excuse me Mme. Bustier, but it's impossible that I'm the thief." Marinette said, her stance firm and her arms crossed. She heard the agreements of her classmates behind her, but Lila's voice, fake and simpering like always to garner attention and pity, quieted everyone.
"But Marinette, the answers were found in your bag. How can you deny that you're guilty? It's better for everyone that you come clean about what you've done."
Marinette scowled but then smirked, half turning so that she can address everyone in the class. "Just because it was found in my backpack doesn't mean it wasn't planted. For one thing, if I had stolen it, I would have put up a fight about handing my bag over. The fact that I didn't, just shows that I really had no idea that the test answers were stolen until Mme. Bustier told us. Secondly, why would I return the answer sheet if I had stolen them? Anyone smart would have destroyed the answer sheet after they were done with them to erase evidence. Thirdly, I couldn't have stolen the answers because Alya and I walked out together and were talking. Plus, at the time that we were walking by Mme. Bustier's desk, she had been facing us. If I had taken the answer sheet not only would Alya have seen me, but so would have Mme. Bustier. So there's no evidence that I swiped them in the first place."
The class murmured in agreement, and Adrien smiled and gave her a thumbs up. A small breath of relief left her. Adrien believed her, and it looked like the class was skeptical of the thought that Marinette had taken the answers sheet. She could see Lila scowling in the back of the class, angry that things weren't going her way.
"Speaking of which, Alya?"
The copper haired girl stood up. "Yeah girl?"
"Do you still have that fingerprint dusting kit? I wanna see who else touched this answer sheet besides Mme. Bustier."
"Isn't that going too far Marinette?" Mme. Bustier said, arms crossed in concern.
Marinette shook her head. "No Mme. Bustier. I've been framed and I have every right to prove my innocence. And speaking of which, where is your proof that I stole the answers Lila? By all accounts it points to you being the one who "anonymously" told Mme. Bustier that the answers were in my backpack. Do you have any pictures of me placing them in my backpack, because otherwise, you shouldn't have even gotten close enough to my backpack to even see what was in it."
Lila gasped, placing her hands over her chest like she was deeply wounded. "I'm coming to your defense and you're accusing me?"
"You can't accuse someone without proof Marinette. Besides, it's impossible that Lila stole the answers. Lila got the worst grade in the class."
"But she accused me without any evidence that I put it in my bag. I haven't even been inside my bag since school ended yesterday. I have plenty of evidence that I couldn't have taken the answer sheet."
"Marinette's right." Adrien said. "Besides, when was the answer sheet even stolen?"
"Well," Mme. Bustier said. "I know I had it at my desk when I was gathering up the exams...."
"That proves her innocence then. You can't say that Marinette benefited from stealing the answer sheet if it was stolen after the test had ended. There would be no point to it because she wouldn't have been able to use it. Besides, Marinette's score on this test is consistent with her other tests. Like Alya said, Marinette always scores high. Everyone here knows that it's not like Marinette to cheat."
The class murmurs in agreement. Sensing unrest in her class, Mme. Bustier claps to bring their attention back to her. "Marinette, Lila, go to the principal's office until we get to the bottom of this."
As Lila gets up from her seat, Marinette turns to Mme. Bustier. "Excuse me Mme. Bustier, but I still want the answer sheet dusted for fingerprints. I want to be fully exonerated when the truth comes out."
Mme. Bustier sighed. "That's fine Marinette. You and Lila head to the principal's office now."
Marinette nodded and headed towards the door, ignoring the exaggerated look of pity on Lila's face as they both exited. While Lila held the door open, Marinette walked out first, taking the opportunity to reach into her purse and take out her phone, tapping a few times and putting it back. She had a feeling that things were going to get a lot worse.
....And she was right. Lila faked an injury and she could barely get a word out over Lila's fake crying and accusations. And after everything was said and done, she'd ended up being expelled. At least Adrien tried to defend her before Mr. Damocles cut him off. She's been worried that because of his previous advice about outing Lila, that he wouldn't stand up for her when things like this came up. Fortunately, she was wrong and was happy to see that he'd stood up for her after all. However, it was too little too late. She'd nearly given in to Hawk Moth and been akumatized, and she couldn't return to school.
So here she was, at home helping her father fold dough, and from the look on his and her mother's faces, she could tell that despite the fact that she was their daughter, that they somewhat believed that she was responsible. When he rejected the call from Alya, that was the last straw.
"So that's it, huh? You believe what Lila said over me."
Tom sighed. "Marinette, it's not that we believe her over you, it's just that she had more evidence-"
"If it was actually true that I had stolen her necklace and she knew about it, why didn't she go to someone sooner and tell someone? Why would she wait until now to say something? That doesn't make sense. Besides, people have gone into my locker before. The hinge still hasn't been fixed since before Chloe vandalized my present for Mme. Bustier. She could have easily opened my locker and planted that necklace there or just slipped it into my locker through the holes."
"What?" Sabine said, coming around the counter and standing next to Tom. "Are you saying that your locker isn't secure?"
Marinette nodded, dusting her hands off onto her apron. "That's exactly what I'm saying. It's why I keep my most essential items in my backpack."
"Speaking of your backpack, the answer sheet was found in there. They said that you cheated on the test." Tom said, his brow furrowing in skepticism. Marinette almost smiled. Maybe her parents were more skeptical of everything than she thought.
She shook her head. "It's impossible. In class Adrien asked Mme. Bustier when the answer sheet was taken, and we deduced that it happened after the test. Mme. Bustier thought that I'd stolen it because I got all of the right answers while Lila failed the test."
Her mother frowned, looking at Tom and then looking back at Marinette. "But that doesn't make any sense. You couldn't have cheated if the answer sheet was stolen after the test was already over."
Marinette flails her arms in excitement. "That's the same thing Adrien said! Even Alya said that I always score high on Mme. Bustier's tests. It wouldn't even make sense for me to cheat, and it doesn't make sense that I would steal the answer sheet after the test was finished! I wouldn't have been able to cheat at all!"
Both her parents were frowning now, their expressions telling Marinette that they were realizing that something wasn't kosher about this entire debacle. Tom turned back to Marinette, something fierce in his gaze. "What can you remember about yesterday? From the sounds of things, it seems like the test answers were stolen and placed sometime after class ended."
Marinette nodded. "Mme. Bustier was our last class of the day yesterday, and the last time I even opened my backpack was when I was packing up to come back home. I got a message from some num-"
Marinette gasped and dashed toward her phone. "My phone! I forgot!"
"Marinette, I thought we discussed-"
"Dad this is important! In school, when Lila and I were on the way to Mr. Damocles's office, I started recording just in case things went bad! I couldn't really get a word in to Mr. Damocles and I forgot-Aha!" Marinette said, thrusting her phone into their faces to show them what was on the screen; A recording app that had, according to the time on it, had been running for about an hour.
Tom and Sabine gasped as Marinette brought her phone back and stopped the recording, the app automatically saving it to her phone. Marinette almost tapped play, but then paused and looked at her parents.
"What's wrong sweetheart?" Sabine said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
Marinette sighed and looked at both her parents. "Before I play this, there's something you should know...."
After the akuma attack, Adrien and Nathalie were pulling up to the set of the photoshoot when he spotted the orange and grey of Lila's outfit. He frowned. Lila had been in fine form today with her lies, and Marinette had gotten hurt, expelled even. After this incident, he now realized that Lila didn't want to be good. She had targeted Marinette and did everything she could to get Marinette into trouble. He thought her boasting wasn't hurting anyone, but now he realized that Lila's lies could have devastating consequences if allowed to continue. He had had enough; Of her lying, of her scheming, and of her fawning all over him and touching him. He was gonna do what he should have done the day Lila came back.
Stand up for Marinette.
When the car stopped, he tucked his phone into his shirt pocket, thanked his bodyguard, and then listened as his photographer went on about how Lila was his father's new muse and how she knew all the celebrities. He listened to her simper about how she needed his help because she wasn't experienced as him.
It made him sick.
"Do you mind leaving us alone for a second?" His smile not giving away the anger he felt inside.
The photographer and makeup artist agreed and walked away as Adrien took his seat next to Lila, the smile disappearing from his face and a frown taking it's place.
"I warned you once already Lila, but you didn't listen. You hurt my friend Marinette, and that's not okay." He said, a small growl to his voice as Lila looked over to him in shock, as if she couldn't believe that he was lecturing her. How could she possibly think that he would be on her side? She knew that he knew that she was a liar. He was willing to give her a chance to come clean but she had squandered that chance big time.
He listened to her fake shock after he had spoken, and cut her off as she again began accusing Marinette.
"Your attempts at framing Marinette won't stand. I was willing to give you a chance to be a good person, but based on what happened today, I can tell that that was a mistake."
"Enough Lila. You've gone too far. It's clear that if you wanted to be a good person, you would have stopped long ago. But judging how good you are at lying, it's clear that unless you're exposed, you're going to keep hurting people. I suggest you go to Mr. Damocles and come clean. For once, do the right thing."
Seeing that her act wasn't convincing Adrien, she turned away from him, staring forward as she glared. "Why would I do that Adrien? Everyone believes me. Mme. Bustier, Mr. Damocles, the entire school. Even her parents fell for it. I've gotten everything I wanted, and Marinette is gone. She's not coming back if I have anything to say about it."
"We'll see about that Lila, we'll see."
"She said the same thing you know."
Adrien turned toward her. "What?"
"Marinette. She said the same thing when I told her we were at war. I tried to give her a chance to back off, but she didn't listen. She made her choice, and I made mine. And now I've won, and there's nothing she can do about it. So I suggest, Adrien," she said as she turned towards him. "That you stick with the winning team."
Adrien scoffed and turned to face forward again. "Is that a threat?"
"You've seen what happened to Marinette. I don't make threats, I make promises. I promised Marinette that you would be mine, and look where I am."
"You being at a photoshoot with me doesn't mean that I'm yours. And if you really think that I would ever be with you, especially after what you pulled, you're insane."
Lila frowned, her hands clutching the chair, her nails digging in before letting them relax. "I have hope that you'll see things my way soon enough." She said as she glanced towards Nathalie, who shook her head.
Adrien frowned. "You're gonna be hoping for a long time then."
Marinette and her parents walked into the school later that day after the whole senti-monster and Mayura nonsense, and were now in Mr. Damocles's office. He had gone to get Lila, and now they were waiting. Despite her confidence in her evidence, Marinette was worried that Lila would somehow wiggle out of it again just like she always did. She took a deep breath and exhaled, trying to keep her thoughts positive as her parents put a hand on both of her shoulders, and Tikki nudged her from her purse. Before they'd gotten there, she'd told her parents about how Lila threatened her, and that this incident was Lila keeping her promise. Understandably, her parents were furious, but she managed to calm them down so that they could call Mr. Damocles for another meeting with Marinette's proof. She convinced her parents that the only part of the recording that mattered was the part where Lila threatened her, as to protect Tikki from being discovered on the recording. Luckily, they agreed since the only thing the recording would have caught after they came home had no impact on what happened at the school.
The door opened, and instead of Mr. Damocles, the person who stepped in was Adrien. "Hey there Marinette, Mr and Mrs. Dupain-Cheng."
"Adrien? What are you doing here?" Marinette said, standing up and walking towards him.
Adrien smiled and put both his hands on her shoulders. "I came to offer support....And to apologize."
"Apologize? What for? You didn't have any hand in this, it was all-"
"I know. But I am responsible for asking you not to say anything about her lies. I thought that she could change if given the chance, but I see now that unless she's exposed, she won't have any incentive to change. I know you hate liars, and I put your feelings second while trying to give Lila a chance, and that's not okay. Can you forgive me?" He said, opening his arms for a hug.
Marinette face, full of shock melted into a small smile as she nodded and stepped into his hug, reciprocating. Adrien smiled, his eyes closed as he savored the hug from his very good friend, who didn't deserve being hurt the way she had. Unbeknownst to them, her parents were grinning subtley taking pictures.
The sweet moment was interrupted as the door opened again, them jumping apart as Mr. Damocles and Lila stepped in. "Adrien, what are you doing here?" Mr. Damocles asked.
Lila took a seat in the chair opposite of Marinette, looking a bit displeased for being called back into the office. Adrien didn't spare Lila a glance as he stepped forward as Mr. Damocles sat behind his desk. "I'm here to support Marinette. I have evidence that she's innocent."
The entire room, including Lila gasped and true to her nature, tried to discredit Marinette. "See?! What I told you before was true! Marinette is trying to turn the class against me!"
Before Mr. Damocles could buy into Lila's lies again, Tom stepped forward. "We also have evidence that Marinette is innocent, and that Lila has threatened our daughter for calling her out on her lies."
Lila turned towards Marinette, who looked confident. "But that's not possible! How could you possibly believe her? The answer sheet was in her backpack, she pushed me down the stairs because I outed her, and she stole my grandmother's necklace!" She simpered, rubbing her knee to give more credit to her lie.
Tom frowned at her and then turned to Mr. Damocles. "Excuse me, but why isn't her mother here? I would assume that since Lila was injured, that her mother would want to be here."
Lila paled and then spoke. "Mr. Damocles, my mother is very busy. She's had her hands filled with work lately, and it wouldn't be fair to call her away from her office when she's swamped."
Adrien frowned. "Both of Marinette's parents are here, and they lose money the longer their bakery is closed. It wouldn't be fair to them if your mother wasn't here too. If they can risk it, so can she."
Mr. Damocles nodded. "That's true. I've been trying to get a hold of your mother for quite some time, and this situation can't be ignored." He said, as he dialed the number. Everyone stayed quiet as he relayed the information to Lila's mother, and then hung up the phone. "She is on her way. While we wait for her to get here, we should sort some things out. Firstly, this stolen answer sheet business."
Marinette crossed her arms. "First of all Mr. Damocles, we already figured out when the answer sheet was actually stolen, and that it was after the test had ended. Mme. Bustier told the entire class that herself when Adrien asked her. If I had stolen it, I wouldn't have been able to use it since the test was already over. Mme. Bustier was suspicious because I got all of the answers right, but that's because I studied. When asked for my backpack, I gave it to her willingly because I didn't have anything to hide. I was as shocked as everyone else was when she pulled the answer sheet out of my backpack. I know it was planted because I hadn't even opened it after I left school yesterday."
"Marinette is right. It wouldn't make sense that she would walk back into the school with the stolen answer sheet. If she had truly stolen it, she would have gotten rid of the evidence, not make it easier for herself to get caught. Lila left a note in Mme. Bustier's mailbox saying that she saw Marinette steal the answer sheet, but if she truly saw Marinette do this, why not call her out in the act? Or take pictures of her stealing it? Or even tell Mme. Bustier immediately? But Lila didn't do that. She sat on the information until the next day, which is extremely suspicious considering everything that happened after Marinette was accused." Adrien said, crossing his arms and frowning down at Lila.
Mr. Damocles looked troubled. "Well....I suppose that you have a point...."
"But Mr. Damocles," Lila said. "If she didn't take the answer sheet, then why did she push me down the stairs? Why did she take my grandmother's necklace?"
Mr. Damocles turned back to Marinette, a frown on his face. "There is that to consider. She was at the bottom of the stairs when I came out of my office, and you were standing at the top of the staircase Marinette."
Lila smirked at Marinette, but it faltered when she saw Marinette's grin. "Mr. Damocles, if Lila truly had fallen down the stairs, she would have a lot more injuries than a hurt knee. She would have scrapes and bruises, not to mention a head injury from rolling down the stairs. It would've been even worse if I had pushed her. Yet Lila has no visible scrapes, bruises, or even a head injury. She would have had a mild concussion at the very least. Her stockings and clothes aren't even ripped or dirty."
Sabine stepped forward. "My daughter is right. Marinette has fallen down the stairs plenty of times, and if she doesn't catch herself, she always ends up with scrapes, and her stairs aren't nearly as high as the ones outside this office. Where is the proof other than this girl's word that she was injured? If she had really hurt her knee that badly from that high of a fall, she wouldn't have been able to even bend her knee without excruciating pain. Yet she had no problem doing so when she was whimpering over it."
Lila cried out, the walls closing in on her as Mr. Damocles frowned even more. "But she threatened me on the way to your office! She was so mad that I had told the truth, that she tried to hurt me! I'm just lucky that I didn't get hurt as badly as I could have!" She covered her mouth, crocodile tears streaming down her face.
Marinette rolled her eyes as she pulled out her phone and tapped a few times. "In that case, I think you'll be very interested to hear this."
She tapped play, and an audio recording of Marinette and Lila walking towards Mr. Damocles's office began playing. Lila paled as her threat to Marinette was exposed, and everyone listened as Lila's footsteps got farther away as she walked down the stairs, her voice proving that she was farther away. There was no scuffle, as one would assume they would hear if Lila had actually fallen down the stairs.
"......What is going on here mia bella?"
Everyone's head turned towards the door as a woman stood in the doorway, a frown clear on her face as she glared down at Lila.
Marinette didn't think that Lila could get more pale, but as she paused the recording, Lila seemed to become sheet white as she withered slightly under her mother's glare.
"M-Momma, it's not what you think!" Lila said as she got up to meet her mother at the door, then looked back at Mr. Damocles. "Mr. Damocles, you can't possibly believe this recording is real, its only audio, and she could have manipulated it to make it sound like me! If she had this recording, why didn't she come forward with it?"
Tom answered, his arms crossed. "Because she didn't get a chance too. In the midst of everything, she had forgotten about the recording. When we got home and were talking, the recording had still been going, and had been going for about an hour. We also had set aside her phone so that she could work in the bakery. She didn't have any chance to manipulate the recording."
"They are lying momma! They just want to protect her after she hurt me. Don't you believe me?" Lila said, grabbing her mother's hands, trying her best to garner sympathy from her mother.
Mrs. Rossi's face softened somewhat, but before she could say anything Adrien pulled out his own phone. "I think you'll find, Mrs. Rossi, that Lila is the one that's lying."
Mrs. Rossi frowned. "Aren't you Lila's boyfriend? Why would you stand against my daughter?"
Adrien frowned. "She told you I'm her boyfriend? That's a lie. I've never dated Lila and I never will."
Lila turned back to her mother, her face desperate. "Don't listen to him momma, he's just trying to protect me from the reporters. His father is very conservative and doesn't like rumors being spread about Adrien."
Adrien grimaced and then turned towards Mr. Damocles. "May I borrow your computer sir, there's something all of you should see."
Mr. Damocles nodded, a heavy frown on his face as Adrien fiddled with his computer. "Mrs. Rossi, I believe today is the first time we've spoken in a long time. I've been wondering why Lila was out of school for so long. Do you have an explanation?"
Mrs. Rossi frowned, and Lila backed away from her mother. "What do you mean? Lila told me that the school was closed because of the akuma attacks."
Mr. Damocles's face turned red then, as he turned toward Lila, who was absolutely shaking in her boots. "I believe, that you have been gravely misinformed."
Marinette stepped in then, twisting in the knife. "Lila told everyone here at school that she had been traveling around the world with you and meeting famous celebrities like Jagged Stone and Prince Ali of Achu. She even Skyped us a few times."
Before Lila could even try to defend herself, Adrien turned the computer monitor around and pressed play on his phone. The video played, and unlike Marinette's audio clip, the video clearly showed Lila speaking in HD about how she threatened Marinette and how she framed her. It also showed how she threatened Adrien to fall in line with her or suffer the consequences.
When the video stopped playing. Everyone turned to Lila, who instead of looking scared, expressed clear fury on her face, all of it, directed towards Marinette.
And for lack of a better term, Lila exploded.
"You just couldn't leave it alone! You just had to butt in and screw things up! Why couldn't you just bow down like the stupid peon that you are!?"
Marinette glared at her. "Because I have morals, and I wasn't gonna let you lie to my friends and promise things that you knew you couldn't deliver. You were messing with their dreams that they work so hard to achieve, and made them targets for Hawk Moth with your empty promises. You didn't even have to lie to make friends, you could have just been honest."
"Who cares about their dreams! I don't care that they work hard! They don't matter. The only thing that matters is that I get what I want! And I want you gone!" Lila said, as she charged Marinette.
Instead of panicking Marinette simply side-stepped Lila, grabbed her arm and then flipped her over on the floor, the same move she had pulled on Chloe during the Zombizou debacle. Everyone was still with shock for a moment, but as Lila groaned on the floor, Mrs. Rossi's face turned red with anger. "You are in big trouble young lady!"
Mr. Damocles nodded. "I agree. There's the attempted assault on Marinette, not to mention all of the lying and outstanding truancy that's been revealed. I must say Mrs. Rossi, that your daughter is no longer welcome in this school, and is hereby expelled."
Mrs. Rossi nodded, then reached down and hauled Lila up by her arm. "I completely understand. In fact, I think it would benefit all of us if Lila went back to Italy with her grandparents."
Lila turned sharply towards her mother. "No!"
"Be silent! You have caused enough trouble with that mouth of yours. You will go with your grandparents and you will be home-schooled. It's clear that you can't be around people without trying to manipulate them. So you will not be around anyone." Mrs. Rossi turned towards Marinette and Adrien. "I'm truly sorry for what my daughter has done to you. I will make sure that this never happens again." She says, as she begins tugging Lila towards the door.
Lila growled and turned towards Marinette and Adrien. "This isn't over."
Adrien grinned, wrapping an arm around Marinette as the girl blushed. "I believe, Lila, that it is." He said, as Lila's mother dragged her from the room.
Mr. Damocles nodded. "Quite. Marinette, Mr. and Mrs. Dupain-Cheng, I am truly sorry for putting all of you through this. Had I and our staff been more thorough, we would have caught on to Lila's scheming, and Marinette wouldn't have gotten hurt. If you still want to attend, you are more than welcome to attend our school again Marinette."
Marinette smiled and nodded, and her parents hugged both her and Adrien together, squishing them. "P-papa! Mama! You're crushing us!"
They let go and laughed, reveling in the joy that everything would be okay. Tom looked at Adrien and put a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you so much young man. You stood up for our daughter and helped prove her innocence. I don't know how we can ever repay you."
Adrien smiled. "There's no payment necessary. Marinette is our everyday Ladybug. She does so much for everyone and is one of my best friends. She's helped make school a great experience for me and everyone else here. If Marinette ever needs me, I'll be there."
As Marinette blushed, the door to the office slammed open as Alya came in, out of breath and with a paper in her hand. "Mr. Damocles! Marinette is innocent I have the test results......What's going on here?"
Everyone laughed as Marinette walked over and patted Alya on her shoulder. "It's a long story."
Alya perked up at the word 'story'. "Well don't just leave me in suspense! I need the deets!"
Adrien walked over. "Need some help telling it?"
Marinette smiled. "I would like that."