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Hawkmoth Comes Forward: “The Akumas Are Ladybug's Doing” 
A Shocking Reveal!!!

By Lillian Rousseau

Scandalously close from the source: The man, the myth, the legend, but a villain no longer! An exclusive interview with none other than Hawkmoth himself!

Following up on the strangest phone call of my journalistic career thus far, I meet Hawkmoth in a dark alley, the exact kind of place one would expect to find a supervillain. He’s tall, but hunched over. His face is hidden by a dark hood. Underneath it, I can roughly make out the silhouette of a handsome face. 

“It’s not safe here, come,” he says, and despite the chill in my bones at the sight of none other than Paris’ most famous terrorist, I follow. 

“She watches me everywhere I go,” he explains as we walk. I ask who he means by that. “Ladybug, of course. Ever since she found out about my powers, she hasn’t left me alone for even a moment.”

We settle down in his hiding place. “Just this week’s hideout. She always finds me eventually. And then she punishes me.” He appears genuinely frightened, and I’m starting to get the impression that Hawkmoth is nothing like Paris has been led to believe. I ask him what happens when she finds him. 

“She forces me to use my powers
to create those wicked things.”

“An akuma appears, what else? Every time she finds me, she forces me to use my powers to create those wicked things. It’s not what my magic is meant for. Originally, the power of the Hawkmoth is to grant magical abilities to those in need. Not for selfish reasons, but to help them.”

To the question why Ladybug would do this, Kawmoth tells me: “She’s a psychotic narcissist with a hero complex. And since she can’t be a hero on her own, she created a problem for herself to solve. She hungers for adoration. She craves for the city to worship her. She doesn’t care that people get hurt in the process, so long as she succeeds.”

“I was afraid to tell anyone at first,
she said that if I did, she’d kill them.”

I ask him why he chose to come forward now, after all these months. “I was afraid to tell anyone at first, she said that if I did, she’d kill them. But the akumas she tells me to make are becoming worse and worse. People are getting hurt. I’m afraid one day she won’t be able to defeat the monster she’s created.”

(Read more.)

 


Comments

Korsaku77 4 oct 2019
I always knew there was something fishy about that chick, hope they arrest her!! #savehawkmoth2k19 #ladybitch

RealQueenBee 4 oct 2019
THIS IS A LIE!!!!!!!!!! #believeinbug

RickyB2002 4 oct 2019
@RealQueenBee so your admitting your in on it!!! #ladybitch #queenliar

Ei-ffel-Tow-er-0 4 oct 2019
do u think chat knows!!?I!? #savehawkmoth2k19 #prayforchat

GreenStar42 4 oct 2019
@RickyB2002 *you’re
hope the police do something, brb burning my #ladybitch poster

KarenDuvall82 4 oct 2019
My daughter had a Ladybug themed birthday party just yesterday! How do I explain this to my child? She will be heartbroken. #savehawkmoth2k19 #arrestbug

MoreLikeHotmoth 4 oct 2019
I believe you, Hawkmoth!! #savehawkmoth2k19 #ladybitch

 


 

It had been the headline that initially caught Adrien's eye, some nonsensical clickbait about Ladybug secretly being evil. The more he reads, however, the more it fills him with rage. He skips past the read more link, knowing he'll only find more bullshit, but he can't stop scrolling.

As he reads the comments, Adrien can't believe his eyes. How can the people of Paris just fall for these lies? They know Ladybug. Most of them have seen her with their own eyes. Hundreds have been personally saved by her. But this one article appears and they suddenly lose faith in her en masse?

He follows one of the comments to Twitter, where he realises it's even bigger than he thought. #ladybitch is trending.

Suddenly, the screen of his phone cracks, and then abruptly turns black. In his rage, he realises he squeezed his phone so hard that it broke. Normally, he holds back the considerable strength he's gained since becoming Chat Noir. Today, however, he seems to be losing any semblance of control. 

"How can they do this to her?" he whispers, his shoulders heaving with every heavy breath he takes in. "After everything she's done. How can they just turn on her?"

"Adrien?" he distantly hears Plagg say, and the voice is unlike anything he's ever heard from his companion. Cautious. Afraid. "Adrien, you need to calm down."

His hands ball into shaking fists, still holding his phone. With anger clawing painfully at his insides, he turns towards his kwami. "Calm down?" he says, incredulous. "Did you not see that? How can you tell me to calm down! Paris is vilifying Ladybug with virtually no proof!"

Plagg's eyes are wide with panic, and he doesn't even seem to be listening to Adrien's concerns. "I know that, and we will think of a solution, but Adrien, there's a—"

Suddenly, Plaggs voice falls away. Adrien's phone feels red hot against the palm of his hand. Then, his muscles unclench all at once and he feels his posture strangely relaxing as he stares into the distance, unseeing. But still hearing.

"Butterfly, butterfly in the sky, which Parisian feels the most anger over this lie?" A gruesome laugh echoes through his head, but Adrien can't move. Can't see. Can't even begin to try blocking it out. "Revelator, the fakeness of this news is too much for you! Why don't you try to reveal the truth? I will give you the power you need, and in return you will give me Ladybug and Chat Noir's Miraculous!"

A haze of purple light spreads across Adrien's features, and he's powerless to do anything but smile as he hears himself say, "Hawkmoth, I won't give you Ladybug's Miraculous, but I can definitely give you Chat Noir's."

"How interesting, you really seem to care. Well, having one will certainly make getting the other easier. I believe we have a deal."

His hearing pops back into focus just in time to hear a muffled scream somewhere closeby. But he doesn't look for the source, instead, he looks down at his hands. He sees that though one is now clad in a black glove, the other is still bare, with only a ring on his finger. "Guess I won't need this," he hears himself say, and then he sees the gloved hand pry the ring off his finger. It's tossed onto the bed, and then Revelator pockets his phone and turns towards the window. Gravity has no meaning as he gently floats up and then out through the large window. 

Tonight, Paris has hell to pay.

Chapter Text

It’s a normal Saturday, just like any other. The sun is shining, birds are singing, Paris is blissfully free of akumas, and Marinette is elbow-deep in homework. 

She’s double-checking her math calculations when her phone chirps. Not an unusual event, since she spends most of her free time on the weekend texting with her friends. What is unusual is the fact that it doesn’t stop chirping, furiously alerting her of text after text after text.

She frowns as she silences the ringer and checks who’s blowing up her phone. 

Alyaaa 🧡
Giiirl, are you seeing this?!?!!?!!
paris.post/articles/4-10-19/hawkmoth-comes-forward
Lila just sent me this
Ladybug is behind the akumas!!!!!!
I dont even know what 2 do
Mari my world is ending
MARI READ THE ARTICLE

You
Wtf???
Let me read hold on

Alyaaa 🧡
THE INTERNET IS LITERALLY ON FIRE

Mentally bracing herself for whatever digital rabbit hole Alya has gotten herself stuck in this time, Marinette clicks the link. She’s not ready for what she sees. In fact, no amount of wariness could have prepared her for the words on her phone. 

It’s not the ridiculousness of the clickbait title that does her in. In this day and age, she knows to expect nothing but clickbait from online gossip rags. What shocks her is the fact that it’s not a gossip rag. The article she finds is posted on the front page of one of Paris'major newspapers. 

With a sinking feeling in her chest, Marinette scrolls down, her eyes flitting left and right to read the article as fast as she can. Halfway through, her hands start shaking. When she taps through to read further, she misses the button twice. From there on, it only gets worse.

The story is outrageous, but the way it is written in no way acknowledges that fact. Apparently, Hawkmoth has convinced the Paris Post that Ladybug is behind some insane plot to make Paris worship her. The story details how Ladybug has supposedly ‘forced'him to akumatize Paris'more vulnerable citizens. He even addresses his own public appearances, claiming he was in fact trying to stop her from continuing her spree of terror.

Presented like it is, it sounds like a shocking truth revealed at last. Except for the fact that she has been fighting tooth and nail to keep Paris safe for over two years now. Surely the city hasn’t forgotten that?

When she gets to the comments, it becomes clear that Paris is all too happy to forget. Marinette feels cold down to the core of her bones. She is powerless to stop the tears in her eyes from spilling as she scrolls through the onslaught of hate on her screen. How could people believe these lies? After everything she’s done for them. 

Alyaaa 🧡
did u read it?
??
?????

You
I read it
Do you really believe this??

Alyaaa 🧡
why would he lie?
also Lila knows ladybug and she says it's true
she confronted LB about it and LB cussed her out and threatened her
she's been crying all day

You
Its Hawkmoth!! Why would he tell the TRUTH???
That doesn’t sound like Ladybug to me

Alyaaa 🧡
but what do we really know about hawkmoth?
or ladybug for that matter
all we know is we saw them fight twice, maybe he was trying to stop her!
the only person supporting her now is QB aka Chloe and do you REALLY want to be on HER side?
ugh
I can't believe I trusted ladybug
I need to update my blog!!!!!!

Nausea overtakes her and Marinette closes her eyes, trying to breathe through the panic. After a moment, she recognises the feeling. It’s just like all the times Lila’s lies had turned her friends against her. Then, too, it had seemed inexplicable to her that people she’d known and loved for years would suddenly turn against her. Except it had happened. Over and over again. 

And now some other liar has convinced not just her friends but all of Paris of a lie so ridiculous she has no idea how to even start refuting it. And Lila seems all too happy to help along…

She drops her phone to her desk and presses her hands to her lips as a sob wracks through her body. Then, she frantically runs to her sink where she quickly loses her lunch.

 


 

Before, he had only felt rage. His entire existence had seemed to have been replaced by frustration and pain caused by the injustice of Paris believing his Ladybug to be a villain. 

Now, he only feels calm. Frustration is for the powerless, and with Hawkmoth’s help, Revelator has all the power he needs to fight for what is right. Nothing can hold him down now, not even gravity.

The bright sun has been replaced by grim rain clouds by the time he arrives at the Paris Post head office, but his coat is dry when he floats through its doors. The receptionist doesn’t look up from her computer when the door clicks shut. Instead, her eyes are glued to her screen. "Please have a seat, I’ll be with you in a moment," she says disinterestedly. 

Revelator ignores her and approaches the desk. Only when he’s right in front of her does she look up. Her eyes instantly widen in horrified recognition at his appearance and she gasps, her hands finally leaving her keyboard to clasp over her mouth in shock. "You’ve been akumatized!" 

Revelator ignores her obvious fear. "Where is Lillian Rousseau?" he asks calmly. "I’m here to see her."

"I— I can’t tell you that," she stammers, her eyes wide. "But, wait, aren’t you—?"

Revelator doesn’t let her finish. "Tell me where she is."

Her lower lip trembles. "I don’t— I don’t know, Lillian Rousseau is a pen name, and she’s a freelancer. She— she doesn’t actually work here." 

Revelator frowns as he files that information away. "Have you seen her? Has she been in the office?"

The receptionist – Collette, if her nameplate is to be believed, unlike the rest of the Paris Post – quickly shakes her head. "I don’t think so, I’ve never seen her."

"So she’s not even employed here, but you let her write a front page story smearing Paris'greatest hero?" Revelator asks disapprovingly.

Her eyes fill with tears and she raises her hands, palms up towards him. "Please, I’m just a receptionist."

Revelator sighs. He closes his eyes, sorts out his thoughts, and refocuses. Then, he looks at her again. "You must have her contact information. I need it."

"I can’t just give you that!" she exclaims. Her eyes dart to the telephone at her desk, and Revelator sees her hands twitch towards it before she seems to catch herself. 

"I understand," he says calmly. He rights his shoulders and takes his phone out of his pocket. Towering over her, he lifts the device.

She shrinks back, her eyes wide as she looks up at him. "Please, don’t hurt me!"

Revelator smiles, but it doesn’t quite reach his icy blue eyes. "Don’t worry. I’m not here for you," he reassures her.

With a flick of his thumb, he turns on the flashlight and points it at her computer screen. Almost instantly, the phone starts to flicker, rapidly revealing the information on the device and on the Paris Post servers. He lets it run until he finds the file he needs.

Name: Lillian Rousseau
Employment type: Freelance
Specialization: Investigative journalism, Paris
Contact information: l.rossi@gmail.fr

He tilts his head, momentarily frozen at the sight of the familiar e-mail address. Then, he shrugs and puts his phone away. "Thank you, Colette, you’ve been a huge help." 

Revelator turns and moves towards the door. Behind him, he hears the distinct tones of 1-1-2 being dialled followed by a hushed voice. 

He doesn’t stop. 

 

Image of Revelator, who looks like Adrien Agreste with his hair styled wilder, like Chat Noir, a long dark coat with upturned collar, white button up shirt, dark pants and knee-high white boots with green detailing at the tops and light blue and lavender stripes down the inner sides. There is an X-shaped mask across his face, which is similarly coloured light blue and lavender. His eyes are an icy blue, instead of the usual green. There is a distant expression on his face, like he's not 100% there. In his right hand, he's holding his cellphone, which is glowing with purple light. Superimposed over his eyes is the signature outline of Hawkmoth's magic; the silhouette of a butterfly.
(Art by Mirudoki on Tumblr)

Chapter Text

After splashing a bit of cold water on her face, Marinette feels marginally less nauseous, but no less upset. She still can't wrap her head around how people just keep falling for all kinds of horrific lies about her.

Maybe Chat would be able to make light of the situation. He would probably crack a joke about her drowning kittens in a previous life, laugh, but then lay a comforting hand on her shoulder and warmly reassure her that he'll do anything to defend her honour.

She hugs her arms tightly around herself and squeezes her shoulders, trying to imagine him there, supporting her. Trying to convince herself that it will be okay. 

She still has her powers. She can still save Paris. And even if nobody ever believes in Ladybug again but herself… nobody knows her identity, so Marinette will be safe.

"Marinette?" Tikki calls as she comes flying from atop her bed, her paws clasped together in a concerned manner. "I was taking care of the flowers on the balcony… but you're crying! What happened?"

"Tikki!" Marinette cries out and briefly hugs Tikki to her cheek. Then, she holds Tikki in her cupped hands and she tells her about the article and Alya's texts, and how everyone seems to suddenly hate Ladybug.

Tikki gasps, her paws flying up to cover her mouth. "Are you sure that many people believe the article?" 

Marinette looks down and nods miserably. "I think so. It's trending on Twitter and everything. Queen Bee commented that she doesn't believe it, but other than her it seems like everyone who reads the story immediately jumps on the anti-bug-bandwagon…"

"Oh, no…" Tikki says, her antennae drooping. "That's horrible."

Marinette nods and rubs at her eyes, which are filled with tears again. "I can't believe Alya fell for this. She's Rena Rouge. Obviously I can't confront her about that, but she's fought alongside Ladybug several times."

Tikki rubs her cheek against Marinette's comfortingly, softly humming. "I guess Lila has her convinced for now by saying she confronted Ladybug herself…" she says. "Maybe Alya will change her mind if you speak with her as Ladybug?"

"Maybe…" Marinette agrees quietly, though she doesn't feel convinced. She covers her hands with her sleeves and rubs at her tear-stained cheeks. She needs to do something, and arguing semantics with Alya isn't going to solve anything in the long term.

When the puffy skin on her cheeks is rubbed raw, but at least mostly dry and free of tears, Marinette has finally decided on what she needs to do. She shoots Tikki a determined look. "I need to speak with Chat Noir. I don't know if he's seen the news yet, but at the rate it's spreading, he'll definitely see it soon."

Tikki's eyes widen. "You don't think he'll believe it too, do you?"

Her stomach churns, but Marinette stubbornly pushes the anxious feelings away and shakes her head. "No. He knows me too well, and we've been fighting Hawkmoth together for years. If he believes it…" She swallows thickly and banishes all thoughts of Rena Rouge and Alya's betrayal from her mind. "No. There's no way."

Tikki wrings her paws together nervously, but nods. "It's probably a good idea to call him."

"Yes. Thank you, Tikki," Marinette says, and then: "Spots on!"

A wave of red light envelops her, momentarily lifting her feet off the ground before Ladybug firmly plants then down, now clad comfortably in her red suit.

When she pulls out her yoyo, however, her face is devoid of her usual confident smile. She's frowning, and worries her teeth over her bottom lip while her trembling hands pry the device open.

She dials for Chat Noir and hurriedly presses the yoyo to her ear. "Come on, Chat, pick up," she mutters into her empty room. 

There is no sound from the other end of the line. Not even the steady beep that indicates that somewhere in Paris, a baton is ringing. Just… Silence.

An uncomfortable chill runs down Ladybug's back, and she pulls the yoyo away from her ear to try again. 

Instead, what she finds written on the screen causes goosebumps to run up and down her arms.

Miraculous is inactive and cannot be reached.

Ladybug's heart is racing, her breathing shallow and fast. She can't tear her eyes away from the words on her yoyo. Distantly, she hopes that if she just keeps staring them down, the words will realise they are mistaken and go away, so that she can call Chat Noir and talk to the friend she so desperately needs.

Stubbornly, the words stay. It's not until her eyes start burning with tears that the text fades away along with everything else around her. She closes her yoyo and clutches it to her lips as tears spill down her cheeks. 

A harrowing feeling of loneliness gnaws at her heart. Was she wrong? Does Chat believe the lies about her after all? She can't imagine any other reason why he would take off his Miraculous now of all times.

It doesn't make sense that he'd believe it… but there's no other explanation.

She's pulled from her thoughts by an angry buzzing sound at her desk. She glances over and sees her phone vibrating like its battery life depends on it. 

The memories of her conversation with Alya are still fresh in her mind, but some part of her hopes that at the other end of that buzzing, there could be good news. Maybe Chat Noir has been sighted, or Hawkmoth. The latter wouldn't necessarily be good news, but she definitely won't say no to an opportunity to show Paris who's boss. Maybe if she defeats him, he will confess to his crimes and she can clear her name.

With an anxious tingling in her stomach, she approaches her desk and picks up her phone. 

Alyaaa 🧡
Adrien has been akumatized
this is not a drill
what the fuck is happening!?!??!!?!??!
TVi.news/live/adrien-agreste-akumatized-live-with-nadja-chamack

Ladybug's heart seizes in her throat; disbelief, confusion, and anger suddenly raging through her all at once. 

It's too much. It's simply too much.

Every single person in Paris probably believes she's behind the akumatization of one of her best friends, Chat Noir seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth, and now this? How is she supposed to save Adrien if she can't even save herself?

She taps the link to the TVi website and loads the live broadcast. A blurry video of a figure floating above the streets of Paris fills her phone screen. She can't make out his features, but the narration by Nadja Chamack assures the viewers that the akumatized person in question is none other than Adrien Agreste, who apparently attacked the head office of the Paris Post less than ten minutes ago.

Ladybug bites her bottom lip as she looks at the silhouette on her phone. She can't see it, but she feels it in her bones. It's Adrien, and she needs to do something. She needs to be Ladybug. Paris needs her, even if it doesn't want her.

She takes a deep breath, and puts her phone back down on her desk.

With a heart full of determination and a head full of uncertainty, Ladybug leaps on top of her bed and exits through the trap door. She makes sure to show herself as little as possible as she travels from roof to roof to the area where Adrien was last seen. Eventually, people will notice her, but she figures it's best to avoid that as long as possible.

Adrien doesn't seem to be anywhere near where he was last seen, but Ladybug spots a TVi helicopter not far away and quickly speeds towards it.

Finally, just as she rounds a corner, she spots him. The sight of him momentarily causes her to freeze, and before she knows it he's disappeared into an alleyway. Ladybug curses herself and quickly follows after him. 

"Focus, bug," she mutters underneath her breath. She can't get distracted just because it's him… especially because it's him.

She dashes across the roof and drops down into the alleyway. He's not there, but a quick look around reveals a door that's just starting to swing shut. Ladybug darts towards the door, catches it and slips through. 

The door leads to the stairwell of an unfamiliar apartment building. Ladybug expects to hear the echo of footsteps walled in by concrete, but the stairwell is eerily quiet. When she looks up, however, she sees the edge of a coat flutter along the top of the staircase. 

She runs. Floor after floor after floor until she's panting with the effort of it. He's got a head start on her, though. Adrien is flying , and he's so far out of reach it's almost laughable, but she can't give up. Why would she, now, after years of chasing after him?

On the sixth floor, she hears a door click shut right above her, and she dashes up as fast as she can. Bursting through the door, she almost trips over her own feet when she finally sees him. 

The sight of her crush, her friend, akumatized, takes her breath away. It's Adrien, beyond any doubt, but the differences in his appearance are disturbing. He is wearing a long, black coat with the collar popped up. Underneath, he has white button up shirt, dark pants and knee-high white boots. 

His hair looks untamed, messily sticking in all kinds of directions and nothing like his usual meticulously neat style. His face is partially covered by a light blue and lavender mask shaped like an X. The sight of his eyes shocks her most of all. The gentle green she loves so much has been replaced by an icy blue, and his gaze seems vacant, almost detached as he eyes the door he's facing.

"Adrien!" she gasps despite herself, and it's dumb. It's so, so dumb, because she caught him by surprise and now she's instantly given herself away, but she can't help herself. She's always been short a few of her brain cells around him.

Slowly, ever so slowly, he turns to face her. 

Ladybug hastily recoils and raises her arms, ready to defend herself when he attacks.

She is not prepared to see him smile.

"Ladybug," he says, his voice soft and melodious. And although his eyes still seem distant, his smile is unmistakably genuine. "I'm so glad to see you're okay."

"Glad to see I'm okay, or glad to see my Miraculous?" she asks sharply, not relaxing her defensive stance one bit.

Adrien laughs, but it's not the harsh sound she'd expect from an akumatized villain, just a gentle chuckle. "Don't be silly," he chides, still smiling. "Are you going to help me or what?"

"Help you?!" Ladybug asks incredulously. "You've been akumatized! Why would I help you?"

"To prove your innocence, of course," he says, as if it's obvious. "That's why I'm here." He puts a hand to his chest and takes a theatrical bow. "Revelator, at your service. Here to reveal the truth and clear your name."

"You've got to be kidding me." Ladybug finally drops her arms and straightens her back now that it's clear he's really not going to attack her. 

"Not in the least," Revelator says, standing up straight to face her. "Behind this door lives Lila Rossi, I believe you're familiar." This time, his smile is as cold as ice and his eyes have a vicious gleam to them. "She's the mastermind behind the 'Lilian Rousseau' article. Probably thought she was being really clever with that one. Unluckily for her, I'm here to reveal the truth to the world."

Ladybug just stares at him. Because what the hell. 

Clearly, he sees her silence as an invitation to continue the strangest villain monologue she's ever had to listen to. He lays a hand on her shoulder and squeezes lightly. With a warm smile on his lips, he says, "I promise you, I will clear your name, my Lady."

"What?"

Ladybug staggers back, pulling away from his grip on her shoulder. She raises her hands between them, palms forward. "Okay, just to be clear… You got akumatized because you want to prove my innocence?" 

She can't imagine why Adrien would care so much about Ladybug. Sure, she's saved him a couple of times, and she actually is innocent, but why would he of all people be so upset by the news of her apparent betrayal that he'd attract Hawkmoth's attention? 

Ladybug shakes her head in an attempt to clear her thoughts. "You must realise I have no choice but to stop you," she says. "You've been akumatized!"

Revelator blinks, his face expressionless for a moment. Then, he nods. "I understand. Paris already thinks you're working with Hawkmoth." He turns back to the door. "Stay here, I will clear your name."

"What? No!" Ladybug cries out, baffled by his logic. "You're being controlled by Hawkmoth. I have to stop you."

He looks at her again, his head slightly tilted to the side. "You can't stop me," he says, his voice light and friendly despite the clear threat behind his words. "I'm stronger than you now."

A chill runs down Ladybug's spine. She swallows thickly and raises her fists. "Then I have no choice but to fight you," she warns. She doesn't want to fight Adrien, but the person in front of her is nothing like the Adrien she knows. Even if his intentions are pure, he's still working for Hawkmoth, and will undoubtedly try to take her and Chat Noir's Miraculous. 

She tries not to dwell on the fact that Chat Noir still remains nowhere to be seen.

Revelator doesn't seem to be alarmed by her intention to fight him. He just nods and says, "That's okay. You still won't stop me."

As if her presence is of no concern to him anymore, he turns away and lays his hand flat against the door. For a second, nothing happens. Then, the door blasts clear off its hinges, causing a gust of wind so sudden that it nearly knocks Ladybug off her feet. 

Unperturbed, Revelator floats through the doorway, leaving her standing just outside, wondering what the hell her life has become. Then, cursing herself for her hesitation, she rushes in after him.

Chapter Text

Determinedly, Revelator enters the house and cuts straight through the living room to where he knows Lila's bedroom is. He can hear Ladybug's hurried footsteps following him from behind.

"I'm sorry, Adrien," he hears her say. Her voice is barely more than a whisper, and if it wasn't for his enhanced hearing he wouldn't have been able to make out her words. As it is, with the magic of the black cat miraculous still stubbornly clinging onto him just beneath his skin, he can understand her perfectly.

And it's not just her words he understands.

Without even needing to look over his shoulder, his arm shoots up and effortlessly snags the incoming yoyo straight out of the air. He turns, holding onto the yoyo and expertly catching the string behind the corner of his elbow to pull her closer. The unexpected tug catches her off-balance. It's obvious she hadn't been anticipating that he would be able to predict her attack. Now he's caught her with her guard, and she doesn't know where to put it back up to properly defend herself.

He smiles almost fondly. Clearly, his lady doesn't yet realise just how well he knows her.

She takes a hurried step back, escaping his reach, but he still has her yoyo firmly in his grip and the string isn't giving her much leeway. The expression on her face is grim, but determined.

He moves closer, tugging at the thread that's still binding them together. She's strong, as strong as he is, but all she has to defend herself with is one end of a string, while he has her only weapon.

Her eyes widen as he closes in on her, reeling in the yoyo string until she has no other way out but to surrender the weapon altogether. Her eyes are wide as she inches backwards, her arms up in a defensive stance. She has nowhere to go,  though. Her back is mere centimetres away from the living room wall.

Revelator raises his free hand, his palm facing towards her, and calls upon Hawkmoth's powers. Purple sparks crackle down the surface of his arm.

"I'm sorry, Bugaboo," he says with an apologetic smile. "I know you have no choice but to fight me. I don't want to hurt you, though, so I'm just going to make sure you won't get in the way."

"Adrien?" she asks, and for the first time there is a hint of fear in her voice. "What are you—?"  She yelps when she is suddenly pushed back, her feet scrabbling for purchase on the floor. Her struggle is useless, however, as he ever so gently pins her against the wall.

He closes his outstretched hand into a fist, and with a flash of purple light, Ladybug's body is sealed flush against the wallpaper. She gasps. Her eyes move around wildly and her fingers twitch as she tries to break free.

"Ssh." He softly lays a finger to her lips. Purple light sparks where he touches her, and then her lips are sealed. "Don't worry, my Lady, I'll release you when I'm done," Revelator promises. He carefully sets her yoyo down onto the coffee table in front of her. "I just need a couple of minutes with Lila, and I can't have you interfering."

He turns away from Ladybug's wide-eyed expression and crosses the living room into the hallway, where he finds the door to Lila's room.

He's not sure what to expect inside, but he also doesn't really care.

Either way. Any way. Today, Lila is going down.

Revelator pushes the door open. Inside, he finds her sitting on her bed, staring at her laptop screen with a bowl of popcorn in hand. She's wearing a bulky pair of headphones and seems to be entranced by something on the screen, as she doesn't immediately notice him enter.

When she does, she screams. Startled, she jumps and scrambles away from him, backing up into the corner of her bed. In her haste, she kicks her laptop to the floor and spills popcorn all over the sheets.

Revelator moves fully into the room and pointedly closes the door behind him.

"A– A– Adrien? Is that you?" she asks as she shakily pulls her headphones away from her ears.

He looks at her in silence, taking in her trembling hands, her wide eyes, her face, which is getting paler by the second. The pathetic glimmer of desperate yearning in her eyes that tells him she still has hope that she can somehow talk herself out of this.

He wonders if she realises why he's here.

He wonders if she knows just how damn tired he is of seeing her meddle with his friends' lives.

"Adrien?" she asks again, her voice so soft it's almost a whisper. "You're– you're not going to hurt me, are you?"

The thought makes him smile, but he shakes his head. "Adrien isn't here right now."

Revelator can see Lila's throat work as she attempts to swallow away her fear. "What do you want from me?" she asks, slightly lifting up her chin in a hilariously transparent attempt at appearing brave.

Revelator moves forward and casually reaches out with his hand to spin her empty desk chair around until the back is facing towards her. He sits down with his legs on either side, his arms resting lightly on the backrest, as though he hasn't a care in the world.

He regards her in silence for a while, just to revel in the sight of her squirming under the weight of his gaze. Only when the silence appears to become too much for her and her lips part to speak, he says, "I told you to stop lying, Lila."

Her mouth snaps shit with a sharp click of teeth. She averts her eyes. Her desperation to appear innocent nauseates him. "I don't know what you're talking about," she says, and it almost sounds like she believes it. "I left your bakery stalker girl alone, didn't I?"

"But you did hurt my Ladybug," Adrien responds without mercy, sitting up straighter to stare her down. She glances up, briefly meeting his eyes before looking away again. "You probably thought you were being clever, too, hiding behind an alias. But, like always, you underestimate how loved your victims are, and how far those who love them will go to set things right." He grins, baring his teeth at her. "Nothing would hold me back from finding out the face behind such heinous lies. Though I can't say it was a surprise to find out it is you behind the cracked mask of Lillian Rousseau."

All at once, Lila drops the innocent act and openly glares at him. "Why do you care so much about Ladybug anyway?" she sneers. "She's just some dumb slut in a polkadotted unitard."

Her words are like a punch to the stomach. For a moment he feels breathless and dizzy with rage. Then, in the blink of an eye, he is off the desk chair and on Lila, pinning her to the wall above her bed with his hand clasped tightly around her throat.

"Ladybug is the love of my life," he snarls, his voice laced with venom. "The best person I have ever met. The most loving, brave and selfless human being I know." He squeezes her throat, ignoring how her hands are desperately trying to pry his fingers off her. He is stronger now than he ever was even as Chat Noir. She has no chance against him. "Don't. You. Dare. Speak of her like that. You have no right to even dream of touching her name with that repulsive lying tongue of yours."

Lila's eyes are wide. Desperate. Afraid. And this time it's not an act. Her fingers continue to claw at his hand around her throat, even though she must realise by now just how powerless she is to stop him.

"No… please…" she rasps.

Revelator grins. Finally, it seems like she's starting to understand her actions have consequences. And one of those consequences is him. "You can't stop me," he says, and it's a promise. "I could kill you right now. I could make you suffer like nobody has ever suffered before. You deserve it, too…" He pauses, drinking in the fear in her eyes. Then, with a sigh, he loosens his grip, finally allowing her to breathe freely again. "Unfortunately for me… I don't think Ladybug would approve of that. No matter how vile you are." He moves back, letting her fall down. She rolls off the bed onto the floor, where she lays gasping for air. "So instead," he says as he looks down at her, taking his phone out of his pocket as he speaks, "I think I will make the rest of your repulsive existence a living hell."

He points his flashlight at Lila's laptop, which is still lying on the floor. Before, at the Paris Post, he'd only used it to access the files he needed. This time, however, he takes advantage of the full extent of Hawkmoth's gift and sets the device to access and upload everything on Lila's computer to the internet, revealing it for all the world to see.

Instantly, information begins to flood the screen. He turns the rapidly flickering display towards Lila, smirking with unrestrained menace as she looks up at him, puzzlement in her eyes. She doesn't know what he's done just yet. Doesn't know that her life as she knows it is officially over.

"See that?" he asks. "That's what it looks like to have every dirty secret – every filthy lie you have ever tried to hide – exposed to the world."

Lila gasps, a look of horrified understanding on her face as the realisation of what he's doing dawns on her. "You can't do this," she protests weakly as she shakily tries to get to her feet. "You're an akuma. Ladybug and Chat Noir will stop you. Ladybug will undo what you've done, and you won't even remember what happened."

She must be absolutely delusional if she thinks he will let that happen. He knows Ladybug feels obliged to stop him, but in no universe will he allow his Lady to undo what he's done to save her. Not to mention the thought of Chat Noir stopping him. If only she knew just how unlikely that is.

Calmly smiling, he shakes his head. "Nobody is coming to save you, Lila. I already stopped Ladybug, and I'm afraid Chat Noir no longer has his miraculous." Somewhere in the back of his mind he knows that thought should hurt, but he finds himself uncaring for that particular loss. It's a small price to pay to save his Lady.

Lila's eyes widen fractionally, and for a moment he thinks he catches a glimpse of glee in the darkest depths of them, then her gaze closes off and she looks away. He decides he must have been mistaken. She's been terrified thus far; it makes no sense for her to be happy all of a sudden.

"Now, let's have a look at all those secrets you've been keeping." Revelator raises his phone and starts with a simple search for files that mention Ladybug. Several iterations of the Lillian Rousseau article instantly pop up, followed by e-mail conversations between 'Lillian' and editors of the Paris Post.

He flips through the different files. The e-mails themselves aren't very incriminating, but one of the earlier versions of the article seems promising. In the margins of the document are several comments by a person labelled as 'HM'.

 

'You have to be more creative than that!'

'This weakens your argument, you have to make it look like I had no choice. Right now it sounds like we were just working together. We want them to think she's the evil mastermind!'

'I need her ruined. I need her to give up all hope.'

'Remember, we want Paris to HATE her.'

 

Revelator's grip on his phone tightens until the device creaks warningly. He briefly closes his eyes and takes a measured breath. If he accidentally cracks the phone, he will lose his powers, and that's not part of the deal he made with Hawkmoth.

He opens his eyes again, forcing himself to think rather than feel.

What he's found should be proof enough to convince Paris that the article is a hoax. It's exactly what he needs, but that doesn't stop the white hot anger churning inside of him at the sight of HM's words.

Steeling himself, he lifts the phone again and delves deeper into Lila's files. Before long, he finds an email address attached to the 'HM' name.

Then he finds the emails.

 

From: 92e0f9oskdnf02n@anonmail.fr
To: lila.rossi.02@gmail.fr


Lila,

You say you want to hurt Ladybug. But how far are you willing to go for me? Are you willing to see her and Chat Noir destroyed?

Hawkmoth

 

From: lila.rossi.02@gmail.fr
To: 92e0f9oskdnf02n@anonmail.fr


Hawkmoth,

With pleasure. I want to bring her DOWN!
In return, I want you to make me Volpina again. Permanently!
I will be Paris' new hero. A hero that actually deserves to be worshipped.

Lila

 

From: 92e0f9oskdnf02n@anonmail.fr
To: lila.rossi.02@gmail.fr


Lila,

That can be arranged.
You want to bring Ladybug and Chat Noir down? What do you have in mind?

Hawkmoth

 

There are many, many more messages, but he doesn't need to read them. He knows enough.

He'd had his suspicions when he first saw the initials, but seeing it confirmed feels worse than he'd expected. He pockets his phone and takes a deep breath. Then, he looks down at Lila, pinning her to the floor with his gaze alone. Her legs tremble, but she doesn't slump down. Despite the weight of his gaze, her back is straight as she looks up at him from where she's kneeling on the floor.

"You're working with Hawkmoth?!"  he asks, his voice as cold as ice.

Lila has the audacity to raise her chin in defiance. "Not to call you out or anything, but have you looked in any mirrors lately?" she asks, raising an eyebrow.

He glares at her, unamused by her sudden confidence. "This is different. This is a means to an end. I'm helping Ladybug."

Lila throws her head back and laughs. The sound is sharp. Cutting. Her eyes, filled with mirth, meet his. "Paris believes Ladybug is behind the akumas. How do you think they'll feel about an akuma trying to clear her name?" She flashes a sharp grin, all teeth. Her eyes have a manic glint to them. "All you've done is ruin her even further. And you've put an end to Chat Noir. I'm sure Hawkmoth will be very pleased with your work indeed."

Revelator grits his teeth. He can't listen to her, can't allow her to manipulate him. He has to stay focused on his task. "Shut up," he says, glaring. "I did this to save her. I… needed this power to save her."

It would be worth it. No matter the cost. Chat Noir can't exist without Ladybug, but she will be okay without him. The power of the black cat is a small price to pay for the future of his beloved.

"You're fucking pathetic, Adrien," Lila scoffs, and hearing her use that name makes him shudder. "I can't believe I once wanted to make you like me. You're nothing but a blind fool. Pining after Ladybug? Look at you now. You're a disgrace. She'll never want you after you're done with this. If she ever wanted you at all."

Listening to her speak those words is like being flayed alive. Each syllable pulling painfully at his skin until his heart is stripped bare for her to methodically tear apart, using each and every one of his insecurities.

The worst thing is that she's right. She's right and she knows it and it hurts. But it's nothing he hadn't known before, even if he hadn't wanted to think about it. He swallows thickly, briefly averting his eyes as he tries to piece himself back together.

The reason she's lashing out is because he's got her cornered. He's got all the power. All she can do is talk.

He takes a deep breath and turns his eyes back to her, glaring ferociously. "I told you," he whispers, "to shut up."

His arm sweeps through the air and an invisible force topples her over. One moment, she's kneeling on the floor, grinning up at him like she's got a cat's chance in hell to somehow exit this confrontation victoriously. The next, her body collides with the wall above her bed with a resounding crash.

For a moment, he holds his arm still, staring blankly at her motionless body. Then, he turns, dropping his arm to his side. As he exits the room, he can hear the muted thump of her body collapsing onto the bed like a limp bundle of noodles.

She's only been knocked out. He knows that Ladybug would disapprove of anything worse than that, so she'll wake up, eventually. Probably with a hell of a headache, too. One that will undoubtedly only get worse when she realises she will never get away with another lie again.

With a smile on his face, he shuts the door behind him. He's succeeded. With all of Lila's files on the internet, the truth has been revealed and Ladybug's name will certainly be cleared.

Now all that's left for him to do is to deliver the due payment to Hawkmoth.