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Plague Rat

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It all started when Marinette found out she needed to go and do a lot of testing for some genetic disease she didn’t fully understand. She was told that the various antibiotics and testing chemicals would ruin her stomach and immune system. She told her class and asked them not to be around her if sick. That it was bad and she could die if exposed.

 They listened but for one. Lila stayed she had never heard of sick a thing and claimed Marinette was lying. Most of the class said they weren’t willing to risk it.

 “Even if she’s lying the chance she isn’t is to big.” Nathanael told Lila. “Not even Chloe is willing to risk it.”

 “Ewww no.” Chloé muttered. “I’m already wearing a tacky anklet.” She pointed at the tracking anklet she wore thanks to her sentencing for her Miracle Queen stunt. “And killing is not my style.” Even she had a line.

 However one person listened. Alya had felt like she didn’t know Marinette anymore. No since the girl started hanging out with Luka and seemed to not care about dating Adrien. After she seemed to be drifting and making new friends. 

 She latched onto the idea of Marinette lying. She wanted to believe it, so she could feel like Marinette and her friendship vanishing was all Marinette’s fault and not the sneaking thoughts it might be because of the fact Alya kept doing things Marinette didn’t like. 

 She brought her sisters around to visit Marinette to pick up a gift she had commissioned for their mom. A day after they had been told to keep an eye on them as a nasty flu was going around.

 They got sick.

 So did Marinette. Who ended up in the hospital. Alya was so horrified she went to her parents and confessed, and they brought her to the hospital to tell Marinette’s worried parents everything. They freaked out, threatening legal action and Alya sobbed out she had been told she was lying by Lila.

 They didn’t know Marinette heard everything.

-0-

 Marinette felt her heart break when Alya admitted she had purposely let her sick sisters near her. She felt it completely shatter when Alya said Lila had said Marinette had to be lying.

 Alya trusted fucking Lila without a shred of proof but demanded it from her. Marinette felt tears being to trail down her face as she sobbed. 

 “It’s okay Marinette, I’m here.” Tikki tried to comfort her chosen but the girl was lost. She was so upset and exhausted and… oh god she nearly died.

 She had told them it could kill her. She had told them and… 

 Alya hadn’t cared.

 It wasn’t a surprise that a butterfly came through the window, Tikki would think later and she would never blame Marinette for giving in, even as she was forced to yank the earrings off and fly away as fast as she could. 

 She needed to find someone to take them. 

 -0-

 Alya didn’t know what to think. She didn’t know what to feel. 

 Marinette was in the hospital and it was all her fault. She was to blame.

  Your so called bestie never trusted you, did she? She used you for your connections but when you wouldn’t use them for her she turned against you.

 Alya felt the tears pouring down her face as Sabine finished screaming at her and she made no move to defend herself. Her parents didn’t defend her. God why… why had she believed Lila so easily? Why had she risked this?

 She didn’t… Lila couldn’t be lying maybe she was mistaken? Maybe…

  Your class sided against you, cast you aside. Your crush was spineless. Like a plague, her lies spread didn’t they?

 “I’m so sorry.” Alya whispered.

 “Sorry isn’t good enough!” Sabine snapped. “You betrayed her, betrayed her worse then you already have. Don’t you remember that she knows Jagged Stone? That she designs for Clara Nightingale?” Alya flinched and felt her heart crumble.

 Oh god.

  But it’s not just pathetic liars who can spread the Plague is it? No. Rats can to, can’t they Plague Rat?”

 “Yes Hawkmoth.”

 It was the most terrifying thing Alya had ever hear coming from Marinette’s room, and her parents gasped in horror. The room’s door opened up and Marinette stepped out. She wore a long smock, with a mask covering her face, the mask resembling the old plague doctors, but it was in the shape of a rat’s nose. Her hair was in buns on top of her head like ears, and she had a tail that looked like an IV cord swishing behind her. She used an IV stand to walk, limping along.

 “I am Plague Rat,” the akuma said in a growling voice. “And I will spread my plague to all who lie

Chapter Text

Hospitals were sadly a breeding ground for Akuma. People angry at their diagnostics, people angry about waiting so long, doctors furious hat people were being idiots. 

Often Ladybug and Chat would let some Akumas rampage a bit if they felt it was needed. One memorable one was a woman who’d lost her baby and who had needed to rip into the river who had hit their car while on the phone. She had forced everyone to see what had happened to her and her baby when they were hit.

 Car accidents had dropped quickly after that. 

 Due to that often the news would stake out hospitals, and they had custom alarms to alert them to the fact there was trouble. The hospital would send a photo to the news quickly to warn the public.

 So no one was to shocked to see a new Akuma, even if she was a bit odd-looking.

  Adrien knew it was Marinette as soon as he saw it. Hawkmoth had seen her as Multimouse it seemed and was happily using it to taunt them. He felt a spark of guilt in his stomach at seeing her. Everyone knew what had happened- that Alya had exposed her to her sick sisters because of Lila. The entire class was eyeing Lila now, even as she claimed new things, that she hadn’t meant for this to happen.

 Adrien felt a little sick.

 He did believe in the high road, but he had tried to make sure Marinette was okay. He fought for her, told Lila off and managed to prove to Nino and a few of the others that Lila was lying about Marinette. 

 But it was never enough. And it wasn’t like Lila really meant harm right? She wasn’t that far gone. Maybe she had simply thought Marinette was exaggerating the issues she had with her immune system. Maybe…

 Adrien didn’t want to think he could have messed up so badly- that Lila wasn’t a good person or that he was wrong and some people were just bad. He wanted to believe in the good in everyone and maybe that was naive but he did. 

 Still, maybe you know… taking the long route to go save Lila might be a good idea. You know to see if any civilians were hit.

 Not to let Marinette’s get a few hits in of course not!

-0-

 Alya had been the first hit. Plague Rat had used her IV stand like a weapon and had shot her with a dark energy that swarmed her.  She had started coughing, black marks covering her arms. The akuma… Marinette had told her if she told the truth it would be her cure before she’d left, mentioning she wasn’t her target.

 Alya had hesitated before confessing but the coughing was slowly getting worse and so she just started talking. Confessing she had dumped the twins on Marinette and never paid. Confessed she had been sneaking out at night. Confessed she had been jealous of Marinette. Confessed she felt like a bad friend to Marinette and she had been desperate for her to be lying so she could prove to herself she wasn’t. 

 She had even confessed she had been lying to herself and that she had always known that Lila’s stories were far fetched but at the time they made sense until she really started to look and then she started lying to herself because she was scared. Scared about what it meant about her that she went for them, treated her friend badly. What it meant for her blog.

 When she was done her cough and black marks were gone and she felt better. Her parents looked stunned while Marinette’s had left when she started talking. Didn’t want to hear it.

 She didn’t blame them.

-0-

 Tikki flew around the hospital, looking for someone to help. She needed to find someone who would give the earrings back, who would be willing to fight.

 She found her answer in a nurse.

 “Ack!” the nurse jerked back, eyes wide upon seeing her. “What… wait, you’re a Kwami!”

 “... Were you there when Queen Bee revealed herself?” asked Tikki.

 “Yeah, I was… shit, was Ladybug hit? Is she… no.” the nurse shook her head. “I don’t need to know.”

 “Thank you. I need your help, please! We need a ladybug!” Tikki begged. The nurse blinked, before she opened the door she was near to show a doctor standing there, eyes wide. 

 “Uhhh, Dr. Sole-”

 “Go.” the doctor said. The nurse nodded.

 “I’m Amy by the way,” she told Tikki, taking the earrings and removing her studs to put the earrings in.

 “Tikki. Now, normally an adult can use the Miraculous multiple times before needing to untransform, but the Ladybug is different in it uses a lot more magical energy and you need to be in tune with it. You’re a healer, you’re in tun enough you can use me for about six minutes after using Lucky Charm.”

 “...How young are the current Ladybug and Chat?” asked Amy and Tikki had to answer, wincing.

 “Ladybug is fourteen. She has great magical potential and resonates incredibly strongly with me. In the future…”

 “I get it.” Amy sighed. “Long term gains. Still- I’ll give you my address later. They can swing by if needed to chat or for first aid.” She nodded and asked for the transformation phrase. Tikki grinned.

 She liked this girl. Maybe she would work with a Miraculous herself.

-0-

 Plague Rat, most of Paris decided, was more of an annoyance then a threat. She didn’t have destructive powers, she just made you sick until you confessed your lies. Which some of the police were finding helpful as criminals were being forced to confess things and did cause a few people to get slapped when they confessed they were cheating on their partners. 

 Someone for fun began live streaming and following the Akuma. No one thought it was that bad, and a new station quickly managed to pay to have the stream be put on their show.

 No one thought it was bad.

 Until the Mayor got hit and he collapsed, covered in dark spots and vomiting blood.

 “Confess or die.” Plague Rat told him. “Your lies are numerous and you will die if you do not confess.” The mayor screamed she couldn’t do this to him but as his breath became shakier and his body, in front of everyone, began breaking down, began to confess. Every bribe, lie and extortion he had done. Every single thing he had done to become mayor. The fact he had paid off the judge not to put Chloe in jail for her actions as Miracle Queen. The fact he took bribes from Hawkmoth not to have the police go after him. The fact he was cheating on his wife with a dozen women. 

 It kept going, and slowly the plague began slinking off him. Plague Rat simply watched as did everyone else. The Livestream kept going and all of Paris realized that while she wasn’t causing destruction, Plague Rat really was a dangerous Akuma.

 Every person like the mayor felt terrified. None more so than a teenage girl who had been cornered by the first victim of Plague Rat, and through her discovered that like a true plague, the Akuma’s disease was contagious even after being cured.

 Lila vomited blood in front of her mother, who had been with her, in front of her classmates who had also come to confront her, in front of Alya’s camera.

 “So you are nothing more than a fucking liar,” Alya said, voice shaky as she stood there. She had begged her parents to let her confront Lila, begged them to let her Livestream this. She had just wanted the girl to be exposed. She didn’t want this. “Tell the truth, Lila, tell it!”

 “I’m not-” Lila coughed and more blood came out.

 “We all saw it on TV Lila, you keep lying and don’t confess…” Alya closed her eyes and then opened them. “I wouldn’t have come if I knew I would infect you. But I doubt that Marinette wouldn’t have come herself.”

 “You’re right.” a voice said, and the Akuma was behind them. “I would have.” They all turned to stare at her but the Akuma was looking at Lila. “Confess or die.”

 “You wouldn’t kill me,” Lila said, but she screamed as she collapsed and one of her legs looked like it was rotted away. 

 “Why?” The Akuma tilted her head and waited. Lila looked so lost and scared as she lay there. “You’re nothing but a liar. What power do you have over me?”

 “I worked with Hawkmoth!” Lila snapped, and a tiny amount of black marks vanished from her. “He wouldn’t-”

 “You’re nothing to him. You have no protection from him. You’re nothing.” Plague Rat told her and Lila looked so lost while everyone else was in shock. “Confess.”

 Lila didn’t but she ended up vomiting again, this time teeth coming with it. It was enough.

 “I lied about knowing Ladybug, Jagged Stone, Clara Nightingale. I lied to my mother about school being closed and told everyone I was in Achu. I don’t know Prince Ali.” Lila began and it kept going. She talked and talked, telling every truth she’d lied about. About getting Marinette expelled, about lying about Marinette bullying her. She told how she had lied to Gabriel Agreste about the class and how she had been manipulating Adrien to try and force him to date her. Including her attempt to claim he had slept with her but refused to date her. Gabriel hadn’t believed it and it had caused issues with her business partnership she was trying to correct. 

 “... you know I never thought lies hurt people.” Remarked a voice and they looked to see Chat Noir standing there. “Her lies were so stupid I thought they weren’t worth exposing. But…” 

 No one knew he was kicking himself, thinking of the fact it took him hearing he was her next target to make him realize she was dangerous.

 “I can’t…” Mrs. Rossi looked ill while Lila scowled at them all, almost fully cured.

 “I want to know- did you know I could die when you told Alya I had to be lying? Did you purposely try to kill me?” Lila looked at the Akuma, her face screwed up. A long moment passed.

 “I don’t give a single damn if you live or die. I wanted you in the hospital. If you died… I would have been happy.” Lila spat out and Alya dropped her phone, while everyone stepped away from Lila in horror.

 Plague Rat nodded.

 “That’s all I wanted to know.” She turned and looked as an adult in red and black landed. The woman looked like she had black armour on, with the red dots on her chest forming a red cross. “Who are you?”

 “Ladybug was one of your first victims at the hospital. She couldn’t confess as her lies were about being Ladybug, so her kwami looked for someone to help. I’m a nurse there. Call me… Nurse Bug.”

 “...Ok.\, that’s bad.” Chat said. “Healer Bug!”

 “That’s bad too.” Nurse Bug told him while Plague Rat tilted her head and a butterfly appeared around her face. She was silent for a second before she began speaking, but this voice was different.

 “I did not know the extent of Miss Rossi’s actions. I would never condone them.” Hawkmoth’s voice came from Plague Rat. “However, I still demand your Miraculous!” Nurse Bug and Chat Noir got ready to fight. 

 “Any combat training?” Chat asked quietly.

 “Some judo training.” Nurse Bug said before they launched themselves at Plague Rat who used her IV stand to bat them away. Nurse But however dodged under it and grabbed it from her, twisting around and bringing it down to smash on the ground, releasing a butterfly she quickly used the yoyo to grab.

 “...What the fuck?” Chat asked.

 “Do you know how many patients try to hit us with that. That’s normal.” Nurse Bug said, purifying the Akuma. 

 The people watching though were more focused on Lila who still wasn’t fully cured of the plague caused by the Akuma. Meaning she had many, many more lies to say.

When Marinette stood there, shaking in her flimsy robe, Alya said in a very dark voice to Lila.

 “I will gladly give this video to the police. Mrs. Rossi, are you willing to let Lila be charged?” Lila opened her mouth but her mother beat her to it.

 “Yes.”

 Lila’s face went pale.

Chapter Text

Three months later…

 “Hello and welcome to Channel Eight! I’m Erica, bringing you the news!”

 “Today we are speaking of what is now called ‘the Plague of Truth’, brought upon us by the Akuma Plague Rat.

 Due to the Akuma’s powers of infecting people with a deadly virus resembling the Black Plague but targeting liars, many secrets came about. And many consequences have occurred. The most high profile ones are the former mayor, his wife and a dozen city officials who are now closing ranks and trying to-“ Marinette turned off the TV and closed her eyes.

 After she had been purified, the girl had been horrified at her actions, feeling ill and disgusted. She had done that? She had attacked people? She had nearly…

 Luckily there was a therapist employed by the hospital that sat with her and spoke with her. He was open and honest and she had a lot off issues she usually kept locked up. 

 He helped her speak of them and confront them. Helped her understand her issues. Helped her realize how many were people putting things on her and expecting things if her when they shouldn’t. 

 She still didn’t feel okay. Knowing what she did made her feel sick, but her classmates where there. Alix spoke with her softly, the girl knowing she had killed one. Kim spoke of rewatching his actions and feeling horrified. Rose shuddered at what she had done.

 It helped. 

 More so, honestly, it helped knowing that her actions had exposed Lila and a lot of corruption. Not only had she hit the mayor, she’d hit the commissioner, Audrey, Nadja and a bunch of others. 

 Andre had been removed from office and was now facing trial for his crimes. The commissioner had been removed from office along with Roger being fired and were also facing charges. Rumors said they would probably get ten years at least.

Audrey was going away for child abuse, corruption and the abuse of her staff. She had admitted everything and Chloe had been removed from their care in a second, being placed with an aunt on the other side of Paris who hadn’t spoken to her sister in years and had never cared to. The aunt had agreed to take Chloe in but had warned the girl she would not put up with any of her actions.

 Marinette hadn’t heard anything since as Chloe had been expelled by the new principal that had replaced Damocles when the fact he was being bribed came out. Bustier had also been replaced. Marinette wasn’t sad to see them go- even if it was only recently she could go back to school after the shock to her system becoming an Akuma had been. It wrecked her metabolism again and she’d been stuck in a bed for months.

 Luckily, there was a friendly nurse around who was happy to take over for Akumas. Marinette has the best time hearing her rant about magic and how stupid it was she couldn’t tell who Ladybug was when she was in the hosptial. Often right in front of her door.

 Tikki found it hilarious to.

 But she had finally left the hospital and Tikki said she could go back to fighting, something she was glad about. She missed it, not that she’d admit it.

 But before that, there was a trial to be had.

 -0-

 “So you willingly did it-“

 “I did.” Alya interrupted the lawyer. “I willingly exposed her to sick children but that was at the urging of Lila who said she had to be lying. I believe the videos I’ve given show that.” Alya felt like a bug as everyone in the courtroom stared at her. She kept her chin up though. She would not be cowed by this lawyer Lila’s father got her. Apparently Lila’s nasty habits came from someone and that was her father. Her mother had been furious to know she was in contact with him and was not pleased by the lawyer but agreed to it.

 She didn’t want her baby in jail either.

 He was a good lawyer, knew how to come at things from all angles.

 But Alya had been Rena Rouge. The Fox Miraculous left marks deep in her soul, which made her slippery and sly. She had forgotten and gotten caught in lies herself, but she remembered now.

 And she would not yield. 

 “I wonder, if anyone actually knows that the reason she wants Marinette dead is because she called her out on her lies in college.” Snapped Alya, suddenly latching onto the thought. The lawyer blinked. “Didn’t know that? Lila is just angry that Marinette didn’t follow her around. That Marinette called her out.” The lawyer actually stepped back and turned to look at Lila who couldn’t hide her furious face fast enough. Alya smiled at her while the lawyer said he had to dismiss himself from the case now, his clients had been lying to him.

 Alya hadn’t been a good person for a while. She had followed a liar and had blinded herself to truth for a long time. But she had once been a hero, once been a good person. 

 She was going to start again.

-0-

 “So you thought it was like tabloids?” Dr. Shaw asked Adrien who sighed. 

 “Yeah I mean…” Adrien shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe if I hadn’t known the truth I’d have believed hem but when I did I saw how stupid they were and they reminded me of the tabloids. I thought they’d figure it out themselves. I didn’t think she was hurting anyone.”

 “But she did. Her actions almost caused many of them to miss out on incredibly important opportunities for their futures. It was lucky your friend Marientte managed to convince them it was a good way to show case their skills to the supposed contacts Lila had.” The doctor said and Adrien winced.

 “I… I didn’t want her Akumatized again.”

 “And yet Marientte was.” Adrien looked down. “Adrien, if I can be very blunt- you despise conflict and prefer a passive approach to it. While disliking conflict is fine, and I encourage you not to seek it out, not confronting people who you know are in the wrong isn’t always the best idea.”

 “...” Adrien didn’t want to think about it anymore. But he had to. His father had made him go to therapy and Plagg had told him it was a good idea for him to do so. He needed to get over this. “It’s easier when it’s not me.” Adrien blurted our. “Online I mean.” He quickly covered. It was easy to confront people as Chat Noir. 

 “Then pretend you’re not Adrien when you confront people.” The therapist offered and…

 That was really good advice.

Two months later…

 “Hello and welcome to the new Ladyblog!” Alya grinned on the screen Marientte was watching. “As you know due to certain circumstances I left this blog for the last few months. This is due to Lila and her actions towards my classmate and my own actions. However, this is a new start. First and foremost- this blog will now only contain facts. I have three people to check over anything I post that’s an article and needed to be researched who will do so. I spoke with Ladybug and she’s agreed to an interview with all heroes providing they agree-“ that was the only small crack, a shadow of sadness. After Miracle Queen everyone know she’d been a hero, and seeing a new fox must hurt.

 Marientte though was just amused that Alya was such a good actor. Sure she no longer used the fox but she fit the Turtle very well. And Nino was a fine Dragon, while Luka was a great Fox and Kagami was an amazing Bee.

 It hadn’t been to hard to manage to have an interview with them- though all separate. It was enough to show Paris they were human to.

 Marinette smiled,  watching as Alya continued her speech. 

 Things had changed since she’d become Plague Rat. Lila was now in jail back in Italy. Youth jail but still. She would spend two years there before being released on parole for either ten years or for the rest of her life depending on her actions. While she had lost her first lawyer they had been assigned a second one who had managed to get a psychiatrist in to look at her. 

 The man said she was either a psychopath or a sociopath. They had tried to say that meant she was allowed to be free but that was ended when the doctor pointed out she knew what she was doing was wrong. She just didn’t care. 

 She wasn’t allowed back in France and apparently other countries had also banned her. She was forever stuck in Italy.

 The former mayor was also in jail. Five years, chance of parole in two and a half, maybe less depending on behaviour. Nadja had lost custody of Manon after it got out she routinely used the girl to gather info and had put her in risk multiple times. Audrey was in jail, Roger had lost his job and was on probation. 

 Paris had experienced a revolution after Plague Rat. The new mayor was a woman who took no shit and was a hardass who was happily funding the police to find Hawkmoth, and bring him down. The new commissioner had fired all corrupt cops- Roger had been part of this sweep- and now Paris was thriving.

 Adrien as well seemed to have changed. He had formally apologized to her for his inaction and he was taking steps to be able to confront people. He’d already had a fight with his father about being a model and had leaked to the press how Gabriel treated him. Gabriel was in therapy now and Adrien had a social worker doing random checks on him. 

 “I guess even Akumatized I’m a hero.” She remarked to Tikki who chuckled. 

 “Perhaps. But I like you as you.”

 “Same.” She still has nightmares about what she’d done. She still freaked out about the hospital. Hell she was still recovering months later from the stress of being Akumatized while suffering from sickness and a horrible immune system. 

 But she was doing better. She was moving forward.

 And that was all she could do.