Chapter 1: White Noise
Ladybug and the three Quantics stood dead in their tracks at the sight before them.
His suit was practically identical, but rather it being as black as night it was white as snow, his eyes a bright and glowing red. In his hand was Kid Mime's arrow, and if he squeezed a bit tighter, it became visible, and disintergrated into dust.
“Felix?” Ladybug whispered.
He simply glanced at her, intense and primal, before leaving as quickly as he appeared. Ladybug moved to follow him, but Melodie clasped her wrist and held her back. “Lady, we can't.”
“But that's Felix,” she protested. “I have to help him; this is my fault!”
“How is it your fault?”
“Because I released him; I risked him being vulnerable because I couldn't stand to see him miserable with the luck anymore.”
“Ladybug,” Mercury said, turning her to face him directly. “Listen to me. We are going to help him. We all saw that, and we know that what we saw, was a monster using Felix to get what he wants. Butterfly is twisting and manipulating his thoughts and emotions to make that. But we can't save him unless we have a plan. Do you know what we can do?”
Ladybug stayed silent, fiddling with Plagg's ring around her neck, just under her suit. She was the one to do that; she put him into this position. What she was having the most trouble with was that he knew the dangers of Butterfly, and how he can take control of anyone if they're even remotely negative. What was going through Felix's head to make him say yes?
“Frustration,” Plagg said, emerging from the ring and floating in the middle of the four. “Mistrust, anger, fear... Felix has a lot running through his head that's clouding his judgement.”
“How do you know that?” Kid Mime piped in.
“Even though the 'curse' is broken, our job isn't finished; no matter how much he wants me gone, we're connected until the end. I can know what he feels, even if he can't feel me.”
“So what's going on with him now?” Ladybug asked, pursing her lips. “What can we do to help him?”
“He's angered that you don't trust him anymore,” Plagg answered. “That you think he has to be pushed to the sidelines. You never told him why you broke the curse early; he thinks you did it out of pity.”
“And I did.” she looked down.
“You have a big heart, Ladybug. Unfortunately, that's your mortal flaw.”
“So what should we do?”
“If you can get the ring back on him, I can expell the akuma so you can either purify or destroy it.”
They followed him to Notre Dame Cathedral. They crept in through the windows as quietly as possible, watching him descend the rafters. Chat Blanc (as they decided to say, just for the sake and ease of things) had his claws ready, and it seemed that Butterfly dared to have him destroy one of the world's most beautiful churches.
Kid Mime landed first, wrapping his arms around Blanc from behind, as he began to struggle and let out a low, gutteral growl as he attempted to break free. Melodie and Mercury appeared from the sides, each restraining an arm and keeping him from destroying anything. Blanc was growling and snarling, bearing his fangs and thrashing around to free himself. “Ladybug, now!” Kid Mime called, and the red and black spotted heroine dropped down to the floor.
Ladybug approached carefully, reaching for the ring and clutching it in her hand tightly. “I need his left hand,” she ordered, close enough to grab him by the wrist. Mercury's hand slipped, and Lady only had time to shriek before Blanc's hand swept down, and his eyes turned blue.
What brought him out of whatever trance he was in was a loud, piercing scream.
Felix blinked, looking around carefully. He didn't remember going to Notre Dame. And why were the Quantics staring with their hands over their mouths? What happened?
He turned to see Ladybug leaning against the pew behind her, clutching her arm tightly, a deep scarlet color standing out against the red of her suit. Across her arm were three claw marks, one long, thin scratch along her cheek. Her eyes were wide and full of both pain and fear, staring at him as if to calculate what he would do next. He reached out a hand to help her, but she scooted back farther and whimpered, shutting her eyes and bracing for another attack.
Felix looked down at his hand, the claws and fingers flecked with blood.
Voices were collectively screaming in his head, telling him to run, attack, finish the job, but instead he covered his ears. He tried to order them to stop, but his voice came out distorted; almost like an animal's.
“Felix, we aren't here to hurt you,” Melodie began, but he turned and growled, the red eyes returning.
Blanc backed up slowly, eyes flicking between the four of them and ready to attack, before he retreated through the window in the center, disappearing into the night.
The voices were back.
“You could've finished the job, then and there.”
I didn't want to.
“But if you did, you'd be unstoppable.”
I didn't want to hurt anyone. You said I wouldn't hurt anyone.
“We all lie, Chat Blanc. And sometimes, truth is told and action must be taken. You did what was right.”
It doesn't feel right.
“Who cares, as long as you're at the top?”
He was snapped away from the voices and all the noise by Ladybug entering the abandoned building slowly, but her eyes careful and steady. Blanc hissed, bearing his fangs and positioning himself to attack.
“I'm not here to hurt you,” she said softly, holding her hands out to show she had no weapons. “I just want to help you.”
His red eyes scanned her, not making a move.
“Maybe you're more comfortable talking to me when I have no way of hurting you.” Ladybug closed her eyes, and in a red light she replaced herself with Bridgette, the scratch and claw marks visible in the darkness.
“What, these?” she pointed to her wounds. “It's okay; you didn't mean to hurt me.”
She approached tenitively, until he let her close enough to brush her fingers against the back of his hand, and clasp it in her own. “I'm not here to hurt you.” she repeated.
Bridgette took his hand and used it to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear, and he tilted his head, squinting as if he were trying to remember when this was last done. She then laced her fingers through his gently, and watched as he responded by tightening his grip around her hand ever so slightly. He was being careful; not letting his claws touch her again, keeping his hold on her light so she can move if she wished. Blanc's eyes weren't slitted the way they were when the Quantics ambushed him, but rounded; more human. It was a sign Felix was still in there.
“I'm going to help you,” she whispered. “And I know you won't like what I'm about to do, but it's the only way I can do this without hurting you.”
Blanc's eyes flicked up behind her, and his ears pinned back, growling and snarling at the three behind her. Bridgette turned and held up a hand to the Quantics, signalling them to let her take care of this. They exchanged weary looks, before lowering their weapons and backing up three steps. “They won't do anything to you,” she reassured, squeezing his hand. “Just please, let me try to save you.”
Blanc was still making gutteral noises, but after struggling to form the word, he pleaded, “Help.”
She nodded, and slid Plagg's ring onto his finger, his eyes widening and the transformation breaking. Felix fell to his knees and Kid Mime took the akuma by the wings, ripping it in half. “Are you okay?”
Felix was staring at the ground, body trembling and Bridgette's hands on his shoulders, “I hurt you.”
“You didn't mean to,” she said.
“No, you don't understand-”
“Felix, please. We're all tired, and we'd love to hear the explanation, but for right now, let's just enjoy the fact you're free again. Well, mostly free.”
“I could've killed you.”
“But you didn't.”
“Bridgette, you don't get what I'm trying to tell you.” Felix pushed her back to look at her in the eyes. “You shouldn't have come after me; not in the state I was in. There were all these voices, and they're all trying to tell me what I had to do... I was going crazy. Who knows what I would have done.”
“You wouldn't have hurt me.” She said simply.
“And how do you know that?”
“We're partners, Felix. We balance each other out. I trust you with my life.”
He glanced down at his hand, Plagg's ring resting on his ring finger, but rather than being mad, he rested his head on her shoulder. “Thank you.”
“It's not a problem.” Bridgette whispered, pulling him into a hug.
For once, the damn curse was a good thing.
Chapter 2: Switch Out
Felix and Bridgette switch bodies. This should be fun.
This takes place after the last chapter in Run and Reveal, but before a new arc I'm currently writing, involving a foxy lady, if ya know what I mean...
Bridgette was screaming at eight in the morning, standing on the top of her bed, scrambling for a broom as her mother burst into the room.
“What?” She yelled, looking around frantically. “Bridgette, what’s wrong?!”
“I-I-I- saw a spider,” Bridgette stammered, jumping in circles around on the mattress. “I can’t see where it went!”
“Bri, I love you, but you really must stop doing that.” Her mother sighed, beginning to close the door. “That’s the third time already. I’ll be downstairs when you want breakfast.”
Once the door closed with a click, she jumped down from the bed and began pacing frantically, avoiding whatever she had left laying around on the floor.
“Bridgette, there was no spider.” Tikki said, emerging from the earrings and shaking her head. “Why did you do that?”
“Because I needed an excuse!” Bridgette cried, pulling on her hair and turning to the Kwami. “I’m not Bridgette; I’m Felix. Plagg is behind this.”
About fifteen minutes after Felix texted his own number, Bridgette showed up and immediately went upstairs (only after making up there was a project they had to work on, and it would be a busy day for them) to her own room and let out a fearful hiss. Plagg emerged from his ring, cackling hysterically while Tikki just glared at him.
“Why am I Felix and why is he me?” Bridgette asked, Plagg laughing even harder. “Please stop laughing.”
“I ain’t switchin’ you back!” The Kwami said, wiping fake tears away. “This is a bonding exercise.”
“Why would you decide to switch our bodies?” Felix growled. “What type of bonding exercise involves this?! You’re beginning to test my scientific views.”
“So you guys can actually learn about each other. I’ll switch ya when I feel like it.”
Felix lunged for Plagg, Bridgette pushing him back by the shoulders. “No, no, no, you’re in my body. You have no idea how strong I am. You might squeeze him so hard his eyes pop out like a chew toy- stop looking at him like that.”
“We need to fix this,” Felix sighed, pulling on the long locks of hair nervously. “As soon as possible.”
“Well, I do have a few books Tikki told me to get on the top shelf over my desk.” She mused, walking over and plucking them off the shelf with ease, instantly lighting up and bouncing on her toes excitedly. “So this is what it’s like not needing to stand on a chair.”
While skimming through book after book, Bridgette learned that Felix likes to pace when he’s in deep thought. He would walk in circles or across the room and back again, not even looking up from the book unless he hit his hip on her desk. When he did look up, it would be at her, and he’d roll his eyes, walking over and straightening the tie or unrolling the sleeves.
“Don’t,” he muttered. “If you’re going to be me for a while, you’ve got to look like me. Not a single thing can be out of place. You have to look absolutely perfect.”
“Do you not like the way you look, Felix?” she asked, tilting her head to the side.
“That’s not important.” he answered, returning to the book he left on the desk and silence filling the room between them.
A full day of searching, and nothing came up as an answer.
Bridgette was laying on the floor, shoes kicked off and feet up on the bed, staring at a wall and pouting. Felix had been distracted long before, staring at the pages and never reading a word, eyes flicking up at the pictures littering the wall above her desk. She’d taken so many: Claude, Allan, Allegra... There were so many with them. Each picture had something written on the back and the date it was taken (he’d found many from a trip they had taken last year to Florence... When did she do that?). However, with her always preaching about how much she values him as a friend...
There was only one picture with him.
It was the one she’d taken during that petty snowball fight they’d gotten into, and she’d captured him mid-laugh, the caption reading, “I’ve never seen him smile this big!”
Something about it all made his chest feel tight.
“Maybe we should just do what Plagg said,” Bridgette said suddenly, pulling him back to reality. “Just take the time to know more about each other.”
“I know plenty about you and vice versa. What’s the point?” he shrugged.
“No, actually, not really.” She rolled over to her stomach, and looking up at her partner. “I don’t really know much about your life as much as you do mine. I mean, I know you don’t like talking about your mom, but what about your dad? I’ve never seen him at your house.”
“He travels all over the country and is rarely home,” he answered quickly. “And when he is, it’s no more than a few hours.”
“That’s so lonely,” Bridgette whispered. “How... Does it hurt you to be alone all the time?”
“After a while you adjust to it; it’s remarkable how much books can fix.”
“Okay... But still, are you okay with it?”
“I’m fine,” he snapped.
“Fine, fine. No, I’m not okay with it. I’m also not okay with having the weight of my family’s company on my shoulders along with the reputation. I’m not okay being the heir to it, because I don’t want to own the company. I never have. I’m not okay with having to put out this flawless image at all times due to media exposure, and one bad thing could lead to mass destruction of everything my father’s worked for, and it only makes me hate myself more than I already do.”
Bridgette’s shoulders slumped, pushing some of the loose blond hair out of her face and staring at him, “You hate yourself?”
“No, I think I’m Adonis!” Felix scoffed. “Yes, I hate myself. I hate that everything I say and do is a result of having to maintain an image to Paris. I hate my body, I hate my voice, I hate my laugh, I hate myself. I have the social skills of a lamp and even when I’m Chat Noir, the literal embodiment of bad luck, I still manage to get that wrong. You, you have everything you’re supposed to have: yo-yo, staff- hell, Bridgette, you can fly. What can I do? I have claws. That’s it. Plagg says I’m just not reaching for what I can do, but I already know it can’t compare to what you can. I’m just a shadow, whether it be yours or my father’s.”
When he turned to face Bridgette, she was wiping away tears on the backs of her sleeves, sniffling and hiccuping. Felix finally moved and sat down across from her, batting the hands away so he could look at her right in the eyes. “No, no, please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to-”
“I’m so sorry,” Bridgette whimpered.
“I’m sorry you hate yourself so much, and that you think you’re my shadow.”
“It’s just what I am.”
“No, it’s not. I can’t figure out an entire plan in the middle of battle, and half the time I don’t know how to even use my weapons- and the one time I did use those wings, I had no idea what I was doing. You were the one who got me down.” She laughed slightly, before attempting to send Felix a smile. “I promise you, you’re just as important as the rest of us out there. And about your father’s company... You should just do what makes you happy.”
“Like what?” Felix asked.
“That’s for you to answer, not me.”
“But I don’t know.”
“Neither do I.”
Felix was silent, before the corners of his lips quirked up and he was laughing, voice ringing through the room. Bridgette was soon laughing with him. Plagg was floating above them, before he passed through the two of them.
The two blinked at the same time. Bridgette was the first to look down at her hands, nails painted pink and no sign of Plagg’s ring. She grinned, before tackling Felix into a hug.
“We’re back to normal!”
“Yes, I see.” He nodded. “Now please get off, your elbow is under my rib cage.”
She giggled and stood up, helping him up from the floor and walking him to the door.
“Did you two finish that project?” Her mother asked, and Felix nodded.
“We did,” he answered, eyes flicking to Bridgette nervously. “We’ll turn it in Monday.”
“Well, that’s good to hear. Oh, and Bri, weren’t you supposed to give something to him?”
“Oh my god!” Bridgette screeched, running back upstairs. She returned five minutes later, holding out a gift-wrapped rectangle. “Here,” she wheezed. “It’s because we’ve been friends for a year now; I wanted to give you something.”
“Thank you,” he said, taking the gift from her hands. “I’ll open it when I’m home. Thank you for your hospitality, Ms. Cheng.”
“You’re welcome, Felix.” Ms. Cheng smiled, hands behind her back. “Oh, and I overheard part of your conversation before I continued on with the seared vegetables, but if you ever want to get away from a silent household, you’re always welcome over here. Never a dull moment when there’s five people coming in and out daily.”
Felix looked over at Bridgette, and she laughed nervously, showing him a picture of her and the trio of friends on her phone.
Upon returning home and closing the door to his bedroom behind him, Felix carefully unwrapped the rectangle.
It was a picture frame, with the picture of him and Bridgette in that snowball fight. One of the clasps on the back was left up, and he moved the others, pulling the back out. The back of the picture had a message, just like hers, except it read:
“This was the first time I ever got you to laugh genuinely and to the point you were almost in tears. I hope we can have more moments like this in the future! Happy anniversary, and thank you for being my friend. -Bri”
Felix put the back of the frame on and moved the clasps, flipping back the little stand and placing it on his nightstand, right next to the photo of his mother.