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Wind Beneath My Wings

Chapter Text

His pencil started to tapped on his desk as Nathaniel let out a sigh. His life never was this busy before he gotten his miraculous. All the adventure and fights he gotten himself into could be such a drain at times.

Maybe due to the whole dashing off to save the day influence in his life caused this. His life has basically became a comic book after all. While Akuma attacks weren’t common, they did pop up at the strangest time. That causes him nothing but stress

Not to mention when he saw his friends transform into these victims, it hurt.

To fight against Juleka and Rose as Reflectka and Princess Fragrance, Nathaniel felt rage. He couldn’t have help his friends to avoid this and angry at Hawk Moth as he preyed on the girls when they were low.

Than there was Volpina. God! That was another kettle of fish. One second she was a Miraculous holder than next she was actually Lila. She was a new girl at school who Ladybug embarrassed in front of Adrien (it is always him, always) and wanted revenge. God, Ladybug was so close in giving her her Miraculous to save Adrien’s suppose behind. If Chat hadn’t proved that it was one of Volpina’s illusions, who knows what could've happen. He might have tackled her away

Was she so in love with Adrien Agreste that she couldn’t stop and think!? It was so clear to him that she was as gaga over him as everyone else was. Did Chat Noir not realize it or did he not care. Maybe he thought that he could win her over from Agreste?

He wouldn’t be the first one to think that.

But Chat wasn’t there when they tried to protect THE Gabriel Agreste from Simonsayz.

Pavonis rolled his eyes as Ladybug and Mr. Agreste stood in his office inside the Agreste mansion. Both of them seem to be focus on collage of photos, all fashion shots of Adrien. Shouldn’t be surprise that Mr. Agreste would have something like this as Adrien was the face of the brand.

And here Ladybug fawn over the ‘prefect’ boy while Mr. Agreste smiled away as they chatted. He even attempted to look at Lady’s earrings!? Seriously!

Than Chat finally arrive through the window...bring the whole Simonsayz’s army right behind him. Even with the security system, it would be only a matter of time before Simonsayz would find his way inside. So Chat headed to make sure everything was cover while Ladybug when to get Adrien. 

That left him and Mr. Agreste.

Now, if only Mr. Agreste would just listen for once and do what was best. But if he wouldn’t listen to Ladybug or even Chat Noir, what are the chances he would listen to him.

Not likely.

Come on Mr. Agreste, we should get you somewhere safe.”

The look he gotten was different compared to Ladybug or even Chat. Mr. Agreste was use to being charge. Now he had a look of someone humoring little kids. That seem wrong since they were only trying to protect his life. No, the look he gotten was one of contempt, disdain.

What the hell did he do?!

I believe my security system will be enough,” Mr. Agreste, “Since your...team mates brought trouble to my front door.”

Pavonis could feel his feathers ruffle at the tone.

 “I know for sure Ladybug and Chat are doing everything they can to protect you and your son,” said Pavonis, stressing the son part, “But we don’t know what Simonsayz will pull. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

That advice didn’t seem to phase Mr. Agreste. He merely paced his way up to Pavonis and his eyes spoke that the man was judging him. His eyes travelled down Pavo’s body and seem to rest on where his Miraculous pin rested. His actions spoke loud enough for him to get it. Mr. Agreste thought he was nothing more than a common pigeon. That the only thing of worth would be his feathers for some kind of coat or hat. Pavonis took a step back but kept his eyes on him.

It’s hate to believe in people THAT allow their emotions to rule their judgement,” said Mr. Agreste, “Even more with someone that is merely a second-grade...puppet.”

He should allowed the words to affect him. But puppet! So much memories with that stupid word that it got Pavo’s feather ruffled. No wonder Nino and Mr. Grimault fell to Hawk Moth’s power because of this man.

Excuse me for wanting to protect an ungraceful man that thinks himself above everyone. That he would rather risk his only family’s life over his damn pride,” hissed Pavonis.

 He took that step forward and tried to match Mr. Agreste’s own glare.

“At least consider that your son is in danger too. Who I might add, you sent to his room cause he was ‘too emotional’ over worrying about your safety!”

He shouldn’t have yelled, he actually should have controlled his feelings better. But this man...some part of him thought it felt good. Maybe with how he saw how he treated Adrien. Both men were stood there in silence. Mr. Agreste’s face remained neutral but Pavonis swore he could have seen a smirk. Maybe he would have seen if not Nathalie and Nino hadn’t shown up.

The rest of the day’s event were a blur. Soon Simonsayz and his army burst down the door. Than he was under a mass of people, blackout and awoken in the TV Studio with Chat Noir and Ladybug sharing a fist bump of victory. That was a fun day...

And now Rizzma was crying again.

“Hadn’t you watch that movie like...a thousand times already,” sighed Nathaniel.

“It’s a classic! You can never get tired of the classics!”

The blue Kwami was sitting on his bed. He was surrounded by empty boxes from the Dupain-Cheng Bakery, macarons wrappers and tissues. The issue with macarons that they would go stale so if he didn’t eat them than it would be a waste.

So better he pig out than throw the macarons out.

Which Rizzma did, happily in front of his sappy romance movies. Seriously? How did he even known some of them? When he asked for Nathaniel to download a bunch, he knew which ones.

Nath blinked a bit in thought. How old was Rizzma anyway? The one he was watching was close to thirty years old. Was he around back than?

Who had the Peacock Pin Miraculous before him?

“Nathaniel? Sweetie?”

“Ack! Hide!”

The two were quite to dash around the room. Rizzma zipped up and dove under the bed’s covers. Nathaniel was quick to slam his latop shut and push all the boxes, wrappers and trash off. No need to see all the sweets and boxes that he didn’t want to explain. Mum would only question what was in them. Seriously, he didn’t need her to worry about his eating habits even more than she already did.

By the time Ms Emma Kurtzberg had open the door to the room, Nath was all laid out on the bed as if he was there all the time.

“Hey Mum, what’s up?”

Yup nothing wrong with this.

“You got mail,” she said, holding up a thick envelope, “Says its from the Valois Foundation.”

At the name, Nathaniel sprang from his bed and ripped out of his mother’s shock hands. The Valois Foundation!? They were one of the leading groups of the arts in Paris. They gave out many grants, scholarships and held many events in the way of the arts and music within the city.

His fingers ripped open the envelope as Mrs. Kurtzberg hover over his shoulder. He pulled out a bunch of forms, some brochures and he found what he was looking for. It was a  piece of paper that looked more official with the foundation’s symbol on the letterhead.

“Dear Mister Nathaniel Kurtzberg,” he read, trying to hide his excitement, “We are please to informed that you had been selected as the Collège Françoise Dupont representative for the final round of the Medici’s Student Patronage Prize. This package includes information of the finals and what is required of your final entry-”

By the time he had finish the letter, Emma had trapped him in a hug while saying nothing but sweet words. She were going out for dinner tonight, that she would call up his zaide to have him join them tonight. This was cause for celebration and how proud she was of her little boy.

When she left to make calls, Nathaniel and Rizzma started to pick up the papers that spilled from the envelope. While he had a bright smile on his face, it suddenly dawn on him.

He hadn’t entered in any contest.

He never took part in any of their contests as much as his art teachers had said he should. His stuff hardly were ready for the public viewing. They weren’t good enough compared to other students in Nathaniel’s class.

Oh God!

Someone saw his work!

A lot of judging people saw something he made.

Saw something he didn’t know they would see!!!!

What if it isn’t his!??!?! What if it was someone’s piece but someone put his name on it and omg omg omg!!!

Panic set in as the papers crumbled in his hands and knees hit the floor.

“Nath! What’s the problem?”

“Someone enter me...”

Nathaniel’s chest started to seize on him as breathing became harder and harder. The room started to spin right in front of his eyes and he felt the need to go to the toilet.

God, he was going to be sick.

“Nathaniel, listen to me an-”

He was going to die! Right here! He was dead!

“-control your breathing. Slowly in and out-”

As the world seem to spin around him, the only focus seem to come from the small motions on his back. Up and down, up and down, it continue. Nathaniel found his breathing slowly started to match with the movements.

Up and down.

In and out.

“Better?”

The concern on Rizzma had guilt hit Nath as he stared at his Kwami’s large eyes. But all he could do was nod his head as he release the crumble papers and sat himself on his bedroom’s floor. That had felt bad as he took to slowly control his breathing.

“How did you know-”

“I had many holders over the years, many creative souls like yourself that had issues similar,” said Rizzma with a smile, not judging him at all, “Why I had this young choirboy go on to become a great operatic baritone but he always had nerves before he when on.”

Other holders...

“How old are you?” asked Nathaniel.

“Old enough to know you need to rest now,” said Rizzma as he tried pull his holder up, “You need to get clean up and rest. Big night to celebrate your success.”

“But I didn’t eve-”

“Maybe one of your teachers got fed up with your excuses? Maybe one of your friends? Just ask around tomorrow. For now, enjoy yourself.”

That made sense as Nathaniel lay on his bed. Maybe his art teacher did sent in one of his projects as a surprise?

Maybe everything will look better tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Walking up to school the next day, Nathaniel felt a bit better. A good night sleep and a couple good meals was all he needed to calm his nerves down. Rizzma was right that maybe someone enter into the contest without his knowledge. His teachers told him go for it, even Rose and Juleka were the same way.

Maybe one of them finally had enough of his stalling and entered him.

Still, wasn’t right and didn’t he have a say in his work.

“Morning Nathaniel~”

But at least seeing Marinette in the morning can make anything better.

“M-Morning,” he said, waving as he entered the bakery.

“Here for your daily sugar,” giggle Marinette. She pulled out a package from the display case and place it on the counter. Ever since Rizzma decided on the Dupain-Cheng's macarons, Nathaniel been coming in every day. Due to his repeat appearances, the Dupain-Cheng clan had put away a package of them so he could grab and go.

The blush came fast as Nathaniel nodded his head. Why did these feelings keep coming back? It was a lost cause, out of the realm of possibility. Why couldn’t he get over Marinette? She liked someone else and wouldn’t be interest. Rizzma said as long as Adrien didn’t return her feelings than maybe she would move on. That he had a chance.

Didn't feel like it.

“T-T-Thanks Marinette,” he said, handing the money and taking the macaron box from her.

“Are you excited?”

“Hmm, what?”

“Mr. Bronn is suppose to tell who made it into the finals.”

Nathaniel blinked in confusion. What was their art teacher suppose to announced?

Marinette seem to see his confusion. She grabbed her bag to come around the counter, “For the Medici’s Student Patronage Prize. Remember, we all had to enter it as our final project last term,” she explain, “He told us he would find out at the end of the week sooo....”

Panic started to set in as his eyes grew into the size of dinner plates and he tried not to crush the box in his hand. He did enter it?! For a school project?! He didn’t remember that?!?!?!!? All the art projects blended together since it was so natural for him. It was the one class he didn’t have to pay attention to and still made high marks.

“Do you have a good feeling about it? I mean, I doubt it will be me-”

“Guh.”

“Hmmm, what?”

“....”

“Nathaniel? Is something wrong?”

It was the touch of her hand on his shoulder that broke the small coma the shock had left him in.

“I got a letter,” his voice squeak out.

“A letter?” asked Marinette. She look straight into his eyes and it was too much. Nath took to focusing on the quite lovely floor to avoid her lovely eyes. The heat rose up and he could feel the familiar blush spread all over his face and ears.

There was no voice, he could only nod his head yes.

“...about the contest?”

Another nod.

“....that you’re a finalist?”

With a gulp, Nath nodded once more.

“That is great news!”

She is hugging him?! Marinette is quite a cheerful girl. She is always ready with hugs and physical expression of her caring nature. Her warmth, the strength in her arms around his shoulders was welcoming. It caused his soul to soar and want to hug her back. His arms couldn’t recognize what his brain wanted. The smells of the bakery was still fresh on her, along with her flowery shampoo in her hair...

Oh how creepy is that?! He shouldn’t be smelling her hair?!

“You must be so happy, same with your parents,” said Marinette, releasing Nathaniel. Though, he wish the moment could last forever.

“Yeah, Mum and me went out for dinner with Zaida last night.”

“How cool!” said Marinette, clapping her hands together, “Come on, we need to tell the others? I bet you hadn’t even told Juleka or Rose yet.”

Whatever words she was saying were lost on him. All he could do was smile and nod as he followed the girl like some kind of lost puppy dog.

 


 

“Oh Auggie!”

In the crowds of the students, Bessie felt the need to bite her tongue back at the sound of the voice. It was as if nails were dragging down the chalkboard to her ears, or maybe that was her. Every time, she heard it or that stupid nickname, Bess wanted to break something.

But Augustus saw nothing but stars and little dancing hearts.

“My little Evie Wvie,” cooed Augustus as he shut his locker. He fail to notice his best friend’s gagging looking.

Parting through the masses was the source of their mixed feelings. It was Evelyn, a dark hair beauty with an air of the exotic. No thanks to her actress mother’s Moroccan heritage. She knew how to use her looks to get what she wanted. Most of their senior class knew this, how she played with boys’ feelings to get what she wanted. Again, thanks to her mother. The tabloids were full of articles on her five marriages to wealthy men in all sorts of field.

And she was a sight with her model looks coming against the likes of Augustus’s lanky teenage body. He stood out more with his mess up hair and paint spotted clothes. Bessie could only sigh as she looked into her locker mirror.

With her mousy appearance, why wouldn’t Augustus not notice her and only see her as a friend?

“Have you heard yet?” asked Evelyn, pressing a well manicure nail against the boy’s chest.

“No, not yet. I’m sure it is either in the mail right now but I’m sure Mr. Bronn will tell us in class.” he said as the three of them headed down the hallway. Augustus with Evelyn hanging off his arm while Bessie trailed on after them. She straining to not make faces and get sick at the sight.

Turning the corner towards class, the trio soon met with a group front of Ms. Bustier’s classroom. Bessie recognized them from the Literature teacher’s homeroom. They all seem to be excited for something. Not hard to pick those kids out as almost everyone at the college knew them by now. They were the only class in the whole school where most were turn into Akuma.

They were good kids, really nice and Bessie can’t think of anything bad about a lot of them.

It’s just the whole class was jinx with the

So, they did what most of the students do when involving anyone from Ms. Bustier’s class.

Rule One: Move fast.

The three of them quickly picked up the speed.

Rule Two: Try not to draw attention

Easy as Augustus and Evelyn were more focus on each other. Bessie kept her head down and avoided eye contact. No need to see what those kids were doing and the couple’s love talk was enough to drown her ears in.

Rule Three and the most important of them all: Do Not Piss of Queen Bee.

No sign of the Mayor’s little princess so they were flying free as they left the chattering class behind.

The whole event was soon enough forgotten. After all, no doubt whatever they were talking about wouldn’t affect them.

 


 

“Way to go, Tomato!”

Feeling Kim’s slap on his back, Nathaniel didn’t know if he handle more congratulation like that. But it did feel nice to receive it. Marinette didn’t keep the news of him becoming a finalist to herself. It wasn’t as if she told the whole class. No, she told Rose and Juleka about the letter. It was Rose that took letting out a cheer of goodwill that brought everyone’s attention onto them. Within five minutes of barely entering the classroom, everyone swarm him and demanded answers.

To have everyone’s support and well wishes on his placement, it made him feel proud. As one that took to being perfectly fine in the back row and not in the spotlight, it was a change of pace. It was change that he sort of welcome.

It was praise for something he did, something he created and everyone was genuine happy. There were high-fives, hugs and wishes of good luck and to quote Alix, ‘He had this in the bag’. To have all this support, it made all the worries and fears melt away.

Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad?

“I don’t see why you all are getting all in a fuss. It isn’t like he won,”

And there is the bubble being burst.

Chloe was busy looking at her nails that she failed to notice all the attention falling on to her. Nathaniel had to admit she had been somewhat better lately since Anti-Bug. It wasn’t like she was nice, she wasn’t, she just wasn’t going beyond to be cruel anymore. Her comments still cut, but it was more about the cold hard truth.

Plus, she seemed to taken to doing her own homework.

 “And what do you mean by that?” asked Alya, arms cross as she took on the defense.

“I mean, he still needs to do a new painting and not to mention there is the gala,” said Chloe. Nathaniel could hear the eye-roll in her tone of voice.

“Gala? What gala?” asked Rose.

“The Valois Gala,” scoffed Chloe, “It's one of their premium events of the social season. Anyone who is anyone in art or high class will be there. Daddy already got us tickets and to let you know it’s a black tie affair.”

Nathaniel could feel his blood drain.

“So, not only will your new painting will be up, but everyone is going to be looking at it plus all the other finalists. Than there is the judging panel.”

“The judging panel!?” he squeaked, not knowing his voice would go that high.

“They must have told you in your letter that you have to explain your piece in front of a judging panel while at the Gala. Than there is all the other guests too. They will be listening along with the judges. It isn't just your work being judged” said Chloe in a dead serious tone of voice, “It’s going to be you too.”

She might be nicer but Chloe still can drain the joy out of the room.

What was he going to do now?!

Chapter Text

Staring at the blank paper in front of him, Nathaniel began tried of this repeating pattern.

He needs ideas, he needs something! Sketch something that could bring some kind of passion or excitement.

This is getting to be too much of a familiar situation.

“Agggguuuuurrrrrr….”

“Mr. Kurtzberg, am I boring you?”

Looking from the ruined paper in his sketchbook up to the furious face of Ms. Mendeleiev above him. The science teacher always seem to pick the worst time to catch him in such moments. She didn’t look too please to once more seeing him more focus on his sketchbooks than her teaching. But who could focus on organic compounds when his future is on the line!?

“Ahhhh…”

There's the look of defeat on Ms. Mendeleiev's face as she grab his shoulder and drag him out of his chair again. “You know the routine by now.”

Oh did he. Mr. Damocles will have the same kind of tired look when he would knock on that office door. Than there will be the phone call home and another talk with Mum. Maybe he wouldn’t get into too much trouble if he explain the pressure he is under now. The idea of creating a new painting in less than three weeks is too much. His whole future within this one piece.

Still, there isn’t a point to argue. At least she didn’t grab him by the scruff of his neck this time. Scooping up his sketchbook and bag, Nathaniel made his way out while all his classmates stare at his exit. He didn’t even look at Ms. Mendeleiev as she held the door open for him, all he did was look at the floor to avoid her glare.

Yeah, he totally isn't one of her favorite students.

Sighing as he took the familiar walk, Nathaniel couldn’t help but rub his face. What was he going to do?

“Ah, I thought we would never leave,” hiss Rizza as he poke his head out from the school bag. “ Shall we head home or go somewhere else to work?”

“I can’t just leave school.”

“Yes you can, it's very easy.”

Nathaniel sigh with a head shake as he got to the principal office. It would be that easy, just go out the door and head to the park or somewhere he could think. But that would only cause more issues as he would miss more classes. More teachers would notice his absent and than there still be phone calls home. It would be best to take care of this now.

His hand shook as he reach towards the door. Maybe Rizzma had the right idea and he could make a run for it. No one had to know and he could hide out in the bathroom until the bell of the start of the next class.

Too bad he heard ‘Come in’ from the other side of the door.

‘Too late’ thought Nathaniel. Opening the door, he peer inside to see Mr. Damocles sitting at his desk. The principal didn’t seem to even look up from the amount of paperwork. Edging his way inside, Nathaniel grip tight on his bag as he waits for any sort of acknowledgement from him. He didn’t have to wait too long as Mr. Damocles look up and merely sigh with a shake of his head before sitting up at his desk.

“Mr. Kurtzberg, may I guess the reason for your visit to my office again?”

“Ummmm…”

“Was it perchance drawing in Ms. Mendeleiev's class again?”

“Yessssss,” said Nathaniel. His hands twist his bag strap and he could barely look at the principal in the eye. Goodness, he knew where this is going and only need to wait for the other shoe to drop. Mum going to have his head when he got home this afternoon. This seem to be the way things were going. Mr. Damocles rub the bridge of his nose before he turn his attention back on the redhead.

“Mr. Kurtzberg, I know we had this discussion many, many times about the need to focus on your classes. We talk, we called your mother in and I know she talk it over with you. I know young children like you have trouble focusing on classes they have no interest in. But its for your own benefit that you pay attention in all your classes-“

It felt like Nathaniel could recall every lecture Mr. Damocles gave him over the last year. He knew what the principal is saying is all important. The problem is Nathaniel couldn’t help himself. When an idea struck him, he had to draw it out quick before he forgot about it.

But that’s under normal circumstance.

Today isn’t normal.

So, he had to wait for the usual phone call home and deal with Mum.

“Mr. Kurtzberg?”

“Huh?” ask Nathaniel at the sound of his own name. Seeing the arch eyebrow from Mr. Damocles and how the older man seem to be waiting for him. Waiting for what?

“Ahhhh.”

“I was saying that while this habit needs to stop. I can understand your wandering mind for once,” said Mr. Damocles. He rose up from his seat to walk over to Nathaniel’s side. “We have receive notice of you representing our school for the Medici Patronage. I can understand as my mind would be all over the place with wonder and excitement for such an honor in your place.”

Yessss excitement. That’s really what he is feeling right now. Not.

“We will forget about this, only this one time,” said Mr. Damocles. He put a hand on Nathaniel before leading him out the door. “Know you have the whole school support and rooting for you. I cannot wait to see what you create for the gala.”

Walking out the door and seeing the door close behind him, Nathaniel didn’t know what had happen. What was that?! Did he get a pass for drawing in class for once?

Maybe he prefers the phone call home. Than he wouldn't have to deal with even more mounting pressure on his shoulders.

“I’m dead….”

“Wait until you get me some more macrons,” said Rizzma, peaking out.

“Nooooooooooo.”

 

  

 


 

 

The day had start out so nice.

Now, Augustus felt like the ground had been pull out from under his feet. He couldn’t breath as his grip tight onto the paint brush in his hand.

He walk into art class with the hope that Mr. Bronn would tell him the good news. That he is the representative for the college for the Medici’s Student Patronage Prize. The package hadn’t arrived at his house yet but that didn’t worry him. The mail could be a day late but Mr. Bronn for sure would know that he would be moving on to the next round for the prize.

But he wishes he didn’t ask the teacher now that he knew the truth.

“Mr. Bronn, you can’t be right,” he chokes. “I’d been the representative for the college for the last two years.”

“I know that, Augustus,” said the art teacher. He smiles and is trying to make the sting of losing better, but it didn’t work. It's like he's continuing to poke him with the hot poker of failure. “Your old art teacher had you all enter the Medici’s Prize of your own. I felt since I took over the art department that it would be a great project for all the art students. Allow the whole school to part take.”

“But…but…It’s my last chance to win and-“

“Augustus, I know you wanted a final chance at the prize but it's out of my hands. Nathaniel been selected as our representative this year and you should support him. I’m sure he would have done the same for you.”

Nathaniel Kurtzberg! The very name wanted Augustus to scream in rage. That redhead sat in the back of their Advance Painting class! He wasn’t a true artist! He drew cartoons for goodness sake! How could his second-rate talent be more superior than his own. He had been painting since he could hold a brush. He spent years studying the greats and it's suppose to be his fate to be a painting master as well.

He needs that prize! He needs it to continue onward with his art career. It isn’t fair!

How could he afford art school!? His parents didn’t believe a career in the arts, they wouldn’t support him.

What could he do now?

“This isn’t right,” said Augustus, turning tail and leaving the room before Mr. Bronn could call him back. He was robbed ! He would not stand for this and would make sure Kurtzberg would pay for it. Stomping his way down the hallway, it felt like nothing would make him happy again.

That's until he saw Evelyn with her friends near his locker. A smile spread across his face once but it falter when she caught sight of him.

Though, why wasn’t she happy to see him?

“Hi Evie,” he said, waving. His girlfriend didn’t seem to be please as she turn to her friends.

“I’ll see you all later,” she said. The girls all nodded their heads, giving Augustus a look of disdain before pushing him out of their way. What were their issues?

“So glad to see you, I had a horrible chat with Mr-“

“You aren’t going to the gala, are you?”

The question stung as Augustus look at Evelyn. Her once warm eyes turn to stone as she took to looking down at him. He couldn’t help but look at her with confusion. Where’s his Evie Wvie?

“Well no. I won’t since they select someone else but I was robbed , Evie,” plead Augustus. He needs her reassurance, her kindness and to tell him that its going to be ok.

Not for her to become more focus on her nails than him right now.

“Well, that cannot do,” said Evelyn.

Wha…

“Augustus, I’m afraid we cannot see each other now. It won’t be good for me. You know my mother how she is. She only wants me to be with the best kind of people. I’m afraid being around you won’t work right now.”

“Wha…” choke Augustus. Nonononononono, this couldn’t be happening.

“See you around,” she said, waving her well manicure hand good bye before turning her back to him.

It didn’t matter that Augustus became the only one left in the hallway. He fell to his knees and stare off into space as his very world crash around him. His future was gone. The love of his life had left him in this moment of need.

No, this could be happening. The rage inside slowly rose from his stomach like an itch. His life now in ruins and it's all because of one person.

One person that if given the chance, he will destroy.

And since there is currently a super-villain giving out powers to anyone, it’s possible.

Chapter Text

There are thousands of tiny details when it comes to running a multi-million euro fashion house. There were contracts, production, models, designers that work under you and not to mention designing your own line. Very few could thrive in this type of environment. Gabriel happen to be one of them. He always had his finger into every part of running his label. No matter how small or how large it appeared.

Such as currently having a video conference with Audrey Bourgeois. Thank god she was across an ocean and far away from him. Gabriel barely tolerate this woman for no more than an hour. It was even harder in person.  If she wasn’t one of most powerful fashion critics in the industry and one of Emile’s oldest friends, he wouldn’t talk to her in the first place.

“-than to be said, you have so much dark colors in your line this year, Gabriel. Would it kill you to have some kind of color, maybe some sparkle? Glitter?”

Refraining from showing his frustration, Gabriel merely smile. “Audrey, you know the Gabriel line is known for being simple, sleek and straight lines. We are about the finer details, neat stitches and personal touches. We do not to be loud to be notice.”

“Are you talking about Jules’ boy and that throw up he called a debut line? I swear I could teach that man how to handle their children in this business. Why if-“

Letting the woman rant on about children while oblivious to her own horrible parenting, Gabriel allowed his mind to wander. He could feel the bright and powerful emotions of the city, each one a light that shone in the middle of the night. There were many but none that had that spark he needed. With in a few seconds, he felt the biting sensation of rage and anguish.

Once more, coming from Francoise Dupont.

“Audrey, as much as I enjoy our conversations, I’m afraid I must get back to work. Busy time of year as you know.”

“Yes, yes,” said Audrey with a wave of her hand. “We will have to talk again next time I’m in town for Fashion Week. I swear it’s the only time of the year its worth my time to come back.”

“Yes, get a hold of Nathalie and we can see if we can work something out than."

He took to clicking the chat video screen close with much hidden glee. The tension of dealing with the fashion editor took to leaving him as it was over for now. Standing up, Gabriel moved to stand in front of Emile’s portrait. Her eyes seem to follow his actions as he reached out to press the buttons to the observatory.

Sometimes it felt like she was judging him.

No, no, no, couldn’t think of that. Such thoughts disappeared once the floor open below him. He needed his wits and to be sure of his choices.

"Madam Bourgeois has many strong options on any matter of things, doesn't she?" Nooroo commented, flying around Gabriel.

"That's a polite way to look at it." said Gabriel. There were many other words he would descript Audrey and none of them of them were as civil as Nooroo's. Removing the cravat from his neck, the designer turn his focus on the nervous Kwami. "But I rather forget the whole meeting right now."

"Master, if I might-"

"Nooroo, transform me."

Gabriel allowed the Miraculous magic flow over him before Nooroo could once more repeat the same speech of redemption. What did the Kwami know of his pain? What measure he needed to go to restore things to what they should be?

It didn’t matter what others thought of him as long as he could make things right.

The skyline of Paris appeared in front of Hawk Moth as the observatory window open up. He could feel another soul’s anguish and rage. Once more another chance for victory was open to him. Would this be the one that would deliver him the two Miraculous he needed? Only time and patience would tell.

“There’s nothing like the blend of a broken heart and blinding rage,” smirked Hawk Moth as he held out a waiting hand. One of the thousand butterflies around him took to landing on it. Covering it, he allowed his dark magic to take hold. Once done, his little Akuma flew forth towards his target.

“Go, allow our new friend a chance to paint the city in furious red.”

 


 

"This isn't the end of the world, you know."

Finding Augustus in the middle of the hallway on the verge of tears, Bessie wanted to rip Evelyn a new one. She always knew that girl was nothing more than an user. In the three years of going to school together, Bess had seen her with dozens of boys. Many upon many before landing her hooks into Augustus. Each time, for one purpose or another.

A ticket for some big event, or latest toy or because they were rich or well connected.

Never because she actually like the guy.

It's the same case with Augustus.

Of course, Evelyn would use him for an in at the Valois Gala. He had been a finalist for the school for the past two years and it was a good guess he would be again. It was pure chance that the new art teacher would think of the whole Medici Patronage Prize as a class project was a great idea. Who would have guessed that he wouldn't have been the finalist again this year?

The only thing that pleased Bess of this whole mess was Augustus finally saw Evelyn for the monster she was.

"You don't understand! It is! My whole life is pointless now!" shouted Augustus, pushing Bessie away before storming his way down the hallway. She took to trailing on after him as she watch him step into the art classroom.

"Augs, please listen to me-"

"No! Shut up!" the broken-hearted painter cried out before slamming the door to the art room in her face.

"Augustus! Stop this!" Bessie demands, grabbing the door handle and tried to push it open. Damn it, did he lock it? She took to banging hard on the door. "If you would please calm down and listen. It isn't so bad and you know it. We can look up some scholarships or something. Please, just open the door."

No answers, she only could hear the sounds of crashing, smashing and spats. Rushing to classroom windows, she witnesses Augustus take to throwing everything around! Books, canvas, cans of paint and vases. He was destroying the classroom! He was going to get suspended or expelled if he didn't stop. Biting her lip and took to pacing, Bessie wonder if she ran and got Mr. Bronn than maybe Augustus wouldn't be in much trouble. Maybe they could get it all clean up? Then no one could get into trouble.

While weighting her choices and hearing the sounds of destruction, Bess took to trying the door handle again and pushed on it harder. She took to putting her shoulder into, pushing hard against it. Stumbling on through, she tripped and bumped over a few broken items near the doorway. Must not know her own strength. Lifting her head up, she took in at the carnage done. Art projects in ruin, paint spilled over the walls and floor. It would take forever to replace and clean this mess.

Augustus didn't seem to notice her as he took to pushing the row of vases from their still form lessons on the ground. She winced at the sound of glass crashing to the floor. It wouldn't be much longer until someone heard this. They needed to get out of here.

The mere thought of expulsion was clearly the largest threat right now.

Until she spotted a small fluttering creature move down from an open window. Her blood ran cold at the sight.

Everyone in Paris knew what that was.

An Akuma!

And it was heading towards Augustus!

"Augs! No!!"

He didn't notice the Akuma nor hear Bessie’s warning until it was too late. The little dark butterfly disappeared into an object on the table.

Bessie dove for it.

The Akuma disappeared into its’ target object

Two hands reaching for it.

"Hello Avante Guard, I'm Hawk Moth."

 


 

"I think you're overthinking this."

School had ended for the day and Nathaniel didn’t want to go home quite yet. There would be too many distractions, in the street, at home, any where! The only place that he thought that might be any place of help, was the Louvre. The greatest art masters might be able to give him some kind of insight into what he could paint.

He didn't expect an audience to come with him.

Rose and Juleka had been concern for him all day. Maybe because he failed to eat his lunch? Or the fact he been staring at his sketchbook all day. Art class had been a failure as well when the announcement had been made official. He spent the whole time sitting in front of a canvas with nothing coming to him.

He could always draw up something! Why couldn't he do it this time?!

It had been Rose's suggestion that he needed to get some air, just hang around the museum and relax. Maybe looking at some of his favorite pieces would hit him with some kind of inspiration.

Then there was Alix.

"Just get your head out of your ass and scribble something," she spoke out, rolling around the empty room of the museum on her skates. Still amazing that the security guards. Maybe because of her family's jobs and the awards they won for the museum allow such leeway. No one else in the city (beside perhaps Chloe) could get away with it.

"It isn't that easy," moaned Nathaniel, ripping out a ruined page and tossing it to the side. Rose and Juleka were on either side of him. Rose had been trying to get him to drink some kind of tea she brought while Juleka been busy fiddling on her phone.

"Yeah it is. I have seen some of the paintings other guys have done at this stuffy event. You paint anything and it will be ten times better," said Alix, skidded to a stop in front of him. "You got it in the bag."

"Alix, it isn't that simple! You think it is, but it isn't," said Nathaniel. "If I win this, I could get into any art program in the city. The prize could help me and Mum out so much. This is my future we are talking about! I could actually build a career."

"Which you already are a master at," said Rose, once more trying to shove the thermos at him. "You need to eat or dink something or else you will pass out."

"Which will be better than being killed from the pressure," stated Nathaniel, forcible standing up. He needed to get out of here.

"Seriously think the whole painting thing isn't the worst thing you're going to face with this gala," snorted Alix, arms cross as she took to skating backwards around the group.

"Oh and pray tell what you think it is oh mistress of social graces?" snapped Nathaniel, ready to make a break for it. He is getting sick of tired of people telling him what to do, what he shouldn't or should worry about, everything. No one knew how he felt and the mountain of expectation that was thrown on his shoulders.

"The fact you will need to bring a date to the gala."

What...

What?

"What?!" shouted Nathaniel.

"Well, I guess you can bring your mom along with you, but I seen a lot of the finalists bring their partners to help woe the judges. Chloe told you already its a pretty big deal with being black tie, they’ll have music and dancing...you do have like a suit, right?" asked Alix.

Date? Dancing? Black tie!? Oh crap...

Chloe had mention that, didn't she? He had been so focus on his finalist piece that he completely forgot this was a gala. That the whole event was a high class society event with food, dancing with fancy dresses and suits.

Falling to his knees, he covered his head and try to curl up into a ball. Not even Rose's pats of comfort were able to make him feel better.

"Kill me now."

That is until their phones started to beep. Alix and Rose took to digging their own out while Juleka flick through her notifications.

"Another Akuma spotted near the school." Juleka reported.

Nathaniel fought back the cry of frustration he wanted to let loose. Just what he needed! An Akuma to take care now.

How could this day get any worst?

“I need to get some air,” said Nathaniel, standing up fast and grabbing a hold of his bag. Before any of the girls had a chance to say anything, he took to moving down the hallway. “The walls are too close!”

It was a crappy move to do, he knew it. They were his best friends and knew he had a history of freaking out when things got stressful. It’s why he tended not to show his art nor enter into contests. Over the last few months, he had gotten better with at least showing off his comics with Ladybug, Chat Noir and Pavonis. He even posted some of his comic work online. But still, his history of freaking out was a prefect excuse to get away and transform without anyone around to see it.

So, there he was, being a crappy friend while the girls shouted on after him.

If they knew the truth, they would understand but this is Superhero 101. No one can know your true identity. It would protect them from Hawk Moth and that was more important than what they thought of him.

Turning a corner, Nathaniel gave a quick glance to make sure the close was clear. Rizzma didn’t even wait for the ok as he zipped out of his bag and hovered in front of him.

“Sooooo, you need a date and a suit for this thing, huh?” smirk the Kwami.

“That’s what you got out of that conversation?! Not the fact there’s an Akuma at the school?”

“Duh, because it’s the prefect chance for you to talk to Marinette. You need a suit and-

Nathaniel moaned as he couldn’t believe this, “We don’t have time for this...Rizzma, transform me!”

With the magic of the Miraculous, Pavonis leaped out of a window and into action.

 


 

Everyone looked like they stepped out of a zombie movie.

Alya had to be given a medal or some kind of award for her Ladyblog. If she didn’t have some kind of Akuma alarm part of her blog notifications, Chat wouldn’t know half of where the Akuma’s attacks where.

Landing in the middle of the school’s courtyard, Chat Noir had expected a bit more of a fight going on. More people screaming and running around in terror. There were scenes of some kind of battle with large amount of paint around, spatting the ground and walls. But there was still some students and teachers puttering around the courtyard. All of them appeared to had the life drain from them, seriously. They looked like they had step out from a black and white film, slowly moving around almost like zombies.

“Hello~ Ms. Mendeleiev?” asked Chat, waving his hand in front of his science teacher. Nothing as the teacher took to walking away, mumbling away and didn’t seem to notice him at all. “Well that just dandy.”

“Chat Noir!”

Turning around at the sound of his name, he smiled wide as Ladybug finally made her appearance. Landing next to him, she looked around and seem to be equally confused. “What’s going on, Chat?”

“You got me,” he said, scratching the back of his head. “I only just arrived and found all this.”

Ladybug nodded her head, looking out at the whole scene with concern. “All these people though…it looks like the colors had been drain out of them.”

“What do you think the Akuma did to them?”

“Not sure,” said Ladybug before turning to point at the entrance. “But whoever it is, they were nice enough to make it easy to track them down.”

Following Ladybug’s finger, Chat could see her meaning. All the spats of paint took to leading out the door and continue to form some kind of trail out the door. “Than shall we get going than, Bugaboo?” suggested Chat, bowing to allow Ladybug pass him.

“Silly Kitty,” scoffed Ladybug as they took to following on after the paint puddles.