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Rise of Paonne and Renard Rouge

Chapter Text

It’s funny how one small change can cause such big differences in the timeline, in one timeline an old man gives a pair of earrings to a girl who helped him across the street, but in another timeline the girl wasn’t there to help and so he was helped by a different girl who then received the earrings instead. In the first timeline the first girl then goes on to become a superhero along with a boy with a magic ring against a man who makes supervillains but with a consequence to her civilian life, but in the second timeline the other girl takes up that responsibility and the first girl is able to live her life normally and receive opportunities she wouldn’t have had in the first timeline due to saving Paris getting in the way.

We all know what occurs in the first timeline. But shall we take a look into the second timeline created by one small change, created by the first girl leaving for school earlier that she originally should have, causing another girl to be there in her place and take on the responsibility that should have been hers? Maybe we should. But the universe has a way of correcting itself, the first girl was destined for greatness, and though she may have unintentionally missed her first chance, greatness shall come to her anyway, just in a slightly different form.


 

When Ladybug and Chat Noir emerged Gabriel Agreste did his best to ignore their existence, he knew exactly what the Miraculous were and it only dredged up painful memories for him to think about them. It was the same reason he was distant with his son, because looking at him reminded him too much of what he’s lost, he knew it was wrong to treat his son like he did. For a while, ignoring the two heroes worked, the actions of the Akumas and heroes rarely ever affected him, though it did apparently affect his son as all but two students from his class including Adrien himself had become Akumas. The other students yet to become an Akuma had been a girl by the name of Marinette Dupain-Cheng, after the girl had won the derby hat competition while also proving that her design was her own and that the Bourgeois had been the one to copy it, Gabriel had decided to investigate the girl more and was impressed by her potential, he was also impressed that she had avoided being Akumatised despite how much Chloe Bourgeois seemed to enjoy picking on her, so he offered her work experience with him that she had accepted.

All had been going well until the Jackady incident. To Gabriel’s defence, he had been tricked into appearing on the show, and he wasn’t going to lower himself to go along with the stupid thing, and it wasn’t technically his fault that the man who ended up Akumatised lost out on his chance to win by Gabriel refusing to take part, the people in charge of the show should have just got someone more willing to partake. Never the less, Jackady blamed him for losing his chance at winning, and so came after him and it put his son in danger, Ladybug and Chat Noir followed and tried to help, bringing up memories Gabriel found painful, causing him to act more cold in an effort to not show emotion. Marinette had been with Gabriel for her work experience when Jackady had attacked, and she had impressed him with how capable she was at fighting against Jackady’s hypnotised minions, but she hadn’t been able to hold them off forever with how many of them there were, leading Gabriel to eventually be captured and almost die by jumping off a building after being hypnotised.

When Gabriel had returned home he gave his son a hug, relieved that Adrien was safe. And then he saw the ring. The colour had been off and there was no paw print, but there had been no mistaking the shape, and Gabriel knew the reason for the absent colour and paw print. Adrien, his son, was Chat Noir, his son was regularly putting himself in danger. Gabriel knew that he couldn’t just take the ring off his son or tell him to stop being Chat Noir, not only would it put Paris in danger, but he knew his son wouldn’t want to give it up and get angry if Gabriel tried to force him to, and without the protection of the ring Adrien would also be vulnerable to Hawkmoth. Still, Gabriel had to do something, even if it meant facing his painful memories head on.


 

When Ladybug and Chat Noir hit the scene Marinette would run and hide during Akuma attacks just like everyone else, and celebrate the two heroes when they managed to overcome the odds and win. But whenever Marinette looked at Ladybug, she couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong, that something about the heroine was off, it wasn’t the ‘she’s suspicious’ sort of off, Marinette just couldn't describe what was off about her. And when she watched the Akuma battles, she always felt a niggling at the back of her mind that she should be doing something, she didn’t know what, just something.

Marinette’s first direct encounter with an Akumatised victim was when Nathanael, who’d been crushing on her, invited her out on a date for his birthday, feeling sorry for him for being Akumatised on his birthday and a bit scared as to how he’d react if she said no she had agreed. Despite being turned into a villain Nathanael, or the Evillustrator as he had been called, had been perfectly nice during his birthday date and Marinette had to admit that she had had a good time, but it had come to an end when Hawkmoth had decided the date had gone on long enough and ordered the Evillustrator to get the Miraculouses and caused him pain when he tried to refuse. The Evillustrator had dropped Marinette off at the dock and then ran off, Nathanael showing up the next day showed that he had found the heroes and been cleansed.

Marinette watched as one by one, her classmates became Akumatised, until she and Adrien were the only ones left not used by Hawkmoth. With how much Chloe loved to target her Marinette was surprised that she hadn’t been sent a black butterfly yet, and so was a lot off the class as it seemed that many of them were waiting for her or Adrien to ‘become one of them’ as it were. Marinette credited her ability to remain Akuma-free to her fashion designing, whenever she got stressed, sad or any other negative emotion she would turn to designing or creating clothes, doing the activity calmed her and allowed her to pour emotion into her work. And it seemed that her way of remaining Akuma-free got her noticed.

Marinette knew she was lucky to get to where she was, doing work experience for Gabriel Agreste, not only one of her favourite fashion designers, but the father of her crush Adrien. She hadn’t believed it when she had received the Email inviting her on work experience, she had thought it a joke by the likes of Chloe, but then Gabriel Agreste’s assistant came up to her when they came to pick up Adrien after school and invited her along to speak with Mr Agreste. He had seen her work and had been impressed, offering to help her better her skills through work experience. So, twice a week for a few hours, Marinette would go to Adrien’s home and learn from Mr Agreste.

This led to her being in Mr Agreste’s mansion when an Akumatised victim and his minions came for Mr Agreste, thanks to some self-defence training from her mum Marinette had been able to defend herself and Mr Agreste fairly well until she had been overwhelmed and Mr Agreste taken. Thankfully, Ladybug and Chat Noir managed to save the day just in time and Mr Agreste returned safely home, he had thanked her for her efforts in trying to save him before sending her home.

Over the next few weeks Marinette noticed Mr Agreste acting strangely, she noticed that he seemed to be watching her more, with a conflicting look in his eyes, Marinette just wrote it off as the after effects of the Akuma. That was, until he day Marinette was called into Mr Agreste’s office for a private chat.


 

“You wanted to see me, Mr Agreste?” Marinette asked as she opened the office door.

“Miss Dupain-Cheng, please come in.” Gabriel told her. “Have a seat.”

Marinette came into the office and closed the door behind her, she then sat on the chair opposite him.

“Tell me, Miss Dupain-Cheng. What do you think of Ladybug and Chat Noir?”

Marinette was caught off guard by the question about Paris’ resident heroes.

“Uh, I think they’re really brave and do their best to protect Paris, even if it is from my classmates.” Marinette answered.

“Don’t you think we’ve had a bit too many close calls lately?” Gabriel asked.

Marinette could tell this was mostly based on Gabriel’s own near-death experience, but she could still see his point in that the Akuma seemed to be getting stronger and Ladybug and Chat Noir were struggling to take them down. If it wasn’t for Ladybug’s instant healing powers, many parts of Paris would be sectioned off because of the damage done by the villains and sometimes even the heroes themselves.

“Maybe, but I’m sure they’ll be able to deal with the Akuma in the end.” Marinette said.

“Maybe they will, or maybe there may come a time where they will be too late.” Gabriel said. “If you had some way to help them, if you had powers of your own would you use them to protect Paris regardless of the danger?”

Marinette was getting really confused as to why she was getting asked all these questions, but she answered truthfully.

“Of course. Truthfully, I always feel that I should be doing something when an Akuma attacks.” Mariette answered.

Gabriel gave a barely noticeable smile. He then reached under his desk for something.

“Have you ever heard about other heroes existing, before Ladybug and Chat Noir?” He asked.

“Not really. Before Ladybug and Chat Noir I didn’t even know they could exist. I’ve heard rumours online but didn’t think they were true.”

“I assure you, some of them are more than rumours”

Gabriel took out a clipping from an old newspaper.

‘Quantic Team Saves the Day Again!’ Screamed the headline.

The picture to go along with the article was slightly blurred but Marinette could make out a group of young men and women dressed in costumes battling something out of the picture, they were obviously superheroes. The article went on about how the heroes save the day and the damages done by the opponent they were facing.

“The Quantic Team? That name seems familiar.” Marinette mumbled.

“The Quantic team had their beginnings here in France many years ago with just a few members, but as the years went by they travelled the world and brought on new members in their quest to end to end an evil different from Hawkmoth.” Gabriel told her.

“Then, why aren’t they here now to help stop Hawkmoth now?” Marinette asked.

“With the evil they fought against defeated most of us decided to retire and give up our powers.”

It took a few seconds for Gabriel’s wording to sink in.

“Wait, you said ‘us’ and ‘our’. You were a superhero?” Marinette gasped.

Gabriel simply nodded and handed over a photo, it was of a group of costumed heroes posing for the camera. The entire group of heroes looked beaten and worn, with torn costumes and some even having make-shift splints and slings, but despite their injuries they all looked like they couldn’t be happier, grinning at the camera and some of them either doing peace signs or thumbs-up.

“Sir.” Marinette finally said after a few minutes to process what she had been told. “I don’t get why you’re telling me all of this.”

“Because,” Gabriel said, standing and going over to the portrait that hung behind his desk. “Ladybug and Chat Noir need help.” Behind the portrait was a safe that he opened. “The help needed is from my old powers but I am retired indefinitely, so someone new is needed.” He took something out of the safe before closing it, putting the portrait back, and sitting down again. “And I believe that person is you.”

Gabriel placed what he took out of the safe in front of Marinette, it was a broach in the shape of a peacock. Marinette recognised the broach from the photo and looked back at the group of heroes until her eyes picked out a male superhero themed after a peacock, wearing the same broach that was now in front of her. Gabriel had said that the broach was his, meaning that the man in the photo was him, Marinette was having a hard time seeing her stern mentor dressed up in such a flashy way even though the evidence was in front of her. Then Gabriel’s words clicked.

“Wait. You want me to take up your powers?” Marinette gasped.

“Yes.” Gabriel answered.

“Why me? Surely there are others more fit to take your place. I’m just a clumsy girl, I’m not fit to be a hero.”

“Yes you are, Miss Dupain-Cheng. I know that Miss Bourgeois has a certain enjoyment in targeting, yet you have managed to remain free of Hawkmoth’s influence when your classmates have been victim of him for less. You have a profound sense of right and wrong and will stand up for others, shown by how you stand up to Miss Bourgeois. And you have shown to be a capable fighter during the Akuma attack on my home.”

Marinette grew red at Gabriel’s words.

“Even though you’re retired, isn’t there any of your teammates who can come back to help out? They’d be more help that an untrained rookie like me.” Marinette said.

“If it was a different sort of villain, maybe. Do you know about the Miraculous?”

“There the things that Hawkmoth is constantly trying to get off Ladybug and Chat Noir, probably the source of their power.”

“They are. There are actually seven Miraculous in total, Ladybug, Chat Noir and Hawkmoth’s are three of them, and this broach is another. Since Hawkmoth’s source of power is a Miraculous, the best way to defeat him is with the other Miraculous. Which is why I am giving this to you.”

“Do you really think I can be a hero? I know a little bit of self-defence, but not nearly enough to take on an Akuma.”

“Which is why I shall be training you.”

“Really?”

“The Miraculous may give subconscious knowledge of your weapon and how to fight, but it is better if you are trained. If you accept, that is.”

Marinette looked at the broach lying innocently on the desk in front of her, apparently holding the same power that Ladybug and Chat Noir had, and the potential to make her a superhero. But did she really want that? Becoming a superhero meant being constantly under fire from the Akuma, her loved ones being put in danger if her identity was discovered, hiding the truth from everyone, and sacrificing who knows how much of her real life. But, her loved ones were already in danger from Akumas whenever they got caught in the line of fire, Alya herself doing it deliberately to get the latest scoop on Ladybug, and if she became a superhero then she could protect them, she could help like she always felt like she should be doing.

Marinette slowly reached for the broach, her hand paused halfway and pulled backward slightly in hesitance before continuing the rest of the way and picking up the broach delicately. With the same slow hesitance, she pinned the broach to her shirt.

The was a sudden flash of light as a blue orb appeared before her. The orb faded away to reveal a small blue creature with a resemblance to a peacock. The creature opened its eyes and looked at a freaked out Marinette, it looked around the room until it spotted Gabriel.

“Hello again, Pavo.” Gabriel said.

The creature suddenly burst out into blue, sparkling tears, surprising Marinette but not Gabriel.

“Gabe.” The creature sobbed, flying into Gabriel’s chest.

Gabriel didn’t seem to mind the tears on his suit and cupped the creature to his chest with a gentleness Marinette had never seen.

“Uh, Mr Agreste.” Marinette awkwardly interrupted. “Who’s this.”

The creature stopped crying to look at Marinette.

“This is Pavo, he is a Kwami, a small god that gives the Miraculous its power.” Gabriel answered.

Marinette looked down at the broach and was shocked to find it devoid of colour.

“The Miraculous lose their colour when us Kwami are not in them.” Explained Pavo. He then turned to Gabriel. “Are you really giving me to a new wielder?”

Gabriel simply nodded, and Pavo nodded back in understanding but with a sad look on his face.

“She is also an aspiring fashion designer.” Gabriel added.

Pavo suddenly brightened up and flew over to Marinette. “Really, let me see your designs. Are you wearing your own designs right now? You have to be, you look so nice. I can tell you are going to look fabulous when we transform.” He fired out in rapid succession.

Marinette was slightly taken aback by Pavo’s one-eighty in mood, but took it in stride and held out her hand for Pavo to sit on.

“Uh, thank you.” Marinette said.

“Would you like to try it out?” Gabriel suggested.

“Yes!” Pavo burst out, rising from Marinette’s hand and flying around her impatiently as the girl got up.

“Alight.” Marinette said with a smile, Pavo’s excitement was contagious. “What do I do?”

“Just say ‘feathers flared’, and the magic will do its work.” Pavo said.

Marinette was sure that if the Kwami wasn’t floating, he’d be jumping up and down on the desk.

“Feathers flared?” Marinette asked to see if she got it right.

Instead of answering, Pavo was sucked into the broach, Marinette felt like light feathers were brushing over her as a wave of blue light washed over her, leaving a costume and mask in place of her clothes.

“Woah.” Marinette exclaimed once the transformation finished.

Marinette looked down at her new supersuit with wide eyes.

Gabriel stood up and guided her to a full length mirror where she was able to see herself in all her glory.

The suit was mostly a vibrant blue with the exception of an arrow of green that started at her chest and went over her shoulders, the sleeves ended in a point over her hands and her hands were covered by light brown gloves, she wore green boots that went half-way up her calves, and a green scarf around her waist, the Miraculous was on the centre of her chest at the point of the green arrow, lifting up her arms she saw that she had light brown feathers attached between her arms and body that went to her elbows, she wore a blue mask that went over her nose and had white markings around the eyes, the mask had crest feathers sprouting from the top of it and there were also crest feathers coming from her pigtails, and she had a large fan that was attached to the back of her waist that gave the impression of tail feathers.

Marinette spun around as she took in her new look.

“Wow.” She said. “I look different than you did.” She said, talking about how Gabriel looked in the photograph.

“Every wielder will look different but they will have the same power set. Like your fan.” Gabriel told her.

Marinette reached behind her and detached the large fan from the scarf around her waist, it was light despite its size but she could still feel the weight behind it, she swung it around and it cut through the air effortlessly.

“It can also separate into two.” Gabriel informed her.

Marinette was a bit puzzled, she didn’t see a way to split the fan in two.

“Like this.” Gabriel said, guiding her.

Gabriel guided Marinette’s hands to move the handle of the fan in a certain way that it split in two, the two halves separated easily with feathers on each, on one of the fans the feathers were much shorter while on the other the feathers were the same length but soon retracted to match the length of the other fan, leaving Marinette with two smaller fans instead of her large one. She swung them around to get the feel of them.

“What else can I do?” Marinette asked in amazement.

“You also get a special power that you can only use once per transformation.” Gabriel told her.

“Like Ladybug’s Lucky Charm?”

“Yes. It is called Oracle Eye, and it will allow you to see five possible outcomes of a situation.”

“I get to see the future?”

“Yes. But after you use this power you will have only five minutes before you are forced to turn back, the minutes are counted down by your Miraculous, it will lose colour in two of the jewels for each minute. You should turn back now. Just will it and it will happen.”

Marinette took a deep breath and thought of becoming normal again, there was a flash of blue and the feeling of feathers again, and Marinette was back to her old self with Pavo floating next to her.

“I knew it. You looked positively elegant.” Pavo said happily.

“Thank you.” Marinette said.

“You may go home early today to get to know Pavo, but I expect you here tomorrow morning to begin your training.” Gabriel told her.

“Okay.” Marinette said, still slightly unsure about the whole superhero thing even though she had already accepted.

Marinette then left for home with Pavo tucked away in her purse and the Miraculous still pinned to her shirt but hidden behind her jacket.


 

Once Marinette got home and reached her room she opened up her purse and allowed Pavo out.

“This is amazing.” Pavo said as he looked around her room.

Pavo then caught sight of Marinette’s pictures of Adrien.

“Who’s the boy.” He asked with a grin.

“That’s Adrien. Mr Agreste’s son.” Marinette answered with a sigh.

Pavo suddenly burst into tears again.

“Woah, what’s wrong?” Marinette asked, cupping the crying Kwami in her hands.

“He looks so much like her.” Pavo sobbed.

Marinette had a feeling who Pavo was talking about, she gently pet the Kwami’s head.

“Um, how about some food to cheer you up? What do you like to eat?” Marinette suggested.

“Ooh, grapes, please.” Pavo suddenly snapped out of his crying.

Marinette sighed, knowing that Pavo would probably have mood swings like this all the time. Still, she went down stairs and came back up with some grapes, she set them down and Pavo happily dug into them.

“So, what’s been going on since I was asleep?” Pavo asked before eating another grape.

Marinette quickly explained about Hawkmoth showing up and turning people with high negative emotions into supervillains in order to get Ladybug and Chat Noir’s Miraculouses, and the two heroes constant fight against him.

“Poor Nooroo.” Pavo said sadly. “Being used like that.”

“Who’s Nooroo?” Marinette asked.

“He is the Kwami of Hawkmoth’s Miraculous. Over the many millennia the Miraculous have existed we have mostly been used for good, but there have been times where we haven’t, and it is never nice.”

“Well, I promise to use this for good.” Marinette said, tapping the Miraculous on her shirt.

“I know. Gabe wouldn’t have chosen you otherwise.”

“He told me that before I can help out that he’s going to train me.” Marinette told the Kwami after he’d finished eating.

“Good idea. When Gabe started out he didn’t have any training, he had quite a rough time when starting out due to inexperience.” Pavo said. “He didn’t even choose a hero name, the press just made one up for him and he was stuck with it. So, you’ll need a hero name.”

“I don’t know, what do you recommend?”

“My wielders have had a few. Belle Bleu, Paon, Paonne, Juno, Grande Plume, Phoenix, etc.”

“I think I’ll go with Paonne, thanks.” Marinette picked.

“Bit ordinary, but okay.” Pavo said.

For the next few hours Marinette got to know Pavo a little better, showing the Kwami her designs and getting him up to date with the world he’d missed while sleeping in his Miraculous.

“You’d best get some sleep.” Pavo told Marinette, looking at the clock. “You’re going to need it for training.”

Marinette agreed and quickly got changed for bed before climbing up the ladder to her bed, once she was settled Pavo lay on her stomach and they both fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Not even a week later Marinette was beginning to regret her choice to become a superhero, or at least being trained by Gabriel, her mentor was brutal when it came to her training. Every day Marinette had been put through various exercises and training that left her sore all over, and they hadn’t even moved onto her actual hero training yet, apart from the time in Gabriel’s office she had yet to transform or use a weapon. She was told she was learning endurance before any actual training. Though, apparently, she was advancing quicker that Gabriel had anticipated. Marinette was just glad that she learned how to do the splits growing up, because if she didn’t she knew learning to do them now would be murder.

Marinette reluctantly dragged herself to the training studio Gabriel was training her in, it was next to the Agreste mansion and even had a secret passage way between them so that Marinette could be trained without anyone questioning why she was going to the Agreste mansion so often.

As Marinette walked she passed by an outdoor notice board with multiple fliers and advertisements stuck to it, at that moment Pavo decided to stick his head out of Marinette’s purse and spotted one of the flyers.

“Ooh.” Pavo said, flying out of Marinette’s purse to get a better look.

“Pavo!” Marinette called, running after him.

Thankfully, no one was near enough to spot Pavo.

“Marinette, look at this.” Pavo said pointing at one of the flyers.

It was a flyer for dancing lessons.

“Definitely not!” Marinette exclaimed.

“Why not?”

“Because I’m clumsy and have two left feet. I’d just make a fool out of myself.”

“All of my Peacocks were graceful, even if they didn’t start off like that. You just need to try.”

“No. I’d still make a fool of myself.”

“How about ice-skating?” Pavo pointed at an advertisement for the local ice-skating rink.

“No.”

Marinette grabbed Pavo and stuffed the Kwami back into her purse before continuing her way to training at a quicker pace so she wouldn’t be late.


 

“You can rest.” Gabriel told Marinette.

Marinette collapsed to the floor after doing fifty sit ups and a thirty-minute run.

“Your physical fitness has been progressing very well. We shall be moving onto combat training tomorrow.” Gabriel said.

“Oh, goody.” Marinette mumbled quietly, already telling that combat training would be harder.

Pavo flew over with a water bottle, proving to be stronger than he looked, and gave it to Marinette who took a long drink from it.

“You’ve certainly been looking more graceful.” Pavo said.

“No.” Marinette said, already guessing he was going to say.

“Please. Just give it a try.”

“I told you, I’m not joining that dance class.”

“It would be wise if you did.” Gabriel told Marinette.

“Huh?” Marinette turned to her mentor.

“Being able to dance will help your gracefulness when you become Paonne.”

Marinette internally moaned, knowing she’d have to join dance classes because Gabriel would be expecting her to, and she couldn’t take the pressure of letting down her mentor.

“Alright, I’ll give it a try.” She said, defeated.

“Yay!” Pavo cheered, hugging Marinette as best as he could.

“Good.” Gabriel said. “Now onto the weight lifting.”

Marinette fought back another moan.


 

The next day Marinette was given a day off of training to go to the dance studio, she was also told by Gabriel that he would pay for her lessons despite her trying to protest. When she arrived she found a board that listed all of the dance classes that were taught at the studio.

“There’s so many.” Marinette said. “Which should I choose? Contemporary, hip hop, freestyle?”

“What about something classically elegant, like ballet?” Pavo suggested from inside her purse.

“Maybe, but something like breakdancing seems like it’d help better with fighting.”

“The Peacock isn’t a heavy hitter like the Ladybug or Cat, our job is to land a hit then dance away before the enemy can hit back and provide support. We are light and graceful.”

“I guess you have a point.”

“Ooh, look! Chinese dance!”

Marinette looked at the option for Chinese dance classes, which offered to teach different types of Chinese dance. She admitted to herself that it would be nice to learn something from her mother’s half of her heritage, especially since she couldn’t speak her mother’s language.

“I remember one of my Peacocks dancing those dances alongside one of the previous Ladybugs.” Pavo said wistfully.

“Can I help you, Miss?” Someone said.

Marinette turned to see an older woman standing there, the clothes she wore showed she worked at the studio.

“A friend suggested I learn to dance, but…”

“You don’t know what to pick?” The woman asked.

“Yeah.”

“Do any in particular catch your eye?”

“Um. The Chinese dance.”

“That’s good. People starting out like you can watch in on some lessons to get a feel of what they want to do. One of those lessons have just started if you want to watch.”

“I’d like that very much, thank you.”

“Follow me.”

The woman led Marinette through the building and past a few studios until they game to a large studio where the Chinese dance classes were taking place with a few people watching them. Once Marinette sat down the woman left.

Marinette watched the dancers, they were male and female and dressed in red sleeveless shirts and loose trousers with no shoes. As they danced the fabric they held would spread out like a fan or twirl around their bodies. From Marinette purse, Pavo watched the dancers, enthralled.

Eventually, the lesson came to a close and everyone filed out. Marinette went to the main desk and signed up for the Chinese dance lessons.


 

Marinette was right about her combat training being harder, at first it was alright with the basic self-defence moves, but once Gabriel decided to move onto hand-to-hand she felt bruised all over. Marinette was also being trained to fight with a tessen fan since that was her weapons as Paonne, she found it difficult but soon got a hang of it. Marinette also had her dancing lessons, since she was just starting out she wasn’t doing anything more than basic moves for the type of dance the dance tutor was currently focusing on.

But Marinette was beginning to feel like her schedule was getting a little full, she had her training to be Paonne, her dance lessons, the time she had to put aside to practise the moves she had been given by the dance tutor, and she still had her work experience on top of it, and her training often left her very tired. Thankfully, she did get time off her training and her dance lessons were only once a week, so she still had time to hang out with Alya, create her designs, and fawn over Adrien.

Currently, Marinette was going through the moves with her tessen fan, moving her body and the fan around in the correct positions and gradually speeding up. As she sped up, Marinette felt like her body was speeding ahead of her brain, her body going through the correct motions before she was able to identify them, let she still didn’t make a mistake.

“And, throw.” Gabriel said.

Marinette stopped and threw her fan, it sored through the air and embedded itself in a target, only inches from the edge.

“Your accuracy is getting better. But it needs to be perfect if you don’t want to risk hitting something other than the enemy.” Gabriel told her.

Marinette nodded and retrieved the tessen from the target.

“Your fans as Paonne will act more than just tessen fans, they will also return to you once thrown as long as they are not interrupted. So, you will practice throwing your tessen and catching it without cutting yourself on the blade.” Gabriel said.

Thankfully, Marinette was provided with a thick glove for this exercise, so when she did catch it by the blade she didn’t cut herself. Gabriel had her practice several different ways of catching the fan, he had her throwing it straight up, throwing it across the room and catching up to it, him throwing it at her like her having to catch it etc. It took a few hours but Marinette did begin to catch it by the handle more often that the blade by the time her training time came to a close.

“He’s going to make me catch my fan without the glove tomorrow, isn’t he?” Marinette asked Pavo once she was in the safety of her room.

“Most likely. Gabe takes training very seriously.” Pavo said. “Though, just be thankful you’re not being trained by Avantia, she was a nightmare.”

“Avantia? Was she one of your Peacocks?”

“No.” Pavo said.

Pavo flew over to a section of Marinette’s wall that had pictures of the superhero team Gabriel had been in, Marinette had found and printed them off shortly after Gabriel passing on his powers to her. Pavo pointed to a woman dressed like a cross between an aviator piolet and Indiana Jones, mixed in with some steampunk.

“That’s Avantia. She wielded a pair of pistols which she could use with pinpoint accuracy, even blindfolded. Her powers weren’t physical but she was trained in many fighting styles so that didn’t really matter, and if a new recruit wasn’t physically fit or good at fighting, her training would make sure they would be.” Pavo told Marinette.

“Yikes.” Marinette said. “What about some of the others, who were they?” She then asked.

The internet did give her a little information, but a lot of it seemed speculative.

Pavo pointed to another woman dressed in a long, heavy-looking coat with a belt going from the shoulder to the waist, and metal boots. “That was the Imp, a wild card with a love of explosions and flying, thankfully she did have virtues and was on the side of good.” He said.

He pointed to a pair of dark-skinned men who were twins and dressed similarly. One was inside a mech-suit and the other hung off it and had some sort of device attached to his arm. “They were Tech and Glitch. Tech was a genius with machines and Glitch was a genius with computers.”

Pavo flew over to another picture, this one was of Gabriel in Peacock form fighting alongside a woman dressed in silver who wielded a bow. Pavo suddenly burst into tears again.

“Whoa! Whoa! What is it?” Marinette asked, cupping the Kwami in her hands.

“I just, miss her.” Pavo sobbed.

“Who is she?”

“She was Silver Hunter, with powers of the goddess of the moon.”

Marinette took a closer look at the woman fighting alongside her mentor. She had blond hair in a ponytail with silver ribbon woven through it, she wore a headband with a crescent moon inside a full moon on it, and another, thinner head band a little further back. She wore a sleeveless silver bodysuit, a sash going across her body, arm guards, an armlet on one arm, a thick golden belt with a silver netted trail coming from behind it that ended just below the knee, there was a slight golden woven design below the knee that gave the impression of ancient Greek sandals, and her shoes ended with crescent moons. The woman had a bow with a glowing arrow notched in it ready to fire, the bow probably made its own arrows since the woman didn’t seem to be carrying any.

“She’s not wearing a mask.” Marinette observed.

“She didn’t need one, her magic protected anyone from recognising her.” Pavo said, wiping away his tears.

“What happened to her?”

“She just disappeared one day. Gabriel couldn’t take the grief of losing her and I just reminded him of her, that’s why he locked me away in his safe.”

“That’s unfair.”

“It’s okay. He didn’t know about the Guardian so he could exactly give me to him for safe keeping, and even if he did I don’t think he’s want to give me up so easily.”

“Guardian?”

“The Guardian is usually the one who looks after the Miraculouses when they’re not in use and gives them out when they’re needed. He originally gave me to Silver Hunter but when she got her powers of the moon goddess she gave me to Gabriel.”

Marinette looked at Silver Hunter again, there was something familiar about her that she just couldn’t place. She eventually gave up and went to do her homework.

That night, when Marinette went to sleep, she dreamt of running across the rooftops alongside a woman dressed like an aviator pilot, another woman flying by them with rocket boots, a man in a mech-suit with an identical man holding onto it, and a woman dressed in silver.

Chapter Text

Fu sat, meditating, when Wayzz suddenly interrupted him.

“Master! The Peacock Miraculous has been activated again!” Wayzz said.

“Hmm.” Fu said. “I wonder if Grande Plume has returned, or if it is a new holder.”

“I do not know master. But I don’t sense it being used in evil like the Butterfly Miraculous.”

“That is good.”

Fu had a thoughtful look on his face as he looked towards his gramophone that contained the box of Miraculous.

“What are you thinking, master?” Wayzz asked.

“The Akumas Ladybug and Chat Noir face do seem to be getting harder for them, so they could use the support. But the Miraculous usually work best when they are paired and in balance. Ladybug to Cat, and the Peacock to Fox.” Fu said, stroking his chin.

“Are you sure choosing Vixx is wise, Master?” Wayzz questioned. “After the incident with the Akuma claiming to own this Miraculous, they are not likely to trust whoever you choose.”

“That may be the case. But the Peacock and Fox are usually paired together and I already have chosen who Philla will go to, but they are not yet ready to receive a Miraculous. So we will just have to hope that Vixx’s chosen will be able to gain their trust.” Fu said.

Fu opened the gramophone and box containing the Miraculous and took out the fox-tail necklace before shutting them, he then took out a small hexagonal box and placed the necklace in it. Wayzz flew over to Fu and hid in his pocket as the old man left to test the candidates for the Miraculous.


 

Nathanael sat at his desk, he had plenty of paper and his pencil was sharp, yet he found he couldn’t draw, he had artist’s block. He thumped his head with his hand as if it would suddenly remove the block.

“Ugh.” He moaned.

Nathanael stood up and decided to go out, hoping that he’d see something to inspire him while on his walk.

“Get some milk while you’re out!” Nathanael’s mother called to him as he walked out the door.

“Okay!” Nathanael called back.

Nathanael walked around, trying to find inspiration, he went to the park and saw the Ladybug and Chat Noir statue but he didn’t feel motivated to draw another Ladybug comic. As he looked around Nathanael spotted an old Asian man walking nearby, something then fell out of the bag the man was carrying but he didn’t seem to notice. Nathanael jogged over and saw it was the man’s wallet.

“Excuse me!” Nathanael called, running after the man.

The man turned and Nathanael held out the wallet.

“You dropped this.”

The man took his wallet with a smile.

“Thank you, young man. You are very noble.” The old man said.

“You’re welcome.” Nathanael replied.

The old man patted Nathanael’s side before walking off.

Nathanael walked around for another hour before giving up on finding inspiration, he bought the milk his mum asked for and went home.

Once back in his room, Nathanael started to unload his pockets when he felt something that hadn’t been there before. He pulled a small ornate hexagonal box out of his jacket pocket.

“Where’d this come from?” He asked with a frown.

Nathanael opened the box and only got a brief view of a fox-tail necklace inside before he was almost blinded by an orange light appearing before him. The orange light then faded to reveal a small orange creature that resembled a fox.

“Ah, it’s good to be out.” The creature said with a female voice, stretching its tiny limbs.

Nathanael just stood, wide-eyed, looking at the creature.

“Nice to meet yah, Nathanael, I’m Vixx.” The creature said.

Nathanael didn’t respond.

“Uh, hello? I didn’t get a mute, did I?”

“Hi.” Nathanael said, he then proceeded to faint.

Vixx sighed. “I hate it when they do that.” She said.

Vixx busied herself looking around Nathanael’s room while she waited for Nathanael to wake up.


 

Nathanael groaned as he woke up, clutching his aching head. It didn’t take him long to remember his reason for fainting. He looked around his room and was about to write it off as an odd hallucination when a voice spoke up.

“About time you woke up, I was getting bored.”

Nathanael turned around to see Vixx floating there.

“Ahh!” Nathanael screamed, crawling backwards away from Vixx.

“Don’t freak out kid. I’m not going to hurt yah, in fact I’m here to help yah.” Vixx said.

“What are you?” Nathanael demanded, keeping as far away from Vixx as he could.

“I’m a Kwami, I grant powers to whoever wears that necklace. And you have been chosen to wear it.”

Nathanael looked over the box where he dropped it, it was open with the fox tail necklace, now devoid of colour, on display.

“This is crazy.” Nathanael said with a shake of his head. “I’m just dreaming.”

“Nope.” Vixx said, popping the ‘p’. “You’ve been chosen to wield the Fox Miraculous and help out Ladybug, Chat Noir, and whoever the Peacock is when they show up.”

“Wait a minute. Miraculous? Like what Hawkmoth is always after? And what do you mean help Ladybug and Chat Noir?” Nathanael asked.

“Exactly what I said. Using this Miraculous you can become a superhero to fight against Hawkmoth.”

“What? I’m not hero material. I got turned into an Akuma because of a mean remark from the class bully.”

“Well, there must be something that made the Guardian decide otherwise.”

“Who’s this guardian?”

“Not important right now. Now, put on the Miraculous.”

Hesitantly, Nathanael took the Miraculous out of the box and held it in his hand.

“If I put this on, what would happen?” He asked.

“You would become a Fox superhero whenever you wanted, capable of creating illusions.” Vixx explained.

Nathanael with quick to remember Volpina.

“You mean like that Akuma who claimed to be a fox superhero?” He asked.

Vixx growled. “I don’t like that Hawkmoth did that. But yes, you would be similar.”

“No way.” Nathanael rejected. “They’d never trust me. And this is way too insane. I can’t handle this.”

Nathanael grabbed the box and stuffed the necklace back inside, closing the lid with a slam.

Silence followed.

Nathanael looked around his room and saw no sign of Vixx.

“I guess she went back in the box.” He mumbled.

Nathanael looked at the box again before opening one of his draws, dropping the box in, and slamming the draw shut. He then went over to his bed and lay down with an arm over his eyes, trying to understand what just happened.


 

A week passed by and Nathanael did his best to try and forget about the box in his draw, but his mind kept drifting back to the Kwami and the idea of becoming a superhero. At night he would find himself opening the draw and just looking at the box.

Nathanael was currently drawing with the news on in the background, his attention was grabbed by it when it started reporting yet another Akuma attack. As Nathanael watched the broadcast he remembered that Vixx had briefly talked about a Peacock showing up, considering the animal motif he guessed that they were another hero. But if they were, where were they? Where they waiting for the fox hero to show up of something?

Nathanael looked over to his draw again and gave a sigh of defeat. He switched off the news, opened the draw, took the box out and opened the lid. As he opened the lid, he wondered if it had all been part of his imagination.

Vixx appeared with a knowing look on her face.

Not part of his imagination then.

“I’m not becoming a hero.” Nathanael denied. “I just thought you might be a little cramped in there.”

“Sure.” Vixx said in a tone that said she didn’t believe him. “If you want me to stick around you’ll have to put the necklace on.”

“You’re not going to trick me into using it, are you?” Nathanael asked in suspicion.

“I swear not to.” Vixx said.

Nathanael put on the necklace and was relieved when he felt no difference, he then tucked the necklace under his shirt to hide it from sight.

Vixx smirked at Nathanael.

“Shut up!” Nathanael snapped.

Vixx held up her paws in surrender. “I didn’t say anything.”

After a few minutes of silence, Nathanael decided to speak up.

“So, if this Miraculous if like what Ladybug and Chat Noir have, do they have Kwamis too?” He asked.

“Yeah, Ladybug had Tikki and Chat Noir has Plagg. Tikki’s nice and sweet, but Plagg’s a lazy cat who’s obsessed with camembert cheese.” Vixx said.

“Yuck.”

“My sentiments exactly. Even foxes have a limit to what they eat.”

Nathanael thought up another question.

“You mentioned something about a Peacock last time.” He said.

“Yep. It’s actually the reason I’ve been given to you. The Peacock is another Miraculous and was activated recently, meaning a peacock-themed hero will be showing up soon it they haven’t already.” Vixx looked at Nathanael expectantly.

“There hasn’t been any sign.” Nathanael told her.

“Anyway, most the Miraculous are paired up to balance each other out, like the Ladybug and Cat. And the Fox is the counterpart for the Peacock, so the Guardian decided it was best for me to be active as well.”

“Well, whoever the Peacock it, they’ve yet to show up.” Nathanael commented.

“Sounds familiar.” Vixx said.

Nathanael rolled his eyes at the not-so-subtle hint.

“I already told you, I’m not hero material. Besides, I don’t even know self-defence.” He said.

“I don’t think the Guardian’s choices for Ladybug and Chat Noir knew how to fight much either when they started out, but look at them now. Also, the Miraculous do give their users knowledge of how to fight and use their weapons, the knowledge just slowly comes to them.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, how do you think Ladybug and Chat Noir got so good so fast? If you started transforming to train now and waited to go fight you could be ready when you do join them.” Vixx suggested.

Nathanael groaned and then got up.

“Where are you going?” Vixx questioned.

“To fix a snack.” Nathanael said.

“I’m hungry. Do you have any jalapeno pepper?”

“Yeah. I think so.”

Nathanael went downstairs to get food with Vixx quickly following to get her jalapeno peppers.

Chapter Text

Her real name wasn’t really important, at least, not to her hundreds of adoring fans, to them she was Ladybug, heroine of Paris. Before becoming Ladybug, she wasn’t anyone special, and she certainly wasn't the brave figurehead Paris thought her to be, she was a shy girl who preferred to spend her time alone. But someone thought she was meant for something more because she came home one day to fine a mysterious box containing a pair of earrings and a magical creature calling itself Tikki, who told her that it was her job to stop the monster called Stoneheart from wrecking Paris and stop Hawkmoth using the earrings, after she got her ears pierces to be able to use them that is.

At first, being Ladybug was amazing and frightening all at the same time since she had no idea what she was doing, she felt so free and powerful and she and her partner, Chat Noir, took down Stoneheart two different times and confronted Hawkmoth. And she was christened Ladybug by the news because she wasn’t quick enough to create her own name. And she still felt joy at being Ladybug and swinging around Paris, but she now had a heavy weight along with it. The people of Paris put her on a pedestal, to them she was the infallible hero who would always save the day, who could face down danger with a cool head. In reality, the heroine that Paris saw was just a façade, there were times during facing Akumas where she just wanted to curl up and hide somewhere, times she just wanted to react out of anger, or simply go home and cry with her dogs as comfort, but she couldn’t because it went against the view Paris had of her.

She had only broken that façade once and it had ended up with the creation of Volpina. She still maintained that it wasn’t completely her fault but she still caused it in the end. It had started with the arrival of the new girl at the college called Lila, who she had been content to ignore, she hadn’t believed the outrageous lies the girl made anyway, but then in the library she had overheard her bragging to Adrien Agreste about being best friends with Ladybug, which she knew wasn’t true, causing her to start getting angry. She had wanted to go home to her dogs to calm down, but Tikki had spotted something and forced her to stay while she checked it out, and apparently that book was important because she then had to locate Lila and Adrien again in the park to try and retrieve the book, which she did but not before overhearing more of Lila’s lies to Adrien. Then she got even more angry because Lila was reducing everything she had done for Paris into a pick-up line, so she has transformed into Ladybug and dragged Lila off, maintaining enough self-control to not confront her in front of Adrien, and angrily told Lila off for what she was doing before swinging away. Apparently, Lila took offence to Ladybug telling her off and showed up as an Akuma pretending to be the holder of the Fox Miraculous, thankfully she and Chat managed to take care of her, but Lila still maintained her bitterness towards Ladybug.

She didn’t know what she’d do without Chat being there, not only was he her partner but he was her best friend, even though they still don’t know each other’s identities. When they fought against Akumas he always had her back, and during the times where being Ladybug felt more like a chore than a freedom, he’d be there to comfort her and make her remember how much fun it was to be Ladybug and just race across the rooftops in a way no ordinary human could. She remembered Chat once describing how much better everything felt as Chat Noir, that everything was so controlled in his real life and that as Chat he could be himself, and he felt much more in control, then jokingly adding ‘despite how many times I end up mind controlled’.

Though being Ladybug made her feel more powerful and like she could do anything, she couldn’t say she felt the same way as Chat. There were times where she felt uncomfortable in the suit, there wasn’t a cause for the uncomfortableness, she just didn’t feel right in it. And as Ladybug she had to control herself more than in her real life, she had to watch her words and put up with things that she wold usually just walk away from. Such as Chloe Bourgeois.

Hands down, Chloe Bourgeois was the most irritating person she ever had to put up with. Before Ladybug she had never even interacted with Chloe because they weren’t in the same class, the only reason she knew who Chloe was was because Chloe made sure everyone knew who she was. But one thing Chloe seemed to exceed at doing was creating Akumas, who then targeted Chloe, which meant Ladybug had to be there to save her, and Chloe seemed to be under the mistaken impression that because Ladybug was always there to save her that they were ‘besties’. She would love nothing more than to tell Chloe to her face that she was a spoilt brat or not save her the next time she caused an Akuma to teach her a lesson, but because of her façade as Ladybug and because she was a hero she couldn’t.


 

She was currently at home, sitting on her bed and surfing the internet with her dog on her lap. She was in the middle of watching a video when a notification from the LadyBlog, owned by a girl at the college named Alya who followed Ladybug around incessantly, she didn’t really read the blog but it was useful for when an Akuma attack occurred that she didn’t know about just yet. Like right now.

“Hey, Ladybloggers. Alya here at the scene of the latest Akuma attack.” Alya said through the livestream.

The camera then panned to show off the Akuma. The Akuma was a young woman in a long flowing dress covered in different types of flowers and vines trailing down her arms, a large flower in her hair. The image also showed Notre Dame not that far in the background.

“Let’s go.” She said. “Tikki! Spots on!”

The Kwami was sucked into her earrings and red, bubbly light enveloped her as she was transformed into Ladybug.

As Ladybug she had a red bodice with four black spots on the front, the red also went over her shoulders and had a black spot on each shoulder, her lower arms, and feet to her knees were covered by red and and the rest of her costume was black. The wore two hairclips either side of her head with small ribbons coming off them which gave the illusion of antenna, and two, long pieces of red fabric that came from her back to her waist and were decorated with black spots which gave the impression of wings. And a red mask with black spots completed her look.

Ladybug opened the window, detached the yoyo from her waist, and swung off towards the Akuma.

Chapter Text

Marinette was excited. Today was the day she would transform into Paonne and get to fully test out her powers, which included leaving the training studio and going out into Paris.

It wasn’t that Marinette wasn’t allowed to become Paonne, but Gabriel had said it was better if she was trained before transforming again, and Marinette didn’t want to let down her mentor.

Pavo was just as excited as she was, the Kwami had woken her up before her alarm clock could make an attempt and then constantly badgered her to get going despite it being too early for Marinette to meet up.

“Finally.” Pavo said as they arrived at the studio.

“Hello, Miss Dupain-Cheng.” Gabriel said as Marinette entered.

“Hello, sir.” Marinette replied.

“I assume you remember the phrase?”

“Yes, sir.”

Gabriel nodded as the go-ahead.

“Pavo, Feathers Flared!” Marinette called out.

Pavo was sucked into the broach on her shirt and blue light and the feeling of feathers enveloped Marinette. After the light faded Marinette stood as Paonne.

“Now, let’s see how much skill you have with your fan.” Gabriel said.

Marinette nodded and detached the large tail-feather fan from her waist, she swung it around with grace and ease, dancing and striking with it. She then separated her fan into two and repeated the process only faster and with two fans. She threw one of her fans through the air, she watched it travel a long distance before curving and coming back towards her, just like Gabriel said it would, she held out her hand and caught it effortlessly. She then threw both of them and the process repeated, with her effortlessly catching them at the end.

An idea came to Marinette when she saw one of the wooden poles that were used during her tessen practice. She threw both her fans again and then back flipped a few times, as she did this the fans passed by the pole by a large margin but on the return trip they sliced through the pole before Marinette caught them.

“Good, Miss Dupain-Cheng.” Gabriel praised despite his emotionless voice. “That is a good move when facing an enemy.”

Marinette decided not to mention that she had picked the move up from a cartoon.

“What now?” Marinette asked.

“We are going to test your Oracle Eye so you know what to expect.” Gabriel said. “You activate it by closing your eyes and placing your hands over your Miraculous and calling for it.”

Gabriel went over to a table with five upside down cups on it.

“A fairly simple test to start off with, under one of these cups is a ball. Using your Oracle Eye, you should be able to see five possible futures where you lift one each of the cups, allowing you to tell which cup it is under without guessing.” He told her.

Marinette nodded and placed her hands over her Miraculous and closed her eyes. “Oracle Eye!” She called.

Marinette’s vision suddenly lit up despite her eyes being closed, her vision was slightly faded and everything had a short of lagging and echoed effect to it. She saw her hand go to one of the cups and lift it up, despite not feeling her body move, but nothing was under it, everything seemed to reverse and then start again only for her hand to go for a different cup, with nothing under it either, the process repeated another three times with the same results. Everything then went black and Marinette opened her eyes.

“None of the cups have anything under them.” She said in confusion.

Gabriel lifted each of the cups, showing no ball under any of them.

“Correct.” He said.

Marinette smiled at getting it right.

As Gabriel put away the cups Marinette’s Miraculous began to beep and the outer two gems on it faded away.

“That is your timer.” Gabriel explained. “Those gems will disappear two at a time every minute until you have none left and turn back. You’ll then need to feed Pavo before you can transform again.”

Rather than wait for her transformation to run out, Marinette decided to let go of her transformation early. Pavo popped out and Marinette gave him some grapes that she had brought with her.

“Oracle Eye is a tricky power. It is most useful when you have to do something but you don’t know which way you should do it, and it will show you the outcome of the different choices you make. But when it comes to chance and probability, it won’t be much help. For example, if I were to roll a dice and in each of your five visions you saw it land on a different number, you still wouldn’t be able to tell me what number it would land of when I did roll it.” Gabriel explained.

Marinette nodded in understanding, it made sense.

“The Oracle Eye will also sometimes show you what you don’t want it to.” Pavo further explained. “But rather what you need to see instead. So it might show you someone in danger instead of what will happen if you do something like you wanted it to do.”

“Okay.” Marinette said, nodding.

Eventually, Pavo was recharged and Marinette transformed back into Paonne.

Before anything else could be done, Marinette and Gabriel heard screaming outside and ran to the window to investigate, outside they saw large plants overtaking the area, trapping people in vines.

“I’m going to help.” Marinette said determinedly.

Gabriel frowned, debated whether or not Marinette was ready, but eventually nodded his head.

“Be careful.” He said.

“I will.” Marinette said, heading up the stairs to leave from the roof.


 

Ladybug dodged out of the of a sharp vine that had been heading her way curtesy of an Akuma calling herself Thorny Vine. And considering Chloe Bourgeois was currently hanging wrapped in vines near the Akuma, is was an easy guess for what caused Thorny Vine to come into being.

Ladybug and Chat Noir were really struggling with this Akuma, since Thorny Vine’s plants did a good job protecting her, Ladybug’s yoyo just kept getting tangled by the plants and the plants didn’t seem that affected by Chat’s staff. Chat was holding back on using his cataclysm until they could find an effective way to use it, and Ladybug hadn’t had a chance to summon her Lucky Charm yet.

Eventually, Ladybug saw her chance and used her power.

“Lucky Charm!” She called. ‘Please be a flamethrower.’ She pleaded in her head.

The red, black-spotted object materialised above Ladybug’s head and she caught it. It was a pen-like object with a small button.

“A laser pointer?” Ladybug asked.

Before Ladybug could work out what to do with the Charm, she was wrapped tightly in vines, having not kept a close enough eye on them, they wrapped around her torso and trapped her arms at her sides.

Thorny Vine laughed as the vines began pulling Ladybug towards her. Ladybug did her best to resist, digging her feet into the ground, but the pull was too strong and she was getting closer to the Akuma.

“Your Miraculous are mine, Ladybug.” Thorny Vine gloated, reaching for Ladybug’s earrings.

“Ladybug!” Chat Noir cried out, desperately trying to reach his partner.

Before Thorny Vine could take Ladybug’s Miraculous, however, something flashed by between the villain and hero and the vines holding Ladybug were cut. By pure instinct, Ladybug managed to stop herself from falling over by back flipping away from the Akuma once the vines around her unravelled.

Thorny Vine, Ladybug and Chat Noir watched as the spinning object that had cut Ladybug free arched through the air and was then caught by someone. This person was dressed in blue and green with a mask.

“Need a hand?” Paonne called out to the heroes.

Thorny Vine’s face was briefly covered by the purple outline of a mask as Hawkmoth communicated with her, she then sent her plants after Paonne.

Paonne saw them coming, attached her fan to her waist, and jumped from the building she was on to avoid them. The feathers under Paonne’s arms then extended too past her wrists, which allowed her to glide to another building rather than fall. Once safely on the other building, she took hold of her fan again and sent it at the plants, effortlessly cutting through them before the fan returned to her hand.

“Think we can trust her?” Chat asked as he met up with Ladybug.

“We don’t have much choice.” Ladybug told him. “We’ll work it out after.”

Ladybug’s Miraculous beeped, signalling that she was running out of time, she used her yoyo to swing over to Paonne while avoiding the plants aiming for her.

“I don’t know if we can trust you, but we’ll have to for now.” Ladybug told Paonne. “We think the Akuma is in the flower on her head, so try and get it off her if you can. And keep her off me while I work out what my Lucky Charm is for.”

“Got it.” Paonne said.

Paonne separated her fan into two and began to fight harder.

Ladybug looked around quickly, her vision went grey and she saw a mirror, Thorny Vine’s eyes, Paonne and the laser pointer light up.

“I’m going around the other side of Thorny Vine, wait for my signal, then make a grab for the flower.” Ladybug told Paonne.

“Okay.” Paonne said.

Ladybug swung around the Akuma, narrowingly avoiding getting hit by the plants coming after her.

Chat was beginning to become overwhelmed by the plants and they started to cocoon him, giving him no choice but to use his power too free himself.

“Cataclysm!” He shouted, summoning the destructive energy.

He pressed his hand to the plants surrounding him and they quickly rotted away, freeing him.

Ladybug finally made it to position and held up the laser pointer.

Hawkmoth, looking through his Akuma, recognised what Ladybug was about to do.

“Look away, she’s trying to blind you!” He ordered Thorny Vine.

Thorny Vine looked away as ordered, but Ladybug had anticipated this and pointed it at the mirror, the light bounced off it and into Thorny Vine’s eyes.

“Ahh!” Thorny Vine cried out, shielding her eyes.

Meanwhile, Paonne watched Ladybug’s actions and guessed that that was her signal. But she was unsure as to what to do next, so she activated her power, thankfully using her power only took a few seconds regardless of how much time would pass in Paonne’s visions. After Paonne viewed the five possible futures she went with the one that was the most likely to succeed.

Paonne charged at Thorny Vine. But the Akuma was only temporarily blinded and saw the hero coming, sending plants at her. Thanks to her visions Paonne was able to avoid them and threw her fans to cut through them, but she was then stopped by a large plant that knocked her back.

Thorny Vine grinned, thinking that Paonne had failed at her plan, only for the hero to stand up with a smile and show that she had only one fan. Thorny Vine only had enough time for her smile to drop before Paonne’s other fan spun right over her ear, slicing the flower on her head and freeing the Akuma.

As the Akuma started to fly away, Ladybug opened up her yoyo, spun it around and then threw it at the Akuma. “Capture!” She called as the Akuma was caught in her yoyo and it closed up. Ladybug brought her yoyo back to her and pressed the top of it. “And release.” She said as the white butterfly flew free.

All of the attacking plants suddenly went limp.

Before Ladybug could throw her Lucky Charm, she as interrupted by a scream.

Chloe had still been suspended high in the air by the plants, and now that they went limp the blond was falling.

“Ladybug! Save me!” Chloe cried.

Ladybug was just about to swing and save her, again, but was saved the trouble.

“I’ve got her!” Paonne called out, who was closer to Chloe.

Paonne quickly extended her wings and swooped down to Chloe, she then grabbed the girl and landed in a roll on the ground, both of them unharmed.

Chloe opened her eyes and gaped in awe at the new hero who just rescued her.

“Are you okay?” Paonne asked, she may not like Chloe but she didn’t want her hurt.

“No!” Chloe wined. “I have had a really stressful day. And by hair’s all messed up!”

Paonne put Chloe down just they heard the call of “Miraculous Ladybug!”.

Ladybug threw the laser pointer into the air and it exploded into ladybugs, which got rid of the giant plants, cleaned up the damage, and returned the trapped people to safety.

Ladybug and Chat Noir then went over to Paonne.

“We need to have a talk.” Ladybug told her.

It was at that moment Ladybug’s Miraculous beeped, signalling that she only had a minute left. Chat Noir and Paonne’s beeped not long after, singling they were going to change back soon as well.

“I don’t think now’s the time.” Paonne said. “How about we meet on top of the Eiffel tower at seven?”

“Sounds good.” Chat said.

“Wait!” A voice called.

The three heroes turned to see Alya running towards them with her phone out.

“Before you go. Who are you?” She asked.

“Call me Paonne.” Paonne said with a smile.

The three heroes then parted ways to find a safe place to de-transform, leaving Alya and Chloe behind.


 

“That was so amazing.” Marinette said as she walked into the training studio. “I was sure I was going to mess something up, but then I didn’t.”

Marinette rubbed her belly where she had been hit.

“It’s strange I don’t feel any pain though.” She said.

“The suits absorb most damage, so it’s only the really bad injuries that will affect you.” Pavo told her tiredly, munching on the grapes Marinette stopped by a shop to buy for him.

“You have done a spectacular job.” Gabriel complimented Marinette, walking over to meet her. “Certainly better than if you had been without my training like Ladybug and Chat Noir were when they started out.”

“Thank you, sir.” Marinette blushed slightly at the compliment from her mentor.

Gabriel gave the smallest of smiles down at her, looking proud rather than stern like he usually did.

“Seeing as you have proved yourself to be sufficiently trained, training will be relegated to just one day a week for a couple of hours to ensure you are keeping in shape. Though you will be allowed to come here at any time to use this facility at any time if you wish it.” Gabriel told her. “Now go home and get some rest.”

“Yes sir.” Marinette said with a wide smile.

Marinette happily went home, skipping some of the way.


 

Nathanael and Vixx watched the news as it broadcasted the latest Akuma attack, he watched Ladybug and Chat Noir struggle and gripped his sheets with fears, and then saw the new hero show up and help save the day. He watched entranced as the new hero cut through the plants with ease with her bladed fans, almost as if she was dancing.

“She’s amazing.” Nathanael said in awe.

Vixx hummed in agreement. “No wonder she didn’t show up until now, she must have been training to be that good right off the bat.”

The news then switched to Alya’s footage of the new hero as she gave her name.

“Paonne.” Nathanael whispered, feeling something inside of him react to the name.

Nathanael suddenly stood up and went over to his desk to grab his sketch book, his mind suddenly full of new inspiration.

“I have to draw her.” He said.

Nathanael spent the rest of the day drawing Paonne, trying his best to capture her elegance and grace.


 

At seven in the evening, Paonne worked her way to the top of the Eiffel tower. She did have to wait long before Ladybug and Chat Noir showed up.

“Hello.” She greeted.

“Hello.” Ladybug replied back. “First and foremost. How do we know we can trust you? That you’re not just another one of Hawkmoth’s tricks?”

“I don’t really know how I can convince you. But I was given my Miraculous by its previous owner because he though you guys could use help, which I intend to do, and my Miraculous came with a Kwami named Pavo.” Paonne said.

Ladybug and Chat Noir shared a look, beginning to believe that Paonne really was a hero since she knew about Kwamis.

“How come you’re so good at fighting already?” Chat asked, remembering how bad he was starting out.

“My predecessor decided that I needed training before he would let me be a superhero.” Paonne explained.

Ladybug and Chat Noir contemplated.

“You seem to check out, and Hawkmoth hasn’t created more than more Akuma before. So, I’ll accept that you’re a hero.” Ladybug said.

“That’s great! Another member of the team!” Chat Noir said happily, bringing the girls into a hug that they were uncomfortable with.

“Thanks for accepting me.” Paonne said, slipping out of Chat Noir’s grip.

Ladybug’s demeanour told Paonne that she’s still be on guard around her, not that Paonne blamed Ladybug after Volpina.

“So, see you guys next Akuma attack?” Paonne asked.

“Yes.” Ladybug said. “For the sake of Paris let’s hope it’s a while before we see each other. No offence.”

Paonne smiled. “None taken. See you next time.” She said with a wink.

Paonne then leapt off the Eiffel tower and extended her wings, gliding on her them over the City of Lights.

Chat Noir whistled in appreciation. “She knows how to make an exit.”

“Yeah. Anyway, bye.” Ladybug said, following Paonne’s lead and then using her yoyo to swing away.

Chat Noir followed, making his way to his own home.

Chapter Text

“Marinette.”

Marinette moaned in her sleep.

“Marinette.” The voice said more insistently.

The girl kept sleeping, content to ignore the voice.

The voice sighed. “Marinette, you’re going to be late for class.” It sang.

Marinette abruptly woke from her slumber with a yell.

“Oh no! I’m going to be late!” She cried, jumping out her bed and down her ladder.

Marinette rushed around her room, gathering her clothes for the day and packing her bag. She picked up her phone to check how late she was going to be only to freeze, according to the time she wasn’t going to be late at all.

“You tricked me.” Marinette accused Pavo.

“You weren’t getting up to your alarm, you would have been late for real if I didn’t get you up.” Pavo excused with a shrug.

“Whatever, I’m going for a shower.” Marinette said, heading to her bathroom.

After her shower, Marinette finished getting prepared and had her breakfast, after that it was time for her to head to college.

When Marinette reached college it was abuzz with people talking about the newest hero to show up, some saying about how cool Paonne was, and others debating whether she was a good guy or another Volpina.

“Hawkmoth’s never made more than one Akuma at the same time.” One person debated.

“But he could be getting more powerful, powerful enough to create two.” Another person argued.

“She’s so pretty.” Marinette heard Rose say as she walked into class.

“This new hero’s really the talk of the college.” Marinette commented to Alya as she sat down.

“Of course she is.” Alya said, no doubt on the Ladyblog. “The way she appeared to save the day yesterday was amazing.”

“I’m sure you’re over exaggerating.” Marinette said, not believing she did that much.

“You’re kidding, right? Ladybug and Chat Noir were really struggling with the Akuma since their weapons weren’t designed to fight plants, Ladybug’s yoyo can cut through a lot of things but it kept getting tangled. Then Paonne arrives with her bladed fans and cuts through the plants with ease, she has got to be powerful.”

“I think it was just the situation that made it seem like that.”

“Maybe. But she’s still badass.”

Marinette smiled at the indirect praise.

“So, you think she’s a real hero and not another trick then?” She asked.

“No way. Thorny Vine would have gotten Ladybug’s Miraculous for sure if she hadn’t stepped in. Why would she have stepped in then if she was a bad guy?” Alya defended Paonne.

“Of course she’s a good guy!” Chloe interrupted. “Did you see the way she saved me?”

“And who’s fault is it that you had to get rescued in the first place?” Alya asked.

Alya had learned Thorny Vines real identity and the reason she became victim to Hawkmoth.

“That villain of course.” Chloe decided to not admit her mistake. “But that just meant I got to meet Paonne personally.”

Adrien came into the room and Chloe immediately latched onto him.

“Adrien, what do you think of Paonne?” She asked.

“I, uh, think she’s really cool.” Adrien said.

“I know. And she has such good fashion sense.” Chloe said.

“I suddenly feel very sorry for Paonne.” Alya whispered to Marinette.

“Yeah.” Marinette said.

On the inside Marinette was whining, realising what she would have to put up with from Chloe as Paonne, considering how many Akumas went after her.

At the back of the room, Nathanael sat drawing while listening in on the conversations about Paonne around him. He was very aware of the Fox Miraculous around his neck and Vixx in his bag, and he was very annoyed with the Kwami.

The entire morning was spent with Vixx reminding Nathanael about how Paonne was partnered with the Fox Miraculous, which she insisted Nathanael was chosen for, and how Nathanael could get to meet Paonne in person if he just activated it. And now Nathanael had to put up with everyone’s constant chatter about Paonne, every time he heard someone speculate whether she was good or not he wanted to defend her and say he knew she was a hero, it made him want to defend his partner.

‘No! We are not partners!’ Nathanael insisted to himself. “As much as I want to be, I’m not a hero. I’m just hanging onto the Miraculous until this Guardian person finds a proper candidate. Though I do wonder what I’d look like.’

From Nathanael’s bag, Vixx was able to see Nathanel’s face as he battled with himself. She snickered quietly, knowing that Nathanael’s resolve was crumbling.

“What are you drawing, Nathanael?” Rose asked.

Nathanael jump slightly and the sudden voice and looked at Rose, he then looked back at his drawing and was startled by what he saw. He had been drawing different designs for how he could look as a Fox superhero without realising it.

“Uh, no.” Nathanael said, covering the drawings. “They’re not finished yet.”

“Oh.” Rose said, slightly disappointed. “Alright then, show me when you’re done.”

“I will.”

Nathanael looked down as he heard Vixx snickering, as if she knew what he’d been drawing, he would have told her to shut up if it didn’t mean drawing attention to him.


 

“Hey, Nathanael.” Marinette said to the boy.

“M-Marinette? Hi.” Nathanael stuttered at his crush speaking with him. “Do you need something?”

“I wondered if you wanted to hang out or something. We don’t speak enough.” Marinette said.

“Really?” Nathanael asked, hope blooming in his chest.

“Yeah.”

“Sure.”

“Great.”

Marinette sat down next to Nathanael and there were a few minutes of awkward silence.

“So, what sort of stuff do you like to draw?” Marinette finally asked.

“Um, I like to draw superheroes a lot, and I’ve done some comics.” Nathanael answered.

“Can I see?” Marinette asked.

Nathanael went red as he handed over his sketch book, thankfully it wasn’t the one with his crossed out ‘SuperNathanael’ comics in and he had ripped out his Fox hero drawings.

“Wow. These are really good.” Marinette said as she leafed through Nathanael’s sketch book.

“Thanks.” Nathanael blushed at the praise.

Marinette stopped at the drawings of Paonne, some were detailed drawings of her in different poses, others were rough comics of the battle against Thorny Vine.

“These are amazing.” Marinette said in awe. “It’s like Paonne’s going to jump right off the page.”

From Nathanael’s bag, Vixx didn’t think her chosen could get redder, he was beginning to match his hair.

Nathanael noticed Marinette lingering on one of his drawings of Paonne, it was his best one because he felt that it captured Paonne’s gracefulness the best. He took his sketch book from Marinette and gently tore the page out of his book, giving it to Marinette.

“Here, keep it.” He said.

Marinette looked surprised.

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“Yeah, I-I want you to have it.”

Marinette smiled. “Well, at least sign it. All artists have to sign their work, right?”

Nathanael struggled through his mind shutting down to sign his work and give it to Marinette.

“Thank you.” Marinette said happily, tucking the drawing into her bag.

“So, uh, what do you like doing, aside from fashion design that is?” Nathanael asked.

“Oh, I’ve taken up dancing.” Marinette said brightly.

Nathanael was surprised, he didn’t take Marinette for the dancing type, but looking at her now he could see her doing some sort of dance.

“What type?” He asked.

“You won’t believe it, but they actually have Chinese dance. I thought it appropriate to learn something from my mum’s side, especially since I can’t speak Chinese.” Marinette said.

“What’s it like?”

“We haven’t much so far. We’re just learning the motions and doing them in sync. Chinese dance doesn’t require as many moves as say Hip Hop, but it’s still tricky learning how to do everything in time with everyone else and holding our fans or ribbons in the right way.”

Marinette’s eyes suddenly lit up as she had an idea.

“Hey, you should try dancing.” She said.

“What? I don’t think I’d be good at dancing.” Nathanael said.

“It doesn’t have to be the same class as me, you might have a completely different style that suits you. But it’s nice to have another hobby.”

“I’ll think about it.” Nathanael said.

“That’s great.” Marinette said happily.

Marinette’s phone buzzed and she the message that had been sent to her.

“Alya wants to meet up.” Marinette explained, getting up.

“It’s okay.” Nathanael said.

“It was nice speaking with you. See you some other time.”

Marinette then disappeared out the door.

Nathanael sighed happily. He was quickly brought crashing down by Vixx laughing.

“Man, she could wrap you around her little finger if she wanted. You have got it so bad.” She laughed.

Nathanael responded by throwing his pencil at Vixx, who just continued to laugh.

Outside, Marinette talked with Pavo as she walked to meet with Alya.

“It was nice of you to speak to Nathanael like that.” Pavo said.

“Yeah, I haven’t really talked to him since his birthday, and he was the Evillustrator then so he wouldn’t remember, but even then he was really nice to me despite being turned into a villain. I just thought it’d be nice to speak with him more.”

Pavo smiled and then ducked back into Marinette’s purse before someone saw him.


 

The next day classes were cancelled due to another Akuma attack that was near the school, most of the college logged onto the Ladyblog for news on the attack, as expected Alya was risking her neck to capture the fight live.

Today’s Akuma was a female teen wearing a gymnastics themed outfit and fighting with gymnastics equipment.

“It’s never good enough, is it?” Shouted the Akuma, who called herself Athletica, as she attacked with her razor-sharp ribbon. “I always have to be better, I always have to measure up to someone.”

It was very obvious as to why Hawkmoth targeted her.

Paonne threw her large fan but Athletica dodged out the way and then struck it out the air with her ribbon, leaving Paonne weaponless until she could retrieve her fan. Seeing that their new ally was without her weapon, Ladybug and Chat Noir drew the Akuma’s attention to them until Paonne could retrieve her fan.

Paonne just managed to recover her fan when Athletica noticed her, turning and throwing balls and hoops at the heroine. Paonne dodged them with grace which only made Athletic angrier.

“No one is allowed to be better than me!” She screamed.

Athletica threw a ball at the building above Paonne and it exploded, sending chucks of the building crashing down towards Paonne. Before Paonne could be hit she was saved by a black blur.

“Okay there?” Chat Noir asked Paonne as he set her down.

“Yes, thank you.” Paonne said.

“What, no kiss for your knight in shining leather?” Chat flirted.

Paonne raised an eyebrow under her mask.

“Maybe not while we’re in the middle of battle.” She said, pushing Chat away by his nose.

Paonne then leapt back into the fight with Chat quickly following.

The fight eventually ended when Chat managed to snatch Athletica’s ribbon off of her and break the handle of it, releasing the Akuma for Ladybug to purify.


 

At home Nathanael watched the fight through Alya’s livestream, he watched the fight with the usual unwavering attention he usually did up until the point that Paonne was about to get crushed by pieces of building, at that point his heart clenched and he wanted nothing more than to be there to push her out the way, he then felt immense relief when she saw saved by Chat. The camera then moved away from the fight to follow where Chat and Paonne landed, through the screen Nathanael saw Chat getting a bit too close to Paonne only for Paonne to push him away by his nose.

Nathanael felt a bit of anger and protectiveness when Chat got close to Paonne and then realised he was growling, much to his surprise.

“What was that?” He asked.

“That’s just your protective instincts for Paonne showing up.” Vixx said with a wave of her paw.

“But I don’t even know Paonne. Why would I get mad about Chat being near her?”

“It’s the connection between your two Miraculous, you both feel instinctively feel protective of each other. The way you saw it, Chat Noir was getting too close to Paonne.”

“You mean I was jealous of Chat? But I don’t have a crush on Paonne, I like Marinette.”

“It doesn’t have to be romantic for the instincts to be there, you’re not jealous, you just don’t want Chat Noir to hurt your partner. It’s the same reason you looked ready to have a heart attack when she was almost crushed by those falling bits of building.”

Nathanael contemplated what this meant as he watched the rest of the battle play out.

After the fight was over Nathanael turned off his computer and lay on his bed, still deep in thought, he reached under his shirt and pulled of the Fox Miraculous to look at it.

Vixx fought to keep herself from grinning as she counted down in her head.

3…

2…

1…

“Vixx?” Nathanael addressed the Kwami.

Bingo.

“Yeah?”

“If I had been there, how much of a difference could I have made?” Nathanael asked, his resolve just about gone.

“Can’t be sure for certain, but you would have certainly made a difference. You could have distracted Athletica with illusions, you could have been nearer Paonne’s fan when she lost it and got it back to her, you could have done a lot of stuff.”

Nathanael growled in frustration, he messed up his hair with his hands and stood up aggressively.

“How do I do it?” He asked.

“Do what?” Vixx asked, though she knew exactly what he was talking about.

“Activate the Miraculous.”

“But I thought you didn’t want to.” Vixx teased.

“It’s just to try it out. And…and maybe I can at least do something to help.”

“That’s more like it. Just say ‘Fangs Bared’.”

Nathanael was a bit shocked by the activation phrase but nodded. “Vixx, Fangs Bared!” He said.

Vixx was sucked into the Miraculous and orange light and the feeling of fur washed over Nathanael. Once the light faded he looked down at himself.

He wore an orange body suit with a white area on the chest, he wore an orange fabric belt with a white part to it that made it look like a tail was wrapped around his waist, the suit changed too black just above the elbows and knees, he wore a scarf that was white and fluffy about his neck with orange trails that went down to his knees with white-tipped points that made them look like fox tails, and like Chat Noir his toes were capped by metal but whereas Chat just had grooves to look like paws he had small claws coming off his. He felt his head and felt the fake fox ears that were there and the mask on his face, a check in a small mirror showed the mask to be orange and lined with black, and his hair style was slightly different with it not being in his face an tipped white.

“Wow.” Nathanael said.

He turned his head to look behind him and saw his flute/weapon separated into two pieces and in an ‘X’ position in his belt behind him. He took the two pieces and slotted them together, creating a long flute.

“I have no idea how to play this.” Nathanael deadpanned in realisation.

Instead, he started spinning it around, which he actually found quite easy, he spun it around his body. Then the flute slammed into his lamp, pushing it to the floor and causing it to smash, which then shocked him into whacking himself with the flute.

“Ow.” Nathanael said as he rubbed his sore spot.

He was very glad no one was home at the moment, though he’d still have to explain the smashed lamp.

Nathanael looked at his flute again, remembering that it was meant to cast illusions when played.

“Well,” He said. “May as well try.”

Nathanael knew just enough about flutes to know that you didn’t blow directly into the hole, you were meant to rest your bottom lip on the edge and blow over the hole like blowing a bottle.

Placing his lips next to the hole he blew and the flute produced a low, flat note. He looked at the flute again and placed his fingers over the holes, somehow already knowing which finger went where, he pressed a few fingers down and blew again causing the flute to play a different note.

Nathanael then began to play an actual tune, his fingers moving to create it while he blew despite not knowing how to play, like they were guided by some invisible force. He kept playing regardless.

With Volpina’s creation of illusions, her flute playing would create a ball of light at the end of her flute which she’d use to make her illusion by swinging her flute. But Nathanael’s magic wasn’t like that, as he played strings and wisps of orange light drifted out of the end of the flute and gathered around him, as he continued to play they started to gather in front of him and become more compact until they took on the shape of a person, and then the orange light faded to reveal the illusion.

Nathanael stopped playing to look at the exact duplicate of himself, it copied his actions as he made them and as he reached out to touch it did to, but as their fingers touched the duplicate once again became the wisps of light which quickly faded in just a couple of seconds.

Nathanael smiled as played the flute again, but as he played he found himself doing the same tune and he knew that it would just create the same illusion, so he stopped. It seemed that his Miraculous did give him automatic knowledge of only a few illusions, but the automatic knowledge felt dissatisfying to Nathanael, like he was playing a recording and just miming the finger movements than actually playing himself. And it seemed if he wanted to create more illusions, he’d have to try different tunes that didn’t come with the Miraculous.

“Well, I guess I found that other hobby Marinette said I should get.” Nathanael said to himself. “I wonder how much flute lessons cost.”

Nathanael then looked out his window at the rooftops.

“I wonder if I should go out.” He wondered, then shook his head. “Nah, best not push my luck.”

He then looked down at himself.

“How do I change back?” He questioned.

As if activated by that question, in a flash of orange light Nathanael found himself back in his normal clothes and Vixx flew out of his Miraculous.

“Aw, so soon?” Vixx said.

“Well, there wasn’t much I could do.” Nathanael excused.

“I guess, the Miraculous gives you some knowledge on how to fight and use your weapon but you still have to do stuff for yourself.”

“Yeah, I’m going to have to learn how to play the flute for real if I want to use my weapon.” Nathanael said as he sat down, grabbing his sketch book to draw out his hero-self.

“Yep. Oh, some things I forgot to mention about your powers. You can create as many illusions as you want, but each time you do they’re going to drain on your energy, and the bigger the illusion the bigger the drain, once you’ve used up enough you’ll get five minutes before you change back which will be signalled by your Miraculous. Most of the other Miraculous all get one power that immediately drains their energy and starts the five-minute countdown, Lucky Charm for Ladybug, Cataclysm for Chat Noir, even Oracle Eye for Paonne, but the Fox gets a power that gradually uses up their energy instead.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Nathanael said, remembering that the current heroes only used their weapons to fight and their powers once, while he could use his illusions more than once.

“So,” Vixx said. “What are you going to call yourself, you’ll need a hero name, won’t you?”

“I’m thinking,” Nathanael said, as he continued to draw his new form. “Renard Rouge.” He wrote the name at the top of the page before continuing to draw.

Chapter Text

Over a week had passed since Paonne introduced herself to Paris and things so far had been quiet, Hawkmoth hadn’t send out an Akuma since Athletica. Though Paonne was still talked about, the amount of talk had died down and most had accepted her as a hero, and the duo of Paris were now referred to as the trio of Paris.

Nathanael was still worried about showing up as a hero as well, Paris was still getting used to another hero and there was still the sigma from Volpina, he had lost count of how many times he heard people referring to Paonne as ‘another Volpina’ when questioning whether she was good or not. From what he had seen, Lila didn’t like this talk but had ignored it for the most part, often leaving the room to avoid it. Nathanael had decided that his best option was to join during an Akuma attack like Paonne had, the actual Akuma hopefully convincing the heroes that he was a good guy.

But Nathanael wouldn’t much use as a hero if he couldn’t use his illusions properly outside of copying himself and a bit of misdirection, so he had convinced his parents to get him flute lessons so he could create more illusions as Renard. Nathanael had soon learned that each tune he learned would be able to create a different illusion, and the more complicated and long the tune he learned the more complex and bigger an illusion he would be able to make. Since he’d just started learning he had only learned simple tunes so far, and thus was only able to create small and simple illusions, but having the Fox Miraculous seemed to improve his ability to memories music since he was told by his tutor that he was learning at an impressive pace and was a natural at the flute.

Currently, Nathanael was in the music room at the college, practicing the simple piece his tutor had given him. It was rather annoying having to play the same boring piece over and over again, but he had to do it if he wanted to learn.

“No, Nathanael, you have to tongue it. Ta, ta, ta.” Vixx said in a rather annoying voice.

Vixx was imitating Nathanael’s tutor, who’d told Nathanael that he had ‘tongue’ the beginning of notes to make them stand out. Nathanael kept forgetting to do this since it felt a silly and needless thing to do, but it was apparently important.

“Shut up.” Nathanael said as he lowered the flute the college had lent him for the lessons.

Nathanael looked at the music sheet again and groaned. “This is so tedious.” He said.

“Yep.” Vixx said with a shrug. “But you’re learning quickly so you’ll be onto the more interesting and complicated music soon. Before you know it you’ll be able to make your own tunes on the spot, that’s where you’ll be able to craft the illusions to your exact specifications.”

“I can hardly wait.” Nathanael said with a sigh.

He then raised his flute to his lips and began to play again.


 

To Adrien, becoming Chat Noir as probably the best thing that ever happened to him, when he was dressed in his black cat suit he felt like the weight of his real life didn’t exist and he was free to be himself. Being Chat Noir helped him escape the loneliness of his real life.

Ever since his mother’s mysterious disappearance his father had become overly protective of him while at the same time becoming emotionally distant. Adrien hadn’t been able to go to school until this year which led him to only having Chloe as a friend for the longest time, his father filled up his schedule with modelling jobs, and Adrien could go weeks without seeing his father in the flesh.

Then his father had allowed Adrien to go to college, which allowed him to make friends other than Chloe. Adrien’s first friend at the college was Nino, who extended a hand of friendship to Adrien after learning Chloe was his only friend. There was also Alya, the girl who ran the Ladyblog, though he didn’t hang out with her that often they were still on good terms. The person Adrien was unsure whether he was friends with or not was Marinette, they had gotten off to a rough start with Marinette believing that he’s put gum on her seat when really it had been Chloe, but that had been resolved and the two had shared a nice moment, but after that Marinette seemed nervous around him for reasons he didn’t understand, constantly stuttering or hiding behind Alya when he talked to her, but she was still nice to him.

When Marinette started work experience with his father Adrien was happy for her, he’d seen her designs and knew she deserved it. But Adrien couldn’t help but feel slightly jealous of her, she got to spend more time with his father than he did. But Adrien tried his best to squash that feeling down and be happy for his, sort of, friend.

After the Jackady Akuma it seemed that Adrien’s father was finally showing him the affection that he needed, showing rare emotion and hugging him after finding Adrien safe. For the first few weeks afterwards he did seem to show more affection towards Adrien, but at the same time he also looked troubled. Then Adrien’s father seemed to revert back to previous behaviour, disappearing almost every day and not having any time for Adrien, leaving Adrien slightly depressed. Then, just over a week ago, his father stopped disappearing as much and started showing more attention to him again, saying that he was taking care of something as an excuse, leaving Adrien not knowing how to feel.


 

(A week later)

Chat Noir raced across the rooftops towards Notre Dame, a common meeting place for him and Ladybug. Chat spotted Ladybug already there waiting for him.

“You wanted to meet, Little Lady?” Chat asked as he landed near her.

Ladybug rolled her eyes at the affectionate nickname. Ladybug knew from comparing their ages that she was actually older than Chat, and she was only shorter than Chat by a couple of centimetres, but Chat insisted on calling her ‘Little Lady’. At first she had found the nickname annoying but over the months it had become endearing.

“We need to wait for Paonne.” She told Chat.

Chat nodded in understanding and sat down to wait for Paris’ newest hero.

Chat spent a lot of time online especially the Ladyblog, reading up about himself and Ladybug, reading what others thought of them. One of the common things Chat had read what his and Ladybugs relationship was with each other, many people liked to say that their relationship was romantic because of how Chat always did his best to protect Ladybug and was always affectionate to her, Chat liked to laugh at these people because he knew it not to be true. Chat protected her because he cared about her and it was his role to protect her and he was affectionate because that’s just how he was. He called her ‘Little Lady’ but he viewed her as a big sister and always listened to her, she was always there to dish out knowledge and wisdom to him.

Chat Noir and Ladybug were each other’s rocks when they’re internal storms got too bad. When Ladybug felt the pressure of being a hero and uncomfortable in her suit, Chat was always there to cheer her up with his cheesy jokes and challenge her to a race across Paris. When Chat struggled with the problems of his real life or needed someone to see him for who he really was, Ladybug was there to listen and offer advice.

“Sorry I’m late.” Paonne called as she glided in on her wings.

“It’s okay.” Ladybug said.

“So, why’d you call us?” Chat asked.

“It’s been two weeks and there hasn’t been any sign of an Akuma.” Ladybug stated.

“You think Hawkmoth is planning something?” Paonne asked.

“Most likely.”

“Maybe he just went on holiday.” Chat suggested.

Ladybug regarded Chat for a moment before shaking her head. “Either way, we need to be on our guard for if he tries something.” She said.

Chat and Paonne nodded in agreement.

Paonne then got a thoughtful look. “If he is planning something, do you think it’s because I showed up?” She asked.

“Maybe.” Ladybug said. “With all three of us we’re having a better time dealing with Akumas, so he might be taking time to factor you into the equation.”

“Great.” Paonne said unhappily.

“Anyway, just be ready.”

“Will do.” Chat said.

“I will.” Agreed Paonne.

The three heroes then left Notre Dame and returned home.


 

In his lair, Hawkmoth was indeed planning something big. The appearance of Paonne had shocked him, and by the way she fought he knew she had been trained by her predecessor, which wasn’t good for him. Seeing the Peacock Miraculous again, even on a different person, brought up unwanted memories that he forced himself to ignore, if he thought about them they’d make him question what he was doing. So he had spent the last two weeks building up his power for a strong Akuma. But the question was, who to use it on?

“I need to be careful with who I chose.” Hawkmoth said to himself. “I have been going about this all wrong, sending Akumas to those with fleeting negative emotions that I just prolong does not give me good villains. I need those who hold onto their pain and anger, whose fury will make them powerful, but I also need them to listen to me and focus on getting the Miraculous.”

Hawkmoth allowed the negative feelings of Paris to flow over him, instead of going for the ones that stood out the most like he usually did he continued to look, the ones that stood out were usually the ones with fleeting emotions that would soon die down, he needed to look for the negative emotions that had been brewing for a long time and all that would be needed was a little push to give Hawkmoth what he needed. One by one, Hawkmoth found and picked out the people with the brewing emotions, he didn’t know who they were, he could only feel the emotions and the reason for them, as they were now he wouldn’t be able to use them for Akumas but now he had found them he only needed to wait for one of them to go over the edge.


 

His name was Damien, but most people knew him as ‘that creepy doll kid’, or ‘that disabled kid with no friend’, or a mixture of the two. The reason he was called these things was because he was never able to make friends growing up because he didn’t act like other children, so he learned how to create dolls to be his friends instead, which people found creepy, and had also gotten into an accident when he was younger causing him to lose the lower half of his left leg. For the most part people just stayed away, but others decided that they needed to drill home the point that he was a creepy kid with no friends, these people made him sad and angry but he did his best to ignore them.

Today, Damien sat in the park, watching the other people play and looking for who to base his next doll off of. He liked to base his doll off of real people he saw because it gave his dolls a sense of realness, he would find a person, chose what sort of doll they would look best as, then sketch out the design to create in the doll workshop he had at home.

“Hey look, it’s the freak!” Damien heard.

He recognised the voice as Terry, the guy who liked to pick on him the most.

Damien tried to ignore them and continue drawing.

“I’m talking to you, retard.” Terry said.

Damien clutched his pencil in a hard grip, he absolutely hated being called that, he had been called that name all throughout his life just because he thought and acted differently to how other people excepted him to.

Damien looked up at Terry and his friends, fury clear on his face.

Damien had always been told by his parents and teachers alike to just ignore the bullies and they’d go away, but that wasn’t true of Terry and his friends, and it was very hard for Damien to ignore them.

“Oh no!” Terry said in mock fear. “Creepy kid is angry with me. I wonder what he’ll do.”

Terry and his friends laughed.

No one but his parents and the teachers called him by his real name anymore, it was always some form of insulting name instead, even from those who didn’t bother him called him ‘Creepy kid’ or some other name because that’s what he was known as.

Before Damien could stop him, one of Terry’s friends had snatched up his sketch book and was roughly leafing through it.

“What a creeper.” The boy said, handing the book to Terry. “He’s been drawing people as dolls.”

Damien tried to take his book back but he couldn’t do much with his prosthetic slowing him down.

“You really do have a sad little life.” Terry mocked, turning to the page he had been drawing on, he recognised the person on the page as someone standing not far away. “I wonder if that girl would like to see your drawing of her.”

“No!” Damien cried.

“She’d probably call you a stalker and call the police. But don’t worry, I’m not going to share this with anyone. In fact, I’ll do you a favour.” Terry said with a mean grin.

“What?” Damien asked cautiously.

“Yeah, I’ll make sure no one can see your creepy little drawings. Tear it up.”

Terry tossed the book to his friends and they proceeded to rip the pages out and tear the pages up.

“No! Stop!” Damien cried out at his work being destroyed.

He tried to grab his book but was pushed down to the ground.

“Stay where you belong, freak.” One of Terry’s friends said.

Soon, all of the pages lay in torn pieces on the ground, Terry and his gang laughing as they walked off.

“We’ve done you a favour.” Terry laughed as he walked away. “Maybe if you dropped your creepy hobby you could get some real friends. Though I doubt it.”

Damien sobbed at seeing his work destroyed, all of the designs he had yet to make, gone. He got up and hobbled back home, in his room he cried harder at the unfairness of the world.

He looked at the dolls he had made, each one made to be his friend in place of those who shunned him.

“Friend? Who needs friends when I have all of you?” Damien said to his dolls. “You don’t hurt me. You don’t call me names.” He then frowned. “But you aren’t there to comfort me either, you just sit there with the smiles I gave you. You’re all useless, just like me.” He started crying.

In his lair Hawkmoth smiled as he felt one of the people he’d been keeping an eye on suddenly spike in negative emotion. This was what he had been waiting for. He held out a hand and a butterfly landed on it, he put his over hand over it and poured in the energy he had been gathering over the last two weeks into it, turning it into an Akuma.

“Fly my little Akuma, and darken his soul.” Hawkmoth said as the Akuma flew out the window.

As Damien cried he didn’t even notice the Akuma fly into his room until it landed on his shoulder bag and was absorbed into it.

“Doll Maker.” Hawkmoth spoke to Damien as a glowing mask appeared in front of his face. “I am Hawkmoth, your friend, and I will give you the power to create all the friends you could possibly want. All I need in return is the Miraculouses.” Hawkmoth sent an image of Ladybug, Chat Noir and Paonne’s Miraculouses to Damien. “Ladybug and Chat Noir’s are the most important.”

“Anything for a friend.” Damien said as a black, bubbling mass overtook him.


 

It was the screams of terror outside of her window that alerted Marinette to something being wrong, she looked outside to see people running away from an army of life-sized dolls of different types, there were porcelain dolls, rags dolls, wooden dolls and even plastic dolls. The one thing they all had in common was button eyes. At the forefront on the doll army was someone who stood out, obviously being an Akuma.

The Akuma was dressed in an old fashioned fancy way with a shirt, waist coat and trousers, but his clothes looked like they had been torn apart and sewn back together with multiple lines of stitching covering them, and the lower half of his left leg was made of metal. His left hand was also metal, being oversized with long metal fingers with strings coming from each finger. His skin was ashen white and his grey hair was a ragged mess that went to his shoulders and went over his face, leaving only his sewn mouth visible, behind his hair two yellow lights shone through where his eyes would be.

Marinette watched in horror as the Akuma thrust his metal hand forward and the strings attached themselves to a person, the person then started to turn into a doll as they were dragged over to the Akuma, the person continued to struggle until the Akuma reached into the shoulder bag he wore and produced two buttons that he placed on their eyes, the person-turned-doll then fell into line with the others.

“Looks like Ladybug was right.” Marinette said. “Pavo, Feathers Flared!”

Marinette transformed into Paonne and climbed through her sky light, she then carefully crept across her roof top to prevent the Akuma from spotting where she came from. Once she was satisfied she was far enough from the bakery she launched her attack.

The Akuma proved tricky as she had to dodge his doll minions and getting touched by the strings from his metal hand, and every time she cut his strings he just grew more, but she didn’t fight along for long as Ladybug and Chat Noir soon arrived.

“Well, I’ve just found my nightmares for the next week.” Chat said, looking at the Akuma and his doll army.

“Don’t allow his strings to touch you or you’ll turn into a doll.” Paonne told the two heroes.

“Got it.” Chat and Ladybug said as they moved in to attack.

“So, stitches, do we get a name?” Chat asked the Akuma as he fended off some of the dolls.

“I am Doll Maker, and you shall become my best friends, just hand over your Miraculouses.” The Akuma said, sending out his strings.

The heroes dove out of the way to avoid them.

“I’ll think we’ll pass, if you don’t mind.” Chat joked.

Chat then yelped as he had to avoid a swing from one of the dolls.

The fight went on for a while, with the heroes having trouble fighting off the Akuma and his minions. It was pretty obvious to them that the Akuma is in the shoulder bag he produced his buttons from, but they couldn’t get close to it without being attacked by life-sized dolls and the transforming strings.

Chat Noir tried to make a dive for the Akuma’s bag but that only resulted in him getting hit by the Akuma’s strings, he struggled as he started to transform into a doll but before Doll Maker could put buttons over his eye’s one of Paonne’s fans cut through the strings holding him and Ladybug’s yoyo wrapped around him and yanked him to safety.

“Are you alright?” Ladybug asked her partner in concern.

“Yeah.” Chat said, taking in his new doll joints. “It seems you don’t get controlled unless he puts the buttons in your eyes.

“That’s useful to know.” Paonne said, she then looked at Chat in concern. “You’ll need to be careful, I think you’ve become a porcelain doll. You could crack if hit.”

Chat looked himself over and felt his face, he couldn’t feel anything with his transformed fingers anymore but the small chinking noise they made told him his skin was now porcelain. His suit now seemed part of him as his doll joints were visible.

“This is so freaky.” He said.

“Paonne’s right, you should probably stay back.” Ladybug said.

“What, worried I’m fragile. That I’ll crack under pressure.” Chat said.

Ladybug groaned, so began the puns.


 

Nathanael watched the Akuma attack over the news, biting his thumb in worry. Even with three heroes in their roster, the heroes of Paris were really struggling with the Akuma, especially after Chat Noir got turned into a doll, stopping him from fighting to the best of his ability lest he be cracked.

“They’re really having trouble.” Nathanael worried.

“So, go out there and help.” Vixx told him.

“But, I’m not ready.” Nathanael argued.

By the expression on Nathanael’s face, Vixx could tell he was torn.

There was a sudden loud thump against the front door downstairs, and it came again, and again. Nathanael stuck his head out the window to see some of Doll Maker’s minions attempting to knock down his front door, he could see them attempting this with other houses as well.

“Oh god, what am I going to do?” Nathanael said, freaking out.

“They’re dolls. Do you really think they can break through the front door?” Vixx asked.

There was a loud cracking sound.

“Evidently they can.” Vixx said.

Nathanael cried out with panic, realising what that sound was. With great effort he managed to move his bed over to his bedroom door and block it, he then piled multiple things on his bed.

“Considering they managed to break through your front door, I don’t think they’ll have much trouble with that.” Vixx told him.

“Well, what would you suggest I do?” Nathanael asked, still panicked.

“There’s only other way out of this room…” Vixx trailed off, looking at the window.

Nathanael took a deep breath as he attempted to calm himself down.

“Okay.” He said to himself. “Okay, okay, okay, okay.” He took another deep breath. “Vixx, Fangs Bared!”

Vixx laughed in triumph as she was sucked into Nathanael’s Miraculous.

When the dolls eventually managed to break into Nathanael’s room, he was nowhere to be found.

Chapter Text

Paonne cried as she defended herself against another attack.

“Is anyone else noticing we’re not doing very well?” She asked, panting.

“Can’t afford to think like that, Paonne.” Ladybug informed her as she swung past.

Paonne huffed and continued to fight. She then noticed that Chat Noir was fighting some dolls very close to the edge of a roof above her.

“Chat Noir, look out!” She called.

It was too late, Chat was hit and lost his balance, falling backwards off the roof.

Paonne rushed forward, kicked off the wall and caught Chat in mid-air, landing in a crouch on the ground with Chat in her arms.

“My maiden to the rescue.” Chat said as he jumped out of Paonne’s arms.

Paonne then gasped in horror when Chat turned to face her.

“What?” Chat questioned.

“You’re face!” Paonne exclaimed.

Chat brought his hand up to his face where he felt the crack that went across it, it must have happened when he was knocked off the building by the dolls.

“I’m okay.” Chat insisted.

“Well, be careful, Wouldn’t want that pretty face to be damaged any more than it is.” Paonne said with a smile, still clearly worried though.

Chat grinned.

Ladybug then came running over, she had a slight limp and was holding her side.

“We’re getting surrounded.” She said, out of breath. She then noticed the crack on Chat’s face. “Chat!”

“Don’t worry, Little Lady, I’ll be okay.” Chat said.

Ladybug looked unconvinced.

“We need to fall back and regroup.” Paonne suggested.

Ladybug looked like she wanted to protest, but a look at Chat and the approaching Doll Maker convinced her to go with it.

“Let’s go then.” She said.

The three heroes ran and eventually managed to get onto the rooftops, but all of them were tired from constantly fighting and the Doll Maker and his minions were following close behind.

“We can’t lose them.” Ladybug growled as they hid behind a chimney, she then came to a decision. “Chat, Paonne, you get out of here and find somewhere to rest, I’ll lead Doll Maker away.”

“What? No!” Chat said. “I see the way you’re holding yourself, Ladybug, you’re hurt. Do you really think you can take them on your own?”

“I don’t intend to fight them, just lead them away.” Ladybug argued.

Chat’s cat ears picked up distant flute music but he ignored it in favour of trying to talk sense into his partner.

“With the state you’re in they’ll catch up to you.” He said.

“Uh, guys.” Paonne said as she peered around the chimney. “I don’t think we have to worry about them chasing us anymore.”

“What?” Ladybug and Chat asked, peering around the chimney as well

They saw Doll Maker and his minions racing off in another direction, they were chasing another group of people across the roof tops.

“Is that…us?” Paonne asked as she looked at the figures Doll Maker was chasing.

“But, how?” Ladybug asked.

“Well it wasn’t easy.” A new voice said. “I didn’t manage to make them that well, but they looked enough like you lot from a distance.”

The three turned with their weapons ready.

“Woah! Easy there.” Said the boy who looked to be their age and dressed like a fox, holding up his hands in surrender.

Ladybug and Chat Noir didn’t lower their weapons, but Paonne did as she looked at the boy like she was trying to solve a puzzle.

“Who are you?” Ladybug asked.

“Name’s Renard, Renard Rouge. Holder of the Fox Miraculous.” The boy said.

“Volpina said the same thing.” Chat said distrustfully.

“Well, I’m the real deal. What, leading Doll Maker away didn’t prove that?”

“Could be trying to gain out trust.”

Paonne finally managed to solve her puzzle. “No, he really has the Miraculous, I can feel it here.” She said, touching her chest where her own Miraculous was.

Ladybug looked at Paonne and Renard, she had relaxed a little but was still on guard. “How’d you get yours?”

“What?” Renard said confused, before realising what she meant. “Oh. It came in this box some Guardian guy slipped into my pocket, along with a Kwami named Vixx.”

Ladybug and Chat sighed in relief, satisfied that Renard was telling the truth since he described how they had received their own Miraculous.

Renard suddenly looked off to where the Doll Maker had gone.

“Looks like they caught up to my illusions. We should go.” He said.

The other heroes nodded and ran.

As they ran the three heroes noticed Renard struggling to keep up with them and being a bit unsure with his footing, but they knew they couldn’t judge since Renard was new and probably not used to running across rooftops, so they didn’t say anything and just shared a glance.

“Where should we go?” Chat asked as they ran.

Renard looked up from where he was watching his footing to look at Chat, taking in the crack on his face.

“How about some place where you can get fixed up, that crack’s only going to get worse!” He called.

“I know a place, follow me.” Ladybug said.

Chat, Paonne and Renard followed Ladybug to an old-looking crafts shop. The place seemed abandoned as they ran in, shutting the door behind them.

“We need something to fill the crack to stop it getting worse.” Renard said.

The four heroes quickly looked through the many craft supplies and eventually found some strong adhesive.

“This will do.” Renard said as he took the adhesive. “Sit down and I’ll apply it.” He told Chat.

Chat reluctantly sat down after a stern look from Ladybug, the heroine could be scary when she wanted to, and Renard began applying the adhesive with steady hands.

“So,” Paonne said. “Are you’re powers the same as Volpina’s?”

“Yep.” Renard said, more involved in his task than answering.

Once Renard was done he took a step back. “It will take ages to dry but hopefully with will dry enough to stop the crack from worsening.”

Chat went to touch it but was stopped by Renard.

“And don’t touch it.” Renard said as if scolding a child.

The heroes continued to rest as they waited for their strength to return and their suits to heal their injuries, Ladybug was already no longer hold her side.

As they waited Renard was struggling to keep his internal freak out from showing on his face.

‘How come I’m acting so confident?’ He asked himself. ‘This isn’t how I usually act. I wanted to act like that, but I didn’t mean to actually do it. I want to freak out but I can’t do it in front of Paris’ heroes! Oh man, what will they think of me when they realise I can’t make illusions like Volpina?’

Renard was so lost in his thoughts that he jumped when Paonne sat next to him.

“Nice to meet you. Pavo said something about the Miraculous mostly coming in pairs, I guess your mine considering I could tell you were good.” Paonne said.

“Yeah, Vixx told me that many times about the Fox being paired with the Peacock.”

Renard felt himself calming down and smiling at being in the presence of Paonne.

“Well,” Ladybug said, standing up and stretching. “I’ve rested enough. Time to get back out there.”

Paonne, Chat and Renard stood as well.

Ladybug eyed her partner unsurely. “Maybe you should stay here, that adhesive isn’t anywhere near dry, you could crack more.”

“I have to agree.” Paonne said.

Renard nodded his head in agreement but chose to stay quiet.

“I’m not staying here while you do all the fighting.” Chat protested.

“I have Paonne and Renard, I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Ladybug insisted.

“I’m not staying here like a fragile doll, even though I look like one.” Chat said, walking out of the shop.

Ladybug sighed and her shoulders slumped. Paonne patted her shoulder.

“That self-sacrificing idiot.” Ladybug muttered with a shake of her head.

Ladybug ran out after her partner and Paonne and Renard followed close behind.

Once the three caught up with Chat they began to plan.

“Doll Maker doesn’t know about Renard yet.” Paonne said. “So you can provide cover for us.” She then said to Renard. “What’s the range of your power?”

Renard was surprised, he had expected them to think he had the exact same capabilities as Volpina.

“Uh, I can crate poor copies of other people, but they’re obviously fake when someone gets close enough, I can create perfect copies of myself, I can make walls appear, and I can shift perspective, basically meaning I can make someone think something is in a different place than it really is.” Renard couldn’t read the expressions on the others’ faces but he felt the need to defend himself. “I’m still practicing.”

“Okay,” Ladybug said, formulating a plan. “Renard and Paonne provide cover from the rooftops while Chat and I take on Doll Maker…and his minion.” She said the last part unsurely.

“How about Renard uses his illusions to separate Doll Maker from his dolls?” Paonne suggested.

“I think I can manage that.” Renard said, nodding his head.

“Okay, Renard gets Doll Maker alone, then Chat and I face him head on. With,” She then stressed to her partner. “Chat on the defensive.”

“Meouch, Little Lady, do you really believe me to be that reckless in my fragile condition.” Chat said.

“Yes.” Ladybug, Paonne and Renard deadpanned.


 

Doll Maker continued to look for the three heroes who mysteriously vanished, turning the people his friends brought into more friends as he went.

“Yes, Hawkmoth, we’re looking as hard as we can.” Doll Maker said as Hawkmoth’s symbol glowed over his face.

He then spotted the three heroes a few blocks away.

“There!” He cried to his friends as they ran towards them.

When the heroes split three different ways he split his dolls into three groups and went with the one going after Chat Noir since all he had to do was add buttons to Chat Noir’s eyes to make him their friend and get the Miraculous.

The Chase of Chat Noir led through many twisting alleyways Doll Maker didn’t remember being there before until Chat stopped in the middle of a road with his back turned.

“Are you finally ready to be my friend Chat Noir?” Doll Maker asked.

But as Doll Maker approached Chat Noir he noticed something wrong about the black-clad hero, he seemed fuzzy as if made of static and held no tones, everything was just one shade of colour. Doll Maker reached to grab Chat Noir but was surprised when he suddenly burst into orange light.

“What?” Doll Maker asked.

Doll Maker turned to address his friends but saw no one.

“Friends?” He asked.

“I’m afraid they’ve gotten a little lost.”

Doll Maker turned around again to see Ladybug and Chat Noir standing there with their weapons ready.

Ladybug struck first with her yoyo, knocking Doll Maker back. Doll Maker tried to attack with his large metal hand but was blocked by Chat’s staff. From the corner of his eye Doll Maker saw something heading towards him and pushed away from Chat in time to avoid Paonne’s fan, he sent his strings towards Chat but they were cut on the fan’s return trip to Paonne.

From his own position on the rooftops, Renard continued to play his flute to mislead the dolls, but they were beginning to catch onto and break through his illusions.

“You need to wrap this up, I can’t keep them away for much longer.” Renard informed Paonne as she landed next to him.

“Okay.” Paonne said.

Paonne extended her wings and glided down to the fight below, landed next to Ladybug.

“Renard says the dolls are coming.” Paonne relayed the information.

“Right, let’s finish this.” Ladybug said. “Lucky Charm!”

Ladybug threw her yoyo into the air and in a flash of light the red and black-spotted object fell into her hands.

“Scissors.” Ladybug said, glad it wasn’t an obscure object like usual.

As Ladybug summoned her Lucky Charm, Paonne went to get back to the rooftops to provide more over fire, only to be caught by Doll Maker’s strings. She cried out as she started to turn into a wooden doll.

“Cataclysm!” Chat Noir summoned his power.

Chat grabbed the strings with his destructive touch and they rotted away into nothing, he then caught Paonne as the sudden loss of strings caused her to fall backwards.

“You okay, my maiden?” He asked.

“Yeah.” Paonne said.

Paonne wasn’t fully transformed like Chat but parts of her had turned into wood.

Doll Maker tried to send out his strings again, but it seemed the cataclysm had cut them off at the source since nothing happened.

“Wish I’d sewn to do that sooner.” Chat grinned.

Paonne groaned at the pun.

“Welcome to my life.” Ladybug said as she attacked Doll Maker.

But even without his strings Doll Maker didn’t go down without a fight, his metal claw hand still proved to be dangerous.

“My friends!” Doll Maker suddenly shouted happily.

The doll minions had managed to find their way to them.

Renard dropped down from the roofs and used his flute as a staff to attack the dolls, they were only coming from one direction so he was able to bottleneck the amount of them. But Renard was clearly not an experienced fighter and was struggling.

“Finish Doll Maker, I’ll help Renard.” Paonne said as she ran to fight the dolls.

Chat vaulted over Doll Maker and made to attack with his staff, with the Akuma distracted Ladybug dove past with the scissors in hand, narrowing avoiding getting hit by Doll Maker’s claw.

Doll Maker then gasped as he felt his shoulder bag fall from his shoulder, Ladybug managing to cut the strap with her scissors. He tried to grab his bag but Chat kicked it over to Ladybug before he could grab it, Ladybug then picked it up and tore the bag in half.

As the Akuma fluttered out of the bag Ladybug opened up her yoyo and swung it at the Akuma. “Capture!” She called as she caught the Akuma. “And release.” She then released the white butterfly from her yoyo.

Renard and Paonne sighed in relief as the dolls stopped attack, the buttons falling out of their eyes as they came back to awareness.

“You know, not bad for your first outing.” Paonne told Renard.

Renard smiled back.

“Miraculous Ladybug!” Ladybug cried out as she threw her scissors into the air.

The scissors burst into a million ladybugs and zoomed around the city, wrapping around the dolls and returning them to normal and fixing the damage done to people’s homes. Chat Noir and Paonne sighed relief as their doll parts were replaced by their normal selves, Chat grinning happily as he ran his hand over his crack-less face.

Ladybug and Chat Noir’s Miraculouses then beeped.

“That’s our cue.” Chat said.

Chat and Ladybug then ran off to find somewhere same to de-transform.

“Want to introduce yourself?” Paonne asked, pointing to the people eyeing Renard with suspicion and distrust.

“Uh…” Renard trailed off.

Renard’s Miraculous then started beeping as well.

‘Saved by the beep.’ Thought Renard.

“Think you can convince them I’m not a bad guy?” Renard asked Paonne.

“I’ll do my best.” Paonne said.

“Thanks.”

Renard held up his hand, Paonne did the same and they high-fived as Renard ran off.

“Right,” Paonne said, turning to address the crowed that was gathering, preparing to defend Renard.


 

“That was amazing.” Nathanael said as he flopped down on his bed.

Vixx didn’t look like she could get any smugger.

Nathanael smiled good-naturedly as he and rolled his eyes.

“Alright, you were right.” He admitted.

“I know.” Vixx said smugly.

Nathanael turned on the news and watch the report on the Akuma attack.

“…Lucky Charm return everything to normal again.” Nadja Chamack reported. “But our three heroes were not alone in defeating Doll Maker, it seems that there’s a new hero on the block, so soon after Paonne’s arrival, and they’re causing even more controversy than Paonne.” The news then showed a poor quality picture of Renard. “This new hero goes by the name Renard Rouge, and he sports a theme and power set similar to that of an Akuma who also claimed to be a hero, Volpina. So then question on everyone’s minds is, ‘is Renard for real or is he another fake?’. Ladybug and Chat Noir left the scene before their opinions could be asked but Paonne was there to give a statement, and she believes that Renard is the real deal. But considering Paonne only recently hit the scene, many are still questioning, ‘can we trust him?’.”

“This is going to go on for a while.” Nathanael groaned. “Why’d it have to be the Fox Miraculous Lila copied?”

“There, there.” Vixx said as she landed on Nathanael’s head. “It will take a few outings, but Paris will eventually warm to you.”

“I guess.”

“Now, I’m hungry.”

Nathanael laughed as he got up to get his Kwami some food.


 

Damien was silent as he was returned home after bring looked over by the paramedics.

“Thank you, officer.” His mother said to the man who dropped him off.

His mother walked him into the living room where his dad waited and sat him down on the sofa.

“I cannot believe that my baby became a monster like that.” His mother said, upset.

Damien tried his best to ignore the small feeling of hurt at getting described as a monster.

“We try to be supportive, but you don’t let us in.” His mother continued to cry. “If you had just let us, this whole thing could have been prevented.

Damien wanted to point out that his parent had been perfectly content to let him be with the smallest of ‘I’m fine’, but he remained silent.

“It could have been prevented if he didn’t keep making those dolls.” His father pointed out. “I want those dolls out of your room, and you’re not to make another one until you’re better.”

Damien looked at his father in disbelief. Not allowed to create doll? But that was his favourite thing to do. And what did his father mean ‘better’?”

“Don’t you think that’s a bit harsh?” His mother questioned. “He loves his dolls.”

“And that what caused the problem in the first place.” His father said.

Damien felt cold, his father was basically saying it was his fault for being bullied because of his love for dolls that led to him being upset when his work was ruined.

“Besides, I didn’t say I was going to destroy them. They can find a place in the attic or cellar. And then he can find himself a more normal hobby and some friends, and this whole mess will never be a problem again.”

Damien desperately wanted to object, but he still remained silent, the guilt of what he’d done still pressing down on him.

His mother and father then went up to Damien’s room and packed away his dolls, his friends, into boxes along with his doll making equipment and stored it away in the attic, which they knew he’d have a hard time reaching without them knowing because of his prosthetic.


 

Hawkmoth stood inside his lair, going over what happened in the Akuma attack.

“That Akuma was my most powerful yet, I would have won if not for Renard Rouge’s surprise appearance.” He said to himself. “But he can be accounted for. I now know my best strategy for getting those Miraculous, anger and despair gathered in a person over time and then given just one push to send them over the edge.”

Hawkmoth then paused, he could still sense the negative emotions of the child who became Doll Maker.

“And it seems that Doll Maker may also make another appearance one day.”

Hawkmoth then gave a menacing laugh.

Chapter Text

Ladybug managed to find a place just a few blocks from her home to hide as she was forced to de-transform.

“That was rough.” She said, catching Tikki.

“The toughest Akuma yet.” Tikki agreed.

“Come on, I have cookies at home.”

Tikki flew into the hood of her jacket and she walked the rest of the way home.

When she returned home she stopped off in the kitchen to grab some cookies for Tikki before going to her room. She turned on her TV and sat down on her bed as Tikki munched on the cookies on her desk.

She gave a small frown when she heard the news question whether Renard Rouge was a good guy or not.

“I wish Chat and I could have stayed longer to give our support as well.” She said to Tikki.

“Unfortunately, the Fox has never been fully trusted throughout history.” Tikki told her. “A few bad people managed to get their hands on the Fox Miraculous before the Guardian at the time managed to get it back, but the damage was done and the fox was linked to deceit and thievery.”

“Still,” She said. “It’s going to take a while for Paris to trust Renard Rouge, which is going to make things hard for us.”

“People aren’t believing Paonne because she’s new, but maybe they’d believe someone who’s been about for a bit longer.” Tikki suggested.

“So Chat and I will have to vouch for him.” She looked thoughtful. “That Alya girl who follows us around has a big following on her Ladyblog, so maybe we can speak to her.”

“Sounds good.”

“I’ll call the others to discuss it later, for now I’m too tired.”

She lay back onto her bed and shut her eyes.


 

Later in the evening Ladybug sat in the usual meeting place of Notre Dame, she had left messages for her fellow heroes and was waiting to see if any of them had managed to receive them and come to meet her.

“Hello, Ladybug.” Paonne greeted as she landed next to the red and black hero. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Hello, Paonne.” Ladybug said. “I was half expecting nobody to show up since they’d have to transform to receive the message.

“I was passing by when I spotted you up here.” Paonne explained. “I’m guessing you wanted to meet about Renard Rouge.”

“In a way. I know he’s good from his explanation of how he got his powers and helping us out, but Paris is yet to be convinced. So we need to make a public appearance to convince them he’s on our side.”

“What do you have in mind?” Paonne asked.

“You know that blogger girl who always follows us around?”

“I know her.”

“I’m thinking that maybe we can set up an interview with her since she’s got a large following on her blog.”

“That’s a great idea. And I think I know someone who can set up a meeting for us.”

“Really? That’s good. Try to get it for some time tomorrow afternoon at the park with the statue of me and Chat Noir.”

“I’ll do my best. We’d better message the boys to let them know.”

Paonne messaged Renard about the new details using the screen that appeared on her fan while Ladybug messaged her partner, hopefully they’d transform and get the messages in time. After that was done the two heroines bid each other a goodnight before heading home.


 

The next day Marinette went to college, as soon as she entered she heard people talking about Renard Rouge, even more than they had talked about Paonne.

“Hawkmoth trying the same thing twice isn’t likely.” Someone said.

“Maybe that’s what he’s aiming for, us believing he wouldn’t try the same thing twice.” Someone else responded.

“He has the exact same powers as Volpina.” Someone pointed out to someone else. “How can he not be an Akuma?”

Marinette frowned when she saw some people harassing Lila.

“Did you turn into an Akuma again and disguise yourself as male?” One of the people laughed.

“Are you mad you’re not special anymore?” Another mocked.

Marinette was about to march over and defend Lila but was saved the trouble.

“Leave her alone!” A girl looking a little older than Marinette went over.

“What’s it to you?” One of them challenged.

“I don’t appreciate bullies.”

“It’s only harmless teasing.” Another defended.

“Well that’s not what I saw. Move along before I report you.”

The people who had been harassing Lila moved away with a few grumbles.

“You okay?” The girl asked Lila.

Lila didn’t say anything and just walked away.

The girl frowned at Lila’s lack of response to her before walking off.

Seeing the incident now resolved Marinette continued her way to class, as walked she spotted Nathanael standing alone, he looked sad for some reason.

“Nathanael, are you okay?” Marinette asked.

Nathanael was a bit startled, having been lost in his own thoughts, he turned to Marinette with a small smile.

“Hi, Marinette.” He said.

“What’s wrong?” Marinette asked again.

“I’m just a bit sad most people aren’t giving Renard Rouge a chance.” He said.

Having so many people be openly distrustful towards his other self was disheartening to Nathanael, he knew it would happen and thought he had prepared himself for it, but when he entered the courtyard to hear so many people talking negatively it had still been a hard blow.

“I’m sure they’ll warm up to him eventually, they just need time to see that he’s a good guy.” Marinette said, patting Nathanael’s shoulder.

This made Nathanael brighten up. “You believe he’s a good guy?” He said hopefully.

Marinette nodded. “Yeah. He wouldn’t have helped out if he wasn’t.”

“But what if he’s just trying to gain everyone’s trust before he strikes?” Nathanael tested.

Marinette smiled. “Something tells me that he isn’t.” She said.

The bell then rang.

“Come on, before we’re late.” Marinette said, heading for class.

Nathanael stayed where he was for a moment, reviling in the warmth he felt in knowing Marinette believed Renard was a hero, believed he was a hero. Knowing that the girl he had a crush on thought he was a hero, chased away the bad feeling made by those who thought Renard was another Akuma.

With a smile on his face, Nathanael ran to catch up with Marinette and get to class.

Inside the classroom, most of the class was still having conversations about Renard since the teacher wasn’t yet there. Nathanael went to his seat and tried to block out the noise.

“If Paonne says Renard Rouge isn’t an Akuma, then I believe her.” Chloe’s voice stuck out.

Nathanael was surprised.

‘Wow, indirectly defended by Chloe.’ Nathanael thought. ‘Hell must have frozen over.’

At her seat, Marinette was equally surprised.

‘I don’t know how to feel about this.’ She thought.

“So, what do you think, Alya?” Marinette turned to her friend.

“I’m reserving my opinion until I hear more.” Alya said in a professional tone.

Marinette saw her opening.

“You know, I heard this rumour that Ladybug and the other heroes are going to be appearing at the Ladybug and Chat Noir statue this afternoon. Maybe you could get an interview from them.” She said.

Alya gasped. “Who’d you hear this from?” She asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. I heard it from someone, who heard it from someone else, who said they overheard Ladybug and Paonne talking.” Marinette made up. “But don’t you think it’d be worth checking out?”

Alya hummed. “Chances are it’s just a rumour.” She said. “But a good journalist doesn’t discard a possible lead. I’ll check it out.”

“That’s great, I hope you see them.”

“You’re not coming with me.”

“I’d love to, but I’ve got to help out in the bakery, then I have this dress to finish.” Marinette lied.

“I understand.”

“Okay, silence please.” Miss Bustier said as she walked into the classroom. “Time to work.”

Everyone settled down as class began.


 

At lunch Nathanael was about to walk out when he was joined by Marinette.

“Hey, Nathanael, want to hang out with us for lunch?” She asked.

Nathanael blushed again but nodded. “I’d like that.” He said.

“Come on then.” Marinette dragged Nathanael by the arm to a bench where Alya and Nino were sitting.

“Hi.” Nathanael greeted nervously as he sat down.

“Hey.” Alya said.

“Hey, dude.” Nino said.

“I take it Adrien couldn’t come.” Marinette said in disappointment.

Nino shook his head. “Something about a strict model diet.” He said.

“Poor Adrien.” Marinette said.

Nathanael tried to ignore the feeling of ice jabbing his heart at the reminder that Marinette had a crush on Adrien, meaning that his chances of getting his feelings for Marinette returned weren’t very likely.

“We’ll see if we can sneak him some croissants when he gets back.” Alya said, standing up. “But now, lunch is at Marinette’s.”

The four of them walked out of the college and across the street to where Marinette’s family bakery was.

Internally, Nathanael was slightly freaking out at being invited to Marinette’s home.

The four of them entered through the side entrance and up the stairs to the main living quarters above the bakery.

“You have a nice home, Marinette.” Nathanael said quietly.

“Thanks, Nathanael.” Marinette replied.

Marinette went to get some food for lunch while Alya, Nino and Nathanael sat around the table. Marinette soon returned with some sandwiches.

“So, Nathanael, have you been doing anything recently?” Marinette asked.

“Uh, yeah.” Nathanael responded. “I thought about what you said about getting another hobby, but I decided to learn an instrument instead of dancing.”

“What sort of instrument?” Nino asked.

“A flute. So don’t expect me to be able to play side-by-side with you.” Nathanael joked.

“Speaking of dance.” Alya said. “Have you got any performances to show off your skills yet?” She asked Marinette.

“I’ve heard my instructor saying something about one in a month or so, but I don’t know if I’ll even be in it.” Marinette replied.

“Are you kidding? I’ve seen you dance, you’re bound to be part of any performance.”

“Thanks, Alya.”

“I’d like to see you dance.” The words escaped Nathanael’s mouth before he could stop them.

Nathanael turn red in embarrassment as the other turned to him.

“Well, if I do get to be part of a performance, I’ll invite you along.” Marinette said.

“I-I’d like that.” Nathanael said, looking down.

They ate their food, having general conversations for a while.

“I can’t wait for this afternoon.” Alya said. “I hope it’s real.”

“What?” Nathanael asked.

“Marinette heard a rumour that Ladybug and the other heroes are going to be meeting in the park for something, it’d be perfect for an interview for the blog.” Alya said.

Nathanael was confused, he wasn’t told about any meeting. Then again, he had only just appeared so maybe he hadn’t been invited.

“I’m sure it will be.” Marinette said reassuringly.

After finishing their lunch, the four left the house to find something to do before they had to return for afternoon classes


 

After the end of college Nathanael was still curious about the rumoured meeting at the park, so he decided to go to an isolated area of the school to transform.

“I need to see if there is anything happening at the park.” Nathanael told Vixx. “I’ll keep my distance. Vixx, Fangs Bared!”

In a flash of orange light, Renard Rouge stood in Nathanael’s place.

The was a beeping sound from behind Renard, he whipped around but no one was there and the beeping sound was still behind him. He turned his neck and saw the top half of his flute with the very top flashing.

“Huh?”

Renard took the top half of his flute and then pressed the flashing part. He was surprised when the part of the flute between the top and the mouth piece flipped open like a phone to show a screen, the screen showed an image of Paonne with envelope symbol on it like a phone saying he had a message. Renard pressed the symbol and a message popped up on the screen.

‘Renard,’ It read. ‘I don’t know if you’ll get this in time, but on Monday afternoon, after college hours, Ladybug and I will be meeting at the park with the Ladybug and Chat Noir’s statue to hopefully meet with someone who can interview us so that we can vouch for you being one of us. If you get this in time, please come so you can speak for yourself too.’

“They’re doing this, for me?” Renard said, touched.

Renard snuck out of the school and to the park.

At the park, Alya was looking around with her phone at the ready. She then heard the sound of clearing their throat behind her, she spun around to see Ladybug and Paonne standing there.

“Oh my god! You’re really here!” Alya exclaimed excitedly.

“You’re that girl who runs that blog about us, right?” Ladybug asked.

“Yes, I am!”

“Good. Because, how would you like an interview?” Paonne asked.

“You want me to interview you? This is a dream come true!”

“It’s a bit too public here.” Ladybug said. “Meet us at the community theatre.”

Ladybug then swung to the rooftops with Paonne following.

Alya squealed with excitement and raced towards the community theatre.

“Hope I’m not too late.” Renard said to Ladybug and Paonne as he caught up with them.

“Nope, just on time actually.” Paonne said. “Follow us, we’re going for an interview with the runner of the Ladyblog.”

The three heroes arrived at the community theatre, which was currently empty, and waited on one of the stages. They didn’t have to wait for long as Alya quickly showed up.

“You’re here too?” Alya asked Renard. “This keeps getting better.”

Alya went to her blog and activated the live-stream.

“Hey, Ladybloggers, Alya here with an emergency update. I’m here with Ladybug, Paonne and the infamous Renard Rouge for an interview.” Alya said to the camera on her phone.

Alya then turned the camera on her phone around to look at the three heroes who waved.

“First and foremost, is Renard a hero, or an Akuma?” Alya asked.

“I’m a hero.” Renard said, putting his hand over his heart.

“Due to evidence he provided that we can’t reveal, we know that he is one of us.” Ladybug said.

“That’s a relief.” Alya said. “Do you plan on sticking around to defeat Hawkmoth?”

“I do.” Renard answered.

He had given up on the idea that the Guardian would choose someone else.

The interview went on for a while before they decided the heroes decided they had answered enough questions and left, leaving Alya a very happy reporter.


 

The next day the college was once again talking about Renard Rouge, but in a much more positive light. Those who had believed that Renard was a hero from the start were proudly talking about how right they were to the doubters. One of these people was Chloe, but she was going on more about how she never doubted Paonne rather than Renard.

There were still a few people who doubted Renard’s status as a hero, but they weren’t as many and as vocal as before.

“It’s nice not to have so many people think I’m bad anymore.” Nathanael commented quietly to Vixx.

Vixx nodded in agreement.

At the other end of the courtyard, Lila sat on her own. She looked up when she saw someone approaching her and moaned in disgust when she saw it was the same people who had been harassing her for a while now.

They didn’t harass her for becoming an Akuma, it wouldn’t make sense for them to only pick on her for that since a good chunk of the college had become victim to Hawkmoth, they picked on her because of all the lies she told in attempt to get popular only for it to backfire on her when everyone found out she was lying, for claiming to be a hero as Volpina, and for her open dislike for Ladybug.

“It must’ve been a real blow when Renard Rouge showed up.” One of them said. “To know that Volpina will never be more than one of your pathetic lies.”

“Weren’t you guys denouncing him just yesterday?” Lila shot back.

They didn’t flinch.

“Maybe. But can you blame us after what you did?” Another said. “Because of you Paris is going to question every new hero that pops up.”

“All because you wanted to impress Adrien Agreste.” Said another.

“And couldn’t take it when Ladybug called you out for your lies.” Said the first.

Lila tried to keep from reacting. But the mention of Ladybug made her blood boil, she had ruined her chances with Adrien and had embarrassed her, people had overheard Ladybug yelling at her for her lies and the news had spread around the college before the next day even finished, soon there hadn’t been anyone at college who didn’t know of it.

Lila stood up and ran out of the college, fighting to keep back tears as she heard her harassers laugh behind her.

“There they are, Mr. Damocles, the students who’ve been picking on Miss Rossi.” A voice said behind the students who had been picking on Lila.

They turned around to see the girl who had defended Lila the day before standing beside the principle. The principle looked angry and disappointed and the girl had a told-you-so look.

“Come to my office, immediately!” Mr. Damocles thundered. “I am calling your parents!”

While Mr. Damocles was disappointed in his students, he was a bit happy that he could do something about them. Whenever a problem concerning Chloe arose he had to ignore it or make things go in her favour because of her father being the mayor, not matter how much he didn’t want to, so it made him glad when he could actually do something about bullies.

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention.” Mr. Damocles said to the girl beside him.

“No problem, sir.”

Mr. Damocles walk off to his office with Lila’s tormenters following.

The girl remained where she was momentarily, looking in the direction Lila had run off in, debating whether or not to go after her. She eventually decided not to, her own dislike of Lila maybe having a factor in that.

She had a dislike of Lila because of how much Lila had lied and other reasons, but not enough to think she deserved to be bullied. Out a small sense of guilt, she had tried to extend the hand of friendship after helping her only to be coldly ignored

She hadn’t meant for people to overhear her telling Lila off for her lies, and had even apologised for it after ridding Lila of her Akuma, but Lila had decided to remain stubborn in her belief that she had done it on purpose to embarrass her, and Lila refused to take responsibility for her lies, blaming everything on Ladybug for exposing her lies rather than herself for creating them in the first place.

The bell rang and the girl behind the Ladybug mask went to class.


 

Lila kept running until she came to a stop at an isolated spot by the Seine, she then broke down crying.

“It’s not fair.” She cried. “Just because I told a few lies, they think they have the right to do this to me?”

Lila took off her fox-tail necklace to look at it.

“Was it really too much to want that?” She then turned angry. “I should be the one! It should be mine! It’s my right! Not some guy who thinks he can do a better job than me.”

In his lair, the window opened up and the butterflies around Hawkmoth scattered.

“Ah, Volpina, I knew you would come into my sights again one day.” Hawkmoth said, calling a butterfly to him and turning it into an Akuma.

The Akuma then took off and flew out the window.

“Go my evil Akuma, and reawaken her.” Hawkmoth said.

The Akuma flew across Paris until it reached Lila and merged with her necklace.

“Volpina,” Hawkmoth spoke to her. “I offer you a second chance to prove yourself the true hero of Paris. Retrieve the Miraculouses for me and the Fox Miraculous shall be yours.”

“Yes, Hawkmoth.” Lila said.

A dark bubbling mass overtook Lila.

Chapter Text

After the bell had rung, all of the students in class sat down and paid attention to Miss Bustier. But as the teacher took the register she noticed the absence of one of her students.

“Where is Miss Rossi?” Miss Bustier asked.

Most of the class looked unknowing as she did, but Kim spoke up.

“I heard that she was getting picked on by some students and ran off.” He said.

“I heard that too, the students supposedly got suspended.” Alix said.

“I hope Lila’s okay.” Rose said, worrying what could have been said to make Lila leave college.

“Who cares.” Chloe said. “She probably got whatever she deserved from those students, it’s her own fault for lying about being famous and daring to speak against Ladybug.”

“No one deserves to be bullied, Chloe.” Marinette said.

“Please settle down.” Miss Bustier said. “And Miss Bourgeois, please be more considerate towards your classmates.”

Chloe only stuck her nose up and looked to the side with crossed arms.

Miss Bustier sent an email to Mr Damocles about Lila being absent so he could contact her parents and see if she had gone home.

The class then proceeded on as normal.


 

The three teens who had been tormenting Lila marched home unhappily.

“I can’t believe we were suspended for a week for a bit of teasing.” One said.

“To be fair, we might have taken it a bit too far.” Another admitted.

“Maybe enough to get a detention or two, not suspended.” Said the third. “I bet she was just overplaying how upset she really was because she knew the Principle was coming, another one of her lies.”

The three teens were broken out of their discussion when they noticed someone standing in their way, they looked up and all took a step back in fright when they saw what the person looked like. In was a woman, but she was tall and extremely thin with long claw-like fingers and long hair, she was dressed in a long ratted dress and wore a full facemask. And she was floating a foot off the ground.

“I will feast on your soul.” She said in a raspy voice.

“Akuma!” One of the teens cried out.

The three of them ran, but no matter how fast they ran and where they ran to, the Akuma kept up with them.

“Split!” One of the teens shouted, running in a different direction to the others.

The other two split off in different directions as well, hoping that the Akuma would only go after one of them.

But as they ran, each of them were somehow still chased by the Akuma, it apparently having split into three.

“It’s no use running.” The Akuma rasped.

“Stay back!” One of the teens cried when they reached a dead end.

The only thing behind the teen was a long drop into the Seine.

The Akuma reached out her claws and laughed creepily, slowly floating forward.

“I will feast on your soul.” She repeated.

The teen continued to back up until they lost their balance and fell into the Seine. The Akuma that had been chasing them then disappeared

With the second teen, they continued to run with the Akuma hot on their heels, seemingly making no effort to keep up with them.

“Leave me alone!” The teen cried.

The chased continued to a small junkyard, once the teen was sure the Akuma wasn’t there yet they hid in an old freezer and closed the door behind them, they then waited with baited breath. The was a loud thump against the door and then nothing, the teen waited for a few minutes before deciding to check it the coast was clear. But when they tried to open the door they found it would budge, whatever that thump had been was something blocking the door.

“Help!” The teen cried out.

With the final teen, they had stopped, the Akuma seemingly no longer chasing them, and sighed in relief. But then they heard creepy and rasping laughter echo around them and the shadows seemed to move. The teen’s eyes darted around anxiously as they backed into a wall, trying to spot the Akuma. But just as they expected to hit the wall, they backed into a warm body instead.

Before the teen could do anything, they found them-self blindfolded and tied up with rope.

“Let me go.” They struggled against their captor.

“I think not.” A familiar voice said.

A gag was shoved in their mouth and they felt them-self being hoisted upside down, leaving them to struggle in mid-air.

Volpina surveyed her handy work with a satisfied grin. It had felt good to get back at her bullies using a fake Akuma, she got her revenge and tested out her plan for the so-called heroes of Paris.

“Now, to get those Miraculouses.” Volpina said.

Volpina turned to her illusion Akuma and frowned at it, it looked too much like a generic movie monster for her tastes.

“But first I need better Akumas.” She said, striking her illusion with her flute to make it disappear. “They need to be convincing.”

Volpina would have just used previous Akumas, but that brought the risk of Ladybug or one of the others spotting the real person who’s meant to be the Akuma and getting suspicious, so she needed original Akuma designs.

Volpina then remembered that she had seen one of her classmates, Nathanael if she remembered correctly, drawing what looked like Akuma designs in his sketchbook for one of his stupid Ladybug comics, and some of them were original designs. She could steal his sketchbook and use those designs, Nathanael would recognise his designs but she could easily lock him away somewhere to stop him from being a problem.

Looking at a large clock on the front of a building, Volpina saw that it was almost time for the college to let out for lunch, once it did she could follow Nathanael until he was alone and then strike.


 

After college let out for lunch Nathanael decided to head home instead of staying at college or hanging out with one of his classmates, deciding he wanted to be on his own today. As walked home Nathanael took his usual route, but then he noticed that he was in a different part of the city he should be.

“What the…?” Nathanael said, confused.

He didn’t think he took any wrong turns.

Nathanael sighed and turned around, he recognised where he was and new what directions to take to head home.

But he somehow ended up in the wrong place again, this time unfamiliar territory and on his own.

“What is going on?” He questioned.

“I can answer that.” A voice said.

Nathanael turned around to see Volpina standing there.

“Lila?” Nathanael exclaimed in shock.

“Not anymore.” Volpina said. “Now, you have something I want.”

“I do?” Nathanael asked, feeling like ice was going through his veins, thinking that she meant his Miraculous.

“Yes. You’re sketchbook.”

“My…my sketchbook.” Nathanael was relieved she didn’t know about his Miraculous after all, but was now confused. “Why would you want my sketchbook?”

“Reasons that don’t concern you. Now, hand it over.”

Nathanael knew that was a bad idea to tick off an Akuma, especially untransformed, but his sketchbook was personal and Volpina was likely to use it for evil purposes. So, he ran instead.

Nathanael didn’t run far before he was tackled to the ground by Volpina, she pinned him with one hand while using the other to take the sketchbook out of his bag.

“Now, what to do with you?” Volpina said.

Nathanael didn’t like the sound of that.

Volpina ended up tying up and gagging Nathanael at a building site where it seemed there was no work going on that day, dumping him in a deep hole.

“Don’t worry.” Volpina said. “Someone will come along eventually. You just have to hope they check the hole before using the diggers again.”

Nathanael glared up at her.

Once Volpina had left Vixx appeared from out of his bag, having thankfully avoided detection by Volpina.

“Don’t worry, I’ll get you out.” She said.

Vixx then began to use her sharp teeth to cut through the ropes around Nathanael’s wrists.


 

Once she was away from the construction site and out of view on the rooftops, Volpina opened Nathanael’s sketchbook and began leafing through it until she found the pages with the concept art for Nathanael’s made-up Akumas. After studying them she dropped the sketchbook and played her flute, making the Akuma from the pages appear before her.

The Akuma Volpina chose was dressed like a female performer, complete with a leotard, jacket, bowtie, tights and heels, and a top hat. Her weapon was a show cane.

“Good.” Volpina said, looking over her fake Akumas.

Volpina then directed her Akuma into a more populated area of Paris, following close behind but making sure to remain out of sight. Once they reached a place Volpina deemed suitable her fake Akuma began her attack.

“Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, Showstopper here with the most bedazzling performance!” The fake Akuma said in a voice most TV presenters had.

Volpina was able to give her voice to her illusions and change it to sound different, sort of like she was throwing her voice.

Volpina played her flute again to make it seem like Showstopper was attacking, using her cane to summon fireworks. None of them actually hit anyone, since that would expose them as illusions, or did any damage, but they did their job of making people panic and scatter and bringing attention to her fake Akuma.

“Make sure you stay tuned, Paris, because my final act will be the destruction of the heroes of Paris!” Volpina said, changing and sending her voice to Showstopper.

It didn’t take long for Chat Noir to show up, with Ladybug and Paonne not far behind.

“Wow, you really like to light up people’s lives.” Chat said, trying and failing to land a hit on Showstopper.

Ladybug was about to join in when she noticed Paonne hesitating.

“What is it?” She asked.

“I don’t know.” Paonne said. “Something just seems off about that Akuma.”

She moved to attack anyway and Ladybug followed suit.

Before any of them could land a hit, Showstopper flew into the air. She then pulled out a large piece of cloth from nowhere.

“And now, for my next spectacular performance. Now you see me, not you don’t.”

Showstopper pulled the cloth over her and vanished from sight.

“Great, a vanishing Akuma, that’s all we need.” Chat said.

“Where could she have gotten to?” Ladybug questioned, looking around to spot her.

The others looked around and Chat spotted Showstopper briefly, running off down a street.

“Over there!” He shouted, taking off in the direction.

Ladybug and Paonne ran after him but they all soon came to a stop when it became apparent they weren’t chasing anyone.

“Are you sure you saw her?” Paonne asked him.

“I’m sure.” Chat responded.

From her place watching them, Volpina noted that Renard Rouge had yet to show up, even though he had ample time already. Though she didn’t like not knowing where he was, it did make it easier to enact her plan.

Volpina played her flute and a copy of Renard Rouge appeared before her, she then sent it to Paonne and the others.

“Hey, guys. Am I too late?” Volpina said, sending her voice to her fake Renard.

“No, we’ve just lost track of the Akuma. She’s some sort of TV performer with fireworks and a disappearing act.” Ladybug said.

“Though we could have used your help earlier.” Chat commented.

Paonne didn’t say anything, frowning slightly at Renard. Like the Akuma, something felt off about Renard, she just couldn’t put her finger on what.

“Well, some of us have better things to do that play hero, kitty cat.” Renard said.

“Hey!”

“Knock it off, the both of you. We need to focus on finding the Akuma.” Ladybug said.

“How about we split up?” Renard suggested. “We can easily contact each other if we find something.”

“It will be the quickest way.” Paonne agreed.

“Okay, but everyone checks in every ten minutes.” Ladybug said. “If you don’t we’ll have to assume the Akuma got to you.”

“Right.” The others agreed, heading off in separate directions.

Renard Rouge went over to Volpina’s hiding place where she made him disappear by whacking her flute through him.

“I can’t wait to do that to the real one.” She said. “Now, who to go after first?”

Volpina decided on Chat Noir, she summoned a copy of Paonne and sent it to him.

“Find anything, Chat?” Paonne asked, landing next to the hero.

“Not yet.” Chat answered. “Shouldn’t you be searching elsewhere. Not that I’m complaining about seeing your pretty face.” He said with a wink.

“I wanted to ask you a question.” Paonne said with a smile.

“How I get my good looks? Sorry, trade secret.” Chat joked.

“No. How do you put up with it?”

“Put up with what.”

“Put up with being such a detriment to Ladybug?”

“What?” Chat exclaimed, shocked he was being asked such a question.

“You mean you haven’t noticed?” Paonne looked shocked. “I guess I got my answer.

“What do you mean, detriment? Ladybug and I are partners and I do everything to protect her.” Chat said angrily.

“Chat, there’s a reason Ladybug was seen as the main hero, and you as only the sidekick before I came along. Do you know how many times you’ve been turned against your ‘partner’? Dark Cupid, Princess Fragrance, I heard about Puppeteer as well, and who knows how many other instances. Not to mention all the times Ladybug and even I have had to rescue you. If it had just been you on your own, Hawkmoth would have probably won already.”

“That’s not true.” Chat denied weakly.

“I’ve seen it in Ladybug’s eyes, the weariness whenever she has to save you, again. And how annoyed she gets when you don’t take situations seriously. Thankfully, she now has Renard Rouge and I to pick up your slack, so you don’t need to worry.” Paonne said sympathetically. “Anyway, you answered my question, I’m going to continue look now.”

Paonne then ran off.

Chat was left standing on the roof looking quite unsure of himself and hurt.

“I’m not useless.” He told himself, put it sounded weak to his ears.

Ladybug then swung past, taking note of her sad partner and changing directions to swing over to him.

“What’s the matter, Chat Noir?” She asked.

“Ladybug.” Chat said. “Do…do you think I’m a detriment?”

“What?” Ladybug asked with a comforting smile. “What brought this up?”

“Paonne. She said that I get controlled and need you to save me a lot and you’re annoyed by me.” Chat said. “It’s not true, right?” He asked for reassurance.

“Well…” Ladybug dropped her smile, looking like she was making a hard decision. “It’s not that you’re not useful, I would have had a harder time without you, and you do try your best.”

Chat’s heart felt heavy.

“But, there are times where I wish you’d take things more seriously, and it is a pain to save you all the time even though you’re meant to be a hero and save others, not the other way around.” Ladybug continued.

Chat’s heart completely dropped at his partner confirming what Paonne had said.

“Look, we need to find the Akuma, we’ll talk later.” Ladybug said, swinging off.

Chat did as told and looked for the Akuma, but his heart wasn’t in it like before, he moved slowly and without energy.

From her hiding place Volpina grinned in triumph.

“Good, with his confidence gone his Miraculous will be right for the taking.” Hawkmoth whispered in her ears.

Volpina then turned to her illusions of Paonne and Ladybug.

“Now, which one next?” She asked.

“Be careful with Paonne, her powers of vision and partnership with the Fox Miraculous will make her suspicious of your illusions.” Hawkmoth told her.

“I guess I’ll have to skip her.” Volpina said with a shrug. “No matter, I don’t have any issues with her and she will be my future partner once I claim what is rightfully mine.”

Volpina then looked around, speaking of which.

“Where is that thief anyway.” She said, referring to Renard. “He should have shown up already. Is he on holiday or something?”

Volpina sighed, going ahead with her plan anyway. She conjured up Showstopper again and sent her off.

Volpina then tracked down Ladybug and conjured up an illusion of Renard again, sending it after Ladybug.

“Find anything yet?” Renard asked Ladybug, coming up to her.

“Nothing.” Ladybug said. “She should have reappeared by now.”

“Maybe Paonne already took care of it and just hasn’t called in yet.” Renard suggested.

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, I hate to say it, but Paonne does seem to be a better fighter than you. In the time that she’s been around I’ve seen her take down Akumas better than you have.”

“Well then, that’s a difference in opinion. And I think Paonne would have called in if she caught the Akuma.” Ladybug responded calmly.

“Maybe it is. But her first day compared to your first day, there is so much difference. You struggled to win and even forgot to capture the Akuma, while Paonne took down Thorny Vine without problem. Maybe she should have been Ladybug instead.”

“Well, maybe should have, but she isn’t, I am. So, deal with it.” Ladybug snapped back at him. “Was there anything you wanted?”

“No, just saw you and decided to check in.” Renard held his hands up in surrender.

Ladybug’s yoyo then began to beep, she opened it up to see that Paonne was calling her.

“I spotted the Akuma.” Paonne said. “Track my position, quickly.”

“We’re on our way.” Ladybug said.

Without saying anything to Renard she cast out her yoyo and swung off, missing Renard’s grin as he took off after her.


 

They arrived at a warehouse district where Paonne was looking around in confusion, her fan at the ready.

“I know I saw her. She must have pulled her disappearing trick again.” Paonne said.

She then took notice that her fellow heroes seemed different, Ladybug looked a little cross, Chat Noir looked depressed and there was still something strange with Renard Rouge that she couldn’t put her finger on.

“Is something wrong?” She asked.

“Nothing.” They answered, Renard plainly and Ladybug and Chat grumpily.

“Okay.” Paonne said unsurely.

“Anyway, you said you saw Showstopper?” Ladybug asked.

“Yeah, I saw her and ran after her while contacting everyone, but I lost sight of her.”

“This doesn’t make sense, Showstopper should be attacking us.”

“Well, if you’re so eager to see my performance, you should have just asked for my encore.” Showstopper said, appearing before them.

Showstopper then launched her fireworks at them, the heroes easily dodging.

“Akuma, hat, cane or something else?” Ladybug asked as she dodged an attack.

“I’m going to say cane.” Renard suggested.

As they fought Ladybug couldn’t help but notice how easy it was to dodge the Akuma’s attacks, like she wasn’t really trying to hit them. They also couldn’t seem to land a hit on her, the Akuma always flying out of the way of any attacks.

“Paonne.” Ladybug said quietly to the other female hero. “Sneak around behind her and try to catch off guard while we distract her.”

“Got it.” Paonne said.

As they fought Paonne slowly made her way behind Showstopper, once she was satisfied she wouldn’t be noticed, she threw her fan at the Akuma, intending to knock her off balance. Instead, the fan went through her and she turned into orange smoke.

“What?” Paonne questioned, catching her fan as it returned to her.

“Was…she just an illusion?” Ladybug questioned.

“Then where’s the real one.” Chat Noir questioned.

Ladybug then frowned, she recognised that orange smoke. “Maybe she was never real to begin with.” She turned to look at Renard.

“Me, you think I did this?” Renard asked.

“You are the one with illusion powers.” Chat pointed out, joining Ladybug’s way of thinking.

“Come on, guys. Don’t you think you might be jumping to conclusions?” Paonne said, defending Renard. “Maybe the Akuma has illusion powers too.”

“Then how come she never landed an attack on any of us, even though she had ample opportunity?” Chat said. “Maybe because if they did touch us they’d disappear.”

“Into the same orange smoke of a Fox hero.” Ladybug added.

“I really think-” Paonne started.

“No, they got me.” Renard interrupted, a grin suddenly on his face. “I planned the whole thing.” He admitted.

“What? Why?” Paonne asked, feeling betrayed after she had just stood up for him.

“For the fun.” Renard said carelessly. “It’s nice being a hero, but we never get to be unless an Akuma’s about.”

“You mean you’ve been lying to us the entire time?” Ladybug exclaimed angrily.

“Pretty much.” Renard said with a shrug. “It shows how easily you can be fooled though. I thought you being sucky heroes was just from my point of view as a citizen, but being a hero I can see you and Chat Noir shouldn’t even be heroes.

“Take that back!” Chat Noir shouted, pointing his staff at Renard.

“See what I mean? A few negative comments and you resort to violence already. That’s no way for a hero to behave.

“Shut up!”

“I mean, what if a citizen says one bad comment, you could use your cataclysm without meaning to out of anger, and then you’d be a murderer.”

“That’s enough.” Ladybug said sternly, eyes full of anger.

“I’m only stating the truth. Paris would be better off if you both gave up your Miraculouses and left the heroing to Paonne and I.”

“Hey, leave me out of this.” Paonne said, not wanting to have Ladybug and Chat Noir turned against her.

“I don’t see you denying it.” Renard said.

Before Paonne could defend herself, Chat snapped.

“Shut up! You don’t know anything, you’re just some newbie too big for his boots. I don’t care what you think, I don’t care that she thinks I’m a screw up pulling Ladybug down.” He pointed at a shocked Paonne. “I don’t care if Ladybug thinks I don’t take things seriously. But I won’t allow you to stand there and insult me.”

“Then go away. Or are you really going to hit me?” Renard goaded.

Chat cried out and attacked Renard with his staff, only for it to go through him, turning him to orange smoke.

“Wow, I didn’t think you’d really do it.” Renard said, appearing behind them. “Such violence for a supposed hero.”

Chat finally couldn’t take it anymore and ran off, tears beginning in his eyes.

“I’ll be having a long talk with you later.” Ladybug told Renard threateningly.

She then ran off after her partner.

“You disgust me.” Paonne told Renard. “And to think, I actually thought you were a good guy.”

Paonne angrily turned, extended her wings, and jumped off the roof, gliding away.

Renard stayed where he was, grinning. He was soon poofed into orange smoke by Volpina’s flute.

“That went better than I could ever have imagined.” She said.


 

Nathanael sighed in relief as he finally got his hands free, rubbing at the red lines left by the ropes. It had taken Vixx a while to bite through the ropes because Volpina had used thick rope to tie him up.

“Finally.” Nathanael said. “Who knows what Volpina could have done already.”

“Next time, you try chewing through your ropes.” Vixx shot back.

“Sorry. Anyway, let’s get out of this hole. Vixx, Fangs Bared!”

In a flash or orange light Renard Rouge stood in the place of Nathanael and he easily leapt out of the hole.

Renard then opened up the screen on his flute. He attempted to call Paonne first but couldn’t get her signal meaning she wasn’t transformed. He then tried Ladybug and Chat Noir, who were both transformed, but they both rejected his call.

“What’s going on?” Renard asked. “What’d Volpina do?”

Renard continued to run across the rooftops, searching the city for Ladybug and Chat Noir to get answers, but found nothing. He then caught sight of one of the large TVs that was broadcasting the news.

“People are questioning whether the Akuma has been defeated or not. Showstopper hasn’t been seen since her initial attack, but there has been no news from the heroes of Paris either.” Said the news anchor.

Renard’s eyes widened when he saw an image of the Akuma.

“Wait a minute, that’s one of my designs.” He said. “Volpina created a fake Akuma from my designs?”

Renard once again tried to contact the others but failed.

Renard was then caught by surprise when he suddenly found himself being tackled to the side, he quickly escaped the person’s grip and stood up to look at them.

Volpina was standing opposite him.

“Volpina! What have you been doing?” Renard demanded.

“Well, you’d know more if you’d bothered to show up.” Volpina said. “But all you should know is that your precious friends won’t be here to help you, especially after what you did, or what they think you did.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that it was too easy to impersonate you and say things to make them mad. Now, I’ll make this easy on you, just hand over what is rightfully mine and I’ll let you go peacefully.”

“I don’t have anything of yours.”

“Oh, but you do. Your Miraculous should be mine.”

Renard’s hand wrapped protectively around his Miraculous.

“Well, you can’t have it.” He said.

“Then I’ll just have to take it my force.” Volpina said, attacking.


 

Ladybug sighed as she eventually found Chat Noir sulking on the roof of an old church. She didn’t say anything at first, just sitting down next to him.

“You alright?” She eventually asked.

“Yeah, Renard just really managed to get under my leather.” Chat weakly joked.

“Don’t listen to him.” Ladybug told him. “We’ve been the heroes of Paris for months while he’s only started out. He’s trying to bring us down to make himself higher.”

“It’s not just that.” Chat said. “You said yourself that I’m a pain to save all the time.”

Ladybug looked confused. “I never said that.”

“You did. While we were looking for the Akuma, you swung by after Paonne said somethings and confirmed it.” Chat said.

“Well, I don’t know about Paonne, but I certainly never said anything like that. Chat, you’re like a brother to me, I would never think that you’re a pain. And the only reason I have to save you is because you’re so insistent on taking hits for me.”

“If that wasn’t you, then…Renard.” Chat growled.

“If he made an illusion of me, then there’s a chance that your talk with Paonne was also an illusion, meaning everything is Renard’s fault.”

“But why is he attacking us then?” Chat asked.

“I don’t know, he seemed nice enough when we first met him. But, I’m sure we’ll make sure to find out the next time we see his smug little face.” Ladybug promised, holding up her fist.

Chat smiled.

He then frowned.

“You don’t think he was right, do you.” Chat asked unsurely.

“No.” Ladybug said confidently. “If there’s one thing my Kwami has drilled into my head over and over again, it’s that if I wasn’t meant to be Ladybug I wouldn’t have been chosen, and it’ll be the same for you. I’ll admit that starting out I felt uncomfortable being Ladybug, like the suit was too small even though it fit perfectly. And that I needed to act and behave a certain way because it’s expected of me. But ever since Paonne showed up, those feeling have gone away, my suit feels comfortable now and with the extra help I don’t feel so heavy.”

“I’m glad you’re more comfortable as Ladybug now.” Chat said.

Ladybug scrunched up her nose slightly. “I’ve never really like the name Ladybug, it just doesn’t suit me. But it’s what the media named me so it’s what I’m stuck with.” She said with a sigh.

“Who cares what others call you.” Chat said. “If you want to be called something else then it’s your right to be called something else. Even if no one else call you it, I’ll call you it. And maybe it will even catch on.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Anything you want to be called other than Ladybug?”

“Well, growing up I always called ladybugs ladybirds, so that’s what I’d prefer to be called.”

“Ladybird?”

“Yeah. Anything wrong with it?”

“Of course not, it’s much cuter than Ladybug, very fitting.”

“Awe, Chat. You always know what to say.”

Ladybird pulled Chat Noir into a one-armed hug.


 

Marinette was back at home, anger clear on her face.

“I don’t get it, Pavo.” She said. “Why would Renard Rouge act like that?”

“I don’t know, but it didn’t seem like him. The Guardian wouldn’t choose someone like that to wield a Miraculous.” Pavo said.

“But we’ve only known him three days, so we can’t judge what was really him and what was out of character.”

Marinette pressed her face into her pillow in frustration.

“I keep feeling that something’s wrong about that situation though, I just can’t put my finger on what. And it’s not just Renard’s behaviour.”

“Do you think there really was an Akuma and it cause Renard to act that way?” Pavo suggested.

Marinette shook her head. “The Akuma would have still come after us than make Renard make us upset. I want to believe Renard wouldn’t do that, but other than my feeling there isn’t anything to defend him with. He said it all right to our faces.”

Marinette pulled out her phone and scrolled through videos until she found one of Renard in action, hoping that watching the video would provide answers.

Marinette watched a video of Doll Maker’s attack, obviously filmed using a phone, showing Renard summoning walls to confuse the dolls and the dolls eventually bashing through them, turning the illusions to light.

Marinette stopped the video, something about that scene was wrong, she just couldn’t put her finger on why. So, she played it again, and again, until it finally clicked into place.

The effect given when the illusion was shattered.

Renard Rouge’s illusion were created from orange light and returned to orange light when shattered. But today, when his illusions were shattered, they turned into orange smoke, not light.

And there was someone who made illusions from smoke.

Searching back through the archived videos on Alya’s Ladyblog, she found the ones on Volpina and watched one. She watched as Ladybug shattered one of Volpina’s illusions, reducing it to orange smoke.

Marinette’s eyes widened and she stood up as the pieces of the puzzle began to slot into place, she remembered hearing about Lila being bullied and running out of the college because of it, likely ending up Akumatised again because she was so upset. And as Volpina, she would probably want the real Fox Miraculous, so she’d turn the other heroes against Renard making it easier for her to get him alone.

“Oh god!” Marinette exclaimed. “It’s been Volpina this entire time!”

“Of course.” Pavo said in realisation. “I knew the Guardian didn’t make a mistake.”

“We need to go. I just hope it’s not too late. Pavo, Feathers Flared!”

There was a flash of blue light and Paonne climbed out of Marinette’s sunroof and ran across the rooftops. She pulled out her fan and activated the phone function, calling Ladybird and Chat Noir.

Ladybird and Chat Noir eventually picked up, they sounded calmer that Paonne expected but that was good for her.

“It’s been Volpina this entire time.” Paonne said.

“What?” Ladybird asked.

“It wasn’t Renard that said those things, it was Volpina. Lila Rossi was being bullied at her college and must have been Akumatised again, and I think she’s targeting Renard.”

“Are you sure?” Chat asked suspiciously.

“Yes. Volpina’s illusions are made of smoke while Renards are made of light, and the illusions we saw today were made of smoke.”

“God, how could we have not seen this?” Ladybird said.

“We need to find Renard now, who knows what Volpina’s done to him.”

“Okay, we’ll start looking.”

They hung up.

“Do you really think it was Volpina?” Chat asked as they stood up.

“It’s better than the alternative, that a Miraculous user really acts like that.” Ladybird answered.

They then started searching Paris for Renard and/or Volpina.


 

Renard grunted as he was hit in the stomach, holding where he was hit with one arm while using his other to keep up his flute.

Both foxes had quickly learned that their illusions didn’t work on each other, they could tell what was real and what was fake, leaving them to fight with brute force.

The problem was that Renard was still learning the ropes on fighting while Volpina was getting her power and knowledge to fight from Hawkmoth, giving her the upper hand.

“You’re pathetic.” Volpina taunted. “You claim to be a hero yet you can’t even fight.”

“And you think you’re a hero?” Renard asked. “‘Cause I don’t think heroes act the way you act, and I don’t think they work for the bad guy.”

“Once I take your Miraculous, I will be a hero. A better one than you could ever be.” Volpina said.

Volpina struck with her flute but Renard managed to block it with his own, but he didn’t manage to block the kick that sent him to the ground.

As Volpina walked over to him Renard used his flute to sweep her legs from under her, giving him enough time to stand and ready himself.

“Look at you, you look like you can barely stand.” Volpina taunted. “Just hand over your Miraculous before you embarrass yourself anymore.”

“Not happening.” Renard responded.

“You really think you can do anything? You could only ever succeed in a group, and because of my work you’re all alone.” Volpina spat.

“He is not alone!” A voice called out.

Volpina was knocked off balance as something slammed into her, knocking her to the floor.

Renard looked up to see a hand offered to him, he took it and stood beside Paonne.

“Sorry I’m late.” Paonne said. “It took me a while to work out Volpina’s deception.”

“How did you know?” Volpina asked, getting to her feet.

“You and Renard may have the same powers, but how they work is completely different.” Paonne answered.

“You don’t have to fight me.” Volpina offered. “The Fox Miraculous is rightfully mine, you should be working with me as a partner.”

“You’re delusional. My partner is Renard and always will be.” Paonne answered, splitting her fan into two.

“Too bad. We could have been great together, the new duo of Paris. But I guess I’ll just have to take your Miraculous back to Hawkmoth alongside Ladybug and Chat Noir’s.”

Volpina attacked but Paonne proved to be a much tougher opponent for her than Renard, able to match her moves instead of desperately trying to block them like Renard had. Volpina swung her staff at Paonne but the hero ducked under the attack and uppercut Volpina.

Remembering that Paonne could only be suspicious of her illusions and not actually see through them, Volpina quickly played her flute and summoned a dozen copies of herself, confusing the heroine. But she had forgotten that Renard was still there as he charged through her duplicates and grappled with her, Paonne quickly banished her duplicates and helped Renard in fighting Volpina.

Volpina eventually decided she needed to fall back as she was fighting a losing battle, hoping that Ladybug and Chat Noir were still unaware of her so she could go after them. But are she turned and ran away, she tripped over a staff and was tied up by a yoyo.

With Volpina restrained Paonne went over to her and snatched the fox necklace from around her neck, snapping it in half. Ladybird released Volpina so that she could capture and cleanse the Akuma.

There was no Lucky Charm for the Miraculous cure, but there wasn’t any damage to fix other than the necklace anyway

After Ladybird set the butterfly free Volpina reverted back to Lila.

“What?” Lila questioned, looking around.

“You got Akumatised again.” Ladybird told her.

“Sorry about your necklace, there wasn’t a Miraculous cure to fix it.” Paonne said, handing Lila the two halves of her necklace.

“What, you broke it?” Lila cried.

“Breaking an object is how the Akuma is released.” Ladybird said.

“Do you know how much this cost me?”

“I’m sorry, but would you rather be an Akuma?” Renard asked.

Lila looked up at Renard and scowled, she then stood up and marched off the roof, using a fire escape to get down.

“I kinda get the feeling she would.” Renard said.

“Renard.” Ladybird said, going up to the fox hero. “I’m sorry for doubting you, I should have known better than to fall for Volpina’s tricks again.”

“It’s not your fault.” Renard said. “I’m sorry for whatever she did using my image.”

“You don’t have anything to apologise for.”

“Let’s just call it even then.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Though there is one thing you can do, Volpina based her fake Akuma off of a design from a kid name Nathanael’s sketch book, if you find it you could return it to him.”

“Is N-the kid okay?” Paonne asked, concerned for her friend.

“He’s fine, just really missing his sketchbook.”

“We’ll keep a look out.” Chat promised.

Chat then noticed the time, it was almost time for afternoon classes.

“Meow! This cat’s got to go.” He said.

Chat ran off and the other heroes also took note of the time.

“I’ve got to go too.” Ladybird said, running off.

“Me too.” Renard said.

Before Renard could leave, Paonne grabbed his arm.

“Renard, I couldn’t help but notice you’re not that good a fighter.” She said.

“I know, but I’m getting a hang of it.” Renard said.

“With the strength of the latest Akumas, I’m worried you won’t have time to learn on your own. So, how would you feel to training from me?” Paonne offered.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes. I was trained before becoming Paonne, so I could help train you too.”

“I would love to learn how to defend myself more.” Renard said.

“Good, meet me here at six, we’ll work everything out then. Until then, I suspect we’re both late for something.”

Paonne and Renard parted ways, heading towards the college and de-transforming before rushing to class.

Chapter Text

The day after the second Volpina attack Lila didn’t show up to college, which wasn’t surprising to Marinette or Nathanael. The heroes had planned tell Paris that Showstopper had been defeated in secret, giving no word about Volpina to keep her out the public, but a single person had managed to get a picture of the fight against Volpina, it had only been a single picture and very bad quality, but it was clear enough to see Renard Rouge and Paonne fighting against Volpina. When people began to panic about the possibility of Hawkmoth being able to create two Akumas the heroes had been forced to confirm Volpina had returned and Showstopper had been one of her illusions. Word had quickly spread of the first person to become Akumatised twice, Lila was the talk of the college again, so it was understandable that Lila wasn’t coming in.

It didn’t help with what Lila had done to those who had caused her second Akumatisation as Volpina, with no Miraculous cure to undo any damage done by an Akuma, everything Volpina had done had stayed, including the fate of her bullies. One had been fished out the Seine, half-frozen and in shock. Another had been found hanging upside down from a lamp post in a sparsely populated area. And the last had been found later in the evening, having been locked in an old freezer in a junkyard, likely having developed sever claustrophobia. All of them had claimed to have been chased by a creepy, ghost-like Akuma, which had led to their predicaments, it hadn’t taken long for people to realise that the Akuma, like Showstopper, had been a trick by Volpina.

“Do you think Lila will be okay?” Marinette asked her friends.

“I don’t know.” Alya answered. “She’s the talk of the school, and not in a good way, no one else has been Akumatised twice. People are wondering what it could mean for the future, what other Akumas could possibly return.”

“Yeah, I certainly don’t want to become the Bubbler again.” Nino said.

“I’m sure it won’t happen.” Marinette reassured.

“She may take a few days off, but she’ll probably be back.” Nathanael said. “Lila’s stubborn, she won’t let this beat her.”

“I’m just worried on what her attitude will be.” Alya said. “How she acted the day after her first time as Volpina, after her lies were exposed, wasn’t very positive. Now that it’s happened to her twice, she’s not exactly going to be all smiles when she shows up again.”

“Maybe we can invite her to be friends.” Adrien suggested. “It could give her support.”

“She might be willing to be friends with you, Adrien, but not anyone else. I saw a girl try to help her with her bullies a few days ago, only for her to turn the girl down, not even thanking her for helping with the bullies.” Alya said.

“She’s likely going to want to be by herself, shut everyone out.” Nathanael agreed.

“That seems a little cruel.” Adrien said. “We should give her a chance.’

Nathanael knew it was unfair to hold someone’s actions when they were Akumatised against them, but at the same time Akumatised villains tended to hold radicalised versions of their beliefs and motivations, meaning Volpina’s actions of stealing his sketchbook, tying him up in a pit, and beating up Renard Rouge to get his Miraculous because she believed she should be the fox hero, had to start somewhere. So, he wasn’t exactly eager to try and be friends with Lila.

“I-I could try to friends make-make friends with her.” Marinette said, her crush on Adrien making her willing to dismiss her own feelings about Lila.

“Really, that’s really kind of you Marinette.” Adrien smiled at her.

Marinette smiled back at Adrien.

Adrien’s limo then pulled up and the driver beeped the horn.

“I have to go.” Adrien said, leaving.

“Are you really serious about trying to be friends with Lila?” Alya asked once Adrien was gone.

“Um, yes. I know she isn’t the best to be around, but that could just be a shell she built around herself.” Marinette said. “She could be a good person if we get to know her.”

“And this has nothing to do with the fact it was Adrien who was asking?” Alya raised her eyebrow.

“Maybe the tiniest bit.” Marinette admitted, putting her finger and thumb close together.

“Well, good luck. At least she can’t be as bad as Chloe.” Nino said.

“I think the universe would implode if there was someone worse than Chloe.” Marinette joked. “Anyway, I’ve got to get going, I have practice.”


 

Marinette swung around the horizontal bar, changing directions in the air and swinging the other way and then back again before swinging up to the taller one, she repeated swinging around it in different directions before dismounting with a flip.

“Good.” Gabriel said.

“Thank you sir.” Marinette said.

“I am pleased with how far you have come in such a short time.”

“Thank you sir.” Marinette repeated “Sir?”

“Yes.”

“You know the new hero, Renard Rouge?”

“I am aware of him.”

“I’ve noticed he’s not very well trained in fighting or physically fit, and with how strong the Akumas are getting I’m worried he won’t have time to get good on his own like Ladybug and Chat Noir did.”

“I have noticed this. But what is your point?”

“I was wondering if I could bring him here to train. I won’t mention you and we’ll keep our identities secret.” Marinette added when she noticed her mentor’s look. “It’s just, I offered to train him but I don’t think rooftops or abandoned buildings are good places to train.”

“Hmm.” Gabriel hummed thoughtfully.

Marinette waited patiently for her mentor’s response.

“If you don’t mention me and keep your identities from each other, at least until I’m sure he can be trusted, you may use the studio to train him.”

“Thank you, sir.” Marinette said in relief.

“But I will be keeping an eye on you both.” Gabriel added.

“I understand, sir.”

After finishing up her training, Marinette went to meet with Renard as Paonne. The previous evening Paonne had told Renard she would try and get a proper training studio, and they agreed to meet the next day to see if she got it or they would have to find somewhere else to train.


 

“So this is where you learned to fight?” Renard asked as he and Paonne entered the training studio.

“Yep. Though I did everything untransformed, which we can’t do for obvious reasons.”

“I know. So, what do we start on?” Renard asked excitedly.

Paonne smiled, knowing that Renard was expecting to learn to fight straight away like she had been, only to see how wrong she was.

“Nothing big, we’re just testing your endurance and extent of your fighting knowledge.” Paonne told him.

Paonne took Renard to the treadmill, setting a speed and timer.

“First, how long you can run for at a certain speed.” Paonne said. “Because we have to keep our identities, you’re doing this with your Miraculous, which gives the wearer more durability, such as being able to run for longer. So, what you can do as Renard Rouge, isn’t going to be the same as what you can do as just you.”

“Good to know.” Renard said as he ran.

A little while later Renard started to breath heavily and his sides began to cramp.

“I’m getting a stitch.” He complained.

“Work through it.” Paonne echoed the words her mentor told her with a smile.

Renard groaned but kept running.

Paonne eventually let Renard off of the treadmill, who collapsed onto the floor holding his sides.

“Not bad.” Paonne commented, looking at his time. “Next, how much you can lift.”

Renard moaned but dragged himself over to the weight set where they worked out how much weight he could lift.

“You could do better.” Paonne told him after Renard finally gave up and dropped the weights.

“Why don’t you try it.” Renard challenged her, forgetting she already had training.

Paonne gave a smirk and went over to the weights several times heavier than the ones Renard had been able to lift, picking them up and above her head a few times before putting them down.

“Show off.” Renard muttered.

Renard quickly learn how relentless a trainer Paonne was as she put him through other test of his endurance, including how flexible he was at balance through gymnastics equipment, his reaction time by throwing hard balls at him that he hard to deflect or catch, how many press-ups and sit-ups he could do, etc. By the end of it all Renard felt like one big sore spot, and they hadn’t even gotten on to evaluating his ability to fight yet.

“Did you really have to go through this all?” Renard asked, thankfully being given a break.

“Oh, I had to go through more.” Paonne said. “I did all my training without the help of my Miraculous, so I had no enhanced durability to help me through.”

“Ouch.” Renard said.

Paonne hummed in agreement.

After Renard had rested enough that he didn’t feel like he would fall apart by the simple act of standing up, it was time for Paonne to judge how well he could fight.

“Ready yourself.” Paonne told Renard, splitting her fan into two and adopting a fighting stance.

Renard readied himself, putting the two pieces of his flute together and holding it in front of him.

Paonne attacked him with grace, striking with her fans and kicking off him to get herself higher into the air, while Renard did his best to block her, for the duration of the fight he was mostly of the defensive but he did manage to get a couple of hits of his own in. But, ultimately, the fight ended with Renard on the floor with Paonne pinning him and holding a fan to his throat.

“You did better than I expected.” Paonne told Renard as she stood up and put her fans away.

“Thanks. And here I thought I was just getting my ass kicked.” Renard said, being helped to his feet by Paonne.

“No, you did get a few good hits in, but you keep second guessing yourself and decide to defend instead of attack.” Paonne said. “Anyway, that’s all for today, I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”

“Sure. See you tomorrow.” Renard said, leaving.

Once Paonne was sure Renard had gone, she locked the door and released her transformation.

“That boy has a long way to go.” A voice said behind her.

Marinette was startled and whipped around to face Gabriel, placing a hand over her rapidly beating heart.

“Yes.” Marinette said, calming down from her fright. “Even with his Miraculous he’s having trouble, I can tell he’s not a fighter.”

“Well, it’s going to be your job to turn him into one.” Gabriel said. “I hope you have a training plan for him.”

“Uh...” Marinette said.

She didn’t have any sort of plan for how to train Renard other than going off her experience of what Gabriel taught her.

Gabriel sighed. “I have observed Renard’s current abilities, I will create the first exercise plan for him, but once he moves past that it will be up to you to create further ones.” He said.

“Thank you sir.” Marinette said.

“I will leave the plan for you tomorrow morning.”

Gabriel then left through the secret passageway leading to his house while Marinette unlocked the front door and left that way, locking it again behind her.


 

Just over a week had passed since Renard began training with Paonne and he was convinced he would never stop feeling pain, every day she expected him to achieve a certain amount of running on the treadmill, push-ups and sit-ups, weight lifting and stretching into uncomfortable positions.

When Nathanael went to college on Monday, it took concentration to not show how tired and sore he was.

“Are you okay, Nathanael?” Marinette asked, having noticed Nathanael’s strained face.

“I’m fine.” Nathanael said. “Just slept wrong last night.”

“Okay.” Marinette accepted the excuse much to his relief.

“Are you okay?” Nathanael asked back, noticing the bags under her eyes.

“Yeah, just stayed up late working on a project.” Marinette said.

Marinette had spent the night coming up with Renard’s next training plan, as he was close to finishing the one Gabriel had provided. Like her, Renard was progressing with his training quickly.

When Marinette entered the classroom, she noticed Alya looking a bit unhappy.

“What’s wrong?” Marinette asked her friend.

“It’s been over a week and still know Akuma attacks, meaning nothing new for my blog.” Alya said. “I’m glad that Hawkmoth isn’t making lives miserable but I still don’t like not being able to update my blog.”

Marinette patted Alya’s shoulder.

The three secret heroes in the class thought about Alya’s words and couldn’t help but worry, Hawkmoth taking breaks in between Akumas usually meant something bad was coming. It was like the calm before the storm.

The entire class went silent as Lila entered the class, having come back to college earlier than some had expected.

“Who let that criminal back into this college?” Chloe questioned in her usual rude manor.

“Lay off, Chloe.” Marinette said. “You know Akumatised villains aren’t to blame for their actions.”

“But she’s the only one for it to happen to twice.” Chloe pointed out. “For all we know, she could have welcomed it this time because she was upset she wasn’t the Fox hero like she wanted to be.”

Lila just ignored everything, going to her seat and acting like she was the only person in the classroom.

Miss Bustier soon entered and lessons began.

After lessons broke for lunch Marinette found herself approached by Adrien.

“Adrien, hi. Hi Adrien. Adrien.” Marinette stumbled with her words.

“Hey, Marinette. Ready to try make friends with Lila?”

“Yeah, uh, okay.” Marinette responded.

Marinette and Adrien found Lila eating her lunch at the park across from the college.

“Hey, Lila.” Adrien said.

“Adrien?” Lila looked up, a smile suddenly on her face, which quickly dropped. “Uh, did you need something?”

With the way Lila was hunched slightly, Marinette could tell Lila was expecting Adrien to not be nice with her like others had been, or ask a question about her second Akumatisation.

“You looked a little lonely, so we were wondering if we could join you.” Adrien said.

Lila looked up, shocked but happy.

She then realised Adrien had said ‘we’ and looked at Marinette as if noticing her for the first time, her eyes went slightly colder, but not as cold as they had been before. Marinette took this as a good sign.

“Sure.” Lila said.

Adrien and Marinette joined Lila at her table.

A good portion of lunch was spent eating in silence, none of them knowing what to say, until Marinette decided to extend some kindness.

“Would you like a macaron?” Marinette asked, offering some of the treats she had brought from the bakery.

“Um, thank you.” Lila said, taking one.

“Adrien, uh, would-would you like one?” Marinette managed to offer Adrien.

“Thanks, Marinette.” Adrien said, taking one. “Don’t mention this to anyone, I’d get in trouble for deviating from my model diet.”

“My lips are sealed?” Marinette promised, managing to get a proper sentence out.

“I won’t say anything.” Lila agreed.

After finishing their lunch, the three of them walked back to college.

“Thanks for not judging me.” Lila said quietly to Adrien before walking off.

Adrien then left for his fencing practice and Marinette met with Alya.

“So, how’d it go?” Alya asked.

“Very awkward.” Marinette said. “And I get the feeling Lila only tolerated my presence because Adrien was there.”

“Who knows, maybe she’ll warm to you. You’re a very likable girl.” Alya told her.

“Thanks.” Marinette said, smiling.

“Now, come on. Let’s go watch Adrien’s fencing lesson.” Alya said with a wink.

Marinette blushed but smiled as they headed to the gym.


 

(Omake/bonus)

After Renard had rested enough that he didn’t feel like he would fall apart by the simple act of standing up, it was time for Paonne to judge how well he could fight.

“Now,” Paonne said. “Hit me.”

“You’re a fifteen-year-old girl-” Renard Rouge pointed out only to be cut off by Paonne slapping him hard.

“What the hell.” Renard said, recovering.

“Act like a bitch, get slapped like a bitch.” Paonne said.

(Kickass 2 reference)

Chapter Text

Because of information that I’ve just found out, I’m going to be making a few changes to the events of Rise of Paonne and Renard Rouge, but since I’m too lazy to go back and make the changes I’ll just announce them here.

The first thing to be changed is the year placement of Ladybird’s civilian identity. I previously said that Ladybird is in the year above Adrien but if you look up French education you will see that Adrien’s class is in their last year of college before they move onto a higher form of education called a lycee, so if Ladybird was in the year above Adrien she would be in a lycee already, but she needs to be in the college for the events of Volpina’s return and such. So, I’m changing it so that Ladybird is in the same year but a separate class. She’ll still be older, with her birthday almost at the start of the year.

The second thing that needs to be changed is the timeline of events. The Ladybug and Cat Miraculouses are handed out at the beginning of the school year in September, but one of the episodes takes place on Valentine’s day in February and there’s no hint of cold weather (disregarding Stormy Weather). Meaning that between origins and the first episode the show skips passed Autumn, Christmas and over events straight to late January/early February, and that Ladybug and Chat Noir will have had their Miraculouses 5-6 months. So the timeline of my story will also be changed to fit these events, with Chat Noir and Ladybird having their Miraculouses for 6 months before Gabriel starts training Marinette, and then Marinette making her debut as Paonne around March/April, and Renard making his debut around April/May.

If there are any other changes you think I need to address, please tell me.

Chapter Text

Henry Paden liked to believe he was a kind and generous man, he strived to help others become better, which was why he became a teacher in the first place, but in return instead of being respected he constantly was taken advantage of and treated with disrespect, his students often goofing off in his classes and acting like he wasn’t there. But despite his treatment, Harry refused to get angry and remained understanding towards the students who genially did listen to him and need his help, and continued to smile even as his co-workers continuously saddled him with extra work. Henry had worked hard to be a teacher and wasn’t going to give it up for anything, even being treated unfairly.

But all of Henry’s hard work and dreams had been flushed down the drain because of an incident that wasn’t even his fault. A fire had broken out in the science lab he had been teaching in, and the cause had been the Bunsen on his desk, even though Henry knew he had turned off the gas before leaving the room, leading to him being blamed for the fire and fired from his job without any further investigation. And Henry had a good suspicion as to who the real culprits behind the fire were from the smirks of a few of his more trouble-making students he’d seen as he’d been leaving the lycee.

It wasn’t fair! He had worked hard for his job, he had wanted to be a teacher since he was in college, and now he probably wouldn’t be able to get a teaching job ever again after word spread of the science lab incident. All because of some ungrateful students who never listened to him about lab safety.

Henry was so lost in his anger that he didn’t notice the black butterfly squeeze through his window and fly over to the lanyard that still hung around his neck, it landed and was absorbed into the object.

“As a teacher, you should hold respect, and I can make that happen.” A soothing voice said to Henry as a purple outline appeared over his face. “Headmaster, I am Hawkmoth. And I grant you the power to teach your lessons to all of Paris, all I need in return are the Miraculouses.”

Hawkmoth sent Henry and image of the Miraculouses.

“Yes, Hawkmoth.” Henry said.

Henry was covered in a black mass, and when it receded he stood in his Akumatised state. He looked similar to a traditional headmaster with robes and a flat-top hat, but he also looked much more menacing, especially his piercing black eyes. He was now Headmaster.

Headmaster walked out of his home and into the streets, from his sleeve his withdrew a chalkboard pointer and waved it around. He spotted a man lazily sitting on a bench.

“Your lesson shall be, to be more active!” Headmaster announced, pointing at the man.

The man was hit with a beam coming from the pointer and cried out as he suddenly started running down the street, unable to stop himself.

Around Headmaster, people began to run away, realising that the man was an Akumatised villain.

Headmaster began to shoot beams from his pointer at people he believed ‘needed to learn a lesson’. Some of the ‘lessons’ were based off of what he had seen a person doing such as shrinking a child for chasing pigeons so the child knew what it was like to be small, and some were random and absurd such as making a person experience being the opposite gender.

“Your lesson shall be, learning to sleep more!” A woman dropped to the ground, asleep.

“Your lesson shall be, learning to fly!” A boy cried out as he was lifted into the air.

“Your lesson shall be, cooking!” A cooking station appeared before a man and he began to cook against his will.

Ladybird, Chat Noir, Paonne and Renard Rouge soon arrived.

“Wow, and I thought my science teacher was harsh.” Chat commented.

“Heroes, hand over your Miraculouses!” Headmaster demanded. “Or I shall teach you a lesson you’ll never forget!”

“What are you going to do, give us homework?” Chat goaded with a grin.

Ladybird rolled her eyes with a small smile as the heroes moved to attack.

The fight was going smoothly, with the heroes dodging the lesson beams, until Ladybird accidently got herself cornered. Headmaster grinned as he held up his pointer to fire.

“Your lesson shall be, how to be a real bug!” Headmaster said, firing at Ladybird.

“Ladybird!” Chat cried out at seeing his partner in danger.

Like Chat Noir usually did, he chose to throw himself into danger by running in front of the attack to save Ladybird, heedless that it put him in danger instead.

“Chat Noir, don’t!” Ladybird shouted, not liking that Chat was sacrificing himself for her, again.

But before the attack could hit Chat, Renard had spotted the trouble the two heroes were in and used his flute to hit a traffic cone over to them, the blast impacted against the cone harmlessly instead of Chat.

“Nice aim.” Paonne complimented him.

“Thank you.” Renard said.

“Are you stupid?” Ladybird demanded Chat, her anger clear. “Throwing yourself in front of me like that?”

“It was going to hit you. I had to do something.” Chat justified.

“And if it wasn’t for Renard Rouge, it would have hit you instead!” Ladybird yelled. “Ugh! You always do this! Throwing yourself into danger with no consideration for your own safety!”

“Well, I can’t let you get hit. You’re the one with the Akuma purifying powers and Miraculous cure, if you get hit there’d be no one to purify the Akuma or reverse the damage.”

“That doesn’t mean you should just throw yourself in front of me. Do you know how it make me feel every time you get hurt or controlled because you decided to take a hit for me?”

“I’m the cat, it’s my job to protect the ladybug and draw the villain’s fire.”

“Come on guys, please stop arguing.” Paonne said placatingly.

“Yeah, we sort of have a villain to face.” Renard said.

“Not until Chat Noir agrees to stop throwing himself into danger all the time!” Ladybird said.

“Not until Ladybird understands that it’s my job to protect her!” Chat countered.

“I am perfectly capable of protecting myself!”

“Oh yeah, you proved that just now by getting cornered and about to be hit.”

Ladybird started forward but was held back by Renard.

“Say that again, Bagpuss, I dare you.” Ladybird said, pulling slightly against Renard’s hold.

“Guys, please.” Paonne pleaded.

Off to the side, Headmaster watched Ladybird and Chat Noir argue while Paonne and Renard Rouge tried to stop them with a stupefied look on his face.

“Am I…being ignored?” He asked.

“Use this chance to hit them!” Hawkmoth’s voice suddenly appeared.

“Oh, right.” Headmaster said.

Headmaster thought about what sort of lesson he should hit the heroes with, looking at the two arguing he got an idea.

“You lesson shall be, to learn what it is like to be the other!” He said, shooting the beam at the heroes.

“Incoming!” Renard shouted, noticing the beam coming at them.

But it was too late for any of them to dodge and they were all hit, a flash of light enveloped all of them, and when it cleared the ‘lesson’ was in effect.

Ladybird and Chat Noir, and Renard Rouge and Paonne had swapped costumes and Miraculouses.

“What the…” Ladybird said.

She now had the Cat Miraculous but her suit was different to Chat Noir’s. She wore a hooded black vest that went past her hips and had cat ears attached to the hood, a golden round bell at the bottom of the hood on her chest, sleeves coming from under the vest that billowed slightly towards the end and tucked into clawed gloves that went passed her wrists, tight trousers, shin-length open-heel leg warmers that went over her shoes, and instead of a belt tail she had a fabric tail that had wrapped around her waist and trailed almost to the floor.

“This is different.” Renard commented.

He now had the Peacock Miraculous. His suit was blue with gloves that were a deeper blue, he wore a short green cape with a peacock feather design stitched into it that was held together at the front by the Miraculous and was split slightly at the back, and rather than the fan acting like his tailfeathers it was split in two and attached either side of his waist, his tailfeathers were instead made of strips of fabric that went to the floor.

“I feel a bit exposed.” Chat said.

He had the Ladybug Miraculous. His costume was less detailed that Ladybird’s, mostly red with black dots with the exception of black boots, gloves and a popped-up collar, and a black belt that the yoyo was attached to rather than being strung around his waist.

“What happened?” Paonne asked.

She now had the Fox Miraculous. Her suit was a deep orange that faded to black at her hands and feet, and she had white fur around her collar that went down to her chest, and she three lengths of white-tipped fabric trailing behind her to make three tails.

“You now have each other’s Miraculouses, to teach you what it’s like to be the other.” Headmaster told them.

Each of the heroes reached to grab their weapons, only to freeze when they realised they no longer had the same weapons, awkwardly taking hold of their new weapons.

“This shouldn’t be too hard.” Chat commented, swinging his yoyo around.

Chat threw the yoyo at Headmaster, who confidently stayed where he was as the yoyo missed him by a wide margin.

“I give that an F.” Headmaster said.

“Swap?” Paonne asked Renard, holding up her flute.

“Swap.” Renard agreed, taking the flute and handing Paonne his fans.

Ladybird and Chat swapped their weapons too.

“Now, let’s try this again.” Ladybird said as they attacked.

But even back to their original weapons, the heroes were struggling to fight in their new forms, the weapons were designed to work only for the Miraculous they came from, so the heroes couldn’t use them like they used to. Ladybird’s yoyo didn’t hit where she wanted it to or return to her hand when she pulled on the string, Chat’s staff wouldn’t extend, Renard couldn’t conjure illusions or wield it with the same skill as before, and Paonne couldn’t keep her fans steady when striking and they also didn’t go where she wanted them to when she threw or returned to her hand. The heroes were eventually forced to swap their weapons back to match the Miraculous.

“What do we do? We’ve basically been reset back to newbies in terms of using our weapons and powers.” Renard said.

“We’ll just have to stick it out and let the knowledge come to us like the first time we got our Miraculouses.” Chat said.

“I get the feeling Headmaster won’t give us time to get used to our powers.” Renard said.

“Well, I’ll just have to distract him until the rest of you do.” Ladybird said, smiling slightly.

“Ladybird, no!” Chat said, grabbing her arm.

“You forget, you’re the ladybug now and I’m the cat, it’s my job to protect you and draw the villain’s fire.” Ladybird threw Chat’s previous words back in his face and yanked her arm out of his grip and charging towards Headmaster

“You have to admit, you had that one coming.” Paonne said as they ran after Ladybird.

With the weapons matching their Miraculous, the heroes faired a little better, Ladybird was able to extend her staff, Chat could recall his yoyo after firing it, Paonne could play the tunes the Miraculous gave her automatic knowledge of to conjure illusions as well as some tunes she remembered from playing the recorder, and Renard was able to strike with the fans without them catching the wind and going off in different directions and they came back to him when thrown. But they were all still new to their weapons and often made mistakes, Chat and Renard weren’t accurate with their throws, and Paonne and Ladybird kept hitting themselves with or dropping their weapons.

As the fight progressed it became clear that Ladybird was trying to drive home her point about Chat always being reckless and putting himself in danger by doing the same herself now that she was using the Cat Miraculous.

“Glory, glory, hallelujah! Teacher hit me with a ruler!” Ladybird sang as she cartwheeled out of the way of an attack.

“Your lesson shall be, to be silent!” Headmaster said angrily, firing at Ladybird but missing.

“Don’t like that song? How about this? Joy to the world, the teacher’s dead!” Ladybird continued to sing.

Ladybird was actually enjoying herself in annoying the villain, now that she wasn’t in her Ladybird costume she’s didn’t feel the need to restrict how she wanted to act in order to keep to the ‘perfect hero’ Paris saw her as.

Ladybird’s plan of drawing the Headmaster’s fire worked as he chose to focus on her because of his annoyance rather than the other heroes, allowing them to get more of a hang of their new powers.

Chat spotted Ladybird about to be hit and managed to use his yoyo to lasso her out of the way of the attack.

“Ladybird, please don’t be so reckless, you could get hurt.” Chat told her.

“I wonder if he sees the irony.” Renard said to Paonne.

“I’m only doing your job.” Ladybird replied, going back into battle.

The fight was going fine until Ladybird spotted Chat about to be hit by an attack, acting on instinct she threw herself in front of the attack to protect Chat, though her mind wasn’t on trying to act how Chat usually did in that moment, just protecting her partner. Whatever the ‘lesson’ the beam made Ladybird learn didn’t have time to take effect before she was launched into a metal railing, hitting the back of her head on the railing and getting knocked unconscious.

“Ladybird!” Chat and the other heroes cried out in worry.

They ran over to Ladybird and Paonne put her fingers to Ladybird’s neck sighing in relief when she felt a steady pulse.

“She’s just knocked out.” Paonne reported.

Chat looked at his partner, still feeling worry and hurt from her being hurt. Was this what Ladybird was trying to get across, how she felt when he was hurt?

“He’s going down.” Chat growled.

Chat managed to summon the Lucky Charm and worked out how to use it, from that point it was just a matter of he, Paonne and Renard wearing Headmaster down until they could get in close enough. At first they believed Headmaster’s pointer was the possessed object but after they managed to grab and break it with no Akuma flying out and Headmaster just pulling out a new one from his sleeve they realised it was in his lanyard. They eventually managed to get the lanyard after a lucky throw from Renard cut though the strap, dropping to the floor where Paonne managed to grab it and snap it in half, releasing the Akuma.

“How do you open this thing?” Chat asked, panicking as the Akuma got further and further away.

He had his yoyo in his hand and was tapping the top of it, but it wasn’t opening for him to cleanse the Akuma.

“Run you finger across it.” Paonne said, remembering how Ladybird did it.

“Oh, yeah.” Chat said, realising he was doing things the wrong way around.

Chat ran his finger across the yoyo and it opened up to the glowing light, he then spun the yoyo around and caught the Akuma in it just before it could fly out of reach, the yoyo closing on the Akuma, when the yoyo returned to his hand he tapped the top and it opened this time, releasing the white butterfly.

“Here.” Renard handed Chat the Lucky Charm.

Chat took the object and threw it into the air where it burst into ladybugs and restored everything to normal, switching the heroes back to their usual Miraculouses in the process.

But Ladybird remained unconscious, and since the Ladybug’s power was used by Chat, she now only had a couple of minutes before she turned back.

“She’s not waking up.” Chat said worriedly, shaking Ladybird in an attempt to wake her up. “What do we do?”

“I’ll take her to my home until she wakes up.” Paonne decided. “You know, a secret between girls.”

“Are you sure?”

“Well, we can’t exactly leave her somewhere. I think Ladybird’s safety is more important than keeping our identities.”

“Okay.” Chat agreed.

Paonne bent down and picked up Ladybird, using the extra strength granted to her by her Miraculous.

“See you later.” Paonne said, running off with Ladybird in her arms.

Chat and Renard went over to the de-Akumatised Henry as the former teacher stood up.

“What happened?” Henry asked, confused.

“You were targeted by Hawkmoth.” Renard told him. “Can you tell us what happened to put you in his sight?”

“I-I just lost my job.” Henry explained. “An incident happened at my lycee and I was blamed for it even though I didn’t do anything, and I’m sure it was some of my students who caused it instead. I remember being so angry because teaching is my life, and because of those kids I’ll probably never be able to teach again.”

“Don’t worry.” Chat told Henry. “I’ll try to do something about it. There’s bound to be security footage or something to prove your innocence.”

“Oh, thank you.” Henry said gratefully.

“Now, you should get home and rest, you’ve had a stressful day.” Chat said.

Henry nodded and began to walk home.

“How are you going to do that, you didn’t even get the guy’s name?” Renard asked.

Chat held up Henry’s lanyard, showing the man’s name and the name of the lycee he had worked at.

“Isn’t that considered stealing?” Renard asked.

“I’ll return it to him when he gets his job back.” Chat said.

“And how are you going to do that?”

“I have my ways.”

The two heroes sat in silence for a minute.

“I hope Ladybird will be okay.” Chat said.

“I’m sure she will.” Renard assured him. “The Miraculous Cure will have undone any injuries, she’s just knocked out, that’s all.”

“Thanks, Tails.” Chat said, giving Renard a nickname.

Renard frowned when he heard the name, it was familiar but he couldn’t put his finger on why. Then he remembered what the name was from.

“Please do not call me that.” Renard told Chat.

“What, Tails? I think it suits you. You have two tails.”

“I have three.” Renard said, pointing to the tail that wrapped around his waist to form his belt.

“I’m still going to call you Tails.” Chat teased.

Renard made to grab at Chat but the cat ducked out of the way in time, laughing as he jogged away from Renard.

“I’m going to make you take back those words.” Renard said with a grin, chasing after Chat.

The two heroes played chase through the city for an hour before deciding to retire for the day.


 

Paonne sighed as she made it to her rooftop, since she was carrying Ladybird she couldn’t use her wings to get around, but thankfully they had already been close to her home so she didn’t have to travel far. She barely had any time to get inside her room and lay Ladybird on her chaise before a red light washed over the heroine, reverting her back to an ordinary girl with a red kwami floating next to her.

Paonne released her own transformation, turning back into Marinette.

“Tikki!” Pavo cried out happily, flying over to Ladybird’s kwami and hugging them.

“Pavo!” Tikki matched Pavo with a high-pitched feminine voice.

The two kwamis embraced happily before parting.

“Thank you for taking in my chosen.” Tikki said to Marinette. “I’m Tikki.”

“I’m Marinette, and it was no problem.” Marinette said.

Marinette noticed the kwami looked tired, like Pavo did after battle, meaning she needed to eat.

“What do you eat?” She asked Tikki.

“Cookies, if you don’t mind.” Tikki answered.

Considering her parents owned a bakery, it wasn’t hard to get some cookies for Tikki, after a brief trip downstairs she returned with cookies and handed them to Tikki who happily began chewing on them.

Marinette looked at the civilian form of Ladybird lying on her chaise. Ladybird looked young without her mask, like she could just be starting college even though Marinette knew she had to be older, her brown hair parted at the middle and was brushing at her shoulder, kept out of her face by clips that would hold ribbons when she was Ladybird. The girl wore a light-blue top covered by a purple fleece jacket, boot jeans and blue converse shoes, around her neck were a pair of black headphones with the wire leading into her pocket.

She looked a bit familiar to Marinette.

The girl then groaned as she began to stir from her sleep.

“Tikki?” The girl asked as she awoke.

As she sat us she then said something in a language that Marinette didn’t understand, but from the tourists that frequented the bakery she recognised the language as English.

Tikki flew over to her and spoke in the same language, comfort in her tone.

“Are you alright?” Marinette asked.

The girl’s head snapped to the side to look at Marinette, taking note of her surroundings.

“Where am I?” She asked.

Without the perception filter provided by the Miraculous, Marinette realise the girl spoke with an accent that she had also heard some tourists use.

“You’re in my home.” Marinette answered. “You got knocked out and were on the verge of turning back, so I brought you here.”

The girl looked confused as she moved her legs of the chaise and sat up properly, she then spotted Pavo.

“Paonne?” The girl asked Marinette when she realised what Pavo was.

Marinette nodded.

“And you know who I am?” The girl asked, to clarify.

“Well, I know you’re Ladybird, not who you are right now.” Marinette said.

“Good.” The girl said.

“Do you know who I am?” Marinette asked.

The girl shook her head. “I remember seeing you around college often, but that’s about all I know about you.”

Ah, that’s why the girl was familiar to Marinette, she had seen her around college too.

“Do you want to trade names since we know what each other look like?” Marinette asked hesitantly.

The girl shook her head. “If you don’t mind, I’d rather we keep our names secret unless we have too, I’m not quite ready.” She said.

“It’s alright, I understand.” Marinette said.

Truthfully, she didn’t want to trade names either just yet, so she was glad the girl didn’t want to either.

“It’s going to be awkward around the college now that we know what each other looks like.” The girl said with a small laugh.

“Yeah.” Marinette agreed. “But it’d probably be worse if we were in the same class and did our best to avoid each other.”

The girl laughed and nodded in agreement.

“Did Chat Noir or Renard Rouge see my face?” The girl then asked, smile suddenly dropping.

“No.” Marinette said. “I kept it as a secret between girls.”

“Thanks. Chat Noir is my best friend, virtually my brother, and I know he would never judge me for who I really am, but I’m still not ready for him to know who I am.” The girl said.

“I was once told by my teacher that a hero revealing their identity to someone close to them can be scarier than to someone they barely know.” Marinette said, remembering what Gabriel had once told her.

“Right on the nose, that is.” The girl said. “I have trouble forming relations, it’s easier when it’s just me, I shut myself off from others so that it doesn’t hurt when they leave. But Chat was the first person in a long while to prove he would be there for me, and despite telling myself that there was no point in getting to know him because we’d eventually have to say goodbye, I’ve grown attached. Which is why it hurts me every time he puts himself in danger for my sake.”

“Well, after how you acted today, I think he understands how you feel. You should have seen him after you got knocked out, he looked like he was ready to forget Headmaster was a victim as well.” Marinette said.

“Yeah, he can be a bit too protective for his own good. Like, you remember that Copycat Akuma?” The girl said, a small smile back on her face.

“Yes.” Marinette remembered Chat getting framed for theft.

“Well, he came about because this guy expressed his crush towards my other half, and this caused Chat Noir to basically go into over-protective-brother-mode and say some things that weren’t very nice to ward the guy off me. And for some reason, the guy took this to mean Chat Noir and I were ‘together’ and got mad, which is why he became Copycat.”

“I hope you made sure to have words with Chat Noir about it afterwards.” Marinette said with a laugh.

“Believed me, I did.” The girl said.

The girl then stood and stretched.

“Anyway, I best be getting home.” She said.

“Sure.” Marinette said.

“Tikki, Spots On!” The girl called.

In a flash of light, Ladybird stood in Marinette’s room.

“You can leave through the roof.” Marinette said, pointed to her skylight.

“Thanks.” Ladybird said. “Bye.”

“Bye.” Marinette said.

Ladybird climbed out the skylight and swung off, not looking back so she wouldn’t know where Marinette lived.


 

When Henry Paden woke up the next morning after becoming Headmaster he found an Email waiting for him when he opened up his laptop, telling him that he had been found innocent of the lab fire after the true culprits, a few teens from his class, had been revealed by a few of their classmates who had seen them enter the classroom and then racing out just before the fire was found. The witnesses apparently hadn’t come forward initially because of their fear of the culprits, but Chat Noir had showed up to question the students, giving them the confidence to come forward. Henry had also been invited back to his old job and a public statement of his innocence was released.

“Chat Noir did it.” Henry said happily.

Henry considered the offer to go back to his job, where he was disrespected by both staff and students, and if it wasn’t for the kindness of Chat Noir he would still be in the same situation. He then looked around his home, to be honest, it needed some renovations he couldn’t afford and he had been planning on moving for a while, the house being so close to the lycee being the only thing stopping him.

“I think I should start over somewhere new, somewhere better.” Henry said to himself.

Henry then opened up his search bar and began looking for other teaching jobs out of Paris and available homes close by.

Chapter Text

With Chloe Bourgeois’ record of creating Akumas, it wasn’t a surprise when another villain popped up to target Chloe for her actions, though Chat had pointed out that these incidents were getting further apart. The Akuma had come about when Chloe had entered a talent competition, and since Chloe was the daughter of the mayor, who was also one of the judges, she had won despite it being clear that the other contestants had more talent than her, but surprisingly Chloe had been unaware of the competition being rigged and was under the belief she really had the most talent. Of course, Chloe had rubbed her win in the other contestants’ faces, which got one of them mad enough to be targeted by Hawkmoth, turning them into a singing-themed villain.

Ladybug, Chat Noir and Paonne decided the best way to protect Chloe from the villain after her, who was named Sour Note, was for one of them to protect her in her hotel room while the other two searched for and took down Sour Note.

“I don’t see why I have to be put in danger because someone was a sore loser.” Chloe complained to the Ladybug and Paonne as they returned her to her room after rescuing her from Sour Note, Chat had already left to look for the villain.

“Sour Note could try and come for you again, so one of us will be staying to protect you.” Ladybug said.

Ladybug prepared for Chloe to latch onto her and beg for her to stay and protect her, acting like they were friends like she usually did. But she was surprised when that didn’t happen.

“Can Paonne stay and protect me?” Chloe asked, latching onto Paonne’s arm happily.

Both heroines’ eyes widened with surprise, Chloe’s love of Ladybug was well known, so it was a shock for her to choose Paonne over Ladybug.

“You don’t mind, do you?” Chloe asked Ladybug, worried that choosing Paonne would make the spotted hero think Chloe didn’t like her anymore.

Ladybug quickly recovered from her shock and had to fight to keep from grinning.

“No. It’s no problem at all.” Ladybug said with a smile. “I’m sure Paonne will be happy to look after you.”

Paonne looked at Ladybug with betrayal, obviously not wanting to be saddled with Chloe.

Chloe squealed happily and hugged Paonne’s arm tighter. “We’re going to be such great friends, I can tell.” She said.

“I’m sure you two will get along very well.” Ladybug said, her amusement clear as she started to leave.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” Paonne said, her eyes promised retribution to Ladybug as the heroine jumped out the window.

“Come on.” Chloe said happily, pulling Paonne over to a chair.

For the next hour Paonne had to put up with Chloe’s incessant talking, the blond not realising she was having a one-sided conversation as Paonne did her best to ignore her. It was especially bad when Chloe started bad-mouthing Paonne’s civilian form and boasting about how she and Adrien were going to get married one day.

When Paonne spotted the swarm of glowing ladybugs flying through the sky, meaning that Ladybug’s Miraculous Cure had been used and Sour Note defeated, she knew that there had to be some sort of god that existed who saved her from the torture of listening to Chloe.

“Looks like Sour Note’s been defeated.” Paonne said quickly, getting up. “Well, I’ve got to go.”

Paonne didn’t give Chloe a chance to try and convince her to stay before she jumped out of the window and extended her feathers to glide away.

“Thank god.” Paonne said as she landed. “If I had to put up with anymore of that I would have snapped.”

“Sorry about that.” Ladybug said as she and Chat Noir came over. “But I believe the saying is, better you than me.”

“Next time, one of you can play babysitter to miss spoiled-brat.” Paonne said. “And I will get you back for abandoning me with her.” She said to Ladybug.

Ladybug shrugged in acceptance.

“I’ve got to go, my time is running out.” She said, swinging off.

Paonne huffed.

“Don’t take it personally.” Chat told Paonne. “We’ve both had to guard Chloe on our own before, and it sort of became a game of who could get out of guard duty first.”

“Well, next time I’m going to make sure it won’t be me.” Paonne said.

“I’m hoping there won’t be a next time.” Chat said quietly.

“What was that?”

“Nothing.”

“Sure. You better be going, you’re about to transform back.” Paonne pointed to Chat’s ring, which only had one pad left.

“Oh, bye.” Chat said, running off.

Paonne sighed and made her own way home.

Chapter Text

Marinette was at the Agreste house again for her work experience, which she was nearing the end of, when she was let into the house by Natalie she almost walked into Adrien, who was leaving for one of his photo shoots.

“Oh, hi, Marinette.” Adrien said.

“Hi, Adrien.” Marinette said quickly.

With running into Adrien so often at the Agreste house, Marinette had managed to stop herself from stuttering around Adrien so much, but she was still awkward and favoured short and quick conversations with him to stop from embarrassing herself.

“We’re running slightly behind schedule. So, can you give these to Mr. Agreste?” Natalie said, giving some letters to Marinette.

“Sure thing.” Marinette said.

Adrien and Natalie then left as Marinette headed to Gabriel’s office, she knocked and heard her mentor allow her in before she went inside. Once inside, Marinette opened her purse and Pavo flew out as she handed Gabriel the letters that were given to her.

Gabriel gave Marinette some designs and measurements, setting her to work finding out how much fabric would be needed for each design to each set of measurements. As she worked, Gabriel went through the letters until he got to one that made him frown, he quickly dismissed it to the shredder pile.

Pavo was curious as to what in the letter would make his former wielder frown but quickly dismiss it, so he quietly flew over to it and when Gabriel wasn’t looking he read the letter. The Kwami gasped in shock as he read, realising what the letter was.

“Gabe, why aren’t you replying?” Pavo asked his former wielder.

“Please don’t read my mail, Pavo.” Gabriel said, taking the letter from the Kwami and ripping it in half.

“You can’t just shut them out.” Pavo said. “They still care about you, they were your friends, your teammates.”

“What’s going on?” Marinette asked in confusion.

“It is none of your concern, Miss Dupain-Cheng.” Gabriel said.

“Please, they invited you for a reason.” Pavo continued to beg.

“I see no reason to go anymore, I have passed on my power.” Gabriel said.

“It’s not powered-heroes only, Gabe.” Pavo said.

“I am not going, and that is final.” Gabriel said.

Pavo sighed in defeat and flew over to Marinette, resting on the girl’s shoulder as she continued to work.


 

Later in the evening, Marinette and Pavo were resting at home, the Kwami was in a melancholic mood and had been since his small argument with Gabriel.

“So, what was today about?” Marinette asked the Kwami.

“Just Gabriel being too stubborn about leaving behind his past.” Pavo said.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it.” Marinette said. “I shouldn’t be looking into Mr. Agreste’s personal matters anyway.”

“No, you should know.” Pavo said. “The letter was an invite to a get-together. Next week is going to be the anniversary of the formation of the Quantic Team, all of the old members will be meeting just to see everyone.” Pavo pause in thought. “Well, most of the old members. But Gabriel seems determined to leave behind as much as his previous life as a hero as he can.”

“Is it because of Silver Hunter?” Marinette asked.

Pavo nodded. “Most likely. I don’t really remember much about what happened to her before Gabriel sealed me back inside my Miraculous. And I doubt he’d be willing to say anything now.”

The Miraculouses and other magical transforming items tended to have a magical perception filters on them, protecting the user from being recognised no matter how similar their hero and civilian forms were, but there was only so much they could hide before common sense gave way to suspicion. And from all the clues, Marinette had a theory about Silver Hunter.

“Silver Hunter was Adrien’s mum, wasn’t she?” Marinette asked Pavo.

Pavo nodded. “Considering they both went missing and Gabriel grieves over them, I guess it wasn’t hard for you to work it out.” He said.

“Yeah.” Marinette confirmed. “I wonder how Adrien would react to knowing both his parents were heroes.”

“Well, how would you react to your parents being heroes?” Pavo asked.

Marinette laughed, she couldn’t really imagine anyone from her family being a hero, before meeting Pavo she wouldn’t have imagined herself as a hero either, but it was an amusing prospect.

“I would be surprised.” Marinette admitted. “Maybe papa’s joke about Superbaker was actually a hint.” She joked.

Pavo didn’t get the joke but smiled anyway. “So, if it were true would you be okay with it?” He asked.

“I don’t really know, thought I like to think I would. It’s just, I can’t imagine anyone from my family secretly being a superhero, we prefer to avoid conflict, not go looking for it.”

“And yet you were chosen.”

“I know, and I’m glad I was, being Paonne is one of the best things to happen to me.” Marinette said with a smile. “And if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have met you.”

Pavo smiled widely as he flew over to Marinette and hugged his girl on the nose.


 

Later that evening there was another Akuma attack, they were called Screecher and used sonic blasts as a weapon. It took the heroes a while to defeat, and during the fight Chat Noir got hit head on by a sonic blast, causing him to go deaf, but they were helped out by an explosion of unknown origin that knocked the Akumatised victim out. Ladybird quickly found and broke the possessed object, cleansed the Akuma, and cast her Miraculous Cure.

“Finally, I think I was going deaf as well.” Renard Rouge commented to Ladybird as they stood on a roof. “That explosion was handy.”

“Yeah, but what caused it?” Ladybird asked in concern, fingers on her chin.

“I have no idea, but we can’t exactly look right now since all of us had to use our powers today.” Paonne said as she landed next to her partner.

As if in answer, their Miraculouses each gave a beep.

“Good news, guys!” Chat Noir said loudly as he came over, a finger in his ear. “I think my hearing finally came back!”

Renard looked at Chat and then grinned, an idea coming to mind. He opened his mouth and spoke without making any noise, just mouthing what he was saying.

“What?” Chat asked, checking his ears.

Ladybird and Paonne grinned at each other as they caught on to what Renard was doing, deciding to join in on the fun. They both mouthed their words to Chat, who was getting more confused.

“This is weird, I can hear myself just fine, but I can’t hear any of you!” He said.

The three of them were ready to make a loud noise to surprise Chat, but they were beaten to the punch.

There was a loud noise like an air horn, since Ladybird. Paonne and Renard were expecting one of them to make a loud noise they didn’t give more than a small start, but since Chat was under the impression he was still deaf the loud noise caused him to yowl and jump into the air. Ladybird and the others laughed at Chat, who wasn’t happy about being tricked, until they realised none of them had been the cause of the loud noise.

“Sorry if I ruined your joke, but I couldn’t help myself.” Said a voice.

The four heroes looked up to see a woman leaning against a chimney, looking down on them. She had short black hair that peaked out from under a black beanie with devil-horns painted on the front of it, her eyes were hidden by a pair of metal goggles with green-tinted glass, she wore a dark-blue coat that went to her knees and hand the sleeves rolled up to her elbows, black fingerless gloves, and a belt that crossed over her chest with a metal cylinder attached to it, and her coat was unbuckled to show the black unitard she wore underneath, the legs tucking into a pair of knee-high metal boots.

In the woman’s hand, she held an airhorn, pointing to her being the culprit of the loud noise.

“Who are you?” Chat demanded, holding his staff as the ready.

Renard also readied his staff for an attack from the unfamiliar person.

Ladybird tensed, ready to react, but she didn’t present her weapon like the boys. She had a feeling the woman wasn’t a threat, and she seemed familiar, she just couldn’t put her finger on why.

But Paonne didn’t feel the need to defend herself, because she recognised the woman from one of the pictures she kept on her ‘wall of heroes’.

“You’re the Imp!” She exclaimed.

“You know her?” Chat and Renard asked.

“It’s good to know I’m still known. Pulse owes me twenty pounds, they said none of you would recognise me.” The Imp said.

“I’m confused. Who is she?” Renard asked.

“Name’s the Imp, hero, anarchist and maker of things that go boom.” The Imp introduced herself with a small bow.

“Oh, so it was you who helped with the Akuma.” Paonne said in realisation.

“Well, I couldn’t exactly sit by and do nothing while I waited to speak to you.”

Paonne saw that her teammates were still confused, though Ladybird looked like she was trying to work something out, so she decided to explain.

“The Imp’s a hero from about a decade ago.” She explained. “She and her group were based in England.”

Ladybird suddenly smacked her fist into her palm. “That’s why I recognise you.” She said to Imp in realisation. “You used to be around when I was little, I think I was even rescued by you once.”

“It’s always nice to meet a fan.” Imp grinned happily.

Ladybird looked like she wanted to say more but she held it back, probably out of fear of embarrassing herself in front of one of her childhood heroes.

“So, why are you here?” Chat asked, relaxing, if Paonne and Ladybird trusted the hero so did he.

“Are you going to help us out?” Ladybird asked eagerly.

Paonne was going to ask the same question, but then she remembered Gabriel telling her why he didn’t just contact some of his former teammates to help fight Hawkmoth.

“I wish I could, believe me.” Imp said, shaking her head. “But as of now, it’s ‘not my place to interfere’.” The way she spoke made it clear she was quoting someone else.

“You ‘interfered’ just now.” Renard pointed out, having also put away his weapon.

“One time thing because I needed to speak with you.” Imp said with a wave of her hand.

“Why can’t you help out?” Chat asked.

“I don’t really understand it myself.” Imp confessed. “Something about Miraculous dealing with Miraculous and it being a contained incident. If Hawkmoth becomes more of a threat, say raises an army, is joined by other villains or manages to get his hands on your Miraculouses, then we can help out. But as long as he’s just a guy after power and the damage gets reversed at the end of the day, you don’t need our help.”

“If you’re not here to help, why are you here?” Paonne asked.

“I’m playing messenger today.” Imp said.

The Imp put her hand into her coat and pulled out four envelopes, and with practiced aim she threw them at the heroes, who managed to catch one each.

“We’re having a get together, and we’d like to officially meet the new protectors of Paris.” Imp said. “Anyway, you’re running out of time, so I’ll be on my way.”

The Imp jumped into the air and to their surprise and amazement, she remained floating in the air rather than falling back down

“See yah.” Imp said.

The Imp’s metal boots then opened up at the bottom and shot out blue flames, which propelled the Imp into the sky and eventually out of sight.

The four heroes stared after her in amazement. But the beeping of their Miraculouses brought them back to reality, Ladybird and Paonne’s warning that they only had under a minute.

“Yeeps!” Ladybird exclaimed. “I didn’t realise we wasted so much time. Meet up tomorrow at the usual place and time!” She said quickly, running off.

The other three heroes quickly left before they changed back as well.


 

“Yes, it’s the same as Gabriel got.” Pavo confirmed, reading the letter Marinette had been given. “You’ve been invited to the anniversary of the Quantic team.”

“Why? I’ve never met any of them outside of Mr. Agreste and the Imp, today.” Marinette asked.

“Well, you are Gabriel’s successor, they’d want to meet how Gabriel thought was worthy of inheriting his powers.” Pavo pointed out. “And they’ll also be curious about the newest heroes around, since almost all of them should be in retirement.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Marinette said.

Marinette then, like she was prone to do, found something to worry about with the situation.

“Wait, if I go then I’ll be in a room full of older veteran superheroes who will have years of experience. What if I mess up in front of them? And then they don’t think I’m worthy to be a hero? They might try to take my Miraculous away. Can they do that?” Marinette began to freak out.

Pavo sighed and grabbed a croissant from the plate Marinette had on her desk and shoved it into her mouth, silencing her ramblings.

“Calm down, Marinette.” Pavo said. “They won’t judge you, they’re nice people. Anyway, even if they try to, they don’t have room to judge considering how they started off as well.”

“How so?” Marinette asked, wanting to hear about the past heroes.

“Well, when they were starting off, more than a few of them would jump into a conflict despite having no proper training on how to fight, leading to a lot of injuries since they didn’t know what they were doing.” Pavo recalled. “And you should have seen Gabriel when he first started out, he kept tripping over his own tail feathers.”

Marinette couldn’t help but laugh. It did make her feel better to know these supposedly big heroes, including her mentor, started out struggling as well.


 

The next day, the four heroes of Paris met at their usual meeting spot.

“I take it everyone read the letter they got?” Ladybird said.

Everyone nodded in confirmation.

“Honestly, I’m still questioning if it’s not some sort of joke or trick by Hawkmoth.” Renard admitted.

“It’s real.” Paonne said. “My predecessor used to be a member of the Quantic team, and my Kwami confirmed that it’s a real invite from them.”

“That’s good to know.” Ladybird said, grinning. “I can hardly wait to go.”

The other heroes raised their eyebrows, it was rare to see Ladybird out of her hero persona, even when it was just them, and yet her happiness and excitement was clear as day. Chat just smiled at his partner, it made him happy when Ladybird could act more like herself comfortably when in costume.

“Well, if Ladybird’s going, I’m going to. Besides, I’m curious as a cat as to what’s got her so excited.” Chat said.

Realising how she was acting, Ladybird quickly settled down.

“I’m going, my Kwami would probably break into another crying fit if I didn’t.” Paonne said.

“May as well go if you’re all going.” Renard said with a shrug.

“I guess that’s settled.” Paonne said. “Now, onto this strange riddle that we have to work out to know the time and location.”

On the invites they had received, instead of a time a place being given, there was instead a riddle that would reveal the time and place when solved. Considering it was going to be a gathering of many heroes, it made sense that the invites wouldn’t state the time and place in case the invite fell into the hands of someone looking to cause trouble, but that didn’t make the riddle any less frustrating to figure out.

The four heroes sat down at took out their invites to look at the riddle, after ten minutes they were still scratching their heads.

“Why couldn’t it have been the sphinx riddle or something.” Chat moaned.

The others hummed in agreement.

“This riddle makes no sense.” Renard eventually moaned, lying on his back with the invite in front of him as if a new angle would suddenly reveal the answer to him.

The thing was, it did.

“I’ve got it!” Renard exclaimed.

“What?” The others asked.

“Wait here, I need to get something.” Renard said.

Renard ran off and returned moments later with a pencil in his hand, sitting back down in his previous place.

“Okay, now can you tell us what you worked out?” Paonne asked.

“The answer to the riddle is telling us the answer straight away, in the ‘behind the misdirection’ line, but since we were looking for a number and location we couldn’t see it.” Renard said.

The others looked at the riddle again and could see what Renard saw.

“Okay, but what does ‘behind the misdirection’ mean?” Chat asked.

“The riddle itself is the misdirection, so we have to look behind the riddle.” Renard explained.

The others picked up the invites and turned the paper over to the other side to find nothing.

“I don’t get it.” Paonne said.

“Look at the invite, it’s printed out. Yet there’s score marks in the paper like it was written on, and it’s on all our invites, so it’s not just someone writing something down and the invite happened to be under what they were writing on.” Renard explained further.

“So, the message is basically etched into the paper.” Ladybird said in realisation.

“Bingo.” Renard said.

Renard began using the pencil to go over the score marks on the invite, revealing a time and location, and he grinned in triumph.

“Okay, I get that hiding the time and location is something they have to do, but the only way to attend their gathering is to solve this?” Paonne questioned. “If it wasn’t for Renard we’d still be struggling.”

“I’m sure we would have worked it out eventually.” Ladybird justified.

The others looked at her.

“Okay, yeah, it would have been better if they just told us.” Ladybird admitted.

“Anyway.” Chat said, standing up. “I need to get going. I’ve missed an important catnap trying to work the invite out.”

“I need to be going too.” Ladybird said.

“Sure, meet you all next week then, providing there isn’t another Akuma attack.” Renard said.

“Bye.” They all said as they went their separate ways.

Chapter Text

Gabriel sat alone in his office, not doing anything but brooding.

Today was the anniversary of the formation of the Quantic team, where it went from a small group of heroes protecting their city, to adding more members to protect the country, and then even more members later on to protect the world. But then the threat that had called for the need of the Quantic team had been defeated and almost all of them went into retirement since they were no longer needed, their bases around the world were shut down and abandoned and they went back to their normal lives, meeting up at least once a year on the day they united.

Once upon a time, Gabriel had happily attended the gatherings, seeing his former teammates and allies, and remembering their time saving the world. But then his teammate and wife, Silver Hunter, had disappeared with no explanation, and Gabriel couldn’t find it in himself to face these facts, preferring to ignore everything to not feel the pain of loss. But whenever he looked at his Miraculous or talked with one of his former teammates, he wasn’t able to ignore that the woman he cared about the most was gone, so he decided to shut them out of his life as well, ignoring their calls and messages until they finally gave up.

The one thing they didn’t give up on, however, was sending Gabriel invites to their anniversary, which he also ignored. But this time around, it was harder to ignore because they didn’t seem to be giving up this time, probably thinking that since he chose a protégé to pass on his Miraculous to he would be more open to coming, sending him invite after invite instead of just one.

But Gabriel still refused to go, he didn’t want to face them and be forced to confront all of the memories and feelings he’d been trying so hard to lock away.


 

The week between getting their invites and the gathering passed without any problems, Hawkmoth not creating any Akumas. A small problem was that the gathering was located in the suburbs of Paris rather than the centre where they all lived, and they had agreed to meet up and go together, so they would either have to travel the long distance on foot or take a train while in costume since they couldn’t know each other’s identities.

So, on the day they gave excuses to their families and friends and left their homes, meeting up at their usual meeting spot, they then headed to the subway and boarded their train while still in costume. As the train set off the four heroes found themselves being stared at by everyone in the passenger car, more people walking in to get a look at the heroes, making them uncomfortable.

“What, never seen heroes use a train before?” Chat Noir jokingly asked their audience.

The train eventually arrived at their stop and the heroes got off, many people following them off before realising that it wasn’t their stop.

“Where to next?” Ladybird asked.

Chat reached into his pocket and brought out a piece of paper with directions written on it.

“Right, after we get off the train, we’re supposed to go straight from the train station and then right at the next street…” He mumbled the directions. “Follow me.”

“I bet we’ll get lost.” Renard Rouge said as they followed Chat.

When civilian getting in the way to speak to them or get an autograph became a problem, the four heroes leapt onto the roofs and continued that way until they reached the address.

“This is the address?” Paonne questioned as they looked at the building.

“I knew it, we got lost.” Renard said.

“Hey, the directions led us here. See?” Chat defended himself.

They looked at the paper that had the address from the invitations written on it, and then at the street sign and number on the door. It was the correct address.

“It looks a bit plain.” Ladybird said with a small frown. “And small.”

The supposed gathering of the Quantic team seemed to be a detached single-storey home, nothing about it standing out from the other houses around it.

“So, who’s knocking?” Renard asked.

None of them looked willing to knock on what could be the home of a completely normal person.

“I’ll do it.” Paonne eventually said.

She stepped up to the door and rang the doorbell.

For a minute, nothing happened, but then the door opened and a woman peaked out.

They were ready to say that they had the wrong address when the woman spoke.

“Ah, yes. We’ve been expecting you.” The woman said, opening the door to let them in.

The four heroes cautiously stepped into the home, noting that the inside looked as normal and unassuming as the outside.

“This way.” The woman said, closing the door and walking through the home.

They followed her until they reached a door, which the woman opened to reveal a storage closet, complete with shelves of paint, cleaning supplies and mops and brooms.

“In you go.” The woman said. “I hope none of you are claustrophobic.”

The heroes slowly filed inside with confusion on their faces, half convinced that it was one big prank being pulled on them.

“Just pull on that mop handle.” The woman said once they were all inside, closing the door.

They looked at each other in the darkness, unsure what to do, until Chat shrugged and pulled on the mop handle like a lever. A green arrow flashed downwards on one of the paint pots and the sound of metal shifting and things being unlocked all around them, there was a few more seconds of nothing before there was a ding and the floor dropped away from beneath them. They regained their footing as the floor hadn’t disappeared, merely descended at fast rate and they had just caught up to it as they were falling, the lift continuing to descend at a fast speed.

The lift then came to an abrupt stop, making the heroes fall over again.

“Ow.” Chat moaned.

“Get your foot off my head.” Ladybird complained to Renard.

“Get off me and you wouldn’t have that problem.” Renard shot back.

“I think I broke my tail bone.” Paonne said, rubbing her lower back as she got up.

Paonne grabbed the handle to the door and opened it, stepping out of the cramped lift, her teammates picking themselves up and following her out.

“Sorry about the rough landing, the lift controls had a glitch.” A woman said as she greeted them.

The heroes blinked at her.

“Didn’t we leave you upstairs?” Renard asked.

The woman was the exact same as the one who had greeted them at the door and led them to the lift.

“That was my other self.” The woman said. “I’m the only one who can be on door duty but still enjoy the party.”

“I’m guessing you have the power to multiply yourself.” Chat guessed.

“I do. Call me Tribble. Anyway, this way.”

The woman walked off and they followed.

“Where are we?” Renard asked. “Aside from the obvious.” He added before Chat could make a joke about being underground.

“The French sector home base.” Tribble answered.

“Wait, you mean we’re in one of the hidden bases of the Quantic team?” Paonne asked.

“What, did you think we’d use a convention centre for our get together?” Tribble smiled.

They reached a door with music and speaking that could be heard on the other side.

“It’s through there. I have to get back to manning the lift.” Tribble said, going back the way they came.

The four heroes looked at the door, not sure if they really wanted to enter a room full of former, and maybe a few still active, heroes. They each took a deep break and pushed the door open.

The room inside was absolutely massive, bigger than a football pitch, which was a good thing considering the amount of people that were inside. The people were of varying ages and nationalities, some of them wore full hero costumes, others wore normal clothes, and some even wore normal clothes but with masks to hide their identities.

They spotted another Tribble amongst the crowd, enjoying the party like the other one had said.

“Hey, you made it!”

The Imp walked up to them, waving as she approached. She was one of the heroes dressed in full hero gear.

“I thought they maybe made that trick with the invite a bit too hard.” Imp said. “Anyway, come on, let me introduce you to my team.”

The Imp grabbed hold of Ladybird and Renard’s arms, dragging them through the crowd, Paonne and Chat following after them. They eventually came to a stop in front of a group of heroes Paonne recognised from her ‘wall of heroes’ and Ladybird recognised from memory.

“This is me crew from the English sector of the Quantic team.” Imp said. “The quiet ones in the corner are Tech and Glitch. Don’t stare.”

The Imp pointed to a pair of dark-skinned male twins wearing normal clothing except for some equipment they carried with them. The Imp’s ‘don’t stare’ comment seemed to be about Tech, and how the lower half of both his legs were gone and replaced with mechanical prosthetics. Or maybe it was because Glitch wore heavy-duty earmuffs and was on a tablet rather than paying attention to anyone.

“I can introduce myself,” The next hero said. “I’m Pulse.”

The hero was also dressed in costume, it was white and blue with green detailing with a hood and mask that covered the lower half of their face. None of the Parisian heroes could pin down the hero’s gender though, they didn’t have breasts but at the same time they weren’t built like a male.

“Next we have Faith Healer.” Imp introduced the next hero.

The woman was dressed in a paramedic uniform but with different colours and other changes, like the symbol of the caduceus on her sleeve.

“Just call me Faith.” She said.

“And the rest are spread around the party.” Imp said, looking around.

Renard caught a look at Ladybird and had to keep in a laugh, the girl looked like she was ready to explode from the excitement of meeting her childhood heroes, she looked how normal civilians looked when they got to meet her but even more intense.

“So, would you like to introduce yourselves?” Pulse asked.

“You can call me Chat Noir.” Chat said.

“I’m Paonne.” Paonne introduced herself a bit shyly.

“Renard Rouge.” Renard said.

There was silence as they waited for Ladybird to introduce herself, the heroine getting a little stage fright.

“Uh, Ladybird?” Ladybird said after a nudge from Chat, saying her name more like a question.

Faith gave a good-natured laugh.

“Don’t worry kid, I was the exact same way when I joined. Even when you’re a hero yourself, they seem bigger than life.” Faith said sympathetically.

Ladybird still blushed in embarrassment.

The Imp’s eyes suddenly lit up as she looked behind them.

“Hey, here’s another member of my team.” She said.

Another woman walked over and joined the English heroes, dressed like a steampunk-ish adventurer with an aviator cap and goggles on her head.

“This is Avantia, our leader.” Imp introduced her.

“How many times do I have to say, I’m not the leader?” Avantia said, rolling her eyes.

“And yet you were still the one giving order with us following.” Imp snarked back.

Avantia shook her head and looked at the young heroes.

“Let me guess. Ladybird, Chat Noir, Paonne and Renard Rouge, right?” She said.

Chat, Paonne and Renard nodded their heads. But Ladybird stood, frozen, looking at Avantia like she was a ghost.

“Please to meet you.” Avantia said, putting forward her hand.

Chat, Paonne and Renard shook her hand and were then shocked when they felt her hand, just like Tech’s legs, it was mechanical. Avantia held out her hand to Ladybird as well, but she just stared at it with the same expression, not moving. Avantia didn’t seem to take offence and just shrugged and withdrew her hand.

“A little something left over from my days as a hero.” Avantia said, wiggling the fingers of her mechanical hand.

“Wow, I’m sorry that had to happen to you.” Paonne said.

Avantia smiled and shook her head. “I don’t regret losing it, because it meant saving the life of another.”

Ladybird didn’t say a word as she walked off, disappearing into the crowd.

“I’ll go after her.” Chat volunteered, chasing after his partner.

“I wonder what that was about.” Imp said.

“None of our business.” Avantia said. “You two should go mingle as well. Though, there are some people who’ll want to meet you later, they’re just a bit busy at the moment.”

Paonne and Renard nodded and thanked the group of heroes, walking off.

The two stuck together as they walked around, Paonne naming off the heroes and the countries they were from she recognised from researching them.

‘And I thought Alya was a fan of heroes.’ Renard thought.

“Some of these heroes were around before the first members of the Quantic team.” Paonne said, looking at a group of elderly heroes.

If Ladybird had been there, she would have recognised an elderly Asian man amongst them.

Paonne then spotted an old Asian woman dressed in a red hanfu, her silvery grey hair held up with chopsticks. What got Paonne was how painfully familiar the old woman was.

“Grandma?” She questioned.

“What?” Renard asked.

“Just a minute.” Paonne told Renard.

Paonne walked over to the group of elderly heroes.

“Excuse me, may I borrow Madame Cheng for a minute, please?” She said.

“I’ll be back soon.” Paonne’s grandma said, parting from the group.

Paonne and the old woman walked over to a secluded corner of the room to speak.

“You look so grown up, my granddaughter.” Madame Cheng said.

“What? How’d you know?” Paonne asked.

“I have my ways.” Madame Cheng said.

Paonne then remembered why she wanted to talk to her grandmother. “You were a hero?” She asked.

“A long time ago, back when I was still your age.” Madame Cheng said. “I was never a part of this Quantic team, but us wise ones are always invited along anyway.”

“But, who were you?” Paonne asked.

Madame Cheng just smiled and tapped the side of her nose with her finger.

“Now, leave your old grandmas in peace, I’m in the process of getting you a new grandad, I may be old but I can still turn on the charm.” She said, walking back to the group of old people.

“Eww.” Paonne said, she did not need to know that.

“So, that’s your grandma?” Renard asked as he came over, putting an arm on Paonne’s shoulder.

Paonne nodded.

“Wish I had a grandma like that.” Renard commented as he saw Madame Cheng acting like she wasn’t even old. “If one of my grandparents used to be a hero it’d be awesome.”

“Maybe you do, you never know.” Paonne said. “Anyway, let’s look around.”


 

Chat Noir tracked down his partner through the crowd and out of the main room hosting the part, finding her in a room that looked like it was once a bedroom. Ladybird sat on an empty bed with her arms around her legs, taking measured deep-breaths to calm herself down, a method Chat had taught her himself.

“Are you okay?” Chat asked his partner.

“Give me a minute.” Ladybird told him.

Chat sat down on the other side of the bed and waited for Ladybird to calm down fully.

“What happened?” He asked when he decided she was calm enough. “You were practically fangirling over all these English heroes, and then Avantia shows up and you freak out.”

Ladybird stayed silent, preferring to look at her hands.

“Did…did she do something to you?” Chat hesitantly asked.

“No!” Ladybird exclaimed, looking at him.

She then returned back to her defensive behaviour.

“Then what?” Chat asked in concern.

Ladybird sighed. “Chat, I have told you things I usually don’t speak about. But there are things I’m not yet ready to tell you about, this is one of those things.”

“It’s okay.” Chat said understandingly. “Just remember, I’ll always be here for you.”

Chat brought Ladybird into a hug, who relaxed against him.

“Thanks.” She said quietly.

They stayed like that for a moment before Ladybird got up.

“Well, I didn’t come here to hide in a secluded room.” She said, her cheeriness a little false. “Let’s go.”

Chat decided not to mention that she was forcing herself to be happy.

They found their way back to the main room where all the heroes were gathered and began looking for their teammates.

“Looking for someone?” A voice asked them.

They turned to see a girl who looked to be their age, her hair in pigtails and she was wearing a red jacket, blue jeans, brown boots, a green scarf around her neck and a satchel at her side. She would have looked normal if it wasn’t for the fact her hair was silver and her eyes were gold.

“Yeah, our teammates, Paonne and Renard Rouge.” Chat answered.

“Oh, I saw them over there.” The girl said, pointing to the left.

“Thanks…uh?” Chat trailed off, not knowing her name.

“Maria Wild.” The girl introduced herself.

“Are you a hero too? I don’t remember hearing about you anywhere.” Chat asked.

“I’m older than I look, I just prefer to look this age.” Maria answered.

As if to prove her point, Maria suddenly rapidly aged into her forties before going back to a teenager.

“What some people I know wouldn’t give for that ability.” Chat said, think about some of the model he worked with complaining about wrinkles.

“I’ve been the envy of many.” Maria joked.

Maria then walked off while Chat and Ladybird found Paonne and Renard laughing as they stood on a plank of wood alongside some other heroes, the plank being held up by a man with seemingly no effort.

“More weight.” The strongman boasted with a Russian accent.

“Chat Noir! Ladybird!” Paonne called over her teammates.

“Come up. It’s fun.” Renard added.

With the help of some of the other heroes, Ladybird and Chat climbed onto the plank next to Paonne and Renard, it was quite a squeeze and the heroes on the plank had to hold onto each other to stop themselves from falling off.

“Ha!” The strongman laughed. “You weigh like feathers.”

“I think that’s a compliment.” Chat said.

“Well, I don’t think we’re going to fit anyone else on here.” One of the heroes on the plank with them said. “Looks like Gora wins.”

The strongman, Gora, grinned in triumph.

“Move over.” The familiar voice of Imp said. “I’ll handle this.”

The heroes on the plank jumped off while Imp floated up and landed on it as if she was as light as a feather, she then stood and did nothing with a grin on her face. But something was obviously happening as Gora looked like he was beginning to feel the weight on top of him.

“I don’t get it.” Renard said. “What’s the Imp doing?”

“The Imp has the ability to control her density and weight.” Answered one of the heroes next to him. “While it looks like she is doing nothing, she is probably the weight of several cars by now and increasing.”

When the board began to show signs of strain, the Imp lay down to distribute her weight more evenly, the loud bangs she made as she did so showed that she was now much heavier than she originally was, laying in a relaxed position.

“Does she have a limit?” Paonne enquired the hero who spoke.

“Yes. The more she weighs, the denser she becomes, she can only become so heavy and dense before her organs can’t work anymore. The question is, which will give out first? Gora’s strength or the Imp’s organs?”

The question didn’t get answered, as the board the Imp was lying on gave out instead, sending the hero to the floor with a loud bang. The Imp lay there for a few moments, regulating her weight and density back to normal, and when she eventually stood up there was a large hold in the floor where she had been.

“Well, that was fun.” The Imp said, brushing herself off.

“Do you wish to try again?” Gora asked. “I do not need board to hold you up.”

“Maybe later, big guy. I came over here for something else.” The Imp said.

Gora shrugged in return.

The Imp walked over to Ladybird and her team.

“I was sent to tell you.” She told them. “There’s some people here who want to meet you.”

The Imp guided them through the crowd to the back of the room where a small group of middle aged heroes stood talking to each other, dressed in their costumes.

One was a woman with long blond hair in platted pigtails, a white mask covering the top part of her face, a white top with musical bars and a treble clef on the front, black pants with wide legs and white musical bars and notes at the bottom, and white boots. A musical recorder was attached to her hip.

The second was a man with brown hair, he wore a blue eye mask with a white line coming down either side from the eyes, and a one-piece blue suit with white around the collar, hand and feet and down the side.

The third was a strange looking man, in that he seemed to have melded with his suit. His skin/suit was blue with white lightning designs running down his chest, arms and legs, even his hair seemed to be in a white electric style like it was tattooed on, and his eyes were completely black except for white irises.

“Meet the founders of the Quantic team and the heroes of Paris that came before you.” The Imp introduced.

Because of her research on past heroes, especially the ones of Paris, Paonne was already fully aware of who these heroes were.

“Melodie, Kid Mime, who used to be Sparrow, and Mercury.” Paonne said.

“Just Mime, please.” Kid Mime corrected her.

“So, Grande Plume told you about us, then?” Melodie asked.

“Sort of.” Paonne said. “He told me he used to be part of the Quantic team and that was it, I found out the rest by myself.”

The three founding heroes sighed.

“Figures.” Mercury said, his voice distorted. “He made you his protégé but then didn’t tell you anything.”

“He trained me.” Paonne defended her mentor.

“That’s good to hear.” Melodie said. “See, if he was truly inconsiderate he wouldn’t have given over his Miraculous and trained Paonne.” She said to Mercury.

“Then why isn’t he here then?” Mercury asked. “He’s acting like he’s the only one affected by her disappearance, and that she was the only one to disappear.

“I’m confused, what are you all talking about?” Chat asked.

“Something concerning Paonne’s predecessor.” Melodie said.

“I know that he’s not here because of what happened to Silver Hunter.” Paonne said. “But I don’t understand the details about it, just that she disappeared. What happened to her?”

Melodie and Mercury looked at each other uncertainly, eying the current Parisian heroes, especially Chat Noir for some reason.

“I don’t really know if we should…” Melodie trailed off.

“They should know.” Mime told them.

The Quantic founders took the four heroes over to some seats and they all sat down, the Imp disappearing back into the crowd.

“It was around two years ago, now.” Mime told them. “Most of the Quantic team around the world had gone into retirement years earlier since there was no reason for us, only a few of us remained active for one reason or another. Occasionally, some of us temporarily come out of retirement to go on one off missions when our help was needed.”

“It was on one of these ‘one of missions’ that it happened.” Mercury continued. “Silver Hunter and some other heroes went off on a mission, not giving any explanation as to where they were going or what the mission was, and we never heard back from them ever again. They disappeared without a trace and were declared M.I.A.

“The only thing that was ever found of them, arrived for the Guardian of your Miraculouses a few weeks later in the mail with no return address. That necklace.” Melodie said, pointing at the Miraculous Renard wore.

Renard looked down at his Miraculous, holding it in his hands.

“This used to belong to a Quantic team member?” He asked.

“Yes, she and her triplet sisters were all heroes with their powers coming from different sources, all three triplets were among those who disappeared.” Melodie answered.

“How terrible.” Ladybird said.

“The sudden and unexplained disappearance of our teammates was a hard blow to us all, some of us were really close to them, like Grande Plume with Silver Hunter.” Mime said. “And like Grande Plume, some of them completely shut themselves off from the rest of the team, some of them got better in time, some of them disappeared also, and some continue to grieve.”

“Even though we’ve all grieved, and Plume should stop acting selfish and realise he’s not the only one to miss them.” Mercury said.

Melodie put a calming hand on his shoulder.

“He should have at least tried to come this year.” Mercury said, sounding slightly defeated.

“Some people just need more time than others.” Paonne told him.

“And some people need to be dragged into confronting it whether they want to or not.” Ladybird said, surprising her teammates. “Uh, I didn’t mean to say that out loud.” She said, blushing.

“She does have a point.” Mime shrugged in agreement.

“Somehow, I feel that Plume would appreciate that approach.” Melodie said.

“Can we at least do something?” Mercury asked. “I don’t want to feel like we haven’t done enough to get him to come.”

“How about a video message?” Chat suggested.

“Good an idea as any.” Mime said.

The founding heroes used a phone to record their message before sending it to Paonne’s mentor.

“I hope it gets him to open up more.” Melodie said.

In the seats next to where the Parisian heroes were gathered, another group of heroes sat. One of them suddenly stood up and started walking off.

“Void, where are you going?” One of the group asked.

“I have something I need to take care of, I won’t be long.” Void said.

Void left the room into an empty one and stepped into the shadows, disappearing.


 

Gabriel still sat alone in his office when his phone alerted him to an incoming message, he looked at the thumbnail of the video and saw Mime, Mercury and Melodie smiling at him, rather than watching the video he shut off his phone.

“Well, isn’t this pathetic?” A voice came from the shadows.

Gabriel stood and leapt away from where the voice came from, ready for an attack.

“Lost in your self-pity, old man?” Void asked as he stepped out of the shadows.

“How dare you come in here without my permission, Void?” Gabriel growled.

“I dare because I want to knock some sense into that blinded brain of yours.” Void growled back. “Have you got nothing better to do than grieve all the time? Have you forgotten about everyone else who cares about you?”

“I don’t care what you have to say!”

“Well, I think you should. Because I’ve lost more than you have, but the difference between you and I is that I chose to keep hold of those I haven’t lost to help me cope with it.”

Gabriel stayed silent.

“They really thought you were finally getting better when you passed on your Miraculous, and even trained that person you passed it on to, but all they’ve gotten is disappointment. They instead had to be told by your apprentice that you hadn’t changed.”

Void caught Gabriel’s brief glance.

“Yes, they invited Paonne. As well as Ladybird, Renard Rouge, and Chat Noir.” The way Void said the last name hinted that he knew there was a connection between the Cat hero and Gabriel.

Inside, Gabriel was beginning to feel angry that his old team had dragged the current heroes, especially his son, into their group. The Quantic team dealt with problems far bigger than Hawkmoth, he didn’t want them anywhere near that sort of danger.

Void decided it was time for him to leave, he stepped back into the shadows but not before giving one last remark.

“Silver Hunter wouldn’t have wanted you like this. She’d be disappointed.” He said, disappearing.

After Void had left, Gabriel tried his best to keep hold of his emotions, but the anger, sadness and even self-hatred burst through his carefully build walls.

Anger over being confronted and told to get over his loss. Sadness over the loss of his wife and the others. Self-hatred because he knew Void had lost more but didn’t close himself off like Gabriel had, and that he had rejected his friends and teammates.


 

Hawkmoth stood in his lair, feeling more vicious than usual because of what today was. He let the emotions of Paris wash over him, focusing on the negative ones as usual, and ignoring the brief spikes of negative emotions. He then felt negative emotions so strong that it was almost overpowering, emotions that had been locked away for a long time but were now spilling to the surface, meaning it had a lot of potential to create a powerful Akuma.

But when Hawkmoth focused on the cause of the negative feelings, his eyes widened when he understood who it was.

“Should I do this?” Hawkmoth questioned himself for the first time. “He could create such a powerful Akuma, but could I do it to him. Hawkmoth then hardened his resolve. “No, if anyone could understand why I am doing this, it would be him.”

Hawkmoth called on a butterfly and infused it with dark energy.

“Fly away my little Akuma, give him new power.” He said as his Akuma flew off.


 

Gabriel sat on the chair in his office, trying desperately to rebuild the walls that kept his emotions at bay, but failing each time, Void’s words had shaken him too deeply.

His head snapped up when he heard the flattering of wings and he spotted the Akuma flying towards him.

“No!” He whispered.

Gabriel got up to run away from the Akuma, but it caught up to him before he could get away and settled on his cravat, sinking into the material.

“Such pain over your loss.” Hawkmoth whispered in Gabriel’s ear as he felt his control slipping away. “You and I aim for the same goal, the recovery of those who are gone, and if you help me we can achieve that goal. All we need is the Miraculouses of Ladybird and Chat Noir.”

Gabriel tried to resist Hawkmoth’s power, but his emotions left him susceptible and he no longer had Pavo to protect him.

“Yes.” Gabriel said, voice strained from trying to hold back the words.

But that was all Hawkmoth needed and Gabriel felt the rest of his control slip away as he was enveloped in a bubbling black mass.

Chapter Text

Glitch sat uncomfortably next to his brother, ignoring the world around him thanks to his headphones that blocked out all outside noise and the tablet that held his attention. If he had his way, he would still be at home instead of the gathering he wasn’t even taking part in, but Tech had wanted to come and Glitch couldn’t be apart from his brother, so here he was. So, Glitch remained with the familiarity of his team instead of talking to anyone he didn’t know, the team and his brother keeping other away from him, and using his headphones to keep the noise of the gathering from overwhelming him and his tablet to keep busy,

Glitch scrolled through his tablet, without needing to touch the screen thanks to his powers, when he received a notification from a computer program he had created himself, it would alert him anytime a hint of a villain, hero or supernatural events were mentioned in the news, social media, etc. He liked to keep up to date with superhero events, even when he didn’t get involved. Like most of the notifications Glitch received for the past few months, it was about an Akuma attack.

Knowing that the current heroes of Paris who were meant to be dealing with Akumas were attending the party instead of the main part of Paris where the Akuma was, Glitch knew he would have to find and tell them because they wouldn’t be able to find out themselves.

“What is it, Glitch?” Tech asked his brother when he saw him stand up.

“There’s an Akuma active.” Glitch answered, his voice slightly monotone.

He could hear his bother thanks to his headphones being specially made to only let through the voices of those he wanted to speak to, an invention of Tech’s.

“Would you like to tell them or should we pass on the information?” Tech asked his brother.

Glitch looked at his tablet. “I would like to tell them.” He answered.

Tech nodded and stood up. Thanks to an accident unrelated to his time as a superhero, Tech had lost the bottom half of his legs and the ability to walk, but when his powers developed he was simply able to build himself replacement legs that allowed him to walk.

Tech whistled to the other members of their team, who saw what was going on. They formed a circle around Glitch, which stopped him from having to be close to the crowd of unfamiliar people as he sought out the current heroes of Paris. They found them with the old heroes of Paris and founders of the Quantic team.

“Is something wrong?” Mime asked, he knew it was unusual for Glitch to be out of his corner during their gatherings.

“There is an Akuma active near central Paris, the usual epicentre of Akuma attacks.” Glitch reported.

Ladybird, Chat Noir, Paonne and Renard Rouge immediately stood.

“Because of course it had to be the day we weren’t there.” Renard moaned.

Glitch then looked at his tablet again and the information about the attack he was getting.

“The Akumatised villain seems to be heading in a certain direction, causing chaos along the way.” He said. “There a few notable places that would be in its path if it continues in its current direction.”

Tech looked at his brother’s tablet, something only he was permitted to do, and looked at the locations.

“And one of them just so happens to be here.” Tech commented. “Though that’s likely just a coincidence.”

“Coincidence or not, we need to stop that Akuma.” Ladybird said.

“Who is a few miles away if it’s the centre of Paris.” Chat said.

“Moving outward.” Glitch corrected.

“Don’t worry, we have a few teleporters here that can get you there in a blink.” Avantia said, clicking her fingers for emphasis.

“Can we have a teleporter over here?!” Imp yelled into the crowd of former heroes.

“You summoned?” One of the heroes stepped out of the crowd, this one in casual clothes except for his mask.

“There’s a villain attacking Paris, and Ladybird and her team need a portal there.” Avantia answered.

“Where to?” The teleporter asked.

Glitch rattled off the Akumatised villain’s current location.

“Okay. Step back.” The teleporter said.

Everyone gave the teleporter space to summon his portal. He reached into his pocket and withdrew an ornate dagger, he whispered a few words to the dagger and the blade glowed, he then slashed the air in front of him, the air where he slashed seemed to separate, like a tear in cloth, into glowing light.

“In you go.” The teleporter said to the Miraculous team as he put away his dagger.

Ladybird was the first to step through the light, her teammates following. Once all four had gone through the teleporter withdrew a crystal from his other pocket and whispered some words to it, it glowed and floated up from his palm as it spun, the portal closing, the crystal stopped glowing and settled back onto the man’s palm and he put it away.

“Let’s watch the fight.” Mercury said.

“Our best bet would be that Ladyblog.” Imp said.

A screen in the room switched on to a coverage of the Akuma attack and many heroes in the room started to watch it, including the Parisian and English sectors of the Quantic team, an elderly Asian man, and a girl with silver hair and gold eyes next to him.


 

Closer to the centre of Paris, only a block away from where Hawkmoth’s latest villain was, a tear of light opened up and the Miraculous team stepped out, they then fell and just managed to land in crouches since the portal had opened up several feet from the ground.

“Good thing that wasn’t opened any farther up.” Paonne commented, looking at the portal as it closed.

“That guy could have warned to look out for a drop.” Chat said. “Now, where’s that Akuma?”

There was a flash of light in not too far away and some screams.

“I’m guessing, that way.” Ladybird said.

The Miraculous team took off in the direction of the screams, finding the Akumatised villain casually strolling down the street, tossing black and white spirals as he went. The spirals landed on any surface and enlarged, and if a person ran into one they were sucked into it.

The villain wore a black suit with a high white collar and white sleeves, the heels of his shoes in black and white spiral design, a red and black cravat-like object on his crest, red strapless goggles that covered his eyes, and his hair was in a black and white spiral cone shape.

“Well, this guy doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere.” Chat said.

“Let’s get this over with.” Ladybird said, swinging her yoyo.

The Miraculous team attacked but it seemed the villain had been expecting them, dodging out of the way of all of their attacks.

“Nice try.” The Akumatised villain said. “But you’re going to have to try harder than that.”

Something tickled at the back of Paonne and Chat Noir’s minds, telling them that this villain was familiar in some way.

“We’re only just getting warmed up.” Paonne said.

“Good, I don’t want to be disappointed.” The villain said.

“So, what’s your name? Spiral-man?” Chat joked.

“Call me, the Collector.” The villain said.

The Collector pulled off his cravat-like object and brandished it in his hand like a weapon, and with how sharp it looked it probably was.

The four heroes attacked together, working perfectly in unison, attacking the Collector while avoiding hitting each other and covering each other from attack. But the Collector parried each attack thrown his way, and the ones that did hit didn’t seem to affect him.

“Is it just me, or are we not landing a scratch on him?” Chat asked as the Miraculous heroes fell back from the Collector.

“He’s not phased in the least.” Ladybird growled.

“Come on, he has to have a weak spot.” Paonne encouraged.

The heroes attacked again, managing to land some more hits this time, but the Collector treated them more like minor annoyances than serious opponents. Things got worse when Renard retreated to a distance to play his flute, only for the Collector to use him standing still to throw a spiral under his feet, sucking him in.

“Ah!” Renard cried as he was sucked down.

“Renard!” His teammates cried out in worry.

Ladybird threw her yoyo and it wrapped around Renard’s arm, she then pulled with all her strength, but it only succeeded in slowing the rate Renard was being sucked in, he was up to his waist now and Ladybird’s feet dragged against the pavement.

“A little help!” Ladybird called.

“Help Ladybird, I’ll hold the Collector off.” Paonne told Chat.

“Are you sure?” Chat asked, worried his teammate wouldn’t be able to hold her own.

“Yes, now help them!” Paonne snapped.

Chat nodded and ran over to Renard, putting his hands under Renard’s arms and pulling with all his strength, stopping Renard from sinking any further.

Paonne faced off with the Collector one-on-one, placing herself between the villain and her teammates. With a battle cry, she attacked, clashing her fans against the Collector’s weapon.

“You’ve improved since we last faced off.” The Collector commented as he met Paonne’s attacks, blow for blow. “But still not good enough.”

Paonne was forced to dodge backwards to avoid the Collector’s attack.

“What?” Paonne questioned, she didn’t remember fighting the Collector before.

That tickle at the back of her head got stronger as she just managed to block the Collector attacking while she had been distracted.

“You can’t beat me.” The Collector boasted. “I know your every move. After all, I taught you everything you know.”

Paonne cried out as she was kicked backwards while her fans had been occupied protecting her from an attack coming from above.

“But not everything I know.” The Collector finished.

The penny finally dropped.

“Mr. Agreste?” Paonne questioned disbelievingly.

Chat’s head snapped up at the mention of the name while Ladybird and Renard remained occupied with getting Renard out of the swirl that was sucking him down.

“No, it can’t be.” Chat whispered in shock, not even taking the chance to use a cat pun like he usually would.

“I am no longer that helpless fool.” The Collector growled, much to the dismay of his protégé and son.

“Chat Noir!” Ladybird shouted.

In his shock, Chat had let his grip on Renard slip and the fox hero had begun to sink again. Chat quickly readjusted his hold and Renard stopped sinking again. But while Chat kept his grip on Renard strong, his attention was still on the Collector, who he had just learned was his Akumatised dad.

“How?” Paonne questioned taking a step back from her Akumatised mentor. “Why?”

“I finally opened my eyes.” The Collector said.

The Collector used Paonne’s shock to attack her, slamming into her and sending her flying through the air, smashing into Chat Noir as she landed, sending them both across the ground.

Ladybird grunted as Renard began sinking again, trying desperately to pull him out put failing.

“It’s no use!” Renard called to her, only his shoulders and the arm with the yoyo wrapped around visible now. “Let me go so you can fight!”

“Not going to happen!” Ladybird denied.

Renard’s eyes suddenly widened.

“Ladybird! Behind you!” He yelled.

Ladybird turned in time to be backhanded by the Collector, sending her to the ground.

Without Ladybird pulling on him, Renard finally disappeared into the spiral. But the yoyo had also disappeared inside the spiral, and was sucking up the rest of the string, which Ladybird was holding onto.

“Ah!” Ladybird cried as she was dragged towards the portal by her own yoyo.

The Collector made a grab for Ladybird’s earrings while she was down, but was stopped by Paonne and Chat, who had recovered from being thrown into each other, driving him away from the downed hero.

Ladybird tugged desperately at the string of her yoyo to no avail, only getting closer to the swirl, when she was just about to get sucked in herself, she finally let go on the string to avoid getting sucked in, losing her yoyo to the swirl.

Down a member and one of them without a weapon, the heroes fared even worse than before, barely being able to block attacks and constantly losing ground. What didn’t help was that with the realisation of who the Collector was under the Akuma caused Paonne and Chat to not attack as hard as they had before, Chat especially.

While Paonne and Chat distracted the villain, Ladybird snuck behind him, and since she didn’t have her yoyo she went with a more hands-on method of attack, by jumping on his back and clamping her hands over his eyes.

“Ah! Get off me!” The Collector demanded.

“Make me.” Ladybird shouted back defiantly.

Ladybird then bit him on the ear for good measure, finally drawing a cry of pain from the villain.

Chat used the distraction to nail the Collector in the stomach with his staff, but at the sound of his father crying out in pain, he hesitated in following the attack up with another, giving the Collector the chance to recuperate from the attack. The Collector drove himself backwards into a lamppost, slamming Ladybird into it in the process and causing her to loosen her grip enough for him to escape her hold, he then grabbed her arm as she fell to the ground and threw her away from him. Unfortunately, where Ladybird landed happened to be where one of the Collector’s pre-laid spirals was, and she was sucked into it just like Renard, and this time Paonne and Chat were too far away to stop her from being sucked straight in.

Now it was just Paonne and Chat Noir left to face off against the Collector.


 

Hawkmoth laughed in his lair, the Collector was summing up to be his most powerful Akuma yet. Both Renard Rouge and Ladybird were now trapped in the Collector’s ‘collection’, their Miraculouses ripe for the picking once Chat Noir and Paonne were taken care of. And with how the heroes faired as four, finishing off the remaining two would be child’s play for his Akuma.

Still, something angered Hawkmoth, Gabriel was still resisting. While all of his actions were still Akuma influenced, his mind remained out of Hawkmoth’s reach. From a brief glimpse, Hawkmoth saw that Gabriel new the identity of not only Paonne, which was a given for him to pass on his Miraculous, but also Chat Noir, but no matter how hard Hawkmoth tried to access this information for an upper hand in case the Collector failed, Gabriel managed to keep the information hidden.

But no matter, with how well the Collector was fairing against the heroes, Hawkmoth would soon find out their identities anyway, as well as the identities of Ladybird and Renard Rouge, when he finally gained their Miraculouses.


 

At the Quantic team gathering, many heroes gathered around a large TV, watching the live footage of the fight between the Miraculous team and the Collector, broadcasted via the Ladyblog by a girl who could give April O’Neil a run for her money.

All of their eyes widened when the camera managed to pick up Paonne’s revelation of who was under the mask.”

“Gabriel, no!” Melodie cried.

Mercury and Mime were in equal states of shock and denial.

“This explains why they’re having such a hard time fighting him.” Imp commented, concern on her features. “He’s already a trained hero.”

“Our location being on his path no longer seems like a coincidence.” Glitch commented.

The Quantic team watched helplessly as the Collector easily fought the Miraculous team and Renard Rouge and Ladybird were sucked into his swirls, leaving Chat Noir and Paonne to fair even worse than before.

“I can’t take this anymore.” Mercury said, standing. “If we don’t do something, they’re going to lose.”

Avantia placed her metal hand on his shoulder, preventing him from going anywhere.

“Mercury, you know most of us don’t stay out of the conflict out of choice.” She told him.

“Then I’ll deal with the consequences.” Mercury said.

“He’s right.” Melodie agreed as she stood as well. “Gabriel’s our friend, we can’t just stand by and let him be used like this.”

“Even if it means tipping the scales of balance, I’d rather do that than nothing.” Mime said, joining his friends.

“Rift!” Melodie called.

The teleporter from before walked over.

“Get us there.” Melodie instructed, pointing at the screen showing the fight.

Rift looked unsure but soon relented, pulling out his dagger and repeating the process to open a portal, the three heroes then stepped through, and Rift repeated the process to close the portal.

Not far back, Maria Wild watched the events unfold with the old Asian man that stood next to her.

“Do you think this will affect the balance?” Master Fu asked Maria.

Maria hummed in contemplation.

“I am unsure.” She said. “Hawkmoth’s increase in power has allowed for more heroes to rise, but not enough for others to interfere, but they are the old Grande Plume’s teammates, so it could be a special situation.”

“I guess we shall just have to wait and see.” Fu agreed.


 

“Hey!”

Ladybird groaned, the voice was bringing her to the waking world where she could already tell a headache was waiting for her.

“Ladybird, wakeup!”

Ladybird’s eyes snapped open, as just as she predicted she had a headache, looking around for the source of the voice. The world around her was surreal, like out of an M.C. Escher painting, constant blacks and whites that bended in a way that hurt her eyes, with the black and white colour scheme it was easy to pick out the normally coloured people scattered about the place, trapped in cages or tried to the walls.

Ladybird quickly spotted Renard, held against the wall with her yoyo still attached to his arm.

“Renard Rouge.” Ladybird said, standing and making her way over to him.

“No, stop!” Renard told her. “You need to be careful, the walls come alive to trap you.”

Ladybird was confused, not understanding what he meant. She soon understood though, when black and white tendrils emerged from the ground around her and made a grab for her, she quickly jumped away to avoid getting grabbed but more emerged from the ground to follow her. The chase continued for a minute until they finally managed to grab her, forming a cage around her, the cage then moved to settle near where Renard was being held.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure Paonne and Chat Noir will get us out of her.” Renard said.

But Ladybird wasn’t listening to him, she was too focused on the fact that she was being held in a cage, a cage with not a lot of room and very small gaps between the bars, a cage she had no idea to escape because she could summon her Lucky Charm to get out. Ladybird’s breathing got heavier, gasping desperately for oxygen she didn’t feel she was getting, her chest was getting tighter and her vision was starting to blur.

“Ladybird? What’s wrong?” Renard asked in concern.

Ladybird didn’t respond, to occupied with trying to breathe through the feeling of being squeezed.

“Wait, are you claustrophobic?” Renard realised.

Ladybird nodded.

“Oh, uh.” Renard tried to remember what to do when someone was having a panic attack. “You need to control your breathing.” He said.

“What do you think I’m trying to do?” Ladybird gasped out in frustration.

Ladybird continued to try and control her breathing, but after a few minutes it became clear to her that her breathing exercise wasn’t working, her chest still felt too tight and she couldn’t focus.

“I need my music.” She wheezed.

“What?” Renard asked, feeling totally useless for not being able to help his teammate.

“I’m going to change back, I need my music to calm down.”

“Oh. I’ll look away.” Renard said, turning away from Ladybird said.

“Thank you. Spots Off.”

The yoyo around Renard’s arm disappeared as Ladybird was replaced by the girl underneath, who was sinking even further into her panic attack now that she didn’t have Tikki to help block off the panic. She caught Tikki in one hand and brought the Kwami to her chest in an attempt to find comfort while using her spare hand to pull her headphones over her ears and then reach into her pocket for her phone, she tried to navigate through her phone to find her music but her vision was too shaky for her to see what she was doing, only leaving her more frustrated.

“Tikki.” The girl moaned.

She held up the phone to Tikki, and the Kwami navigated the phone for her, finding the soundtrack to Song of the Sea and pressing play while lowering the volume. The girl closed her eyes and focused and the familiar and calming music, mouthing along with the lyrics, the tightness in her chest lessened and her breathing returned to normal. Though she still felt claustrophobic, she was no longer having a panic attack.

Renard sighed in relief when he heard the girl calm down. He was tempted to turn and look at her, justifying that he should check how she was now, but stopped himself because he knew she wanted to keep her identity secret.

But there was still the problem that they were stuck in the Collector’s little dimension with no clear way of getting out.


 

Chat grunted as he was thrown to the floor, raising his staff just in time to avoid getting hit by the Collector, the villain then had to move away from him to avoid getting hit by Paonne’s fans. But then the Collector reached out a hand and caught one of Paonne’s fans, giving him an extra weapon and leaving her down a weapon.

Chat was on the verge of de-transforming and trying to appeal to the Collector as his son, even if it ended with Hawkmoth finding out his identity. He was finding it really hard to fight against his own father, both emotionally and physically.

“Hand over your Miraculouses. You are beaten.” The Collector said.

“Never.” Paonne denied. “You told me to always guard my Miraculous and that’s what I’ll do.”

“By force it is then.” The Collector said.

The Collector threw Paonne’s fan at Chat, who was in no state to defend himself against the oncoming attack, and Paonne wasn’t close enough to catch her own weapon. But then someone jumped between Chat and the fan, holing up their arms, and the fan impacted against something invisible, dropping harmlessly to the floor.

Mime then stood up straight and dropped his hand.

“Mime?” The Collector said, surprised.

He knew his former teammate shouldn’t be here for some reason, but he couldn’t remember why.

“Not just him.” A voice said.

In a flash of blue, Mercury appeared at Mime’s side, and Melodie jumped down on his other side. The three heroes faced down their former teammate with determined expressions.

“Stop this, Gabrel, you know that you’re stronger than him.” Melodie said to the Collector.

“You shouldn’t be here.” The Collector said.

“But we are because we want our teammate back.” Mercury said.

“I am no longer your teammate. And if you don’t get out of my way, I shall instead be your enemy.” The Collector threatened.

“If it means getting you back…” Melodie began.

“Then we’ll fight you, and win.” Mercury finished.

Mime nodded. Since his powers were based on being a mime, he didn’t speak when using them.

“I thought you guys aren’t meant to interfere.” Paonne said as she picked up her fan and helped Chat to his feet.

“We’re willing to make an exception this time around.” Mercury said.

“I just hope the fall out won’t be too bad.” Melodie said.

Chat and Paonne wanted to question what she meant, but decided to ask later.

Melodie took the recorder from her hip and played a tune, as she played a light grew from the end until it was a few feet long, her recorder was now a laser sword.

The five heroes then charged at the Collector.

With three seasoned and experienced heroes on their side, the fight against the Collector was now leaning in favour of them. Mercury, Melody and Mime knew the Collector’s moves and matched them, Mercury raced around at impossible speeds, his body literally glowing, Melodie clashed her laser sword against the Collector’s weapon, Mime created invisible barriers or an invisible sword to defend himself, and Paonne and Chat provided support. But what was proving the most effective against the Collector was what they said to him as they fought.

“This reminds me of that time that mind controller managed to take us by surprise back in England, only in reverse.” Mercury said, running circles around the Collector. “You and Avantia were the only ones not put under her control, and ended up having to fight against both our teams.”

“It wasn’t easy.” The Collector agreed before hissing. “But now I’m stronger.”

Melodie, Mercury and Mime grinned when they realised they were getting through to the real Gabriel.

“I still remember the first time we met you as Grande Plume.” Melodie reminisced. “You were so bold and eager, constantly showing off to prove you were as good as us, like a true proud peacock.”

“And then he tripped over his tailfeathers and nearly sliced off your braid.” Mercury added with a grin. “You were furious.”

“Shut up!” The Collector demanded.

“Oh, I still remember that time in Russia, where-” Mercury started.

“I thought we agreed never to speak of that!” The Collector yelled, sounding more like Gabriel.

We never agreed to anything.” Mercury responded with a grin.

The Collector groaned and clutched at his head, the Akuma struggling against Gabriel’s will.

“Come on, Gabriel, you can fight this.” Melodie encouraged.

“You’re stronger that some Akuma.” Mercury added.

“Remember why you became a hero in the first place.”

“Remember what the Quantic team stood for.”

“Please, Mr. Agreste.” Paonne joined in. “I didn’t get trained by you, only to have to fight against you. You gave me my Miraculous to fight against Hawkmoth.”

“You have to be fight him, d-Mr. Agreste.” Chat encouraged as best as he could with revealing his identity.

The Collector fell to his knees with his hands clutching his head.

“I can’t.” He grunted.

Everyone’s eyes widened when they realised the actual Gabriel was speaking.

“Come on, just fight him a little more.” Melodie encouraged as they drew closer to him.

“He’s too strong, can’t…” Gabriel struggled.

“Can you release those you’ve caught?” Paonne asked, remembering Ladybird, Renard and the civilians the Collector had caught.

Gabriel shakily raised a hand and a black and white swirl appeared over it, the direction it spun then changed to the opposite direction and he threw it on the ground, people then began to emerge from the swirl, being pushed out, including Renard.

But bringing everyone back had taken the last of Gabriel’s concentration and the Collector returned.

“Enough!” The Collector roared.

Everyone was blown away from the Collector and the civilians who had emerged from the Collector’s pocket dimension immediately ran for cover while Renard ran to join the heroes.

“Where’s Ladybird?” Chat asked Renard.

“She had to de-transform where we ended up, so I guess she’s gone to find a place to transform again.” Renard answered.

“Well, let’s have the Akuma ready for her when she gets back.” Melodie suggested.

As a tactic to fend of so many enemies, the Collector threw multiple portals all over the place, forcing the heroes to dodge to avoid getting hit or accidently stepping in one. By the time he finished, the street looked like it was polka dotted with black and white swirls.

“This can only end so well.” Renard said.

“I’m going to need some help with this.” Paonne said. “Oracle Eye!” She activated her future vision.

Paonne saw herself move to attack the Collector first, only to be attacked and when she dodged she fell into a portal, time then rewound itself and she saw Renard attack first only for him to also get knocked into a portal after trading a couple of blows with the Collector, time rewound again and Paonne saw another possible future, and then two more, until she saw the outcome of five different choices, none of which showed them winning yet, but still telling her what to avoid.

“Renard, stay back and create illusions to distract him. Chat, you and I attack from above.” Paonne told her teammates.

The two males nodded. Renard stepped back and played his flute to create illusions, this time not being attacked by the Collector, while Paonne and Chat ran up the sides of the building, avoiding the portals there, to attack from above, while the Quantic members attacked straight on.

Together, the heroes managed to drive the Collector away from his minefield of portals. But they were still unable to separate him from his weapon, which they were sure contained his Akuma.

But then, just as the Collector was about to attack again, a yoyo latched around the weapon in his hand and pulled it away from him, landing in the waiting hands of Ladybird.

“Sorry I’m late.” Ladybird said.

Ladybird then threw the Collector’s weapon to the ground and stomped on it, breaking it and releasing the Akuma. As the Akuma flew away, Ladybird opened up her yoyo and spun it around.

“Capture!” She called as she caught the Akuma. “And release.” A white butterfly flew out of her yoyo.

The Collector grunted as a black bubbling mass enveloped him and he reverted back to Gabriel Agreste, who looked around in confusion.

Chapter Text

Hawkmoth screamed in frustration, his butterflies scattering around the room in panic from their master’s anger. He had been so close! The Miraculous were just about to be his, Paonne and Chat Noir had been practically defeated. And then they had shown up and ruined everything.

Mime, Melodie and Mercury, the founders of the Quantic team and the original heroes of Paris.

Not only had their added strength turned the fight against the Collector, but they had managed to get Gabriel to temporarily break out of his control and release Ladybird and Renard Rouge from where he kept them prisoner. And with Ladybird back she had broken the object that housed his Akuma and cleansed it, returning the Collector to Gabriel again. All because the former heroes of Paris decided to interfere.

Hawkmoth knew why they interfered, Gabriel was once Grande Plume, their former teammate, and if he’d been in their place he wouldn’t have been able to sit by and watch one of his former teammates be used for evil either. But he had hoped that the fear of tipping the fragile balance would keep the Quantic team from interfering like it had done so far, but apparently the three former heroes were willing to risk it in the name of their friend.

Hawkmoth then calmed down from his anger and he contemplated what the events of today would mean for the future.

“I wonder how the consequences of their interference will play out.” Hawkmoth said. “Will it be good fortune for me, or will I receive competition. Either way, Ladybird and her teammates will be in for a much harder time in the future.”

Hawkmoth then walked out of his lair.


 

The Quantic and Miraculous teams sighed in relief as they finally managed to defeat the Collector and return Gabriel Agreste to normal.

“That was rough.” Paonne said.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

Melodie, Mime and Mercury ran over to a confused Gabriel and helped him to his feet, the Miraculous team decided to hang back and allow the former teammates to talk.

A beep from Paonne’s Miraculous reminded her that she had used her Oracle Eye and only had a couple of minutes before she transformed back.

“I’ve got to go feed my Kwami, I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Paonne said.

“Okay.” Her teammates said.

Paonne ran off out of sight and de-transformed back into Marinette, Pavo sat on her shoulder tiredly as she fished around in her bag for the tub of grapes she usually kept with her and gave them to Pavo for the Kwami to get his energy back up.

Meanwhile, Ladybird looked around the area at the damage that had occurred during the fight, and the portals that still remained everywhere, though they were no longer moving to suck anyone in.

“I’ll fix the damage then I’ll need to disappear for a few minutes myself.” She said.

“But you didn’t summon your Lucky Charm.” Renard Rouge pointed out in confusion.

“I don’t need my Lucky Charm to fix everything, but it is more exhausting when I don’t have it because I have to focus on what needs to be fixed.” Ladybird explained.

Ladybird then threw her yoyo into the air like she would when summoning her Lucky Charm.

“Miraculous Cure!” She called.

Hundreds of ladybugs spilled out of her yoyo and swarmed through the street, getting rid of all the portals and repairing the damages. When she was done, Ladybird slumped and gave a sigh, she then stood up straight and jogged off.

“See you soon!” She called over her shoulder, going to find herself her own place to de-transform and give her Kwami food.

Chat Noir and Renard sat on a nearby wall as they waited for their female teammates to return, Renard busied himself with playing a tune on his flute without summoning any illusions, but Chat kept his attention on the interactions between his father and the former heroes of Paris.

“So, I became Hawkmoth’s latest victim?” Gabriel clarified after he was told what had happened.

“I’m afraid so.” Mime said, finally able to speak again.

“You shouldn’t have come.” Gabriel said. “You know what the consequences could be.”

“We weren’t going to let you hurt anyone.” Mercury said. “Besides, if we hadn’t, Hawkmoth might have the Miraculous right about now.”

“You were difficult to take out.” Melodie agreed.

Gabriel sighed, mad at himself.

“You know, this wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t cut us off in the first place.” Mercury said.

Mime and Melodie frowned at Mercury’s lack of tact.

“You’re right.” Gabriel said, defeated. “I blocked my emotions so much that I could control them when it finally got too much. I’m sorry.

“It’s okay, you were hurting.” Mime said. “Though, you could have let us help you. You could still let us help you.”

“I don’t have a choice on that, do I?” Gabriel asked.

His former teammates shook their heads.

“Why don’t you come back with us to the reunion? There’s still plenty of time.” Melodie suggested.

“I don’t think many people will be happy to see me.” Gabriel said.

“You doubt yourself too much.” Mime said.

“I can think of quite a few people who will be happy to see you again.” Melodie agreed.

Gabriel sighed.

“Fine. But only because I know you’ll bother me until I say yes.” He finally relented.

“Yes!” The three former heroes cheered.

They turned back to Renard and Chat where they were sitting on a wall, Chat quickly tried to pretend he hadn’t been listening while Renard stopped playing his flute.

“Where are the girls?” Mercury asked.

“They needed to recharge their Kwamis.” Renard answered. “They shouldn’t be much longer.

“Actually, we’re here now.” Paonne called as she and Ladybird walked over.

“Question. How are we getting back?” Ladybird asked. “I really don’t want to use public transport again.”

“I’ll call Rift to send us a portal.” Melodie said, pulling out a small communicator from her pocket and dialling a number.

A minute later, a portal opened, a few feet off the ground.

“His aim has been getting better.” Mime commented.

“What was it like before?” Chat asked.

“There were times people walked right into walls on the other side or forced to make emergency landings because they were so far up.” Mercury said.

“Yikes. Glad that didn’t happen to us.” Paonne said.

“Anyway, come on then.” Mime said.

Mime launched himself off the wall and into the portal, his teammates following his lead.

“Come on, Mr. Agreste.” Paonne said to her mentor.

Paonne jumped up onto the wall and pulled an uneasy Gabriel after her, she then jumped into the portal, Gabriel following after a moment pause. The rest of the team following after.

They all arrived in the room outside of the lift in the underground base, Rift there to greet them, once they were all though he closed the portal.

“Am I going to be needed anymore today?” Rift asked teasingly.

“Hopefully not.” Melodie rolled her eyes with a good-natured smiled.

“Good.” Rift said, heading back to the room hosting the party. “Good to see you again, Plume.” He said as he walked off.

“See?” Melodie said to Gabriel. “Now come on.”

Melodie took one of Gabriel’s arms and Mime took the other while Mercury stood behind, not giving Gabriel any choice but to follow them into the room with all of the former heroes in it, the Miraculous team watched them go.

“You alright?” Ladybird asked Chat, noticing her partner wasn’t as energetic and taking every chance to pun like he usually did.

“I’m just finding it hard to believe that…Mr. Agreste was a superhero.” Chat said.

Renard nodded in agreement. “From what I’ve heard about him, he doesn’t sound like the type.” He said.

Something then dawned on Chat. “Hey, you already knew, didn’t you?” He accused Paonne.

“Yeah.” Paonne admitted. “He was the previous wielder of my Miraculous and gave it to me.”

“Why didn’t you tell us this before?” Chat asked.

“Because I didn’t think it concerned you. Besides, I’m wasn’t going to give up his identity just like that.” Paonne said, not understanding why Chat was getting so worked up.

“Oh.” Chat then remembered that Paonne didn’t know who he was underneath the mask. “Never mind then. Anyway, let’s re-join the party.”

Chat walked back towards the main room, the rest of the team following after.

As they walked, Renard slowed down so that he was next to Ladybird.

“Are you alright, after, you know?” He asked quietly, concerned with how Ladybird was holding up after her panic attack while they were imprisoned by the Collector.

“Just a little exhausted.” Ladybird reassured him.

Renard could see that Ladybird’s movements were slightly lethargic.

“If you’re sure.” Renard said. “But you should probably find somewhere to sit.”

“Don’t worry.” Ladybird said with a small laugh. “I intend to.”

When the Miraculous team entered inside they saw Gabriel surrounded by many heroes, the designer clearly looking uncomfortable, but like he had been assured the heroes were welcoming him back and asking how he’d been.

The Miraculous team made their way over to some seats where they collapsed onto them, tired from their fight against the Collector. Their seats happened to be next to a pair of heroes, one was a man dressed in black, while the other was a Japanese woman dressed in white. Renard couldn’t help but feel like the woman was staring at him.

“Hi.” Chat said to them.

“Nice to meet you.” The man said with an Australian accent.

“Kon'nichiwa.” The woman greeted.

“So, who are you?” Chat asked.

“I’m Void, and this is my wife, Wisp.”

The Miraculous team introduced themselves.

“It’s good to see the old Grande Plume back here again.” Void said, looking over at Gabriel. “And good job with defeating him, when he was a hero he was strong.”

Wisp gave Void a pointed look.

“I’ll apologise to him in private.” Void told his wife.

“You better.” Wisp said threateningly.

“We couldn’t have beat him without Melodie and the others.” Ladybird admitted.

“Yeah, if they hadn’t come to our rescue, the results would have been catastrophic.” Chat said, putting emphasis on the ‘cat’ part in the last word.

His teammates groaned at the pun, but they were secretly happy he was punning again.

“I just hope the consequences of their joining the fight won’t be too great.” Wisp said.

“What do you mean?” Paonne asked in confusion.

“What will happen since they’ll have tipped the balance.” Void clarified.

The Miraculous team still looked confused.

“You mean, you don’t know?” Void asked.

“What should we be knowing?” Renard asked.

Void and Wisp sighed as they readied themselves to explain as best as they could.

“The balance between the forces of good and evil in the universe.” Wisp said.

Void put his hands together and summoned a ball of darkness, Wisp doing the same and summoning a ball of light. Void then summon some more darkness and shaped it into some scales while shaping the darkness he already had into the figure of a man. Wisp then shaped the light she held into two figures. Void then placed his dark figure on one side of the scales while Wisp placed her light figures on the over side of the scale.

“This is a visual representation of the balance between good and evil, you and Hawkmoth.” Wisp said. “The balance of good and evil remains constant, one side cannot advance without the other, if one side grows in strength or number so will the other.”

Void fed more darkness into his figure, causing it to grow, and the scales began to tip as if the dark figure was now heavier than the two light figures. But Wisp then added two more figures of light to her side of the scale and the scales balanced out again. The Miraculous team realised that the dark figure represented Hawkmoth and the light figures represented them.

“But, the balance works both ways.” Void warned. “Just as when evil grows in strength, when the powers of good begin to outweigh the bad the universe will correct the balance.”

Wisp added three more figures of light, these ones representing Melody, Mime and Mercury, and the scales began to tip in favour of her side. But then Void added more dark figures and the scales balanced out again.

“Do you understand now?” Void asked.

“So, because Mime and the others helped out, Hawkmoth could get stronger or more enemies could appear?” Ladybird asked, worried.

“It could, though it is not definite.” Wisp answered. “The balance is unpredictable. It may not have tipped, knowing that your battle was a onetime event, or more challenge may be on the way. You’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Miraculous team nodded, now worried about that the future may hold.

“So, this is why we didn’t get any help with Hawkmoth?” Paonne asked. “And the Imp said the conflict was ‘Miraculouses only’.”

“Yes.” Void said. “It also the reason almost everyone here is in retirement despite most of us still being young and having our powers.”

Void and Wisp changed their scales so that there was a large dark figure surrounded by many smaller dark figures, and the other side held many light figures.

“When we defeated the great evil we face, the balance dramatically tipped.” Void continued.

The dark figures on the scale disappeared and the light side of the scale dropped to the bottom.

“If we had stayed active, another evil would have arisen to balance everything out again.”

The dark side of the scale filled up again as the scales balanced out.

“So, to prevent this, we stopped fighting. And with us gone, there’d be no reason for more evil to arise to balance everything out.”

Figures from the light side of the scale disappeared, and the dark figures also disappeared, leaving the scales empty. Void then waved his hand and the scales disappeared.

“What is this ‘great evil’ we keep hearing about anyway?” Paonne asked.

“Someone who sought to be a god.” Wisp answered but left it at that.

“Anything else?” Chat asked.

“We are not comfortable talking about it.” Void said.

The Miraculous team decided to leave the subject alone for now.

The group talked for a few more minutes before Renard became sure Wisp was staring at him, he was sure Void kept shooting glances at him as well.

“Is something wrong with my hair or something?” Renard finally asked.

“What?” Void asked.

“You two keep staring at me for some reason.” Renard said.

“Gomen'nasai.” Wisp apologised sadly. “It’s just, it is strange seeing that look and that necklace on someone other than my daughter.”

Renard’s eyes widened, he recalled being told that the previous wielder of his Miraculous was among those who had mysteriously gone missing.

“Oh, I’m sorry for your loss. It must be hard, seeing me wear this.” Renard apologised, he hadn’t wanted to bring up sad memories.

“It’s okay.” Wisp said. “When I look at you I am reminded so much of all of my daughters, Vida would have been happy for you to have it.”

“And we haven’t given up hope on them.” Void said. “The Fox Miraculous wouldn’t have made it to the Guardian if Vida hadn’t sent it intentionally. So, until we receive proof otherwise, we’ll keep hope that they’re alive and continue to look for them.”

“That’s really inspirational.” Ladybird said.

Renard and Ladybird nodded in agreement.

Chat was busy coming to yet another realisation. If his father was the former wielder of the Peacock Miraculous and was called Grande Plume, and Grande Plume had a close attachment to a hero named Silver Hunter, and when she disappeared with some other heroes it caused him to cut off all ties to his former teammates and become emotionally shut off, and the disappearance happened around two years ago, just like his mother. Leaving it very likely that Chat’s mother was also a superhero and had disappeared under mysterious circumstances linked to her secret life.

Chat now had a sudden interest in finding out what happened to the missing heroes, one hero in particular.

“We were told that there no leads found, is that true?” Chat asked Void and Wisp.

“Other than the Fox Miraculous being sent to the Guardian and their mission maybe being somewhere in China from looking at their web history and some broachers that were found, nobody had been able to find anything.” Void answered.

Chat heart dropped at how little evidence there was behind the disappearances despite how many heroes probably looked for them, but like the couple for their daughters, he wouldn’t give up hope on his mother.


 

As the day went on, the Miraculous team were introduced to more heroes from around the world, from Germany, Spain, America, Greece, etc. They learned that some of them were heroes in their countries before the formation of the Quantic team while others became heroes to join the Quantic team. They managed to find out a few more details about the great evil that led to the formation of the Quantic team such as it being headed by one person who sought to be all powerful and their army of followers, that they sought to bring together the impossible, whatever that meant, and that they were absolutely insane by the end of it.

Chat also asked multiple heroes about Silver Hunter, eager to know more about his mother’s secret life. Some looked confused as to why he was so fixed on Silver Hunter, some weren’t bothered, and some looked at him with a knowing smile. He learned that she’s originally held the Peacock Miraculous but when she received her Silver Hunter powers she gave it to Gabriel, that she was a badass hero, something Chat never thought he’d hear his mother described as, was one of the first members of the Quantic team when it was formed, and that she retired from being a hero before the evil was defeated to have and raise a child, which was him. It made Chat smile to learn so much about his mother.

The gathering eventually came to an end in the evening, many people were tired and wanted to rest before their journeys back home. The former heroes either left through the lift to the surface, a carpark with a tunnel to the surface, or those with teleporters on their team teleported out.

Gabriel had intended to go home, only to be dragged off by his former teammates to spend more time together and catch up on what they missed,

“Today was eventful.” Ladybird said as she and her team waited on their turn to take the lift to the surface.

“I know, we’ve learned so much about other heroes.” Paonne agreed.

“I’m so tired.” Chat moaned, pretending to fall asleep upright with his head on Paonne’s shoulder.

Paonne just shook her head at his antics.

“I know, I’m really glad it’s half-term, I am not getting up tomorrow.” Renard said.

It wasn’t really a secret among them that they still went to college, and were probably at the same college.

“I second that.” Ladybird said.

The lift finally arrived and they went inside, Paonne having to drag Chat along because he refused to open his eyes or lift his head from her shoulder.

Two pairs of eyes watched them go in amusement.

“Are you going to get them to reveal their identities to each other soon?” Maria asked Master Fu.

Fu nodded. “The bonds they have formed are deep, and if they keep it secret for too long it could work against them.” He said.

Maria nodded. “And what will you do if the balance has been tipped?” She asked. “You still have two Miraculous, don’t you?”

“I will hand them out if need be.” Fu said. “But the one I have my eye on at the moment is not yet ready.”

“I could always give one of mine if needed, I did feel a connection to your heroes when I was near them, one of the Olympians could accept one of them.” Maria said in a teasing tone.

“I’d rather not lose another Miraculous holder to your Olympians.” Fu said.

“It’s not exactly my fault.” Maria said with shrug. “The Olympians are much more picky than your Miraculous, they don’t just work for whoever, so when one of them accepts someone I have to hand it out.”

“Hasn’t that method backfired a few times?” Fu questioned.

“The Olympians weren’t created to make heroes like your Miraculous, they were just made to preserve a legacy. So, they choose who they choose.”

“You’ve been their Guardian for too long, you’ve picked up their apathetic arrogance.” Fu said.

“Fu, has anyone ever told you to respect your elders?” Maria said, though she didn’t sound like she was insulted.

Fu didn’t answer, only grinning up at the youthful-looking girl who was much older than she looked.

Maria shook her head but smiled.

“I’ll see you next year, or perhaps earlier.” She said.

The elevator arrived again and Fu went in with the next group, waving at his old friend as the doors shut and the lift headed to the surface, once out of the house Fu went to where a taxi waited for him.

Chapter Text

In my universe, there are two main sources for people with powers: Genetic and Given, these are then split into sub-categories. Genetic-born, genetic-given, given-magical and given-enhanced. Genetic is when a person has powers of their own without need of an outside source to access them, the power is in their blood and they can access it at will, genetic-born is when a person is born with their powers (think mutants from X-Men), genetic-given is where a person receives their powers from an outside source but that outside source isn’t required to always access their powers (think Spider-Man and his spider bite that gave him powers), given is when a person receives power from an outside source and requires that outside source whenever they access their powers, given-magical is where the outside source is a magical object that grants power (this is what the Miraculous are), and given-enhanced is where the outside source that gives power is from a scientific source such as technology or drugs (think Ironman). These sub-categories can also be mixed.


 

Quantic Team

The Quantic team started with three friends using their powers to try and stop a mad-man and the horrors he created using powers they stole from said mad-man when they accidently discovered him and his plans. But then they learned that the mad-man had a superior and the situation went much deeper than they realised and affected the entire world. So, they decided they needed to expand their team if they hoped to win against the evil, at first gathering more heroes from across France, and then other countries, adding more heroes to their team and make alliances with other hero teams. The heroes and evil then fought for a long time until good triumphed and the Quantic team went into retirement.

Mime/Sparrow

Powers: (genetic-given-magical) – Metal Projection – (given-magical-enhanced) – Trick Darts

Home country: France

Before he was Mime, he was a hero called Sparrow. His Sparrow powers came from magical-tech that he stole from the team’s first villain, including target-seeking goggles and a pouch that produced magical darts that could have any effect when hitting a target depending on the energy and will of the person who fired it. But during a fight with a stronger villain, his goggles and dart pouch are destroyed. Fortunately, he manages to get his hands on another form of powers that they manage to nick from the villains, which he uses to become Kid Mime, dropping the ‘Kid’ part when he becomes older.

Melodie

Powers: (given-magical) – Musical Weaponry/Sonokinetic Constructs

Home country: France

Melodies’s powers come from her flute which she stole from the team’s first villain when she and her friends accidently came across him and discovered his plans, when in contact with the flute she is granted enhanced abilities such as durability and speed, and she can form shapes when playing the flute, but her favoured use for it is to make it into a sword because she took fencing lessons.

Mercury

Powers: (genetic-given-enhanced) – Super Speed/Concussive Blasts

Home country: France

When Mercury and his friends stole their powers from their first villain, the villain was experimenting with combining science and magic to create powerful hybrid powers, and it was one of these experiments that Mercury stole and subsequently accidently bonded to himself. The powers allow him to run at fast speeds for prolonged periods of time, and while he is running he builds up energy, this energy can then be released in energy blasts through contact with something. Some drawbacks of his powers are that he can overload them by running for too long without releasing the built up energy, they short out and give him a bad shock in water, and he will eventually get tired from running so much.

Grande Plume

Powers: (given-magical) – Future Vision

Home county: France

Gabriel was the close friend of a woman, close enough that she told him when she was given the Peacock Miraculous by a mysterious person to save the day, and Gabriel helped out in any way he could. But then the woman received a new form of power she found more suited to her, and since she didn’t want her old powers to go to waste she gave them to Gabriel, who became Grande Plume. With his new powers, Gabriel joined his friend as part of a superhero group called the Quantic team which was beginning to form. The two then married not long after that.

Silver Hunter

Powers: (given-magical) – Magic Arrows

She was just an ordinary woman who tried to do her best in life, working to become a top model alongside her friend who was working to become a top designer. When creatures began to appear and heroes appeared to stop them she did her best to help people while wishing she could help the heroes. And then one day she found a box in her room, and when she opened it she discovered a Miraculous inside and a Kwami who told her she was chosen to become a hero, which she did. After a few months fighting with the Miraculous, she was approached by another woman who told her she was chosen by a different set of powers, and when she tried these new powers she found them a better fit for her, so she took them and gave her Miraculous to her close friend so he could become a hero as well and they later got married.

Home country: France

Tribble

Powers: (genetic-born) – Multiplying

Home country: America

When Meghan’s mother was pregnant with her, the scans were inconsistent, telling her parents that they were have a different number of children each time, and when she was born there were two of her making her parents think she was twins, only for her two halves to join again, she was already displaying her powers since before birth. Her parents eventually grew to accept their daughter constantly duplicating, nick-naming her Tribble after a Star Trek episode, and as she got older she managed to gain control of splitting apart. When she grew up she kept her powers secret until the Quantic team came to America, where she decided to use her powers to become a hero herself, adopting her nickname as her hero name.

Queen’s Legion

The formation of the English hero team formed around the same time the French team, who would later start the Quantic team, were formed, and so started off with a different team name. They were dubbed the Queen’s Legion by papers after one of the team shouted ‘For the Queen’ in a joking way to rally the team while they fought the creatures and the others joined in. Once the Quantic team started expanding its roster into other countries and met with the Queen’s Legion, the English team decided to drop their team name and become the English sector of the Quantic team instead since it would give more numbers to the Quantic team and they didn’t really like the title of the Queen’s Legion anyway.

The Imp

Powers: (genetic-born) – Self-Weight Manipulation/Self-Density Manipulation

Home country: Britain

When Jack was born she only had her mother and her gang of thieves for a family. Her mother was an infamous thief known for getting away with many crimes, and trained Jack, who she loved more than anything, to become even better than her. But when Jack was six, her mother was betrayed by a teammate and was arrested along with her team before they could escape, and Jack was sent to live with her father, who gave her everything she could need but didn’t pay her much attention. When she was a teenager, she developed the ability to control her own weight and density, and though she used her powers for self-gain initially, when creatures began attacking in Britain, she decided to use her powers for good and join other heroes in defending her country, taking on the name of the Imp. Jack also had a love of explosions and created different kinds of bombs in her spare time, which became her main weapon, and she also used a flaming dagger for when she ran out of bombs. Jack wears propulsion boots that were built by her teammate, Tech, her powers allow her to float but not fly so her boots allow her to fly.

Tech & Glitch

Powers: (genetic-born) – Technopathy

Home country: Britain

Tristian and Danny were born identical twins to loving parents. As they grew older it became apparent Danny had mild autism, having trouble functioning in social situations, a need for the familiar and taking a long time to acclimate to something new, a strong attachment to his brother, etc. One day, Tristian was involved in an accident that lost him the bottom half of his legs, leaving him bound to a wheelchair. Both brothers found solstice in learning and developing their minds, taking a particular interest in technology, becoming young prodigies, creating technology far beyond their years. But as they got older, it became apparent they weren’t just prodigies, they were technopaths, Tristian specialising in machines and Danny in computers. Tristian used his knowledge and powers to construct himself a new pair of legs, allowing him to walk again. When creatures starting showing up in Britain, the brothers constructed a mech-suit and weapons to defend against the creatures with, and then decided to take the fight to the creatures rather than waiting to be attacked, joining other heroes in defending their country, picking up the names Tech and Glitch.

Pulse

Powers: (genetic-born) – Kinetic Energy Manipulation

Home country: Britain

Adam lived a normal life, being genderfluid notwithstanding, until creatures arrived in Britain and began to attack, and one of these creatures happened to attack them, the stress of being attacked activated their powers, allowing them to fend the creatures off until other new heroes came to help. Adam decided to put their new powers to use and become a hero as well, forming a team with the other British heroes, becoming Pulse.

Faith Healer

Powers: (genetic-born) – Life-Force Transferal

Home country: Ireland

Fern’s goal in life was to become a doctor, which she accomplished, helped along by the powers she developed when she was a child, which allowed her to quicken the healing of a body. When creatures began showing up in Britain, Fern transferred to a hospital there and became a paramedic, helping those hurt on the battlefield, even helping the heroes when they were hurt. The group of heroes recognised Fern had powers and invited her to be part of the team, not fighting but being there to help citizens before emergency services could be dispatched and be the team’s healer, which she agreed to. She took on the name, Faith Healer.

Avantia

Powers: (genetic-born) – Psychic Navigation/Psychic Shield

Home country: Britain

Ellie was a Nursery Nurse with no form of combat training what so ever and no desire to fight, but when the children under her care were threatened by creatures she took arms, using a gun from her dad’s cabinet and the powers that allowed her to see everything and gave her advanced reflexes to shoot them down with stunning accuracy for someone who’d never held a gun before. Knowing that the creatures she took down wouldn’t be the first, she quit her job and began training relentlessly, learning to fight, wield a gun and other weapons and honing the accuracy of her powers. And the next time the creatures came, she went out to fight alongside other heroes and they formed a team together to fight back against the creatures using their powers, and Ellie took on the name Avantia. Despite her powers not being physical, Avantia was a strong fighter and a good strategical planner, becoming the unofficial leader of the team, not wanting to claim the title herself because of the pressure it put on her. Avantia was forced to retire near the end of the fight against the great enemy of the Quantic team after losing one of her arms in a fight, Tech built her a new one like he did his legs but she wouldn’t be able to fight with it, and part of Avantia’s strength lay with being a hand-to-hand fighter, but Avantia didn’t let the incident get her down and let it make her stronger instead.

Gora

Powers: (genetic-born) – Super Strength

Home country: Russia

Gora was born an ordinary boy, but as he grew so did his strength, until he could lift cars above his head. He briefly entertained the idea of becoming a circus strongman but decided it wasn’t for him, instead focusing on a different career when his super strength could be put to good use. When the Quantic team began expanding and reciting heroes across the world to fight the great evil, Gora didn’t hesitate to join up for the cause, wanting to put his strength to use in a way he hadn’t been able to.

Rift

Powers: (given-magical) – Portal Creation

Home country: Italy

Luca came from a long line of mystics, users and protectors of magical artefacts, one of the artefacts Luca was charged with guarding was a dagger that could cut through reality to create portals from one place to another and the crystal that mended these cuts. Luca’s family were meant to stay out of the conflicts between good and evil, their only duty was to protect their artefacts, but Luca found he couldn’t just stand by while he could do something. While he never got into conflict with the enemy directly, Luca, under the name of Rift, used his dagger to transport his teammates around long distances and get civilians out of the danger zone, even though it meant becoming estranged from his family for going against them.

Elementals

There are seven main elemental forces of nature: water, fire, earth, air, energy, light and darkness. The Elementals are the physical embodiments of each of these elements, and what form they take can vary, they can reside in crystals, stones, animals and even people, jumping from form to form. The form on which they take can depend on different factors, sometimes they can switch vessels through simple contact, sometimes their vessel has to be destroyed for them to find a new one, the Elementals can usually switch into a living vessel, who can then use that power, through contact, but the living vessel will usually have to die for them to move onto a new vessel.

Void

Powers: (genetic-given-magical) – Darkness Manipulation

Home country: Australia

Darren was exploring the properly around his home when he unearthed a strange looking stone, but when he touched it the Elemental inside transferred from the stone into him and the stone crumbled to dust. Darren then soon discovered his powers to manipulate darkness to his will but kept it under wraps. A few years later, while on holiday, Darren was drawn to a Japanese woman who was staying in the same hotel he was and got to know her, eventually discovering she was the Elemental of Light. The two remained in contact until they eventually moved to another country together, falling in love, getting married, and having three identical daughters. When his daughters reached their late teens, they each received their own powers which they used to become heroes and join the Quantic team, when he found out Darren knew he couldn’t stop them so he joined the Quantic team instead to help protect them, taking on the name of Void.

Wisp

Powers: (genetic-given-magical) – Light Manipulation

Home country: Japan

Akiko was on the way home from her school one day when she spotted an injured bird that was so white it was glowing, she took the bird home but failed to heal it and it died. Unknown to her, the bird was the vessel for the Light Elemental, and once it died she became the new Light Elemental. Akiko eventually learned of her powers and learned to control them, a few years later she met a man from another country who was the Darkness Elemental, they fell in love, moved in together and had children. When her daughters reached their late teens, they each received their own powers which they used to become heroes and join the Quantic team, when she found out Akiko knew she couldn’t stop them so she joined the Quantic team instead to help protect them, taking on the name of Wisp.

Maria Wild

Powers: (genetic-born) – Age Shifting/Animal Morphing – (given-magical) – Dust-Manipulation

Maria was born 300 years ago, into a wealthy, upper-class family. At a young age, it became apparent Maria was not an ordinary human, displaying animalistic tendencies and morphing parts of her body into different animals, thankfully her parents were accepting of her because shapeshifters were in their family history, and they taught Maria how to control and keep her powers secret. As Maria got older, she made friends and married a man by the name of Tom. But as a shapeshifter, age held no meaning for Maria since she could change her age at will, so as her family and friends aged and died around her, she wasn’t able to do the same and eventually everyone she loved was gone. With all her loved ones gone, Maria left her old life behind and went on a pilgrimage around the world, learning from many different cultures and finding a new life for herself. Along her travels, Maria met the Guardian of a group of magical objects with the ability to grant others power, who told her one of the objects had chosen her to wield it, Maria remained with the Guardian until they died and she became the new Guardian of the magical objects. Despite her 300 years, Maria choses to look like a 15-year-old girl because she prefers the image of youth.

Olympians

Many years ago, the Greek/Roman gods existed, but as belief in them waned they began to lose their power and fade from existence. To save themselves from disappearing entirely, the twelve gods of Olympus channelled the power of the remaining gods in their pantheon into twelve objects before sealing themselves in an object each, saving them from disappearing entirely. While the other gods channelled into the objects just became pure power, the main twelve gods maintained a form on conciseness inside the objects, which were called the Olympia, which allowed them to choose mortals who were worthy to wield the power contained in their objects. When someone wields an Olympia and uses its power, that power will transform that person into a new form, and the person will be able to hear the conciseness of the god inside, the god can even take control of their body if the person is willing or not mentally strong enough. The twelve Olympia usually have a Guardian, someone who keeps hold of them when they aren’t being wielded by anyone and hands them out when they decide someone is worthy of their power, the Guardian can be a wielder themselves, but they don’t have to be, but they do have to be powerful in their own right.

Drifting Lights

The Drifting Lights are a phenomenon that happened a few decades ago that not many people remember, where the sky exploded and small lights drifted down from the sky and disappeared on contact with anything, leaving no sensations on those they touched. It lasted for only minute and then stopped, and then most people forgot it even happened. It was after the drifting lights that genetic-borns became more prominent, some developing their powers as they aged while others gaining them in moments of great stress. One Quantic team member who remembered the Drifting Lights and worked out the link between in and more people born with powers hypothesised that whatever caused the lights foretold the great evil that was coming and created more potential heroes to stop it

Neverland children

Throughout the history of the Earth, there have always been unexplained disappearances, people who just vanish into thin air with no trace. But, years ago, a large number of children who had disappeared under these circumstances over the course of many years suddenly reappeared, many were injured and all wore dirty and torn clothes, as if they’d been living in the wild. All of the children refused to talk about what had happened to them and some even claimed not to remember, and they were eventually sent home. These children were called the Neverland children because of how they disappeared and then suddenly reappeared, and that many of the children were much younger than they should have been from the years that they were gone.. A little while later, it became apparent that some of the Neverland children had developed abilities during their stay in wherever they’d came from, but the children still refused to talk. When superheroes began emerging across the world, most of the Neverland children with powers didn’t join them because of reasons they didn’t want to explain, but a small handful did become heroes.

Wolven (mentioned in chapter 19)

Powers: (Unknown [suspected genetic-given]) – Animal manipulation, Animal mutation

Home country: Spain

When he was 15, Marco Loza had set off from his home to meet with his friends, but he never met with his friends and didn’t return home, the police were contacted but no clues to Marco’s disappearance were ever found. Many years later, Marco and a large number of children who had also disappeared under circumstances like his reappeared, Marco himself looking like he had only aged a year, and they were dubbed the Neverland children. After being returned home, his parents noticed their son talking with animals as if they could understand him and that animals, even wild ones, were naturally attracted to him. Marco finally showed the full extent of his powers to his family when a group of people broke into his house because of his Neverland child status, and he turned the family pet into a large beast that chased them off. After Marco used his powers he saw how afraid his parents were of him and also know that the people after him would be back, so he ran away to protect them, joining other runaway Neverland children in their own safe place to stay. When creatures began appearing in Spain, Marco decided to use his powers to defend against them alongside other Neverland children, taking on the name Wolven.

Chapter Text

The following day after the Quantic team anniversary was almost surreal with how normal it was, the contrast between meeting so many heroes and then going back to their usual lives afterwards like nothing special had happened was slightly off putting for all the Miraculous team.

The one who found it the hardest to deal with was Adrien, as Chat Noir he had learned that his father was the former Peacock hero and his mother disappeared because she was also a hero called Silver Hunter, but Adrien couldn’t confront his father about these facts because as Adrien he wasn’t supposed to know that. Still, he could still confront his father about becoming an Akuma because Alya had managed to catch Paonne’s revelation about who the Collector was while filming for her blog.

“Father?” Adrien asked as he knocked on the door to Gabriel’s office.

“Come in, Adrien.” He heard Gabriel say.

Adrien walked into Gabriel’s office to find his father staring at the painting of his mother.

“I wanted to know if you’re alright, after…yesterday.” Adrien said.

Gabriel was conflicted, he didn’t want to burden his son with how he was really doing, but his former teammates had advised him to be more open with his son if he wanted to strengthen their bond again.

“I will be alright in time.” He decided to say.

“It was because of mum, wasn’t it?” Adrien asked.

“It was my own fault.” Gabriel admitted. “I chose to close off my feelings and I finally had to face those consequences.”

“I wasn’t your fault, you didn’t chose to be Akumatised.” Adrien defended.

“That may be. But I still chose to not face your mother’s disappearance and shut myself off, and that decision affected not only myself, but also you. Both in how I treated you and when I attacked you and your own teammates.”

Adrien’s breath caught.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Adrien said.

“Adrien, I know that you are Chat Noir, I recognised your ring a while ago.” Gabriel admitted.

“But then, does that mean…” Adrien trailed off.

“Hawkmoth doesn’t know your identity, or that of Paonne, I managed to keep that information from him.”

“You know who Paonne is?” Adrien asked.

Adrien then remembered Paonne telling him and Ladybird about how she was given her Miraculous and trained to fight by her predecessor, and since Gabriel was the Peacock wielder before Paonne, it made sense he would know who she is.

Gabriel nodded. “I knew I could not take that ring away from you, so I gave my Miraculous to her to lessen the amount of danger you faced with every Akuma attack.”

Adrien felt like he was getting an overload of information and was having a hard time working out how to feel. He was glad his father hadn’t taken his Miraculous and being Chat Noir away from him, but at the same time his father had been keeping all this information away from him. But, at least now that everything was in the open, Adrien could ask the questions he wanted to.

“Why didn’t you tell me you and mum were superheroes? And that mum disappeared because she was a hero?” Adrien asked.

“To protect you.” Gabriel answered.

“From what?” Adrien demanded in frustration.

“We made many enemies, and some of them were never caught. And these people were much more dangerous than the Akumatised villains you face because they don’t hesitate to kill to get what they want, which includes revenge.” Gabriel snapped.

Adrien went quiet.

Gabriel sighed, seeing how he made his son uncomfortable.

“I suppose there’s no use in keeping it a secret any longer now that you know. I can tell you a few things about you mother and I.” He said.

Adrien looked up, a smile slowly gracing his face.

“You mean it?” He asked.

Gabriel nodded. “Take a seat, this will take a while.”

Adrien eagerly sat down, practically vibrating at being told about what had been kept from him for so long.

Gabriel took a breath and began explaining about his and Adrien’s mother’s history with the Quantic team.


 

Nathanael slumped in his chair in the music room, classes were over but he was still at the college for one reason, the college orchestra. It hadn’t been Nathanael’s idea to join the orchestra, it was his flute tutor who had told him to join, repeatedly, and since Nathanael couldn’t give a good reason for not taking part, since being Renard Rouge had to remain a secret, he had eventually been forced into joining. It wasn’t that orchestra was bad, the people were nice and they had the main music room all to themselves, but they could never agree on songs and when they did agree on a song to practice Nathanael often felt out of time with the other musicians, like if he made a mistake he wouldn’t be able to find his place again as the others continued to play. Nathanael found playing flute normally and playing his flute as Renard to be completely different experiences, when he was Renard his fingers would always find the right keys as he played and he kept his breath even while playing, but as his normal self he would sometimes play the wrong note or become out of breath and dizzy from playing so long.

Currently, the group had just finished a song, Nathanael miraculously managing not to make any mistakes this time, and were taking a break before they practiced it again. Nathanael was evening out his breathing and drinking some water when he took notice of the person standing next to him.

“Hey, Nathanael.” The person said.

“Hi, Bree.” Nathanael greeted back.

“Would you like a cookie?” Bree asked.

Bree was another member of the orchestra who played a violin, and she was probably the kindest person Nathanael knew. Bree would always bring in home baked treats and goodies with her to share with the club, handing them out with a smile, it seemed that she was happiest when others were happy because of her.

“No thanks.” Nathanael declined politely. “I’ve had more than one lecture about getting food in my flute.”

Bree shrugged and put the tray of cookies on the table, where other members of the orchestra grabbed another, and sat down in front of her music stand, which was next to Nathanael.

“I hope we get something new soon.” Bree commented to him. “This music isn’t really my style.”

“Not my thing either.” Nathanael agreed.

As Nathanael sat back he heard some of the boys talking to each other nearby and absentmindedly turned his attention towards them.

“Go on.” One of them urged a boy named Jamie.

“Do it.” Another urged.

“Fine, I will.” Jamie said, walking over to the corner of the room.

Nathanael looked over to the corner and found Casey where she usually was, secluded from all of the others and off in her own world as she rested her hands on her guitar, but with Jamie heading over to her she wouldn’t be in her own world for long.

“Here we go again.” Bree muttered.

Casey clearly didn’t like being part of the orchestra, but like Nathanael she had been pushed into it by her music teacher and was too polite and self-conscious to outright refuse. Casey was actually a nice person and could hold a conversation if the topic interested her, but she was also introverted, could be very blunt at times and tended to find people annoying depending on what day it was. And one of these people she found annoying was Jamie, who would constantly bother her when she wanted to be left alone and try to act funny when Casey clearly didn’t find him to be.

According to Jeanne, the singer for the orchestra, Jamie had a cute little crush on Casey and was trying to charm her and get Casey to open up. According to Michael, another guitar player, Casey wasn’t charmed at all and it was all going to end in disaster. As sad as it was, Nathanael had to side with Michael, Casey didn’t even seem to notice Jamie’s affections to her, thinking he was just annoying.

“Hey, Casey.” Jamie grinned at the girl in question.

“What?” Casey looked at him with a blank face.

“You’re looking pretty today.” Jamie complimented.

Casey was unaffected.

“Did you want something?” She asked.

Jamie began to look unsure but quickly grinned at full force again, leaning on the back of Casey’s chair with confidence, the girl leaning away from him in response.

“I was wondering how you don’t have a boyfriend yet.” Jamie said.

“I’m not really interested in one.” Casey replied.

“Well, how about going on a date with me?” Jamie asked.

Casey looked at Jamie with an ‘are-you-serious?’ look and like she had just been offended.

“Stop joking around and get a life, Jamie.” She said in response, not taking his confession seriously.

Nathanael and many other members of the orchestra winced in sympathy for Jamie as he went back over to his friends.

“Brutal.” One of Jamie’s friends commented as he patted Jamie on the back.

“Wow, poor guy.” Bree said.

“Called it.” Nathanael heard Michael said.

For someone who had just been so harshly rejected, in front of other people as well, Jamie was taking it surprisingly well, at least it didn’t look like he’d be turning into another love-themed villain.

“Do you think we should tell Casey that Jamie was being serious about his confession?” Bree asked Nathanael.

Nathanael shrugged in response.

Before Bree could make up her mind, the music teacher who was in charge of the orchestra, Mr. Muller, entered the room with an excited look on his face.

“Listen up, everyone, I have some important news.” Mr. Muller said. “We are going to be collaborating with some of the classes from the local dance studio for a performance at the theatre in a couple of months, where we will be providing the music for the dancers.”

Some of the orchestra looked happy to be given the opportunity, while others looked unsure, Nathanael was one of the people in this camp, he didn’t like the idea of playing in front of so many people.

The Nathanael brightened when he remembered Marinette did dancing.

“Do you know which classes we’ll be working with?” Nathanael asked.

“I don’t know yet, but I’ll be finding out soon.” Mr. Muller answered. “You’ll know when I hand out the music you’ll be expected to play.”

Nathanael hoped that one of the dance classes they’d be working with would be Marinette’s Chinese dance class.


 

Marinette made sure to keep aware of the music and the other dancers around her as she moved, holding her dancing fan in the correction position, and moving in tandem with the other dancers. As tedious and tiring dancing sometimes felt, having to repeat movements over and over again and being told you made a mistake that you didn’t realise, Marinette found it relaxing, something normal to do like her fashion designing.

At a change in the music, Marinette quickly stooped low while the other dancers around her also dropped to various levels and the one behind her stood at full height, all with their fans out, creating a circle that went from high to low. The dancers then began to move around in the circle, Marinette gradually rising higher until she stood at full height again and then gradually getting lower, the other dancers following suit. The music then shifted again and the dancers moved into different positions.

After the music ended and the dancers finished with their final poses, they headed over to the benches. Marinette sighed as she sat down, grabbing a bottle of water and taking a drink. Marinette watched as some of the dancers decided to forgo a rest and go straight to changing back into their normal clothes.

“Before you go!” Their instructor, Julie, called before the dancers could reach the changing room. “There is going to be a performance in a couple of months’ time at the theatre for different dance groups and ours will be one of them, and though you don’t have to perform I encourage you to take part. Our music will also be provided by the Francoise Dupont orchestra.”

Julie handed out the fliers about the performance.

After changing back into her day clothes, Marinette walked out of the dance studio and toward home, squinting slightly at the natural sunlight after so long under the lights of the dance studio. Pavo flew out from Marinette’s purse to rest on Marinette’s shoulder, her pigtails hiding him from view at the back.

“Your first performance!” Pavo quietly scream in excitement. “I wonder what you’ll be wearing, maybe they’ll let you make your own costume.”

“Calm down, Pavo, I don’t even know if I’m going to take part.” Marinette said.

“What? You have to.” Pavo screeched.

Marinette jammed her finger in the ear Pavo had screamed in to stop the ringing.

“Performing in dance class with people I’ve become familiar with is different than performing to an audience of strangers.” Marinette said.

“But you put on a performance to strangers every time you go out as Paonne.” Pavo reminded.

“But as Paonne I’m a bit distracted by the Akumas, I’m not as aware of people looking at me, and the people see Paonne, not Marinette.” Marinette listed off.

Pavo rolled his eyes.

“Hey, Marinette!” A voice called from behind.

Pavo quickly zipped from Marinette’s shoulder to inside her jacket.

Marinette turned to see one of her fellow dancers, Amelie.

“Hey, Amelie.” Marinette greeted as the other girl came to walk beside her.

“Are you excited about the performance?” Amelie asked.

“To be honest, I’m on the fence on whether I want to do it.” Marinette answered.

“Ah, nerves.” Amelie said understandingly.

Marinette nodded.

“Don’t worry.” Amelie said reassuringly. “You’re not the only one. I saw Felica immediately throw her flier in the bin as soon as she got out, saying about not performing. Anyway, it won’t be as bad as you think it is, I’ve done performances before, so I’m speaking from experience. Once you get started, just don’t look directly at the audience and you’ll start to forget they’re there and think that it’s just another practice.”

“Really?” Marinette asked.

“Well, it’s like that for me.” Amelie answered. “Anyway, I’ve got to get going. I hope you chose to join in.”

Amelie then ran off.

“Bye!” Marinette called after her.

Marinette then continued on her way back home, but first she decided to take a detour.


 

After Adrien’s talk with his father, where he was told how his parents had come to be heroes, some of what they did, and a bit more about his mother, he had fencing practice. But he was still trying to process all he’d been told, so his mind wasn’t on beating his opponent. Because of this, Adrien soon found himself disarmed and on the floor.

“You’re really not on your game today.” His sparring partner said as they lifted their mask off. “That’s the second time and I barely had to try.”

“Sorry, Jen.” Adrien said as he picked himself up and pushed up his own mask. “I just have a lot on my mind right now.”

“Family troubles?” His sparring partner asked.

“Something like that, I don’t want to think about it right now.”

“Well, nothing like physical activity to get your mind off things. Up for another round?”

“Sure.”

Both of them lowered their masks and fell into stance.

Jenifer was the only girl on the fencing team, it had been a boys only team at first but she had managed to worm her way in through unknown means, she was a good fencer and was quick on her feet, relying on agility rather than strength.

The two fencers waited for a few seconds before Jenifer made the first move.

Nearby, a certain pigtail girl watched the fencers fight, or more specifically, Adrien.

“Hey, Marinette.” A voice startled her.

Marinette turned her head to see Nathanael walking towards her, his flute case at his side.

“Hey, Nathanael.” Marinette greeted back. “What are you doing here?”

“Orchestra.” Nathanael answered. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, uh…You see…” Marinette struggled to come up with an answered.

Nathanael looked over to where Marinette had been staring and saw the fencing team, realising why she was at the college for seemingly no reason.

‘Of course.’ He thought, doing his best to ignore the feeling in his chest.

“So, is anything happening with your dancing club?” Nathanael decided to ask to take his mind off it, and Marinette’s mind off Adrien.

“Oh, yeah.” Marinette brightened. “We’re going to be performing at the theatre. And the orchestra is providing our music, isn’t it?”

“So, you are one of the groups. I didn’t know if I wanted to play at the theatre, but if you’re there I’ll definitely be going.” Nathanael said, becoming red when he realised what he said.

Marinette didn’t seem to mind.

“Well, I’m still unsure if I’m going to take part, I’m getting a lot of encouragement but I’m nervous about doing it.” She said.

Nathanael smiled understandingly. “I’m nervous about playing to, I’ll probably end up miming playing half the time because I’ll lose where I am in the music. And I’m not really into big performances, so I don’t have much reason to take part.”

Marinette smiled back. “Tell you what. If you’re going to take part in the performance, I will too.” She said.

“You mean it?” Nathanael asked.

“Sure, we have to stick together.” Marinette said, putting an arm over Nathanael’s shoulders. “And if we’re going to embarrass ourselves in front of an audience, we may as well do it at the same time.”

“I suppose it’s better to fail together.” Nathanael joked.

Marinette laughed.

Summoning confidence from his Renard side, Nathanael decided to ask a question.

“Would…would you like to have an early dinner with me at the Arbre de Miel café?” He asked.

Marinette didn’t answer for a few seconds, trying to remember the café Nathanael was talking about.

“Oh, I remember that, I’ve heard good reviews about it.” She said. “Sure.”

“Really?” Nathanael asked.

“Yeah, let’s go.” Marinette said.

Marinette and Nathanael walked out of the college and towards the café, Marinette stealing one last glance towards Adrien as he and Jenifer continued to duel and Nathanael feeling elated.

Chapter Text

Marinette sat in class with Alya as they waited for afternoon lessons to start, telling her about the performance at the theatre and the dance she was learning in class.

“Julie hasn’t chosen the lead dancer yet, she’s waiting to see how we all do with the basics of the dance first.” Marinette told Alya.

“I bet you’ll get it.” Alya said confidently. “You’re a great dancer.”

They were then interrupted by a painfully familiar voice.

“Marinette? A great dancer?” Chloe said and then laughed obnoxiously. “She’s so clumsy that she constantly trips over nothing. How in the world is she able to be a dancer in the first place?”

Marinette gave Chloe a bored look before turning back to Alya and continuing with their conversation as if Chloe hadn’t interrupted.

“I know I am, but I work better in a group rather than standing out.” Marinette said.

Chloe looked offended at being ignored.

“How can you work better in a group when you’re probably tripping everyone else up with your clumsiness?” She butted in again, determined to get at Marinette.

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Marinette said absentmindedly as she batted a hand at Chloe, not even looking at the blond. “Anyway, there’s some other dancers who are better and deserve the role more.” She continued speaking to Alya.

Chloe was beginning to turn red in frustration at being ignored.

When Nathanael walked through the door with his sketchbook underarm, she decided to target him.

“Hey, tomato, draw anymore silly doodles of your pathetic crush.” She said.

Nathanael just rolled his eyes in response and then walked over to Marinette.

“Hey, Marinette.” He said. “I’ve just got the sheet music for your group.”

“That’s great.” Marinette said. “Maybe we can practice together.”

“Oh, really?” Nathanael blushed slightly.

“Sure. If you don’t mind.” Marinette answered.

Chloe was getting angry at being ignored again and grabbed Nathanael’s sketchbook from his loose grip.

“What have you got here?” Chloe asked, opening the sketchbook to a random page.

“It’s just for random doodles when I’m board in class or something else.” Nathanael answered, not giving Chloe the reaction she had wanted. “You can keep it if you want, you probably need it more since Sabrina leaves you nothing to do in class.”

Some of the class smirked at Nathanael’s subtle dig at Chloe.

Chloe managed to keep herself composed enough to not scream in frustration, she then stomped back to her desk and dropped down on her seat next to Sabrina, slamming the sketchbook in front of her ‘friend’.

“Here, you have it.” Chloe said, not wanting to give the sketchbook back to Nathanael after she had been told she could keep it.

Despite it being a used sketchbook, Sabrina looked happy to be given it, leafing through the pages that had sketches on until she got to the blank pages.

Adrien then ran into the class, his heavy panting showing he had run a long way.

“Don’t worry, dude, you’re not late.” Nino told his friend as Adrien sat down. “For once.” He added jokingly.

“Ha, ha.” Adrien breathlessly laughed sarcastically.

Adrien then noticed Nathanael standing nearby, talking to Marinette.

“Can we wait a week or two until I’ve had time to practice the music?” Nathanael suggested to Marinette. “I don’t want to throw off your dancing by not even knowing the timing.”

“Sure.” Marinette agreed. “The performance is a while away, so we have time.”

“What performance?” Adrien asked.

“A-Adrien?” Marinette jumped. “Well you see…uh-ah, I dance…and Nathanael plays…” She struggled with her words.

“What Marinette is trying to say,” Alya said, coming to the rescue. “Is that her dance group is doing a performance at the theatre with the college orchestra providing the music.”

“That’s great, Marinette.” Adrien said. “I’ll try and come see it. When is it?”

Marinette whimpered out something that sounded like a date.

“A couple of months from now.” Nathanael answered. “The leaflets with the information will probably be handed out in the college eventually.”

“Okay.” Adrien said.

The bell then rang and Nathanael went to his seat as Madam Bustier walked in.

“Today, you’ll be working in pairs to make a presentation for tomorrow.” Madam Bustier told her class. “You’ll work with your desk partners. Nathanael, Lila and Ivan, you can work in a three.”

Nathanael managed to hide his disappointment at being group with Lila, usually it was just him an Ivan when the class was paired by desks, but with Lila as his desk mate he now had to be paired with her, and if someone else joined the class then he wouldn’t have Ivan to be in a three. Nathanael had managed to get over the whole thing with Lila turning into Volpina again and kidnapping him, stealing his sketchbook and beating up Renard Rouge, but he still felt uncomfortable around her. Lila was the type to ignore him unless she wanted something, at which point she’d turn sickeningly nice and stretch the truth to get what she wanted, she was like this with most of the class, constantly switching personalities depending on the person and what she wanted, the only person she remained constant with was Adrien.

“The theme will be past heroes.” Madam Bustier said. “You will each pick a hero from the past, and it doesn’t have to be a superhero, just someone who did great good, and do a presentation about their history and what they did and then present it to the class.”

“Yes!” Alya exploded, being a superhero fan.

Marinette, Adrien and Nathanael also smiled, having met many previous heroes already.

“If you want some extra credit, you can do more than one hero, but try and tie them together with a theme.” Madam Bustier continued, ignoring Alya’s outburst.

Madam Bustier then handed out some tablets for the groups to look up heroes on.

“Look up if there are any past Paonnes or Ladybirds.” Chloe instructed Sabrina.

“Yes, Chloe.” Sabrina said.

“Well, that’s that option out.” Alya said, having heard what Chloe and Sabrina’s subject would be. “Oh, well, plenty more heroes. Any suggestions?” She asked Marinette.

Marinette thought about the other heroes she had met at the gathering, and she focused on the ones that came before her specifically in Paris.

“How about we look up the Quantic team? I mean, the very first members from France.” She suggested.

Alya quickly searched through the tablet until she found some newspaper stories about the heroes Marinette was talking about.

“These guys?” She asked.

Marinette nodded.

“Okay then.” Alya agreed

“So, dude, who do you want to do about?” Nino asked as he skimmed through a list of heroes made by someone who was a fan of them.

“Silver Hunter.” Adrien quickly said.

Adrien took the tablet from Nino and found his mother’s hero form, showing it to his friend.

“Sure, I guess we can do this lady.” Nino said, looking through the page Adrien had brought up.

Ivan was searching on his group’s tablet, looking at heroes, while Nathanael searched his memory of heroes for who to focus on and Lila was strangely silent.

Nathanael wanted to do about a previous fox hero, Chloe had only said about doing past Peacocks and/or Ladybugs and given that the Cat and Ladybug Miraculouses were usually together, the Cat would probably also be included, so the other past Miraculous wielders were fair game, but with Lila in the group it probably wouldn’t be wise to focus on those heroes, both with the Volpina stuff and it getting out that she’d told Adrien she was descended from a hero. Wisp or Void were also favourable choices, being the parents of his predecessor, put general knowledge on them was very small, so there wouldn’t be much to put in a presentation without him providing facts he shouldn’t know as a normal civilian.

“My grandma really was a hero once.” Lila suddenly said quietly.

Nathanael and Ivan turned to look at her.

“At least, I think she was.” Lila continued. “She used to tell me stories about being Volpina, the real Volpina, but as I grew up I eventually believed my parents when they said grandma was just telling silly stories. But when I moved here and saw for myself that heroes were real, I realised grandma had been telling the truth.”

Nathanael couldn’t help but feel sorry for Lila, even though part of him was telling him that Lila was being manipulative again.

“Do you want to do the project about her?” Nathanael offered.

“You mean it?” Lila brightened instantly.

“Ivan?” Nathanael asked the large boy.

“Wait a minute.” Ivan said, scrolling rapidly through the tablet until he came across a page. “Yep, she’s here.” He held up a page about a hero called Volpina. “Just to check.” He said, not wanting to offend Lila for not believing her.

“It’s fine.” Lila said, her happiness dropping slightly.

“Anyway, we have our hero.” Nathanael said. “Where do you want to meet to work on the project?”

“How about the library?” Ivan suggested.

Nathanael and Lila nodded in agreement.

As classes for the day finished each of the groups told Madam Bustier what hero they were doing to make sure no one was doing the same hero before gathering what they had already researched and heading home.

“Have the research on the previous Ladybug and Chat Noir done by tomorrow.” Chloe told Sabrina as she climbed into her Limo, leaving her ‘friend’ on the sidewalk.

Sabrina sighed and walked towards the library to use one of the computers for research.


 

In the library, Sabrina managed to find a spare computer and sat at it, logging on with her college ID. As she waited for the computer to log her on, she looked at the computer screen of the two girls next to her, displaying the history of a hero.

“Did you get an assignment about heroes too?” Sabrina found herself asking the girls.

“Yeah.” One of the girls replied. “Casey wanted to do about a hero from England called Avantia, so we’re doing about her.”

Casey waved her hand but didn’t look away from the information she was reading.

“Who are you doing?” The other girl asked.

“Chloe decided on the previous Ladybug and Chat Noir.” Sabrina answered.

Casey looked away from her screen at the mention of two of the current heroes’ predecessors.

“I suggest looking for a book called ‘The cursed cat and the kiss of a lady’, it’s about those two.” Casey suggested. “The information there is more reliable than online.”

“Oh, thank you.” Sabrina said.

Sabrina clicked onto the internet and searched for the book Casey had mentioned.

“So, are you doing one hero and your partner the other, or something.” The other girl asked.

“Um, no.” Sabrina answered. “I’m doing the work, and Chloe will be presenting it.”

The two girls frowned.

“That seems very unfair.” The other girl remarked.

“It’s okay, it’s how Chloe and I have done things since we met.” Sabrina said. “I usually do her work, I’m her friend after all.”

“’Usually do her work’? Does that mean you do all her work, like her homework?” The other girl asked.

“I hate to say it.” Casey said. “But that doesn’t sound like friendship, that sounds like being used.”

“I really don’t mind.” Sabrina defended. “And Chloe gives me things.”

“Like what?” The other girl asked.

“Well, she got me a pin, and she sometimes lets me borrow her clothes or CDs.”

“And in return you do all her work and what she says?”

“Of course, Chloe’s my friend.”

“Yeah, and I thought Stacy was my friend.” Casey snapped back.

“What?” Sabrina asked.

Casey sighed. “Look, I’m about to divulge something personal, but I’m telling you because I see you’re in a similar situation.”

The other girl put a hand on Casey’s shoulder in comfort.

“A few years ago, I didn’t have friends.” Casey said. “And then I met Stacy, who wanted to be my friend, actively inviting me to hang out with her. And then she started expecting me to do things because we were ‘friends’, like always hang out with her even when I just wanted to be on my own, and it was always to her house which was a long distance away, expecting me to wait for her even when she was incredibly late, if I had my bike with me and we were going somewhere she’d expect to use the bike while I had to run alongside her because she didn’t want to pedal slow. And then there were the insults and sometimes even harsh slaps on the back when I didn’t listen to her. Does any of this sound familiar to you?”

Sabrina cringed because it did. Chloe had never hit her for not doing as told, but there had been the occasional disparaging comment, and Chloe always expected her to do as she said.

Casey heaved a big sigh. “Look, I know it’s hard for you to see what’s going on, it was for me too. But my dad sat me down and told me that my friendship with Stacy was bad for me and I finally saw that he was right and broke off our friendship. So, I advise you take a good look at yours and decide whether it’s worth it.” Casey then turned to her work partner. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Casey then stood up, picked up her bag, and walked out.

“Sorry about how blunt she was.” The other girl apologised. “What happened left a deep wound on her that took a while to heal.”

“It’s alright. I just…never thought of things that way.” Sabrina said. “But Chloe is my only friend.”

“Well, she doesn’t have to be.” The other girl offered. “You can always be friends with me.”

“Really?” Sabrina asked.

“Sure. I’m Bree.” She held out her hand.

The two girls shook hands.

“And as my first act as your friend, I’ll help you with your work.” Bree offered.

“I couldn’t ask you to do that.” Sabrina rejected.

“I’m offering. We’re mostly done with our work anyway.” Bree said. “But you need to get Chloe to do some work as well, or tell the teacher that Chloe didn’t do any work.”

“I’ll try.” Sabrina said.

Sabrina found a page showing the book Casey had mentioned and her eyes widened when she saw how much it was.

“Wow, that’d be expensive even to Chloe.” Sabrina said.

“Yeah, but…” Bree exited off the page and went into google, adding ‘read’ to the search bar.

The link Bree clicked on led to a digital copy of the book to read, though each page was very slow to load.

“Thanks.” Sabrina said.


 

Nearby, Nathanael, Lila and Ivan were working on their own project.

“There’s not much on Volpina to find online.” Ivan commented.

“Grandma said that she wasn’t very public.” Lila said. “She was seen more as a myth than an actual hero who went around saving people.”

“Still, we need some sort of physical evidence of her existence.” Nathanael commented. “A photo or something.”

Lila nodded in agreement before clicking her fingers as she remembered something. “I think I have a picture of her somewhere at home, mum had said it was grandma playing dress up, but it had to have been her as Volpina.”

“That’d be very helpful.”

“I’ll see if I can bring it in tomorrow.”

“Now, what can you tell us about her?” Nathanael asked.

“Well…” Lila began to relay some of the stories her grandmother had told her.


 

Nathanael lay down on his bed once he got home, Vixx flying out his bag and coming to rest on his chest.

“You didn’t tell me there was an actual Volpina.” Nathanael said.

“You never asked.” Vixx defended.

“So, can you tell me anything about her?”

“There’s not much that that Lila girl hadn’t already told you. She was brave but mischievous, able to take down much bigger foes by her own wit.”

“Would you happen to know any places I can get references on her for the project?”

“One of the other heroes from her time wrote some books about their adventures under a fake name, but I can’t remember what it was. One of the book was about the curse that had been place on the Cat Miraculous and the Ladybug of that time though.” Vixx recalled.

Nathanael sighed as he got up and went over to his laptop.

“I guess it’s a long night of internet searches then.” He bemoaned.


 

The next day, Nathanael trudge to school, more than a little tired. He’d eventually found the author Vixx had been talking about, but it had taken him long into the night, and then even longer to find the relevant information from the online copies.

Once in class he slumped into his chair and it was only his hand that stopped his head from slamming into his desk. He was on the verge of falling asleep when someone dropping into the seat beside him and slamming something on the table shocked him awake.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you?” Lila asked cheekily, not sounding sorry at all.

Nathanael only grunted in response.

“Well, anyway, I promised you proof, and here it is.” Lila practically sang with happiness. “I wasn’t going to risk bringing in the actual photos because someone would get jealous and prone to damaging property.” She pointed at Chloe.

Lila took out her phone and showed some of the pictures on it, they were black and white and of a woman dressed like a fox.

Nathanael guess Lila was so happy because she finally had proof for one of her ‘lies’.

The woman in the photos wore a costume similar to Volpina but also different, for one it was a dress instead of a skin-tight body suit, with white going down the front, a belt that trail behind her and was stylised into a fox tail, black gloves and shoes, a veil hiding the lower half of her face, her long hair pulled into a plat with the end being tipped with white, and a bandana with long ends trailing upwards to form fox ears.

“Wow.” Ivan said. “She must have been good to be able to fight in a dress.”

“I don’t think the skin-tight suits the heroes wear now would have been as accepted back then.” Nathanael commented. “Anyway, we can add those to the presentation alongside some information on her I managed to find after a night of searching.”

“Ah. So, that’s why you look so terrible.” Lila said.

“Thank you for your honesty.” Nathanael said sarcastically.

Down at the bottom of the classroom Sabrina entered the room, she took a deep breath as she went over to Chloe and put down some things in front of her.

“What’s this?” Chloe asked.

“You’re side of the work.” Sabrina said shyly. “We can’t say it’s both our work if you didn’t do anything.”

“Sabrina, we agreed that you do that work and I present it, that way it’s both our work, and you take care of the stuff you’re good at and I take care of the stuff I’m good at.”

“But we don’t do equal work. I do all the research and putting it together. Plus, I left you the Ladybug portion, the one you wanted in the first place.” Sabrina said quietly.

“Sabrina, have you been talking to other people again?” Chloe asked.

Sabrina looked away but nodded.

“Was it Marinette again?”

Sabrina shook her head.

“Sabrina, these people just want to tear us apart because they’re jealous that they’re not my best friend like you are.” Chloe told Sabrina.

“I…” Sabrina trailed off.

“Look, I’ll be generous to add even more of my help. I’ll find some good photos for the presentation while you can write out about them.” Chloe acted like she was taking on a big challenge.

“I guess that makes it fair.” Sabrina said unsurely.

“Good.” Chloe said.

Sabrina sat down next to Chloe and pulled the work from in front of Chloe to in front of her.

Some of the class looked at Sabrina in pity, having witness her failed attempt to assert herself.


 

Sabrina was working in the library again to fill in the past Ladybug part of the project that she had originally tried to leave for Chloe.

“So, how’d it go?”

Sabrina look to her right to see Bree.

“Oh, I…got Chloe to do part of the work.” Sabrina said, unsure if she should still be speaking to Bree since Chloe probably wouldn’t like it.

“Define part of the work?” Bree crossed her arms.

“She’ll go over it once I’m done, editing and adding pictures.” Sabrina stretched the truth slightly to make it seem Chloe was going to so more that she really would.

Bree hummed and looked a bit unimpressed. “I guess it’s a start.”

Sabrina nodded.

“Anyway, if you want to make more friends, you could always join my guiding unit.” Bree then suggested.

Sabrina looked at her, confused.

“The Girl Guides.” Bree explained. “I’ve been a part of it since I was a Rainbow and met some of my friends there. It was how I met Casey.”

Bree indicated over to where Casey was.

“I’ll think about it.” Sabrina promised.

“Here.” Bree handed Sabrina a card with a date and location on it. “See you around.”

Bree jogged over to Casey and the two girls left the library together.


 

Sabrina unsurely stepped into the community centre, past the adults that were leaving until she reached a room full of girls dressed in the blue uniforms of the Girl Guides.

“Hey, Sabrina.” Bree said, going over to the nervous girl. “Glad you came.”

“My dad said I should come.” Sabrina said.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll get comfortable here quick. Everyone here is really nice.” Bree said confidently.

The guide leader then entered the room and Bree went over to her, informing her about Sabrina.

“I’m happy you’re here.” The leader told Sabrina. “And I hope you’ll chose to stay on with us.”

Sabrina just nodded.

The guides then gathered in the circle and they recited the Girl Guide promise before moving onto the activities for the afternoon.

Despite her initial shyness, Sabrina found that she was enjoying herself, taking part in activities, talking and making friends with the other girls and discussing the patches the girls wanted to earn. By the time the meeting came to a close she found that she was smiling.

“So, do you think you’ll come back?” Bree asked.

Sabrina nodded. “If every meeting is like this one.” She said.

“Glad to have you on board.” Bree smiled.

There was a beeping of a car horn.

“That’s my ride, see yah.” Bree said, running off.

It wasn’t long before Sabrina’s mum came to pick her up as well.


 

Chloe wasn’t happy when she walked into college, for the remainder of the week since their small disagreement over their project she had barely seen or heard from Sabrina outside of class, leaving her with no one to complain or brag to or do things for her like keep her schedule, with Sabrina she had missed a hair appointment, not that the hairdresser could complain when she finally did show up. Chloe’s eyes then widened when she spotted Sabrina sitting on one of the college benches, talking and smiling with some other girls.

“Sabrina!” Chloe shouted as she marched over to the group of girls. “I hardly hear anything from you for days and then I find you talking to some other girls instead!”

“She’s allowed to have friends other than you, you know?” One of the girls pointed out.

“Sorry, Chloe, I didn’t mean to worry you.” Sabrina said, still sounding meek.

“Did you at least finish the project?” Chloe asked.

“Yes. You just need to add the finishing touches.” Sabrina answered.

“Come on then.” Chloe said, turning around and leaving. “I don’t want a bad grade because you were too busy making friends other than me.”

“Sorry, girls.” Sabrina said as she stood up. “I’ve got to go.”

“It’s okay.” Bree said understandingly. “We’ll be here for you.”

The other girls nodded in agreement.

Sabrina quickly caught up to Chloe and they entered the classroom, Sabrina then handed Chloe her laptop with the presentation to add the photos.

At the back of the classroom, Nathanael, Lila and Ivan were going over their presentation, making sure they had everything and going over who said what. Lila had most of the lines, but since it was about her grandma and she was really excited about it, Nathanael and Ivan let her get away with it, neither of them were big speakers anyway.

Madam Bustier then entered the class and began to call for the presentations.

First was Rose and Juleka’s presentation on a hero called Wolven from Spain, who had the ability to turn ordinary animal into giant and ferocious beasts under his control

Then was Max and Kim, who went with Tech and Glitch from the UK.

Next was Marinette and Alya’s presentation on the three founding members of the Quantic team.

Then Adrien and Nino with Silver Hunter.

Then Alix and Mylene about the Imp from the UK as well.

Then Chloe and Sabrina’, mostly Sabrina’s, presentation on the Ladybug and Chat Noir before the current heroes. And Marinette could help but feel the two former heroes looked familiar in some way.

And finally, Nathanael, Ivan and Lila’s turn came around.

“While Volpina is the name on my Akumatised form.” Lila said. “It is also the name of a fox themed hero from many years back.”

“Oh, this stupid thing again.” Chloe interrupted rudely. “Are you seriously still trying to sell that you’re descended from a hero?”

Lila only smirked.

“Ah, but this time I have proof.” She said.

Nathanael clicked onto a slide showing off a picture of the original Volpina.

“And for a closer look, I have these to pass around.”

Lila handed out pictures of Volpina to pass around the class, starting with Adrien.

Lila then continued with the presentation until the pictures reached Chloe.

Chloe was a little shook by the photographic evidence, but she was determined to be right.

“I can’t believe how much effort you put into making this lie real.” She interrupted again. “You even stage photos. These are obviously fake, as well as your presentation, and you’re dragging Nathanael and Ivan down to a poor grade with you.”

Chloe then held the pictures between her fingers, making it obvious as to what she was going to do.

“Chloe don’t.” Sabrina said.

But Chloe tore the pictures in half anyway and dropped them to the desk before brushing them off with her hand.

Nathanael managed to grab Lila before she could lunge at Chloe.

“You’re lucky those were just copies.” Lila growled threateningly.

Lila was angry because she had contemplated bringing in the original photos to add authenticity but decided not to risk it, meaning if she had brought them in then they would have been torn apart by Chloe, and if then happened, not even the combined strength of Nathanael and Ivan would have stopped her from attacking Chloe.

“You’re really getting upset over some fake photos?” Chloe asked.

“Volpina wasn’t made up, Chloe, she really did exist.” Sabrina remembered from her own research.

Sabrina began moving away from Chloe, finally seeing the monster Chloe had become since they first met now that her new friends had taken away the veil created by her denial.

“I can’t believe you didn’t that Chloe.” Adrien said in disappointment. “What if those had been the original pictures, you would have just destroyed something really important to Lila.”

“But, Adrikins.” Chloe whined.

“Don’t call me that, Chloe. I don’t want to talk to you right now.” Adrien said, finally having enough of Chloe’s behaviour.

Sabrina put her hand up.

“Madam Bustier, may I move seats?” She asked.

“You may.” Madam Bustier said.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Chloe demanded.

“Away from you.” Sabrina said.

“Sabrina, if you do this I won’t be your friend anymore.” Chloe threatened, not realising the threat no longer held weight.

“Good, because I don’t want to be friends anymore, I have other friends now.”

Sabrina then moved to the only other available desk, next to Ivan. But she didn’t get to sit there for long before the bell rang for lunch.

“Class dismissed. Miss Bourgeois, you have detention for destruction of another pupil’s property.” Madam Bustier said.

The entire class then left, except Chloe, who stayed where she was as she tried to process what had happened. Adrien had left her. Sabrina had left her.

She didn’t have anyone anymore.

She was alone.

Chapter Text

Ladybird yawned as she threw herself from one building to the next and ran across the roof, she eventually came to a stop and sat down on the edge of the roof, yawning again.

With Hawkmoth’s recent method of biding his time to create more powerful Akumas, and the uncertainty of whether the forces of evil would be bolstered because the Quantic team helped with an Akuma fight, the Miraculous team had decided to start doing patrols to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Back when they had started out, Ladybird and Chat Noir had done patrols, but that idea quickly fizzled out when they realised how much strain it put on their lives on top of their regular hero duty, so they eventually stopped. But now that they had four members on the team, these patrols would be easier.

Today’s patrols were being handled by Ladybird and Paonne, they would patrol different areas and check in every half-hour.

But Ladybird was already feeling the exhaustion of the patrols, she had been left feeling very tired since attending the gathering of heroes and the fight against the Collector, both events bringing up memories she thought she’d buried long ago. They didn’t affect her sleep, her dreams were perfectly normal, but they did leave her trouble getting to sleep and would sometimes just take away her energy like a leech. She just hoped they went away soon, like usual.

As Ladybird sat on the roof, regaining her energy, she absentmindedly played with locks of her hair and found herself lamenting it being so short. Before becoming Ladybird, her hair went halfway down her back, and how she wore it would often reflect her mood. Most days, she would either tie it up in a ponytail or clip it back out of her face, on days where she felt especially happy she would wear it in side pigtails and enjoy the way it whipped to the side when she moved her head, and on days where she felt gloomy and fed-up she would wear it down, letting the hair fall in front of her face as if the hide her from the world. But after becoming Ladybird, she knew the long hair had to go, it was too grabbable, even if she kept it in a ponytail, and long hair was hard to manage anyway, so she had it cut. By her own logic, she should have had it cut to a pixie-cut, but she couldn’t bear to have it that short, so she settled on a bob-cut, with the sides of her hair kept out of her face by clips.

Ladybird heard something and turned her head, her hand going for her yoyo, but she relaxed when she saw that it was just Paonne gliding in and landing on the roof.

“Think we should call it for the night?” Paonne asked as she sat down next to Ladybird, her own exhaustion at the long night evident.

Ladybird hummed in agreement.

Neither heroine moved, though, too tired to at the moment.

“Do you think something will happen, you know, to ‘balance the forces of good and evil’?” Paonne asked after a few minutes of silence.

Ladybird shrugged. “If it does, I’m wondering how it will happen. A stronger Hawkmoth or a new enemy. I’d prefer a stronger Hawkmoth, honestly, at least we know him.”

Paonne nodded in agreement.

“I wonder what we’ll do if something does happen. I mean, Melodie and the others could probably join the fight on a more permanent basis since they were the ones who joined in the fight in the first place. But they probably have jobs and other real-world stuff to be concerned about at the same time.”

“Master Fu will probably hand out another Miraculous.” Ladybird answered.

“Who’s Master Fu?” Paonne questioned.

Ladybird then remembered that she was the only one of them who knew the Guardian.

“He’s the Guardian of the Miraculous.” Ladybird answered. “He’s the one who choses us to use them.”

“Why haven’t you mentioned him until now?” Paonne asked.

Ladybird shrugged. “I only found out about the Guardian after the first time Volpina happened, Tikki took me to him because I found something that belonged to him. I figured we were meant to wait until our Kwamis took us to him, and thought some of you might have known already, so I didn’t bring it up.”

“Pavo doesn’t even know where the Guardian is.” Paonne said.

Ladybird looked surprised.

“He doesn’t? Wouldn’t Mr Agreste know?” She asked.

Paonne shook her head. “Mr Agreste got the Miraculous from his wife and she didn’t tell him any way of contacting the Guardian.”

“Huh.” Ladybird said in thought. “I guess I can talk to him about bringing the rest of you to him, it’s not really fair that only I know anyway.”

“I’m sure the boys, and even myself, would like some answers about the Miraculous.” Paonne said.

Ladybird hummed in agreement, getting up. “Anyway, I’m going home, or I’m going to end up falling asleep mid-swing.”

Paonne climbed to her own feet. “Me to. I have things I need to do tomorrow.”

The two heroines then parted ways, heading back to their own homes.


 

The next day started off with an Akuma attack, this time it was an old lady in an old-fashioned dress with a red cloak held together by a butterfly broach, not the Miraculous, and a white mask.

“I will take your Miraculous and your youth.” The woman screamed at the heroes as they dodged around her.

They couldn’t risk being touched by the villain, who called herself Jeunesse, because whenever she touched someone she would begin to drain the youth out of them, the longer she held on the older the person got and the younger she would get. It wasn’t hard to guess the reason for her Akumatisation.

Renard Rouge had already been grabbed by Jeunesse, thankfully it hadn’t been for long as Chat Noir had come to the rescue, but Renard had been catapulted through the rest of puberty and given a growth spurt, now standing as a man in his mid-twenties.

“The Akuma is definitely in her broach. But how do we get it without being touched?” Renard said, his voice deeper than before.

“Cast some illusions of us to keep her distracted, then we can try and go in to grab it amongst all of the copies.” Ladybird said.

“Got it.” Renard nodded.

Renard brought his flute to his lips and began to play, summoning copies of himself and his teammates and sending them to run around Jeunesse. His copies had gotten much better from when he first started off, if someone looked closely they would still be able to tell they were fakes, but when they were constantly moving around, it was hard to tell.

Jeunesse stepped back as the copies overwhelmed her, constantly trying to grab one of them to drain their youth, only for them to burst into light. One of them then made a grab for Jeunesse’s broach, but she managed to notice in time and grabbed their arm to stop them, this one not bursting into light.

Ladybird grunted as her youth started to drain away, but she managed to free herself by kneeing Jeunesse in the gut, forcing the old woman to release her, and retreated to a safe distance. The villain had managed to hold onto Ladybird slightly longer than she had Renard, so the red and black spotted heroine was now older than Renard’s current age, looking to be in her late twenties. Ladybird regarded her new form, feeling along her new curves and frowning slightly at the additional weight on her chest.

“Is this what…” She trailed off.

Jeunesse wheezed as she recovered from Ladybird’s kick.

“This form is too frail.” She said. “I need more youth.”

Jeunesse then turned tail and fled from the heroes, the powers Hawkmoth provided her also giving her flight.

“After her!” Ladybird said.

The Miraculous team chased after Jeunesse, Renard and Ladybird stumbling slightly with their new body proportions, but the villain proved to be a faster flier, by the time they caught up with her, she was already draining the youth from many civilians.

There was a brief flash of purple light and Jeunesse’s costume changed slightly, her dress was now shorter and less old-fashioned, and her cloak was smaller. She then threw back her hood, which had previously hidden her grey hair, to show her face. The villain had managed to absorb enough youth that she was now middle aged, her hair a dull blond.

“That’s better.” Jeunesse said. “But it’s still not enough.”

Jeunesse then turned back to the heroes.

“I need your youth.” She said.

Jeunesse attacked again, this time quicker and more vicious now that she wasn’t an old lady anymore. The heroes managed to keep her from latching onto them again, but she managed to get brief touches in, managing to age them by a year or two.

Chat went in for a hit only to get punched away, his youth getting drained in the process, and tripped over a bin onto his back.

“We need a new strategy, now!” Paonne said, fending off Jeunesse with her fan to protect a downed Chat from getting drained again.

Paonne then kicked Jeunesse away from her, the brief contact aging her a little more.

It didn’t matter where the contact was or what material was in the way, Jeunesse still could absorb youth.

“I could try my Lucky Charm, but I don’t want to use it unless I have to.” Ladybird said.

Ladybird and Renard kept Jeunesse at bay while Paonne helped Chat to his feet.

“You okay?” Paonne asked as she helped Chat to his feet.

Both heroes now looked to be around 17.

“Yeah.” Chat answered.

The two heroes then managed to get a good look at each other’s forms and they blushed, their more mature forms were very flattering.

“You looked beautiful.” Chat founding himself saying.

Paonne’s blushed deepened but she managed to smirk.

“You don’t look half bad yourself.” She said in return.

“My Maiden, you flatter me.” Chat said.

“Will you two stop flirting?” Ladybird yelled back at them as she struck at Jeunesse with her yoyo. “We need a little help.”

“We weren’t flirting.” Paonne quickly defended as she ran to joined Ladybird and Renard.

“Y-yeah.” Chat agreed weakly as he joined them as well.

“Sure.” Renard said sarcastically.

Ladybird managed to wrap her yoyo around Jeunesse, but the villain then flew into the air, taking the heroine along for the ride.

Thinking quickly, Renard summoned an illusion of a large bird to fly in front of Jeunesse, causing the villain to stop in her tracks to avoid hitting it, giving Ladybird the chance to land and ground herself against something as she yanked on her yoyo, bringing Jeunesse back to the ground.

But Jeunesse managed to land on her feet and untangle one of her arms from the yoyo, using it to grab hold of the string and yank Ladybird towards her instead. Caught off guard, Ladybird was pulled close enough to Jeunesse for the villain to latch onto her arm and drain more of her youth, at the same time the yoyo string loosen from around the villain and fell to the floor, freeing her. Ladybird tried to get free by kicking Jeunesse in the gut like she had before, but the move was anticipated and the villain swept her legs from under her, keeping her from getting up.

“Let her go!” Chat yelled, swinging his baton at Jeunesse.

“Gladly.” Jeunesse grinned at him.

She let go of Ladybird to dodge Chat’s hit, and then grabbed him as he went past, grabbing him by the chest and trapping his arms while she drained his youth.

Renard moved to help Chat while Paonne helped Ladybird to her feet, who was having a hard time on her own because of her sudden aging, she now looked to be in her late thirties. As Paonne looked at her, she was briefly struck with the feeling that the grown-up Ladybird looked similar to someone she had seen before.

Chat struggled to get out of Jeunesse’s grip and Renard was about to whack her with his flute, but she then let go of her own accord when another purple flash overtook her. Chat, now looking as old as Ladybird was, spun around to face Jeunesse, now in the form of a young woman, wearing a purple dress that was more revealing that her previous dresses, long blond hair, and her cloak was now a silk satin caplet.

“Ah, perfect.” Jeunesse sighed as she admired herself. “Beautiful and young again.”

Hawkmoth’s symbol appeared before her face.

“You have your youth as I promised, now get me those Miraculous!” Hawkmoth ordered her.

“Yes, Hawkmoth.” Jeunesse said.

Ladybird decided that she had had enough, she wanted to end this now.

“Lucky Charm!” She called forth her power.

Ladybird then caught a medium sized mirror with a red and black polka dot frame, momentarily struggling not to drop it from the weight. She looked around the area, her vision going briefly black and white to highlight object in ladybug colours, and she quickly formulated a plan.

Ladybird whispered in Renard’s ear, he nodded and then turned to whisper in Chat’s ear while Ladybird repeated herself to Paonne, the other two heroes nodding to show they understood their plan.

Renard then played his flute, instead of creating an illusion, it created a flash of light so bright that Jeunesse had to guard her eyes, and when she looked back the heroes had scattered.

Since she was the one with the object that could possibly defeat her, Jeunesse went after Ladybird. The villain chased the hero, but after a minute the illusion around Ladybird shattered to reveal Jeunesse had actually been chasing Paonne, who wasn’t holding the mirror.

A short distance away, Renard frowned as he looked down at his Miraculous, it beeped and lost a block of colour, he was out of illusions and running out of time.

“I hope this plan of yours works.” Renard said to Ladybird.

Ladybird had finished setting the mirror against a wall and stepped back to make sure it was straight.

“Me too.” She agreed. “This relies on Jeunesse being vein enough.”

“I got what you wanted.” Chat said as he ran over, carrying multiple bags of clothes.

“Good. Because here she comes.” Renard said, pointing.

Ladybird and Chat turned to see Paonne leading Jeunesse over to them.

“Best acting skills, boys.” Ladybird whispered to her companions.

“I’ve got you now.” Jeunesse grinned as she and Paonne landed.

Paonne quickly ran over to her teammates to avoid being grabbed by the villain.

“Okay, you’ve got us.” Ladybird said, doing her best to sound convincing. “We can’t beat you.”

“We’ll give you our Miraculouses.” Renard did a good job at sounding defeated.

Jeunesse looked surprised.

“You will?” She asked.

Chat nodded. “But first, your costume isn’t very flattering to your current look.”

Jeunesse looked down at herself, regarding her dress.

“This is what I wore before.” She said.

“But times and trends change, if people are going to behold your youthful looks, you need to look the part.” Paonne said. “Why don’t you try this?”

Paonne picked out an article of clothing from the bags and gave it to Jeunesse, directing her to look in the mirror. Jeunesse regarded herself in the mirror, holding the top she was given in front of herself to try and judge how it would look on her.

“And maybe with this.” Ladybird picked out a pair of jeans and gave them to her.

Jeunesse held the jeans in front of her legs and smiled at how the top and jeans combo might look on her.

“Why don’t you try them on?” Ladybird suggested.

Jeunesse nodded eagerly and her hands went to undo the broach keeping the capelet on her shoulders.

Hawkmoth’s symbol suddenly flared to life in front of Jeunesse’s face.

“What are you doing?” Hawkmoth demanded. “You’re removing your item!”

Jeunesse didn’t have time to rectify her mistake, Chat grabbed the broach out of her loose grip and threw it to the floor, stamping on it to break it. The Akuma fluttered out and Ladybird was quick to open her yoyo.

“Capture!” She caught the Akuma and the yoyo closed around it. “And release.” She reopened her yoyo and the white butterfly fluttered out into the sky.

Ladybird then detached the mirror from the wall and threw it into the air.

“Miraculous Cure!” She called.

The mirror burst into hundreds of ladybugs that swept through the city, wrapping around people and returning them to their normal ages. The Miraculous team sighed in relief as they were returned to their normal ages. Jeunesse cried with loss as blackness bubbled over her, reverting her back to an old lady.

“Ah, my handsome, young-self again.” Chat sighed, stretch over-exaggeratingly.

The others hummed in agreement.

Ladybird then noticed the old lady who used to be Jeunesse struggling to get to her feet.

“Are you alright?” She asked, helping the woman to her feet.

“I’m fine, dear.” The woman replied.

Ladybird’s earrings then beeped, telling her she only had a couple of minutes left before her transformation wore off.

“You better go.” The woman said wisely.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of her.” Chat told his partner, supporting the old woman’s other side.

Ladybird nodded and let go of the woman, racing off.

“I need to go to.” Renard said, looking at his own Miraculous. “See you later.”

He ran off out of sight.

“Are you sure you’re fine, ma’am?” Chat asked the woman politely. “We weren’t exactly gentle in the fight.”

“I’m fine.” The woman insisted. “I don’t even remember what happened. I suppose I got one comment about my age too far.”

“Has someone been bothering you?” Paonne asked.

“Just some young hoodlums I don’t know, think it’s funny to make fun of an old lady. They’ll learn when they get to my age.”

“Your age? But you don’t look a day over thirty.” Chat smiled at the woman.

“You flatterer.” She joked back.

The ambulance soon arrived at the scene and the paramedics attended to the old woman, making sure the battle hand affected her frail from. Paonne and Chat retreated to a safe distance away from the gathering crowd and reporters.

“You’re a real gentleman, you know that, Chat Noir.” Paonne said.

“Thank you, my Maiden.” Chat said proudly.

Paonne then turned to go but Chat grabbed her by the wrist.

“Neither of us used our powers, we could hang out for a bit.” He offered.

Paonne looked conflicted and then checked the magical screen on her fan for the time.

“I can give you twenty minutes.” She said.

“That’s more than enough time to spend with you.” Chat said, grinning.

Paonne rolled her eyes at his flirting, not taking it seriously, thinking her teammate was continuing their joke.

“Catch me if you can, kitty.” She said, running off.

Chat took a few seconds to process what Paonne just said, but then he grinned and chased after her.

“Hey, no fair!” He shouted after her for her head start.

Paonne briefly turned her head to stick her tongue out at him.

“Oh, it is on.” Chat laughed.


 

Ladybird managed to swing home, already having been close by, before being forced to de-transform. She gave Tikki a cookie from her stash before sitting down on the recliner in her room, powering up her laptop.

“That fight was exhausting.” She commented as she waited for her laptop to warm up. “Being forced through all my growing pains at once was not a pleasant experience.”

“Are you alright now?” Tikki asked between bites of her cookie.

“Yeah, just tired.” She responded.

There was then a whining at her bedroom door and the sound of something scratching at her door, this was all the warning she got before her door bust open and she was greeted with a lap full of dog.

“Pippin!” She laughed, pushing the dog’s face away from her to avoid the dog’s wet tongue.

The Tibetan Terrier only continued to wag his tail and attempt to give his mistress loving kisses.

But Pippin wasn’t her only dog, and her other dogs didn’t want left out of her attention, so they all flooded into her room for loves and cuddles from their mistress. She had four dogs in total, there was Pippin, Fred the Springer Spaniel, Patch the Pug and Mickey the Terrier mix.

She laughed as she was overwhelmed by her dogs, each of them struggling to fit on the recliner with her.

“Boys.” She laughed. “You’re squishing me.”

The dogs didn’t seem to care.

Tikki laughed lightly at her wielder’s predicament.

Eventually, she decided she had enough and pushed her dogs off of her, most of them jumped off willingly, but Mickey remained stubbornly on her lap, taking a god few pushes before she eventually picked him up and deposited him on the floor. She then stood up before any of them had a chance to jump up again, though Mickey used this as a chance to take her place on the recliner.

She then closed her laptop to put it in hibernate as she left her room and went downstairs.

“Dad?” She called as she wandered through her home.

She went into the living room where she discovered her dad asleep in his usual seat on the sofa, the TV was on and there was still cider left in his glass, showing he’d fallen asleep unintentionally. She sighed but smiled gently at her dad, he must have stayed up late to be asleep this early in the day.

She turned off the TV, moved the table containing her dad’s laptop and cider away from the sofa in case he knocked it in his sleep, took off his glasses and put a blanket over him. But as she finished tucking the blanket his eyes opened, her actions having woken him slightly.

“Hey, Poppet.” Her dad said tiredly.

“Hey, dad.” She said gently. “Was your back giving you problems again last night.”

“Just a bit.” Her dad admitted. “I’ll be fine, though.”

“Sleeping upright can’t be good for it though.” Her tone showed that she’d said this more than once. “Do you need help getting up to bed?”

“I’ll do it myself in a while.” Her dad said. “Have the dogs been out?”

“No, I’ll do it now.” She said.

“Good girl.” Her dad said, closing his eyes.

She left the room and went to the front door, pulling on a jacket and whistling. There was a scrambling of paws and her dogs quickly appeared, jumping all around her and barking loudly, eager for their walk, making it hard for her to get their leashes on. Tikki flew down as well and found a place in her hood, flying high enough to avoid the dogs. Eventually, she managed to get the leashes on, and went out the door, her dogs pulling her along, barely giving her the chance to close the door behind her.

She took her dogs to the park to have a run around, playing with them for a while before sitting on a bench and leaving them to their own devices.

It didn’t take long before someone joined her on the bench, she turned her head and saw the man who had given her her Miraculous.

“Hello, Master Fu.” She said politely.

“Hello.” Fu replied.

She had a feeling Fu being there wasn’t just a coincidence, and she had a feeling as to why.

“Do you think it’s time for the others to meet you?” She decided to be straight forward.

Fu put his hand to his chin.

“I suppose so.” He said. “I also suppose it is time for you to meet each other.”

“You mean, reveal our identities?” She asked, shocked.

“Only to each other.” Fu said.

“Why now?” She asked.

“You have all reached the point that you work together as if you always have, you all deserve to know. And…” Fu trailed off.

“And?” She prompted.

“And I’m afraid that something looms on the horizon, a threat I don’t know but I can feel coming. And it would be wise for you all to know each other before it comes. But, are you ready to show who you really are?”

She was conflicted, on one hand she had grown so close with her team that her identity shouldn’t matter, on the other hand it would be a merger of her two lives, which had been kept separate until now.

“I guess,” She said. “That if the others are willing to do it, I will too.”

Fu nodded.

“I will take care of the preparations then. Come to my shop in costume on Wednesday, I’ll inform your teammates, providing there isn’t another Akuma attack.” He said.

Fu then stood up and walked off.

She sighed, wondering what the outcome would be. But she was quickly brought out of her thoughts by her dogs coming over, wanting her to play with them, which she did.

Chapter Text

Adrien was exhausted as he returned to his room after a long day on modelling, wanting nothing more than to collapse on his bed and sleep for eternity. He had managed the first part and was trying to enact the second part of his plan when a certain Kwami saw fit to interrupt it.

“Adrien, there’s something on your table you need to take a look at.” Plagg called from where the small table in front of his TV was located.

“I’ll take a look at it later, Plagg.” Adrien said, muffled by his pillow.

“You need to take a look at it now.” Plagg told him.

Adrien ignored the Kwami, doing his best to fall asleep.

“It’s from the Guardian.” Plagg further stressed.

Adrien gave up trying to sleeping, forcing himself from his bed and making his way over to Plagg.

“Who?” He asked.

“The one who chose you for your ring.” Plagg told him.

Hearing this, Adrien quickly snatched up the letter, his previous tiredness forgotten about.

The letter was made of normal paper, addressed to him in neat handwriting on the front, but it was sealed with wax instead of just stuck down, a symbol pressed into the wax.

Adrien opened the letter and took out the slip of paper inside.

‘Chat Noir,’ It read. I am the Guardian of the Miraculous, the one who gave you your ring. And I have decided that is time for there to be no more secrets between you and your teammates, for the times ahead you need to know each other’s identities.’ The letter then gave an address, time and date for the meeting.

Adrien dropped down onto his sofa, reading the letter over and over again, trying to process what it said.

“We’re going to reveal who we are?” He eventually said, as if saying it would make him understand it better.

“About time.” Plagg said. “Watching you all panic to find different hiding places to de-transform was getting on my nerves. Now, give me camembert.”

Adrien didn’t move, thoughts of what this meant running through his head so fast he almost couldn’t make them out. In revealing themselves, Adrien would know the name of the girl he’d come to see as his sister, he’d know who was under that orange mask and fox ears who he loved to joke with, and he’d know who the girl that made him blush was. But, at the same time, they’d know who he was.

Would they look at him the same way they always did, treating him like the Chat Noir they knew, or would they look at him as Adrien Agreste, model and son of a famous fashion designer, forgetting the other side of his personality? Yes, how Adrien acted without the mask was still him, but Chat Noir was also him, both sides made up a whole.

‘What if they treat me as if I’m either Adrien or Chat, not both?’ Adrien questioned himself.

“Stop sulking.” Plagg told him. “Everything will be fine.”

“How can you be sure?” Adrien asked.

“I just do. Besides, I don’t see the problem, you wanted you and Ladybird to know each other’s identities back when it was just the two of you.”

“Wanting something, and then getting it can be very different, Plagg.” Adrien said. “And that’s back when it was just the two of us, there’s four of us now.”

“I still don’t see the issue.” Plagg said lazily. “Now, camembert.” He then demanded.

Adrien sighed and fetched Plagg his stinky cheese before sitting down on his bed, contemplating what the meeting would be like.


 

Similarly, Nathanael stood in front of his desk, reading his own note from the Guardian while Vixx sat on his shoulder.

“So, it’s really going to happen?” Nathanael asked his Kwami.

“Yep.” Vixx said.

“Will…will it go well.” Nathanael asked unsurely. “What if they don’t like who’s under the mask?”

“I’m sure they’ll love this side of you as much as they love the other, you don’t act much different other that less shy because of the mask anyway, so you don’t have much to worry about.” Vixx reassured him.

From the way Vixx talked, Nathanael got the feeling that this wasn’t the first time she’d had this conversation.

“Have your past chosen had to reveal themselves before?” He asked.

Vixx nodded. “Not all of them have, but some, either by choice or being forced to, have revealed their identity to others.” She said.

“And what were they like?” Nathanael asked.

“Depending on the person, the reactions varied. But in terms of other Miraculous wielders, they always accepted each other.” Vixx told him.

“That’s good to know.” Nathanael said.

“My chosen before my last one got a lot of funny reactions. I remember one of the other wielders’ reaction being ‘huh…wuh-wah…’.” Vixx laughed.

Nathanael laughed along with her.

“Well, if any of the others are from my class, that could be the reaction I’ll get.” Nathanael joked. “Who would imagine shy, introverted, Nathanael as the daring Renard Rouge?”

Vixx laughed with him.

Nathanael then sighed. “I wonder if the others will go.” He said.

“I hope so.” Vixx said. “What about you?”

“I suppose if the others go, it wouldn’t be fair for me not to go.” Nathanael decided.

“That’s the spirit.” Vixx encouraged.


 

Gabriel Agreste was looking through the mail that his assistant had dropped off on his desk until he came upon a large envelope with something sliding around inside, he opened it to find a smaller envelope inside along with a small note.

‘Please give this to your protégé.’ The note read.

On the front of the smaller letter, it was addressed to Paonne.

Gabriel wondered who the letter was from, there was a large list of people who knew he’d been Grande Plume and passed on his Miraculous to Paonne, but didn’t know Paonne’s identity. The imprint in the wax on the back gave him some idea though.

Regardless, the letter was for Marinette, but if the letter was important he couldn’t just put the small envelope into a bigger envelope and mail it to her like the person had, and Marinette’s apprenticeship had already ended, so it would be suspicious if he had the letter dropped off or had her come to his office. Thankfully, there was a place they could meet in secret.

Gabriel sent an Email to Marinette with a time to meet at the secret training studio and then waited for that time to come, heading to the studio when it did.

In the studio, Gabriel only had to wait a minute before Marinette arrive, panting like she had run the entire way there, which she probably had.

“Did…” She gasped for breath. “Something happen?”

Ah, Gabriel had mentioned in the Email that it was urgent, but not that it was just a letter, probably worrying Marinette. But, no matter.

“This arrived for you.” Gabriel told his protégé, handing over the letter.

“Huh?” Marinette was confused as she took the letter. “Why’d you get it then?” She then saw that it was addressed to Paonne, not Marinette. “Ah.” She said in realisation.

Marinette opened the letter and read it, her eyes widening with each line she read.

“It’s from the Guardian of the Miraculous.” Marinette told her mentor. “He wants us to reveal our identities to each other.”

Gabriel quickly guessed that the others were the other Miraculous wielders.

“That’s great, Marinette.” Pavo said, popping out of her purse.

Pavo then took notice of the look on Marinette’s face, she looked worried.

“Isn’t this what you talked to Ladybird about?” He asked.

“I wanted to know who the Guardian was, not who the others were.” Marinette said.

“So, you don’t want to know, or them to know?” Gabriel enquired.

Marinette paused, realising how she had sounded.

“It’s not that.” She said. “It’s just, sudden. I have wondered, but I’ve never really felt the need to know who the others are.”

“And, how are you feeling now?” Pavo asked his holder.

“I don’t know. I know why we have to do it, but once we show who we really are, they’ll be no going back. I guess I’m worried about what they might think.” Marinette tried her best to explain.

“It’s alright to feel this way.” Pavo reassured. “Gabriel felt the same way.”

Marinette looked up at her mentor, who briefly went slightly red in the cheeks at what he was like being mentioned.

“What was it like for you?” Marinette dared to ask.

Gabriel didn’t want to tell of how afraid he had been, or how he had acted in his younger years at all, but looking at his protégé, he knew she need reassurance through telling of his experiences.

“I suppose I felt the same nervous anticipation you felt.” He told Marinette. “My wife and a few others had already knew from the start, having known me before I was given the Miraculous, but as time went on I made friends and allies with people who only knew me as Grande Plume, and the prospect of them knowing who I was wasn’t an appealing thought. But when it came time for us all to retire, many heroes decided to reveal their secret identities to the other heroes, having no need of them now that they were no longer heroing. At first, I wanted nothing to do with the ‘grand reveal’, but then my wife told me that she was going to do it as well and she wanted me to do it beside her, and after some persuasion, I did.”

“How did people react?” Marinette asked.

“There were, understandably, those who had no idea who I was, and so didn’t have any reaction. But by then, I was already an up and coming designer, and so those who did know me in some way laughed at the thought of me being Grande Plume. But none of them, even those who I had been close with, were disappointed or unhappy with who I am.” Gabriel told her.

It went unspoken that Gabriel believed it would be the same for Marinette, but she got the message anyway.

“Thank you, Mr Agreste.” Marinette said, smiling brightly at him.

Gabriel just nodded back, a small smile on his lips.


 

Master Fu walked around his shop, checking that the sign on his door was turned to ‘closed’ and the tea and biscuits were ready.

There was then a knock at the side entrance to his shop, he opened it to reveal Ladybird, just a few minutes earlier than the given time.

“Please, come in, Ladybird. Have some tea.” Fu invited her in.

Ladybird walked in, feeling slightly awkward to be wearing her costume inside the shop when she hadn’t before, but she supposed that wouldn’t be a problem for long. She sat down at the table but didn’t touch the tea, despite her heritage, she wasn’t that fond of tea.

The next to arrive was Chat Noir, nervously standing at the door while trying his best to look confident. Fu invited him in and he took a place next to Ladybird, quietly taking a cup of tea but not drinking any, feeling too nervous to.

Last to arrive were Paonne and Renard Rouge arrived together, having met each other on the way there, and were invited inside, taking seats beside each other on Chat’s side, leaving a gap between Ladybird and Renard for Fu to sit.

They all were all quiet, waiting for someone to speak up and get the ball rolling. They looked at Fu, expecting him to speak, but he remained silent, sipping his tea. The seconds ticked by until one of them finally cracked.

“Can we just get this over with?” Ladybird asked.

The others nodded in agreement.

“So, who wants to go first?” Chat asked.

Paonne took a deep breath and let it out. “I’ll go.” She spoke up. “Feathers Withdrawn.”

Blue light raced over her and she was replaced by Marinette, Pavo floating next to her.

Renard and Chat’s eyes widened and their jaws dropped, while Ladybird had no reaction, having seen Marinette’s face before.

“Marinette?” Renard and Chat exclaimed.

“So, you know who I am?” Marinette said nervously to the boys, she then turned to Ladybird. “I’m Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”

“Nice to finally put a name to your face.” Ladybird commented.

At seeing his crush revealed to be his teammate, Renard quickly mustered up his courage before he could backdown.

“Fangs Covered.” He said.

An orange light washed over in and Nathanael sat in his place, Vixx resting on his head.

“Nathanael?” Marinette asked, looking him over.

“Hi.” Nathanael nervously waved, turning red.

Marinette slammed her palm into her head. “Of course, why didn’t I see it before.” She said.

“Perception magic.” Vixx answered her.

“Wouldn’t have pegged you as someone willing to run around Paris in a skin-tight suit.” Chat joked.

“At least it’s less suggestive than yours.” Nathanael shot back with a grin, shocking himself with how comfortable he was already being despite no longer wearing his mask.

Nathanael turned to Ladybird, expecting to have to introduce himself.

“Nathanael Kurtzberg, right?” Ladybird beat him to it. “I recognise you from orchestra.”

Nathanael nodded.

“I guess I’ll go next.” Chat said. “Claws In.”

In a flash of green light, Adrien sat there, looking to each of them to gage their reactions while Plagg dropped down onto the table for a nap.

Ladybird’s eyes widened slightly in surprise, clearly recognising him, but didn’t seem to care much, which was a comfort to him.

Marinette and Nathanael’s reactions were much more expressive.

Nathanael was looking at him like he was revaluating his entire existence while Marinette was looking at him with shock, pointing at him while struggling to speak.

“A-A-A-Adrien?” She finally gave a stuttered exclamation.

“Hi, Marinette.” Adrien said, giving a small wave.

“I think I need a minute.” Marinette said with wide eyes.

“You’re not disappointed, are you?” Adrien asked in concern.

“Of course not!” Marinette exclaimed. “I-I’m just…shocked.”

“Yeah, we’re fine that it’s you. Happy even.” Nathanael agreed. “You’re a great guy who deserves a Miraculous.”

Marinette nodded.

Adrien sighed in relief, but still looked a little apprehensive at the reactions he got from his classmates.

The three revealed heroes then looked to the only one still in costume.

Ladybird sighed, taking and deep breath and closing her eyes before speaking the words that would reveal her.

“Spots Off.”

Red light washed over her, replacing her red and black spotted costume with a blue t-shirt with pink flowers on the front, cargo pants and purple trainers. Tikki landed on her shoulder once she emerged from the Miraculous.

“Hey.” She said. “Name’s Casey Brook, nice to meet yah.”

Without the magic of the Miraculous altering their perception, the three classmates could now recognise that she spoke with a prominent English accent, something that would have been easy to identify her with without the perception magic of the Miraculous.

“So, that’s how you know me.” Nathanael said in realisation, being the only one to know who she was. “You’re from orchestra too.”

Casey nodded.

“So, I finally get to know who you are after all this time.” Adrien said.

“And?” Casey asked.

Adrien’s response was to hug her tightly. Casey looked uncomfortable with the hug but smiled at her partner and patted him on the back, letting him hug her. Adrien eventually pulled away, he hadn’t cried but he did look like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

“I want a hug too.” Nathanael whined jokingly.

Marinette then hugged him.

“There, there.” She said before letting go.

It was clear that Marinette was just going along with the joke, but Nathanael was blushing bright red at the attention regardless.

Marinette then realised that Fu was still there.

“So, you’re the Guardian?” She asked.

Fu nodded.

“You may call me Master Fu, and this is Wayzz.” He said.

The Turtle Kwami made himself known.

“Hello.” Wayzz said.

“Wayzz!” Pavo exclaimed happily, flying over and hugging the other Kwami.

The other Kwamis, minus Plagg, all gathered together to hug and catch up with each other.

“I’m glad to finally meet all of you.” Fu said.

“It’s nice to finally know who gave me my ring.” Adrien said. “Thank you.”

“Me too.” Nathanael said. “Being Renard Rouge and having Vixx has helped me a lot.”

“I know having Tikki has helped me a lot too.” Casey admitted. “So, thank you.”

“Thank you.” Nathanael repeated.

“You are welcome.” Fu said. “But I did not just chose you, you chose yourselves.”

Fu looked pointedly at Nathanael when he said this. Nathanael chose to look away while the others shrugged in confusion.

Marinette then felt her insecurity get the better of her, she was the only one not to receive her Miraculous from the Guardian.

“Um, is it alright that I have this Miraculous?” She asked Fu. “I mean, you didn’t give it to me.”

Fu held up a hand to stop her.

“Though I did not chose you, I cannot think of anyone better suited to be a Miraculous wielder.” He reassured her.

Marinette smiled in relief.

“To be honest, I had been keeping an eye on you as a potential Miraculous wielder since Hawkmoth showed up.” Fu told her. “When Paonne showed up I had a feeling it was you.”

“Then why’d you send my letter to Mr Agreste’s house?” Marinette asked.

“There was always a risk I could have had it wrong, and after the last time that happened I didn’t want to risk it.” Fu answered.

The four decided not to ask what the ‘last time’ was.

Adrien then realised that since Marinette was Paonne, she knew that his dad had been a superhero since his Miraculous was passed down to her, and also knew that his mother had disappeared because she had been a hero too. He couldn’t help but feel slightly hurt that she hadn’t told him anything, but kept quiet about it, not wanting to ruin the mood.

“So, since we all revealed ourselves because of what may be coming in the futures, will you hand out more Miraculouses?” Casey asked Fu.

“I have my eye on a few candidates.” Fu answered. “But they are not yet ready, and for now, at lease, there is no need of them.”

“But if we do get another teammate, what are we going to do about them?” Adrien asked. “I mean, do we tell them who we are or leave them out of the loop because we’ve only just met them?”

“That will be up to you to decide.” Fu answered.

“Will we know who they are?” Nathanael asked.

“Only when they tell you.” Fu told him. “They may end up being someone you know like what has happened here today, and if I tell you, you may form opinions of how capable they are based on your personal feelings.”

“I guess that’s true.” Marinette asked. “When we started off, none of us really looked like we could be chosen to be heroes, honestly.”

The others nodded in agreement.

There was then a minute of silence.

“So, what now?” Casey eventually said. “We know each other. So, what do we do with it?”

“We could hang out?” Adrien suggested. “Get to know each other all over again.” Adrien then looked at Marinette and Nathanael. “Well, get to know you all over again.”

Casey rolled her eyes. “Sounds good to me.” She said.

“Where should we go?” Nathanael asked.

“Um, do either of you play video games?” Marinette asked.

“I do.” Casey said.

“I play a few every now and then.” Nathanael answered.

“Great, then we can go to my place to play some games.” Marinette said.

They all rose to their feet.

“That you for this, Master Fu.” Adrien said respectively.

The others echoed their own thanks.

“You are all most welcome.” Fu said. “Feel free to drop by whenever you need to.”

The four teammates then left for Marinette’s house. Once they got there, Marinette quickly left them all downstairs while she went to her room, claiming to be tidying but actually getting rid of all of her pictures, schedule and wallpaper of Adrien before she could die of embarrassment.

“So, what are we going to play?” Nathanael asked as Marinette booted up her computer and logged onto her games account.

“What sort of games are you into?” Marinette asked.

“RPG mostly.” Nathanael answered.

“Adventure games.” Casey said.

“I don’t really have a preference.” Adrien said.

“Okay.” Marinette said.

Marinette looked through her games until she came across a multiplayer game that would suit their tastes and started it up, two of them with controllers and the other two sharing the keyboard. As they played, Marinette couldn’t help but find it surreal that she was playing games with her teammates in civilian form, but right now she couldn’t be happier.

Chapter Text

Okay, let me first start off by saying that I love you all very much for being such loyal and eager fans to my story, and I would love you even more if you don’t crucify me for what I am about to say.

Like the title said, this story is going on temporary hiatus. Not because I’ve lost drive for the story or don’t know how to continue, on the contrary I still have plenty ideas for what I’m going to do. I’m putting the story on pause because I want to see where season 2 of Miraculous Ladybug will be going first, such as the villains, before I continue with the story.

I could just keep the story going in its own direction completely, I mean, if Gabriel does turn out to be Hawkmoth I have already taken a large departure from the canon, but I’d prefer to keep the story as close to the canon as I can while keeping the story my own such as with the basic premises of each episode and who the new villain is going to be. Though, I may end up doing my own thing anyway, if I decide a completely original story will fit better with what I’ve already written and have planned instead of the canon events. This will partly to help me with my own writing, stopping me from getting as stuck with certain chapters since the canon will have laid out a path for me, but this decision will also be for the fans, I don’t want to go in such a different direction to the show that I lose people.

I promise that once I know more about season 2 and its villains that I’ll continue writing this, there’s no way that I’d let all of you down after what you’ve done. I had never intended to take the story this far, I was planning on ending it with an open end shortly after Renard Rouge showed up and never giving Ladybird a name, but through writing the chapters and all of you showing your love and support for this story, I continued. I will see this story through to the end.

I know waiting for season 2 to continue this story means waiting for 4 months until the next chapter, but I won’t be leaving you without content. I have two new stories in the works, ‘Code Quantic’, a mash-up of the original Quantic kids premise and Code Lyoko, and ‘Mariposa and the corrupted Miraculous’, another Kwami swap story with Marinette as the Butterfly and corrupted Miraculous wielders as the bad guys. I will also be creating one shots based off of Rise of Paonne and Renard Rouge, each one shot won’t be canon to the main story or even each other unless they say otherwise, which gives me plenty of room to be creative and write things I wanted to but couldn’t because they didn’t fit the story. And you guys can contribute to the one shots by giving me prompts, telling me what you want me to write about as long as it can be contained to a one shot, and it can be based anywhere in the timeline of the story, from the start of the school year to where the last chapter. And if you want me to, I can write about how Ladybird and Chat Noir managed before Paonne and Renard Rouge came along, specifically with the canon episodes.

Once again, I love all of you and hope that you can be patient enough and understand why I’m doing this.

Chapter Text

The building was incredibly dark, the barest of light making it possible to see inside, the walls were littered with cracks and some had even fallen down completely, there wasn’t a thing not caked in dust, not even the plants that grew through the floor and up the walls. The building was a complete hazard, nothing could possibly live there, and yet someone skipped their way down the halls.

Their feet treaded across the path created by shifted dust, showing it was a path frequently walked. As they walked, they passed many rooms, some rooms were blocked off by fallen rubble, while some had their doors broken off to show the insides, showing beds with straps attached to them, or operating tables inside. The person finally reached their destination, the only room in the building not caved in some part and with working electricity.

“I’m home.” The person sang.

“We already heard you from down the hall.” Someone from the room said, their voice sounding like many people speaking at once.

The other resident of the room only growled in acknowledgement of the person entering.

“Why were you gone so long, anyway?” The multiple-voiced person asked.

The first person’s face suddenly changed.

“It’s really hard to find food and other stuff, you know.” They said sadly. “Especially when you’re trying not to be seen.”

They put some bags full of supplies on the floor, pulling out a newspaper from one of them.

They then suddenly switched back to being overly happy. “But guess what little old Dicey managed to find out.” They waved the paper in front of them.

The multi-voiced personal held out a bandage-wrapped hand expectantly. “Let’s see then.” They said.

“Ah, ah, ah.” The first person pulled the newspaper out of their reach. “I said guess.”

“Dice.” They said warningly.

Dice insisted on keeping the newspaper away until it was finally snatched out of their hands.

Dice then flipped extremes again. “Swarm.” She cried. “That’s not fair.”

“Life’s not fair.” Swarm muttered as they began to read the newspaper.

What Dice had most likely been talking about was printed right on the front page of the French newspaper.

‘Old Guard and New Guard, Fighting as One! The Quantic Team’s return!’

On the front, there was a picture of a group of young heroes Swarm didn’t recognise, fighting alongside some older heroes he certainly recognised, against a villain he once again didn’t recognise.

“I guess they survived the final battle after all.” Swarm said, clutching the paper harder.

“They just had to survive.” Dice sobbed. “After all this time of thinking they were dead.”

“Now, now.” Swarm said in false comfort. “We always knew that they could still be about, we don’t exactly have many ways of keeping up with information on heroes like we used to. But, that just means that this time, we can make sure that they’re dead.”

Dice’s face switched back to a large smile. “That’s right, we lure them out and then strike them down. Even with that Ladybird and her team active, they’ll come when they see it’s us. Ooh, and we’ll get to see how much the new heroes are worth.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Swarm agreed. “What do you think, Creature.” He turned to the third member of their group.

Creature growled in agreement.

“Then it’s settled.” Dice said, laughing insanely. “This is going to be so much fun.”


 

Marinette woke up with a sense of foreboding.

From her conversations with Pavo about the powers of the Miraculous, and how they can leak into a wielder’s civilian form, this filled Marinette with worry. She quickly expressed this worry to her Kwami.

“Miraculous powers leaking into their wielder when inactive can be a bit tricky.” Pavo told her. “Especially with stuff like future vision. What you’re feeling could be foretelling of something really bad coming, or it could just be a personal prediction, like you’re going to have a bad day sort of thing. Either way, until we can know which it is, you should be on guard and tell the others to be on guard as well.”

“Got it.” Marinette said.

Marinette then got changed into her day clothes and ate breakfast before heading into the bakery, where she found a surprise waiting for her.

“A-Adrien?” Marinette stuttered when she saw her not-so-secret-to-everyone-but-him crush.

“Hey, Marinette.” Adrien greeted.

“W-what is-are you do-doing here? Not to make it sound that I don’t want you here. But it is a surprise to find you here, in the bakery that is, which is below my home.” Marinette rambled.

“Well, I thought that we could walk to the college together, you know, since we’re friends.” Adrien explained.

“O-oh, o-okay.” Marinette stuttered.

“Ready to go?” Adrien asked.

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Marinette said, blushing as both of them left the bakery.

“I thought that since we’ve revealed our identities to each other, we should get to know each other more in our normal lives.” Adrien said as they walked.

“Oh, right.” Marinette said.

That was right, they had revealed their identities to each other the previous day, Chat Noir was Adrien, Renard Rouge was Nathanael, and Ladybird was a girl from another class named Casey Brook. Despite knowing this, Marinette’s mind still hadn’t quite made the connect just yet, still treating Adrien and Chat Noir as two different people rather than the same person even though it was obvious they were without the perception magic getting in the way anymore. So, it still shocked Marinette to remember who were under the masks. Well, except for Casey, but that was because she didn’t know the girl very well.

Marinette and Adrien arrived at the college to find Nathanael and Casey waiting for them, both looking awkward and uncomfortable as they sat next to each other, not interacting with each other.

“Hey, guys.” Marinette said in greeting as she and Adrien approached them.

“Marinette.” Nathanael said happily.

“Hey.” Casey gave a small wave.

The four of them stood silent for a moment.

“Well, this is awkward. We’re acting like we don’t already know each other.” Casey interjected, a small amused smile on her face.

“Well, technically, we do need to get reacquainted.” Nathanael pointed. “Especially since we only know you from your other self.”

“Thanks for reminding me that I’m the odd one out.” Casey said good-naturedly.

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.” Nathanael quickly apologised.

“Relax, will yah?” Casey told him. “I was only making a joke.”

Nathanael decided not to mention that Casey’s natural mono-tone, another thing about her voice that the team hadn’t noticed before because of the perception magic of the Miraculous, made it hard to understand when she was joking, not wanting to make it seem like he was insulting his ‘new’ friend.

“Maybe we can try and be together for our next year in lycee.” Adrien suggested.

“Oh, I can just imagine that.” Casey said with a small laugh. “Every time an Akuma attacks, four hands shoot up in class, asking to be excused.”

“Hopefully we’ll have defeated Hawkmoth before that can be a problem.” Marinette said.

The others hummed in agreement.

Marinette then remembered the feeling she had gotten that morning and Pavo’s advice.

“Listen, guys, I need to tell you someth-” Marinette started to say.

“Casey, is that you actively talking to people without us?” A voice interrupted her.

The four turned to see some girls standing there, one of which was Sabrina.

“Yes, Bree, I can actually talk to people if I want.” Casey answered the girl at the front with a role of her eyes.

“Oh, I’m so proud of you.” Bree said, hugging Casey. “Making friends all on your own.”

“I feel like a proud parent.” Another one of the girls joked.

“Hugging me.” Casey complained, trying to wiggle out of Bree’s embrace.

Bree, thankfully, let go of her, and Casey straightened out her clothes.

“These are the girls from my Guiding group.” Casey explained to Marinette and the others.

“It’s nice to meet Casey’s new friends.” Bree said happily. “Hey, Nathanael.”

“Hi, Bree.” Nathanael greeted his fellow orchestra member.

“How have you been, Sabrina.” Marinette asked Chloe’s former ‘best friend’.

“I’ve been good, thanks.” Sabrina said. “The girls go out of their way to include me in things.”

“You get used to it.” Casey told her. “It’s a, ‘you will be our friend and hang out with us whether you like it or not’ sort of thing with them.”

“Well, if we left you alone, you wouldn’t hang out with us outside of Guides.” One of the girls defended.

Casey groaned but nodded her head in agreement.

“I’m going to get to class.” Casey said, looking at her watch.

“How about we meet up at lunch?” Marinette suggested, still needing to relay her message.

“Sure.” Casey agreed, walking into the building.

“Don’t worry.” Bree told Marinette, Adrien and Nathanael when she saw their uncertain expressions. “She’s always like that. She does enjoy the company of others and likes to hang out with people, she just has a difficult way of showing it, and she’s an introvert and enjoys have time alone. So, don’t take it personally if she comes off as dismissive, it’s just how she is.”

Adrien sort of already knew what Casey was like this from their conversations as Ladybird and Chat Noir, where she told him she had trouble socialising and knowing how to act around others, and Adrien got the feeling it was because of something that had happened to her, but that the Ladybug Miraculous seemed to give her the capability to get past those hurdles. But to see how Ladybird, Casey, usually acted, was a bit of a shock, especially since he was used to how she acted with him as Ladybird.

“I’m sure we’ll be alright.” Adrien said.

Everyone then went to their own classes before the bell rang, Adrien, Marinette, Nathanael and Sabrina all walking together. Marinette fell back behind the boys to talk with Sabrina.

“How have you really been holding up.” Marinette asked Sabrina quietly.

“It’s been hard.” Sabrina admitted. “But the girls have been there for me, especially Bree, and even Casey. I’ve been tempted to try and make up with Chloe more than once, but Casey’s been keeping me straight, saying that Chloe will just go back to taking advantage of me, and I hate to admit it, but that’s probably true. It’s just, Chloe’s always been my friend.”

“I understand.” Marinette said. “But stay strong. And remember, you have real friends to go to now, and you can even come to me, if you want. As long as you don’t try to do my homework again. Uh, you haven’t tried to do your friend’s homework, have you?”

“Well, I did sort of try.” Sabrina said admittedly. “But the girls were a lot sterner in refusing than you were, and directed me towards activities that could keep me busy instead.”

“That’s good.” Marinette said.

Behind the girls, a certain blond trailed slowly behind, having seen the entire interaction between Sabrina and her friends, and then Marinette and her friends. She looked across the courtyard to where the other girls were disappearing into their own classes, anger building.

“She turned on me for them?” She muttered in disgust.

“Well, how the mighty have fallen.” A voice said from behind her.

Chloe turned around to scowl at Lila.

“Don’t look at me like that.” Lila said, holding her hands up in defence. “You only brought this on yourself.” She said in an impersonation of Chloe, echoing what the blond had said to her after her lies had been revealed.

“Shut up.” Chloe snapped back.

“Is that really the best response you can come up with, usually you’d be doing your Draco Malfoy impression. Pathetic.” Lila laughed. “But I guess you can’t be a princess anymore since all your subjects have deserted you. Anyway, it’s been fun rubbing this in your face, but I don’t want to be late to class.”

Lila walked past Chloe and into the classroom.

Chloe looked at the doors before turning around and leaving in anger.

“How dare she.” Chloe muttered angrily. “Talking about things she has no business talking about. It isn’t fair!”

Chloe then stormed out of the college.


 

Flames were dancing. Well, they seemed to be flames, shades of red and orange moved in an untamed way. But there was also a flash of white. Could flames be white?

The was also music, the tune familiar yet unknown at the same time. It was gentle, like a soft whistling.

The flames were beginning to take shape, but still seemed to remain somehow untamed, swaying to the tune of the music. The flames split into three, orange tipped with white. And behind the flames, more white, but not the white of the flames, from behind that white, a single eye stared out, the piercing blue so stark against the white and the flames.

“Nathanael!” A loud whisper in his ear work him from his daydreaming.

“What?” Nathanael asked sleepily as he looked up.

Nathanael then noticed that the teacher was looking at him pointedly.

“Would you care to answer the question, Nathanael?” Madam Bustier asked.

“Uh…” Nathanael said, trying to work out what the question was.

“Forty-two.” Lila whispered to him.

“Oh, forty-two.” Nathanael answered.

“Forty-two?” Madam Bustier asked, eyebrow raised. “The meaning behind the poem is forty-two?”

Nathanael winced, he forgot that they were doing Literacy, not Maths.

“Please pay attention next time, Nathanael.” Madam Bustier told him.

“Yes, madam.” Nathanael said blushing.

Lila gave a small laugh next to him.

“I will have retribution.” Nathanael promised her quietly.

“It’s your own fault for not paying attention.” Lila replied smugly. “Not get enough sleep or something?”

“What gave it away?” Nathanael asked sarcastically, knowing the bags under his eyes were apparent.

Weird dreams, like what he had just been day-dreaming about, had been plaguing him for the last few days, but they hadn’t interrupted his sleep until now. But last night, Nathanael had woken up after feeling like he was about to be consumed by the flames and had been unable to get back to sleep.

Nathanael had asked Vixx what was happening to him, and the Kwami told him that the Miraculouses tended to give their wielders weird dreams from time to time. But Nathanael had a feeling that there was more to it that Vixx wasn’t explaining.


 

Chloe stalked around her room as she fumed.

“How dare she? How dare they?” She cried. “They have no right!”

She grabbed something and threw it to the floor, not caring what it was.

“They can’t just leave me! I’m the best friend they ever had, I gave them everything, and they just throw it back into my face because of that liar! This wouldn’t have happened if Sabrina hadn’t talked to those girls, they turned her against me, I bet they turned Adrien against me too” Chloe continued to fume.

Chloe then grabbed her phone.

“They deserve to be taught a lesson!”


 

Inside his lair, Hawkmoth stood with his butterflies around him, taking in the negative emotions.

“Ah, Chloe Bourgeois.” He said. “Such rage, perhaps Antibug deserves a second chance.”

Hawkmoth held up his hand for a butterfly but then dropped it in thought.

“However, rage it a girl such as her, it is bound to cause more as she takes action. Perhaps I should wait for one of her inevitable victims rather than herself.” He pondered.

The way he felt her emotions, and knowing how many victims Chloe had presented to him, he knew that her next ‘offering’ would be bountiful.

Though, as Hawkmoth monitored Chloe, he noticed something strange about her emotions, they were true emotions, but they seemed almost too big. But he dismissed that, the bigger and the anger Chloe was, the bigger the fall out would be when she decided to act.


 

Chloe dialled a number on her phone, it wasn’t saved in her contacts, but she had memorised the number by heart, for when she needed certain things done to get her way.

“Hello?” The phone was answered.

“It’s Queen.” Chloe said.

Something that she learned from her father when dealing with these sort of people, don’t let them know who you are so you can’t be blackmailed or traced if they get caught, everything was to be done anonymously.

“Ah, my lovely client.” The voice said. “What can I be doing for you today?”

“Information, and then action.” Chloe said. “There’s a girl by the name of Sabrina Raincomprix at Francoise Dupont, class 4B. Recently, she has made a group of friends. I want to know who they are, names, where they live, exact locker numbers, everything.”

“We can do that for you.” The voice said. “And what is the action you want to take?”

“That will come after you call back with the information I want.”

“Of course. And our payment?”

“Same as usual.”

“Fine by me. We’ll be in touch.”

The other line went dead and Chloe hung up herself.

“Once I know who they are, they’ll pay for turning them against me, as well as that liar.” Chloe promised.

Outside Chloe’s room, hidden on her balcony, a figure stood, peaking in at Chloe with a frozen grin.

“Still no Akuma?” The figure heard through their headset.

“No.” The figure said, her voice unhinged. “But we may get one yet. And I barely need to do anything.”


 

The bell rang and Marinette’s class packed up for lunch.

“Do you want to go somewhere for lunch?” Alya asked her.

“Sorry, Alya.” Marinette rejected. “But I have other plans right now. Uh, dance practice.”

Alya shrugged. “It’s fine.” She said.

Alya then walked over to Nino, the couple exchanged some brief words before leaving together.

Marinette was then startled when Adrien turned to her.

“So, where are we going?” He asked.

“Huh, uh, what?” Marinette stumbled over her words.

“You said we’d meet up to tell us something.” Adrien said. “Where should we go?”

“Well, uh, I guess we could go to mine, uh, my place.” Marinette said.

“We’ll need to find L-Casey first.” Nathanael said as he came to a stop by Marinette’s desk, momentarily stumbling over Casey’s name.

“Wh-oh, yeah.” Adrien said, remembering who the name referred to.

Marinette let out a long sigh.

“This is going to take some time to get used to.” She said.

The boys nodded in agreement.

The three of them walked out of their classroom, looking around as they made their way to the courtyard.

“Did we tell Casey where to meet?” Nathanael asked.

Adrien and Marinette shook their heads.

“Hopefully, she’ll be waiting at the doors.” Adrien offered.

Sure enough, they found Casey sitting on one of the steps outside of the college, staring at her phone as she obviously waited for them.

Adrien grinned and crept as quietly as he could towards her.

“Don’t even think about it.” Casey said without looking up.

Adrien slumped with a pout and Casey looked up at him, unimpressed.

“You forget that I know you, Bagpuss.” She said.

Casey pushed herself to her feet and looked at her three fellow de-powered heroes.

“So, what are we doing?” She asked.

“We’re going to my place.” Marinette said.

Marinette led the way and a quick trip down the pavement and across the street led them to her home, they entered through the side entrance and walked all the way up to the living quarters above the Dupain-Cheng bakery.

“Ah!” Marinette suddenly exclaimed. “I just remembered my room is a bit of a mess, please wait here while I tidy up.”

Then, quicker than their eyes could track, Marinette raced up the stairs and into her room.

Adrien, Nathanael and Casey looked at each other in confusion and shrugged at the repeat of Marinette’s reaction to the previous time they came to her house.

After grabbing everything Adrien related in her room, with the help of Pavo, and hiding it away, Marinette invited her teammates up into her room. They were soon sat in a circle, eating some baked goods from the bakery while their Kwamis played chase with each other.

“So, what did you need to tell us?” Adrien asked.

“Well, I’ve been getting this feeling that something bad is going to happen.” Marinette explained, suddenly feeling embarrassed that she’d invited them all over, especially Adrien, because of a feeling. “And Pavo explained that it could be the foresight powers of my Miraculous seeping into me.”

“So, something bad could actually happen?” Nathanael asked.

Marinette nodded.

“Do you think it’s linked to what Fu warned us about?” Casey asked.

“It’s possible.” Pavo answered as he came to a stop. “Though, if it is, that means the trouble is closer than we thought, the Peacock usually predicts the close future.”

The four heroes frowned.

“That’s not good.” Adrien said. “Do we have any idea what form it’s going to take.”

Marinette shook her head. “All I got was a feeling of foreboding, I don’t know if it’s Hawkmoth, something new, or even a natural disaster.”

“Then we’ll just have to be on guard.” Casey decided. “Stick to patrols and keep our eyes out for anything suspicious. Until we know more, it’s the best we can do.”

“Right.” The others agreed.

“Do you think Fu’s going to give out another Miraculous when whatever is going to happen happens?” Adrien asked.

The others shrugged.

“It will probably depend on how strong whatever happens is.” Nathanael answered. “Remember what Void and Wisp told us about universal balance? Adding another hero could only end up making things worse.”

Casey nodded. “We’re still waiting to see if there is going to be any fallout from the Quantic Team helping us against the Collector.”

Marinette gasped. “I think the foreboding feeling is tied to that fallout.” She said.

“Are you sure?” Adrien asked.

“I-I don’t know.” Marinette said, hand moving to where her Miraculous was pinned to her shirt. “It just feels right.”

“Then it probably is.” Pavo told her. “A Peacock should always trust her instincts.”

“Even more reason to be on our toes then.” Casey said.

The rest of the Kwamis eventually finished their game and settled down next to their chosen to eat, Tikki munched on her cookies happily and Pavo popped grape after grape in his mouth, the other two Kawmis were left to make do as Marinette didn’t have their favourite foods, both given a small plate of leftover chicken.

“Come on, no camembert?” Plagg questioned unhappily.

“Not everyone buys that stinky cheese, Plagg.” Adrien told his Kwami.

“How can anyone deny the magnificent taste of camembert?” Plagg bemoaned.

“Easily.” Responded half the people and Kwamis in the room.

They then all laughed while Plagg sulked.

The four of them continued to eat their lunch while talking to each other on different subjects until they somehow ended up on the subject of Sabrina.

“She’s fitting in with the other girls.” Casey said. “We’re all doing our part to keep her straight and make sure she doesn’t regress.”

“You’re very passionate about this.” Marinette noticed.

Casey nodded. “I was sort of in a similar situation to Sabrina when I was younger.” She explained. “More than once actually. So attached to having a friend that I ignored how bad they were.”

The others frowned in sympathy.

“You got out of them, right?” Adrien asked in concern.

Casey nodded to his relief.

“I eventually got the courage to call off those ‘friendships’ permanently, it was hard, and I got used to not having friends after that.” Casey gave a small laugh without much energy behind it. “It was a big shock when the other girls grabbed on and refused to let go, but I’m glad they did. And now, we’re doing the same for Sabrina.”

Casey’s eyes suddenly widened when she found herself being hugged.

“I’m sorry that you had to go through that.” Marinette said, squeezing Casey.

Casey didn’t say anything as she shifted uncomfortably.

Behind the group, Tikki giggled.

“What’s so funny?” Vixx asked.

“My chosen isn’t very big on affection, especially hugs.” Tikki explained.

“Ha!” Trix laughed.

She remembered more than a few of her chosen having the same aversion to affection.

“Well, she better get used to it, Marinette is an affectionate girl.” Pavo said, grinning.

To Casey’s relief, she was eventually released for Marinette’s hold.

“I’m worried about just one thing, though.” Nathanael said.

“What?” Casey asked.

“Chloe.” Nathanael answered. “You know she’s not going to take this lying down.”

“She’s not?” Casey asked.

“The girl just both of her ‘friends’ in one go, so she’s going to be angry.” Vixx pointed out.

“Oh, yeah, she has a history of forcing things to go her way.” Casey recalled from rumours that circled around the college, having been lucky enough never to be on the receiving end of the blonde’s ire. “Think she’s going to become an Akuma or cause an Akuma?”

“Come on, she won’t go that far, will she?” Adrien offered.

“You’re holding onto denial, kid.” Plagg said.

“She’s caused a fair share of Akumas, including myself.” Nathanael pointed out.

“Marinette?” Adrien turned to the only one left yet to say something.

“I’m going to have to agree with them, sorry Adrien.” Marinette said apologetically. “I’ve known Chloe for years, when things don’t go her way, she’ll make them go her way, usually to the detriment to everyone else.”

Adrien sighed in defeat. “I know.” He admitted.

Casey and Nathanael reached over and patted his shoulders reassuringly.

“You’re right, though.” Casey told Nathanael. “We need to be prepared for Chloe to do something, or the return of Antibug.”

“Be careful, Chloe practically has a choke hold on the college, she always threatens principle Damocles with calls to her father if he doesn’t bend to her will.” Nathanael warned.

“She got Alya suspended for looking in her locker, I’d hate to know what she’s going to do to you.” Marinette agreed.

Casey didn’t look too worried. “My dad can deal with it if she tries to pull the mayor into it, trust me.” She said confidently.

“Are you sure?” Marinette asked. “I don’t want you and the other girls to end up expelled or something.”

“I’m sure.” Casey reassured.

As the girls had been speaking, Nathanael had glanced at his phone.

“Woah, we better finish up, Casey, orchestra is starting soon.” He said.

Casey looked at her own phone and sighed.

“How’s your songs coming along?” Marinette asked as Nathanael and Casey finished their food.

“We’re almost done with the current song and have started the next.” Nathanael answered.

“It’s murder on my fingers.” Casey commented.

“You’re doing the music for the dance show too?” Marinette asked.

“All of orchestra is.” Casey answered.

“Oh, you should practice with us too.” Marinette suggested happily.

“What?” Casey asked.

“I’m one of the dancers, and Nathanael and I practice together, he plays music while I dance to it. You should join us.” Marinette said.

“Yeah, sounds good.” Casey said, shrugging.

“Great.” Marinette smiled.

“See you later.” Nathanael and Casey called as they left with their Kwamis.

Marinette then became very aware that she had been left on her own with Adrien, even Pavo and Plagg had disappeared to places unknown.

“So, how long do you have left until your performance?” Adrien asked.

“Oh, uh, just a few weeks, but we’ve got positions and stuff down, it’s just a matter or practice.” Marinette answered nervously. “We have dress rehearsals soon.”

“Cool. What’s your role?” Adrien asked.

“Nothing important, Chinese dance is more about the group than an individual standing out.” Marinette said.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll stand out. I’ll definitely be there, cheering you on.” Adrien said.

“Y-you will?” Marinette stammered.

“Of course, you’re my friend and teammate Marinette, I wouldn’t miss something so important.” Adrien smiled.

Adrien’s phone beeped before Marinette could respond.

“Speaking of missing something, I’ve got to go or I’ll miss fencing practice.” Adrien said, standing. “See you later, Marinette, and thanks for the food.”

Plagg appeared from wherever he had been hiding and flew into Adrien’s shirt pocket as he disappeared out of Marinette’s room.

Marinette sighed happily as she lay back on her floor.

“He said he’d be there to watch me perform.” She said dreamily.

“It’s the perfect chance to show off your colours.” Pavo said.

“What?” Marinette asked.

“Shake your feathers, attract him, show him why you should be his mate.” Pavo elaborate, Marinette growing redder with each description.

“Please stop saying words.” Marinette moaned, covering her red face with her hands.


 

Chloe looked at the list of names on her phone that she had been sent, all of whom where presumably Sabrina’ new friends. She then pressed dial on her phone again.

“It’s Queen again.” She said. “Now that you have the names of these girls, I want you to plant evidence on them, as well as on a girl also at the college by the name of Lila Rossi.”

“What sort of evidence?” The voice asked.

“I don’t care.” Chloe answered. “Steal valuable and noticeable things and put them in their lockers, vandalise properly and lead it back to them, anything that will get them in deep and inescapable trouble.”

“Got it. We’ll make sure these girls look guiltier than guilty.”

“Make sure you do.”

Chloe then hung up, using her phone to then make a transaction to an untraceable account.

“And now, I wait.” She said smugly.

Grabbing her bag, Chloe made her way back to college, she wanted to be there for the firework show and to fan the flames.

Outside Chloe’s window, the mysterious figure continued to grin and gave a manic giggle, looking forward to the firework show herself.


 

Nathanael and Casey sat together in the music room where the orchestra was gathered, tuning their instruments while they waited for everyone to arrive.

“You’re pretty calm for someone Chloe’s going to target.” Nathanael commented.

“If she attempts anything through her dad, my dad will deal with it.” Casey repeated her earlier statement.

“How, is he a government official or something?” Nathanael asked.

“Or something.” Casey answered with a grin that told Nathanael he wouldn’t be getting a straight answer from her.

“Hey, guys.” Bree said as she arrived and sat down next to them. “What are you talking about?”

“Chloe Bourgeois.” Casey answered. “Oh, that reminds me, Nathanael says that we should be on the lookout for her trying something because she lost Sabrina.”

“But, we didn’t do anything.” Bree said in confusion. “It was her own actions that made Sabrina not want to be friends.”

“That’s the logic of Chloe for you.” Nathanael said with a shrug. “She never takes responsibility.”

Orchestra soon began and everyone played the music provided for them on their music sheets, each song in a different style for each dance group they’d be working with, but halfway through one of the final songs, it came to an abrupt end with the out of tune sound of a guitar.

Everyone turned to look at Casey as she hissed and nursed a finger in her mouth, looking scornfully at her guitar which had one of the strings snapped in half.

“Are you alright?” Nathanael asked his friend.

“Yeah, nothing cut.” Casey answered, taking her finger out her mouth, which was only red from touching the string as it snapped. “I’ll need a new string though.”

Casey reached into her guitar case and rummaged around, frowning when she came up with nothing.

“I’m sure I had some.” She said. “They must be in my locker.” She told the teacher.

“You can go get them.” The orchestra teacher told her.

Casey nodded as left the music room, shortly after the orchestra started the song from the beginning.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Tikki asked, flying out of Casey’s pocket as she walked down the halls.

“Yeah. See?” Casey held up her finger for Tikki to inspect. “It’s just bruised, it’ll go away eventually, I’ll just have to use my pick until my finger heals.”

Casey reached the locker room and ran her hand over the lockers and she made her way towards her one, she then stopped suddenly and frowned.

“What is it?” Tikki asked.

“Someone’s been messing with our lockers.” Casey said.

She raced over to her locker and inspected it, there were no signs of anything wrong with it, but one touch showed her that someone had done something to it only a few minutes ago. Opening her locker, there was once again nothing obviously wrong with the inside of her locker, everything was where she left it, but she knew there was something wrong. Digging through her things, it turned out she was right, as she emerged from her locker holding an expensive looking necklace that she definitely didn’t own.

“Who would put this here.” Casey asked.

The intercom then suddenly came on.

“I want every student to report to the courtyard, immediately!” Ordered Mr Damocles, sounding very angry.

“Oh no.” Casey said.

She looked back at the necklace in her hand and gained and idea of why it had appeared in her locker.

“Tikki, hide this.” She told the Kwami, handing her the necklace.

“Why.” Tikki asked.

“Because someone’s trying to frame me for theft.” Casey answered.

Casey then walked off to join everyone in the courtyard as ordered while Tikki flew off with the necklace.


 

“What’s going on?” One student asked.

“I don’t know.” Another answered.

“Mr Damocles looks really angry.” Commented another.

The students who were already in college were gathered in the courtyard, and since it was almost the end of lunch, the remaining students were beginning to trickle back into school and were also gathered in the courtyard. Mr Damocles and the other teachers were all gathered in front of the students, as well as a few students who looked very upset. The teachers didn’t say anything until the class bell rang and all of the college students were gathered in the courtyard.

“Nathanael, Casey, what’s going on?” Marinette asked as she found and made her way over to them.

“My best guess, a few things have gone missing and are going to turn up in lockers.” Casey said, anger in her tone.

“How do you know?” Adrien asked, who had also just arrived.

“Because I found a necklace in my locker, which had been broken into. Someone tried to frame me.” Casey said.

Marinette gasped. “Oh no.”

“Marinette, do you know what’s going on?” Alya asked as she and Nino made their way through the crowd towards them.

“Hopefully not what Casey predicted.” Marinette answered.

“What?” Alya asked.

They were cut off by Mr Damocles stepping forward and speaking loudly.

“During this lunch break, not only have several valuable items belonging to both students and staff gone missing, but the college grounds have also been vandalised!” He said. “Now, I want those guilty to step forward! Or are we going to have to involve the police?”

Everyone looked around at each other, but no one came forward.

“Very well!” Mr Damocles called. “We will bring the police into solve this matter, and until it is resolved, you will all remain here!”

The students groaned as one of the teachers left, presumably to contact the police.

“Whoever stole the stuff, tried to frame me.” Casey said.

“And with how much was stolen as well as vandalised, you can’t be the only one being framed.” Marinette agreed.

“You don’t think it was…?” Adrien didn’t want to finish the question.

“If it was, she’s going to regret it.” Casey promised darkly.

“If it was Chloe who did it, Bree could also have something in her locker.” Nathanael said in worry.

“Hold up.” Alya said. “What’s going on? Who’s trying to frame you?”

“No time, we need to find the other girls and warn them.” Casey said, pushing her way through the crowd of students.

“What?” Nino questioned.

“Sabrina’s new friends.” Marinette elaborated. “They’re getting framed. We need to find them and Sabrina to warn them.”

“Okay.” Alya said.

They separated and made their way through the students, they found Sabrina and managed to tell her about the plan, but only one of the other girls before the police officer arrived, stopping them from moving around to find the others.

“I will give one more chance for the culprits to come forward!” Mr Damocles called.

No one came forward.

“Very well, go to your classes and wait to be called for inspection!”

With nothing left to do, they were forced back to their classes and then called one by one to empty their pockets and open their lockers for inspection.

And as predicted, the evidence turned up in the lockers of everyone from Casey and Sabrina’s guiding unit, with the exception of the two of them, as well as Lila’s.

“This isn’t fair, they’re not believing that we didn’t do it!” Bree fumed, tears gathering in her eyes.

The entire guiding unit, including Casey and Sabrina, and Lila were gathered outside the principal’s office, all but the two girls unable to leave until their parents came. They were trying their best to comfort each other from the frightening experience of getting in trouble for such a crime, but Bree was taking it the worst.

“The entire unit has been framed except for us.” Sabrina said to Casey.

“Actually, except for you.” Casey corrected her. “I just managed to find the necklace that was planted in my locker before it was found.”

“And you didn’t think to warn us?” Lila accused, clearly agitated.

“I didn’t have the time.” Casey defended herself.

“Why would someone do this to us?” One of the girls, Macey, asked.

“Who would do this to us?” Bree added.

“Unfortunately, I have an idea.” Casey said.

She looked pointedly at Sabrina.

“Sabrina?” The other girls questioned.

“Me?” Sabrina questioned. “But why would I…” She trailed off, realising Casey wasn’t accusing her. “You…you think it was Chloe?” She asked.

Casey didn’t say anything, she didn’t need to.

“Of course.” Lila said.

“But, why would she…?” Sabrina attempted to defend her former friend feebly.

“Why wouldn’t she?” Lila responded. “She’s a horrid person with no regard for others, and always makes things go her way because of her ‘daddy’. And we gave her a ‘reason’ to.”

“What reason? We didn’t do anything.” Bree repeated from earlier, tears spilling over.

“Hey, now, it’s going to be okay.” Another of the girls, Ali, comforted her.

“No, it’s not.” Bree cried. “We’re going to get expelled because of this, and it’s going to go on my school record for every employer to see.”

“I caught Chloe looking at your group none to happily this morning, she clearly didn’t like that you were friends.” Lila told Sabrina. “And I may have rubbed it in her face as revenge for tearing up my picture, but it wasn’t anything she didn’t deserve. Face it, she’s the reason we’re all here.”

“I…need to think about this.” Sabrina said, walking off.

“Uh, should I go after her?” Casey questioned.

“I think she needs some time on her own.” Ali told her.

“Meanwhile, we’re still left with the problem of being expelled because of Bourgeois’ pettiness.” Lila griped.

Bree sobbed while the girls tried their best to comfort her, she was obviously not taking any of it well.

“Can we tell them that Chloe is behind this?” Macey asked.

“With what evidence?” Lila asked in return. “It’s just our word against hers.”

“And since she’s the mayor’s daughter, they’re obviously going to believe her word over ours.” Bree added bitterly.

Casey stood up straight, her eyes hard.

“Not if we take her father out of the equation.” She said.

She then turned and left, leaving behind the confused and upset girls.


 

Hawkmoth grinned as he called forth a butterfly.

“I knew my patience would bare such evil fruits.” He said, infusing the butterfly with corruption. “Fly, my Akuma, and take your pick.”

The Akuma flew out of the window and into Paris, towards the familiar rout to the college.


 

Casey stalked through Paris, her hands clenched in anger.

“What are you doing?” Tikki asked, poking her head out of Casey’s jacket.

“Making sure that that witch can’t use her father to get her way.” Casey said.

“You aren’t going to hurt him, are you?” Tikki asked cautiously.

There were many chosen of all the Miraculous who become susceptible to evil through revenge, and Tikki feared for Casey becoming vulnerable if she did anything to the mayor.

“No.” Casey answered to the Kwami’s relief. “But my father does have something that will make him yield.”

Tikki realised that Casey was traveling the path towards home, but then she spotted something else.

“Casey, look!” The Kwami pointed.

Casey looked up and gasped when she saw an Akuma flying overhead, heading back the way she had come from, towards the college, where her friends were.

“No!” Casey cried, turning around and running after the Akuma.

Casey ran as fast as she could, paying no mind to the stitch forming in her side, but the Akuma was faster and disappeared inside the college just as she reached the front steps. She charged up the steps and into the courtyard, and then up the stairs that led to the principal’s office, and her heart dropped when she heard the cries as she approached.

“Bree, no!”

“Snap out of it!”

“Don’t listen to him!”

Casey reached her friends and saw Bree sitting where she had been left, a glowing butterfly symbol in front of her face.

“Yes, Hawkmoth!” Bree said before Casey could do anything.

A black bubbling mass enveloped Bree, and when it disappeared, Hawkmoth’s newest villain stood in her place. She wore what was similar to a traditional guiding uniform, including a sash full of badges and beret, but the uniform was darker in colour and unnaturally tight, Bree herself was also thinner, a black butterfly painted over her eyes and her hair pulled into platted pigtails, she also floated.

Casey began to back up, she need to find somewhere to transform.

“We have been wronged.” Bree announced. “And now it is time to set the world right again. Because we are Girl Guides, and we will always lend a hand.”

Coming out of Akumatised-Bree’s mouth, Casey hadn’t realised how threatening those words could sound.

“Time to join me and make your promises.” Bree added, holding up metal badges that had butterflies in place of the usual Girl Guide clover.

None of the girls had time to escape as the badges were thrown and homed in on them. Not even Casey.

All she had enough time to register was the pain in her ears as she yanked out her earrings before the badge pinned itself to her shirt and enveloped her in purple light.

Chapter Text

Sabrina panted as she ran, ducking into an alley and hiding behind a bin as many figures ran past, making her sigh in relief.

The Akuma attack had amassed before anyone could register it, since the Akuma and her minions hadn’t looked much different to Girl Guides in uniforms, no one had realised that it wasn’t a parade by the Girl Guides until a large number of people had been converted into Guide-minions, or the boy scout equivalent. Now those that had turned were running about, pinning those transforming badges on anyone who was young enough to be a Guide or Scout, it seemed like the adults were left out of becoming minions.

Sabrina had seen the attack before it reached her and immediately ran, which was a good thing since the minions seemed really determined to turn her, and she had also managed to get a glimpse of the minions at the centre of the attack, her heart dropping when she recognised them as her friends and Guiding group.

“This is terrible.” Sabrina cried as quietly as she could, not wanting to alert anyone to her presence.

Her new friends had been turned into an Akumatised minions, and if what Casey and Lila said was true, her ex-best friend, Chloe was the cause behind it. Why else would the Akuma be Guiding-themed if it wasn’t one of her unit?

There wasn’t any sign of the heroes of Paris yet either, though they had to arrive soon with how much ruckus was going on.

“I need to get out of here.” Sabrina said to herself.

But how could she get past the minions without being spotted?

Sabrina was so focused on the exit to the alleyway she hid in and trying to contemplate a method of escape, that she forgot that the alleyway had another entrance and so didn’t see the figure coming up behind her.

Sabrina cries of surprise were muffled by the hand that clapped over her mouth. She spun around and was horrified to see one of the Akuma’s minions staring at her, she tried to run away but a hand grabbed her arm and the other hand remained over her mouth to keep her quiet, she struggled as hard as she could against the grip.

“Will you stop?” The minion ordered. “I’m not one of them.”

Sabrina stopped struggling to look at the minion in suspicion, her eyes then widened as she recognised them.

“Casey?” Sabrina asked, her words muffled by the hand over her mouth.

Casey smiled back reassuringly. “Yeah, it’s me. See?” She said, removing her hand and releasing her grip.

Sabrina scanned the girl and saw that Casey’s eyes were still their usual clear green, rather than the dull, off-coloured eyes of those under the Akuma’s control.

“But, how?” Sabrina questioned.

“I don’t know.” Casey shrugged. “Maybe Bree forgot to add the mind control to my badge.”

Casey picked at the badge pinned to the shirt of her uniform, it gave no indication of coming off.

“So, Bree’s the one who got Akumatised then?” Sabrina asked sadly.

Casey looked away as she nodded.

“She puts a lot of pressure on herself and doesn’t take bad things happening to her very well, getting into trouble like that when she tries her best to always be good, I guess it was too much for her.” Casey explained. “Now Hawkmoth’s turned her into ‘Ranger’.”

“Well, Ladybird and the others will have to show up soon and will stop her, and then everything will return to normal.” Sabrina said, trying to reassure herself.

“I wouldn’t count on that.” Casey muttered.

“What?” Sabrina asked, having not heard clearly.

“Nothing.” Casey said. “Anyway, we need to get you out of here, the others are looking for you to complete the group, and they’re going to come across you if you keep hiding here.”

“Get away from her!” A familiar voice commanded.

Casey grunted as her arms were pulled behind her back and she was dragged away from Sabrina.

“I’m sorry Casey, but I can’t let you hurt anyone.” Paonne said as she kept a tight hold on her friend.

Casey struggled against her grip.

“Knock it off, I’m not being controlled.” She protested.

“What?” Paonne asked.

“It’s true, Casey isn’t being controlled by the Akuma.” Sabrina defended her.

Paonne spun Casey around and looked at her, sighing in relief when she saw her clear eyes.

“How come you aren’t under the Akuma’s control, though?” Paonne asked.

Casey shrugged again.

“Just lucky, I guess.” She answered. “Though, I have run into a problem with being unable to change my wardrobe.”

“What?” Paonne asked, not getting the meaning of her words.

Casey sighed and looked over at Sabrina, and then sighed again.

“I can’t transform like this.” She offered bluntly.

“Casey!” Paonne exclaimed, looking over at Sabrina, who looked back in confusion.

“There’s not any time right now.” Casey said. “Besides, she’ll only know about me. But Paris needs a Ladybird, to fight alongside Chat, to purify the Akuma, and right now I can’t be that Ladybird.”

“Wait, what?” Sabrina asked. “You’re Ladybird?” She pointed at Casey.

“Uh…” Paonne was stuck as what to say.

“Yes, I’m Ladybird, but keep it to yourself. Alright?” Casey told Sabrina sternly.

Sabrina nodded quickly.

“Why aren’t you out stopping Bree, then?” Sabrina asked nervously.

“Because this thing-” Casey pulled at the badge that had transformed her. “Seems to be blocking my Miraculous.” She told Paonne.

Casey stuck her hand into the pocket her uniform had fortunately came with and withdrew it with her fist clenched, she then opened her hand and presented it to Paonne. On her hand sat a pair of red earrings with black spots.

“Which is why I need you to use them.” She said.

“I-I-don’t know.” Paonne struggled to respond. “You think I can be Ladybird?”

“Just for today, like I said, someone needs to use them. And it’s either you, or her.” Casey indicated her head towards Sabrina.

“I guess so.” Paonne admitted defeat, taking the earrings. “I’ll be quick.”

Paonne then disappeared out of the alleyway.

“So, out with it then.” Casey turned to Sabrina. “I know you’ve got questions.”

“You’re Ladybird.” Sabrina said.

“Yes, as we’ve established.” Casey responded.

“But…how? Why?” Sabrina asked.

“That’s a little tricky to explain.” Casey answered. “The most I think I can say is that I was chosen to use the Ladybug Miraculous to fight against the evils of Hawkmoth.”

“Does anyone else know?”

“With the exception of my teammates, and now you, no.”

“Are…you alright with that?”

Sabrina could see how knowing who Ladybird was could be a danger, especially if she became upset enough to become Vanisher again.

“It’ll be fine, as long as you can keep quiet about it that is.” Casey fixed Sabrina with a look.

For a brief moment, Sabrina felt threatened by the intensity behind Casey’s eyes, but then the girl smiled.

“But, I’m sure you can.” She said.

There was a sudden thud, and the two girls turned their head to see that Paonne had returned, struggling to remain balance from her landing. Instead of her usual blue and green, Paonne was dressed in red and black, the costume was also less detailed than Casey’s, being a plain red unitard with black spots and mask.

“This feels weird.” She commented.

She then walked over to Casey and handed her something, the Peacock Miraculous.

“Pavo said not to wear two at once, so I need you to look after it for me.” She said.

“Will do.” Casey agreed.

Paonne, now Ladybug, nodded and then took the yoyo from around her waist, she took a moment to figure it out before throwing, and then yelping as she was suddenly yanked away by the weapon/mode of transport.

Casey laughed, remembering her own first experiences with using the yoyo.

She then let out a long sigh, looking at the Miraculous in her hands before shoving it in her pocket.

“Well, no use hanging around here.” She told Sabrina. “We best find a place to hide.”


 

“Where are the girls?” Renard Rouge grunted as he avoided an attack.

“No idea.” Chat Noir answered. “But they’ll get here, eventually, they might not have noticed yet.”

“This isn’t exactly something that can be easily ignored.” Renard responded.

Ranger and her minions were making a lot of commotion, so Renard was right in that it would be hard to ignore.

Ranger and her minions were also very hard to fight, especially with just the two of them. They drew their power from the badges on their sashes, whatever their badge was about they would be able to do it and use it as an attack. The newly turned minions weren’t so bad, having no badges to draw skills from, but Ranger herself and her main minions, who Renard guessed were the rest of the local guiding unit, had plenty of badges to draw power from and were the ones the boys had to keep their eyes on. There was also something about the main minions all being the local Guiding unit that made the boys feel alarmed, though they couldn’t work out why, they didn’t exactly have the time to think about it while dodging attacks.

“Oh, this is going to hurt.” Chat commented as he saw the attack coming towards him with no conceivable way of dodging in time.

Chat then let out a sudden whoosh of air as something wrapped around his middle and pulled him violently back, out of the way of the attack. He groaned as he was given a rough landing.

“Sorry, I’m not used to this yet.” A familiar voice said.

Renard and Chat looked over, expecting to see Paonne, but were met with red and black instead of blue and green.

“Paonne?” The boys asked in confusion when they saw the girl behind the mask.

“Hey.” She said awkwardly.

“Why are you wearing Ladybird’s Miraculous?” Renard asked.

“Where’s your Miraculous? Where’s Ladybird?” Chat asked in worry.

“She’s…unavailable at the moment.” Ladybug said. “But she’s perfectly fine, and my Miraculous is with her.”

The boys breathed a sigh of relief, which quickly turned into exclamations as they remembered that they were in the middle of a battle.

“Woah.” They narrowly avoided the attack.

“Which is the Akuma?” Ladybug asked.

“The one floating above everyone.” Renard pointed at the Akuma. “We can’t get close enough to work out the item, though.”

“She wouldn’t have been Akumatised while in uniform, considering the situation, so it’ll have to be an item that goes against her aesthetic.” Ladybug concluded.

“And how do we get near her?” Renard asked. “Her minions are doing a good job and making us keep our distance.”

“How good are your illusions for us?” Ladybug asked.

“As good as they’re probably going to get, convincing enough from a distance, obvious up close, I can’t get the eyes right.” Renard said, gesturing to his eyes.

“We’re going to need something else, you’ve used that trick so many times that Hawkmoth will be wise to it.” Chat said, shaking his head. “Plus, I can’t see a way of getting enough alone time from the ladies to make the switch.”

“I could try and flood the area with clones, and we could go for the Akuma in the confusion.” Renard offered.

Ladybug shook her head.

“It’ll use up too much of your energy.” She said. “And we’re already down one hero.”

“How else are we going to get past them though?” Chat Noir asked. “One of us playing bait?”

“Look out!” Ladybug shouted instead of answering.

The three heroes leapt away avoid a large attack.

“Spread out, thin the protection around the Akuma!” Ladybug quickly came up with.

The male heroes nodded as they ran off in separate directions, a group of minions following each of them.

“What I wouldn’t give to be able to turn invisible.” Renard muttered to himself as he ran.


 

Sabrina watched Casey pace around the room, frustration clear on the minionised-hero’s face. The two of them were currently hidden in the basement of the college, since the Akuma had already been there and so had no reason to return. There was the sound of a distant explosion and Casey frowned even harder as she looked in its direction.

“Ugh!” She cried out in frustration. “I should be out there! Doing something!”

“I sure Paonne of the other heroes will manage.” Sabrina tried to reassure.

“They’ll have to without me, or the Peacock Miraculous, there.” Casey grunted, leaning against the wall before sliding down to sit on the ground.

Casey took out the Peacock Miraculous from her pocket and stared at it, Pavo was locked away inside it for now, hoping it could give her some sort of answer.

“The uniforms are the same as ours.” Sabrina suddenly said.

“What?” Casey looked up at her.

“Your uniform, it’s the same as ours with only a few differences.” Sabrina elaborated. “If I wear one, I could pull off already being turned, then we wouldn’t have to hide.”

“Sabrina, that’s very risky, if we got found out, you’d be turned for real.” Casey warned.

“You want to sit here and do nothing then?” Sabrina asked.

“No…” Casey sighed.

Of course she wanted to do something, but the unwritten hero code said not to get civilians involved.

Sabrina walked over to Casey and knelt down in front of her, taking the hero’s hands in hers.

“They’re my friends, you’ve all helped me so much. And I want to help them now, I want to be able to do whatever I can to help.” Sabrina told her.

Casey looked at the determination in Sabrina’s eyes and sighed in defeat.

“Fine, but if I tell you to run, you run, don’t go doing anything suicidal.” She said.

Sabrina smiled. “Deal.” She said.

“Alright, the uniform shop isn’t that far from here, I’ll fetch you a uniform and meet you in the arts room to make the changes to it.”

Sabrina nodded as the two of them snuck out of the basement, keeping an eye out for any lingering minions, Sabrina then ran to the arts room of the college while Casey went outside to make her way to the uniform shop, blending in with the other minions patrolling the streets.


 

Renard hid behind a skip as Ranger’s minions ran past, chasing a shadow that they thought was his, but was really an illusion he managed to create without them noticing, sighing in relief at finally escaping them. He then pressed a finger to his ear, where the communication ear piece his flute had given him rested.

“Alright, I’ve lost my lot.” He said. “What about you?”

“Just about.” Ladybug answered.

“I’ve managed to hide, but they’re still wandering around looking for me.” Chat answered.

“I’m going back to the Akuma before the minions realise I’ve lost them and head back to her, meet me there when you can.” Renard said, peaking out of his hiding spot before running back the way he came.

“Alright, we’ll see you there.” Ladybug agreed.

As Renard ran, he passed by a large window, catching sight of someone running in the reflection from the corner of his eye. From his brief view, he caught sight of long white hair and a deep orange costume, before he passed the window and the reflection was gone. He turned quickly and ran back to the window, but all that was showing in the reflection was his own, no white-haired figure.

“What was that?” Renard Rouge asked, looking around.

But he saw nothing and continued on his way back to the Akuma.

He snuck his way around corners until he reached the centre of the chaos, Ranger floated through the streets, only a few minions around her now, a more manageable number once his teammates hopefully arrived.

“I could really use some back up.” Renard said, wondering if he would have to start the attack alone.

“Here.” Chat said, appearing behind him, causing Renard to jump slightly.

“A little more warning next time.” Renard snapped quietly at him.

Chat’s grin told Renard that he wasn’t sorry.

“Where’s Paonne…uh, Ladybug?” Renard asked, wondering what to call their teammate now that she was using a different Miraculous.

“I’m here.” Ladybug’s voice came through their communicators.

“Where?” The boys looked around.

“Just across from you.”

“Alright, so, what’s the plan?” Renard asked.

“Chat Noir and I will attack. Renard Rouge, you scan her and try and find the possessed object, and try to get it if you can, while we distract her.”

“Roger.”

“Alright, Chat. In three, two, one!”

Ladybug and Chat burst out of their hiding spots with their weapons at the ready, attacking the minions as they came at them, and attracting the attention of Ranger. Meanwhile, Renard snuck his way around the battle, making sure to keep low and out of sight, until he was close enough to Ranger to scan her.

Badges? Neckerchief? Beret? No, she didn’t have any of her Guiding stuff with her last he saw her, so it couldn’t be any of those. From what he remembered, the items were also sometimes the Akuma’s source of power, but those were the badges and he’s already established that it wasn’t any of them. But nothing else stuck out to him.

‘Think, Nathanael, think.’ Renard racked his brains. ‘You know Bree well enough. What would she have on her to possess?’

As Renard struggled to come up with an answer, Chat and Ladybug were struggling, especially Ladybug who was new to her weapon.

“Is it me, or are there more than before?” Chat panted as he fended off attacks.

“The minions are coming back, we need to finish this quickly!” Ladybug said loudly so that Renard could hear but not give away his position.

It was beginning to get hard for Ladybug to know what to do, so much was coming at her that she moved on autopilot, which resulted in a few attacks landing in her blind spots.

“Oracle Eye…” She trailed off, remembering that she didn’t have that power in this form. “Uh...Lucky Charm!” She called forth the power Casey always used.

A red and black ball of yarn fell into her hands.

“Well, this is odd.” Ladybug said as she held the yarn in her hands, unravelling it slightly. “But how to use it?” She asked herself, looking around.

As Ladybug tried to work out how to use her Lucky Charm, Renard was creeping closer to Ranger.

“What is it? What is it?” He whispered under his breath. “Wait.”

Renard stared at Ranger’s beret and realised that the pin on the side looked slightly out of place, not gelling with the rest of the uniform, he also remembered that Bree usually wore a pin in her hair to keep it out of her face.

“That’s it!”

Renard was about to leap, but was then impacted in his side, sending him flying over to his teammates. In his efforts to find the possessed object he hadn’t been keeping a close enough watch on his surroundings and been hit by a minion.

“Renard!” Chat and Ladybug cried out, helping the fox hero to his feet.

“Now, hand over your Miraculouses and I’ll give you your badges instead.” Ranger demanded, holding up her mind controlling badges.

The heroes looked around, but they were surrounded, minions with weapons at the ready.

“Now would be a really good time to find a use for your Lucky Charm.” Chat told Ladybug as the heroes pressed closer to each other.

Chat and Renard scanned the crowd desperately for a way out, but their eyes landed on something disheartening instead.

“No!” They cried out.

Casey stared back at them from her position next to Ranger with Ranger’s other head minions.

They were then faced with confusion when she then winked.

But Ranger had taken the boys’ exclamation as a refusal.

“Fine.” She scowled. “Take their Miraculouses by force!” She ordered.

Ladybug looked around desperately as the circle closed in, then suddenly she saw the answer.

Grabbing a rock off the floor, she stuffed it inside the yarn and threw it at Ranger, the rock giving it the weight to be thrown far.

“Renard, where’s the Akuma?” She shouted as she threw it.

“Uh, the pin on her hat.” Renard answered.

Ranger didn’t even flinch as the yarn-covered rock came towards her, easily caught by one of the minions near her.

“Was that some sort of desperate last-ditch effort?” Ranger asked, unimpressed.

“No, just outsourcing.” Ladybug answered.

Casey dropped the rock out of the yarn and then used the power of her crafting badge, that Ranger had so helpfully provided, to turn the yarn into a knitted tube. She then leapt forward and pulled the tube over Ranger’s head, trapping the Akuma’s arms at her sides.

“Sabrina, the hat pin!” She shouted.

Another of the minions suddenly burst to life, snatching the pin off of Ranger’s beret, who was unable to do anything thanks to the strength of the wool.

The two undercover girls then found themselves surrounded by the actual minions of Ranger.

“Get me back my pin!” Ranger ordered.

Casey quickly snatched the pin out of Sabrina’s hands.

“Catch!” She called as she threw it.

The pin sailed over the heads of the minions, who reached up to catch it, and just as it seemed like one of the minions would grab it, a yoyo wrapped around it and grabbed it out the air.

The pin landed in Ladybug’s hand as it was released from the yoyo, and she quickly snapped it in two. A black butterfly flew out from one of the broken pieces.

“No more evil doing for you, little Akuma.” Ladybug said, opening up her yoyo the way she had seen Ladybird do before.

The yoyo swung out and caught the Akuma in the white light of the yoyo before it could escape, closing around it, the yoyo returned to Ladybug’s hand and she pressed the top of it, releasing the white butterfly from inside.

“Bye, bye, little butterfly.” Ladybug said as it flew away.

Ranger groaned and collapsed to her knees as a black bubbling mass washed over her, returning her to normal.

“What’s going on? Why am I tied up?” Bree questioned as she looked around.

“Let me help you with that.” Casey said, removing the knitted tube

“Casey? Why are you wearing your uniform?” Bree asked as Sabrina helped her to her feet. “Why is everyone wearing a uniform for that matter?”

“Actually, that’s a good question.” Renard said. “Why hasn’t everyone else turned back yet?”

Around them, the former minions were looking around the street, clearly confused, but also relieved. They were all still wearing the uniforms the Akumatised Bree had given them, though the mind control was now gone.

“Because the Miraculous Cure hasn’t undone the Akuma’s damage.” Casey answered him.

She handed Ladybug the knitted tube.

Ladybug took it and smiled at her, before throwing it up into the air.

“Miraculous Ladybug!”

The knitted tube burst into thousands of tiny ladybugs, that washed over the crowd, reverting their clothes back to normal and undoing the damage caused by the attack, the costume Sabrina wore was even returned back to the uniform shop where it had come from.


 

The heroes of Paris sighed in relief, the Akuma was defeated and people were already beginning to head home. Bree herself being escorted by her friends.

“What about the trouble at college?” Bree asked.

“I think we can afford to deal with it tomorrow, all things considered.” Casey told her.

Ladybug’s eyes widened when she heard beeping in her ear.

“I think that’s my signal to leave.” She said.

“Leave?” A loud voice asked. “But the party is only just beginning!”

The heroes and group of friends looked up to the source of the voice and gasped in shock.

Three figures stood on top of a building. One looked like a jester with a theatre comedy mask covering their face, slumped over with extremely long needle-like talons coming from each finger. Another was covering head to toe in bandages, with a cloak over their shoulders and faceless mask covering their face. The final couldn’t even be called human, it stood upright on animal-like hindlegs, it’s chest was a mass of muscled flash with machinery embedded into it and tubes leading behind it, it’s arms were so long that they reached the floor and made of metal, huge oversized hands with three fat clawed fingers were on the end and supported the creature’s top-heavy weight, and its head was covered by a metal helmet with a visor, an inhuman mouth full of sharp teeth visible.

The heroes could tell right away that they were bad news.

“I thought Hawkmoth could only make one Akuma at a time.” Sabrina said.

“They’re not Akumas.” Casey said, voice full of fear.

“What?” One of the girls asked.

“We need to get out of here.” Casey said instead of answering. “Now!”

Casey quickly ushered her friends away from the scene, who gave no protests.

The remaining heroes had seen Casey’s fear of the newcomers and were even more apprehensive, and it didn’t help that Ladybug was running out of time.

“Now.” The jested giggled, deranged. “Let’s have some fun.”

Then they attacked.

Chapter Text

They didn’t even stand a chance.

Akumas were tough in their own right, it had taken a lot to defeat the one they just fought after all, but the new comers were on a whole other level.

The jester darted in an out, twisting around like they had a broken back as they attacked with their long claws, leaving their movements unpredictable and hard to block.

The creature was like a tank, charging straight at them, and when they dodged it would keep going and crash through whatever was in its way with no damage to itself, and that was if they managed to dodge, its long arms did a good job at knocking them as they tried to jump out of the way.

And the bandaged man became a thing of nightmares as their bandages came apart and bugs swarmed out of them, like they were entirely made up of them. The bugs seemed to be venomous to, as their bites caused pain on the parts of the heroes bodies not covered by their costumes, it was probably because of their costumes that they were able to withstand the damage.

The jester laughed insanely.

“How does it feel to be part of a real fight?” She giggled

“Who are these guys?” Chat asked as he fended off the attack.

“We are what remains of the Experiments.” The bug man said. “I am Swarm, the lovely lady is Dice and our companion is Creature.”

“Lovely is not a word I would use to describe you.” Renard quipped to Dice.

The heroes were then freaked out as Dice’s dead did a complete 180° turn. On the back of her head, if it even was the back, there was a tragedy mask to match the comedy mask on the other side of her head.

“How mean.” Dice sobbed.

She then continued to attack, wailing and sobbing all the while.


 

The girls panted as they ran, until they felt that they were far enough away from the fight.

“Who are they?” Sabrina asked Casey. “You seemed to know who they are. Are they…” She trailed off, not wanting to ask a question that would expose her secret.

“They a group of supervillains from many years ago, back when the Quantic team operated around the entire globe, and they are highly dangerous.” Casey explained. “Deadly dangerous.” She added to her friends’ horror. “I don’t remember much about them from the online papers I read, but the fact that they’re responsible for many deaths isn’t something to forget.”

“And our heroes are fighting them with only three of them and having wasted their power fighting me.” Bree gasped. “How are they going to beat them?”

“They’ll manage.” Casey assured.

Casey then turned to Sabrina.

“Take the girls back to the school and hide out there until it’s safe.” She told her.

“What about you?” Sabrina asked. “What are you going to do?”

Casey put her hand in her pocket. “Something.” She said. “Now go.”

Sabrina frowned but didn’t protest, running over to the girls and hurrying them towards the college.

Casey turned and ran back the way they had come, bringing her hand out of her pocket to look at the Miraculous she held in her grasp.


 

“Ah!” Ladybug cried out in pain as Creature’s claws raked against her side and sent her flying into a wall.

It was hard for her to fight, she was new to her weapon, had no Lucky Charm to call upon, and had less than a minute before she was forced to change back according to the beeping in her ears. What didn’t help was the tears in her eyes obscuring her vision, it wasn’t from the pain, but because of the spontaneous bursts of sadness that she’d been having since the fight begun.

The boys weren’t doing much better. Like her, they were also injured, but also like her, something else was affecting them, Chat kept blinking rapidly and shaking his head as he lashed out more angrily than she ever thought Adrien capable of, and Renard waved his flute around blindly, missing his targets by a mile, looking very queasy as well.

‘What’s going on with us?’ She questioned herself.

Before Ladybug could pick herself back up, a shadow fell over her, it was Creature again, it raised its huge arm over her, ready to strike down, and she could see no escape. Ladybug curled up in fear with her arms held out protectively in front of her.

“Paonne!” Chat cried out in panic, trying to reach her but being preoccupied with Swarm.

“Kyaa!” A voice exclaimed.

There was buzzing sound of something moving through the air and Creature let out a roar of pain, a familiar fan had cut through one of its tubes, causing its arm to fall limply to its side instead of striking Ladybug.

The fan was then caught by a person dressed in blue as they leapt in between Ladybug and Creature, dragging the heroine away.

“Sorry I’m late.” The new comer said.

She was instantly recognisable to the heroes.

“Ladybird?”

Their previously missing teammate smiled back at them, the Peacock Miraculous pinned to her chest.

Her new costume consisted of a blue waist-length, collared cape with slits halfway down to make the ends look like feathers, a blue bodice that covered a knee-length green dress with elbow length sleeves and slits that went all the way up to the waist with each strip being rounded to give off the appearance of tail feathers, blue gloves and footed leggings that were tipped with green at the toes like arrows. Her face was covered by a simple blue mask that was rimmed by white, and her hair was all gathered behind her head, held in place by a single tail feather.

“Here.” Ladybird, or Oiselle Bleu for now, handed Ladybug something.

It was a helmet and poncho.

Ladybug’s earrings began to beep rapidly.

Ladybug quickly pulled the poncho over her shoulders and slammed the helmet onto her head just in time for her de-transformation to wash over her.

Oiselle positioned herself in front of the disguised Marinette and the villains to protect her, bladed fans at the ready.

“Ah, so you finally join us.” Swarm said. “Though, I wonder why you have swapped powers.”

“That is none of your business.” Oiselle replied harshly. “Paonne, get out of here.” She told her powerless teammate.

Marinette nodded, but when she tried to leave, her way was suddenly blocked by Dice.

“Ah, ah, ah.” Dice sung, her mask back to comedy. “No one leaves the party until we say so.”

She moved towards Marinette but was knocked back by Renard’s flute.

“Stay away from her.” Renard hissed.

Chat quickly separated himself from his fight against Swarm to also protect Marinette, so that the heroes stood together with Marinette in the middle, brandishing their weapons protectively.

“Ok. Renard, focus on giving Paonne a way out.” Oiselle instructed quietly. “Paonne, run straight to that mentor of yours and tell him what’s going on, don’t bother recharging.”

“But-” Marinette began to protest.

“Believe me when I say, we need any help he can call in.”

“Ok.” Marinette reluctantly agreed.

“What about us?” Chat asked.

“Try not to die.” Oiselle said.

Her teammates look at her, hoping that she was joking, but there was no smile on her face to suggest so. They gulped but hardened their resolve.

The fight restarted, once again with only three team members, but this time they also had to protect Marinette from attacks, and though Creature was injured, it was still fierce with just one arm. Chat and Oiselle also had to take the brunt of the attacks, as Renard had to focus on creating an illusion to cover Marinette’s escape, but every time he was successful they were broken by Swarm’s bugs before Marinette could get away.

It didn’t help that whatever was affecting the heroes seemed to be getting worse, Renard could hardly focus on creating his illusion through the irrational panic he felt, making them come out badly, Marinette could be heard sniffing underneath her helmet, and Chat was just charging ahead animalistically, not taking the time to plan.

Oiselle, however. “What is going on with you guys?” She questioned, catching Chat after he once again got knocked back by Creature, keeping a strong grip on him as he tried to charge off again.

“I don’t know.” Renard whined, shaking his head.

Dice giggled. “That would be me.” She raised her hand. “When I was created, I was given the ability to create hysteria in whoever is near me.”

“Chat snap out of it, you’re being controlled.” Oiselle grunted as her partner fought against her grip.

“He can’t, not while I’m around.” Dice mocked. “Though, I do wonder how you’re not affected.”

Oiselle didn’t respond.

Meanwhile, Marinette looked over the situation, trying her best to clear her head, and came up with a plan, whispering into Renard’s ear, who nodded. Summoning as much concentration as he could, he played a tune, orange smoke came bellowing out of his flute, turning into a thick fog that hid the two of them and the surrounding cars from view, he kept on playing.

“Oh no, you don’t.” Swarm sent his bugs into the fog.

Renard ran out of the fog, carrying Marinette, making a b-line for the closest exit out of the street.

“They’re trying to leave us.” Dice sobbed as her head spun around to the tragedy mask before flipping back. “You won’t get way that easily.” She laughed insanely.

Dice gave chase with Creature following after her, prompting Oiselle to also give chase, dragging Chat along while Swarm chased them. Leaving the previous scene of the fight now empty.

The orange smoke disappeared and Marinette popped her helmeted head out from behind a car, checking that the coast was clear, she quickly turned and ran towards Agreste manor.

Back with Renard, he managed to run a few blocks, but was ultimately caught and tripped up by the quicker Dice, forcing him to drop the illusion of Marinette in his arms.

“Ooh, tricky little foxy.” Dice said.

She brought back her hand, aiming her long claws at him, her powers rendering Renard unable to move out of the way or even use his flute to block.

“Kyaa!” But like before, Oiselle’s fan interrupted the attack.

Dice brought her hand in front of her, her head twisting around to show the tragedy mask as she looked at the chopped off ends of her claws, the fan having cut through them.

“My…my nails.” She cried, turning to look at Oiselle. “How dare you!”

Dice changed her target to the heroine, attacking viciously with her remaining claws, which Oiselle blocked with her fans, though she was obviously struggling to do so with Dice’s erratic movements.

As the two females fought, Renard and Chat were left to deal with Swarm and Creature, and both of the males were running low on physical energy as well as dealing with the effects of Dice’s hysteria powers. In a desperate attempt, Renard blew hard into his flute, no tune or illusion in mind, so no illusion was produced but it did have an effect.

The high-pitched note produced from the flute caused Swarm to momentarily loose shape, the bugs dropping out of the air and from inside the bandages.

“It’s disrupting the control of the bugs, do it again.” Chat grunted as he clashed his staff against Creature.

Renard nodded and took a deep breath, blowing hard into the flute, producing an ear-splitting screech from the magical instrument.

Swarm cried in pain and collapsed to the floor, bugs spilling out from underneath the bandages and wandering around aimlessly, leaving just the cloak and bandages on the floor.

“I did it.” Renard grinned breathlessly after holding the note for as long as he could.

His celebration was cut short by an angry roar. Creature was not happy about the loss of Swarm.

Renard didn’t even have any time to react as Creature charged at him, its huge fist making contact with his side, sending the fox hero flying a few blocks away.

Without Renard providing interference, the bugs that made up Swarm slowly began to move together again.

“Renard!” Chat cried out in worry.

He growled in fury, charging at Creature with only anger in his eyes.


 

Renard coughed as he supported himself on his hands and knees, struggling to breath after the blow to his side and harsh landing. He wasn’t fairing very well mentally either, Dice’s power combined with how he’d just been thrown away by Creature and generally how badly the team were holding against the villains, left him close to breaking.

“I…I don’t know if I can do this.” He gasped, fighting to get to his feet.

Almost instinctively, his hand went to his Miraculous.

“Please, I don’t know…we need help.” He continued to gasp.

‘I can help.’ A voice said.

“What?” Renard turned his head, searching for the source of the voice.

‘I can help.’ They said again. ‘But you need to let me.’

Renard clutched his head, the voice was coming from inside his head,

“I’m going crazy, it’s the villain messing with me.” He concluded.

‘You’re not.’ The voice said. ‘And I’m in here.’

A glow caught his attention and Renard exclaimed in surprise when he realised that it was his Miraculous.

‘I can help to defeat them, but I’ll need your agreement to do so, you must set me free.’

Maybe it was the desperation of the situation, or the effects of Dice still messing with his head, but Renard didn’t find himself questioning the offer, only focusing on that whoever the voice belonged to could help.

“Yes.” He said. “Please help.”

‘Then set me free.’

In his mind’s eye, Renard saw a hand reach for him out of orange flames, and he reached back towards it. Their hands met and he saw a single blue eye peak out of the flames before the pain hit.

The pain was worse than anything he ever recalled, his very bones felt like the were burning, like his entire body was being crushed. He couldn’t help but cry out in pain.

But then, the pain began to leave, it still hadn’t lessened any, but his awareness of it was, and his consciousness began to drift away. The last thing he was aware of was his screams taking on a different pitch, sounding more feminine, before he was gone completely.

Renard’s body was curled in on itself as pain coursed through it from the changes it was going through, it became slimmer, the hips wider, the chest pushed out, the hair began to grow longer and lose colour until it was completely white. The screams died down as the pain came to a stop, the body finished with its changes, the Miraculous stopped glowing with the complete transformation.

The figure gasped, drawing air into their lungs, rising to their feet and fighting to keep balance.

“That was unpleasant.” They, or rather ‘she’, said. “Still, no time to rest, I have some heroes to help.”

Taking the flute that lay next to her, she put it to her lips and began to play.


 

“Ahhh!” Chat screamed in agony.

“Chat!”

Oiselle caught her partner before he collapsed. He was clutching his arm, which was clearly broken, not even their suits had protected him from the wrath of Creature and Dice. Even Oiselle had clear cuts and bruises covering her, though nothing was broken, yet. With her partner now out of commission, their other teammate missing, and Swarm having almost reformed, she predicted she’d have more to worry about than broken bones.

“It’s almost a pity to end this so soon.” Dice said as she approached them. “But we’ve had our fun. And we need to send a message to your predecessors. Nothing personal, you understand?”

Oiselle lay Chat on the ground gently and stood in front of him protectively, fans held in front of her ready for a fight. Dice just laughed at her attempts to keep going.

Just as Dice was about to deliver her blow, something struck her hard in her head.

“Agh!” Dice screamed, switching to the tragedy mask. “Who did that?”

The villains looked around but couldn’t see anyone.

“Is that you little foxy? Nasty little foxy playing dirty!” Dice cried.

“Well, I don’t usually play fair.” A female voice echoed around the street.

“Who is that?” Swarm questioned, having finally come together enough to speak.

“I’m offended that you don’t recognise me.” The woman said. “But then again, you can’t exactly see me, can you?”

The villains looked around frantically, but still couldn’t find the source of the voice.

“I’m over here!”

Creature launched a bin in the direction of the voice, but it hit nothing.

“No, here.” The voice came from another direction.

“Can’t you find me?” The woman teased from yet another location.

While the villains were distracted, Oiselle took the opportunity to drag Chat away from them, the Cat hero doing his best to stifle his cries of pain.

“Right behind you.” The voice came from behind the villains.

Creature roared in pain as two of his tubes were forcefully yanked out, spraying gas everywhere, revealing a shape where the gases were blocked from going.

“There!” Dice cried.

“Uh oh.” The woman realised that she had been spotted.

The figure in the gas jumped away before Swarm or Dice could attack.

“Missed me.” She sang teasingly. “You know, the last time we faced off, you would have already figured out who I am. Then again, you don’t have that crazy leader of yours around anymore, this little fox and her friends made sure of that.”

The villains then realised who they were against.

“Sion.” They said.

The woman giggled.

“What’s the matter?”

A woman suddenly appeared out of literally nothing, flipping over their heads and landing in front of them, flipping her hair as she stood. She wore a deep orange suit, a fluffy tail swung behind her, an animal mask with ears covered the top half of her face…

And the Fox Miraculous hung from around her neck.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Sion smirked.

Chapter Text

Sion wore an orange waist-length jacket with a high collar, the jacket was open to show a white shirt and the Fox Miraculous underneath, clawed black gloves went over the jacket sleeves that ended in points at the sides, she wore orange pants with an orange and black belt that a fake fox tail was attached to by a hoop at the back, and black knee-length boots that ended in points at the front and were capped with metal claws at the toes. Her white hair went down to her waist and covered the left side of her face, and hiding the top-half of her face was a fox mask with ears, the visible eye covered by glass.

She twirled her flute like a baton.

“Well, then, shall we dance.” She asked.

Sion placed the flute at her lips, letting out a shrill note like Renard had before, though more defined. Swarm immediately collapsed into a pile of directionless bugs again.

Creature moved to attack, but its movements were very slow and it couldn’t lift either of its arms, Sion’s sabotage had obviously done damage to it.

Dice screeched in distress at the loss of her companions, dashing forward and attacking Sion savagely.

Sion blocked her attacks with her flute, but a few from her remaining clawed hand managed to get through and she grunted under the assault.

“What’s wrong, Sneak Thief, can’t fight without your tricks?” Dice taunted. “Or those sisters of yours?”

“They may not be here, but I’m never out of tricks.” Sion smirked despite her struggle against Dice.

She quickly dropped, making Dice’s attack sail harmlessly over her and making the villain lose balance, which she took advantage of by kicking the insane woman away.

While Dice recovered, Sion ran over to where Chat and Oiselle were trying to recover.

“Trust me.” She told them before turning around to face the villains.

Swarm was recovering again, Creature was snarling at them despite its injured state and Dice was picking herself up, looking ready to attack again.

“You remember this trick.” Sion told them.

Sion put her flute to her lips and played a tune, it was soft and gentle, almost like a lullaby, light spilled from the end of the flute and wrapped around the three Miraculous wielders.

“Now you see us,” Sion said, finishing the tune. “Now you don’t.”

Then the three of them disappeared from sight.

Dice screeched again and charged forward, swiping at where they had just been, to no avail.

“No!” She sobbed. “We had them.”

Swarm had reconstituted enough to go over to her.

“We need to leave.” He said.

“No, we need to find them. They were almost dead.” Dice denied.

“With Sion, I doubt our chances, we need to retreat and heal before we can face them.” Swarm told her. “Besides, we’ve done what we’ve come to do, make a statement. They are not our intended targets.”

Dice sighed. “Fine!” She cried.

Dice ran off, the other two villains following after.

Back in the empty street, someone whistled.

The three Miraculous holders then suddenly appeared, not far from where they had disappeared.

“You know, they never think to look where you were.” Sion commented.

“Who are you?” Oiselle asked, helping Chat to stand.

“Where’s Renard?” Chat asked, trying to force away the pain of his broken arm.

“Safe.” Sion replied. “You needn’t worry. As for who I am, that’s better left to be answered some place safer. Come on.”

Sion began walking off, forcing Chat and Oiselle to follow suit, the temporarily Peacock taking off her cape to fashion into a sling for Chat’s broken arm.

“Ah!” Chat complained.

“I think it’s a clean break.” Oiselle told him after examining his arm.

“You think?” Chat bit back, the pain making him snappish.

“Do I look like a doctor to you.” Oiselle shot back.

Sion guided the two of them through the streets, staying on ground level as Chat was in no state to be leaping across the rooftops, until they reached a building.

“Through here.” Sion told them.

They entered into what looked like a training room with all sorts of sports and fighting equipment, but they didn’t stop there. Sion walked over to what looked like a utility closet and grabbed at the light switch on the wall, sliding it across to reveal a keypad, she analysed the keypad closely before putting in a code, smirking as the light above it turned green.

“Ah, so predictable.” She said.

Sion then opened the door to reveal a passage way, entering into it with the heroes following. It was a short walk before they reached another door at the end, Sion opened it and hopped through with the heroes copying her.

Chat then gasped as he recognised the sight of his father’s office.

Gabriel was at his desk, Marinette leaning over it with her hand in the air as if she’d been arguing, both had turned to look at their entrance.

“Adrien!” Gabriel exclaimed, in his usual reserved way, when he took notice of Chat’s arm in the sling.

Gabriel quickly got up and went over to his son, checking his arm.

“What happened?” He demanded.

“We were attacked by the Experiments after the Akuma attack.” Oiselle explained. “We could barely manage, they sent Renard flying and managed to break Chat’s arm.”

“Where is Renard, and who’s she?” Marinette asked, pointing at Sion. “Why do you have his Miraculous?”

“Calm down.” Sion said calmly, holding up her hands in surrender. “He’s fine. I’ll explain everything.”

Gabriel finally took full notice of Sion, having previously been focused on his injured son, and gasped slightly.

“Sion?” He asked.

“In the flesh, surprisingly enough.” Sion joked.

“How are you here?” Gabriel asked. “Where are the others? Where is my wife?”

Marinette, Chat and Oiselle looked at him in confusion.

“Sorry to disappoint, but I have no clue.” Sion answered. “I don’t even know where my true self is, because I’m not the real Sion.”

“What?” Gabriel asked.

Sion sighed.

“I’m what you could call an echo of the real Sion. Each Miraculous user leaves an imprint of themselves on their Miraculous to help guide future users, and this imprint somehow managed to take the place of Renard.” She pointed at herself.

Gabriel closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, attempting to gather himself.

“How is that even possible?” Oiselle asked.

Sion shrugged. “I don’t know.” She said.

“Can Renard come back?” Marinette asked in concern.

“What, sick of me already?” Sion smirked.

“Well, uh…” Marinette mumbled.

“I’m kidding yah.” Sion continued to smirk, she seemed to do that a lot. “We should switch back eventually, I’m not meant to exist outside the Miraculous, this body and the Miraculous just need time to recuperate from the first transformation before we can exchange places again.”

“So, does that mean he’s in there?” Chat asked, pointing at her Miraculous.

“Yeah, he might not be aware though, I’m not sure. Myself and the other imprints are rarely aware inside the Miraculous, but I suddenly became aware of everything today, like I was a ghost following the kid around. I wonder if that’s how Soul felt before we found that rune.”

The three friends sighed in relief that their other friend would be coming back.

“Even if you aren’t the real Sion, there are still some questions you may be able to answer.” Gabriel said.

“Maybe.” Sion said. “But you’ll probably want to get your son to the hospital first.”

She pointed at Chat’s broken arm.

“Wait, you know who I am?” Chat asked.

“I know everything Nathanael knows, including your identities.” Sion explained with a shrug.

“That’s reassuring.” Adrien said, not meaning it.

“Regardless, we need to get your arm fixed.” Gabriel said.

“Yes, father.” Adrien sighed. “Claws In.”

Chat was then replaced with Adrien, whose arm was still in Oiselle’s cape sling.

“Oh, yeah.” Marinette suddenly realised. “You’ll want these back.”

Marinette took out the Ladybug earrings and handed them over to Oiselle.

“Yeah.” Oiselle agreed.

Her hand went to the Peacock Miraculous, but then hesitated, looking over at Gabriel.

“Uh...” She looked for something to say.

“You don’t need to worry about my father, he can keep it secret.” Adrien told her.

Oiselle still looked unsure.

“You should.” Marinette agreed. “It’d be good to have someone else who knows all our identities in case of a repeat of today.”

Oiselle sighed in defeat. “Fine.” She groaned. “Feathers Withdrawn.”

With a flash of blue light, Oiselle was replaced with Casey, who still regarded Gabriel unsurely.

Gabriel’s eyes widened slightly as he took in Casey’s appearance, but he schooled his expression before anyone could notice. Sion had a similar reaction, though her face settled back into her usual smirk.

Casey removed the Peacock Miraculous from her jacket and handed it to Marinette, the two girls then placed their Miraculous’ on. Their Kwamis popped into existence and the girls hugged them.

“I’m glad you’re okay.” Tikki said, nuzzling Casey’s cheek.

“I’m glad to see you too.” Casey told the Kwami.

“Well, I may as well let this thing recharge too.” Sion said. “Fangs covered.”

Sion de-transformed and then gasped dramatically, as if she was struggling to breath, which she most likely was considering the tightness of her clothes. Sion had de-transformed into Nathanael’s clothes, which were constricting on her larger chest and wider hips. Her fox mask was also gone, though the white hair remained and still covered the right side of her face, her uncovered eye was a bright blue that almost seemed to glow.

“Geeze, I knew the kid was scrawny, but I didn’t realise how much.” Sion commented.

Gabriel sighed in frustration.

“I’m taking Adrien to the hospital. You girls find Sion something more fitting and decent. And I expect you to be here for answers when I get back.” He pointed at Sion.

Sion held up her hands in surrender as Gabriel put a hand on Adrien’s back, gently guiding him out of the room while calling for his assistant.

“So, what now?” Casey questioned.

“You heard the man, get me some clothes, preferably including a bra.” Sion said, grasping her breasts through the tight shirt shamelessly.

“You’re too big to fit any of my clothes, but you might fit something of Casey’s.” Marinette suggested.

Sion used her hands to compare Casey’s size to hers.

“Yeah, I think I might.” She admitted.

“Well, you can stay here while I get the clothes, I’m not taking you to mine.” Casey said, not quite trusting the woman who had taken the place of her friend.

“Fine with me.” Sion said, sitting down in Gabriel’s chair, she then winced. “But hurry back, these clothes are unbearably tight.”

“Sure.” Casey said, leaving through the secret door.

“So,” Sion said once Casey was gone and she and Marinette were on their own. “What were you and Gabriel arguing about?”

“What?” Marinette questioned.

“You two looked like you were mid-argument when we arrived, and I could hear your raised voices when we were coming through the tunnel.” Sion said.

“Oh, Mr Agreste didn’t want me leaving to help fight the new villains after I told him what was going on. He said they were too dangerous for him to let me go fight them, but that was all the more reason since my friends were fighting them without me.” Marinette explained.

“As much as I agree that they needed help, Gabriel has good reason to try and protect you.” Pavo “The Experiments are too dangerous for you all to face at your current level. Casey and Chat were lucky that Sion managed to take Nathanael’s place, she has more experience in fighting larger threats and has dealt with them before.”

“Who are the Experiments, anyway?” Marinette asked.

A different hero may have tried to water down to truth, so the young hero didn’t have to yet know the horrors that the Quantic team had faced. Sion, however, held no such belief that the younger generation needed to be shielded from anything.

“Abominations that sin against nature itself.” She explained, obviously quoting someone. “The basics of it is that this utterly insane guy wanted to play god through horrifying experimentations, no real reason behind it, and he did whatever he wanted to achieve his goals, including kidnapping and experimenting on people until they couldn’t even be called human anymore.”

“That’s horrible.” Marinette said.

Sion hummed in agreement. “The guy was eventually killed by his own creations, though. A group of his prisoners managed to escape, and we found them, they led us back to his lab and we snuck in and managed to turn off the mind control on the rest of his experiments, they quickly turned on the guy and his men, taring them apart for what they did to them.”

Marinette looked pale.

“Unfortunately, some of the experiments weren’t loyal through mind control and really were insane and deadly, and we accidently released them alongside the other prisoners. Uh, whoops.” Sion joked with a laugh. “So, the Quantic team had to hunt them down, we thought we’d got them all, but evidently those three managed to slip under the radar.”

“Why’d they attack us now?” Marinette questioned. “Why not when Ladybird and Chat first appeared?”

Sion shrugged. “They’re insane, I can’t pretend to know they’re thought process.” She said. “But I also only became aware of things before trading places this morning.”

Marinette thought hard.

“Who was part of the group that freed the experiments?” She asked in thought.

“Let’s see.” Sion said, trying to remember. “My sisters Silent and Soul, and I were the ones to sneak in, and some members of the Queen’s Legion like Tech and Glitch, Imp, Pulse and Avantia were there to go in to fight the mad men, though the experiments took care of those guys for them.”

“Oh.” Marinette said.

“What?” Sion questioned.

“I thought it was maybe because of the French Quantic heroes helping us a week ago.” Marinette suggested.

“Actually, it probably is.” Sion agreed. “The rouge experiments escaped to France where the heroes here dealt with them, those three probably weren’t happy about it. From what we over-heard them say, it sounds like they attacked you to draw them out.”

“What do we do about them, then?” Marinette asked.

“I don’t know, Gabriel can be the one to decide that, they’re his group’s villains.” Sion said. “We’ll just have to wait until he gets back before we plan anything.”

“I guess.” Marinette agreed.

“So, tell me about your friend, Casey?” Sion suddenly changed the subject.

“Why?” Marinette asked suspiciously.

“Just curious?” Sion grinned.

“Well, I don’t know her much, yet.” Marinette responded, cautiously. “We only just learned each other’s identities, and we got along as heroes well enough.”

“So, nothing about before you met her?” Sion asked.

“No. Why do you want to know.” Marinette asked again.

“No reason.” Sion answered with a grin.


 Casey finished packing a set of her clothes into her bag to give to Sion, making sure to include a sports bra, as she didn’t know if the woman fit her exact measurements.

She gave a heavy sigh.

“Are you alright, Casey?” Tikki asked in concern, munching on a cookie to recharge.

“Yeah.” Casey answered the Kwami, rubbing her eyes. “Just exhausted after today’s events.”

Pippin, who had followed her into her room, whined and rubbed against her leg, looking up at her with big eyes.

Casey laughed and knelt down to pet him, the dog pushing against her for a cuddle instead.

“Thanks, boy.” She said to her dog. “I love you too.”

The dog barked happily, believing that he’d managed to cheer her up.

Casey eventually pushed the lump of love and fur off of her and stood up, brushing herself off to get rid of the fur that stuck to her.

“Well, let’s get these clothes to Sion.” She said, picking up her bag.

Going down stairs, she past the living room where her dad was watching TV, the rest of their dogs cuddled around him.

“Going out again already?” He asked.

“Just need to drop something off at a friend’s house.” Casey answered.

“Okay.”

Casey closed the front door behind her as she left and began walking back towards Agreste manor, passing the destruction left by the battle as she did. The damaged area was sectioned off by tape with people gathered around it.

“I thought Ladybird always fixed the damage after battles.” She overheard.

“I heard that someone else is swinging around with Ladybird’s costume.” Another said. “Maybe she can’t repair the damage like Ladybird can.”

“If she can’t repair damage, what’s the point of this new hero swinging around, and what happened to our Ladybird?”

“Stupid rumour mills.” Casey muttered to herself as she walked.

“Casey!” She heard her name being called.

Turning around, she suddenly found herself in a tight hug, she was quickly released and saw it was Sabrina.

“I’m so relieved you’re alright.” Sabrina said. “When I saw all the damage I was worried you got hurt.”

“I’m alive and nothing’s broken.” Casey reported to her. “At least for me.”

“Oh no, what happened?” Sabrina worried. “Did something happen to one of the other heroes?”

“We’re all fine, Chat just got a little more damaged than the rest of us.” Casey answered. “His arm’s broken but he should be okay other than that.”

“That’s a relief, I guess. But doesn’t that mean Chat can’t fight?”

“I hadn’t thought about that, but I guess he will be out of the fight while he recovers.” Casey groaned. “Just another thing to worry about.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to give you more stress.” Sabrina apologised.

“No, it’s fine.” Casey said. “Anyway, what about you and the girls, did you all make it away safely?”

“We managed to hide out at the college like you told us too. But…” Sabrina trailed off.

“But?” Casey prompted.

“When the staff came to tell it was safe to come out, they also told the girls that they wouldn’t be returning to the college for a while after we left, they didn’t forget the whole stealing thing and the girls are suspended until the police can fully investigate.” Sabrina rushed out.

“What?” Casey cried out in anger. “But that’s not fair. They can’t just suspend the girls, they didn’t do anything wrong, that evidence was planted on them!”

“I tried to explain that to my dad, but he said that there isn’t much he can do other than try and prove that the evidence was planted, which could take a while with everything that’s going on. He said that a student told the head master that they weren’t comfortable sharing the college with thieves and that multiple students felt the same way, so the headmaster had no choice but to suspend them until the investigation comes to a close.”

“Chloe.” Casey growled.

“Dad didn’t say who the student was.” Sabrina said. “But not many students have enough power to influence the headmaster.” She added reluctantly.

Casey then remembered what she had intended to do before the Akuma had appeared.

“I’ve got to go.” She told Sabrina. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She quickly ran off with Sabrina calling after her.


 Marinette and Sion looked up over to the secret door as it opened, Casey popping out.

“Here’s your clothes.” She took off her bag and threw it at Sion. “I’ve got some urgent business to take care of, I’ll be back later.”

Casey then disappeared back through the door.

“Okay. Marinette said. “I wonder what’s got her in a hurry.”

“Me too.” Sion hummed.

Digging into the bag, Sion took out the clothes and held them against herself.

“Yeah, these’ll fit.” She said.

Sion then began to pull off Nathanael’s clothes, paying no mind to the face that Marinette was in the same room.

“Shouldn’t you go into another room or something?” Marinette cried out, covering her eyes.

“Why, I don’t mind if you see my body.” Sion said, continuing to remove the tight-fitting clothes, leaving her bare skin on display.

“I’m going to check on my family, they’re probably worried about me after that last attack.” Marinette suddenly announced, taking her chance to escape the same way Casey had.

Sion watched her go with a shrug, pulling on Casey’s clothes.

“That’s better.” She said. “Hey, a hat.”

Sion pulled a back beanie out of the bag. She bunched up her long white hair into the hat and pulled it over her hair, hiding most of it from view, leaving the hair in front of her face alone.

“Well, I’ve got a bit.” She said to herself. “Time to go confirm a suspicion.”

She then left the same way Marinette and Casey had previously.


 Casey charged her way through her front door.

“Dad, where’s that dirt you have on the mayor?” She asked, looking through a draw.

“Why do you want to know that?” Her dad asked.

“Because I’m sick of his little brat of a daughter being able to use his title to get away with whatever she wants. She got my entire guide group suspended and under investigation for theft, and she got one of my friends Akumatised because of it. I want to make sure she pays and can’t use her father to get out of it.” Casey explained.

Her dad sighed and slowly got to his feet, supporting himself with his walking stick, then slowly moved over to the shelf Casey was searching.

“That box up there.” He pointed.

Using a stool, Casey quickly scaled the shelf and brought down the box. Inside was a bunch of meaningless papers that were dumped out onto the table, her dad then took the box off her and removed the false bottom inside to reveal a file.

Casey reached out to take it, but her father kept it in a tight grip.

“Casey, are you sure you want to do this?” Her father asked.

“I am.” She said. “I’m not going to let her get away with this, but her father needs to be out of the picture to do so.”

“Fine.” Her father released his hold on the file, allowing her to take it. “But be careful and-”

“Don’t get caught.” Casey said at the same time as her dad. “I know.” She said. “I’ve got to go. Love you.”

Casey gave her dad a quick hug before leaving again.

“What’s that?” Tikki asked Casey as soon as they were alone.

“A document of every dirty deed Mayor Bourgeois has done, enough to put him in very hot water if it were to go public.” Casey explained, leafing through the document.

“Why does your father have this?” Tikki asked, slightly alarmed.

“Everyone has their secrets, Tikki.” Casey told her Kwami.

“Are you going to use this to blackmail the mayor, then?” Tikki asked in concern.

“No. Ladybird’s going to use this to blackmail the mayor. Spots On!”


 Mayor Bourgeois sat in his office, filling out paper work.

“Can I have a moment of your time, Mr Borgeois?”

He looked up in surprise to see Ladybird standing at his office window.

“Ladybird?” He asked. “How can I help you. I though the Akuma was defeated.”

“She was, but it’s the cause of said Akuma that I’m here to talk about.” Ladybird said, walking further into the office, a file clutched in her hand.

“Hawkmoth?” The mayor asked.

“No, your daughter.” Ladybird corrected.

“What?” The mayor spluttered. “My daughter didn’t cause an Akuma.”

Ladybird’s stare pierced him.

“You call framing innocent girls for theft not causing an Akuma?” She accused.

“What? She would never do that?” The mayor defended.

“She did.” Ladybird said simply. “She framed a group of girls for theft, getting them into trouble with their college and causing one of them to be vulnerable to Hawkmoth, and then to add insult to injury, she had them suspended for the course of the investigation, using your title to force the headmaster into doing so. This isn’t the first time your daughter has unapologetically made people vulnerable to Hawkmoth or thrown your title around to get what she wants. And I can no longer let this happen.”

“My daughter is just being a teenager, she’ll learn for her mistakes.” The mayor defended.

“Accidently insulting someone is a mistake, your daughter’s actions are malicious. She’s not a teenager, she’s a monster.” Ladybird growled.

“How dare you-”

“I dare because your daughter has run around unchecked for long enough.” Ladybird cut the mayor off.

“You can’t tell me what to do!” The mayor shouted angrily.

“I think I can, if you want to keep this job of yours.” Ladybird said threateningly, throwing the file onto the desk.

“What…?” The mayor opened the file, face going pale as he saw what was inside.

“What do you think the chances are of you staying in politics, let alone staying mayor are if I leak this to the public?” Ladybird asked in false innocence. “You might not even be able to keep that fancy hotel of yours. After all, who’d want to stay at a hotel owned by someone so disgraceful. You’d be without a job, without any money, maybe even without a home. And then where would you and that precious little monster of yours be?”

“I…What do you want?” The mayor asked in defeat.

Ladybird smiled in victory.

“First of all, I want your daughter’s confession.” She told the mayor. “I want the headmaster and police to know that those girls are innocent and that she’s the one to blame. Get her to tell the truth or trick her into confessing, I don’t really care. And then I want you to let her face the full consequences, don’t let her use your title to get out of trouble like she usual does, if she gets expelled like I’m hoping, then let her get expelled. And, even if she doesn’t get expelled, you are to remove her from the college anyway, and send her to a new school far away from her victims.”

“You want me to send my daughter away?” The mayor demanded indignantly.

“You will, unless you want your own life to be ruined.” Ladybird threatened. “What I want is simple, for that monster of yours to face the consequences.”

Ladybird snatched the file out of his hands.

“If those consequences don’t happen by tomorrow, this goes public.” She said. “Goodbye, Mr Bourgeois.”

Ladybird turned and jumped out the window.

Once she got a block away, she bent over and breathed deeply before letting it out.

She was then surprised by a whistle of appreciation.

Jumping to attention, she saw that it was Sion.

“That was badass.” Sion commented. “Who knew the heroine of Paris, a symbol of all that is good, would do something as dirty as blackmail.”

“Shut up.” Ladybird shot back. “I did what I had to, Chloe wouldn’t have faced consequences any other way.”

“I’m not shaming you.” Sion held up her hands placatingly. “Believe me, I’ve done much worse myself.”

“Don’t tell the others about this.” Ladybird said.

“I won’t.” Sion promised. “Honour among thieves and all that.”

“Thanks.” Ladybird said.

“You know, you really take after your parents.” Sion commented.

“What?” Ladybird asked in surprise.

“Though I don’t know who you’re more like, your mother, or your father.” Sion continued.

Ladybird continued to look at her in shock.

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep this secret too.” Sion promised. “Honour among thieves.”

Sion then disappeared, leaving Ladybird on the rooftop with the file still in her hand.

Chapter Text

Nathanael was drifting, not really aware of anything, not even his own body. This should have alarmed him, but instead he felt nothing towards his situation, hours or days could pass and he would still feel nothing. In fact, he wasn’t even sure if hours or days had past, time was meaningless here.

Then, suddenly, a voice interrupted the calm.

“Vixx! Fangs Bared!”

Nathanael’s apathy was stripped away as he felt himself being forced back into awareness, his vision clearing.

Nathanael found himself inside of a high-tech looking air craft, around him, people were unstrapping themselves from their seats or were already unstrapped and gearing up. Strangely, he could only see out of one eye, but it didn’t bother him, as if he were already used to it.

“Right, does everyone remember the plan?” One of them spoke up, Nathanael recognised them as Avantia, younger than when he’d last seen her and with both arms intact.

“We drop in on the enemy base, find out where their portal is, strap my baby here to it, then run like hell.” Another, the Imp, spoke up, cradling a rather large object as if it were a baby.

Avantia sighed. “This is a stealth mission.” She said. “That’s why we brought the triplets along, they’ll be the ones going in with the bomb.”

The Imp looked offended. “You want me to trust your baby with them?”

“Come on, we’ll be careful.” A lady dressed in white with red tattoos spoke up. “Much more careful than you could be.”

Another girl, whose face was identical to the tattooed lady but without the tattoos and wore black with white angel wings coming from her back, nodded her head in agreement.

Nathanael felt a strong connection to the both of them.

“She’s just upset that she doesn’t get to plant her precious baby.” Nathanael found himself saying.

“If you worked for weeks on something and don’t even get to be the one to use it, you’d be upset too.” The Imp pouted.

“Children, settle this later.” Avantia interrupted.

Nathanael’s nose scrunched up at Avantia’s condescending remark.

The group of heroes exited the aircraft into a forest, and then trekked a distance until they reached a stone building. It seemed harmless at first, but a keen eye could catch the cameras and hidden guards keeping an eye out for intruders.

“Alright, Glitch, do your thing.” Avantia instructed.

The male nodded, hand going to the tech gauntlet he had on his wrist. A small robot popped out of the metal backpack he wore, scuttling off into the trees, it reappeared climbing the walls of the facility, doing something to each of the cameras.

“Cameras are down.” Glitch reported.

With the cameras out of the way, it was a matter of sneaking past the guards and taking them out without alerting anyone, which was made easy by Avantia’s powers allowing her to point out exactly where every guard was hiding. Avantia, Nathanael and the two unnamed yet connected to girls would sneak up behind them, using gas or pressure points to knock them out.

“Right, Glitch, you’re up again.” Avantia said as the heroes came to the door into the facility.

Just as Glitch was about to try his hacking skills on the door, there was a whistle behind them.

The winged girl held a key card in her hand, smiling matter-of-factly.

“Or, would could try it the easy way first.” Nathanael suggested.

The others were silent for a moment.

“Yeah, we could try that first.” Another hero, Nathanael recognised them as Pulse, finally said.

Glitch took the card from the winged girl, inserting it into the card reader next to the door. The reader also asked for a code, but Glitch was quick to work it out, opening the door for them.

“Right.” Avantia said. “Give me a moment to work out the layout.”

Avantia pulled her goggles over her eyes, pressing a button that turned the glass completely back.

“Tech, Glitch and Soul, you need to go down that hallway, take the right, then a left and then three doors down, that room looks like the control room.” Avantia pointed.

The two brothers and tattooed girl nodded, heading in the direction.

Nathanael felt a deep dissatisfaction about being separated from the tattooed girl.

“The portal room is quite deep down.” Avantia said, taking out a device.

The goggled heroine took out a device, holding it in one hand while the other went to her temple, the screen on the device then lit up to display a map.

“This should last long enough to guide you there.” She handed the winged girl the device.

The winged girl offered a thumbs-up as she took the device.

Nathanael turned to the Imp, who was still cradling her bomb, holding out his arms expectantly.

“We can’t very well blow up the portal if we don’t have the bomb.” Nathanael said.

The Imp was reluctant but handed it over with a sigh after being fixed with a stare from the other heroes.

The winged girl and Nathanael analysed the map before taking off in the direction they needed to go, not sticking around to hear what the remaining heroes would be doing.

The two of them came to a stop, pushing themselves against the wall as someone walked past, quickly sneaking past them, quiet as a mouse, running along the walls in a pattern to avoid being spotted by the inside cameras that lined the walls. They came to an elevator, sticking to it either side as they waited for it to open, though there was thankfully no one in it. As soon as they stepped inside, Nathanael hoisted the winged girl upwards so that she could push open the ceiling panel and climb through, her wings shrinking to allow her to squeeze through the hole. Nathanael pushed the button for the floor they needed before hopping up to join her on top of the elevator, replacing the panel.

The elevator descended, coming to a stop to allow someone on before they got off again on the next floor down. Eventually, the elevator came to a stop on the floor they needed.

Nathanael opened the panel again and the winged girl took out a small mirror, attaching it to a string, which she then lowered down. The winged girl then made a click with her mouth as she looked into the mirror.

“The cameras are still on.” Nathanael said, understanding what the single click from the winged girl meant. “What’s taking the boys and sister so long?”

The winged girl shrugged.

They continued watching the mirror, frowning when the elevator doors began to close, but just before they did they saw the light of the camera blink off.

The two of them hopped down into the elevator and opened the doors, sticking to the side in case anyone was coming, but the way remained clear.

Using the map given to them by Avantia, the two of them traversed the corridors, only to stop when they heard the sound of voices coming towards them. They looked around but found no rooms or hallways to duck into.

Two men rounded the corner and then walked down the hall way the two heroes had previously been. Above them, Nathanael and the winged girl pushed against each other to keep themselves against the walls, once the men were gone they let themselves drop.

The duo continued until they reached a blank wall.

“According to Avantia, the door to the portal room should be here.” Nathanael said, looking at the device.

They looked around for a switch but could found one, but they did find a vent.

The winged girl whistled, indicating her head towards the vent.

“Yep.” Nathanael agreed. “The room will have to have a vent, meaning we have an alternate path.”

Nathanael hoisted the girl up again and she undid the vent cover before climbing inside, her wings completely disappearing to allow her to squeeze through the narrow passage. Nathanael followed after, pushing the bomb in front of him.

“This brings back memories. Doesn’t it, Silent?” Nathanael said as they shuffled their way through the vent.

The girl ahead of him clicked in agreement.

Silent eventually came to a stop, slamming her hand against something, there was then the sound of something giving way and clattering to the floor. The two of them quickly evacuated the cramped vent.

Nathanael sighed in relief as he climbed out, then looked around the room.

Silent frowned.

“I agree.” Nathanael said. “I was expecting a bit more.”

The room was sparse, the only things in it were a few metal crates, a control panel, and the portal. The portal itself was a mixture of stone and metal parts that were obviously additions, the ring was empty meaning the portal was inactive.

Nathanael went over to the portal, putting down the Imp’s bomb next to it while Silent investigated the inside of the crates, finding nothing interesting inside. Silent then went over to the control panel, trying to work out what the buttons did.

Nathanael pressed a finger to his ear, activating the communication device in his ear.

“We’re all ready on our end.” He reported.

“Good, we have the prisoners.” Avantia responded. “You can set the timer.”

Nathanael pushed some buttons on the bomb until a timer flashed on.

“Alright, setting the bomb, now.” Nathanael said. “Alright, time to go.” He told Silent.

Silent looked up from the control panel, pushing a button. The door to the side of them opened, the same one that they hadn’t been able to open previously, Silent grinned.

“That saves us some time.” Nathanael grinned back.

The two of them ran from the room and over to the elevator, not giving much mind to if they were spotted this time around, not that they were, he and Silent was too good to be spotted so easily. They slipped into the elevator, letting it take them up to the ground floor.

They were only about half way up when high-pitched alarms rang throughout the facility, the lift coming to a stop.

“They couldn’t have waited another minute before getting discovered?” Nathanael complained.

Silent sighed, agreeing with Nathanael’s dissatisfaction.

Nathanael once again helped Silent to ascend up and out of the elevator through the panel, leaving them in the shaft. They then grabbed a cable each and began to climb. They came to a stop in front of the door of the ground floor, unsteadily balancing on the edge of the lift walls, helping to keep each other balance. Silent then withdrew one of the katana blades from her waist and jammed it into the slit of the doors, wrenching backwards, a regular blade would have snapped, but the doors were forced open instead.

Nathanael and Silent quickly hopped through the open doors, sighing in relief.

Silent whistled.

“I know.” Nathanael said. “I hate it when that happens too. Let’s find sister and the others.”

They ran through the halls, retracing their steps, the sound of fighting getting louder as they got closer. They found half of their team defending their exit point, a group of civilians cowering behind them.

“Who set off the alarm?” Nathanael questioned as he came to a stop, arming himself with his flute.

“Who do you think?” Pulse responded, indicating their head to the Imp.

“In my defence, it was very dark.” The Imp said.

Pulse twirled his staff in front of him, blocking the bullets sent at them while Avantia returned fire, the Imp lobbing concussion grenades of her own design at the enemy.

At the sound of footsteps, Nathanael and Silent turned to attack, lowering their guard when they saw it was only Tech and Glitch.

Nathanael then frowned. “Wait, where’s Soul?” He asked.

Tech and Glitch lowered their eyes, Glitch holding out his hand with something in it.

“One of them managed to get her from behind.” Glitch explained.

Nathanael and Silent rushed over to the brothers, gently taking the engraved stone that Glitch held into their hands, caressing it.

“Oh, sister.” Nathanael said sadly.

Silent whistled.

Their expressions then screwed up in anger.

“They’re going to pay.” Nathanael hissed.

There was more running, this time it was the enemy, coming down the corridor Nathanael and Silent had come from.

Nathanael slipped the stone into his pocket and held his flute in a tight grip while Silent withdrew her other katana, holding one in each hand.

Saying nothing, they ran at the enemy, taking out their anger.

“We need to go, we’ve not got long left!” The Imp called, looking at the device she had linked to her bomb.

Nathanael looked up from where he was pounding one of the guards, reluctantly letting go of them. He turned to Silent, who was straddling one of them with her katana raised high to strike, tapping her on the shoulder, the winged girl reluctantly climbed up and they followed the rest of their group out of the building.

They ran through the trees, making sure to keep the civilians between them, until they made it to their aircraft.

Tech and Glitch jumped into the pilot seats while everyone else began strapping themselves into the seats, making sure the civilians were secure first. The aircraft lifted into the air, but soon came under heavy fire.

The Imp was quick to unstrap herself, opening the aircraft doors to fire more of her bombs at their attackers. Avantia joined her, grabbing a heavy-duty gun and firing at where she saw the enemy. But despite their efforts, they were still getting fired at, and Tech was having a hard time manoeuvring them out the way.

“Sion, give us cover!” Avantia instructed.

“Right.” Nathanael responded.

Nathanael put his flute to his lips and began to play a long and gentle tune, light spilling out of his flute and out of the open door, wrapping around the outside of the aircraft. The aircraft then suddenly vanished, leaving the enemy with nothing to shoot at.

“5…4…3…2…1!” The Imp counted down.

Behind them, the facility was destroyed in a glorious explosion.

“So beautiful.” The Imp said, hand over her heart.

Nathanael continued to play, until he needed to breath, slumping in his seat as he lowered his flute. The aircraft reappeared without Nathanael playing anymore but there was no reason to hide so it didn’t matter.

Nathanael’s Miraculous beeped, signifying his time was short, but the mission was already over.

Nathanael reached into his pocket, taking out the engraved stone.

“She’ll get her energy back soon.” He said to Silent as they leant against each other in their seats.

Nathanael’s Miraculous eventually beeped rapidly, signifying his time was up. Just before the transformation was undone, Nathanael caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror, a fox mask covered by white hair looked back at him.

Nathanael was then launched back into nothingness.


The Miraculous team, plus Gabriel and Sion, were gathered back in Gabriel’s office in the evening.

Adrien was sitting with his arm in a cast, already signed by Marinette and Casey. The teens sat together, trying to avoid the awkward atmosphere, Gabriel sat at his desk and Sion sat across for him.

“I think it’s time for a proper explanation, now that there are no more distractions.” Gabriel said.

“What’s there to explain, I already said what I am before.” Sion shrugged.

“If you are an echo of the real Sion, you will have her memories.” Gabriel said. “And you could possibly tell me what happened to my wife.”

“And the others?” Sion added, teasing the fact that Gabriel was only focused on his wife.

Gabriel breathed deeply.

“Yes, and the others.” He said.

“Well, honestly, I don’t know if I’d be able to help you.” Sion answered. “My memories only go as far as the last time the real me wore this Miraculous. And I don’t have any memory of going off on a mission, in fact, I don’t remember having any contact with Silver Hunter since when we last all got together.”

Gabriel sighed, his disappointment clear.

“Sorry I couldn’t help.” Sion said honestly. “If it were the real Sion you were talking to, then maybe she’d be able to do something, but I’m just a cheap copy.”

“Then you don’t have her bond?” Gabriel aske.

Sion shook her head.

“So, what now?” Adrien asked. “How long will you be staying?”

Sion shrugged.

“Only a few days at my best guess, this has never happened before, so I can’t say for certain.” She answered.

“What are we going to do about Nathanael’s parents?” Marinette asked in worry. “They’ll notice him not coming home.”

“We will inform his parents that he and Adrien are having a sleep-over.” Gabriel said. “Sion, can you still modify your voice like your original.”

Sion paused before speaking.

“I think so.” She said, it coming out as Nathanael’s voice. “And now I know so.” She then winced, rubbing her neck. “That hurts my throat.”

“That is freaky.” Adrien said. “How’d you do that?”

“My original can modify her voice but that is part of her own abilities, all I have is what the Fox Miraculous grants me but since I’m using Nathanael’s body I can briefly change the vocal chords back.” Sion explained in her normal voice.

“You can talk to the boy’s parents to make it believable, then.” Gabriel said.

“Sure.” Sion agreed.

“As for placement, I will allow you to stay in one of my guest rooms as I will not expect my protégé or her friend to be imposed on, but you will behave.” Gabriel instructed.

“What, think I’ll get into trouble.” Sion grinned teasingly.

“Not think, know.” Gabriel said.

Sion stuck her tongue out.

“Okay, now we’ve got that worked out. What are we going to do about the Experiments?” Casey asked. “We were barely able to hold out own against them. And Adrien can’t fight with his arm.”

“Well, it’ll take them a few days to recover with the damage I managed to do to Creature.” Sion pointed out.

“That gives us time to plan.” Gabriel said.

“What do you think we should do, then?” Marinette asked her teacher.

“You will be doing nothing.” Gabriel concluded. “I will be contacting the Quantic Team to come and deal with them.”

“What?”

“Come on!”

“No way!”

The Miraculous heroes protested.

“Father, we can’t just stay out the way, we need to protect Paris.” Adrien added to his protests.

“My decision is final, Adrien.” Gabriel said. “This is not Hawkmoth you are dealing with. The Experiments are dangerous, just look at what they’ve already done to you, it is better to bring in experienced heroes to deal with them.”

“Come on, Gabriel.” Sion protested. “You can’t realistically expect them to stay out of this fight just because the odds are against them. If they want to help, you can’t stop them.”

“I can and I have, I will not allow my son to be endangered or the rest of the children!” Gabriel said with growing anger.

“You mean like they do every day against Hawkmoth.” Sion shot back, folding her arms.

“Do not speak of matters that you have no knowledge of!”

“What, you just think because you’re more ‘serious’ you know best?”

“I know what’s best for my son! While you only care for yourself!”

“Hey, I care for other people, I just don’t baby the younger generation. They’re never going to be prepared if you try to shelter them.”

“They do not need to go through what we went through!”

“You mean getting injured because inexperience with dealing with a larger threat?

Adrien, Marinette and Casey watched the exchange between the two adults, heads going back and forth like a tennis match. Watching Gabriel’s growing anger with trepidation while Sion remained calm with her usual smirk as she responded.

“If you will not respect my decision, then you will not be welcome in this house! If you continue to infuriate me, I will take action!” Gabriel threatened.

“Bring it on, Lord of Pigeons!” Sion goaded.

The tension was broken by Adrien laughing while the girls stared at Sion in confusion.

“Lord of Pigeons?” Casey asked. “Why’d you call him that?”

Sion’s smirk grew wider.

“Well, you see, it comes from our first mission together-” She began.

“That is enough.” Gabriel ordered, reigning in his temper. “Or I will tell your parents.”

That made Sion sit up straight in her seat, smirk dropping off her face.

“Don’t you dare.” She pointed at Gabriel.

A subtle smile made its way onto Gabriel’s face as he sat back in his chair.

“I mean it, Gabriel. Involving…Wisp and Void, is a bad idea, it’d only bring them more pain. I’m a temporary copy, not their real daughter.” Sion said seriously.

“You’d rather I incur their wrath by not telling them about you?” Gabriel questioned.

Sion huffed.

“Do what you want, I’m going exploring.” She said. “Come on, kitty boy, we may as well call fox cub’s parents while I’m at it.”

Sion slipped out of her chair, walking out of the room, with a quick look at his dad, Adrien followed.

“Are you okay, Mr Agreste?” Marinette asked in concern.

“I am fine, thank you, Miss Dupain-Cheng.” Gabriel answered.

“Is this the part where you tell us Sion is a bad influence and to stay away from her?” Casey asked.

“It would be beneficial to you, yes.” Gabriel said.

He then looked at Casey analytically.

“Miss Dupain-Cheng, if you would give us a moment, please. I need to talk to Ladybird alone.” Gabriel then said.

Both girls looked surprised.

“Oh, okay.” Marinette said unsurely. “Why?”

“It pertains to personal matters.” Gabriel answered.

“Okay.” Marinette said again. “I’ll just go catch up to Adrien and Sion.”

Marinette reluctantly left the room, still feeling unsure.


“So, my dad and you.” Adrien said as he and Sion walked. “What’s up between the two of you, you were at each other’s throats.”

“Gabriel and I, we never exactly got along. I’m a cool and badass lady, and he’s a full of himself prick. It’s not my fault though, he’s the one who took the instant dislike to me.” Sion said.

“Why?” Adrien asked.

“Let’s just say that I wasn’t originally intended the Fox Miraculous, but I ended up with it anyway, Gabriel didn’t like that. I guess it didn’t help that I was a decade younger than him too but could still best him. Despite having partner Miraculous’, we almost never fought alongside one another.”

“That’s sad.” Adrien said.

Sion shrugged. “Maybe for him, but I had my sisters as my partners anyway.”

“Hey, guys, wait up!” Marinette called from behind them, jogging to catch up.

“Hey, Marinette.” Adrien said. “Where’s Casey.”

“Well you see, Mr Agreste, your dad, which you know, wanted to talk to her privately for some reason.” Marinette explained, momentarily stumbling over her words at talking to Adrien.

“Huh, I wonder what he wants to talk to her about.” Adrien said.

“I have an inkling.” Sion said.

“What?” Adrien and Marinette asked.

Sion only shook her head, tapping her nose. “Spoilers.” She teased.


Casey eyed Gabriel suspiciously.

“So, what do you want to talk about?” She asked.

Gabriel could see that the girl was tense, legs curled under her like she was ready for action, holding Tikki protectively. This only further proved his suspicions.

“Does your mother know?” Gabriel asked simply.

He watched as Casey’s eyes widened.

“That’s a bit specific.” Casey said. “Neither of my parents know, just like Marinette with her parents.”

“But your mother is a bit more unique in this case, Miss Brook.” Gabriel said.

Casey froze. “I never told you my last name.” She said.

“No, but I know your mother, and you’re the spitting image of her.” Gabriel said.

Casey closed her eyes and laughed. “This is why I was hesitant to show my face to someone who worked with her, dad does always talk about how much I look like she did.” She then looked at Gabriel. “So, you know who my mum is. What do you want?” She said defensively.

Gabriel’s features softened, though to anyone else he looked as stern as he always did.

“You should tell her.” He told Casey. “She has the right to know what you’ve been doing.” He pointed at Tikki.

“You weren’t concerned about my parents knowing before you worked out who I am, and I’ll bet you haven’t forced Marinette to tell her parents. This situation shouldn’t be different.” Casey said.

“The difference is that I know your mother, and she has the right to know what you’ve been doing.” Gabriel said.

Casey stood. “She has the right when she bothers to get involved in my life. I don’t have to tell her anything.” She said.

Casey then marched out of the room, Tikki looking worried from her perch on the girl’s shoulder.

Gabriel sighed.

“Just as stubborn.” He said.

After taking a minute to collect himself, Gabriel decided it was time to start planning against the Experiments. He pushed a button under his desk, causing a screen to rise out of the top. After signing in with his palm print, messed around with the screen until it was covered with different faces.

“Who to bring in.” He regarded all the different faces of his former teammates.

He pressed the faces of Melody, Mercury and Mime, the primary heroes responsible for fighting the Experiments when they first emerged in France alongside himself and his wife. After consideration, he also pressed the faces of Wisp and Void, no matter what Sion said, it was crueller not to tell them, even if she was just a copy. And finally, after some more consideration, he pressed Avantia.

With his options selected, Gabriel began his message to them.


Sion put down Adrien’s phone, rubbing her throat.

“Thank the goddess, any longer and I would have screamed.” She said, her voice raspy.

“It’s a good think Nathanael’s parents agreed.” Marinette said.

“When you want something, always play the sympathy card.” Sion advised. “One mention of kitty’s broken arm and cub wanting to stay with him for comfort, and they caved too easily.”

“Now, don’t go corrupting them with your ways.” Pavo flew up to Sion.

“I’m just giving them valuable advice.” Sion defended.

Pavo didn’t look convinced.

Adrien’s door opened and Casey came through, frustration evident on her face as she dropped down next to Sion.

“Are you alright?” Marinette asked in concern.

“I’m guessing you got into an argument with Gabriel.” Sion said knowingly.

Casey huffed in response.

“What about?” Adrien asked.

Casey didn’t answer.

“Let’s just say he made Casey uncomfortable.” Tikki spoke up for her.

“He can do that.” Sion said. “He’s certainly an ‘adult’ as it were. Always believing he knows best, not considering others, and blah, blah, blah. Part of the reason I can’t stand him either. He’s probably calling in old heroes right now and working out how to keep you out of the picture.”

“We should be able to fight, they attacked us.” Adrien pouted.

“Kid, you have a broken arm, you’re not fighting anyone.” Plagg told him, looking up from where he was attempting to sign his own name on Adrien’s cast.

“Well, yeah.” Adrien said. “But still.”

“I have to admit, the Experiments were extremely dangerous.” Sion said. “They sent more that one hero to the hospital. So I can agree with bringing more heroes in. But you should still be able to fight, we gain nothing by limiting your fighting to just Akumas. And if you get hurt in the fight? Well, a lesson about fighting the enemy is learned.”

“Can you tell us more about the experiments, what exactly we’re up against?” Casey asked.

“Sure.” Sion shrugged. “May as well start at the beginning, when we broke them out of their prison.”


Nathanael was drifting again, lost in nothingness without a care.

“Vixx! Fangs Bared!”

He was then dragged back into reality, finding himself walking down a hallway with Silent at his side. She looked younger than before.

Nathanael and Silent stepped into a living room, standing there was Avantia and another hero he didn’t recognise.

“Whatever you think you have pinned on us, we didn’t do it.” Nathanael said.

“We’re not here because of your… recent past. We’re here for your help.” The other hero said.

Nathanael and Silent looked at each other before laughing, he could also hear Soul’s laughter, though she wasn’t in sight.

“You must be desperate to come to us. Unless you’ve forgotten, we’re not in the exact same line of work as you.” Nathanael laughed.

“This is a very important mission, we need the best in stealth for it. And who better than the infamous Sion and Silent?” The hero explained.

“We’re not the only experts in stealth, we just so happen to be the best.” Nathanael boasted. “I’m sure you can find someone else who’s fit for the job. Besides, what’s in it for us?” He grinned.

“The thrill of breaking into a highly secure and dangerous facility.” Avantia said.

Silent whistled.

“Very tempting.” Nathanael agreed.

“And taking down maniacs behind human experimentation.” Avantia added. “Maniacs I think you’d recognise.”

Avantia held out a piece of paper which Nathanael took, he and Silent looking at it. Nathanael felt cold shoot through him as he looked at the paper.

On the paper was a symbol of a snake wrapping around the earth, its jaw unhinged as if to eat it.

Nathanael shook as he suddenly found himself launched into a different memory in a flash of white. He found himself sobbing as he knelt on the floor, cradling a very young and bleeding Silent in his arms, staring up at a man in fear. Emblazoned on the front of that man’s jacket was the very symbol from the paper.

In another flash, Nathanael found himself back in the living room, clutching the paper so hard it crumpled in his grip. Beside him, Silent also shook.

Nathanael and Silent wrapped an arm around each other, giving the other comfort.

“When do we go?” Nathanael asked in barely constrained anger.

“We leave now.” The other hero said.

“Well, then, let’s go.” Nathanael said.

The two heroes left out the door and Nathanael and Silent followed. There was a flashforward and Nathanael found himself and Silent next to each other in the back of a truck. Around them, other heroes from England were also seated.

“We’re really doing this, huh?” Soul asked.

Nathanael looked up at her. She floated in front of him and Silent, body transparent and minus the red tattoos.

Silent nodded, touching a hand to her throat.

“We’ll finally be able to get them back for what they did.” Nathanael said, placing a hand on Silent’s shoulder.

Silent smiled at him.

“Alright.” Avantia said. “Lilly here will guide you to the facility, you’ll then sneak in and attach this to the main computer, it’ll allow Glitch to hack in.”

Avantia handed Silent a device.

“I’m not really sure about going back.” A girl spoke up. “What if you get caught.”

“Believe us, we never get caught.” Nathanael smirked.

“But what if you do, they do all sorts of horrible things there, so many of my friends are dead.” Lilly whimpered.

Nathanael stood up and walked over to Lilly, kneeling in front of her.

“Hey, look at me.” Nathanael said gently.

“I know about cruelty, especially from these assholes.” He said.

Nathanael removed his mask and pushed his hair from the left side of his face.

Lilly gasped as she looked at him.

“Believe me when I say, we will make them pay.” Nathanael said.

Lilly nodded.

Nathanael replaced his mask and pulled his hair back into place, sitting back down next to Silent.

“Don’t worry, you won’t be going back, you only need to show us the way.” Avantia added.

“Why’s you show her your face, it has nothing to do with them?” Soul asked.

“Yes, but it was a good motivator regardless.” Nathanael answered.

The truck came to a stop and they all hopped out, Lilly then began leading the way, becoming more nervous as they went. Eventually, they reached a hill, peaking over it to see a building, half covered in foliage, it would have been perfectly hidden if not for the chimney sticking out if it and spewing smoke.

“I-I can’t go any further.” Lilly said.

“Don’t worry, you don’t have to.” Avantia comforted. “Just tell us how you got out.”

“The incineration room, below that chimney.” Lilly said. “It leads directly into the labs.”

“Okay.” Nathanael said, turning to Silent. “You ready?”

“Good luck.” Tech said.

Nathanael and Silent, with Soul floating behind them, quietly and quickly made their way through the trees. There were cameras attached to some trees but the cameras didn’t see even a hint of them. They reached the building, hopping over the fence and coming to a door led to bellow the chimney.

“Looks like someone was clumsy.” Nathanael said, spotting that the door was jammed open.

They ducked inside the room, noses scrunching up at the smell of burning. Passing the incinerator, they opened the next door to a sterile hallway, cameras in just around every corner.

“Think they’re the heat sensor kind?” Nathanael asked Silent.

Silent shrugged.

“Aria, scout ahead.” Nathanael turned to the floating girl.

Soul saluted, drifting through the door and down the hall, sticking her head through every door she came across until she was out of sight.

A while later, Soul returned.

“I found the main computer room, though there are guys in it.” She said.

“We can take them.” Nathanael said confidently.

Nathanael took out his flute and played, the resulting illusion turning him and Silent invisible. They then walked down the hall, the cameras showing no reaction. Guided by Soul, they reached the main computer room, sneaking silently though the door.

There were two men sitting at the computer, monitoring the many camera screens in front of them. Some of the cameras showing people in chains being walked through the halls.

Nathanael and Silent crouched behind a man each, creeping forward, and at an unspoken signal, they both leapt forward, grabbing the men around the necks. The men struggled, but they kept their grips tight, and the men eventually fell to the floor, unmoving.

With the men taken care of, Silent took out the device they’d been given and plugged it into the computer. Instantly, the device began hacking the encryption on the computer, granting them access to everything.

The computer screen then flashed red and the trio watched as every door in the facility was simultaneously opened, and the collars that were around the necks of the prisoners fell off.

They watched as the prisoners realised what had happened, breaking their chains and turning towards their captors. Their captors tried to take out their weapons to use on them, but the prisoners were quick to attack.

“Oh, goddess.” Soul gasped.

The three of them watched in horror as blood painted the hallways. The prisoners were not merciful to their captors.

Nathanael put a finger to his ear for the communicator.

“Get down here, now!” He ordered. “The prisoners are ripping everyone apart, literally!”

“We’re already on our way.” Was the answer he got.

Silent whistled.

“Yeah, we’ve never dealt with this before.” Soul agreed.

“At least you’re already dead. It’s us that has to worry if they come in here.” Nathanael said to her.

“Maybe they’ll be able to tell friend from foe.” Soul suggested hopefully.

“What in hades?!” Nathanael suddenly exclaimed as he looked at one of the screens.

“What is that?” Soul said in equal horror.

Malformed horrors stepped out of rooms that had heavy doors, men that were unfortunate to get in their way were decimated in a shower of blood.

Silent grabbed Nathanael’s arm, tugging on it.

“Yeah, let’s go.” He agreed.

They ran out of the room, running straight into a group of prisoners, some of them with blood still on their clothes.

“Uh, we’re here to rescue you!” Nathanael said quickly.

Thankfully, the prisoners weren’t hostile.

“You’re the ones who unlocked our collars?” One asked.

Nathanael and Silent nodded their heads.

They then found themselves getting hugged uncomfortably by all the prisoners.

“Listen, our…teammates?” Nathanael turned to Silent, not knowing what to call Avantia and the others.

Silent shrugged in response.

“…are coming.” Nathanael continued. “We need to leave the building.

“Okay with us.” A prisoner said.

“Is this everyone?” Nathanael asked.

“Yes.”

Nathanael and Silent guided the prisoners out the way they had come from. A loud roar then echoed throughout the facility, the prisoners immediately froze in response.

“Did you open every cell?” One of the prisoners asked.

“Yes.” Nathanael answered.

“Oh, no. You opened the solitary cells. That means the mutates are on the loose.” Another prisoner said.

“Mutates, you mean those creatures?” Nathanael asked.

“Yes, we need to get out of here. They’re very dangerous.” Another prisoner said.

The group picked up their pace in running out of the facility, exiting through the incineration room.

“Sion, Silent!” Pulse’s voice came through the communication device in Nathanael’s ear. “Avantia says you have all the prisoners with you.”

“We do.” Nathanael answered.

“Take them to the safe point, we’re a bit busy with these creatures Glitch released too.” Pulse instructed.

“I didn’t realise they would attack you.” Nathanael could hear Glitch defend.

“Just move the truck closer to us if you can.” Nathanael said.

The group continued to run away from the facility, on the other side of the building they could see the heroes battling the creatures that had been accidently released. Silent chose to fly above them, acting as a guardian angel of sorts, looking out for danger following them from high above. Eventually, they reached the large truck, driven by Glitch, the prisoners filing inside where Lilly already was.

“What happened to all the scientists?” Glitch asked.

“They were taken care of.” Nathanael said, pointed at the prisoners.

Glitch looked confused, but then look in the blood on the prisoners and the lack of injuries to make that much blood.

“Ooh.” He said.

“Yep.” Nathanael said.

Nathanael and Silent loaded themselves into the back of the truck too, slumping down to rest. Neither of them, or Glitch for that matter, were suited to fighting larger threats, they had been brought along for stealth, so it was better if they stayed out of the way.

It took a while, but the rest of the heroes eventually returned too, looking rather battered.

“A lot of those creatures got away.” Avantia said. “But we’ll have to hunt them down later, we don’t have the time or resources.”

The heroes loaded into the van, it was a tight squeeze with so many people, but they managed, it was just an uncomfortable ride.

Time skipped forward again, and Nathanael found himself in a large building, similar to the French Quantic team base.

Silent whistled.

“Yeah, this place is huge.” Soul said.

“Thank you for your help, Sion, Silent.” Avantia said, walking over to them. “All the prisoners are in recovery.”

“The ones that weren’t mutated beyond sanity, that it.” The Imp remarked.

“Did the prisoners take care of all the guards and scientists?” Nathanael asked.

Avantia sighed. “Yes.” She answered. “We shouldn’t have to worry about them anymore, just the experiments of theirs that escaped.”

“Good.” Nathanael said. “Well, if we’ve done all we can, we’re going home.”

“I hope to work alongside you again.” Avantia called after them as Nathanael and Silent walked away.

“Don’t count on it!” Nathanael called back.

They stepped out of the English Quantic team base and onto the streets. In a flash of light, Silent was dressed in normal clothes.

“Fangs Covered!” Nathanael said.

And he was once again taken by the nothing.

Chapter Text

Hawkmoth stood in his lair, thinking about what he had just found out.

It turned out that the attack on Paris hadn’t ended with the cleansing of his Akuma, but continued with the arrival of new villains, or rather not so new as he understood.

The full news story came out the following day, amateur footage from inside homes and peaking around corners showing Chat Noir, Renard Rouge and someone other than Paonne wielding the Peacock Miraculous doing battle with a monstrous creature, a jester with theatre masks and a bandaged man made of bugs. The footage didn’t show what brought the fight to an end, just that both the Miraculous heroes and villains disappeared, the destruction from their fight left unrepaired by Ladybird’s Miraculous Cure.

Hawkmoth had never met the Experiments himself, but he definitely recognised them from Quantic Team reports, he knew that they weren’t only dangerous, they were deadly, and insane.

“This is not good.” Hawkmoth concluded. “They could ruin everything.”

As much as he wanted the Miraculous’, Hawkmoth was not desperate enough to believe that he could use the arrival of the villains to his advantage. Their danger and insanity could lead to the Miraculous he so coveted to being lost before he could take them, and any attempt to make a deal with them would just lead them to him.

“I must act, this must end now.” He declared.

The Miraculous heroes weren’t gone, he knew that much, the Experiments would be parading around their corpses if that was the case. But he knew the heroes hadn’t defeated the Experiments either, they were too inexperienced to defeat them, the villains had merely bid a retreat for whatever reason.

“I must draw Ladybird and Chat Noir out and take their Miraculous’ before they return.” Hawkmoth concluded.


Marinette, Adrien and Casey walked towards the college, like normal, except for an odd one out in their group.

“Why are you coming with us?” Marinette asked.

“I came to see the show.” Sion answered.

“What show?” Adrien asked.

“You’ll see.” Sion smirked.

Casey stayed deliberately silent.

They were entering into the school when they saw many people gathered around the headmaster’s office.

“Where have you been, girl, you’re missing all the drama.” Alya ran over to them.

“What?” Marinette asked.

“Something’s going down with Chloe and the police in the headmaster’s office, it looks like she’s actually getting in trouble this time.” Alya said.

“Chloe? In trouble?” Marinette asked disbelievingly. “Won’t she just use her father to get out of it?”

“Apparently, not this time.” Alya said.

They were interrupted by the door to the headmaster’s office opening, everyone around it quickly dispersing to avoid getting in trouble for eavesdropping.

Chloe Bourgeois, in tears, was marched out of the office, a police officer next to her. The mayor followed behind.

Everyone watched as Chloe was led by the officer, out of the building and into the back of a police car.

“Chloe’s being arrested?” Adrien gasped.

“Everyone, go to your classes!” Mr Damocles called out.

He then talked to someone still inside his office, waving a hand to signal them out. From inside, the guiding unit emerged, relieved smiles clear on their face.

“I’ll talk to you guys later.” Casey said to Marinette and Adrien.

She ran off towards the rest of her unit. Marinette, Adrien and Sion watched as she met with her other friends along with Sabrina, all of them smiling happily.

“I’m guessing they’re no longer in trouble.” Marinette said.

“Yep, from what I’ve heard, they’re completely off the hook.” Alya said.

“How, though?” Marinette asked.

Max and Kim appeared next to them as they walked towards class.

“According to my data, cross referencing the different stories that I’ve heard. Chloe has confessed to being the one to frame the girls for the theft and vandalised property, and her father was the one to get her to confess, so she’s been arrested for the theft and vandalism as well as framing the girls.” Max reported.

“Why would her father get her to confess and not do anything to stop her punishment, she always calls on him to get her way?” Alya questioned.

“Maybe even the mayor has a breaking point of what he’s willing to let her get away with.” Sion suggested, not giving away the real reason.

“Uh, who are you?” Alya asked as the classmates turned to her.

“I’m Nathanael’s aunt.” Sion lied smoothly. “I came to tell his teacher that he’ll be off for the next few days.”

“Why didn’t you just phone?” Kim asked.

Sion shrugged. “I prefer to do things in person.” She said.

They entered into their classroom, taking their usual seats while Sion went to talk with their teacher.

“So, what’s going to happen now?” Nino asked.

“Well, if her daddy’s not going to help her out this time, maybe she’ll get expelled.” Alya theorised.

“Do you think that’ll happen?” Adrien asked with worry, still having some level of attachment to his childhood friend.

“Yeah, her dad may be allowing her to get into trouble, but do you think he’d allow her to get expelled.” Alix asked.

“Past experience says that the best we’ll get is maybe a week’s exclusion.” Max said.

“That would be totally unfair though.” Alya said. “With all that she’s done, exclusion wouldn’t be enough.”

“Alya calm down, we’ll just have to wait and see, we can’t do any more than that.” Marinette said.

During the conversation, Sion had quietly left the room, a knowing smirk on her face.

“Besides, be a bit more sensitive.” Marinette added.

She pointed at Sabrina, who had entered the room and sat at her desk without anyone knowing.

Alya winced. “Oh, yeah.”

“By the way, dude, what happened to your arm?” Nino asked his friend.

“I managed to get caught up in yesterdays events, got hit by some debris when running away.” Adrien lied.

“Ouch.” Nino said in sympathy. “Are you alright?”

Adrien nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Nino was quick to take out a marker and sign his own name on Adrien cast, which prompted the rest of the class to join in.

“Alright, class, calm down.” Ms Bustier called out.

Marinette frowned when she saw the sad look her teacher held.

“As you’ve probably guessed, Miss Bourgeois has gotten into a bit of trouble, we don’t know what her punishment will be but for now she will not be returning. That is all that will be said on the matter, we will now continue with our lessons.” Ms Bustier said.


Chloe screamed as she stormed into her room, her father followed after, worry clear on his face.

“I’ll be alright my princess.” He tried to placate. “It’s only a few hours of community service.”

They had just returned from the police station where they were informed of Chloe’s punishment, the mayor was thankful his daughter was a minor, and even though he wasn’t directly influencing them, the police were reluctant to severely punish her, so Chloe got off lightly.

“Why?!” Chloe screamed at him. “Why did you let me get punished in the first place?! You’re meant to protect me!”

“Certain circumstances prevented me from doing anything.” Mr Bourgeois said.

“What circumstances? What could be more important than me?” Chloe demanded.

“Someone has blackmail on me that they threatened to release if I got in the way of the police.” Mr Borgeois said.

“Who? You always say to be careful, yet someone got enough blackmail on you to make you betray me.” Chloe didn’t wait for her father to answer. “Well, you better deal with whoever it is soon, it’s not fair for you to be used against me, it hurts.”

“I know, sweetie.” Mr Borgeois hugged her. “I’ll work everything out soon enough, then it can all go back to normal”

Chloe sighed as she broke the hug, going over to the mirror to fix her make up.

“So, how long until I can go back to college? A few days or something?” She asked offhandedly.

“Ah, about that.” Borgeois said hesitantly. “Mr Damocles and I decided that it would be better for everyone if I pulled you out of Françoise Dupont.”

“What?!” Chloe whipped around, piercing her father with her gaze. “Why?”

“Mr Damocles told me that what you did, as well as considering previous behaviour that has been ignored, would most likely result in your expulsion once your teachers had their meeting to decide what to do with you. But if I pulled you out now, there’d be no expulsion to go on your school record.”

“But…that’s where all my friends go.” Chloe protested, ignoring that Adrien and Sabrina weren’t her friends anymore. “You can’t take me away from them.”

“I’m sorry, Chloe, but the decision has already been made, you’re no longer registered as a student.” Her father apologised.

Chloe began to sob at how uprooted her life had become.

Mr Bourgeois steeled himself for the next bombshell to drop on his daughter.

“You will be going to a new school in England by next month.” He said.

Chloe froze.

“You’re sending me away?” She cried.

Mr Bourgeois nodded.

“I thought it better to send you somewhere where you can have a fresh start, and this school is very prestigious. It’s where your mother went.” He said in hopes of softening the blow.

“No!” Chloe denied. “I won’t go, you can’t make me!”

She ran at her father, banging her fists against his chest.

“I’m sorry, my princess, but my mind is made up. You’ll enjoy it there once you’ve settled down, you’ll make new friends.”

“Who?” Chloe demanded through her sobs. “Who made you do this to me?”

The mayor sighed. “Ladybird.” He said.

Chloe froze again, looking up at her father.

“Ladybird?” She asked in disbelief. “Ladybird’s the one who did this.” She shook her head in denial, backing away from her father. “No! No, no, no. Why would she do this? To me?!”

“I’m sorry-” Mr Bourgeois began.

“Get out!” Chloe screamed. “Get out! Now!” She threw a pillow at him.

Mr Bourgeois quickly vacated Chloe’s room before she could grab something that hit harder.

“Agh!” Chloe screamed as she threw her chair.

She ripped down her Ladybird merchandise and threw them across the room as well, knocking down the rest of her Miraculous merchandise for good measure.

“Why? Why does everyone betray me?” She sobbed in anger. “Why would you do this to me.” She looked down at her torn poster of the Miraculous heroes.

Eventually, she tired herself out, collapsing on her floor.


The window in Hawkmoth’s lair opened as he found his next target for his Akuma.

“It’s so harsh, loosing everything, and it being your hero behind it to top it all off. Such a buffet for my Akuma.” He said.

Holding out his hand, he created his Akuma from the butterfly that landed on it.

“Fly away my little Akuma and give her another chance at revenge.” He said as the Akuma flew through the window.


Chloe continued sobbing into one of her hands, failing to notice the Akuma as it fluttered through her open window, landing on the yoyo she clutched in her hand, ready to throw. Chloe looked up as Hawkmoth’s symbol appeared over her face.

“Antibug, I can give you another chance at revenge against Ladybird for how she’s wronged you, and to set your life back to how it should be. But in return, you must bring me the Miraculous of Ladybird and Chat Noir without fail this time.” Hawkmoth spoke to her.

“Ladybird shall know my vengeance.” Chloe grinned as a black mass over took her.


“So, where’s Nathanael?” Ivan asked when Ms Bustier had left the class and given them all a small break.

“Yeah, and who was that pretty lady that came in with you?” Rose added.

“Uh, that was Nathanael’s aunt.” Marinette said, remembering Sion’s lie. “As for Nathanael…”

“He’s off visiting some more relatives for a few days.” Adrien quickly made up when he saw Marinette struggling.

Their class mates, thankfully, accepted the answer.

The class continued to chat until a paper aeroplane landed in front of Adrien. The boy looked around for who threw it, but there was only an open window. Seeing writing on the paper, he unfolded it to read it, gasping and then showing it to Marinette.

“I’ve just realised that I forgot…something important.” Marinette said as she stood. “Tell Ms Bustier that I’ll be right back.”

“Yeah, I need to get something too.” Adrien stood too.

The two of them raced out of the room and into the courtyard where they met with Casey.

“I take it you got Sion’s note too?” She asked.

The two nodded.

The three of them ran out of the college, a transformed Sion dropping down next to them.

“Where’s the Akuma you mentioned?” Adrien asked.

“At the TV station, she’s calling us out, you specifically.” She said to Casey.

“Me?” Casey questioned. “Do you know who it is?”

“Chloe Bourgeois.” Sion answered.

“Ah.” Casey said in understanding. “I should have expected that.”

“Chloe’s an Akuma again?” Adrien worried.

“It must have been because of her arrest.” Marinette theorised. “But why would that make her target you?” She asked Casey.

Casey shrugged while looking away.

“Anyway.” She then distracted from the question. “We should transform and take her out.”

“Right.” Adrien and Marinette responded.

“Ah, ah, ah.” Sion wagged her finger at Adrien. “As much as I admire your spirit, there’s not much you can do with that arm of yours.”

“Come on, I can still fight.” Adrien protested.

“You probably could.” Sion agreed. “I’ve fought with only one hand myself. But as the adult of the group, I’m the ‘responsible’ one here, and there’s no way I’m taking responsibility if you get hurt even more because I let you charge into battle with a broken arm. You stay!”

“Come on, kid, listen to her.” Plagg said. “We’re better off sitting this one out.”

“Think this through.” Casey agreed.

“But…” Adrien tried to think of a protest.

He was surprised when his uninjured hand was grabbed, he looked up into bluebell eyes.

“Please, Adrien.” Marinette pleaded. “I don’t want you to get hurt more than you already are.”

“I-I…” Adrien stumbled to say something as he looked into Marinette’s pleading eyes, his face turning red.

He sighed in defeat.

“Fine, I’ll stay.” He said.

“Thank you.” Marinette smiled.

“Never underestimate the power of the eyes.” Sion said to Casey and Kwamis. “Alright, let’s go!”

“Tikki! Spots On!”

 “Pavo! Feathers Flared!”

Adrien watched as the three heroines ran off, kicking a stone before heading back towards class.

Ladybird, Paonne and Sion ran over the rooftops towards the TV station, stopping to watch the huge screen displayed on the front, showing camera screaming as they ran away from something before the cameras cut out.

“Let’s go.” Ladybird said, wasting no time in jumping off the roof and charging into the building.

“I’ll stay in the shadows, so to speak.” Sion said. “They don’t know about me yet.”

“Okay.” Paonne nodded before following Ladybird.

The two heroes stormed into the studio, finding the staff tied to the walls and ceiling with a string-like substance, the staff immediately gave muffled screams when they saw the heroes.

“Hey, don’t worry, we’ll get you out.” Ladybird said as she went over to one of them.

Paonne went over to another, managing to cut the string from around their mouth.

“Look out, she’s in here!” The man immediately screamed.

No sooner than he had said that, did the door to the studio slam shut, and attempt by Paonne showed that it was stuck shut.

“Well, this is inconvenient.” She heard Sion say from the other side of the door. “Guess I’ll have to find a way in.”

Laughter echoed through the studio, causing Paonne and Ladybird to press back-to-back to protect themselves.

“Welcome to my parlour.” Chloe’s voice came maliciously.

Before the heroines could react, the same sticky string that trapped the crew wrapped around them, binding them together.

“What tasty morsels have wandered into my web.”

A figure jumped down from the ceiling, standing proudly in front of the heroes.

“Uh, that’s not Antibug.” Ladybird said.

“Meet the new and improved Antibug.” Chloe said as she held her arms out as if to accept praise. “Whereas before I wanted to be you.” She pointed at Ladybird. “Now I am your predator.”

Before, Antibug’s costume had just been a coloured inverse of Ladybird’s costume. But now, Antibug’s new costume was a black halter necked leotard with a red hourglass-shaped symbol on the front with a black spot inside the top and bottom parts, and red spikes on the hips. She also wore black shoulder guards with a red spot each on them, black arm bands with red triangles on the wrists, black thigh-high boots, a scarf that split into eight ribbons and started out as red before turning black, and an inverse of Ladybird’s yoyo around her waist. Her skin was an ashen white, a black mask covered her face that pointed down her cheeks, and her hair was black, eight black wires sticking out of her ponytail.

“Keep her talking.” Paonne whispered to Ladybird.

“What’s with the change in outfit?” Ladybird asked.

“I thought a change in wardrobe would be appropriate.” Antibug examined her nails. “After all, my previous form just doesn’t fit anymore, a weakling limited by your own capabilities. But I’ve discarded that childish thought of wanting to be you. Now I am stronger, now I can get revenge for what you did to me.” She hissed venomously.

“The only one you have to blame is yourself.” Ladybird replied, unphased.

“None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you!” Antibug yelled, getting into Ladybird’s face, causing the heroine to flinch back. “I wouldn’t have been arrested, I wouldn’t have been kicked out of college and daddy wouldn’t be sending me away! It’s all your fault!”

“And none of it would have happened if you didn’t frame those girls in the first place.” Ladybird remained stubborn. “If you want who’s to blame, go look in the mirror.”

Antibug screamed in rage, raising a hand to strike Ladybird.

“Hey!” Paonne said, thinking quickly to save her teammate. “Before you do anything, could you explain what’s going on, because I’m confused.”

Antibug lowered her hand and cackled.

“Ladybird here blackmailed my daddy into making all of this happen.” She pointed at the spotted heroine.

“Ladybird?” Paonne asked disbelievingly.

“All I did was tell him not to interfere, it’s still your own actions that led to this.” Ladybird said.

“Wait, you actually blackmailed the mayor?” Paonne asked. “How?”

“I have my ways.” Ladybird said.

Hawkmoth’s symbol appeared over Antibug’s face.

“Enough talk.” He ordered. “Take their Miraculous’”

“Let’s find out the real face behind my misery.” Antibug said, reaching for Ladybird’s earrings.

“Got it!” Paonne shouted out.

The bonds around the heroines fell away as Paonne finally managed to cut through them with her fan, they quickly dove in separate directions to avoid the villain.

Ladybird quickly spun her yoyo in front of herself to form a shield as Antibug went after her.

Sticking out her arm, webbing emerged from Antibug’s hand, wrapping around Ladybird’s ankle under her yoyo shield and tugging her off her feet. Antibug jumped, intending to stomp down on Ladybird’s head, but was knocked away by one of Paonne’s fans while the Peacock used her other one to cut Ladybird loose of the webbing.

“We need to get out of such an enclosed space.” Paonne said as Antibug disappeared back into the darkness. “She’s got too much of an advantage in here.”

The space they could fight in was already becoming smaller as Antibug shot more webbing around the room, which they had to avoid lest they get stuck, and every time Paonne launched her fans in the direction of where the webs came from she would hit nothing.

“Ugh, this stuff’s getting harder to cut.” Paonne said as she tried to cut the webbing.

There was the sound of a flute playing as the doors burst open and smoke poured in, filling the room. Ladybird and Paonne’s figures ran through the smoke, exiting out of the door.

Antibug grunted. “I forgot about the fox. Come back here!”

She jumped to the ground and ran after them.

Back inside the room, Ladybird and Paonne stood up from where they had ducked to hide in the smoke.

“This place has some big fog machines.” Sion said as she ran over to them.

“How’d you open the door?” Paonne asked.

Sion held up a knife. “It took a while to saw through the webs on the other side.” She said.

“Let’s go, before she realises that it’s fakes she’s chasing.” Ladybird said.

“We’ll need to be careful, she’s basically got the entire place booby trapped with her webs, one wrong move and she’ll know exactly where we are.” Sion said.

The three heroines ran out of the room. True to Sion’s word, webs lined the corridors, ceiling to floor and wall to wall, it would be difficult to not touch one.

“She’s stuck the windows shut.” Paonne said, looking at the window to the outside.

“It’s the same with the front door.” Sion informed them.

“We need to get to the roof, that’s our best bet.” Ladybird said.

“How, trying to navigate through all of this will just give Antibug time to find us.” Paonne asked.

“This way.” Sion indicated.

Sion easily danced through the webs, reaching the lift for the floor, the other two carefully following.

“She’s bound to hear the lift going.” Ladybird frowned.

“Who said we’ll be taking the lift itself.” Sion grinned.

She took out her flute and jammed it in between the doors, opening them to an empty lift shaft.

“Good, she didn’t think to web in here.” Sion said, panting slightly from effort of opening the doors. “Alright, up you go.”

“What about you?” Paonne asked in concern.

“We’ve got to get her to the roof somehow, don’t we?” Sion shrugged.

“Shouldn’t I be the one, she’s after me.” Ladybird volunteered.

“Yes, but I can look like you and dodge all these webs better.” Sion pointed out. “You could say I’m a veteran at this sort of thing.” She winked.

There was a scream of rage.

“Go.” Sion said.

Paonne and Ladybird jumped into the shaft, Ladybird throwing her yoyo up all of the way to latch onto something at the top of the shaft while Paonne took hold of her free hand. As the doors closed, they saw Sion use her flute to make herself look like Ladybird and run off.

“She’s very sure of herself.” Paonne said as Ladybird’s yoyo string began to retract, pulling them up the shaft.

“She said it herself, she’s a veteran.” Casey said. “She’ll be skilled enough to take care of herself.”

“We should still be working together. She may be older but she’s still a Miraculous wielder, meaning she’s our teammate.” Paonne frowned.

They reached the top but were then faced with the matter of getting the doors open. Thankfully, there was an override button for them to press that opened the doors.

“Webs up here too.” Paonne said as they left the shaft.

“Do you think my Lucky Charm would give me a flame thrower?” Ladybird questioned as they navigated their way through the webs.

“When has your Lucky Charm ever been straight forward?” Paonne joked back.

“True.” Ladybird nodded in agreement.

They reached the door to the roof, which was webbed shut.

“This is an issue.” Paonne groaned

“Antibug should be too busy with Sion to notice us opening the door. We’ll need to set up our trap as soon as we’re out.” Ladybird said.

“Right.” Paonne agreed.

It took a few strikes, but Paonne eventually managed to cut through all the webs blocking the door. The two heroines then had to throw their entire weights against the door to slowly push it open, the webs causing the hinges to be very stiff.

“Lucky Charm!” Ladybird called on her power as soon as they were out.

A red and black piece of fabric fell into her hand.

“An apron?” Ladybird questioned as she opened the fabric out.

Ladybird looked around. “I’m not seeing anything I can use.” She said.

“I can hear Sion and Antibug coming!” Paonne called to her, hearing the commotion from inside.

“Right.” Ladybird said, running to hide behind one of the billboards.

Just as Paonne had said, Sion as Ladybird came running through the open doorway, laughing with Antibug on here heels.

“Stop laughing!” Antibug yelled.

She then quickly stopped as she spotted Paonne.

“Oh, trying to spring a trap on me I see.” She said. “Well, it won’t work.”

“I may have made her mad with a bit of taunting.” Sion admitted to Paonne.

“Where’s Chat Noir and Renard Rouge?” Antibug demanded. “I won’t fall for your tricks again.”

“A bit unavailable at the moment.” Sion grinned.

She spotted a metal bucket at her feet and quickly kicked it at Antibug, running in after it. Antibug knocked the bucked away but then had to defend herself as Sion attacked, Paonne following suit, doing their best to stay in close quarters to not allow Antibug to use her webs.

As Paonne went to attack with her fan, Antibug ducked under it before grabbing her wrist, throwing the Peacock into Sion. With room to cast her webs, Antibug did exactly that, jumping away from them and shooting out webs at whatever she could, which wasn’t a lot considering they were on the roof.

Antibug then sent a web at Sion, but the heroine quickly blocked it with her flute.

“What?” Antibug questioned when she saw what she thought to be Ladybird with Renard’s staff. “Why do you have that?”

Ladybird’s yoyo flew through the air, wrapping around Antibug’s wrist and yanking it away from Sion. Ladybird hopped down from her hiding place and tugged on her yoyo as hard as she could.

“Huh?” Antibug was surprised. But then she grinned. “That won’t work, I’m much stronger than you!”

Antibug grabbed hold of the yoyo around her wrist and pulled back on it. Ladybird yelled as she was yanked off her feet and sent flying through the air, harshly impacting against the side of one of the billboards before falling. Just before she could fall off the roof, she grabbed the edge with one hand.

Paonne ran over to help her up while Sion guarded the both of them.

“Two Ladybird?” Antibug questioned as she looked at Sion and Ladybird, who was clutching her side. “No.” She shook her head, looking at Sion’s flute. “A sneaky fox pretending to have spots. You can’t fool me.”

“Well then, I guess there’s no more reason to keep up this illusion.” Sion said, allowing her disguise to fall.

“Wait, you’re not Renard Rouge.” Antibug said as she took in Sion’s true form.

Hawkmoth’s symbol flashed in front of Antibug’s face, allowing the villain to see out of her eyes.

“Sion?” Hawkmoth gasped. “Antibug, change of plans. Forget the Miraculous, bring me Sion, the Fox!”

“What do I care about the Fox?” Antibug replied.

Using the webs she had already lain, Antibug swung around, dipping down to attack the heroines before jumping back on top before they could attack back. Of course, focusing her attacks on Ladybird, who did her best to dodge out of the way and block with her yoyo while still clutching her side. Meanwhile, Paonne and Sion struggled to reach their teammate with the webs getting in the way.

“How does it feel to be so powerless?” Antibug taunted Ladybird.

“No, Antibug! Focus on Sion! Bring her to me!” Hawkmoth demanded again.

“I don’t care whatever business you have with this new Fox lady, Hawkmoth.” Antibug responded flippantly. “But what I care about is taking care of Ladybird.”

Antibug then flinched in pain.

“Don’t forget that I am the one who gave you these powers.” Hawkmoth asserted his control. “Bring me Sion or you will be sorry!”

As Antibug was fighting the pain, Paonne and Sion made their way over to Ladybird, helping to support her as she groaned in pain.

“Definitely cracked ribs.” Sion diagnosed. “And all this fighting is only making them worse.”

Paonne took notice of Ladybird’s earrings, which were down to only two spots.

“We need to end this now, we don’t have much time.” She said.

Sion frowned.

“If only Silent and Soul were here, we’d have her defeated before she even realised it.” She lamented to herself. “Do you have any use for your charm yet?” She then asked Ladybird.

Ladybird looked around the roof, eyes settling on Antibug, who was now shooting webs out randomly as she fought Hawkmoth’s control.

“She hasn’t used her yoyo at all, that must be where her Akuma is.” She said. “But we’ll end up in webs if we try and grab it.” She looked at the apron that she had wrapped around her waist. “Unless we use this to wrap up her hands.”

“We’d have to get close first.” Sion said.

“Can you use your illusions to sneak behind her?” Paonne asked the older heroine.

Sion shook her head, showing her Miraculous, which was missing some bars.

“Casting illusions around myself takes a lot on energy, I can’t do any more.” She said.

“And I’m too injured to even try.” Ladybird said.

They both turned to Paonne, who sighed.

“I guess I can try.” She said.

Ladybird handed Paonne the apron and she got into position, ready to run.

“Oracle Eye!” She activated her power as she began to run.

Webs came at her.

Dodge left?

No, that ends up with her in some other webs.

Paonne dodged right, avoiding the webs, only for more to face her.

Jump?

No, she gets caught by another web.

Paonne ducked, the webs sailing over her.

Still more webs came.

Spin in between?

Yes, it works.

Paonne jumped and spun, avoiding the webs that shot below and above her.

What next?

No way to avoid in time. It must be dealt with force.

Paonne withdrew her fans, using one to block the webs while the other cut the webs that stuck to the first fan.

More undodgable webs.

Use fans again?

Yes, but they will be lost.

Paonne uses her fans to block the webs again, but they were wrenched from her grip as a result.

But that didn’t matter as she had managed to reach Antibug.

Acting quickly, Paonne wrapped the apron around both of Antibug’s hands, using the strings to tie it tight.

“What?!” Antibug screamed. “No?”

Antibug threw herself away from Paonne, trying frantically to free her hands while keeping her distance from the heroines.

But it was no use, as her yoyo was no longer around her waist, Paonne having grabbed it after tying up her hands.

Paonne broke the yoyo in her hands, the Akuma fluttering out.

Without her usual phrases, Ladybird opened up her yoyo, caught the Akuma and released the cleansed butterfly.

“No!” Antibug gave one last cry before reverting back into Chloe.

Sion went over to her and freed her hands, handing the apron back to Ladybird.

“Miraculous Cure!” Ladybird called out as she threw the apron into the air.

The apron burst into a swarm of ladybugs, that washed their way through the building, erasing all traces of Antibug’s activity. Ladybird sighed in relief as they washed over her, healing her injuries.

“That’s a relief.” She sighed.

Her earrings beeped frantically, indicating that she was about to turn back.

“I’ve got to go!” She quickly ran off.

“Come on.” Sion said to Paonne, making to follow Ladybird.

“What about Chloe?” Paonne questioned, looking at the blond who was looking around the roof like she was lost.

“What about her?” Sion asked dismissively.

She then jumped away.

Paonne frowned.

She then walked over to Chloe.

“Miss Bourgeois, it’s okay, you’re safe now.” She said.

“I was Akumatised again.” Chloe said in realisation.

“Yes, but we managed free you.” Paonne said.

“And I didn’t manage to defeat Ladybird, did I?” Chloe frowned.

Paonne was confused by her tone, like she was disappointed.

“No, she’s perfectly fine.” She said.

Chloe scowled. “What did I expect.” She said to herself.

“Miss Bourgeois, are you alright?” Paonne went to touch her shoulder.

“Leave me alone.” Chloe said harshly, shrugging her off and storming off of the roof.

“Weird.” Paonne said.

Her Miraculous then beeped, reminding her that she didn’t have long until she turned back.

“Time to head back to college, though it might be lunch about now.” She said to herself before gliding off of the roof.


Hawkmoth stood in his lair, contemplating what had just happened.

“Sion has returned? How?” He questioned. “And where are her sisters? Where are the others? Where is Silver Hunter?”

He slammed his cane down in anger.

“She has to be brought to me! She holds the key to finding her, to bringing her back to me!”

He straightened himself to look out his window.

“One way or another, you will come to me, Sion.” He vowed. “And you will return my love to me.”

The window closed, eclipsing the room in darkness.


Ladybird touched down on the ground, seconds later she was replaced by Casey.

“That was a close one.” Casey breathed heavily.

“Are you alright?” Tikki asked her chosen in concern.

“Don’t worry, the Miraculous Cure dealt with my injuries.” Casey reassured.

“That doesn’t mean you didn’t feel pain.” Tikki said.

“It’s fine.” Casey waved off. “Nothing I don’t go through on a monthly basis.”

“That’s the spirit.” Sion said as she landed next to Casey.

The clothes Casey had lent her replaced her costume as Sion de-transformed.

“When in pain, remember that you’ve had worse and survived.” Sion grinned. “Though, a smart person avoids getting in pain to begin with.”

“You know, I’m beginning to see why Mr Agreste doesn’t like you.” Casey snarked back. “Miss ‘if my sisters were here, it’d be over already’.”

Sion smirked. “Okay, my bad. I shouldn’t be saying those sort of things. Though, in my defence, I didn’t mean it how you took it. I only meant how I’m not familiar with your fighting style and you’re not familiar with mine, we weren’t exactly a team back there.”

“You were the one going off on her own.” Casey pointed out.

“Yeah, that’s my bad too. But tell you what, to make it up to you, I’ll teach you how to fight like I do, so we can work together properly next time we fight together.”

“I don’t think Mr Agreste would approve of that.” Casey said.

“What makes you say that?” Sion looked at the younger girl from the corner of her eye.

“It didn’t take much searching to find the real reason Mr Agreste wouldn’t like you that much, you made your name very well known after all.” Casey said, leaning against the wall.

Tikki was perched on her shoulder, staring at Sion in a way that would have been unnerving if Sion bothered to look.

“Ah.” Sion grinned. “So, what will you do next?”

“Nothing.” Casey shrugged. “You’re only a spirit, and it’s nothing to do with me anyway.”

Sion smirked and turned to walk away.

“So, it’s not just your eyes you get off your father then.” She said over her shoulder.

“On that matter.” Casey said. “What do you know about him?”

Sion paused her walking.

“We’ve never met, if that’s what you’re thinking, but I still know everything. My sisters and I pride ourselves on or knowledge, one without knowledge is one who is blind after all. Your mother was acting a bit strange, so we got curious.” Sion said, still smirking. “But like I said, I won’t speak a word, we respect the need for privacy after all.”

It was a blink, but Casey was sure Sion’s ever-present smirk dropped before she turned her face away.

“And the need for family.” Sion said.

She then walked away, leaving Casey alone with Tikki.

“Casey, what was she talking about?” The Kwami asked in concern.

“Personal matters, Tikki.” Casey quickly dismissed her. “Come on, let’s get back before my teacher questions why I’m taking so long.”


Paonne glided over the rooftops towards the college, eyes scanning what was below her until her eye caught something, someone waving frantically at her.

“What’s the problem?” Paonne asked as she landed in front of them. “Oh.” She realised who it was.

“Look, I know you don’t exactly have any reason to trust me. But, please, here me out.” Lila begged the heroine.

“Alright, but you’ll have to be quick.” Paonne indicated to her Miraculous.

“Look, I saw part of your fight against Antibug from the cameras broadcasting, and I saw that woman who was with you instead of Renard Rouge. You can’t trust her!”

“What?” Paonne asked in confusion.

“She’s nothing but a dirty thief!” Lila exclaimed. “I bet she stole the Fox Miraculous off of Renard Rouge. You can’t trust her, or she’ll still your Miraculous too!”

“Where is this coming from?” Paonne asked.

“She stole from my family! That Miraculous was my grandmothers, it should have been my mothers and then passed down to me by right. Instead, it goes missing and she appears using it for her own gain.”

“Ah.” Paonne said, suddenly understanding. “Thank you for the warning, but you have nothing to worry about. Sion is completely fine.”

“No, please, you have to listen to me.” Lila begged. “I’m trying to warn you.”

Paonne couldn’t afford to stick around anymore, her Miraculous was on its last minute.

“Goodbye, Miss Rossi.” Paonne said as she ran off.

“But…” Lila tried to call after her.

She scowled when she realised the heroine was gone.

“That’s what I get for trying to help.” She said. “I hope I’m there to say, ‘I told you so’.” She muttered to herself.

Chapter Text

Sion looked up from the magazine she was reading as Adrien entered his room.

“What are you doing in my room?” Adrien asked when he saw her.

“I got bored.” Sion answered. “The room Gabriel put me in doesn’t have anything in it, and anything Gabriel has is too boring.”

“Why not go out then?” Adrien asked.

Sion shrugged in response.

Adrien sighed.

“What did you used to spend your time doing?” He asked.

“Hanging around with my sisters, getting into trouble and the like.” Sion said offhandedly. “So, where are the girls? I’d have thought you’d all be hanging out together with what’s been happening recently.”

“The Akuma attack made them miss class, so they got detention.” Adrien answered.

“Ah, that sounds like it sucks.” Sion said.

“Never been in detention yourself?” Adrien asked, disbelieving that someone like Sion wouldn’t have gotten in trouble.

“Never been to school.” Sion answered.

“Home schooled?”

“You could say that.” Sion said mysteriously.

Sion analysed Adrien’s face, seeing that something was troubling him. But since it didn’t concern her, she didn’t bring it up.

“So, did you know my mum?” Adrien asked after a while of silence.

“Who, Silver Hunter?” Sion asked. “Well, I knew her, spoke to her a few times, but I didn’t really know her personally. She was just another hero.”

“Oh.” Adrien said, slightly disappointed.

He had hoped Sion would be able to tell him more about his mother’s superhero life.

“I wonder if I got to know her any after the point my memories stop, though.” Sion added. “It seems a bit strange to me that my sisters and I were among those to disappear when we hardly interacted with the heroes that disappeared, we don’t make a habit of going along for missions with just anybody.”

“What about father?” Adrien asked.

“Him, I know more about.” Sion laughed, standing and walking around Adrien’s room. “First time meeting him, he attacked me and Silent.”

“What? Why’d he attack you?” Adrien asked in surprise.

“Let’s just say that my sister and I were up to no good and he wasn’t happy about it.” Sion said. “Anyway, we were pretty much at a stand-off, he was the more experienced fighter but I was much quicker and sneakier. Thankfully, he didn’t account for Silent and we got one over on him, he’s held a grudge ever since. After that we’d occasionally meet and be forced to work together to defeat an enemy with the rest of the Quantic team, and I’d make sure to get under his skin each time.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s fun. My sisters and I had a game, ‘how much does it take to get Plume to blow his top?’ The record has to be that time we revealed that we’d found out his identity despite how much he fought to keep it secret.”

“How’d you find out?” Adrien questioned.

“Spying of course.” Sion grinned.

Adrien regarded Sion warily.

“That doesn’t sound very nice.” He said.

“So?” Sion shrugged. “My sisters and I pride ourselves on knowing. We just said that we found out his identity in case he decided to go all supervillain on us when called out on it, that’s our excuse when finding out the identities of heroes.”

“Did you tell everyone?” Adrien asked in worry.

“No,” Sion raised an eyebrow. “We may pride ourselves on knowledge, but that’s for our benefit only, we only share what we know when it benefits us, and letting the world know who Grade Plume was didn’t really benefit us.”

Adrien sighed in relief.

Then he had a thought.

“What if you got mind controlled?” He asked.

Sion hummed, the question making her think.

“I’ve never thought of it, my sisters and I have avoided any sort of mind control, during our time as Sion, Silent and Soul anyway. I guess it depends on the level of mind control, I know we have some impressive mental defences if anyone tries to actively dig information out of us from that time we ran into a mind reader, so we might be able to resist spilling our secrets when controlled, might be able to resist mind control completely if we’re lucky.” She said.

“That’s not completely reassuring.” Adrien said.

Sion shrugged. “I wouldn’t worry about it. Someone would have to hit us with a mind control in the first place, and I don’t see that happening.”

“You’re very confident in yourself.” Adrien commented.

“Of course I am, I’m the best around at what I do, and what I do is-”

“Adrien, your friends are here.” Natalie entered the room, interrupting them.


“It’s frightening how good Casey is at getting out of trouble, we barely spent any time in detention.” Marinette told Adrien as they walked down the secret passageway to Gabriel’s training studio.

“It’s no big deal.” Casey waved off. “All you have to know is how to cry on que, and they’re suddenly much more lenient.”

“You told them that you thought your dad was dying?” Adrien repeated what Marinette had told him.

“Not specifically, they know my dad’s disabled, so all I had to tell them was that my dad fell down at home and phoned me for help, and that Marinette came along to give me a hand. The whole ‘dying’ bit was me being melodramatic to pull on their sympathies.” Casey explained. “Given that I live alone with dad, I’m able to get away with using the ‘checking on my dad’ excuse when needing to leave class.”

“Using your dad as an excuse so often feels a bit wrong, what if they feel that your education is being impacted by your dad needing you so much and try to do something?” Marinette brought up.

“I have other excuses such as guitar lessons and volunteer work. Though, I had to stop using the period pains excuse after my teachers sent me to the nurse because they thought my period had continued on for a month straight and they were worried something was wrong with me.” Casey said.

Adrien went slightly red as such a personal topic to women being brought up so casually.

They entered into the training studio where Gabriel was waiting for them. He wasn’t there to teach them anything though, just to supervise.

“Right.” Sion said, taking charge of them room. “As I promised Casey, I’ll be sparing with you and showing you a move or two so that we can be more in sync for our next fight. Fangs Bared!”

Sion transformed into her Miraculous form.

“What’s wrong?” Marinette whispered to Adrien when she noticed his nervousness.

“I’m a bit uncomfortable with my father being here.” Adrien admitted.

“Well, unfortunately, Gabriel don’t trust me alone with you lot.” Sion said, overhearing. “So, we’ll just have to pretend that the Lord of Pigeons isn’t here.”

The teens couldn’t help but laugh while Gabriel fixed Sion with a dirty look.

“Anyway.” Sion continued. “One of my favoured moves is the human spring board.”

Sion played her flute, causing a crude doppelganger of herself to appear, both then walked over to the far end of the room.

“Watch carefully now.” Sion told the teens.

Sion and her doppel ran, with Sion in front. Sion then jumped and landed in a handstand with her legs crouched, her doppel jumped too and landed in a couch on Sion with their feet aligned, both versions of Sion then extended their legs, causing the doppel to be launched high into the air where it vanished. Sion then rolled out of her handstand to her feet.

“Cool.” Adrien said.

“It’s a good move for reaching high places, and if you’re quick enough, a combo against enemies.” Sion told them. “Though you can only do it if you have the advanced strength and speed your suits or other superpowers give you.”

“We could use it to reach flying enemies.” Marinette suggested.

“We could combine it with your gliding.” Adrien suggested.

“Wow, yeah, that’s a great idea.” Marinette stumbled a bit.

“Get to it, then, you two.” Sion told Marinette and Casey.

Adrien pouted at the fact that he couldn’t partake because of his broken arm.

The two girls transformed and began practising the move Sion had showed, fumbling with the first few tries and only managing to trip and fall on top of each other before they managed to get it right. After that, both girls took turns practising with Sion.

“Don’t worry, kitty cat, you’ll get your turn when you’re out of that cast.” Sion messed up Adrien’s hair when she spotted him pouting about his non-involvement.

“So, what else can we learn?” Paonne asked as she glided down from Ladybird launching her into their air.

“Hm…” Sion tapped finger against her chin.

It was hard for her to think of anything else from her skill set to teach the teens, most of her moves relied on her partners knowing what her intentions were without saying it and being able to sync up perfectly. Not an issue for her sisters as they were bound by their very souls, but much harder for a bunch of teens she didn’t know that well.

Well, there were a few techniques that didn’t involve fighting, but Sion got the impression that Gabriel would shut that down before she could teach them. She could already feel the older male’s gaze boring into her as if he knew what she was thinking.

“Not much else.” Sion admitted. “Guess we’ll just have to do some regular sparring to get used to each other.”

So, they did just that, the two teen heroines sparing with the older Miraculous holder, talking turns in pairing up against the other to get a feel for how Sion fought and what she expected from them.

“Sorry about that.” Sion said as she helped Paonne up after Ladybird knocked her down because the woman hadn’t been watching her back. “How about we take a break?”

All three de-transformed and sat down to have snacks.

“It’s really hard to keep up with you.” Marinette told Sion. “How are we meant to work with you if you’re off doing your own thing all the time?”

“Hey, I’m trying.” Sion defended.

“Your problem is that you keep treating Marinette and Casey like they’re your sisters.” Pavo flew over to Sion to inform her. “They can’t instinctively know what you’re going to do, you need to actively convey it.”

“If you bothered to work with others, that wouldn’t be an issue.” Gabriel commented, looking up from the tablet he was working on.

“If you bother to remember correctly, I’ve worked with other teams before. You should know, you were part of one of those teams.” Sion shot back.

“There’s a difference between being on the same team and actively working alongside the members. And as I do remember correctly, you and your sisters were always together doing your own task, not acting as part of the group.” Gabriel rebutted.

Not being able to come up with a response, Sion chose to stick her tongue out at him.

“So, I’ve been meaning to ask.” Marinette said before the conflict between Gabriel and Sion could advance. “Where’s Vixx?”

“Actually, I was wondering that myself.” Sion admitted.

“She’s sleeping.” Tikki said.

“Sleeping?” The teens questioned.

“The Miraculous needs all its energy to reverse the transformation, so Vixx is in there now to make it happen.” Plagg said. “We’re the real power behind the Miraculous after all.”

“Will Vixx be able to come out again when I leave?” Sion questioned.

Plagg shrugged. “Dunno, this situation has never happened before. Who knows how it will affect the Miraculous?”

“You really don’t care, do you?” Pavo said, jokingly.

“She always stole my food, so no.” Plagg responded.

“Wow, you Kwamis can be heartless when you want to.” Sion commented.

Tikki and Pavo didn’t say anything, they knew that Plagg was just as concerned about their fellow Kawmi as they were.

“So, what do we want to do tomorrow?” Adrien decided to ask.

“We won’t be able to do much.” Marinette moaned. “Casey may have gotten us out of detention today, but we’ve still been made to volunteer to pick up rubbish tomorrow for leaving school without telling anyone.”

Casey joined in on the moan, lying down.

“It’s at times like this that I really hate having a secret identity.” Adrien said. “It’s hard coming up with excuses to disappear, and you can’t really defend yourself if you get caught out on your lie.”

Both Marinette and Casey moaned in agreement.

“Why not just use your Astral Drops?” Sion suggested.

Casey sat up. “What are Astral Drops?” She said.

“They’re-” Sion began to explain before being cut off by Gabriel.

“No! I forbid you to tell them about this!” The older man ordered, standing up to assert his dominance.

“What, afraid they’ll be dumb enough to repeat your mistake?” Sion grinned back at him, not intimidated in the slightest.

“That sort of knowledge can only lead to disaster.” Gabriel said.

“Well, too bad. I’m going to tell them anyway.” Sion said happily.

She turned to the teens, easily side-stepping Gabriel’s attempts to grab her to stop her from saying anything without looking.

“Astral Drops are magical duplicates the Miraculous can create of their wielders.” Sion explained to the teens.

Tikki and Pavo sighed while Plagg laughed.

Gabriel glared angrily at Sion.

“Magical duplicates?” Adrien asked to clarify. “Like, copies of us?”

“Yep.” Plagg said. “They’re a handy way of being in two places at once, though your duplicate does have a few flaws that set them apart from the original, like not having a soul.”

“Why didn’t you tell us about this ability?” Marinette questioned, looking at her Miraculous. “It would have made sneaking out of class each time there’s an Akuma a lot easier.”

“Because it can be too easily abused.” Tikki answered.

“How?” Adrien questioned.

“Well, as your dear father over there found out for himself,” Sion thumbed at Gabriel. “There’s a bit of a flaw in Astral Drops. “They have a bad habit of gaining awareness and refusing to go back to the endless void they’re summoned from.”

“What?” Casey questioned.

“Over-use of an Astral Drop can lead to it gradually gaining a consciousness as it lives more and more of your life, until it develops its own feelings and thoughts.” Pavo explained. “After it started happening too often, we Kwamis agreed that it was better not to inform our chosen about the ability anymore.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Marinette agreed.

“But that’s only if you’re irresponsible with your summoning.” Sion added, looking knowingly at Gabriel. “If you summon your Astral Drop sparingly, you don’t have to worry about them gaining life and running off.”

“You’re not telling them how to summon one, Sion.” Tikki told the Fox wielder. “It’s up to us to decide when they’re ready to know, anyway.”

“Fine.” Sion relented.

The kwami’s sighed in relief while Gabriel continued to glare at her for telling the teens about Astral Drops in the first place but returned to his previous seat regardless.

“Anyway, back to training.” Sion announced. “You can sit out for now, Marinette. Casey and I will go one on one.”

Sion and Casey stood up to face off against each other, leaving Marinette and Adrien sitting down.

“How’s your arm fairing?” Marinette asked Adrien.

“Better, I’m not feeling any pain anymore.” Adrien said.

“That’s good.” Marinette said.

“Still, not being able to help out sucks.” Adrien complained. “I hate being forced to sit around and do nothing while you, Casey and Sion have to do all the work.”

“It won’t be for long, I’m sure you’ll get better soon.” Marinette comforted. “Until then, the girls and I will just have to work harder.”

“Thanks, Marinette.” Adrien smiled.

The two teens then realised how close they were and blushed.

“So,” Adrien coughed. “I noticed that you got back later than Casey. What made you so late?”

“I tried to make sure Chloe was alright after we beat Antibug.” Marinette explained.

“Was she alright?” Adrien asked.

“I don’t know.” Marinette answered. “She just brushed me off. Honestly, I think she was disappointed that she didn’t beat us as Antibug.”

Adrien sighed. “Oh, Chloe.” He said in disappointment, thinking about what his childhood friend had become.

“And then, on the way back to college, I ran into Lila.” Marinette continued.

“Lila? She didn’t try to give you any trouble, did she?” Adrien asked.

“No. I think she was actually trying to help me.” Marinette said. “Though, I think her obsession with the Fox Miraculous was influencing her ‘help’. She tried to warn me about Sion.”

Gabriel paused his work to look up at his protégé.

“What’s her problem with Sion?” Adrien wondered.

“She accused her of being a thief, saying that she stole the Fox Miraculous from her family.” Marinette said, laughing like it was a ridiculous thing.

Adrien shook his head.

“Oh, I did steal the Fox Miraculous.” Sion admitted nonchalantly, pausing her sparing with Casey.

“What?” Marinette and Adrien exclaimed.

“Well, in my defence, I didn’t realise that I was stealing a powerful magical object.” Sion held up her hands in joke surrender. “It just so happened to be what I grabbed when I reached into that lady’s bag.”

“Oh, so you used to pick-pocket and got the Fox Miraculous as a result.” Marinette said, trying to reason with her morals.

“A bit dishonest, but not that bad.” Adrien agreed.

Sion couldn’t help but laugh at their naivete.

“I’m afraid that Sion was not just a simple pick-pocket.” Gabriel broke in. “She and her sister were two of the most notorious thieves of the modern era.”

He flipped over his tablet to show a newspaper article, a blurred picture of Sion and a girl dressed in black running over the rooftops with something in their hands.

‘Phantom Thieves, Sion and Silent, evade capture again!’ Screamed the headline.

“So, you really used your Miraculous to steal?” Adrien looked at Sion accusingly.

“Yep.” Sion admitted shamelessly.

“Why?” Marinette asked in betrayal.

“Why not?” Sion shrugged. “I had powers, so I used them how I wanted.”

“But it’s wrong.” Marinette and Adrien said.

“So?” Sion asked in response. “Everything’s wrong from someone else’s perspective. Besides, it’s not like we stole from anyone who couldn’t afford or deserved it. We did have standards.”

Marinette and Adrien looked at Sion is disbelief while Casey rolled her eyes at the older female’s attitude, having already been aware of her past.


Andre Bourgeois was slumped at his desk, feeling quite helpless.

He looked at the photo he had of Chloe sitting on his desk.

“I’m so sorry, my sweet.” He said, picking it up to look at it.

He wished that he could fix everything, use his power to get the charges against his daughter dropped and accepted back into her school. But the blackmail Ladybird had on him was too strong, public opinion would immediately turn against him and he would risk losing everything.

If only he had more power, then what he had done in the past wouldn’t matter and he could do what he wanted for his daughter.

So lost in his despair, the mayor didn’t bother reacting when he heard the flutter of tiny wings enter his office, the Akuma flying over to him and sinking into his sash.

“Malediktor.” Hawkmoth’s voice echoed through his head as the villain’s symbol appeared in front of his face. “Paris’ supposed hero has rendered you powerless. So, I will bestow on you the power to do as you wish, everyone will bow down to your commands, even the heroes of Paris. In return-”

“I will bring you Ladybird and Chat Noir’s Miraculous’.” Andre promised.

“Not just them, but the Fox heroine, Sion, as well. Bringing her to me takes priority over the Miraculous’, for now.” Hawkmoth clarified.

“You have a deal, Hawkmoth.” Andre said.

The mayor stood up and welcomed the black mass that encompassed him.

Chapter Text

Nathaniel stood on top of a building, overlooking a large mansion house. All around the mansion were patrolling police and guards.

Beside him, Silent whistled appreciatively.

Nathaniel hummed in agreement.

“They really pulled out all the stops this time.” He nodded his head.

“Well, you did send a calling card with the exact time and date of what you’d be stealing.” Soul commented, her transparent form floating on Nathaniel’s other side.

“It was getting to be too easy.” Nathaniel said. “This way we get more of a challenge.”

Silent clicked in agreement, the challenge was half the fun of their ‘job’.

“Ready to go, dear sister?” Nathaniel asked Silent.

Silent grinned back from under her mask as they both ran off the edge of the building.

Silent’s wings unfurled and she grabbed Nathaniel by the arms, lifting them both into the air rather than falling to the ground below.

Once they were over the mansion, Silent let go of Nathaniel and he dropped down, landing gracefully on the roof as Silent landed beside him.

Nathaniel made quick work of the lock on the door to the roof, effortlessly disabling the alarm while he was at it, and they slipped inside.

“Go check if they switched the target out for a fake.” Nathaniel whispered to the ghostly visage of Soul. “We’ll get to work on the cameras.”

“Okay.” Soul nodded, disappearing through the wall.

Nathaniel and Silent navigated their way through the halls, avoiding every camera and patrolling guard until they arrived at the surveillance room, which happened to be guarded.

They didn’t provide much of a challenge though.

Sending a bouncy ball down one hall to serve as a distraction, Nathaniel and Silent quickly ran up to them before they could react, effortlessly knocking the guards out before they could alert anyone.

They then slipped into the surveillance room, knocking out the officer in there before he could raise the alarm, allowing them full access to the cameras all around the mansion.

Soul then appeared through the door.

“They’ve got a good fake on display.” She commented.

“Any idea where the real one is?” Nathaniel asked the spirit.

“I overheard one of the guards stupidly mentioning that they’re keeping it in the police van.” Soul said.

“Meaning that it’s going to be surrounded by the police.” Nathaniel said. “We’ll need a distraction.”

Silent clicked and pointed to herself, making some hand motions.

“You sure you can do it?” Nathaniel asked, raising an eyebrow.

Silent wasn’t as experienced as Nathaniel, the Fox having worked solo for a while before the angel had come into her own and joined him, never having worked solo herself, giving Nathaniel a reason to worry.

Silent rolled her eyes at Nathaniel and nodded, causing him to sigh.

“Alright, I believe you.” He surrendered. “I’ll go after the fake as a distraction. It’ll be in a rub in the cops’ faces when we get away with both the fake and the real statue anyway.”

Silent and Soul matched Nathaniel’s smirk.

Silent then set the cameras to loop every couple of minutes, as they were no doubt also being viewed by the cops outside as well. It wouldn’t take long for the looping to be noticed, but it would give the thieving duo the time they needed to get to their objectives.

“Go with her.” Nathaniel told Soul quietly. “I’ll be fine on my own.”

Soul nodded and floated after Silent as she ran back towards the roof while Nathaniel turned and ran towards where the fake statue was being held.

Using the uniform of one of the guards he had knocked out, Nathaniel managed to slip by the other guards and police officers guarding the way to the room, none of them taking the time to notice that the cap didn’t sit right on Nathaniel’s head due to all the hair stuffed up into it.

Nathaniel eventually reached the room where the fake statue was being kept and encountered the most difficult part of the heist yet, as the room was crawling with guards.

Though, difficult didn’t mean impossible.

Hiding behind a pillar, Nathaniel brought his flute to his lips and played a tune.

“What’s that music?” One of the guards asked.

“She’s here!” Shouted one of the officers.

Nathaniel sent his power down the hall where it took the form of his duplicate.

“There!” He shouted, acting like he was one of the guards

The guards and police ran shot past him, chasing after his duplicate as it ran off, leaving the statue room empty.

Nathaniel laughed quietly to himself as he stepped into the room, shedding the guard uniform he went.

He then hummed as he analysed the pedestal the small statue was on, which was no doubt boobytrapped.

Using his flute, he hooked the statue and lifted it off the pedestal, jumping back to avoid the cage that came slamming down as he caught the statue in his hands.

“So predictable.” Nathaniel sighed.

He looked up as red lights started flashing along with alarms going off, and bars started lowing on all the exits.

“Time to go.” Nathaniel said.

Running to another one of the statues in the room, this one bigger than him, he pushed with all his strength, sending it tipping over into the window. The window broke, providing a way out.

Careful not to cut himself on any of the shards, Nathaniel jumped through the hole before the bars came down on the widow, making it outside with the fake statue.

“That was almost too easy.” Nathaniel commented to himself.

He then flipped to the side to avoid a bladed fan striking him.

“I was wondering when you were going to show yourself.” Nathaniel said.

A figure jumped down to land in front of him.

They were a man dressed in blue and green with a beaked mask and a hat obscuring his identity.

“So, you’re the latest hero they’ve brought in to try and catch me?” Nathaniel said, putting his hand on his hip. “Fancy outfit.”

The man standing before him, Grande Plume is he recalled his research correctly, was certainly not the first hero to confront him or Silent for their thieving activities, through the two thieves always ended up besting and getting away from whoever they encountered. Nathaniel, Silent and Soul had already guessed that yet another hero would be brought in to stop them since everyone knew where and when they’d be striking.

“You will return both the statue and the Miraculous that you stole!” Grande Plume pointed his fan at Nathaniel.

Nathaniel’s eyes widened slightly behind his mask, not that the hero could see behind it, admittedly surprised. He had been expected the usual ‘return what you stole’ speech, but not for his Miraculous to be included.

“What Miraculous?” Nathaniel decided to play dumb, though his grin gave away that he knew exactly what Grade Plume was talking about.

“Do not try to make a fool of me.” Grande Plume frowned. “That necklace around your neck does not belong to you, you stole it like everything else. Return it at once!”

“And what reason do I have to do that?” Nathaniel goaded the hero.

“Because if you don’t, I will make you return it and drag you to prison while I’m at it.” Grande Plume proclaimed.

“Bold words.” Nathaniel said, unphased. “But why don’t you actually show me that you can succeed where everyone else who’s given me the ‘stop you thief’ speech has failed?”

He placed the fake statue on the ground and withdrew his flute.

Grade Plume wasted no time in striking.

The two fought, but Nathaniel found himself mostly on the defensive. Unfortunately for him, they were in a wide-open space, so there weren’t any obstacles or narrow spaces that he would usually take advantage of during fights and use to disappear. Nathaniel was at the disadvantage here.

“Not so confident now, are you.” Grande Plume said as Nathaniel grunted from the force of a punch.

Nathaniel didn’t say anything but was glad that his mask hid so much of his face, and his facial expressions in turn, from sight. He didn’t want the hero to realise how worried he was getting.

Grande Plume grabbed forward and Nathaniel quickly slapped his hand away. The entire fight, the hero had been aiming to take his Miraculous, which would depower Nathaniel of his enhanced abilities and weapon.

Nathaniel suddenly stopped, and then began to chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” Grande Plume questioned.

“You forgot that I’m not alone.” Nathaniel sang.

Grande Plume only had time to widen his eyes in realisation before he was kicked away from Nathaniel.

Silent landed beside Nathaniel and patted him on the shoulder, Soul appearing next to her.

“I’m fine.” Nathaniel assured her.

He then turned to Grande Plume, who was picking himself up off the ground.

“I don’t think you’ve been introduced.” He said to the hero. “This is my sister, Silent. My partner in crime.” He introduced Silent.

Silent clicked, giving a wave.

“She’s a little offended that you forgot she was coming too.” Nathaniel added.

Silent nodded, furrowing her brow to look cross.

She then withdrew her katana from the makeshift scabbard that was attached to her belt and levelled it at Grande Plume.

“So, want to try this again?” Nathaniel said.

“Whether there’s one or two of you, I won’t lose to petty thieves.” Grande Plume growled.

“Petty?!” Nathaniel exclaimed, offended. “Did you here that, sister? He called us ‘petty’.”

Silent made a sound of disgust, agreeing with the sentiment.

“We are not mere petty thieves.” Nathaniel laughed. “We are master thieves.”

He then picked up the fake statue.

“Now, if you excuse us, we have a client who’s wanting this.” He said.

Grande Plume attacked again, but Nathaniel faired much better against him now that he had Silent beside him. Together, they never gave the hero a break, continuously attacking his openings and moving fluidly in sync, protecting each other’s openings as well.

Eventually, Grande Plume managed to slip up and Nathaniel nailed him around the back of the head with his flute, sending the hero to the floor, groaning in pain.

“Well, it’s been fun, but we’ve really got to go.” Nathaniel said, taking note of the police approaching. “Thanks for the two statues.”

Nathaniel and Silent waved their statues in front of Grande Plume’s face to rub in the fact that the decoy ploy hadn’t worked before running off.

Once a far enough distance away, Nathaniel decided that it was time to de-transform.

“Fangs Covered!”


Nathaniel picked his way through the ruins of some sort of abandoned facility that looked like it had been built into an old temple, the mix of old building and new tech was sort of jarring.

“You really think we’ll find any trace of the other Elementals here?” He questioned, turning to where Void and Wisp were doing their own searching.

“This facility was researching a lot of ancient magic before the Quantic Team managed to claim it. If we’re lucky, they’ll be something here.” Wisp said.

“Why are we searching for the Elementals again?” Soul questioned from where she was floating. “I remember, when we were young, that mum and dad said we had to wait for them to be found.”

Silent did a series of whistles and clicks in answer, popping out from the hole she was searching.

“Yeah, with more villains apparently rising up, we have to find the Elementals to make sure the bad guys don’t get them.” Nathaniel said to Soul.

“What was that?” Void looked up and around. “Oh, were you talking to Arianna again?”

“Yes, dad.” Nathaniel answered.

“We really need to find a way for us to see her as well.” Void sighed.

“I’d love to see my baby girl again.” Wisp sighed.

Silent clicked.

“I’m sure we’ll find some way.” Nathaniel agreed with her.

If his parents could become the living embodiments of Light and Darkness, he owned a necklace that could transformed him into a fox-themed illusion caster and his living sister could grow wings from her back, they could find some way to bring his dead sister back to life.

Finding nothing where he was searching, Nathaniel moved onto the next place, hoping that he could find something that was actually interesting.

“What’s this?” Nathaniel questioned, feeling over the stone of the wall, knocking at it with his knuckles while pressing his ear against it. “Hey, this is hollow!” He called over to the others.

“I wonder what’s on the other side.” Soul hummed.

She went to float through the wall but found that she couldn’t.

“I can’t get through.” She said, confused.

“Aria says she can’t get through.” Nathaniel relayed to Void and Wisp.

The two adults frowned at the news.

“Why would they go through the trouble of protecting against spirits?” Wisp questioned.

“It would have to be whoever first built this place, the wall doesn’t look disturbed. I wonder if the guys who took over this place even realised something was behind it.” Void pondered.

“So, how do we open it?” Nathaniel questioned.

“Well, you and Layla are the experts here.” Void joked.

In response, Nathaniel and Silent shoved him with their shoulders, playfully.

Wisp walked over to the wall and held her hand up to it, her hand starting to glow as she analysed the wall.

“I don’t think an incantation is needed.” She concluded, lowering her hand as the glow faded.

Nathaniel and Silent stepped up next and analysed the wall for themselves, running their fingers over every inch.

“No place for a key, either.” Nathaniel eventually said as they stepped away.

Silent clicked.

“There must be some mechanism to open it.” Nathaniel agreed.

The family spend a while searching around for a way to open the door until Silent finally found it. It turned out to be an ancient version of a key pad, symbols carved into a wall that needed to be activated in the correct sequence.

“It’ll be these ones.” Nathaniel informed Void and Wisp, pointing to a few of the symbols on the wall. “These are brighter than the others, showing they were used more.”

It was the opposite for normal keypads where the numbers that were used would grow faded and stained, as the symbols on the wall would glow when active and the ones not used would fade away from disuse. At least, that’s how Nathaniel thought it worked, he and Silent had only recently been introduced to ancient magic and symbols.

“Now we just need to find the sequence.” Wisp hummed.

“How likely is it that they left clues for how it’s opened?” Void asked rhetorically.

“Do you think that you can crack the code?” Wisp turned to Nathaniel and Silent.

Nathaniel shrugged. “This is different than any safe or vault. But as long as nothing bad happens from making a mistake, we can certainly try.” He said.

Silent stayed at the wall of symbols while Nathaniel went back over to the hollow wall and pressed his ear against it.

Silent pressed her hand against the first symbol and activated it while Nathaniel listened intently. He then shook his head when he heard no sound and Silent waited until the glow of the symbol had faded before pressing the next.

The two continued the process like that, Silent activating a symbol and Nathaniel trying to listen for movement in the wall. And when they managed to find the correct symbol in the sequence, Silent would start over again from the top, only with the correct sequence pressed before continuing.

“This is taking a while.” Void commented after a long time of guessing the sequence.

“Believe it or not, code-cracking isn’t an instant process.” Nathaniel said as he continued to listen for noises in the wall. “And we have no idea how long the code for this wall is. Now, quiet, I’m trying to listen.”

Finally, the duo managed to get the correct sequence and the wall began to rumble as Nathaniel stepped away.

“Finally.” Nathaniel huffed, rubbing the ear that was pressed against the wall.

The door opened to reveal a small room that was empty save for a pedestal with a carved stone on it.

The stone was ellipsoidal in shape and looked like it would fit comfortably in the palm of someone’s hand, the carvings were a series of lines that formed a leafless tree on the front.

“What is it?” Nathaniel turned to the adults.

Wisp hummed. “I’ve seen this sort of thing before, though I’ll need my book to recall exactly what.” She said. “But considering it was hidden behind this wall, we should assume that it’s not safe to go near until we find out more.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

Everyone except Soul, who was floating closer to get a look at the carved stone.

Silent gave a low whistle of warning towards her.

“What?” Soul defended, looking at her sister. “I’m already dead. What’s it going to do to me, kill me again?”

Before Silent or Nathaniel could protest anymore, Soul got closer, holding out a ghostly hand to touch it.

Her form then getting sucked into the stone as she cried out in shock.

“Aria!” Nathaniel cried out as he and Silent raced over.

Forgoing Wisp’s warnings, Nathaniel grabbed the stone out of the room.

“What did I just say about touching it?” Wisp said, not realising what had happened.

“It’s Aria, she touched the stone and suddenly got sucked in.” Nathaniel cried.

“What?” Both adults questioned.

Silent whistled, pointing at the stone.

The carved lines were beginning to fill with red, which then began to glow as it spread out from the stone.

Nathaniel watched in shock as the stone lifted from his palm, Void and Wisp quickly pulling him and Silent away from it.

The glowing red lines continued to spread out from the stone in a pattern, looking as if they were wrapping around something invisible, the shape eventually becoming identifiable as human. White light then filled in the gaps between the red lines, giving more shape to the body, before the glow faded and the form fell to the floor.

Nathaniel, Silent, Void and Wisp gaped at the person that had emerged from the light.

It was a girl who was completely naked, except she had barbie-doll anatomy with no genitals, nipples or even a bellybutton. She was also covered with red tattoos that curled around her body in a pattern and had red hair covering her face.

“Who are you?” Wisp questioned as calmly as she could.

The girl looked up, clearly confused and not completely in control of her body, as she struggled to support herself.

“Do you understand us?” Void tried with the same gentleness.

Nathaniel and Silent could only gaze in shock, realising who exactly this girl was.

“I’m…I’m…” The girl struggled to form words.

“Aria!” Nathaniel cried as he and Silent snapped out of their shock, pulling out of Void and Wisp’s grip to pounce at the girl.

They grabbed onto the girl either side and brought her into a hug.

“I don’t believe this.” Nathaniel said as tears started to come to his eye. “How is this possible.”

Silent pushed the hair out of the girl’s face to reveal features identical to hers, save for dark eyes instead of red.

Void and Wisp gasped as they realised who exactly they were looking at.

“Arianna?” Wisp sobbed.

Soul looked up at her before nodding. “Yeah.” She said.

The two adults quickly joined in on the group hug, squeezing the resurrected member of their family tight.

“My baby, I can finally see my baby.” Wisp sobbed.

“You look just as beautiful as I thought you’d be.” Void added, holding Soul’s cheek.

Soul smiled. “I love you dad.” She said.

That made the dam bust, as Void started to sob openly.

“I never thought I’d get to hear those words from you.” He sobbed, holding Soul tighter.

Soul then turned to Wisp.

“And I love you as well, mum.” She said.

That got Wisp sobbing even harder as she clung to her daughter.

They all stayed like that, just hugging each other tightly and crying. The only one who wasn’t crying was Soul, but that seemed to be more because she was incapable than unwilling.

“We should get out of here.” Wisp gathered herself together enough to say.

“Okay.” Everyone agreed.

They all got to their feet, but Soul quickly collapsed again when they briefly let go of her.

“Oh, I forgot that I don’t know how to walk.” Soul said.

Nathaniel sighed as they loaded Soul onto Void’s back so that they could carry her out, he and Silent staying behind them to catch Soul if she fell off him.

“That must have been a soul rune that we found.” Wisp said as they left. “They’re extremely rare magical objects that pre-date all known cultures and have the ability to grant physical form to whatever spirit inhabits them.”

“And that spirit was Aria.” Nathaniel smiled.

“Yes, it was.” Wisp said. “How are you feeling, Arianna?”

“Amazing.” Soul responded. “I’m experiencing so many things right now. I think it actually might be too much.”

Silent reached forward and patted her back comfortingly.

“Well, you’ve got a lot of things to learn about being alive now. Learning how to stand and walk foremost.” Nathaniel said.

“It’s not my fault ghosts float everywhere.” Soul defended, sticking out her tongue.

They eventually made it back to where their car was waiting, where Void helped Soul into the middle backseat.

“We’re out of the risk area.” Wisp turned to Nathaniel. “You should de-transform.”

“Okay.” Nathaniel sighed. “Fangs Covered.”


Nathaniel, Silent, Soul, Void and Wisp were all standing together in a large crowd of other heroes, they were all part of the Quantic Team.

The French sector, and founders, of the Quantic Team, plus a few other heroes stood before the group.

“Malus is launching his final assault soon.” Kid Mime, though the ‘Kid’ part didn’t really apply to him anymore, stepped forward. “From the information gathered, we have learned that he plans to pierce the Veil and make himself all powerful, and that this will likely result in the destruction of our dimension, as well as many others, in the process.”

Mummers went through the crowd.

“Which why the Legion procedure has been activated.” Avantia from the English sector of the Quantic Team stepped forward next. “This affects all of us, no matter our country, no matter our enemies. If we do not stop Malus and his followers today, we shall all perish. And every last one of us will be needed to make that happen.”

Kid Mime stepped forward again, waving his hand to signal the screen behind him to activate.

“Malus has multiple factions on his side, from the Experiments to his fanatic cult. So, we’ll need to split into teams to deal with all of them on the battlefield and wherever they’re stationed, as well as Malus himself and stopping his plan. These teams have been decided by each of your sector leaders, so please listen when you’re assigned.”

The young hero began listing out teams and who the members of the teams would be. Many weren’t happy to find themselves in teams outside of their own sector and working with heroes that they barely knew, but it was obviously done with purpose as some teams carried more specialised heroes while others carried a mix of skilled heroes.

“…Void and Wisp, you’ll be part of the team directly confronting Malus.” Kid Mime informed the two adults.

Nathaniel felt his heart freeze as he looked up at them, Silent and Soul having similar reactions.

“We’ll be alright.” Wisp assured them.

“We won’t let him take us away from you again.” Void said, bringing them into a hug.

Logically, Nathaniel knew that Void and Wisp would have to be part of the team directly confronting Malus, as the embodiments of Light and Darkness, they were extremely powerful. But that power came with its own set of risks, and Malus’ power level had the potential to match up to theirs or go beyond if he managed to gain the power he wanted. Meaning that Nathaniel, Silent and Soul could lose them all over again.

With great reluctance, Wisp and Void left to go to their team to find out what exactly their plan was.

“And finally,” Avantia stepped forward. “Sion, Silent, Soul, Guardian Maria, Rift and I will be the team infiltrating Malus’ lair to shut down and destroy the device he plans on using to piece the rift and gain power.”

Nathaniel’s eyes widened at the news, not expecting to be part of a team so important.

“What!” Wisp burst out from where she and Void were standing with their team. “You want my daughters to go on such a dangerous mission?”

“My team needs to made up of people who can get into the lair with minimal detection and escape from precarious situations. And your daughters can do this. I’m sorry.” Avantia said.

Wisp still didn’t look happy but did speak out again after Nathaniel shot her a thumbs-up in assurance.

Avantia walked over to Nathaniel, Silent and Soul, Maria and Rift joining her.

“Follow me.” She said.

The team left the main hall and the other teams behind, entering into a planning room.

“I won’t lie to you,” Avantia said as they all sat down. “Our mission is second only to facing Malus in terms of danger. We’ll be diving straight into the dragon’s den and face whatever protections and tricks he’ll have there.”

“Considering that we’re doomed either way, I’d rather go out fighting.” Maria said.

Rift nodded in agreement.

The then turned to the remaining three in the room.

Nathaniel, Silent and Soul looked at each other.

Nathaniel then sighed. “Just to be clear, we’re only doing this because the alternative is just waiting around to join Soul in death.” He answered for them.

“That’s a good enough motivation for me.” Avantia said.

She then brought up their plan on the small screen in the room.

“Now, each of us were chosen to do this for a reason. The triplets are masters of stealth and thievery, with their individual abilities such as Sion’s illusions also adding some advantages. Rift has the best knowledge of ancient magic and symbols and so will be able to help us get past whatever will be in our way in the lair, as well as his portal creating if we get trapped or cornered. Maria is the strongest out of all of us, so she’ll able to take on any enemies in the lair and is our ticket into the lair in the first place. And I’ll be there to act as navigator, I’ll be able to find us the quickest route to our destination and avoid running into obstructions.” Avantia explained.

“Are you sure it’ll be okay with just six of us?” Soul voiced her concerns.

“Unfortunate, none of the other members of the Quantic Team are suited enough for this mission, or they’re needed more on the team that’s directly facing Malus.” Avantia sighed. “So, it’s just us.”

“Every hero on the planet is working to stop Malus, and it still might not be enough.” Rift voiced.

His comment made Nathaniel think. “Every hero, but not everyone.” He murmured to himself.

He then stood, Silent and Soul standing alongside him.

“Where are you going?” Avantia frowned.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be back in time for battle.” Nathaniel said. “We just need to take care of something first.”

“What?”

“You’ll see.” Nathaniel grinned. “Hey, Rift, we’ll need your portals for this.”

Telling Rift where they wanted to go, he created a portal and they hopped through.

They entered into a dingy alley, landing on the ground from where the portal had appeared up high.

“Okay, let’s see if they bothered to change it.” Nathaniel said, walking to a metal door with a keypad next to it.

He typed in a code and grinned when it was accepted.

“So predictable.” Soul shook her head.

They entered into what looked like a large club, many men and women sitting around, some of whom were in costumes.

“What are you doing here?” The bouncer asked, cracking his knuckles.

“Haven’t you heard?” Nathaniel responded. “It’s the end of the world. We want some last drinks.”

Ignoring everyone who stared at them, the three walked over to the bar and ordered their drinks.

Eventually, one of the costumed men came over to confront them.

“What are you doing here?” They demanded, repeating the bouncer’s question.

“Drinking.” Soul answered.

Of course, alcohol had no effect on her as a spirit given physical form, but she did it anyway as it was what Nathaniel and Silent were doing.

“And what makes you think that you can just waltz in here like you haven’t been cosying up to those heroes?”

“We don’t ‘cosy up’ to anyone, we do what benefits us, even if that means working with heroes.” Nathaniel answered. “Like we’re doing today, for example.”

It seemed like the guy had had enough, charging forward.

Only to be stopped by one of Silent’s katana pointing at his throat, said girl still drinking casually as if she wasn’t levelling a deadly weapon at someone.

Realising that they effectively had everyone’s attention, Nathaniel began to speak.

“I presume that most of you already know about the situation with Malus, but for those not in the know, the basics is that he’s a guy who’s likely going to bring an end to our entire dimension in his pursuit for power.” Nathaniel addressed everyone. “Now, like I said, my sisters and I only do what benefits us, and right now it benefits us to work with all of the heroes to bring an end to Malus because we’re quite fond of this dimension and the living that comes along with it.”

“And you think that we should also work alongside the heroes.” One of the patrons said in disgust.

“You can do what you want for all I care.” Nathaniel shrugged. “Go and become the baddest villains you can in the one day this dimension has left if we fail. Though, I doubt you’ll top Malus.”

“And why shouldn’t we just join this Malus guy and keep on living when he wins.” Another costumed man piped up.

The trio laughed.

“I can list some reasons.” Soul volunteered. “Though, the main one is that Malus is planning for himself alone and everyone else can die for all he cares. There’s a reason all of his followers are insane, mind controlled or part of a cult based around him. The guy’s more likely to turn you inside-our than let you join him.”

Everyone there had to give her that point.

“Anyway, we only came here for drinks.” Nathaniel said, putting down his empty glass.

Silent fished out a handful of money from her pocket and dumped it on the bar.

“Keep the change.” Nathaniel smirked at the barkeep. “Though, I would spend it quickly.”

Nathaniel, Silent and Soul then walked back towards the door.

“So long, everyone.” Soul waved alongside Silent.

“If you feel that it’s in your own best interests to not lay about doing nothing while the world most likely ends, come find us.” Nathaniel said.

He dropped a map with the location of Malus’ lair on the ground, giving his own wave before they were all out the door.

The three then hopped their way back up to Rift’s portal.

“Where did you go?” Avantia questioned upon their return, the portal closing behind them.

“To get a drink.” Nathaniel answered semi-honestly.

“What?!” Avantia exclaimed.

“Let them off.” Maria said. “We’re about to embark on a very dangerous mission, let them have something to settle their nerves.”

“The last thing we need is them to be drunk.” Avantia responded.

“Please, have more faith in us than that.” Nathaniel said. “We know how to drink without it affecting our reaction times.”

“Excuse me for not having faith in people who go off to have drinks while we’re planning to save our entire dimension.” Avantia said sarcastically. “Anyway, let’s get on with the planning.”

Everyone was gathered on the battle field in front of Malus’ fortress, prepared to fight. Some of them had already left to do their own roles that were away from the battle field, while some would split into their groups when it came time for attack.

“Think any will come?” Soul asked Nathaniel.

“If they value their own lives, at least some will.” Nathaniel answered.

Everyone was just getting ready to move out when they arrived.

It was a large group of people dressed in various styles of costumes or protective gear, many carrying weapons with them.

The heroes took defensive stances when they saw the group approach.

“What are you doing here?” Mercury demanded.

“It has come to our attention that if this mission fails, we all die as well.” One of the newly arrived group said. “So, we decided that it was in our best interest to put aside all of our differences just this once and help out.”

“Can we really trust these villains?” The question and many variants of it passed around the heroes.

Avantia turned to look at Nathaniel, Silent and Soul, who whistled innocently as she realised that they were behind the arrival of the villains.

“As much as we can’t trust them.” Wisp said. “We also can’t turn down any help that’s offered.”

“What if they turn on us?” One of the heroes questioned.

“That’s just a risk you’ll have to take.” The villain who was speaking for the group said. “We’ll try and keep our grudges and such to ourselves until our dimension’s saved.”

That didn’t serve to assure anyone.

Despite this, the heroes accepted the villains’ help, dividing the new group into the different teams, making sure that the heroes on the teams would be capable of handling the added villains in case they decided to go rogue.

Even the infiltration team got an extra member, despite Avantia and Rift’s reluctance.

His name was Weaver, whose power involved the creation and manipulation of thread, which he combined with two giant needles. Like the others in their small group, he was also good at stealth while still being strong.

“Alright!” Mime spoke up to the entire crowd. “Losing is not an option for us, so we fight until our last. For Earth!”

“FOR EARTH!” The heroes shouted in unison.

The villains remained quiet, which more than a few heroes looked irritated by.

Nathaniel rolled his eyes.

“For Ourselves!” He shouted.

“OURSELVES!” The villains shouted in unison.

Nathaniel smirked as the nearby heroes looked at him.

“You just need the right motivation.” He shrugged.

“Here they come!” A sudden shout sounded.

Everyone looked towards Malus’ fortress where the villain’s forces were beginning to swarm out of.

“Everyone, to you positions!” Mime ordered. “Charge!”

The heroes and villains charged to meet the enemy forces, each team splitting off to deal with a certain segment.

As he was charging, Nathaniel raised his flute and began to play, his illusion enveloping his team, hiding them from view.

As soon as all seven of them were invisible, they charged course from running to meet the enemy to skirting around them in order to reach the fortress.

The sounds of battle were loud as the infiltration team snuck past the enemy and managed to make it to Malus’ fortress.

“Okay, what next?” Rift asked as Nathaniel dropped his illusion to conserve energy.

The fortress was locked up tight, the exits used by Malus’ forces having shut as soon as they had left.

“Hold onto Maria.” Avantia said.

They all moved to put a hand on the silver-haired guardian, making sure their grips were firm,

“Now, hold onto yourselves.” Maria said.

She seemed to disintegrate into silver dust, and Nathaniel didn’t even have time to gasp as that disintegration spread to everyone holding onto Maria, turning them into silver dust as well.

Nathaniel ceased to exist.

And then he did exist again.

Everyone gasped as they quickly let go of Maria.

“I don’t feel so good.” Weaver complained.

“That was horrible.” Nathaniel agreed. “I never want to go through that again.”

Everyone except Maria looked their own version of queasy to horrified.

“Sorry, the only way for us to get in was to become dust.” Maria apologised. “And it’s really hard to retain yourself in that state.”

“You don’t say.” Soul said sarcastically.

“Enough.” Avantia interrupted. “Let’s get to the device and destroy it.”

With Avantia and her internal navigation powers leading the way, the infiltration team snuck through Malus’ fortress, slowly making their way to their destination while avoiding the patrolling guards and all the traps that they encountered.

“Ah, we’ve got guards coming from all directions with no where to go.” Avantia warned quietly.

Silent clicked her fingers and pointed upwards, to the high ceiling above them.

Weather wove his thread into the rafters above them, creating a net for them all to sit in while the patrolling guards passed underneath, none the wiser to the intruders above them.

They then dropped down to continue on their way.

“In here.” Avantia motioned to a door. “I need a moment to reorient where we are.”

They tried the door but it was locked.

Though, not for long.

It took longer than usual, encountering some magic keeping the lock in place along the way, but Nathaniel eventual managed to lock-pick the door open. The team then quickly went inside and closed the door behind them to avoid the guards.

“Shouldn’t take long.” Avantia said, pulling her goggles over her eyes to help her concentrate.

While waiting for Avantia to plan their route, the rest of the team investigated the room they were in.

“I think we’re in some sort of private weapon store.” Maria said as she took stock on the many weapons and devices lining the walls and tables.

“Ooh.” Nathaniel, Silent, Soul, Rift and Weaver said eagerly.

They wasted no time in investigating what was in the room.

“Be careful of what you touch.” Rift told the rest of the team. “We don’t know what could go off with just a touch.”

“We’ll be careful.” Soul said as she picked up a shield-like object.

Nathaniel scanned over one of the benches that contained different objects, eyes landing on a cylinder made out of some sort of crystal.

“This looks pretty.” He said, picking it up.

He twirled it in his hands and was surprised to find it lengthening as it spun, until it had become a full-length staff.

Nathaniel hummed and spun it about some more, going through some basic movements with the staff, getting a feel for the weapon. He had no doubt that the crystal had more capabilities than becoming a staff, feeling the magic practically vibrating out of it.

“I’m keeping this.” He said happily.

“Alright.” Avantia said, pushing her goggles back up to sit on her head. “I’m found our next route.”

She then turned and sweat dropped at the sight of the rest of her team looting the weapon store.

Nathaniel had to find Maria the funniest out of all of them, the Guardian loading everything in sight into her seemingly infinite satchel that she carried with her.

Avantia sighed.

“Just…don’t carry anything that will slow you down.” She said.

The rest of the team grinned, making their final choices on what they wanted, as only Maria could get away with taking everything she wanted without it getting in the way.

With the private weapons store ransacked, the team set out again, following Avantia through the corridors, going further into Malus’ fortress.

They were having to dodge more guards now and it was getting harder to avoid them. Nathaniel and Silent had to knock out more than a few to avoid being found, sticking the bodies into any hiding place they could find

“Good news, we’re almost there.” Avantia eventually said.

“Bad new?” Maria asked.

“There’s a large number of enemies when we get there and we have no choice but to confront them, and we have more guards who are currently heading our way that we have no where to hide from.” Avantia answered.

“Malus?” Maria asked further.

Much to everyone’s relief, Avantia shook her head.

“I can’t see him in there.” She answered.

“He must have gone out to fight himself.” Rift said.

“Good for us.” Soul said.

“Alright, triplets, you handle the guards coming towards us.” Avantia ordered.

“Yes ma’am.” Nathaniel and Soul said, the three of them mock saluting.

“The rest of us will deal with the room full of baddies. They’ll hopefully not be too difficult as scientists rather than fighters.” Avantia said.

“My time to shine, then.” Maria concluded, withdrawing her sword from her satchel.

“Go.” Avantia ordered.

The team split up, Avantia, Maria, Rift and Weaver continuing on their path while Nathaniel, Silent and Soul went back the way they came.

The three of them didn’t need words as they ran to meet with the approaching guards, already knowing how they would work together.

In sync, they jumped up into the rafters, avoiding being seen as the guards turned the corner. But they didn’t stay there, quickly dropping back down to attack.

The first three guards went down easily as they landed, but now the rest were aware of their existence and could attack back or raise the alarm. Not that the three of them would give them the chance.

Soul and her tattoos made quick work of the ones who tried to run while Nathaniel and Silent dealt with the ones closest to them. It wasn’t even a fight.

“Malus really needs to hire some better goons.” Soul said as she added the guards she had caught and knocked out to the pile.

Silent whistle and tilted her head up the hallway, indicating that they should get back to the others.

Nathaniel and Soul nodded in agreement as they all ran back towards their destination.

They entered into a fire fight.

The ‘scientists’ were carrying various forms of firearms and were firing at the other members of the team, who weren’t doing too bad in defending themselves and fighting back.

Maria was the MVP of the fight though, her sword skills unmatched and her ability to turn to dust leaving her unaffected by the weapons that were shooting at her.

“I guess we should help out.” Soul said.

“Eh, I guess it will end things quicker.” Nathaniel shrugged.

The three of them jumped in to join the fight. Nathaniel choosing his flute, Silent withdrawing both of her katana and Soul powering up her tattoos again.

It didn’t take long to win the fight, knocking out and tying up the enemy without gaining any injuries for themselves.

And now they were left with the device that they had been looking for.

“So, how are we going to deal with this?” Nathaniel questioned, looking at the giant, half-stone, half-machine, obelisk that was shooting a beam into the sky.

It must have activated while they were making their way to it, meaning that Malus was already drawing power from the veil and they didn’t have long till their dimension started to crumble away.

“These runes told Malus how to activate it.” Rift said as he looked at the runes carved into the obelisk. “Hopefully, they can tell me how de-active it.”

“And we cann’t just blow it up, why?” Soul questioned.

“Because this is ancient magic.” Rift answered. “Who knows what could happen if we don’t follow its rules. It could speed up the destruction of our dimension rather than stop it if we’re not careful.”

Nathaniel and Soul groaned while Silent did her own version of a groan.

So, they were left waiting while Rift did his best to decipher the runes and work out how to shut Malus’ device down.

In the silence, they could hear the distant sounds of the fight going on outside, making everyone uncomfortable as they just sat there.

The silence didn’t last for long though, as Rift began messing about with the obelisk, Nathaniel suddenly shot up straight at the feeling of dread that invaded the room, which Silent and Soul quickly picked up on.

“Someone’s coming.” Nathaniel warned, drawing out his flute again.

Everyone took his warning seriously, drawing their own weapons and getting ready for an attack.

“Well, what do we have here?” A smooth voice echoed through the room.

Despite never meeting the owner of the voice, Nathaniel knew exactly who it belonged to, making the sense of dread become so thick it almost choked him.

“Some children playing where they shouldn’t.” The voice continued.

Okay, that made Nathaniel feel offended. Sure, he was young, but he was anything but a child.

“Looks like some punishment is in order.”

Everyone looked around, searching for the source of the voice.

Nathaniel, Silent and Soul quickly backed into each other, making sure that they couldn’t be surprised and could protect each other.

Weaver suddenly let out a cry as he was thrown across the room.

Avantia aimed her gun at where Weaver had been, only to be attacked behind her back, crying out in pain as she was sent to the ground.

Nathaniel, Silent and Soul were next, somehow forced away from each other like an explosion had went off between them. Nathaniel grunted as he crashed into computer screens, smashing them before they fell on top of him as he landed on the ground.

Maria was the only one left standing, Rift having disappeared somewhere as soon as Weaver had been attacked.

“Show yourself, Malus!” Maria demanded, floating off the ground with her silver dust.

“Well, if you insist.” The man himself appeared in the room.

For an evil overlord who was bringing an end to their dimension, Malus didn’t look any different from a normal guy. Though, the armour he wore did make an impression.

“You were pretty sneaky, coming in here while I dealt with all your friends. But if you think I didn’t realise at least someone would try to disable my spike instead of fighting, you’re fools.” Malus said casually.

Nathaniel felt ice go through him when Malus turned to look at him.

“Especially when I didn’t see the daughters of darkness and light on the battle field.” Malus smirked.

Nathaniel pushed himself off the ground, the computers falling off of him, determined not to let Malus think he’d phased him. Silent and Soul similarly pushed themselves off the ground from where they had landed.

Though, Nathaniel failed to keep his calm demeanour when Malus made to go toward them, Nathaniel himself in particular.

“Leave them alone.” Maria commanded, pointing her sword at Malus. “You still have to deal with me.”

Malus turned to face her again.

He then struck without warning, giving Maria very little time to parry the bigger sword aimed at her.

As the two sword wielders fought, the rest of the team regathered. Thankfully, their injuries weren’t that bad, though Weaver did have a sprained wrist.

Rift reappeared from where he had hidden, completely unharmed.

“Finish your work with the device.” Avantia instructed him. “We’ll protect you if Maria can’t keep Malus at bay.”

Rift nodded shakily and went back to the obelisk.

“You’ve definitely improved since the last time.” Malus said to Maria as they fought.

“It’s been three-hundred years.” Maria responded. “Of course I’ve improved. Ah!”

Maria cried out as she was disarmed.

“But not improved enough.” Malus grinned.

He swung at Maria, only for her to turn into dust before his blade could hit her, reforming where her sword had landed and picking it up.

“Ah, yes.” Malus said. “You’re the Guardian of the Olympia now. You have some new tricks.” He then laughed. “However, they are tricks I am familiar with.”

He attacked again and the fight recommenced.

Maria went to turn into dust again as her sword was too far away to block the blade coming for her. But Malus grinned wickedly as his sword glowed with magic.

Maria screamed in pain as the sword sliced her, somehow stopping her from completely turning into dust, but also keeping her stuck in that half dust form as she fell to the ground.

“I learned the spell to block your little trick quite a while ago.” Malus said victoriously.

Avantia wasted no time in shooting at Malus when she saw Maria go down, but the villain acted like her bullets were nothing more than annoying flies.

Malus then disappeared.

But rather than attacking Avantia, he appeared next to Rift.

Silent had also been next to Rift and so ended up defending the hero from Malus’ attack, barely being able to keep hold of her katana from the strike.

With quick reflexes, Silent managed to twist away from the sword lock with Malus, kicking him in the process.

Of course, Malus then grabbed Silent’s leg and threw her away from him.

“Silent!” Nathaniel and Soul cried out.

Soul ran over to her sister, checking the angel over to see if she was alright.

Malus disappeared and then re-appeared next to the two, chuckling evilly as they braced for an attack.

Nathaniel charged in, hitting the overlord with his flute.

“Leave them alone.” He demanded.

His attack was about as effective as hitting a rock and only served to put him back in Malus’ sights.

“Ah!” Nathaniel cried out as his hands were grabbed by Malus and he was lifted into the air.

“So young. I can feel the potential brewing inside of you, and yet it remains sealed from you.” Malus said, stroking Nathaniel’s cheek.

 “Let go of me, you creep!” Nathaniel struggled.

Malus paid Nathaniel no mind, hand moving from the Fox’s cheek to his chest.

Bad touch.

Bad Touch!

Thankfully, all the villain did was take hold of the Miraculous around Nathaniel’s neck.

“The Fox Miraculous.” Malus hummed as Nathaniel continued to struggle. “Part of the reason I was sealed away. I wonder it the other Miraculous will still work without it.”

Malus held the fox-tail pendant in his hand like he was about to snap it.

“No!” Nathaniel cried out.

He didn’t know if Malus would actually be able to break his Miraculous, but he didn’t want to find out.

He brought up back legs and kicked hard against Malus’ chest.

He successfully ripped his hands free of the villain’s grip. But, unfortunately, the pendant remained in Malus’ other hand, straining the chain of the necklace as Nathaniel pulled away.

In the end, to save Nathaniel from being choked, the chain broke.

And with it, Nathaniel’s connection.

Before he had time to realise what had happened, Nathaniel was forced back into the nothingness.