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Luck Be A Ladybug & Black Cat

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Being a fashion designer, Gabriel Agreste has traveled the world. He’s seen thousands of types of jewelry in his travels, but never before has he seen jewelry that housed magical animals.

Tomorrow is their first anniversary since Émilie’s death and even after being married for over twenty years there wasn’t a day that went by where she hadn’t surprised him; even in the afterlife.

He hadn’t visited the indoor garden in his house since weeks before his wife’s death but something told him to come inside and look around today of all days. And sure enough there was a box on Émilie’s pedestal addressed to him for tomorrow’s date.

When he opened the box and picked up the purple oval brooch a tiny meek purple butterfly came out of it.
The butterfly then explained his powers and purpose.

Kwamis, as the creature called itself, had their own unique abilities and lent their (super)powers to their partner whenever they wore their jewelry or Miraculous. Nooroo – the butterfly kwami with a Miraculous of a brooch – had the power of transmission. He also had the ability to communicate with other butterflies, but given all kwamis could talk to whatever animal they were that bit was less impressive.

In addition to the oval brooch, Émilie also left him a book and three other magical pieces of animal housing jewelry: a silver closeable fan-like brooch that housed a peafowl (which he had to do a double take at because upon closer inspection the “fan” are the feathers of a peafowl), a bronze panjas bracelet that housed a tiger, and an orange palladium spiky thumb ring housing a rooster.

The book explained if he gathered a minimum of ten Miraculouses – including the Miraculouses of creation (a pair of red and black polkadotted ladybug earrings with little antennas) and destruction (a green paw print ring) – it’ll make his greatest desire come true.

The only desire Gabriel could think of was bringing Émilie back to life. That and to reconnect with his son Adrien. They were already estranged long before Émilie’s death but the last time Gabriel even saw his son was at Émilie’s funeral.

In order to use the power of transmission, Nooroo told him they had to merge. So Gabriel had to put on the Miraculous and chose a transformation phrase.

Once he uttered his chosen phrase, he was instantly bathed in a bright purple light; the same color as Nooroo and the brooch. The butterfly kwami phased into the brooch, and when the light faded he was in a purple three-piece suit topped with a silver balaclava and silver gloves. And the brooch grew wings just like a butterfly’s.

This must be what the book meant by the Miraculouses being “camouflaged” when they aren’t in use. Damn. That means the only way he’ll recognize the creation or destruction Miraculouses is if someone merges with them.

Although the brooch isn’t very camouflaged staying the same purple, just growing a pair of wings.

It’s a good thing he was alone in the garden because he isn’t certain how to begin explaining this to his assistant, Nathalie.

With the power of transmission, Gabriel could communicate with others temporarily giving them superpowers, but what Nooroo failed to mention was with his newfound power Gabriel could sense strong emotions nearby: fear, anger, sadness, jealousy, lust, happiness – he felt them all.

Of course! With this power, he could seek out the emotions he feels and use them to his advantage. Transform anyone with the most prevalent emotion he could feel into whatever their emotion personifies then make them search for the Miraculouses. It’s brilliant!

A butterfly flies onto his gloved hand immediately turning purple at the contact. Time for a test drive.

With the butterfly still on his hand, he walks over to the window and opens it releasing the butterfly into the city.

🦋

A kaleidoscope of butterflies flying through the air would ordinarily be a beautiful sight had Fù Wáng not felt the distress of a kwami mere moments before the butterflies surfaced.

He had just arrived in Paris this morning, he never would’ve thought the power of the Miraculouses would’ve followed him here. Or maybe he’s the one that followed the power? Perhaps it was his Guardian’s intuition that brought him here? Giving him a chance to atone for his screw-up of giving Émilie Agreste the tiger Miraculous ten years ago.

He was training her and three other hopefuls to become Guardians when she killed her colleagues, stole the Miraculous book and their Miraculouses, then fled to America.

Fù spent the last decade scouring the globe training and attempting to find the Miraculouses he lost but to no avail. He even got aided by his fellow Guardians and their searches all came up empty.

Whatever his reason for being here, he has a job to do. A Guardian should have mastery over all the Miraculouses in their possession, and he really shouldn’t’ve let a decade pass without transforming. If Nooroo is active and in distress there would soon be an akuma in need of purifying instead of assistance before it affected someone. Fù doesn’t like any kwami being used for evil but Nooroo is an especially hard one to fight against.

Fù runs back into his shop, closing the door behind him. He heads to the gramophone behind the counter and turns the handle counterclockwise until the gramophone spins upward opening the secret compartment. He presses the buttons on each side of the red and black Chinese finger trap and the Miracle Box slowly slides out. He opens the large hexagonal box and picks up the pair of black earrings in the center in the yang symbol. The ladybug kwami, Tikki, flutters into existence then looks around. “Wha—? Master?”

“There’s an akuma we have to purify.” Tikki nods as Fù puts the earrings on, “spots on.”

🦋

Thankfully, Fù is able to snatch up the akuma and purify it before it could infect then subsequently transform anyone. He’s seen Nooroo’s power firsthand both as an ally and as an enemy, and he’s immensely grateful about the lack of fanfare because he doesn’t think he can fight an akumatization. Not like he used to. Maybe that’s the reason he hadn’t bothered to transform? It’s a shame but as they say, “all good things must come to an end.” Time to pass the torch to another.

After all, that’s the purpose of the Guardians. To distribute the Miraculouses to those worthy enough to wield them.

And not sociopathic murderers.

If someone is out there throwing out akumas an attempting to cause trouble he’s gonna need someone to purify said akumas. Then he’s gonna need someone to wield the black cat Miraculous, because if one is active without the other there will be no balance and the entire world will plunge into eternal darkness. Yeah, no pressure. Especially for one who messed up giving away a Miraculous in the past.

After all, how hard could it be to find two harmonized souls in the city destined to yin and yang each other while protecting the world’s already delicate balance?

Yeah, again, no pressure.

He’d think Émilie Agreste was behind this, since Nooroo was one of the stolen Miraculouses, had he not heard of her death a year ago. So it appears as though someone stole the stolen Miraculouses from her either before or after her death and Fù has no idea who.

When Fù returns to the shop, he places Tikki’s earrings back in their spot and begins unpacking his belongings and sets his shop up.

Tomorrow, he’ll begin the search for the next group of Miraculous wielders. Starting with the ladybug and black cat.

🦋

To hear her mother giggling was unnerving. This mystery suitor must have quite a way with words to have Tomoe Tsurugi, known throughout Kyoto, Japan as The Dragon Lady (With Ice In Her Veins), to giggle; openly!

Kagami leans back in her seat examining her mother chatting lowly, earbuds in her ears.

They moved to Paris over the summer and Kagami had two-and-a-half-months to learn French before high school—no, lycée. Her last year of schooling and she moved to another country. Another continent. And her mother has yet to tell her why. If everything does happen for a reason, she’d at least like to know what said reason is.

The automated driver, Tatsu, alerts them they’ve arrived at their destination: Lycée Géroux Delacroix. Tomoe takes the earbuds out of her ears, “this school is a B, B+ at the most. And quite frankly, the lackluster amount of clubs this school offers is laughable. D’Argencourt-san can do so much better than this... school.” She tsks.

They get out of the car and head toward the building arm-in-arm, her mother’s trusty white bokken doubling as her probing cane. “Kaa-san, if the school does not meet your standards why am I attending it?”

Tomoe scowls, “‘to prepare you for the real world.’” She air-quotes in disgust, “it was your grandfather’s insistence you attend a school with... what what the phrase? All walks of life.”

The hell does that mean?

As they walk down the hall, Kagami looks around. Definitely smaller than her previous school. There are students in the hallway chattering, who quickly scatter once the bell rings overhead. They reach the headmaster’s office. A tall, woman with red-brown hair in a crisp navy suit opens the door with a smile. “Welcome Tsurugi-sama. Tsurugi-san.” She bows. “I am Headmaster Jordan Augustin.”

Kagami and Tomoe both bow. “I thank you, Augustin-san, for accepting my daughter on such short notice.”

“It wasn’t short notice at all. In fact, you actually registered her too early, which was why you needed to come back to register her...” The woman clears her throat, rubbing the back of her neck. “I should be apologizing to you.”

“It was hardly an inconvenience. How far behind is Kagami on her lessons?”

“J-Just a few days. I’m sure her teachers will inform her if she’s behind in anything but as school just started I’m sure she’s fine.”

“How ‘sure’ would you say you are?”

“Um...” Kagami wanted to put the poor woman out of her misery but not at the expense of redirecting her mother’s ire. “Ninety percent?”

Tomoe’s eyebrows furrow slightly in a way that Kagami knew that was the wrong answer to give. Hell, even the headmaster seems to realize that because nervously rubs her hands together. “I see.” That tight-lipped smile makes Kagami grimace. “I assume there is paperwork I need to sign as my daughter isn’t eighteen yet?”

“O-Oh, yes! I have them right here.” Thankful for the subject change, the headmaster happily gives Tomoe every article of paper that requires her signature. Considering it’s merely a week into the school year, Kagami didn’t think there’d be this much paperwork. There’s a stack at least fifty thick pages high.

If she were back home she’d be halfway done with the school year instead of just beginning it.

With her mother seated at the chair beside the desk, Kagami takes a seat in one of the empty chairs by the door rhythmically tapping her fingers along the chair arms until her mother’s head swivels in her direction.

Tomoe’s eyebrows raise over her sunglasses, expression screaming: keep your quirks under control! Kagami bites her lip and stops tapping, balling up her fists as her mother’s eyebrows lower and she resumes signing the mountain of papers before her.

Great. Kagami’s gonna be doing ikebana as punishment until her fucking fingers are sore.

Eventually all the papers are signed by both parties and Kagami is free to attend classes. As she walks her mother back to the car, Tomoe’s grip on her arm tightens. “I sense something... off about this city. Be on your guard.”

“Of course, Kaa-san.”

Tomoe nods then gets in the car. “Shall I sent the car for you after school?”

“That is not necessary. I will walk.” Tomoe nods again, then signals for the car to go. Kagami stands there until she no longer sees the car then sighs. When she turns around to head back into the building she spots an old man panting against the bottom of the staircase. Intrigued, she makes her way over. “Dai—” She shakes her head. French is still foreign on her tongue. She’d been speaking Japanese with her mother their entire time here. The switch isn’t easy but she manages. “Are you in need of assistance?” Her pronunciation needs work.

“Oh. I—” The old man chuckles, “my cane broke but no need to trouble yourself, young lady.”

“It’s no trouble.” She takes a roll of black athletic tape out of her backpack then picks up the broken cane and tapes the two broken halves together. It was a clean break, making it a quick fix. Once she’s finished, she taps the cane on the ground to make sure the tape holds then she gives it back to the man as he tries it out. “It isn’t a permanent fix—”

“But it’ll work just fine. That is very resourceful and quite ingenious.” The man chuckles, “thank you very much for your assistance Mlle...”

“Kagami.”

He extends his hand Kagami shakes. “I am Fù.” He tries to stand up straight then winces when his back loudly protests the action.

“You must’ve thrown your back out attempting to reach your cane. Allow me to set it back—”

Fù’s eyes widen considerably. “N-No, no! It’s alright. You needn’t do that. It’s nothing a little rest won’t fix.”

Kagami fixes him with an odd stare, “if you are certain.”

“I am, and I have probably made you late enough as is.”

“Oh, right. Almost forgot about that. Then I will take my leave. Take care.”

“And you as well.” He waves as she heads up the stairs into the building. Once she’s out of sight, Fù cracks his back then starts walking down the street. One down, one to go.

🦋

When Kagami returns to the headmaster’s office, the woman personally walks her to class after giving Kagami her schedule. The teacher mispronounces her first name and last name but Kagami makes no effort to correct him, then he sits her next to a purple-haired girl who introduces herself as Juleka.

Juleka wasn’t one for small talk, which Kagami was grateful for. They sit in comfortable silence as the teacher monologues. After they compare their schedules, Juleka was kind enough to offer to show her around the school.

Once class ends a brunette merrily bounces – literally bounces – over to her and Juleka’s shared desk. “Hi! It’s Kagami, right?” Kagami nearly cringes at the terrible pronunciation but refrains just enough to nod at the newcomer. “I’m Lila, future class representative. Would you like me to show you around the school?”

“Actually, Lila, I already offered.” Juleka says with a one-shoulder shrug.

Lila looks the taller teen up and down with a blank expression, “I see. Well, if you need anything at all don’t hesitate to ask, alright?” Kagami nods. With a wide smile, Lila nods back then walks out of the classroom.

“C’mon, let me show you all the good skipping spots.”

🦋

By noon, all of Paris was aware of Adrien Agreste’s return.

Adrien hadn’t been in Paris since he saw his maman’s coffin being lowered into the ground.

There was a very public funeral for international actress and former model Émilie Agreste last year – right when Adrien was about to start public school for the first time in his life.

As he was homeschooled his entire life, it made no difference where he was being homeschooled. He needed time away from here, away from everything that reminded him of his maman so he spent the past year with his maternal grandparents in Belgium.

His père hadn’t approved but his père never approved of anything Adrien wanted to do.

And his père certainly wouldn’t approve of Adrien walking into the lycée without his permission but as he was eighteen now, he didn’t need his père’s permission. He could even buy his own liquor... once he got a public ID. That’s probably the second thing he needs to do.

One day at a time. He did just turn eighteen four hours ago. (He was an “unaccompanied minor” when he boarded the plane and an “adult” once he landed.)

He gives the headmaster his most charming “boy-next-door” model smile as he explains his situation in hopes she’ll pity him enough to allow him to become a student.

It works because it always works. He’s yet to meet anyone immune to his patent model smiles.

After sighing a mountain of paperwork and receiving his schedule, Adrien makes his way to the science lab for seventh period. The second he steps in the doorway, students – no, his fellow classmates – gasp and stare.

He hands his hallpass to the stunned teacher then makes his way to the back of the classroom. All eyes are on him except for the blue-haired girl in the back by the window writing in her notebook. He can’t get a good look at her face from his angle so he decides to sit next to her. Which ends up being a mistake because the second his hand goes on the blue-haired girl’s shoulder he feels his body being lifted in the air then slammed on the floor. Stunned, he blinks up at pair of beautiful, angry brown eyes.

She says something too fast for him to catch then sits back in her seat.

At the commotion everyone got up from their seats, but he got flipped so damn quick fortunately no one saw what happened. The teacher makes their way through the students bodies then does a double take, “what happened here?”

“I tripped.” Adrien lies. He hadn’t felt a rush like that since he did fencing. And her voice sent a shiver up his spine. A couple of classmates wordlessly help him up.

The teacher directs everyone to take their seats and they do but not without giving him one last questioning glance.

He takes the empty seat next to the blue-haired girl, turning to her once everyone is looking back at the chalkboard. “That was judo, right?”

The blue-haired girl barely spares him a glance, “aikido.”

“Either way it was impressive. C-Can we start over? I’m sorry for touching you without your permission.” That gets him a sidelong glance. He slowly extends his hand in her direction, “I’m Adrien.” She stares at his hand like it personally offended her (wait... come to think of it, it did). Grimacing, he retracts his hand. The blue-haired girl stares at the spot his hand was for a second more before returning her attention to the board. “Uh, this is the part where you tell me your name.”

“I doubt that’ll get you to stop talking.”

“It’s worth a try?” She takes a deep breath then full-on glares at him and Adrien’s momentarily stunned by her beauty. He caught flashes with all the side glances but she wasn’t full-on staring at him. Being a model he’s seen tons of beautiful women but they all pale in comparison to the one beside him.

“I don’t owe you anything, least of all my name. And next time you think about touching me without my permission I’ll break your arm.”

“R-Right.” Her eyes narrow then she turns back to the board. He shakes out of his stupor then turns to the board, clutching his chest.

Adrien’s barely able to pay attention to anything for the remainder of the class period. He’s still feeling his racing heart by the time the bell rings. Beside him, the blue-haired girl is cramming her belongings into her bag. Before he could open his mouth, he feels a tap on his shoulder.

He turns to a brunette. “Hi, I’m Lila!”

“Hi!” He turns back around and the blue-haired is gone. He swears under his breath then turns back to the brunette. “Sorry. Did you need something?”

“I was gonna ask you that.” She smiles and he smiles back, strained but she hardly notices. Too busy making heart-eyes. Sure, the brunette is pretty but pretty is dime a dozen. “Wouldn’t want you getting lost on your first day.”

“That’s true.” He rubs the back of his neck, exuding his boy-next-door charm, “think we could compare schedules?”

“That’s a great idea.” She takes out her phone from her purse and holds it next to Adrien’s physical, paper schedule. “We have Italian together next. Might as well walk there.”

“Yeah. I’m curious, why did you take Italian?”

“Because I needed another year of a foreign language. Also, I’m Italian so I thought why not get an easy A. How about you?”

“It was the last foreign language class available.”

🦋

Students start filing out of the building. Nino stretches, breathing in the fresh air the moment he steps foot outside. (Just nine more months...)

He heads to the parking lot and gets on his motorcycle, moving up the kickstand. Before putting his helmet on he hears the rumble of thunder overhead. It hasn’t started raining yet but judging by how quickly the sky turned grey it won’t be long.

He hears a string of swears in Japanese as a blue-haired girl walks past him mumbling to herself. (And the only reason he knows what language she’s speaking is because he and Chris look up swears in multiple languages whenever they have free time.)

Nino looks down at his helmet then at the girl, “uh, excuse me, hold up for a sec.” The girl pauses mid-step then turns toward him, “you look like you could use a lift?” He holds up his helmet helplessly.

She looks over his motorcycle then up at the sky then his motorcycle again before coming closer. “I normally don’t accept rides from strangers.”

“Fair enough. Name’s Nino.” He holds his helmet out toward her. “Knowing my name doesn’t make me not a stranger anymore, I know, but it’s a start.”

There’s a hint of a smile threatening to overtake her neutral expression. “I suppose it is.” She accepts the helmet and there’s a small spark that jolts through both of them when their hands make contact.

“W-Whoa, that was—”

“Weird. I agree.” Nino hands her the helmet again and there’s no spark when their hands touch the second time. “Thank you. I’m Kagami. If I am wearing your helmet, what will you be using?” He pulls out his half helmet from his full face helmet. “Interesting. Why do you have two helmets?”

“In case someone needs a lift.” He puts the half helmet on. “It happens more often than you’d think.”

“I don’t doubt that.” She puts the helmet on. “Do I ride front or back?”

“Back might be safer.” Nino moves up then Kagami gets on the motorcycle behind him and wraps her arms around his body. “Where’re we heading?”

“Are you familiar with the hotels near the train station in the 10th arrondissement?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Is it out of your way?”

“Nope, and even if it was it wouldn’t take me long to get home.”

“Thank you for this. Truly.”

“No prob, dude. I try to do at least two good deeds a day. Trying to make the world less of a shithole, little by little.”

“It’s an admirable albeit foolish notion to attempt to shoulder that on your own.”

“That’s the nicest way anyone’s ever called me an idiot.”

“I wasn’t calling you an idiot.”

Nino laughs, “hang on, alright?”

“Alright.” He grip around him tightens. As they take off, Nino could swear he saw a blond standing on the steps in front of the building glaring in the side mirror. Kagami is quiet the entire ten minutes it takes to arrive at the hotel. Before he can pull up to the curb an old man darts out into the street in front of the motorcycle forcing Nino to abruptly hit the breaks. Kagami’s head thumps into his back when the bike stops short of the man. The blue-haired girl yells something in Japanese then peers over Nino’s shoulder and gasps. “It’s you...”

Nino gets off the motorcycle, steadying Kagami as she sways off. “Sorry. Should’ve warned you about the vertigo.” He turns to the old man. “You okay?”

The old man looks up at him with a smile, “oh, yes. I am—”

“You could’ve gotten yourself killed if we were in a car or even going faster.” Kagami chastises.

“My apologies—”

Kagami’s eyes narrow, “your back...” Nino glances at her staring at the old man.

“Like I said, nothing a little rest couldn’t fix.” He looks up at Nino. “You aren’t injured I hope? I could swear the coast was clear.”

“Yeah, I’m good. No big deal, dude. Happens to everyone.”

The old man clasps Nino’s hands. “Ah, such a conscientious—I mean kind, caring soul you are. Would you be willing to extend your kindness into helping an old man up the stairs?”

“Sure—”

“I’ll do it. I mean, I might as well since I was heading upstairs anyway. Pay your kindness forward. Do my part to make the world less of a shithole.”

Nino laughs. “Alright. I can get behind that.”

“I... will see you in school tomorrow?” She holds out his helmet to him and he accepts it.

“Yeah. I’ll be there.”

She nods at him, and the old man waves as they head up the stairs. Kagami watches him ride off before turning to the old man with narrowed eyes, “you’re up to something.”

“Am I? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You placed a black and red hexagonal box in my backpack this morning. I don’t know when or how but you did. And given what you said to Nino? I believe you purposely threw yourself in front of his motorcycle somehow knowing he wouldn’t hit you. Just so you could stop him and place an identical box into his pocket.”

“Perceptive. I did not expect you to catch all that. I must be losing my touch. Then again, it means I have chosen correctly this time around.”

“What the hell are you talking about? Who are you, really?”

“As I told you this morning. I am Fù. Fù Wáng. And you, Mlle. Kagami Tsurugi, are exactly who I have been searching for.”

“I never told you my surname.” Fù holds her class schedule between his fingers. “You’re a pickpocket too?” She snatches her schedule back. “I suppose you’d have to be slipping things into people’s pockets without their knowledge takes just as much effort as taking something out.”

Fù strokes his beard. “Indeed. While I need to have a plethora of techniques in my arsenal, I still require your assistance.”

My assistance?”

They walk inside the hotel. “I don’t suppose you opened the box I gave you?”

“Of course not. What kind of fool opens mysterious boxes they do not recognize?”

Fù rubs the back of his neck, “you’d be surprised.” He clears his throat, “well, I suggest you open the box... but not out in the open.”

“That’s not ominous at all.” The lobby is empty. There isn’t even anyone manning the front desk. Still, Kagami doesn’t want to risk it. “Wait here.” She heads to the women’s bathroom. Once she makes sure it’s empty, she stares at the character on the box. She doesn’t understand what it says but she ends up opening the damn thing all the same. There’s a blinding black flash that causes her to drop the box to shield her eyes.

“Whoa! Careful. This ring ain’t cheap!” A voice yells.

Kagami’s eyes snap open at the unfamiliar voice and she looks up at the small green-eyed black cat looking thing tilting its head at her. “What the hell are you?”

“Name’s Plagg and I’m a kwami...” It drops the box, that has a rose gold ring inside, into her hands. “That’s my Miraculous so, like, be careful with it?”

Kagami takes the ring out of the box and examines it. It’s a plain thick rose gold ring that looks a bit too big for her fingers.

“I take it the Guardian hasn’t told you anything about me?” Kagami’s head snaps up and the thing is now flying around her head. “That look means no.”

“Guardian? You must mean Fù. What is he the ‘Guardian’ of?”

“The Miraculouses. Like my ring in your hands. As for what he is? I’d say about 200 years old? Maybe older...?”

Kagami’s eyes narrow, “that’s impossible. Regardless of how healthy one is, a natural lifespan wouldn’t allow anyone to live for so long.”

Plagg snickers. “Who said anything about natural? It’s Guardian magic. Longevity, I think it’s called. All Miraculouses are magic. In fact, just wielding my Miraculous will increase your current strength and stamina level but when the Miraculous is active and powered up? You’ll gain superhuman abilities.”

Kagami glances down at the ring then puts it on her left middle finger. As she figured, it’s too big but then the ring shrinks to accommodate her finger. “That’s impossible—”

“Piece of advice, Kit? Stop thinking of things as impossible.” Plagg waves his hand in her face, “and start thinking of them as magical. ‘Cause, I mean, you’re gonna have to get used to the magic.”

“Why would Fù give me this ring?”

“Hell if I know. Though I’d wager it’s because we’re destined to be together, Kit. Guardians are a crafty sort. They pick you and poof that’s it. End of story. You won’t know until the choice is already made. You could always deny, if you want, but you’ll always be wondering what if. Plus—” Plagg flies millimeters away from her face, beaming, “I don’t think you wanna deny.”

“Don’t presume as if you know me.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. Though, I getting a pretty good idea of the kind of Kit you are.”

“‘Kit?’”

“Kitten seems a bit demeaning.” Kagami nods in agreement, “you know, The Guardian didn’t tell me about this partnership beforehand either so I’m flying in just as blind as you are. I’m not new to partners as a whole, just new to you being my partner.”

“Got it.” Kagami wiggles her fingers, “what can this ring do?”

“Oh, what can’t it do?” Plagg sighs contently, “but if I’m being specific. The ring essentially causes destruction. Depending on how powered up you are we could level the entire city.” Kagami lets out an impressed hum. “You gotta pick a transformation phrase while wearing the ring to transform into a black cat superhero because—” Plagg points at themselves, “I am a black cat.”

“Noted.”

But, a little warning. The way your outfit looks depends entirely on you. You think it when we first transform and together we’ll make it. Just so you know, once it’s set there’s no way to – you know – unset it. Understand?” Kagami nods. “Good. My last partner? Had a leather thing.”

“You don’t have to worry about that. Leather give me a rash.” Plagg nods in relief. “What do I have to say to transform? You said I need to pick something, right?”

“Not so fast, Kit. I lay down the groundwork then you blurt any random phrase out. We transform. Things get messy.”

“Fair enough.”

“Besides, Sugarcube’s note active yet. We gotta wait.”

“If this ‘Sugarcube’ is in a box like yours they must be who Fù put in Nino’s pocket.” What if that was what the spark was about?

“Oh good! You know where she is, because if one of us is active without the other it throws the world into chaos.”

“How wonderful.” Kagami says dryly.

“Look, I know it sucks but I don’t make the rules alright? I can sense Sugarcube cause we’re—” Plagg brings their hands together, “connected. But...” He sighs, “can’t do a damn thing until she’s out of that blasted magic box.”

“So you need the box opened in order to sense her.” Plagg nods. “I didn’t get the open unfamiliar boxes on a whim vibe from Nino.”

“Let’s hope you’re wrong. You know, for the sake of the universe’s balance?”

“Let’s. Is it an instant thing, though? If you two aren’t active together? I can mention it to him in school tomorrow and see if that draws a reaction.”

“Yeah, alright. Do that. We can be not active together for a little bit and not destroy the world. The Guardian did it yesterday and we’re all still alive.”

Kagami nods slowly. “Good to know.”

🦋

The manor is every bit as imposing as it was the day he left it. Probably still just as empty inside too. His père hadn’t changed the code on the gate so Adrien let himself in.

The front door’s lock hadn’t changed either so he opened it. Unsurprisingly, Nathalie is still around. Looking not expressionless for once. “A-Adrien?”

“Surprise!”

“Had I known—”

“You would’ve warned père and ruined the surprise!” Nathalie’s initial shock wears off and she stares blankly at him. “He’s in the study, right?” He side-steps around her and walks to the staircase, “I’ll just let myself—”

“He’s in the garden.”

Adrien pauses then looks over his shoulder. The garden? His père hasn’t been in there since his maman’s illness took a turn for the worst. Frowning, Adrien takes a left instead of climbing the staircase and heads to the indoor garden with Nathalie silently following behind.

If the rest of the house hadn’t changed there’s no reason to believe his bedroom changed in the past year. He’ll change out of his damp clothes once he speaks to his père.

The garden’s locked, no surprise there, so Adrien steels himself and knocks on the door. Perhaps he should’ve went to his room first? Given himself a little time to prepare. “Père, it’s me.”

“Adrien?” Surprisingly, his père’s voice isn’t muffled by the door. “Give me a moment.” A few seconds pass and the door opens. His père looks the same but it’s only been a year and Gabriel Agreste often doesn’t respond well to change. His meltdown at his wife’s funeral was proof enough of that. Gabriel sighs in relief, “you’re home.”

“I’m home!”

Gabriel jerks his head behind him, thanking Nathalie, before letting Adrien inside and closing the door behind him. “Wasn’t expecting you back on your birthday.” Adrien looks around, following his père until they reach his maman’s pedestal. “Happy birthday, by the way.” He tosses a silver feathered brooch at Adrien who catches it with ease.

“Thanks. Surprised you remembered with it being the same day as your—” He gasps as a blue light emits from the brooch, that he swears was a bit darker when he caught it, causing him to squint. The light then turns into a blue peacock? “—anniversary.” Adrien blinks, “you got me a peacock?”

“Peafowl is the correct term.”

Adrien glances at the pea-thing staring back at him. “Sure. Whatever. What is this... thing?”

“I am Duusu.” It replies with a bow.

Adrien instinctively bows back. “That thing, along with the brooch in your hands, will help bring your mère back to life.”

Adrien looks at the brooch in his hand then up at his père. “I’m listening.”

🦋

As soon as he left the hotel, it started pouring so by the time Nino got home he was soaked. Shrugging off his wet jacket, something falls out of his pocket. He picks up the small black and red hexagonal box examining it. Doesn’t look familiar. Maybe it’s Kagami’s? Or the old man’s?

His pockets were empty before getting on his motorcycle so those are his only two suspects.

Kagami held onto him as they were riding through the city but the old man patted Nino’s arm, right above his jacket pocket, so he could’ve easily slipped something inside without Nino noticing.

What the hell is an opposite of a pickpocket? Or would he still be considered a pickpocket?

Who just randomly drops kickass looking boxes into people’s jackets? Is that why Kagami was so suspicious of him? Maybe he dropped something into her pocket too? Well, he knows where the hotel is – he’ll just return the box. Tomorrow. He’s not going back out there tonight unless it’s life or death. Not in this rain.

“You’re home!” Chris yells running toward him, Nino puts the hand holding the box behind his back and holds out his other hand in front of his body.

“Whoa! Easy there, Little Dude. I got caught in the rain. Lemme change into something dry then you can practice your wrestling moves on me.”

“Yes! It’s gonna be so cool going to see Anansi wrestling live! I can’t wait!” Chris giggles running back into the living room.

Nino toes off his shoes and brings his hand holding the box in front of him. Too big to fit into his pocket, and too suspicious to open in the apartment’s entryway. His jacket and pants got the worst of the rain so he strolls into the bathroom for a towel to dry himself off. It’s a good thing he swapped helmets after dropping Kagami off otherwise the rain would’ve gotten on his glasses too.

Thunder rumbles overhead.

He sets the box down on the bathroom counter and dries off his head and shoulders.

“Nino, come quick!”

Nino barely has a foot out of his pants when Chris calls. He manages to take off his pants without faceplanting then runs into the living room in time to see a fuchsia-haired newscaster with a purple butterfly mask outline around her purple eyes. “Greetings, my fellow Parisians! Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news and I have one huge exclusive scoop for you.” She winks then points to the outline with her microphone, “Paris is a magical landmine!” The newscaster’s body is sudden overcome by a purple ooze. When it disappears there’s a red-haired cyborg with metallic greenish skin standing there. “See what I mean? No cause for alarm, though. Not yet. I am Hawkmoth, your new savior, speaking through your famed newscaster.” Chris gasps as every other person in the studio is also suddenly transformed into similar looking cyborgs once the purple ooze hits their bodies then disappears.

“I am searching for magical artifacts called Miraculouses. In particular, a green ring shaped like a cat’s paw and a red and black polkadotted pair of ladybug shaped earrings. Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘ladybug shaped’ are impossible to detect given the overall vagueness of the animal in question’s shape but these earrings have tiny, barely noticeable curled antennas poking out of the top like a true ladybug.

The city has an hour to deliver the aforementioned Miraculouses to me or you’ll all be my personal cyborg army and help with the search, whether you want to or not.”

A purple butterfly lands on her microphone, “take a good look at this beauty. It’s called an akuma and it personally delivers information to me, as well as every other butterfly in the city now. You might as well get used to seeing them.”

“Is this dude for real?”

Chris grimaces, “I don’t wanna find out.”

“I’m gonna finish changing. Let me know if anything else weird happens.” Chris salutes him as Nino heads back to the bathroom, he grabs up the box then takes it to the bedroom with him. He dumps his glasses and the box on the bed and continues undressing. As he’s pulling his shirt over his head, the box tumbles onto the floor and opens.

The second his shirt is off his head he’s staring at a big headed red creature with black spots and large blue eyes. “The f—” The thing zips over to him putting a tiny hand over his mouth.

“Don’t scream.” It whispers, holding up its other hand to its head. Nino nods slowly, because there really isn’t much else he could do. The thing closes its eyes for a few seconds before they open. “I sense him.” They breathe a sigh of relief releasing Nino’s mouth. “Apologies.” It zips out of the room then back in it. “My name is Tikki and I’m a kwami.”

Nino squints. A ladybug... sort of. “Where did you come from?”

The thing—Tikki—blinks at him. “The Miracle Box.” It picks up the box from earlier, now opened – great work Nino, and holds it up to Nino’s face. Inside are a pair of green gold earrings. Green gold is kinda weird but a good weird. Nino subconsciously rubs at his earlobes. It’s a good thing they’re gold because he can’t wear fake jewelry. He doesn’t remember much about his grandparents but he knows – according to his late parents – they pierced his ears when he was a baby. Despite not wearing any earrings for several years, his ear holes hadn’t closed up.

Nino takes one of the earrings out of the box and examines it further. They’re circular – like a lot of earrings – but no polkadots or antennas. Because if Paris is a magical landmine as the newscaster stated, a talking ladybug-esque creature who just so happens to come out of a box with a pair of earrings inside hits you over the head with magical.

Oh.” Tikki takes in his state of undress. “I-I hadn’t noticed you aren’t wearing much clothing. Are humans still touchy about modesty?”

Nino shrugs, “depends on the human, really. I’m cool with whatever. I believe ‘to each their own’ – as long as you’re not a dick about it or hurting other people. If it bothers you, you can turn around or shield your eyes or whatever.”

“I’m fine with it. I’m over millions of years old, I’ve seen my share of naked humans.”

“Cool, because the boxers are coming off.” Tikki busies itself with flitting around the room, taking everything in while Nino gets dressed.

“Nino, you—whoa!” Chris gapes at Tikki. “What’s that?!”

Nino plops down the bed, “a kwami—”

“That isn’t supposed to be spotted by humans who aren’t my Chosen.”

“I don’t keep anything from my baby bro and I don’t plan on starting now. This just saves us time from explaining things later.” Tikki sighs and Chris bounces over to the bed as Tikki flies to the bed as well. “What’s up?”

“A cyborg cameraperson – like a person who is half cyborg and half camera – recorded a giant blue butterfly attacking the Eiffel Tower.”

“This is terrible!” Tikki exclaims. “We have to do something.”

Nino and Chris exchange a glance, “we?” Nino repeats.

Tikki points to the earrings then at Nino, “you were selected by the Guardian to protect the balance of the universe.”

“I can barely find time to DJ and do my homework, you expect me to balance the universe!?”

Chris pats him on the leg, “if anyone can do it, it’s you.” Nino looks at him dubiously.

Tikki zips in and out of the room again, “this ‘Hawkmoth’ just proves the villainous aesthetic hasn’t changed in a millennia. Why are they all so damn showy?” Tikki sighs. “‘Hawkmoth’ stole a bunch of Miraculouses from the Guardian. Or...” Tikki tilts its head, “stole Miraculouses from someone who stole some Miraculouses from the Guardian. Does that make sense?”

“Barely.”

“You and your new partner are literally the only ones who can stop Hawkmoth.”

“You’re gonna be a superhero!” Chris screams.

“Don’t go broadcasting it!” Tikki yells back.

“R-Right. Sorry. Superhero 101 is secret identities from everyone outside the family.”

“Nice little addition.” He fist bumps Chris who beams.

“These aren’t the earrings Hawkmoth talked about though.”

“They are, actually.” Tikki replies. “I’m guessing Hawkmoth also has the stolen Miraculous book. But the book only has the powered up Miraculous forms in it. Not what they look like camouflaged.” Tikki gestures to the earrings each brother is holding. “The camouflaged forms differ with every Miraculous wielder so they are difficult to find.”

Chris nods, “makes sense.”

Nino eyes him incredulously as he puts on his glasses. “Does it really?”

“If they were more showy you wouldn’t have a secret identity because everyone would be able to find them.” Tikki nods in agreement.

“Hawkmoth wants your Miraculous and the Miraculous of your partner. If he obtains them along with a handful of other Miraculouses, he’ll destroy the balance of the universe plunging the world into eternal darkness! And he’ll also make his greatest desire come true.”

“Wish was a bit of an afterthought after the whole eternal darkness bit.” Chris adds and Tikki shrugs in agreement, “and how will he even make that wish come true?”

“Unfortunately, I don’t know. Kwamis are forbidden to learn about the wish’s process but we do know it comes at a great cost.”

Nino scratches his head. “It involves you yet you don’t know how to do it?”

“Think about it. I bet Hawkmoth has one of these things, just a butterfly, that’s being used against their will as we speak.”

“Nooroo. The kwami of transmission. Who is indeed a butterfly.” Tikki adds, “and if we knew how to active the wish we could be forced to speak on it if we ever did get used for evil.”

“In a roundabout way, that makes sense.” Nino agrees. “So what are you the kwami of? Hawkmoth didn’t say.”

“I’m the kwami of creation, your partner wields the kwami of destruction.”

“That’s so cool. My big brother’s like the most creative person you’ll ever meet!”

“I know!” Tikki agrees easily, putting a hand on Nino’s chest, “I sense his creative spirit, I feel the music filling his heart.”

“Okay, don’t... do whatever it is you’re doing. It’s creepy.” Tikki moves its hand, “man, I didn’t consent to a team up... but at the same time who wouldn’t wanna be a superhero?” Tikki squeals excitedly.

“You are officially cooler than Anansi.”

“That’s high praise coming from you.”

“The Guardian chose you for this, Pupa. Your conscientious aura wouldn’t allow you to sit around and let Hawkmoth harass innocent people.”

“But it will let him harass people who deserve it.”

“That’s fair.”

Wait. Aura...? Ah shit. The old man from earlier said something about his aura, didn’t he? Or his soul or whatever? He just passed some magical inner workings test when he didn’t hit that old man with his motorcycle. Dammit, that’s not a fair test! Who’d not stop to avoid hitting someone!? He demands a redo! Something less obvious! Something that’ll make you think about being kind or conscientious or whatever!

Another thought crossed his mind. Kagami seemed equal parts vaguely familiar, equal parts rightfully suspicious of the old man. Did she get a similar test? Was she his partner with the destruction kwami? Was the old man really even an old man? Was that spark they felt the catalyst to all this?

“Tell your Guardian friend not to dart out in front of traffic next time.”

“I know Master Fù is... unorthodox but he’s a seasoned Guardian. His impulsiveness, thankfully, did not hand-select you.”

“His impulsiveness just comes up with the bullshit on the fly tests for worthiness.” Tikki smiles with a shrug.

“You know, your big—or rather small enough to get sucked into a vacuum. Hawkmoth will never find you. Then again, if he has a kwami too he’ll know what to look for.”

Tikki nods, “but he’ll be more interested in the Miraculouses than the kwamis. Our Miraculous’ are what allow us to lend our partner our powers temporarily.”

“So if Hawkmoth has everyone as cyborgs, what’s the blue butterfly?”

“The what?” Tikki zooms out of the room then back in it, paling slightly. “Right, you did mention that didn’t you?” Tikki sucks in a breath, “so... Hawkmoth’s not alone.”

Nino sighs, “you don’t say.”

“I should’ve suspected. Four Miraculouses were stolen.”

“Which means four assholes are out there.”

Tikki lolls their head back and forth. “There are hundreds of Miraculouses in the world. There could be hundreds of assholes using them for evil. Master Fù only has eleven Miraculouses in his possession.” Tikki pauses, “well nine now.”

“That’s... shitty.”

“Indeed. Though Master Fù isn’t the only Guardian in the world either.”

“I would hope not. Anyway, you got less than a half-hour to do something before Hawkmoth makes good on his threat.”

“There’s another problem with fighting Nooroo. Transmission is a very broad power. Hawkmoth doesn’t need to be present to use it.”

“Got that from him hijacking the newscaster.”

“I’m guessing Duusu is responsible for the butterfly. They also don’t need to be present to summon amoks or feathers that can bring anything they touch to life. Or expand something that’s already alive.”

“And what, dare I ask, is this ‘Duusu’ the kwami of?”

“Emotion.”

“Oh. That’s gonna be a mindfuck.” Nino takes off his glasses then runs a hand down his face. “Man, I hope Kagami’s keeping up with the news. How do I... hero up?”

“Ordinarily, you’d have to pick a transformation phrase but Master Fù did that part for you already. Just say ‘spots on’ when you want to transform and ‘spots off’ to break the transformation. But—!” Nino puts the earrings in his ears, “right. That. That is important. Can’t transform without the earrings. However, I was gonna say you have to imagine your outfit as you transform otherwise you’ll just get a plain polka-dotted suit like my last partner.”

“But if Fù used you yesterday wouldn’t my outfit already be picked out?”

“No. He used the same transformation phrase and suit as my last partner before she died. The transformation phrase stays, unfortunately, as it was just used yesterday but with a new partner comes a new outfit.”

“The casual death mention? Not making me wanna help you further, dude.”

“Understandable but you should know all the same. She was killed by the woman who stole the Miraculouses. In fact, she killed the whole team of would be Guardians and anyone else who stood in her way so she could run off with the Miraculouses to make her greatest desire come true. Unfortunately for her, she died before she could make the wish happen.” Nino grimaces, “this was almost eleven years ago.”

“Fantastic.”

“Well, just... make sure that doesn’t happen again?”

“Noted. Did the lady die because she tried making the wish happen?”

“No, she died from something else. By the way, I haven’t asked for your name.” Tikki turns to Chris, “either of your names.”

“He’s Nino and I’m Chris.” Tikki extends a hand and they each take a turn shaking it.

“I hope it’ll be a pleasure and not a death sentence partnering up with you.”

Tikki beams, “as do I—!” Pink bubbles float out of Tikki’s mouth, “oops. Forgot kwamis are prohibited from speaking their partner’s names.”

“Good to know. There’s a lot of stuff they keep from you, huh?”

🦋

When they saw the news Fù convinced her to transform, if for no other reason to stop his rambling about the world being thrown into chaos. Her mother was meeting with a real estate agent so she wouldn’t miss her. Kagami’s now wearing a black mask with green paw prints all over it, the mask covers the entire top half of her face and into her hair, which is now dyed black, and far longer than its usual shoulder length, with green stripes all tied in a dual braided ponytails. Her eyes – sclera and all – are green and the pupils are cat-like slits. And she has black and green cat ears poking out of her head which are, in fact, real and soft to the touch. As is her black tail.

Her suit – her form-fitting catsuit – is made from lycra and is all black minus the obnoxious impractical green bell hanging from her neck, green paw prints on her gloves and thigh-high boots that match her mask. She has two green batons attached to the back of her suit. Yet her ring is somehow outside of her glove but kind of hard to tell since there are paw prints on all her fingers where the ring is. And the ring itself transformed into a green paw print ring with a cat’s curled around tail being the back of the band.

“Oh great. You got the message~” There’s a man perched on top of the tallest building in the area decked out head to toe in a gaudy royal blue feathery outfit, fan partially covering the bottom half of his blue face. He snaps the fan closed. “I’m Fantôme and I’m here for the Miraculous you were dumb enough to hand deliver it to me.”

“You’re mistaken.” Maybe there’s some kind of voice-altering device insider her suit? Guess it make sense considering she’s not recognizable in her current state, why would her voice be? “Is Hawkmoth that much of a coward to have his lackey do his dirty work?”

Fantôme growls, “I’m nobody’s lackey!”

Kagami smirks, grateful the mask doesn’t cover the lower part of her face – particularly her mouth. As it seems to rile Fantôme up further. “We’ll see.”

Plagg’s in her head, something that’ll take a while to get used to, telling her another kwami – Duusu – is responsible for who stands before her. As well as that oversize blue butterfly at the Eiffel Tower. Furthermore, Plagg says they can’t purify anything without the ladybug Miraculous’ “Miracle Cure.”

However, he says they can destroy amoks (Duusu’s blue feathers) and akumas (Nooroo’s purple butterflies) with their cataclysm as long as only the cataclysm touches the feather or butterfly.

Kagami is saved from wondering if Nino got the unspoken memo about transforming because someone in a red catsuit with black musical notes all over it, its hood and the mask, rather than just plain ladybug spots, lands beside her. From the grin alone, she can tell that’s Nino’s mouth. “Partner.” He says in autotune, “ooh, no. Gotta fix that.” He fiddles with his turtleneck collar then clears his throat, “check? Mic check?” The voice is much more bearable but still not like Nino’s. Which, again, is probably the point. “Ah, much better. Whoa!” He blinks up at Fantôme. “What the Fantôme de l'Opéra?!” Upon closer inspection, Kagami realizes Nino’s pupils are like piano keys. Oh, that is way too fucking creative for her. No wonder she got the destruction kwami.

“Partner.” She smiles, “I assume you’ve been informed?”

“Oh yeah.” He spins his yo-yo that has bells surrounding it like a tambourine. “Let’s take this asshole down.” Nodding, Kagami unclips her batons.

Fantôme sighs plucking a feather from his fan, “I’m doing this for a good reason, you know.” He blows the feather in their direction, which has impressive speed for something so light. It whizzes past them touching the lamppost behind them bringing it to life.

“Oh hell no.” They mutter jumping away as the lamppost’s newly acquired arms attempts to strike. Fantôme plucks the remaining feathers off the fan and blows them in all directions. Everything the feathers touch come to life and grow in size.

“What kind of kwami is this?” Kagami asks jumping away from the building moving toward her.

“Emotion, if you can believe it.” Nino replies rolling under the moving billboard.

“You’re kidding me? Why not the kwami of reanimation!?”

“I didn’t come up with the power names!” There are nine things Fantôme has brought to life, surrounding them.

“I don’t wanna kill you, you know, but I will if I gotta to get your Miraculouses...” Fantôme finishes with a shrug, “nothing personal.”

Kagami bares the fangs she just realized she has. Huh. They were going all out with this transformation, weren’t they? “Yeah, I’ll bet.”

She and Nino are standing back to back looking above them. They are clearly outsized but their saving grace is the large now animate objects are slow. “Your power is destruction, right?” Nino whispers, “can you destroy the ground under us so we can make a break for it?”

“Theoretically, yes, but just where would we go?”

“The studio. We still gotta deal with all those cyborgs.”

Kagami sighs, “right. Of course we do. I’m assuming there’s a plan?”

“Nope. Making this up as I go but you’re more than welcome to give me your plan.”

Kagami frowns, and her frown deepens knowing he can’t see it. “I don’t have one. And for the record, I’m not fond of winging it.”

“Yeah, well this ain’t a one-off thing so we’re gonna have to wing a lot of this shit.”

Kagami sighs, “get ready to jump.” She can feel Nino nod behind her. “Cataclysm!” She slams her glowing left hand onto the street that immediately starts cracking and crumbling beneath them. They jump to a safe-ish enough distance while everything that was surrounding them begins to cave in and fall down the hole. “Huh.”

There’s a cloud of dust and nine royal blue feathers start floating in the air above the hole when the dust settles. Nino stares at his yo-yo briefly, like he’s consulting its abilities with his kwami, then thrusts it in the direction of the feathers that turn red at the contact before bursting into a swarm of ladybugs that fill up the hole and restore all the buildings and inanimate objects back to how they were before Fantôme blew his feathers at them. “Whoa.”

Fantôme beams. “Oh, this is gonna be fun!”

“Let’s try my superpower now. Lucky Charm!” Nino spins the yo-yo then tosses it into the air in a bright flash of red it transforms into a red and black polkadotted boom microphone. “Wow. I-what?” Wait. His power is creation slash creativity. But what does creativity have to do with a damn boom mic? And Tikki telling him he has to figure it out isn’t much help.

What are boom mics even used for? Ah! The studio. He looks up at Fantôme who has a red and black polkadotted aura surrounding his body. It feels as though time is slowing down around him as he looks around. Beside him, Kagami also has the same polkadotted aura around her body. As does a storefront window of Jim’s Robotics.

It feels like Blue’s Clues. What kind of convoluted process involves their enemy, his partner, a boom mic, and a large piece of glass?

Kagami has a baton in each hand again, she had them both in one hand while using her cataclysm – and the irony of that name isn’t lost on him neither is the “lucky charm” as ladybugs are synonymous with good luck. He nudges her and mouths run. She nods then the two of them dash off toward the studio.

“I thought cats were the ones who chased birds, not the other way around!” Fantôme yells giddily running after them.

Once they reach the studio and the room where the cyborgs are, they kick open the doors and every piece of recording equipment turns to them. “Hawkmoth!” Nino yells. “You want us?”

“Come get us.” Kagami finishes, then they haul ass out the doors they kicked open.

Kagami risks a glance over her shoulder and everyone is chasing after them. Nino quickly turns the corner into an empty room and grabs her hand pulling her into the room as everyone runs past the room they’re inside.

Nino looks around the room. He wanders over to boom microphone and plucks it off its stand then grabs a hand mirror before returning to her side holding out the mirror for her.

Kagami skeptically takes the mirror, “I have a risky idea.” Nino tells her, gripping the non-polkadotted boom microphone in his hands while carefully trying not to jostle the polkadotted boom microphone attached to his hip.

“No risk, no reward, right?”

They run out the room and to the elevator, it opens revealing Fantôme. “There you two are!” He blows two feathers in his hands and one hits the mirror and the other hits the boom microphone. They drop their items when they start sprouting limbs and growing. Then the giant boom microphone and mirror start chasing after them they split up briefly, taking to a staircase at each end of the hall that leads them to the roof.

Not only is Fantôme on the roof but all the cyborgs under Hawkmoth’s control are also up there holding camcorders, minus the red-haired one with the microphone in her hands, along with the boom mic and mirror. Butterfly mask outlines appear over every cyborg’s face, “of course, Hawkmoth.” The say in unison, “we live to serve!”

Plagg’s telling her there’s no conceivable way for everyone to be affected by the same akuma so Fantôme must’ve deliberately brought out the original akuma by breaking the affected object then allowed the akuma to multiply, infecting everyone else in the surrounding area. There aren’t that many ways to bring out an akuma: you can break the object the akuma went into – therefore releasing the akuma. You can physically exhaust the affected person so much they’re no longer able to maintain their transformation. Similarly, you can render the affected individual unconscious which’ll immediately sever Hakmoth’s contact. Hawkmoth could also release the akuma at will but that’s a longshot. Regardless of the method of freeing the akuma, if it isn’t destroyed by a cataclysm or purified by the “Miracle Cure” it’ll multiply endlessly.

All the camcorders have the signature red dots indicating everything is being recorded.

Nino unlatches the polkadotted regular size boom microphone from his hip.

“You guys see how outnumbered you are, right? Why don’t you just give up? I’ll burn the world down for those Miraculouses. You can’t even begin to understand the power inside of them.”

“Spare us the cliché monologue, Feathers. You’re evil and extra and you ain’t getting our Miraculouses.”

Fantôme’s nostrils flare, “fine.”

“We need to release the original akuma in order to break every other akuma transformation.”

“Then purify it, yeah, I know.” He holds up the microphone, “I can’t purify anything without the yo-yo, and this won’t transform back to the yo-yo until I complete the Miracle Cure. You’re gonna have to destroy the akuma instead.”

“Understood. I’m willing to bet it’s in the microphone the lead cyborg is clutching.”

Nino nods prying the microphone off the accompanied stick. “So, Prime Time, anything you wanna say to the audience at home?”

The redhead laughs haughtily. “Prime Time, I like that.” She taps her chin. “Now, let’s see... do I have anything to input? Other than the fact that Hawkmoth will not only seize your Miraculouses but uncover the secrets of every Miraculous in creation? Or the fact that your futile attempts at distracting me are pitifully transparent? No. I’m good.”

“Perhaps creation wasn’t the best choice of words?” Kagami quips. She chucks a baton at Nino who catches it with ease, then they both rush at the redhead cyborg each with a baton in their hands.

Nino jumps in the air and Prime Time grabs him by the throat. “Pathetic.”

“Who’s pathetic now?” Nino winks at her then kicks the microphone out of her hand which rolls right under Kagami’s foot. The redhead drops Nino and runs toward Kagami who slams her baton down onto the microphone breaking it in pieces.

She grabs the butterfly that flies out of the microphone with her glowing black hand and the butterfly disintegrates instantly. Everyone who got transformed into cyborgs begin transforming back to themselves through the same manner of transforming though the purple ooze leaves their body far quicker than it did when it was transforming them.

Everyone looks around at one another then at the duo. “Get to a safe distance, things are about to get ugly.” Needing no further incentive, everyone runs to the roof’s staircase door yet no one goes in the door. Instead, they all take out their cellphones and start recording.

“Oh dear.” Fantôme drawls beckoning the large butterfly from the Eiffel Tower to him. “This simply will not do. I need those Miraculouses.” He makes a shooing gesture toward the mirror and boom microphone that advance upon the duo. Then he plucks more feathers off his fan and blows them toward the discarded camcorders laying on the roof.

“Oh no, you don’t.” Kagami swings her baton toward Fantôme and the gust blows the feathers away from their destination. Growling, he catches the feathers. Nino whispers something in Kagami’s ear as Fantôme brings his feathers together to reform his fan. “Alright. If you’re certain.” With a shrug, Kagami throws one of her batons at the mirror shattering the glass.

“Oh damn.” As Fantôme shields himself from the glass raining upon him, Nino tackles him to the ground. “Kinky.”

“Looks like you’re gonna be giving us your Miraculous, Feathers.”

He sighs, “Fantôme isn’t a hard name to remember.”

Nino’s fingers grip the blue feathered Miraculous from Fantôme’s chest, “look out!” Someone screams. Nino looks up in time to get brained with a black cane. Kagami steps on Fantôme’s hand before he can make a break for it while Nino’s staggered.

A man in a purple three-piece suit with silver gloves and a silver balaclava, who clearly shares Fantôme’s love of theatrics, drops down on the roof. “I’m gonna have to ask you to release my partner.”

“Hawkmoth, I presume?” Nino asks as he and Kagami haul Fantôme up, pressing Kagami’s baton against his neck.

“You’d presume correctly.” The man replies with bow. When he stands up straight, he puts a hand to his balaclava. “I tried being civilized about this, I truly did. I have plans for those Miraculouses, you see.”

“Sucks for you, dude.”

“We just so happen to have plans to keep our Miraculouses, you see.”

“We hope you understand. Since you’re the civilized sort.”

Hawkmoth smirks, “oh, this will be interesting. I understand all too well. No hard feelings when Fantôme and I forcibly remove your Miraculouses, then?”

They return the smirk. “Only if you grant us the same courtesy.”

“Look, we’ve all had a long day and we’re all—” Fantôme grunts when they tighten the baton closer to his throat, “new to transforming. Why don’t we consider tonight a stalemate?”

“Why would we do that when we’re winning?” Kagami replies.

“Because heroes are always so concerned with the little people.” The large blue butterfly starts flapping its wings creating strong gusts. The civilians on the roof huddle together. “What will you—” He winces as Kagami elbows him in the stomach then grips her right arm around his throat, dropping her baton.

Before Hawkmoth could make a step Kagami’s left hand starts glowing black. “I’m very new to this ‘hero’ bit and I might accidentally cataclysm your partner if you come any closer.”

Nino runs at the butterfly, hitting its wing with the boom microphone’s stick and the butterfly howls then explodes into a blue feather. Hawkmoth dashes at the feather and grabs it, turning it purple, and grabs Nino with the other hand. “My partner for yours.” He says calmly, inching the feather close to Nino’s hood.

They stare at each other briefly, eyes narrowed. Nino can’t even shake his head to dissuade her from agreeing with how close the feather is to him.

Kagami’s left hand swipes across the brooch before throwing Fantôme at Hawkmoth. Hawkmoth manages to barely catch his partner releasing Nino in the process and he runs over to Kagami.

Fantôme looks down at the glowing black claw marks in the brooch and plucks a feather from his fan, “you’re gonna pay for that, Kitty Cat.” He snarls.

Kagami waves, “can’t wait, Feathers.” Fantôme presses his hands together and manually enlarges the no longer purple feather Hawkmoth hands him by pulling at the ends. He and Hawkmoth jump on the feather then fly off.

Miracle Cure!” Nino tosses the microphone into the air and a swarm of ladybugs erupt and blanket the sky. As the ladybugs clean up the glass shards and everything else Fantôme messed up, the microphone reverts back to a yo-yo. They look at each other and high-five.

“Y-You’re just letting them go?” The newscaster asks.

“You’re more than welcome to go after them.” The black cat replies. The newscaster shrinks back and shakes her head. “Are any of you injured?”

“I twisted my ankle trying to keep my ground but it’s like the pain mysteriously disappeared!” Someone chirps. The crew murmur to themselves excitedly.

“Now that the immediate danger is out of the way, what do we call you?” The newscaster asks, holding her trusty microphone in front of them.

The heroes exchange a glance, “uh...” The ladybug rubs the back of his hooded neck. “Can’t say I was really thinking about a name during all that running and fighting.”

“Neither was I.”

The newscaster taps her microphone to her mouth, then brings her fist down on her open palm. “Musicbug—” She points to the ladybug, “—and Eradicat.” She points to the black cat. They both stare at her. “It’s the best I could do on the fly.”

“Either way we gotta bug out, my dudes.” The ladybug—Musicbug—gives a two-fingered salute, “until next time~” Eradicat grabs onto his waist and the two of them yo-yo away. The news crew on the roof cheer watching them disappear.

🦋

“Gotta say, Père, we just bonded more in the past hour than we have in the past ten years.” Adrien closes the feathers on the brooch, then pins the silver, singular feather brooch onto his shirt. Glaring at the one visible claw indentation even camouflaged.

“I know you’re trying to lighten the mood but you literally could’ve said anything rather than that.”

The blond shrugs. “No time like the present to make up for all the missed recitals and photo shoots.” Gabriel nods, “but the insect and feline? Were you expecting them to show up?”

“I was hoping but I was hardly expecting them to gain the upper hand against you. And what that cat did to your brooch?”

“It’s fine. Just imperfect now. We’ll get her back for that.”

Gabriel nods adjusting his brooch, “we will. The creation and destruction Miraculouses won’t do much to use at their current state. We need them stronger. The more they’re used the stronger they’ll become. Same goes with our Miraculouses. Émilie wrote about the Guardian in her letter so I was hoping he’d try to call my bluff.”

“He did.” Adrien hums. “Do you know who the Guardian is? Why not pay him a visit and take him out?”

“I would if I could. All I know of the Guardian is he’s an old man. That’s not a lot to go on and we certainly can’t go around attacking every old man in Paris until we find the right one.”

“How are our brooches gonna bring maman back?”

“Right. I didn’t fully get into that. We need more Miraculouses than the ones we have plus the ladybug and black cat, creation and destruction respectively.” Gabriel turns several pages in the book, “unfortunately, the book doesn’t state the specifics for making the wish happen. Just that the Miraculouses need a lot of magical energy poured into them. I’m assuming that comes from continuous use.”

“Not a big fan of ‘winging it’ but whatever works.” Adrien locks his hands behind his head. “In the meantime, I’ll keep an ear out for any news at school.”

“School?”

“Oh. Right! That’s what I came to tell you when I got back. I signed myself up for lycée! I was just gonna be an ordinary teenager for once in my life but with the newly acquired part-time job you gave me being a student’ll give me an alibi while giving me all the latest news from my peers.”

“There will never be anything ‘ordinary’ about you, Adrien. You are an exceptional young man, and you became one on your own. The fact that you’re my son is simply a bonus.”

“You sure can do pep-talks, Père.” Adrien smirks, “so, about the other Miraculouses we have? What if we got allies? Mayor Bourgeois would love to have her old gal pal back.”

“You’re suggesting we give Audrey Bourgeois superpowers?”

“Can you think of anyone else who’d want maman back as badly as us?”

Gabriel taps his chin, “let’s give the mayor a call.”

🦋

“You’re back!” Chris hugs Nino when he walks through the door. “I saw the whole thing! I even took screenshots. You and your partner were so cool!” Tikki flies out of Nino’s jacket pocket. “You don’t have to worry about me telling anyone.”

“What? Oh, no. I know you won’t.” Tikki pats Chris’ head with a smile.

“By the way, um, what are you?”

Tikki tilts their whole body at Chris. “A ladybug?”

“Not that. I mean, a girl? A boy? A... neither?”

Nino rubs the back of his neck. “I’ve been wondering that too.”

“Well, kwamis don’t have genders... but I’ve come to prefer the she slash her pronouns though I am also alright with they and them.” She beams at Chris, “thank you for asking.”

“Thank you for protecting my big bro. Our ‘guardian’ shows up once in a blue moon to make sure we’re still kicking but Nino’s all I got. Knowing you’re looking out for him makes me feel good.”

“He’s lucky to have you too, Chris.” Tikki smiles at him. “And now you guys have me now too! We’ll look after one another.”