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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.”

Chapter Text

The city is thrown into chaos over the arrival of the new heroes yesterday.

If this is the most exciting thing to happen to Paris in the History of History™, Alya was right to dread the move here.

Fifty-nine schools in eleven years because of her parents’ jobs. Her mom swears the head chef job at Le Grand Paris is her “forever job” but she swore that same thing four head chef jobs ago.

Still, when she got the job offer after “rave” reviews from her previous bosses, the move didn’t even take the usual week long family discussion. They were already situating their still packed up boxes and plopping them in another moving truck the next day.

And of course her dad simultaneously got the head zookeeper job in Paris.

At this point, Alya doesn’t give a shit anymore. She used to get upset when the family moved, she wound up losing contact with the classmates who befriended her because of time-zone differences and no permanent address. All the years of moving around made her jaded. She no longer bothers trying to make friends since they’re gonna lose contact the second the family moves away again. Fortunately, she only has one year of public schooling left – regardless of where she’s attending school – so it’ll be easy to get through the next few months initiating as little contact with her peers as possible.

Alya walks down the street with her earbuds in her ears. There are various groups of people huddled together staring at cellphones, no doubt rewatching last night’s news footage. She hadn’t seen the news herself but her older sister, Nora, kept yelling at the television over it; so she essentially got the gist of what went on.

Superheroes are cool and whatever, she’s just not gonna bother getting invested when she won’t stick around long enough to see them in action.

A giant pink bouncy ball rolls into her left leg as she’s walking so Alya stops, takes out her earbuds, picks up the ball, and looks around. With two six-year-old twin baby sisters, she’s no stranger to toys flying out of nowhere. Sooner or later, the owner will show themselves and sure enough a kid no bigger than her younger sisters runs up to her and holds out their hands.

Alya crouches to the kid’s level. “This yours?” The kid nods, sticking their thumb into their mouth. Alya despises baby talk; her parents told her she didn’t respond to it as a baby. She abhors it so much she spoke to her sisters before they were able to talk back like they were on the same level as her. So she’ll never talk down to a kid like that. People consider it “cute” but she feels it’s demeaning. “Gotta be careful there, Bud. This could’ve rolled into the street.”

The kid nods and Alya hands them back the ball, “thank you.”

“Hey no worries. Just be careful, alright? You don’t wanna get smushed chasing after a ball.” With one last wave, the kid runs off in the direction they came from.

Alya fondly shakes her head then puts her earbuds back in her ears and starts walking again. She might be a little late for school now but she wasn’t gonna not help the kid. Every big sister and little sister bone in her body repelled the very notion. She looks down and realizes her left shoe is untied so she kneels down to tie it and a giant red bouncy ball soars over her head. Even bigger than the ball she saw earlier. Quickly tying her shoe and taking off her earbuds again, she turns around to the hundreds of supersized colorful bouncy balls coming down the street. Behind the balls is a supersized toddler in a neon pink generic superhero outfit.

She squints then her eyes widen, realizing it’s the same kid she was with not even a minute ago.

Her eyes widen further when she realizes there’s no way she can dodge the stampede hurtling toward her.

And to think, just a few seconds ago she was telling the kid not to get smushed.

A black and green blur surges in her direction, grabbing her out of the way before she can get squished. When Alya opens her eyes she’s not on the ground staring up at her savor, she’s in their buff arms. “Are you harmed?” Ooh. That voice. The “blur” is revealed to be a cat in a mostly black outfit with little green additions. This must be one of the heroes from yesterday because Alya distinctly remembers Nora yelling something about a badass black cat. And lo and behold, that black cat is holding onto her.

“All good. I can walk.”

“Not yet.” Alya can barely get a grip on the black cat when she jumps upward like a rocket then lands on a roof, gently setting Alya down on her feet. “Now you can walk.”

“Not very far.”

“The ground’s not safe at the moment.” Alya gives the cat a lazy salute as she disappears then reappears dropping people off on the same rooftop, clearing them from the street.

Someone in a ladybug outfit with musical notes is jumping from ball to ball as the kid chases them laughing.

Alya takes off her glasses and cleans them. What the fuck is happening here? Maybe she should’ve paid attention to the news yesterday.

The other people on the roof start cheering as the cat pole vaults off the building with a baton toward who has to be her partner since she heard Nora mentioning two heroes, but the noise draws the kid’s attention and they stop and stare at the people who immediately start screaming.

“Friend!” The screams get louder as the kid grabs Alya from the crowd and presses her against their face in a hug. “My friend.”

“Hey, Kiddo. Oof! Too tight.”

The grip instantly loosens slightly and Alya breathes a sigh of relief. “Sorry. We get Miraculouses for Hawkmoth now.”

Hawkmoth? Seriously? That’s the bad guy’s name? “Whatever you say.” Yeah, she’s definitely gonna be late for school now and get an earful from her parents in the process. Not that anyone could’ve predicted this was how her morning would go.

The kid gleefully returns to stomping through the city with their army of supersized bouncy balls behind them, knocking over people foolish enough to venture into the street for a closer look. Alya probably shouldn’t find the absurdity of this situation funny, but watching a compilation of people getting smushed and slash or rolled over by giant colorful balls would make just about anyone snicker.

“Kitty! Ladybug!” The duo from before are now crouched on a taller building which is the kid’s current eye level.

“Dude, I feel all kinds of wrong attacking a kid.”

The black cat twirls around her batons, “as do I. Maybe we don’t have to attack? Maybe we could—”

“Not trying to cut you off but you gotta take a look at the kid’s hand. There’s something in it.” They both tilt their heads at Alya.

“Not a something.” The black cat mutters, “a someone.”

“I’d wave but my arms are kind indisposed.”

The black cat’s ears twitch, “I recognize that voice. I put her on the building with some other citizens off the street.”

“She’s my friend!” The kid screeches, picking up a bouncy ball with their free hand and hurling it at the duo.

“The akuma might be in the same hand as their ‘friend.’” The black cat replies batting the ball away with her baton.

“It’s as good a place as any to check. Lucky Charm!” A polkadotted yo-yo gets tossed into the air and it reforms into a large polkadotted disc with a cat’s face on it. He catches the disc then looks around and gasps. “I got it! Your turn to play distraction.” The cat sighs and hangs her head, ears drooping, as the ladybug takes one of her batons then pole vaults off the building still carrying the disc.

“No!” The kid screams, “the Miraculous!” They stomp their feet causing tremors.

“There’s still the cat.” Alya points out, pointing at the cat as she swan dives off the building. “Well, you still had the cat.”

“We have to go after her!” They’re running after the cat who is dashing through the city yelling at people to get out of the way. Most of them simply gape and get hit by bouncy balls or nearly crushed by the kid’s feet, while others hurriedly squeeze into spaces too narrow for the child or the bouncy balls to fit into.

A loud whistle draws their attention and the ladybug is standing atop a water tower waving his arms frantically. “Bet you’re thirsty after all that running around, huh?”

The black cat lands beside him, “this can’t be sanitary.” And Alya’s thinking the same thing.

“Maybe not but what I got planned probably isn’t either.”

“Let’s just hope the Miracle Cure cures bacterial infections too.”

As if one cue the kid’s stomach rumbles loudly and a butterfly mask outline appears over their now purple eyes, “Miraculouses first, then snack time.”

“Kid’s driving a hard bargain.” The cat nods in agreement, “I got two options for ya: We can hand over our Miraculouses and stop playing or you can see this kickass neat surprise I got behind the water tower~”

Alya hears a voice from somewhere shouting no but the mask outline fades. “Surprise!” They nearly clap then wince as they realize Alya is still in their hand. “Oops. Sorry.”

“No harm done.”

They place Alya on their shoulders, “you’ll be safe here.” With a nod, Alya grabs onto the cape’s string. There’s a 98% chance she’ll die falling from this height, and a 2% chance a freak accident will kill her first.

The duo jump from the water tower and the kid follows them behind it to an upright milk tank with the disc – which is being used as a cup lid – on it. “Check out the world’s largest sippy cup!”

“Ooh. For me?”

The ladybug nods. “Naturally, dude. Running around makes me thirsty too.” The ladybug’s good with kids. Not undermining the kid, speaking evenly and good-naturedly with them too.

The kid eagerly gulps down the milk through the lid, sanitary or otherwise.

“Hey! Do you see anything out of the ordinary? A butterfly might be hiding in it!” The ladybug yells at her.

A butterfly? Alya looks around as much as she’s able without plummeting to her death. Maybe she’s too close to all the neon to see anything that isn’t bright fucking pink.

When she shrugs, the ladybug sighs. “Damn do I wish I had some kind of akuma sensing aura.”

“That certainly would make our jobs easier, wouldn’t it?” The cat quips, playfully nudging her partner.

As the kid finishes drinking the milk, they burp then sway on their feet slightly rubbing at their eyes. It might be a regular size milk tank but it’s a supersized kid drinking from it; basically the equivalent of an eight ounce glass of milk.

“I know warm milk is synonymous with pre-bed rituals but is it supposed to work so fast?”

“The kid’s no older than six, seven tops, and even my eight-year-old brother goes out like a light with just half a glass of warm milk.” The ladybug’s eyes widen, “but what puts anyone to sleep is a—”

“Berceuse.” The black cat finishes. “Of course.”

“Huh. Didn’t know we reached the part in our relationship where we read each other’s mind and finished the other’s sentences.”

“Well, if I’m reading your mind right I’d say we’re in for a duet.”

“I’d be honored. Do you know Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?” When the black cat nods, the duo begin singing a lullaby Alya’s familiar with so she joins in. And with her being near the kid’s ear, singing along with the duo it’s making the kid drowsy. The cape’s string starts flashing with each time the kid nods off.

It takes until the end of the lullaby for the kid to fall asleep, slumped over a building. A purple butterfly flies out of the cape’s string then the kid instantly starts morphing into this purplish ooze and shrinks. The ladybug catches Alya and the now regular sized sleeping kid, with a blanket tied around their neck like a cape, as the black cat’s glowing left hand disintegrates the butterfly.

“W-Whoa.” Alya looks up at the ladybug who clears his throat, “I-I mean, are you okay dude? That was... something.” He sets Alya on her feet, then holds the kid with both his hands.

“I’m good. Thanks for saving me.” She tiptoes slightly to kiss him on the cheek, under his mask.

“Y-Yeah, n-no problem.” Alya flicks one of the antennas poking out of his hood, as he blushes, then goes to kiss the cat on the cheek, flicking her bell.

“Thanks for saving me.”

“O-Oh! Y-You’re welcome. We should be thanking you.”

“I’m just glad I knew that lulla—” She shakes her head, “berceuse. There’s still a lot of French words I gotta learn—”

“Aly!”

“Nora?” Alya whips around to see her sister pushing people out of the way as she runs over to them.

“Thank fuck you’re alright! Someone started recording right as the kid picked you up.” She takes a deep breath, “Man—” She claps the ladybug on the shoulder and he winces rotating it, “I owe you my life!” She looks down at the sleeping kid in his hands. “Oh. I owe you my life.” She repeats, quieter. “I love my three sisters equally but I don’t know what I’d do without Aly. I’ve only spent three years of my life without her.”

“Y-You’re Anansi.”

The brunette blinks then smirks, “not every day heroes get awestruck by me.”

“Maybe but it’s not every day I get to meet one of my heroes.”

“Okay, now we gotta take a picture!” The ladybug nods fervently. When Alya takes the picture of the heroes with Nora in the middle, the heroes are blurred.

“What the—” They look over at the picture.

“Huh. I guess we can’t be photographed clearly.” The cat muses.

“Well, I’m still keeping it as my wallpaper.”

“We’re just glad your sister is okay. She’s... she’s brave as shit. Showed no fear. It was admirable.”

Nora puts an arm around Alya squeezing her close, “yeah, I taught Aly everything I know. She’s a real badass.” She winks at Alya who chuckles.

“Right.” The ladybug hands the baby to the black cat, “time to clean up this mess. Miracle Cure!” He picks up the sippy cup lid tossing it in the air, it explodes into a swarm of ladybugs that zip around fixing up everything that got displaced. The quickly forming crowd cheers then winces when the black cat shushes them.

The kid’s mother makes her way through the crowd approaching them with tears in her eyes, profusely thanking the heroes when she has her child back in her arms.

“Time for us to ‘bug out,’ my dudes.”

“Until next time.”

The crowd behind them starts cheering as the black cat grabs onto the ladybug as the heroes yo-yo away.

Huh. Maybe if they do move, Alya could still follow them online.

🍯

Thankfully, Nino was on his way to school when he saw people running for their lives from bouncy balls.

He got to do the whole slipping away from the crowd unnoticed into an alley to transform bit like a true superhero.

Tikki decided to hide in his hat because she stated they needed to be close by at all times, in case of an emergency and that akumatization—being the now technical term for those transformed by Hawkmoth’s akumas—showing up before 8:30am had to qualify as an emergency. He also discovered, upon the transformation’s end yesterday, that Tikki required food to replenish her energy. And really, that bit should’ve been obvious.

He then had to look up what ladybugs ate and came up with aphids – which are insects and that’s a hard pass on something he’s gonna have to carry around with him. There is also pollen – another hard no due to his own health and allergies – leaves, mildew, and fungus. He didn’t have any of that on hand but he did have a half-eaten chocolate bar Tikki ate through without hesitation. So if her go-to food is chocolate he’s more than okay with that.

He also found out, despite the size of non-magical ladybugs, they are – in fact – predators. And mostly carnivores. Tikki can also communicate with other, non-magical ladybugs; though she stated all kwamis can converse with their respective animal.

A “loveliness of ladybugs” (honest to goodness that to look that up) would patch up a garden in no time but what other purpose could they serve? Other than apparently repairing Hawkmoth’s and Fantôme’s messes? Guess he’ll have to find out.

Tikki taps on his head, “I almost forgot.” She whispers, “the stronger our bond gets the better we’ll be able to communicate.”

Nino can’t help looking up, “‘better?’”

“My last partner and I could communicate telepathically—” She pauses, “no wait, my second to last partner.”

“The one who wasn’t killed by your ally.” Nino mutters walking into the building hearing Tikki sadly agree.

Despite this newfound partnership with Kagami being less than a full day old, there’s already both Instagram and Twitter accounts dedicated to them. Particularly, an “official” account of Paris’ Miraculous Superhero Duo. While they are unofficially being referred to as “Musicbug” and “Eradicat” there are polls to determine better superhero names as well as their “ship-name.”

There’s also fan theories on their origins, identities, “true purpose,” and of course the full extent of their powers.

Chris showed him the accounts on their way to school this morning and speaking of Chris, his brother will lose his shit when he finds out Nino spoke to Anansi and saved her hot little sister.

“Nino!” Marinette runs over to him linking their arms together as they head to their lockers, “did you see that black cat hero?” She sighs lovingly, “she was—”

“Don’t say it, dude.”

Purrfect.”

Nino groans, “that was horrible.”

“I know but I couldn’t help it!” They both laugh, “I managed to snap a picture of them but it came out grainy.” Nino stares at the fuzzy photo of him and Kagami holding onto each other – backs facing the camera – about to yo-yo away. Marinette wasn’t among the crowd, how did she take that picture? “I wish I could’ve gotten a good shot.” She zooms in on the photo sighing. “Did you know the girl who the akumatized kid picked up goes here?”

“Huh?”

Marinette lowers her phone to stare at him, “Nino! Are you serious? You... you can’t flake on this! I already have our Miraculous Duo Halloween costumes envisioned!” She scrolls through her phone and shows him the rough drafts on her sketching app.

The sketches are incredible but he really didn’t expect anything less from his best friend. Marinette’s been designing since she was cognitive enough to correctly hold a crayon. Much like how Nino’s been in love with music since his first badly off-key music toy. They’ve known each other since they were both one-and-a-half-year-olds nibbling on Sabine and Tom’s pastries before their brick and mortar got built the following year. Nino stares at the designs and can’t help wondering... “How long did this take?”

“Four minutes. They’re just rough sketches. Once I get a better look at the heroes outfits I can tweak the designs appropriately.”

“Hm. Wonder what had you so inspired?” Marinette blushes slightly and elbows him, “but why am I the cat?”

“Designer’s choice. Besides, I don’t wanna wear that outfit. I personally prefer the ladybug’s; the hood and different music notes on the outfit are nice little additions.” Nino nods with a hum. “I have to get my sketchbook. I like the apps but feeling the design under my fingertips?” She sighs, “there’s no greater feeling. I’ll meet you in class?”

“Hold up.” Marinette pauses then turns to him. “I got a design I wanna run by you.” She walks over to him and he takes a folded piece of paper out of his pocket, unfolds it and shows it to her.

“Oh. Damn Nino, this is incredible.”

“Well my best friend is one kickass designer, her skills had to rub off on me right?” Laughing, Marinette gingerly takes the paper. “Chris is one of Anansi’s biggest fans. He needs something that stands out.”

“When’s the match? I can have this made by tomorrow but we’ll have to go to the fabric store after school.”

“I’m always up for a fabric store trip with you Nette but didn’t you have some contest deadline you had to finish by today? Something about Jagged Stone?”

“Oh! You’re talking about the tour outfit and album cover contest.” Marinette waves him off, “yeah, the deadline is today but I submitted my design a week ago. So I’m free as a bird.”

🍯

The school is in absolute chaos over the new heroes.

Kagami is used to hundreds of spectators watching her move, she’s a fencer – and damn she should’ve visualized a sword. Or did she not get to assign herself a weapon?

The school day was already delayed thanks to the akuma attack but the headmaster had to threaten to give the entire school detention in order to get people to go to class. Though that didn’t stop the students from still talking about the heroes on their way to class.

Nino is in the classroom she enters but he’s seated beside a girl with blue hair in twin-tails. Every other student in the classroom is also paired off murmuring to each other except for the black-haired kid in the back across from Nino and the twin-tailed girl. Kagami walks to the back of the classroom and clears her throat. “Is it alright if I sit here?”

They look startled but nod. Kagami thanks them then takes the seat.

Plagg’s in her school bag relaxing. He had a hankering for cheese and with her mother being lactose intolerant no dairy products were to be sent up to her hotel room so Kagami had to leave early and head to a convenience store to buy cheese sticks. Though she thought cats were also lactose intolerant but maybe magical cats – or just Plagg – weren’t?

If she’s to carry food around with her to re-energize Plagg after a bout, she’s gonna need to find out what he likes to eat other than cheese. Because if she has to keep cheese with her all day it’ll no doubt go bad before the day ends.

“I-I’m Marc.”

“Kagami.” They air cheek kiss. Something else she has to get used to here.

The headmaster walks into the classroom, “your teacher has been delayed and it had nothing to do with this morning’s events so you have a free period.” Then she walks out the classroom.

Kagami missed first and second period yesterday and she didn’t get any homework so she had nothing to do. She looks up at the empty chalkboard and sighs. “Free Time” is something else she isn’t used to. Her mother made sure her schedule prepared for every contingency imaginable. Even her leisurely activities had time constraints.

Although, now that she’s one half of a superhero duo she’s gonna have a hell of a lot more unrestricted time. (Her mother’s definitely not gonna approve.) Well, fortunately she’s good at adapting and used to dealing with divas (not even including her mother). And divas with a capital D like the showy feathery and winged duo, they’re hardly gonna have a set schedule. This morning confirmed that. She looks to her left where Nino and the twin-tailed girl are engaged in whatever the girl is furiously sketching in her sketchbook.

“Marinette.” A shrill voice calls. The duo at the desk to Kagami’s left look up at the orange-haired, bespectacled girl leaning against their desk sneering, “is this your design for the Jagged Stone contest?” She picks up the paper that the girl—Marinette—snatches back.

“Not that it’s any of your business, Raincomprix, but no, it’s not.”

The girl huffs, “I see. Well, it doesn’t matter. Not like your design would win. Especially when I entered the contest.”

“If your designing is anything like your fashion sense I don’t have anything to worry about.” Nino snorts and the girl turns red.

“How dare you! My clothes are designer, not that you’d know anything about that!” Marinette rolls her eyes. “My papa is escorting Jagged Stone to Le Grand Paris this afternoon and guess who’ll be accompanying him.”

“Am I supposed to care? Your papa’s been police commissioner since before any of us have been born and he’s done nothing to decrease crime or fix any real issue in the city. Too busy kissing the mayor’s ass, maybe even literally, to care about the people he’s supposed to be protecting. But what would you expect from police. Hell, our new superheroes did more for the city in a day than your papa and the entire force combined ever did in over twenty years.”

The rest of the students start cheering in agreement.

The orange-haired girl slams her hand down on the desk glaring, “you’re gonna regret badmouthing my papa and my fashion, Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”

“Keep walking, Raincomprix. I’m sketching.” The class continues to cheer as the orange-haired girl huffs then storms back to her seat.

“Nette, you’re so clutch.” Nino hugs her.

“I’m not done with the design!”

Nino laughs then blinks at Kagami, “oh! Hey, didn’t know you were in this class.”

“I missed it yesterday because I was in the headmaster’s office with my mother as she filled out paperwork.”

Nino lets go of Marinette but is halted by the grip on his wrist and knowing look in her eyes. They’re exchanging expressions Kagami can’t see because they’re not facing her; when they do turn to her they’re both grinning, “this is my best friend Marinette.” Marinette releases him then gets up to shake Kagami’s hand.

“Pleasure meeting you. How did Nino help you out yesterday?”

“How did you—”

“He’s Nino. He’s always trying to help someone. It’s in his nature.” Marinette slings an arm around his waist drawing him closer. “He’s like my everyday superhero.”

“And she’s mine.”

“You two are cute.” Marc says from beside Kagami.

“We are, aren’t we?” They laugh. “Best friends.” They complete some sort of secret complicated looking best friend handshake ritual.

“Nino gave me a ride home yesterday. I’m currently staying at Chateau Viridian.”

Marinette’s eyes light up, “by the train station in the 10th arrondissement?” Kagami nods, “that place is so fancy the front desk is automated!” Ah, so that’s why no one was manning the desk. “Nino helped me with a delivery there once.”

“Delivery?”

“Right. You just said you were new. My parents own Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Pâtisserie!” Marinette takes out a small hand-wrapped bag from her purse. “I always carry some samples from the shop. Brings in business.”

“She’s gonna make some lady very, very happy some day.”

Blushing, she elbows Nino. “Happiness of my future wife aside, I’m more into designing than baking but my parents made sure I knew how to bake.” She unwraps the bag and Kagami thanks her taking out a madeleine, then she offers the bag to Marc who thanks her taking a gingersnap cookie. Nino reaches for a choux pastry but Marinette slaps his hand away.

The four of them chat for the rest of the class period.

And when they discover they share the next class period too, they all walk there together – or they would’ve had it not been for striped, polkadotted, plaid, kaleidoscope printed creature standing in the middle of the hallway. “I am Maîtresse Modèle!” They thing – without a face – speaks, somehow. It shoots beams from where one’s eye sockets should be at students turning them into a horrendous clash of patterns and colors. “Bring me the unfashionable head of Marinette Dupain-Cheng and her equally unfashionable lackeys!” The fashion disaster zombies start marching toward the four of them.

“Ah hell.” Marinette grumbles. “Is that supposed to be Sabrina?”

“Let’s worry about it later, yeah?” Nino urges tugging on her sleeve. They start running down the hall and anyone who stops in the hall long enough to question why gets turned into a zombie before their question gets answered.

They need to split up so they can transform. “We need to split up!” Kagami yells.

“That’s exactly how people die in horror films!” Marc yells back.

There are only two ways to go in the hallway, Marinette and Marc go one way and Kagami and Nino go another dividing the zombies attention. Unfortunately, the zombies aren’t exactly slow so it’s incredibly difficult to give them the slip and find an empty classroom to transform in.

And there’s no way they can continue to outrun the zombies untransformed.

People in the hallway are getting turned into zombies wither they’re standing completely still or attempting to dive out of the beam’s path.

“Marinette~” Maîtresse Modèle sing-songs, “you can’t outrun me for—whoa!”

Someone in a yellow and black striped bee outfit heroically leaps over the zombies to kick Maîtresse Modèle right in the face.

Maîtresse Modèle grabs their chin, “you bitch!”

The Bee is swinging a top in their left hand. Hair, unironically, in a beehive that starts out orange but turns yellow and has two black stripes from out of the beehive to their antennas. “I’m just getting started, Precious. You’re gonna feel this bee’s sting~”

Nino and Kagami gape then shake out of their stupor running off so they can help the new hero.

🍯

An hour earlier...

“You’re still gonna go to school?” Nora asks.

“Yeah.” Alya shrugs, “might as well.”

Nora gives her a hug, “call me if anything happens, alright? And stay out of trouble?” She lets go of Alya to point at her. Alya puts a hand over her chest.

The crowd dispersed almost instantly after the heroes left.

“That was exceptionally brave of you, young lady.” An old man in a red and black plaid shirt and black shorts stands beside Alya. “Not many people would keep their cool in the situation you were in.”

“My mum’s a professional chef, big sis is a pro kickboxer, and pop’s a zookeeper. I’m nowhere near the level of keeping my cool as any of them.”

The old man chuckles. “Humble too...” He strokes his beard. “I don’t think there’s a test I could give you that’ll come close to what you already experienced.”

“Huh?”

“Forgive me, I ordinarily try to do this subtler.” He clears his throat, “there are ears everywhere, you see. Would you be so kind as to escort an old man to his shop?”

Ordinarily, she wouldn’t go around following strange old men that appeared out of nowhere but her gut’s telling her to. (And she’s gonna be pissed if her gut turns out to be wrong.) “Sure.”

They start walking. “I am Fù Wáng.”

“Alya Césaire.”

They arrive at an incense and herbal shop. Fù opens the door and lets Alya in. “Hawkmoth has ears everywhere but the shop’s magic prevents akumas or amoks from entering.”

“Dope.” Alya looks around as she walks around.

“Having been saved by them, you’re already aware of the city’s new heroes. They need assistance and I believe you can assist them.”

Alya does a double take as she turns to Fù, “me?”

Fù nods, “your aura is a strong one but there’s so much confliction within you.” He walks over to the gramophone. “I’m granting you, Alya Césaire, the Miraculous of subjection.” He holds out a silver bee-shaped haircomb. When he puts it in Alya’s hands the haircomb turns red, then there’s a bright yellow glow that comes from the haircomb and forms into a blue-eyed bee thing.

“Greetings, My Queen.” The bee bows, “I am Pollen. Kwami of subjection.”

Alya bows back, “hi. You’re a cute little thing, aren’t ya?” Pollen preens as Alya pets them. “So I’m gonna work with the duo that put the giant kid to sleep earlier?”

Fù nods, “I’m putting an entire team together. Hawkmoth and Fantôme will be relentless in their attempts to steal Miraculouses. We absolutely cannot allow that to happen.”

Alya nods, “gotcha. B-But, uh... I might not even be in Paris all that long. Are you sure you wanna give me this Miracul-thingy?”

“Miraculouses don’t simply exist in Paris. They are all around the world. If you do happen to leave, you can take the Miraculous with you and find the Guardian of that place.”

“Okay. I’m not sure I deserve this but thanks for giving me a shot.”

“You’re more deserving than you give yourself credit but subjection needs humility and confidence in equal parts.”

Pollen nods, “that’s right, My Queen. You and I together will make superhero royalty!” They nuzzle against Alya’s face affectionately. “All you need is a transformation phrase and you must visualize your look prior to your first transformation.”

“Aw man, I’m not good with coming up with costumes. I’ve been Cleopatra for six straight years.”

🍯

Talking to Audrey Bourgeois turned out to be a nightmare. Adrien forgot the reason they stopped talking was because he had his former best friend Chloé committed to a mental institute.

Audrey barely remembered she had a daughter half the time! Adrien was hardly expecting her to react at all let alone so badly. He thought she’d be grateful to have professionals looking after her “‘troublesome,’ ‘attention seeking’ hellspawn.”

Chloé was never fooled by Adrien Agreste: The Model™ being he daughter of The Queen of Fashion turned mayor. She always knew there was something hidden in those saccharine smiles he gave the cameras but when she figured out the full-extent of his true “darker” (as she put it) personality – he knew she couldn’t be around to expose him. Had Chloé left things alone she’d be in the city with him sipping smoothies and getting mani-pedis but it was that confrontational, headstrong nature that Adrien loved about her.

When she calmly threatened to get her revenge as they put the straitjacket on her, a chill went down his spine. The second the institute releases Chloé, Adrien will have to watch his back until the end of time. It’s a good thing he has superpowers because he’ll need them against a pissed off Chloé Bourgeois.

Because Gabriel wasn’t involved in “the betrayal,” he and Audrey never stopped working together. Adrien wouldn’t be surprised if the conversation never came up. His maman was more fond of Chloé, more fond of Chloé than of her own son one might even say.

But it was hardly jealousy that caused him to act.

It was all to protect himself.

His maman pretended to be Chloé’s aunt in order to gain entry into the institute to visit, and when Chloé’s papa died just a month before Adrien’s maman... huh. It’s been more than a year since anyone visited Chloé. Which means it’s been more than two years since they’ve last seen each other.

Anyway, Gabriel managed to convince Audrey to wield the tiger Miraculous’ panjas bracelet all for the sake of resurrecting Émilie. The tiger – Roaar – is the kwami of mimicry, because tigers – evidently – can mimic other animals, who knew!?, and the irony of Audrey getting the superpower to blend in when every confrontational bone in her body wants to stand out is not lost on Adrien.

When he went to school after the akuma attack – and the akuma landed on the child wanting to play superhero rather than the terrified mère looking for said child but whatever, he looked around for the blue-haired girl from yesterday but didn’t find her. The school isn’t that big so he knows he’ll run into her again, and if he doesn’t run into her in the hallway there’s always chemistry.

As he was heading to second period, a horrendously dressed faceless akumatization started turning people into fashion nightmare minions. He had to discreetly use a human shield to avoid getting blasted himself because this thing was just sashaying around the school gleefully blasting anything that moved.

His blood boiled when he saw the idiots from yesterday burst through the front doors but there was a third unfamiliar person – a Bee – with them.

Well, two can play that game.

He snuck out the classroom window and made sure the coast was clear before he transformed.

🍯

A Bee.

Nino refrained from rubbing his eyes through his mask. His mask only covered around his eyes and the bridge of his nose but he suspected it was because he had the hood.

Bee-Girl doesn’t have a mask at all. She has kickass black and yellow goggles on. Hell, her costume even has wings. Oh and she’s buzzing. And not that he’s staring at her ass but she has a stinger too.

Her suit is mostly yellow but there are V-shaped (or bee-shaped) black stripes around her waist, turtleneck collar, arms, and thighs.

Her lips are also yellow.

To top everything off, her thigh-high black boots with the yellow soles also have little wings on them.

But Nino should stop checking her out and come up with some way to use with this oversized mirror. Bee-Girl and Kagami are both illuminated in the red and black polkadotted aura as is Maîtresse Modèle; Marinette is also illuminated because he sees her peeking out of a classroom with Marc who isn’t illuminated.

Hmm. Maybe Maîtresse Modèle hadn’t seen what she turned into. No one who claims to have an ounce of fashion sense would willingly allow themselves to become something this horrendous, even people without fashion sense probably wouldn’t allow it.

They hadn’t made the names official yet and he can’t exactly yell out Kagami’s name.

“Well, well, well...” The three of them turn around to see not one but two Fantômes in the doorway. “This’ll be fun~” The one on the left cackles. They both take out their fans but the one on the right is slightly slower than the one on the left. An impostor? No. A duplicate.

Kagami meets his eyes and nods.

Right. Tikki said there are four stolen Miraculouses likely in Hawkmoth’s smarmy clutches: the kwamis of transmission, emotion, sound, and mimicry; brooch, brooch, something he can’t remember, and some kind of bracelet.

Clearly, they’re using the mimicry kwami alongside the emotion one. Fortunately, the book – according to Tikki – doesn’t mention anything about fusing kwamis or they’d be screwed. Though going up against them at the same time, separately, is just as bad.

Also, if Duusu is the emotion kwami why is Nooroo the one who can manipulate the emotions of others?

When Nino looks around again the lockers are now giving off the polkadotted aura too. Oh. If he angles this just right...

“Bee!” With his best Sailor Moon impression he frisbees the mirror to the Bee who is as quick as she is cute because when she catches it she fucking parkours on the wall and slams the mirror down on Maîtresse Modèle’s head. Oh! Okay, so that wasn’t exactly what he had in mind but hey – whatever works.

When she faints, the akuma flies out of her right eye socket and Kagami is quick to disintegrate it with a cataclysm. With everyone returning back to normal, the three of them turn their attention to the two Fantômes.

The Fantôme on the left shakes his head, “come now, you really wanna risk starting a fight with so much collateral behind you?”

The students start coming to their senses getting up. Nino can hear the shutter of cameraphones going off behind them.

“If you’re done taking fuzzy photos maybe you can all back the hell up?”

The students clamor at the Bee’s command then smartly give them wide berth. The damn hallway is narrow enough, they don’t need a human blockade limiting them further. Out the corner of his eye, Nino sees some people carrying an unconscious, glass-ridden Sabrina Raincomprix along with them.

Right. He hasn’t used the Miracle Cure yet and that mirror wasn’t what one would call light even with the super-strength.

Kagami is on one side and the Bee is on the other. “I can immobilize anything my top touches for a minute.” She whispers handing him the mirror and dammit Lahiffe get yourself under control. So what if your cute new ally smells like honey and lilacs? Kagami’s cute too and also smells good. He’s gonna have a sensory overload. Suppressing a shiver, he nods at the Bee.

The Fantôme on the left plucks a feather from his fan, “I’d normally like to get enough room to stretch my wings but—” He shrugs, “let’s play!”

“But you’d might not want an audience for this part.” The Fantôme on the right adds, mimicking the other Fantôme, also plucking a feather from their fan. “Though you guys really should be thanking us for the fanbase in the first place.”

Nino rolls his eyes. Great. Did the Mimiqui Fantôme mimic the original’s superiority complex or are they normally like that too?

Bee-Girl raises an eyebrow at him, “really? The villain monologuing?”

“The villain aesthetic hasn’t changed in over a millennia, apparently.”

Bee-Girl hums, “wish I could say I’m surprised.” She clicks her tongue, “alright Thing 1 and Thing 2, I’m skipping the witty banter portion of this ass-kicking.”

“And here I thought we were building a rapport?” Fantôme says with an honest-to-goodness pout.

Sirens suddenly start wailing. Outside you can hear multiple cop cars hastily break then you hear multiple cop car doors open and shut. “Attention Animal Theme Costumed Individuals.” Police Commissioner Raincomprix begins, through a megaphone, “this is the police, we have the building surrounded. Come out with your hands up.”

“Fuck me.” Kagami groans. Bee-Girl runs her gloved hands down the sides of her face.

“He can’t be serious.” Fantôme on the left states and Nino must be losing his mind because he agrees. “And what if we don’t?”

A gunshot echoes in the air, through the building. Fantôme on the right exhales deeply through their nose and looks over their right shoulder. In doing so, Nino and the others notice the four gold chains on their left hand. That must be the mimic kwami’s Miraculous!

“Guess we have the answer.” Kagami mutters.

“You fucking shot me!” They snarl turning to Raincomprix who is standing in the doorway with his gun aimed at the Fantôme he shot.

“Hey, shit-for-brains!” Bee-Girl yells, “you could’ve shot a student!”

What looks to be the rest of the force are jamming the doorway armed, aiming at them. All of them. Well, shit. “The five of you are coming with us.”

“Maybe you didn’t get the memo about us being the good guys?” Nino tries to reason.

“The only memo we got is all of you are causing a disturbance.”

Kagami takes a step forward and all the guns shift to her. Her green eyes are glowing, “you couldn’t be so arrogant to think you’d open fire in a school during school hours and not hit an innocent bystander who happens to be a child.” She thrusts her batons out in front of her, baring her fangs.

“Lower your weapons.” Raincomprix instructs.

“You first.” Kagami growls.

“I’d do it if I were you.” The left Fantôme sing-songs. “Kitty’s got a bit of a temper. Maybe not as brutal as BloodyBee though.” The Bee merely one-shoulder shrugs. “Actions first, chats later kind of gal.”

“Dude, your daughter goes to this school doesn’t she? What if you shot her by mistake?”

“My daughter is the reason I’m here! Now I won’t tell you a third time to lower your weapons.”

Kagami grits her teeth, “you arrogant son of a—”

“I know you’re pissed but whatever you’re thinking about doing—”

“You can Miracle Cure later.”

“I’m with the cat on this one, man.”

Nino looks up at the ceiling sighing heavily, “make it painless, if you can?”

“No guarantees.”

“If there’s any consolation my—uh I heard the cops are corrupt. Nestled comfortably in the mayor’s back pocket. Corrupt cops are just as dangerous as an akuma or amok. We’re not doing anything wrong.”

“And we damn sure don’t need the police to protect people.”

Fantôme’s eyes light up. “Ooh. We’re gonna attack the police? How exciting~” He laughs opening his fan and blowing it. The feathers fly off and fly into the guns and if that weren’t bad enough the other Fantôme does the same thing with the remainder of the guns. Though thankfully the guns don’t turn on any of the students, they chase after the police right out the doors.

“I know someone who goes here.” Fantôme says off-handedly. “I’d hate for them to get caught up in this mess.”

“How fucked up is it that the bad guy has more of a moral code than the police?” Bee-Girl mutters.

“Resisting arrest is an offense!” Raincomprix yells as the gun pistol whips him.

“You’re not having the guns shoot the officers?”

Nino elbows the Bee, “don’t ask them that?!”

“Seems like a waste finding out if the Miracle Cure’s magic has the capability of reversing death on the likes of them.” Fantôme sighs, “although they did ruin my fun.” Both of them call their feathers back. “Let’s call it quits for today, yeah? My heart’s just not in a fight anymore.” The three of them look to one another shrugging.

Technically, Fantôme – either of them – didn’t do anything this time.

They even grab up all the guns and set them down in front of the three of them. “You might wanna destroy these after the Miracle Cure?” Then they fly off on a feather.

Miracle Cure.” Nino tosses the mirror in the air, the ladybugs head inside the building this time then head back out and disappear into the sky. Kagami balls up her fist then cataclysms the pile of guns in front of her.

Raincomprix runs up to them staring at the pile of ash, “you three aren’t heroes.”

Nino taps his chin. “Well, what a coincidence. Neither are you.”

His eyes narrow. “There’s no place in Paris for vigilantes. The next time you three move the cops will be on you. Arresting and unmasking you.”

“Dude, you’re just lucky my partner didn’t get to you first.”

“You proved guns aren’t gonna stop Hawkmoth or Fantôme so if you try to stop us from stopping them prepare yourself for a fight.”

“Because who gives a shit about being labeled a ‘hero’ if it puts us in company with the likes of you? Call us vigilantes if you choose but what we are is putting you clowns out of a job.”

“Musicbug!” Marinette yells, “you guys should come in the school, the cops won’t find you with all of us protecting you!”

“If any of you assist these criminals, you’ll be going down to the station!” The three of them run inside the school. “Hey! Dammit, after them!” The officers run into the school. Sabrina staggers out of the school just as her papa runs up the stairs. “Sabrina! Are you hurt?” He tries to hug her but she pushes him away.

“Am I hurt? Gee, that’s an interesting question to ask when you shoot inside of the school! Is it true, Papa? What everyone’s telling me? Did you seriously shoot inside the school where my friends and classmates, and most and probably worst of all, I, attend?”

“They were in the school—”

“Because I was akumatized, Papa! That’s a thing that happens now, in case you bothered to look at the news!”

“Honey, it wasn’t real!”

“It wasn’t real!?” She screeches, “I remember everything! The overwhelming humiliation. The butterfly flying into my glasses frame. The voice telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. The transformation. The horrified look on my peers faces when I shot beams out of my eyes at them! How can you think it wasn’t real?! I was terrorizing the school! Did you even see what I became!? And, since you’re concerned about my ‘safety,’ I had a mirror broken over my head!”

What!?” Alarmed, the commissioner looks over his daughter’s head until she ducks under his grasp.

“The Miracle Cure you were so hellbent on preventing? It fixed all the pain but it’ll never fix the fact that I did what I did. What I could’ve done!”

The commissioner grips his daughter’s shoulders, “Sabrina, calm down!”

“You should be going after Hawkmoth. He’s the one with butterflies trying to take the Miraculouses from the people who were protecting us.”

“They’re vigilantes, Sabrina, they even said so. No one is outside the law. They can’t just do whatever the hell they want—”

“Yet that’s exactly what you’re doing! Ever since that witch became mayor you’ve changed. The woman had her own daughter committed! How do you sleep at night working for someone like that?”

“Sir?” An officer pants against the doorway, “we’ve searched the entire perimeter, there’s no sign of any of them.”

Sabrina shakes her head. “You’re making a mistake.”

“I’m not and I’ll prove it. I want eyes on twenty-four surveillance on the school starting tomorrow.”

🍯

Audrey stares at her reflection. There’s no bullet wound, not even a bruise. When a single glowing ladybug appeared through the door and flew into her shoulder pulling out the bullet while simultaneously healing her wound then flew out the window, she was shellshocked. She still is to be honest and it’s been like ten minutes.

And it happened so quick too. Gabriel left her to gather the tools necessary to remove the bullet himself and it was over before he got back with the first aid kit.

When she explained what happened, he told her of the ladybug’s Miracle Cure. The book he showed her stated the Miracle Cure, as its name suggests, miraculously cures anything displaced magically.

Gabriel walks into the room, “you never said anything about getting shot.”

“You’re the one who granted the police the authority to be armed. Simply take it away.”

She turns to Adrien glaring, “I want Émilie back just as badly as you do but that does not mean we—” She gestures between them, “need to speak to each other out of costume.”

“You’re still upset about that? What’s your daughter’s name, Audrey?”

“I wouldn’t be so smug if I were you, Little Agreste. Zoè’s being released from the institute tomorrow, certified to be one-hundred percent sane.” As Adrien stares at her, she smirks. He may attempt the impassive façade but she doesn’t miss the gulp or the bead of sweat trickling down his temple. “I’m going to enjoy watching you squirm.”

The real reason he got rid of Zoè was because he was afraid. Not just to expose him as an all-around asshole either.

That girl inherited the worst qualities of her and André combined. Audrey doesn’t envy any enemy of hers.

“We need to be cordial with each other, Audrey.”

“Fuck that, Gabriel. Would you be cordial with me if I sent that demented little shit of yours to a nuthouse? Regardless of how lavish the brochures felt the need to constantly remind us?”

Gabriel’s eyes cut to his son briefly before he looks at her, dead in the eyes, “no. I wouldn’t.”

“Well there you go. I told you those Graham de Vanily’s were nuts but you didn’t believe me.” Gabriel pinches the bridge of his nose. “Thanks to this piece of shit you call an offspring I’ve had three years of nosy assholes perpetually telling me what a terrible maman I am! I have a city to run, I could barely take time out of my precious schedule for a much-needed mani-pedi, you think I could’ve afford to waste time at an asylum?”

“Did you even cry at your husband’s funeral?”

Audrey raises an eyebrow at him, “did you cry at your mère’s?”

“That’s enough!” Gabriel snaps, “you two will begrudgingly team-up and that’s final. For fuck’s sake, think. Of. Émilie!

“I’m only here because of Émilie! Otherwise I wouldn’t waste precious oxygen sharing it with this son of yours. Now, since we are in the business of bringing back the dead, is it possible to bring André back as well?” Gabriel’s eyes soften. Audrey huffs. “What? Don’t look at me like that. I’m just curious.”

“Even so...” He pauses then takes a deep breath, “I don’t believe we can. There’s only one wish. I’m so sorry, Audrey.”

Sighing, she nods. “Okay. Thanks for letting me know.” Gabriel nods.

Did Audrey Bourgeois just show an emotion aside from contempt?

“Père, did you notice the Bee with them now?”

“Yes. The Guardian is moving fast so we need to move faster. We need someone for the rooster Miraculous.” He fits the ring over his thumb and an orange-yellow rooster flutters into existence before them.

“What about Nathalie?” Audrey grimaces when Gabriel’s eyes dart to her, “ooh, or would that be too awkward?”

“Why would it be awkward?” Gabriel and Audrey both stare at Adrien before looking at each other, “why would it be awkward?” He repeats.

“I’d tell you but like I said, I’m enjoying watching you squirm.” Adrien glares at her.

Gabriel rolls his eyes. Think of Émilie. Think of Émilie Sofia Graham de Vanily Agreste back in his arms again. Not riddled with fevers or sick out of her mind after sessions with chemo.

“I was thinking of Chloé, if she’s being released—”

Audrey makes a buzzer noise, “Émilie or not, I know she’s not gonna want to work with him. And I doubt you want to continuously akumatize her because she’s too angry to do much else.”

“Fair point.”

Adrien taps his chin. “What about Tante Amélie? Or Félix?”

“Have you been in contact with either of them since the funeral?”

“Tante Amélie came to Belgium a few times, and she’s always bragged about how maman told her everything. She might even already know about the Miraculouses. As for Félix, I haven’t seen him since the funeral.”

“Which is why we should at least involve Nathalie in this too.”

Gabriel runs a hand down his face taking the ring off his finger. “Fine. We’ll talk to Nathalie and Amélie.”

“If that’s all settled, I’m gonna head back to school.”

🍯

“If akumas and flying feathers are going to be our day-to-day, we’re going to need to quickly exit the building in order to assure student safety. Thursday, we will be implementing akuma exit drills.” The students look among themselves as the headmaster talks.

Someone raises a hand, “but headmaster Augustin, what about the Miraculous heroes—uh wait, they said not to call them heroes—”

“Whatever they wish to call themselves, I stand with them. I believe they would not have come to our aid if they wished us harm. They are exactly what we needed when we needed them. Some of you may disagree with this but it’s my decision. If these walls grant them sanctuary it shall, so long as they’re continuing to help civilians.”

There are murmurs and applause.

“But what about the police?”

“The police answer to Mayor Bourgeois, the Miraculous holders do not. After what went on earlier, I think it’s a safe bet who to put your trust into.” The headmaster sighs, “school is canceled for the day. Go home to safety. All of you.”

Nino and Marinette lean into each other as the crowd begins to disperse. “Guess we can head to the fabric store earlier than we anticipated.” Nino nods absently. “Hey...” She nudges him, “I don’t think Chris’ school let out early.”

“You don’t know that. I-I have to check.”

“Of course. We’ll check on him first.” They split up to go to their respective lockers; when Marinette gets to her locker she sees the girl from today’s first akuma attack in the locker two lockers the left of hers. And shit, she’s prettier than everyone was saying.

Marinette gingerly opens her locker. The last thing she needs is to embarrass herself in front of a pretty girl. You know, again. “Hey, Marinette!” She jolts flailing backward into the girl knocking them both on their backs.

“I am so, so sorry!” Marinette mumbles turning slightly, inhaling the scent of honey from the hair she’s laying on.

“All good.” A voice mumbles into her shoulder.

Lila runs over to them and gasps, “I’m sorry, Marinette!” She holds out her hand that Marinette begrudgingly accepts. “I didn’t mean to cause this.” She holds out her hand for the orange-haired girl then helps her up next.

“Why were you yelling my name then?”

“I hear Sabrina is trying to apologize to you. I guess getting akumatized really fucked with her head. They’re saying she told off her papa right outside the school.” She loops her arm in Marinette’s batting her eyelashes, “but I also wanted to know if you were free this afternoon? To grab a smoothie?”

Marinette detaches her arm from Lila’s with a forced smile. “Sorry, Lila, I have plans with Nino. A-And... y-you’re sweet and pretty—oh dammit that just made me sound shallow!” She furiously shakes her head, “I’m trying to say I’m sorry.” Lila tilts her head to the right. “I’m flattered that you like me enough to want to be my girlfriend but I-I don’t like you like that.”

“Do you like bad girls then? Because I can totally be that for you!”

What!?” Blushing, Marinette waves her arms out in front of her body, “n-no! That’s not it!”

“Then why!? I like you so much that I’ll do anything for you! Maybe if we started dating you might start to like me how I like you?”

“That wouldn’t be fair to either of us.”

“I know rejection sucks but what right do you have to ask her why she doesn’t like you then tell her to try getting feelings for you?”

Marinette blinks at the girl to her left—the girl she previously fell on. Lila’s eyes narrow, “excuse me but who are you to butt into a private conversation?”

“The conversation stopped being ‘private’ when you started yelling at my best friend.”

Lila huffs turning to Nino, “why do you always hog Marinette to yourself?! She doesn’t even like boys!” A blonde grabs Lila by the arm, “Aurore!”

“Stop making a scene, Lila.” She grumbles to the brunette as she drags her down the hall.

The orange-haired girl runs a hand through her wavy hair. “Sorry for butting in like that but it looked like she wasn’t taking a hint.”

“No, that’s fine. You’re fine. Thanks. I’m Marinette, as you might’ve heard.”

“Alya.” They air cheek kiss. There’s a spark that jolts through both of them, even though their faces barely touch. Marinette could swear she felt something similar when she fell into Alya but she brushed it off. Now she’s certain she felt something both times. “Whoa. That was odd.”

“What was odd?” Nino looks between them.

“Nothing!” They reply beaming at him.

Meanwhile, down the hall, Lila tugs her arm free from Aurore’s, “what did you do that for?”

“Stop acting so fucking desperate. I know I told you Dupain-Cheng is a shoe-in for the next Gabriel Agreste but I didn’t tell you to be so damn pathetic.”

Lila rolls her eyes, “Marinette is so much more than Gabriel Agreste ever was. When was the last time Agreste came out with something groundbreaking? I’ll wait while you think about it. Have you seen Marinette’s sketches? They’re incredible.” Lila shivers, “I’m gonna be her very content trophy wife so stay the hell out of my way, Beauréal.”

“Then allow me to give you constructive criticism, Rossi. You’re a disgrace!” Lila’s eyes widen. “You’ve known her all of two weeks and you’re already trying to emotionally bully her into being your girlfriend in the tackiest, most cliché way imaginable! And you wonder why you got rejected?”

Adrien clears his throat and the two girls jump apart. “A-Adrien!” Lila stammers, “hi!”

“Hi. You two are kinda blocking my locker.”

“But your last name is Agreste.”

“Yeah but I’m also new so they gave me a locker to the end.” Lila moves from the locker against the wall she’s standing in front of, “I also couldn’t help overhearing your issue, Lila. You know, when we met yesterday I thought you were into me.”

“I am. I’m... just into Marinette more. I mean, you’re cute. Obviously. But you’re a pretty face. Marinette is pretty and talented.”

“Ouch.”

“But that isn’t saying you’re untalented or anything!” She facepalms, “dammit. I’m sorry. My brain gets scrambly whenever I think about her.”

“And here I thought you were just trying to get close to her because she’s gonna be one of the biggest fashion designers in the world?”

“There’s so much more than that. I genuinely do like her a lot, the fact that she’s super talented is a bonus.”

“Well, in my experience, when you want a girl to like you, you don’t force them to choose between their best friend and you. Never works out in your favor.”

Lila exhales deeply through her nose, “understandable.” She bites out.

“She’s a lost cause.” Aurore says with a headshake as she walks off.

“So tell me more about Marinette? Maybe I can help you out?”

“What do you want in return?”

Adrien taps his chin in thought.

🍯

Fù sits in his shop meditating; Miracle Box in front of him, non-partnered kwamis floating around him. Hawkmoth was right about the city being a magical landmine. There are so many strong aura throughout the city. Hell, he’s probably sensing Hawkmoth without knowing who he is. Unless... Hawkmoth doesn’t have any magical sense and just so happened to stumble upon the Miraculouses and their kwamis. If that’s the case, he’s in danger as forcing magic into anyone incompatible will eventually put a strain both mentally and physically on the body. Whereas someone with magical sense would mentally and physically strengthen their body with (more) magic poured into it.

Every soul has the capacity for good as well as evil, and as a result all magic sensing auras—all auras in general—are neutral.

If he simply handed out Miraculouses to those with high magic sense he could have another Émilie Agreste on his hands. And he will do whatever he morally reasonably can to prevent that from happening again. He made a vow on his mentees’ graves that he would never again lose another potential Guardian or Miraculous wielder so senselessly.

Hence the reason for his (now unorthodox) tests of character.

Kagami and Nino weren’t the first people he tested the character of yesterday, they were just the first two to pass.

And keeping up with that, he decided to continue finding teenagers to give Miraculouses to. In the past, he stuck to finding slash training adults. Erroneously believing their auras would be stronger and their bodies better equipped to handle the magic. Kagami and Nino proved him wrong; their auras were the strongest he’s ever felt in over half-a-millennia of being a Guardian and they actually handled the magic better than any of his previously chosen, adult holders.

It’s possible due to teenagers still growing and not being set in their ways – at least a good handful of them anyway, on both accounts – they could adapt and change with their kwamis. Grow alongside the power they wield.

His cellphone begins to ring and he cracks an eye open to stare at it. Furrowing his eyebrows at the name and picture on the screen, he accepts the video call. “All my powers of premonition failed to inform me of you selecting my darling granddaughter for the destruction Miraculous.” Akira Tsurugi greets.

“Foresight always was a temperamental ability.”

Akira laughs, “indeed.” He clears his throat, “from one Guardian to another, I believe you have chosen wrong. My headstrong, impulsive granddaughter cannot grow from the Miraculous you have given her.”

“From one Guardian to another, I believe you are in the wrong.” Akira’s eyebrows furrow. “You are far too subjective on the matter. I did not know Kagami was your granddaughter when I selected her, but that would not have altered my decision. She and the ladybug Miraculous wielder have the strongest auras I have ever felt.”

Master—” Akira grits out.

“I have not been your master in quite some time.”

“Regardless of that, I know my granddaughter inside and out. I know her capabilities, her weaknesses, her strengths. It was I who purchased her first shinai and first foil. It was I she confided in when she discovered her orientation. Your two minutes of introspection cannot compare to seventeen years, and if I seem subjective on the matter it is because my granddaughter means the world to me! And I cannot—will not choose the lives of strangers over hers.”

“Surely you cannot mean that—”

“I do. That may go against the Guardian’s oath but I am no longer a Guardian.”

“You cannot afford to be so selfish, not now. Not with Hawkmoth lurking in the shadows.”

“Then let us hope I do not have to prove how selfish I can be when it come to protecting the most important person in my life. You have been warned Fù Wáng, if you stand in my way or indirectly cause harm to my granddaughter in any manner I will not hesitate to hunt you down and make you pay for your mistake.”

“Then allow me to warn you, Akira Tsurugi. The bonding process has already begun. If you attempt to take your granddaughter out of the equation you risk killing the very person you are willing to go to such extremes to protect.”

🍯

With school ending early, Alya headed back to the apartment.

The apartment’s empty, which she expected. The twins were (still) at school and her parents were at work. Nora had a match this weekend so she was blowing off steam in some dive bar either picking up as many women as she could – sometimes literally – or beating up assholes.

There’s no question why every who is your hero assignment she’s ever given has been about Nora.

Pollen flies out of her hair when she tells them the coast is clear. “So...” She watches Pollen fly over to the bowl of fruit on the table. “Pollen is an interesting name for a bee.”

“I believe irony was what they were going for.” Alya nods slowly. “Is your table fruit edible? I require sustenance after transforming.”

“Knock yourself out.” Nodding, Pollen picks up a green apple then flies over to her holding it out.

“You will also require sustenance after transforming.”

“Good to know. So apples are your food of choice? Don’t bees eat poll...” Alya trails off with a frown.

“We do. My namesake and nectar...” They hoist the apple, “from fruits. Also royal jelly and honey. As I am a honeybee, bumblebee crossbreed.”

Alya hums taking a knife from the block and rinsing it off, using it to cut the apple in half and keeping half for herself and giving the other half to Pollen. “Anything else about you I should know?”

“I don’t like dried fruit.” Alya nods, taking a bite of her apple half. “Because we’ll need to transform in a moment’s notice, you’ll need snacks for both of us after each transformation. The Miraculouses have side effects so with each use you will begin acquiring bee-like tendencies.”

Alya does a double take, “wait, what!?”

“You didn’t think you’d be granted tremendous power without a downside, did you?”

“Honestly? Yeah? I read comic books. The horrible accident and side effects are what cause the powers!”

Pollen shakes their head, “I have known partners who read comic books and one quote I like to reference is you can’t get something for nothing.”

“I don’t think that was from a comic book.”

“My point is all magic comes with a price.”

“Now I know that wasn’t from a comic book.”

Pollen looks at her exasperated but fond. “Regardless, your price is inexpensive. And no, you will not become a human-bee hybrid.”

“I mean, I kinda already do when we transform.”

“That’s a good point.”

“Okay, you keep calling me your ‘queen,’ I’m assuming you aren’t a queen bee?”

“No, well not yet. However, as kwamis do not mate or reproduce I will never – in the literal sense – become a queen bee. Also, I am not – technically – female.”

“‘Technically?’”

“Essentially? I suppose would be a better term? Kwamis do not have genders. Or maybe it’s more like we are flexible with what we consider ourselves.”

“Dope. Tiny, floating, magical, gender-fluid animals. I am totally here for that. What else?”

“I have never been active alongside Nooroo or Duusu so I do not know the true extent of their abilities. Having said that, I am very familiar with Roaar – the mimicking kwami. Even the most experienced wielder cannot fully hide Roaar’s Miraculous. Pay attention to the left wrist and you’ll see the faint outline of the panjas bracelet.”

“Noted. I don’t know what a panjas bracelet is but I’ll look it up.”

“Kwamis can also sense one another. Whether or not they share this information with their Chosen is up to them. I believe in the no secrets approach with my Chosen. When I sense another kwami I will inform you.”

“Are you gonna keep hiding in my hair?”

“Most likely. It smells of honey, I find it comforting.”

🍯

“Marinette!” Sabine calls from downstairs, “package delivery.”

Marinette has three pins sticking out the side of her mouth. Nino shakes his head fondly as she struggles to respond. “Nette, I’ll get it.” He hears her mumble something he’s sure is a thanks before heading downstairs.

Turns out they didn’t let Chris’ school out early and when Nino and Marinette went to pick him up one of his classmates requested a playdate sleepover.

With Chris not at home Marinette’s parents weren’t very subtle in their offer to have him stay the night, but then again they never were.

Nino wouldn’t be surprised if they were working on adopting Chris.

On the counter is a large, unmarked box with a plain white tag addressed to Marinette. With Tom’s help, Nino gets the box upstairs to Marinette’s room.

When Marinette is in the zone Nino knows better than to interrupt her. It isn’t until she’s sewn the hem of the pants that she finally addresses the box.

The two of them hover over the box then stare at each other.

They each grab an end of the box and open it. Neither of them were expecting Lila to spring out of the box. “Surprise!” She blows a purple powder into Marinette’s face and she sways and falls into Lila who catches her.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, dude?”

You.” She hisses turning to him, adjusting Marinette so she’s now over her shoulder. “I’m Tela Vuota—” Oh fuck she’s been akumatized. But... there’s nothing different about her, aside from her all-white painter’s outfit, “and like any artist, I need my muse~” She points at him scowling, “don’t get in my way.” Then she unlatches the paintball gun from her side and shoots the ceiling and jumps out the room through the hole she blasted.

Tikki lifts Nino’s hat to stare above them, mouth agape. Alive for millions of years and that was a definite first.

Then Nino’s earrings start beeping, bringing them out of their stupor. “Oh!” Tikki exclaims squinting at his left ear, “one of your teammates is trying to contact you.”

“What?”

“There are communication devices in your weapons.”

“Dude, does that mean we can communicate with Hawkmoth?”

Tikki’s eyes widen. “It does!”

“Spots on, T!” The red and black light washes over him as he transforms. He leaps through the hole he’s gonna have to fix with the Miracle Cure then opens his yo-yo on the roof.

The Bee’s face pops up on the screen.... upside down, “bro, oh... hold up. Dammit.” The sky shifts and her face reappears rightside up. “Okay. There’s some bizarre shit going on. I was gonna call to do a patrol because that’s a thing we’re gonna have to do when I saw this chick in a painter’s outfit carrying an unconscious civilian. I tried intervening but she threw a paintball smoke bomb at me then disappeared.”

“Yeah, she’s an akumatization.”

“Really? I figured. Well—” There’s a shark-like grin on her face, “I hadn’t gotten the chance to use my stinger yet.”

“Can you get in contact with...” He grimaces, “Eradicat.”

“Seriously? Was that a unanimous decision on that name?”

“No but I can’t exactly call her by her civilian name.”

“You know who she is? Do you know who I am?”

“No. Do you know who I am?”

“No.” They stare at each other. “I’ll give her a call.”

“Also, my kwami said we should be able to contact Hawkmoth through his weapon.”

“Yeah? Badass. I’m gonna troll him so hard.”

Kagami drops down beside him, “what the hell happened here?” She blinks at the yo-yo, “is that a thing we can do?”

“We also might be able to troll the hell out of Hawkmoth and Feathers too!” The Bee says gleefully, “But while I have you both, I’m thinking of going by Queen Bee.”

“I like it.” Nino tells her. She beams. “I think I’m gonna stick with Musicbug on the grounds that... I can’t think of anything at all let alone anything better.” Kagami groans, “that doesn’t mean you gotta keep Eradicat!”

“But I cannot think of a single name.”

“Maybe you’ll think of something when we’re out kicking ass?” Queen Bee suggests.

“Perhaps. Where are you?”

“Near the Eiffel Tower. Figured I’d get a bee’s eye view from there.”

“Nice.” Nino chuckles. “We’ll meet you there.” She nods then disconnects the call. “Oh, hey... do you have any idea who Queen Bee might be outside the goggles?”

“Nope. Then again, I do not know many people.”

“Right. So, um...” He rubs the back of his hooded neck, “a schoolmate of ours – Lila – has a thing for Nette. Don’t know if you heard about Lila’s asking out Nette again today then got dragged away by some girl I’ve never seen.”

“Let me guess: Lila was rejected then she got akumatized and made off with Marinette?” Nino nods with a grimace. “Fuck my life.” She sighs. “Alright. Let’s get your best friend back.”

🍯

When Marinette wakes up she’s looking at a portrait of... herself. “Do you like it?”

She screams, recoiling into a beam? Looking around, Marinette notices she’s on the Eiffel Tower. “Oh fuck no.” She looks down at Lila holding a paintball gun, wearing a painter’s suit. “Uh...?”

Her green eyes are sparkling, “do you like the picture I made?”

“It’s—” Marinette’s eyes narrow, “did you get akumatized?”

“Yup. I did. Rejection stings, you know. Especially when done so publicly.” Her grip on the paintball gun tightens, “Hawkmoth said I could have you as long as I retrieved the three Miraculouses of the undeserving.”

“Wait. Back up. Hawkmoth said you could have me? Don’t I get any say in this—” Lila aims the paintball gun at Marinette.

You said plenty.”

“You’re not gonna shoot me.”

“Ballsy. That’s what I like about you.” Lila rolls her eyes with a smile, “of course I’m not gonna shoot you but I will shoot your cap wearing buddy. Redraw him, then shoot him all over again.”

Marinette stands, “fuck that. You touch one thread on Nino and I will personally end you.”

“You’re lucky you’re so cute.” Marinette storms over to the easel and throws it off the tower. A purple butterfly mask outline appears over Lila’s purple, narrowed eyes. “You don’t want to piss me off, Nette.”

“Don’t you dare call me that.”

“Right. He is the only one who gets to call you that. When I take him out of the picture—” She pauses, tapping her chin. “Why stop there? I’ll go after your parents. All your friends. Your little side projects. I’ll be the only thing you have left!”

“Do you even hear yourself!? I’ll never be with you!”

“Then I’ll redraw you in my image!” Lila aims at her, finger on the trigger but doesn’t fire. Marinette blinks then sees the Bee-Girl from earlier twirling her top as she steps from behind Lila.

“That was easier than I thought.”

What was easier than you thought?”

“I stung her.” Marinette winces. “While she was monologuing. Seriously. The monologuing...” She shakes her head, “anyway, while she was ranting I stung her with my top. Why the face? Don’t worry. Barely felt a thing. I think. Oh crap, I only have a minute time limit! What got akumatized?”

“I-I don’t know!” Marinette looks over Lila’s frozen body, “try the paintball gun or the belt!”

Bee-Girl pries the gun from Lila’s grasp and throws it onto the ground. It breaks but no butterfly flies out of it. “Fuck.” She does the same with the belt and no butterfly. “Mother—”

Lila unfreezes and grabs her by the throat, “you pesky little insect. You’re in the way!” She throws her off the tower. “Oh shit. I was supposed to grab the Miraculous!” Lila shrugs, “I’ll grab it off her dead body.”

When she turns around Marinette punches her in the face. The brunette reels back with wide, watery eyes but Marinette continues her assault, thankful Chris’ interest in Anansi had them sign up for kickboxing classes. “Get. This. Through. Your. Thick. Skull.” She accentuates each word with a punch. “I’d rather gargle acid than be with you, akumatized or not.” She kicks Lila in the stomach.

Cradling her bloody nose, Lila laughs. “I’m going to enjoy breaking you.”

“Try me.” Marinette cracks her knuckles.

Lucky Charm!” A voice yells then there’s a bright red flash. Lila growls looking around. “What the fuck is this?”

“A paint eraser.” Another voice replies.

“That’s a real thing?” A third, familiar voice questions.

The three Miraculous wielders drop down surrounding Marinette. Musicbug is armed with the aforementioned polkadotted paint eraser, Eradicat has her batons, and the Bee is swinging her top. “You good?” Musicbug asks.

“Y-Yeah. My knuckles hurt a little. Never punched another person before.”

The butterfly outline reappears around Lila’s eyes. “Your Miraculouses are mine!” She screams shooting paint out of her hands. Musicbug holds out the paint eraser and it absorbs the paint.

“Wasn’t expecting that...” He mutters. “Oh well, gotta roll with the punches.”

“Speaking of punches, you fucked her up.” The Bee giggles.

“She was threatening my best friend.”

Eradicat holds out a baton to her, “you’ll need this to defend yourself in case she gets past us.”

“Understood. I’ve always liked baseball.”

“My... uh... whatever it’s called when I gotta figure out my Lucky Charm isn’t giving me anything yet. Any idea on where the akuma might be?”

Marinette shakes her head, “no... although—” She taps her chin, “maybe her hand? Or the suit?” Lila draws on her arm and creates two new paintball guns.

“I’ll take your Miraculouses and Marinette, thank you very much. Oh!” She points the paintball guns at her hips then grows two additional arms. Then draws two more paintball guns. Pointing a paintball gun at each of them. “One for each of you. Aren’t I considerate?”

The Bee growls, “I’ve had it with guns today.”

Lila shoots the ground beside her and creates a duplicate of herself with four arms.

“This is my life now.” Eradicat mumbles.

“One was bad enough.” Musicbug groans.

The two Lilas start firing wildly. The Bee grabs Marinette with one hand and deflects the rampant paintballs by spinning her top.

Marinette looks up at the Bee, the kickass black and yellow crisscrossing goggles reflecting the glint of the setting sun, and finds herself blushing. Hey, gotta find a silver lining from all this right? Being in the arms of a super-powered non-superhero but definitely a good guy absolutely counts. “Hey, a-are you alright? You got thrown off the tower earlier.”

“I have wings. I can fly—”

“I caught her with my yo-yo.” Musicbug interrupts.

“But I would’ve flew myself to safety, if I had the chance.”

“Uh-huh.”

Marinette giggles and the mask reappears around Lila’s purple eyes. “We’ll see how funny you are when I melt your face!” She shoots the ground creating more duplicates of herself.

Musicbug’s paint eraser disintegrates in his hands then reforms into the yo-yo, “that’s never happened before.”

“Maybe it’s trying to tell you something?” Marinette suggests.

“What we need is a more even playing field.” Eradicat’s body starts glowing, “duck!” The three of them crouch. “Miasma!” Her body pulses then a black haze rolls in.

“What are you doing, Dude?”

“Think of it as my Miracle Cure.” As the haze surrounds the Lilas they start coughing. When Marinette starts coughing, the Bee puts her top against Marinette’s nose and mouth like a breathing apparatus.

“Let’s hope this works. Lucky—” A coughing, red-faced Lila tackles him to the ground. Her skin is melting off her face as she wraps her arms around his throat.

“Get off him!” Marinette picks up the baton she dropped and runs toward Musicbug and Lila, slamming the baton on Lila’s head wincing when she hears a resounding crack.

The brunette’s eyes roll in the back of her head and slumps off Musicbug’s body. He sits up gasping for air. “Dude, you are reckless!” Marinette stops panting to stare at him but he gets up before she can critically examine him.

“Let’s hope the Miracle Cure works.” An akuma flies out of Lila’s hair tie and Musicbug opens the face of his yo-yo capturing the akuma then releasing it. Once released, the multicolored butterfly floats off in the sky. “Miracle Cure!” He tosses his yo-yo in the air activating the Miracle Cure. Ladybugs swarm the sky floating around Lila then flying off in another direction.

“High-five!’ The Bee cries, grabbing Marinette’s hand then the four of them high-five one another. “That was awesome. You’re like amazing. I think I’m in love.” The Bee hugs her and Marinette blushes.

“QB, let’s not glomp the civilians?”

She pouts at him. “QB?” Marinette asks.

“Queen Bee. A pleasure, Mademoiselle.” She releases Marinette to kiss her on the hand, “let’s get you back home.” Marinette nods. Queen Bee scoops her up in the princess carry making Marinette’s blush intensify. “Au revoir team.”

They watch Queen Bee and Marinette swing off with Queen Bee’s top then turn to each other. “What about her?”

“I gotta head home. Think you can take her home?”

“I guess. We know you’re conscious. The Miracle Cure healed you.”

Lila sits up glaring, “I wouldn’t need healing if I wasn’t hit with a baton!”

The bug shakes his head then yo-yos away. The cat turns to her glowing green eyes narrowed, “you have two options: allow me to take you home or stay here and fend for yourself. Ten seconds to decide.”

“Ten—” She frantically gets up, “take me home!” The cat’s eyes narrow, “p-please.”

Lila allows the cat to take her home and every time she opens her mouth to say something the cat shuts her up with a glare. Unlike any of the previous akumatizations today, Lila smartly kept out of the limelight so no one outside of the people involved knows what happened.

When she walks in her apartment there’s a note from her mother saying she’ll be home late. With a sigh, she flexes her fingers. The power.... the rush... it was incredible. She has to get akumatized again.

Chapter Text

Max rang the doorbell then took a step backward on the porch. Nino, to the left of him, is rocking back and forth on his heels. Alix, also to his left – and to the left of Nino, is leaning against the railing. Marinette, to his right, is playing some loud game on her phone.

School got canceled yesterday which gave Max ample time to read ahead in all his classes, and with his maman away at a convention he needed to do something to distract himself from being alone in that empty apartment.

Ordinarily, he’d allow Kim or Alix to drag him somewhere with his usual amount of playful reluctance or they’d all hang out at Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Pâtisserie (aka Marinette’s place) because, you know, free pâtisseries, but with Kim and Alix both absent yesterday – and considering all the shit that went on they picked a fine time to not show up – he didn’t have anything to do. Marinette and Nino were working on Chris’ outfit for the Anansi match Saturday and he didn’t want to sneak a peek at the outfit before its official unveiling.

As the four of them had an empty schedule, Marinette suggested via grouptext that they visit Kim. Kim’s never been absent from school before. He had various perfect attendance accolades throughout his entire schooling. Kim liked to brag about he never got sick and considering the rather astronomical odds, it was worth bragging. Hell, he miraculously avoided the chicken pox when Max and Marinette caught it from Nino. Not to mention he annually avoided the flu without ever getting a flu shot. His health was inexplicably immaculate. Until yesterday. Furthermore, not only did he not show up for school he hadn’t contacted any of them. At least with Alix she texted them saying she wasn’t feeling well.

The scientific word to describe yesterday’s madness was clusterfuck.

Due to his stature, Max often had to sought out his friends when he arrived at school. He hadn’t spotted any hats, wayward pigtails, or blond tips so he made his way to his locker thinking he’d meet up with them like he always did; with their allotted loitering time before the school day officially began. And if he hadn’t met up with them then before class, there was always second period where they all shared.

He was making his way to class when Sabrina Raincomprix III got akumatized into a tasteless, faceless clash of colors and patterns.

He narrowly avoided getting blasted, thanks to his stature, and hid in the doorway watching the madness intensify tenfold.

Then school got canceled.

After it was already delayed due to the early morning akuma attack.

Then videos from yesterday surfaced all over internet. When he was finished reading, he sated his curiosity and looked over some videos from different perspectives. After that, he perused the internet for anything he could find about the team. Naturally, there wasn’t much of anything as the team essentially had not existed prior to the day before yesterday.

The door opens revealing Kim’s grandmère. “Come in, come in! It’s so good seeing all of you.”

“It’s good seeing—”

“Kim’s not faking it is he?” Alix asks then yelps when they all poke her.

Kim’s grandmère sighs, “I’m afraid not. He’s barely gotten out of bed, and he’s been so quiet too. It’s very unlike him.” Alix opens her mouth but Marinette puts a hand over it. Kim’s grandmère puts a hand to her cheek and sighs. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate the visit.” Sighing again, she heads to the kitchen.

“We should’ve brought surgical masks.” Alix mutters when Marinette removes her hand.

They head upstairs to Kim’s room. The door is wide open and Kim is laying on the bed, facing the door, swaddled in blankets.

“You look like shit.” They all turn to Alix, “what? You were all thinking it.”

“Dude, you missed the weirdest school day ever yesterday.”

Marinette begins regaling Kim in not two but three akuma attacks in a single day; two of which involved her.

As she’s telling them about Lila taking exception to getting rejected, it gets Max thinking.

Negative emotions are clearly involved in akumatizations – based on the fact that Sabrina and Lila were both humiliated publicly in school... both by Marinette. The child from yesterday morning had to be an anomaly... or it wasn’t simply negative emotions, but any dominant emotion, Hawkmoth preyed upon.

The newscaster, Nadja Chamack, is another anomaly but no one aside from her knows how or why she got akumatized. Well, maybe just how. The why was obvious: To send a message.

Then there were the Miraculders – official name of the Miraculous Wielders/Holders – in general.

They, Musicbug and Eradicat, obviously came as a result of Hawkmoth essentially calling them out on live television, then that led to where did Hawkmoth and Fantôme come from?

Queen Bee, official name, and the second Fantôme, true identity pending, came as a result of both sides needing more ammunition.

Why did they show up now of all times?

Were there going to be any more super-powered individuals cropping up all over the city?

👑

“That’s an interesting... bracelet, Mayor Bourgeois.”

Audrey looks up at her temp assistant standing in front of her desk smiling cryptically at her. Jean-François, the butler she’d definitely fire if he didn’t know all her passcodes, requested time off. It was such a rare request Audrey couldn’t find fault in granting it. It wasn’t until she got to the office she realized why he wanted time off. He was going to sign Claudette out of the asylum.

He was there when she got the phone call, and Audrey honestly was going to sign the girl out herself but her butler beat her to it.

The fool doted on her daughter as much as André did. Dammit. If only there was a way to revive him too. A drunk driver hit him on their anniversary as they were walking back to the hotel.

Audrey scowls. As much as she loves Émilie, she was sick. André was healthy when he died. Who’s to say the magic of the Miraculouses will cure Émilie’s cancer when it revives her?

Maybe that’s why she was interested in Miraculouses from the start?

It used to freak Audrey the hell out when she would go on and on about magic when they were kids.

Her scowl deepens as she looks up at the short-haired blonde still standing there smiling. “Do you need something?”

The cryptic smile widens. “I do, actually, Mayor Bourgeois. I was wondering if you’d deliver a message for me?”

“A message? Do I look like a goddamn—”

“To Hawkmoth.”

Audrey’s eyes widen as she stands, “Roaar, spotlight!

Snacktime, Chippi!”

The two of them stare at each other, transformed and weapons out. Audrey scoffs at the woman before her. “A squirrel? How utterly ridiculous.” Smirking, the squirrel takes out a rectangular box from out of her bushy tail. “What is that?”

“My Miracle Box. Or... more appropriately, the Miracle Box appropriated from New York’s Guardian Knightowl.” She opens the box and Audrey looks inside at all the jewelry. There’s less than ten inside. Audrey doubts Gabriel will relinquish his Miraculous even after his wish gets granted so they’ll still need more, even with the ladybug and black cat’s. “North America has six Guardians.” A pause, “had six Guardians. I killed five of them and took their Miracle Boxes.” She lifts the top of the jewelry box revealing another compartment. Ooh. This’ll be good. Maybe she can keep a Miraculous too once this is all over.

“I’m assuming this ‘Night Owl’ is the Guardian you failed to kill?”

The blonde scowls but nods, “knight with a k like... I think the french term is chevalier? Doesn’t matter, you can’t hear the difference. Anyway, she... she’s...” She exhales deeply, “she’s a crafty one.” She shuts the box and looks at Audrey, “I require... help in killing her. Knightowl has far more experience with the Miraculouses than I do. Far more experienced than those other five losers combined. Not even the fucking book gave me any insight.”

“How’d you even steal her Miracle Box then?”

“I had an insider take it from her. Her old partner Sparrow. He works with me now. We’re willing to lend Hawkmoth some Miraculouses in exchange for his assistance.”

Hmm. If they had more Miraculouses they could give one to Émilie’s twin and Nathalie. Though Amélie was always jealous of her since she was closer to Amélie’s own twin. “And all you want is this night with a K owl eliminated?”

“Well, I mean if you can kill this Guardian too that would help out a lot.”

“If you took her Miracle Box, just how much of a threat is she?”

“I took her Miracle Box, I didn’t take her Miraculous. So to answer your question she’s still a pretty damn big threat.” Audrey puts a hand on her hip then detransforms. The blonde sighs then does the same. “Look. I don’t know what her Guardian ability is and I have no interest in finding out.”

Audrey’s eyes narrow at the small dark grey squirrel perched on the short-haired blonde’s shoulder. “Well, where is this alleged Knightowl?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s certainly no good.”

“Tell me about it.” Audrey holds out her hand for the Miracle Box, “oh no, I’m not just giving it to you. Take me to Hawkmoth.”

“How did you even know I worked with Hawkmoth?”

“It wasn’t that hard. My kwami sensed a kwami—your kwami. Then I saw the bracelet. Plus, Miraculouses don’t make you grow and you’re too tall to be the beetle or black cat.”

“Brilliant deductions, truly.” The blonde rolls her eyes, “if kwamis are capable of sensing each other we could sense the ladybug and black cat and steal them.”

“Theoretically, sure. However, if you sense them they sense you. Get it?”

“Of course I do. I’m not an idiot. We’ll have to ambush them. Duh.”

“Brilliant deductions, truly.” Audrey glares at her. “I’m assuming you’ll let Hawkmoth know? I have places to be.”

“Of course. Oh, and you’re fired.” The blonde gapes at her. “That’s all. Meet us at the Eiffel Tower at noon.”

👑

When Jean-Baptiste showed up at the main gate in front of a towncar, Chloé nearly cried. She didn’t think she’d be getting out until she turned eighteen when they told her a parent or guardian had to sign her out. Her mère was too busy corrupting Paris to take time out of her “busy” schedule to give a shit about her, so Chloé and her fellow inmates resumed their hair-braiding train until a guard called for her telling her she was being released.

She gathered up her stuff and hugged all her friends goodbye, promising to come see them then left.

If there was one thing she learned here it was not having someone on the outside sucked.

As she made her way down the halls she tried to think of anyone who’d be willing to take the time out to get her. She hasn’t had a visitor in over six months when Tante Émilie said she wouldn’t be able to come by anymore. And Chloé doesn’t know what her mère said or did to her papa to get him to stop coming by. And speaking of her mère, Audrey hadn’t bothered to even attempt to contact her once in three years since she let strangers drag her only child away.

Jean-Baptiste turns to her, “any requests, Mademoiselle?”

She looks in the rearview mirror as the driver tenses and straightens up, “the hotel. I want to see Papa.” The driver stiffens further and Jean-Baptiste lets out a choked noise, “what?”

“Y-You weren’t told?”

“Told what?”

“Y-Your père...” Jean-Baptiste makes that noise again as he frowns, “your père passed a year ago.”

Chloé’s eyes widen, “h-he what?”

“A car accident. A car jumped the curb and struck him. He died in the ambulance truck.”

“M-My papa died and that... that bitch didn’t think to tell me?!”

“M-Mademoiselle, you must calm down! There have been many recent developments since your—”

“Since my what? You can’t say incarceration? Or maybe confinement would work better? I can’t believe my maman—” She groans, “I can’t believe I’m surprised at Audrey for being so cruel!” Jean-Baptiste gasps loudly and Chloé finds herself looking at a purple butterfly. It’s almost hypnotic. It rhythmically flaps its wings as it flies over her head. “What the—” She gasps as this cold, dark numbness swirls through her body. Her vision goes black around the edges.

Salutations Égaliseur...” A strange, somewhat familiar voice with a weird echo greets, “I am Hawkmoth and I feel your pain. The anger you have toward your mère is understandable. After all, parents are supposed to shield you from pain not create it. I’m going to give you the power to make your mère feel exactly what she’s making you feel right now. All I ask in return are the Miraculouses of the ladybug, black cat, and bumblebee.”

Chloé blinks, “the what?”

The Mi...” The voice pauses then hums, “right, of course. I should specify. You’re looking for a pair of ladybug earrings, a pawprint shaped ring, and a bee-shaped haircomb. If you happen to cause enough of a ruckus the wearers of the aforementioned jewelry will come to you.”

Chloé smirks, unaware of the butterfly mask outline surrounding her eyes, “causing a ruckus is one thing I’m good at.”

The driver gets out of the car then opens the door dragging a yelling Jean-Baptiste out of the car. Chloé gracefully exits the towncar. The pain and anger buzzing inside her intensifies. A purplish ooze overtakes her body transforming her into a pink-haired pixie version of herself armed with a thorned whip.

She looks so adorable she can’t help snapping a quick selfie before flying off to the mayor’s office.

Audrey is sitting at her desk thumbing through paperwork when Chloé bursts through the office windows and lands on the desk. “What the fuck?” Beaming, Chloé wraps the whip around her mère’s neck.

“Bonjour mère.”

“M-Mère?” She chokes out.

Chloé, still beaming, crouches so they’re nearly at eye level with each other, “surely you’d recognize your own daughter, wouldn’t you mère? It’s Chloé or did you forget my name again?”

“Mayor Bour—” The police commissioner opens the double doors then gasps, grabbing his sidearm, “not another one...” He groans, “alright. Hands in the air, whatever you are.” His eyes cut to the mayor in her chair being choked by a whip, “and release the mayor.”

“I can’t put my hands up and release my hold on her. You have to choose one.”

She sees the police commissioner’s eyes cut to the mayor then back to her. “Release the mayor.”

“As you wish.” Chloé retracts the whip and Audrey gasps for air.

Audrey grabs her bloody throat. “Don’t just stand there, shoot her!” Before the police commissioner can comply, Chloé grabs the gun with her whip.

“Did you forget about my lassoing fixation, maman?” Chloé crumbles the gun into pink glittery dust. “Of course you did.” Then she jumps off the desk and picks it up with her free hand and throws it at the police commissioner. Audrey winces as the desk hits him knocking him on his ass.

Audrey looks up at Chloé just as she turns to her. “What do you want from me?”

“Oh, so many things mère. So many things. But I’ll start with something simple: Why didn’t you tell me about Papa?” Before Audrey can respond, Chloé presses her hand against Audrey’s stomach and it starts glowing pink.

Audrey sits up, outfit tinted pink, tears welling in her eyes. “I-I didn’t want to admit it. I thought if I said it out loud it meant...” She starts crying, “I miss him so much!”

“Don’t make this about you! Why didn’t you have the decency to tell me my papa was killed?!” Chloé taps Audrey’s head turning her hair pink.

“I forgot about you!”

Chloé screams and it shatters the remaining windows.

Nadja freezes as she stands in the mayor’s office doorway. The mayor called for her personally, which was never a good thing. But seeing the mayor being towered over by an admittedly adorable akumatization... she was torn between leaving and livestreaming. The latter won out thanks to the need for ratings with her news page app. “This is Nadja Chamack reporting live from Mayor Bourgeois’ office where an akumatization has turned our mayor... pink. It doesn’t seem to be the woman’s color—”

Nadja gasps when a whip grabs her phone out of her hand.

“Bonjour my fellow Parisians, I’m... damn what did the voice call me?” The butterfly mask outline appears over her eyes, “Égaliseur. Right. That’s it. I’m gonna need these Miracle jewelry things or whatever before I go full-on evil diva and make everyone as miserable as I am.” She saunters over to Nadja and records herself touching the fuchsia-haired woman’s stomach turning it pink. “But at least we’ll all look good doing it.” Then she cuts the live feed.

Wide-eyed and turning pink, Nadja looks up at her. “W-What have you done to me?”

“Pink is such a good color on you.” She gives Nadja back her phone, “I’m Égaliseur, didn’t you hear? We’ll all be feeling equal real soon. I have something to take care of first.”

👑

Adrien barges in the study with Nathalie hot on his heels, “Adrien, you can’t just—”

“Leave us, Nathalie. I will explain everything in due time.” The blue-haired woman gives the chair back a strange look but nods and leave the study closing the door behind her.

“Care to explain?” Gabriel, dressed as Hawkmoth, turns to him.

“That would be my line, Père. What the shit is Chloé doing akumatized?”

“Her anger was so powerful I nearly gave into it myself.” Gabriel closes his eyes, blissful expression on his masked face. “Such a raw, chaotic emotion? I had to akumatize her.”

“If Chloé is that pissed and powered up, she’ll be coming after me!”

“Did you think I would let one of my akumatizations come after you?”

“You let her go after Tante Audrey.”

“Audrey isn’t my son. Also, I’m certain she, she being Audrey, is relatively fine. Now, if you’re that worried about—”

There’s an explosion that reverberates through the house then Nathalie screams.

“Adrikins~” A saccharine, all-too familiar voice sing-songs, “come out, come out, wherever you are~”

Adrien turns to his père. The butterfly mask outline appears over his face briefly before it shatters leaving him gasping. “What just happened?”

“Her anger... it’s too powerful for me to control. Run, Adrien!”

A pink fist comes through the door before the door dissolves into pink glitter. A pink, pixie-esque Chloé steps over the dust beaming at Adrien. Before the blond could run off she lassos him with her whip. “Where you going, Adrikins? Our reunion is about to get started.”

Hawkmoth stands. “Don’t hurt him. I command you!”

Chloé laughs, “that’s cute.”

“I can strip your powers away just as easily as I gave you them.”

Chloé’s grin widens as she pulls Adrien toward her, pink nails digging into his forehead, “do it then.” He lifts his hand trying to pull out the akuma from her hair tie but he can feel the akuma’s resistance. What the fuck is going on? “What’s wrong, Hawkmoth? I thought you said you could strip my powers away?”

“You don’t want to kill M. Agreste.”

“Don’t I? He’s the reason I didn’t know about my papa’s death!” Her voice’s echo shatters the windows in the study. “Why do you want him alive anyway? Unless...” Her eyes widen then she laughs, “oh this is rich. Oncle Gabriel?” The butterfly outline appears over her eyes as well as Hawkmoth’s and Gabriel staggers to the floor kneeling. How is she overpowering him?! “I should kill you, with these powers you’ve given me but you personally haven’t wronged me. Not yet anyway. Where’s Tante Émilie, is she involved in this too? Seems like something right up her alley.”

“Maman’s dead.” She turns to Adrien, “s-she didn’t beat—”

“When?”

“About a month after your papa.”

“That’s impossible. Tante Émilie visited a few months ago...”

“But didn’t tell you about your papa? Are you sure it wasn’t Tante Amélie? She wouldn’t’ve known about Oncle André.”

“But how would she know about me?”

“It’s only because Émilie had such a big mouth.” The three of them turn to the doorway where Amélie Graham de Vanily is waltzing toward them. “She told me when she died I was to visit the Bourgeois girl in the nuthouse in her stead. Only I forgot to tell you that I wasn’t Ém.”

Still holding Adrien, Chloé wordlessly touches Amélie’s stomach, “suffer.” She whispers. Gabriel and Adrien’s eyes widen as Amélie turns pink. “You’re all gonna suffer!” She touches Adrien’s already pink turning head again then releases him from her whip and rushes at Hawkmoth. He parries her hand with his cane but that turns pink with her touch then it spreads to the rest of him.

Then Chloé laughs as she flees.

Gabriel’s knees buckle as he watches Chloé leap through the hole she created in the foyer.

“What the fuck did I get myself into!?” Amélie wails slumping to the ground.

A pink Nathalie stumbles into the study, then collapses.

Every fiber of his being is screaming out in pain. He must be too inexperienced with akumatizations to overpower the raw, overwhelming anger Chloé’s feeling. Had he known this would go south so quickly he never would’ve akumatized her. Unlike the rest of her victims he’s feeling everything she is twice over having been the one to inflict this upon her. Unfortunately, his only hope is that the ladybug or black cat can respectively purify or destroy the akuma.

He struggles to get to his feet. He needs another akuma but Chloé is somehow siphoning his power. Consulting the book is his best option, but first—

Hawkmoth shakes Adrien, “get up. You need to transform. It’ll lessen the pain.” Hopefully. He can’t speak from experience on that front.

He helps Adrien sit up, “s-spread the feathers, Duusu.” Adrien cries out in pain as Duusu transforms him but even as Fantôme his son is still pink. “N-No...” He grits out, “doesn’t lessen the pain or anger.”

“Come on, we need to get to the book.”

“What if you drop the transformation? Would that do anything?”

“I’m not certain. We’ll consult the book first.”

👑

Queen Bee discovered the weapons were also capable of taking pictures. She took several pictures of the pink mayor, the unconscious police commissioner, and the pink newscaster. There were also pink people laid out all over the halls.

She met up with Eradicat and Musicbug back in the mayor’s office, the three of them scratching their heads. “Where could she have gone?” Eradicat asks, putting her hands on her hips.

“And what’s her power do beside turn people cotton candy pink?”

A hand latches around Queen Bee’s leg and she screams. The mayor looks up at her with tear-stained cheeks, “you have to stop my daughter. She’s hurting... and she’s making all of us hurt too. I-I’m in so much pain—”

“Don’t make this about you, Lady.” Queen Bee pulls her leg free. “What’d you do to piss your daughter off?”

“I forgot to tell her her papa died.” The three of them suck in a breath, “I know I messed up, okay! I don’t need a reminder.”

“Clearly, you do! You’re the one that sent her away, right? It was all over the news a few years back.” Eradicat and Queen Bee turn to him. “I’m guessing you two weren’t in Paris when all the shit went down three years ago. The mayor had her own daughter committed to a mental institute. The news never said why.”

“Did you not see what she did? Clearly, I made the right choice!”

You should’ve been thrown in a damn mental institute. How the fuck did you forget to tell your daughter her father was dead?”

“She wasn’t around and as you can see, I’m the mayor, I have a very busy schedule.”

Someone clears their throat and the three of them get in an offensive stance. The man in the doorway holds his arms in the air. “I mean you no harm.” They slowly lower their weapons. “I know where Mlle. Chloé’s akuma is. It’s in her hair tie. I was with her when she transformed, but the chauffeur got us out of the way. I have an idea where she might be. It was the news of her père’s death that sent her over the edge. She’s at the last place she saw him alive. Le Grand Paris, the rooftop. She has a lot of anger inside her.”

“Seems like that anger is justified.” Queen Bee mutters glaring at the mayor.

“Still...” Eradicat clicks her tongue. “Hawkmoth took advantage of that justified but unchecked anger—”

“And we’re the ones who have to clean up this mess.” Musicbug finishes. “After akumatizing a kid I didn’t think Hawkmoth could be anymore of an ass and yet...”

Eradicat turns back to the mayor. “Why are you pinker than the newscaster?”

“I was touched twice by my daughter—”

“Can’t really say you didn’t deserve it.” Queen Bee replies with a shrug. “Let’s hit the hotel. I’ve always wanted to see it close up.”

When the trio reached the hotel, dozens of pink people are sprawled out in the halls moaning in pain.

Each floor they climb up has people sprawled out on the floors pink. Can you agree with an akumatization’s reasons for getting akumatized yet still kick her ass? They’ll find out.

The akumatization is on the rooftop swinging their legs. She looks over her shoulder at them then turns back ahead of her. “I suppose you’re the jewelry wearing folk I’m supposed to steal from?”

“We know you’re hurting...” Eradicat begins taking a seat to the pink-haired girl’s left, “let us help you.”

The pink-haired girl laughs bitterly. “That’s sweet of you to suggest but I’m afraid I’m beyond help. All I want is to make the people who wronged me feel the way they made me feel.”

Queen Bee takes a seat to her right, “and what about the people who haven’t wronged you? Half the city is pink and in pain.”

“I can’t do anything about that. The pain I feel has been spread out evenly throughout the city. I am Égaliseur after all.”

“As cute as you look, you can’t stay like this forever. Hawkmoth is taking advantage of your pain and is making you make hundreds of people suffer.”

“Hawkmoth?” She laughs, “Hawkmoth can’t control me. He made me too powerful.”

“Holy mother of Frankenstein...” Musicbug mutters. “He must’ve royally fucked up. He akumatized someone in so much pain he couldn’t manipulate the emotion to suit him. I mean, it’s understandable though right? He is just as new to all this as we are.”

Eradicat puts a hand on the pink-haired girl’s shoulder, “do you know who Hawkmoth is?” She nods, “can you tell us?”

The pink-haired girls shrugs, “sure, why not? He’s On—”

“Wait.” Eradicat interrupts, ears twitching, “someone’s here.”

“Well there goes my dramatic reveal.” A brown bird steps out into the balcony leaning against the doorframe with an arrow nocked in the bow in their hands, “I’m Sparrow.” He fires an arrow at the pink-haired girl that Eradicat barely deflects. The girls jump to their feet as Sparrow nocks another arrow. “I can do this all day.”

“Not another akumatization then.” Queen Bee mutters.

“If Hawkmoth can’t control Égaliseur, it stands to reason he’s gonna want her out of the picture.” Musicbug replies, “we need to protect her.”

“Protect an akumatization. That’s a new one.” Eradicat says.

“Every day there’s a new thing with this gig.” Musicbug adds.

Sparrow disappearing before their very eyes puts them all on high alert. “What are we dealing with here? A kwami of deception or invisibility?” Eradicat asks.

“Let’s find out. Lucky Charm!” When Musicbug throws the yo-yo in the air it shifts into a polkadotted fire extinguisher. He catches it with a frown, “weird, this one’s too obvious.” The floor and Queen Bee are the only things highlighted with the polkadotted aura. Makes sense, she can stun him after he’s revealed. “Bee, hold onto this for me.”

“Aye aye.” With a nod, she takes the fire extinguisher.

Sparrow’s maintaining their distance, shooting arrows Eradicat’s ears pick up before they reach their intended target. “Something isn’t right... I feel like we’re being baited. Sparrow isn’t trying to get close even though they know we won’t be able to see them until it’s too late. I bet the copy kwami is gonna show up or not show up as Sparrow this time around.”

“Unless that’s what they want us to think?” Queen Bee argues.

“Either way, I wanna end this.” She unclasps her batons, gripping one in each hand.

“Oh my~” Fantôme sashays onto the rooftop from the penthouse suit and there’s no way he walked into the hotel like that. Although, with everyone else being pink it might not have mattered. “Seems to me like you’re a little outnumbered.” He taunts. Behind him, Sparrow resurfaces and they’re joined by Hawkmoth – who is also pink. But behind them are five new people, well technically four new people and one that maybe isn’t quite new. The Tiger’s true form, although pink, is among the group alongside a Squirrel, a Squid, a Falcon, and a Spider.

Eight to three (or even four if the pink-haired girl works with them)? Not great odds. “Well, shit.” Queen Bee mutters.

“Wait. Who’s that?”

“Feathers? He’s Hawkmoth’s partner. You must’ve got to him pre-transformation.”

“Partner?” The pink-haired girl blinks, “no way, no... it couldn’t be—”

“I’m afraid you have something that belongs to me.” Hawkmoth begins. “If you hand over Égaliseur we’ll be on our way.”

“Not happening.” Eradicat growls.

“Should’ve known you wouldn’t’ve agreed to a parley.” Hawkmoth takes a purple feather out of the top part of his cane (a secret compartment? Seriously?) and hands it to Fantôme. Fantôme wraps the feather around a ring that morphs into a giant phoenix. “Kitty’s not the only one with new abilities.” The phoenix shrieks then violently flaps its wings. “I guess we can see if the Miracle Cure is capable of reversing death.” The wings start flapping stronger trying to knock them off their balance and off the rooftop.

The polkadotted aura disappears from the floor and appears around Eradicat’s hand, yet the fire extinguisher and Bee are still highlighted. “I got it.” He whispers. But how is he to communicate with his team without giving it away?

“I—oh.” Queen Bee swaps one of Eradicat’s batons for the fire extinguisher. She hands the baton to Musicbug.

“Understood—”

Hawkmoth’s eyes widen. “Stop. Her!”

Cataclysm!” Eradicat punctures the fire extinguisher then throws it at the phoenix. As the phoenix explodes into a ball of foam the Musicbug and Eradicat pole vault off the building while Queen Bee grabs Égaliseur and they swing away with her top.

“Dammit.”

“Should we pursue?” Sparrow asks.

“No.” He turns to the Squirrel. “We haven’t had the pleasure yet, Mlle—”

“Majestia. When I heard about your little... predicament, I decided to come to you. Shame about you underestimating the younguns, Hawkmoth.” She tsks.

“They’re the ones who underestimated me.” Hawkmoth’s right hand slowly curls into a fist, “the emotions aren’t strong enough to overpower me anymore. And once the akuma leaves her body it’ll take all her memories of being akumatized with it.”

Fantôme does a double take. “Wait, you can do that?”

“That’s why I consulted the book. There are many secrets of the Miraculouses we have to uncover. I won’t waste my time erasing everyone’s memories of their akumatization but it’s imperative we not allow anyone to stand in our way. Having someone know who we are will hinder what we can and cannot do. And when I’m stronger and akumatize Égaliseur again, I’ll be ready.”

“You plan to akumatize her again!? Abso-fucking-lutely not! Did you see what she did? She might be free from the memories but the rest of us will always remember this!”

“There’s nothing I can do about that. And perhaps if you paid better attention to your daughter you’ll stay off her bad side.”

“Wait.” Majestia looks between them, “you akumatized her daughter? That’s rough, buddy.”

“Mlle. Majestia. About the matter you requested? I need but two Miraculouses.”

“Just two, huh? Nah. I think we can do with more. You saw how quick they were to flee. Until we know what Paris’ current Guardian is planning we need the numbers on our side.”

👑

Before they hit the ground, Égaliseur aka Chloé Bourgeois’ akumatization transformation broke, and given she knew who Hakmoth and possibly Fantôme were it’s no surprise she was stripped of her memories.

Tikki told him in the past, Nooroo wiped the memories of those affected by his akumas – whether they were used for good or evil.

Hawkmoth must genuinely not give a fuck to not even bother attempting to wipe anyone else’s memory.

Nino used the Miracle Cure but it did nothing to restore the memories that weren’t lost but suppressed. Tikki and Kagami’s kwami, Plagg, said if anyone could restore suppressed memories it’s a Guardian. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the Guardian who gave them their Miraculouses. Apparently Fu’s power was longevity and Kagami’s own grandpa, Akira, had premonition. What they needed was a Guardian with the rare ability of hypnosis. Which was second in its rareness only to premonition.

Surprisingly, Chloé didn’t think the whole animal themed super-powered folk was that far out of the realm of possibility when they explained everything to her.

He had just left Kim’s place when Nadja’s feed went live, so thankfully he didn’t have to worry about making an excuse to duck out. And things happened to wrap up right when Chris needed to be picked up.

“Hey, Tikki, I’m wondering something: Where do my glasses go when I transform?”

Tikki lifts his hat to look down at his face, “huh... I’m guessing you didn’t think about that when you first transformed so you don’t have any.”

“I’ve been wearing glasses since I was six. That’s more than a decade. I mean, I don’t even know if I can see without ‘em. Magic powered or not.”

“Then it’s a good thing your Lucky Charm has never been anything you’ve had to read up close.” Nino hums in agreement, “and for what it’s worth: you’re a great ladybug. You and the black cat are working in perfect harmony.”

Nino’s eyes widen, “ooh. Harmony. Harmonybug. I’m liking it.”

“Let’s just hope toy companies haven’t licensed Musicbug yet, Pupa.”

His cellphone buzzes and he takes it out of his pocket – he and Kagami exchanged numbers in school yesterday, which is how he learned her grandpère was a Guardian. Evidently, Akira also knows of another former Guardian in the city; a Jean-Luc Kubdel.

Nino blinks at the name on the phone. Holy shit! Alix’s old man was a Guardian? Or was it her great-great-grandpère who her papa was named after? Either way, it explained his “disinterest” in neither proving nor disproving his son Jalil’s cockamamie “magical findings” in the Louvre for the past decade or so. Then again, Nino didn’t know Paris – or the world in general – was truly full of magic until a talking magical ladybug told him.

If Alix’s family has magic, he and Kagami need to pay them a visit.

👑

Kagami puts a socked foot in her shoe when Tomoe emerges from the bathroom dressed in a crisp navy tux, hair tied up in a high bun. She’s even wearing a new pair of sunglasses that match her suit and traded out her trusty bokken for a regular probing cane. “Going somewhere?”

“I could ask the same of you, Kaasan.”

“I have been invited to a charity gala at Le Grand Paris tonight. I am... testing out the suit that was sent to me this morning.” Kagami glances at her grandfather who shrugs as he resumes his walk to the kitchenette. “Where are you going?”

“To meet a friend at the Louvre.”

Tomoe raises an eyebrow, “a ‘friend,’ you say?” She hums, “you must introduce me to the ladybug Miraculous wielder soon.” Her mother was more accepting of her receiving a kwami than her grandfather for some inexplicable reason.

“After you introduce me to your paramour, Kaasan.”

Tomoe laughs, “sounds like a fair deal to me. Have fun with your friend.”

“You too.” Kagami puts her other socked foot in her shoe. She opens the door and there’s a tall bespectacled blond man standing in the hall with his hand raised, poised to knock. “Can I help you?”

The man clears his throat, “I certainly hope so. My name is Gabriel Agreste. I’m looking for Tomoe Tsurugi.”

“Gabriel?” Tomoe steps into the doorway extending her right hand, and this Gabriel man kisses her hand. Kagami watches the exchange with wide eyes. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

“I simply couldn’t wait until tonight to see you. You look lovely, as expected.”

“You flatter me.”

“I merely speak the truth.”

“Thank you for the outfit. It’s lovely.”

“You deserve nothing but the absolute best.”

Tomoe blushes and Kagami has to do a double take. This is... unexpected, for a number of reasons. “This is my daughter, Kagami.”

“She’s the splitting image of you.”

“Really? I was told she looks more like her late father.”

Tomoe nudges her and Kagami forces out a half-assed greeting before excusing herself and fleeing. There’s no way she can maintain her sanity being around this. As she rounds the corner, Plagg flies out of her hood. “I sense a kwami.” He whispers.

“What?” Pausing mid-step, Kagami leans against the wall then looks around the corner watching the blond walk into their hotel room. “From him?”

“Yes. Wait, no. Maybe? We don’t get specifics. I just know I sense a kwami nearby.” He flies back into her hood, “but kwami or no kwami, the guy’s rubbing me the wrong way.”

“Agreed.”

After getting a text from Nino (who got a text from Fu), they meet up with him at Fù’s shop.

Fù is pouring three cups of tea when they arrive. “Ah. Welcome.”

“I apologize for my tardiness. Kaasan had a...” She grimaces, “guest.”

“No need to apologize and you did not miss much. I was simply telling Nino that the Kubdel family, unlike other Guardians, are indentured to the order by a single Miraculous. Jean-Luc has been the sole wielder of the Miraculous of time and, appropriately so, his Guardian power is longevity; same as mine.”

“Why does this one family get to watch over a single Miraculous?”

“Truthfully, I have no idea. It has been like that since long before my conscription into the order. Though I heard the rumors. The Kubdel family – Jean-Luc specifically – assisted in the creation of the rabbit Miraculous, which is a pocket watch, and in doing so bound the bloodline to Fluff, the kwami of time, for all eternity.” Nino whistles and Kagami hums. “However, the family – and again Jean-Luc specifically – is far from immortal. What’s been keeping Jean-Luc alive is his lack of a successor.”

“So this Jean-Luc helped create a Miraculous and bound himself to the aforementioned Miraculous’ kwami in the process yet is somehow not immortal?”

“Anything will sound outrageous when you say it like that!” Kagami shakes her head nudging Nino who laughs.

“Time is a fickle thing, that is something I have learned the hard way. Unlike most kwamis, Fluff must be active at all times with a partner. There is no miniature Miracle Box for them to lay dormant in until a partner is found. It is imperative time constantly and consistently be on the move. Jean-Luc is getting sicker by the second because his successor is among the living. Once Fluff is passed on, Jean-Luc will die.”

“His successor must be among his family then, yes? You said it yourself. The Kubdels are bound to Fluff.”

“Just how long ago has he been getting sick? Or like, when did the sickness get real bad?”

“I have not seen him in almost two decades before yesterday but he was definitely healthier back then.”

“Dude, it’s gotta be Alix then. Her older brother is more than two decades old.”

“You know this Alix well?”

“Yeah. She’s one of my best friends. I’ve known her since we were two. It’s gotta suck that her old man’s dying... unless it isn’t her papa?”

“It is. There’s only been one Jean-Luc Kubdel in existence since the dawn of time.”

“Wouldn’t that make him his own ancestor?” Kagami and Nino pause then stare at each other.

“And to think you two will only grow closer.” Plagg muses. They both blink at Plagg before turning back to each other. “Don’t look so terrified!” He laughs.

“The nature of the closeness depends on you two!” Tikki chirps. “I know it’s been a few centuries since our wielders weren’t mated but a friendship between you two would be just as strong as a romantic relationship! Many humans have a tendency to overlook friendships in favor of romantic or physical relationships.”

“What about a physical relationship between other wielders?”

“I knew I saw you eyeing Bee!” Nino laughs.

Kagami blushes, folding her arms over her chest. “As if you weren’t doing the same?” Nino’s laughter turns to sputtering.

“Careful, the Bee is the kwami of subjection.” Plagg warns. “She could literally make you guys want her. It’s well within her power to do so. Pheromones and shit.” Plagg shudders, “and there’s no way to escape or neutralize ‘em. There’s a reason Buzzer is almost always safely tucked away in the Miracle Box. You gotta be too many things to use them properly. Your Bee’s got a handle on things so far though.”

“Speaking of wielders, Hawkmoth has a plethora of allies.”

“Does he?” Fù strokes his beard, “this is troubling. We must find a way to restore the memories he wiped.”

“Dude, what we must do is level the playing field. What good will it be knowing who Hawkmoth is if we can’t go after him because we’re surrounded by toadies? Even if these new people didn’t come out of the woodwork Hawkmoth still had the four Miraculouses he stole.”

“Stole...” They both turn to Kagami, “Master, this pupil of yours that killed her colleagues? Her surname was Agreste, right? Was that a married name?” Fù nods.

“Wait, did you say Agreste? Like Gabriel Agreste?”

Kagami turns to Nino, “you know him?”

“Know of him. He’s a Paris born world famous fashion designer and recluse.”

“A recluse...” Kagami repeats. “He... I-I saw him before I got here.”

“What? When?” At her grimace, Nino nudges her. “Don’t keep us in suspense.”

“He... he came to pick up my mother at the hotel for some gala tonight. I-I believe he’s courting her.”

“Dude...” Kagami nods in agreement, “but hold up a sec. Gabriel Agreste publicly flipped his shit at his wife’s funeral last year. And every news outlet in the country glorified his devotion to her.”

“Then he has motive to go through extremes in bringing her back with the wish. And the crazed look in his eyes was familiar to Hawkmoth’s. Not to mention he’s the right build. Plus, Plagg sensed a kwami in time with his arrival.”

“Shit, lead with that last bit next time. Now, all that’s good and whatever—not good but... you know. Good points. However, what I was getting at was your maman’s involvement in this—involvement with him.”

Oh. Oh!” Kagami cracks her knuckles, “if he’s stringing her along, he’ll have one more thing to answer to.”

“And I just remembered, Gabriel Agreste and the mayor work together a lot. It’s all the more reason to cover his tracks and wipe the mayor’s daughter’s mind when she found out.”

“As you said, knowing Hawkmoth’s identity will not make it easy to get to him. Especially if he is a renown recluse with a kwami that is tailor made for him. Hawkmoth does not have to leave his lair to akumatize anyone. He only made his presence known when compromised.” Fu’s eyes cut to Kagami, “we will need to look into people M. Agreste is associated with to identify his allies.”

“That makes my mother a suspect as a potential wielder. I understand.”

“But she probably isn’t one though... right?”

“Honestly? I’d say the probability is fifty-fifty. My family is attuned with magic, something I never took at face value until it was thrust in my face.”

“That sucks. Not the magic bit, the your parent might be working with Hawkmoth bit.”

“Yes... it does suck.” Kagami frowns. “Plagg has never mentioned sensing another kwami until today but that may change. I need clarification on something, Master. Did Émilie Agreste steal the Miraculouses from you?”

Fù sighs, “yes and no. When a Guardian trains potential hopefuls, they don’t give them Miraculouses from their Miracle Box.”

“In case they decide to go on a murder spree?” Nino guesses.

That and several other reasons. The Miracle Box that contained the tiger, rooster, peafowl, and – of course – butterfly had no Guardian overlooking it.”

“Hence the need to train recruits.” Kagami finishes.

Fù nods, “exactly. A Guardian isn’t given more than a dozen or less than five Miraculouses to look over.”

“Five?” Kagami and Nino repeat.

Fù nods again, “I had not officially assigned the snake Miraculous at the time. Every Guardian must have mastery over every Miraculous in their care. They did not even get to switch before their deaths. The only reason Émilie Agreste had not made off with more Miraculous was because the last ladybug wielder fended Mme. Agreste off at the cost of her life.”

“Tikki said the lady killed anyone who got in her way.” Beside Nino, Tikki nods sadly.

“It was a senseless, brutal tragedy that should not have happened. Eight people were murdered. Two were not even potential Guardians or Miraculous holders, they were simply guards!”

“If you had five Miraculouses and only four were stolen, what happened to the fifth? What happened to the snake Miraculous?”

“It was lost in the chaos. I spent the past decade scouring the globe for it and my searches have always come up empty.”

“Then how do we know Hawkmoth doesn’t have it?”

“The last ladybug wielder and I only saw the four Miraculouses in Émilie Agreste’s hands.”

“What about the black cat Miraculous holder before me?”

“He... he refused to fight. He even willingly renounced ownership of his Miraculous. However, he was not spared. If... if only he fought alongside his partner, perhaps none of this would have—” He shakes his head, “it is far too late to wonder about what ifs.” Taking a deep breath, Fù steels himself. “I have to tell you both about the Miraculouses I do have in my possession—”

The bell chimes and the kwamis both phase into Nino’s hat as Alix wanders into the shop. Nino and Kagami scramble to their feet and haul ass to the backroom, picking up the tray of teacups along the way.

Once there’s no trace of other occupants in the area, Fù leaves the room to meet Alix in the “main” room of the shop. “Ah. Welcome.”

“Uh, hi.” Alix pulls a pocket watch out of her pocket, “name’s Alix. My papa gave me this address and said you can fix my watch? A little odd he’d recommend an incense shop instead of a watch place but—” She shrugs, “whatever. He’s done weirder. Anyway, I got this watch for my fifteenth birthday so that’s about two years now and this is the first time it’s stopped working.”

“Did you say it stopped?” Alix nods handing over the pocket watch. The grey was unfamiliar to him but the standing rabbit on the cover would be forever ingrained into his memory. Fù stares at the white interior of the pocket watch and the fact that it’s not moving. In thousands of years the watch always worked. He tried winding it up but to no avail. Is this symbolic to Jean-Luc’s health?

The rabbit Miraculous having a (suitable) wielder was just as important as having a ladybug and black cat who were able to synchronize.

Perhaps not enough magic was being poured into it? It already shifted colors due to the potential new wielder but Fù felt no magic from the Miraculous itself. He did, however, sense a tremendous amount of magic from the teen before him. As strong as Jean-Luc’s aura.

“Do you recall the last time your papa held the watch in his hands?”

“This afternoon. He gave me a new chain to wear around it so I can hook it into my pants loops.”

“And when did you notice it stopped working?”

“This afternoon...” Alix’s eyes narrow, “papa was the one who noticed. He got this weirder than usual look in his eyes then he told me to come down here to fix it. I would’ve been here earlier but I got caught up in that mess with the pink fairy akumatization.”

“I see. Jean-Luc was always old fashioned. Goodbye, old friend.” He holds out the watch to Alix. Once she grasps it, while it’s still in Fu’s hands, the watch pulses then changes from grey to steel blue.

“N-No way. Did you see that?” She opens the watch, which is also now steel blue on the inside as well, and it starts moving. “H-How?! Y-You didn’t do anything!”

“Because you did. Alix Kubdel: This is the Miraculous of the rabbit, it contains Fluff – the kwami of time. Your father’s dying wish is for you to wield this Miraculous. To fight alongside the ladybug and black cat wielders and use your power for the greater good.”

“My—dying!?” Her eyes widen, “t-that’s why he sounded so final about it. Aww man. No—Wait... my papa had a Miraculous!?”

“One of the very first. It now falls to you to protect time.”

“Me? W-What about my brother?”

Fù shakes his head, “it has to be you. You were granted the watch after all.” Alix closes the pocket watch, gripping the Miraculous tight then in a flash the grey-eyed white rabbit kwami fades into existence before them.

“Holy shitsnacks!”

Fluff looks around with narrowed eyes, “what happened? I was...” They turn to Alix, “oh. So he’s gone. I felt his aura fading.”

“T-Then my papa is dead? Just like that?” Fluff nods. “I didn’t even get to say goodbye. A-And he seemed fine before I left this morning! What killed him?!”

“How do I put this delicately? A culmination of things killed your papa. The man was over a million years old. He existed alongside the first humans in this world.”

“Huh? H-How?!”

“Magic. Longevity to be precise. He lived a full, exceedingly long life. Now it’s your turn. Unfortunately, you don’t get to decide. We need to be together. The universe kinda depends on it.”

“Okay.” Alix sighs, “kinda wish I would’ve gotten a heads up but whatever.”

“I know you’ll do great.” Alix frowns, uncertainty all over her face. “And if you have any questions I can’t answer you can always see the Master.”

Fù nods, “Jean-Luc was a dear friend of mine. I would be happy to assist in any way I can.”

“So I’m gonna be able to kick Hawkmoth’s and the prissy peacock’s asses alongside Soundbug, Blackholecat, and the KillerBee? I can think of worse things.” The watch pops open and Alix looks down at holograph of her papa.

“One of the perks of wielding the Miraculous of time?” The holograph speaks, “knowing when yours is going to run out. Though I suppose that could also be seen as a downside.” He chuckles. “I know you’ll be a fantastic rabbit Alix.” Alix nods at the holograph, “of all the lifetimes I’ve lived, being your papa has made me the happiest. I’ve recorded a lot of holographs so you won’t be forgetting the sound of my voice any time soon. Good luck.”

Fluff nuzzles Alix’s face. “Alright.” She balls up her fists, then wipes her eyes. “How do I power up?”

👑

The gala was a success, not that Gabriel expected any less. He and Émilie had been trying to get Tomoe to visit Paris for sometime now. But now that she’s actually living in the city? The only way things could be perfect was if Émilie was beside him. Beside them. No matter, soon he’ll have both of them together. He just hopes Émilie won’t be too mad he started without her. He’d think about offering Tomoe a Miraculous but there was something about her daughter that rubbed him the wrong way.

The clear, challenging defiance in her eyes was all too familiar.

Like one of the brats working under the Guardian. The Cat in particular. The Bee’s eyes could not be seen through her crisscrossing goggles, and the Ladybeetle’s stare wasn’t as intense.

Their height was also similar, but the same could be said for many other girls in the city.

If the magic of the Miraculouses could turn his son blue via transformation then there’s no telling what it could’ve done to Kagami Tsurugi. He’s gonna have to keep an eye on her the next time he sees Tomoe.

“Nooroo.” The kwami stiffens, “did you sense another kwami in the hotel earlier today?”

“No, Master.”

Gabriel studies his kwami, the little butterfly is a pro – he’s not transmitting anything emotion wise. “You wouldn’t lie to me, would you Nooroo?”

Nooroo looks him dead in the eyes, “no, Master.”

Amélie walks in his study. “You dyed your hair.”

She flips her now brown hair. “Can’t have people thinking your dead wife came back to life. Not yet anyway.”

“Speaking of Émilie, has she ever mentioned the Miraculouses to you?”

“Oh yeah. Kept going on and on about how she’s gonna get healthy with some wish or whatever.” Amélie rolls her eyes. “Ém always was a dreamer. I was the practical one.”

Gabriel turns to Nathalie, “has she ever mentioned it to you?” The blue-haired woman nods without meeting his eyes which makes Gabriel narrow his eyes in response. He just knows something went on between Émilie and Nathalie and he also knows he’s more likely to get struck by lightning twice than have Nathalie respond to his inquiries. She was Émilie’s assistant after all and she’s loyal to his late wife moreso than him. “Fortunately, I do not have to choose between handing you each a Miraculous. Amélie—” He holds out the rooster’s thumb ring, “this is the Miraculous of sound.”

“Ooh.” She fits the ring on her thumb.

“As for you, Nathalie...” He hands her a frog shaped bellybutton ring, “the Miraculous of absorption.”

Amélie leans into Nathalie eyeing the ring. “I’ll trade you?” Nodding, they swap jewelry. Amélie hums to herself as she inserts the bellybutton ring and whistles. “Now what?”

“Now? We wait for the Guardian to make his next move. He’s no doubt going to try and match our numbers. Or at least increase his.”

“Just so long as we don’t do whatever you did to the Bourgeois girl again, alright? I have no intention of being on the receiving end of such a hateful look ever again.” Amélie shudders. “I should’ve known Audrey’d fuck up her kid in some way. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about Félix. And speaking of my wonderful son, he should be arriving tomorrow. I hope you have sufficient accommodations for us, Gabriel?”

“Of course.”

“Sir, what are you going to do about Chloé?”

Gabriel sighs, “I don’t know yet.”

“Is recruiting her not an option?” Amélie asks. “She loved Ém.”

“Audrey doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea after what Adrien did to her. And we all know Chloé can be just as petty as Audrey.” Gabriel shakes his head, “no, I can’t risk it. Not with the way things are currently.”

👑

Alya decided to wear her hair in a ponytail today. It gave Pollen a—wait, what the hell do bee’s live in? Regardless of the answer, Pollen took to swaddling themselves in her hair. If for whatever reason Alya’s hair wasn’t available, Pollen found themselves in a jacket pocket or a schoolbag. Then there was that one time Pollen hid in her shirt. That one didn’t workout.

She heard the whispers coming from down the hall about the blonde who entered the building with the mayor. Alya – or Queen Bee rather – knew Chloé had no recollection of what happened but since the Sabrina girl remembered every excruciating detail of her akumatization one of two things were going to happen: One – everyone would deduce, incorrectly, that Sabrina is lying. Two – everyone would, incorrectly, theorize that Chloé is lying. Both were publicly akumatized – though people only knew Chloé was the pixie because it looked exactly like her just with pink hair.

And speaking of hair, Chloé’s was a lot shorter than it was when it was pink.

Though she is pulling off the floofy swoop with the undercut.

But Alya – not Queen Bee – isn’t supposed to know the new girl’s name so she makes it a point to get to know her name. She closes her locker and turns around into that brunette from the other day. Alya – not Queen Bee – isn’t supposed to feel some kind of way about getting thrown off the Eiffel Tower but damn did she feel it. “You.”

The brunette’s eyes narrow, “me.” They stare at each other before the brunette cracks a very forced smile. “I feel like we got off on the wrong foot Tuesday. I’m Lila.” She extends her hand. Alya stares at it before (reluctantly) shaking the offered hand.

“Alya.”

It is, quite frankly, the tensest, longest handshake of Alya Césaire’s seventeen years of life.

“Oh.” Lila and Alya turn to Marinette who looks down at their hands.

“Marinette.” Lila gasps letting go of Alya’s hand, “I was hoping to run into you. I wanted to apologize for the other day.” At Marinette’s unimpressed raised eyebrow Lila frowns, “for... you know—” She looks around, “the kidnapping?” She whispers.

“I can’t forgive you until I understand this whole akumatizing thing.”

Lila nods, “y-yeah, okay, that’s fair. I... I guess I’ll see you around then?” Marinette nods slowly. Lila nods again then walks off.

“Did she say she kidnapped you?” Alya whispers, waiting until Lila turns the corner.

With a sigh, Marinette nods. “Yeah. She was akumatized after I rejected her I think. But like I said, I don’t think anyone gets this akuma thing yet.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s true.” Alya herself doesn’t fully understand it. Maybe her teammates do but she hasn’t asked them yet. Maybe she’ll stop by the shop after school today? She glances at Marinette frowning, “personally, I don’t think you should forgive her even if you do figure it out.” Marinette chuckles. “What was it like?”

Blinking, Marinette meets her eyes. “Huh?”

“What was it like?” Alya repeats, “like... whatever happened to you.” Can’t get into specifics without giving herself away. “But if it’s something you don’t wanna talk about you don’t have to answer.”

“No, no. You’re fine.” Marinette takes a deep breath, “it was... I don’t think I have words to describe it properly? It was fun in a way and terrifying in another.”

“Marinette.” The blue-haired girl turns to the redhead shuffling over to her. Unlike a certain brunette, when Marinette rejected Nathaniel he was very cordial about the whole thing. (Maybe a bit too cordial since he apologized to her.) They didn’t instantly become friends afterwards but with them both being in the art club and having the common denominator known as Alix Kubdel, they eventually became friends. Marinette admired him: it took a lot of courage to ask someone out, especially when you’re that damn shy. (Him asking her out was the first time she ever even heard him talk!) Marinette suspects he moved on so quickly because she wasn’t the only one he had a crush on.

“What’s wrong?”

“You didn’t hear about Alix’s papa? They said he died in his sleep last night.”

Marinette’s eyes widen, “oh no. How’s Alix?”

“Alix says they’re fine but... you know Alix.” Nathaniel frowns.

Marinette startles at the hand on her shoulder, “sorry. Didn’t mean to spook you. Go see how your friend is doing. We can chat later.”

“Thanks Alya. Maybe we can compare schedules later?” Alya nods. Marinette thanks her again before running off with the redhead. Well, so much for not making friends. (Both in and out of the goggles.) She barely lasted a full week since coming to the decision! Though due to circumstances, she can’t fully be blamed. It’ll be a shame if none of this lasts. But... maybe if her parents leave and take the twins with them she can stay with Nora? It’s something to think about, at least. Marinette had a point; this superhero gig was as fun as it was terrifying. She doubts she’ll have the same camaraderie if she has to start the super gig all over again with a new team.

👑

Chloé doesn’t know what she did when she was “akumatized” but whatever it was, it scared Audrey shitless. She had this pained expression when Chloé told her about going to public school. She was supposed to start lycée publicly three years ago as Audrey was mayor and was settled in one place but like many things, Adrien took that dream from her too. With her maman as The Queen of Fashion and her papa as her manager, they traveled the world. Chloé only met Adrien because their parents traveled in the same social circles.

Then both her parents got into politics for whatever reason. And that’s a subject she won’t touch.

“I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to enroll your daughter into our school, Mayor Bourgeois.”

Audrey waves the headmaster off, “whatever. If she’s here she won’t be bothering me while I’m busy running the city.”

“You mean ruining.” Audrey shoots her a glare.

Headmaster Augustin clears her throat then gives Audrey the stack of papers to fill out. There’s a blissful three seconds of silence before Audrey turns to her daughter, scowling, “you’re not pulling off that look nearly as well as you think you are.”

Chloé moves some hair out of her face, “I was gonna go with a bob but I didn’t want anything to remind me of looking like you.”

“You should be grateful you came out looking half as good as I do!” Audrey mumbles something then begins signing the papers more aggressively than before.

For the first time since this school year began, the headmaster was wishing for a shorter sign in process if for no other reason than to get this infuriating woman out of her office. The process was undoubtedly twice as long because the mayor kept making snide comments about her daughter with every second breath.

Once the stack of papers were signed, the headmaster slaps on her most professional smile and walks Audrey to the door. What she wasn’t expecting was a wall of glaring, yelling students on the other side.

“Some mayor you are!”

“What did you do to your daughter to make her hurt so much?”

“You’re more of a monster than the akumatization you caused!”

“And I thought my maman was heartless!”

“You’re the worst!”

“You’re a bad mayor and a bad mère!”

“I can’t wait to turn eighteen and vote you out of office!”

Students jeer at the mayor as she makes her way past the mob. “Shut up! All of you! None of you know what it’s like to a maman!”

“And neither do you!” The crowd boos, chasing her out of the building.

The headmaster turns back to a snickering Chloé and raises an eyebrow, “oh come on! You can’t tell me she didn’t deserve that!”

👑

She opens her eyes, feeling the magic and the anger and the humiliation flowing through her. “You’d better know what you’re doing.”

“Have a little faith. Every akumatization makes me stronger. Consider this your extra contribution to the cause.”

“Like I’m not giving enough already.” Rolling her eyes, Audrey allows her self to give into the anger and transforms through the purplish black ooze. It feels much, much different than transforming with Roaar.

👑

Just when Chloé is ready to leave the headmaster’s office, students start screaming and running away from a diamond studded woman sauntering into the building. “Who’s laughing now you miserable little insects?”

“Aud—”

The headmaster pulls her back inside the office, “stay in here.”

Chloé holds up her hands, “you won’t get an argument from me.”

Outside the headmaster’s office, the diamond woman is turning the fleeing students into stained glass sculptures. “Come now. You were all so damn haughty not even five minutes ago!” She slams her hand against the wall turning it chrome. “Where’s the laughter now!?”

Marinette was unfortunate enough to run into Lila again while the chaos began to unfold. She had to drag her out of the way of an incoming blast from the scepter. The brunette is currently hugging her knees against her chest rocking back and forth.

She decided to hide in the art club room where Nathaniel, Marc, and Alix were already hiding.

Nathaniel sidles along the wall until he reaches the doorframe then he uses his phone’s camera to look around the hallway. “I don’t see her but she definitely came down this way.”

“What do we do?” Marc asks.

“We wait for the Miraculders to show up.” Marinette replies.

“And if they don’t?” Lila asks. The others turn to her glaring. “What? Maybe they got blasted already? Maybe they really aren’t heroes like the police commissioner said?”

“Or maybe you should shut the hell up.” Alix snaps.

Sabrina runs into the art room and gets immediately turned into a stained glass sculpture. Before everyone else can move the diamond woman blasts them all too then moves along.

Alix’s sculpture shatters almost instantly and she falls to the ground coughing up glass shards, “what the fuck?”

Fluff flies out of her hat, “my magic counteracted with the akuma’s. Time must always be in motion. We’re impervious to all magic that still movement.” Fluff and Alix both look around silently thankful none of the sculptures are facing their direction. They’d been talking the night before about transforming and working with the other Miraculous wielders but neither of them thought it would be so soon.

Alix makes her way out of the art club room and into the empty all-gender bathroom.

“Visualize what I want to be...” Inside the stall, Alix takes a deep breath and closes her eyes, “clockwise.” Her eyes open.

She takes the pocket watch off its chain, dangling it in front of her face, and clicks her heel of her shoes together. Something is coursing through her body, bathing it in a white light as it slowly starts to change. First comes the grey and white rabbit ears that protrude from her white turning hair. Next comes the half-white, half-brown, diagonally split masquerade mask slotting itself over her now grey eyes. Next her suit forms: it’s brown and grey resembling a rabbit’s body; she has on spotted grey and white fingerless gloves that extend all the way up to her elbows. Her knee-high boots are identical to her gloves but the ends have figureskate blades. Her pocket watch turns white and drops around her neck like a collar. Finally, a closed white umbrella appears out of thin air attaching itself to her back above her fluffy brown tail.

Alix admires her outfit as much as she can in the stall’s limited space. “Bitching! Hm. Hey, Fluff?” The kwami mentioned something about merging with the Miraculous during transformation and that they could talk telepathically while transformed. “Why do I have skates?”

“To skate the timestream.” The kwami states as if its the most obvious thing in the world, and to them it just might be.

Alix kicks the stall open and when she takes a step – or more accurately when she glides across the floor – there’s a multicolored trail underneath the blades.

Damn. Maybe she should’ve made rollerskates instead of figureskates.

She skates down the hall, after exiting the bathroom, and slams into the Bee. “Whoa. Another one.” The Bee says steadying her. “Queen Bee, at your service.”

“Thanks for the catch. I’m Al—flix. Fluff—x. Fli-x. Flu-x. Yeah. Flux.” Alix nods. “Flux is what I’m going with.” Alix nods again, more to herself than Queen Bee.

Queen Bee unlatches her top from her hip then flips it open. The skates didn’t make her any taller and she can’t tiptoe on them but Queen Bee mercifully lowers the top so it’s at Ali—Flux’s eye level. “C’mon. Pick up.”

The screen’s blank until the ladybug’s face pops up. “’Sup. Just a heads up. I’m going by Harmonybug. Makes more sense, all things considered.”

“I like it.” Queen Bee replies. Harmonybug grins. “Are you at Lycée Géroux Delacroix?”

“Yeah. I’m here. We’re gonna need some kind of universal akuma alert system because this place is turning out to be the obligatory akuma creation hotspot.”

“It’s a lycée. Why pass up on free emotions?”

Harmonybug sighs with a nod, “that’s true. Maybe we can bug Hawkmoth’s cane... and dammit that wasn’t meant to be a pun.” Queen Bee laughs regardless. “Wait. Who’s that next to you?”

“Flux. The rabbit Miraculous... wielder. Magic that stills movement won’t effect me.”

“Then it’s a good thing you showed up when you did.” Queen Bee replies. “Do you know what we’re dealing with, HB? The halls are full of stained glass statues.”

“Sculptures.” Queen Bee turns to her, “statues are... never mind. I’m a bit of an art buff.”

Queen Bee smiles at her. “Good to know. That’ll definitely come in handy.”

“I see the sculptures. Don’t know what the hell caused them though. You know, aside from sculpture creating akumatization.”

“Get out of my way!” Queen Bee and Flux exchange a glance before running down the hall where M. D’Argencourt is standing in the way between the akumatization and a group of students.

“I will not! You have no right to harm these students!”

“Like hell I don’t and if you continue to get in my way you’ll get the same as them!”

M. D’Argencourt holds up the foil in his hands, “run!” He tells the students who begin to argue to maintain their position until the akumatization fires a blast that M. D’Argencourt parries with his foil that the blast turns to stained glass. After that, the students smartly haul ass down the hall.

“Allez!” Before D’Argencourt can charge Queen Bee thrusts her top in his direction, grabbing him, and yanking him backward. “Wha—” He blinks, “oh! I can’t believe it’s really you!”

“Appreciate the assist but take your own advice and run.”

“Y-Yes, of course!” As soon as he’s released, he runs down the hall.

The purple butterfly outline appears over the akumatization’s eyes. “Oh no. This simply will not do. I need all three statues for the gallery to be—” She pauses, “what? What do you—” She stares at Flux then scowls. “Oh. A rabbit of all things?” She rolls her eyes, “I need four statues now.”

“They’re sculptures.”

“Children should be seen and not heard!” Queen Bee deflects the blast by spinning her top on its string. “How cute!” The akumatization stomps her foot turning the floor to liquid gold.

Skate the timestream.” Fluff whispers.

Unclipping her umbrella, Flux lifts her legs from the goop with a grimace. “Your weapon is an umbrella?”

“You’re spinning a top.”

“Good point.”

The akumatization is moving toward them through the gold faster than step backwards. “This would be so much easier but far less fun if you simply surrendered your Miraculouses.” She taunts.

Lucky Charm!” The akumatization growls then turns to Harmonybug who is holding a polkadotted cloth. “What the hell is this!?”

Eradicat lands on his right, “it looks like a cheesecloth.”

“Which is? And don’t say a cloth made of cheese.”

She grins at him, “it’s not made of cheese, it’s used to strain.” He nods looking around. Obviously, the akumatization highlighted in the “lucky aura,” but aside from her it’s the newcomer’s umbrella (an umbrella?) and Eradicat’s gloved hands. What the hell?

“I’ll deal with you two in a second!” The diamond akumatization turns back to Queen Bee and Flux wading through the gold as they frantically try to backpeddle. “This is almost too easy~” Before she can reach Bee’s haircomb atop her beehive, Queen Bee jabs her arm with the top, immobilizing her.

“There’s only a minute before she moves again. Try the scepter.”

Eradicat throws one of her batons like a javelin knocking the spear out of the woman’s grasp. It clatters to the ground, outside of the gold, but does not shatter.

“It’s made of diamond!” Flux and Queen Bee yell.

“Right. Of course. Cataclysm!”

Wait!” Harmonybug grabs her non-energy sparking arm. “You’ll get stuck. There has to be another way.”

“Oh... there is.” Eradicat grabs the cloth then runs at the akumatization, leaping over the pit of gold and landing on the woman. The akumatization shouts, trying to shake Eradicat off but Eradicat slams her glowing hand on the akumatization’s head and the woman instantaneously turns to dust that Eradicat scoops up with the cheesecloth.

“That was sick!” Flux gushes.

“Nothing’s happening!” Queen Bee yells.

Eradicat opens the cloth and a charred butterfly flies out only to disintegrate, then purplish ooze shoots out of the cheesecloth forming into a person and when the ooze dissolves into nothingness the mayor is sprawled out on the floor, unconscious, in the pool of gold.

The four of them make their way to the mayor, hovering over her body. Harmonybug is the first to speak, “pretty sure you killed her.”

Eradicat shrugs, nudging the mayor’s body with her foot, “wasn’t my intention to.”

“Yet you don’t sound very sorry...” Queen Bee says.

“I certainly wouldn’t shed any tears.”

“You know... if you did kill her, I’m pretty sure I can go back in time and undo it.” Flux says.

“‘Pretty sure?’” Harmonybug repeats.

“Yeah, pretty sure. Time’s kinda my thing. Just haven’t tested it yet.” Flux crouches then presses two fingers against the mayor’s throat, “I feel a pulse. It’s faint but it’s there.”

Harmonybug grimaces at the blackened cheesecloth, “Miracle Cure!” He tosses the cloth in the air and it explodes in a flash of pink and the magical ladybugs fly over and around to the mayor then spread out down the halls and around the school.

The four of them put their hands in a pile then lift them in the air cheering. D’Argencourt runs over to them, his foil no longer stained glass. “You four are simply amazing!”

Queen Bee pats him on the shoulder, “you did good too.” She then puts her arms around Eradicat and Harmonybug, inching closer to Flux to include her, “quick huddle on the roof before we return to our civilian selves?”

The students cheer for them as they run out the building.

It doesn’t take much for them to get on the roof but they all sit in a circle. Queen Bee jerks a thumb at Harmonybug, “he’s going by Harmonybug now.”

Eradicat nods slowly. “Ah.”

“Okay. I’m just gonna get to the point. I’m not tech savvy enough to try and hack Hawkmoth’s cane, not yet anyway.”

“But you can get someone who can.” She turns to Harmonybug, “you have the power of subjugation—”

“Subjection.”

“—Semantics. You can make anyone do anything.”

“Pollen never said anything about that...”

“Pollen? That’s your kwami’s name?” Queen Bee nods, “mine is Plagg.”

“Tikki.”

“Fluff.”

“Right. One other thing. Two other things but this one first. It’s a pretty safe bet assuming we’re all students here—” As she expected, the three of them look amongst one another, “Feathers too. Don’t have a conniption. This is the only lycée in the arrondissement—” She chuckles to herself, “listen to me talking all fancy.” She shakes her head, “but that’s not my point. There are several nearby universities and those two colléges but this is the only lycée. And because Feathers kinda outed himself the other day, he’s gotta be our age.”

“Hawkmoth is clearly an adult... who we might know the identity of.” Flux and Queen Bee gape at Eradicat. “Do you two know of Gabriel Agreste?” Flux nods but Queen Bee shakes her head. “We’re gonna have to keep an eye on him.”

“That’ll be tough. Dude rarely leaves his house. He donated a piece of art to the Louvre and my...” Flux frowns, “damn. I-I can’t believe he’s really gone.”

“Who’s really gone?” Queen Bee asks.

“My papa... h-he—” She takes a deep breath, “he died recently. He knew it was coming but didn’t tell me beforehand.”

“I’m sorry.” Queen Bee puts an arm around her, “I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to someone in my family.”

“That’s exactly why we need to keep an eye on Gabriel Agreste, he’s...” Eradicat grimaces, “involved with my m—someone dear to me.”

“So I guess knowing everyone’s identities is off the table?” Flux guesses.

“For now.” Harmonybug replies. “The Guardian knows who we all are. He’s the one who gave us our Miraculouses.”

“I’ll talk to him.” Eradicat finishes. “But Harmonybug and I know who each other are... and we know you, Flux. I mean, I don’t know you personally but I know who you are.”

“So no one but the Guardian knows who I am? Sweet~”

“Not for long if the Guardian agrees to us telling one another.” Flux reminds her.

Queen Bee stands, “until then, I’ll just flutter away all sneaky like.”

“Wait! You said you had two things but you only told us one.”

“Right.” She crouches, “did your kwamis tell you guys about the side effects?” The three of them blink at her, “guess not.”

Chapter Text

If thirty-six straight twice, sometimes thrice, daily akuma and amok attacks were starting to take a toll on the city, regardless of how many “Miracle Cures” fix it up again like new, Nora could only imagine how worn out the Miraculders must be.

Especially considering they were clearly students. With Hawkmoth clearly as an asshole adult with nothing better to do with his free time than pick fights with children.

With a great number of these akuma attacks coming from Lycée Géroux Delacroix, there was no way in hell Nora would allow her little sister to be helpless; though – thankfully – Alya has managed to keep herself out of harm’s way, so far. Excluding that incident with the kid but that was well before this non-stop onslaught of akuma attacks. Or maybe that kicked off the onslaught? In any event, luck favors the prepared and one can never be too prepared.

“Again!” Nora circles her little sister, covered head-to-toe in boxing gear. Alya grunts getting into an offensive stance again, delivering a left jab to the punching bag. The contact barely makes a temporary dent and the bag doesn’t move at all.

“Again.” Alya once again gets in stance jabbing the punching bag again. This time the contact does indent but the bag still does not move. With the stories about hoodoo and other such magics from their parents, including the Akan fable she got her kickboxing name from, Nora is a firm believer of never being too prepared. She’s not only making sure Alya is prepared for physical threats but supernatural ones as well.

Nora puts a hand on Alya’s covered head, “you’re not having a pillow fight with your buds Aly, you’re defending yourself! Again!”

Ella and Etta stop with their jump-roping contest wandering over. “She’s been at it for an hour.” Ella whines with an exaggerated groan.

“Keep interrupting and you two won’t get your turn.” They squeak then run off to the weighted balls.

With every school being out for All Saints Holidays, she decided to get an early start at the gym. One of the perks of being Anansi.

When she turns back to Alya, she notices her little sister’s form is perfect, naturally, but even though she’s now putting her whole body into her movements she’s still holding back. “Stop.”

Alya dutifully complies looking up questioningly, prevented from speaking clearly with the mouthguard.

Nora removes the boxing gloves tied together around her neck and puts them on, then picks up her mouthguard and helmet putting them on too. Alya’s eyes widen. One way or another, she’s gonna get behind the reason Alya’s been holding back. She’d be a terrible big sister if she hadn’t noticed the subtle changes in Alya over the past month. She’s stronger, faster, and definitely happier. Nora knew someone as personable and charismatic as Alya wouldn’t last long with her whole no more friends declaration when they first arrived in Paris.

If for some reason her parents decide to leave due to getting better jobs, Nora’s gonna stay and keep Alya with her.

Alya hadn’t been this happy since they spent those three months in the state of Louisiana in North America.

They circle each other. Nora makes sure to telegraph her movements so Alya can dodge. When they were younger and less experienced, Nora put Alya in the hospital putting all her strength in her counter attack. Nora knows akumas and Lord knows whatever else won’t hold back but never again will she be the reason for Alya’s pain.

Alya takes a swing Nora barely dodges. Fuck. She’s faster than Nora thought. Alya’s eyes widen in realization then she straight up goes on the assault while telegraphing herself. She’s not as strong as Nora, not yet, but she’s faster.

Nora’s just about to actually break a sweat when a loud whistle draws their attention. Ella giggles beside her twin who has two fingers inside her mouth. Etta drops her hands, “enough, okay? Before you hurt each other and yourselves.”

Nora glances at Alya who shrugs. They both take off their gloves, headpieces, and mouthguards. “You just want your turn.” Nora says.

“That too.”

“You were so cool!” Ella gushes, “you almost hit her a few times.”

“Yeah?” Ella nods proudly.

Etta claps her hands together, “can we go now?”

“Remember: no face hits. We don’t want mom and pop asking questions.” The twins nod then rush over to their duffle bag and taking out their boxing gear. As the twins suit up, Nora holds out her fist to Alya who immediately obliges with a fist bump. “You join the school’s track team without telling me?”

“The school doesn’t have a track team. I guess I’m getting my cardio running away from akumatizations.” Nora shouldn’t laugh but she does. When Alya stretches, Nora notices the red bee-shaped buckle on Alya’s belt. Alya has made several bee-themed purchases for the twins as of late, maybe she picked up that little doohickey for herself. The twins current obsession for this Super Bee went so far as them attempting to knock back jars of honey. They even have Queen Bee costumes for Halloween, and not the shoddy ones Nora’s seen in stores either. These kickass outfits were created by one of Alya’s friends. A Marinette Dupain-Cheng who even fashioned the crisscrossing goggles to complete the ensemble. The girl unquestionably had talent and Alya had a real knack for picking cute friends.

The twins scream then run at each other full speed. When their bodies collide with a loud smack, they drop to the floor groaning. Nora laughs. She and Alya used to do all sorts of shit when they play fought... not that they ever stopped play fighting. They’re both covered in scars from their play fighting mishaps. It’s not her fault Alya’s the best training partner she has.

As the twins get up, Nora returns her attention to Alya who is putting her glasses on while checking her phone.

Nora’s phone buzzed from her duffle bag so she heads over to it. They’d been at the gym since 9:30am and it’s past noon now so Nora’s not surprised she amassed a bunch of texts and missed calls. (Though, thankfully, none from their parents.)

She drops her phone back in her duffle bag and walks back over to the twins, “ready?” They both salute her. “Show me a right jab—”

Nora’s phone suddenly starts blaring the akuma alert. After three straight weeks of attacks someone anonymously created an app that had a live feed of the city 24/7. You’d think that be a little creepy if it didn’t alert people in real time when an akumatization appeared. Unfortunately, it never located the butterflies prior to the akumatization but it at least gave people a heads up. (Though sometimes people didn’t take heed to the alert and ended up heading in the direction of the akumatization so they could get a close look at the Miraculders.)

“Shit.” Nora mutters. And the day had been going well too. Looks like it’s thirty-seven straight days of akuma attacks. She looks around the gym and notices Alya’s gone. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” She turns to the twins, “did you see her leave?” They both shake their heads. “I swear, she better be in the fucking bathroom...” The ground starts shaking.

“We’ll look for her!”

“Oh no. I’m not losing all three of my sisters. Stay here.”

“But—”

“Stay. Here.” By the time Nora gets to the entrance, the door just closes in front of her. “Dammit. Dammit, Aly.” The ground shakes again. Grumbling under her breath, Nora runs back to the twins.

Alya and Pollen poke their heads around the corner sighing in relief when they see Nora turn the corner. “Are you certain about this, My Queen?”

“If she thought I was still in the building she wouldn’t move until I came out. Now let’s mess up what’s screwing with my sister time.” She takes the haircomb off her belt and puts it in her hair. “Crown me, Pollen.”

📓

Nino drops her off on Chateau Viridian rooftop before yo-yoing away. “Claws retract.” Kagami utters once she makes sure the coast is clear.

Meetings with real estate agents over the course of the month have been a bust, so they’re still at the hotel.

Plagg immediately flies out of her ring yawning. “Getting real sick of Hawkmoth.” He grumbles.

“Believe me, the feeling is mutual.” Even if he is Gabriel Agreste. No, especially if he was Gabriel Agreste. Over the course of the past month, they made a list of Gabriel Agreste’s known confidants in the past decade, dead or alive. Unsurprisingly, as a universally known recluse for more than thirty years, there weren’t that many people on the list. However, as an equally well known fashion designer, he had many business partners outside the city.

It made Kagami’s eyeballs itch to write her mother’s name among that list as lover. The title did not suit Tomoe Tsurugi.

Her mother and Gabriel made their relationship public almost two weeks ago. Two unlucky Gabriel Agreste fangirls holding onto the same cellphone got akumatized into a two-headed love-hating cerberus upon hearing the news. Coughing up dead human hearts was the real kicker from that brawl.

Tomoe seemed genuinely (or as genuine as her mother was capable of physically expressing) happy. It’ll piss her off knowing she’s consorting with Hawkmoth. Because if her mother knew, there’s no way she’d continue to sleep with the devil; particularly as he’s becoming a pain in her daughter’s ass for the past five weeks. But more than that, he’s been causing fencing lessons to get canceled with the constant akuma attacks.

Her mother was currently out with Gabriel Agreste, but that didn’t stop the akuma alert app from going off twice in the span of fifteen minutes. One of his confidants is holding the reins for him (and overcompensating); the question is: who? Kagami met his shifty looking assistant and bodybuilder bodyguard, and she was in school with the self-absorbed son. There was the mayor who was in business with Gabriel Agreste. Hell, Nooroo is the kwami of transmission. Who’s to say it’s truly Gabriel Agreste in the flesh with her mother? They don’t know the full extent of Nooroo’s abilities since their merging with Hawkmoth. And if they’re getting stronger from constant kwami exposure, so is Hawkmoth.

While there still was fencing practice, Kagami squared off against Adrien Agreste. When he was silent he as a decent opponent but he wasn’t quiet very often. Adrien Agreste could be involved in this somehow. If his father is Hawkmoth he either knows and is involved or doesn’t know and is as clueless as the rest of them. Or, and this isn’t very likely, he knows but isn’t involved.

Hell, he could be Feathers. They were both equally chatty.

There’s a fifty-fifty shot her mother will believe Kagami at her word, but Kagami would still feel better knowing she had solid proof to share.

Kagami had never outright expressed (reasonable) distrust in Gabriel Agreste, but Tomoe commented on it regardless. Though Tomoe’s assumptions of Kagami disliking Gabriel Agreste are way off.

With the school not training her, Tomoe took it upon herself to do so. In addition to the extra lessons, Tomoe hadn’t eased upon their normal lessons. A baton is a poor substitute for a foil, after all. Speaking of swords, her grandfather explained while you can choose your outfit you can’t choose your weapon. (Kagami’s gonna be pissed if someone’s weapon was a sword.)

With her grandfather being a former Guardian, this was hardly the family’s first encounter with kwamis. It was Kagami’s – sure – but not Tomoe or Akira’s. Though Tomoe never had a kwami herself. Akira was fortunate enough to have eight kwamis in his care. However, the number eight hadn’t brought their family that much luck, magical or otherwise. (And it is rather ironic Kagami’s partnered with the kwami synonymous with bad luck.)

As it turns out, her grandfather’s power of premonition was the reason they moved to Paris. However, his power hadn’t told him Kagami was getting Plagg – just that she was going to get a kwami under his old mentor. (And for reasons he still deigned to explain, that definitely had nothing to do with luck, he took issue with Kagami and Plagg’s partnership.) Kagami also found out that even after passing on his Guardian duties to his successor, a former Guardian does not lose the power they obtained when they were a Guardian.

When Kagami had come back home the first night she partnered with Plagg, her mother ambushed her with an impromptu fencing match around their hotel room. Kagami lost, because she always loses to her mother (and probably always will), but her mother smiled and seemed grateful the introduction to a kwami had not dulled her senses.

And to think, there was a time – not even three full years ago – where her mother was harder on her when it came to fencing training. She mellowed considerably after Akira pointed out Kagami was unmatched in every competition she ever competed in and managed to maintain high marks in school. It was that bit of leniency that allowed her to make friends and partake in other hobbies outside the ones her mother provided for her.

Kagami climbs down the fire escape to her floor. Rather than be on the ground in an alley and risk someone walking by and discovering her, Kagami located the seldom used – often forgotten about – rooftop accessible through the also seldom used and often forgotten about fire escape.

Plagg unlocks the window then opens it, and Kagami somersaults into the hotel. Behind her, Plagg shuts the window and re-locks it.

The room isn’t far from the window or a staircase, making exiting and entering easy during akuma attacks when she’s at “home.” When Kagami enters the room, she gracelessly removes her shoes then trudges to the sofa and unceremoniously drops onto it.

As soon as she closes her eyes the akuma alert blares from her phone. Her eyes snap open, “this is getting fucking ridiculous!” Plagg snarls, “can’t we just cataclysm the asshole already?”

It takes every ounce of willpower for her not to wince as she hears something crack when she gets up. “When the opportunity presents itself.”

Plagg grins at her. “I’m so lucky you’re my Kit. Let’s grab something to eat.”

“Speaking of food, I saw this antique cheese shop online—”

Plagg’s eyes light up and he nuzzles her face. “You had me at food, Kit.” She pets Plagg’s head and he purrs. “Man, if Hawkass wasn’t with your ma I’d strongly suggest he get laid.” Kagami’s hand freezes as her whole body involuntarily shudders. “Ooh, that’s a new one. Felt that.”

“Please never use getting laid and my mother in the same sentence ever again?”

“I’ll try. But, I mean, you know – her getting laid is what got you here. You know, existing?”

“And I am eternally grateful for that... isolated incident.” Plagg opens his mouth but Kagami holds up a hand, “I-I don’t. I just won’t claim it as anything but that.”

“Fair enough. But—”

“Look...” Kagami sighs, “I am well aware of how attractive people view my mother. I’ve seen the stares. I’ve heard the whispers. That does not mean I have to invest time in thinking about my mother’s... sexual exploits.” She shudders again. “This subject is closed, forever.”

“Huh. Would you look at that. You can be just as childlike as any other teen. Color me surprised.”

Kagami narrows her eyes at him, “let’s grab some food and go.”

Plagg holds up his hands as he smiles, “alright, alright.”

📓

Max clutches onto Harmonybug’s turtleneck collar, face feeling on fire at their proximity, as they dash through the library.

He was with Nathaniel and Kim putting the final touches on their Miraculder dedicated website when a giant red number one burst into the library turning people into numbers with its head. Then it shouted Max’s name and sent a blast his way but Kim heroically albeit idiotically took the blast and got turned into the number two.

The akumatization shrieked then Harmonybug came out of nowhere and scooped him up in the princess carry and that’s where they are now. Running through the library with wayward numbers sprawled out on the floor.

Harmonybug smells like fresh cut grass and—“Do you know why this number is after you?” Max blinks up at those concerned, piercing blue eyes with the piano key pupils and metaphorically feels himself melt as he shakes his head. This is hardly the appropriate time to get poetic or... stimulated, but they do say adrenaline effects your body in the strangest way sometimes.

Flux grabs Harmonybug’s arm, leading them into an aisle. The screaming number akumatization breezes past them, chasing after Queen Bee. “Bee’s got a real knack for having akumatizations spill their guts to her. Anyway, the reason M. Kanté is being pursued is because our number friend compared her test scores to his.”

“Seriously?” Harmonybug groans, “she couldn’t wait until school got back to do that?”

Flux shrugs, “I know what you mean. Who’d be thinking about school during break? Anyway, this is far from the first time this happened so—” Flux makes a cut gesture at her throat.

Max feels himself internally swooning as Harmonybug’s nose wrinkles as he looks around the library when—wait a second. “Did you say this happened before?” They both look down at Max (still in Harmonybug’s toned arms), “obviously, not the akumatized portion...”

“Yeah. She said she thought she had you this time but one of your scores was higher than hers by two points.”

Max’s eyes widen in realization, “then the akumatization has to be Éloïse Babineaux. She has the second highest average throughout Géroux Delacroix.”

Harmonybug sets Max down then slumps to his right knee panting, “shit. Don’t suppose either of you have food, huh? Didn’t get to recharge after the last fight.”

Flux shakes her head while Max rummages through his pockets and pulls out a single wrapped mint Alix gave him handing it to Harmonybug. Max could swear there was a spark when they both briefly held the piece of candy but before he could ruminate further Flux starts to speak.

“Guess I’m holding onto you now: piggyback or princess carry?” Max is expecting Harmonybug to unwrap the mint and eat it but he just stares at it.

“P-Princess carry.”

Flux wordlessly scoops him up, but not before Max realizes there’s a slight height difference between them in his disadvantage. Not even including the skates. “Be safe, HB.”

“Don’t you need to recharge?”

Flux grins, “I’m good. Get to safety then bring your ass back.” When Harmonybug nods, Flux tightens her grip around Max then skates out of the aisle. And it’s the strangest feeling of déjà vu.

Harmonybug pokes his head out of the aisle looking around. Nothing but numbers as far as the eye can see but no sense in risking his identity carelessly. He makes it to the bathroom before Tikki is ejected from his right earring. Nino nearly faceplants on the tiled floor had Tikki not grabbed his collar stalling his descent. “I know you’re tired Pupa but we can’t rest yet.”

Nino slowly sits on his feet offering Tikki the candy, “wouldn’t Nooroo be close to exhaustion too?” Tikki hums popping the mint in her mouth then immediately spitting out into her hands.

“That’s horrible!”

“You don’t like peppermint. Good to know. Sorry, T, but it’s all I got to give you.” Grimacing, Tikki puts the mint back in her mouth and bites it – not bothering to hide her disgust. “I promise I’ll get you something yummy once we’re done here.” Tikki nods then swallows the mint.

Nino shakily gets to his feet. “If I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t know how Nooroo hasn’t burned out already. Hawkmoth doesn’t have any more experience with his Miraculous and him possibly being an adult shouldn’t matter. We just have to keep fighting.”

“Right. Let’s get this over with. Spots on.”

As soon as he heard the door open and close Nathaniel exhales deeply. Holy shit. Holy shit! He was a stall away from Harmonybug, unmasked! He couldn’t move without giving himself away but through the space between the stall door he caught a glimpse of a floating, talking, red... thing. A familiar? A partner? It was probably Harmonybug’s Miraculous. No wait, the Miraculous was the earrings. It’s probably what powered the Miraculous!

Then there was the blinding red flash. There are still spots dancing along his eyelids.

He escaped to the bathroom to quell his oncoming panic attack well before the screams and explosions.

Nathaniel quietly lowers his feet to the ground and opens the stall. As expected, no one’s there so he washes his hands then clutches his backpack against his chest exiting the bathroom.

Numbers are all over the floor then there’s a glittery red number two on the table all of their stuff are sprawled over. “Nathaniel?” The redhead jumps and the two sits up. “Aw man, you missed my heroics. I totally saved Max.”

Kim?!”

The number somehow nods. Nathaniel takes his cellphone out of his backpack and snaps a picture of Kim.

📓

The Book had seven volumes, one for each continent, and each volume was copied once. The originals were kept in the temple while the copies were spread throughout the globe. None of the volumes were in his possession, as Émilie Agreste stole volume one from him when she took the Miraculouses, but Fù had snippets of each volume when he scoured the globe.

If Hawkmoth didn’t have any magic sense before acquiring Nooroo, he sure as hell had some now. Though forcing magic into his body so often will kill him faster than if he weren’t on some warpath with peace.

With the constant akuma attacks, Fù hadn’t been able to suss out any potential wielders.

There was too much chaos and people were too busy running to safety to notice what was around them.

That wasn’t his only problem currently either. His team were working themselves to the bone. Hawkmoth had to be feeling fatigued as well. Fù didn’t know how long this could go on for before Nooroo temporarily shut down, unable to merge with his Miraculous. Even recharging after every akumatization wouldn’t be enough for this type of consistent usage.

There had to be something he could do for the team. Allay their suffering somehow. Unless he clocked Hawkmoth unconscious for a few days there was very little he could physically do. But he could give them backup. He’ll just have to try harder in finding people.

Similar to the case with Alya, this young man involved in the current akumatization was keeping a cool head in spite of his immediate danger in the situation. Fù stroked his beard in thought as he looked on at the young man and Harmonybug seamlessly working together. There was the perfect pairing for such an analytical mind.

📓

Making out with Adrien has been great, even though they’re both pining after people who want nothing to do with them. Though at least she has a shot with Marinette, Adrien had to be the unlucky bastard to crush on the one badass lesbian who not only can but irrefutably has kicked his ass, repeatedly. While the aforementioned ass kicking has been limited to fencing, Adrien did confess she flipped him on his ass during their first encounter for touching her. Hell, Lila fell a bit in love with Kagami herself after hearing that. (And what gal loving gal wouldn’t?)

“They say you’re allowed two great loves and I managed to fuck up twice.”

“Isn’t it a bit dramatic?”

Adrien huffs, “no. It’s not. Chlo was my first love.”

“Oh Mio Dio, did you throw her in the clink because she wasn’t in love with you!?”

“Of course not!” Adrien takes a deep breath, “there were... reasons behind that. I’ll tell you one day.”

“You’d better. All I know is if looks can kill, you’d be 183 centimeters under by now twice over.” Lila hums, “she is hot, though. I’ll give you that. You got good taste. And as anger seems to be her default emotion I’m suspecting she has one of those wonky uneven smiles.”

“It’s been so long I don’t even remember.”

Lila’s smile is all teeth, “are you thinking about your precious Chlo or Tsurugi when you kiss me?”

“Does it matter?”

“Oh, it matters if you ever want to get in my skirt M. Agreste.”

Adrien sighs, “it varies, okay? And no, I’m not proud of the fact that Chloé still has some kind of hold over me – even now.”

“First loves are hard to get over. I remember mine. She helped me realize the world was too big to just limit myself to boys. I would’ve completely set my life’s goal off-track without this knowledge. I would’ve settled for some objectively mediocre looking schmuck with a decent credit score and a ‘booming’ upstart business. Never would I have realized a talented, adorable designer by the name of Marinette Dupain-Cheng has an equally cute assortment of freckles that cascade down from her eyes. Or that her eyes crinkle ever so slightly when she smiles.”

“Given how I know for a fact Marinette has not once ever smiled at you, I’m curious as to how you’d know that?”

“First off? Ouch. And secondly, I people watch. I plan on being rich and well taken care of by the time I’m twenty-five. That’s not that far off. I have to look out for prospects to make this happen. And if it’s the necessary evil to squeeze out a child or two, I’ll do it.”

“Your life’s goal is to be a trophy wife?”

“Damn right! I wanna be so well known I’ll be on one of those American reality shows about wives of famous people.”

“Wow. You are something, Rossi. Truly.”

Lila flips her hair, “naturally.” Adrien shakes his head with a laugh, “you know... if I manage to seduce Chloé or Kagami you can indirectly sleep with them through me.”

“How noble of you to make that suggestion.”

“I know, right? That’s me! Helpful to a fault. You should open up some avenues yourself.”

“That’s... an interesting way of putting it.”

Someone clears their throat and Lila startles off the couch onto her feet. She blinks at Gabriel Agreste raising an eyebrow at her. (Oh shit, what if he heard that!? In the interviews she had to look up before getting with Adrien, he always struck her as a hardass with no sense of humor.) She and Adrien have been hanging out for a while now but this was the first time in the past two weeks she’s been coming here that she’s seen Gabriel Agreste. Huh. She figured he’d be hotter. Or hot at all. (Adrien must, thankfully, get his looks from his mamma. How could Tomoe Tsurugi date him?) “S-Salve, signore. Piacere. Merda.” She shakes her head then extends a hand. “B-Bonjour—”

He holds up a hand, “I’m quite fluent in Italian, Mlle.—”

“Rossi. Lila Rossi.”

Gabriel accepts the outstretched hand shaking it, with a tepid smile. “Piacere. Signora Rossi.” Lila beams at him. “I apologize for... interrupting but I need to speak with my son on a private matter.”

“Oh! N-No problem.”

“Be right back.” Adrien gets off the couch following his père down the hall.

Lila watches them leave before plopping back down on the couch, “that was tense.” She jumps up again whirling around to face... Adrien?

“Wha—? H-How did you—? I-I just saw you—”

“Adrien” laughs, “you have me mistaken for my cousin. As you can plainly see, my eyes are blue.” Lila squints, then her eyes widen. This Adrien double has blue-green eyes. Unless you’re looking dead at him close up you’d hardly notice. “I’m Félix.”

“You... You could be twins.”

“Well our mamans are identical twins. Were. I’m sure you know what happened to Tante Émilie.” Lila nods slowly. Lila lost her papà to lung cancer; he went through ten years of her life going through multiple packs of cigarettes daily. It’s a miracle in itself he lived as long as he did. Given how hard her mamma struggled over the years since his death, even with her diplomat salary, was it any wonder Lila wanted to be taken care of? “I’m curious... are you Adrien’s girlfriend?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

Félix nods slowly, “you should know you’re simply a replacement for what he can’t have.”

“I know all about Chloé Bourgeois.”

“Do you? Yet you’re still with him?”

“Not that it’s any business of yours but yes.” He hums. “What’s your angle, Félix?”

“No angle. Figured I’d do the chivalrous thing and warn you. Over the years he stuck to blue-eyed blondes so I was... surprised to see a green-eyed brunette.”

“Uh-huh and how many of those blue-eyed blondes did you steal from Adrien?”

Félix chuckles, “you misunderstand.”

“Do I? My guess is you either pretended to be Adrien to get what you want in the beginning or the end.”

“You’re definitely smarter than the other girls he attached himself to.”

“Not sure if I can take that as a compliment.”

“Oh, you can. It is a compliment. Absolutely.” He sighs. “Honestly, I never knew what he saw in Bourgeois. She was weak. Probably still is.”

“Sounds like you’re jealous.”

Félix’s eyes narrow, “jealous? Of who?”

“That’s the kicker, isn’t it?” Lila taps her chin then sits back on the couch.

📓

“This is a bad idea.” Nathaniel hisses.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to find André?” Marinette hisses back, “leaving is a bad idea.”

Two people happily step out of line holding onto an ice cream cone. Nathaniel watches them approach a bench with narrowed eyes. “I don’t buy into the ice cream matchmaker hype, and me being lactose intolerant has nothing to do with it.”

After the akumatization of one of their schoolmates, things calmed down for about ten minutes before Marinette loudly burst into the library telling all the patrons about André’s Ice Cream Cart being parked outside. Needless to say, everyone, even the very uptight librarian, sprang up and darted out of the building.

Nathaniel was skeptical but Marinette all but dragged him outside. She did the same with Max while Kim went along willingly.

“What if you get the lactose free flavors of your crush?”

Nathaniel’s face reddens, “c-crush? W-What crush?”

Kim locks his hands behind his head, “Ondine and I found André once. Spent the whole afternoon looking for him... only for him to tell us our relationship was doomed to fail.” The three of them, and even some people standing behind them, gape at Kim.

That’s why you two broke up before the end of last school year!?” Marinette asks, aghast.

“You two were so cute together!” Nathaniel can’t help but gush. “How could you let some stranger break you up?”

Max adjusts his glasses, “please don’t tell me a random purveyor of frozen delicacies dictated the nature of your relationship?”

“It was more than that!” The three of them look at him, unimpressed. “He gave us separate ice cream cups.” Someone behind them gasps loudly. “Even though we still liked each other we started to like other people too and she’s not into the whole poly thing like I am so I let her go.”

“That’s so sweet!” Someone loudly sobs.

Pairs are walking in the opposite direction happily holding their ice cream cups as the line gets shorter and their turns slowly approach.

Ivan Bruel and Mylène Haprèle – the couple who have been together since the early days of collége and swear by André – unsurprisingly were on line and saw them going up the line as they were happily walking off with their ice cream.

When it’s finally their turn Marinette pushes him in front of her. Nathaniel gulps. Ivan and Mylène often say André is magic. Nathaniel believes in magic. How could he not when the Miraculders exist? Though his belief in magic stemmed long before it was physically proven before his very eyes.

As for a magical ice cream matchmaker? Nathaniel’s reserving judgment.

André’s eyes twinkle mischievously as he picks up a black ice cream scooper, “greetings young man and have no worries. André has flavors to suit your sensitivities.”

“That’s a bit of a stretch on the rhyme, don’t you think?” Kim whispers and Marinette nods in agreement.

“You worry you have no place in their heart, so how about some lime to start?” André drops a green scoop of ice cream on a black ice cream cone. “Green, green. Such a color that’s serene! Green apple like the eyes that set your heart a jolt as if struck by a lightning bolt!” André sets a lighter green scoop atop the bottom one. “Ah, the two similar colors seem to confuse. Yet I assure you this is the flavor of your muse! So why not blackberry to drive away the blues?” Finally, a purplish scoop lands atop the lighter green. With a cryptic smile, André hands the ice cream to Nathaniel.

“Thank you?” Confused, he walks out of line staring at the ice cream.

Marinette bounces up and down on the balls of her feet taking Nathaniel’s place. “Such excitement! Such a feeling of bliss not easy to dispel! I sense an abundance of love coming from the young mademoiselle!” André holds a red ice cream scooper in one hand and a clear ice cream bowl in the other. “Red. Such a fitting color for the bold—”

The ground rumbles and the red dollop of ice cream hits the ground rather than the ice cream bowl.

Everyone’s phones chirp the akuma alert and people start panicking and running out of line to safety.

“Princess Playtime is too big for naps!”

“Holy shit! Nette isn’t that the kid you used to babysit?” Kim puts his hands to his face then screams, “I just rhymed! It’s contagious!” Max grumbles something under his breath, then grabs Marinette and Kim making the three of them hide behind a bench. Nathaniel and André hide behind the ice cream cart.

Eight? Nine? year-old Manon Chamack—or Princess Playtime (what the hell is with Hawkmoth’s akumatization names?)—stomps through the street. “Manon! Stop this at once!” Nadja yells, livestreaming, as she runs up to her oversized daughter. “And return your babysitter back to normal this instant!”

“Presto change-o, Maman, you’ll nag no more!” The brunette brings her oversized fairy wand down onto her mère and the woman disappears into a pile of bubbles.

“You’re not still babysitting that hellspawn, are you?” Kim asks. Marinette wordlessly shakes her head.

“Every princess needs a castle!” The akumatization waves their wand around then transforms the library to a princess castle. The purple butterfly mask outline appears over her purple eyes, “and I need people to wait on me hand and foot!” She claps her hands together, “if you don’t want to get turned to fairy dust, you’ll do what I say!” People come out of their hiding spaces to kneel in front of the akumatization. “That’s better!”

Flux, Queen Bee, and Eradicat arrive landing on the library turned castle. “Seriously? What is it with Hawkmoth and giant kids?” Flux grumbles. “This is like the fifth one!”

“Fifth? I had six.” Eradicat replies.

“I wasn’t there for the first one so I didn’t count it.”

“Ah.” Eradicat nods, “makes sense.”

“Dunno what his deal is but my kid sisters would maim for a lifesize princess castle.” Queen Bee muses. “Shit, I kinda fancy one myself. Standing on top of one.”

“They’re overrated.” Eradicat replies, “and not sized to scale. Plus, too many little pieces to lose.”

Queen Bee groans, “that’s the real nightmare, isn’t it?” Eradicat nods in agreement. “Hey kid, what did Hawkmoth promise you? Out of curiosity?” She asks.

“After I get your Miraculouses? I’ll never have to take another nap again!”

“But what if you get tired and just fall asleep?” Flux asks.

Princess Playtime blinks then the mask outline reappears, “you’re trying to trick me!”

“What?” Flux does a double take, “I—”

Screaming, she holds her head in her hands. The butterfly outline flashes several times before the akuma flies out of her wand, transforming it to a normal sized princess wand then transforming the girl holding it back to her regular size. Flux catches the kid before she hits the ground.

“I—oh. What the—?” When Harmonybug arrives, on the ground, the others simply gesture for him to use the Miracle Cure. “Uh... okay then?” He scoops up the butterfly with the yo-yo then throws the yo-yo in the air to activate the Miracle Cure. While the ladybugs are restoring everything, his team jump down to meet him. “What the hell happened?”

“That kid just fought off Hawkmoth’s influence!” Someone yells, lowering their phone. Everyone who was kneeling get up and murmur among one another.

Flux sets Manon down, “Hawkmoth tried to—” She gasps, “my maman!” Nadja and her babysitter walk over to the group. “I’m so sorry!”

“It’s alright.” The babysitter replies. “How about we play a game?”

The girl yawns, “I’m actually pretty tired.” The babysitter gives her a piggyback ride then they leave.

As Nadja thanks them, while livestreaming still, the four Miraculders “bug out” as Music—Harmonybug would say and Marinette gets up and heads back over to the ice cream cart.

As André gets to his feet, dusting himself off Marinette rocks back and forth on her heels. “Are you hurt?”

“No reason to fret my dear. Of this I am sure. All minor aches are removed thanks to the Miracle Cure!” Marinette nods slowly, “you were patiently waiting to be told, about your love who embodies bold.” André pauses, “hmm... well this is new. You do not have one love, but two.”

Marinette’s jaw drops, “what!?”

“André’s ice cream never lies and your love life is in for a surprise!” André scoops a dollop of red ice cream onto the bowl, “mademoiselle, to court one love you’ll need to be bold for her outward appearance is perceived as cold.” He drops a light brown scoop on the red.

“Okay, but what flavor is the red?”

“Cherry, of course! The only flavor suitable for such a force!” Marinette nods slowly, not fully understanding but whatever, “next a scoop of caramel for the other lucky mademoiselle. This one embodies zest and courting her will be a true test.” His hand hovers over the ice cream bowl, “I sense a change coming from within, and a new journey is about to begin.”

“Wait, what?”

“When this new opportunity arises listen close, lest you put in danger the ones you love the most.” André drops a blue scoop onto the brown, “tomorrow you will be forever changed with a newfound, life-long friend you will gain. And the flavor of blue raspberry is all that remains.”

Marinette wordlessly stares intently at the ice cream André hands her.

“Ooh. Do me next!” Kim yells jumping up and down.

📓

It was... interesting to fight against their akumatized brother who kept his anger about their papa’s death and Alix being selected for the rabbit Miraculous over him bottled up for over a month until it overflowed and exploded, turning him into the ancient Greek God Apollo; or some Parisian rendition.

That was the fourth akumatization of the day. And it happened almost immediately after that kid Marinette used to babysit. Hawkmoth was really dedicated to pissing them off, they had to give him that.

The sun’s still up and Alix doesn’t have the energy for anything.

If there’s another akumatization, the gang might have to go without Flux for a few minutes.

Speaking of akumatizations, what was strange slash interesting about Jalil’s was he knew Alix has a Miraculous, something he could’ve easily told Hawkmoth if what Sabrina says about akumatizations are even a quarter of the way correct.

After his defeat, Jalil stated Hawkmoth hadn’t asked about identities. He simply demanded Jalil get their, along with their teammates’, Miraculous’, and since he hasn’t asked Jalil didn’t mention it.

Jalil refused to look Alix in the eye after the Miracle Cure fixed the Louvre and he didn’t apologize for anything. He could very well still be pissed, or he could be feeling guilty.

Either way, Alix didn’t have the energy to deal with their brother. He can stew in his tantrum as long as he needs to, as long as it doesn’t get him akumatized again.

“You’re like a kwami in your own right, Kit.” Alix looks up from their homework at Fluff. “Kwamis don’t stick to one gender either.”

“Yeah? That’s so cool. Papa always understood but we had to stop going to family functions because the rest of the family wasn’t okay with me being me.”

“Yeah, I noticed at the funeral.” Fluff shakes their head, “hard to believe either of my Kits belong to such a close-minded herd.”

“So, uh, hey... I got a question? Am I gonna live for millions of years like Papa? Constantly outliving all my friends and family?”

“You know, that actually depends on what ability you get.”

“Ability?” Alix repeats.

“You’re not only the rabbit Miraculous wielder you’re also it’s Guardian and every Guardian gets an ability. Unfortunately, as it’s been so long I do not remember what the process entails.”

“Maybe we can talk to the Master? He’s bound to know, right?”

Fluff nods, “excellent idea! If you’re not too busy now we can make our way there.”

Alix yawns, “might need a nap first.” Fluff nods in agreement, “but how are you? If I’m this drained that I find homework relaxing you gotta be so tired there’s no definition for it yet.”

Alix’s phone starts clucking and they glance at the screen – a video call from Kim.

“Go ahead. Kwamis can’t be photographed or seen through devices like cameras and cellular phones.” Alix nods, “but I must ask: Why is your cellular phone making chicken noises?”

“Because Kim’s a birdbrain.”

Fluff nods. “Ah.”

Alix accepts the video call, “what’s up?”

Kim squints, “eww. Are you doing homework?”

“I want the rest of the week to not do homework.”

“You sound like Max.” Alix rolls their eyes, “listen. Nathaniel, Max, Nette, and I went to André’s and got ice cream!” At Alix’s confused expression Kim sighs, “you know, the heart’s ice cream? The one Éloïse told us about?”

“The one that made you break up with the best girlfriend you’ll ever get?”

Kim scowls, “yeah, that one.”

“You went back? You’re definitely a glutton for punishment, my friend. Did the ice cream guy tell you to break up with all your friends too?”

“Ha ha. You’re a riot. André gave me matcha again but he also gave me something I never heard of. You’re an encyclopedia of weird shit so I figured I’d ask if you knew what elderberry was?”

“Are you sure you don’t mean elderflower?” Kim shakes his head, “huh. Never heard of it but I’ll look it up.”

“Nah. I’ll look it up. Just thought you’d know since you know all about experimental flavors and shit.”

“Don’t know if it’s an experimental flavor or not, though. What was the third flavor? Lemon meringue again?”

“Nope. Coffee cotton candy.”

Alix whistles. “That’s a real thing?”

“Evidently.”

“And I thought pecan, lemon meringue, and matcha was hard to digest but this? Elderberry, matcha, and coffee cotton candy? Did you puke it up?”

“No but it was a close thing. Just had to eat the flavors separate. Man, I suck at love.”

“What you suck at, is decision making. Fuck the magic ice cream bullshit and waddle in the dating sauna.”

“You just fucked that phrase all up.” Kim cracks a smile, “but I get ya. Thanks, Alix. By the way...” Kim’s smile widens, “you look like shit.” Alix flips him off before ending the call.

📓

Nicolette wraps a finger around her necklaces twirling them as she jots down everything she knows about the Miraculders. Why is it that every website dedicated to the Miraculders is interested in unmasking the foursome? Do secret identities not mean anything to anyone anymore?

“Pup, you keep obsessing and your head’ll explode.” Trixx says sitting on her left shoulder.

“That’s right, Pup.” Mullo adds, sitting on her right. “We have to get back out there. Do some live research!”

The redhead shakes her head, “I-I can’t. It’s my fault mère’s Miracle Box got stolen in the first place.”

Her maman hugs her from behind, “you know that’s not true. Majestia is to blame. She deceived your team. She’s the one who made them doubt the Order.”

Nicolette sighs, “I know but I just keep thinking maybe if I was there I could’ve convinced them Majestia was wrong? The Order brought us together, how could they doubt it?”

“Jordan knows The Guardian Order better than anyone and she would never claim them to be completely faultless. Yes they’ve done unquestionable good but they’ve also done terrible things. But if Majestia could shake The Quantic Kids’ core so strongly they must not have had that much faith in The Guardians to begin with.” Nicolette sighs, “but your kwamis are right. You need to get back in there. The Miraculders could use your help. They somehow dealt with seven akumatizations in the span of thirty-six hours.”

“Maybe...”

“Is that doubt I hear from my little Foxtrot?”

“Mère!” Nicolette whines, “I’m not calling myself that anymore. It isn’t fair to Mullo.” The brunette wraps an arm around her wife chuckling.

“Any luck? I know school is out of session but we don’t know what sort of knowledge those displaced memories hold.”

Nicolette sighs, “why couldn’t I get a cool ability instead of this lame stamina one?”

The brunette raises an eyebrow. “The same lame ability that kept your Miraculouses out of Majestia’s hands?” The redhead pouts. “I haven’t any luck with that, Cam. Have you had any luck trying to find the ladybug and black cat’s Guardian?”

The blonde shakes her head, “nope. They could literally be anyone.”

“Not necessarily.” Nicolette pipes in. “A Guardian needs a higher concentration of magical energy to keep up with all the Miraculouses in their care.”

The two women smile at each other, “you hear that, Camilla? Our daughter’s using that big brain of hers.”

“I know, Jordan, and I’m so proud!”

Nicolette rolls her eyes, “you two are teasing me.” The women continue to smile at each other. “In any event... I’ve pinpointed three large sources of magic within the city.” The redhead lolls her head back and forth, “but since Majestia is not a Guardian, she cannot be found using this method even if she has six Miracle Boxes in her possession.”

Camilla huffs. “She’s not gonna lug around all that magic.”

“And she’s definitely not gonna be using more than one at a time.” Jordan grumbles.

“Only someone with impressive magical stamina can continuously wield more than one Miraculous at a time.” Everyone turns to Nicolette who frowns.

“I will admit my Guardian ability has come through in a pinch, but that does not make it any less lame.”

“Fair enough. Let’s check out the sources. If the Miraculders are students at my school I need to be able to protect and vouch for them.”

Camilla kisses the brunette on the cheek, “we’ll get your Miracle Box back. Owlliv’s gotta be lonely without the kwamis she bonded with.”

Jordan sighs, “I know we will. It’s just...” She groans, “when I saw that damn frog the other day I just knew. The only reason I could think of why Majestia would work with Hawkmoth is to get me.”

“Then it’s our turn to protect you.”

Cam—”

The blond holds up her free hand, “I’m serious. I wasn’t there to gut that bitch but I won’t make that mistake again. Scoutt and I have your back.”

“So do we, Guardian!” Mullo and Trixx exclaim.

Nicolette cracks her knuckles. “Alright. Let’s pinpoint ourselves a Guardian~”

If only there was some kind of Guardian sensing ability. Nicolette and Jordan follow the closest highest concentration of magic and it leads them to a herbal and incense shop. Camilla decided to stay behind and be back up if they needed it.

Inside, they hear two voices after the bell chimes. “You’d think I’d be used to this temperamental ability by now.” One voice says with a heavy sigh. The second voice chuckles but says something to low for them to hear.

They walk further into the shop and in one room surrounded by candles two older men are seated meditating. “Hope we’re not interrupting?” Nicolette looks between them.

“Not at all. There’s always room for two fellow Guardians to join in on meditation.”

Nicolette gasps, “how did you—”

“My ability is premonition. Before we begin, however, there is one more Guardian set to join us.” The door chimes again and a kid with pink hair enters the shop. They walk into the room everyone else is in. “Excellent. We’re all here.”

“I’ll lock the shop.” The man in the black floral printed shirt says heading to the other room.

Nicolette sighs in relief, seeing another kid her age as a Guardian.

When the man who introduces himself as Fù Wáng gets back, the five of them sit in a circle. “First order of business. Alix Kubdel, please step forward. Let us commence with the distribution of your Guardian ability.” The kid – Alix – gets up then takes a tentative step in the circle. The two men start chanting in some unknown language then Nicolette hears her mère joining in on the chant.

Nicolette and Alix lock eyes and Nicolette shakes her head with a shrug.

This is not at all what happened to her when she was made a Guardian.

Once the chanting come to an end a bright white light emits from—holy shit... that kid is the rabbit! The pocket watch hooked onto Alix’s pants is glowing until Alix picks it up, then their body starts to glow. The glow only lasts a few seconds before it dissipates.

“How do you feel?” Fù asks.

Alix shrugs then takes a seat, “no different than I did a few minutes ago.”

“Your Guardian ability will be known to you before tomorrow’s nightfall.” The other man, Akira Tsurugi, tells the pink-haired teen. “Now let’s get down to our second order of business.”

📓

Marinette took various pictures of her ice cream yesterday so she could figure out who her mystery lovers could be. Though she wished she recorded André’s exact words.

The internet provided eight different forms of love. Eight. Are the colors—flavors—symbolic to some code? A personal connection? Are both the same type of love? And what was with that last bit? “Meeting a lifelong new friend (today)?” Maybe Nathaniel was right to be iffy on the whole magic ice cream man bit.

As she’s getting dressed, Sabine’s head pops up from the trap door. “Marinette, you have a delivery and we checked to make sure no akumatizations were in the box this time.”

“I appreciate that, maman.” Sabine holds up the box giving it to her daughter. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Sabine giggles then climbs down the stairs.

Curious, Marinette opens the box and stares down at a single red rose, a letter, and a clear box of orange macarons.

She grimaces at the macarons; being gluten intolerant meant she couldn’t just eat any ol’ pastry. She was diagnosed when she was seven and cried thinking she was going to ruin her parents business but they turned the whole shop gluten-free not only for her but every other person in Paris who also had celiac disease or a non-celiac intolerance to gluten.

Her disease turned out to be a blessing in disguise because they’re now the top boulangerie in the country. Not just gluten-free boulangeries but boulangeries in general.

Picking up the case and setting it aside, she then picks up the letter reading it. A love letter. Correction: an anonymous love letter.

“Marinette, Nino’s here!” Tom yells.

“Thanks papa! Send him up!”

“Hope you’re decent.” Nino says as he comes through the trap door. Marinette picks up the case of macarons and tosses them to him. Nino catches the case and opens it eyeing the macarons critically, “these aren’t from downstairs. Where’d they come from?”

“You could tell just by looking?”

Nino grins at her. “How long have we been best friends, Nette? These macarons have uneven feet. Hardly your parents quality. Looks like they were a rush job.” Marinette hums, impressed. “Besides, the smell like passionfruit, which – I’d be a terrible best friend to not notice – you are deathly allergic to.”

“Holy shit! I gave ‘em to you because I thought they might have gluten! I didn’t even realize they were passionfruit!” She drops the letter in her hands, “oh man. Is someone trying to kill me or was it just an honest mistake?”

“What did the letter say?”

“It was an anonymous love letter.”

“Seriously? In 2019?” Marinette nods, “then it had to be a mistake...” They exchange a glance, “I’m hoping.” Nino puts the case down and closes it, “but in case someone is gunning for you, I’m not gonna eat those.”

“Good call.”

“Marinette, you have a guest!” Tom yells.

Nino and Marinette exchange a questionable glance before heading downstairs. When they get to the first floor Adrien Agreste is standing there with his hair slicked back... and he’s wearing a suit. The blond took to glaring at Nino whenever they were in the same vicinity which, in turn, made Marinette glare at him whenever they were in the same vicinity. This time he wasn’t glaring. He was just... looking around.

The two of them stare at the blond. Even Tom is kneading the dough with far less gusto than usual. “Greetings Mlle. Dupain-Cheng, I’m Félix Graham de Vanily.”

“Wait, you mean you’re not Adrien Agreste?”

“Félix” shakes his head with a chuckle, “I get that a lot but no. We are cousins though.” He clears his throat. There’s a high-pitched scream coming from close by. Nino grips Marinette’s shoulders preparing to hide her but there’s no akuma alert; instead there are a group of girls pressed against the shop windows screaming hysterically.

“What the shit!?” Marinette yelps.

Félix sighs, “I was hoping I wasn’t followed.”

A blue blur zooms by then Sabine is opening the door with a staff in her hands, “if you aren’t going to buy anything, leave!” The group collectively shriek then scatter.

Once the street is clear, Sabine comes back in the shop then walks down the hall.

Félix watches the blue-haired woman disappear before returning his attention to Marinette who has her arms folded over her chest. “I wanted to meet you. Since my return to Paris I have heard nothing but wonderful things about you—”

Marinette holds up a hand, “gonna stop you right there, dude. Not interested.”

“Wha—” Félix’s eyebrows furrow, “oh... I see. I shouldn’t be surprised. It would be foolish in thinking a woman of your beauty and talents would still be on the market. But asking you out wasn’t my only reason for being here.”

The door chimes open, “Mari, Mari, my magical costume designing blueberry~” Jagged Stone saunters into the shop. Beside him, his assistant Penny is fondly shaking her head. “I’m in need of a new outfit and you’re the only one who can help me out!”

After winning that album cover and tour outfit contest, Jagged Stone personally congratulated her and bought about five hundred euros worth of pâtisseries from the boulangerie. Marinette thought that would be the end of that but he kept coming back for design ideas from her! The man went so far as to fire his old costume designer and hire her, then he went even further and discontinued future costume design contests.

Nino’s used to it by now (and how she doesn’t know when she’s still not used to it) but Félix looks gobsmacked.

“Sure. What are you looking for?”

“Something... what’s the word? Fancy but with a little bit of flair? Professional but not boring? Bright but not so dramatic?”

Marinette glances at Nino who shakes his head with a shrug. “Uh... what’s the occasion?”

Jagged Stone points finger guns at her, “firing Roth!”

“But we’re trying to do it professionally.” Penny adds, giving Jagged Stone an exasperated yet fond look. “We’re meeting with a new manager. And since both she and Roth are staying at Le Grand Paris, I can guarantee the mayor will be trying to get in on the meetings.”

“When do you need the outfit by?”

“Monday? Today’s Tuesday, right?” Everyone nods, “yup. Then Tuesday. Damn. I mean Monday.”

“Got it.”

Jagged Stone one-arm hugs her, “Mari, Mari, Mari. You angel. You’re the best~”

Marinette laughs. “Thanks.”

“No, no. You’re the one that deserves the thanks.” As he lets go, Marinette blushes rubbing the back of her neck.

“Are you guys staying at Le Grand Paris?” Nino asks.

Jagged Stone scoffs, “hell no. We’re at that new hotel. Something reno...? Anyway, the mayor’s a major creativity drain. Ooh. Speaking of which, if we have to deal with the mayor I wanna meet the kid.”

“‘The kid?’” Penny repeats.

“Yeah, Pen, ‘the kid.’ The mayor’s kid.”


“Chloé?” Everyone turns to Félix, though they miss him clenching and unclenching his fists. “Chloé Bourgeois. The mayor’s daughter, recently released from Saint Olga’s Mental Institute For Wayward Young Girls.”

Jagged Stone points at him and nods. “I mean, if I feel like crap after just a few minutes, the kid’s gotta feel nothing after all those years.”

Félix scoffs, “she’s rather... undeserving of your concern, M. Stone.”

“Who the hell are you to say that?” Marinette asks. Marinette had a couple of conversations with the blonde at school; she was filled with so much anger and resentment yet she somehow still seemed to care about the people who hurt her (her maman in particular). And if this asshole was related to Adrien, and talking about her like this? He was the one that didn’t deserve any concern.

“You don’t know Chloé Bourgeois, Mlle. Dupain-Cheng, I do. I’ve known her since we were four. I don’t know what my cousin did to send her away but I can tell you she deserved it.”

Nino watches Marinette’s eyes flash dangerously, “leave.”

“Pardon?”

“Leave.” She repeats, deceptively calm. “You and your whole damn twisted family are not welcome here.”

Félix adjusts his lapels, “very well. You’ll see the kind of person you’re protecting soon enough.” He walks out the bakery and Marinette slams the door behind him as he turned around. He smirks then turns around again and walks off.

Marinette bites her fist, muffling her scream.

“No, no, Mari. Let the rage out!” Jagged howls. “Ooh! Pen, we need to give Mari studio time to belt to her heart’s content!”

Penny quickly skims through her cellphone, “we just so happen to have an opening now!” Each of them grab one of Marinette’s arms.

“Let’s go!” Jagged grabs Nino with his free arm then the four of them leave the shop but not before he drops a couple two hundred euros notes in the tip jar. And the only reason they even have that tip jar is because he just kept depositing euros, and sometimes foreign currency, wherever whenever he showed up.

📓

Juleka ties her hair up in a high ponytail, still leaving some hair framing her face and over her left eye. She bleached her tips last week and they came out pink rather than the usual purple she uses, while the rest of her hair she dyed came out darker than she wanted. Her girlfriend Rose squealed excitedly then practically dove on her. Juleka hadn’t been successful in covering up the hickeys around her neck that only now just started to fade. But even now it still looks like she lost a fight with a swarm of bees.

She picks up the tube of dark purple lipstick and applies it over her lips then loudly smacks her lips together.

“Captain on deck.” Luka announces, in the doorway, standing at attention.

Juleka looks through the mirror seeing their maman—The Captain, decked out in her usual pirate garb, walking through the threshold. “At ease, First Mate.”

“Aye Captain.” He salutes then leans against the doorframe.

Anarka looks her over, even flipping up the eyepatch over her right glasses lens, taking in the teal dress and white and teal polkadotted leggings. When Rose suggested they switched color schemes for their date, Juleka had to go out and buy something that wasn’t purple or black. And she hasn’t realized how much dark blue she had in her wardrobe before she searched it. While teal is still a cool tone it’s still pretty far out of her usual collection of dark colored clothing. Though now that she’s looking at herself in the mirror, she might have to put on a different color lipstick. “I dare say ye be looking cute, Navigator.” Anarka puts her eyepatch back over her glasses. Juleka presses a makeup remover cloth against her mouth then applies a dark pink lipstick. “When do I get to meet this girlfriend of yours?”

“When you’re not armed with a cutlass, Captain.”

“And be defenseless in me own home?! I’d sooner sail to Davy Jones’ Locker!”

“Permission to speak freely, Captain.” Luka pushes himself off the doorframe, saluting. Anarka nods at him giving her eldest the go-ahead. “I swear on my honor no harm shall come to you while I’m aboard. You’ll like Jules’—uh our Navigator’s...” His eyebrows furrow, “I don’t know what girlfriend translates in pirate.”

Anarka holds up a hand, “I get it.”

There’s a knock on the door. The three of them exchange a glance before Anarka heads out of the room heading to the upper deck with Luka trailing behind her.

Shaking her head, Juleka puts on a pair of large hoop earrings.

Anarka opens the door and there’s a pint-sized blue-eyed blonde with black highlights in a pixie cut wearing an all black romper, with black nail polish, eyeshadow, and lipstick, saluting. “Permission to come aboard, Captain Couffaine!”

“At ease, lass. Ye already be on board.”

“S-Sorry, there was no door off the plank!” The blonde squeaks bowing.

“At ease means to, you know, relax.” Luka says from behind Anarka.

The blonde jolts upright, saluting again. “Rose Lavillant, Captain! Requesting permission to see Juleka? I—I—” She groans, “I should’ve looked up more pirate terms...” She mumbles.

“Shiver me timbers! Ye be Juleka’s girlfriend!?”

Rose blinks then nods, “uh....yes! Ack! No! I mean, aye!” Luka starts laughing until Anarka turns to him. “I said something wrong, didn’t I? Please don’t throw me overboard! I meant no offense! My pirate talk app kept crashing!”

“No one’s gonna throw ye overboard, lass! Take a breath.” The blonde complies taking a deep breath.

Juleka comes up from the lower deck and immediately runs over to the blonde. Anarka takes note of the heels on her daughter’s feet. Having hit her growth spurt early, Juleka did everything she could to make herself look smaller. The last thing Anarka expected was for her to have a girlfriend so tiny... or bubbly. Maybe opposites really do attract?

Juleka’s whispering something in her girlfriend’s ear and the blonde nods furiously with her eyebrows furrowed.

Aww. Damn they’re cute.

Anarka clears her throat and the girls look at her. She walks over to them extending a hand, “Captain Anarka Couffaine, lass.” Rose happily shakes the outstretched hand. “Take care of me Navigator. We’d be lost at sea without her.”

“I’ll do my best, Captain!”

Juleka fondly rolls her eyes. “Bye Captain. See you tonight.”

As they walk off the boat, Anarka turns to Luka. “I oughta make ye swab the deck for keeping this from me.”

“W-Wha—? What did I do?!”

“Ye met the lass before, right?”

“No. I only saw her face on Jules’ wallpaper.”

Anarka folds her arms over her chest, “as long as she makes your sister happy.”

“Didn’t you see Jules’ neck? Someone is very happy.” As Anarka furrows her eyebrows at him, Luka groans, “I’ll start swabbing the deck, Captain.”

“See to it that ye do.”

Rose looks back at The Liberty, holding Juleka’s hand, “The Captain seems nice. Do you think she’ll make me an honorary crewmember?”

Juleka shrugs, “hard to say. She never did for an of Luka’s partners.” The best thing about this week off of school – aside from, obviously having the week off from school – was hanging out with Rose. They only shared one class together so they didn’t see a lot of each other during the school day.

They started dating in the middle of the school year, last year. The subject of meeting each other’s families was never brought up until Rose’s parents caught them half-naked making out in Rose’s room a few weeks back. (They saw more of Juleka than the purple-haired teen was comfortable with anyone, other than Rose, seeing. And it took months for her to feel okay enough to get rid of her shirt in her girlfriend’s presence.)

After that, Juleka figured – what the hell – might as well prep Rose for meeting her maman because Captain Anarka Couffaine was a lot to take in.

Rose has normal, boring parents – her words, not Juleka’s. Her papas want her to be a doctor just like them; which Rose dreads.

“Let’s take your motorcycle to the movie theatre?” Rose bats her big blue eyes.

“Remember last time we rode my motorcycle and mucked up all our plans because we couldn’t stop making out?”

Rose giggles, “you say that like it’s a bad thing.” Juleka chuckles handing Rose a helmet. “Yay! Let’s take the long way?”

When they arrive at the movie theatre, Rose gets off the motorcycle to get in line while Juleka parks in the parking lot. As she takes her helmet off, she sees an old man staring at a piece of paper looking around. The streets aren’t as crowded as usual but there is a good amount of people walking by, completely overlooking the man as they go about their business. Knowing all too well the feeling of being overlooked, Juleka makes her way over to the man. If he turns out to be a creep, The Captain made sure she knew self-defense and swordfighting, and this was well before akumas and amoks entered the city.

“E-Excuse me?” The old man looks up at her and smiles brightly, “you look a little lost. Do you need help finding somewhere?”

The man nods enthusiastically, “the city is so much bigger than I thought!” He chuckles. “I can’t seem to remember if I’m supposed to take a left past the movie theatre or a right.” He shows Juleka the paper in his hands.

“Uh, I don’t know that address but maybe my girlfriend might?” The man introduces himself as Fù as they head to Rose.

“There you are! Oh. B-Bonjour Monsieur.”

“Bonjour Mademoiselle.”

“Do you know this place?” Rose takes a peek at the piece of paper.

“That’s the address of the animal shelter down the street. I help out there once a week. It’s not far. We can take you there.”

Fù shakes his head, “no, no. Just directions is fine. I’d hate to interrupt.”

“Oh no. You’re not interrupting at all. We haven’t even decided what movie we’re seeing yet.” Rose reaches for Juleka’s hand and squeezes. “Right?”

“The walk might help us decide.”

Fù chuckles, “very well. I appreciate your help.”

“Then let’s go! Maybe we can play with some animals too.”

The sky suddenly turns black. “Oh you gotta be shitting me.” Juleka mutters and sure enough the akuma alert blares from Rose’s and a bunch of other people’s phones nearby. Rose grabs both of them with surprising strength, pulling them into the movie theatre where everyone else runs into.

Thunder rumbles outside and people huddle together. “I am Climatika!” A voice as loud as the thunder and twice as shrill yells. “The only weathergirl Paris needs!”

“Weather...?” Juleka repeats.

“It’s Aurore Beauréal!” Someone yells. “She lost the weathergirl contest to Mireille Caquet not even two minutes ago!”

The movie theatre shakes and people huddle even closer together.

Police sirens are heard outside and everyone inside groans collectively. The police have been showing up more and more during akuma attacks, minus every one yesterday, and have been doing absolutely nothing or making the situation worse.

Despite the obvious bait, the Miraculders largely ignored the cops.

A strong unnatural gust of wind blows the roof off the movie theatre.

“Hey Frosty The Snowbitch, let’s see who’s umbrella is better!” Flux’s voice calls out.

“Oh, you’re on Cottontail!”

Eradicat lands inside the movie theatre with a somersault startling everyone. “Shit.” She holds out her hands in front of her, “stay low and don’t draw attention to yourselves. This akuma is clearly a sadist.” She runs over to the counter and taps it. An employee springs up. “I need popcorn, but I don’t carry money in this suit.”

Another employee springs up and fills an extra large bucket with popcorn. “Here. You’ve saved us so much we couldn’t possibly charge you.”

“Thank you.” The employees blush as she takes the popcorn then runs out one of the doors.

With no window, some people foolishly ignore Eradicat’s warning as they head to the entrances and crack the doors open slightly so they can see what’s going on.

Queen Bee and Harmonybug are deflecting tennis ball sized hail by spinning their weapons. Eradicat stuffs some popcorn into her batons.

“This better work.” Queen Bee grunts. “Flux!”

The rabbit Miraculder suddenly appearing beside Queen Bee has some people inside the theatre gasping and murmuring. Harmonybug and Queen Bee stop deflecting as Flux opens her umbrella and the four of them disappear behind it.

“What the fuck?” The butterfly outline appears over Climatika’s eyes as she looks around.

The people crowding the doors took their phones out and started recording. Despite day after day of akuma attacks, Flux never used her powers before.

From their angle, no one can get a decent look so they actually venture out into the street to get a good look when Climatika sees them and points her parasol at them beaming. “Freeze!”

A portal appears over Climatika’s head and in slow motion she looks up at the four Miraculders who dog pile her. She tries to point the parasol upward but Eradicat uses her batons like pea shooters and fires popcorn at the akumatization’s face. Some popcorn get into her mouth sending her into a coughing fit. Then Queen Bee immobilizes her for good measure and they break the parasol releasing the akuma that Harmonybug purifies. “Kickass job, team. Miraculous Harmonybug!” He throws his yo-yo in the air and the ladybugs get to work fixing the cracks in the street and restoring the movie theatre’s roof.

“‘Miraculous Harmonybug?’” Queen Bee questions.

“Figured I should personalize the Miracle Cure.”

People rush out of the movie theatre to gush over the Miraculders until the cops decide to make their way over. “Better book it.” Flux says.

“Time to bug out then. ‘Til next time~”

The crowd boos as the cops surround the front of the theatre. “Okay folks. Nothing to see. Go about your day.”

“Juleka, are you—” Rose gasps, “he’s gone!”

Juleka looks around and sure enough Fù is no longer beside them. “Maybe he made his way out with everyone else?”

“Maybe...? Should we look for him?”

“I think if he wanted to stick around he would’ve.”

“I guess. I just hope he’s okay. So!” The blonde claps her hands together, “what should we see? Something romantic? Something scary?”

“How about something funny?”

Rose holds out her fist, “rock paper scissors for it.”

Juleka smirks, “you’re on.”

They rock-paper-scissors, Rose picks scissors and Juleka picks paper. Rose jumps up and down, “something scary it is.” She tip-toes to kiss Juleka on the cheek. “I’ll buy the tickets.” Juleka opens her mouth to argue but Rose tip-toes again this time kissing her firmly on the mouth. “Let me spoil you?”

Juleka’s eyes narrow, “alright, just this time.”

“Deal. You like candy in your popcorn, right?” Juleka nods wordlessly. “Be right back.”

She shakes out of her stupor as she hears the tail end of Luka’s ringtone. Probably calling to make sure she’s safe. Juleka opens her purse and stares at the unfamiliar black and red hexagonal box nestled next to her phone. Was it a gift from Rose? The blonde was stronger and craftier than one would think, and she had a habit of gifting Juleka with unusual trinkets.

📓

“I’m so sorry I’m late!” Marinette skids to a halt in front of them, but even more impressive than that was the purple limousine she got out of.

“You kids have fun! Let your inner rockstar shine!” Jagged Stone croons as the limo drives off, with a crocodile sticking out of the sun roof.

Alix gapes. “Seriously, Nette? That’s a thing? You getting limo rides from Jagged Freaking Stone!?”

“No, not... normally, no. It was a...” Marinette takes a deep breath, “Chloé, do you know a Félix Something of Something?”

“Something of some...oh.” The blonde rolls her eyes and beside her Sabrina shakes her head, “Félix Fucking Graham de Goddamn Vanily. The most insufferable, petty, arrogant son of a bitch to ever sashay into my miserable life.” Ondine sympathetically pats the blonde on the back. “I unfortunately know him pretty damn well. Why?” Chloé gasps then grips Marinette’s shoulders, “did he do anything to you? Say anything? Please tell me you hit him?”

“I-I didn’t hit him. Though I wanted to.”

“Yeah, he has that effect on people.” Sabrina mutters.

“Clearly.” Marinette sighs. “He came into the shop, said he was looking for me. Then when Jagged mentioned wanting to meet you he said you were undeserving of our concern and protection.”

“Why is Jagged Stone asking about me?”

“Said the mayor is a major creativity drain.”

Chloé and Sabrina share a look. “Ah. Pity. That happened long before Audrey became mayor.”

Alya folds her arms over her chest. “Girl, there’s a major difference between pity and concern. The mayor’s an insufferable, arrogant, petty prick in her own right. Anyone with a soul would be concerned not only about you but for you. If anyone needs this spa day Chloé, it’s you.”

“But what do ear piercings have to do with spa day?” Marc asks.

Alya shrugs, “dunno, truthfully. But I want an industrial piercing in my left ear. It’ll be sort of an asymmetrical symmetry to the ear weavings I got in my right ear.” Alya puts an arm around Kagami, “and Kagami here wants her ears pierced. The standard lobe piercing.”

“I should get my ears pierced too.”

“You shaved off half your hair. Is there anything left to rebel?” Alix asks.

“Probably not but I want obnoxiously large hoop earrings.” Chloé cackles as they start walking down the street.

Marinette sent out a group text, before the Félix fiasco, to hang out with all her non male friends in order to find out her two loves from André’s ice cream. Alya – who Marinette really hoped was one of her loves – made plans with Kagami to get their ears pierced and invited the whole group to join them; which consisted of: Ondine, Alix, Marc, Mireille, Marinette, and Chloé. Chloé invited Sabrina because they’ve been best friends since they were five. Coincidentally, Marinette and Sabrina had been enemies for that same amount of time. Ever since dance class.

“Uh, Marinette?” The blue-haired girl looks up at Ondine, “did Kim seem alright last time you two saw one another?”

Alix groans, “spa day rule number one: no boy talk.”

“No arguments here.” Kagami and Chloé mutter, to which Marinette and Mireille nod in agreement.

Ondine gasps, “there are rules to spa day?”

“Papa and I used to do spa days all the time. Our only rule was never mention Audrey. So this no boys talk feels legit to me.”

“So... I’m the only one here who likes boys?” They all glance at Marc then one another.

“No. I like ‘em. Personally prefer girls but...” Alya shrugs, “I like boys too.”

“Same.” Mireille replies.

“Ditto.” Sabrina adds with a shrug.

“So do I.” Ondine says, “I mean... I’m into boys but I’ve never been interested in other girls.”

Chloé opens her mouth but Alix slaps a hand over it. “Nope. I just know she’s gonna say something crude we can’t unhear.” Then Alix yelps pulling their hand away from Chloé’s mouth glaring, “did you just lick my hand?”

“You smudged my lipgloss!” Chloé glares back, “and all I was gonna say was if Ondine wanted to try making out with another girl I’m readily available but I don’t wanna come off as desperate or anything.” She grimaces, “I should’ve kept that last bit to myself.” Everyone nods in agreement.

“I’ll... let you know?”

“But speaking of hot tall buff girls. Did you see Alya’s older sister?” Chloé takes out a miniature portable cooling fan from her purse and turns it on in front of her face.

Kagami looks at Alya, “you have a buff older sister?”

“She’s a professional kickboxer. Her ring name is Anansi.”

Dude! Your big sis is Anansi!?” Marc and Alix exclaim.

“We saw her fight about a month back against Crocodila.” Marinette adds, moving Chloé’s fan to her face fanning herself off. “Nino’s little brother Chris is like her biggest fan.”

“Nette made his outfit.”

“Marinette made my little sisters’ Queen Bee costumes too.”

“Do you take commissions? I need something punk. Papa left me everything in his will so I can spare no expense. The Bourgeois—I mean Le Grand Paris hotel is mine the minute I turn eighteen.” Chloé huffs, “but that’s not for another four months. Wait. It’s October now, right? Three months then.”

“January babies!” Ondine holds up her hand for a high-five. At Chloé’s confusion, Alya lifts Chloé’s hand then high-fives Ondine with it.

Chloé stares at her hand in wonder. “I’m learning so much from public schooling.”

“I felt the same way several years ago when I first attended public school. The novelty will wear off.”

Alya chuckles. “As someone who’s attended public, private, and charter schools I agree with Kagami.”

“Alya, does your sister train you?”

“‘Train me?’”

“Spar with you. I should’ve said.”

“Nora’s very...” Alya lolls her head from side to side, “overprotective. We’ve been sparring since she was three and I was three months old. If something can be physically fought, I get prepped for it. Hell, I get prepped even if it can’t be physically touched.”

“That’s a good attitude to have.” Sabrina muses, “especially with all the akumas and whatnot.”

“Can we get tickets to the gunshow, Césaire?” Alix grins at her. With a fond sigh, Alya makes a muscle and the others clap in awe.

“You guys are ridiculous.” Alya laughs as she opens the tattoo parlor’s doors.

Alya almost instantly propelled backwards the second she opened the door, falling into Kagami who catches her with ease. “Are you alright?”

“I... tripped, yeah.” She blinks up at Kagami, a bit dazed. “Damn you’re buff.”

“I fence.”

“I apologize for starting you.” Fù, in a floral green and white shirt and white pants holding a feather duster, apologizes. Alya was hardly expecting to find the Guardian here, but he had to leave his shop if he was looking around the city for more Miraculders. (They’ve got to come up with a better team name.) Kagami’s hands stiffen briefly before relaxing. It happened so quick Alya figured she was imagining it. Then the rest of them enter the shop.

“It’s all good.”

Then the whole group screams as the headmaster comes into view. “Headmaster Augustin.” They dutifully chorus.


The brunette chuckles. “We’re all on break. Just Mme. Augustin is fine.” A redhead spins in the swivel chair facing them, “this is my daughter Nicolette. She’ll be joining the school once we’re back from break.”

“You own this shop?” Ondine asks.

“My wife Camilla does.” As if one cue a blonde that looks a lot like Nicolette comes through the doorway. “Speaking of my wife. These are some of the students of Géroux Delacroix.”

“Pleasure meeting all of you. Who’s going first?”

Chloé steps up, “me. Just the regular ear piercing please. Maybe a nose ring too? Ooh, and definitely a tongue ring. What about one of those lower lip rings?”

Alix pushes her out of the way, “while she’s deciding—” They glare at each other, “I’ll go. I want the whole row of piercings next to my regular ones.”

“Ah. The gradual lobe piercings? Good choice.” Camilla gestures for Alix to follow.

Nicolette springs from her chair, “do you all know what you want? We have a binder on all piercings.”

The others crowd the piercings binder looking over everything in awe. And, like the children they don’t bother to hide they are, giggle at the nipple and genital piercings.

When Alya mentioned ear piercings, it brought Kagami back to a conversation she and Nino had with Fù. To strengthen the bond between the black cat and ladybug Miraculous wielders, Fù suggested they temporarily swap Miraculouses to get a feel for the other side of the balance in hopes of better understanding it.

Kagami and Alya, who ignited both a physical and emotional spark within Kagami when they first touched, sought Chloé out during the blonde’s first week of school. Actually, it was Chloé who sought Kagami out – catching her fencing match against Adrien Agreste. As for Alya, she confessed she knew what it was like being the new girl; having been in over fifty different schools all over the world.

In the class Kagami shared with Chloé and Adrien, Chloé spent the entire class period glaring at Adrien’s back mumbling every so often about exacting revenge. Kagami would worry she’d get akumatized again for her unbridled anger but Hawkmoth seemed to be avoiding her. Smart. It might bring back her memories. Which’ll no doubt confirm it’s Gabriel Agreste underneath the balaclava.

However, despite never being targeted, Chloé’s anger was attracting akumas to the school.

Kagami couldn’t test out Tikki’s earrings without pierced ears so when Alya mentioned getting another piercing, Kagami asked to tag-along. Then it somehow morphed into a group outing via the text from Marinette.

(You’d think magical jewelry would magically attach itself to her unpierced ears but... whatever.)

She and Nino swapped their Miraculouses after the Miracle Cure or Miraculous Harmonybug cleaned up Climatika’s weather-based mess.

After everyone decided on what they were getting, Fù beckoned Kagami over piercing her ears with Tikki’s earrings. Though, honestly, Kagami wouldn’t be surprised if every other employee in this establishment either had a Miraculous or knew more about them then the common public. Hell, it wouldn’t even surprise her if her grandfather showed up.

When she was first presented with the earrings, they turned white and almost pearl like with her touch; similarly how her ring turned platinum and thicker when Nino touched it. Fù told them Miraculouses change color and sometimes size for each holder, whether they be permanent or temporary, to keep previous holders from recognizing the jewelry in question and to personalize with the current holder.

Ear piercing is a quicker affair than Kagami thought because it seems like not even thirty seconds after she sat down Fù was telling her she was done. She checks her reflection in the mirror and nods, thanking Fù before taking a seat next to Alya as Marinette goes next.

“Check this out. There’s a ‘which Miraculder are you’ quiz Ondine found online.” Alya tells her.

“I’m definitely Queen Bee material.” Chloé states.

Alix snorts, “you wish.” Chloé sticks her tongue out at Alix.

“Huh.” Marc, on Kagami’s other side, furrows their eyebrows at their phone, “I got Harmonybug.” Everyone turns to them and they shake the phone in their hand, “I just took the quiz.”

“Dude, you’re like the most creative person I know. Tied with Nette and Nino. If Harmonybug wields the Miraculous of creativity—

“Creation.” Alya corrects.

“—Semantics. Point is. Arc’s hella creative. Nette’ll end up with Harmonybug too. Watch.” As she’s done with her piercings, small gold hoops, Marinette takes the empty seat on Marc’s other side then takes out her phone.

Ondine gets up then goes to Fù. “This quiz isn’t very long.” Chloé says, “and, as I figured, I got Queen Bee.”

“Oh you’re a queen b alright, just not the way you figure.”

Chloé scowls briefly then stares at Alix with a neutral expression, “bet you’ll bet the Bunny.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because she’s the least memorable of the team.” Alix’s eyes narrow at Chloé’s smirk.

“Oh boy.” Marinette mutters. Kagami, Alya, Sabrina, and Marc turn to her. “I think Alix has a crush.” Alya’s loud, sudden laugh has the whole shop staring at her. Still laughing, she waves off the looks. Beside her, Sabrina’s laughter is much more subdued.

“This is rather... reminiscent of pulling one’s pigtails, isn’t it?” Kagami muses, staring at the duo flipping each other off. “And it does seem mutual.” Alya’s laughter turns into a coughing fit, and Kagami effortlessly pats her on the back without missing a beat.

“I know Alix isn’t aromantic even though they’re asexual but how is this thing with Chloé any different than them bickering and competing with Kim?” Marc’s eyes widen, “u-unless...”

“N-No, no! It isn’t...” Marinette grimaces, “it’s not like that. I mean, I don’t think it’s like that? Alix and Kim are both hypercompetitive by nature so it’s only natural they’d steadily compete with each other. This feels more like Alix is deliberately trying to rile Chloé up.” Marinette pauses then facepalms, “oh who am I kidding!? It’s exactly the same! I just don’t think I can take Alix crushing on Kim though.”

“Then let’s focus on Chloé and Alix. With every jab Alix makes, Chloé rises to the bait. Yet she gives as good as she gets.” Kagami taps her chin. “They do seem as though they’d make a cute couple.”

Alya’s laughing slash coughing dwindles to a light chuckle, “I needed that laugh.” She leans back in her seat, “should we bash their heads together and see how long it’ll take them to kiss?”

“Sounds like a good idea to me.” Sabrina adds. “Chloé always been heads-on.”

Mireille raises an eyebrow, “don’t you mean hands-on?”

“Uh, no.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Marinette interrupts, “we absolutely should not do... that.”

“Marinette’s right, we shouldn’t bash their heads together. Simply bring them together without contact.”

“Kagami, no! Don’t encourage this!”

Kagami grins at her. “If we are their friends we should intervene. They’ll thanks us later.”

“Might even name their kids after us.” Alya adds, nodding.

Sabrina gasps. “Or they’ll make us godmothers.”

Marinette shakes her head but she’s smiling, “you three are terrible.”

“Did you take the Miraculder test, Marinette?” Marc asks.

“Yeah. I got Harmonybug.” She stares at her phone, “kinda wanted Queen Bee but I knew I wasn’t gonna get her. What about the rest of you?”

“I got the bunny.” Sabrina says with a pout, “and I don’t even know what her power is...”

“I got the bunny too.” Mireille says, “did anyone get Eradicat?” Everyone shakes their heads, “is this test rigged?”

Alya takes her phone out of her pocket, staring at it. “Could be. Lemme see what I get.” It’ll be hilarious if she gets someone other than Queen Bee, considering she is Queen Bee but... you never know with these fan-made quizzes. Kagami stares at her phone with furrowed eyebrows as she pulls up the quiz.

Ondine returns with a studded piercing on her nose. Having already come here with two lobe piercings next to each other, she thought about piercing something else. Sabrina jumps up next to go to Fù. “Did you take the Miraculder test, Ondine?” Mireille asks.

“I got Harmonybug. Not really sure about that though...”

“Are you kidding? You’re definitely Harmonybug.”

“Yeah?”

Sabrina returns and Chloé gasps from her seat, “you didn’t? Show me, show me!” Rolling her eyes fondly, the bespectacled teen heads over to Chloé who immediately squeals.

“What the hell is that about?” Alix asks.

“No idea...” Alya turns to Marc, “your turn next, Marc.”

“W-Why don’t you go Alya?”

“You sure? I don’t mind waiting. I’m the middle child. I’m used to it.”

Kagami puts a hand on Marc’s hand, “it’s okay to be nervous—”

“That’s what my therapist says.” Chloé interrupts from the chair. Alix, having swapped seats with her so Chloé can get her piercings done, raises their eyebrows.

“Mine too.” Marinette says with a smile.

“Okay, I can understand her—” Alix jerks a thumb at Chloé; who’s stopped from replying as Camilla turns her head, “but why do you need therapy, Nette?”

“What does it matter?” Alya asks, “we need to normalize therapy. My sister is the most kickass person I know and she has sessions once a month. It took her a while to find one here but once she did, she got it set up. Hell, we’re all gonna need therapy dealing with goddamn butterflies and fucking feathers all the damn time anyhow.” Everyone mutters in agreement.

“You’re right, Alya. It’s none of my business. Sorry Nette.”

“It’s okay, Alix. You’re just concerned. I go to therapy for my anxiety. I just started so we’ll see if it helps.” She leans over and squeezes Marc’s other hand.

“I... I take medication for my anxiety.” Marc mumbles.

“So do I...” Mireille leans over, patting Marc’s shoulder.

Alya gets up from her chair then hugs Marc. “You’re gonna look so kickass with your new piercings.” She whispers. They smile at her then nod. Taking a deep breath, Marc gets up then head to Fù. Alya plops down in their empty chair. “Chloé, what are you in therapy for?”

“I’m angry ...all the time. Audrey and I argued the day I started school. You know, where she was akumatized?” Everyone nods. “I was so angry I destroyed the suite in retaliation. In the cracked mirror I saw my reflection but it wasn’t me... it was Audrey.” She takes a deep, shuddering breath, “and like some kind of reoccurring nightmare it kept happening. Every time we spoke we argued, and every time we argued I’d break something, and every time I’d break something I’d look at my reflection. The more stuff I broke the less I could recognize myself in the mirror.”

“That’s some extra freaky horror film shit!” Alix yells.

“Yeah, it was. At the risk of turning into Audrey, I sought professional help. It was Sabrina’s idea, actually.”

“Well, we’re all here for you, Chloé.” Ondine cheers.

“T-Thanks. My worst and pretty much only fear is turning into that woman.”

“I know none of us want to turn into our parents...” Alix mutters, “but you have a pretty good reason not to want to.”

“I know everyone says that but I wouldn’t mind turning into either of my parents.”

“We all can’t have perfect parents like you, Nette.”

“My parents aren’t perfect.”

“Maybe not but compared to the rest of ours they might as well be saints.”

“I wouldn’t mind if I grew up a bit like my ma. She’s almost as kickass as Nora and didn’t let popping out four kids sidetrack her dreams.”

“Sounds like she’s a bit more kickass than Nora, if you ask me.” Kagami says with a shrug.

“Huh. You might be right.”

“What about your papa?” Marinette asks.

“Meh. The old man’s alright. Just would rather be my ma if it came down to it.” Alya nudges Kagami, “isn’t your ma a world-class fencer?”

“Who’s also dating Gabriel Agreste!” Ondine gushes.

Kagami exhales a deep breath through her nose, “yes to both of those. Whenever I got compared to my mother I took it as a compliment, even though it was rarely the case.”

“I used to take people comparing me to Audrey as a compliment, now thinking back to every time it was said to me. I feel a cold chill.”

“Hey, have you ever met Gabriel Agreste? I mean, dude’s a recluse right?” Alix asks. “Does he come over or do you go to his place?”

Kagami doesn’t bother masking her grimace, “I have yet to visit the Agreste manor. However, he has come to our hotel suite on numerous occasions to whisk my mother away somewhere.”

“I say milk it. He’s rich.” Chloé’s eyebrows furrow, “but something is bugging me. On—” Chloé clicks her tongue. “Gabriel Agreste was pretty much obsessed with Tante Émilie. His late wife. Hard to believe it would take him just a year to get over her and date someone as hot as your maman.” Everyone turns to Chloé, “oh come on! I know you all have Twitter accounts. Plus—” She gestures to Kagami, “the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

“Well, if he’s gotta get over his late wife why not be with a lady as hot as Tomoe Tsurugi?” Sabrina asks. “But Gabriel Agreste had like a shrine dedicated to Tante Émilie. I saw it. There were old movie posters and candles and everything. I swore he was about to do a séance or something. Let’s just hope he doesn’t do the same thing with his current partner.”

“That’s a whole new, almost creepy level of devotion.” Mireille mutters.

“Agreed. But... Chloé your surprise lies in the fact that Tomoe Tsurugi is dating Gabriel Agreste because she’s too hot for him?” Marinette asks.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying! And I can’t be the only one surprised by this. Agreste is no prize. Sure, he’s got money but so does Tomoe. For lack of a better phrase, what the fuck could she possibly see in him? Never knew what Tante Émilie saw in him either. He sure as hell doesn’t have a sparkling personality. Barely has a personality at all.”

Kagami sighs. “I wish I could answer you but I’m just as clueless.”

“I’d hate to say it coming from someone who has no interest in it, but I’m guessing she’s in it for the sex.” To suppress her shudder, Kagami grinds her teeth together.

Alix!” Marinette chastises.

“What? You were all thinking it! She has more dough than him. She can’t see his subpar face. She can kick his ass without question. Dude has the personality of a used sponge. What other reason could there be?” Everyone looks around at one another. “Exactly. I rest my case.”

When Chloé is finished with her piercings: the standard lobe with large hoops but not overly large, a labret ring in the center of her bottom lip, and a small hoop above her right nostril, she and Sabrina take a seat with the others and Alya goes to Camilla for her piercing.

“Wait. Back up. Let me see your wallpaper?” Chloé backs out of her application and shows Marinette her phone. “You took a selfie while you were akumatized?”

“Huh. Can’t say I remember taking this, but given how cute I look I can understand why. Not just anyone can pull off pink hair the way Ondine does.”

“Thanks but what about Alix?”

Chloé looks at them then shrugs, “meh. I’ve seen worse.”

“Gee, thanks.”

Once everyone’s piercings are done, Chloé pays for everything then the group thank the employees before leaving. To the spa, if Alix’s cheering was any indication.

“A spa day sure sounds like fun.” Nicolette mutters spinning in her chair.

Camilla ruffles her daughter’s hair, “we’ll have a nice spa day soon.” She hipchecks her wife, “did you manage to restore the lost memories?”

“Yup. They won’t all come at once but they’ll leave for one bitching headache.”

Nicolette spins the chair to her mére, “seriously? I was looking at you the whole time and I never saw you within a meter of Chloé.”

“Are you sure?”

Nicolette’s eyes narrow then widen, “when you were handing maman the jewelry.”

“Ah.” Fù nods, “you must have impressive range. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a hypnosis power first-hand.”

“Can you thank Akira for us? For letting us know about the opportunity?”

Fù nods again, “absolutely. I need to thank him as well.”

“Then you were able to distribute the Miraculous to the girl?” Camilla asks.

“Yes. In addition to the prospect I had in mind, I gave out a Miraculous to someone I believe could use a confidence boost.”

📓

Marc sneezes. “Someone’s talking about you~” Alix sing-songs.

Chloé’s butler, Jean-Something, showed up in a fancy towncar and took them to the spa then disappeared before anyone could thank him. (Given the four missed calls he had from “Mme. B,” it didn’t take a lot of guesses to figure out why.)

Marinette stared longingly at the mudbath room that was closed for renovation. Chloé and Sabrina groaned at the fact that the masseuses left early after the most recent akuma attack that wasn’t even anywhere near here.

Kagami stares at the glittery red nail polish on her fingers as the manicurist adds the same polish to her toes. “I must confess... I never received a manicure or pedicure before today.”

“I never got one professionally either.” Marinette says, to the right of her, “Nonna or Maman usually did my nails, but nothing too fancy because...” She shrugs, “you know, it’s a boulangerie. Don’t want fake nails or pieces of nail polish getting baked into your pâtisseries.”

“I’ve got nail polish chipped in so many weird places it’s nothing short of a miracle I’ve never ingested any.” Marc chuckles.

“Unless you did and didn’t realize it?” Alya points out.

“That... that’s true too.”

“Do you do your nails or get them done professionally?” Mireille asks.

“I normally do them myself, but I got my nails done professionally with gel once. They were hard to take off. My fingers were sore for weeks.” Everyone stares at their polished fingernails in horror. “I-I discovered they have tools to take gel off that makes it less painful! Same thing with fake nails.”

“We’ll simply have to have another spa day where we remove our nails and nail polish then.” Chloé states, matter of factly. “Hopefully we can have a full on spa day too.” She winces then presses her fingertips to her temples.

“Are you okay?” Alix asks.

“Just got a sharp pain in my head.” Kagami glances over at her as Sabrina fusses over the blonde’s head. With her fusing with Plagg daily, the kwami told her she’s picking up several cat-like traits faster than his previous holders. One of said traits included enhanced hearing. While Camilla was piercing Chloé’s nose, the headmaster chanted something barely above a whisper Kagami didn’t understand as she handed her wife something.

There are six Guardian abilities known by her grandfather: longevity, premonition, mesmerism, endurance, curative, and siphon.

If the mesmerism or hypnosis ability was needed to restore Chloé’s memories, it’s a safe bet assuming their headmaster is a Guardian with such an ability.

It’s an even safer bet to assume if she has a casual enough relationship with Fù, their headmaster knows she’s wielding the black cat Miraculous; prancing around the city in lycra calling herself Eradicat. After purifying or destroying akumas and amoks, the four of them shot the shit as they patrolled the city, thinking of a better or just even another name but they never came up with anything. Hell, some of the stuff Flux suggested were somehow worse.

They’re gonna have a team meeting to discuss what the possibility of the headmaster knowing their identities means for them.

Chapter Text

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news. This is Nadja Chamack with a TVi special news report! This morning at approximately 7:42am there was a robbery attempt at BNP Paribas in the 9th arrondissement. When the cops arrived, a new group of Miraculous holding superheroes calling themselves The Quantic Kids arrived on the scene as well and together with the cops helped thwart the attempted robbery.”

A miniature screen pops up in the top right hand corner and the camera focuses in on someone in a blue-green outfit reminiscent of a squid, next the camera focuses on a lavender and white falcon, after that is a brown sparrow with a bow and arrow, and finally a yellow-green spider.

“Fortunately, our new very own weather girl, Mireille Caquet, was nearby to get an exclusive interview with The Quantic Kids’ leader Gavroche.”

The camera cuts to a bored looking Mireille holding the TVi news microphone in her hands standing next to the squid guy. “What can we count on your team to do?” She asks.

“Whatever we can. Not trying to pick a fight but unlike the Miraculders, we’re working with the police to ensure the safety of all citizens.”

“Uh-huh. But why show up now? And why help stop a bank robbery attempt of all things? You have Miraculouses. Hawkmoth and Fantôme have been continuously and relentlessly terrorizing the city for over a month now. If you were concerned about all citizens you’d be working on taking them down.”

“We know that all too well but Hawkmoth isn’t the only threat to the city.”

“Maybe but he and Fantôme sure seem like they’re the biggest.”

With a sigh, Kim mutes the television. Glancing at his phone, he sees the picture of yesterday’s ice cream he got from André’s cart. Elderberry, coffee cotton candy, and matcha!? What the fuck kind of combination was that? The others were right to be skeptical. What the hell was he thinking?

He should’ve known it was all bullshit but he never was the brightest bulb in the box. Even so... he really let some rhyming asshole rando drive a wedge in his relationship with Ondine, who was easily one of his favorite people to be around!

They were still friends, thankfully, but they’re not as close as they were a year ago or even before they started dating.

Kim clinches his eyes shut, not seeing the blue-purple feathered butterfly fly into his cellphone.

Dark Heart.” A voice whispers in his ear, “I am Hawkmoth and I feel your pain—

Kim’s eyes open and his head snaps up as he loosens his grip on his phone. “Hawkmoth? No. No, no, no no! You’re not getting in my head! I’m not gonna hurt anyone for you!”

He can feel the magic fading from his phone until a second voice pipes in his head, bringing the magic back full force, “such conviction...” The second voice breathes, “such strength. Don’t you wanna use that strength where it’s needed? After all, we aren’t the ones in the wrong. André is. He lied to you. Made a fool of you. Used your optimism about love against you. Think about how many other people have been in your shoes. Think of all the people he’s lying as we speak. You could be their champion. The voice of the voiceless.

By letting us help you we can spread the truth about André and his ice cream. You’ll be doing the city a favor, Dark Heart. And you won’t have to hurt anyone in the process.”

Kim’s grip on his phone tightens. A purplish-blue butterfly mask with peafowl feathers along the edges forms around his eyes.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Today, André’s Ice Cream Cart is parked in front of the Arc de Triomphe near all the makeshift farmer’s market booths.

Lila heard all about this “Ice Cream Matchmaker” and decided to see for herself if he was truly magic or just a crock of shit. Her money was on the latter but they said he didn’t charge for the ice cream and she was already in the mood for ice cream so why wouldn’t she try some?

Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only one in the mood for ice cream on this particularly warm October afternoon because by the time she got to the cart there was a line.

(And it took her a half hour to decipher his bullshit riddles! She better get the biggest scoop of ice cream he supplies!)

The brunette was looking at her phone when a shadow flickered past her eyes. Looking up, she spots a winged, masked akumatization (because, seriously, what else could it be?) floating in the sky. “People of Paris, I’ve come to liberate your hearts!”

Lila grimaces. That... doesn’t sound good. Other than her own akumatization and Audrey Bourgeois’, she’s had a pretty good track record of steering clear of akuma attacks. Not like the morons who run into the fray in hopes of catching a blurry glimpse of the Miraculders.

“André is nothing but a liar! His ice cream won’t bring you love! It’ll only bring heartache! I speak from experience!”

People on line gasp and murmur among themselves.

(The akuma alert app belatedly informs citizens an akumatization is heading toward the direction of Arc de Triomphe.)

Flux touches down on the ice cream cart’s umbrella. “First one here, huh? That’s new.”

“My quarrel isn’t with you, Rabbit. My only interest is giving André his just desserts.”

Flux groans, “couldn’t resist, could you?” A mask that’s a butterfly peacock fusion appears over his eyes. “Huh. That is... also new.”

“M. Akumatization, surely you require an explanation.”

Flux hops down from the umbrella, “what the hell are you doing?” She hisses.

“I understand your apprehension, but I need clarification on something mentioned.” Flux massages her temples. “You say I have wronged you! What is it exactly you wish me to do?”

The akumatization floats down to the ground in front of André but Flux is right there pointing the tip of her umbrella at him preventing him from stepping closer. “That’s close enough, bud.”

Fine.” The akumatization tilts their head at André, “‘what I want you to do?’” He bites out, “I want you to stop spreading lies about your ice cream!”

“My ice cream is 100% accurate and to further prove my point, I will elaborate. You have not been looking at the whole picture. The flavors I have given you is your true love’s mixture.”

“How the hell do you even know who this is?!” Flux yells, “I’m sure you pissed off more than one person recently.”

“André has his ways.” Flux rolls her eyes.

“If you know who I am then you’ll know the flavors you gave me are a terrible combination! They make no sense together!”

“Each flavor represents a type of love you feel, but I can understand how you would believe that is not ideal.”

“Maybe you’d, oh I don’t know, wanna cool it with rhyme time?” Flux mutters.

“I would hate to burst your bubble, but I am attempting to avoid causing more trouble.”

“Enough!” The akumatization roars, “trying to distract me with your fucking riddles!” He lunges at André but Flux trips him with her umbrella and the akumatization dives head first into the ice cream cart.

“My cart!” André cries.

“It’ll get Miraculous Harmonybug’d.” She pushes André behind her as the akumatization gets up. He takes a step toward them then is wrapped by a familiar red cord.

Flux tilts her head to see Harmonybug and say something snarky when she blinks because that’s not Harmonybug on the other end of that yo-yo string. The first thing Flux notices is the bright red hair cascading down into a long side braid over the left shoulder and two black antennas coming from the newcomer’s head. The outfit and mask is red with black ink splatters and coins around it. The gloves and boots are the inverse of the rest of the outfit, black with red splatters and coin spots. Their lips are half black and half red. To top it off are the black majestic looking wings sprouted from their back. It’s definitely a ladybug. Just not the one she’s familiar with. “Down boy.”

The akumatization snarls as he tries to wriggle free from the cord but the ladybug tightens their grip. “You can’t keep André from Dark Heart! He will answer for his lies!”

The butterfly peafowl mask forms over his eyes as the scoopers in his heart-shaped gloved hands expand. The ladybug releases her grip on Dark Heart before the now people sized scoopers can break the yo-yo string.

“What the shit is this?”

There are only two people Flux knows of who’d lament that sort of reaction and that clearly wasn’t Queen Bee. “Wait a sec, Eradicat!?” Flux points at her. “Y-You and Harmonybug?”

“Call me Fortunebug and yes, we temporarily swapped Miraculouses.”

Oh.” As the scoopers turn to Flux and André, Flux picks the ice cream seller up. “Well, time to go. The others?”

“Queen Bee’s on her way and I haven’t been in contact with whatever Harmonybug’s gonna call himself with my Miraculous. But I suggest you get the target to safety. Doesn’t look like this akumatization is interested in causing collateral.”

“Yeah, I noticed, as weird as that is. Be back.”

“Be careful.”

“Copy that.”

As Flux hops away Dark Heart screams signaling for the scoopers to follow.

Lila grimaces watching the scene before her. Must Hawkmoth make every akumatization so damn dramatic? (Thinking about monologuing as Tela Vuota made her shudder.) Dark Heart and the Ladybug are having an old-fashion stand-off. Behind the tree where she’s hiding, Lila notices the yellow and black toned lycra lined legs of Queen Bee approaching. “What the shit is this? Giant spoons?”

“Actually...” She turns to Lila, presumably with narrowed eyes behind those kickass crisscrossing goggles. The brunette threw the Bee Miraculder off the goddamn Eiffel Tower a month ago. That’s bound to harbor less than friendly feelings. Lila’s hardly expecting them to become besties overnight, especially as this is the second time they’ve ever been in proximity to each other. However, if Lila’s assistance with this akumatization becomes invaluable that might just make up for that... mishap. It’s worth a shot anyway. “They’re scoopers. ‘Dark Heart’ created them. Well, he grew them. Oh! And get this. His mask isn’t just a butterfly; it’s like a butterfly and peacock fusion!” Queen Bee folds her arms over her ample chest. Lila’s certain if her eyebrows were visible behind the goggles they’d be raised in suspicion. “Also, he’s after the ice cream guy.”

“Appreciate the help.” Queen Bee says though it’s obvious she hardly means it.

“I wanted to make up for...” Lila clears her throat, “you know.” She winces, “tossing you off the Eiffel Tower when I was akumatized?”

Queen Bee leans toward her with a devious smile on her yellow lips. “I could return the favor and let you feel first hand how long that takes to forgive.” Lila gulps then the Miraculder stands up straight, unclipping her top from her waist. “But for now, stay hidden. If anyone’s kicking your ass, akumatized or not, it’s me. I... owe you, after all.”

“R-Right.”

“Gotta meet up with the others and tell them what you told me.”

“O-Of course.” Lila nods watching Queen Bee jog toward the Ladybug. After a few seconds, Lila facepalms. “Dammit! I should’ve taken a picture!”

🙈 🙊 🙉

It was a different feeling washing over him as the transformation began, and a black light engulfed his whole body. With Tikki it felt like the power was hugging him. Transforming with Plagg felt like getting splashed in the face with ice cold water. (He made a mental note to ask Kagami how transforming felt to her.) His knee-high green and black gingham boots were first to appear. (As Harmonybug his boots only came up to his thighs.) Next his suit formed: other than the green seams around his neck, shoulders, arms, and chest – the suit is all black. After that are the green and black gingham arm warmers matching the boots. His gloves, over the arm warmers, are all black – like the suit – but the insides have green padded paws. Unfortunately, his gloves leave his transformed green pawprint ring exposed; unlike Eradicat’s gloves. Following the gloves is his mask: same green and black gingham pattern as the arm warmers and boots. Lastly, his eyes turn green and his fuzzy black cat ears and fluffy tail appeared.

It’s a hell of a lot different than Eradicat’s outfit but if their Miraculouses can change based on the holder then why wouldn’t the outfit?

Now he’s gotta think of a name.

Nino was at the farmer’s market with Alix and Nathaniel so when he saw the winged shadow overhead he hid with Nathaniel knowing Alix was gonna disappear. Then when the akumatization got closer and people started panicking, Nino “accidentally” got separated from the redhead. Of course he doubled back to make sure Nathaniel was safe before heading off to transform.

The akumatization in question has a red crying cartoon-y heart-shaped mask covering their face, and they’re wearing heart-shaped gloves. All in all they’re pretty much dressed like an all-black cherub.

Reaching for the yo-yo he doesn’t have, Nino grabs one of his batons to get himself in the air. (Only the batons and bell remained the same as Eradicat’s suit [and that’s only because he wasn’t thinking of either of them.])

He’s hardly as graceful as Kagami but he manages to land on his feet behind the akumatization’s wall of... giant ice cream scoopers? What the shit is this? “Valentine’s Day’s a long way off, man.” He brings his batons together to form one giant baton.

Kagami scratches her head. “Huh. Didn’t know I could do that.”

“Why are you protecting André?”

“Dunno, man. Why’re you going after him?”

“Do you remember our first mission, Partner?”

Nino looks around at the scoopers surrounding the akumatization. “Oh hell yeah. And you’ve given me the perfect name too.” He puts the baton under his arm as his left hand starts sparking with energy. “Cataclysm!” He runs at the akumatization tagging each scooper as he runs around them. Once he’s finished, he slides to a halt in front of Queen Bee and Kagami.

Kagami smirks at him. “I’ll have to remember to use that one.”

The scoopers slowly start to dissolve into ice cream, strangely enough, around the akumatization and a brown blur surges past the three of them and a Monkey lands on top of the akumatization pulling their staff that’s pressed against his throat.

“We gotta deal with the Quantic Kids and now there’s this?” Queen Bee asks.

“I don’t think so. Master told us he’s in the process of distributing the remaining Miraculouses in his care.”

“And I do remember him mentioning a monkey among them.”

They continue to watch the akumatization try and fail to wrestle the Monkey off him. “By the way? You said you thought of a name. What are we calling you?”

“Hm? Oh. I was thinking of Caterize.”

Queen Bee laughs, “nice.”

“I’m going by Fortunebug and I don’t get it.”

“Well, I was thinking of going with Catastrophe but that would’ve been the obvious choice, right? Not to mention lame. I wanted something you had to think about.” Fortunebug frowns. “My name is a play on the word cauterize.”

“I’ve never heard of that word before but I’ll take your word for it.” Her frown deepens, “and I feel like we should be helping our new ally out.” The others shrug in agreement. “Let’s see what I get. Lucky Charm!” Fortunebug throws the yo-yo in the air and it transforms into a polkadotted pair of batons. Hm. Maybe she should’ve consulted Tikki on how the damn thing works.

The akumatization finally manages to flip the Monkey off and they manage to take the mask he’s wearing off with them, though he keeps their staff. Unlike every other akumatization Caterize found as Music/Harmonybug, this one doesn’t have a weapon. But they are clutching that stolen staff in his gloved right hand.

As Queen Bee catches them, Caterize sneaks a peek at the Monkey. They have a dark brown pompadour that seamlessly turns more and more reddish until it’s fully red at the tips. There’s something rose gold on their head. As for the suit, it’s dark brown mostly but the fur on the limbs also effortlessly blends to red for the gloves and boots. Lastly, there’s the long red curled tail. “Thanks for the catch.”

“No prob.”

Caterize gasps as he finds himself looking at the face of Kim Lê Chiến, except his eyes, sclera and all, are black and crying murky black tears. “No way.”

“No fucking way.” Flux exclaims, dropping down beside him holding André.

Kim tilts his head to the left, “this is all André’s fault. If you just hand him over we can end this.” His voice takes on a strange ethereal echo. “There’s no reason to fight.” The Monkey, Caterize, and Fortunebug drop their weapons and Flux drops André.

Queen Bee looks around at her immobile teammates then unclips her top from her hip. “What the hell?” She turns back to Kim who’s black eyes narrow. “What did you do to them?”

“Nothing. Like I said, no one has to get hurt. All I want is for André to admit his mistake.”

That damn echo makes Queen Bee grit her teeth. Pollen groans, “feel a headache coming on. Stay strong, My Queen, we are immune to hypnotism and things along that nature. Doesn’t mean this doesn’t hurt though.” Right. Pollen did tell her every kwami has an immunity. Why should the one with the power of subjection be able to go under someone else’s control? Huh. Though she has to wonder if this means she can get akumatized. It also makes her wonder what other abilities does she possess.

“Look man. If you don’t wanna hurt anyone but André let’s make a deal.”

“Uh, I’m not exactly in agreement with this arrangement.” André says as Queen Bee grabs him by the arm dragging him toward the akumatization.

“No killing. Obviously. Though if you wanna rough him up his injuries will likely be healed with the Miraculous Fortunebug.” André whimpers.

The akumatization laughs, “I don’t wanna hurt him. I just want him to admit he’s wrong.”

“Queen Bee!” Someone shouts and an arrow whizzes past her face cutting her left cheek. André screams then ducks.

Queen Bee looks around to see The Quantic Kids. Sparrow has an arrow nocked, the Leopard is holding onto Lila’s arm dangling her in the air, and the other two are standing there with their weapons at the ready.

“Bargaining with an akumatization? No wonder you don’t wanna work with the cops.”

“Says the assholes working with Hawkmoth?”

The Squid smirks then spreads his four arms. “You must be mistaken. We’re not working with Hawkmoth. We’re working for the city.”

“Spare me your bullshit Squidward. We’ll see how long it’ll take before you slip up.” She pushes André at the akumatization then spins her top. “But if you wanna fight, I’m more than happy to oblige.”

“Four against one isn’t good odds Mlle. Bee.”

“Yeah, for you clowns.”

Stop!” The Quantic Kids freeze. Queen Bee looks over her shoulder at the akumatization holding his gloved hand out. “No one has to get hurt.” He turns to André.

“I did not lie about the ice cream I provide.”

Kim’s eyes widen, “you can look me in the eye and continue to lie?”

“I know you are hurt, that was not my intention. I did not realize the effects of my intervention.”

Pollen groans again, “the rhyming is making my headache worse.

Ugh. I know how you feel.

“What was your intention?”

Ice Cream Guy takes a deep breath. “My only goal is for all forms of love to flow through the city as a whole. The love you have for your former lover... to lose it hurt, but it is not the love your true love will exert.”

“What does that mean?!”

“Listen dude—” Queen Bee grips André by the collar, “I’ve just about had it with this fucking Riddler bullshit and I’m not even akumatized. Give him a straight answer or you’re gonna get up close and personal with the stinging power of my weapon.”

“B-But I cannot reveal the identity of his true love. The mystery is half the—”

“Nope.” She shakes him, “do. Better.” The top pulses at her side and André’s eyes widen. “What did he tell you?”

“T-That my true love’s ‘mixer’ was elderberry, coffee cotton candy, and matcha mixed together.” Queen Bee makes a face, “and that each flavor represents a different type of love.”

“That’s fucking weak.”

“The saddest part is, despite all this, some part of me still believes him.”

Queen Bee releases André with a sigh. “Then what do you wanna do?”

Kim sighs, “there’s nothing to do.” He holds out his right arm, the mask outline over his eyes flickering, “this is where my akuma is. In my hand.” Continuous use must be making it hard for Hawkmoth to control his akumatizations. “You should sting me in case Hawkmoth tries to take control of my body.” Queen Bee grips Kim’s right hand and squeezes the glove until it cracks. A blue-purple feathered butterfly flies out of the glove and floats in front of Queen Bee’s face.

I will get your Miraculouses.

“Of course you will, Shitmoth.”

Caterize lunges to catch the butterfly with their sparking hand before it flies away. “Miraculous Fortunebug!” Fortunebug throws the batons in the air and the magical ladybugs fix up the cart and transform Kim back to normal.

The Leopard drops Lila then the Quantic Kids disappear.

Queen Bee walks over to the brunette who looks up at her wide-eyed. “You did good. Or tried to.” Lila’s eyes light up as Queen Bee helps her up. Being a superhero’s girlfriend could—no! She can still get Marinette to love her. She just needs to change tactics. Queen Bee smirks, “still gonna throw you off the Eiffel Tower one day.”

“I can live with that.”

“Time to ‘bug out.’” Fortunebug says.

Caterize and Flux help Kim up. “You okay, man?” The latter asks.

Kim sighs, “I’ve been better.”

“I do apologize about the situation. I—”

Kim holds up a hand, “don’t.” He sighs again. “I overreacted then let Fantôme and Hawkmoth get inside my head. I’m just glad no one got hurt because of me.”

“Let’s get you home.” Caterize offers.

“Yeah, okay. Thanks.”

🙈 🙊 🙉

Earlier today...

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news. This is Nadja Chamack with a TVi special news report! This morning at approximately 7:42am there was a robbery attempt at BNP Paribas in the 9th arrondissement. When the cops arrived, a new group of Miraculous holding superheroes calling themselves The Quantic Kids arrived on the scene as well and together with the cops helped thwart the attempted robbery.”

“You sure this is a good idea?” Adrien asks.

“We’ll never get anywhere if we don’t mix things up.”

“How do we even know this’ll work?”

“We won’t, unless we try.” Gabriel takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, “I’m sensing an inner struggle.”

Amélie and Adrien exchange a glance. “Alright. Fine. Duusu—”

“If I may, Chosen.” The peafowl kwami flies up to Adrien’s face. “As the kwami of emotion I too can sense the emotions of others.”

“Why haven’t you said anything about this before?” Gabriel asks.

“It wasn’t relevant until this conversation.” Gabriel’s eyes narrow, “if you, perchance, are unable to convince your Champion I can take the reins.”

“So you can manipulate someone’s emotions?” Amélie asks and Duusu nods.

“I can do many things with the emotions of others.”

“How do we know you’re not manipulating us as we speak?”

Duusu smiles broadly at them, “you don’t and never will.”

🙈 🙊 🙉

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news. This is Nadja Chamack with a TVi special news report! This morning at approximately 7:42am there was a robbery attempt at BNP Paribas in the 9th arrondissement. When the cops arrived, a new group of Miraculous holding superheroes calling themselves The Quantic Kids arrived on the scene as well and together with the cops helped thwart the attempted robbery.”

Marc brings their phone closer to their face. When they got home last night, Chloé’s butler reemerged then gave them all lifts home in a bigger towncar then the one he dropped them all off in, they were shocked to discover a hexagonal black box with the red character for weather in hanzi nestled in their backpack. (All those Chinese and Korean lessons with their grandparents paid off.)

While examining the box, it slipped out of their hand and opened revealing a rather fetching scaly black and gold choker with a bead that looked like a claw. Even more shocking than that was the dragon kwami bounded to the choker that swirled to existence before Marc in a blinding red and black light.

After the necessary and expected freakout, Longg – the dragon kwami who was just as non-binary as Marc – explained the Guardian sensed the warrior within Marc (or some crap) and decided to give them a Miraculous. Then Longg continued, saying the Guardian rarely makes mistakes when picking holders. Marc disagreed and wondered how to return the kwami to the Guardian because they were the farthest thing from a Miraculder.

After sleeping on it, Marc still believes a mistake was made but if Longg was adamant about the “no take-backs” policy, then Marc was pretty much shit outta luck in terms of returning the kwami to this so-called Guardian. Huh. And they had the nerve to call Marc stubborn.

They wouldn’t be butting heads so damn often if Longg would allow Marc to return them.

(Though... if they are gonna keep Longg “for a while,” the very least Marc could do is try on the choker.)

Marc’s phone starts blaring some loud upbeat song and they drop the phone, pressing a hand to their chest. Right. They forgot Alya set that as their ringtone. Taking a deep breath, they pick up. “H-Hello?” Marc’s eyebrows furrow. “Farmer’s market...?” Longg is floating around the room. “Uh, sure. Y-Yeah, I’ll go with you.” Longg bites down on a pencil and Marc winces at it cracks. “Okay. See you in a bit.”

“Why would they make that look like food?” Longg starts picking wood out of their tongue. “Unlike some other kwamis it has been many moons since my last venture into the world.” Marc nods slowly. “As I told you last night, I require sustenance so I can be at full strength in case you do decide you wish to transform.”

“Well, I mean... I’m not interested in transforming but I’m not gonna starve you.” Longg gives them a toothy grin. “Let’s see what won’t take long to make as I get ready to meet my friend.”

“A word of caution? The Guardian brought us up to speed before distributing us. Hawkmoth has allies in the shadows.”

“Like these Quantic Kids?” Longg blinks at them. “Them showing up out of nowhere is all too convenient.”

“That’s good. You’ll need those observation skills to use my powers—” Marc opens their mouth but Longg holds up both hands, “should you change your mind. Or should your hand get forced. And, speaking from experience, the latter is more likely than the former.”

Marc sighs, “I figured.”

🙈 🙊 🙉

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news. This is Nadja Chamack with a TVi special news report! This morning at approximately 7:42am there was a robbery attempt at BNP Paribas in the 9th arrondissement. When the cops arrived, a new group of Miraculous holding superheroes calling themselves The Quantic Kids arrived on the scene as well and together with the cops helped thwart the attempted robbery.”

Maybe he was trying to overcompensate for having the Miraculders tire themselves out dealing with Hawkmoth and Fantôme. Or maybe he was losing his touch and being a little too lenient with his “tests.” Either way, handing out four Miraculouses in one day had to be a record.

Wayzz opened his eyes to stare into brown ones behind lenses and grey computerized ones.

Of all the reactions Wayzz has had over the millennia, this is easily the calmest. No screaming. No hysterics. Just... staring.

The computer thing scanned him and when it came away with no data, his Chosen simply hummed.

His Chosen examines the green bracelet in his hands. This time his bracelet has a dark green string and six light green triangle pendants.

“Let me try to wrap my head around this one more time: Your ‘Guardian’ who is out there in the city distributing Miraculous to the future Miraculders possibly as we speak, entrusted me to wield a Miraculous because of my involvement in Éloïse’s akumatization yesterday?” Wayzz nods. “But why? I didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy. All I did was simply analyze the situation. It was Harmonybug who came up with the solution.”

“True. However, he never would’ve realized the solution was even possible without you.”

“Analyzing. Your kwami is 100% correct.”

“Did you also factor in nepotism in your analysis, Markov?” For a robot or computer or whatever, Wayzz could swear the floating thing gives his creator a mechanized cheeky grin.

The Master doesn’t tell them who they’re gonna be partnered with. Wayzz is certain sometimes even the Guardian doesn’t know until it happens. Wayzz is also certain he’s gonna like his current Chosen. He watches fondly as his Chosen and their creation start arguing.

🙈 🙊 🙉

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news. This is Nadja Chamack with a TVi special news report! This morning at approximately 7:42am there was a robbery attempt at BNP Paribas in the 9th arrondissement. When the cops arrived, a new group of Miraculous holding superheroes calling themselves The Quantic Kids arrived on the scene as well and together with the cops helped thwart the attempted robbery.”

Last night, after waving goodbye to her parents who were leaving as she was coming in, Marinette tripped on the last step to her room and the contents of her purse spilled out. Among them was something she didn’t recognize: a black hexagonal box with the character for ignition in hanzi. Not that she saw what was written on it until after she scooped the already opened box up with her belongings. A pair of silver and black goat horn hairclips fell out of the box along with the tiny big-headed grey goat plushie looking thing.

When the thing floated over to her face, Marinette screamed. Thankfully she was all alone so her parents didn’t have to hear her running around her room chasing Ziggy down while throwing things at them for almost ten minutes.

After “catching” the creature in an empty mason jar, they calmly explained what they were and why they were there. Thanks to some “Guardian,” Marinette had been selected to become a Miraculder to help kick Hawkmoth and Fantôme’s asses; as well as the asses of all their allies. Naturally, she accepted. Getting superpowers wasn’t exactly on her bucket list but if she’s on the same team as Queen Bee and Eradicat who is she to complain?

Ooh! Maybe those are her two loves and Ziggy is this “lifelong” new friend?

But how the fuck would André know that?

Being prophetic – supposedly – about love is one thing? But magic and kwamis? There’s no way. Or is there?

Ziggy explained to her they needed to be together all the time in case of an akuma attack. So long privacy. Not that she had tons of it before with her parents habit of popping up in her room whenever. And that Marinette needed to carry snacks with her because transformations make kwamis hungry. (Good thing she lives in a boulangerie and already carries around pâtisseries.) Then her kwami informed her she’d start developing goat-like tendencies the longer she was exposed to the Miraculous’ magic. That part she’s not looking forward to.

The news broadcast had Ziggy shaking her head. (Marinette came to find out Ziggy’s perferred pronouns were her/she but she also accepted they/them like most other kwamis.)

“So you...ow... think these Quantic Kids are bad news?” Marinette sucks her bleeding pointer finger in her mouth.

“What are you doing?”

“Wasn’t paying attention and I pricked myself.” Ziggy stares at the square in Marinette’s hands, “oh! This? This is gonna be your bed. I nearly squished you when we shared the pillow. Hopefully this’ll prevent that.” Ziggy floats over Marinette’s shoulder watching in awe as the blue-haired teen deftly stitches fabric together. (It’s remarkable! Ziggy had seen this same girl trip over her own two feet no less than ten times in the span of between their meeting and now!)

“Amazing! Such ingenuity makes you an ideal Chosen for my Miraculous. There’s so much more to my power than just bursting into flames.”

Marinette’s eyes light up as her hand with the needle and thread in it hovers over the makeshift bed in her other hand, “I can burst into flames?”

Ziggy sighs heavily, “millions of years, hundreds of wielders, and that is always the one thing they get excited about. Yes, you can set yourself and anything you come in contact with on fire.” Marinette’s eyes are practically sparkling at this point. “But as I said..., there’s more to it than that! Every Miraculous wielder needs a handful of things that make them the perfect match. For example. A power such as mine needs ingenuity, patience, determination, and insight. Can’t just throw fireballs all willy-nilly at any problem that comes up.”

“Fireballs.” Marinette whispers, “awesome.”

“The most important thing of all is passion. The burning – pardon the pun – desire. I feel it within you. You check all the boxes I have for my perfect partner. We’re gonna be so great together! I’ll have to send the Master a fruit basket or something as thanks.”

Marinette puts the finished bed down and Ziggy lays on top of it. “What do you think?”

“Perfection. Oh! By the way. You need to think of your outfit before you transform. You only get one shot at making it.” Nodding, Marinette picks up a notepad. “Wait. Wait! What are you doing? You can’t leave evidence of your costume!”

Duh! I’m just gonna sketch to get an idea and erase it when I’m done. I’ll even sketch softly so the outline won’t stay on the paper. You’re talking to a professional by proxy. My best friend knows all the comic superhero secrets. Don’t tell anyone but your family if it’s unavoidable. Come up with elaborate excuses why you’re disappearing all the time. All the know-hows.” Her eyebrows furrow. “Do you know who else has a kwami?”

“If you’re asking if I can sense other kwamis the answer is yes but I’m not like a built-in kwami tracker. I can only tell you the general vicinity not, like, who they’re partnered with or anything.”

“Okay, right. Make sense. But it’s been a while since Eradicat and Harmonybug have been in Paris. Surely you’d know their identity.”

“I do not. I have not met them. Only the Master knows everyone as he’s handing out the Miraculouses.”

“I must’ve met this Master if he decided to give me a kwami and Miraculous.” Ziggy nods, “he’s the common variable in every Miraculder’s life.”

“If you don’t remember him, he will make himself known to you when the time is right.”

“Sounds ominous but okay.” She puts the pencil to her mouth. “You know, I’ve never seen a goat before. Not even a cartoon one. Are they usually spotted like you?”

“Truthfully it’s been a while since I’ve seen a(nother) goat. I can always summon a herd to give you inspiration...?”

“Let’s... not do that here. They might eat all the pâtisseries.”

“That reminds me. I haven’t eaten since the last time I was out.”

“How long ago was that?”

“About fifty years?” Marinette whistles. “I was one of the lucky ones, so to speak, who avoided the big conflict a decade ago that inadvertently caused the chain of effects that led to Hawkmoth’s appearance. The time span in which we get partners varies. There are no set parameters. Either we get summoned to make sure the world is running smoothly or we have to track down a stolen Miraculous and right some wrongs along the way.”

“How often do Miraculouses get stolen?”

“There are thousands in existence so, unfortunately, it happens frequently. Most of the time they end up being used for personal gain. Villainous aesthetic hasn’t changed in a millennia.” Ziggy sighs. “Right. That also reminds me. Hawkmoth wants the Miraculouses to make his greatest wish happen.”

“Which is...?”

“I... can’t tell you. We’re still trying to find proof of who Hawkmoth is. Plagg, the black cat kwami’s, Chosen has an inkling but if she confronts him it’ll reveal her identity.”

“Then what about this wish? How does it happen?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know. They don’t tell kwamis because if we do get used against our comrades we don’t have the means of making the wish happen.”

“Makes sense.”

“All I do know is you need two compatible yin and yang Miraculouses together with ten other ones and a whole lot of magic needs to be poured into all twelve Miraculouses.”

“Yin and yang Miraculouses?”

“You know... the black cat and ladybug are bad luck and good luck, respectively. Yin and yang. Inverse of each other. Compliment each other. They aren’t the only two in the world but thankfully they’re the only two Hawkmoth knows of. As much as I hope it’ll stay that way he has someone far more versed in kwami magic than he is in his corner. Or so I’ve been told.”

🙈 🙊 🙉

“Don’t be bemused, it’s simply the news. This is Nadja Chamack with a TVi special news report! This morning at approximately 7:42am there was a robbery attempt at BNP Paribas in the 9th arrondissement. When the cops arrived, a new group of Miraculous holding superheroes calling themselves The Quantic Kids arrived on the scene as well and together with the cops helped thwart the attempted robbery.”

Juleka tosses something across the room and it inadvertently hits her phone, knocking it off the vanity cutting off the newsfeed.

She doesn’t know whether she should curse Rose or kiss her for introducing her to the wide variety of purses. Juleka Dinah Couffaine swore by messenger bags for almost a decade but purses—? They came in all sorts of sizes and shapes! Her favorite, by far, was her rose-shaped purse. Which she was currently destroying her room in an effort to find!

Anarka walks in the doorway narrowly dodging the heel that flies over her head. “Navigator, what in the seven levels of hell is going on!?”

“Looking for something.” Juleka grumbles tossing her skull-shaped purse across the room.

“Another date?”

“No. Rose has ballet all day on Wednesdays. I am meeting up with a friend at the bookstore later though.” Taking a deep breath, Juleka dives headfirst into a pile of clothes then surfaces with a bright pink rose shaped purse in her hands. “Got it!”

“Crisis averted then?”

“Aye Captain. I—” Juleka grimaces as she looks around her mess of a room. Well, she has about an hour; she’ll clean it up as much as she can. As Anarka leaves laughing, Juleka gathers everything off the floor and tosses it on her bed. Though she makes sure she puts the purse around her neck so she doesn’t lose it, again.

“Maybe you shoulda been paired with Daizzi, this place is the literal definition of a pigsty.” An unfamiliar voice calls out. Before Juleka could question where the voice came from her door shuts, the purple-haired teen whirls around to the door wide-eyed then picks up her guitar holding it upside down like a bat. “I’m sure you don’t wanna break that.”

“Care to test that theory?”

The voice laughs, “oh I like you! Such a chaotic energy I’m sensing. The Master has a real knack for finding me fitting partners!”

Something drops into her hands and Juleka drops the guitar on her left foot. “Son of a—fuck!”

“Told you to put that down.” Once she’s done hopping on one foot in pain, the purple-haired teen examines the gunmetal tiara in her hands. “That’s my Miraculous. Well, our Miraculous now.”

“Miraculous? Like the stuff Hawkmoth keeps bitching about?”

“Yup. The very same. Now you have your very own.”

“Why?”

“The Master is the one who does the deciding, we kwamis just go where he puts our Miracle Boxes. Evidently, there must be something within you that he feels is worth wielding a Miraculous.” Juleka puts the tiara in her purse.

“Why won’t you show your face?”

“I feel as though you’ll be prone to violence if startled.”

“You’re not wrong.”

“Then I’m warning you I’m gonna show my face. Try not to strike me?”

“No promises.” With a sigh, a monkey plushie thing emerges from her pile of clothes on the bed with an opened box in their hands. Upon closer inspection, Juleka recognizes the box she found in her purse yesterday. “You came out of that?”

The monkey nods, “call me Xuppu, as that is my name. Greetings, Chosen. I am the kwami of abstraction.”

“Abstraction?”

Xuppu nods, “they don’t like it when I call myself the kwami of disorder or chaos. So ‘abstraction’ is what I get saddled with. Anyway, what are are you called?”

“Juleka.”

“Pleasure making your acquaintance.” Xuppu grasps her pointer finger in its hand. “I hope we form a chaotic bond.”

“Ditto.”

The door opens. “Jules have you seen—what the fuck is that!?” Luka runs in the room and grabs Xuppu by the head.

“Take it easy!” She grabs her brother’s arms, “Luka, let go!”

“‘Let it go?!’ Are you serious?!”

“What are you two—” Anarka gasps and Xuppu sighs. The three of them start shouting at one another.

Great. They’ve had one person related to their Chosen in the past find out about their existence several times, but two? Oh boy. The Guardian won’t like this... but there’s no rule saying he has to find out.

“Stop talking over one another!” Luka releases his grip and Xuppu frees themselves from his hands. “Thank you. I am Xuppu, I am—” He points to Juleka black bubbles float out of his mouth, “kwami partner. The magic prevents me from speaking her name out loud.” Anarka fully comes in the room to get a closer look at them. Juleka pulls out the tiara, “this circlet will allow my Chosen to transform into a Miraculder.”

“No way!” Luka gasps, “my baby sister’s getting superpowers!”

“And publicly defying the police force?” Anarka sniffles, “I’m so proud!”

“Chosen, you have one shot to create your outfit before you transform with it.”

Juleka nods, “right.”

“What do we have to do?” Anarka asks.

“Well, you should be...” Xuppu lolls their head from side to side, “aware that there are side effects to Miraculous magic. My Chosen will begin to exhibit monkey like traits with extended usage. That’s the trade-off for the powers.” Anarka and Luka look at Juleka. “But beyond that, I suppose all you can do is support her.”

Anarka wraps an arm around her daughter, “I’ll always support my Navigator. And I mean... we would’ve found out eventually anyway. We’re not good at keeping secrets from one another.” Her kids nod in agreement.

“Then all is well.”

“Alright. I gotta get ready to meet my friend.” Juleka shoos them out of her room, “We’ll talk more when I get back.”

“Alright, alright. We’re going. Have fun~” They chorus.

After showering and getting dressed, Juleka puts the circlet on her head like a headband and inspects herself in the mirror. “I dig this, what did you call it? Circlet?” Xuppu nods flying into her purse. “Wait, what’re you doing?”

“We’re gonna need to be together in case we need to transform.”

“Oh. Yeah, that makes sense. Are you comfy in there?”

“Yes, actually. Thank you. Also, addendum: You’re gonna need snacks as post transformation aftercare.”

“Okay. I’ll get some while I’m outside.” She gets on her motorcycle and heads to the bookstore to meet Kagami.

Juleka is usually the last person to mesh with anyone else but she and Kagami really hit it off during Kagami’s first day of school.

By the time she parks her motorcycle, Kagami arrives on foot and walks up to her. The blue-haired teen nods with an impressed hum, “you weren’t kidding. It is very pirate-like. No. That doesn’t sound right. Pirate-ish?”

“Pirate-y, maybe?”

“Perhaps. That does sound better. And you said this was your mother’s?”

“Yup. It’s basically a Couffaine family heirloom. My older brother Luka and I split ownership of Hellrider.”

When Kagami taps a finger to her lip, Juleka notices the bright red glittery nail polish Rose would love. “It’s named?”

“The Captain names all her inanimate objects.” Juleka shrugs, “guess I’m used to it. Our houseboat is called Liberty.”

“Ah. I like your purse. Does it have a name?”

Juleka nudges the shorter teen with a laugh, “nah but speaking of Roses. My girlfriend was bummed she couldn’t come today.”

“Was there some reason preventing her from accompanying you? We’re on holiday.”

Juleka sighs, “from my understanding it sounds like she and her papas have this agreement where she does some dancing on Wednesdays and Saturdays because there’s no school.” Kagami’s eyebrows furrow, “what’s with that look?”

“Look...? Oh. Right. Forgive me. That just sounds eerily similar to what my mother used to put me through. I had to do fencing at her insistence. Every time I’d tell her how much I disliked fencing she’d bring up how much this one simple task doesn’t amount to a tenth of all she’s done for me.”

“Christ, that sounds fucked up.”

Kagami nods, “it took me months to realize it wasn’t an argument I was gonna win so eventually I stopped bringing it up. I still dislike fencing but stabbing things has become a coping mechanism for me.” Juleka’s right eye widens. “I won’t stab you!”

“That’s reassuring.” She blows the hair out of the left side of her face, “The Captain doesn’t look it but she’s a psychiatrist. And, to me, it sounds like you were gaslit into doing whatever your maman wanted.”

“Gaslit? What does that mean?”

“It means we need to save Rose from her parents.”

“Hm. I never did get to rebel.” She smirks, “I shall do so vicariously through your girlfriend. Lead the way. The bookstore can wait.”

“Damn right. And thanks for this.” Kagami smiles at her. “Just gotta find a pair of helmets first.”

“Can the three of us even fit on Hellrider?”

“Rose is tiny. I’m sure she can squeeze in between us without being noticed.”

Ah!” Kagami points at the bicycle store across the street. “They might have the helmets we seek.”

“Worth a shot. Let’s do this.”

“Hells yeah.” Unbeknownst to the two girls, when they high-five Juleka’s circlet and Kagami’s earrings shine briefly.

🙈 🙊 🙉

After Dark Heart’s purification, a cocoon formed around Nooroo and only removed itself this morning. Apparently, the butterfly kwami needed rejuvenation after nearly forty days of continuous twice a day use. Or was it forty? Félix wasn’t paying attention.

Either way, it was needless to say Oncle Gabriel was pissed at the four day break but he always was the type to push others to the brink of exhaustion without any care for their well-being.

Félix was dubious about getting his own Miraculous and kwami but he didn’t want to seem like the odd man out when it came to the family’s attempt to bring Tante Émilie back to life. He wanted to see her smiling face once more just as badly as the others but he felt like using the wish to resurrect a sick woman seemed pointless.

Magic or otherwise, what if the wish brought her back as sick as she was when she died? What if it made her sicker? What if she came back as a zombie or some disfigured creature? What if the wish took someone else’s life to pay for hers?

There were so many variables.

Plus, personally, Félix would rather keep the power than waste it on granting a wish that didn’t even have a one-hundred percent success rate anyhow.

Evidently, according to the shifty woman known as Majestia, other “duo” Miraculouses were capable of granting a wish when juiced up with the power of other Miraculouses, but she has yet to elaborate on any of these alleged duos. Nor as she elaborated further on the wish process.

Félix has spent far too much time around shifty people to trust Majestia at her word. (Or Oncle Gabriel at his, but that’s another story.)

In his oncle’s interest of enlisting new recruits to assist in taking down the Miraculders and three of the four Quantic Kids unable to attend Géroux Delacroix due to being nineteen, seventeen-year-olds Félix and Gavroche, civilian name Julius, enrolled in the school.

He attended public school once, over a decade ago, and didn’t like it. Félix has no idea why Adrien was so obsessed with the concept.

Speaking of his cousin, when they entered the school Adrien pointed out the girl who stole his heart and kicked his ass in one fell swoop. When he laid eyes on the girl he could absolutely see why Adrien was smitten. She was absolutely a step up from Bourgeois, who flipped him off with both hands the moment they made eye contact.

As expected, people were raving about the Miraculders and Quantic Kids once Félix made his way to the headmaster’s office, and they were still discussing the two factions when the headmaster dismissed him.

Making his way to his newly assigned locker, he sees the blonde weathergirl wannabe and the Adrien’s “girlfriend” in each other’s faces yelling.

“–ergic to gluten!”

The blonde rolls her eyes, “how was I supposed to know that?” The brunette throws her hands in the air screaming.

A hand slams his locker door shut and Félix turns to the seething bespectacled orange-haired girl to his left with her hand on his locker. “I don’t know what your angle is, Vanily, but stay the hell away from Chloé.”

Smirking, the blond tilts his head to the right. “Ever the faithful watchdog, aren’t you Raincomprix? Where was that ferocity when your precious Chloé was being carted off in a straitjacket?”

“You and that cousin of yours were lucky I wasn’t there.”

Please, you’re like a chihuahua. You’re twenty centimeters shorter than I am! What could you possibly do?”

This!” She kicks him in the shin then walks off in a huff.

The brunette to his right barks out a laugh, and the blonde shakes her head. “What is it with you Agrestes?” The blonde mutters.

Hissing, Félix rubs his sore shin. That actually hurt. “I’m a Graham de Vanily, not an Agreste.”

The girls exchange a glance. “Whatever.” The blonde says then they both walk off.

Félix groans. Fucking public school.

🙈 🙊 🙉

“Keep an eye on Kagami Tsurugi. There’s no doubt in my mind she’s Eradicat and Fortunebug.”

Keeping an eye on the blue-haired teen was the easy part. Kagami stood out in a crowd; holds herself proudly but nor arrogantly. Plus, she was nice to look at from any angle.

Getting close enough to see the camouflaged Miraculouses up close was the tricky part.

His brooch was still marred from when Eradicat swiped at it during their first encounter but thankfully it hadn’t damaged the Miraculous or its power. He keeps the brooch pinned inside his shirt so Duusu could freely roam around in his satchel. As it turns out, his Miraculous – camouflaged or active – is rather obvious, compared to a pair of earrings or a damn ring. (He’s especially curious about seeing the bee Miraculous camouflaged, though. That one might actually be more obvious than his.)

Their teacher stepped out so Adrien was glancing at Kagami, her left hand propping up her face. There’s a thick, plain rose gold ring on her middle finger. Eradicat’s Miraculous was on the same finger but looking around the room Adrien notices most of his classmates have rings on their middle fingers. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all. With all the fanpages dedicated to each Miraculder, Adrien isn’t surprised jewelry purchases increased in the past month. Especially during the last week when school was on break. Kagami doesn’t seem the type to follow fads and things along that nature so she must be the real deal. Unless it’s a terrible coincidence.)

Adrien goes in his satchel pretending to look for something, “Duusu how many kwamis do you sense in this room?”

The peafowl kwami lazily looks up at him, “in here? Three.”

His head snaps up and Adrien looks around the classroom.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Marc and Alya had seemingly become best friends overnight. Nathaniel saw them arm in arm at the farmer’s market the other day laughing. They walk into the art room together with Marc showing the bespectacled, wavy-haired teen around.

The redhead shifts in his seat (poorly) trying to keep his attention on his drawing.

The Miraculder-centric website he, Max, and Kim came up with was up and running in large part thanks to Max and Markov but then a fifth Miraculder made their appearance known; not to mention the introduction of those Quantic Kids. For some inexplicable reason, Nathaniel didn’t want them anywhere near the website. Not simply because it was Miraculder focused but he had a weird feeling about the group as a whole.

“Whoa!” Blushing, Nathaniel looks up at Alya’s beautiful smiling face and Marc’s equally beautiful confused one. “Can I see?” The redhead wordlessly nods, “this is incredible! The details on your Queen Bee are amazing. I didn’t even realize her wings had a pattern.”

“I wonder what her eyes look like under the goggles.”

“I-I have some ideas about that.” Nathaniel carefully shuffles through his papers and pulls out another Queen Bee drawing but without her signature crisscrossing goggles. In this drawing, she has black and gold compound eyes like a honey bee. “I-I had to look up what bee’s eyes look like because I’ve never seen one up close. I-I was gonna make ‘em bigger but that would’ve been weird.”

“I don’t know, it might’ve been cool to show her with giant bug eyes.”

“Yeah... but hey wait! Harmonybug and Fortunebug have regular eyes, right? Wouldn’t Queen Bee have regular human eyes too?”

Nathaniel shuffles through his drawings again and pulls out a picture of just Queen Bee’s face where she has human eyes but her sclera are black and the irises are blue. “You mean something like this?”

“Yeah. Do you only draw Queen Bee or do you draw the others too?”

“I draw them all, Queen Bee’s just my favorite.”

“Nath!” Alix glomps on his back, “ooh. That’s so bitching. Nath is one hell of an artist, as you can see. He made this website that’s like a Queen Bee shrine!”

Nathaniel blushes, “it’s not a shrine! A-And it’s not just Queen Bee.”

“You made a Miraculder website?” Marc asks and Nathaniel nods, “do you post your pictures on it? What’s the web address?”

“The-Queendom-dot-fr.” Alya and Marc exchange a glance before both staring at Nathaniel with an eyebrow raised at him. “I-I didn’t name it that solely because of Queen Bee! I thought, you know, of a kingdom... b-but run by women. Why not call it a queendom? B-But I’m not implying women can’t be king! Because they can! A-And not just women either!”

Marc and Alya exchange another glance then they both chuckle, “you’re adorable.” Alya giggles.

“Ain’t he, though?” Kim flops on Alix who’s still leaning on Nathaniel. “I figured, with Harmonybug slash Caterize being outnumbered by loads of hot ladies, Queendom is a fitting name for the website.”

“My spine!” Nathaniel cries out.

“But isn’t Harmonybug, like, the leader of the Queendom and we’re totally calling them that now.” Nicolette states coming over to the table. Nathaniel heard the tail end of the conversation between Nicolette and Marinette regarding what kind of material the Miraculders outfits were made of as Marinette welcomed the redhead into the art club.

Everyone makes a different noise of disagreement.

Kim leans off Alix pulling the pink-haired teen up with him. “If anything, Harmonybug and Eradicat are co-leaders. But I don’t think the team works that way. To me, it feels like they treat one another as equals.”

Everyone murmurs their agreement.

“Nath, show everyone the group pic you were working on!” Nathaniel glares at Alix before looking around at the four curious, excited faces. Dammit! Grumbling to himself, Nathaniel – making sure his papers were secure – reaches into his backpack and pulls out a yellow and black polkadotted folder. The others murmur in awe before he opens the damn thing. Then the murmurs grow louder when he opens the folder and the first paper inside is a drawing of the core four Miraculders with their arms around one another grinning.

“That’s amazing!” Marinette gushes and just where the hell did she come from!?

“Oh... but you gotta add that Monkey Miraculder now.” Kim points out.

“Not to mention you need to have some drawings of Fortunebug and Caterize.” Alya adds.

“But he can’t put Fortunebug and Caterize in a group photo with Harmonybug and Eradicat. They’re the same people.” Kim argues.

“Think of it as one of those alternate universe or what-if scenarios then you’ll be fine.” Marinette waves Kim off.

“If that were the case we’d have to have alternates of the other Miraculders too!”

Marinette huffs, “no, we wouldn’t because they don’t exist!”

“You just said what-if scenarios!”

“Then there’d have to be alternates of all of them as all five of them!”

“Did anyone even catch the Monkey’s name?” Nicolette asks tapping her chin. “I wasn’t at the farmer’s markets when they appeared.”

Marc crouches down beside Nathaniel, “are you okay?” Nathaniel blinks at them. They’re close. But not too close (which is kind of a shame... wait, what is he saying?!) At their proximity, Nathaniel can count every freckle on Marc’s face. Eye the (new) choker around their neck. Note that Marc’s eyes are two different greens. Green. The Ice Cream Guy that got Kim akumatized said something about green, didn’t he? Wait! Marc... couldn’t be his true love, could they? Because that would be too good to be true. He’s been quite fond of the blue-haired teen since they met at the end of last year and Marc is very nice to look at—hang around. The two greens for the eyes and the blue purplish color for the hair. Plus, André even said they. Nathaniel shakes himself out his daze as Marc gestures to all the people surrounding them talking to and over one another, “it can be a bit much, huh?”

Nathaniel nods slowly. He opens his mouth to speak as an explosion abruptly reverberates through the halls making everyone crash into one another.

Nathaniel feels his face on fire as Marc falls on top of him. (And he had no idea how much smaller they were than him.)

Alya is the first to get up and some hand Nathaniel can’t identify hands her her glasses. “What the hell was that?”

Marinette sighs, “at least we made it through the school day without an akuma attack.”

The others slowly start to get up when another two explosions sway the whole school.

One of the walls of the art room splits in half and an akumatization made of fire floats into the room. “I. Am. Ignace!” Their glowing white eyes survey the room then land on Marinette, “you!” He hisses. “You’re gonna get a first-hand experience of seeing your dreams go up in smoke!”

A ball of fire forms in his hands and he throws it at Marinette who dives behind a table to avoid it.

“Hey, asshole! Who do you think you are coming after Nette like this!”

“Kim, you dumbass, what are you doing!?” Alix hisses.

Ignace laughs floating down to Kim then presses their pointer finger to Kim’s head. An orange wisp appears on his head before he’s transformed into a fire being just like the akumatization.

“Everything you own belongs to me now, Little Girl!”

He screams forming a giant fireball with both hands, Marc gets up and grabs Marinette’s hand dragging her out the classroom before Ignace throws the fireball that hits the ground transforming everyone on the floor still in the art room into his subjects.

Nathaniel pants as he barely managed to get out unscathed. He didn’t even think, he just moved when he saw Marc and Marinette move.

When the trio run out of the partially destroyed building a limo pulls up and Jagged Stone pops his head out of a window. “Get in, quick!” Needing no further incentive, they rush into the limo that drives off as soon as they’re inside. “Mari, I’m so so sorry!” Jagged hugs the blue-haired teen.

“After we fired Roth he got akumatized.” Penny says rubbing the back of her neck. “He figured you were to blame and came after you before we could correct him.”

“But he isn’t wrong. You were the reason I figured we could do better than Roth. And this is probably not the best time for introductions but do you guys know Clara Nightingale?”

The teens gape at the brunette waving. “Once Jagged showed me his latest outfit I simply had to see the creative mind behind it!” She presses a hand to her chest, “I was so moved by the fabric choices and colors.” She grips Marinette’s hands, though Jagged is still hugging her. “Will you make me an outfit, Marinette Dupain-Cheng?”

Marinette blinks, “I-I... I’d love to!” She squeaks.

“Fantastic! We’re going to have a bright future together, Marinette. I can already feel it!” The limo jerks to a halt and Ignace rips the top off. “Oh.” Everyone looks up briefly before scattering out of the limousine.

“You see! This is why we fired you!” Penny facepalms as Ignace turns to Jagged.

“Stone.” He sneers. “You’re nothing without me! Hell, you’re not even worth serving me!” He turns to Penny, “but your little girlfriend here is more useful to me than you’d ever be.”

“Don’t you dare touch Pen!”

“How cute. You think you can protect her?”

Clara steps in front of the red-violet-haired woman holding her arms out. “Stop this at once! You are nothing but a no-good bully, Robert Roth! Coming after a child, you’re despicable!”

Silence!” He forms a fireball in his hands but a red yo-yo cord grabs his hands dispelling the fireball.

“Dude. What .The. Fuck?” Harmonybug groans.

The butterfly mask outline appears over his eyes. “Ah. The regular insect is back.”

Marinette made sure to split up from Marc and Nathaniel. She peers around a parked car watching Harmonybug release his grip on Ignace to dodge the barrage of fireballs coming from Ignace’s lackeys. “Time to fight fire with fire, Ziggy.”

The goat kwami flies out of her purse, “hells yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!”

“I’ve been thinking about my transformation phrase... is there a limit? I don’t want it to be too long but at the same time why have it so short, you know?”

“Please tell me you came up with something?”

“I did. Sort of. I mean, I came up with a bunch of things. I guess my main question is, will you... do whatever you do with any phrase?”

“I’m... honestly not certain. No other holder has ever put much thought into the phrase as you. Just stick with something simple you can remember because you’re gonna be saying it a lot.”

“Right.” Marinette nods then takes a deep breath, “I have the detransformation phrase in mind so let’s try its antonym to transform. Ziggy, conflagrate.”

“Ooh. That is a good one—” Then Ziggy flies into one of her hairclips and she gasps. Maybe she should’ve asked how the transformation process works!

There’s this bright grey light that engulfs her body (and damn that would’ve been a good one too). She’s thinking about the design she sketched before Ziggy balled the paper up and turned it into a charred pendant Marinette split and turned into goat horn shaped earrings. Marinette’s body turns to smoke which was not what she imagined, at all. Her hair unravels from her signature twintails and turns grey tying itself up into two chignon buns on the top of her head. Then two curled white goat horns sprout from her head outside of her buns. She can feel her suit forming, she imagined fireproof material because magic or no magic she’d hate to have a fire-related wardrobe malfunction. Or suffer burns. (Especially magic related burns.)

Her grey suit should have intricate flame patterns all over it but she can’t tell since... she’s still made of smoke. It’s also difficult to see her boots and gloves. She doesn’t have a mask since she technically doesn’t have a face. The only thing not made of smoke are her horns.

Ziggy, I did not imagine to be some kind of smoke monster.

I’m sure it’ll pass. Heh... no pun intended.” Marinette huffs then slithers behind another car. “Make a dramatic entrance!

She seamlessly moves her smoke body behind Harmonybug to absorb the fireballs Ignace’s minions shoot out at the Miraculder.

The butterfly outline reappears over Ignace’s eyes. “Another one!?” He growls.

Her body’s still smoke but at least it’s human-shaped smoke. “Whoa...” Harmonybug mutters. “You saved my ass.”

“Just doing my part.” The minions surround the duo who are standing back to back.

“Wait! Why am I wasting time with these insignificant children? I have a score to settle.” He floats to the ground and forms a wave of fire in the direction of Jagged, Penny, and Clara transforming the women but leaving Jagged as he is. Then he shoots out another wave to the left. He looks around then snarls, “she couldn’t’ve gotten far. Find! Her!” The minions spread out moving from around the duo.

Marinette gasps, “he’s going after Marinette Dupain-Cheng!”

Harmonybug stiffens, “he’s what?”

“She told me all about it as I was getting her to safety but she won’t be able to outrun an entire army of flame monsters if they find her.”

“Then we’d better make sure we take care of this clown before she gets caught. Lucky Charm!” Harmonybug throws the yo-yo in the air and it transforms into a polkadotted cellphone with the weather app opened. “Weird...”

She had only been close enough to see the Lucky Charm in person once, but it was already transformed. “Is there a weather-based Miraculder?”

Harmonybug’s head snaps up then he blinks, “there is... but I don’t know if they’re active.”

Eradicat arrives, landing next to Jagged Stone helping sit him up. “Oh shit. He turned Pen and Clara.” The two flame creatures turn to him.

“Ah, yes. Would you two be dears and bring me M. Stone? I want him to watch as I destroy his precious ‘Mari.’”

“H-Hey! I know you’re the destruction one but you can’t hurt Pen though I don’t know if she’ll be able to feel anything being made of fire. Also, I don’t know which is Penny.”

Eradicat picks Jagged up and carries him over her shoulder then unlatches one of her batons. “Would you rather she be mildly hurt and barely remember or you get maimed?”

“When you put it that way...” When the fire creatures charge, Eradicat trips them with her baton then runs toward. Huh. She thought she was seeing things but there is a person made of smoke next to Harmonybug.

🙈 🙊 🙉

“Son of a bitch!” Alya grouses glancing down at her body made of fire as she carefully trudges down the halls. With Pollen in her hair there was no doubt the kwami transformed along with her when she and the majority of the people in the art room got hit by the blast. Which means Queen Bee is officially out of this brawl. If only she did more than spare a passing glance at Marc, but dammit she moved too late. Being immune to mind-control, thankfully, meant she wasn’t zombie-ing it up with the other fire monsters who stomped out of the art room at Ignace’s command but it meant she was fucking stuck like this until the akuma got purified or destroyed. She just hopes the Civilian forms of Eradicat/Fortunebug and Harmonybug/Caterize weren’t caught up in this and transformed.

Hmmm. Since no one knows who she is, underneath all the fire, she might as well try to help the team like this.

An army of fire monsters start marching their way toward the school so she joins them when they walk through the burned off doors.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Nathaniel opens his eyes and sees the back of a person in red sheathing a red sword. They sigh, “dammit. And you said my hand would get forced too.”

When they turn to the side Nathaniel gapes. He could very well be mistaken but it looks like a Dragon is standing in front of him. From their angle, Nathaniel sees the suit and mask are red, black, and gold with a wavy scaly pattern. There are black horns on their head then going down their back past their gold-tipped wings to their black-tipped pointy tail. Their hair is black and wavy in a messy ponytail (reminiscent of their tail) with gold and red tips. Lastly, and most notably, is the weird circle protruding from their chest.

He must’ve made some kind of noise because one gold and one red eye turn to him. And damn, he thought Marc was gorgeous.

“Are you harmed?” Still gaping, Nathaniel shakes his head. “Good. Get up. You need to move to safety.”

“What happened?” The last thing he remembers was splitting up from everyone in the limo then finding something to hide behind. Then there was a blinding flash.

“You were nearly turned into one of Ignace’s minions. I stopped that from happening.”

“O-Oh! W-Well, thanks for saving me.”

“I don’t deserve thanks, I did it by accident.” They unsheathe their sword holding it toward Nathaniel, “hold onto that. It should protect you.”

Nathaniel fumbles with the sword as he grabs it, “don’t you need it?” The Dragon shakes their head.

“Find some place to hide, I’ll draw their attention.” Nathaniel only realizes after the Dragon leaves that he’s behind an overturned bus.

As soon as the Dragon darts out from behind the bus fire minions chase after them. Nathaniel grips the sword tight then runs in the opposite direction. Shit. He forgot to ask if they saved Marc and Marinette too.

He runs and a fire creature rounds the corner in front of him. Before he can backpeddle, it reaches an arm out to him and the sword turns to water yet retains its shape and the creature hisses when they touch the sword. “Wow.” Hissing again, the creature runs away from him. Nathaniel looks down at the sword still made of water.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Ignace runs a hand down his face. “You mean to tell me you worthless fools scoured the entire city and couldn’t find one seventeen-year-old girl!?”

Alya slipped away from the marching horde to the four animal themed individuals in front of Jagged Stone... although one of said individuals looks more like a ghost than any animal Alya’s ever seen. Ignace had conjured up more minions than Alya thought possible in such a small amount of time; unless the school was the last place he hit. From the yelling, no one – thankfully – found Marinette yet. “Psst!”

The Dragon, that is definitely a Dragon, is the first to turn then they gain the other’s attention. “You guys seeing this?”

“That’s gotta be Queen Bee. She can’t be mind-controlled.” Eradicat reasons.

“Really?” The Ghost questions, “just like that?”

“Not like we have much else to go on.” Harmonybug says with a shrug, “you’ll get used to the madness sooner or later.”

“Are you guys used to the madness?” Harmonybug and Eradicat exchange a glance that really says all there is about that.

Harmonybug clears his throat. “What do you have for us, Bee?” He asks. “He’s weak against water but every time we give chase or try to attack he swaps places with one of his minions.”

Alya’s white eyes widen, “ooh! I’ll have him switch places with me then you guys can hose ‘em down. What I was gonna say was I think his akuma is in his head...” They all stare at her, “or on his head? Maybe where the flame starts out?”

Harmonybug hums. “That’s as good a place as any to check.”

Eradicat cracks her knuckles, “alright gang, I have a plan.”

As Eradicat goes over the details, Jagged provides cover for Alya so Ignace can’t see her and swap places with her before they’re ready.

Just as they split up they hear Ignace groan. The butterfly mask is over his eyes. “Alright! I’ll grab their Miraculouses then get back to looking for that brat.” He looks down then groans when he sees the Miraculders are no longer in his sight. “Oh for the love of—Spread out and find them!” The minions dutifully obey, splitting off in every direction. “Come out, come out, wherever you are kiddies.”

Ignace aimlessly floats around seeing if he can spot anyone. The Miraculders are so damn strangely dressed they’d be impossible not to find.

He rolls his eyes at Jagged Stone (poorly) attempting to hide behind an overturned car.

The kiddies must’ve realized how annoying he was and left him to fend for himself.

“Really, Stone, you couldn’t even keep a group of kids protecting you? How ironically pathetic.” He snaps his fingers and a single minion arrives. Ignace points at Jagged, “keep an eye on that.”

The minion steps in front of Jagged blocking his path. “Can’t do your dirty work yourself, Roth?”

Ignace laughs then floats over to Jagged and the minion moves to his side, “I’m no longer Bob Roth. I am Ignace. Once I grab those Miraculouses, I find your little pet and incinerate her right before your very eyes.”

“Are you really so damn petty you’d kill Mari because I bruised your ego?”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Stone. This isn’t about you. Not really. Musicians like you are a euro a dozen. Have you heard of XY? He’s the next big thing! His first ever album drops tomorrow and in the upcoming weeks you’ll be nothing but a distant, pathetic memory.”

“If this XY or whatever is so damn special why come after me and Mari at all?”

“When your idiot client goes to a fucking kid for managerial advice it takes a toll on your ego.”

Oh! I should’ve known.” Jagged laughs, “you fucking twit, Mari isn’t my new manager. She’s my personal designer. I never once asked her for manager advice. Though I did commission her to make me a fancy new outfit to fire you in.”

“The kid’s... not your new manager?” Ignace’s eyes widen before he screams. Jagged grimaces as a fist made of water goes right through Ignace’s chest. Grunting, Ignace coughs out lava. Another water hand goes on Ignace’s head and he screams as his flames start dying down. His head melts revealing a glowing pair of sunglasses.

The water hands move from their previous spots grabbing the sunglasses and crushing them.

The purple butterfly flies out of the crushed sunglasses right into Eradicat’s glowing hand.

The purplish ooze surrounds Roth’s body returning him to normal, reforming half of his melted off head and erasing the gaping hole in his chest. Which was cooler than it had any right to be.

Harmonybug throws a cellphone? into the air and the magical ladybugs start transforming the fire creatures back to normal.

The four Miraculders put their hand in a pile then lift their hands in cheer.

Jagged runs over to the group and hugs them. “The next song I make is gonna be about how badass you little rockstars are!” Once Jagged releases them he runs over to Penny and Clara then hugs them.

“So... why’d you come up with this plan instead of having Bee help like she suggested?”

“We would’ve compromised her identity had we kept her isolated from the other creatures by the time the Miraculous Harmonybug activated.”

“By just having her with Jagged she could’ve easily escaped before the ladybugs started fixing anything.” Harmonybug nods, “makes sense. You kick ass Kitty.”

“Back at you Beetleboy. What should we do about the new additions? We haven’t even told Flux and Bee about... you know.”

Harmonybug gulps, “is it time for us to bug out?” Asks The horned ghost... okay Harmonybug has no idea what that is.

“Almost. We’re going to... debrief at the Eiffel Tower in an hour. I’ll pass word along to Flux and Bee and the Monkey if possible.” The two of them nod.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Tikki sits on Nino’s left shoulder happily munching on a sugar cookie. Since partnering up, Tikki has tried over fifteen varieties of cookies. Her favorite so far are the thumb-print ones.

Over the weekend with Hawkmoth and Fantôme surprisingly silent, Nino and Kagami visited Master Fù to swap back their Miraculouses. Non-magical ear piercings take at least six weeks to heal but the master expedited the process with healing potions since he doesn’t know any Guardians with the healing abilities in the country.

“Pupa, there’s something you should know before your meeting.”

Nino swallows his cookie with a grimace, “ominous. Alright. Lay it on me, T.”

“Miraculouses are not meant to function solitarily. We operate better in groups. It’s why we’re put in Miracle Boxes together when we’re not active rather than staying in our tiny travel size Miracle Boxes we get placed in when we go to our Chosen.”

Nino nods, “okay, makes sense.”

“As I told you, Master Fù has—” Tikki shakes her head, “had eleven Miraculouses in his care. Now he’s down to two as he searches for a new Guardian.”

“New Guardian? Why’s he looking for a new Guardian? He never mentioned anything like that before.”

“He’s been looking for a new Guardian ever since he distributed the ladybug Miraculous to you. And according to what he told me over the weekend, he has the perfect candidate. But I can’t tell you who that is and compromise h—their identity. Not that I know them personally.”

“Right. So... about the Miraculouses. Didn’t he say a Guardian needed mastery over all of them? What good is a Guardian with just two Miraculouses? Master even said they don’t train with less than five. He also said they don’t train new recruits with their own Miracle Box.”

“He might take some liberties given our situation. We are seriously outnumbered. Another Guardian, even with mastery over just two Miraculouses will help us a great deal.”

“Then he’s purposely waiting to hand out these last two Miraculouses so his trainee has something to work with.” Nino nods to himself, “just a quick question though... it’s not me, is it? His prospect?”

“While you would – under normal circumstances – be the ideal selection, as the ladybug wielder, Master Fù doesn’t have enough Miraculouses on standby for you or Kagami to train with. To train either of you would create a power imbalance.”

“And training both of us?”

“If he hadn’t circulated so many maybe. Though I honestly couldn’t say for certain.”

“Okay. Got it. Let me see if my math checks out regarding the Miraculouses. We have me, Kagami, Bee, we don’t count Alix because their Miraculous came from their papa, the Monkey, the new ghost thing, and the Dragon. That’s six. Eleven minus six equals five meaning we have three Miraculouses unaccounted for.”

“The turtle, ox, and—” Tikki frowns, “I don’t know if he sent out the pig or the horse.”

“Gotta keep the others informed all the same.” Nino takes a deep breath, “alright. Thanks for the update, T.” Tikki takes a little bow.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Akira watches in disgust as Plagg pours the cheese spray into his mouth. Kagami is just casually letting the kwami sit in her lap as she drinks from her mug.

Fù Wáng chose wrong. He absolutely chose wrong. And Akira would be damned if there was nothing he could do about it.

In front of them, Tomoe sips from her mug. “We’re having dinner at the Agreste manor tonight.”

He didn’t need his power to see Kagami choking on her drink.

Plagg flies out of her lap and to her back patting it.

Akira turns to his daughter. “Curious. You’ve been dating him for weeks now; almost a month by my count. You’ve certainly had no qualm about him sweeping you away every other day. Why stay stationary for an evening?”

“We can’t let magic keep us from living normal...ish lives, Tousan.”

“You dodged the question.”

Tomoe sighs. “Things are becoming more serious than I anticipated with Gabriel.” A quick glance at his granddaughter shows Kagami not bothering to hide her disdain. “He doesn’t quite make me feel the way Lee did—” Kagami all but tears the cap off her water bottle and chugs it in one go. “—But I imagine it’s the same for him and his late wife.” She turns her head in Kagami’s direction, “you said you had a meeting. How long do you think it’ll take?”

“It should be brief. Just checking in on the new wielders.” Tomoe nods then goes back to drinking. Kagami looks down – presumably at her phone – and her eyebrows furrow. Then Plagg floats back down to her lap to stare at the phone and hums.

🙈 🙊 🙉

Hey!” When Queen Bee lands on the railing, Chloé’s arms flail as she falls on her ass. “Okay, I deserved that.”

“I remember you. Égaliseur, right?”

The blonde scowls, “I’d rather not be reminded of that.” She springs to her feet then falls again when the rest of the Miraculders join Queen Bee. When Chloé sits up she’s looking at twice as many masked individuals than last time. “Ah!” She jumps to her feet again. “I had to get your attention when I saw Queen Bee swing by. I’m a huge fan by the way.” She shakes Queen Bee’s hands.

“We’ve met before.”

“I know! That’s the reason I called out to you. My memories are coming back! I don’t know how and I don’t know why but one thing I do know is Gabriel Agreste is Hawkmoth.”

“I knew it.” Eradicat mumbles.

“And you’re certain?” Harmonybug asks.

“Hawkmoth was in Gabriel Agreste’s personal study demanding me not to hurt Adrien. There are only a handful of people who’d stick their neck out for that asshole, I used to be one of them. And when I pretty much called him out he didn’t deny it. I warned my friend Kagami to be on her guard because my best friend Sabrina texted me saying her papa was going to watch over the Agreste manor tonight due to special guests arriving.”

“You think your friend is in danger?” Flux asks.

“I don’t think so and it’s not like I told her what I remembered. I just told her to be careful. She told me she doesn’t trust him and she’s right not to. Gabriel Agreste will stop at nothing to get what he wants and if he has to vilify a child to her own maman to do it he’ll do it with ease. I speak from experience.”

“Thanks for the info...”

“Chloé!”

“Chloé. You’re in more danger than we are.”

She waves Harmonybug off, “I’ll be fine. He can’t do anything to me without incriminating himself.”

“Unless he wipes your memory again.” Everyone turns to Flux. “What? You were all thinking it.”

“I don’t think he can do that unless she gets akumatized again. So...” Harmonybug puts a hand on the blonde’s shoulder, “no matter what happens, you need to control your emotions.”

Chloé frowns, “that part... is gonna be difficult. I mean you’ve all met my maman, right?” Everyone murmurs their agreement.

“There’s a place you can go to just gel out and relax.” Flux holds out her hand, “Gimme your phone and I’ll input the address.” Chloé hesitantly complies.

“What am I supposed to say when I get there?”

“Tell ‘em Alice sent you.”

“Alix?”

No!” Flux clears her throat. “I mean no. I said Alice, not Alix. A-L-I-C-E. Like Alice in Wonderland?”

Oh! Because you’re a rabbit. Yeah, I get it.” Flux hands back the phone.

“Alright, we gotta get out of your hair.” The others groan at Harmonybug. “I wasn’t trying to make a pun!”

“If you are looking for a place to lay low or whatever. You can use the balcony. I mean, you’re already here.” She shrugs.

“Thanks, Chloé. We might just take you up on that offer.”

“Wise decision. I’ll be inside if you need anything~” She walks in the suite internally screaming.

🙈 🙊 🙉

The bell chimes overhead as Nora enters the shop. The brunette didn’t know what to expect when she found this address on Alya’s laptop. Her little sister liked all this floral frou-frou fancy smelling shit. It’s why Alya seven days out of seven, at any given moment, smells like she just stepped out of a garden.

“Ah! Welcome.” An old man greets stepping out from a different room. “How may I help you this evening?”

“Just looking for something my kid sister would like.”

“Your younger sister is lucky to have you looking out for her.”

Nora huffs, “if only she realized that.”

The old man chuckles, “what is your sister like?”

“‘What’s she like?’ Nora repeats.

The old man nods, “I need to figure out what will appeal to your sister based on her personality and preference.”

“Ah. Well, I guess Als is reckless, stubborn, headstrong, sweet – sometimes, charismatic, way smarter than she lets on...” The old man strokes his beard, “she likes floral stuff but I wanted to step out of that zone and get her something else.”

“Ah. There is never a wrong time to try something new.” The old man beckons Nora closer, “follow me. I know exactly what will help your situation.” With a shrug, Nora follows. “I sense within you a strong desire to protect.”

“I have three little sisters. It’s only natural.”

The old man stops in front of a gramophone, “what if I told you I could give you the ability to protect your sisters? To help you continue nurturing?”

“I’d say sign me up.”

“No hesitation?”

“I don’t hesitate when I’m fighting and I damn sure don’t hesitate to protect my family.”

The old man opens the gramophone and a large black hexagonal lifts up from some secret compartment or something. He opens the hexagonal box and a tiny floating horse and a tiny floating dog fly out of it waving. “Then allow me to welcome you to the Guardian Order. The three of us will train you to harness magical abilities that will assist the Miraculders.”

“No fucking way! Are you serious?!”

The old man nods, “I am Fù Wáng. Guardian of the Miraculders’ Miraculouses. The team requires more magical essence on our side.”

“Aren’t I a little too old to be a Miraculder though?”

Fù chuckles, “I can see how you would believe that. This is actually the first time I have chosen a group of teenagers to wield Miraculouses.”

“Huh. No time like the present I suppose.”

“Indeed. You technically will not be a Miraculder anyhow. As a Guardian you will have a greater concentration of magic. We can’t have Hawkmoth running the team ragged for another month again.”

“But there are more of them now.”

“And yet the numbers are still in Hawkmoth’s favor. I need more Guardians for assistance. Other than you, I have one another candidate I’d like to examine.”

“So it’s just you?”

“Yes and no. I am solely responsible for the Miraculders existing today. However, I know of three other Guardians, two of which have their own struggles. And the third? He is quite... stubborn. He outright refused to help because I selected his...” Fù clears his throat, “family member for a Miraculous.” He squints up at Nora, “how would you feel if I gave a member of your family a Miraculous?”

“Given you’re only choosing teens, I only have one family member you’d pick and...” Nora lolls her head from side to side, “on the one hand giving her the power to kick Hawkmoth’s ass is a bonus, on the other hand it means she’s semi-constantly in danger.” Nora sighs, “but if I can protect her I guess that makes the pros outweigh the cons. Plus, you know, superpowers are pretty cool.”

Fù nods, “then let us begin with your training, Mlle—”

“Césaire. Nora Césaire. Now about the thing for my sister...?”

Ah yes. I have not forgotten.” Fù heads into the next room briefly then returns with a small red vial, “this should suit your sister perfectly.”