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Cook Up a Solution

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Ms Bustier looked at the bill from the Dupain-Cheng bakery for the third time that minute and punched in the numbers on her Calculator again. There wasn’t enough ‘milk money’ funds to cover this high a bill and she wasn’t sure how to break it to the class. The class at the beginning of the school year had decided to pool money to buy lunches for special occasions. Lately though it seemed the class thought every day was a special occasion and their money pool was dried up. They would have to pay the extra and start paying out of pocket until they replenished the funds.

At the beginning of home room Ms Bustier stood up and cleared her throat, “Class it has come to my attention that the lunch fund has been used way too often lately and you’ve all run up quite the bill for the bakery. As such I’ve made invoices for all of you to take home alone with a note explaining the situation. Please be sure to give them both to your parents or guardians and bring in the money as soon as possible.” It was the most serious she had been with the class in a long time but she needed them to come through or else she’d likely have to ask the principal for the funds and he wouldn’t like that.

Gasps sounded around the room, several heads whipped in Marinette’s direction, and Lila started to sniffle which cause more heads to turn Mari’s way. It a matter of seconds after the first sob Alya shoves Marinette off their bench and onto the steps, “what the hell girl? I thought we were your friends but you’ve been charging us on the downlow? That’s cold, that’s colder than Kagami the ice queen cold!” She shouted leaning over the shocked bluenette, a few classmates let out cheers or made sounds of agreement.

It hadn’t been a long fall but it was abrupt and Mari had landed on her wrist, a wrist that now throbbed in pain. Before she could move to defend herself from the accusations a curtain of red blocked Alya and the rest of the class from view. “Are you okay Marinette? Does anything hurt?” Nathaniel asks, worry and fear in his voice. Mari holds her hurt wrist in her other hand and just nods sadly not looking him in the eyes, fearing he would just jeer at her injury.

Behind her she hears shuffling and the stomping of feet that signal Chloé’s approach. “I hope you know Césaire that that counts as aggrieved assault. I’ve already contacted Sabrina’s daddy and we got part of it on tape.” The tone Chloé uses to bite out those words send shivers down the class’s spines, not counting Sabrina who looks ready to set the classroom ablaze at any moment. Alya tries to come up with a comeback but Chloé has already moved on. “Is she alright to move or should I call the nurse here?” She whispers to Nathaniel.

“I c-can walk” Marinette stutters out after a few wide eyed blinks. She’s still a bit shocked at what was happening but with some help from Nate she gets onto her feet and heads for the door where Sabrina is standing like a post guard. It’s also Sabrina that opens the door for them before following them all out, slamming the door with much more force than necessary. “Thank you.” Is all Marinette says on their way down the quiet hall towards the nurse’s office.

Inside the classroom is dead silent, tension so electric it could power the whole city block. Ms Bustier is pale, sick to her stomach as the seconds on the clock count each second like the tssking of an old disappointed headmistress. It’s Nino who has been staring at his girlfriend in confusion that breaks the spell. “What the actual fuck was that Alya? Nettie didn’t do anything wrong.” His voice was level but the words felt heavy and violent after the long stent of silence. With that the tension snapped like a whip and several students started talking at once, each trying to be heard over the others.

It’s the little form of Markov that stops the madness, sounding an alarm and turning on a red light. “Students of May Bustier’s class please have a seat. Police have been called and will need to take your statements. Please remain calm and wait patiently. I have been recording since the incident and will be until the officer arrive. Thank you” the AI informs in his chipper tone, almost too chipper for some to be comfortable with. But with knowing they are being recorded most students return to sitting quietly, stewing in their emotions, the only sounds are the clock and Lila’s pathetic sniffles from time to time.

Across town Hawkmoth is wheezing, a swirl of negative feelings from too many people at once flood his scenes. There are too many to choose from and too many sides to the story. If Natalie wasn’t so sick he would take this opportunity to akumatize the whole class, Adrien included. But he was waiting for his prize his real masterpiece to be ready. Marinette would be his crowning achievement, a centerpiece for a grand scheme! He’d have to wait, what a pity, but he’d stay to watch how it all played out