It was only when Marinette clicked on the "Buy" button and saw the message "Your Purchase Was Completed Successfully", that she allowed herself to breathe once again. She had done it. She had bought the seven tickets she was supposed to do. Staring into her laptop, she could not help but to read the message, over and over, just to be sure she was not dreaming, as a smile showed up on her face. A smile of accomplishment. Shortly after, she got a text from Max telling her that he had also succeeded in buying his seven tickets. She quickly texted him back, saying the same thing. Knowing this, they quickly texted the rest of the gang, telling them that they had managed to buy the tickets. The first person Marinette texted was Adrien, fulfilling her promise of warning him as soon as she got the tickets.
"The concert is a go. Max and I managed to get the tickets." -Marinette texted Adrien. –"I still can't believe we actually did it, Tikki." -she told the scarlet kwami.
"I told you everything would work out fine in the end." -Tikki smiled at her. –"Now, are we going to sleep or not? You've got school in the morning." -she said, as she yawned.
"I'm too excited to go to sleep just yet." -Marinette declared.
And that was the truth. Between her picnic with Adrien on top of the Arc du Triomphe and the craziness that was to get home in time to buy the tickets for Jagged Stone's concert, the rush of it all had given her a boost of energy, she felt was going to take a while to pass. And because of it, the soreness that she was feeling when she got home, disappeared as if by magic. Marinette knew this was because of the adrenaline that was flowing through her veins, and if she wanted to sleep, she would need to get rid of that adrenaline.
"I'm going to listen to a little bit of music, and see if I start feeling sleepy. You can go ahead, if you want to. I'll go to bed in a bit." -Marinette told her, as she grabbed her headphones.
"Okay, if you say so." -Tikki yawned again. –"Goodnight, Marinette." -she said, as she flew over to her bed.
"Goodnight, Tikki. Sweet dreams." -Marinette said, as she put on her headphones.
Going to Youtube, she looked for the right playlist to hear that night. She needed a couple of songs to sooth her spirit and her excitement.
"Let's see…" -Marinette thought to herself, as she scrolled down one of her playlists. –"Since the reason why I'm so pumped is because of Jagged Stone, then, let's hear some of his best ballads. –she decided, as she chose the playlist in question. –"And let's start with Dark Velvet, my favourite."
Marinette knew most of Jagged Stone's songs by heart, and the ones she did not know by heart, was because she had not had the time or patience to do so, yet. Because of his unique talent, Jagged Stone had written all kinds of songs. In the same album, you could have a ballad that would transport those who listened to it, to somewhere where they would feel at peace, as well as having a song that would be perfect to be listened to, when one needed to unwind for a bit in the gym. On top of that, Jagged Stone was a true artist, who believed that his fans love for him and for his music, were the best things that ever happened to him. And he would do his best to reward them, in every concert. More than once, he played for huge crows, even when he was feeling sick as a dog. Just that fact, made him look even more awesome than he already was.
"Can't wait to hear you again, Jagged. And this time, it will be extra special, because I'll have my boyfriend by my side." -Marinette thought, as she turned up the volume, as the song reached her favourite part.
In the morning, when they arrived at school, Marinette and Max were both held as heroes by the whole class. The two of them had successfully purchased the tickets for Jagged Stone's concert the following day, for every last one of them, and they wanted them to see just how much they appreciated it. Already in their classroom, everyone continued to praise them for their combined achievement, while imagining themselves at the concert.
"It's going to be the best concert of the year." -Chloe declared, imagining herself in the concert. –"I can't wait to hear my favourite Jagged Stone songs live." -she told Sabrina.
"You and me. It's going to be great." -Sabrina smiled at her.
"No, Sabrina, it's not going to be great. It's going to be awesome." -Chloe smiled back at her, as she continued to imagine herself and the others at the concert. And she did this, she also thought about how she could have had her dad found a way to get her a ticket along with a VIP pass, just for her. –"Daddy would have probably found a way to get me one of those, but then it wouldn't be fair for the rest of the gang… just hear yourself, Chloe. You're more worried about how your friends would feel, than with your own fun… maybe you have changed a lot more than you give yourself credit for sometimes." -she thought to herself, while feeling a sense of self-pride inside her heart.
"Bro, after this, I promise I'll never call you a nerd." -Kim told Max.
"Thanks, I… wait! You never call me a nerd." -Max said.
"Well, maybe not when you're around, but… well, you get my drift." -Kim told him. –"What matters, is that I'll never do it. Thanks to you and Marinette, we're attending the best concert of all times!" -he exclaimed.
"Totally! I can't wait to throw myself into the mosh pit." -Alix said. –"It's already a
"That explains why at home, you never have anyone to go with you to a rock concert, except us." -Kim joked. –"You're the polar opposite of everyone in your family." -he said.
"So what? You know perfectly well that if I didn't have any of you to come with me, I would go to any rock concert alone. I'm a lone wolf!" -Alix joked, making the others laugh as well.
"See? I told you could do it." -Adrien smiled at Marinette.
"Well, if it wasn't for you, who reminded me of it, I would have forgotten about it." -Marinette admitted.
"Don't be so hard on yourself, girl. After the crazy day we had yesterday, even I forgot about it, when you and Adrien asked me and Nino to patrol the city, instead of you, so you could have that" -Alya told her, in a cheerful voice. –"So, tell me, how was the date? Did you two have fun?" -she asked them, slightly curious and with a mischievous smile on her face.
"Alya, I know you always want to know everything that's going on, but let's leave what happened last night between the two of them." -Nino smiled at her. –"I don't remember you wanting to share anything that happened in our dates with your best-friend." -he joked.
"No. Well, I may have told her a thing or two…" -Alya said, which made Nino raise an eyebrow at her. –"I'm kidding, I'm kidding, Nino." -she laughed, before turning to Marinette and Adrien. –"Either way, I hope you two had a really great date."
"It was a beautiful date. That's all I'm going to say." -Marinette smiled at her.
"We sure did have a great date. Which reminds me, we need to set a date for our quadruple date, the four of us." -Adrien said.
"Indeed. But only next month. I used up most of my savings to buy my ticket for the concert, so, I'm basically broke." -Alya admitted.
"That goes double for me. I mean, I still have a little money on the side, but I'm already going to use it to buy a couple of accessories to upgrade my turntable, so…" -Nino told his best-friend.
"Make that three. I'm nearly broke as well." -Marinette said.
And before Adrien could say anything else, Miss Bustier knocked at the door, before entering. As always, she looked smiling and cheerful, like every other day. You could also say that she seemed to be glowing. The truth was, they had never seen her grumpy, or mad or even sad. They did not know how, but whenever they saw her, she always looked like she did not have a care in the world, always ready to help those around her, with her beautiful and sincere smile, which made her look even prettier than she was.
"Good morning, class." -Miss Bustier smiled at them all.
"Good morning, Miss Bustier." -the whole class said, as they all made their way to their designated seats.
"You all look very happy this morning." -Miss Bustier remarked, as she looked at their cheerful faces. –"Did I miss anything?" -she asked, curious.
"We managed to get tickets for Jagged Stone's concert, tomorrow."-Mylene chirped happily.
"It's going to be awesome!" -Kim exclaimed.
"Well, then, congratulations. I'm sure you're going to love the concert." -Miss Bustier smiled at them. –"But I hope that all that thrill and excitement doesn't make you forget that you have exams next week, and that if you don't want to end up failing in them, you must study for then." -she stated.
Upon hearing her say that, almost everyone in class groaned. They knew that the exams were just around the corner, and they did not need Miss Bustier to remind them of it, especially since she had given them enough homework to choke a horse with.
"Miss Bustier, do we really have to do that? Do we really have to focus on those exams?" -Chloe asked her. She was not in the mood for studying that morning.
"I'm afraid so, Chloe. Otherwise, you won't be able to make your exams next week, and score good marks on them." -Miss Bustier told her, with a gentle smile on her face. –"Now, before we begin reviewing the homework I assigned you yesterday, please open your French textbooks on page 98. Let us begin by continuing our studying of La Fontaine and its fables. We have a lot to work on today."
"Yes, Miss Bustier." -they all answered in chorus, as they took out their French textbooks from their backpacks.
After school, Marinette went to take care of a few errands. Her mother had asked her to go and pick up some things she needed to complete a special order for a birthday cake she had Tom had gotten the day before. But she saved the best for last. After having bought everything her mother had told her to buy, she made her way to her favourite fabric shop. She needed to go there to buy something very special. She had gone there to buy fabric to make a present. A present for Alya, whose birthday was next month, and she wanted to make sure she would begin working on it, as soon as the exams were done. Once she entered the shop, she was greeted by one of the shop assistants, who already knew her well. Marinette would visit the shop at least once a month, if not more, to get fabrics for her countless fashion projects, so she was already a regular customer. Like always, the shop was quite busy, with numerous people shopping inside it.
Already knowing where everything was, Marinette felt like a fish in the water. This was her world. Right after the smell of freshly baked bread and cookies, the smell of fabrics was her favourite kind of smell. And she had learned to distinguish the different kinds of fabrics, just by the way they smelled. While there were people who would lose themselves inside a candy store, or a record store, or even a bookstore, Marinette would lose herself inside a fabric store, because there was no other place where she would feel as close to the fashion world, than a place where the materials used in that world, came from.
One little habit that she had gained over time, was to run her fingertips over the fabric rolls, feeling the different textures of the different fabrics. Her favourites were silk and satin, because when touching them, she would get goosebumps all over her skin. If those fabrics were not so expensive, she would buy entire rolls, just to create all kinds of beautiful things with them. Reaching the section where the fabrics she wanted were, the blue-haired began looking around, to see if there was anything that would catch her eye and be perfect for whatever present she was going to make for Alya.
"So, what are you going to do for Alya?" -Tikki asked, as she peeked out of Marinette's pouch.
"I don't know yet." -Marinette smiled, as she checked the various fabrics. –"Usually, when I come here to buy fabrics, I also have some of my best ideas. I'm hoping that by looking around, one of those ideas pops up in my mind." -she whispered at her, as a woman walked past them.
"Well, it wouldn't be the first time that happens." -Tikki whispered back at her.
"The only thing I know is that it has to be something special. Alya's my best-friend and I'll be honest about it, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have been able to profess my love to Adrien… well, her and you. You also helped me a lot, Tikki." -Marinette admitted. –"And that's why, I want to give her a present that is both special and unique, and you know that for me, that means that I have to create such present, because I won't be satisfied with anything I might buy in a store." -she said, as she continued to look at the fabric rolls that were to her left.
"How about a scarf? Adrien loved that one you made for him. In fact, he's always wearing it." -Tikki suggested. –"You could knit one for Alya." -she said.
"It wouldn't be a bad idea, but, Alya's not the kind of person who likes to wear a scarf. Plus, a scarf is good, but..."
"But you want it to be something really special." -Tikki finished her sentence.
"I really do." -Marinette said.
She kept examining the fabrics, checking the various textures and colours, as well as the prices, hoping for an idea to just pop inside her mind. But as time went by, that idea she hoped to have, refused to appear inside her mind. Sighing, she believed she was not going to have any idea that would help her with Alya's birthday present.
"I'm really not having ideas. I think I'm having an art-block, Tikki." -Marinette whispered to Tikki, sighing in defeat.
"Maybe you're trying too hard. You've been looking at the fabrics for nearly 15 minutes now. Why don't you come back some other time' Or if you don't, you could always go for a walk around the block and then come back. Maybe that will unleash any inspiration inside you." -Tikki suggested her.
"Perhaps you're right." -Marinette sighed. –"Perhaps I'm trying too hard." -she admitted the possibility.
She was about to go out for a walk around the block, when suddenly, she heard a little kid crying. In fact, it was not crying, it was throwing a tantrum. Following the screams, she saw the commotion was coming from the other side of the store. She was not usually the kind of person who would usually feel the need to see little kids throwing tantrums, just because they felt like it, or because their parents or grandparents did not do something or bought something they wanted. But on that day, something inside her forced her to go and check it out. Getting nearer to where everything was happening, she saw a little kid, who was maybe 5 or 6-years old crying, as its mother tried to make it stop. But what captured Marinette's attention was what the little kid was wearing. It was wearing a blue and white bunny hoodie. And it was then that an idea popped up inside her mind. And as this happened, a broad smile showed up on Marinette's face. The kind of smile that only showed up on her face, when something really good happened to her, or someone she cared about, or when she had an awesome idea. Heading back to where she was before, she
"Tikki, I think I've got it! A hoodie." -Marinette whispered at her kwami, who was still inside her pouch.
"What?" -Tikki asked, not understanding what she was telling her.
"A hoodie, Tikki. It's something that's practical, it has lots of pockets for Alya to place her cell phone and other stuff she's always carrying, and best of all, it can be used whether it's sunny or rainy. It's perfect." -Marinette explained to her. –"And I know just what kind of hoodie she would love… a Rena Rouge-inspired hoodie." -she said.
"Well, I think it's a good idea. But do you think you can have it ready for her birthday? Remember, you have to study for your exams." -Tikki reminded her.
"You know I'm a fast seamstress, Tikki. And it so happens, that I still have Alya's measurements from when I did the costumes for our last Christmas play." -Marinette told her. –"All I need is to find the right fabrics, and the dress patterns to make a hoodie, and I'm ready." -she smiled at her kwami.
"Well, if you say so." -Tikki said. She was happy to see Marinette that excited.
"I just hope I have enough money to buy everything I need to make it." -Marinette said. –"I spent most of my savings last night, when I bought my ticket to Jagged Stone's concert." -she admitted.
"I'm sure you will. I've seen you bargaining with the sales assistants in this shop before." -Tikki told her, trying to boost her confidence.
"Yeah, but that's usually for items like buttons, zippers and such, not fabrics." -Marinette admitted. –"But I'm going to try and see if I can find something that is nice to make that hoodie for Alya. She deserves it, after all." -she said. –"Now, let's see if I can find the right fabrics to make her that hoodie."
Running as fast as he could, Nathaniel made his way home. When he got there, he quickly climbed up to his bedroom, threw his backpack onto his bed and grabbed his sketchbook from his desk, before going out again. He had agreed to meet Marc after school, and he was running late. Over the two previous weeks, the two of them had begun to hang out after school more and more. At first, Nathaniel was not sure if he wanted to do it, but Mulan had convinced him to do it, as a way to strengthen the bond of friendship between him and Marc. If Nathaniel hoped to perhaps start dating him, sooner or later, first he would have to get to know Marc better, and also allow him to get to know him better.
Not wanting to wait for the bus to get there, he began running down the street, hoping to get to the meeting place before Marc. But when he got there, Marc was already waiting for him.
"Took you a little bit longer to get here than expected, I see." -Marc told him.
"Bus… broke down." -Nathaniel said, while pretending he was breathless from running all the way there. –"So… have you been… waiting for me for too long?" -he asked him.
"It's okay. I got here just a couple of minutes ago." -Marc told him. –"So, you're ready to check out a really cool place?" -he asked Nathaniel.
"Sure. Where are we going?" -Nathaniel asked him.
"You'll see, when we get there." -Marc told him.
As they walked, they talked about what happened to them in classes thar day. Just like Nathaniel, Marc was also getting bombarded with tons of homework, to prepare for the exams the following week. Comparing the amount of homework each had, Nathaniel figured out that the amount of homework Miss Bustier had given him and the rest of his class was nothing compared to those Marc had been given.
"Your so lucky your teacher isn't making you read textbooks that are like twenty years old." -Marc said.
"Maybe, but Miss Bustier is still making us work to the bone." -Nathaniel told him.
"Sometimes I wonder if the teachers think we don't have anything else to worry about or do, in our lives, except for school, you know?" -Marc pointed out. –"I mean, can you imagine what would happen, if by chance, I had several extra-curricular activities, which I only have one, by the way, but let's imagine that I had several extra-curricular activities, that prevented me from doing all the homework that was assigned to me, how would I be able to do everything?" -he asked him. –"I'll tell how, by not sleeping more than two or three hours a night. I would look like a zombie… I would probably even begin to talk like one."
The conversation went on, as Nathaniel followed Marc through numerous streets, wondering where he was taking him to. During those last two weeks, they had gone out six times. They would either just find a place outside to hang our and talk, or they would go somewhere one of them knew. And on that day, it was Marc's turn to choose where they would hang out. When they finally arrived at their destination, Nathaniel was a bit surprised by where Marc had decided to take him to, a comic book store, named "Dungeon of the Geeks".
"I didn't even know this comic book store existed." -Nathaniel admitted.
"Neither did I, until a couple of days ago, when I came for a walk and happened to pass in front of it." -Marc said. –"The owner's nice and it's a cool place to hang out for a couple of hours, since they also have a bar inside." -he admitted. –"Come on, let's go in."
Entering it, Nathaniel felt like he always did, whenever he entered a comic book store. Like he had been transported into a whole different reality. There was something about comic book stores that made him feel like they were like a second home to him, though he did not know why exactly. He did not know if it was the smell of comic books in the air, or the amount of statues, collectibles and other merchandize that adorned the shelves and the showcases, or just the fact of knowing that there were places like that for people who liked those kinds of things, that he was not the only one.
Looking around, the store looked like most of the other comic book stores he had visited over the years. The only real difference was perhaps that this one had a bar in it. Right then, the comic book store was empty, with the only person inside being a man behind the counter.
"Hey, there, Gerard!" -Marc said, greeting the man that was behind the counter.
"Well, hey there, Marc. I didn't expect to see you here again this fast." -Gerard greeted him.
Gerard was the owner of that comic book shop. He was a man in his late forties with brown eyes, black hair, which was beginning to become white around the temples, trimmed beard and thin lips, which gave him a nice and welcoming smile. Both Nathaniel and Marc noticed he was wearing a t-shirt form something related to comic books or pop culture, which seemed to be something quite common for those working in a comic book store. In Gerard's case, he was wearing a purple t-shirt with the Mad Titan Thanos, holding the Infinity Gauntlet.
"Yeah, well, life is full of surprises." -Marc chuckled. –"I actually came here to show the store to my friend here. Nathaniel, this is Gerard. Gerard, this is my friend from school, Nathaniel Kurtzberg." -he introduced them to one another.
"Pleasure to meet you." -Gerard greeted Nathaniel, as he and Marc approached the counter. –"Welcome to the Dungeon of the Geeks. Feel free to check out anything you want to. And if any of you is hungry or thirsty, we've got the bar right over there." -he said, when he noticed Nathaniel's sketchbook, that he was holding. –"Is that a sketchbook you're holding?"
"Huh… yeah." -Nathaniel said, with a shy voice.
"He's one of the best artists I know." -Marc praised Nathaniel. –"Hey, why don't you show Gerard your work, Nathaniel? Gerard also draws." -he suggested to him. –"Maybe he can give you some pointers, you know?"
"You also draw?" -Nathaniel asked him.
"Only sporadically. Running this store takes too much of my time." -Gerard admitted. –"But when I was your age, I had the dream of creating my very own superhero. Of course, that never really happened, so I did the next best thing. I opened a comic book store." -he joked. –"Still, from time to time I draw a thing or two."
"He's great, you should see his work. Go ahead, Nathaniel, don't be shy." -Marc encouraged him.
"I'm not that good." -Nathaniel said. You could hear the modesty in his voice. He was never one to brag about his skills to others. The only person who he would brag about his drawing skills would be Mulan, and he was not even a person, but a kwami. –"In fact, I think that most of my stuff is pretty basic, when compared to other artists." -he said.
"Don't be so modest, man. Let others be the ones to judge your work. We artists always think that our work is never good enough. That's why we should always judge our work for what it is, but always remembering that whatever we attempt to do, we must do it with our heart." -Gerard told.
"Well, alright then, I guess it wouldn't hurt to hear a fellow artist's opinion." -Nathaniel smiled nervously, as he handed the sketchbook to the store's owner.
Opening the sketchbook, Gerard checked some of the drawings that Nathaniel had in it. Most of them were just sketches, but there were a couple of them that were nearly finished works. Looking at them, he was pleasantly surprised by most of them, taking the time to examine the details of them.
"Whoa, these are really good. You've got talent, kid." –Gerard said, as he looked at Nathaniel's sketches. –"I especially like the way you do the characters' eyes. That's never an easy task, and you managed to make them incredibly realistic." -he praised him. –"The anatomy of the characters looks also very good."
"Thanks. But like I said, I'm still an amateur." -Nathaniel said.
"Well, every great artist began as an amateur. Don't you forget about it." -Gerard declared. –"Just because you're still learning, that doesn't mean your work isn't good. It just means that it's going to get better with time." -he said. –"And let me remind you that I'm not a professional artist. A professional artist would probably be a little bit more critical about your work, which doesn't mean that I'm just being nice to you. I can see that you have the talent."
"You should see the way he draws the Miraculous Team. He draws them like no one I've ever seen." -Marc said.
"Really?" -Gerard asked.
"Yeah, I'm trying to create my own Miraculous Team webcomic." –Nathaniel declared.
"Creating a webcomic isn't easy, especially when it's a fan comic. There are tons of those online. But it's a good way to promote yourself, especially if you happen to have a good story to tell." -Gerard declared. –"Nowadays, a lot of comic book artists get recruited, after someone sees their work online." -he said. –"If I may ask, what makes this webcomic of yours different from all others? I ask you this, because I believe that a good fan webcomic should have something about it that makes it stand out from the rest."
"Oh, it's about an alternate universe, where some of the Miraculous heroes have different identities and different powers." -Nathaniel explained. –"I'm still working on the details, but for example, I'm trying to make use of the Chinese Zodiac and the animals in them, to create some of the new identities." -he said.
"I see. It's a good idea, I'll give you that." -Gerard told him. –"And when can we expect it to be online, or is it already online?" -he asked him.
"Not yet. I'm still working on the concept, but I would like to begin drawing it quite soon, so I could post the first pages in a couple of months." -Nathaniel said.
"I won't lie, I like the approach you want to use for your fan comic. When you post it online, I'll want to read it." -Gerard declared.
"With the ideas he told me he has for it, I'm telling you, his fan comic will be the best the net has seen. I've got a really great feeling about it." -Marc said, once more praising Nathaniel's work.
"Well, I don't know about it, because they just launched the official Miraculous Team comic book, yesterday. I've been selling all the copies I received like hot cakes." -Gerard admitted.
"Official comic book? -Nathaniel asked, surprised.
There had been rumours circling online about the release of an official comic book with the Miraculous Team as its protagonists, almost from the first moment the heroes first showed up. And more than once it was announced that this one had been delayed, making many believing that it would never be released. And now Gerard was telling them that this one had been released.
"Yup, that's right. The art's pretty good, although I don't know if the story will hold up. We'll have to wait and see what the writers have in store of us readers." -Gerard said.
"Tell me, do you still have a copy or two around, please?" -Nathaniel asked him. He needed to see that comic book.
"You're in luck. I still have a few copies here. How many do you want?"
"We'll take two, right?" -Marc asked Nathaniel.
"Yeah, two. One for him, and one for me." -Nathaniel said, wondering what kind of story
Going inside, Gerard soon came back with two copies of the first issue. On the cover, one would read "The Adventures of the Miraculous Team" in warm colours. In the cover there were numerous members of the Miraculous Team, but not all of them, and they were wielding their trademark weapons. At the centre of the drawing were both Ladybug and Chat Noir. Seeing it, Nathaniel figured it was only normal for that to happen, given they were the leaders of the team. The art itself was quite good, and the colours chosen were also good. All in all, it looked quite decent.
"Here they are." -Gerard said, as he placed the two copies on the counter. –"Like I said, the art is very good, but I don't know about the story. I don't know if we're only going to see them fighting Akumas and Hawk Moth, or if we're going to actually see them trying to come up with a backstory for them." -he said.
"It would be so much easier if we knew who they really are under those masks." -Marc said. –"If we at least knew their real names."
"Yeah, but then, everyone would know who they really are, and unlike Tony Stark, I don't think they are billionaires, who can afford the luxury of having their real identities known to the public." -Gerard told him. –"And even if one of them is a billionaire, I bet he or she would be more like Bruce Wayne, who doesn't want anyone to know that he is Batman." -he said.
As Marc and Gerard continued to talk, Nathaniel could only think about how surreal that was. Never in his life he thought he would see a comic book, where he would be one of the main characters, much less an official one. Part of him was scared and did not even want to open it and see what was written inside it, while the other was thrilled with what he was seeing, and just wanted to open it and see just how they wrote the story.
"Wait until the others see this." -Nathaniel thought to himself, as he kept staring at the comic book.