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Miraculous Team: The Screamer

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It had been one of those tough days. Miss Bustier had given the whole class a bunch of homework, to prepare them for the tests they were going to take in a week. This alone was enough to make them know they would have to go straight home and begin working on their homework, so they would not fall behind on it. And to make matters worse, after classes, when they were already on their way home, they were forced to deal with yet another one of Hawk Moth’s Akumas, who created chaos and mayhem near the Promenade Plantée. In sum, it was one of those days where everything seemed to not go their way. But at least two of members of the Miraculous Team were determined to end their day on a good note.

To celebrate their two-week anniversary, Adrien and Marinette agreed to do something special. Because it was a week-day, going out was out of the question for both of them, but especially for Adrien. Gabriel would be at home all week, and Adrien still had not told him about Marinette. He was still trying to gain the courage to reveal to Gabriel that the two of them were now dating. But not wanting to let the date slip by, the two teenagers agreed to do something rather unique. They agreed to do a picnic by the moonlight, on top of the Arc du Triomphe. It was their patrol night, but they asked Alya and Nino to cover for them, so they could enjoy themselves. And being their best friends, the holders of the fox and the turtle miraculouses, were more than happy to help them out. In fact, any of their friends would have cover for them, if they had asked. On the day following Valentine’s Day, when the two of them showed up at school, holding hands, their whole class rejoiced, knowing that the two of them had finally told one another what they felt for one another, and were now a couple. There were laughs and jokes about the whole thing, with most of the jokes being about how long it took them to come clean about their feelings, which made them realize that everyone knew they had a crush on each other, except themselves. The whole thing was both embarrassing and funny at the same time.      

Adrien, as Chat Noir, was the first one to arrive at the Arc, and he wasted no time in setting everything in place. He and Marinette had agreed that the only thing she needed to bring for that picnic was herself and her appetite. After dinner, he sneaked into the kitchen and grabbed a couple of delicious things from the pantry and put them in a basket. Then, with a little help from Plagg, who provided a little distraction, he was able to grab a couple of candles and a lighter from one of the cabinets near the kitchen. Once he had everything he needed for that romantic picnic, he promptly told everyone that he was going to study for a bit and finish his homework, before going to sleep. As he was about to go up the staircase and into his bedroom, his father reminded him that he had a photoshoot in the afternoon, so he would not forget about it.

Already on his bedroom, he locked the door, placed everything in a basket, texted Marinette to tell her he was on his way to the meeting point, and he was ready to go. But as he was about to transform into Chat Noir, he realized that a tablecloth would not be sufficient, and so, decided to grab a couple of pillows and placed them inside another basket he took from his wardrobe. Once transformed, he grabbed both baskets and left, making his way towards the Arc du Triomphe. They had decided to make their picnic on top of it, because at that time of the night it was closed. Upon arriving there, he wasted no time in preparing everything for his girl. Setting the table, he made sure that everything looked perfect for her. Once that was done, he lit the candles, one by one.       

“There. Not bad.” -Chat Noir smiled, as he admired his work. –“Guess watching all those romantic comedies did pay up.” -he said, proud of his work, just before thinking that he could do better than that. –“No, the pillows will look better on the other side of the tablecloth. Better rearrange them.”

Quickly, he rearranged the pillows and moved some of the candles to the left, creating a totally different atmosphere; a more romantic one. Looking at it, he was then satisfied with what he had done. No one could say that he did not try his best to make everything look perfect.  

There, much better. Now, all I need to do is wait for my angel in red and black spandex to show up.” -Chat Noir thought to himself.

And he did not have not to wait long for that certain angel. Over the course of the months they had taken on the mission of protecting Paris and the world from Hawk Moth, the Miraculous heroes had realized that each one of them did a distinctive sound when moving. And Chat clearly heard Ladybug approaching. A few seconds later, the scarlet heroine landed right in front of him. Like always, she looked beautiful, and under that pale moonlight, she looked even more beautiful and divine to Chat’s eyes. Smiling at him, she silently wrapped her arms around him, before kissing him on the lips. As for Chat, he kissed her back, as he ran his hands down her back, caressing them. But when one of his hands passed down Ladybug’s waistline, the scarlet heroine made sure it would not go any lower, by playfully slapping it.        

“Ouch!” -Chat Noir said, as he rubbed his hand.

“Naughty kitty!” -Ladybug told him. –“Remember, keep those claws of yours to yourself.” -she winked at him.

“You can’t expect me to keep them too myself. Not when you love to tease me. It’s not my fault you’re the prettiest girl in Paris, who happens to have a beautiful pair of legs, and I can’t keep my hands off of you, milady.” -Chat Noir shot at her, with a smirk on his face.

“Don’t you mean a beautiful butt?” -Ladybug smiled maliciously at Chat Noir. –“Because your claws were making their way towards it.” -she pointed out.

“Maybe… you know it’s hard for me to keep my paws off of you. I mean, you’re beautiful… all of you. There isn’t a single part of you that isn’t beautiful, milady.” -Chat Noir smiled. –“My poor paws just want to make sure that everything is in its proper place, milady.” -he smiled –“Besides, by doing that, I’m also showing my affection and care for you.”

“Flattery won’t help you with this, kitty cat. I also love your abs, but you don’t see me always playing with them, do you?” -Ladybug teased him.   

“Well, maybe if you asked nicely, this kitty cat here would let you rub his belly… or in this case, his abs.” -Chat Noir smirked.

After that last comment from Chat, both he and Ladybug burst into laughs. All of that was a game they had begun to play, whenever they were alone, while wearing their super outfits.

“You really love to play this game, don’t you?” -Chat Noir asked her.

“I do. I’ve spent so many nights, thinking of what kind of things I would tell you. Cute things, kinky things, all kinds of things. If feels so good to actually be able to tell you those things.” -Ladybug sighed, as she caressed Chat Noir’s chin. –“Thanks for playing along, Adrien.” -she thanked him.

“Just so you know, it was my pleasure, Marinette. After all, I’m not just a great model. I’m also a great actor.” -Chat Noir chuckled, as he hugged her, this time, only by the waist, as she rested her head on his chest. –“I missed you so much.” -he said, as he caressed her hair.     

“I missed you too.” -Ladybug told him. –“Why is it that now that we’re dating, time seems to move so slowly when we’re not together and move incredibly fast, when we’re together?” -she playfully asked him.  

“I don’t know… I mean, time still moves the same it did before, but I think that our wish to be together, makes it look like it’s moving really slowly.” -Chat Noir smiled at her. –“But you know what’s the best part of it all? It’s that it makes our encounters feel even more special than they already are.” -he told her.

“Good point. If there’s one thing I love about you, it’s that you’re a wizard with words.” -Ladybug whispered to his ear.

“Which I personally did not know I was, until two weeks ago.” -Chat Noir admitted, making Ladybug giggle a little. –“Either way, I hope you’re hungry, because I brought us a few goodies.” -he said.  

“Well, I had a big dinner, thanks to my mom. She made her world-famous casserole tonight.” -Ladybug declared. –“But I’m sure my stomach we’ll find a way to allow me to taste some of the goodies you brought us.” -she smiled

Looking at the things Chat Noir had brough with him and placed on top of the tablecloth, Ladybug felt that he had brought too much food for a nocturnal picnic. He had brought cookies, several pieces of fruit, chocolate bars, numerous sweets, and orange juice, along with two glasses.

“Whoa, Adrien, you shouldn’t have brought all this food.” -Ladybug told him. –“We won’t be able to eat all this.” -she said.

“Don’t worry about it. One of the good things about being incredibly rich, it’s that the pantry is always filled with delicious goodies.” -Chat Noir said. –“Besides, no one will even notice it’s gone. And if someone does, I’ll just say that I had a very large midnight snack, before going to bed.” -he joked. –“Plus, you know that I have the appetite of a lion.”

“Doesn’t anyone at your place thinks it’s odd that you eat so much, yet you don’t gain a single pound?” -Ladybug asked him, as she sat on one of the pillows. –“I mean, with your modelling career and all that, I’m sure your dad must have noticed you eat a lot, right? -she pointed out.  

“He has, but he believes that I have a really fast metabolism. I mean, if I did gain a pound or two, he would probably flip out, and order me to go on one of those diets, just to make sure I would look okay for one of my photoshoots.” -Chat Noir admitted, as he too sat on one of the pillows. –“Luckily, just like it happens with everyone who holds a miraculous, I can eat whatever I want, and I won’t gain a pound.” -he said, as he grabbed a chocolate bar. –“You want to know the funniest thing? It’s that since the beginning of our school year, I began to put a few extra pounds of muscle, but at home, no one even noticed it.”   

“You and everyone else. See, you’re not the only who’s been gaining a few muscles.” -Ladybug giggled, as she flexed her bicep, showing him the size of it. –“As for everyone at your place not noticing it, could be because you usually don’t wear tight clothes.” -she hypothesized. –“The tightest thing I’ve seen you wear is that leather outfit of yours.”

“Which you love to see me in, don’t you?” -Chat Noir asked her.

“Just as much as you love to see me in this one, yes.” –Ladybug answered, as she winked at him, making him chuckle.  

They continued to talk, as they dined at candlelight. Everything he had brought was delicious. But even if it was not, it was each other’s company that made all that special. Both of them had begun to appreciate the time they were alone. As much as they loved to spend time in the company of their friends, they had begun to love spending time in each other’s presence a lot more. At first, both began to think that they were being unfair to their friends, because they were used to hang out with them all the time. But Alya, Nino and the others, quickly told them it was only normal for them to be alone by themselves, and that they did not take it personally. Like it happened with so many couples, they would eventually find the right balance in their lives. And until that happened, their friends would be patient about it.

“Orange juice? No wine?” -Ladybug playfully asked Chat Noir, as he finished filling her glass.

“I’m afraid there wasn’t a bottle worthy of your exquisite palate, milady.” -Chat Noir said, talking with a posh accent, as he poured some into his glass.

“It’s quite alright, dear sir. Like you said, my exquisite palate makes me a very picky person, when it comes to wine. Luckily, orange juice is just as a good.” -Ladybug declared, also talking with a posh accent, before taking a sip of it. –“Mmm… delicious. It’s from a fabulous year this juice.” -she joked.

“Only the best for my bugaboo.” -Chat Noir said, making her giggle. –“By the way, allow me to just say this. In a world of 7 billion smiles, yours is my favourite.” -Chat Noir declared.

“I know you took that from a meme, but I don’t care. When you say it that way, it sounds super sweet.” -Ladybug giggled, as she placed a peck on his lips.    

Once they finished eating, the two of them lied down, cuddling next to one another, looking into the sky. If the city lights were not as bright as they were, they would be able to see the stars in the night sky. Unfortunately, in order to do so, they would just have to use their imagination and pretend that they could actually see the stars and the constellations in the sky. 

“See, right over there. That’s Ursa Minor, or the Little Dipper as it’s known on the other side of the Atlantic.” -Chat Noir said, as he pointed to the sky, pretending he was pointing at the constellation. –“Do you see it?” -he playfully asked Ladybug.

“Oh, yeah, I see it… it looks like an upside-down cap or a dipper.” -Ladybug giggled. –“And look, right over there! Can you see it? It’s the Ursa Major.” -she said, as she pointed to the sky.

“Yeah, yeah, I do.” -Chat Noir said. –“And can you see that one over there? That’s Draco, or the Dragon, if you prefer.” -he pointed to the sky. –“With its large tail… some people would think it looks more like a scorpion, than a dragon.”  

“It does, yes.” -Ladybug laughed. –“And look over there, right next to it. It looks like a butterfly. Are there any constellations representing butterflies?” -she asked him in an amused tone.

They continued to do that for a while longer. They pretended to find every constellation they could remember of, while also coming up with a few original ones as well. The whole thing was like an exercise that stimulated their imagination. For Chat Noir, it was the first time he did that in what looked like an eternity. As for Ladybug, it was also the first time she did that in a long time, but unlike Chat, for her, it felt like it had been the day before.

“This was fun, even without the stars.” -Ladybug giggled, as she allowed Chat to place his left arm around her shoulders.

“Yeah, it was. Still, if we had stars, it would have been even better.” -Chat Noir told her. –“You know, I’m going to promise you one thing, right here, right now. One of these days, I’ll take you somewhere, where we can see the stars and the constellations for real. And I’m not talking about the planetarium.” -he declared. –“I’m talking about a place, somewhere in the country, where there’s so little light, that you can even see the most distant stars. A place where we’ll be able to stare into the sky for hours and try to find and guess the names of all the constellations in the sky, and if possible, spot the planets as well.” 

That promise sounded incredibly neat, and Ladybug knew that her boyfriend was known for keeping his promises. If he was promising they would one day do that, then it would happen, sooner or later.

“That sounds like a really great offering. I’ll take it, no questions asked.” -Ladybug said, as she kissed him. –“And you know one thing?” -she asked him.

“What?” -Chat said.

“This is going to sound like something out of the blue, but the Disney side of my personality just remembered something.” Ladybug told him. –“Do you remember in the movie Hercules, when Phil tells Hercules about his dream of training the best hero ever, a hero that would be so great that the gods would create a constellation in the sky to honour him?” -she asked him.

“Vaguely, yeah, why?” -Chat Noir asked her.

“I was just thinking… do you think one day, maybe someone will come up with a constellation for us? And I don’t mean just us two, I mean, the whole team?” -Ladybug asked him.

“I don’t know… maybe?” -Chat Noir said, shrugging his shoulders. –“Who knows? It might be possible. If a year ago, anyone had told me that I would be running on top of rooftops, while dressed in black leather and fighting monsters created by a psychopath with magic powers, I would have told that person that he, or she, was crazy, just before having it committed to an asylum… and well, we both know what happened.” -he admitted. –“They say the future is not written, so who knows? Maybe one of these days, someone might decide to create constellations in our honour.”

“I would like that.” -Ladybug admitted. –“I know it’s a little selfish of me to ask for such a thing, but at the same time…”

“At the same time, you feel like they owe us a little something, for saving their bacon almost every week, am I right?” -Chat Noir asked her, to which she nodded her head. –“I don’t think that’s selfish. There’s nothing wrong about asking for a little recognition.” -he said, as he caressed her face. –“We’re only human after all. Granted we’re pretty much what in ancient times people would call demigods, but we’re still human. And I don’t think there isn’t a single a person, good or bad, who doesn’t seek a little recognition, even for something incredibly small.”

Listening to him, Ladybug sighed. She admired how he was able to conjure the right words and say the right things, at the right time. It was an ability that revealed that even though Chat Noir sometimes behaved like someone for whom life was all fun and games, he was quite mature for his years. It was something that made the scarlet heroine love him even more.   

“You really have a way with words. And I’m not just talking in the romantic sense, Adrien.” -Ladybug told him. –“I think you got that from your mom.” -she said.

“You really think so?” -Chat asked her.

“Well, you look more like her than you look like your father.” -Ladybug giggled. –“Maybe you also inherited some of her talent with the words.” -she told him.

“I don’t know, maybe. Sometimes I wonder what exactly I got from my mom.” -Chat Noir sighed. –“There are days when I remember things about her, so clearly, that it feels like they happened yesterday. And then, there are days when I barely remember anything about her.” -he admitted.    

It was not her intention to make him feel like that. Being lucky enough to still have both parents alive and well, and willing to give her all the love in the world, Ladybug could not even begin to imagine what it was like to not have them around to constantly tell her they loved her. She could only guess what it was for her boyfriend, to not have his mother around to comfort him when he needed the most. It was true he had his father, who loved him very much, even if he did not tell him often, as well as Nathalie, who was like a surrogate mother to him. And recently, he found out that he had an aunt, who was her mom’s twin sister. But it was not the same. His mother was gone, and she was not coming back. Just thinking about it, she cursed herself for reminding him of her.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…” -Ladybug apologized.

“No, it’s okay. My mom’s always with me. My memories of her live inside my mind, and in my heart.” -Chat Noir said. –“Plus, now that my aunt Elodie is back in my life, I feel like I gained a link to my mother that I thought I would never again have.” -he said. –“It’s not the same thing as having my mom around, but I’m not complaining.”

“I’m so sorry again.” -Ladybug apologized to him once more.

“Don’t be. It’s true that my mom’s not around anymore, but I’m not sad. I still have my dad and Nathalie, who keep me in line. And I also have my aunt Elodie, who I know will always be there for me.” -Chat Noir chuckled. –“But more importantly, I have you now, and all of our friends, who I know I can count on.” -he declared. 

“And we will all be here for you. –“Ladybug said, as she looked him in the eyes. More and more, she did not consider her friends just as friends. She considered them like an extended part of her family. A really crazy and insane family that would always be there for each other, when it really mattered. –“We will always be here for you, Adrien. I can promise you that.” -she smiled at him.      

“I know you will. I’m pretty lucky to have you all in my life… especially you, my sweet bugaboo.” -Chat Noir declared, which made her kiss him. 

“And we’re lucky to have you, in our lives. Especially me.” -Ladybug whispered to him. –“And you want to know what’s the best part of having you in my life? It’s that in just a few days, we’ll be able to attend our very first rock concert together. I know we went to rock concerts together before, but this is the first one, we’ll attend as a couple.”

“I can hardly wait.” -Chat Noir told her.  

The concert they were both talking about was the next concert their favourite rock superstar, Jagged Stone, was going to give in Paris. They had attended two of his other concerts before, and this was going to be their third. And they would not be alone. Their whole class was a big fan of Jagged Stone, and they had agreed to go as a group to this concert.

“Just thinking of how hard it was for us to manage to buy the tickets… that will be a story will be telling for years to come.” -Chat Noir told her. 

“Yeah, it was really… oh, my God, the tickets!!!” -Ladybug yelled.

“What?” -Chat Noir asked her.

“We forgot about the tickets! I forgot about them!” -Ladybug exclaimed, while panicking.  


When it was announced that Jagged Stone would be giving a concert in Paris, ever Parisian fan of his felt like they had been blessed. Jagged Stone’s current European tour, which did not include France, was to conclude in London. But after the fans in France begged for a concert, Jagged Stone told his manager to find a way to arrange for a last-minute concert in Paris to be added to the tour, thus giving the French fans what they wanted. The tour would end in Paris. But knowing the affluence of people wanting to buy tickets, the company responsible for issuing the tickets announced that they would only sell them online, and to make sure that everyone would have a fair chance of getting at least one ticket, they would raffle the access to the tickets. Some called it unfair, while others felt it was the best course of action. All over Paris and the rest of France, there were fans who were hoping to get at least one ticket to see Jagged Stone.

Knowing this, Miss Bustier’s class quickly realized that their presence in that concert would be determined by sheer luck. Still, that did not mean they were not going to just rely on luck to get those tickets. At lunch, they all gathered in the busy cafeteria and tried to come up with a strategy that would allow them to get those tickets, while eating lunch. The first thing they thought was to ask Chloe if she could get them the tickets, since her father knew Jagged Stone personally and she herself had met him once or twice in the past, when he stayed at Le Grand Paris.  

“Sorry, but I’m afraid my dad can’t help us on this one. The company that’s organizing the concert isn’t the one that usually organizes Jagged’s other concerts, and my dad doesn’t know anyone in it.” -Chloe told them. –“He could try get one or two tickets for free, since he’s the mayor and all. But fourteen tickets? I don’t think so.” -she said.

“What about Jagged himself? You told us once that you had his phone number, right?” -Marinette asked the blonde.

“I had it. But he must have changed it. I tried to call him, but it says the number is no longer available.” -Chloe sighed. –“I even tried to ask my dad to see if he could find out what’s Jagged’s new cell number, but according to him, he’s unreachable while on tour, and the same thing goes for his manager and any of his closest staff.” -she said.

“So that means we’re not going to get any tickets that way.” –Kim sighed.

“Doesn’t your dad also know Jagged Stone, Adrien?” -Marinette asked her boyfriend.

“He does, but I know that he doesn’t have his cell number.” -Adrien told Marinette. –“Plus, my dad’s not the kind of person to ask for favours, even if it’s for me.” -he said.

“Looks like we’ll just have to gain access to the tickets the regular way, like everyone else.” -Juleka said. She was excited for that concert, probably a little bit more than anyone else, because she was a fan of his since she was 7, and it had been her, who had turned the others into fans of Jagged Stone, by showing them his songs. She knew that each concert of Jagged Stone was like a theatre performance. There were no two alike.

“We’ll just have to remain online, and hope that one of us is lucky enough to be among those who are selected tonight, to buy the tickets in two days.” -Alya said, as she checked the website and saw the countdown for the raffle to start. –“We all have to click on it, just as soon as it reaches zero and hope for the best.” -she declared.  

“As soon as the countdown reaches zero, I’m going to click on the page and access it.” –Alix said. –“I’ll even use my dad’s computer to do it. That computer of his is a beast.” -she admitted.

“The good thing is that we just need one of us to be selected in the raffle, and the tickets are ours.” -Sabrina said.

“I’m afraid that’s not true, Sabrina.” -Max told her, without taking his eyes from his cell phone’s screen. –“According to what’s on the website, we’re going to need at least two of us to be picked on the raffle. A person can only buy a maximum of seven tickets.” -he declared.

“He’s right. I’m also reading it here.” -Alya said.

“Then, at least two of us will have to be selected in that raffle.” -Nino said. –“The odds of one of us being picked are astronomical. I don’t even want to try and find out what are the odds of two of us being picked in the raffle.”-he said.   

“We need to be realistic here. Most likely, we won’t be able to get those tickets.” -Ivan declared.

And Ivan was right. They had to be realistic about the problem at hand. But not all of them were seeing that problem through realistic eyes. A certain petite blonde was seeing it with hopeful eyes, believing that luck would smile upon them, like it had so many other times.    

“Come on, we can’t give up. We need to try. Who knows? We might be lucky.” -Rose said with an upbeat voice. If there was someone in that group that could be considered the optimist, other than Marinette, was Rose. While some would look at a glass half-empty, she would see it half-full. 

“She’s right, we’ve got to believe that luck will smile upon us.” -Marinette agreed with Rose.   

(End of Flashback)

In the end, fortune smiled upon two of them, and they managed to gain access to the pre-sales. And those two were Marinette and Max. Each of them would buy seven tickets. Upon knowing that, their friends gave them the money for the tickets, which would begin to be sold at that midnight. There was only one catch. As soon as the tickets were up for sale, they had to buy them right away, or risking them selling out. With everything that happened that day, Ladybug had completely forgotten about it, and if Chat Noir had not mentioned how hard it was for them to be able to buy the tickets, she would most likely only remember about them in the morning, when it would be too late.

“I can’t believe I forgot about that! Oh, I really am a dingbat! I mean, I promised that I would take care of it, along with Max and now… if I don’t get them, the others will never forgive me!” -Ladybug was beginning to freak out in a way, that it was reminding Chat Noir of her, when she was in her civilian self.    

“Hey, hey, hey, calm down, Marinette, please.” -Char Noir said, calling her with a soft voice and placing his hands on her shoulders, trying to calm her down. –“Remember, the tickets only go up for sale at midnight. I’m sure you still have time to get home and purchase them. And if you don’t get them… well, I’m sure the others will be a little upset, but I don’t see them never speaking to you.” -he assured her, always smiling at her. –“Besides, you’re the luckiest girl I know. I’m sure you’ll manage to get home in time.”

“You really think so? I don’t even know what time it is.” -Ladybug said, as she opened her yo-yo and checked the time on it. –“Oh, my gosh, I only have a little more than thirty minutes. I got to get home!” -she exclaimed. –“But will I be able to make it in time?”

“Of course, you will. I’ve seen you swing through buildings as fast as lightning, Marinette.” -Chat Noir smiled at her. –“Go. I’ll clean this up, and we’ll see each other tomorrow in school.” -he said.

“Thanks, Adrien.” -Ladybug said, as she kissed him. –“I promise you, I’ll get those tickets.” -she promised him.

“Text me when you buy them, so I can celebrate, bugaboo!” -Chat Noir winked at her.

Leaving her boyfriend at the Arc du Triomphe, Ladybug swung from building to building, making her way home. And while doing it, the only thing on her mind was the time she had left. Every passing second was one less second, she had. Timing her moves, she made use of her knowledge of best shortcuts to save every precious second she had, in case something happened. Fuelled by her sense of responsibility to her friends, Ladybug gave her all to reach her place in time to get the tickets. She was halfway home, when she decided to check her yo-yo to see the time.

“Twenty minutes… I’ve got to go even faster. Come on, half the gang’s counting on me! I’ve got to get those tickets, no matter what!” -Ladybug exclaimed, as she jumped off a building, and used her yo-yo to swing towards the next. 

Timing her moves with her heart beat, Ladybug was determined to get home on time. And she only slowed down, when she finally entered her neighbourhood. By the time she reached her balcony, she felt like her lungs were burning up and her heart was about to explode. Still, she did manage to get home with a few minutes to spare. Quickly, she opened the trapdoor and entered her bedroom, closing it behind her. Still breathless, she turned back to normal, as she went down the stairs. But she regretted doing it the moment after, because as soon as she turned to normal, her whole body felt like it had been used a punching bag. She knew she was going to feel sore in the morning, but right then, it did not matter. All that mattered was to get the tickets.

“That was a really beautiful picnic, Marinette.” -Tikki told her. Just like Marinette, she too felt exhausted.

“Tell me about it, Tikki.” -Marinette smiled at her kwami, while trying not to fall on her knees. –“Too bad it had to end.” -she said, as she reached her chair and sat on it.

“I should have warned you not to forget about the tickets, but…”

“It’s okay, Tikki. It’s not your fault. You were tired, just like I was.” -Marinette sighed, while trying to ignore the pain she was in. Turning on her laptop, she waited for it to open. –“But what matters is that we managed to arrive just in time to buy the tickets.”

“You know the others wouldn’t blame if you didn’t get the tickets, right? You heard what Adrien said.” -Tikki told her. As always, even when she was sucked into her miraculous, in order to lend Marinette her powers, Tikki was still aware of everything that happened.

“I know, but you know how I am. If I make a promise, I’ll do anything to keep it, no matter what.” -Marinette reminded her. –“Finally, it’s open… let’s see, I’ve got three minutes.”         

“This must be a really special concert for you and the others.” -Tikki said. She knew just how big of a fan of Jagged Stone Marinette and the others were. From talking to the other kwamis, she knew that all of them had at least an object pertaining to the musician. IN Marinette’s case it was a poster, all of his CDs, a t-shirt and a mousepad for her computer. 

“It’s the first concert I’m going with Adrien as my boyfriend. I want it to be special.” -Marinette declared. The truth was, she wished she could go to the concert, with only Adrien, but she did not mind having the rest of her friends with her. It was selfish of her to think of that, but she just could not help it. After so long, she and Adrien became a couple, and she wanted to enjoy every single moment with him, without having to share him with anyone else.

“And it will be, you’ll see.” -Tikki said with a warm voice. –“It took forever for the two of you to be together.”

“Indeed. That’s why we have to make up for the time we both lost trying to tell our feelings to one another.” -Marinette said, as she checked the clock and saw there were only seconds to go. –“It’s nearly time. Let’s buy these tickets, Tikki.” -she declared, in a voice, that made it sound like the fate of the entire world depended on it.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

After finishing his photoshoot, Adrien was driven home by his bodyguard. It had been an exhausting photoshoot for him. Mostly because he spent most of his time changing outfits and with no one to talk to during quick breaks. He exchanged a couple of words with some of the elements form the make-up department, as well as the photographer, but that was it. He liked when he had, at least one of his friends to talk with. But on that day, none of them were available to go with him. Even Marinette had things to do that afternoon, that prevented her from accompanying him. Some people would be upset at this, but Adrien was not that kind of person. Plus, he knew that he would see Marinette after dinner, when it was time for them to go on patrol.

When arriving home, he was greeted by Nathalie, who asked him how the photoshoot had gone, while reminding him that dinner would be promptly served at eight, as always, and that his father did not want to be disturbed, as he was working on his study. Going up to his bedroom to take a shower and study a little before dinner, Adrien walked past his father's study and listened to the sound that was coming from behind his study's door. The sound of a piano being played.

"Your dad is at it again." -Plagg said, as he poked his face from inside the jacket's pocket.

"He must be nervous. He always plays the piano to calm his nerves when things don't go as he expected them to go, or when he needs some inspiration." -Adrien told him. He had seen that happen enough times, to know that that was one of Gabriel's routines. –"And today he must be needing some inspiration. He's playing Verdi." -he said, as he recognized

"Glad you don't play piano to seek inspiration, or to unwind." -Plagg said. –"If you did, I'd probably be deaf, from all that classical music." -he pointed out.

"Yeah. Unfortunately, I still have to practice it every week." -Adrien reminded him. –"Which reminds me, I haven't practiced it this week. I'll have to practice it on Saturday." -he sighed.

"You've got to find a new instrument to play, Adrien. You're not the kind of person who should be playing the piano."

"Yeah, well, maybe one of these days, when I'm older, and out of this house." -Adrien chuckled, as he imagined himself older, living in an apartment, playing a guitar and with Marinette by his side. –"Maybe then, I'll try and learn to play another instrument." -he told Plagg.

"Guess until then, I'll have to get used to scales and arpeggios… great, now I'm sounding like the Aristocats!" -Plagg said in a sarcastic tone, which made Adrien laugh.

After taking the shower and putting some fresh clothes on, Adrien sat in front of his desk, and began to revise everything that he and the others had learned in class that day. And it did not take him long to start to feel a little sleepy. Like it happened with most kids, as soon as he began to study, Adrien began to yawn and feel sleepy. To make sure he would not fall asleep, he had Plagg to stand in front of him, eating Camembert cheese. The smell of it was powerful enough to make him feel repulsed by it, while keeping him awake. Focusing on his studies, Adrien saw time go by at a snail's pace, and after a while, even the disgusting smell of Camembert was beginning to not be enough to keep him awake and focused on what he was doing. This prompted Plagg to suggest Adrien to take a break.

"Come on, kid, you've been working for almost an hour now. Soon it will be dinner time." -Plagg told him. –"Why don't you just kick back and relax for a bit. You already know most of the stuff you wrote in your notebook today." -he said.

"Maybe… but I should try and study a little longer." -Adrien told him, as he stretched his arms. –"After dinner I'm going on patrol with Marinette, and that means, no studying for me." -he said.

"Sometimes I wonder why you humans keep studying like that. I mean, I know that knowledge is a good thing, but you kids spend most of your time cramming knowledge inside your heads, instead of going out there, explore the world and see how things work in it." -Plagg said. –"I mean, I know things have changed a lot over time, but I still believe that no matter how much you there's no substitute for experience, as trying things for yourself." -he declared.

"You're being quite philosophical today." -Adrien joked. –"Are you sure some of Wayzz's wisdom isn't rubbing on you?" -he asked him in a playful tone.

"As if I needed that turtle kwami to rub some of his wisdom on me. I'm just as wise as he is." -Plagg declared. –"Still, you know what I mean. Getting out and see how things really work, is way better than to read about them in a dusty old book." -he said.

"I wished our teachers would think like that." -Adrien sighed. –"Now thanks to you, I'm in a mood to go out for a walk on top of the rooftops." -he said. –"Have I ever told you just how much of a bad influence you are on me?"

"Lots of times… it's a good thing that I take that as a compliment." -Plagg said. –"Do you have any more Camembert? I just ran out of it." -he said.

"Nope, and you'll have to wait until after dinner for more. I can't go to the kitchen and get you another piece of it, this close to dinner time." -Adrien said, as he checked the time. –"In about 15 minutes, Nathalie's going to come knock at the door and tell me it's dinner time. Another night, where dad and I will most likely dine, without exchanging more than five words… sometimes, I really wish we would have something to talk about at dinner…" -he thought to himself.

But before he could finish that thought, Adrien heard someone knocking at his door. Hearing that, Plagg quickly got out of sight. Wondering who it would be, he turned around and told whoever it was outside, to come in. As the door opened, he saw it was Nathalie, who had knocked. Checking the time once again, he wondered why she had come to call him that early for dinner.

"Forgive me the interruption, Adrien, but your father wishes to speak to you." -Nathalie told him, as she entered the bedroom.

"Talk to me? Do you know what's it about?" -Adrien asked her, while wondering what could Gabriel want to talk with him.

"I'm afraid not. But he said that wanted to speak to you, before dinner." -Nathalie answered him. –"He's still in his study." -she said.

"Okay, I'll go talk to him, Nathalie." -Adrien said, as he got out of his chair.

"And I know it's not my business, but, when are you going to tell him about your girlfriend? You can't keep dating the girl, without your father knowing about it." -Nathalie told him.

"I still haven't found the right occasion to do it." -Adrien sighed.

"Well, then you better find the right occasion. Sooner or later, you'll have to tell him, and it better be sooner than later, because if you don't tell him, and he finds out, he's going to be very upset. More importantly, he will think that you don't trust him." -Nathalie warned him. –"But enough about that. You shouldn't leave your father waiting." -she said.

Making his way towards the study, Adrien continued to wonder what would be the reason his father would want to talk to him about. Whatever it was, it must have been pretty important, for him not to want to wait for dinner time to talk to him. Thinking about it, Adrien wondered if he had done anything wrong the past couple of days that would get him into any kind of trouble, and the more he thought about it, the more he was sure he had not gotten himself into any trouble.

"I've been on my best behaviour. I have attended all classes, I haven't skipped any fencing lessons, and I have always arrived home at the designated time." -Adrien thought to himself. –"What could he possibly want to talk about?" -he asked himself.

Stopping in front of the study's doors, Adrien sighed, before knocking at the door. Whatever the reason his father wanted to talk to him about, he knew from experience it was best to get it over with. Knocking at the door, he waited for his father to answer.

"Come in." -Gabriel's voice was heard.

Opening the door, Adrien found his father working behind his desk. He seemed to be working on something related to his newest Spring collection, from the numerous sketches on top of the desk. Gabriel was quite methodical, when it came to his work, but not so much, when it came to working and reworking on the designs. Once he began, his desk would become filled with numerous failed attempts to design a new set of clothes. From the number of pages on top of the desk, most of them crumpled and tossed to the side, he had been struggling to find inspiration.

"You wanted to talk to me, dad?" -Adrien asked Gabriel. One could hear the hesitation in his voice.

"Yes, come in, Adrien." -Gabriel said, as Adrien entered the study, closing the door behind him. –"Nathalie reminded me a couple of hours that Jagged Stone's concert tomorrow night." -he said. Adrien had told him about it, when he asked him permission to attend it, if they managed to get the tickets, to which he did. –"She also told me you texted her, saying that you had managed to get one of the tickets for it."

"Y-Yes, I did. In fact, the whole class managed to get tickets We were quite lucky, because they had to be raffled online." -Adrien said, wondering where that interrogation was heading.

On the outside, Adrien looked calm and serene, but on the inside, he was as nervous as turkey on Christmas. He was afraid that his dad would forbid him to go with the rest of the gang to the concert. It would not be the first time this happened, especially because Gabriel tended to do that, whenever he was in a foul mood. Silently, Adrien was praying to any God who would be willing to listen to him, so that this was not one of those times.

"I see." -Gabriel said with a neutral tone. –"You forgot to mention the concert was during a weekday." -he said.

"I did?" -Adrien asked. He could not remember if he had, but for Gabriel to tell him that, was because he might have forgotten to say it. –"It must have slipped my mind, dad." -he said, admitting his mistake.

"I shouldn't allow you to go to it, because it's on a weekday, and because you have exams next week. I didn't know the concert was going to be on a weekday, when you told me about it, the first time." -Gabriel told him, annoyed. –"If I had known

When he heard Gabriel say that, Adrien's heart sank. He was so excited to go the concert and now, he was hearing it from your father that he was not going to be allowed to go to the concert. Still, he was determined to convince Gabriel to let him attend the concert, and was about to tell him just how important it was for him to go, when his father spoke once more.

"But because I had already given you permission to go, and since you told me your whole class is going to the concert, I don't see why you shouldn't go as well. Like I said, I had already given you permission to go, and you know that I keep my word." -Gabriel said, with a sympathizing voice. –"Just remember to be home before midnight, and next time, be sure mention the day when a concert, or any other activity will take place, so I know if I'll authorize you to go or not, Adrien. You know that I don't like to be caught off guard by these things." -he said.

"Yes, dad." -Adrien smiled, happy to know that his father had not changed his mind about him attending the concert.

"Oh, and one more thing, Adrien. Like I said, next week you are having your exams. I expect that this concert won't get in the way of your studies." -Gabriel warned him.

"Yes, dad." -Adrien assured him.

Dinner went without a hitch. There was not much talk between Adrien and Gabriel, but Adrien did not mind. Gabriel had authorized him to attend Jagged Stone's concert and that was all that mattered for him right then. As he thought about it, he could not help to once again imagine himself at the concert, with Marinette by his side. At the same time, in his bedroom, Plagg wondered why Gabriel had called Adrien to talk to him, before dinner. At first, he was going to follow him and see what happened. But his natural laziness told him to stay put and wait for Adrien to come back. And when he did come back, he did not hesitate in asking him.

"So? What happened? What did you dad want with you?" -Plagg asked Adrien.

"Nothing much. He just wanted to tell me that I should have told him that the concert was during a week day, and that he expects me to study hard for the exams next week." -Adrien answered Plagg, as he handed him a piece of Camembert. –"Do you believe that for a second, I thought he was going to forbid me from going?" -he told his kwami.

"I believe that." -Plagg said, as he bit the piece of Camembert. –"But what matters is that tomorrow, you're going to that concert. It's been a couple of centuries since the last time I went to a concert. It's going to be fun." -he declared.

"Well, this one's going to be like nothing you ever heard or seen, Plagg." -Adrien said, knowing Plagg was also a fan of Jagged Stone.

"I believe you." -Plagg said. –"But you still haven't said your dad anything about you and Marinette, have you?" -he asked him, already knowing what his answered was going to be.

"No, I haven't." -Adrien sighed. –"I should have told him at dinner tonight, but I was afraid that he would not react well to the news and forbid me from dating her, while also forbidding me from going to the concert." -he said.

"I don't usually do this, but Nathalie is right You need to tell your old man about Marinette. You can't keep dating her, while keeping it a secret from your dad. Your situation isn't like the one Rose and Juleka, who also haven't told their parents, are in." -Plagg said. –"Marinette already told her parents about you. You've got to do the same with your dad." -he insisted on the matter.

"I know, Plagg, I know. And I'm going to tell him. I have no intention of hiding my relationship with Marinette from anyone." -Adrien declared.

"Alright, alright, I won't bother you with that issue any longer. I know you well enough, to know that when you talk like that, you're being honest." -Plagg said. –"And now, on other news, what's with this Camembert? It tastes funny… I mean, it tastes like Camembert, but at the same time, it doesn't." -he told Adrien.

"Oh, that must be because it's Light Camembert." -Adrien said.

"Light Camembert?! You dare to bring me Light cheese?!" -Plagg asked him, absolutely outraged by it. –"My taste buds should not have to taste that. Only people on a diet or with high cholesterol should eat that kind of cheese. The existence of that kind of cheese is an outrage to the fine art of cheese making and to everyone who appreciated a good cheese." -he told him.

"Well, that's the only cheese you're going to get tonight. We're currently out of regular Camembert." -Adrien said, as he sat at the desk. –"And now, let me concentrate for a bit. I'm going to try and study a little bit." -he said, as he opened his History textbook.

"I thought you were going on patrol with your girlfriend tonight." -Plagg pointed out.

"And I am, but it's still too early to go and meet up with her. So, I might as well study a little bit more." -Adrien said.

After dinner, Marinette went up to her bedroom to study until it was time to meet up with Adrien, so they could go on patrol together. Her mother had made a delicious ratatouille and Marinette ate more than she ought to, and a night patrol was just what she needed to burn those extra calories. Unfortunately, five minutes later, the blue-haired girl realized she was not going to be able to study anything that evening. She was too excited about Jagged Stone's concert, and more importantly, she could not take her head of the multiple ideas she had for Alya's birthday present. So, she closed her text books grabbed her sketchbook and began to work on the hoodie she was going to give Alya for her birthday. Checking photos of Alya as Rena Rouge online, she quickly drew a preliminary sketch of how the hoodie was going to look like.

"Okay, let's see. The main body will be orange and white. The sleeves will be orange on the upper part, and black, starting just above the elbow." -Marinette thought to herself, as she emphasized the details. –"The hood will have to be double-lined. That way, it will be quite warm. I'll do that with the sleeves as well." -she thought. –"Oh, and I can't forget to add some fox ears to the hood. Now… the pockets. I think I'm going to put some kangaroo pockets on the front, but I will also give her pockets on the inside. Alya is always carrying all sorts of things in her pockets, so she won't mind that."

In a matter of minutes, she had finished designing the hoodie. Looking at it, she was quite proud of herself, for being able to do that in just a couple of minutes. It was a beautiful hoodie. Not only that, it was one of her best works ever. She could not wait to make it. And not being able to wait, she decided to pass to the next stage, and that was, to find some sewing patterns that could help her make the hoodie. Luckily, she had more than 20 different websites that allowed a person to download and print all kinds of sewing patterns.

"You're on a roll, Marinette." -Tikki said, as she watched Marinette looking for some sewing patterns online. –"But, shouldn't you be studying? Remember what Miss Bustier told you and the rest of the class." -she said.

"I know I should be studying, Tikki, but I really can't concentrate on studying. Not when I can only think about the concert tomorrow." -Marinette sighed. –"Besides, my first exam is only on Tuesday. I've got time." -she said.

"If you say so." -Tikki said. –"But don't forget that you still have to go on patrol tonight." -she reminded her. The scarlet kwami knew that once Marinette began a new fashion project, she would tend to forget everything else. –"I'll be in your bed, reading the rest of that book I began last night."

"Alright, I won't." -Marinette said, without taking her eyes from the screen.

And just like it was to be expected, Marinette lost the track of time, as she continued to work on Alya's new hoodie. Once she printed the sewing patterns, she began to readying them, using Alya's measurements, making sure they were right. This took her long than expected, but she hardly noticed time going by. As she did this, she began to imagine how the whole thing would look like.

"Now that I'm thinking about it, the slider for the zipper would look cool if it was shaped like her miraculous. I wonder if I can find one?" -Marinette asked herself. –"It would be so cool if I managed to find one." -she thought.

She continued to work, without paying attention to time. She was feeling clearly inspired, and decided to make the most of it. Tikki herself also did not notice time go by, as she read the book. It was only when they both heard a tapping on the window, that they were both brought back to reality. Waving at Marinette, was Chat Noir at the window, hoping to get invited. Dropping what she was doing, Marinette quickly went to open the window to let him in.

"I was starting to get a bit worried. You didn't show up at our usual spot, and you didn't answer you cell phone." -Chat Noir told her.

"I must have put my cell phone on silent mode, and I totally lost track of time. Sorry." -Marinette apologized to the feline hero, as he looked at all the sewing patterns on the floor, as well as a few pieces of fabric.

"It's okay. I know how you get when you're in the zone." -Chat Noir smiled at her. –"So, what are you doing?" -he asked her, curious.

"I'm working on Alya's birthday present." -Marinette said, as she began to cut the fabric. –"I'm going to make her a Rena Rouge hoodie, with lots of pockets." -she giggled.

"Now that's a great idea." -Chat Noir said, happy to see his girlfriend engaged in a project like that. –"I'm sure she's going to love it." -he said. –"Wish I had half the talent you have, so I could make her something like that… but, she'll just have to settle with something I'll buy her."

"Don't say that. Whatever you buy her, I know she's going to love it." -Marinette smiled at him. –"Besides, you have numerous talents, Adrien."

"Yeah, but not one like yours." -Chat Noir said, as he looked at the sketchbook and saw the sketch Marinette had done of the hoodie. –"I would trade my handsome smile for a talent like yours, any day of the week." -he admitted

"Well, I wouldn't want you to do that, because I love that handsome smile of yours." -Marinette told Chat Noir, as a mischievous smile appeared on her face. –"And if you want to, I can try and teach you to draw, or sew." -she told him.

"Hmmm… I might take that offer, milady." -Chat Noir as he wrapped his left arm around Marinette's waist, and gently pulled her towards him. –"After all, you're the best seamstress I know." -he said, as he gently kissed

"Adrien, please… don't say those things. You're making me blush." -Marinette chuckled, as her cheeks began to turn slightly red.

"I don't mind it. After all, red suits you really well." -Chat Noir winked at her.

"You're such an evil cat, when you want to." -Marinette chuckled once more.

"Uh, excuse me… sorry to interrupt you two, but shouldn't you go on patrol? It's getting late." -Tikki said, interrupting them and bringing them down to Earth.

"Oh, right. I guess we should get going." -Marinette said. –"Sorry again for forgetting about our patrol." -she apologized again.

"No worries, Marinette. That way, you gave me an excuse to come and pick you up." -Chat Noir smiled at her; this time his smile looked more like the kind of smiles she was accustomed to see on Adrien.

Chapter Text

When Miss Bustier began to teach that day’s lesson, the whole class already wanted it to be over. They were too excited about the concert that night, to even think straight. Kim even tried to convince their teacher to give them a lighter class, but failed miserably, when Miss Bustier, with her usual kind smile, told him that just because they were all going to a concert that night, that did not mean they could neglect their studies.

Still, during recess, they had something different to keep their minds from the concert, and that was a particular item that Nathaniel had brought with him to school that morning. The very first issue of the official Miraculous Team comic book. When the whole class laid their eyes on it, they were just as surprised about it, as Nathaniel was, when he first laid eyes on it. Staying in class, they all took turns reading it, and so did the kwamis, who did not waste that opportunity. The whole thing was surreal. Never in their life, did any of them ever think, they would become a character in a comic book.

“Whoa, a comic book about us.” –Mylene said, as she looked at the cover.

“We can officially scratch that one from our bucket lists.” -Nino said.

“I think we already did scratch that one from our bucket lists, a long time ago, Nino.” -Alya told him. –“I mean, there are tons of fan comics, all over the Internet.” -she stated. 

“Yeah, but those are fan made. This is the official one.” -Nino smiled at his girlfriend. –“I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes I like to read fanfics and fan comics, and there are fans who have clearly done a great job creating them. But something that is official, well, it has a certain je ne sais quoi, you know what I mean?” -he told Alya.   

“Don’t remind me about fanfics and other things that our fans have created. I’m still trying to forget about the fact that now, everyone’s shipping me with Alix here.” -Kim said. –“And all thanks to those videos of me and the shrimp kissing. I still can’t believe someone actually recorded that.” -he sighed.

“Don’t call me shrimp, Kim. If you keep doing that, I’ll call you string bean, just to annoy you!” -Kim shot back at him.  

“Guys, come on, this is not the place or the moment to start another one of your fights, okay? Remember, once it’s on the Internet, there’s no way to control what will happen.” -Adrien said, trying to stop a fight between the two of them, even before it began.

“You’re just saying that, because you’re always shipped with Marinette.” Alya told him.

“That’s not true. I’ve also been shipped with Chloe, Alya, Juleka, and even with Max and Nathaniel.” -Adrien told Kim. –“Like I said, it’s the Internet. You can either fight it, or you can just go with the flow.”

“Each of us has been shipped with pretty much everyone here.” -Sabrina admitted. –“I personally don’t mind.” -she said. –“Though I love those where I’m shipped with Chloe, or with Nathaniel. I don’t know why, but the fans make those fanfics and comics where I’m shipped with them, seem so natural.

“That doesn’t mean we have to like it.” -Ivan said. –“Still, I understand the appeal… just wished I was always shipped with you, Mylene.” -he told his girlfriend.

“I hear you.” -Mylene smiled at Ivan. –“I wish I was always shipped with you. But somehow, someway, I end up being shipped a lot of times with Rose and Marinette.”-she said.

“Hey, could you all stop with that discussion, and just get to the part where you start reading? I don’t know about the other kwamis, but I want to read that comic book, before recess ends and Miss Bustier comes back.” -Flint said.   

“Okay, okay, you loud mouth. We heard you.” -Rose told her kwami, while giggling. –“We better do as he says, or there will not be enough time for us all to read it.” -she told the others.

One by one, they all read it, taking the time check the art and also see how their superhero personas and their powers had been portrayed in it. The comic’s story was basically a retelling of their very first time they showed up to save the day. The time when they went against Hawk Moth’s creation, Gargantua. It felt like it all had happened a lifetime ago, when the truth was that it all happened only a few months before.     

“These drawings look really nice.” -Rose said, as she flipped the pages.

“I agree. But I think they made my butt too big.” -Juleka said, as she read it with Rose.

“I don’t think so.” -Rose giggled, as she placed her hand on top of Juleka’s.

“It’s just too bad that there isn’t a single reference to us all in this comic book.” -Plagg said.  

“Perhaps. But that is a good thing, if you ask me.” –“Wayzz told Flint. –“That way, people won’t even think about the possibility of creatures, such us, existing. It will keep us safe.” -he said. –“For all intents and purposes, we should be invisible to everyone, except you guys.”

“Indeed. Still, I wonder what will be the origin of our powers in this comic book?” -Nino asked. After reading the comic book, he had the distinct impression that the following issues, would focus on that matter.

“I bet 10 Euros it will be something like a group of friends who discover an ancient artefact, which grants them powers.” -Max said.  

“Namely, our true origin, but under different circumstances. I think that’s a safe bet.” –Nathaniel said. After reading it, he thought the same thing. As a superhero team, they never said much about themselves or about how they had gained their powers to the media. Other than their mission, and some of their own personal tastes, they never revealed much about themselves.  –“If it was me writing it, I would probably go with that approach. It’s a little bit cliché, but it gets the job done.” -he admitted.

“I don’t mind if it’s cliché, or not. As long as it’s well written, I’ll read it.” -Tikki chirped.

“Well, I like how they took the time to get our outfits right. I can’t see a single difference between those in the drawings and the real deal. Whoever the author is, he, or she, did a great job researching them.” -Marinette said, as she looked at the drawings. In particular, a panel where Ladybug was attempting to save a civilian with her yo-yo. –“If I had to criticize anything, it’s the fact that the characters’ faces don’t exactly look like us. But that’s a good thing, as far as I can see. That way, we won’t risk anyone thinking that we’re the real deal.” -she smiled.  

But not everyone was happy with the comic book. They could not complain about the art or the story itself. But they could, and were, complaining about how their respective superhero personas were handled in that issue.  

“This is ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous!” -Chloe exclaimed. –“How could they just give me three lines in the comic book?” -she asked out loud.

“Chloe… in a matter of speaking, that isn’t you in the comic book. It’s Queen Bee.” -Alix told her. –“And you should consider yourself lucky. Dragonfly only had one line in the entire comic.” -she said.  

“At least you still had one line. I didn’t have any.” -Ivan said, a bit disappointed.  

“Yeah, but you tend not to talk very much. You usually let your fists do the talking.” -Kim joked. –“Maybe next time they will give you a couple of lines.” -he said.

“You’re just happy because you had a full page just about you.” -Alix spoke in a sarcastic tone.

“So, it’s not the greatest comic book ever written. But hey, it’s just the first issue. They’re bound to focus on all of the characters. It’s just a matter of time.” -Marinette said, trying to calm things down a little bit. –“You’ll see. Next issue, I bet they will focus on other characters.” -she said.  

“You’re just saying that because you got to be the centre of attentions in the comic book, Marinette.” -Chloe told her, with a voice filled with sarcasm. –“I bet you wouldn’t be talking like that, if like us, you had just a couple of panels, and one or two lines.” -she said, clearly upset.

“Ladybug got to be the centre of attentions, Chloe, not me.” -Marinette told her with a calm, yet determined voice. She knew the blonde was upset about all that, but no matter what, she was not going to allow herself to lose her calm; especially because she understood that Chloe and some of her friends were a little annoyed by the fact that their superhero personas did not have the same kind of treatment as hers had in the comic book. –“Believe me, if Ladybug had only been entitled to one or two lines in the whole comic book, I would probably be just as upset as you are, Chloe. But you can’t take it personally. The old Chloe would, but not the new one… not you. You’re better than that, and deep down you know it.” -she said.

Hearing her say that, Chloe knew she was right. Still, a part of her was still upset with all that. And that part was the part attached to her old personality. The one that made her believe she was better than everyone else. The one that made her treat everyone as they were beneath her. She was still in the process of accepting that that part of hers would always be there, and that from time to time, it would resurface. And because of that, she hated that part of hers. Taking a deep breath, she tried to see things through the eyes of the person she was constantly trying to be, and quickly realized that she was making a storm in a teacup regarding that matter.   

“You’re right. I can’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just a comic book. A work of fiction. It’s not supposed to present me… or Queen Bee, as she truly is.” -Chloe sighed.

After she said that, Marinette hugged her, and whispered something in her ear:

“I know that mustn’t have been easy for you to admit. I know just how much you still love to be the centre of attention, sometimes.” -Marinette told her.

“Thanks, Marinette.” -Chloe said, before breaking the hug.

“Don’t mention it.” -Marinette smiled at her. –“By the way, I also wanted to ask you guys one thing. I know that not all of us are comic book fans, but given what’s happened, are you going to buy this comic?” I’m asking this because… well, because I fell in love with the art.” -she said. –“Plus, it’s nice to have something else about us all in my collection of Miraculous-related stuff.”

Ever since the Miraculous Team had showed up, all kinds of merchandise began to show up. From toys to t-shirts, from plushies to themed-furniture, there was something for everyone, and the official comic book was just the latest addition to that amount of merchandise. And like everyone else, Marinette and her friends also decided to collect some of the merchandise.  

“Well, I guess I will. The art is pretty good.” -Adrien admitted.

“You know I’m not a very big nerd or geek, but I’m also going to start buying it.” -Alya told her.

“I will.” -Ivan said.

“It will be a nice addition to my collection of awesome stuff in my bedroom.” -Kim declared.

“As long as they give me, I mean, Queen Bee, a little bit more time in the spotlight, I’ll ask Jean to start buying it for me, so I can read it.” -Chloe admitted.   

“I will as well.” -Mylene said.

“So will I. I also fell in love with the art.” -Sabrina smiled.

“I won’t mind buying them.” -Max said.

“I already have so much merchandise from us all, but especially from me, in my bedroom, that it will be hard to find the place for this comic book and the following issues… but I’ll find a way.” -Alix said

“It will look cool right next to my Carapace figurines.” -Nino said.        

“I will buy it.” -Juleka said.  

“And, so will I.” -Rose said. –“We can both read the issues, when we’re at each other’s house.” -she told Juleka.

“Great! And you… well, I don’t think I need to ask you if you are going to, Nathaniel.” -Marinette said, as she handed him his copy of the comic book. –“By the way, do you know where we can find copies of the comic book?”

“Sure. I’ll send you all the address of the comic book store, where I bought it yesterday, so you can call them or go there yourselves.” -Nathaniel said. –“I think you’re going to like the place. At least, I think you will. I did. And I didn’t even know that store existed, until Marc took me there, yesterday.” -he admitted. 

“Marc? Who’s that?” -Mylene asked him, curious.

“Oh… it’s… it’s just a friend.” -Nathaniel said, casually.

“Is he that boy we saw you with the other day, just outside the library?” -Rose asked him. She and Juleka had seen him talking with Marc outside the school library a few days before.

“Y-Yeah, it was him.” -Nathaniel admitted. For some reason, he felt a little reluctant talking about Marc with his friends.    

Feeling that Nathaniel was feeling like that, Mulan decided to give him a hand, by changing the conversation’s subject. He knew Nathaniel was rather shy, when it came to talking about Marc. It was not that Nathaniel was ashamed of telling them that he had a crush on him. He was just shy and did not feel ready to talk about it, when he himself still had doubts.

“Hey, what about tonight’s concert?! The other kwamis and I have been hearing you talking about it, over and over, during this last week, and now, because of this comic book, you’re not even talking about it! What’s it going to be, huh?” -Mulan asked them all.

“Yes, how’s it going to be tonight?” -Pin asked.

“Well, there’s not much to say. We’ll gather at the concert’s entrance, a few hours before it begins, and that’s that.” -Alix answered the deer kwami. –“All we have to do is decide the time. When do you guys want to meet? The concert begins at 9, but the entrances begin at 8, so, what do you guys want to do? We meet up at 6, so we be among the first to enter?” -she asked the others.

“I think it’s a good idea.” -Nino said.

“I’m all for that.” –Mylene said.

“So am I.” -Alya declared.

“I don’t see any trouble with that.” -Adrien.

“That will also give us time to buy any merchandise they might be selling.” -Ivan said. –“I need to buy a t-shirt from this tour.” -he said.

“Then, it’s settled. We’ll meet up at 6, everyone.” -Marinette said.

“Does anyone need a ride? My mom’s driving me and Rose, so, if you need it, we0ve got a couple of available seats on the van.” -Juleka told the others.

“Thanks, but my dad is driving me there.” -Kim said.

“So is my dad.” -Mylene said. –“Oh, and he said that he wouldn’t mind giving you a ride, Ivan. With all this, I forgot to tell you.” -she smiled to Ivan, who smiled back at her.   

“Well, if your mom’s okay with it, I’ll catch a ride with you girls.” -Max told Juleka.

“Alright.” -Juleka smiled at Max.  

“Shall I pick you up?” -Adrien asked Marinette.

“I’d like that.” -Marinette smiled at Adrien.

“My mom won’t mind driving us there.” -Nino told Alya. –“We can both go together… unless Nora is willing to take us to the concert?” -he asked her.

“Yeah… that’s not going to happen.” -Alya joked, knowing her older sister would never drive her and Nino to a concert of an artist she was not a fan of. –“But I’m glad your mom is willing to take us.” -she smiled at Nino.   

“Could you give me a ride, Chloe? My parents only arrive at 7.” -Sabrina asked the blonde.

“Sure. We can go together. That way, I’ll have someone to sing Jagged’s songs with, while on the way to the concert.” -Chloe smiled at the redhead, who smiled back at her.

“What about you, Nathaniel? Do you need a ride?” -Rose asked him.

“No, it’s okay. My mom will take me.” -Nathaniel answered her.

 “Well, that just leaves me.” -Alix smiled. –“Jules, do you mind giving me a ride too? My dad’s too busy today to take me, my mom’s visiting my grandmother, and my brother’s still walking with the help of crutches, which means, he still can’t drive.” -she asked Juleka.

“Sure, no problem.” -Juleka smiled at Alix.

Once she got home, Marinette wasted no time in getting ready for the concert. And while getting ready, she could not help but to hum a couple of Jagged Stone’s songs, while thinking about Adrien. Looking at her, Tikki just giggled. She was happy to see Marinette in such a good mood.

“I would say that you waited for this night, all your life, but that would be a little too much.” -Tikki giggled, as she hovered over Marinette’s left shoulder, while she brushed her hair.

“Indeed… but I’ve been waiting for this night, or a night like this one, ever since I met Adrien for the first time, Tikki. I’m so excited.” -Marinette admitted. –“I’ve always wondered how it would be, to go to a concert with Adrien as my boyfriend, and finally, it’s going to happen.” -she smiled, as she finished brushing her hair, and tried to decide what would be her hairstyle for that evening. –“What do you think? Pigtails? Ponytail? Or just leave my hair down, as it is right now?”

“Well, I like seeing you with your hair down, to be honest.” -Tikki said. –“But your pigtails are kind of your trademark.” -she told her. –“Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe you should flip a coin for it.”     

“Maybe I should…” -Marinette sighed. –“You know what? I think I’ll go with my hair down tonight. I don’t usually use it that way, because I like to look cute. But today, I want to feel carefree and sexy… which reminds me, I need to pick a cool make-up, that will match my t-shirt.” -she said.

“But which one are you going to take?” -Tikki asked her. –“You’ve got five Jagged Stone’s t-shirts.”

“Six, if we count the one, I’m going to buy when we arrive at the concert.” –Marinette smiled at her. –“But for this occasion, I think I’m going to use the “Leviathan Tour” t-shirt.” -she said, as she pointed at the black t-shirt with a purple and silver mythical monster on the front, that was sitting on her chaise-longue, along with the remaining Jagged Stone’s t-shirts she owned. She had decided to use that one, while she was in the shower.    

“Then, may I suggest something black and silver?” -Tikki said, while winking at Marinette, who smiled at her.

“Thanks, Tikki.” -Marinette thanked her. –“Oh, would you look at the time? I’ve got to hurry. Adrien will be here in a bit.” -she said, as she looked at the clock in the wall

“Yes. And we wouldn’t want you to keep him waiting.” -Tikki told her in a mischievous voice.

“Is it me, or are you picking up some personality traits from Plagg lately?” -Marinette asked Tikki in a playful tone.

“Perhaps.” -Tikki said, with the still mischievous voice as before.

“Next you’re going to tell me you also began dating Plagg.” -Marinette joked.

“What?! No! I wouldn’t date Plagg, even if he was the last kwami in the universe.” -Tikki answered her in a playful tone. –“Besides, if I wanted to date him, I would have begun a couple of millenniums ago.” -she giggled.

“I’m just kidding with you, anyways.” -Marinette laughed, as she put on her t-shirt. –“There. And now, for the make-up… hey, do you also want some make-up on you, Tikki?” -she asked her.

“Why? Is it custom to do that, when you go to a rock concert?” -Tikki said. –“In the past, some of our holders insisted we painted our faces with war paints, when commemorating a major victory, you know?” -she told her.  

“Really?”- Marinette said, surprised to hear one more bit of trivia, regarding the kwamis and their previous holders. –“Well, it’s not something mandatory, but it’s still fun.” -she answered her.

“Then, I guess you could doll me up a little.” -Tikki giggled.

“Don’t worry. I’m going to make you look super pretty. The other kwamis will be so jealous of you.” -Marinette smiled at Tikki, who giggled back.       

And Marinette was not the only one, who was worried about her make-up for that night. Sabrina was also asking her kwami, Mika, for some help with it. She had decided to wear her “Dark Velvet Tour” t-shirt, but the only kind of make-up that would look good with it would be a dark Goth make-up. And that was one kind of make-up Sabrina was not good at making. Usually, it was her mom who helped her with it, but this time, she was still at work, and Sabrina was forced to do that make-up herself. Going online, she looked for a good tutorial, before attempting it. Unfortunately, after three failed attempts, she was feeling like throwing the towel and just give up.  

“It’s useless, Mika… it’s not working.” -Sabrina sighed in frustration. –“I look awful.” -she said, as she wiped the make-up.

“I don’t think you looked awful, kiddo.” -Mika told her.

“Thanks, but I know you’re just telling me that, because you’re really nice.” -Sabrina smiled tearfully at the wolf kwami.

“Come on, you can do it!” -Mika said, trying to cheer her up. –“Come on, where’s the girl who can freeze a high-speeding locomotive, just with her ice breath?!” -he asked her.

“Feeling stupid… What I wouldn’t give to have Juleka here with me, right now. If there’s one person who’s able to do this kind of make-up, with her eyes closed, it’s Juleka.” -Sabrina sighed.  

Mika was about to say something, when he heard a noise coming from Sabrina’s bedroom. Wondering what the noise could be, he quickly rushed into it, to find out what the noise was coming from. It did not take him more than a second to see the noise was coming from Sabrina’s laptop. It was a Skype a call.

“It’s Chloe.” -Mika said, as he saw the blonde’s photo on the screen.

“Answer the call, please, while I finish cleaning up.” -Sabrina asked him.  

Doing as she asked him, Mika answered the call. Once he clicked the button, Chloe showed up on the screen. Looking at her, she seemed she had finished getting ready. She was wearing a black t-shirt with Jagged Stone’s logo and the words “Mysterious Plague Tour” in purple and silver. But what drew his attention was the make-up she was wearing. The blonde had used a purple make-up on her eyelids and some black mascara. A beautiful combination.   

“Sabrina, are you ready?” -Chloe asked her, as she looked at the screen, and saw no one. –“Hello?! Sabrina? Are you there? I can’t see you.” -she continued to call her.

“It’s me, Mika!” -Mika told her, as he closed in on the microphone. 

“Oh, yeah, I forgot we can’t see you kwamis on camera.” -Chloe remembered that little detail –“Tell me, where’s Sabrina? Is she ready yet?” -she asked Mika.

“She’s still getting ready.” -Mika told her. –“She’s having a little trouble with her make-up.” -he said.

“Mika!!!” -Sabrina exclaimed, as she entered the bedroom. –“You don’t need to tell her that.” -she said, as she looked into the camera and grabbed the microphone. –“Sorry, Chloe… I’m having a little trouble with my make-up.”

“What kind of trouble, Sabrina?” -Chloe asked her.

“I can’t make a proper Goth make-up.” -Sabrina admitted. –“I tried three times, and instead of looking like the girls I see in the tutorials I checked, I end up looking like a crappy version of Harley Quinn, minus the white clown face.” -she said.

“Is that the reason why you’re not ready yet?” -Chloe asked her, clearly annoyed. –“I thought it was something important…” -she told her. –“Just bring your make-up kit and I’ll do you that make-up, while Jean drives us.”

“Really?” -Sabrina asked her, with a hopeful voice. –“Thanks, Chloe, you’re a lifesaver!” -she giggled.

“Yeah, yeah, I know, you keep telling me that, when I help you out with something.” -Chloe told her. –“Now, hurry up. Pollen and I will be at your door in 15 minutes. See you in a bit.” -she smiled at Sabrina, before ending the call.    

Rose was nearly finished getting ready, when she heard her mom telling her that Juleka had arrived. Promptly, she told her mom to tell her to come up, that she still needed a few more minutes. Rose was making sure her hair looked good. She had decided to temporarily dye a lock of her hair purple, so it would give her a more bad girl look.   

“What do you think?” -Rose asked Flint, who was standing to her side.

“I think you look good. Come on, put the t-shirt on and let’s go. Your girlfriend’s already here.” -Flint told her, as he pointed to the black Jagged Stone t-shirt she had on top of her bed.

“Only when I’m finished with my hair. Besides, she’s coming up. She can wait a couple of minutes.” -Rose told Flint, as she continued to fix her hair. She already had her make-up on, and the hair was the only thing that was keeping her from putting on her t-shirt and being ready to go.   

“Rose? Can I come in?” -Juleka asked, as she knocked at Rose’s bedroom door.

“Go ahead, Jules. The door’s open.” -Rose’s voice was heard from behind the door.

Opening the bedroom door, Juleka was once again caught by surprise. She had entered Rose’s bedroom more times than she could remember, but it still amazed her just how bright and pink it was, and just how many stuffed animals she had in it, with most of them being unicorns of all colours and sizes. No one could argue that Rose had a thing for cute things and everything that was bright and pink. Just thinking about it, she sometimes wondered how Rose had fallen in love with her, when she was the polar opposite of everything she seemed to like.  

“Sorry!” -Juleka exclaimed, as she closed the door behind her and falsely covered her eyes, pretending she was embarrassed.

“Come on, Juleka, you’ve seen me in my bra, plenty of times.” -Rose giggled, as she hugged Juleka.  –“Love your t-shirt, by the way.” -she told her. Juleka was wearing a white t-shirt with Jagged Stone’s logo on the front. 

“Oh, this old thing? It was my brother’s. The one I wanted to wear, my mom forgot to wash it, so I had to borrow this one from Luka.” -Juleka smiled, as they broke the embrace. –“Whoa… a purple lock of hair! Are you trying to copy me?” -she asked Rose in a playful voice.

“Maybe.” -Rose giggled. –“The only difference is that mine will come out during the shower, while yours is natural.” -she smiled. –“I’m trying to… I don’t know, look different from what I usually look. People are always telling me that I look like a princess, and I’m cool with that, I like it when people tell me that I look like a princess. It makes my day. But tonight, I want to look like I’m someone else, do you understand?”

“I do. And it’s okay. Sometimes, we all want to be someone else, even if it’s just for a little bit.” -Juleka told her. –“So, you’re going with a bad girl look tonight, huh? I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t like it.” -Juleka smiled, as she ran her fingertips over Rose’s face. –“I already told you that no matter what you’ll look like, I’ll always love you. You’ll always be my princess, no matter what you wear or look. And it’s okay if you want to be a bad girl tonight. It’s a rock concert, after all... and I also love bad girls.”

That last bit was whispered to Rose’s ear, who quickly pulled Juleka into a torrid kiss. Rose was incredibly shy, and she would only do that kind of thing when she was alone with Juleka. Somehow, Juleka was able to tap into the deepest corners of Rose’s subconscious and make her do things she would usually not attempt to do. And Rose liked that. She knew she should not, but she liked when that happened, because it made her happy.

“Then… can I be your bad girl, tonight?” -Rose asked her, as she put on her an innocent smile on her face, and blinked her pretty blue eyes, just like dolls were seen doing in some toy commercials.

“You can be, if you want to.” -Juleka smiled mischievously. After she began dating Rose, Juleka had begun to smile much more. Before that, if anyone would catch her smiling, it would be an almost unique event.

“Uh, girls, I don’t want to say this, but your mom’s in the kitchen, and your mom’s downstairs waiting for you both to come down.” -Flint told them. –“If you want to get a little intimate, may I recommend that you do that, some other time, preferably, where no one can catch you?” -he said.

“I have to agree with him, this time.” -Tamara told Juleka.

“You’re right. We’ve to go.” -Juleka said. –“But, we can’t go without fixing your hair. If you want to go looking like a bad girl, then let me giving you a hand with your hair.” -she smiled, as she gently took the hairbrush from Rose’s hand, and combed her hair. –“There… a little hairspray, and maybe some hair gel and you’re good to go.”

“You always know the best tricks to look good.” -Rose smiled at her girlfriend. 

“That’s what you get, when you spend nearly an hour waiting for your brother to get ready and exit the bathroom. Whether you like it or not, you pick up a couple of tricks from him.” -Juleka said. –“But if you’re going forth with that look, you’re going to need a few extra accessories… lucky for you, I’ve got spike bracelets and spike collars to go around.” -she smiled, as she took off one of her spike bracelets and slipped it on Rose’s wrist. –“There, now you really look bad to the bone, if I do say so myself.”

“Don’t say that, you’re making me blush, Jules.” -Rose chuckled.        

Chapter Text

Le Zenith. Located in the Parc de la Villette, on the edge of the Canal de l'Ourcq, this multi-purpose indoor arena was one of the largest venues in Paris. Built in 1984, over the years had received numerous artists. Nirvana, Spice Girls, Pearl Jam, Gorillaz, Artic Monkeys, Lady Gaga, just to name a few, had all graced that arena with their music. And Jagged Stone was no stranger to it either. He had already played in it three times over the years, and this was going to be the fourth time. As it was his habit, Jagged arrived hours before the show to inspect everything himself. It was not that he did not trust the team of roadies that accompanied him to make things perfect, like they always did. He trusted the whole team completely to do their job. But he had learned from experience that if possible, he should always check things for himself. The whole stage, along with its props, lights, sound systems and everything needed for a concert was disassembled in an almost record time, once the concert in London was over, and then shipped in an airplane towards Paris. Once the plane landed, the road crew in charge with the assemblage of the stage, wasted no time in getting things to the arena, and began working  

When Jagged Stone arrived, the whole stage was already assembled, and they were beginning to conduct sound checks, to test the place’s acoustics, as well as the sound system. With him were his pet crocodile Fang, and his agent and long-time friend. Penny Rolling, as he walked around the stage.

“Things seem to be going alright here. Once again the crew has managed to do the impossible.” -Jagged Stone said, as he petted Fang on the head, who seemed excited to be there. –“Yeah, I think I feel the same, buddy. This is going to be an awesome concert… I can feel it in my blood.” -he said, as he looked into still empty arena, imagining it filled with countless screaming fans. –“It’s going to be awesome… whoa…”     

“Jagged!” -Penny exclaimed, as she saw the musician acting like he was dizzy.

“I-I’m fine… just a little dizzy in the head, that’s all.” -Jagged Stone assured her.

“Jagged, you should have slept for a couple of hours.” -Penny told Jagged. –“I know that you feel like you need to have everything under control, but that’s why you have the whole road crew, including me, to take care of things. You haven’t slept for nearly 24 hours.” -she said worried.

“I’ll sleep when I finish this concert, Penny.”  -Jagged Stone said. –“Once the concert is over, then I’ll allow myself to sleep. But until then, I’ve got to make sure that I don’t disappoint any fans that are coming to see me perform tonight.” -he told her.

“Have you looked yourself in the mirror these past 24 hours? The only reason why you don’t look like a zombie, it’s because of the amount of make-up you have on your face. I’m telling you; you need to sleep for at least an hour before the concert. Do I have to remind you what happened to Madonna a couple of weeks ago, during her latest tour?” -Penny asked him with a serious voice.

“No, you don’t, I know very well what happened to her.” -Jagged Stone answered her. –“But in my defense, I’m younger than she is, and I know perfectly well when not to attempt a crazy stunt, even if it’s for the good of my show. I mean, come on, what did she truly expect to happen, especially when she herself said that she was not feeling physically well?” -he asked Penny, while continuing to pet Fang, who was enjoying himself. –“I mean, she’s not 30 anymore.”

“That’s not the point. The point is, you finished a concert yesterday, took a plane to Paris and during that time, you didn’t rest properly.” -Penny declared, worried about him.  

“Hey, I did sleep a little bit.” -Jagged said.

“Yeah, during the time it took us from the O2 Arena to the airport, and that was like, 30 minutes. While aboard the plane, you spent most of the time listening to your own songs, while composing new ones! And before you deny it, remember, I was in that plane with you.” -Penny told him. –“And then, when you arrived home, instead of going to sleep, you just continued to compose… I mean, what’s the point of buying a house here in Paris, if instead of using it to relax and sleep a bit when you’re here, especially before a big concert, you just go straight to the balcony in your bedroom, and continue to compose until it’s time for breakfast?” -she asked him.

“Penny, that’s what I do. That’s how I unwind and how I relax, by working on my music.” -Jagged Stone told her. –“Some people play videogames or read a book. I compose, when I’m not playing with Fang.” -he declared. –“Besides, I’m too pumped to even consider sleeping. This has been one of the best tours ever. We didn’t have any delays, all the concerts went according to planned, and the critics have already named this tour of mine, the best I ever did, not to mention, that they also stated that it is one of the best of the last 30 years. Just reading that, it gives the energy I need to keep playing and composing, even when I should be in bed.”

Hearing him say that, Penny could not help but to roll her eyes, while sighing.

“I honestly can’t believe this… I’m probably the only agent in the world that has to deal with a musician who enjoys playing too much.” -Penny said in a rather sarcastic tone.

“Oh, come on, Penny, you love all the craziness that goes around me, especially when I’m the one causing it.” -Jagged Stone said, as he approached one of the technicians, who was tuning one of the guitars that he was going to use that night. –“Excuse me, Anton, would you mind if I tune this baby myself? It’s not that I don’t trust you, but this girl, I don’t know why, but for some reason, when I’m not the one tuning it, her strings tend to have a mind of their own.” -he asked the technician, who handed him the guitar. Holding it in his hands, Jagged Stone wasted no time in tuning it. –“Besides, I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid. You’ve known me since we were kids, and you know that I know my own limits. And I’m telling you, right now, I’m feeling absolutely great.”

It was true. Penny knew the musician since they were kids, and if there was one thing he was not, it was stupid. And unlike what happened with numerous other musicians, who were known for pulling insane stunts when on the road, or for their irresponsible behaviour both in and out of the stage, Jagged was known for his impeccable behaviour and for his work ethic, which made him put his music and his appreciation for his fans above everything else.  

“Alright, I’ll take your word for it. You were never a good liar to begin with.” -Penny said. –“Still, I think you should sleep for an hour at least, so you’re properly rested to go on the stage later… whoa…” -she said, feeling a little dizzy. –“And I’m starting to think you’re not the only one, who needs to rest.”  

The last couple of days had been a little hard on Penny, and Jagged knew that. While he just had to worry about giving the people who came to his concerts a great show, Penny had to worry about the things that he was not supposed to worry about. And though that last stretch of the tour had gone without any kind of setbacks, like the rest of the tour, the fact that Jagged insisted on ending the tour in Paris, instead of London, placed a lot of stress on Penny, who, along with Jagged’s manager, were forced to arrange things for the concert to happen, in a very short amount of time. Still, like the great professional she was, she was able to take care of things. The thought of her being able to do that, reminded him of just how lucky he was to have her by his side, not only now, but ever since he began his musician career.    

“Maybe you should follow your own advice and go home. Rest for a bit, and then come back later, if you feel like it. You know you don’t have to be here for the concert.” -Jagged Stone told her.

“Perhaps I should… unlike you, in order to relax, I really need to sleep, and I haven’t been sleeping as much as I need, these past few days.” -Penny admitted. –“But I’ll be back to see the show in about six hours.” -she told him.    

“Like I said, you don’t need to come back for the concert. Look, go home and take Fang with you. I’m clearly not the only one here who’s exhausted, but I’m probably the only one who doesn’t look like a zombie thanks to its make-up, like you said. And more importantly, I’m the one who has a show to do.” -Jagged Stone smiled at her. –“I know you like being around, in case something goes wrong, but you don’t have to. Not tonight. And I’m telling you this, as your boss. I need my agent rested and ready to face whatever they throw at her.” -he told her.

“Alright, I’ll go home. But just because you’re insisting.” -Penny told him. –“Come on, Fang, let’s go.” -she said, as she grabbed the crocodile by its collar.   

Watching them leave, Jagged once again felt incredibly lucky in having Penny by his side. It was true that his manager was just as important as she was, but Penny was the one he dealt with more, and who made sure that everything went smoothly. Plus, the fact that she was one of his oldest and closest friends, made him appreciate her dedication towards him. Still, he tried not to think more about it. In a few hours, that place would be packed with roaring fans, and he needed to concentrate.

This is going to be one heck of a last concert. And it’s like I always say: Play the last concert on a tour, with the same energy that you played the very first one, because the fans who are going to fill this place, deserve the same kind of treatment the fans who filled the first concert did.” -Jagged Stone thought to himself. –“You’ve got a responsibility towards them… but you also have a responsibility to your agent. If she’s telling you that you need to rest a little bit, you better do it. After checking if everything is going the way it’s supposed to, I’ll go to my trailer and sleep, but only for an hour or two. Just a quick nap. When this is over, then, I’ll sleep properly.” -he thought.    

Outside Le Zenith, people began to arrive for Jagged Stone’s concert, as early as 6 in the morning, when the road crew had just arrived and was beginning to assemble things inside and outside the arena. Little by little, fans of Jagged Stone began to show up, queueing to enter, even knowing they would not be able to enter the arena until much later. Still, that was all part of the experience. While waiting, they would take the time to talk to each other, buy something from the numerous catering carts and vans, that ranged from food to overpriced merchandise. Plus, like it was usual at these events, you would have people sharing stories experiences with strangers, regarding the reason they were attending that event. Many would say that a true rock fan would have to experience all those things, and much more, if they even wanted to be called that.

Still, that was for those people who were older, or could take a day off from work. Others, who were not that fortunate, would only arrive later. And among those were Marinette and her friends. Had the concert been during Saturday or Sunday, they would have camped out, just to be the first ones in line, for when they opened the doors. Still, that was by far Marinette’s first thought. When Adrien picked up her in his limousine, the first thing he told her was just how pretty she looked with her hair down, while adding that she looked like a totally different person with her hair that way. Those words made Marinette smile, while making a mental note to begin to wear her hair like that more often. Pigtails would always be her trademark hairstyle, but that did not mean she would not change it once in a while.

I can’t believe that he said that I totally look like a different person… and the way he said it… it was the nicest compliment Adrien could have given me about my looks.” -Marinette thought to herself. Right then, she felt like a little girl, who had been told she was the prettiest little girl in the world. –“I’ve got the best boyfriend in the world… I just can’t help repeating that to myself. And with good reason. Adrien is a sweetheart.” -she thought.

“Marinette? Marinette?! Are you listening to me?” -Adrien asked, calling her out.

“Oh, sorry… my mind was elsewhere.” -Marinette giggled, apologizing. –“You were saying?” -she asked him.

“I was just asking you, if you want to sit a little bit closer to me?” -Adrien asked her.

“Sure!” -Marinette smiled, as she moved closer to him. When she was just a couple of centimetres from him, he placed his left arm around her, while smiling at her. –“Oh, I see where you’re going with this.” -she chuckled, as she placed her hand on top of his. –“You don’t need excuses to hug me, Adrien.”

“I know, but this way, I get to hear you giggle and chuckle, which are some of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard.” -Adrien told her, making her giggle even harder, not to mention blushing. –“I think I better stop, or your face will be as red as a tomato in no time.” -he smiled.  

“You know me.” -Marinette smiled, as she blushed a little further. –“Well, he doesn’t smell like Camembert today. That can only mean Plagg decided to brush his teeth, before they left the house, or Adrien forgot to pack a little piece of Camembert for Plagg to eat later… or both. Either way, I’m happy to be able to smell Adrien’s cologne, without it being mixed with the stench of cheese.” -she thought to herself, as she inhaled the scent of her boyfriend’s cologne. –“He really smells nice… I’ve got to ask him what’s the name of the cologne, so I can offer it to him for his birthday.

The ride to Le Zenith went without a hitch, even though the traffic looked a mess and because of it, they ended up taking longer to arrive. But not everything was bad. When they arrived, Gorilla managed to stop the car relatively near the entrance. As they both exited the limo, Adrien told his bodyguard that once the concert was over, that he would call him, so he could pick them up. Closing the door behind him, Adrien did not even wait to see the limo drive away, as he and Marinette walked away. The number of people around was staggering, still, it was nothing they were not expecting, especially since this was a concert from one of the biggest rock stars in the world.         

“Here we are.” -Marinette smiled, as she looked around and saw all that commotion around her. She was not someone who was a big fan of crowds, most of the times. But parties and certain events, like concerts, were a totally different story for her. It felt good to be surrounded by all those people, who shared a passion for Jagged Stone.

“Took us a little longer to get here, but it was totally worth it.” -Adrien said, as he too looked around. The concert was still a couple of hours away, but you could already feel the energy of it in the air.

“And the best part is that I’m here with you.” -Marinette smiled. –“You can’t even imagine how many times I imagined attending a concert with you by my side, as my boyfriend.” -she told him.

“Probably as many as the number of times I imagined the same thing, but with you, as my girlfriend.” -Adrien admitted. –“Still, none of us needs to imagine it anymore, because it’s happening.” -he smiled at her. –“Do you think the others have arrived yet, or are we the first one to arrive?”

“Marinette! Adrien! We’re over here!” -a voice called them. A voice that belonged to Mylene.   

Turning their heads to where the voice was coming, Marinette and Adrien saw Mylene waving at them. Next to her was Ivan, who was hugging her. Seeing them, Marinette and Adrien walked to where they were. Ivan and Mylene had seemingly beaten them there, being the first ones to arrive. They were both already sporting matching t-shirts from Jagged Stone’s current tour, which meant that they had arrived some time ago.

“Cool t-shirts.” -Adrien said.

“Thanks. Yours aren’t half bad either.” -Ivan told him.

“They sure look cool. I bet they were worth every penny.” -Marinette said.

“That’s what I told Ivan, as well.” -Mylene smiled. –“So, do you know if anyone else has arrived? We’ve been walking around, and still haven’t seen anyone else. Juleka warned us that she, Rose and Max still had to pick up Alix, so they’re running a bit late.” -she declared. –“Have you seen anyone else?”

“No, you’re the first ones we see.” -Marinette told Mylene.

“Chloe just texted me. She and Sabrina are already on their way, and should be here in 10 minutes.” -Adrien said, as she checked his cell phone, when this one rang once more. –“And Nino just sent me a text as well. He and Alya are almost arriving too.” -he stated.

“That just leaves Nathaniel and Kim.” -Ivan said, as he looked around. –“I’ll be honest. I never expected to see so many people… then again, this is Jagged Stone we’re talking about.” -he said.

“I just wished we had arrived a little bit earlier.” -Mylene said. –“Look at all these people. It’ll be impossible for us to get near the stage now.” -she sighed, as she looked at the number of people that were already in line to enter.

“I don’t think it matters. As long as I’m next to you, any place we end up in, once we get inside, will be perfect. Even if we end up all the way in the back.” -Ivan told Mylene, making her smile.  

Little by little, the rest of the gang showed up, with Chloe and Sabrina being the last ones to arrive, all because Chloe’s limousine got a flat tire, when they were still two kilometres from the arena. Not wanting to wait for Jean to change the tire, the girls decided to walk the rest of the way, believing they would be able to get there before Jean could change the tire, given that Chloe knew he had never changed a tire in his whole life, and this would be a first for him. Telling Jean to call travel assistance, Chloe also told him that she would call him to pick them up, a little bit before the concert was over. Walking up the street, the girls tried to pick up the pace. At first, Chloe still wanted to look for a quiet place to transform into Queen Bee and fly them over to the arena, but Sabrina managed to convince her not to do it, stating that they could     

“Finally, we’re here.” -Chloe sighed out of relief. –“Can you believe this, Sabrina? A flat tire? Of all the times that could have happened, it had to happen, right when we were being driven to the concert.” -she said.

“Look on the bright side. It could have been worse. We could have ended up with a flat tire, even before you arrived at my place.” -Sabrina told her.  

“If that had been the case, I would have flown us here, in no time.” -Chloe told her. – “Still, I can’t believe you convinced me not to use my powers to get us here faster.” -she sighed.  

“Well, I can, and I’m glad I did it.” -Sabrina stated. –“I know we would have arrived a lot faster, but you know we should only use our powers for our own benefit, if it’s an urgent emergency of some sort. And us arriving a little later, wasn’t one of them.” -she smiled.  

Once more, Chloe knew Sabrina was right. It was important for them to arrive as early as possible, but it was not imperative. Still, it was hard for her to admit it, before her best friend told her that. Chloe had made huge progresses, when it came to not behaving like she was the centre of the universe, as well as treating others with the respect they all deserved; not to mention, understanding that she could not always have her way with things. But there were times like those, that she still needed to be reminded of it, and that caused her to be both happy and angry at the same time. Happy, because she knew she had someone to remind her that. And angry, because she blamed herself for not remembering it. 

“It’s times like these that I hate you being my conscience… and when I say hate, I don’t really mean hating. I mean that is good to have you around to remind me of things, but bad at the same time, because by now I should already be able to remind me of things I shouldn’t do.” -Chloe sighed, as she looked down at the purse, she bad brought with her, where Pollen was. –“No offense, Pollen, but Sabrina came first. So, you’re my second conscience.” -she smiled at the bee kwami.

“None taken, Chloe.” -Pollen winked at her. She was happy that Chloe considered Sabrina her conscience, and she did not mind being her second conscience.  

“Believe me, I don’t mind being your conscience from time to time. And there will come the day when you won’t need me to remind you of things.” -Sabrina declared, believing that day would come.

“I really want to believe that, Sabrina. But at the same time, I really hope that day never comes, because I like having you reminding me of things I should, and shouldn’t do.” -Chloe said, as she began to look around, trying to find the rest of the gang. –“Where are they? Can you see them?” -she asked the redhead.

“Not yet.” -Sabrina said, as she too looked for the others. –“It’s so hard to find someone in this crowd, especially, when everyone is dressed with the same colours.” -she declared.  

“Or, you could ask me or Pollen to tell you where they are.” -Mika said, from inside the jacket’s pocket he was hiding in. –“Did you forget that we, kwamis, can sense each other’s presence, when we’re near each other?” -he asked Sabrina.

“Honestly, I did, Mika. Sorry.” -Sabrina said, as she stopped walking, and silently telling Chloe to do the same. –“Then, where are they?”

“Let me see… I’m feeling their energy.” -Mika said. –“I think they are… to the left.” -he declared.

“Okay, if you say they are to the left, we’ll go left.” -Sabrina said.

Following the directions Mika was giving them, it did not take them long to find the rest of the gang, who was already in line, which by then was already going around the building. Seeing them, the blonde and the redhead were forced to apologize to the people who were in their way, as they made their way to where their friends were.      

“Hey, you’ve arrived!” -Rose exclaimed, as she saw Chloe and Sabrina approaching them.   

“Took you girls long to get here.” -Nathaniel said. –“A flat tire is really bad luck.” -he said. Adrien, who Chloe texted back, warning him of what had happened, as she and Sabrina left Jean with the limousine, had warned the others.  

“Yes, well, let’s just hope that on the way back home, the same thing doesn’t happen to us.” -Chloe said. –“And thought I know it would be wrong to do it, I would have gotten us here a lot faster, if Sabrina had allowed me to… you know, use a certain trick I can do.” -she said, referring to her powers in the most enigmatic way possible, just in case someone around them caught their conversation.  

“Don’t be like that. You arrived and that’s what it matters. Even if it took you a little bit longer.” -Adrien said. –“Besides, we decided to go ahead and buy you these, so you wouldn’t have to go and wait in line to get them.” -he said, as he handed the blonde and the redhead a plastic bag with something inside. Opening them, Chloe and Sabrina saw that they were t-shirts from Jagged Stone’s current tour, which all of them were already wearing. –“I hope we got your sizes right.”

“You shouldn’t have.” -Sabrina said, as she grabbed one of the t-shirts and quickly examined it. –“Whoa! This one’s really pretty. I love it! And you got my size right.” -she smiled, as she put it on, while taking off the one she was wearing underneath it.

“Mine too. Thanks, Adrikins.” -Chloe thanked the blond, as she mimicked Sabrina, and changed the t-shirt.  

“Don’t thank me. Thank Marinette. I merely bought them. She was the one who guessed your size.” -Adrien admitted. 

“Thanks, Marinette.” -Chloe thanked her.

“My pleasure.” -Marinette smiled. –“Besides, I didn’t exactly guessed it. I just picked the ones that matched your size, based on your height, weight and body type.” -she said. –“It’s a little trick that we, aspiring fashion designers pick up with time.”

“In other words, you guessed it. You just used a lot more words to say it.” -Chloe said, while raising her eyebrow.

“Well, when you put it that way, yes.” -Marinette admitted.

“Well, I don’t think it really matters. You are the best seamstress I know, girl. If there’s one person who could guess a person’s size, just by looking at it, it’s you.” -Alya said.

“Thanks, Alya.” -Marinette said.

“Still, moving on to another subject, these t-shirts rock. I mean, just look at them. The designs of the ones from the previous tours were already cool, but this one is just incredible.” -Nino said, changing the subject. –“I mean, each tour, Jagged Stone picks a monster from any mythology there is, or an extinct animal to be the animal that symbolizes that tour, and this time he chose a really radical one. A mammoth… well, a skeletal mammoth, but still a mammoth.” -he said, as he pointed to the drawing of the creature in question, surrounded by blue flames and with the words “Eternal Flame Tour” beneath it.

“I don’t know. It’s pretty I’ll give you that. But he ain’t the first one to use animals with tusks, or horns or fangs in a cover album or a tour art design. Motorhead also do it, and so did Testament and Iron Maiden.” -Juleka told him. If there was anyone in that group that knew about heavy metal, alternative rock, punk rock and metalcore, that would rival Nino’s music expertise, it was her.  

“True, but those are all bands. Jagged is a solo player.” -Nino said.

“Well, I don’t mind about the shirts or the merchandise. Just as long as the music is good, I’ll be happy with it.” -Alix said.

“Then, why were you the first one to buy that t-shirt, when you got here, huh?” -Alya asked her in an amused tone.

“Hey, I said I didn’t mind about them. I never said I wouldn’t buy them.” -Alix told her.

“I just wish they had tank tops for my size.” -Rose protested. –“I mean, I think I would rock in one of those.” -she said. –“I would look cute, sexy and dangerous at the same time.   

“What’s with your girlfriend?” -Chloe asked Juleka. The blonde could not remember a time, when Rose wore make-up like the one, she was wearing, or acted the way she was. 

“Let’s just say that she decided that today she wanted to look and act a little like a bad girl today, instead of her usual sweet self.” -Juleka said, while smiling at Rose, who smiled back at her. –“And you know what, Chloe? By doing that, she can’t help but to make me feel even more in love with her.”-she said, as she hugged Rose, making her giggle.  

“Please! Get a room, you two.” -Chloe joked, which made both Rose and Juleka chuckle.      

“Well, now that we’re all here, I think we can finally say that we’re ready to rock and roll.” -Marinette smiled at the whole gang.

“While we wait, how about a little music? Did anyone bring a column box for us to hear a little music, while waiting for the doors to open?” -Adrien asked out loud.

“By now you should know, that I never go anywhere without my column box, bro. It’s standard procedure.” -Nino said, as he placed his backpack on the ground, opened it and pulled his column box. –“Now, all we need to do, is to select what we want to hear first.” -he said, as he pulled out his cell phone. –“Any requests, people?”

“Since we’re in a Jagged Stone’s concert, let’s do like so many others are doing around here, and listen to some of his songs.” -Kim said. –“How about we start with “Shattered Dreams”? That’s my favourite.” -he declared.

“No, not that one! That’s too melancholic. Start with “Book of Sins”, Nino. That should get us into the right mood.” -Alya asked Nino.

“Sorry, but no. Everyone knows that the best song to be on the top of any Jagged Stone playlist is “My Shadow, My Lonesome Self”, people.” -Ivan said. –“Start with that one, Nino.” -he told him.  

“Forget it! Play “Take Control”, Nino. It’s my favourite, and so is Sabrina’s.” -Chloe told Nino.

“Actually, no, that’s my second favourite.” -Sabrina told her best-friend. –“My favourite is “Butterfly Effect”. Play that one first, please, Nino.” -she asked him.

Everyone had a different Jagged Stone song, which was their favourite one, and everyone wanted theirs to be the first one to be played. In the light of the situation, Nino decided there was only one way to solve that. 

“Why don’t we let the two people who managed to get us the tickets, to choose which song should I play first?” -Nino asked them. –“I mean, it’s only fair. If it wasn’t for Marinette and Max, we wouldn’t be here, right now.” -he said.

“Fine, let them choose it.” -Chloe sighed.

“I don’t see any problem with that.” -Adrien smiled at Marinette, already knowing which song she was going to request.

“Alright, let them choose.” -Mylene said, happy with the idea.

“I think it’s safe to say that we all agree with that idea, mister DJ.” -Alya winked at her boyfriend.

“Alright, then, what’s it going to be, guys?” -Nino asked both Max and Marinette. 

“Well, I was always raised to be a gentleman, so, I’ll let the lady choose.” -Max told her.

“Why, thank you, Max.” -Marinette giggled.  –“Then, my answer is simple, “Dark Velvet”, if you please.” -she said with a malicious smile on her face.

“Excellent choice, mademoiselle… then, just allow me to select it.” -Nino said, as he looked for that song in his playlist. –“Here we are… ladies and gentlemen, with you, Jagged Stone, with his everlasting classic, Dark Velvet.” -he said, as the song began.

A little music was just what the whole gang needed to make time go faster. And just like Adrien had pointed earlier, they were not the only ones. There were many fans that had the same idea, and who spent their time waiting for the doors to open, by listening to Jagged Stone’s greatest hits. Checking the time every now and then, they all watched the time go by a lot faster, thanks to the music. And while waiting, they all took the time to also take a couple of selfies and post them online, so others could see just how much fun they were having.  

But their enthusiasm was about to be cut short, when they all received a text on their cell phones, warning them that a potential Akuma attack was taking place, courtesy of the Akuma Attack app. Seeing that text, they all wished it was just a false alarm, like it had happened before.  

“Oh no, please don’t let it be…” -Alya said, as she checked the email box of the Miraculous Blog, for any news that could have been sent to it, regarding this potential attack. Usually, but not always, the blog would get emails with messages and images regarding the attack, as well as the rest of the social networks, before the official media. –“Please, don’t let it be, don’t let it be… crud!” -she sighed angrily, as she opened the email and saw more than thirty messages, reporting the Akuma, with some having photos of the Akuma itself, and more messages pouring in. –“It’s an Akuma attack, alright.”  

“Just what we needed.” -Nino said, practically in a whisper.

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time.” -Mylene declared.

Mylene was right. It could not have come at a worse time. The doors would open in less than an hour, and they would not be there, because they had to save the city, again. They did not like it, especially because they were all excited about that concert. But they knew that if they did not do it, the Akuma, with whatever powers he or she had, would destroy the whole city, in search of them and their miraculouses.    

“So, what do we do now?” -Sabrina asked them in a whisper.

“What else? We have to deal with it.” -Nathaniel said. –“It’s our responsibility.” -he said.

“To think that the doors will be opening in less than an hour, and we won’t be here.” -Juleka sighed.

“Not exactly. There’s no need for all of us to go.” -Marinette said. –“I think three or four of us can handle this. Who knows? It might not be as bad as they are making it sound.” -she told her. –“The rest just stays here and make sure we don’t lose our places, when the doors open. If everything goes well, we might have this solved in half an hour or so.”

“I’m not against it.” -Adrien said. –“Alya, what kind of Akuma are we talking about here?” -he asked her, wanting to know as much about what they were going to face.

“There isn’t much about it yet. None of the emails or photos of it have much information about its abilities or powers. But I can tell you this, he looks like a Mexican bandolero.” -Alya answered him.  

“A Mexican what?” -Kim asked, not knowing what a bandolero was.

“A Mexican bandolero… a kind of highway robber. You know, like Pancho Villa?” -Alya told him.

“Pancho who?!” -Kim asked, not knowing who

“Pancho Villa, you big lugnut! The Mexican revolutionary general, from the late 19th century? There’s even a movie where he’s portrayed by Antonio Banderas, one of your favourite actors” -Alix told him. One of the things about having a father and a brother who worked at a museum, was that she was practically obliged to know everything there was about world History, including its major figures.   

“Sorry, doesn’t ring a bell. I probably didn’t watch that one with him.” -Kim shrugged his shoulders.  

“Never mind that now. We need to choose, who’s going to deal with this guy. If it’s only going to be three or four of us, we need to choose wisely. Otherwise, it may take us longer.” -Marinette said. –“If we already knew what power this Akuma has, it would be easier.” -she sighed. –“Alya, any news on that?”

“Not yet. The emails keep pouring in, but there are mostly photos of him, and he’s not using any powers in them.” -Alya said. –“Who knows, maybe he’s just a weak Akuma. There have been those.” -she said.

“So, what do we do?” -Max asked.

“I say we go with the “Holy Trinity plus one” routine.” -Adrien suggested.

The “Holy Trinity plus one” routine was a basic strategy, which comprised an individual from each of the fields they all mastered. In this case, a strategist, a defender, a brawler and a flyer. They had devised that strategy to tackle any enemy, which they did not know much about. It had worked on different occasions, and with a little bit of luck, they were hoping it would work once more.   

“I’m all for it. But who are going to be the ones to take those places?” -Juleka asked him.

“Well, I’ll be the strategist, if that’s okay with you.” -Marinette said.

“I can be the brawler.” -Ivan said.  

“I’m cool with being the defender on this one.” -Nino said.

“And I’ll be the flyer. Plus, not only I can fly, I’m also the fastest of us all, so, if this guy is fast, or has some kind of powers that require speed to be dealt with, I’m the best choice.” -Alix declared.

“Does anyone oppose?” -Marinette asked the rest of the gang, who remained silent. –“No? Okay, then, I guess we know who’s going to take down this guy.” -she smiled.

“I don’t like it very much, girl. But I trust you, like I always do.” -Alya smiled at Marinette.

“Are you really sure, you guys don’t want us to go too?” -Rose asked her.   

“Absolutely. Hopefully, we’ll get this done in a jiffy, and come back to enjoy the concert with the rest of you.” -Marinette told the blonde, before turning her eyes to the rest of the gang. –“But if things get complicated, you guys are our back-up.” -she smiled   

“Alright, go kick butt and come back quickly. I still want to see this concert, with you by my side.” -Adrien told Marinette, making her smile.

“The same thing goes for you, turtle boy. Get back here, safe and sound.” -Alya smiled at Nino, before kissing him.

“I know that you are going all crazy against this enemy, but remember, be careful. I don’t care how many times you tell me that bruises make you look tough. I’d rather have you safe and sound, without a single bruise on you.” -Mylene smiled at Ivan, who hugged her.

“And you… well, don’t get yourself killed. I don’t want to have to find someone who can keep up with me on the speed track.” -Kim told Alix, as if he did not care if she lived, or if she died.

“Alright, you know the drill. Pretend that you are all going to the restroom, and let’s go kick someone’s butt.” –Nino said, whispering the last part.

Chapter Text

Like it happened every time they used the "Holy Trinity plus one" routine, they went blind, without knowing what to expect. The only thing they knew, was the last thing Alya had told them. She had told them that the Akuma had showed up near Jardin des Grandes Explorateurs. Knowing that, they found a hidden place and transformed. Because the attack was on the other side of the Seine, Ladybug ordered Dragonfly to go ahead and assess the situation and get a first look at the Akuma. Flying as fast as she could, the dragonfly heroine arrived at her destination in a matter of minutes, and what she saw, was anything but good. Located between the Jardin de Luxembourg and l'avenue de l'Observatoire, that garden was known to be a place where numerous outdoor events were held over the course of the year. And on that day, there was one of those events taking place, a street food festival, where you could try numerous dishes from countless countries. A true delicacy for every foodie, who would love to try new experiences, or to anyone who was looking for a place to get a quick bite. From hamburgers to cone-shaped pizzas; from French fries to kebab; from sushi to ramen, there was something for everyone. And because of that, the place was packing with people, when the Akuma first showed up, panic ensued everywhere. Shooting flames from his hands, as well as using what looked like chilli pepper-shaped pistols to spread those very same flames.

The Akuma was just as Alya had described him. He looked like a pot-bellied Mexican bandolero. His black and red outfit, complete with sombrero and a double bullet belt filled with red chilli peppers, instead of bullets, around his chest, made him look like he had come out of an old cartoon. But it was his white-clown face with a black mask around his eyes that told people he was an Akuma. Seeing him, Dragonfly wasted no time in facing him. Upon flying over the garden, she did not see anyone hurt, and she wanted to keep it that way. The faster she engaged him in combat, the faster he would be dealt with, and with it, the faster she and the others could go back and enjoy the concert.

"Hold it right there, man! I don't know what was the reason why you were akumatized, but let's stop this, before someone gets hurt." -Dragonfly ordered the Akuma, as she landed right in front of him. Looking at him, he looked more cartoonish than menacing, but that did not mean a thing.

Aiming one of his guns at Dragonfly, he tried to burn her alive. She quickly dodged the flames that came out of the guns, only to be caught by surprised by what happened the second after. Instead of propelling themselves forward, the flames moved with a mind of their own, following Dragonfly. Dodging them again and again, the flames finally stopped following her, when she hid behind a nearby statue.

"You think you can stop Hot Tamale with those cheap words, niña bonita?!" -Hot Tamale asked Dragonfly, as he kept laughing like crazy. –"Because if you do, let me tell you that you picked the wrong hombre to mess with!" -he laughed with a laugh that sounded more like a roar.

"Great… an Akuma that is the spitting image of a Mexican stereotype. That Moth-breath is really running out of ideas for Akumas." -Dragonfly thought to herself, as she looked from behind the statue, to see where Hot Tamale was standing. –"Look, if you're going to start talking Spanish here, let me just remind you that we're in France, okay? And second, my Spanish's quite rusty… so be a good Akuma, and stop taking revenge on whatever who or it is, so I can beat you, destroy that nasty butterfly you have inside you and call it quits." -she told him. –"Believe me, I've got better things to do tonight than fighting you."

"You're joking, niña. Nobody tells Hot Tamale what to do!" -Hot Tamale told her, as he walked in her direction. –"You will not stop me from taking revenge on those malditos chicos, who told me my food was disgusting, after taking a bite! Once I find them, I will make them pay for it!" -he said. –"Pero before I do that, I will give Hawk Moth what he wants. Your miraculous, as well as the miraculouses of your friends, when they arrive."

"Well, at least I know why he ended up being akumatized."-Dragonfly thought to herself. –"He's vengeful, but I don't know how smart he is. From the way he speaks, he doesn't sound like he's very smart, but that might just be a trick. Plus, his control over the flames is going to force us to fight him from a safe distance." -she thought. –"Look… I'm sure they didn't do it on purpose."

"Not on purpose?! They spit it out, right in front of me, and said that Mexican food is supposed to be extra spicy, and that my food did not have any picante at all!" -Hot Tamale shouted at her, as he once again fired his guns, shooting flames which blasted the stone statue Dragonfly was using as a hideout. –"True Mexican food only has the right amount of picante!" -he exclaimed, infuriated, once more shooting flames at Dragonfly. –"But if they want spicy, I will give them spicy!"

Not wishing to be turned into a roasted dragonfly, the pink-haired heroine took the sky, hoping to find another way to deal with Hot Tamale. Like every other Akuma, this one also had a short fuse. And she was going to use it to her advantage.

"There goes the "nice girl" approach… I guess I'll have to use brute force on this guy." -Dragonfly said, as she made U-turn in the air, and threw her frisbee at Hot Tamale. –"Don't even know who were the guys who decided to insult his food like that. But I know one thing. If I don't keep him occupied, until the others arrive, he's going to burn everything around here." -she thought.

It did not take long for her to understand that fire was not his only weapon. It turned out that Hot Tamale also had a trick up his sleeve. A trick that resided in the chilli peppers that were on his double-bullet belt. Taking one, he then threw it at Dragonfly, only for this one to explode in mid-air, like a grenade. Dodging one, she quickly decided she was going to have to keep her distance from Hot Tamale.

"Great! Now he has grenades, or whatever those exploding chilli peppers are supposed to be." -Dragonfly thought to herself. –"Can't let him use those, or someone might end up hurt." -she thought, when she saw a few police cars arriving at the scene. –"Looks like the police has arrived, and I don't know if I should be glad to have some back-up, or if I should be worried."

And she had good reasons to be worried. Usually the police officers that responded to an Akuma attack, helped to evacuate the place where the action was happening, making sure that no civilian would be around, when things got too rough, and that was a good thing. It helped the heroes not worry about the safety of people, and focusing on taking down any Akuma. Unfortunately, it also made the police officers a target for the Akumas. And although some Akumas did not care about them, focusing only on the targets of their revenge, others enjoyed to target everyone that appeared in front of them.

Still, trying to focus on the Akuma, she charged against him, hoping to keep him busy, so the police could evacuate the area, as well as restrict the access to it. Using her frisbee and her speed to her advantage, she tried a series of fast attacks against Hot Tamale, trying to wear him out, and thus force him to make a mistake, any kind of mistake that could benefit her and the others, once they arrived. Dragonfly knew that because of her super speed, the others would take a little longer to get there, and thus, it was her responsibility to have him a little bit exhausted, as well as figuring out what kind of tricks he was capable of, so she could then tell the team about them.

Minutes went by, and she continued to do what she had set herself to do. But Hot Tamale looked like he had enough energy to continue doing that through the rest of the night. And to make matters worse, he was beginning to have more control over his powers, now being able to manipulate the flames that came out of his guns, to assume the forms of small desert animals like vultures, scorpions and rattlesnakes. These flaming animals did not have a very long-life span, eventually burning out. But during the time they were alive, per say, they would spread flames everywhere they walked or flew by.

"Time to put out this guy's pets." -Dragonfly said, as she threw her frisbee into a nearby fire hydrant, knocking it and sending water in a circle around it, putting out some of the Hot Tamale's fire creations. –"Hope the fire department doesn't take too long to get here. This is one Akuma that we're definitely going to need their help, if he decides to light up the surrounding buildings." -she thought to herself.

Tired of dodging attacks, Dragonfly ignored the little voice inside her, that was telling her to stay away from the Akuma, and decided to face him head-on. Attacking him with both hands and feet, she delivered multiple attack combos, all of which he was able to defend, while jumping around like crazy.

"Is that all you got niña?! Because if it is, I'm going to turn you into pollo asado!" –Hot Tamale said, as he fired a few more balls of fire at her, this time with his bare hands.

Like she had told him before, Dragonfly's Spanish was quite rusty, but she still remembered that "pollo asado" meant roasted chicken, and if she could not come up with a way to knock him to the ground. Clenching her fists, she started to attack him, hitting him in the chest, shoulders and even in the face, hoping she would land him a blow that would put him out of commission, or at the very least, stagger him back. Unfortunately, with all that, she allowed her emotions to get the best of her and guide her actions, as she battled Hot Tamale, who took advantage of it, by making her trip, and pinning her to the ground. Placing his hand on her neck and his knee on her chest, he could not help but to look Dragonfly in the eyes and wonder just what was going through her mind right then.

"Hawk Moth will be very feliz, when I deliver him this miraculous you have around your neck… right after I turn you into a libélula asada, Dragonfly!" -Hot Tamale said with a malevolent smile on his face, as he readied himself to burn her to ashes.

But as Hot Tamale was about to turn Dragonfly into a roasted heroine, he was hit on the head by a circular object, which forced him to let go of her neck. The object was none other than Ladybug's yo-yo, who shot at it at the Akuma, hoping to save her friend, who she saw was in trouble. Taking advantage of it, Dragonfly curled her right leg and kicked Hot Tamale on the chest, kicking him off her, sending him fly a couple of meters. Landing in front of her, Carapace winked at her, letting her know that she was no longer alone.

"Hold it, right there, mister!" -Carapace said, as he placed himself in front of Dragonfly. –"If you think I'm going to let you burn my friend, you're sadly mistaken."

"Ha! I see that more heroes have come to play, huh?" -Hot Tamale said, as he got up. –"Más miraculouses for me to give to Hawk Moth then." -he laughed.

As Carapace stood between Hot Tamale and Dragonfly, Ladybug and Grizzly Bear quickly went to see how she was.

"If Antelope was here, he would probably be asking you if you're so fast, why are you letting this guy beat you, you know?" -Ladybug pointed out to Dragonfly, as she helped her up. –"It's a good thing I'm not him." -she smiled at her. –"Are you alright? What's the situation?"

"I'm okay, considering things. And do the words "complicated" and "intricate" mean anything to you?" -Dragonfly asked her.

"It's that bad, huh?" -Grizzly Bear asked her.

"You bet it is." -Dragonfly declared. –"This guy has an array of tricks that go from shooting fire from both his hands and his guns, and he can also create animals made out of flames." -she told her. –"And I haven't even told you about the exploding chilli pepper…"

"Exploding chilli peppers?" -Grizzly Bear asked her.

"Yeah, the ones you see on those bullet belts around his chest." -Dragonfly told him. –"They're like grenades."

"Well, don't you worry. The cavalry has arrived, and we're ready to help you take this guy down." -Ladybug smiled at her, when suddenly, they saw themselves covered by an energy shield.

A moment later, one of the exploding chilli peppers Dragonfly had told them about, hit the energy shield and exploded, with the heroes instinctively crouching and placing their arms in front of their faces. Hot Tamale had decided he had given the heroes enough time to help Dragonfly getting back up, and attacked them. Luckily, when Carapace saw him throw one of the chilli peppers, he instinctively reacted, by creating an energy shield that protected them. After the blast, the shield disappeared, as Carapace went to check on the rest of the heroes.

"Are you guys, okay?" -Carapace asked them.

"Y-Yeah. I think we're okay." -Dragonfly said.

"Yes, but I still got my ears buzzing." -Grizzly Bear admitted.

"That was a dirty move, mister." -Ladybug said. –"We've dealt with many Akumas who tried to kill us. And if there's one thing I hate about you all, is that you all try to kill us, when we're down." -she told Hot Tamale, while looking him in the eyes. –"But believe me, when I tell you the same thing I tell to the other Akumas. We're harder to kill than you might think."

Ladybug did not know what she had told that to Akuma. She did not know if she had told him that to try and scare him, or if she had done it to chase away any bad thoughts or traces of fear that were creeping into her mind. Still, by saying those words, she felt less stressed and capable of taking on any challenge they threw at her.

"We will see about that, niña! You and your amigos are about to see just what I'm capable of!" -Hot Tamale told her, as he pulled both his guns from the holsters and fired at her.

Evading the attack, Ladybug quickly understood what Dragonfly was talking about, when describing how dealing with Hot Tamale was being a little hard. And to make matters worse, his continuous and incredibly annoying laughter was making her wish she did not have any ears. With only three other members, besides herself, to fight that Akuma, for a moment she regretted not having decided to ask one or two more of her friends to come along. Still, she knew there was no time for that kind of regret. If they wanted to get back to the concert, before this one began, they had to defeat Hot Tamale.

"Let me have him! One well-placed punch in his face, and I'll knock his lights out." -Grizzly Bear told

"He's all yours. Give him your best shot, Grizzly." -Ladybug said, giving him permission to attack him.

Unfortunately, and unlike what she was thinking, things did not go as Ladybug had planned them. She, along with Carapace, Dragonfly and Grizzly Bear, attacked Hot Tamale, hoping their combined strength would be enough to take him down swiftly. But it turned out Hot Tamale had more tricks up his sleeve. He attacked them with everything he had, preventing them from even coming near him. And if it had not been for the help from the firefighters, who had been dispatched to where fight was taking place, things could have gotten even messier, as the Akuma and his fire creatures began to torch up the trees and nearby buildings, so as to cause chaos and mayhem. More than once, Carapace was forced to cast energy shields to protect anything that could catch fire. The las thing they needed was for that part of the city to be turned into an enormous pile of ashes.

The only good thing that had happened, was them finding out more about the Akuma. Dragonfly had already found out the reason why he had been akumatized, but now who he was. To find out that information, Ladybug had to use a little bit of reverse psychology, like she had done with other Akumas. Hot Tamale, just like other Akumas only talked about what he wanted, namely revenge and wanting to fulfil Hawk Moth's orders. But the scarlet heroine, as well as her friends had learned from Master Fu a couple of tricks to help them communicate with the Akumas, as a way to gather as much information as possible from them, and then use that same information to defeat them. Tricks that some might say, was the kind of knowledge psychology students learned about when in college, while for Master Fu, it was the kind of knowledge that came from a lifetime of learning, and that most people should know about. Using those tricks, she found out that before he was turned into Hot Tamale, his name was Gustavo Salamanca, a young Mexican emigrant, who had come to Paris to learn with some of the best chefs in the world, but eventually decided instead to show people what true Mexican cuisine was, by getting his own food van and . Sadly, nothing of what Ladybug was able to find out about him, was going to help her or the others to defeat him. And it was not long until they lost the track of time. Between attacking Hot Tamale and blocking his attacks, which more than once placed police officers and firefighters who were trying to help, the heroes had their hand full with that guy. Carapace believed he would be able to contain him inside one of his energy bubbles, but Hot Tamale was a lot faster than his physique would suggest, and the turtle hero slowly, but steadily began to feel exhausted from using his powers to cast protective energy shields all around the place.

But when they all thought Hot Tamale could not get any faster, he used his power over the flames and created a fire mustang, to use as a ride. It was the he became even faster than before. The only one who could keep up with him was Dragonfly, and even she was advised by the others to not attack him head-on. To fight him, and lend a hand to Dragonfly, Grizzly Bear was forced to break pieces of rubble from the pavement, and then use them as projectiles, which he threw with the use of his brass knuckles. Some failed their target, while others were hit it, but not with the necessary force to knock it out. Hot Tamale was proving himself to be a formidable adversary.

A bit desperate to finish the fight, Grizzly Bear and Dragonfly decided to use a combo attack, hoping it would work. This one had only been used by them once in battle, and it did not end up working as it was supposed to. It involved her being thrown by Grizzly as fast as he could, like she was a boulder, thus allowing her to accelerate to a much faster speed already in the air, and hitting her target with twice, if not thrice the amount of force. The first time they had tried it, Dragonfly ended up going through several concrete walls, before coming to a stop, after failing to hit the target. Holding her breath, she allowed herself to be thrown by Grizzly Bear, while having her eyes fixed on Hot Tamale.

"Let's do this!" -Dragonfly told her teammate, who wasted no time in throwing her.

Already in the air, Dragonfly targeted Hot Tamale. She was imagining herself clobbering him on the abdomen, pushing him off his fire horse and into the ground, where she would then punch him on the face, until he passed out and the Akuma Butterfly exited his body. As she closed in on him, she was certain she was going to hit him, only for Hot Tamale to turn the tables on her. Seeing her coming, the Akuma ordered his fire steed to ride towards her and to jump over her, which was what happened. She had failed to catch him by surprise, but she was not going down without a fight. In front of her, she saw her ticket out of that tight jam.

"Maybe I can use that street lamp to make a U-turn and hit him on my way back." -Dragonfly thought to herself. –"I'm not letting this clown get away, if I have a saying on the matter." -she thought.

Timing her moves, she extended both arms, as she closed in on the street lamp, and on the right moment, she grabbed it. For a split second, she felt like her hands were slipping, but she managed to hold her grip on the lamp, forcing her body to turn back. She tried to pull up, but at the speed she was going, it prevented her from pulling that stunt, without snapping her spine in half. Instead, she placed her arms in front of her face and waited for the impact, which came soon after. Hitting the ground, she felt her body being thrown into the air, only to fall into the ground again. And in the end, she hit Grizzly Bear, who tried to catch her, only to be hit by her. When this happened, he was launched a few meters in the air, before going against a street lamp, tearing it from where it was and falling to the ground, right next to Dragonfly. He did not know how he had not lost his senses, but he figured that the major headache, combined with the deafening laugh of Hot Tamale, were partly responsible for it. With his head ringing from the knock on the head, the bear hero tried his best stand back up.

"I swear to God, that if I get out of this mess in one piece, I'll never, ever complain about facing a wimpy Akuma." -Grizzly Bear thought to himself, as he massaged the back of his head, which was aching badly. –"Damn, I wasn't expecting that to… watch out!" -he yelled, as he diving forward and placing himself in front of an unconscious Dragonfly, protecting her from a fire blast, which hit him on the back. Gritting his teeth, he felt his back burning up, and quickly started rolling on the ground, putting out the fire. Once the flames were out, he thanked the fact of his suit being flame proof, preventing him from getting a 3rd degree burn all over his back. –"That was a close one…"

Seeing them both on the ground, Hot Tamale laughed and decided that once the other heroes were down for the count, he would come back to retrieve their miraculouses. Without knowing it, both Dragonfly and Grizzly Bear had luck on their side, again. If by chance Hot Tamale had decided to take their miraculous right then, neither one, nor the other would be in a position to face him.

"Just you wait. I'll be going for you, you crazy Mexican! Just you wait!" -Grizzly Bear said between his teeth, as the Akuma rode out of there, leaving them behind. –"Come on, Alix, wake up..." -he said, as he shook Dragonfly, trying to wake her up. –"Come on! Wake up!"

"W-What happened?" -Dragonfly asked, as she looked at Grizzly. –"O-Ouch… my left shoulder… I t-think… I think it's broken." –she gritted her teeth, as she touched it with her right hand.

"Don't worry about it. Nino will fix you up in a jiffy." -Grizzly told her, as he carefully grabbed her with both arms, trying to ignore his own pains. –"But first, I'm going to have to get you to somewhere, where you'll be safe." -he said, as he looked around. –"Perhaps the best thing to do, is to leave with the paramedics in one of the ambulances, while I go look for him."

All the while, Hot Tamale went on laughing like crazy, seemingly unstoppable, as he changed targets, going after Carapace. None of the heroes seemed to have a single second to catch their breath. And if things were not bad enough already, Reptile, one of Hawk Moth's lieutenants, and most likely the one who had discovered Hot Tamale and asked his master to akumatize him, showed up, almost out of nowhere and attacked Ladybug.

On most occasions, she would have seen him coming. But this time, she was too busy fighting off the flames that were consuming some nearby bushes. Fearing that the flames would continue to spread and consume some nearby trees, and then the food vans near them, she decided to help the firefighters, by using her yo-yo like a shield and cutting the plants. That way, the risk of these blowing up was minimum. Unfortunately, by focusing on that, she did not notice Reptile approaching her, having used his powers to change his appearance into that of a firefighter. When he got close enough to her, he did not hesitate. Grabbing her from behind, he tried to stab her on the chest, only for her to defend herself. Even so, he was still able to stabbed her left arm, before she threw him to the ground. Looking at him, her brain tried to understand what was going on, as he sprung back up.

"Guess who, Ladybug?" -Reptile said, as he assumed his real appearance

"Reptile!" -Ladybug said, as she tried to ignore the pain in her arm. –"Should have figured it out it was him or one of Hawk Moth's minions. Excluding bullets, the only weapons that can pierce our outfits are theirs or Akumas'." -she thought to herself.

"First blood's mine!" -Reptile exclaimed enthusiastically. –"Next, I'll cut off your earlobes, and take your miraculous with me… but not before I carve open your chest and rip your heart, so you can still see it beating, before you die." -he smiled at her, with a psychotic smile that would put Hannibal Lecter to shame.

"If you think you're going to do that, you've got another thing coming, Reptile." -Ladybug said, as she continued to put pressure on the wound the lizard man had done her.

"We'll see about that, Ladybug." -Reptile said, as he charged against her, trying to cut her with his switchblade.

Even bleeding from her arm, Ladybug was not going to let Reptile get the best of her. She and the others had learned from Master Fu that as long as they still had a good arm or a good leg, a Miraculous Hero has a fighting chance of winning a battle, even when the odds were against him or her. So, she decided to make use of one of her trump cards, her legs. Attacking Reptile, she hit him with a series of rotating kicks, while continuing to place pressure on her wound. The cut was deep, and she knew that if she did not find a way to make a tourniquet, she was going to continue to bleed out. Unfortunately, she did not have the time, or the materials to do such a thing right then. Looking for something that would help her stop the bleeding, while also trying to escape Reptile, who kept attacking her, the scarlet heroine decided to use her surroundings to her advantage. Surrounded by food vans, she would crouch and roll beneath them, hoping to outwit Reptile, while also looking for something to help her stop the bleeding. Getting up, she entered in the first food van, looking for a first-aid kit, only to not finding it.

"Where's a bandage or a rubber band when you need one?" -Ladybug asked herself, as she kept looking for the first-aid kit.

It did not take long for Reptile to hear and locate her. Finding her, the lizard man tried to stab her once again, only for her to land him a kick on the face. Exiting the food van, Ladybug tried to look for a place where she could hide, and find something to patch-up her wound, before bleeding to death. But Reptile quickly caught up with her. Trying to attack her, the scarlet heroine could only do one thing, and that was to dodge his attacks, while throwing the occasional kick. Trying to find a way out of that jam, she decided to use her sixth sense power, to help her find a solution that could, at the very least, prevent her from being stabbed by Reptile once more. But as she was about to use it, she tripped on a rock and fell on her back. Before she could get up, Reptile placed himself on top of her, with his right knee on her stomach and his left scaly hand on her left arm, squeezing her wound, inflicting her as much as pain as possible. Grinning menacingly at her, he readied himself to kill her.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure to cut off your heart as quickly as possible, so you can see it beating. But let me just warn you, it's going to hurt a lot, not that that will stop me from doing it, but still…" -Reptile laughed maniacally, as he was about to stab her.

But as he was about to stab her, Reptile was hit on the face by a silver staff that seemingly came out of nowhere, making him stagger backwards and fall on his back. But that was no ordinary staff. It was Chat Noir's staff. Looking around, Ladybug saw the feline hero on top of a food van, after which he jumped form it, landing near her, while grabbing his staff back.

"What are you guys doing here?" -Ladybug asked, surprised to see him. She was not expecting him to show up and save her bacon.

"Did you really think we were going to let you have all the fun, milady?" -Chat Noir asked her, while showing her a tender smile.


The doors to the arena had already opened. At least, that was what the security guards and people in charge of handling the entrances were saying. It was a little hard to hear them, thanks to the music that was in the air. Slowly, but steadily, people began to enter, and as they crossed the entrance, they were given all sorts of Jagged Stone's promotional material, from small posters wristbands and keychains. But the members of the Miraculous gang that had remained behind were hardly paying attention to what was going on around them. They were too busy, trying to understand how the battle against the Akuma was going, through the Internet. The only things they had managed to find out through social media, was that the Akuma's name was Hot Tamale, that he had fire powers, and that Ladybug, Carapace, Dragonfly and Grizzly Bear were having trouble stopping him. It was stressful for them to see their friends in trouble, without being able to help them, because they were asked to stay behind and guard their places. And it was not just making them stressed. It was also making them feel absolutely powerless.

"We should have gone with them." -Sabrina sighed, as she imagined the battle in her mind.

"Do you think they can take him down?" -Rose asked the others.

"I don't know. But it's not the first time there's an Akuma with fire powers." -Alya said, as she continued to go through the news articles, hoping one of them would give her and everyone else the news they wanted to hear, and that was the Akuma's defeat. She was worried about the safety of the team members that went to face Hot Tamale. –"I would be lying if I said I didn't want to be there to help them." -she sighed, as she imagined how Nino and the others were.

And she was not the only one. All of them were thinking about how their friends were, and how they should have gone with them. It was true that the four of them believed they would be enough to deal with the Akuma. But now, it seemed like the four of them would not be enough to stop him.

"I can't take this. I just can't." -Adrien sighed. –"I can't just stay here and… well, you know what I mean. And I bet you are feeling the same way, aren't you?" -he asked the others.

None of them had to answer that question for Adrien to know he was right. He just had to look into their faces, but especially into their eyes, where the words "fear", "anxiety", "concern" and "distress" were mirrored. There was no way to hide that from Adrien, or any other person who knew them well enough. In their minds, stress and fear were beginning to mess with their judgement, and they were beginning to imagine the worst possible scenarios, even if the odds of those scenarios were incredibly slim. And as for Adrien, those thoughts terrified him, especially when thinking about how Marinette could get hurt. He knew she could handle herself in combat. After all, she was no damsel in distress, and had beaten him in combat more times than he could remember, even if in some of those times, he acted like a gentleman and allowed her to defeat him. But that did not stop him from fearing for her well-being, as well as the well-being of Nino, Alix and Ivan.

"You know what? I'm not staying here another second. I've got to go and help them." -Adrien declared, He could not just stand still, and wait for any more news.

"But what about the concert?" -Mylene asked him, as they kept moving. In about a minute or so, they would be entering. She was already thinking that they would have to let people pass them, so as to wait for the others to come back.

"Hate to say it, but… screw the concert. They're having their butts kicked and I'm not going to let the four of them deal with that Akuma on their own." -Adrien told them.

"But Adrikins, the concert, we…" -Chloe said. –"… no, you're right. They need our help." -she sighed.

"It's our responsibility to help them. And more importantly, it's our responsibility to stop that Akuma… even if it means not attending this concert." -Nathaniel sighed. –"This is an emergency, we're talking here."

"Look… I'm thinking better about this, and you guys don't have to come. I'll go alone and help them out. There's no reason for us all to go. You guys can stay and enjoy the concert." -Adrien declared, thinking that that was the best course of action. –"Screw it. If Marinette isn't here to enjoy the concert with me, then I won't go in. It wouldn't be special, not without her. But there's no reason for the others not to go and try to have a good time. After all, the tickets were very expensive. They would be wasting money, if they didn't go." -he thought to himself.

"You're kidding me, right?!" -Alya asked him, while rising an eyebrow at him. –"You're giving us the same speech as your girlfriend, and you know what? It's not going to work, Adrien. I'm going with you, whether you like it or not." -she told him.

"She's right, you know, Adrien?" -Chloe asked him, looking at him the same way the brunette was. –"You know we're not letting you do this all by yourself, right?"

"There are our friends too, you know?" -Juleka pointed out.

"She's right. We're going with you." -Sabrina smiled.

"What kind of people would we be, if we didn't go and help them, when they need the most?" -Mylene asked, as she thought about Ivan, hoping he was doing fine.

"And as for the concert, there will be other opportunities to see Jagged Stone in concert." -he said. He did not say it out loud, but he was especially worried about Alix.

"Right you are, Kim." -Max said, as he fist-bumped Kim.

Sometimes, during the night, just before sleeping, like it happened with most, Adrien's mind came up with some of the wildest questions possible, that would keep him awake, and unable to fall asleep. One of them was if there would come a day, when one of his friends would refuse to fulfil his duties as a hero, putting itself and its priorities ahead of everything else? More importantly, he thought of how he would react to it. But right then, he knew this was not going to be that day. Smiling to himself, he once again thanked for having such noble-hearted friends.

"Alright… I guess there's no point in trying to convince you not to come with me." -Adrien smiled, happy to see that none of them was even worried about losing the concert.

"Nope, there's no point, because even if you say no, we'll just ignore you." -Alya smiled at him.

"Then, what are we waiting for? Let's get going!" -Rose said, as she exited the line, followed by the rest of her friends.

(End of Flashback)

Looking at Chat, made her feel both happy and annoyed at the same time. Her pride just wanted to make her tell him that she, Grizzly Bear, Carapace and Dragonfly could have handled Hot Tamale and Reptile on their own. But in her heart, she was happy to see him coming to lend them a hand. As for Chat, seeing her hurt, he knew that he had to stop the bleeding. Removing his belt-tail, he decided to use it as a tourniquet. Wrapping it around the wound, he quickly tightened it, stopping the bleeding.

"Sorry about that, but I know you can take a little pain." -Chat apologized, as he checked her arm. –"That should stop the bleeding, until Carapace can heal you." -he said. –"Here, let me help you get back up."

"Thanks." -Ladybug thanked him, as she got up. –"You know, you didn't have to come, but, thanks for coming." -she smiled.

"And who says I'm the only one who decided to come and lend you and the others a little hand?" -Chat Noir asked her. –"The rest of the team decided you guys needed a little hand, so, we all came." -he told her.

"You'll pay… for what you just did, Chat Noir…" -Reptile growled at the feline hero, as he spat a couple of teeth Chat had broken him with his staff, interrupting the conversation the heroes were having.

"You touch her again with that blade of yours, and I'll make you swallow the rest of the teeth you still have, lizard man." -Chat Noir threatened Reptile. To say he was angry at the lizard man was little. He was pissed that Reptile had hurt the girl he loved, and he was going to show him what happens to those who dared to do that. –"I'll deal with this guy. But you better go and find someone who can heal you up. I'll catch up to you in a minute." -he told Ladybug.

"Those are some mighty big words and promises, kitty! But can you really keep them?!" -Reptile asked him in a mocking tone, as he swung his switchblade.

"Just shut up and fight!" -Chat Noir exclaimed, as he attacked the lizard man with his staff, who dodged his first attack. –"Find Carapace and he'll fix you up. I'll take care of iguana-breath here!" -he said, as he performed a backflip, dodging following Reptile's attack.

Leaving Chat Noir to deal with Reptile, Ladybug went looking for Carapace. And as she looked for the turtle hero, she saw the rest of the team spread across the battlefield. Some, like Louve Grise and Antelope were busy dealing with fire animals that Hot Tamale had created, these being much larger than the first ones he had created. This revealed that his powers and his control over them was still growing. Others, like Flamingo and Corbeau Noire were lending a hand to the firefighters, as they tried to control the fire. And then, Rena Rouge, Queen Bee, Forest Doe, Panda Roux and Arachnid were busy fighting Hot Tamale himself. Still, she saw no sign of Carapace anywhere.

"Where is he? He has to be around here, somewhere… but where?" -Ladybug asked herself, as she continued to look for him.

She did not see any trace of Carapace anywhere. But she did not see any trace of Grizzly Bear or Dragonfly either. For a brief moment, she feared that something bad had happened to them all. But she tried to put those thoughts aside, believing that they were more than able to take care of themselves. Their training had given them the skills and the strength to take on any adversary. Still, she needed to find Carapace, and there was no trace of him. Clearing her mind, she tried to come up with a solution to that predicament of hers. And then it hit her.

"I never tried this before, but maybe I can use my sixth sense power to find out where Nino is. I'm no good to anyone with my arm like this." -Ladybug thought to herself, as she looked at her left arm, bandaged using the tail from Chat's outfit. –"It's worth a shot." -she thought.

She had nothing to lose, and she desperately needed to be healed, if she was to join the rest of the heroes in battle. So, she made use of it, and tried to see if by using her sixth sense, she was able to locate Carapace or not. At first, nothing happened. She saw no signs that the power was even working. But then, in the distance, three different things were highlighted. The first was a building. The second one was a group people. And the third one was an ambulance. Seeing that, she assumed that Carapace was near that place. Running as fast as her legs allowed her, she hoped that the turtle hero was where she believed her power had told her he would be. As she approached it, she had to jump over the protective barriers placed by the police, to keep anyone from entering the perimeter where the fight was taking place. And like always, there were people watching what was going on. Once more, people's curiosity overrode their common sense, and told them to stay there and watch how things unfolded, instead of looking for a safe place.

"Excuse me, excuse me… coming through!" -Ladybug said, as she moved through the crowd. –"Why is it that people don't understand that they shouldn't be here? Are they so desperate to see us battle an Akuma, that they risk their lives just to do it? If I was them, I would go home and lock myself in my bedroom, instead of staying out here, where I might get hurt." -she thought to herself, as she continued to walk through the crowd, who kept applauding her and telling her just how great of a job she was doing. Some even asked her if she was alright, after seeing her injury, with her answering them back with a confident smile. She did not want people to worry about her.

It was a little hard for her to get through the crowd, without bumping into anyone, but she managed to get to where her power had told her Carapace would be. And as she reached the ambulance, she saw Grizzly Bear and Carapace, along with two more paramedics, around a gurney. Wondering why they were there, and who was on the gurney, Ladybug hurried to their side.

"Hey, what happened?" -Ladybug asked them, when she saw the person Carapace was treating in the gurney was Dragonfly. –"Are you alright?!" -she asked Dragonfly.

"A broken shoulder. But she'll be alright in a bit." -Carapace said, without taking his eyes off what he was doing. The paramedics that were watching were both astonished by how the turtle hero was using his healing powers to fix Dragonfly's shoulder.

"You on the other hand… ouch… don't look so good." -Dragonfly said, as she noticed –"Hey, is that Chat's tail?" -she asked Ladybug, seeing it around her arm.

"Oh, this? Courtesy of Reptile, and yeah, it's Chat's tail." -Ladybug declared. –"He's taking care of Reptile, as we speak." -she said.

"Reptile? I was wondering which one of Hawk Moth's lieutenants was responsible for this Akuma." -Grizzly Bear asked her. –"Glad Chat came to help us. We could use any help we get." -he said.

"Not just him, the rest of the team also came to lend us a hand." -Ladybug told them. Because they were so focused on Dragonfly, neither she, nor Carapace and Grizzly Bear, did not notice the other heroes arriving.

"At least, that explains why that Akuma did not come after me, when Ivan came to get me to cure Alix." -Carapace thought to himself. –"Well, if the rest of the team is here, I think we've got better odds of beating this guy a lot faster. There, good as new." -he told Dragonfly. –"Try to move only your right arm and shoulder for a bit, to give your shoulder the time to properly heal."

"Okay, I'll try, but I won't make promises." -Dragonfly said. as she exited the gurney. -Thanks for the assist, guys." -she smiled at the paramedics. –"I'm going back and see if I can help the others. And you should really get that checked."

"Don't worry, I'll take care of that." -Carapace said, as

"Now that we have the whole team here, maybe we can solve this quickly and still make it back to see most of the concert" -Ladybug thought to herself, as she saw the time in the watch that belonged to one of the paramedics. –"Ouch!" -she exclaimed, as Carapace removed Chat's belt-tail, exposing the wound.

"Sorry about that… it's a nasty cut, alright. That Reptile was really trying to cut your arm off." -Carapace said, as he handed her the belt-tail. –"Here, you can give it back to him later." -he said, as he observed the wound.

"He was actually aiming at my chest." -Ladybug admitted.

"Good thing he missed." -Carapace said. –"Don't worry. I'll have you healed in a minute or two. And then, we'll join the others and take care of that Akuma." -he assured her.

Unfortunately, even with the whole team fighting him, Hot Tamale was proving to be a much more resilient and stronger Akuma than he initially looked. Not only he had mastered his powers over fire a lot faster than any of them had thought he would be able to. One of such powers was to turn his whole body on flames, making it almost impossible to get near him, as he continued to ride the fiery mustang he had created. And on top of all that, he also decided to take the battle to a different place, the Jardin du Luxembourg, up the street. Built in 1612 by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, the garden was created for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace. Known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, model sailboats on its circular basin, and picturesque Medici Fountain, it drew in thousands of people, mostly tourists, who wanted to see its sheer beauty. But right then, most of the lawn and flowers had been torched by Hot Tamale, as he continued to fight the Miraculous Heroes, most of which were now on the ground.

"So, chicos and niñas, are you ready to give up?" -Hot Tamale asked them, as he threw some explosive chilli peppers at the heroes, who did their best to evade them.

"That's it! I'm going to pour out those flames, and then use you as a piñata!" -Queen Bee yelled at Hot Tamale.

"Come at me then, pequeña abeja!" -Hot Tamale told Queen Bee.

Spinning her trompo and creating a shield with it, the bee heroine dashed towards Hot Tamale, intending to put an end to his antics. Seeing her, Hot Tamale pulled out his weapons and fired bursts of fire at her. Luckily, her trompo allowed her to keep the flames away, by continuously spinning it. Flying around him, she tried to find an opening in his defense and attack him. After a couple of seconds, she became tired of not being to find any opening, and allowed her temper to get the best of her, by throwing her trompo at him. But instead of hitting him, the trompo missed Hot Tamale, who threw her an explosive chilli pepper, which blew up in her face. The explosion did not burn her face, on account of her placing her arms in front of it, but it still threw her away, with her hitting the ground pretty hard. The only thing that prevented her from losing her senses was the fact that she did not land on her head.

"This is ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous! What's the matter with us today?!" -Queen Bee asked in frustration, as she slammed her fist against the ground. –"To think that because of this idiot, we're all here, instead of being in Jagged Stone's concert… it gets my dander up!" -she thought, as Louve Grise, who went to her aid, helped her up. –"We're used to taking care of Akumas like this guy, and for some reason, we're not even able to land a punch on him! It's like he predicts our every move!"

"I don't think he's predicting them. I think that his attacks are so random that he we just can't figure a way to counterattack them." -Arachnid said. –"Plus, those fire animals he keeps creating aren't making things easier." -he declared.

"Well, we better come up with a way to stop him, or else, the Luxembourg Palace will become a blazing pile of ashes." -Louve Grise said

"Not on our watch." -Flamingo said, as she and some of her copies landed near them. –"Let's try and attack him from all flanks. He can be fast and he might be in flames, but I don't see him having eyes on the back of his head, or on the sides. Back me up, Corbeau." -she told her girlfriend.

"Always." -Corbeau Noire said, as she and Flamingo and her copies dashed towards Hot Tamale, leaving Queen Bee and the others behind.

A little farther from the action, in a small portion of the garden, that was still untouched, Ladybug and Chat Noir, accompanied by Panda Roux and Dragonfly were hidden, watching the battle unfold. Chat Noir had arrived a few minutes before, after taking care of Reptile, who was particularly ferocious that day. Their battle took longer than the feline hero would like to admit, but in the end, he managed to defeat him, while making sure he would not come after him, or the others. When he arrived, his girlfriend and the others were trying to come up with a solution to end that battle, while Dragonfly took a bit to rest. Her shoulder was still aching, even though she would not say it, not wanting to worry her teammates.

They had all lost the track of time, but they knew that they had been battling that Akuma for more time than they wanted to. And they also knew that if they did not come up with a way to stop him, that battle could take all night, and they did not have that kind of time.

"This guy looks unstoppable." -Ladybug sighed, as she massaged her arm, where Reptile had stabbed her.

"Are you okay? Is your arm hurting?" -Chat Noir asked her.

"I'm fine, don't worry. –Ladybug smiled at Chat Noir. Like it happened with Dragonfly, she did not want worry anyone else, especially because in a matter of hours that pain would be gone, and she would be left with little more than a bruise, that would disappear in about two days. –"I'm more worried about how are we going to stop this guy. He seemed almost pathetic when we first arrived, and now, he's turned into one of the toughest Akumas we ever faced." -she said. –"It's a good thing we're out in the open. I don't even want to imagine the kind of damage he would do, if we were fighting him in a confined space."

"I've been observing him, and I may have an idea to stop him. But you guys have got to get him to come near me." -Panda Roux declared.

"What do you have in mind?" -Dragonfly asked him.

"Ammonium polyphosphate."-Panda Roux said.

"Amo-what?" -Chat Noir asked, puzzled by what he had heard.

"Ammonium polyphosphate. It's basically flame retardant. I remembered it from our chemistry class with Miss Bustier, last month." -Panda Roux explained them. –"I'm thinking about drawing a large cannister filled with it, and then spraying him with it." -he said. –"Right now, his body is in flames and we can't even get near him, without getting burned. Sabrina already tried to freeze him, but the flames are so hot that they just melt her ice away in seconds. So, I think that if I spray him with that, the flames will be put out, at least for a little bit, and the strongest of us can take him out with everything he or she's got."

It was a clever plan. And usually Panda's plans, which rested on his creating powers, tended to work. Still, sometimes they did not, and there was always the chance that this could backfire on them. Even so, they were all beginning to get exhausted, and it was when exhaustion began to settle in, that they would often make mistakes. They had to risk it, and take down Hot Tamale, before any of them made a mistake that could cost them their lives.

"It could work, and he wouldn't be expecting it." -Ladybug said.

"There's one thing I forgot to mention. In order not to disperse the Ammonium polyphosphate from him, the attacks that we must use on him, will have to be physical, not magical." -Panda Roux pointed out. –"That means we can't rely on Chloe's tornados, or Sabrina's ice breath, or even Alix and Kim's superspeed attacks, because all of them will blow the polyphosphate away from his body." -he explained.

"What about my Cataclysm Bomb? Could we use it?" -Chat Noir asked him.

Cataclysm Bomb was a special attack that Chat Noir had been perfecting since Christmas-time. It consisted in him concentrating his trademark attack into a sphere and then release it. When he realized he could throw his attack at an enemy, he wondered if he could find a way to concentrate a significant amount of the energy from Cataclysm and then release it. And so, he began experimenting it, until he developed it, with a little help from Master Fu. When practicing it, his friends had playfully nicknamed it "Chat's Hadouken", because when he used it, he tended to use a voice like those of the characters from Street Fighter.

"I don't think so. It's magical, and the speed with which you'll shoot it, it will make the polyphosphate dissipate." -Panda Roux warned him.

"Maybe… But we could use it as the finisher." -Ladybug said. –"Let's say that after you spray fire retardant on Hot Tamale, we ask Max to hold him with his lasso, and then we ask Ivan to go against him with everything he has, softening him up. But that may not be enough… so, instead of letting Ivan do all the work, you use your Cataclysm Bomb on him, and finish the job… it could work." -she said, as she imagined it in her head. –"But, are you sure you can do it? Do you think you still have the strength to do it? Because if you don't, it might be dangerous to your well-being."

"Don't worry about me, bug-a-boo. I can do it. Just soften him for me." -Chat Noir said.

"Okay, but remember, we have to do this with the precision of a Swiss clock. We can't allow him to reignite his flames, no matter what." -Panda Roux warned them.

"It's a risk worth taking." -Ladybug told him. –"Alright, we have a plan." -she declared, while turning to Dragonfly. –"Go and tell the others what we have planned. And with the exception of Max and Ivan, the rest keep doing what they are doing. We can't let him even think that we are setting him a trap."

"You got it, Marinette." -Dragonfly said, as she was about to dash out of there, when she remembered one thing. –"Wait a moment, we forgot one last detail. How are we going to force him to come here?"

"Tell Kim to bring him here. If there's one person who can annoy an Akuma and lead him into a trap, it's him." -Ladybug told her.

"Roger that." -Dragonfly said, as she gave her thumbs up, before taking to the sky.

"Let's hope this works." -Ladybug thought to herself.

Quickly, and using her superspeed, Dragonfly warned her friends, one by one, about what they were going to do, while also dodging anything Hot Tamale or one of his fiery creations threw at her. It was not an easy task, given that she was trying her best not to move her sore shoulder, but she managed to do it. Following Ladybug's orders, the heroes continued to attack the Akuma, while Arachnid and Grizzly Bear slowly got ready to play their part in what they hoped, would be Hot Tamale's demise. Giving them an extra two minutes, it was only when he believed that they would be in position, that Antelope decided it was his time to shine. Running. He placed himself in front of Hot Tamale, who was then fighting Rena Rouge, and began what they all later would call "Operation: Firefighter".

"Hey, you in the ugly sombrero! Yeah, I'm talking to you! Come and get me, your overgrown bottle of Tabasco sauce! Come on! I'm right over here!" -Antelope insulted him, as he began to run from left to right. –"Don't tell me that with all those powers, the only thing you're going to do is just stand there and do nothing, while I mock you and insult you?! Come on, I can do this all day!" -he mocked Hot Tamale.

And just as Ladybug had predicted, Hot Tamale took the bait. Ignoring both Rena Rouge, who he was fighting with, and the rest of the other heroes, he began chasing Antelope, who promptly ran from there, ensuring that he would follow him. To also ensure he would not suspect a thing, the other heroes quickly threw out comments, telling Hot Tamale to come back and fight them, which he ignored. He was solely focused on Antelope.

"I'll burn you to a crisp, Antelope!" -Hot Tamale said, as he ordered his fiery mustang to canter faster. –"Andale! Más rapido! I'm going to show you just how hot things can get!" -he yelled at the hero, as he chased him.

Even as exhausted as he was, Antelope could still run circles around Hot Tamale. So, outrunning him would not be difficult. But he did not want outrun him. He just wanted to make sure he followed him. And Hot Tamale followed him, trying to burn him and blow him into smithereens. More than once Antelope allowed him to nearly catch up to him, before sprinting away from him. When he finally arrived at the place Dragonfly had warned him about, he stopped dead cold, and continued to mock the Akuma, who was closing in on him.

"You know one thing? I know we're supposed to call you Hot Tamale, but, quite honestly, the way you look now, you look more like a piece of meat that was left for too long in the fire, that actually caught fire!" -Antelope mocked him. –"So, I think that we should begin to call you Roasted Chicken… how do you spell that in Spanish, huh?!" -he laughed, as Hot Tamale and his ride stopped in front of him.

"You're going to regret calling me those names, chico. I'll burn you to cinders and I'll rip that miraculous of yours from your wrist!" -Hot Tamale exclaimed, as he was about to attack.

Out of the blue, Panda Rouge showed up from behind a bush, carrying a modified fire extinguisher filled with ammonium polyphosphate, and wasted no time in spraying Hot Tamale with it. Pressing the valve, a cloud of that white chemical covered the Akuma, putting out every flame in his body. In a matter of seconds, the fire horse he was riding disappeared, or extinguished himself, for the lack of better word, and Hot Tamale's whole body was covered with a layer polyphosphate, preventing him from lighting up. Coughing and sneezing, Hot Tamale did not have the time to react, as Arachnid made his move. Ordering his lasso to tangle to form a net shaped like a spiderweb, the spider hero threw it on top of Hot Tamale, who realized that he had been tricked into a trap, and tried to escape, by lighting himself up, only to fail.

"Que pasa?! What's going on?!" -Hot Tamale asked, as he tried to figure out why he could not light himself up.

"His flames are gone and he's restrained… release the Wolverine, I mean, the Grizzly Bear!" -Arachnid yelled, as he used all of his strength, just to prevent him from breaking the net.

Hearing Arachnid, Grizzly Bear jumped out of his hiding spot and proceeded to pound Hot Tamale. Seeing him, the Akuma tried to break free from his restraints, only for the bear hero to hit him right in the face. After that first punch, Grizzly continued to punch and kick him all over the body, taking a slight pleasure in working his torso. Each blow was more powerful than the previous one, as Grizzly continued his attack. He knew that if given the chance, Hot Tamale would be able to break free and reignite himself in flames, make it impossible for them to attack him, without burning themselves.

"Just a couple of more punches… come on, Ivan! You can do better than this. Put your back into it!" -Grizzly Bear thought to himself, as he continued to punch Hot Tamale in the abdomen and in the chest.

Grizzly's attack went on for what looked to him like an eternity. Punch after punch. Strike after strike, Hot Tamale was not even allowed to breathe, even though he tried to evade the bear hero's attacks, only for Arachnid to keep him in his place. Grizzly felt that he had given him the beat of his life, but kept punching him. He was not going to admit it to anyone, not even himself, but he was using him as a punching bag to unleash the anger of having his night ruined because of Hot Tamale and because of Hawk Moth. His plans for that night did not include fighting an Akuma. They only included going to a concert with his girlfriend and his friends.

"Hey, man! Leave something for me!" -Chat Noir said, as he got out of the place he was hiding. snapping Grizzly out of the trance he had gotten into, while beating up Hot Tamale.

"He's all yours, Chat!" -Grizzly exclaimed, as he finished his attack, by landing a punch on the left side of Hot Tamale's face, leaving him more dead than alive.

"Q-Que?!" -Hot Tamale said, absolutely –"Do you think… that this will stop me, mocosos?!" -he asked them, while trying not to pass out.

"Nope. But this will certainly will. It's lights out for you, Hot Tamale… Arachnid, if I were you, I would hit for cover, bro." -Chat Noir smirked, as he finished creating his attack. –"Cataclysm Bomb!" -he yelled, as he released the dark energy sphere.

Chapter Text

Hearing Chat Noir's advice, Arachnid let go of the net he had created with his lasso, and threw himself onto the ground. When Chat released the dark sphere, this one moved almost like it was in slow-motion, before dashing towards Hot Tamale at an incredible speed, hitting him on the chest. Upon impact, the energy from the Cataclysm Bomb spread all over Hot Tamale's body, sending him flying several meters into the air, before landing on the ground, inanimate. To those who had seen it happenings, it felt like they were watching it in ultra-slow-motion, with the body being thrown into the air and then hitting the ground the way it did. Still, it did not matter if what happened was a by-product of the attack, which felt like it had slowed time around the Akuma, or if it was just an optical illusion created by their brains. What mattered was that Hot Tamale was seemingly defeated and was now lying on the ground. The heroes all waited for the Akuma butterfly to get out of Hot Tamale's body, so they could destroy it, but it was taking a lot longer for that to happen. Wondering why the Akuma Butterfly had not appeared yet, one of the heroes went to check on the Akuma. The one who decided to do so was Grizzly Bear. Approaching Hot Tamale, he wondered if Chat's attack had been too powerful, because he looked like he was not breathing. Not seeing him breathing was scaring the bear hero, who was beginning to think that maybe he or Chat had exaggerated when taking him down.

"Please, let him be alive, let him be alive… the last thing we need tonight, is accidently killing an Akuma." -Grizzly thought to himself, hoping that Hot Tamale was simply unconscious. Touching him, Grizzly shook him, trying to see if he was alive or not. –"Hey, wake up!" -he said, only for Hot Tamale to suddenly lift his head and glare at Grizzly Bear, who got scared and fell on his butt.

"M-Malditos m-mocosos…" –Hot Tamale stuttered, cursing the heroes, as he lifted his right hand, trying to grab Grizzly's leg, before this one and his head fell the ground again, signalling that this time he was truly unconscious and beaten.

And with those last word, the black Akuma Butterfly left Hot Tamale's body, with this one returning to his human appearance, as every last one of his fiery creations also disappeared.

"Okay… first time that happens." -Grizzly Bear commented, as he got up, never taking his eyes from the black butterfly flapping its wings. -"Who wants to have the honour of getting rid of this nasty bug?" -he asked the others, as he continued to observe the Akuma butterfly.

"I will." -Panda Roux said, as he magically ordered his spear to return to its regular size. –"No more evil doings for you, you blasted Akuma Butterfly. I relinquish you from evil!" -he said as he shot his spear at the nasty insect, piercing it and destroying it.

"Nice shot." -Chat Noir said, praising him.

"Indeed, nice work." -Ladybug also praised Panda Roux, as she approached him and the others. –"And I think it's time I put everything back the way it was, or tomorrow, everyone will be asking why is there a burnt piece of land, where there should be a beautiful garden? " -she said, as she summoned the Ampulla Amulet.

Using it, a wave of magic spread all over the place, putting everything back the way it was, before Hot Tamale showed up. Once more, the power of that amulet had reversed things, making it look like it never happened. Shortly after, the rest of the team arrived, as Gustavo, who had been turned into Hot Tamale, slowly, but steadily regained conscience. Already awake, and seeing the Miraculous Heroes around him, he quickly realized he had been akumatized and began begging them for forgiveness. The heroes, already used to this kind of speech, quickly assured him that he was not one to blame for what happened.

"It's quite alright. It's not your fault that you were akumatized." -Louve Grise declared.

"Yeah, it can happen to anyone." -Arachnid said.

"I know, I know… but I shouldn't have let my temper get the best of me, when those guys insulted my food." –Gustavo sighed, feeling terrible about what happened.

"Hey, we're only human. There's no sweat." -Carapace said. Like everyone else in the team, he knew that words of encouragement were the best thing they could say to someone who had been a victim of akumatization. –"What matters is that you're back to normal, and that no one got hurt." -he said.

"Though some of us are going to feel incredibly sore in the morning." -Queen Bee thought to herself.

Though he continued to feel responsible, after a couple more encouraging commentaries from the heroes, Gustavo stopped blaming himself for all that happened, blaming Hawk Moth and his cronies, regaining what they all believed was his usual good humour. And with it, he proceeded to thank them the only way he could think of.

"You must allow me to thank you for turning me back to normal." -Gustavo told them. –"I know! Whenever you feel like grabbing a taco, or a burrito, or any other Mexican dish, just stop by my food van. Usually, my food van and I are near Notre-Dame, or near the Musée d'Orsay. Just look for the yellow van with a burrito on top of it, with bright orange letters. You can't miss it." -he stated.

It was not the first time that someone who owned any kind of food establishment, being it mobile or not, had graciously offered the heroes the opportunity to eat for free, whenever they wanted, and they knew this would to be the last one wither. Still, they would never take advantage on the people they saved, at least, not more than once a month, when they were on patrol or during an urban training session, and happened to pass by the place.

"It's a deal." -Ladybug said.

"Would be glad to pay you a visit, from time to time." -Flamingo declared. She was not a big fan of Mexican food, but she was sure Gustavo would have something in his menu that she would like.

"And we promise we won't take too much advantage of you. Especially Grizzly here, which you can imagine, has the appetite of a bear." -Antelope said, as he pointed at the bear hero.

"I do not! You always say that, just because I've got big bones!" -Grizzly Bear told him, slightly annoyed.

"Sure, big bones! We'll take your word for it, big guy." -Antelope joked.

With his spirits lifted, Gustavo decided it was time for him to go back to his food van and see if everything was alright with it. Hoping the heroes would visit him and try his Mexican delicacies, he bid them farewell, walking away. As he did this, the whole team could not help but to feel they had done a good job.

"Another satisfied customer, you might say." -Dragonfly commented, as she watched Gustavo walking away, at the distance

"You could call him that." -Queen Bee said. –"I'm glad we could help him out." -she said, as she stretched her arms upwards, knowing that once she turned back to her normal self, she was going to feel like her arms had been kneaded by a rolling pin.

"And looks like the media are here." -Rena Rouge said, as she saw various reporters with cameras at the distance, and making their way to where they were.

Like every other time they saved the day, the media always showed up to cover it, and in the end, to interview them and get a better understanding of the situation. Most of the times, they would be thrilled to say a couple of words to the cameras, assuring everyone in Paris that whenever Hawk Moth and his Akumas showed up, they would be there to save the day and ensure that things would go back to normal. But on that night, none of them were in the mood to be interviewed or photographed; nor only because they were sore and exhausted, but because they had their night ruined by that unfortunate incident.

"Yeah, but I'm not in the mood for interviews tonight. Plus, we don't have any time to spare." -Ladybug said, as she checked the time on her yo-yo/cell phone. –"We've got to get back at the arena, or when our parents, or whoever comes to pick us up from the concert gets there, and doesn't see us, they'll start asking questions." -she sighed.

"She's right. We've got to head back, and fast." -Flamingo said.

"Hate to do this to the media, but they'll just have to wait for the next Akuma attack." –Panda Roux said.

"Which hopefully, won't be any time soon." -Corbeau Noire commented. –"I don't know about you, but I for one don't want to have to deal with another Akuma during the next couple of days." -she said.

"Yeah, hopefully. Though I wouldn't bet everything I have in that happening." –Chat Noir said grimly.

And with those words, the heroes made their exit, fleeing in the opposite direction of the journalists that were coming to interview them. As much as they hated to do it, they just did not have the time that night for interviews. The media would just have to use their investigative skills to fill in the gaps of what happened that night, when reporting the news. Some of the journalists and reporters felt that was a little unfair for all the Miraculous Team to run away, without as much as answering a single question. But when it came to unfairness, they were not the only ones who felt that things were unfair. The whole team had had their share of unfairness that night, when they were forced to forfeit Jagged Stone's concert, and as much as they felt good about saving another innocent victim, who Hawk Moth used to create chaos in Paris, and lure them in order to get their miraculouses, they were also pissed about what happened to them.

"We've lost the concert. I can't believe we lost the concert." -Ladybug thought to herself. –"And it's all because of that psycho bastard, who keeps throwing these guys at us! It's because of him that neither I, nor any of the others can even have a night out and enjoy ourselves, like regular teenagers do. Curse you, Hawk Moth… curse you and your Akumas!" –she thought, as she hopped over a chimney.

She knew those thoughts she was having right then, were not the kind of thoughts a superheroine should have, after saving the day. But right then, Ladybug was not thinking like a superheroine. She was thinking like a teenager, who had her night ruined. A night that was supposed to be special, and in the end, ended up with her being stabbed by a psychotic lizard man, while also fighting another Akuma.

"I know we're the only ones who can deal with these situations, but is it too much to ask for us to be able to have a nice, quiet night, where everything goes our way? I mean, come on, it's not like I'm asking for the Moon here!" -Ladybug thought to herself, as she tried to ignore the pain in her arm, while swinging up the street. Carapace had done a good job healing her, but she was going to need to rest during the night for the pain to fully disappear. –"It's times like this that I hate having superpowers, and that I wished I was just a normal teenage girl, whose biggest dilemma right now, should be worrying about the exams that I'm taking next week, along with what I'm going to do after that. " -she thought.

And she was not the only one having such thoughts. Pretty much everyone else on the team were thinking the same thing. That their night had been ruined, and that it was this kind of situations that made them wish they did not have any superpowers.

"Curse that Hawk Moth!" -Antelope thought to himself.

"One night! Just one night! That's all I was asking!" -Rena Rouge mused to herself.

"One night for me to spend it with my friends, and with the girl I love. Is that too much to ask?" -Corbeau Noire asked herself.

"These miraculouses of ours, they're both a gift and a curse, that's for sure." -Forest Doe thought.

Their night was ruined, but they all believed that a few good hours of sleep would help them forget about how awful their night was, and that in the morning, they would not feel as bad as they were feeling, regarding what happened to them. Unfortunately, they were not that lucky. Sleeping helped them to heal the wounds and bruises they got during their fight against Hot Tamale, but it did not help them to forget just how a night that was supposed to be perfect, in every sense of the word, was ruined, because their mortal enemy decided to spread his malevolence and chaos in the streets of Paris, forcing them to save the city and undo the evil he had done to a poor, defenceless civilian, by turning him into an Akuma.

And when they arrived in school, their mood had not improved at all. At breakfast, most of them were forced to lie about what happened the night before, while putting up a cheerful face. They all told anyone who asked them, that they had enjoyed themselves a lot and that the concert was amazing. Lies and more lies. They did not like to lie about what happened, but they could not risk and tell the truth about what truly happened. And that was just the first round. The second round was already in class, when Miss Bustier asked them how the concert had been, and asked them if they had taken any photos or videos of the concert, and if she could see them, during lunch. They told her that they had not been allowed to photograph or record the concert, because Jagged Stone did not allow the audience to do it, but that they had taken several photos outside.

"Well, what's important is that you had fun." -Miss Bustier told them, with her usual melodious voice. –"I'll be wanting to see those photos, during lunch. But right now, we best start working. We've got to make sure that you are prepared for the exams next week." -she told them.

Classes went on, like always, until Miss Bustier was called over to the principal's office, and had to leave them temporarily alone. Still, she gave them some work to do, that would keep them busy, until she came back. Normally, everyone in class would do as Miss Bustier had asked them, because they did not like to disappoint her. But on that morning, they simply ignored what she told them to do, and as soon as she left, some of the exchanged seats, while others sat on the stairs or on the floor, and tried to get their minds off things. They knew that when she was called to the principal's office, it would be at least half an hour, before she came back, and they were going to take advantage of it. On that morning, they simply were not in the mood to anything. Most of them felt that whatever they did, it would not help improve their mood, or take their minds of what happened the night before. So, they just decided not to do anything, except talk.

"When I got home, I pretty much went up to my room, and fell asleep. My parents assumed that I was exhausted, because of the concert." -Marinette sighed. She and Adrien had barely spoke that morning, because Marinette arrived just seconds before the bell rang. –"If only they knew the real reason why I was bushed." -she sighed.

"Did they ask you if you had a good time?" -Adrien asked her. As soon as Miss Bustier left the classroom, he asked Alya to change places with him, so he could sit next to Marinette.

"They did." -Marinette sighed. –"It was hard for me to lie to them, but what was I supposed to do? Tell them that I didn't get to see the concert, because an Akuma showed up, and I had to go and stop it?" -she asked Adrien.

"Well, at least they still asked you if you had a good time. My dad didn't." -Adrien sighed.

"Your dad didn't ask you, if you had a good time?" -Marinette asked him.

"No, he didn't. When I arrived, he was still in his office, working, and he was so focused on what he was doing, that I'm still wondering if he heard me wishing him goodnight. And this morning, when I came down to have breakfast, he had already left for a meeting." -Adrien told her. –"So, yeah, last night he didn't ask me anything, and this morning, he wasn't able to, because he had already gone out. On the other hand, Nathalie asked me if I had had a good time, and if you and the rest of the gang also had a good time." -he said. –"But changing subject, I think we can both agree that last night was a total bust. But at least, we were able to share the car, on our way back, and spend a little time together, which helped a little."

"Yeah. That was probably the best part of the night." -Marinette smiled at him.

"You want to know something? It was only when I got home that I remembered about leaving Reptile trapped in a food van… if I had remembered about it, I could have gone back to where I left him, and try to beat his boss' lair location out of him." -Adrien admitted. –"With everything that happened, I completely forgot about him… shame on me." -he told Marinette.

"Well, if it's any comfort, if you had remembered about him, and gone to confront him, when you got there, he probably wouldn't be there anymore. Hawk Moth would make sure of that." -Marinette said, trying to cheer him up. –"Plus, you know how Reptile is. He wouldn't reveal where his master's hideout is, not even under torture. Neither him, nor any of the other minions. They're blindly loyal to Hawk Moth. We might as well face it that we won't be able to find out where Hawk Moth's lair is, by beating it out of one of the idiots that work for him." -she said.

"Maybe, but that won't stop us from trying." -Max said, interrupting their conversation, as he sat on the stairs, next to them. –"And just so you know, I haven't stopped trying to pinpoint where his hideout really is. Sooner or later, I'll find a pattern, that will allow us to find it." -he said.

"Well, if there's someone who can do it, it's you, Max." -Ari said, as he got out of Max's pocket and landed on the boy's right shoulder. –"I keep telling you that." -the spider kwami stated.

"Indeed, you do. I just wish it was a little easier to do it, that's all." -Max told him.

A few rows higher, Mylene was seated next to Ivan. Kim followed her, along with Chloe and Sabrina, who did not feel like staying in their desks, just talking to one another. Like it happened with most of them, Mylene and Ivan did not talk much, preferring to just enjoy each other's company, and Chloe and Sabrina were not much in the mood to talk either that morning, preferring to remain mostly silent, enjoying the company of the others. So, it was up to Kim to do most of the talking for them.

"You know what we need?" -Kim asked them. –"We need to go out and unwind, somewhere, where no one will bother us." -he said. –"Since none of us has any extra-curricular activities this afternoon, we could do just that."

"If you're thinking about going to the movies, after classes, forget it. I'm not in the mood." -Ivan sighed. –"In fact, I don't' think any of us, is in the mood to go to the movies. Not to mention, that most of us are broke."

"Well, I'm not broke, but I'm not in the mood to go to the movies today." -Chloe said. –"I think after school I'll just go home and study for the exams next week. If I don't get good grades, daddy will take my credit cards away." -she sighed.

"Do you want some company?" -Sabrina asked her. –"They say it helps to study with a partner." -she said. Like everyone else, she was feeling down, and since she too had to study, she believed that studying with her best-friend would help her feel a little bit better, not to mention, it would make studying a lot easier.

"Sure, why not?" –Chloe said, casually. –"If I have to cram all that information into my head, I might as well do it with someone else, by my side. Plus, it's always nice to have Sabrina's company." -she thought.

"Oh, come on, don't tell me you guys are going straight home?! Look, I know that none of us is in the mood to do anything… heck, we're doing nothing right now, instead of working on what Miss Bustier told us to work on." -Kim told them. –"If that's not a sign that we desperately need to do something that will make us forget missing the best concert ever, I don't know what it is." -he said.

"You're probably the only one who feels like doing anything today, Kim." -Mylene told him.

"Hey, it beats going home and do nothing, until I feel like studying for a bit." -Kim declared. Clearly, he was against the idea of doing nothing that day. Which would explain why he was the only one in that small group that was talking nineteen to the dozen.

"Well, I'm not in the mood to do anything. And whether you like it or not, we all have to study. You would do good to go and study, as well." -Mylene said. –"Your previous grades were not exactly very high, remember?" –she asked him.

"Yeah, well… maybe I'll just go home and study, who knows?" -Kim said. Unlike the others, he did not feel like doing anything that day. He needed to do something to keep his mind busy, and to make him forget about what happened. –"Or maybe, I'll just go for a walk on my own… I'll decided, when the classes are over." -he thought to himself.

But Kim was not the only one who was motivated to do something that day. Alya herself also felt that doing nothing, and just talk was not going to improve her mood. So, she decided to do something productive. Something that caught the eye of Marinette, who momentarily turned her head to ask her something and saw the mess of papers that were scattered on top of her best-friends desk.

"What are you doing there, Alya?" -Marinette asked the brunette.

"Something I've been trying to do for the past week, but haven't had the time to do it. I'm trying to finish updating my album of exploits." -Alya said, as she carefully glued a newspaper clipping, next to a similar one. –"I was hoping to do it, during lunch hour, but given things, I'm going it now… there, perfect." -she smiled.

"You have an album about yourself?" -Adrien asked her, puzzled.

"Not of me… Of us all." -Alya said, as she flipped back a couple of pages and showed them some of the work, she had put into it. –"You see? It's an album about us, as a superhero team. I divided it into different subjects. Heroes, Akumas, Major Events, Minor Events, Charity Events, Interviews, and so forth." -she said. –"I decided to collect all kinds of news articles, images and photos, both from newspapers, news websites, blogs, including the Miraculous Blog, run yours truly, with a little help from Nino and Max, of course, and place them all into this album, which at the rate that I'm adding things, will have to be expanded into a second volume, very shortly."

Looking at the pages of the album, both Marinette and Adrien were astonished with the work Alya had put into it. Under every photo or article was something written. She had written where the photo or article had come from, as well as its date. Not only it was the kind of work one would expect from an aspiring journalist, it was also a work of both love and dedication.

"How long have you been doing this, and why didn't you tell me about it?" -Marinette asked her, curious. –"I thought that as best-friends, there weren't any secrets between us," -she said, with Alya rising an eyebrow at her. –"Okay… any secrets that have to do with our separate love lives, better?"

"Much better." -Alya chuckled. –"And why I haven't told you about this? Well, I guess it must have slipped my mind, girl." -she admitted. –"But don't be upset. Nino, here, didn't know about it, until last month, when he came to visit me and caught me working on it."

"Yeah. It was a bit of a surprise… though, to be fair, I only found out about it, because the twins dragged me into the living room, where you were, and you had all these photos and articles spread all over the floor." -Nino said.

"Well, I have to say that this is something really impressive. I thought you would be the kind of girl who would have something like that, but instead of being a physical one, it would be a digital one." -Adrien admitted.

"Oh, I do have a digital one. But I also keep a physical one, in case the digital one suffers an accident." -Alya said. –"And answering your question, I pretty much began working on it, after we battled Haute Couture. Which is to say that I began working on it, when I saw that we were going to have a career as superheroes." -she smiled, before grabbing another newspaper clipping and reading it. –"Let's see what says in this one… Arachnid foils and Carapace cheer up little girl's birthday party". This one goes to the Charity section."

"Oh, yeah, I remember that one. Max and I were on patrol, after school, and we heard a loud noise, coming from a rooftop, so we decided to check out. Turned out to be a father shooting fireworks to commemorate his little girl's birthday." -Nino said. –"At first, the little girl and her friends thought that her parents had hired someone to dress up like us, to perform a couple of tricks." -he stated. –"It was only when he did a couple of unique stunts that they all realized we were the real deal."

"Plus, the cake was really good." -Max admitted. –"We should have asked where they got it." -he joked.

It did not take long for the rest of the class to hear the conversation and to gather around the four of them, as Alya continued to work on her scrapbook album. Even Nathaniel, who had remained in his seat, working on a pair or two of drawings, just to keep his mind busy, had decided to join the others and check the scrapbook that was attracting everyone's attention. Since everyone was interested in seeing just how the album looked like, Alya stopped working for a bit, and flipped through some of the pages, showing them, what photos and articles she had placed in each section. The kwamis, most of which had not left their usual hideouts, also decided to satisfy their curiosity, and did not take long to join the teens, as Alya carefully and patiently flipped through the pages.

"We sure helped out a lot of people over these last months." -Alix said, as she looked at a photo where she was with Kim, as Dragonfly and Antelope. –"Oh, I remember this one here. It's from when we stopped that bus from falling into the Seine. That was a good rescue there." -she said, remembering it.

"Yeah, it was a really good rescue. But you could have tried to find a better photo of me for this particular event, Alya." -Kim said as he looked at the photo and saw that he had his eyes were half-closed. –"I don't look good on it." -he said.

"What did you expect? You always look bad on photos, Kim. Not even the best photographer in the world could make you look good on them." -Alix joked.

"Hey! I resent that comment!" -Kim shot at Alix.

"Well, resent it away. You know that's true." -Alix shot at him.

"Guys, come on, don't start fighting now!" -Daria told them both.

"Yeah! Why can't you two just get along nicely, like Daria and me?" -Imp asked them. –"Now stop with that, and let us continue to look at the scrapbook in peace." -he told them.

"Fine!" -Alix and Kim sighed in chorus.

Quickly forgetting what happened between Kim and Alix, the whole gang continued to examine everything that Alya had placed inside the scrapbook. And the more they saw, the more remembered of things that had happened. Some of which they had forgotten about.

"Hey, look at this one here. This one is from when we stopped that robbery in broad daylight, and the guys tried to make us think that their guns were real, when they were just squirt guns, painted black." -Rose said, as she pointed at the photo in question. –"Do you remember it, Juleka?" -she asked her girlfriend.

"How could I forget? I was so gloomy that day, that that was the first time I smiled that day." -Juleka smiled at Rose.

Looking at the scrapbook, brought them all some very fond memories. Memories that were only possible because of the work they did as the Miraculous Team. It was true that because of their secret life, they had been forced a few times to cancel plans or to pass on a couple of invitations. Still, at the end of the day, they would not trade the lives they now had for any others. And with that in mind, Kim came up with an idea to do something that afternoon, he was sure that everyone was going to love, wasting no time in telling them about it.

"You know what? Why don't we take last night's invitation from the guy we saved, and put it to good use?" –Kim asked them. –"After classes are over, why don't we go out? We'll go for a quick work out session on the rooftops of Paris, and then, we pass by the Musée d'Orsay and Notre-Dame, see where the Mexican food van is, and grab a bite? What do you say?" -he suggested to the rest of the gang.

Compared to Kim's initial idea of going to the movies after school, that one was actually a good one. After what happened to them the night before, they needed to do something that would make them forget the fact that they were forced to miss the best concert ever. Something that did not involve going home right after school, and sulk in front of the television or the computer, while trying to gather the strength to begin studying for their exams. A brief urban training session sounded like a nice idea to them all.

"I'm not against going for a little training session in the city. But don't you think that we'll be abusing a little of the invitation the guy made us?" -Adrien asked.

"Adrien's kind of right. Should we even do that already? I mean, it's not even been 24 hours, since he invited us to stop by. The guy will probably think that we're taking advantage of him." -Nino pointed out.

"I'm with Nino on this one." -Rose said.

"Well, I'm not. You guys should go for it." -Flint said.

"I usually don't agree with Flint on these things, but maybe you should do this. It's not wrong for you to do this. After all, he did invite you." -Wayzz said.

"If even Wayzz agrees with me, then I think it's alright to do it. We saved the guy's life and prevented him from hurting anyone, while he was akumatized. And like I said before, he was the one who told us to show up in front of his food van, whenever we wanted." -Kim said.

Kim kept insisting on the matter, and soon it was not only Flint and Wayzz the only kwamis telling their holders they should do that little stunt after school. One by one, everyone agreed to do what Kim was proposing, believing it would do them good. Everyone, except Marinette.

"I don't know, I've got things to do." -Marinette said. She had to continue to work on Alya's birthday present, if she wanted to have it ready for her birthday the following week. –"And I don't want to be a spoilsport, but we all have to study." -she said. She was not really in the mood to study for the exams, but she knew that if she did not begin to study for them, and postponed it, it would be harder for her to get good grades, and that would get her into trouble with her parents.

"Come on, Marinette, it'll only be for an hour or two." -Rose told her.

"Yeah. Everyone's going. It'll be weird if we didn't have our leader with us." -Mylene smiled at her.

"If you don't want to come, you don't have to come, bugaboo." -Adrien smiled at he, knowing that if she was saying she had things to do, they ought to be important for her to say it. –"But it won't be the same without having our fearless leader to cheer us up, like you always do… especially for me." -he told her, while making sad puppy eyes at her. –"Come on. It's only for an hour or two. I'll even accompany you home, when we're finished."

"Oh, no, don't you dare! Giving me that sad puppy eye look should be considered illegal, Adrien Agreste! You know fully well what happens when you use them on me!" -Marinette said in a playful tone, as she placed her hands over her eyes, so she did not to look at him.

"Then, don't make me use this trick on you." -Adrien said, as he gently forced her to remove her hands from her eyes. –"You know you can't resist me and my charms." -he joked at her.

That last joke made everyone in the classroom laugh, teenagers and kwamis. The whole scene was hilarious, to say the least. There was just something sweet and funny about it, that made everyone laugh. And after resisting for a couple of more seconds, Marinette agreed to also accompany the rest of the class on the little urban training session.

"Oh, alright, you convinced me. Count me in too." -Marinette laughed, before turning her eyes to Tikki. –"Remind me to get you the double of the chocolate chip cookies tonight, Tikki." -she told her kwami, knowing that because of that little stunt she and the others were going to do, Tikki was going to have to lend Marinette her power again, in such a short period. Just doing that, meant that she deserved twice the usual plate of cookies, in Marinette's book.

"You don't have to do it, but I won't say no to those cookies." -Tikki smiled. Even if Marinette would only give her the same number of cookies, she usually did, or even one cookie, the scarlet kwami would be happy to lend her, her powers, if that helped cheering her up a little.

Chapter Text

When he opened his eyes and looked at the clock on his bedside table, this one marked almost 15 o'clock. Jagged Stone had slept more than thirteen straight hours. And after the show he pulled, he had earned those hours of sleep. Stretching his arms, he felt relaxed, even if parts of his body still ached from the night before. One could say that he did not feel like he had just finished a world tour, devoided of energy. He felt great. Getting up, he quickly put on his night robe and opened the curtains, allowing the sunlight to enter the bedroom. Looking outside, he saw that it was a beautiful afternoon.

"I can never get tired of this view." -Jagged Stone said, as he looked outside and saw the Jardin du Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower. –"This place was worth every penny I spent on it."

Rock stars are known for many things, including buying things which they don't need. But Jagged was not one of them. He had invested his money wisely over the years, and had only bought things he knew he was going to use, or that would look great on him or on one of the many houses he owned. And when he decided that he wanted a house in Paris, he made sure he bought the best, at the best price. The penthouse he bought facing the Place du Trocadero and the Palais de Chaillot was one of the largest on the real estate market, and also one of the most expensive ones. But when he laid his eyes on it, he knew he had to buy it, and that meant renegotiating the price, until reaching an agreement with the owners. It was a tough battle, but he ended up getting what he wanted. He kept most of the décor as it was, while painting a couple of walls purple and black, and adding a couple of things, like a recording studio, to make it look like a home, where he could just unwind and relax, when in Paris. But that was not just his home away from home. It was also the home of Penny and Charles "Chuck" Landon, his manager, who at the time had flown back to the U.S. to take care of an issue concerning his family.

Knowing it was already too late for breakfast or lunch, but too early for dinner, Jagged Stone decided he would settle for a cup of coffee and a little snack, until it was time for a proper meal. There were many scents that he loved, and one of them was freshly made coffee. That was exactly what he needed right then, as he made his way to the kitchen. Jagged had always been someone who liked coffee, but he only began loving it, the first time he toured around Europe. It was then that he understood the difference between American coffee and the different kinds of European coffee, which had nothing in common with the American one. Whatever the kind was, European coffee was far superior, and when he bought that penthouse, one of the first things he bought for it was a deluxe expresso machine, so he could have the best coffee in town, without the need to go out and get it.

"There… black as the blackest night, no cream, no sugar. Just the way I love it. A delicious cup of coffee." -Jagged said, as he finished making it.

Already with the cup of coffee in his hand, he went looking for something sweet to go with it. He never poured any sugar in his coffee, because he believed that coffee should be drunk simple. But having a sweet tooth, he always drank his coffee, while eating a sweet. Whenever he was in Paris, the house staff would always make sure to fill up the kitchen's pantry and refrigerator with all kinds of good things. And among those things were Jagged's favourite French treat, macarons. He had tasted numerous macarons, some from the best pastries in Paris, but his favourite ones were from a small neighbourhood bakery, the Dupain-Cheng Bakery, which his agent, Penny, had found out about, and brought with her once, when enjoying a day out.

"Ha! There you are!" -Jagged said, as he took the pink box of macarons with the Dupain-Cheng Bakery logo on it, from inside the refrigerator and placed it on the counter, opening it. –"The best macarons in Paris. Since I'm going to stay in the city for at least a month, I better make sure that there are more of these beauties, for when I'm in the mood for something sweet. light and delicious." -he said as he grabbed three, before biting one of them. –"Mmm… delicious. Either I'm hungry, or these, taste even better than the last time."

With the macarons in one hand and the coffee cup in the other, Jagged Stone made his away to the living room, where he sat on one of the sofas. Shortly after, he heard footsteps approaching, and immediately recognized the two distinct steps. The first ones were Penny's and the second ones were Fang's. He also heard the rattling of Fang's leash, which meant that they had just arrived from the street, where Penny had taken Fang for his daily walk. Entering the living room, Jagged's pet crocodile roared happily at him, as Penny let go off his leash. She looked a bit exhausted, which was no surprise. Taking a crocodile for a walk in a city as busy as Paris had that effect on a person.

"Hey, Fang! Hey, buddy, come here!" -Jagged said, as the crocodile walked towards him, panting with happiness to see his master. –"How's my favourite crocodile, huh?!" -he asked Fang, as the crocodile climbed onto the couch and sat, while licking Jagged's face. –"Hey, hey, hey, what did I tell you about the drool, buddy?"

"He looks happy to see you." -Penny said.

"As always… thanks for taking him on his daily walk, Penny" -Jagged Stone thanked his agent.

"Anytime. Oh, and good morning to you, or should I say, good afternoon?" -Penny asked Jagged. –"I see you woke up in a good mood." -she said, as she sat in the sofa opposite of Jagged. –"Sleeping until 3 in the afternoon, after a concert. That is certainly a new record for you."

"The show last night really drained me." -Jagged Stone said, as he continued to pet Fang. –"Like Brian Addams said in the "Summer of 69", I nearly played until my fingers bled. But it was worth it, just to see the reaction on every fan's face." -he said, as he sipped his coffee. –"A musician just can't get enough of that, no matter what they say."

"Well, there's no surprise there. I should know, I was there too, remember? And like always, the show was quite something. The critics and the media are calling it your best end of tour concert ever. And I'm not even talking about the fans, who keep posting reactions to the concert online." -Penny declared.

"Don't tell me I made the front pages again?" -Jagged Stone asked her, as he allowed Fang to rest his head on his lap. It would not be the first time that happened to him.

"Nope. You were relegated to pages 10 and 12 of most national and international newspapers, and the same thing could be said about most news websites." -Penny admitted. –"The Miraculous Team were the ones who made the front pages, again." -she smiled.

"Those kids saved the day again, huh?" -Jagged Stone asked her, as he kept sipping his coffee.

"They did, last night, while you were performing." -Penny said, as she looked for a news articles on her tablet, to show Jagged. –"Here, take a look." –she said, as she showed him the article from "Le Figaro".

The article of "Le Figaro" featured a photo of Ladybug and Dragonfly fighting Hot Tamale, and in bold letters, one could read "Miraculous Heroes Save the Day".

"Well, good for them, and also for the rest of Paris." -Jagged said, as he nibbled a macaron. –"If I had been relegated to the middle pages by some sleazy politician or a second rate musician, I would probably be a little ticked off by it. But if it was because of this city's team of superheroes, I'm glad I did, because that means they did a good job saving the day." -he admitted. Like most people, he too loved them, and having been saved by them once, Jagged could count himself as one of the people they had saved.

Jagged and Penny continued to talk a little longer about how the concert had gone, before she decided to tackle a matter which Jagged was not the least bit interested. His agenda for the following weeks. And before she could tell him what appointments he had scheduled, he promptly told her what was on his mind, regarding that matter.

"Cancel everything, Penny." -Jagged Stone told her. –"Cancel everything that I might have scheduled for the next three weeks. After last night, I think I earned some rest and relaxation, at least, until the end of the month." -he sighed.

She understood what he was telling her. But still, she had to do her job, and tell him what he had scheduled for the following weeks. He told her to cancel every last one of his commitments. But when she reminded him of an appointment his manager had arranged, he promptly told her what she knew he would say, regarding that appointment.

"Penny… we talked about this, over and over. I'm never going to do a duet with XY." -Jagged sighed.

"I know that, Jagged, but I'm merely telling you what's on your schedule." -Penny told him. –"And before you say anything else, remember, it's Chuck who takes care of this kind of appointments, not me. And he told me to insist on this matter. He wants you to do this duet." -she said.

"Penny, please, don't make me repeat myself, again." -Jagged Stone begged her, already knowing that speech he was going to give her by heart. –"I am a rock and roll superstar and legend! My name is already written on the stars above us, for the rest of eternity, along with the names of some of the best rock musicians ever like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Keith Richards, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Bono, Stevie Nicks, Kurt Cobain… just to name a few." -he said. –"I'm not going to lose my time or anyone else's, by playing next to a kid, whose lack of talent, makes Justin Bieber sound good, and you know just how bad I think Bieber is. I'm not doing that, and that's final."

"You know that Chuck's not going to like it, when he hears that you said that. Especially because he is Bob Roth's friend, and Bob is asking Chuck to convince you to do this duet." -Penny told him.

"I don't care about what Chuck thinks or whatever kind of favours he thinks he owes to a dirt bag like Bob Roth. I'm not going to do it, and that's that. And if he had half a brain, he would cut all ties with Roth. That guy is scum… no, not scum, he's worse than scum. I mean, even his name says just how much of a low-life he is. And I'm not even going to talk about that ridiculous white moustache he has. Why do you think I never signed with him?" -Jagged Stone asked her.

Jagged and Bob Roth had quite the story together. Ever since Jagged had begun solo that Roth had tried to become his manager. At the time, Jagged still did not have Chuck as his manager, but another one, an older man named Lyle Roberts, who had taught him a lot about the musical world, before he retired and Chuck got the job. And what Lyle had taught Jagged, during the time he was his manager, was that there would always be men that would do anything to take advantage of him and any other musicians out there, just in order to make a quick profit, even if that meant ruining careers. With that in mind, when Lyle retired, and Jagged needed to find a new manager, he immediately refused Roth's offer to be his new manager, telling him that he was not interested. This, of course, did not prevent him from attempting, from time to time, to convince him to reconsider on his offer, telling him that with him as his manager, Jagged would make so much money, that he would need five lives to spend it. Just the way he spoke about it, the rock star knew that he was not thinking about how much money he could help him gain, but how much money he himself would gain.

"Because he's worse than scum." -Penny said.

"Dang right, he is. Bob Roth with that stupid moustache of his, only sees dollar signs in front of his eyes, and I hate that kind of people. They've no respect for anyone, but themselves, and they don't care who they have to sacrifice, just to get what they want… bunch of low-life leeches, that's what they are." -Jagged said. –"And let me tell you something, if he ever tries to come over and ask me to reconsider his proposition of letting him be my manager, or ask me to play a duet with his son, just so he can make money, again, I'll let Fang here, bite his hand off, or even one of his legs. I mean it, Penny." -he declared, as Fang roared angrily. Like his owner, the crocodile did not like Bob Roth, one bit. –"He and his kind, along with failed musicians, who don't have a shred of talent in their bodies, are people who I don't associate with. I may be a little harsh on that matter, but I didn't get where I am, by cutting corners or making decisions that felt shady, to say the least, Penny."

"I know you didn't, and you don't have to explain yourself to me. I don't like Bob Roth or his son either." -Penny declared. -"And forgive me for asking you this, but is that really your final answer on this matter?" -she asked him. –"I'm only asking it, because once I tell Chuck this, he's going to be really mad at you."

"It is, Penny. And if Chuck says anything regarding that matter, you let me talk to him, so I can give him a piece of my mind." -Jagged told her.

"Alright." -Penny said.

"You know that when dealing with people, I value their talent, more than anything else. And you know that there have been a couple of musicians that I helped with their careers, over the years, by playing with them, and I loved doing it. But they all had talent, which is something XY doesn't have. Believe me, if that kid had, even the slightest shred of musical talent in his entire body, I would gladly play a duet with him. I would even ignore the way he dresses, the way he speaks and acts around most people, just to make it work… but he doesn't have it." -Jagged Stone declared. –"The kid's only a pretty face, and that might help him sell a couple of records now. But good looks alone aren't enough in the music world, and they don't last forever. In a couple of years, someone younger will show up, and replace him as the newest hot session in the music world, and then, nobody will even remember who XY was, except maybe a couple of fans he might have." -he said, knowing what he was saying was one of the harshest truths in the musical world.

Jagged had only met XY in person once. When he and his father/manager showed up in one of Jagged's concerts, so he could meet him, and perhaps arrange a duet between the two of them. Jagged only had to talk to XY for a couple of seconds to see just how shallow, vain and untalented he was. The way XY looked, walked and even acted around him, showed that he only cared about his looks and how pretty he thought he needed to be for his fangirls. It was obvious to Jagged that he saw the music business as that, a business, where the more one acted and dressed up like a clown, the more people would notice him, especially if they were teenagers, who listen to any singer with a pretty face. But Jagged could have let that slip, if it had not been for the way he talked to him. The way XY talked to him, made Jagged feel like the kid, which was what he was, was talking to someone his own age, or someone who he had gone to kindergarten with. He did not even show him the proper respect, when talking to him, when Jagged did his best, not to talk to him as if he was a kid, who did not understand a single thing about music. The experience alone made him decide that he would never waste his time with XY or the likes of him.

"I don't like to use this word, but I will, for the lack of a better one, Penny. Xavier-Yves Roth, or XY as he calls himself, is a loser. And I'm not going to waste my time or effort with a loser like him." -Jagged stated.

"Fine, forget about XY. I'll call Chuck and tell him about your decision, and then, I'll call that that disgusting Bob Roth, and warn him, that you're not going to play any duet with his son, not now, not ever." -Penny said, as she erased that appointment from Jagged's schedule on her tablet. –"Regarding the other appointments you have, I'll cancel them as well, so you can relax a little." -she said.

"Thanks. Believe me, I'm going to enjoy these next few weeks." -Jagged said, as he finished his coffee. –"I'll try to catch up on my readings. I still need to finish The Witcher saga. And who knows? Maybe I'll compose a whole new album." -he declared

"I can imagine it."–Penny said. –"I'll cancel every appointment… except maybe one." -she said, as a sly grin appeared on her face.

"What are you talking about?" -Jagged asked her, knowing that whenever that grin showed up on her face, she had something up her sleeve. –"Come on, spill the beans. What's that appointment you're talking about?" -he told her, as he petted Fang's head.

"Well, it's not exactly an appointment. At least, not yet. It will depend on your answer." -Penny told him.

"Penny, please, stop teasing me and tell me what you're talking about." -Jagged asked her. If there was one thing, he hated was for her to tease him, when she had good news.

"Alright, alright. I'll tell you." -Penny said, –"This morning, while you were still sleeping, you got an email from Paul Stanley." -she told him.

"Paul Stanley? The Paul Stanley? Paul "The Starchild" Stanley from KISS?" -Jagged Stone asked her, slightly surprised.

"Is there any other?" -Penny asked him, while rising an eyebrow at him.

"What did the email say?" -Jagged asked her.

"Well, he was asking you if you could do him and the rest of his band a little favour. The band that opens for KISS won't be able to play next week, when they give a concert right here in Paris, because their vocalist suffered a car accident, which will prevent him from playing over the next couple of weeks. They already found a replacement band, but they won't be able to open for them in Paris. So, because he knows that you are in Paris right now, he's asking if you would like to open for KISS, next week?" -Penny told him. –"Oh, and before I forget, they're willing to pay you, your usual fee when opening for a band." -she added.

Over his career, Jagged Stone had played with some of the biggest names in the music business. Some of them were even old favourites of his, as he grew up. And among them were KISS. When he was kid, KISS was already a big name, and as a fan of the band and its history, it had always been one of his dreams to play alongside them. And that almost happened twice, during his career, but lady luck was not on his side back then. But now, that was about to change. He was going to finally fulfil one of his dreams, while also adding a performance with one of the world's most famous rock bands to his repertoire.

"For KISS? I've been trying to play with them for years!" -Jagged exclaimed, unable to contain his enthusiasm. –"And it's finally going to happen!" -he said.

"So, I take it you're going to accept the invitation?" -Penny asked him, knowing what his answer was going to be.

"Well, it's a little on short notice, but who am I to deny him and the rest of the band my help? After all, in the words that were immortalized by Freddy Mercury, the show must go on! Tell him, that I feel honoured with this invitation, and that I'll do it. But on one… no, make that, two conditions. Don't worry, it's not going to be one of those crazy out of this world demands." -Jagged Stone told Penny, after she gave her the look she always did, whenever she felt he was going over the top about something. –"First, and since I'm opening for them, I want my merchandise to be sold, alongside theirs, and I'll be wanting a piece of what their merchandise sells that night. Let's say 10%, and if he asks, it's not negotiable. And second, I want to play three of their songs, alongside them. One of which has to be my favourite, "I Was Made for Loving You". That's all." -he told her –"I think I'm being pretty reasonable, right?"

"As reasonable as a rock star of your calibre can be." -Penny told him, deadpan.

"You know that one of these days that dry sense of humour of yours, might get you into trouble, Penny." -Jagged Stone playfully told her.

"Perhaps." -Penny answered him back, with a mischievous smile. –"But not today." -she told him. –"I'll send him your answer, and let you know if he and the rest of the band agree to your terms and conditions."

"Guess this musician still has one last gig to play, before he can go on a little vacation, buddy." -Jagged told Fang, who licked his face.

After classes were over, Marinette and the rest of her class exited school and quickly looked for a place where they could transform. Luckily, they were already experts on that matter. Having mapped the best places around school, to do such, they just had to get to the nearest one. Once there, they wasted no time assuming their superhero identities. And with it, the fun began.

As always, there was something magical about putting on the mask. Because when they put them on, they stopped being ordinary teenagers, and became beings capable of doing things that most people only dreamed of doing. And on top of it, they became the kings and queens of the rooftops of Paris, which they turned into their own personal playground. There was no limit to what they could do up there, and their urban training sessions were proof of it. Usually, before going into one of those sessions, they would come up with a plan on what they were going to do that day. But that day, was not a day like the others. On that day, they just wanted to take it slow. Do a couple of stunts, see who was the fastest performing those stunts, and then go out for a bite.

"Okay, everyone, let's start slow and then crank up things a notch…" -Ladybug declared.

"Speak for yourself. I've got a date with the clouds!" -Dragonfly exclaimed as she took to the sky. –"See you in a couple of minutes! Woohoo!" -she yelled, as she felt the wind against her face.

"Hey! I hadn't finished talking, you know?!" -Ladybug shouted at her.

"Let her go, girl." -Rena Rouge told Ladybug. –"You know that she loves to do that." -she said. –"Just finish your speech, and then let's go."

Doing as the fox heroine advised her, Ladybug quickly finished what she was telling the rest of the team, and the fun began. Between stunts and tricks, they saw the hour they had agreed to use for that urban training session go by in a flash. Before they knew it, it was over, and they had managed to crank up a sweat, even if the training session was more fun than business. But before they could call it a day, they still had one thing left to do. Doing good on the promise of checking the Mexican food van of the guy they saved the night before. Seeing as they were near the Musée d'Orsay, which was one of the two places where he told them they would find him, they decided to check it first. And as luck would have it, the yellow van with a burrito on top of it, with bright orange letters was standing on the sidewalk next to the museum's entrance.

As it was already a habit, the number of people outside the museum, waiting to enter was quite large. They knew, that as soon as they landed in front of the food van, they would have people asking them to take a selfie or to give them autographs, making it impossible for them to get the food. Which was why, during lunch hour, they had all decided that instead of going for bite as their superhero selves, they would go as their civilian selves. It was true that that way they would not get the food for free, and Kim was quite angry when they all decided that that was the best course of action. But at least, they would not end up retained, posing for selfies and such for the next couple of hours, without even being able to make an order. On top of that, Adrien told everyone that the snacks would be on him that afternoon.

Already on their civilian outfits, they made their way to the food van. The people on the street, as they passed by them, thought that they were just another class that had come to visit the museum. Looking at them, no one would even think that they were looking at the full team of superheroes, who defended the city of Paris, every time Hawk Moth created an Akuma. And the same thing could be said about Gustavo Salamanca. The owner of the "Los Dos Hermanos" Mexican food van, did not even suspect that the teenagers in front of them, were the same ones who had saved his life the night before. After a few hours of sleep, everything he went through the night before, felt to him like it had been nothing more than a crazy dream. Following the heroes' advice, he forgot everything that happened between him and the guys who had been responsible for his akumatization, and focused on cooking the best Mexican street food his hands and his Latino heart allowed him to.

Looking at the menu, which was a bit extensive, they all took a moment to decide what they were having. Some of them also took the time to ask Gustavo what some of the dishes were, and just how spicy they were. The scent of true Mexican cuisine was making most of them salivating in anticipation, while intriguing the rest that did not know much about that kind of cuisine. One by one, they all chose the one dish that seemed the tastiest to them, or the one that seemed most intriguing. The boys ordered things like burritos, nachos, tacos and tamales. As for the girls, some ordered nachos, while others decided to go for a quesadilla or a gordita. The only one who did not go for any of those things, because they were either spicy or mild-spicy, was Rose, who decided to try Picco de Gallo, while promising her girlfriend, who ordered a chicken burrito with extra cheese and jalapeños. But no matter how different their orders were, they all ordered the same side dish to go, French Fries seasoned with paprika and just a pinch of chilli powder.

As he prepared the orders, he asked them if they had come to the museum, and they all told them yes, making conversation. When he finished them all, he swiftly, yet, carefully placed each order, in a paper bag, and handed to them, while Adrien paid for everything. Almost everyone told him that they would pay him back later, but the blond told them that if anyone tried to do that, he would be extremely upset with them.

Finding a quiet place on top of a nearby building, they wasted no time in tasting the delicious snacks they had bought. Like Gustavo had promised them, everything looked, smelled and tasted delicious. Still, no matter how good and delicious it looked, they had promised their kwamis, that they would save a little for later, so they could taste as well. For a brief moment, none of them uttered a single word. They just stood there, savouring both their food and the view they had over the Seine. The Sun had hidden behind the clouds, but still, it would appear again in a matter of minutes. And with it, its warm light on that day that felt more like a spring day, than a winter day. The whole thing seemed almost magical.

"If we were in a Miyazaki movie, and we were the main protagonists, this would definitely be the part where the heroes would be celebrating, having managed to overcome an obstacle in their voyage or thwarting the bad guy, with a small feast, while wondering what would happen next." -Ladybug thought to herself. –"And in a way, I guess we are in that same kind of situation, except that the only thing we did was going out for a walk, per say." -she thought.

"Marinette? Marinette?! Earth to Marinette!" -Chat Noir called her.

"W-What?!" –Ladybug said, as Chat's voice made her mind come back from wherever her thoughts had taken her to.

"You seemed like your mind was on another place." -Chat Noir said. –"What were you thinking, ,milady?" -he asked her, with a kind smile on his face.

"Oh, nothing. Just some random thoughts, that's all." -Ladybug said, as she took a bite out of her quesadilla. -"I'm glad you guys convinced me to come." -she told Chat Noir. –"I was really needing this, more than I thought."

"What? A quesadilla?" -Chat Noir joked.

"No, silly kitty!" -Ladybug exclaimed, while playfully hitting her boyfriend on the left shoulder. –"I mean this. Hanging out, do some training and then eat a snack… I guess sometimes you don't know what you really need to make you feel better." -she said, before taking another bite from the quesadilla.

"You've got… a little something here." -Chat said, while picking up a napkin and wiped the little smudge of cheese she had on her cheek. –"There, much better." -he said, making her smile.

"Thanks, Adrien." -Ladybug smiled back at him, before taking another bite from the quesadilla. –"I think that… (cough)… (cough)…" -she coughed, after eating a spicier bit of the quesadilla.

"Are you okay?" -Chat Noir asked her.

"Y-Yeah, I am. This last bite had a little… (cough)… more spice than the previous one." -Ladybug said, with her face red, from coughing like that. –"Guess I am not a super fan of spicy food."

"Want to know something? Neither am I." -Chat Noir smiled at her. –"I'm more of a super fan of sweets." -he smirked at her. –"And there's nothing sweeter in the world than your smile, my sweet bugaboo."

"Oh, you silly kitty." -Ladybug giggled, as she placed a peck on his lips. –"Don't say those things, you're going to make me blush." -she continued to giggle.

But when it came to enjoying spicy food, there was one person in that gang that loved it, and that was Antelope. Because his parents owned an Asian restaurant, he was used to the strong flavours of Asian cuisine, some of which borrowed flavour from spicy ingredients. They were different from the ones used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, but they still packed quite the punch, and he loved them. So, it was no surprise when he decided to get the spiciest dishes in the menu.

"Don't know why those guys, who were the reason why Gustavo was akumatized insulted his food and told him that it wasn't spicy enough." -Antelope said, as he finished his first burrito and got ready to eat the second one. –"These have just the right amount of spicy, and you all know that I like my spicy food to be extra spicy." -he said.

"Who cares what went through their heads? They either had bad taste, or their taste buds were not working properly, along with their brain. The food's good, and I wouldn't mind eating it, once a week." -Dragonfly noted, as she ate a couple of French fries. –"Who would ever thought that this week, I would find out that I would find myself a new favourite kind of cuisine?" -she said, while taking a bite out of her tamale.

"Chloe, don't take this the wrong way, but try to eat the nachos with your hands, instead of using a fork and a knife'" –Rena Rouge told her, as she watched the blonde trying to eat her nachos, using them. –"Can't believe you asked for utensils to eat nachos. Just watching you trying to get one nacho at the time with those, it's almost surreal." -she said, while taking a sip from her orange juice.

"No way!" -Queen Bee told him. –"I'm not going to dirty my fingers. You know that I hate getting my fingers all greasy." -as she picked a couple of nachos using the fork.

"But if you keep eating them with a fork and a knife, the cheese will get cold, Chloe." -Chat Noir told her. –"Nachos are only good when the cheese is still warm and gooey. Take it from me. I'm always eating nachos when I go to the movies, so I know what I'm talking about." -he told the bee heroine.

"Besides, you are wearing your super suit. You're not going to get your hands greasy or sticky with the cheese, while wearing it." –Grizzly Bear pointed out, before taking a bite from the massive burrito he had ordered.

"But even wearing it, I can feel the gooey cheese. And the only piece of me that wants to feel that gooey cheese is my tongue." -Queen Bee said, as she picked a few more nachos with the fork.

"Hold on, I think I've got the thing for that." -Louve Grise said, as she went through the paper bag, where their orders were. –"I knew this would probably happen, so, I asked him to give me a pair of these." -she said, as she took a pair of plastic gloves from the paper bag. –"Now, you can eat those with your hands, without having to worry about getting your fingers greasy or feeling that you're handling gooey cheese."

"Sabrina, you're a lifesaver!" -Queen Bee exclaimed with a smile on her face, as Louve handed her plastic gloves.

"Oh, don't say that. I just happen to know my best-friend." -Louve Grise said, as she saw Queen Bee putting them on.

"Because of that, when we get to the hotel, I'm letting you choose what kind of massage we're going to try." -Queen Bee declared, as she finished putting on the gloves.

"I thought we were going to study for the exams next week." -Louve Grise pointed out, as she sipped her beverage.

"We can study, after the massage, Sabrina. After what happened yesterday, I wasn't able to properly relax and rest. Besides, we still have lots of time, before dinner." -Queen Bee told her, as she grabbed a few nachos and ate them. –"In fact, I've got an idea. When we get to the hotel, you call your parents and ask them to spend the night at my place. That way, we can study, and then before bed, we can watch a movie or something on the television." -she suggested her.

"I don't know, Chloe. It's a little on short notice." -Louve Grise said, as she ate a French fry. –"I don't know if my parents will allow me." -she told her.

"Oh, don't be like that. It's Friday!" -Queen Bee told her. –"I mean, if tomorrow wasn't Saturday, they probably wouldn't let you. But because it is, I'm sure they'll let you do it." -she said, before eating a few more nachos.

"No offense, but that the way you're talking about that studying session of yours, sounds more like you're planning a slumber party." -Panda Roux said, as he grabbed a handful of fries and ate them.

"I agree with Nathaniel. It really sounds like you're planning a slumber party, instead of a study session." -Flamingo said.

"Hey, that gives me a great idea! Here me out… Why we don't we have a slumber party, after the exams are out of the way?" -Forest Doe asked them. –"When was the last time we had a slumber party, all of us?" -she asked.

"Let me see… never. You girls never invited me, nor Sabrina." -Queen Bee answered her.

"Uh… actually, that's not true, Chloe." -Louve Grise noted, a little uneasy.

"They invited you?!" -Queen Bee asked her, shocked by what she had heard. –"And you attended it, and never bothered to tell me, your best-friend?!" -she asked her, upset with what she had found out.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry… I knew that if I told you about it, you would yell at me and you would get really mad. So, I decided not to tell you. I'm sorry, Chloe." -Louve Grise apologized to the blonde.

"Oh… forget it, it's in the past." -Queen Bee sighed, dismissing it. –"There's no point in getting mad for something that happened in the past." -she told the wolf heroine.

Hearing her say that, Louve Grise could not help but to chuckle lightly. And she was not the only one who did it. Some of the other heroes also chuckled or giggled lightly, which made Queen Bee ask them why they were chuckling. The wolf heroine swiftly told her that that her old self would have probably yelled at her and the others for not inviting her, and would then proceed to insulting them and telling them that she did not like any of them, while also adding that she was way better than them and that she did not need to attend silly slumber parties.

"Well, it's a good thing I'm not that girl, anymore." -Queen Bee smiled at her. –"At least now, you don't have any kind of excuse for not inviting me to a slumber party." -she said, as she sipped her soda.

"Indeed." -Flamingo chirped. –"Especially, because now you're way nicer than you used to be." -she told her, as she continued to eat her salad.

"I'll take that as a compliment." -Queen Bee told her.

"But going back to the slumber party idea, who's with me?" -Forest Doe asked.

"I am." -Corbeau Noire said.

"So am I. " -Flamingo told her.

"Count me in!" -Antelope exclaimed.

"Sorry, Kim, but it's a girl's slumber party. No boys allowed." -Forest Doe told Antelope.

"What?! No fair." -Antelope said. –"Why can't I and the rest of the boys go to that slumber party?"

"Because if you went, nobody's parents would allow us to do it, you ignoramus!" -Dragonfly shot at him. –"I mean, haven't you ever watched a movie with teenagers in your life? You never have sleepovers or slumber parties with boys and girls. Its either one with only girls, or one with only boys." -she said.

"The way you say it, it's like there's going to be a massive orgy between all of us!" -Antelope shouted annoyed at her.

"You and I, as well as the rest of us know that the odds of that ever happening are zero, Kim. But our parents don't know that." -Dragonfly pointed out. –"To them, we are teenagers, mini-adults with enough hormones in our system that they could probably be enough to launch a rocket to the Moon." -she said. –"There's no way they would ever allow us all to sleep in the same room."

"Please, you don't have to tell me that. I'm not dumb!" -Antelope shouted at her.

"Oh, yeah? Because most times, I think the only time you use your brain is to talk nonsense!" -Dragonfly shouted back at him.

"Nonsense?! At least I'm not the one, who when someone tells her something, it goes in one ear and out the other!" -Antelope exclaimed angrily.

"Please, Alix… Kim… could you two stop that?!" -Carapace asked them. –"Alix, there's no need to insult him. And Kim, there's no need to attack her like that. No good ever came from shouting." -he told them with a calm and serene voice.

"Fine!" -Antelope and Dragonfly sighed in chorus.

When they both said that, the rest of the gang laughed their heads off. Once more, Dragonfly and Antelope, through their mutual rivalry had managed to make their friends laugh with their antics. It was not the first time this happened, and everyone, including themselves knew that that would not be the last one either. And it did not take much for them to join their friends in laughter.

"Only you two can make us laugh like that." -Arachnid said, as he tried his best to stop laughing.

"Well, it's easy, when you have a nimrod like him, trying his best to get me mad at him." -Dragonfly declared.

"Hey!" -Antelope exclaimed.

"Guys, guys, let's not start this again, okay? I think one fight between the two of you, that ends up with all of us laughing like crazy, because of your antics, a day, is enough." -Grizzly Bear

"And regarding the slumber party idea, I think we can discuss that better, when the exams are over." -Ladybug said. –"But I can tell you one thing, it sounds like a great idea." -she declared.

Chapter Text

And while the Miraculous Team enjoyed themselves, on top of that building facing the river, deep underground, Reptile was anything but enjoying himself. For his failure, Hawk Moth had punished him harshly. During what looked like an eternity to him, he felt his body being continuously electrocuted. His master had been torturing him from the moment he teleported him, from inside the food van Chat Noir had locked him in, before going after Hot Tamale. But he did not start by electrocuting him. No, the first thing Hawk Moth did to him was to use Reptile’s own switchblade and cut him open with it. Reptile screamed from the top of his lungs, as Hawk Moth did this. He tried to beg for mercy, as his blood gushed out, running down his body and forming a pool blood at his feet, but the only thing that came out of his mouth were screams of pain, which echoed on the walls of the hideout. It was only then the psychotic villain began to electrocute him. Reptile had found out the hard way that for some reason, Hawk Moth’s lightning attacks, courtesy of his cane, caused his regenerative powers to become weaker. This meant that whatever wounds he had; they would take longer to heal. His master wanted him to suffer for his failure.

Watching him in silence, Madame Romani and Brutus both wondered how long his punishment would last. For their previous failure, Hawk Moth tortured the two of them for nearly two days. Madame Romani saw her mind plunged into nightmares. Nightmares so foul and so horrible, that a normal person would go insane, just from having them. As for Brutus, his punishment was lighter, but by no means, less horrible.   

He’s really taking his time with Reptile… not that that stupid lizard doesn’t deserve it. The Akuma he created was barely worth the Akuma Butterfly, it was used to create it.” -Madame Romani thought to herself. –“He needs to learn that one should not choose the first idiot he sees, who’s having anger issues, and ask our master to turn him into an Akuma.” -she thought.  

But unlike Madame Romani, who did not care for what happened to her fellow lieutenants, Brutus could not help but to feel sorry for what was happening to Reptile. Yet, just like their master, Brutus believed that Reptile should be punished for his failure, so as to not make the same mistake again.

He deserves to be punished. Once again, he has failed, and he must face punishment. Still, the master is perhaps being a bit too harsh on him.” -Brutus thought. –“He’s been torturing him for nearly a whole day now. It’s going to take Reptile more time than usual, to heal those wounds.” -he thought.

The pain he was in was excruciating. Reptile had been punished before, but this was the first time that Hawk Moth was taking his time torturing him like that. Usually he would electrocute him for a couple of minutes, or rip off one of his limbs, forcing him to grow it back. This time it was different. This time, Hawk Moth was taking his time with him. He would electrocute him over and over for countless minutes, or beat him up with his cane, after which he would just stay there, looking at him with his cold and uncaring eyes, until he felt like torturing him again.  

Most of his thoughts were clouded by the agonizing pain he was in, but even so, Reptile could tell that Hawk Moth was furious with him. Panting, with his arms shackled, and feeling his blood slowly running down his chest, Reptile tried his best not to faint again. He knew that if he lost consciousness again, his master would just wake him up, electrocuting him

“Tell me, Reptile. Do you know why I am punishing you?” -Hawk Moth asked him. Those were the first words Hawk Moth had spoken to him, since he teleported him back to the lair.

“B-Because… B-Because I failed you again, m-master.” -Reptile stuttered, trying to ignore the pain.

“Exactly.” -Hawk Moth declared in his usual cold and uncaring voice. –“Because you have failed me yet again, Reptile.” -he said, just before using his cane to strike Reptile on the face, breaking two of his teeth, which he spit to the ground.

After that, Hawk Moth electrocuted him once more, this time making him scream louder than before. He wanted Reptile to understand that he was not going to show him any mercy.

“P-Please! P-Please m-master… no more!!!” –Reptile screamed, begging him to stop. –“I will… not… fail you again, my master…” -he panted in pain.

“You better not, Reptile. Because if you fail me again… if you dare to waste one more of my beautiful and priceless Akuma Butterflies in an Akuma, who’s not strong enough to kill those infernal brats and destroy their miraculouses, the punishment that will be waiting for you, will make what I just did to you, look like something pleasant.” -Hawk Moth whispered to his hear in a cold, menacing voice, before turning to face Brutus. –“Brutus! Pick him up and tend to his wounds. He’s no good to anyone, if his wounds prevent him from performing the tasks, I give him.” -he ordered him.

“As you wish, master.” -Brutus said, as he rushed to help Reptile. –“I was beginning to think that he was going to continue to torture him for another day.” -he thought to himself.

“He should have tortured him even more, so that lizard brain of his understands what happens when one fails.” -Madame Romani thought to herself, smirking evilly, as she saw just how bad Reptile looked.   

“Once you’re able to stand on your feet again, you’re going back outside, and prove your worth.” -Hawk Moth told Reptile, as he continued to lay on the ground.

“Y-Yes… master.” -Reptile said, nodding his head, as Brutus helped him.

“Those infernal kids once again have proven to be a thorn on my side.” -Hawk Moth said, as he used magic to clean up the blood stains from his jacket and his shoes. –“And I’m beginning to think that perhaps I should be the one dealing with them… Still, I don’t want to repeat what happened during last Christmas.” -he thought to himself. –“For your sake, and I’m talking to the three of you now, you better not waste my Akuma Butterflies on prospects of useless and weak Akumas, or you will all suffer my wrath.”  

Hearing those words, for a second, all three of Hawk Moth’s lieutenants could not help but to feel like they had their heads lying on a stump, waiting for an axe to come down on them, and chop them up. And that feeling was not a pleasant one. They knew that their master would keep his word, when it came to punishing them for their failures.

The weekend went by in a heartbeat. And during that time, everyone in Miss Bustier’s class studied as much as they could. They all knew that the outcome of those exams was in their hands, and their hands alone. Luckily, thanks to their bond with the kwamis, they had an advantage that most people did not. That magical bond gave them an extra boost of energy, as well as the capacity for their brains to absorb large quantities of knowledge and process them. Unfortunately, that did not mean they would not get a splintering headache from all that studying. After all, they were still human, and more importantly, teenagers. Teenagers who wanted to do something else, than studying for their exams, no matter how important they were. And on that Sunday afternoon, they just wanted to go out and do something. The temptation to do it was quite big, especially when they were being tempted by numerous kinds of factors. One such example was at the Cesaire residence, where Alya was trying to study. She had spent those last two days studying every subject there was, and was beginning to feel both exhausted and crazy. To make matter worse, the twins had spent most of the weekend making noise, while playing. This made Alya wish that her dad had taken them with him, when he accompanied Alya’s older sister Nora, to Chartres, where she was to have a fighting match that weekend.      

She loved her younger sisters, but on that afternoon, she wished she was an only-child, like her best-friend, Marinette. Because if she was an only-child, she would not have to hear the giggles and the little screams Ella and Etta were making. She had asked them countless times to not make so much noise, so she could concentrate, but 15 or 20 minutes after she had asked them this, they would restart to giggle and talk the way they were before.    

“I really need a break… a break from those two little devils.” -Alya sighed, as she kept hearing her twin sisters making noise. –“I can’t keep studying with those two giggling and yelping like that, I just can’t.” -she sighed again, although this time, she was determined to stop that. Getting up from her chair, she exited her bedroom and went to ask help to the only person she knew could help her, who happened to be in the kitchen. –“Mom, please, tell those two Sapotis to stop making so much noise. I need absolute silence, so I can study.”

She did not want to resort to asking Marlena for help, but the little devils would just not stay quiet. And it did not take long for Alya to get the silence she much requested. Once they heard their mother calling them, asking them to keep it down, so their older sister could study in peace, Ella and Etta ceased their noise.  

“Finally, some peace and quiet.” -Alya thought to herself, as she sat in front of her desk and resumed working.

Unfortunately, it did not take long for Alya to realize that peace and quiet were not going to be enough for her to be able to study properly. After reading her notes for the tenth time in a row, she began to feel that the more she read them, the less knowledge her brain was absorbing. At first, she tried to ignore it, but eventually, she realized she was going nowhere fast. 

“That’s it!” -Alya sighed, annoyed, placing her pen next to her notebook. She just could not seem to find the will and the mental serenity to keep working. –“I need to take a break. A real break, from all of this.” -she said. –“I thought it was because of the twins making noise, that I couldn’t focus and work properly, but I’m starting to think that it’s not just because of them.”

“What are you going to do?” -Trixx asked her, wondering what Alya had in mind. Until that point, the fox kwami had remained silent, on top of Alya’s bed, reading a book she had taken from one of the bookcases in the bedroom, not wishing to disturb her. 

“I’m going to Skype-chat with Nino for a bit.” -Alya told Trixx. –“Maybe if I talk with him for a bit, after it, I’ll be able to focus on studying for another couple of hours.” -she declared, while accessing Skype. 

“Alright. If you think that will help you studying a little more.” -Trixx said.

“I hope it does, Trixx, I hope it does.” -Alya said. –“I don’t even want to think what will happen if I score a bad grade on one of these exams.” -she sighed.

“You always say that, and in the end, you end up getting great grades.” -Trixx told her. –“This time won’t be any different, you’ll see.” -she smiled at Alya.

“Maybe. But first, I need to find the will to get back to studying again. And I’m hoping a talk with Nino helps out.” -Alya declared, as she waited for Nino to answer her call.  

It was taking longer than usual for Nino to answer her call. He usually would leave Skype on, while studying, in case someone needed to talk to him, and Alya could see he was online, so she felt it was awkward for him to taking so long to answer her. One minute went by, then two, three, four, and then five, when Nino finally answered her call.

“Hey, turtle boy.” -Alya smiled at her boyfriend. –“Took you long enough to answer.” -she told him.  

“Hey, foxy fox. It’s good to see you.” -Nino smiled back at Alya, who blew him a kiss. –“Sorry. I went to the kitchen to get myself a snack.” -he said, as he showed her the jumbo sandwich he had been making. It had tomato, ham, lettuce, scrambled eggs, and plenty other ingredients Alya could not identify, just from looking at it. One thing was sure though, it looked absolutely delicious. –“So, how is the studying going?”

“Lousy… I can’t focus. I thought that it was because the twins were making noise, but I’m not so sure, anymore.” -Alya sighed, when she saw a half-eaten slice of orange floating in mid-air, appearing from behind Nino’s head. –“Seems like you’re not the only one who’s having a little snack.” -she thought to herself, knowing that orange slice was being eaten by Wayzz, who could not be seen on the camera. –“What about you? Are you having problems studying?”

“Not really. I mean, I’m tired, but that’s all.” -Nino said.

“Are you telling me your brother isn’t giving you a hard time?” -Alya asked him. She knew that just like Ella and Etta, Nino’s little brother could be a handful.  

“I am. My parents took Chris on a walk, so I could study in peace.” –Nino told her. –“And once they come back, I know that he’ll be as calm as a kitten, for the rest of the day. My mom’s going to force him to use up most of his energy. Plus, he usually gets sleepy after eating an ice cream, which I know my dad’s going to buy him, when they’re already on their way back.” -he said. –“I can safely say that I won’t have any trouble getting the silence I need to study.”

“Lucky you.” -Alya sighed.

Nino and Alya continued to talk, providing the brunette a much-needed distraction, both to her brain and her spirit. Through that conversation, Alya realized that her brain was simply tired of working and needed to rest for a bit, which surprised her, given this was not usual for her. She rarely got tired during a studying session.

“Don’t beat yourself down, Alya. You’ve been studying like crazy for the past two and half days.” -Nino said, trying to cheer her up. –“Last night I ended up with a massive headache, after studying for our English exam for nearly four hours.” -he told her.

“I just wished we didn’t have to do all our exams in two days.” -Alya sighed. –“I mean, you know me, I’m always happy to do tests and exams. But having to do 8 exams in two days, that’s a little too much… I’m just happy that we don’t have to do any exams in our Art class, as well as P.E.” -she said. Those were the only two subjects Miss Bustier was not their teacher, and were also the only ones where they did not take exams.    

“I hear you, and I’m with you on that one. But look, once we finish the exams, we’ll be as free as a bird. And you know what’s the best part? It’s that on Thursday, is your birthday.” -Nino smiled at her.

“I know. Can’t believe that almost a year has passed since the last one.” -Alya sighed.

“Well, I can, because it was on your previous birthday that I understood that I was in love with you.” -Nino said. –“I still remember you dancing, alongside Marinette and Alix, and literally rocking the dance floor. I fell in love with those sweet dance moves of yours.” -he sighed, as he remembered Alya dancing to the sound of the music that he had put on, Rhythm of the Night by Corona.

“Say what?!” -Alya asked him, while chuckling.  

“It’s true. I fell in love with you on that dance floor.” -Nino told her.

“I thought you told me that you fell in love because of how smart I am.” -Alya told him in a playful tone, while raising an eyebrow at him.

“That too. But I also fell in love with you, because you were the best dancer that night.” -Nino said, making her giggle. –“Well, and I might have also fallen in love with you, because of that laughter of yours.”

“Stop that! You’re making me blush more than Marinette, when Adrien praises her.” -Alya told him, as she tried not to blush.  

“That seems hard, since we both know just how much Marinette blushes, when my bro Adrien says sweet things to her.” -Nino joked. –“You know, I was only going to give this to you on Thursday. But I’m feeling that this might be the perfect time to give it to you.” -he declared.

“No, you don’t need to give me your present yet.” -Alya told him. She knew Nino was working on a surprise, and though she wanted to know what it was, she did not want Nino to feel obligated to reveal it before time.

“But I want to.” -Nino smiled at her. –“It’s something I’ve been working on, the past month, with a little help from Wayzz, and Master Fu.” -he told her. –“Who would have guessed that that our old master knew so much about music?”

“When someone as him, lives as long as he does, he’s bound to know a couple of things from most subjects.” -Wayzz told him, as he landed on Nino’s shoulder.   

“Indeed.” -Trixx said. –“He is quite probably one of the wisest people in the world, and has more knowledge about certain things in his pinky toe, than most people in their whole body.” -she said, as she made her way towards Alya.

“I was wondering when you were going to join this conversation.” -Alya told her, as Trixx landed on top of her head.

“I hope you like it.” –“Nino said, as he sent Alya a music file.

“I’m sure I will, turtle boy.” -Alya smiled, as she clicked on the file, beginning to download it.

Marinette woke up that Sunday with her mind made up. She was going to do just like she had done the day before. She was going to study for her exams and try to cram as much school subjects as she could in her brain, without leaving her bedroom. After getting dressed, she got down to work. Opening her textbooks on the pages she still needed to study, she grabbed a pencil and some coloured markers and did what she always did, which was to read and highlighting everything she felt was important. After that, she would write on her notebook, what she had highlighted, so as to help her memorize things. Over the course of the morning and afternoon, Tom and Sabine would come and check on her, bringing her a snack or her lunch, while also offering to help her out on a subject she was struggling with. From time to time, Tikki also helped her out, by asking her some questions, after she herself read Marinette’s notes.

When it was nearly five in the afternoon, Marinette’s eyes and brain reached their limit. Not counting the time, she took to eat or to go to the bathroom, the blue-haired girl had not stopped studying that day. She was determined to memorize as much as possible. Unfortunately for her, both her eyes and her brain could only take so much information, and they were begging her to stop.        

“I’m so tired, Tikki.” -Marinette sighed, as she closed her Math book.

“Well, you have been studying since nine in the morning.” -Tikki told her. –“Why don’t you take a break?” -she asked her.

“I can’t.” -Marinette sighed. –“I want to, but I can’t. I still need to study for my Chemistry exam, as well as my French Literature exam, not to mention my Geography exam, Tikki.” -she said. –“And I would like to do it, before dinner time, so I can relax the rest of the night.”

“Still, I think you should take a break. You’ve been studying for hours now. That’s not good or healthy for you, Marinette.” -Tikki said, in her usual kind-hearted voice, as she nibbled one of the cookies Tom had brought his daughter, so she could have something to snack on. –“You need to relax a little bit. Go watch something on the television, read one of the mangas that you have on your bedside table, where they have been collecting dust, because you haven’t had the time to do it, finish Alya’s birthday present, talk with Adrien over the phone. Anything, but studying.” -she told her. –“Give your mind the time to rest for a little bit, before going back to work.”

“I guess I could talk to Adrien. I haven’t talked to him today. I’ve only texted him. Right before I began studying.” -Marinette admitted. She had only texted him, because Adrien told her not to call him. He told her that Nathalie kept checking on him, every half hour, to see if he was studying, and that if she caught him talking with her, or anyone else, instead of studying, he might get into trouble with her, or his dad, if it happened to be him checking on him. –“I know I promised him I wouldn’t call him today, but I have to. I need to hear his voice and see his handsome face, even if it’s just for a couple of seconds.” -she sighed, as she grabbed her cell phone and accessed Whatsapp.  

“I don’t think he will mind it.” -Tikki joked.

Waiting for Adrien to pick up, Marinette looked outside and just how beautiful the afternoon was. Because of all that studying, she had hardly looked outside her window that day. Seeing people walking on the street, she just wished she could go outside and enjoy herself. Still, she knew that would not be possible. She could not jeopardize getting a bad grade in one of her exams. The consequences of doing so would be bad. She knew her parents would be understanding, if she had a minor slip in her grades. But she knew that would imply that they would force her to stay home and study to improve her grades, and that could not happen. If Marinette was to continue to be Ladybug and lead her friends in battle against Hawk Moth, she could not have anything stopping her from carrying on her duty as leader of the Miraculous Team; and that included having to work even harder on school.

I can’t let that happen. If my grades slip, mom and dad will most likely won’t be so open-minded about the idea of allowing me to go out, whenever I want to, and force me to stay home and study. And I need to be able to go out, if I need to fight an Akuma… on the other hand, if I was forced to stay home and study, that would give Adrien an excuse to come and visit me.” -Marinette mused to herself. –“No, no, no, stop thinking about that, Marinette! You need to be able to go out, whenever you want, without mom and dad thinking that instead of going out, you need to stay home and study. Besides, once these exams are over, you’re going to have all the time you want to relax and have fun.” -she thought, when she heard someone calling her name, and that someone was her boyfriend.  

“Marinette? Is everything alright?” -Adrien asked her, wondering if something was wrong with her, or with the city.

“Yes, everything’s alright. You don’t need to worry about it.” -Marinette told him –“I know I promised I wouldn’t’ call you, so you wouldn’t get into trouble with Nathalie or your dad, but I needed to hear your voice and see your handsome face.” -she sighed, as she looked into her cell phone’s screen.  

“It’s okay. To tell you the truth, I also needed to hear your sweet voice and see your cute face as well, bugaboo.” -Adrien told her.

“Don’t call me that. You’re going to make me blush.” -Marinette giggled over the phone.

“Well, I wish I was by your side, right now, seeing you blush, like a sweet red tomato, or a strawberry.” -Adrien said, as he noticed Plagg on his desk, making puke-faces. –“By the way, Plagg says hi” -he told her, while ignoring his kwami.  

“Tell him, I said hi, as well.” -Marinette told him. –“Oh, and Tikki also says hi.” -she said, as she saw Tikki silently waving at her. The blue-haired girl knew already that whenever she was on the phone and her kwami waved at her like that, it meant that she was telling her she was saying hi to whoever was on the other end of the line.

“Tell her, Plagg and I say hi, as well.” -Adrien said. –“So, what are you doing?”

“Trying not to go crazy from all this studying.” -Marinette told her. –“I think I’ve solved enough mathematical problems for a lifetime. What about you?”

“Same thing. I’m pretty much spitting out chemical formulas.” -Adrien said. –“What I wouldn’t give to be somewhere else, especially if you were there with me.” -he chuckled.

“You read my mind, silly kitty.” -Marinette said. –“I wish I was somewhere else, doing something else, and with you right next with me.” -she smiled, as she imagined just that happening.   

“If you want to, we could go for a quick patrol tonight. It’s Nathaniel and Kim’s turn to go, but I don’t think they will matter, if we just go for a quick stroll around both our neighbourhoods.” -Adrien suggested her. –“What do you say? I’ll pick you up after dinner. That way you can relax from all those subjects you’ve been studying about…” -he said.

“So, I can focus on you, and only you?” -Marinette giggled. –“I think you’ve got yourself a deal, Adrien Agreste.” -she teased Adrien, by winking mischievously at him.

“You better believe it, my sweet, sexy and cute Marinette.” -Adrien winked back at her.  

“I love it when you talk to me like that.” -Marinette giggled. More and more, she was getting accustomed to hearing Adrien talk to her like that, and to come up with a quick answer. Her fear of telling him the wrong words was quickly becoming a thing of the past.   

At the Couffaine house, Juleka had also decided to Skype-chat with Rose. But unlike it happened with Alya or Marinette, the Goth girl called her girlfriend to see if she could help her with a chemistry exercise, she was having difficulty with. She did not why, but Juleka always had trouble with that subject. The only thing she was able to memorize was the chemical formula of sulfuric acid, and that was thanks to a song she liked. Lucky for her, Rose aced at chemistry, and was more than willing to help her with any question she might have.   

“Okay, did you understand the difference between protons, neutrons and electrons?” -Rose asked her.

“That part I think I understood it, yes.” -Juleka answered the blonde. –“But I’m still having trouble with the atomic number of an element. I still don’t know what that can it tell us about the element.” -she declared.

“Oh, that’s easy. You see, the atomic number of an element tells us the number of protons orbiting the nucleus.” -Rose chirped.

“I wish I had that brain of yours to understand this. I suck at Chemistry.” -Juleka sighed.

“Well, it’s any consolation to you, I would love to have that brain of yours to understand geography.” -Rose told her. The difficulty Juleka had in Chemistry, she had it in Geography.

“I thought you were going to tell me that you would love to my height.” -Juleka joked, knowing Rose wanted to be a little taller than she was.  

“And I would love to. But I’m happy with my size, because that way, when we’re standing in front of each other, and I look up, I see your pretty face.” -Rose said, smiling.

“Oh, you… you say the sweetest things, Rose.” -Juleka smiled back at her. –“Hmm… not that I’m trying to spoil this cute moment between the two of us, but this is usually the moment when Flint decides to present us with one of his sarcastic comments, saying that we’re giving him diabetes, or something like that.” -she commented. –“Don’t tell me he’s not going to make any comments today?”

“Oh, he’s sleeping. He stayed up all night, last night, watching a series he found on Netflix, so he’s sleeping.” -Rose declared. –“What about Tamara? I still haven’t heard her either.” -she pointed out.

“She went for a little walk. She sometimes does that, and who am I to say no? As long as no one sees her, she can go wherever she wants to go.” -Juleka said. –“Plus, she wanted to listen to music and she knows I can’t study while listening to it. When I start listening to music, I completely forget what I was doing.” -she said. –“So, she’s probably up on the rooftop with my iPod, listening to the playlist I uploaded into it at the beginning of the week.”   

Juleka was about to say something else, when someone knocked on her bedroom door. Recognizing the knock, she knew it was her older brother, Luka, who had knocked. Telling him to come in, Luka wasted no time and entered.  

“Sorry to interrupt you and your girlfriend, but I’ve got some news that you might like to hear… hi, Rose!” -Luka said, as he waved at Rose in the screen.

“Hey, Luka.” -Rose waved back at him, as he approached his sister.

“And what are those news, Luka?” -Juleka asked her brother.

“Well, I know that you, Rose and your other friends went to Jagged Stone’s concert a couple of days ago, and you would expect it to be the last concert he was going to give for a while…” -Luka said.

“Get to the point, Luka, please. You know I don’t like it when you keep people in suspense. Even mom has told you, you shouldn’t do that.” -Juleka told her brother.

“Hold your horses, little sis, I’m getting there.” -Luka said in a playful tone. –“Well, it so happens that a couple of minutes ago, it was announced that he’s opening for KISS, next weekend.”

“He is?!” -Juleka asked, surprised.

“That’s right. He’s going to open for them.” -Luka smiled at his sister.

Because they both had read an interview of Jagged Stone, where the musician said that after that last concert, he was going to take some well-deserved time to recharge his batteries, they were both a little surprised to hear that he was opening for a band, and a band as famous as KISS.   

“And why are you tell us that?” -Rose asked him. –“Did he somehow found out that we missed the concert? No, that’s impossible. There’s no way he could have figured that out.” -she thought to herself.

“Because he’s a big fan of both KISS and Jagged Stone, and he’s not going to be able to go to the concert, but still wanted to share the news with someone.” -Juleka said, knowing that to be the truth.   

“And why not?” -Rose asked, curious. –“Why can’t you go to the concert, Luka?” -she asked him.

“Because mom and dad forbade him from going to another concert, until he improves his Math grade.” -Juleka answered her, before Luka could.

“It’s true.” -Luka said. –“You can imagine just how jealous of my little sister here I got, when I found out that she had managed to get a ticket for his concert, a few days ago.” -he admitted.

“At least you got the t-shirt I brought you. That’s more than most people got.”–Juleka told him. –“Oh, and, you should have seen the talk-to my mom gave him, when he told her that he had scored a 6 in Math, Rose.” -she told Rose. –“I hadn’t seen my mom that mad in a long time.”

“It was not pretty. Usually it’s dad who we have to face, when we score a bad grade. But this time, it was mom who did most of the talking, and she was really angry at me.” -Luka declared.

“Guess you should have studied, Luka.” -Rose said.

“And I did study… but not enough, unfortunately.” -Luka shrugged his shoulders.

“You should have spent less time composing, and more time studying, that’s all I’m saying.” -Juleka said. She knew that on the week before that Math test of his, Luka felt inspired and began composing, instead of using his time to study. –“And you were lucky that was your only bad grade. If you had flunked at another subject, mom and dad would have been a lot harsher on your punishment.” -she added

“Tell me about it. If I had flunked at other subjects, they probably would have forbidden me from attending any concert, for a whole year. And worst, they would probably forbid me from playing guitar… nah, that wouldn’t happen. Mom loves my music too much to forbid me from playing, no matter what happens.” -Luka said.

That last comment of Luka made both Rose and Juleka laugh a little, with Juleka knowing her brother was right. Their mom was too fond of his music to forbid him from playing. Even if their dad dared to confiscate all the musical instruments in the house, Anarka Couffaine would tell her husband that if he did such a thing, he would be being too cruel to both their children. Such was the power of music in their home. 

“Thanks for sharing that piece of information, Luka. But right now, I think I need to get back to studying with Rose, or I’ll hand up flunking at chemistry, and I don’t want to, because I’m not in the mood to hear mom giving me the same speech, she gave you.” -Juleka told him. –“And you should also stop reading things online and study Math.” -she said.

“Okay, okay, I get it. I don’t want you girls to think that I’m running your date.” -Luka chuckled, as he made his way to the door.   

“It’s not a date!” –Rose and Juleka exclaimed in chorus.

“Whatever you say, girls.” -Luka teased them.

“Oh, you!” -Juleka exclaimed, as she playfully grabbed her pillow and tried to hit Luka, as he closed the bedroom door behind him. –“That Luka…” -she sighed, between giggles.

“You’ve got the best big brother ever.” -Rose declared, while giggling.

“I know that, Rose. I just wished he would sometimes didn’t joke about our situation like he does. One of these days he might accidentally let it slip that we’re dating, before we can tell our parents.” -Juleka told her, her voice revealing she was a little bit worried.

“I understand. Still, I know that when that when we tell our parents about us, it’ll be good to have him on our side.” -Rose told her. She was happy to know that her future brother-in-law was alright with the two of them dating each other. –“But never mind that now. You heard what he said, didn’t you?” -she asked Juleka, with a gleeful voice.

“I did. And now, we’ve got to tell the others about this.” -Juleka said. –“Let’s gather everyone on Skype, so we can also tell them.”

It did not take long for both Rose and Juleka to have the whole class online, as some of them were already online. For those who were not, they quickly texted them, telling them they needed to talk. Telling them the news, Juleka suddenly could not help but wonder why she had suggested to Rose to tell everyone about Jagged Stone going to open for KISS, if they could not attend the concert. Still, she ignored that thought, as deep down, she was just happy to be able to take a break from studying and talk to her friends.

“Imagine! A second opportunity for us to watch Jagged Stone.” -Nino said. –“Sure, he won’t be the main attraction, but come on, it will be two concerts for the price of one.”

“Yeah, except that the tickets won’t be cheap. And I’m not swimming in money.” -Alya said. –“I don’t think any of us is swimming in money, with the exception of a certain blonde model, as well as the daughter of a certain mayor. But you guys don’t count.” -she said, referring to Adrien and Chloe.

“Well, I could…” -Adrien said, before being interrupted.

“Let me stop you right there, Adrien Agreste. If you say that you can buy us all tickets for the concert, you can forget about it.” -Alya said. –“You already paid us that second lunch on Friday. If you did that with the tickets for this concert, your dad would begin to think that we’re taking advantage of you.” -she said.  

“But…” -Adrien tried to speak.

“She’s right, bro.” -Nino interrupted him.

“It’s sweet of you, for wanting to help us, Adrien. But we can’t let you do that. We don’t want you to get into trouble with your dad.” -Marinette said. The last thing she wanted was to get her boyfriend in trouble, and she knew the rest of the gang did not want that either.

“Fine. I won’t buy the tickets.” -Adrien sighed, while blaming himself for having the money to do something good for his friends and girlfriend, and not be able to do it. –“What’s the point of having all the money in the world, if I can’t even use it, without getting into trouble?” -he thought to himself. 

“But Chloe could. Couldn’t you, Chloe?” -Mylene asked her.

“Yes, I could.” -Chloe answered. –“I’ll buy tickets for all of us. Front row seats. Daddy won’t mind if I use the credit card to do this.” -she said.

After all the things that she had done to them, it was the least she could for her friends. For all the times she was anything, but nice to them. For all the times that she bullied them. For all the times that she was anything but a friend to them. Chloe owed them that. They had forgiven her for her past, and had given her a second chance, when they could have refused to give it to her. For all that, she owed them those tickets, and so much more. Plus, she had the means to make it happen, and that made it even more important for her. She knew that her friends had already forgave her for everything, but she herself felt the need to keep atoning for what she did to them. She did not know for how long she would continue to atone, but she would continue to do it, whenever she could, for as long as she felt she needed to. Besides, doing good deeds like those, made her feel good about herself.   

“I don’t think you’re going to do that, Chloe.” -Sabrina said. –“The concert’s sold out.” -she declared. –“I just checked it, and all the websites that were selling tickets for the concert are saying the same thing. It’s completely sold out, for almost a month now.”

That was one of the problems when one of the best rock bands in the world booked a concert in a city like Paris. Tickets sell out in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. And a rock band like KISS, that was bound to happen, even before it was announced that Jagged Stone would be opening for them. Hearing Sabrina’s words, everyone felt like once again, luck was on their side, and that they would have to wait to see Jagged Stone in concert, some other time. But Chloe was not going to let that happen, if she had a saying on the matter. She was going to get tickets for her friends and herself, one way or another. And she knew just what do to get them.

“Then, I’ll just have to ask Jagged Stone himself to get us tickets.” -Chloe said. –“I’ll call him.” -she said.

“But didn’t you say, you couldn’t reach him, because the cell phone number you had of him, was no longer available?” -Kim asked her.

“Yeah, that’s what she said.” -Max said.

“Well, then, she just has to get the new one.” -Sabrina said, believing Chloe would be able to get the tickets.

“Sabrina’s right. I just have to get his new number. I’ll ask my dad to find out what’s Jagged’s new number, or at the very least his agent’s number, so she can give it to me.” -Chloe said.

“But what if he doesn’t answer, even if you get it?” -Alix asked. She did not want to be the one to spoil everyone’s humour, but she knew there was the possibility of that happening.

“We have to believe that luck will be on our side, this time.” -Marinette said. –“And if Chloe believes she can get us the tickets this time, then, we just have to hope she’s able to do it, while wishing her good luck in doing it.” -she declared.

Once more, with her words, Marinette had managed to inspire trust in everyone, showing just what a wonderful leader, she was. But more importantly, she had also given Chloe a boost in her confidence, which would help her in her attempt to get the tickets for the concert from Jagged Stone himself.   

“I agree with Marinette. If there’s one person who can do this, it’s our Chloe.” -Adrien said.

“Good luck, Chloe.” -Sabrina wished her best-friend.

“We’re counting on you.” -Nathaniel said.

“If there’s anyone who can do it, it’s you, Chloe.” -Adrien said.

“Thanks, everyone. And I’ll do my best to get them.” -Chloe declared.

Chapter Text

On that night, at dinner, when they were already having dessert, Chloe asked her father if he could get her Jagged Stone's new cell phone number. Telling him that she desperately needed to talk to him. Andre Bourgeois, hearing her request, could not help but to feel curious about it, and asked Chloe why she needed it. Instantly, she told him that she wanted to talk to him and ask him if he could get her tickets for the KISS concert, which was sold out, and that he was opening for later next week, while claiming that she was planning to get the tickets as part of a birthday surprise for Alya, who she lied about, was a huge fan of KISS. She added it was going to be her birthday present for Alya, and she wanted to take the rest of her class to the concert, to celebrate along with Alya her birthday. Hearing her say that, Andre felt that if she did manage to get the tickets, attending to two concerts in such a short notice was a little too much. But given that she had been studying hard for her exams, and it was going to be a birthday gift for a friend, he told Chloe that he was going to try his best to get Jagged's new number, and that if she managed to get the tickets, he would allow her to attend the concert.

"Thank you, daddy, thank you!" -Chloe giggled, as she got up from her chair and hugged her father. –"You're the best father in the world." -she smiled at André.

"Anything for you, honey." -André told his daughter.

Once they finished dinner, Chloe quickly went back to her suite, telling her dad that she was going to study a little bit longer, before going to bed. But not before grabbing something sweet from the dessert cart, saying that she might get hungry while studying and she did not want to bother anyone with one of her after dinner cravings for sweets. Of course, this was not for her, but for Pollen. Because there were no desserts containing honey, Chloe was forced to get her kwami something that had caramel on it, which she knew was her second favourite thing. Looking at the dessert cart, she chose a slice of caramel cheesecake. As always, when she arrived at her suite, Pollen showed up out of nowhere and greeted her with a smile. Chloe returned the smile, by showing her treat she had brought her.

As Pollen ate the treat, Chloe told her, her dad had agreed to finding out what was Jagged Stone's new cell phone number, while also agreeing to let her attend the concert.

"You're really determined to get those tickets, aren't you?" -Pollen asked the blonde, as she nibbled the cheesecake.

"I am. I owe it to Adrien and the others." -Chloe told her.

"You keep saying that you owe it to your friends, Chloe, but I don't think you owe them anything. I think that whatever you think you owe them; you're already paying it with your friendship and your love for them." -Pollen said.

"But it's true, Pollen. I don't know how long it will take, but I need to make up for all the bad things I did to my friends." -Chloe declared. –"It's the least I can do." -she sighed.

The bee kwami had heard that speech dozens, if not hundreds of times. On the outside, appeared to be someone who was tough as nails. Someone who would not be afraid to tell others what she thought about them. But on the inside, she was someone who was afraid of being rejected or forgotten. Someone who desired to be noticed by those she cared about. And more importantly, she was someone who had low self-esteem issues, though she was very good at hiding them. Pollen had pieced those assumptions of hers, from everything Chloe spoke with her. But even she did not know everything that was going up on the blonde's head. Still, she remained by her side, hoping that one day Chloe would tell her or someone else what was really going through her mind, and hopefully, she would be able to help her overcome those fears she had.

"Chloe, I know that you feel like you owe them for everything bad you said and did to them, but if they were here, they would tell you the same thing I'm telling you now. That you don't owe them anything. That having you as a friend, makes it up for everything else that happened between all of you and that they have forgiven you." -Pollen said, as she nibbled the cheesecake again, this time licking the liquid caramel that was on top, before eating it.

"Maybe. But I haven't forgiven myself, Pollen, and I don't know when will that happen, if it will ever happen." -Chloe sighed. –"I mean, I did unspeakable things, things that I'm truly ashamed, to all my friends." -she said. –"Sometimes at night, I still remember them and can’t sleep because of it.”

"Is that why you go and get Mr. Cuddles from the box he's in?" -Pollen asked her, surprising her. –"Don't look so surprised. I'm a light sleeper, and I've seen you doing it, once or twice." -she declared.

"Having him by my side, helps soothing my thoughts." -Chloe admitted. Only a handful of people knew about her teddy bear, and what it meant to her. –"When those moments happened, once or twice, I had the idea of getting you and placing by my side, instead of Mr. Cuddles, so I can sleep better, but…" -she said.

"But you don't want to wake me up, when that happens, so you go and get the teddy bear." -Pollen finished her sentence, with a heart-warming smile. –"Don't worry, I'm not jealous of Mr. Cuddles. If having him by your side helps you to sleep better, when your mind is in a turmoil, I don't mind you picking him up to keep you company, just so I can continue to sleep." -she said. –"But next time that happens, if you don't want to go and get him, you can just wake me up and I'll keep you company, until you fall asleep."

Smiling tearfully, Chloe could not help but to place her hands around Pollen, and gently place her against her chest.

"You're the best kwami, someone like me, could ever have, Pollen." -Chloe told her. –"And I promise you, next time I'll leave Mr. Cuddles in his box, and I'll go and get you. I'm sure he won't get jealous of you. Plus, he might like having a night-off." -she joked.

Ever since she was created, Pollen had had numerous holders. Some of them more memorable than others, but none of them were like Chloe. When she first met her, the blonde was afraid of her, but after the initial shock, and a little help from Master Fu, the two of them became inseparable, and part of her wished they would remain like that for a long time, even fi that meant having to fight Hawk Moth for decades.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Chloe." – Pollen thanked the blonde, as she opened her hands, leaving the little kwami levitating near her chest. –"So, do you want to study a little more, or do you want to watch something on Netflix?" -she asked her. –"I don't mind helping you out, by giving you a quick pop quiz."

"I think I can go for another hour of studying, if you'll lend me a hand, of course." -Chloe smiled. –"Cant' believe I actually said that." -she chuckled. –"A year ago I would have probably said, "Why do I need to study something that I'm never going to use in my life?"… I really have changed."

"And for the better." -Pollen said, as she landed on her shoulder. –"And that's one of the things I like the most about you. You truly have changed for the better. It's just that sometimes you need to be reminded of that. Glad I'm around here, to remind you of it." -she said, making Chloe giggle.

"You, and Sabrina. Sometimes, I think I wouldn't survive, if I didn't have you two around me." -Chloe declared.

When the Sun first appeared in the horizon, on Monday, Jagged Stone was already awake for at least an hour. Since he had decided to accept to open for KISS, that he had hardly been able to sleep properly. Just like it happened to him, before beginning a new tour, he was feeling restless and agitated. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and though he did not want to admit it, he was a little nervous. Opening for, and later, play with, a band, whose musicians were practically considered by fans and other musicians alike, as gods of music, was a big deal, and he did not want to disappoint anyone, especially himself.

Which was why, he decided to practice. After grabbing something to eat, he closed himself inside the penthouse's recording studio, and began to play his most famous songs, trying to see which ones he was going to use on the concert. There so many songs to choose from, and the concert was going to be an hour and half long. He needed to choose the right songs for it, so he could practice them, even though he already knew them by heart. But more importantly, he needed to practice the songs that he was going to play alongside KISS. Not only they agreed to his demands, regarding merchandise, they had also agreed to let him play three songs with them, one of which was "I Was Made for Loving You", his favourite KISS song. Jagged felt like a kid in a candy store, where each candy or sweet he saw was even better than the one before. And how could he not feel like that? He was about to fulfil a dream of his.

Still, has he practiced, Jagged could not help but to feel like there was something missing. If he wanted to make that concert something absolutely memorable, not only for himself, but for everyone in the audience, he needed something special make it happen. He just did not know what. Stopping for a moment, he placed his guitar down and began circling the live room, trying to think what was missing and how could he use it. Pacing around in silence, numerous ideas came to his mind, but none of them sounded right.

"Come on, man, you can do this! Think, think, think!" -Jagged Stone thought to himself. –"There's got to be something I can do to make this concert absolutely memorable. But what?" -he mused to himself.

And then, as he looked into his reflection in the glass window that showed the audio workstation, he found the answer. His reflection was the answer. Or better yet, it was what one could not see in his reflection, a face paint. KISS was not just known for their music. They were also known for their iconic face paints. Those face paints were part of the reason, why they were on the map, per say. A person may not know any KISS song, but it would recognize their iconic face paints, anywhere. And that was what he needed. He needed an original face paint, for when he was called up to the stage.

"That's it! A face paint! I need a face paint." -Jagged Stone exclaimed, as if he was the Greek inventor Archimedes, and he had pronounced the "eureka", after finding the answer to a problem.

Not wasting time, he practically stormed out of the recording studio and went to get his laptop. Turning it on, he went to the living room, looking for ideas for a face paint. Googling it, there were hundreds, if not thousands of images of face paints. Some of them good, some of them bad, some of them silly, some of them more serious. All in all, there were face paints for all shapes and sizes, not to mention tastes. Looking over the multitude of images, it was hard for Jagged to find one that clearly stood out. And without realizing it, when he looked at the time, it was nearly 10 in the morning. He was so focused on what he was doing, he had not even realized that Fang had also awakened and had decided to fall asleep again, at his feet. Only when the large reptile snored, did he realized that had happened.

"Guess you felt I needed some company, huh, buddy?" -Jagged Stone thought to himself, as he petted Fang's head, as the reptile continued to sleep.

"Hey! What are you doing?" -Penny asked him, as she entered the living room, carrying a few bags, startling the musician.

"Don't do that! You know how I hate, when people show up from behind my back. And since when are you so silent, when walking?" -Jagged asked his agent. –"Last time I checked, I didn't have a cat for an agent." -he joked.

"Sorry. The sole from these new pump shoes I bought last month, make them extra silent." -Penny apologized, as she sat on the sofa, next to Jagged. –"I thought you had heard me saying I was going out for a walk, when I went out."

"I apologize, but I didn't hear you. I must have been too focused on this." -Jagged admitted. –"I didn't even heard or noticed Fang here, until he snored a couple of moments ago." -he said, as he looked at the sleeping crocodile.

"It must have been something quite important, for you to be that focused. What are you looking up online?" –Penny asked him. –"Shopping for a new piece of music memorabilia for your house in L.A.?" -she asked him, knowing that Jagged had been thinking about acquiring a some pieces to decorate his house in the West Coast.

"Nah, I'm not… I'm looking for some inspiration." -Jagged Stone told Penny.

"Inspiration for what? A new song for the concert?" -Penny asked him. It would not be the first time that happened.

"No, not this time. This time, I'm looking for a face paint." -Jagged declared. –"I figured that, because I'm going to perform alongside KISS, I'm going to need a face paint similar to the ones they wear." -he said. –"So, I decided to search for one, and I've been looking into several artists' pages for inspiration. Who knows? I might even commission one to create one for me, if I can't find one that suits me."

"Why don't you just use one of the face paints from the band's past members? I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you did that, if you asked them." -Penny told him. –"I can send an email to their agent, asking them permission for you to do that." -she suggested him.

"No, don't do that. As far as I'm concerned, there's only one "Fox" and one "Ankh Warrior", and they are the late Eric Carr and Vinnie Vincent. It would be disrespectful for me to wear their face paints, when I'm not either one of them." -Jagged told her. –"Plus, I don't want fans to feel offended by me wearing their make-ups. That's the last thing I want, especially because KISS fans are incredibly picky, to say the least, with those things." -he added.

"Takes one to know one, that's what they say." -Penny joked. –"Oh, and before I forget, I brought you another box of these." -she said, as she placed a pink box with the Dupain-Cheng Bakery logo on it, in front of him.

"Oh, macarons!" -Jagged said, as he opened the box and quickly grabbed one of the sweet little treats. –"I know I keep saying this, but I really can't get enough of these little things. Especially from this bakery." -he said.

And it was then. his eyes caught on the bakery's logo and recognized the name from somewhere. He had seen it before that morning, but he could not remember where. It took him a couple of seconds, but he remembered that it was the name in one of the artist pages he had checked before. Tapping the name on Google, two results came out. The first one, was the Facebook page of the same bakery where those macarons had come from. As for the second one, it was an artist page with name "Marinette Designed", which belonged to a Marinette Dupain-Cheng.

"Ha! I knew I had seen that name before." -Jagged smiled, as he quickly opened Marinette's page. –"Whoa… this girl's got talent! I can't believe how this almost passed me by. Penny, come here and take a look at these." -he asked Penny, as she sat closer to him. –"Here, you see these Kabuki style mask concepts? These look amazing. Look at the detail she placed into these sketches. And they're just sketches. Imagine how they would look like, if she had finished them."

"These look really nice." -Penny admitted, as she looked at Marinette's profile. The photo in it was more than a year old, and Marinette was sporting a different haircut in it, but her face had not changed a bit. –"I think I recognize the girl. I've seen her once or twice in the bakery. I think she's the owners' daughter." -she said, remembering the few times she had seen her. –"But to be honest, I don't think she's a make-up artist, Jagged. She's more of a fashion designer. Look at all the sketches and the photos of clothes and accessories she has on her page." -Penny said.

"Doesn't matter if she's not a make-up artist, Penny. Look at her work, especially on these masks." -Jagged told her, as he clicked on one of the images. –"I mean, this is really good. They're just sketches, I know, but they're really good. It's too bad that she doesn't seem to have more images of this kind of work in her page, but it already shows you that her talent is not restricted to just one area." -he said, as he continued to browse Marinette's page. –"And look at this. She's accepting commissions."

"She's got talent, there's no doubt about it. Foe someone her age, she's incredibly gifted. Some of these works look incredibly beautiful. But let me state this once again; I don't know if it's the right kind of talent you're looking for." -Penny told him. –"Like I said before, she's more of a fashion designer than a make-up artist, which is what you're looking for and need, right now." -she pointed out.

He knew Penny was right. He could tell the girl was more of a fashion designer, than anything else. Still, there was something about her work that had captured his attention, something that did not allow him to ignore it. She had a gift. And if it had not been for that box of macarons, Penny had brought him, he would have most likely never found out about Marinette's work. In his book, she was someone who truly deserved his attention.

"Maybe it's a sign." -Jagged told Penny. –"I mean, I don't know about you, but I always believed everything happens for a reason, and this might not be a coincidence." -he said. –"The name of this bakery, where you got these macarons that I love, it's what guided me to her page. If it hadn't been for it, I would've probably never had found it." -he declared.

"You know very well that I don't believe in signs or coincidences, but that's me." -Penny told him. –"Still, if you believe in it, and if you think it's a good idea, then go ahead." -she smiled. –"It's not like this is the first time you would take a newbie artist under your wing."

"Hey, come on, let's not get hasty here. I'm only going to commission this girl a design for a face paint." -Jagged Stone said. –"Though, from what I see in her page, her talent, combined with some very hard work, she might one day become a great designer." -he admitted, as he checked the sketches Marinette had in her gallery. –"It's settled. I'm going to commission her that face paint. And just so she doesn't think this is a prank or anything, I'm doing a video, so she can see it's really me, and not someone, pretending to be me."

"That's a good idea. But maybe you should change into something a little less casual?" -Penny asked him. –"I don't think even your greatest fans will want to see you in a night robe and slippers. It doesn't match your personality." -she joked.

"Very funny, Penny, very funny." -Jagged shot at her, with his voice filled with sarcasm. –"But you're right, I best change into something else, before I record the video." -he said.

"What if she doesn't accept it?" -Penny asked him.

"If she doesn't, I'll have to find someone else to create a face paint for me. But I'm truly hoping she accepts the job." -Jagged said, as he placed his laptop on top of the coffee table and woke Fang up, by scratching him underneath his jaw. –"Come on, Sleeping Beauty. Need your help to choose some clothes to wear." -he said, as Fang let out a roar of happiness.

Like it happened every time students had exams, the day before them, was spent clarifying doubts and asking questions in class, so by the time they took the exams, there were no doubts clouding the students' minds. That was what happened with Miss Bustier's class, and most other classes at College Françoise-Dupont. By the time the bell rang, signalling the end of classes, every student felt their minds as exhausted as the rest of their bodies felt. And Marinette was no exception to the rule. As she made her way home, she wished Adrien did not have fencing lessons that day, so she could invite him for a quick snack at the bakery and spend a little time with him, before he headed home. Still, there was nothing she could do about it. She would just have to wait until after dinner, so they could talk a little bit before bedtime.

But before Marinette could even think about that, she still had a study session ahead of her. She did not feel like it, especially after a whole morning and part of the afternoon hearing Miss Bustier answering all questions she and the rest of her class asked her. But she knew that if she did not use every free moment she had to study, before the exams, there was always the possibility she had not study something that was going to be on the exams and that could make the difference between her getting a good grade and a bad one. The stress she was under was quite great. And to make things worse, at lunch Chloe told the whole class, her father had not got Jagged's new cell number yet, complicating matters for them, who were hoping she could get them tickets for the KISS concert. But there was one thought that kept her from going crazy, and that was that she believed everything was going to end up alright, and that after the exams were done, she would be able to relax.

Arriving home, she quickly went up to her bedroom, not even stopping by the kitchen to get some snacks. She was not hungry, and she knew she had cookies up in her bedroom for Tikki. Just because she was not hungry, did not mean her kwami was not, and she had promised herself she would never allow Tikki to be hungry, even when she was not in the best of moods. After dropping her backpack, the first thing Marinette did was to check her cell phone. That morning she forgot about it at home. Finding it where she had left it that morning, next to her laptop, Marinette quickly went to through the texts and emails she had received, while at the same time, Tikki, who was famished, made her way to the secret box of cookies, Marinette had under her bed, to get one.

She only had one text from Adrien, sent earlier that morning, asking her why she was running late. As for the emails, most were just advertisement, virtual trash and spam, and she quickly deleted everything related to that. But there was one email which was not spam and that caught her eye. Its title "Possible Commission: Urgent" made her smile.

"A commission? It's been so long, since I actually had someone asking me for a commission." -Marinette thought, happy to see that someone had taken the time to check her artist page. –"Which reminds me, when I finish Alya's hoodie, I have to take a couple of photos and post them on my page… that is, after I give it to her. I don't want to spoil her surprise." -she thought, as she opened it. –"Whoa, it's got a video attached to it. Asking for a commission using a video. Very classy. Let's hope it's a bit of a challenge. After the exams, I'll have time to work on it, and whatever it might be, I would like it to be a challenge, so I can perfect my sewing skills."

Opening the video, she almost dropped her cell phone, when she saw who was on the video. If anyone had told her that she was going to receive an email with a video attached to it, and the person on the video was none other than Jagged Stone, her favourite rockstar, she would have said they were crazy. And yet, it was happening.

"Hello, there." -Jagged said. –"Before we go further, yes, I'm Jagged Stone. This is not a prank or bad joke, it's really me." -he said.

Marinette just could not believe her eyes. Jagged Stone had sent her video. The whole moment looked and felt absolutely surreal. So much, that the girl's heart skipped a beat.

"You're probably wondering why would I send you a video, and here's the thing. I saw your work, which captured my attention. In particular, the sketches that you made for those Kabuki masks. I love how you blended the traditional design, with a more contemporary one." -Jagged went on. –"So, I was wondering, if you would be interested in creating an unique face paint? If yes, you would have until next Friday to finish it, so I can use it on the KISS concert. Yeah, it's really that important and urgent." -he said. –"I understand that asking such a thing on such short notice is, well, for the lack of better words, is a little too much, especially since you're so young. But I've seen your sketches and your designs, and I don't say this often, but when I do, I mean it. You're very talented. And I would feel very honoured, if you would accept doing this for me. And I would be willing to pay five times, the price you think it's fair, because it's an emergency."

Marinette kept watching the message, listening to every word Jagged said, as her brain tried to process everything that was happening. She could not believe what she was hearing. Jagged Stone, one of the best musicians in the world, a legend, was asking her, if she would accept a commission, he had for her. A commission that he was telling her, was very important. And though it was not as important, as knowing who the commission was for, she was happy to know that he was willing to pay her five times more than whatever her price was.

"You're probably wondering what kind of face paint I would like, right? Well, I don't really know. But from your work, I can tell that you have a keen eye for detail, and that you are also a fan of mine. So, I'm trusting your instinct on this one. Make me a face paint that resembles the ones worn by KISS, but at the same time, unique. If you accept to do this, reply to this email, which I hope you will. Jagged Stone, signing out." -Jagged said, as the video ended.

When the video ended, Marinette was still in shock. She could not believe what had happened. So, she repeated to herself what had happened, just to be sure she was not dreaming. And after she repeated to herself numerous times what happened, Marinette shouted it from the top of her lungs, making Tikki almost jump out of her skin.

"I can't believe this, Tikki! Jagged Stone… the Jagged Stone, has commissioned me!" -Marinette shouted, jumping around, as if she had won the lottery.

When Marinette said those words, the scarlet kwami could not help but to feel thrilled for her. She knew just how much Marinette worked to create her own brand and become a fashion designer. So, knowing that, she could only imagine how happy Marinette was right then. It was not every day that someone you admire commissions you something.

"I'm really happy for you." -Tikki told her, as she finished eating her cookie.

"Thanks, Tikki. It's a little on short notice, because he needs it ready until Friday, but it doesn't really bother me. This is the coolest thing ever! In fact, the only thing that could top this was if Adrien's dad commissioned me something." -Marinette told her, her voice filled with joy.

The atmosphere inside Marinette's bedroom was one of joy and happiness. Tikki had not seen Marinette that excited and happy about something since three weeks before, when she and Adrien started dating.

"Once people know that you created something special and unique for Jagged Stone, I bet you're going to get lots and lots of orders and commissions." -Tikki chirped happily.

"You're right! I even hadn't thought about that. When people find out about this work Jagged Stone has commissioned me, I bet that I'll be getting dozens if not hundreds of commissions, Tikki." -Marinette realized it. –"It will definitely be a huge help for my portfolio, and it will definitely give me the chance to work on new things." -she said. –"I just hope that because of school and my job as a superheroine, I can find the time to do all. Plus, the money would definitely come in handy."

"You'll worry about it later. First, tell me what he commissioned you? You said it was something that needed to be done until Friday, so it must be something that's really small or really simple." -Tikki said, while trying to guess what it could be. –"Is it a pair of fingerless gloves? A pair of customized sunglasses?"

"Actually, it's not something fashion-related, Tikki. He commissioned me a face paint." -Marinette told her kwami.

"A face paint?" -Tikki asked her, puzzled.

"Yeah, just like the ones that KISS members wear. And it has to be rather unique." -Marinette explained.

The word "unique" was really what Tikki would use to describe the kind of commission Jagged had asked Marinette. Because she was an aspiring fashion designer, Tikki never thought Marinette would ever have someone asking her to create something that was not fashion-related. Even so, it had been commissioned by someone who was incredibly famous, and whom Marinette was a huge fan of, so there was that. Plus, she knew Marinette would never refuse a job, if she believed she could do it.

"Well, it is something unique, indeed." -Tikki said. –"But, if you agree to do it, do you think you'll have the time? You have exams tomorrow and the day after." -she reminded her. –"And you still have to finish Alya's birthday present."

"It's going to be a little tight, I admit it. But the hardest exams are tomorrow. The ones on Wednesday are the ones, whose subjects I'm more at ease with. That way, I'll be able to start sketching the face paint tomorrow, once I come back from school, and I can have it finished on Wednesday." -Marinette told her, as she looked at the nearly finished Rena Rouge hoodie, she was making for Alya. –"As for Alya's present, it's almost finished. An hour is just what I need to finish it, and it will be ready for Alya's birthday on Thursday."

"If you think you can do it, then, I'm sure you'll be able to do it." –Tikki said.

Marinette believed she could handle it all. It was a simple face paint. She had accepted a few commissions before, and some of them were a lot harder than what Jagged Stone was asking her. It was just a face paint, after all. But then, it hit her, that it was not just a simple face paint. Jagged Stone had chosen her, because he believed her talent was incredible, so she did not have margin for error, and that scared her.

"Oh no…" -Marinette said, as a horrifying thought crossed her mind. –"I just realized one thing. What if I can't create what he asked me, Tikki?" -she asked, terrified about the idea of failing. –"What if Jagged Stone hates whatever face paint I come up for him, and he says that I suck and that I don't have any talent? Or better yet, what if everyone hates it?! I mean, he's going to wear it in front of thousands of people, and he will definitely be photographed with it and those photos will end up online! That means dozens if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dislikes!"

Fear and doubt took over Marinette's thoughts, clouding her judgement and making her come up with the worst possible scenarios in her mind. No matter how much she tried, Marinette just could not stop that from happening. Though her self-confidence had grown a lot, ever since she got her miraculous, Marinette still suffered from occasional anxiety attacks, which gave her shortness of breath, nausea, as well as making her overthink things. And she could feel that that one was going to be a big one. She tried to calm down and not overthink things, but it was no use. As she began to hyper-ventilate, in her mind, her thoughts were all focused on one thing, and one thing only, failure. She was imagining Jagged Stone telling her that he hated the face paint she had done for him and that he was going to tell everyone she was a lousy artist.

Tikki had seen those anxiety attacks one too many times, and she knew there was only way for her to help Marinette out. She would have to force her to think of something else. Something that would make both her heart and her brain relax and forget about whatever thoughts were crossing her mind right then.

"Marinette… stop!" -Tikki shouted, as she looked her in the eyes. –"Close your eyes, and think of happy thoughts. Think about Adrien… go!" -she ordered her. –"Do it!"

Doing as Tikki ordered her, Marinette closed her eyes and did her best to think of happy thoughts, and of Adrien. It was a rather crude technique, but it had worked in the past, and both the girl and the kwami were hoping it would work once more. With her eyes closed, she took deep breaths, and tried to slow down both her breathing and her terrified heart, while thinking of Adrien and his kind-hearted warm smile. That thought alone was enough to calm her down a little bit, and after almost a minute, the anxiety that had crept into her, was gone. Slowly opening her eyes, she was met by a kind smile from Tikki, who was both happy and relieved to see her a bit calmer.

"Feeling a little better?" -Tikki asked her.

"A little bit." -Marinette sighed. –"Sorry about that, Tikki." -she apologized.

"You don't have to apologize to me, Marinette. It's not your fault you have these attacks." -Tikki said, trying to cheer her up.

"Maybe, but I still feel like it's my fault I can't control my nerves." -Marinette sighed, upset about it. –"I shouldn't fear things that most likely, will never happen." -she told her.

"Then, let me tell you this. It's okay to be afraid about certain things, even if they might never happen." -Tikki smiled at her. –"Still, this attack was a lot shorter than the previous one. You're getting better at controlling your thoughts." -she said.

"Thanks, Tikki." -Marinette thanked her, as she sat on her chaise-longue. –"I just wished these anxiety attacks didn't happen." -she sighed.

"Sooner or later they will stop. They were a lot worst when I first met you." -Tikki said. –"Plus, you're getting bolder each day it goes by. I know it's not easy to live with those attacks, but sooner or later, they will be nothing more than a memory, you'll see. You're a strong girl, with an even stronger heart and mind." -she smiled at her, cheering her up. –"And even if they continue to exist, I want you to remember one thing, Marinette. I want you to try and remember that you'll have me and lots of people, including a handsome blond model as a boyfriend, to be there for you, no matter what."

That last comment from the scarlet kwami made Marinette giggle. Smiling at Tikki, Marinette thanked the fact she had someone like her to remind her of what she already knew, but sometimes forgot.

"You always know what to tell me to try and cheer me up." -Marinette said, already calmer.

"Well, I know you pretty well, by now." -Tikki said, as she landed on top of Marinette's head.

Unfortunately, even if she was calmer, the fear and the anxiety were still present in her heart. When she saw the video, Marinette was ecstatic about the opportunity of creating something awesome and unique for one of her idols, especially after all the praising she heard about her work and her talent. But now, she was not so sure anymore, and she did not know what to do.

"I'm having second doubts about accepting this commission." -Marinette declared. –"I mean, I know it's a huge opportunity, and it's like they say: "Temptation leans on the door bell, but opportunity may only knock once"." -she said. –"But will I be able to pull this out? What if I screw it up, Tikki? What if I think that I've got the skills to pull this out, but in the end, I'm just kidding myself, and I don't have the talent to do it?"

"No, you won't screw it up. You're going to rock it, Marinette. Just like whenever you are there for your friends, when they need you the most, or when you decide create one of your amazing fashion designs, or when put on your Ladybug outfit and save the day." -Tikki said, encouraging her. –"I told you this a thousand times before, but I'm going to tell it to you again. You're the most amazing, most talented girl I've ever had as a holder, and I've had my share of talented holders over the millennia." -she smiled at her, before flying in the direction of the fashion model where –"You keep saying that you're not as talented as people say you are, but you are. A person with less talent wouldn't have come up with something as beautiful as this for a present, for her best-friend, which will look even more beautiful than it already is, when it's finished. So, yes, you're going to succeed in this task you have. And when you finish it, you're going to say "This looks amazing! And if I think it's amazing, that means Jagged Stone will also think it's amazing.", and you're going to smile at me, as you say that."

All of the kwamis had lived long lives and during those lives, they had given inspirational speeches to their holders. Speeches that made them believe the impossible was possible, and that the limit was the sky, when they set a goal for themselves. And Tikki had given Marinette one the best motivational speeches, she had ever given to one of her holders. She knew Marinette had it in her to succeed at anything she set her mind into. But she also knew that she sometimes needed a little push to remember that, and that was why she was more than happy to give her that little push in the right direction.

"You never give up on me, do you, Tikki?" -Marinette asked her, as a tear rolled down her cheek, after hearing such a passionate and heart-warming speech.

"Never." -Tikki tearfully smiled at the blue-haired teenager.

"Then, in that case, I'm not going to give up either. I'm doing this." -Marinette said. –"I've decided. I'm going to accept Jagged Stone's commission." -she declared with a triumphant voice. –"And I'm going to present him with a face paint worthy of a god of Rock."

"That's the Marinette I know and love so much. You're going to do great. I'm sure you're going to." -Tikki winked at her. –"Now, answer him back and tell him you will accept this commission of him, before you change your mind again." -she said with a playful voice.

Chapter Text

Sending an email to Jagged Stone, Marinette told him that she would be happy to create a face paint for him, while also thanking him for praising her talent. And as she finished doing it, she could not help but to imagine what kind of face paint would she design for him. Like every artist, once she started to think it, dozens of ideas showed up in her mind, one more spectacular than the other. Still, she had to restrain herself, because if she did not do it, she would begin drawing and sketching, and she did not have the time do it. She needed to study a little more. But it was not easy, because no matter how much she tried, she just could not help but to think of all that happened to her during those last five minutes, Never in her life she thought she would have someone as famous as Jagged Stone asking her for a commission. She felt like telling everyone about it, but Tikki advised her not to tell anyone, at least, not yet, while also reminding her that she had exams the following day, and on Wednesday, and she needed to calm herself and focus on what her priorities were, right then.

It was hard for her to just put aside what had happened to her, and she could not help but to feel a little like she was in a dream, from which she would wake up at any moment. She had only felt that way, twice in her whole life. The first was when she transformed into Ladybug and went into battle for the very first time. And the second, was when Adrien told her he loved her and that he wanted to date her. She never thought she would feel like that way so soon.  

“I really wish I could tell the others about this.” -Marinette told Tikki.

“You will, but only after the exams are over. Once they are out of the way, you can tell everyone, and I’m sure everyone’s going to flip, when you tell them the news.” -Tikki smiled. –“But until then, you have to keep it a secret to yourself. And I promise that I won’t tell the other kwamis about it, either.” -she declared, promising her.  

“Can’t I tell Adrien? At least him? He’s my boyfriend, and I’m sure he would like to hear the news from me.” -Marinette asked Tikki. –“Whoa… I said that Adrien’s my boyfriend, without stuttering! I think that my brain is beginning to accept that fact, without thinking I’m just daydreaming about it.” -she thought to herself.

“No, not even, Adrien.” -Tikki told her. –“I’m sorry, Marinette, but look at it this way. If you tell him, he’s going to be very happy about it. But by being happy for you, he might not be able to focus on studying for the exams. And then, if he gets a bad grade, because he could not focus, his dad will probably forbid him from hanging out with his friends, and that will mean, that you won’t be able to see him as much as you want to.” -she said. –“Think of it like this: by not telling him, or the others about this right now, you’ll be helping them out. When the last exam is over, you can tell them. You just have to keep it a secret for two days, that’s all.”

“I don’t know if I can keep this matter a secret for that long, Tikki.” -Marinette admitted. –“Just thinking about it, it’s making me nervous, and you know what happens I get nervous, Tikki. I do crazy things.” -she said. 

“Sure, you can. Remember, you being Ladybug is probably the biggest secret you have, and I know that outside of your circle of friends, who also have a miraculous, nobody else knows about it, and you haven’t told it to anyone else.” -Tikki declared. –“If you can keep a secret that big, I’m sure you can keep this one for 48 hours.” -she smiled.

“Now you’re sounding like my mom.” -Marinette joked, by smiling at the kwami. –“Fine, I’ll do my best to keep my mouth shut. But it’s not going to be easy, Tikki.” -she sighed, as the little kwami sat on her right shoulder and smiled at her.

“Of course, it will. You just need to keep your mind busy with something else.” -Tikki said. –“Speaking of which, maybe you should try and study a little more. You spent most of your morning asking questions to Miss Bustier, regarding Geography.” -she said, with a mischievous smile on her

“Okay, okay, I get it. I’m going to study a little longer.” -Marinette sighed. –“Will you help me?”

“Of course.” -Tikki said. –“But first, I’m going to need another cookie.” -she said, as she jumped from Marinette’s shoulder and made her way to where the secret cookie stash was.

“Gluttony, thy name is Tikki.” -Marinette joked.

On the following day, it was not easy for Marinette to not spill the beans on what had happened to her, the previous afternoon. The only things that were keeping her from doing it, was her promise to Tikki and the four exams she and the rest of her class had to do that day. And because of such exams, there was very little time for conversation that morning. She and everyone were too worried about how hard the exams would be, to even dare to speak about anything else. As she and the rest of her class sat down, she realized just how heavy and tense the atmosphere was inside the classroom. Her nerves, combined with the nerves of pretty much everyone else, was making that classroom feel like the most uncomfortable place to be, in the city of Paris. Luckily, Miss Bustier’s smile to ease out a little bit the tension in the room. Before she handed them the exam sheets, she reassured the whole class that as long as they had studied, they would not have any problem completing them.

“Now, remember, you’ll have an hour and a half to complete each exam. Once you finish them, don’t rush to hand them back. Take your time, and make sure that you haven’t forgotten to write anything on them. Once you believe you have nothing else to add, you can exit the classroom. Make sure to use letters that are legible, and don’t forget to sign your name on the exam sheet.” -Miss Bustier said, as she grabbed the History exams and began to hand them.

“Isn’t there a chance we can postpone this to another day, Miss Bustier?” -Mylene asked, slightly anxious. She had butterflies in her stomach, from all the nerves.

“I’m afraid not, Mylene. But like I said before, you have nothing to worry, if you studied, like I know you have.” -Miss Bustier smiled at her. –“Just breathe in and out, like I taught you, and you’ll see that those nerves will go away.” -she said.

I hope so.” -Mylene thought to herself. –“I spent last night studying History until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, and if it wasn’t for Pin, who helped me out a little, I would’ve fallen asleep, without having memorized anything.” -she thought.   

“Remember, there’s no reason for being nervous. These exams aren’t as hard as you’re thinking they are, especially if you studied for them.” -Miss Bustier said.

Yeah, well, I studied, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to think they’re going to be easy. And right now, I think I would rather be fighting one of Hawk Moth’s Akumas, than taking these exams.” -Alix thought to herself, as Miss Bustier placed the exam sheet in front of her.

I sure hope I studied enough. Miss Bustier’s tests are usually not very hard, but she tends to put a couple of traps to confuse us.” -Adrien thought to himself.

Daddy still hasn’t had any luck getting Jagged’s new number… stop that! Focus, Chloe! Don’t you dare think of anything, other than this exam, right now.” -Chloe thought to herself.

This is going to be a piece of cake.” -Max thought to himself. From the whole class, he was probably the only one who believed that he was more than ready for anything Miss Bustier threw at him, in those exams.   

“Okay, now that you all have the exam sheets, you may start. Any doubt you might have regarding a question, you just need to call me, and I’ll go to you.” -Miss Bustier smiled at the whole class, as she went back to her seat.          

Doing four exams in one day was not an easy thing to do, especially when you are both a student and a superhero, who has more problems than the ordinary teenager. Such was the life of Marinette and all her classmates. Arriving home, exhausted and with a massive headache, the first thing her parents asked her, as she walked into the bakery, was if the exams went well. She smiled and told them that three of them went okay, while the fourth one was a little more complicated, but that she hoped she would get a good grade out of it. Seeing her that exhausted, both Tom and Sabine told Marinette to go up and rest, while also telling her that they would take her a little snack.

Already in her bedroom, Marinette dropped her backpack and made her way to her bed. Her head was killing her. Closing her eyes, she tried to think of happy thoughts, as a way to relax and to give her head the time to stop hurting. So, it was no surprise, when her first thought was about Adrien, and about the first time he kissed her. The next thoughts were of how lucky she was in having the family and the friends she had, but more importantly, how lucky she was for having the best boyfriend in the world. Those thoughts, combined with absolute silence and a comfy bed, made her headache disappear in a matter of minutes, and Marinette could not have been happier about it. She had tons of work to do. She still had four more exams to do, on the following day, but those were not on her mind right then. The hardest ones, the ones where she had to force herself to study harder than ever, were now out of the way. The four remaining exams were the ones where she did not have to study so hard. What she had on her mind, that she had to do was something a little different. She had to sew. She had to finish Alya’s birthday present, and she had to start working on Jagged Stone’s commission.

Once she felt her headache was gone, she opened her eyes and sprang out of bed, ready to work. Choosing something soothing from her playlist, she turned the volume just loud enough for the music to sound like a quiet breeze in the wind, before getting to work. With a little help from Tikki, who would bring her anything she asked her, Marinette was determined to finish that Rena Rouge hoodie, no matter what. She had put all her love into it, and she wanted to make sure that everything in it was perfect.

It did not take long for the floor near and around Marinette’s sewing machine and her mannequin, to be filled with threads, discarded piece of fabric, needles and scissors, among other things. As she worked, the noise from her sewing machine made her headache come back, but just for a little bit. Stopping for a few minutes, she turned off the sewing machine, muted her laptop, where the music was coming from, and allowed her head to rest a little bit, in absolute silence, before resuming her work.

Thread by thread, stitch by stitch, Marinette, with a little help from Tikki, worked to complete the hoodie. And then, finally, after almost an hour, Marinette let out a sigh of relief, as she finished it.       

“And it’s finished.” -Marinette smiled, as she got up, holding the Rena Rouge hoodie in her hands, and checking for any imperfection it might have slipped her eyes’ or Tikki’s. –“Took me a little longer than expected to finish it, but it came out way better than I anticipated.” -she declared, as her eyes focused on the puller. It was not easy to find a puller that was shaped just like Rena Rouge’s miraculous, but Marinette found one online, and bought it. –“I can safely say, Tikki, that this is my best work yet.”

“And one done with all the love in the world, Marinette. Alya’s going to love it.” -Tikki told Marinette, as she rubbed her paw against the hoodie, feeling the fabric’s texture. –“Plus, it’s super soft and silky.” -she giggled.

“I know. And since you like it, I can safely believe that Trixx will also like it.” -Marinette smiled. –“But just in case, I’ve lined this inner pocket, right here on the left, with an even softer fabric, so she feels nice and cozy in it.” -she said. –“Would you like to test it, Tikki?”

Smiling, Tikki quickly flew inside the pocket and cuddled, feeling the soft tissue Marinette was talking about. This one was both soft and warm, perfect for the cold weather. You could also say that while inside the pocket, she felt safe, just like when she was inside Marinette’s backpack or her purse. Marinette had done a beautiful work with that secret pocket. 

“It’s super cozy, and it has the right size for us kwamis. Not too big, not too small. Just right.” -Tikki said, as she peeked out the pocket.

“Plus, I sewed it so that it is virtually invisible from the outside.” –Marinette said. “Nobody will even think there’s a pocket there, much less a kwami, hiding inside it.” -she smiled triumphantly.  

“A work of genius, Marinette.” -Tikki said, as she jumped out of the pocket.     

“Thanks, Tikki. I’ll have to ask my mom to wash it, before I can wrap it… which reminds me, I need to buy some wrapping paper. I used up the last I had to wrap up those new dolls I made for Manon’s birthday.” -Marinette said, as she made a mental note, so she would not forget to buy it. –“And now, let’s put you here on the mannequin, and take a photo, so I can upload it online, after I give it to Alya.” -she said, as she placed the hoodie on the mannequin, before snapping a photo of it with her cell phone. –“Alright, that’s one less thing we need worry about. And now, on to the next thing. Start working on Jagged Stone’s commission.”  

“I thought that after finishing Alya’s hoodie, you were going to study for a little bit.” -Tikki said.

“Only after dinner. I need to relax for a little longer.” -Marinette declared, as she went to get her sketchbook. –“Besides, my brain is filled with ideas, and I don’t want those ideas to go to waste.” -she said, sitting down at her desk and grabbing her pencil, ready to work.   

Like it happened every time she sketched, Marinette allowed her imagination to guide her hand. Over the years, she had found out that if she allowed anything else than her own imagination to guide her hand, when sketching, whatever she sketched would come out horribly. Which did not mean that when she allowed her imagination to do as it pleased, that everything would go as expected. There were times that even Marinette’s imagination did not cooperate and whatever she sketched, came out looking horrible… and as minutes went by, Marinette realized that that sketching session was going to be one of those times. For some reason, all the ideas she had inside her mind, her hand was just not able to pass them onto the paper, coming out short of what she had envisioned them. Soon, at her feet were numerous crumpled pages, filled with sketches that had come out wrong or that she ended up not liking.  

“Not having any luck? -Tikki asked her.

“I don’t understand this, Tikki. I’ve got all these awesome ideas in my head, but when I put them on the paper, they all come out as cheap versions of them.” -Marinette sighed, as she ripped another page from her sketchbook and crumpled it, before dropping it into the floor, along with the ones that were already at her feet. 

“Maybe you’re forcing it too much. When you do that, nothing you draw ever comes out the way you want to.” -Tikki reminded her.

“Maybe…” -Marinette sighed, as she placed her sketchbook and pencil on the desk. –“Maybe I’m forcing it too much. Still, I need to do this! If I don’t, I might then not have the time to do a proper work and Jagged Stone is counting on me.” -she told Tikki. –“I just wish my hand was able to channel the ideas inside my mind and sketch them the way they are in it… maybe I need a little bit more inspiration for this…”   

And then, something clicked inside Marinette’s mind. She knew just where she could get extra boost of inspiration, she needed to continue working on the face paint for Jagged Stone. All she needed was to find it. Opening the first of her desk drawers, she began looking for something, she believed was inside.     

Please, let it be here, let it be here.” -Marinette thought to herself, as she went through the drawer, looking for something. –“Come on, where is it?” -she asked. –“Maybe it’s on another drawer.

“Where is what, Marinette?” -Tikki asked, as Marinette closed the drawer and opened the following one.

“Found it!!!” -Marinette exclaimed, triumphantly, as she held a small blue memory card, with a smile on her face.  

“What’s that? And before you say anything, I know that’s a memory card. I mean, what’s in it?” -Tikki asked Marinette.

“Last year, Mylene convinced Juleka to pose for a project that didn’t end up being made. You don’t have the slightest idea, of how hard it was to convince Juleka to allow herself to be photographed. It was hectic, to say the least. If it wasn’t for Rose, who managed to momentarily convince her, it would’ve never happened.” -Marinette told Tikki, not realizing she was digressing, until the little kwami raised an eyebrow at her. –“Anyways, I was the one who took the photos, and I saved them in case Mylene wanted to try to finish that project.” -she explained.  

“I see. Still, I don’t understand what does that have to do with the face paint you’re working on for Jagged Stone.” -Tikki pointed out.

“Oh, I can explain that. You see, Mylene is a really big fan of David Bowie, and she came up with the idea for a short where Bowie’s persona, Ziggy Stardust, would come to Earth, and live among humans, over the course of numerous years, which would be symbolized by him adopting different bodies, each with a different face paint. It was a bit conceptual, if you ask me. But before we could even begin to shoot it, we needed to figure out how many face paints we were going to use on the story… Mylene was only going to write the story, once we had determined which face paints, we were going to give Ziggy’s character.” -Marinette said. –“So, we asked Juleka, who had a knack for doing make-ups, and Nathaniel, to help us with that. He came up with some sketches, and then Juleka completed them, by trying them on herself.” -she said, remembering it. –“Thank God, Rose convinced Juleka to allow me to photograph her, while she tried each one of the face paints. If she hadn’t, they would have been lost forever… it was a fun afternoon, now that I think of it.”

“Oh, I see.” -Tikki smiled. –“Still, I don’t get it why you… oh, wait, I get it now! You’re going to use those face-paints done by Juleka and Nathaniel, as an inspiration for this new one!” -she exclaimed, after realizing Marinette’s plan.

“Pretty much, yeah.” -Marinette said, as she inserted the memory card in her laptop and opened it.

Marinette quickly clicked on the various photos and opened all of them, one by one, showing them to Tikki. Each photo showed Juleka wearing a different face paint. Some were more colourful than others, while there were others that were just black and white. But all of them were incredibly beautiful. It was hard to choose which one was the most beautiful. Juleka and Nathaniel had done a wonderful work, and though the different face paints were not exactly what Marinette had in mind for the one she was designing for Jagged Stone, by looking at them, they were definitely going to help shake her inner artist and come up with a beautiful face paint.

“That one over there is really beautiful.” –Tikki said, as she pointed to the photo that showed an incredibly colourful mandala.

“That one was based on the Tibetan sand mandalas. It was Adrien’s idea.” -Marinette said, as she zoomed the photo. –“When he suggested the idea, he also told us that it came to his mind, because his dad had tons of Tibetan objects in the mansion’s library, saying they were souvenirs from a trip he did to Tibet, when he was a little older than we are now.” -she said. 

“But this one here is very beautiful too. It’s a little scary, because it’s mostly black, but at the same time, it’s beautiful.” -Tikki commented, while pointing at one of the photos.

“I think that one was designed after a commentary from Max, about the dark side of the Moon.” -Marinette said, as she tried to remember it all.        

“All of them look great.” -Tikki said. –“And it’s really hard to decide which one is the best.” -she declared. –“And I can tell you this, all these photos of Juleka, I bet that if Rose had them, one of them would become her screensaver.”

Tikki’s comment made Marinette chuckle lightly. She was right, when she said that. Rose was head over heels for Juleka, and vice-versa. When the two of them revealed to her and the rest of the class that they were dating, Marinette dd not find it strange or bizarre. The two of them were always seen together, so it was not a big surprise when the two went from best-friends to lovers. Making a mental note, she told herself that before dinner, she would send both Rose and Juleka a copy of those photos, so they would have it as well.  

“You’re right. I bet that would happen.” -Marinette smiled at her. –“But enough giggles and chuckles. I best try and see if I can sketch something properly.” -she told Tikki, as she grabbed her sketchbook and her pencil.

Having Juleka’s photos in front of her to provide her with the necessary boost of inspiration she needed, Marinette quickly began to sketch. This time, her sketches came out the way she wanted them to. They did not look incredible, but it was a start, and she believed that once she put a little more work on each of them, they would look even better. Watching Marinette work, Tikki remained silent, as she saw coming up with ideas for Jagged’s face paint. Just from looking at the way her eyes sparkled, while sketching, she could tell that Marinette was trying her best to do what she had agreed to do. And unlike what had happened before, where all sketches ended up on the floor, crumpled and deemed unworthy, these had the honour of ending up on top of her desk, perfectly lined up. The two of them were so focused that they did not even hear someone knocking at the door. It was Sabine, who had come to see how Marinette was, bringing with her a little snack for her. Only when she opened the door, and scared them both, did they realize they had company. Not able to disappear, Tikki quickly pretended she was a doll and remained inert, waiting for Marinette’s mom to leave.

“Mom! You scared us!” -Marinette exclaimed, with her heart in her mouth.

“Scared us? What do you mean by us?” -Sabine asked Marinette, not understanding her. –“I don’t see anyone else, Marinette.” -she said.

“Uh… you know, us. Me and my imagination!” -Marinette quickly came up with a plausible explanation for that previous comment of hers.

“Oh, I see. I’m sorry, Marinette. I did knock at the door, but you didn’t listen.” -Sabine said, as she approached her with, holding the tray with a croissant and some cookies, when she noticed something on the desk. And that something was none other than Tikki. –“Oh, what a cute little thing. Did you make this little doll for Manon?” -she asked her daughter, without taking her eyes off the little kwami, who remained as still as possible.

“Oh, that? Y-Yes, I did. I’m going to give it to her, the next time I have to babysit her.” -Marinette answered her mom, lying about it. –“Please, Tikki, don’t move a muscle. We can’t let mom find out about you.” -she thought to herself, begging that the scarlet kwami remained

Usually Tikki, like all kwamis, was able to stand perfectly still and pretend she was nothing more than an object. But this time, doing that was a bit harder, because she still had her little heart pounding like crazy inside her chest. Sabine had scared her, and she was going to need a little time for her heart to calm down. Her hope was that Marinette would be able to keep her mother’s attention on her, giving Tikki the time she needed to calm down her heart, and remain still.  

“I figured that you would have finished resting and that you might be hungry.” -Sabine declared, as she placed the plate with the croissant and the cookies on top of Marinette’s desk. –“I see that you’ve been a busy little bee.” -she said, as she noticed the mess on the floor.

“Y-Yes. I needed to unwind a little bit, so, I decided to finish Alya’s birthday present.” -Marinette said, as she pointed to the finished hoodie

Looking at it, Sabine could not help but to feel proud of her daughter. The hoodie looked incredibly beautiful. Stylish, yet practical, and immensely colourful. Marinette’s talent for designing and sewing marvellous clothes kept growing, with each passing day, and as her mother, Sabine was happy to see that. She knew that Marinette still had a lot to grow as a designer and as a seamstress, and that she herself could teach her a few more tricks she knew, but there was no denying that she was incredibly talented, and that one day, the whole world would know that.

“I’m positive that she will love it, Marinette.” -Sabine said, as she picked up one of the hoodie’s sleeves and observed the stitching. –“I see that you have been practicing. Your stitching looks much better, than the last time I saw it.” -she added, before looking at the floor. –“But I see that you still haven’t learned to keep your bedroom from turning into a disaster area, when you sew something, Marinette.”

“Old habits die hard. Sorry, mom.”

“It’s okay, Marinette. But in the future, try not to make such a mess. That way, it will be easier to clean things up, when you’ve finished sewing.” -Sabine told her. –“But tell me, what are you doing now? These look nice.” -she said, as she looked at the face paint sketches Marinette had been working on. 

“Thanks, mom. It’s for a commission.” -Marinette said, without saying who it was for. She wanted to, but she once more decided to go with Tikki’s advice, and not reveal it had been Jagged Stone who had ordered that commission, until the day after.   

“Oh, you got someone asking you for some kind of mask?” -Sabine asked her, as she looked a little closer to the sketches.

“Not exactly. It’s a design for a face paint.” -Marinette told her. –“I’m using these photos I’ve got of Juleka with different make-ups to help me come up with a cool design for it.” -she said.

“I see. Well, these look very good.” -Sabine smiled. –“Still, I hope you don’t forget that you still have exams tomorrow. We wouldn’t want you to get a bad grade in one of the exams you still need to do.” -she told Marinette. 

“Don’t worry, mom. I’m just going to work on this for a little bit longer, and then, I’m going to study a little bit, before dinner.” -Marinette said. –“And then, after dinner, I’ll revise a couple of things, before going to bed.” -she smiled at her mother.   

“Alright, honey. You know your father and I trust you will do the right thing.” -Sabine smiled heart-warmly at her daughter, before caressing her face. –“By the way, I’ve been wanting to ask you this. When are you bringing Adrien home again? I’m just asking, because he tended to show up now and then, when you two weren’t dating, and now that you are dating, he hardly shows up.” -she pointed out.

“Mom!” -Marinette exclaimed, before letting out a chuckle. –“Please, don’t do that. Don’t be that mom that shows up on every teenager movie, who desperately tries to be the cool mom and find out more about her daughter’s life.” -she joked, making Sabine laugh.

“Sorry, honey. But in all honesty, I just asked, because I like having him around. He’s such a nice boy.” -Sabine admitted.

“Why do you think I began dating him?” -Marinette asked her with a sassy voice. –“But answering to your question, I don’t know when he’ll be able to, because there are weeks that he’s got a really busy schedule.” -she said, being honest about it. Some weeks, Adrien had such a busy schedule, that would keep him from doing the things he wanted to do.

“Well, be sure to tell him that he has to find the time to come here. We love to have him around.” -Sabine said.  

“I will, I promise.… Plus, I think that he will be able to come around a little more often, once he finds the time and the courage to tell his dad about us.” -Marinette declared.  

“He still hasn’t?” -Sabine asked her, surprised. Marinette had told her that Adrien had told Nathalie that he was dating her, but not his father. 

“No, not yet. He’s waiting for the right moment. He wants to make sure that when he tells it to his dad, that he’s in a good mood.” -Marinette told her.  

“I see. Well, I’ll leave you to finish what you’re doing, honey. Be sure to eat those snacks I brought you. And remember, don’t forget to study a little bit.” -Sabine said. –“I’ll call you, when dinner is ready.”

“Okay, mom. And thanks for the snacks.” –Marinette thanked her, as Sabine left.

After Sabine closed the door, Tikki waited a couple of seconds before moving again. During all the time Sabine was in Marinette’s bedroom, she was forced to remain as still as possible. Her heart was still beating like crazy, when she finally moved. Looking at her, Marinette could not help but to giggle.

“That was a close one, Tikki.” -Marinette told the kwami.

“Too close, indeed.” -Tikki agreed with Marinette. –“We have to be more careful. Your mom can’t find out about me.” -she sighed, as she tried her best to slow down her little heart. –“I shouldn’t have allowed myself to get distracted that way.”

“Don’t worry about it. Mom didn’t suspect a thing. Plus, you do make a cute doll.” -Marinette giggled, as she grabbed a cookie from the plate and gave it to the little kwami. –“Here, have this cookie. It will help you calm down a bit.” -she smiled, as Tikki grabbed it.

“Thanks, Marinette.” -Tikki said, as she nibbled the cookie.

Chapter Text

Checking her answers to see if there was something she had correct or add to her answers, before delivering her Chemistry exam. She had lost too much time on one of the questions, and she was forced to answer the rest of the questions in a bit of a rush, so she could finish the exam. Her heart was pounding, the classroom felt like an oven, and all that was making her even more nervous by the minute. That was the last exam she and her class had, and the nerves, combined with the stress and the fatigue she was feeling, were beginning to get the best of her. She checked the time on the clock that was hanging above Miss Bustier’s desk, to see how long she still had, and saw that there were only fifteen minutes, before she was forced to hand over her exam. Realizing just how little time she had left to finish revising all her answers, Marinette’s heart skipped a beat.   

Calm down, come on, calm down. You still have a couple of minutes. Just keep your head cool and don’t overthink it.” -Marinette thought to herself, while trying to calm herself down. –“Okay, this formula looks alright. But I’m not so sure if this one here is the formula of sulfuric acid or if it’s the formula for sulphurous acid… come on, brain, don’t do this to me, not now! Not when I’m already on the final stretch, please!” -she thought to herself, as she tried to figure if the answer, she had written was the right one or not.  

And she was not the only one who struggled with a particular question. Some of the others also had difficulties answering it, which left them with less time to answer all the questions in the exam. Just like it was happening with Marinette, the rest of the class was also suffering from mental exhaustion. Even Max, who was usually the best student in class, was feeling exhausted, and exhaustion causes one to doubt himself, even when he believes that everything is right.

There, done! No, wait a moment, this isn’t right… or is it? I can’t even tell if I’m doing things the right way or the wrong way.” -Max thought to himself.

No, this one’s wrong… darn, look at the time! I’ve got to hurry up.” -Juleka thought to herself.

Okay, this one’s done. But I’ve got to write faster, I don’t have much time.” -Mylene thought to herself.

At this rate, I won’t be able to finish this exam.” -Nino thought to himself. –“Still, I’ve got to try it. I can’t have a bad grade at Chemistry. If I do, mom will ground me for a week, at the very least.” -he mused about it, while trying to finish the last two questions.

Eight exams in 48 hours was a little more than a regular person could handle. As they used the last of their brain power, they just wished for two things to happen. First, that they would be able to complete the exam on time, and second, to get enough right answers to ace it. Still, when they handed their exam sheets to Miss Bustier, they all believed that they had done their best and that now, they had to wait for the results. Once outside the classroom, they allowed themselves to breathe a sigh of relief.  

Shortly after, the school bell rang, signalling the end of classes that day. All students made their way out of school, believing they had earned the right to some peace and quiet for the rest of the day, while thanking whatever God there believed in, for the end of classes that day. But unlike the rest of the students, Miss Bustier’s class decided to stay a little longer. Sitting on the entrance’s stairs, they decided to take a moment to celebrate the fact the exams were over, as they saw their fellow students go home, along with some of the teachers.     

“That last exam was so hard…” -Kim sighed. –“I’ll be lucky if I manage to score a half-decent grade.” -he admitted.

“You and me.” –Nino said. –“Chemistry was never an easy subject for me. I knew I should have studied a little more.” -he admitted.

“Well, it’s a little late for you to think about that.” -Alya told her boyfriend, as she placed her arms around him. –“Still, I bet you’ll score a good grade on it. I did catch a glimpse of the formulas you wrote on your exam sheet, and they were mostly correct.” -she smiled at him.

“Thanks, Alya.” -Nino smiled at her, before kissing her.

“We’ve got to ask Miss Bustier that next time, instead of doing all our exams in two days, we be able to do them all in three or four days.” -Max sighed. –“My brain can’t take another round of exams like this.” -he said.

“Well, it was your idea to do all the exams in just two days, so we would save time, remember?” -Rose told Max. –“You can’t complain about it, when it was you who suggested it to Miss Bustier.” -she pointed out.  

“Maybe, but I can complain about the fact that you guys agreed with this dumb idea of mine, and went ahead with it, supporting it, when I presented it to Miss Bustier.” -Max told her.

It had not been the best idea Max had, and he and the others could see it now. He came up with it, so as to save them all some time. In case Hawk Moth or one of his Akumas decided to show their ugly face, they did not want any battle against them, to interfere with their exams, because that would raise another kind of problems, which was something none of them wanted. But all that was in the past now, and that was all that mattered to them. For better or worse, they had done all their exams and they could not be happier about it.    

“What matters is that now that every exam is out of the way, we can finally relax for a little bit.” -Marinette told them, as she stretched her arms. –“It’ll feel good just to do something that isn’t studying. Plus, I’ll be able to sleep better tonight, knowing that tomorrow we don’t have any exams.” -she said.

“I’m with you on that one, bugaboo.” -Adrien said, as he placed his left arm over her shoulder and gently pulled her towards him, as he placed a kiss on Marinette’s lips, making her giggle, when he did it. –“But in my case, it’ll have to wait a couple of more hours. I’ve got fencing practice today, and whether I’m in the mood for it or not, I have to attend it.” -he sighed.

“Look at it this way. When Kagami beats you, and you get your pride wounded, you’ll call me and ask me to console you, by telling you you’re a good kitty and that no matter what, you’re still number one in my book.” -Marinette told Adrien in a playful tone. –“Oops… I think I’m beginning to sound a lot more like a certain someone we all know, without realizing it.” -she said, referring to her superhero self, Ladybug.

“Indeed. Though, I don’t mind it.” -Adrien told Marinette, with a mischievous smile on his face. –“Still, I’m a little surprised you’re not jealous of Kagami.” -he told her.

“Well, I know you only have eyes for me.” -Marinette smiled at him, before kissing him again, this time on the cheek. –“Though, you still have to introduce her to me. I would like to know the girl who helped you finding the courage to finally tell me how you really felt about me.” -she smiled. 

“Deal. I’ll ask her if she wants to come with us all, the next time we go to the movies.” -Adrien promised her.   

The others could not help but to chuckle or giggle a little, with whole the scene. No one in their right mind would even dare to say that the two were not dating. And as always, a certain black cat kwami had something to say about all that.   

“Oh, please… get a room, you two! I don’t need to see all this mushiness happening, with my eyes.” -Plagg exclaimed, from inside the pocket in Adrien’s jacket.  

“Plagg!” -Tikki yelled at Plagg, reprimanding him, her voice coming from inside Marinette’s pochette.  

Like it always happened, Plagg had a knack to make everyone laugh, whether you were a human or a kwami. His commentary got Tikki to rebuke him, but it also got him a bunch of laughs from everyone else. Even Flint was impressed with that commentary of his.  

“Now that was a funny comment.” -Flint thought to himself, while remaining inside Rose’s backpack.

“Changing the subject for a moment, tomorrow is a very special day.” -Nino said. –“Tomorrow, a certain member of our gang is celebrating her birthday tomorrow.” -he said, as he looked at Alya. –“Tomorrow, Alya’s our birthday girl.”   

“Oh, yeah, tomorrow you’ll be a year older than you are now.” -Alix joked. –“And you all know what that means.” -she smiled wickedly.

“Yes! Birthday cake for everyone!” -Rose exclaimed. She was a sucker for birthday parties. It did not matter if it was a kid’s birthday party or an adult birthday party. Rose just loved them, especially the cake part, when everyone would gather and sing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday person. 

Hearing her say that, Alya giggled. The way Rose spoke about it, it felt that she was the one who was going to celebrate her birthday. She knew the blonde loved birthday parties. In fact, the gang would usually joke about the fact that instead of attempting to become a ballerina, Rose should try and become a party planner, because that way, she could plan all the birthday parties she wanted to, and would have an excuse to attend them. 

“Rose’s right. It’ll be birthday cake for everyone. Not only that, it means that Miss Bustier will give us a full hour just to celebrate it.” -Kim said. Their teacher was also fond of birthdays, and whenever someone in class celebrated it, and that included herself, she would finish classes an hour earlier, so they could celebrate occasion properly.  

“I’ll be in charge of the music, as always.” -Nino smiled. –“So, the rest of you guys, you are in charge of everything else.” -he joked. –“Let’s give my beautiful half here, the birthday party she truly deserves.”

“Who’s going to bake your birthday cake this year, Alya? Your mom, or Marinette’s parents?” -Ivan asked her.

“Actually, both. The birthday cake will be eating tomorrow with Miss Bustier, will be made by Marinette’s parents, while the one that I’ll be eating with my family, it’ll be made by my mom.” -Alya answered him. –“And before you ask me, no, I don’t know how the cakes will look like. The only thing I know is that they will both be carrot cakes.”

“Your favourite. Why am I not surprised?” -Nino asked in an amused tone.

“Because you know me too well.” -Alya smiled at him. –“And before you all start asking, no, I don’t know what the birthday cake Marinette’s parents are making for me looks like. It’s a surprise.” -she told them

When she finished saying that, the rest of the gang looked at Marinette, smiling wickedly at her, making her feel like they were a pack of hungry wolves, and she was an innocent little bunny, who was about to be devoured by them. They all wanted to

“Sorry, but I don’t know it either. The only thing I know is that my dad told me this morning, that he had come up with a great idea for it, and that Alya’s going to love it.” -Marinette told them. –“You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow, to find out what it will look like, like the birthday girl over there.” -she smiled at her best-friend.  

“Well, I know one thing. Whatever it might look like, I know it’s going to be extra delicious.” -Alya said. –“Oh, and one more thing. I’m only going to say this once. I don’t want any presents, okay? Having you all around me, is already the best present I could have.” -she declared.

“Oh, then, I guess the present I bought you, I’ll just keep it to myself.” -Alix joked.

“I was going to say the same thing. If you don’t want any presents, I’ll keep the one I bought you, as well.” -Mylene declared.

“At least, that way, we won’t need to bother losing time wrapping them. If she doesn’t want any presents, why bother?” -Kim said in a sarcastic tone. 

Alya knew they were just kidding about it, but still decided to tell them what she really thought about that matter, just in case someone had the idea of doing just what she first asked them to do. She loved to get presents, but she did not want her friends to spend too much money on account of her.

“Okay, okay, never mind what I said before. If you have already bought them, then, I’ll accept your presents, since you guys were kind enough to buy them. But I maintain what I said before. The best present I could get, is having you guys around me, celebrating my birthday.” -Alya smiled at the whole group. –“Still, I hope you haven’t spent too much money on those presents.” -she said, hoping to be the case. –“I’d be happy if you guys gave me a birthday card and a hug.

“What money? I’m officially nearly broke.” -Kim said. –“But speaking seriously now, don’t worry, I didn’t spend more than 20 euros on it.” -he told Alya.

“Trust me. I didn’t spend a single penny on mine.” -Nathaniel joked. –“You’ll see what I mean, tomorrow.” -he winked at the brunette.

But not everyone was excited about the presents they were going to offer Alya. Chloe Bourgeois was not excited at all. The present she wanted to offer her, was still out of her reach, and she did not know if she was going to be able to get it.   

“The ticket for the KISS concert was going to be my gift to you and the rest of the class, but I’m beginning to think that I’ll have to get you something else.” -Chloe confessed.

“Still no luck in contacting Jagged Stone?” -Adrien asked the blonde.

“No luck at all, Adrikins.” -Chloe admitted. –“My dad’s secretary has been trying to contact both his agent and his manager, but neither one of them answer her calls. She can’t even find where his new house in Paris is.” -she sighed.

“He has a house in Paris?” -Nathaniel asked her.

“Apparently he does. There have been a couple of rumours about it on the news a couple of months ago.” -Chloe said. –“And I think those rumours are true, because whenever he was in Paris, he stayed at my dad’s hotel, and he’s not staying there, right now. I should know, I live there. If he was staying there, I would have seen him by now, or my dad would have told me about it.” -she sighed.  

Hearing that, Juleka quickly took out her cell phone and did a quick search online, looking for anything related to Jagged Stone in Paris that week. In a matter of seconds, dozens of results came up, with most of them being about his concert the previous week, or about the KISS concert next Saturday. But there was one result that caught her eye, and that instantly told her that was what they were looking for.   

“According to what’s on this forum, there have been sightings of a woman walking a crocodile, who looks like Jagged’s pet crocodile, Fang, near Trocadero.” -Juleka said, as she opened the photo file attached to it. –“It does look a bit like Fang. Can’t be absolutely sure, because he’s wearing a muzzle.” -she said, showing them photo on her cell. In it was a woman dressed in a white sports jumpsuit, wearing a baseball cap of the same colour and wearing sunglasses, walking a crocodile. More than once, Fang had appeared on one of Jagged’s album covers, so he was pretty recognizable. Still, the photo’s quality was not very good, making it hard for anyone to see if it was the same crocodile or not.  

“Well, there can’t be many people with a pet crocodile in Paris, especially one as big as Fang.” -Rose told Juleka. –“Maybe we could try and find out where he lives. That way, you could knock at the door and talk to him.” -she suggested.

It was a good idea. Simple, yet good. Unfortunately, even knowing what they were looking for, finding out someone walking a crocodile would be hard, given that at the hour the photo was seemingly taken, they were in class. If they had more time, they could risk losing a weekend or two, trying to see if they could find the person who was walking the crocodile, see if it was Fang, and if it was, follow it back home. But time was something they did not have. The concert was Saturday, and it was already Wednesday.    

“Trocadero is too big an area. We could be lucky and find someone who’s walking a crocodile tomorrow, or we might not be that lucky, and we’ll only find that someone a week, or even a month from now.” –Sabrina said. She had gone with her dad on patrol around that area a couple of times, and she knew just how large the Trocadero area was. –“Even if we all split up, and each one goes one way to find it, we would still have a large area to check. Plus, if we went ahead with this plan, we would have to skip classes to do it.” -she sighed.

“Sabrina’s right. My only chance is to hope my dad’s secretary is able to get in touch with either Jagged’s agent or his manager.” -Chloe sighed, with a disheartened voice. –“If not, then, I guess none of us will get to see Jagged in concert.” -she said.

“Don’t worry about it, Chloe.” -Sabrina told her. –“If you don’t get them, it’s okay. We’ll know that you at least tried to get them for all of us.” -she smiled at the blonde, trying to cheer her up a little, while still believing luck would smile upon them, and that she would manage to get those tickets. 

Listening to Chloe saying that, Marinette felt bad for her. The blonde was trying so hard to get Jagged Stone’s number, so she could talk to him, and there she was, with Jagged’s email on her cell phone. She, who did not even ask for it, and ended up having Jagged commissioning her a face paint, which he would hopefully wear, if he liked it, on Saturday night, when he was called by KISS to share the stage with them. Marinette could not help but to feel that the whole situation was incredibly ironic. She, who did not try to contact the musician, or anything similar, was contacted by him, while Chloe, who was desperate to contact him, and was doing her best to do it, felt like destiny was conspiring against her. Marinette had promised herself and Tikki, that she would not reveal what had happened to her, regarding that matter, before their exams were out of the way. And now that they were, she was going to tell them. By doing it, she would share one of the most incredible things that had ever happened to her, with her friends, while also giving Chloe the means to contact Jagged Stone.   

“Huh, guys, regarding the tickets, I’ve got one thing to...” -Marinette said, when she heard her cell phone ringing.

Just as she was about to spill the beans, her cell phone rang. It was not a call, but rather a text. Wondering what could the text be, Marinette quickly pulled the cell from her pocket and checked it. What she read sent shivers up her spine, and they were not the good kind of shivers.   

“What’s the matter, Marinette?” -Adrien asked her, noticing how her expression changed in a heartbeat.

“Code red.” -Marinette said, practically whispering it.

“Code red? What does that mean?” -Adrien asked her, puzzled with what he had just heard.

There was only one other person in that group who understood what Marinette had just spoke, and that person was Alya. The moment she heard her best-friend speak those words, she feared the worse.

“It’s something Marinette’s parents and her came up with. It’s a code for when there’s an emergency.” -Alya answered him. She still remembered the time when they came up with it. –“The code has three colours, yellow, orange and red, red being the most urgent.” -she explained.

“Red means that something really bad happened.” -Marinette said, trying not to think about what could have happened. Still, it was hard for her not to imagine the worse. Their parents and her had devised the code to be used in emergencies alone.

When hearing that, the whole gang immediately wondered what could have happened, and just like it happened with Marinette, they feared the worse. And before any of them could say anything, Marinette decided that she could not waste a single moment. She needed to get home as quickly as possible.   

“I’m sorry guys, but I have to go.” -Marinette said, as she grabbed her backpack and slid over her right shoulder. Whatever was going on, she had to get to the bakery and see what was happening. Regarding what she had to tell them about Jagged Stone, it would have to wait until later.

“Wait, you want me take you?” -Adrien asked her. –“Gorilla should be arriving at any moment.” -he told her.  

“No need, Adrien. I’ll use my lucky trump card to get there in a couple of minutes.” -Marinette said in a serious tone. Her lucky trump card being Tikki. She was planning to transform into Ladybug and get to the bakery as fast as her legs and arms allowed her to.

“Are you sure you don’t want us to go with you, girl?” -Alya asked her. She did not feel good about letting her best-friend to face whatever had happened alone.

“No, there’s no need. I’ll text you when I find out what’s going on.” -Marinette said, as she began sprinting up the street.

Once she found a place to transform, Marinette wasted no time in making her way back home. As Ladybug, she ran on top of the rooftops, she could not help but to wonder could have happened. That code was to be used in emergencies alone, so whatever it had happened, it had to be serious. All kinds of possible scenarios went through her mind, one worse than the other. She truly feared the worst had come to pass.   

What could have happened? Did dad have a heart attack? Or maybe it was mom who had one? Or perhaps grandma Gina suffered an accident and is in a coma? Or maybe, even grandpa Roland suffered an accident? Or maybe the bakery caught fire?!” -Ladybug asked herself, fearing which scenario could be real. She could feel her heart pounding like a hammer inside her chest, fuelled by fear of a tragedy that might have happened. –“No, stop thinking that way! If you keep thinking about what might have happened, you’ll go insane, before your halfway home. Just focus on getting there, before making any assumptions.” -she thought, as she tried to calm her nerves.

But the more she tried not to think about it, the more intense those thoughts in her mind became. She did not want to think about whatever had happened that forced her mother to send her that text, but it was hard, especially when those bad thoughts were echoing inside her mind. Turning left, she launched herself from the top of the building and used her yo-yo to swing down the street, while at the same time, trying to get those awful and negative thoughts off her head. Unfortunately, it was not easy, because the closer she got the bakery, the stronger those thoughts became. When she was only a couple of streets from the bakery, she swung into an alley, she knew was always deserted, to change back into her civilian self. Landing on the ground, and not seeing anyone around, she quickly changed back and began running out the alley, almost not giving Tikki enough time to get into her backpack. Marinette needed to know what had happened. She had wanted to call either her mom or her dad, and find out what had happened, but she was so scared to hear the bad news, that she was unable to do it. Turning the corner, she saw the bakery. It was still standing and there were no police vehicles or ambulances, or fire trucks in front of it. Not seeing any of that, made some of her fear dissipate from her mind. Unfortunately, she knew that just because there were no police cars, or fire trucks or ambulances, it did not mean everything was right.

Crossing the street, she did not even look both sides to see if it was safe to cross, and almost got hit by an incoming car. Luckily, her athletic reflexes allowed her to slide over the hood, without getting hurt. With her heart in her mouth, Marinette entered the bakery, hoping that whatever had happened was not as bad as her worst thoughts. But when she entered the bakery, she did not see anything that suggested something bad had happened. Her mother was behind the counter, smiling at one of the customers, as she handed the order.  

“Mom, what happened?! Are you okay?! Is dad okay?! Why did you send me that text?!” -Marinette quickly bombarded Sabine with questions, reflecting how nervous and frightened she was. She was huffing and panting like she had just run the marathon, which was not far from reality.  

Seeing her daughter, Sabine immediately saw that she might have done something that she should have not done. With a smile, she asked the following customer to wait a couple of seconds, so she could talk to Marinette, and put any fear she had to rest.

“Nothing bad happened, Marinette.” -Sabine smiled at her. –“I just thought that you would come home a lot quicker if I sent you a text with that code. We have a very special guest upstairs.” -she told her.

When she heard those words, Marinette became confused. Her mother had sent her a message, using a code they had devised themselves, to signal for when something bad had happened to either one of them, and now she was telling her that everything was alright. This made her feel both confused and slightly cheated. In her mind, she wondered what could have happened that made her mother do that to her?

“Okay… I’m really confused.” -Marinette said, not understanding what was really going on, while still trying to get her heart rate to go down.

“I’m sorry if I made you believe that something bad had happened. But I’m sure you’ll forgive me, when you find out what has happened. Go upstairs, and you’ll understand what I mean. And whatever you do, try not to scream or faint, Marinette.” -Sabine said. –“I left him a plate of macarons, and if he asks, I’ll take him another one, as soon as I have a moment. I need to take care of the customers, and help your dad, who’s having a little problem with Alya’s birthday cake.” -she told Marinette. –“Well, go on, don’t keep him waiting. Oh, and one more thing. Your father and I are very proud of you, honey. You should have told us about it sooner.”

At first, Marinette did not know what her mother was talking about, and much less how to react to it. But when she heard Sabine saying that last part, a thought appeared inside her mind. And if that thought turned out to be what was really happening, she needed to know. Making her way upstairs, Marinette asked herself if what she was thinking was just wishful thinking or not. As she climbed the last flight of stairs, she could feel her heart pounding with the same intensity, as when she was making her ay home. Only this time, it was beating like that because of a completely different reason; a reason that she was about to find out if such reason was what she thought, or not. Stopping in front of the door that gave access to the apartment, Marinette opened the door. Entering, she saw someone sitting on one of the living room couches Closing the door behind her, she saw that the person was a man, who was reading a book. This one was wearing a brown trench coat, along with a blue baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses. When the door closed, the man looked at her. It took her a split second, but Marinette recognized him, even with wearing that poor excuse for a disguise. Even wearing a pair of sunglasses and a cap, there was no way he would not be recognized by one of his fans.         

“J-J-Jagged…” -Marinette mumbled, as she saw the iconic musician, who was one of her greatest idols, sitting there, in her parents living room.

“Yes, that’s me. Please, don’t faint. I hate it when that happens.” -Jagged begged her, as he placed down the book that he was reading. –“I’m sorry, but I took the liberty of picking this book from that self over there. Your mother told me she did not know how long it would take you to arrive, so I decided to make myself comfortable.” -he told Marinette, as he got up from the couch, and walked towards her.

She could not believe it. Jagged Stone was right there, talking to her. The whole thing looked like a dream come true. When she took on his commission, she imagined that perhaps she would get the chance to meet him in person, maybe through a videocall, but never really thought too much about it, especially since he was a person who would have an incredibly busy schedule. And now, there he was, standing in front of her.  

It’s Jagged Stone! THE Jagged Stone!!! What do I do?! What do I say?! What do I tell him?! Come on, Marinette, say something! Say something, or he’ll think that you’re stupid or something! Heck, he may even think you’re disrespecting him!” -Marinette thought to herself, while trying to come up with the right words to tell her guest. –“Y-Yes! I’m… I’m M-Marinette. N-Nice to meet you, Mr. S-Stone.” -she said, as she waved at him with the awkwardest smile in her face, one could think off.

“Please, Mr. Stone is my father… well, not really, because that’s not my real last name, but you get my meaning. Just call me Jagged, or JG if you prefer. Heck, you can even call me Uncle Jagged if that helps you not being so nervous.”-Jagged told Marinette in a calm and serene voice. He was used to some people reacting to his presence that way, especially, if it was the first time they met.

“O-Okay…” -Marinette smiled. –“Calm down, Marinette. Keep it cool… oh, this is going to be one of those stories that you’re going to tell not only to your friends, but also to your children and your grandchildren, one day.” -she thought to herself, as she tried to rationalize what was happening to her. –“N-Nice to meet you, J-Jagged.” -she stuttered a little.

“You already said that.” -Jagged pointed out with a chuckle. –“Don’t be nervous. If you want to, I can also begin to stutter a little bit, so you won’t feel like you’re the only one who’s nervous about this.” -he joked.

Oh my gosh, he’s so sweet! He’s like all the magazines say he is.” -Marinette thought. –“N-No need for that.” -she smiled.

“Alright, if you insist.” -Jagged smiled back at her.

Marinette could still not believe Jagged Stone was right in front of her, talking to her. Of all the crazy, insane things that had ever happened, this one would have a special place on her top 5. With both her brain and her heart racing like crazy, Marinette felt the need to try and calm herself down, before continuing to chat with Jagged. She was afraid that if she said the wrong thing, he would get upset at her, or think she was mocking him. Right then, part of her truly wished that when she got that text from her mom, that there truly was a real emergency, so she would not have to worry about acting like a fool in front of one of the world’s biggest music stars.   

“I-I suppose you came around to see if I have finished the face paint you ordered.” -Marinette asked, as she did her best not to flip out, or do something embarrassing. –“Good, good, you didn’t say anything stupid or embarrassing. If you can keep it like this, you won’t have any problems.” -she thought to herself.  

“I have. I’m really anxious to see what you came up with. I know I should have contacted you first, so you knew I was coming, but it just happened. I needed to get out a little, so I grabbed this trench coat, a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses, and I came looking for you.” -Jagged admitted. –“But first, I actually wanted to ask you something.” -he told her. –“Aren’t you going to ask me how did I find out where you live? I mean, your address is not on your page.”   

It was true. Marinette’s address was not on her page, so how was he able to find out where she lived? That was quite the issue, and the musician wasted no time in explaining it to her. First, he assured her that he had not been watching her or stalking her, or had someone do it for him, in case she thought that. He told her how when he found her page, it was because of the fact that he had recognized her last name from the box of macarons that her agent had brought from her parents’ bakery, and that he had taken that as a sign that he should try and commission her. He also told her that her agent, Penny, had recognized her from the photo that was on her page, having seen her in the bakery before, and that it was not hard to figure out where she lived. When he showed Marinette a photo of Penny on his cell phone, the blue-haired girl quickly recognized her, having seen her a couple of times in the bakery.    

“That’s your agent?!” -Marinette asked, recognizing Penny.

“That’s Penny alright. Unlike me, she’s able to blend in, wherever she goes and no one knows who she truly is. I keep telling her that sometimes, I wish I wasn’t as recognizable as I am. At least that way, I wouldn’t have to wear these disguises, for when I want to go out, because of the fear of someone recognizing me, or some photographer snapping a photo of me. And don’t’ even ask me about the paparazzi. In one sentence, absolute nightmare.” -Jagged sighed. –“But anyways, now you know how I managed to find out where you live. And I must say, your parents are incredibly nice. I’m actually surprised your mother didn’t faint when she saw who I was under this hat and these sunglasses.” -he told her. –“Tell me, did you manage to finish the face pain’s design?”

“Well… sort of… I wasn’t able to finish it yet… I…” -Marinette admitted. She had been so worried about her exams, that she still had not finished the face paint’s design.

“Don’t worry. Your mother has told me that you have been a little busy with your school exams, and it’s okay, I understand. School before anything else, that’s what I believe, when it comes to you kids and your education.” -Jagged said, reassuring her everything was alright. –“Just tell me one thing. How much longer do you need to complete it?” -he asked her.  

Without wanting to, Jagged made Marinette’s heart race like crazy, but not in the good sense. When she heard that specific question, she feared that if she said the wrong thing, that he would decide that he would not want the face paint design anymore. It took all her mental strength to not say the first thing that came to her mind, afraid that it might cause trouble for her.

“I-It’s nearly finished!” -Marinette exclaimed, slightly nervous. –“I… I just need a couple of minutes, half an hour tops to finish it.” -she said, being absolute sincere about it.  

“Well, I can wait half an hour. Especially, when I have those macarons to eat, while I wait. I forgot to tell you, but I literally became addicted to them. The macarons from your parents’ bakery are the best in Paris. I just can’t get enough of them.” -Jagged admitted.

At first, Marinette thought that she could finish the design in the living room, while Jagged waited. But she figured she would do a better job in her bedroom, where there was a lot more sunlight. And so, without trying to think too much about it, the blue-haired teenager invited Jagged Stone to her bedroom, with him accepting the invitation. While going up, Marinette kept telling herself to keep her cool and do her best not to sound like she was a massive fan of Jagged’s work, obsessed with most of his songs, fearing he might get offended by it, inside her backpack, Tikki was listening to everything that was happening, and doing her best not to burst into laughs. She knew it was wrong form her to be finding all of that amusing, especially when she, like everyone else in the Miraculous gang, thought that something bad had happened to Marinette’s parents. But all of that was just too amusing for her not to be amused by it.   

“Marinette is sure having a crazy afternoon.” -Tikki mused to herself. –“Let’s just hope she doesn’t have a heart attack with all this excitement.” -she thought, while trying not to giggle about it.   

Before entering her bedroom, Marinette tried to remember if she had left this one a mess, like she always did. Opening the trapdoor, she took a second to look around and saw that this one did not look as bad as she momentarily believed it was. Taking deep breaths, she allowed Jagged Stone inside the bedroom, who was positively surprised by what he saw. From the sketches he had seen on Marinette’s online page, he had imagined that her bedroom would be filled with all kinds fashion things, from sketches on a notice board, to fashion magazines, a sewing machine, among other things. But what stood out was the mannequin, where Alya’s birthday present, still was. As a fan of the Miraculous Team, Jagged immediately recognized the hoodie’s colour pattern, and could not help but to take a better look at it.      

“This is amazing! You did this?” -Jagged asked her.

“Uh… y-yes, I did.” -Marinette stuttered momentarily. –“It’s for a friend of mine. Her birthday’s tomorrow and that’s my present for her.” -she said.

“Then, she’ll be very lucky. This hoodie looks amazing. I’m incredibly jealous of her right about now.” -Jagged said, as he inspected the hoodie, paying close attention to the details. –“You’ve even added the ears. This is quality work.” -he praised her. –“As a fan of the Miraculous heroes myself, I wouldn’t mind having one myself.” 

Having Jagged Stone praise her work was a dream come true for her. She had already heard Adrien’s dad praise it before, but having another person as important as he was, praising her, it made Marinette feel like she was on top of the world.  

“You should really consider making more of these. I bet you would be able to sell them easily.” -Jagged suggested to her.

“T-Thank you.” -Marinette said, as she placed her backpack next to her chaise longue. –“Oh my gosh, he really thinks my stuff is good enough to sell to other people! If this is a dream, don’t wake me up.” -she thought, while trying her best not to begin jumping out of happiness. –“L-Let me show you what I already did, when it comes to your commission. I must admit that it was a bit of a challenge. Luckily, I do like a good challenge.”

Grabbing some of the sketches she had come up with, while attempting to find the one she believed would be perfect for Jagged Stone, Marinette hesitantly handed them to the musician, who checked them, one by one, taking the time to admire them all.  

“These look impressive. You did manage to capture the essence of what I asked you.” -Jagged said, as he looked at the sketches. –“They all look so authentic. And though some look rather modest, the way you drew them, you’ve given them personality. I can see you put your soul into them, and that’s something I can appreciate in a fellow artist.

“T-Thank you.” -Marinette smiled, not believing he had called her a fellow artist. For her, that had been the most beautiful compliment he had told her, until then, and that made her happier than anyone else could imagine. –“But they’re just, you know, sketches I came up with, while trying to find the right one for you.” -she said, as she grabbed her sketchbook, where she had been working on the one she felt was perfect for Jagged. –“Here it is. It’s not finished yet, but I believe it will give you an idea of what I’m aiming for… I call it, the Crocodile.”

Showing Jagged the still unfinished design, the musician was stunned by what he saw. Just like it happened with make-up from all members of KISS, this one was white, allowing the other colours to stand out. Marinette had decided to go for something that would mimic the scales of a reptile on his forehead and nose.   

“Whoa… once again, I’m speechless.” -Jagged admitted, as he kept looking at the design. –“Did you based yourself on my pet alligator to do this?” -he asked her, without taking his eyes from the sketch.

“I admit that when I came up with the idea, I was thinking about Fang, yes.” -Marinette admitted. –“I mean… from all the things that I’ve read and seen about you, you seem to have a very close friendship with your pet crocodile, that maybe, your face paint for this concert, could play out as a tribute to both KISS and Fang.” -she told him.

“Not only you’re talented, you also have amazing ideas. And you’re right about Fang. I really do love that crocodile.” -Jagged praised her.

After that conversational bit, Marinette asked Jagged to make himself at home, while she completed the design. Having Jagged there with her, was a bit distracting, especially since she was feeling the pressure of having to finish that design. Still, she tried not to think about it, as she tried her best to complete the face paint design. As for Jagged, he sat on the chaise longue, taking the time to once again look around and see just what was in Marinette’s bedroom. He was not a nosy person, but like everyone else, who had a pair of functioning eyes, he could see things, and he could not help but to notice that on one of Marinette’s bedroom walls were some posters of various bands, with two featuring him, as well as some of his albums piled up next to a small sound system. From just those objects, Jagged could tell that Marinette was a fan of his work, and that put a smile on his face.

She’s got good taste, when it comes to music. I don’t see any signs of anything related to that XY brat. It’s not that I have a problem with anyone being a fan of that brat, but it’s nice to see that if this girl likes anything of his, she doesn’t have it on display.” –Jagged mused to himself.

Putting a few finishing touches on the sketch, Marinette smiled as she rushed to finish it. Looking at it, she believed that she had done a good job, and she could already imagine Jagged Stone wearing at the concert, where thousands of people would see it first-hand, not to mentioning the millions that would later see it online. Just thinking about it, was causing her to have butterflies in her stomach, the good kind. This would be the first time a work of hers would be seen by so many people. Unlike what had happened when she won the competition to create a derby hat for Adrien to wear on his father’s latest fashion show, which was seen by a few thousands of people in the fashion world, this time, her work would be seen by countless people, all over the globe. Still, trying to keep both her feet on the ground, she could not consider her work finished, before signing it. Like any other artist, Marinette believed that a work was not finished, until the artist who did it, signed it. Grabbing a ink pen that was on her desk, she quickly signed it, like she always did with the sketches she believed were good enough to have that honour. After a last look at it, Marinette announced that she had finished, and gave it to Jagged Stone for appreciation.     

“I love it. It already looked amazing, but now that it’s finished, it looks even better than before. I’ll be happy to wear it on the concert, next Saturday.” -Jagged Stone said, without being able to take his eyes from Marinette’s work. –“And I’ll be paying you what we agreed, plus a little bonus. I know that fabrics can’t be cheap, and I would be happy to help you buy more fabrics, so you can make really cool clothes, like the Rena Rouge hoodie over there.” -he told her.

The idea of having more money to buy more fabrics and create new clothes, by putting her design and sewing skills to the test was quite tempting. Marinette would be lying to herself, if she did not admit she would love to be able to buy more fabrics, some of them a little more expensive than the ones she had been using in her works, without having to count the nickels and dimes in her purse. But once more, the kindness and compassion she had for others in her heart, made her do something entirely different. Something she hoped would benefit not only her, but a lot more people.   

“Actually… I was thinking of another thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want the money, but… you see… well, here’s the thing. My friends and I, we attended your concert last week, but unfortunately, we ended up on a place where we couldn’t see the show properly. The show was good, but we couldn’t enjoy it the way we really wanted it to.” -Marinette said, lying about the part where they attended the concert. –“And, I was wondering…”

“You’re wondering if I could get you tickets?” -Jagged finished sentence. –“Is that what you want, instead of the money? Because I can get you and your tickets for the Golden Circle, as well as VIP and backstage passes for that concert, no questions asked.” -he told her. –“How many do you need? Three? Four? Five?”

“Fourteen.” -Marinette said, piratically whispering it, with a sheepish smile on her face.

“Fourteen?!” -Jagged asked, a little shocked. He was not expecting her to say that number.

“Y-Yes. My whole class is a very big fan of yours, and, we pretty much do things together. We’re a tight group.” -Marinette told him, a little embarrassed. She knew it was a very high number, and that most likely he would not get her that many tickets, but she felt she had to be honest about it.  –“I know. It’s a pretty large number.”

“It’s a pretty large number, alright. It’ll be a little hard to get that many tickets, along with VIP and backstage passes… but it’s doable.” -Jagged declared. –“I mean, it’s like I said, after the magnificent work you’re doing, it’s the least I can do.” -he told her.

When Jagged told her that he would get her the tickets, Marinette quickly hugged him. She did not want to, but the excitement was so great that she did not have control over her own body. A few seconds later, she realized what she had done, and apologized to him.

“Uh… s-sorry.” -Marinette apologized to Jagged. –“What were you thinking, Marinette?! I’ll tell what you were thinking… absolutely nothing! You can’t do something like that!” -she thought to herself

“It’s okay. I’m actually used to that by now. You should see how some groupies behave, when they’re near me.” –Jagged told her, as she broke the embrace.

“And… I know this is bit of a stretch, because you’re already getting me those tickets for my friends, but if possible, I would like to ask you one more favour.” -Marinette declared in a low, almost scared voice. –“I was wondering, if you could give them to a friend of mine, so she could offer them to the class? She did promise everyone she would find a way to talk to you, so you could try and get tickets for the whole class.”

“A friend of yours?” -Jagged Stone asked her.

“Yes, my friend Chloe Bourgeois, the Mayor’s daughter.” -Marinette said.

“You’re friends with that girl?” -Jagged Stone asked Marinette. –“I mean, don’t get me wrong, but, how can you be friends with someone like her? Bear in mind, that I’ve known her for years, and she’s not exactly the kind of girl most people would like to have as a friend. In fact, I don’t remember her being nice towards anyone. I saw her mistreating a lot of people, just because she did not get what she wanted. Plus, every time she sees me, she behaves like a crazy fan, always wanting to take a selfie with me.” -he told her. 

“Let’s just say that we have quite the history together. She bullied me, almost from the moment we first met.” -Marinette told him. –“And I understand that you think of her that way. She was a real piece of work. But she has changed a lot, since the last time you saw her. She’s been through a couple of things that have changed her, for the better.” -she went on, defending the blonde. –“She’s not the Chloe Bourgeois she once was. She’s a different Chloe, who’s a lot nicer, and who’s the polar opposite of what she once was.”

Marinette could tell from the way Jagged Stone was looking at her, that he was not buying into what she was telling him. But she was telling him the truth. She just could not tell him what had happened to Chloe that made her change. So, the only thig that occurred to her, was to try and convince the musician of her words, by speaking from her heart, and hope for the best.  

“I know it’s hard to believe what I’m saying, especially because you don’t know me at all, and you have interacted with Chloe in the past. But trust me, when I say that I’m telling you the truth. Chloe was always awful, and she always believed that she was better than everyone else, and she would treat everyone who did not agree with her like yesterday’s trash. In sum, she was a spoiled brat, who made my life a living Hell quite a few times. She was a horrible person. She was someone who made feel bad about myself, and never apologized. She was someone who sometimes made me feel like I was useless, and who didn’t deserve any happiness. In sum, she was someone who I thought I would never call a friend, ever.” -Marinette declared. Saying those things, she remembered about all the things that Chloe had done to her and to her friends. It made her relive some of the hardest moments in her life, while telling herself that all of that was in the past, and that it should stay buried in the past, where it could not hurt her or anyone else. –“So, believe me that if she hadn’t changed, I would be the last person on Earth to defend her. She’s now someone who I’m proud to call a friend. Someone, who I know, will be there for me and for others, when things go wrong. Someone who does not hesitate in helping someone who’s in need. I know, it’s hard to imagine, it’s true… and unfortunately, there are times when she thinks that just because she has changed and started to treat others with respect, that she doesn’t deserve the friends she now has, nor anything good that comes her way. And when that happens, she tries to make it up for all the times she was mean and awful towards everyone, by doing things like offering us gifts or providing us with unique experiences. She knows that they don’t excuse all the bad things she did in the past, but it helps her feel a little better about it, and gives her the strength and the confidence she needs to continue on this new path she has chosen… and I’m babbling about this more than I should, perhaps, but still, I had to tell you this. I wanted you to know why I want to help Chloe feel better about herself.” -she sighed, realizing that without wanting to, she had told Jagged more than she wanted at first. –“I would be forever grateful to you, if you could do this, not for me, but for my friend, who still has a long way to go, to be the person she truly wants to be, but that is already on the right path.”

The way Marinette talked about Chloe made Jagged feel like they were talking about two completely different persons. For him, Chloe Bourgeois had always seemed to be a spoiled brat. But he was used to seeing her once or twice a year. Marinette was someone who clearly spent a lot of time with her. She did not have to tell him about her bullying experience at the hands of the blonde, but she did it anyways. That told him that she was someone who was not afraid of telling a person what had happened, no matter how bad things were. And if she was telling him that Chloe had changed, and was trying to become a better person, who was he to say it otherwise?

“Well, you’re right. I don’t know you at all… but I know what being bullied about can do to a person.” -Jagged told her. It had been years since he talked to anyone regarding such a matter, and even longer, since he talked about it with a stranger. –“Believe it or not, I was also bullied, when I was a little younger than you are… yeah, it’s hard to imagine, but I was. Back then, people didn’t call it being bullied, but the result was the same. Myself, I was never able to forgive the people that bullied me, when I was young, maybe because I believed that they did not deserved to hear those words from me. Or maybe, it’s because I was too stubborn to even give it a second thought about it. But I know people who did that, either because they needed to do it, so they could make peace with their past, while others, their bullies had come to apologize for tormenting them, and doing that, takes a lot of strength from a person, which may sound easy, but it’s not, especially when a person was hurt, physically or psychologically.” -he said. –“But you, being someone who was hurt by her, says that she has changed and that she’s trying to do something nice for you and your friends, I believe that you don’t have reason to lie to me about it.”

Listening to Jagged, Marinette never thought she would hear what she did. He had just told her about a part of his life that she had never heard about. She felt both excited and humbled about it, and could not help but to remember about her own experience, when she told her mother about her bullying. Jagged did not have to tell her that, but even so, he did, and she did not know to properly react. When she woke up that morning, she knew how her day was going to start, but not how it was going to end, and the way it was ending, could only be described in one word: Unbelievable. Once more, Marinette told herself that she would be telling what was happening to her, to whoever wanted to ear it, for the rest of her life.       

“If you really want that, and you believe that it will help her, then, I’ll be glad to do it.” -Jagged Stone declared. –“I’ll give her the tickets, so she can then, offer them to you and your friends. Plus, I’ll be paying you the money that we had agreed, regarding this work of yours. And before you tell me that you can’t accept it, allow me to tell you that I won’t take a no for an answer, and I usually get things my way. Plus, I want you to know one more thing.” -he said, as he pointed at the face paint design. –“I know that we’ve only known each other for an hour at best, but from what I’ve seen and heard, I can tell that you are not only an amazing person, but also an incredible aspiring artist, who I’m sure will become one of the best at what she does in a decade or so. I usually say that I only waste my time with those I feel, have something to give to the world; people with an incredible talent. And yours is quite big. It’s true that you still have a long way to go, but you’re heading in the right direction. Which is why, I would like to be one of the first people to help you in your path to fame. This here, was the first work you did for me, and it won’t be the last. I promise you that. Whenever I feel that I need a new accessory, or even something cool to wear on one of my tours, I’ll be sure to call you and commission it to you.”

When Jagged Stone told her that, Marinette’s brain exploded. She had already considered herself lucky in having been commissioned once by him. But having the rockstar tell her that in the future, he would contact her, to commission her again, it was something fantastic. Fuelled by the happiness she was feeling right then, the blue-haired teenager hugged Jagged once more.  

“Thank you, thank you so much for the opportunity!” -Marinette exclaimed, as a couple of tears of happiness started to roll down her face.

“Don’t thank me. Thank yourself. You earned this shot.” -Jagged told her. –“And it will be my pleasure to have you and your friends on the concert, next Saturday.” -he declared.

Chapter Text

When Jagged left, Marinette felt like she was on cloud nine. Not only had she been able to impress him with her talent, she also managed to convince him to give Chloe the VIP tickets and the backstage passes for the KISS concert on the following Saturday. But the true icing on the cake, was when Jagged promised her he would contact her to commission her again, when he needed an accessory or something else to wear, when on tour. Never in her life, did Marinette ever think she would be that lucky. Not counting the day, she became Ladybug and saved the city of Paris for the first time, as well as the day that she and Adrien became a couple, that was the best day of her life.   

When she told her parents about everything that went on, the two felt proud and thrilled for their daughter. So much, that Sabine decided to make something special for dinner, to commemorate the occasion. She prepared one of Marinette’s favourite dishes, something she loved to eat, whenever she was feeling down, or when she was celebrating something, Gratin Dauphinois, along with a savoury cheese souffle. The blue-haired girl was a sucker for those two dishes, and on that night, her mother made them both.

While they ate, Tom and Sabine decided to organize a small family reunion, by calling both Tom’s parents, Gina and Roland, as well as Sabine’s parents, Ju and Feng, and her uncle, Wang, to tell them about what had happened and for them to congratulate Marinette on her several achievements. As they all talked, Marinette once more felt like the luckiest person on Earth, not only because of everything that had happened to her that day, but because she also had a loving family, with whom she could share both a meal with, as well as good news.    

“I’m so proud of you, Marinette. I told you that one day your talent would be noticed by someone important, and as always, I was right, honey.” -Gina told her granddaughter.

“I’m not the biggest fan of these modern musicians, but I’m happy for you, Marinette.” -Roland told his granddaughter.

“We couldn’t be prouder of you, and of this achievement of yours.” -Feng said.

“We can’t wait to tell all our friends about what you did, Marinette. They’re all going to be so jealous of your grandfather and I, for having such a talented granddaughter, like you, sweetie.” -Ju told Marinette.

“Thank you, thank you all. Your words mean so much to me.” -Marinette told her grandparents, while having seconds. All that happiness had given her a lot of appetite, and with the food being some of her favourite dishes, she felt like her stomach would be able to eat four or five times more food than usual.

“When are you going to post the face paint design you did for him on your page?” -Gina asked Marinette. She had been one of her earliest followers, and she never lost a post. –“I want to share it with everyone I know, so they can see just how talented my favourite granddaughter is.” -she told her.

“Only after tomorrow. Jagged Stone asked me not to post it just yet, so he can show it to the members of KISS, for them to give him their opinion on it.” -Marinette answered her. –“And as for being your favourite granddaughter, grandma Gina, thanks, but I’m also your only granddaughter, remember?” -she joked.

“That still doesn’t change the fact you’re my favourite one, honey.” -Gina said.

“Come now, Gina, don’t say that. You’re going to make the girl blush so much; she’ll be as red as a tomato. I may not be there with you, but I can imagine just how red you are now, Marinette.” -Roland joked.

“Sorry, grandpa Roland, but I’m not blushing.” -Marinette said, lying about it. Like it happened every time someone praised her, she became as red as a tomato.

“Well, there’s nothing wrong about blushing a little, when someone praises you.” -Ju said. –“You should have seen your mother. When she was your age, she would blush for anything and everything. She only lost that habit when she became older.” -she told Marinette.

“Your grandmother is right. Your mother would blush quite easily.” -Feng declared

“It’s good to know that I’ve got something else in common with her.” -Marinette told her grandfather. –“It’s like they say, like mother, like daughter.” -she thought to herself.   

After dinner, Marinette went back to her bedroom to celebrate with Tikki. Because of everything that happened to her that day, she had not had the time to spend some quality time her kwami. So, to apologize for that, and to also thank her for lending her powers for a brief moment that afternoon, Marinette took her a huge plate of cookies, which they ended up sharing. Just like Marinette, Tikki was thrilled with what had happened.   

As the hours went by, the excitement in Marinette’s body and mind did not diminish. It was so big that she even forgot to text everyone, regarding what had happened. She had promised the whole class that as soon as she could, she would text them, telling them what was going on. And when she remembered to checked her cell phone, she had more than 70 unread texts, along with about two dozen unanswered calls. Most of them were from Alya and Adrien. Answering them back, she told them that it had been a fake code red and that that her mom had sent it to her, because they needed a little help with Alya’s birthday cake. She did not like to lie about what had really happened, but that was the sort of news that one should be given by phone or text. Everyone in her class, including her boyfriend and her best-friend would just have to wait until the following morning to hear what really had happened to her.    

Getting ready for bed, she still felt like her head was in the clouds. Though the day started with something like exams, it had ended up with aftermath of an experience Marinette would never forget, as long as she lived.  

“This was quite the day for you.” -Tikki smiled at Marinette.

“It sure was.” -Marinette said, as she pulled the covers and got ready to sleep. –“I still can’t believe it, Tikki. In fact, I’m scared that this is all a dream and that I’ll wake up in a couple of seconds.” -she admitted.

“Well, I can tell you that what happened to you is not a dream. Jagged Stone was here, this afternoon, he loved your work and not only he paid you for it, he also agreed to get you VIP tickets with backstage passes for the concert next Saturday. Plus, he told you that would contact you, in the near future, to create something for him to wear, when on tour.” -Tikki said, summarizing everything that happened that afternoon.

“Speaking of which, at this hour, Chloe must have been contacted by Jagged Stone.” -Marinette said, as she set the alarm on her cell phone. –“I can’t be late tomorrow. Not on Alya’s birthday.” -she thought to herself, as she finished setting the alarm. –“I’m actually surprised that she didn’t announce it on social media… Do you think that Jagged wasn’t able to get the tickets for us?”

“Be patient, Marinette. Chloe’s probably waiting for tomorrow to tell everyone. After all, she did say she wanted one of the tickets to be Alya’s birthday present.” -Tikki reminded her.

“Maybe you’re right. Maybe she’s just waiting for tomorrow… like I am, when I tell everyone about everything that happened. I’m even a little afraid, that I might steal Alya’s spotlight tomorrow.” -Marinette said.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you won’t steal the spotlight from her. You’re too good of a friend to do that on purpose.” -Tikki declared.  

“I hope so. I really want Alya to be the centre of attentions tomorrow, not me.” -Marinette told her. –“Still, no matter how many times I think about, it sounds too incredible to be true… just like when I began dating Adrien.” -she sighed. –“I’m even afraid to say this, Tikki, but for once, my life seems to be going in the right direction. I mean, I’m not saying that my life was heading in the wrong direction, but with all my responsibilities and all the things that have happened, I felt like…”

“You felt like life owed you a little break, and that you needed for something truly good to happen and thar would last a little longer than usual, am I right?” -Tikki asked her, finishing her sentence. –“Well, you finally began dating Adrien, and now thanks to this Jagged Stone business, you’re once step closer to becoming a world-renowned fashion designer. I would say that life gave you the break it owed you.” -she smiled.

And she was thankful for that break. She did not know how long it would last, but Marinette was going to make the most of it. Dividing her time between school and superhero work was tough, and though she loved the freedom given to her by her miraculous, sometimes, she felt like she did not have the energy to keep up with both parts of her life. Luckily, she had the best boyfriend in the world, as well as a group of friends, who were like family to her, that were always ready to give her a hand. Even so, she believed that break was going to help her, in more ways than one.

“Absolutely. I won’t even be able to sleep tonight. I mean, I’m dead tired, but I don’t feel like sleeping, Tikki. Just thinking about what Jagged Stone could commission me next, I already came up with twenty or thirty different ideas, and most of them are incredibly cool.” -Marinette sighed.

“I understand, but try to close your eyes, even if it’s just for a little bit. You’ll need to be rested for tomorrow. You don’t want to fall asleep, when your best-friend blows up her birthday candles.” -Tikki told her. –“Oh, and I’ve seen the birthday cake your parents did for Alya. It’s beautiful, and she’s going to love it.” -she declared. –“Do you want to know what it is?”

“No, not this time. I want to be surprised, just like the others.” -Marinette confessed. –“But if you say she’s going to love it, then I have full confidence in your words, Tikki.” -she smiled at the kwami, before closing her eyes.    

The following morning, when the alarm went off, Marinette sprung out of bed in one quick jump, while feeling refreshed and relaxed. Though it took her a bit to fall asleep, she eventually made her way to dreamland, where she stayed for what felt like a couple of minutes only, though it had been hours. She had a lot of things to do that morning, before classes began, and she could not waste a single second, if she wanted them to be ready when Alya arrived in school.    

Arriving at school, just as the janitor opened the doors, Marinette was among the first to enter, making her way towards the classroom. She wanted to make sure that she had enough time to get the classroom ready for Alya’s birthday. Entering it, she smelled the unmistakable scent of lemon in the ait. Once again, the room had been cleaned with the sane lemon-scented cleaning product. Its scent was a bit strong, but over the years, Marinette and pretty much everyone in her class had gotten used to it. Going to the classroom’s supply room, she took out the ladder, as well a few more things to help her get things done. Like it happened, whenever it was the birthday of one of her classmates, or even Miss Bustier’s, they would get the classroom ready for the effect. It was a sweet tradition, they as a class, had. Wasting no time, she began to decorate the place, while waiting for anyone else to arrive, which did not take long. Marinette had just placed her birthday gift for Alya on top of Miss Bustier’s desk, when she heard a familiar voice calling her.

“You arrived early today.” -the voice said. It was Mylene. In her hands, she was carrying her present for Alya. This one was wrapped in purple wrapping paper with a yellow ribbon.

“Yeah… I wanted to get this ready, before classes begin.” -Marinette said, as Mylene approached her and placed the present next to hers. It was custom to leave all the birthday presents on Miss Bustier’s desk. When they first did this, their teacher told them that this way, they would not have to keep the presents inside their backpacks, while waiting for the right moment to hand them out. –“Do you need any help?” -she asked her.

“If you don’t mind, sure.” -Marinette smiled at her friend. –“Help me with this banner.” -she said, as she took it from her backpack.

“Oh, I recognize that one. It’s the one you made for Alya’s birthday last year.” -Mylene said.

“Yes, I just changed the number on it. I admit that I didn’t have the time to make a new one. But I’m sure Alya won’t mind.” -Marinette said, as she handed one of the banner’s end to Mylene.

“I agree. Alya isn’t the kind of person who will get mad about that.” -Mylene said, as she grabbed the banner’s end. –“By the way, what happened yesterday? Is everything really okay? You said in your text that you would explain everything today.” -she asked Marinette, curious, and a little worried.

“Oh, that… it was a false alarm.” -Marinette said, lying about it.  

“Really? Then, what happened?” -Mylene asked, curious.

“I can’t tell you just yet. But I promise that until the end of classes, I’ll tell you and everyone else what happened, and why I asked you all to be a little patient about it.” -Marinette told her, as she climbed the ladder.

“Okay, but I’ll hold you on to that, as well as the rest of the gang.” -Mylene told her. –“When you left yesterday, some of us still thought about going after you, to make sure you were alright. But in the end, we decided not to.” -she said.

“And a good thing too. Otherwise, you would have found out what I’ve been up to, these last couple of days.” -Marinette mused to herself. –“It’s alright. Besides, like I said, I’ll tell you all later.” -she said, as she finished hanging the banner. –“You know, I wish we could ask our kwamis to help us with this.”

“Agreed. But we can’t risk Miss Bustier, or anyone else, seeing them. It’s too risky.” -Mylene sighed. –“Sometimes, I wish Pin would be able to just roam free, without the need of having to keep herself hidden from everyone.” -she declared, as she looked at her backpack, where the deer kwami was hiding.   

“Me too. I wouldn’t mind having Tikki being able to roam free. She’s too special.” -Marinette commented, knowing the ladybug kwami was hearing her. –“Unfortunately, that might never happen… but changing the subject, what did you get Alya?” -she asked her.

“Oh, I bought her the first three books from one of my favourite book series, which I think she’ll also like, Skulduggery Pleasant.” -Mylene confessed. –“I’ve fallen in love with the characters in the books, and I pretty much have read all the books in a record time.” -she told Marinette. –“What about you? What did you get her?”

“I hate to say this again, but you’ll just have to wait and see.” -Marinette chuckled lightly.

“Wait for what?” -Rose asked, as she entered the classroom, also carrying her present for Alya. –“What did I miss?” -she asked the girls. 

“Mylene was asking me what I got Alya for her birthday, and I was telling her that you’ll have to wait and see what it is… oh, and regarding what happened to me yesterday, I’ll tell you all later, as well.” -Marinette said.

“Okay.” -Rose smiled, as she placed her present on the desk. –“Well, I got her a shirt that I think she’s going to like. Juleka helped choose it.” -she told the girls. –“By the way, when can we expect the birthday cake to arrive, Marinette?”

“My dad will arrive with it around 10:30. And no, I’m not going to tell you what it looks like either.” -Marinette told her. –“Because I don’t know what it looks like. Maybe I should have checked it, before leaving home… nah, I want to be surprised, just like Alya and everyone else.” -she thought to herself.

“You sure are mysterious today, with all those secrets.” -Mylene joked.

“Just call me “Miraculous Mysterious Girl”, then.” -Marinette giggled, making the girls giggle as well. –“Now, come on, help me get the rest of the things ready, before the birthday girl arrives.” -she said, as she went to her backpack to get a few streamers she had brought with her. –“Oops, sorry, Tikki… have you seen the streamers?”

“It’s okay, and they’re right here.” -Tikki told her, as she grabbed the streamers and handed them to Marinette. –“Just remember to save me a piece of cake, okay?” -she said. –“I’ve been imagining just how good the cake is, from the moment I saw your dad working on it.”

“I’ll save one for you and for all the kwamis, don’t worry. We would never leave you out of this celebration.” -Marinette smiled at her, before closing the backpack.

And just like Marinette had said, at exactly 10:30, her dad, Tom Dupain arrived with Alya’s birthday cake. When he knocked at the door, Miss Bustier stopped the lecture and went to open the door. And upon doing it, she saw Tom carrying a large box containing her birthday cake. Greeting everyone, he placed it on top of Miss Bustier’s desk, next to the presents, and then proceeded to unbox it. They all were wondering what the cake looked like, especially Alya, who knew that whatever shape the cake had, it would taste delicious, like every pastry Tom did. And when they finally saw how the cake looked like, none of them was disappointed by it. Tom had sculpted the cake to look just like Alya’s cell phone. It looked exactly like the real one. Same shape, same colour, same Ladybug and Rena Rouge pendants attached to it. The only difference was in its size. In it you could see the words “Happy Birthday Alya”. Words could not describe just how beautiful it looked. From all the birthday cakes she had over the years, this one was the prettiest so far.    

“It’s beautiful, Mr. Dupain.” -Alya said, as she looked at her birthday cake and admiring

“It sure is. Worthy of a photo… or several.” -Nino commented, as he pulled his cell phone and snapped a couple of photos of the cake. –“You better watch out and try not to mistake this one with the real one, Alya.” -she told his girlfriend, with a mischievous smile on his face.

“I think that will be hard, given the size of this one.” -Alya said.

“It’s a really beautiful cake, Mr. Dupain.” -Miss Bustier said. –“Probably the best one yet.” -she commented.

“Thank you. But I think, I still have to surpass the one I did for Marinette last year.” -Tom declared, remembering the birthday cake he did for his daughter’s last birthday.

“It was a really big cake; I’ll give you that, dad.” -Marinette told Tom.

“Tasty too. Who would have guessed that strawberries, cherries and vanilla would go so well together?” –Kim asked.

“Kim, no offense, but even if they did not go well together, you would have still eaten it, without a care in the world.” -Alix shot at him. –“Your stomach is like a black hole. Everything that goes in, doesn’t come out.”

Sensing that if she allowed Alix to keep saying those things to Kim, the two would end up starting one of their already famous arguments, Miss Bustier decided to intervene, and casually prevent that from happening. She knew that the best way to appease tempers was to joke about the situation and move on. And whenever Kim and Alix did that, she already knew what to do to deal with it.

“Yes, well, what you said is a nice comparison, Alix, but I think that perhaps we should leave that kind of comparison for when we’re discussing that subject in class.” -Miss Bustier said, ending the conversation, and preventing it from turning into one of the classic arguments between Alix and Kim. –“But, back to the cake, it’s a really beautiful cake.” -she said.

“Three cheers for Marinette’s dad and this cake!” -Alya exclaimed.  

“Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!” -the whole class exclaimed.

“Thank you all for the kind words. I’m glad to see that you all like it… But right now, I best be going back. The next batch of croissants won’t bake themselves. I’ll see you later, honey.” -Tom told Marinette, who smiled back at him. –“And once again, happy birthday Alya.” -he smiled at the birthday girl, before leaving. 

After that, the whole class joined Miss Bustier and sang “Happy Birthday To You” to Alya. The brunette did not consider herself an emotional personal, who cried over every little thing. But there were times, when even she could not hold her tears, and this was one of them. Seeing and hearing everyone singing to her, throwing streamers and confetti into the air, celebrating the one day in the year, when she felt more special, than all others.

“D’aww… guys, you’re making me cry.” -Alya said, as she wiped the tears from her eyes.

“Don’t cry, Alya. If you do that, Rose and Mylene will also start to cry and we don’t want a tear festival, okay?” -Ivan playfully said, which earned him a smile from Mylene.

“No, I won’t!” -Rose said, protesting.

“Won’t you? Rose, you’re the only person I know who cries, every time she sees Bambi’s mom getting shot.” -Chloe pointed out. –“And you do tend to cry whenever there’s a happy event.” -she smiled at her.

“Don’t tell me you don’t cry when Bambi’s mom gets shot in the movie? If you don’t, then you don’t have a heart.” -Rose playfully told the blonde. 

“No, I don’t. I don’t usually cry when watching a movie.” -Chloe confessed.

“Look, it doesn’t matter who cries and who doesn’t. What matter is that our birthday girl is happy and that if she wants to shed a couple of tears, she can do it, and there’s no problem in that.” -Nino said, as he looked at Alya. –“Go ahead, cry a little, we won’t judge you.” -he told her.

“Oh, you…” Alya smiled at Nino, as a tear ran down her face. –“You, and just everyone else. You guys are the best, and I mean it.” -she kept smiling.   

“Come on, hurry up with the crying and all that! I want to taste the birthday cake!” -Kim exclaimed.

“Kim! Don’t rush, Alya.” -Rose playfully shot at him. –“Though he’s right. I also want to taste that birthday cake. It’s so beautiful, that it will be a shame to cut it… still, if it tastes as good as all of Marinette’s dad’s cakes, it will be worth to see it being cut and eaten.” -she thought to herself.

“You’re not fooling anyone, Rose.” -Juleka whispered to her girlfriend’s ear. –“I know you also want to taste the cake.” -she once more whispered to Rose’s ear, earning her a devilish smile from the blonde.

“You know me too well, Jules.” -Rose whispered back at her girlfriend, calling her by the nickname she had given her, and making her giggle.

After they cut the cake and everyone had at least a slice of it, including the kwamis, whom Marinette served, while Adrien and Nino distracted Miss Bustier, it was finally time to open the presents. Alya was about to grab the first one, when Miss Bustier was forced to leave the classroom to take an urgent call. But she told her students to continue with the celebrations, adding that she would only take a few minutes to answer that call. Doing just that, Alya commenced to open the presents her friends had bought her. One by one, she opened them all. She began with Nathaniel’s present, which she loved. He had drawn a portrait of hers, which he then illustrated with watercolours and framed.

“Whoa, Nathaniel… this is way better than a photo. I love it!” -Alya thanked him.

“I figured you would like it. And like I said, I didn’t spend a single penny on your birthday gift.” -Nathaniel smiled at her.

Next, she opened Rose’s gift, which was a perfume she believed she was going to like. But what surprised her, was that the bottle was shaped like a fox. She instantly loved it, and told Rose that she was going to try it right then. Opening its box, she sprayed it on her wrist and smelled it. Its scent was a little strong, but delicate at the same time, reminding her the scents of a warm Summer afternoon.

“You always know which perfume to give to people, Rose.” -Alya

“Just one of my many talents.” -Rose said shyly. –“I’m glad you like it.” -she smiled.

She opened all the presents, until the only ones left were Marinette’s and Miss Bustier’s, which Alya decided not to open, until the teacher came back. So, she decided to open Marinette’s. She had insisted for Alya to open it last, not because she believed her present was better than the others, but because she believed that if she saw her present before she opened the others, she might not pay them the kind of attention they deserved. It was not the first time Marinette offered Alya clothes made by her, so she knew how the brunette would react. And when Alya ripped the wrapping paper and saw what it was concealing, she could not help shouting out of happiness.       

“Oh, my God, girl! It’s beautiful!” -Alya exclaimed, as she held it in her hands, admiring all the details, while being fascinated by just how perfect it looked. It was clear to her that Marinette had outdone herself.  –“I love it! It’s the most beautiful thing you ever created for me! And to prove it just how much I love it, I’m going to try it on, right now.” -she said.

Trying it on, Alya felt just how cozy and warm the hoodie’s fabric felt against her skin. There was no doubt to her that Marinette had picked the right fabrics to do that piece for her. She would go as far as to say that she felt the love her best-friend had put on that hoodie, when she sewed it. It was a beautiful hoodie, and on next winter, she was going to wear it all the time.

So soft… Marinette, you’re an incredible designer and seamstress.” -Alya thought to herself 

“You look just like the fox heroine we know you are. All you need is the other half of the outfit, a mask and her flute-staff and you’re ready to go.” -Nino told his girlfriend, who smiled at him.  

“Thanks, Nino.” -Alya told her boyfriend. –“And thanks for this beautiful gift, Marinette.” -she thanked the blue-haired girl. –“From all the presents you have made over the years, this one’s the best one yet. Thanks, girl.”

“I’m happy that you like it.” -Marinette smiled. –“Totally worth the extra-work I had to put it in, just to see you react like that. Then again, anything I create with my sewing machine, for my friends, is worth every single second I spend in front of it.” -she mused. 

Marinette felt like she was on top of the world, right then. Alya had loved her birthday present. But she had not been the only one who loved it. The rest of her friends were also impressed with her handiwork.

“I’m so proud of you, Marinette.” -Adrien told her. –“And I’m not just saying it, just because you’re my girlfriend. I’m saying it because that’s a really beautiful hoodie.” -he smiled at her. –“Makes me wish you would do one for me too.”

“You and me.” -Sabrina said.

“I wouldn’t mind having one based on my other self.” -Chloe said. –“Especially since a few years from now, you’ll be a famous fashion designer, and you know that I only wear the best.” -she declared, as she imagined how a Queen Bee hoodie designed by Marinette would look like.

“You should really create other hoodies inspired on our hero personas. I bet you would make them all as cool as this one, Marinette.” -Mylene suggested, as she checked Alya’s with a closer eye. –“I mean, I’ve seen one or two hoodies that were inspired into one or two of us, but neither one, nor the other looked half as good, as the one you made for Alya.” -she said. –“I would definitely love to see you create them.”

With only Miss Bustier’s left to open, Alya decided to thank everyone for the presents, while also waiting for the teacher to come back. She had loved all the presents. Some more than others, but she would never say which, because her friends had all given them to her, from the bottom of their hearts. 

“Thanks everyone, for the gifts and for everything else. I loved everything” -Alya thanked them.

“The pleasure was ours, Alya.” -Adrien said.

“I hope you wear the blouse I got you.” -Chloe said.

“I will, don’t worry. I’ll be sure to add it to my best clothes section of my wardrobe.” -Alya told her. –“It’s just a shame that you couldn’t get us the tickets for the concert on Saturday… guess we’ll just have to wait to see Jagged Stone some other time.” -she stated.  

“And who says I didn’t get them?” -Chloe said with a mischievous smile, as she pulled her cell phone from her pants pocket.  

“Wait?! You got them?!” -Alix asked her, incredulous.

“Check your cell phones…” -Chloe said, as she pressed send on her cell.  

A few seconds later, everyone’s cell phones rang, notifying them. Checking it, they all saw the same thing. Tickets to KISS concert, as well as VIP and Backstage passes. The blonde had kept her word and got them so much more than she had promised, and that made them feel like they had just won the biggest prize ever in the lottery. After losing the Jagged’s concert because of an Akuma attack, they believed they would not get another chance to see him live that doon. But as luck would have it, the universe, or fate, had other plans and Jagged would go on to open for KISS, a week after. They did know if that was karma rewarding them for saving Paris the other night, or not, but they knew one thing. Thanks to Chloe, they now had another opportunity to watch Jagged live. And on top of it, another rock band.  

“Consider it my second birthday present for you, Alya. As for the rest, consider this a present for putting up with me and my sometimes-swollen ego, constantly.” -Chloe declared, as a she smiled at them joyous smile on her face.

“Just sometimes?” -Kim asked her, in a playful tone, which she answered back, by playfully sticking her tongue out.

“I knew you would find a way to get those tickets for us, Chloe.” -Sabrina said, praising her best-friend’s effort.

“How did you do it? Did you talk to Jagged Stone himself?!” -Alix asked Chloe, as her eyes kept staring at her cell phone’s screen. –“VIP and Backstage passes?! I swear to God, that I’ll never complain about Chloe, when she throws one of her tantrums.” -she mused to herself.

“Yes, I did. I don’t know how, but he found out that I have been trying to contact him to talk to him, so I could ask him if he could get us tickets to the concert on Saturday.” -Chloe declared. –“It was probably my dad’s secretary who finally managed to get a hold of him, and gave him my number, because he called me yesterday, after dinner and told me that I ” -she hypothesized.

“Actually… I’m the one who told him you wanted to talk to him about the tickets, and who gave him your number” -Marinette said, with a shy voice and an impish smile. 

When she said that, the classroom was filled with an awkward silence. The kind of silence one sees and feels, after hearing something absolutely insane or preposterous. Still, it did not take long for someone to break it, and that someone was none other than Chloe.     

“Say what?! Dupain-Cheng, you better explain yourself.” -Chloe told her, demanding an explanation.

“I’m with Chloe on this one. As your best-friend and birthday girl, I demand that you tell us the whole story, from the beginning. And don’t skip on the details, girl.” -Alya told Marinette.

“Yeah, spill the beans, Marinette.” -Kim said.

Figuring the cat was out of the bag, Marinette told them all what happened. She told them how Jagged Stone had contacted her and commissioned her a face paint for him to wear on Saturday, and how he showed up at her place the day before, and that the “code red” text she got was her mother’s way to tell her to come home, because he was waiting for her. She also told them, how she wanted to tell them all about this, but decided not to, because she knew they would be happy and thrilled for her, and she did not want them to get distracted from their studies. Last, but not least, she said that he praised both her work as a designer and as a seamstress, after seeing the Rena Rouge hoodie she had made for Alya, while adding that while she was finishing the face paint design for Jagged, the two of them talked about how Chloe had volunteered to get in touch with him and ask him if he could get tickets for the KISS concert, for her and for the rest of them. When she finished telling her tale, the others did not know how to properly react to it. If they did not know that Marinette was someone who did not have the habit of lying, and that hated doing it, when she was forced to do it, they would wonder if what she had told them was a whole bunch of bull. But she was not that kind of person, and they knew that if she was saying it, it was because it was the truth, and nothing else but the truth.       

“You… You have got to be the luckiest person on Earth for that to happen to you.” -Chloe said. –“Even I, with all my connections, and my dad’s connections, don’t have things like that happening to me.” -she admitted.  

“Are you sure you don’t have any Irish blood in you? Because what happened to you, could be described as luck of the Irish.” -Adrien asked her, in a playful tone.

“Nope, not that I know of. As far as I know, I only have French and Chinese blood.” -Marinette playfully joked back. –“But, maybe if I go back a couple of generations, I might have some Irish or Celtic blood, from my dad’s side of the family.” -she said.   

“Irish blood, or no Irish blood, what matters is that thanks to you, I managed to talk to Jagged Stone and get us the tickets, Marinette.” -Chloe smiled at her. –“But you could have asked him for the tickets yourself. Why didn’t you do it?” -she asked her, puzzled. –“That’s what I would have done, if I was in your shoes.”

“Well… truth be told, I didn’t really remember to ask him to give me the tickets at the time.” -Marinette confessed. –“Actually he offered them to me first, but you deserved to get them, so you could offer them to us all, Chloe. Usually, I hate to lie to you and everyone else, but this is one lie that I don’t mind telling you all. Especially because the truth would make this victory feel a little bit bitter to you.” -she thought to herself. –“I know, I should have asked him for the tickets, but I already had so much in my head. You know how I am, when I don’t have my mask on. I freak out whenever I’m near famous and important people.” 

The whole gang laughed, along with Marinette, when she said she freaked out whenever she was near famous and important people. They laughed because they knew it was true. When she was Ladybug, she would face the most terrifying Akumas, without even blinking an eye. But when she was plain old Marinette, she would freak out over the smallest things. Still, that did not bother her. Not anymore.   

“I’ll say this. Once people find out you did this for Jagged Stone, you’re going to see a swarm of people asking you for a commission, Marinette.” -Juleka told her. –“And, I might be one of those people.” -she confessed.

“Me too!” -Rose exclaimed. –“I would really like if you could do a hoodie based on my Flamingo persona.”-she declared.

“Make that three.” -Kim said.

“Not three, four. Like I said before, you’re going to be pretty famous, and I only wear the best. So, yeah, I’ll also be wanting you to create a one of a kind hoodie, just for me.” -Chloe told her. 

Hearing her friends say those words, Marinette had to withhold her tears. No matter how many times she was praised for her work, it was for her not to feel like she did not deserve to hear such sweet words about it. And because those words were said by her closest and dearest friends, Marinette felt she owed them for those words. And she knew just what she was going to do, to thank them for their kindness, their support and their amazing words. With the money Jagged Stone was going to pay her, she was going to make them something they would all love.

“You guys…” -Marinette said, trying not to cry, after what she had heard them saying. –“… I’ll be happy to make you all a hoodie, just like the one I made for Alya.” -she declared. –“And I’ll do it, free of charge.”

“Free of charge?! Marinette, you can’t do that!” -Mylene told her, shocked. –“I’ll be happy to pay for it.” -she said.

“So will I.” -Alix declared.  

“Mylene’s right, and so is Alix, bugaboo. You can’t do that just because we’re your friends, or in my case, your boyfriend.” Adrien said, agreeing with both girls. –“You’ve got to think about how much it will cost you to make each one of them, and how much your work is worth. And the last thing we want is to take advantage of you.” -he told her.  

“And before you say another word, let me just add to what your boyfriend said, that I think I speak for us all, when I say that we would all be glad to pay for those hoodies, without any kind of friend discount.” -Nino said.

“He’s right, you know?” -Juleka said. –“We won’t take advantage of you and your generosity, even if you think we should.” -she said.

“I’m with Juleka. We won’t do that, Marinette.” -Max told her.

Once again, Marinette had to hold her tears. She realized that it was going to be one of those days, where good feelings of all kind, and good words would be playing with her emotions. So, she decided to go with the flow, but always trying not to get too emotional, for she did not want to cry. She would save those tears of happiness, when she got home, so no one could see her crying, while thanking her lucky stars for having the friends she had. 

“You guys… you are the best friends someone like me could have. You’ll call me to reason, even when I think I don’t need to be. “ -Marinette smiled at them. –“Very well, if you want to pay me what I think it’s fair for my work, then it’s fair. But in return, you’ll have to let me make you a small friend discount… one Euro.” -she said, to which they all silent agreed, by giving her a smile. –“And Alya, sorry for stealing your spotlight. I didn’t mean to.”

“No worries, girl. It’s my birthday, but that doesn’t mean I must be the centre of attentions.” -Alya told Marinette. –“And I’m happy that you shared with us what happened to you.” -she said, as she hugged Marinette. –“I can’t think of someone in Paris, who deserves what happened to you, more than you.”  

And with those last words from Alya, Marinette allowed herself to shed a tear, but just one. She knew that if she allowed herself to shed more than one tear, she would not be able to stop, and she did not want her friends to see her cry, even if it was out of happiness, and even if she knew they would not mind seeing her cry a little bit. She believed it was not the moment or the place for it.

“By the way, did you get a selfie with him?” -Chloe asked Marinette. –“Every time I see him, I have to ask him for a selfie.” -she admitted.

“I know. He told me, when we were talking.” -Marinette chuckled. –“And yeah, we took one. Here, I’ll show you all.” -she said, as she looked for it in her cell phone gallery. –“Here we are. We took more than one, but this one is my favourite, because he’s holding the face-paint I did for him.”

“That’s the face paint you created for him?” -Kim asked her, to which she nodded her head. –“It looks super cool.” -he said.

“That’s one crazy face-paint.” -Alix said, as she looked at it. 

“I called it “The Crocodile”. Looks pretty cool, doesn’t it?” -Marinette said.

“I’m so jelly right now, girl.” -Alya said, as she looked at the selfie of Marinette and Jagged on the cell phone’s screen.

“Don’t be. At the concert, you’ll have the chance to also take one with him.” -Marinette reminded her.   

“Which reminds me, we’ll have to tell our parents that we’re going to the concert on Saturday.” -Nathaniel said. –“I hope mom agrees to this, or I’ll have to ask dad to convince her.” -he thought to himself.

“I’ll probably have to negotiate my presence at the concert with my parents.” Ivan sighed. –“And that means doing all the house chores, plus a couple more that my mom will come up with.” -he said, before turning to Mylene. –“Still, it’ll be worth it, just to go to the concert with you.”

“You say the sweetest things.” -Mylene said, as she hugged Ivan.

“One thing I know. My brother’s going to beg me to give him my ticket, when I tell him about this.” -Juleka chuckled, as she imagined Luka’s face, on the moment she would tell him that she had tickets for the KISS concert.

“He’ll definitely curse you for that.” -Rose joked about it. –“He’ll say… “Curse you, Juleka! Curse you and your luck!” -she said, while giggling.

“I think I won’t have any problems. The exams are over, and if the tickets were offered by Chloe, I don’t see my mom, nor my dad, stopping me from going to the concert. Especially, since I’ll be going with you all.” -Sabrina said.

“I might have to sneak out to go to the concert. I’m not so sure my dad will allow me to go to another concert this soon.” -Alix said. –“It’s a good thing I can always fly out of the balcony.” -she joked.  

“What about you, Adrien? Do you think your dad will let you go to the concert?” -Marinette asked him. With everything that happened, she did not even consider the possibility that Adrien’s father would not allow him to go to this new concert.  

“Don’t worry about it, Marinette. My dad had to leave on an unexpected business trip to New York this morning, and he’ll only be back next Monday.” -Adrien declared, with a smile on his face. –“That means, I only have to tell Nathalie about it, and we’re good to go. She’ll never say no, especially when I tell her that Chloe got us all VIP and backstage passes.” -he said. –“You’ll have your kitty cat, by your side, the whole night.”

“Well, your ladybug thanks you.” -Marinette said, as she caressed his face.   

Suddenly, they all heard the door opening. Turning around, they saw Miss Bustier entering, having finished talking with whoever was on the other side of the line. Looking at her students, she could not help but to feel like a lot happened while she was out, though she did not know what exactly. 

“Did I lose something, while I was out?” -Miss Bustier asked her students, who could not help but to smile mischievously at her.

Chapter Text

At the same time everyone celebrated Alya's birthday, at Le Zenith, four large trucks stopped on the loading area. These were the trucks that were part of the KISS entourage, and they were carrying everything the band needed for a massive tour. The sound equipment, the personalized stage, the instruments, the lighting equipment, the fireworks, it was all in those four trucks. Like it always happened, these trucks would arrive at the place where the band was going to play, 48 hours earlier, to set things up, so that when KISS showed up in front of a massive crowd that was going to fill that arena, everything was perfect. Once they were given the authorization from both the arena's security personal and the event's promotor, the roadie crew wasted no time. Opening the trucks, they begin to unload everything that was inside them.

And while that happened, back in Jagged Stone's penthouse, the musician was getting ready for a photoshoot for the Rolling Stone magazine. This photoshoot was scheduled the moment Jagged signed on to be the opening act for KISS. And like every photoshoot of his, Jagged was the one who decided what he was going to wear in it. It was not that he did not trust the wardrobe stylists and consultants, but he believed when it came to find the perfect clothes for a shoot, he was the only one he could trust; him and his agent, Penny, who sometimes helped him choosing his clothes, which what she was doing right then, while also checking the face-paint design Marinette had created for Jagged, for what was already the thirtieth time that time of day.

"I have to say, the girl did an incredible job." -Penny said, while holding the drawing in her right hand.

"No, not incredible. Phenomenal is more like it, Penny." -Jagged told her. –"And you should have seen her talking. The girl talked with both a knowledge and a patience, way beyond her years. You know how teenagers are. They are reckless, impulsive, they do things without thinking. Well, this girl, Marinette, is the polar opposite of that. She is not like your ordinary teenage girl." -he told her. –"I don't know what it is about her, but she… well, she's got something that makes her one of a kind."

"Something tells me you have developed a soft spot for that girl, in the short time you met her." -Penny declared.

"I have to admit the girl did make a great impression on me." -Jagged said, as he tried on another jacket. –"And that's not an easy thing." -he declared.

"She must have. Otherwise, you wouldn't have told me to get you fourteen VIP tickets, complete with backstage passes, so you could give them to her and her whole class." -Penny told him. –"And let me tell you, it wasn't an easy thing to do." -she confessed.

"I can imagine it. Still, I knew you would be able to do it. You always do." -Jagged smiled at her. –"What do you think of this one?" -he asked her.

"Too bright. You want my serious opinion, regarding this photoshoot you're about to do?" -Penny asked him.

"Is that a trick question? Because I know that even if I say no, you're going to tell it to me, anyway." -Jagged joked, as he undressed the jacket.

"Very funny…" -Penny told him, with a voice filled with sarcasm. –"But seriously, I think that you're trying too much. I know this photoshoot is very important for you, after all, I'm the one who scheduled it. I know you want to look good on the pages of Rolling Stone, alongside KISS, but you've got to take it a little easier. You've got to be more yourself." -she said.

"I am being myself, Penny. I'm just trying to be a better version of myself. Besides, I just want to pick a cool outfit that matches this face-paint. I don't want to reinvent myself." -Jagged said. –"By the way, who's the photographer they're sending for this photoshoot? Is it the one from the last three photoshoots?" -he asked Penny. He had liked to work with the man, though he could not remember his name. The only thing he remembered was his hair style, which reminded him of some characters in the Final Fantasy franchise.

"I'm afraid not. All of their usual photographers are unavailable, covering a music festival in Nice." -Penny said. –"They're sending a freelance photographer for this one… according to the email the magazine sent me, his name is Vincent Rizzo." -she said, while reading the email, on her tablet. –"Among his credentials, he has worked as a photographer for numerous people in the fashion business, including the Agreste brand."

"Agreste, you say? Well, I know for a fact that Gabriel Agreste only hires the best. So, if he's good enough to have worked for him, then he'll be more than competent for this photoshoot… okay, let's see, what about this one?" -Jagged asked, as he put on a purple

"Too much Prince meets the Joker from Tim Burton's Barman… maybe a black leather jacket would be better." -Penny said.

"I'm always wearing black leather jackets, Penny. There's got to be something in my wardrobe that is both different and perfect for this photoshoot. I just need to find it…" -Jagged sighed, as he entered in his wardrobe and looked for another jacket. Going through his collection of leather jackets, he hoped to find one. –"This is ridiculous… don't tell me I still need to go shopping for one today?" -he asked, when he found the one he felt it was perfect, and removed if from the hanger it was on. –"Here is it! This one here will look perfect!"

The leather jacket that Jagged had grabbed was one that he had completely forgotten he had. It was one of his oldest jackets, and he probably only wore it a couple of times over the years. It was a black and brown leather jacket that mirrored the scales of a reptile. When he saw it, he deemed it perfect for both the photoshoot and the concert on Saturday. Donning it, he looked himself in the mirror inside the wardrobe and agreed that he had done a good choice. Exiting the wardrobe, he asked Penny's opinion.

"So, what do you think?"

"It looks good. You really look like you're wearing a crocodile." -Penny commented.

"Yeah, a fake one. You know I don't wear real fur, or leather made of endangered species." -Jagged said. –"And now that I'm thinking about it, maybe Fang would like to participate in this photoshoot. Do you think the photographer would have a problem with it?"

"I don't know. But we can ask him when he arrives." -Penny said, as she checked the time. –"I'll go wake up his reptile highness, so he's not grumpy, when the photographer arrives." -she said.

"How long do we have, before he shows up?" -Jagged asked her, as he straighten the jacket.

"Forty-five minutes. That will give the hairstylist and the make-up artist to do their job, who should be arriving in five minutes, give it or take." -Penny said, when she heard a bell ringing; this one coming from her tablet.

Checking it, she saw it was a videocall. Touching the screen, she saw it was a call that Jagged had been waiting for. It was Paul "The Starchild" Stanley, lead vocalist and guitarist of KISS. He had sent Jagged an email, warning him that he would be calling you, so they could talk.

"I think you'll want to get this." -Penny said, as she handed him the tablet. –"If you need me, I'll be trying to wake up your pet crocodile." -she told him, before leaving him to answer the call.

Answering the call, he saw Paul on the screen. Upon seeing him, it took Jagged a second or two to realize it was him, for he was not used to seeing many photos of Paul without his iconic face-paint on. Behind him, he also saw the other members of the band, and they all appeared to be aboard a jet plane, judging by their surroundings.

"Good morning, Jagged." -Paul greeted Jagged with a well-humoured voice.

"Paul, how are you?!" -Jagged asked him. He tried his best not to sound like he was incredibly excited with that videocall. Right then, he felt like a little kid inside a candy store.

"Pretty good, Jagged, pretty good." –Paul told him. –"I was just calling you on behalf of the whole band, to tell you that we're on our way, right now. And to also thank you for doing us this favour." -he said.

"Hey, I'm the one who has to thank you. From all the great musicians out there, you picked me." -Jagged said. –"I can't wait to meet you all, tomorrow at the press conference." -he declared.

"Us too. By the way, are you going to wear that face-paint you sent us yesterday, at the press conference?" -Paul asked him.

"No. I was thinking about saving it for the concert. You know, like a surprise." -Jagged stated.

"That's a good idea. If there's one thing our fans love in our concerts, is surprises." -Paul said. –"Still, it's a bit of a shame you not wearing it at the press conference tomorrow. That face-paint is awesome." -he told him.

"Well, I did have a great artist working on it." -Jagged declared. –"You'll all have the opportunity to meet her at the concert." -he said.

"Really? Then, we'll be waiting to meet her." -Paul said. –"Oops, sorry cutting close, but I've got another call I have to take. But look, tomorrow we'll be sure to spend a little more time talking and discussing how we're going to do things, when we're on stage." -he told him. –"I'll see you tomorrow."

With dinner finished and the dishes washed, Rose told her parents that she was going to her room and do the rest of her homework. But what she was also going to do, was to talk to her girlfriend online. That day had been a crazy one, even by her standards. She did not want to admit to anyone, even herself, but she did not believe Chloe would get the tickets for the concert. And it was not that she did not believe Chloe would try her best to get them. She just did not believe good fortune would smile upon her and the others, when it came to getting tickets for a new concert. Fortunately, she was proven wrong and she could not be happier about it. When the heiress told her and everyone else to check their cell phones, and she saw what she had gotten them, she was thrilled. And when she got home, the first thing she did, was asking her parents if she could go to the new concert. It was easy convincing them, even if she had to sweet talk them a little, which was not difficult. Being an only child, she was the apple of her parents' eyes, and over the years, she had learned the words she needed to say to convince them of just about everything. Though there were times when that did not work. Luckily, that little trick worked more times than it did not, and on that night, it had worked, and it was the first thing Juleka has asked her, once they were online.

"So, how did your parents take the news?" -Juleka asked her.

"Well, they were a little surprised about it, especially since I supposedly went to a concert last week." -Rose told her. –"But it did not take much for me to sweet talk them to allow me to go." -she said. –"My dad, who's actually a big fan of KISS, even asked me to get him an autograph from the whole band, when I meet them. I didn't even know he listened to them, you know?"

"It's like my mom usually says. "You find out the craziest things about your parents, during the most unexpected of times.", and she's right." -Juleka said. –"When I told my dad and her about the concert, she revealed that she followed the band's Revenge Tour, when they played in the UK, in 1992." -she told the blonde. –"Needless to say that she was jelly of me, when I told her that I was going to meet them."

"And let me guess, she was not the only one, right?" -Rose asked her, with a mischievous look in her eyes.

"Oh, believe me, she wasn't. Luka practically begged me to give him my ticket and backstage pass. He even kneeled in front of me, and begged, even knowing my parents would never allow him to go, because of that grade of his." -Juleka giggled. –"I think that the punishment my parents gave him, is beginning to make him go a little desperate." -she joked.

"I can only imagine the scene." -Rose giggled, when she heard a light snore. Looking to her left, she saw the snore had come from Flint. –"Guess you ate too many sweets today, Flint. You always end up falling asleep, after eating too many sweets, and looks like today is one of those days." -she thought to herself, feeling it was funny for that to happen, because sugar tends to make people, and even kwamis hyperactive. But not Flint; the flamingo kwami was the polar opposite of it. In his case, too much sugar made him sleepy –"Either way, did he make you promise anything, when you go to the concert?"

"Absolutely. He made me promise I would get him a t-shirt signed by the whole band." -Juleka chuckled.

"That's so typical of him." -Rose giggled. –"He just loves collecting band t-shirts signed by the bands themselves, doesn't he?" -she asked her.

"That's Luka for you. Can you believe that he already has more than 60 in his collection?" -Juleka asked her. –"It's true that most of them are just underground or garage bands, but he's really proud of them. And one thing's for sure. If the day comes, where he doesn't have anything to wear, he'll just have to go through his collection and grab the one that's on top." -she joked.

"You know, it's a funny thing…" -Rose said.

"What? What's funny?" -Juleka asked her.

"We've been friends for years now, and a little more than that for a couple of months. And you want to know one thing? During this whole time, we know each other, you only say jokes, when it's just the two of us." -Rose pointed out. –"In fact, I'm the only one who gets to tell you jokes." -she smiled at her girlfriend.

"No, you're not." -Juleka smiled back at Rose. –"Tamara also gets me to tell jokes, when she's in the mood." -she kept smiling.

"Tamara? Prove it!" -Rose said, giggling.,

"I would love to, but she fell asleep, while listening to music." -Juleka told her, as she looked over her right shoulder and saw the raven kwami sleeping soundly on top of her pillow, with the iPod next to her.

"Same with Flint, but in his case, he ate too much sugar." -Rose said. –"Still, I don't believe that your kwami is able to convince you to tell jokes." -she said, in a playful tone. –"You'll have to prove that, some other time."

"I will, then." -Juleka said, as she winked at her. –"By the way, you still haven't told me a thing about my new nightgown. What do you think?"

When they turned on the cameras to chat with each other, Juleka had just finished putting on her new nightgown. She had bought it a few weeks before, but only now was she trying it on. It was a purple and black nightgown, which highlighted her what made

"It looks very Goth… and sweet, like you." –Rose joked. –"But seriously, I like it. Those purple and black ribbons look super cute, as well as the bunny. Plus, it highlights all your good parts." -she said, as she winked at her.

"Thanks." -Juleka thanked her. –"I bought it, while thinking about you… or better, your taste for cute things." -she smiled. –"Do you think it's a little too revealing, for me to wear at a sleepover?"

"No, I don't think so." -Rose said. –"I mean, we've both seen Chloe wearing nightgowns and pyjamas that are more revealing than that. But, it's more about if you'll feel comfortable with it, or not." -she told her. –"But why are you asking me that? Is it about that sleepover idea we all talked last week?"

"Sort of. I know we can't do a sleepover with everyone, but maybe we girls could do it, next week, or two weeks from now. We should really try to throw a sleepover." -Juleka said. –"And well, I wanted your opinion, regarding the nightgown. But now, I'm thinking about it, and I don't if I'll feel alright, wearing it, in front of everyone." -she sighed.

Rose recognized the look in Juleka's eyes. She had seen it more times than she could remember. It was the look she made, when she was unsure about a matter. She did not know if she was unsure about the nightgown, or the idea of wanting to throw a sleepover, or both things. But she knew one thing. She knew that if her girlfriend wanted to organize a sleepover, or at the very least, remind the rest of the girls about it, so one of them could organize it, she would be there for her.

"Would you wear it, if I also wore something similar?" -Rose asked her. She liked to see Juleka in that kind of nightgown, and she did not mind wearing one wither.

"Maybe." -Juleka smiled. –"I think you would look cute in it." -she thought to herself.

"Then, next week, we'll go shopping and you'll help me get one that matches my personality. But first, we're going to ask the rest of the girls, if one of them wants to throw a sleepover. If not, we'll throw it ourselves." -Rose told her. –"My house's a little too small for everyone, but, maybe your mom can lend us the boathouse." -she suggested, knowing Juleka's mom would be okay, if the girls used her art studio for a sleepover. –"What do you say? Girls night and sleepover?"

It did not take long for Juleka to see that Rose was trying to lift her spirits, and she was happy she was trying to cheer her up. One of the good things about having such a wonderful girlfriend like Rose, was that she knew just what to do and what to tell her, to make her feel better. Just thinking about it, she wished they were not talking to each other, through a camera, but face to face, so she could kiss her.

"Deal." -Juleka giggled. –"But if we end up doing this on my mom's art studio, I'm counting on you to convince my brother to not tag along." -she said. –"I don't' want him near us, this time."

"You make it sound like your brother's a bad influence or a perv." -Rose joked.

"Well, I didn't mean to." -Juleka said. –"You know that I think he's one of the sweetest guys in the world. It's just that I don't need someone guarding me, as if I was a little girl. Plus, if he has the chance, he'll try his luck and see if one of the girls falls for his charm and good looks." -she chuckled.

"That will be hard. Alya's head over heels for Nino. Marinette only has eyes for Adrien, I'm off limits, because your girlfriend, and Mylene, well, I don't have to say that she only has eyes for a certain big guy." -Rose giggled. –"Which leaves Chloe, Sabrina and Alix." -she said. –"I don't know about Chloe or Sabrina, but Alix's in love with Kim, even if she doesn't want to admit it, so there's no way she'll ever fall for your brother's charms."

"It's not that I wouldn't want my brother to date one of our friends, but…"

"But it's weird, right?" -Rose giggled. –"Don't worry, if in the end, the rest of the girls agree to this, and we end up doing it at your mom's art studio, I'll help you come up with an excuse for him to not stay guard at us." -she giggled once more. –"Not that we need one. After all, we can pretty much take care of ourselves."

But Rose and Juleka were not the only couple, who decided to spend that night talking to one another. Marinette and Adrien also decided to do that. But because Adrien's computer cam broke, they were forced to talk through WhatsApp on the cell phone. Not that it mattered. Even if they could not see each other, they would still be able to hear each other. Still, thanks to that app, they could see and hear each other, and that was great. Lying on her bed, already in her pyjama, Marinette kept laughing of one of Adrien's jokes, who was also in his bed. For Adrien, Marinette's laugh was like a drug. It was addictive, and he just could not get enough of it. He could spend whole days lust listening to her laughter, without ever getting tired of it, while she could spend whole days, just listening to his voice, which she deemed, the handsomest in the world.

"I really wish I was there with you." -Adrien said.

"And I wish I was there with you… look at us, being all sappy about one another. Didn't we agree that there would be no sappiness between us?" -Marinette chuckled.

"I think we did… but it's hard not to be a little sappy, when I'm talking to you. It's like trying to convince me you're not the prettiest girl in the world. It's hopeless." -Adrien joked. –"Still, I could ask a certain kwami to lend me his powers, and I could pay you a visit." -he suggested.

"There's no need for that. We'll just have to wait until tomorrow to see each other again." -Marinette told him.

"Okay. I guess I can wait until tomorrow to be with you again, but only if you talk to me a little bit longer. Plagg's already asleep, and I'm not in the mood to go to sleep already." -Adrien confessed, trying to convince Marinette to talk to him for a little longer.

"You don't even need to ask that. Of course, I'll stay awake and talk to you for a little longer, you silly kitty." -Marinette declared. –"What do you want to talk about?"

"Anything… I just want to hear your voice, milady." -Adrien told her.

And that was what they did. Without a defined subject, they began to talk about the first thing that came to their mind, and went on with it. One minute, they were talking about some movie or series they both liked or disliked, the other they were talking about a completely different subject, like school or even their battles against Hawk Moth. Ever since they had begun dating, Marinette and Adrien re-learned to talk to one another. While in the past they talked about things as friends, they now talked about those very same things through a different perspective. The perspective of two people who were dating each other. It was like they were getting to know each other, for the first time. And that was both thrilling and fascinating to them. And the best part, was that they did not need to be afraid of hiding anything from one another.

"You're kidding, right? You've been reading fanfiction of us?" -Marinette asked Adrien.

"If by us, you mean, ladybug and Chat Noir, yeah, I have. And for the record, some of them are very good." -Adrien chuckled. –"I think it's funny that in some of them they come up with names for our civilian identities, while in others, they just remain a mystery. Don't tell me you don't read one or two, from time to time?" -he asked her.

"I do, from time to time. But I try not to do it often, because people tend to come up with fictional backgrounds for the two of us, as well as the rest of the team, and it's hard to read them, knowing that all of them, or at least 90% of them are wrong." -Marinette told him.

"That's why they call it fanfiction. It's fiction, not reality." –Adrien told her. –"Besides, let them all come up with every bit of fictional reality they want to. I'll be happy with our reality, where I know who you are under the mask, and where I don't have to find out who you truly are, so I can kiss you, whenever I want to." -he said.

"You're such a sweet talker, you know that?" -Marinette asked, teasing him. –"Did you also read the mature ones with all the kinky details to them?" -she asked.

"From time to time, yes, and I'm not afraid to say it. After all, I'm a teenager. And you, did you read some as well?" -Adrien asked her.

"I may have read one or two…just because." -Marinette giggled. –"But you want to know one thing? When it comes to kinkiness, most of them are quite light on it, compared to what I have in store for us, when we decide to be a little more intimate." -she declared with a mischievous and sexy voice.

"Marinette Dupain-Cheng… I didn't know you were this mischievous, and with such a kinky mind." -Adrien told her, playing along.

"Just proves that you still have a lot to find about me, Adrien Agreste." -Marinette laughed. –"Bur seriously, you're right. People can write whatever they want about Ladybug and Chat Noir, and their relationship. I'll be happy having the real deal just for me." -she said, now with her normal voice.

They went on talking, with Marinette pointing out that they were both lucky they were not born earlier, stating that when their parents were their age, staying on the phone for hours would cost a fortune. This led to another subject, which was how each other's parents ended up dating. That subject alone took half an hour, where they each told how their parents met, how long they dated, when and where they got married, among other things.

"Changing the subject, I want to tell you that I'm really proud of you, Marinette." -Adrien told her. –"And I'm not just talking about the present you made for Alya, or the whole Jagged Stone business. I'm also talking about what you did for Chloe." -he said.

"Thanks, Adrien." -Marinette thanked him. –"But like I told you, it was nothing. And I want to believe that if Chloe was in my shoes and I on hers, she would have done the same." -she declared.

"I like to think so too. She has changed a lot over these last couple of months, and I am happy to say that each day it goes by, I see more of that Chloe that I first met, when we were kids." -Adrien said. –"If it wasn't for all this miraculous business, I don't know if she would have changed. Still, I'm glad to have my oldest friend back, just as I remembered her." -he admitted.

"Well, I'm also glad that she changed. I'm glad that my former bully has become one of my best friends." -Marinette declared, as she looked at the time on her alarm clock. –"Dang it… it's getting late. It's hard to believe that we've been talking on the phone for more than two hours." -she sighed.

"Time sure flies, when we're having fun." -Adrien joked. –"I guess it's already pass our bedtime." -he sighed. He did not want that conversation to end, but he knew that if they did not go to sleep, the next day they would fall asleep in class, and that was not an option, if they did not want to have problems in school.

"Unfortunately, it is. But before we got to bed, I wanted to show you something. Let me see if I can send it to you." -Marinette told him, as she sent him a file.

Once we got the file, Adrien opened it and saw what Marinette had send him. The file contained photos of the sketches she came up with, while trying to design the face-paint for Jagged. Other than Tikki and Jagged himself, Adrien was the first one to see them, and just like it happened with the previous two, he too was astounded by his girlfriend's talent.

"Tikki suggested that perhaps we could all wear them as face-paints at the concert. Six of us would have to wear the official ones, while the others wear some of the sketches I came up with, while trying to figure out the perfect face-paint for Jagged." -Marinette said. –"She says it would also be a nice way to promote my work, while greeting the band, like the die-hard fans do… she read it online." -she added.

"Never thought Tikki would be someone who enjoyed surfing online. Always thought she would be someone, who would spend her time reading books. You know, a regular bookworm." -Adrien said. –"Plagg himself spends his time playing videogames, while trying to beat my high-scores." -he admitted. –"But regarding that idea of hers, I like it, and I think the rest of gang would also like it. These might be just sketches, but they are good ones. You should be proud of them all… and personally, I wouldn't mind wearing this one with the diamonds."

It did not take long for Adrien to convince Marinette to tell the others about this idea. As she talked about it, he could listen to the uncertainty and the hesitation of presenting it to their friends, and in his mind, he believed the idea was too good for her not to share it, even if the idea came from Tikki and not Marinette.

"I bet the others are going to love it. Although, if I were you, I would pick the one you want to wear Saturday, right now, before anyone chooses it." -Adrien said.

"I don't really know which one to wear. I don't know if I should wear one of the official ones, or one that I designed." -Marinette admitted.

"Will you allow me to choose for you, milady?" -Adrien asked her.

"Yes. Yes. I will, kitty." -Marinette answered him.

"Then, I think you should go with one of the official ones. You would kill it with the Starchild one." -Adrien said. –"And if you're going to ask me why, simple, because you're a star, and you deserve that people know that, even if you need to have it drawn on your face." -he told her. –"Plus, I haven't had the chance to see you wearing red lipstick, which should make you look even cuter and sexier than you usually are."

"I'll never get tired of those cheesy sentences of yours." -Marinette told him, while letting out a chuckle. –"Okay, I'll wear that one." –she said. –"Now, let's see if Alya, Nino and the others go for it, as well."

"They will, trust me." -Adrien said.

"How can you have so much faith in it?" -Marinette asked him.

"Because someone has to. Besides, what kind of a boyfriend would I be, if I wasn't always there for you and your adorable ideas?" -Adrien asked her with a kind voice, which made her smile.

"Thanks, Adrien." -Marinette thanked him. –"By the way, I completely forgot to ask you this. Have you talked to Nathalie, regarding the concert?" -she asked Adrien, hoping that if had, that her answer had been positive.

"I talked to her, the moment I got home. And she's cool with it. As long as I text her during the concert to say everything is alright, and I come home, right after the end of it, o our first I can go. Plus, she won't tell my dad about it." -Adrien answered her.

"Then that means, we'll finally get to go to our first rock concert as a couple." -Marinette said.

"Indeed. Let's just hope we don't get interrupted by an Akuma attack." -Adrien said.

"Bite your tongue, kitty cat." -Marinette playfully warned him. –"If you say those things, you'll risk jinxing it for us all." -she smiled at him.

Chapter Text

Inside Le Parc des Princes, several crews were working as fast as they could to assemble the stage. This one was massive, like every other stage used by rock bands and its assemblage was something that required almost a full day to be done. Between the main structure, the lights, the props, the sound system, there was work that never ended. As the Sun set, another truck, carrying four huge generators, arrived at the docking area. Even though the stadium's electric board was quite powerful, because of the number of concessions stands that were being assembled outside of it, it was decided by the promotor of the concert, that these were needed, to prevent a case of electrical overload. It was when one of the crews began unloading the generators with the help of industrial forklifts, that Reptile, decided to inspect things. Using his powers of camouflage, he disguised as someone who was working inside the arena. Changing between a crew member and one of the many security guards that were working that shift, the lizard man inspected every nook and cranny of what was going on, and what was going to happen in each section.

"With a place as massive as this one, filled with people, it will be easy to find some poor sap to akumatize. The people who come to these concerts are the kind of people who likes a good fight, especially when they have a couple of drinks. And more importantly, they usually only need a couple of beers to get drunk, before getting themselves into a fight. One or more of those idiots will likely have enough rage in its hears to create a powerful Akuma… or even more than just one! Imagine, a whole gang of Akumas. Master hawk Moth would be very pleased if that happened." -Reptile thought to himself, not realizing just how twisted his version of the facts was. –"The day after tomorrow, those kids will finally die, and then, my master will rule the world, and I will finally have revenge against all of those who think they're so high and mighty. Society will finally pay for all those years of negligence towards me." -he thought.

Friday went by in a flash, and before they realized it, it was already Saturday. When she woke up, Marinette felt terrific, ready to seize the day. After all, she had more than one reason to not stay in bed that day. She was going to a concert, where she was going to see Jagged Stone wearing the face-paint she had designed for him, as well as meeting the members of one of the most famous rock bands in the world. But above all, she was going to spend the day with her friends, and with her boyfriend, who were finally going to be able to celebrate their two-week anniversary, the way they wanted to; to attend their first rock concert as a couple. Plus, as the icing on the cake, all her friends had agreed to go to the concert, wearing the official face-paints of KISS, as well as the ones she had come up with, while designing Jagged's. They had all chosen one, including herself, and she could not wait to wear hers. It had been Adrien who had chosen hers, and she ended up choosing his.

"Can't wait for this afternoon." -Marinette thought to herself. –"This will be one day that I will surely remember fondly for many years to come… especially because I'll have Adrien by my side." -she mused to herself, as a loving smile showed up on her face.

"Marinette? Marinette?!" -Tikki called her.

"Oh, sorry, Tikki. I was…" -Marinette said.

"With your head somewhere else? I figured." -Tikki giggled, as she finished Marinette's sentence. –"I was just saying that I think I heard your mom calling you." -she said.

"Really?" -Marinette asked her, as she went down the stairs, making her way to the trapdoor. –"Mom?! You there?" -she asked, as she opened the door and saw her mom looking at her.

"I was just asking if you were already awake, honey." -Sabine smiled at her. –"I know it's a special day for you today, so I wanted to know if you were still asleep." -she said.

"I just woke up." -Marinette smiled back at her mom. –"Do you need any help?" -she asked her.

"Well, if you don't have anything to do, would you mind helping me making lunch? Your dad was going to help me, but we just received a big order of cupcakes and he has to get it started." -Sabine told her.

"Sure. Just let me change, and I'll go help you." -Marinette said. She loved to help her mom making any meal. –"What are we having for lunch today?"

"One of your dad's favourite dishes… Chicken fricassee with sautéed vegetables." -Sabine said.

"Mine too. Nobody cooks a chicken fricassee like you, mom." -Marinette told her. –"Like I said, let me just get changed, that I'll go help you." -she said.

During lunch, the subject they talked about at the table was what had happened to Marinette that week, along with the already usual praising of Sabine's cooking. Regarding the first theme, both Tom and Sabine insisted on Marinette telling them the whole story from start. They just could not get enough of all the details in that story. Not to mention that they also insisted on Marinette telling them about the reaction Alya had, when she offered her the hoodie she had made for her birthday. Lucky for them, Marinette did not mind telling that over and over. She herself liked to remember how her best-friend reacted to her present, as well as the rest of the class, who immediately wanted one. That alone made her make a decision, which was to create original hoodies for their friends, based on their superhero personas, while also going ahead with the idea of sell them to order on her webpage. But that would only happen, when she finished designing them and making one for each of her friends. Usually something like that would cost her an arm and a leg, but thanks to the money she had gotten from Jagged Stone, she would be able to do it, without having to worry too much about how much she was going to spend on that project. When they finished eating, Marinette helped her parents clean up the table, like she always did.

"As always, lunch was delicious, honey." -Tom said, as he grabbed the plates and took them to the sinker.

"Dad's right. Your chicken fricassee is way better than Alya's mom, and she's a chef." -Marinette praised her mom.

"Thank you both for all the compliments." -Sabine thanked both her husband and her daughter. –"Just for that, tomorrow I'm cooking up a delicious treat for both of you." -she smiled at them. –"What do you think if I told you that I'm going to make for the two of you some of my world-famous Bakes Coconut Walnut Sweet Rice Cakes?"

"I would say that I'm going to stuff myself with those, until my stomach bursts." -Marinette told her. –"No one can resist those sweet rice cakes of yours, mom." -she said, as she imagined Sabine taking a freshly-cooked, still warm, batch of them from the oven, as well as their sweet smell. –"They're the best."

"That's what you keep telling me, Marinette." -Sabine said, as she began washing the dishes.

"And she's right, honey. No one can resist those little delicacies of yours. Not even us." -Tom told his wife, as she handed him the first dish for him to dry.

Tom and Marinette loved to praise Sabine's cooking and baking skills, whenever they had the opportunity. They knew she loved to hear compliments, especially when it came to her cooking and her sewing skills. She was the kind of woman that if you would give her a tray with food, she would cook you a feast. Or if you would give her some fabrics and threads, she would make you a beautiful dress. She was that kind of person, and she loved it when both her husband and her daughter praised her. It made her feel both happy and inspired to try new things.

"Come on, both of you, stop it! You're going to spoil me with that much praise." -Sabine chuckled.

"Well, we're just telling you the truth, mom." -Marinette said, as she placed the bread basket in its place.

"You know, it's a shame that Adrien couldn't have lunch with us today. I'm sure he would have loved that chicken." -Tom declared. –"Plus, I was really hoping to show your boyfriend, a couple of your baby pictures, sweetie." -he joked to his daughter.

"Dad!" -Marinette giggled. –"I thought we had agreed that there would not be baby pictures, before Adrien and I completed three months of dating." -she said in a playful tone.

"She's got you there, honey." –Sabine playfully told her husband.

"But you were such a cute baby." -Tom told his daughter. –"I'm sure he would be

"Dad, you know I love you more than anything, but don't do that, please. And please, I know that you and mom have been shipping us together, ever since the first time I talked about him, but when Adrien arrives, don't point that out. Otherwise I'll be as red as a tomato, that not even the face-paint I'm going to wear today, won't be able to cover the redness." -Marinette asked her parents, always talking in a playful tone. –"If you can do that, you'll be the best parents in the world." -she smiled at them.

"Alright, honey, we promise." -Sabine said.

"And you better not be crossing your fingers, dad. I know you do that, sometimes." –Marinette warned her father.

"I'm not doing it, I promise!" -Tom smiled, as he waved his hands.

After washing and cleaning all the dishes, Tom and Sabine sat on the couch, to relax a little bit, before heading back down to the bakery, to open it, while Marinette went back to her bedroom, claiming she was going to read a little bit, before Adrien arrived, to come and pick her up for the concert. Seeing her go up the stairs, Tom could not help but to feel like time was slipping through his fingers.

"Should we be worried about this?" -Tom asked his wife.

"About what, honey?" -Sabine asked Tom, not understanding what exactly he was talking about.

"You know, about the fact Marinette is already dating Adrien." -Tom answered her in an amused tone. –"I don't want to be that kind of dad, but…"

"But you're worried that our little Marinette isn't as a little as you and I think she is, am I right?" -Sabine asked him, as she placed her arm around Tom.

"Yes." -Tom said, as he kissed his wife. –"Time goes by so fast. It seems like it was only yesterday that Marinette was only a baby. And look at her now, with a cute boyfriend, getting ready to go to a concert…" -he sighed.

"You're not afraid that we're losing her, are you?" -Sabine asked him, with a light-hearted voice.

"What?! No!" -Tom exclaimed, trying not to show just how afraid he was that the relationship Marinette had with them would change, and she would not want to have anything to do with them. –"I'm just… you know, thinking that time doesn't stop for any of us, and that our little Marinette isn't so little anymore." -he told her. –"She already has a boyfriend… a good kid, no doubt about it. And now, she began being commissioned by rock stars, and has plans to create her own line of hoodies, based on the heroes that protect our city. And, that's just the first step. One of these days she'll be going to college, and we won't see each other like we do now…"

Sabine knew that despite his physique, her husband was a big softy, and he was not afraid to show it, especially in front of her. That was just one of the reasons why she had fallen in love with him two decades earlier.

"You really are thinking that we're going to lose her, just because she's getting older, and like every teenager, she might not want to hang out with us, honey." -Sabine giggled, -"But I can tell you this… that won't happen. You know our daughter. She's passionate, she's kind, she's caring; she's got all the qualities that most parents would love to have in a daughter. And even if she goes through a phase like that, she'll always come back to us. After all, she had someone who was always there for her, and who taught her everything she needed to know, when she got herself in a pickle. But most importantly, that family is always there for you, whether you remember it or not." -she said.

"Do I know those people? Because if not, you could always introduce them to me." -Tom joked, making Sabine laugh.

"Oh, stop being silly!" -Sabine giggled. –"You know I'm talking about us." -she kept giggling. –"But seriously, I want to believe that we've raised our daughter to be able to do anything she puts her mind into, as well as to always remember her to keep both feet on the ground, and that no matter the adversities, we'll always be here for her."

"It's true." -Tom sighed. –"Still, part of me can't help but to feel sad about seeing her growing up." -he said.

"It's the part of being a parent. No matter how old she is, for us, she'll always be our little girl, and nothing will ever change that." -Sabine said. –"Even so, don't think about that. Think about everything that we'll still be able to do with Marinette, before that time comes. And believe me, we're still going to have lots of fun with her. I believe that with all my heart." -she said, which made him smile.

"Okay, I will." -Tom said, as she kissed his wife. –"When was the last time I told you that I'm incredibly lucky to have married you?" -he asked her

"Let's see… this morning. But don't let that stop you from saying it again." -Sabine said, as she kissed Tom once more.

After choosing what she was going to wear that night, Marinette went through her personal library, trying to find a book to read, while waiting for Adrien to show up. She did not know what to choose. She was not particularly inclined towards a specific genre that afternoon. So, she asked Tikki for a little help. Happy to oblige, the little scarlet kwami looked at all the books in the bookcase, and tried to find one that screamed "I want to be read, right now!". Examining the book spines, one by one, it took Tikki less than ten seconds to choose the book she felt was the one Marinette should read, or read again, in that case.

"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone? Again, Tikki?" -Marinette asked, while raising an eyebrow at the little kwami. She was a big Harry Potter fan and she had read all the books telling the young wizard's tale more times than she could remember.

"I like to read it, and I know that you also like it. Besides, it's a fun book." –Tikki said.

"You're just saying that because it's got magic in the story." -Marinette joked, as she grabbed the book. –"Look at it. It's been read so many times that I'm need to buy another copy of it." -she said, as she looked at how folded the corners were, as well as how marked the pages were.

"That's how you know that you like a book." -Tikki giggled. –"Being like that, it shows the love that you have given it, every time you read it." -she told her.

"Okay, alright, you win. Come over here, and let's get started." -Marinette told her, as she sat on the chaise-longue, with Tikki resting on her left shoulder. –"It's time for us to go back to Hogwarts and relive the adventures of one of my favourite characters ever." -she smiled at Tikki, making her giggle, as she opened the book and began to read it. –"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense. Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache. Mrs Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere."

Tikki loved to hear Marinette read for her. She had not told her, but this habit she had, of asking her holders to read for her, had begun with one of her first holders, who used to read her to bed. Ever since then, if she was lucky enough to get a holder who happened to know how to read, she would ask him or her to do that, from time to time. And even if they did not know how to read, she would ask them to tell her stories. Over the millennia, Tikki had learned hundreds, if not thousands of stories, thanks to her holders. And with Marinette she had learned dozens of them already, hoping to learn a lot more. Listening her reading to her, gave Tikki a warm and fuzzy feeling inside her, which she loved. She liked to compare it to the feeling of a warm and tender hug.

As for Marinette, she had read those lines more times than she could remember, but even so, the words and the sentences, they felt like fresh and mysterious, just like when she had read them for the first time. Such was the power of a great book had over her. Reading it, she began imagine all the scenes inside her mind, most of them not the way they were depicted in the film adaptation, and she was okay with it. Marinette's imagination tended to imagine things a little differently than most people imagined them, and she was glad that happened, because it provided her with incredible ideas. And just as she was finishing the third chapter of the book, an idea sparked inside her mind; a great idea. An idea that was so good that she felt the need to put it on paper, right then.

"I just had an idea! Tikki, do you mind continuing to read by yourself?" -Marinette asked her. –"If I don't sketch it right now, I'll probably forget about it, and this is one idea I can't allow myself to forget." -she told Tikki.

"It's okay. I'll continue to read, while you sketch it." -Tikki smiled at her, as Marinette placed the book on the chaise-longue and quickly got up. Grabbing the book, Tikki continued to read where Marinette had stopped. –"Alright… where were we? Oh, right…" -she said, as she started to read.

Grabbing her sketchbook, Marinette quickly began to draw the idea that showed up in her mind. And that idea was of a possible design for one of the hoodies based on the Miraculous Team; for the design of the hoodie based on Antelope. She did not know how the idea came to her mind, but she did not care. All that it mattered was getting it into the paper, so she would later be able to rework it a little, and use it. With each pencil scratch, the idea became clearer and clearer, until it was the way Marinette had envisioned it, in her mind. Looking at it, she was satisfied with what she had done, and she hoped that Kim would also like it. After all, that hoodie was inspired in him, and she wanted him to be happy with it.

"Kim will definitely love this. Not only it highlights the hood, it also matches the previous idea I had for it." -Marinette thought to herself, as she looked at the sketch. –"Uh? Yes?" -she asked, hearing someone knocking at the door.

"Can I come in?" -a voice asked. A voice which Marinette recognized as not being the voice of one her parents. It was Adrien's voice.

"A-Adrien?" -Marinette asked. –"No way, it can't be. I'm hearing things! Adrien isn't supposed to arrive for another two hours. But what if it's him, and I just lost track of time and it's time to go already?" -she thought to herself. –"C-Come in!"

"Hey, there." -Adrien said, as he opened the trapdoor and smiled at her.

"I-Is it that late already? I didn't even notice time passing." -Marinette stated

"Oh, no, don't worry, I'm the one who decided to come a little earlier, so we could spend one or two hours, just the two of us, before meeting up with the others. Gorilla will pick us up, when it's time to go to the concert." -Adrien said, as Plagg exited the pocket in his jeans. –"You want to know something funny? As soon as I entered the bakery, your dad almost jumped from behind the counter and came to give me a hug." -he chuckled, as he closed the trapdoor behind him.

"That's my dad for you. He loves having you as a son-in-law." -Marinette smiled, as she greeted Adrien, with a kiss on the lips. –"But not as much as I love you." -she continued to smile at her boyfriend.

"That I believe." -Adrien smiled at Marinette, as he placed his hands around her waist, and gently pulled towards him. –"So, what do you want to do?" -he asked her.

"Hmmm… I don't know." -Marinette admitted. –"I mean, I wasn't expecting to have your company, so I was only going to work a little bit more on some sketches." -she said. -"But now that you're here, about we go downstairs to the living room, and play a couple of rounds of Ultimate Mecha Strike III? I promise you that I'll let you win this time." -Marinette told him, with a mischievous smile on her face.

"No, thank you. Every time you say that, you end up beating my butt, even if you promise you won't." -Adrien laughed. –"But if you're up for it, I'll challenge you on a one-on-one in Mortal Kombat." -he told her, knowing that he played the videogame well-enough to be a match for Marinette. –"What do you say? My Scorpion versus your Princess Kitana?"

"You're on. But I must warn you, I've been practicing my Fatalities, and believe me, when I tell you that I'm going to slice your Scorpion's head, before you get to burn my Princess Kitana to ashes." -Marinette told him with a mischievous voice.

"Really?" -Adrien asked her, as he pulled her for another kiss. –"How about a little bet to spice things up?" -he proposed her.

"What do you have in mind?" -Marinette asked him.

"Whoever loses three rounds in a row, has to kiss the winner." -Adrien suggested her.

"You're on. And don't you try to lose on purpose." -Marinette playfully told him, as she leaned forward and kissed him.

"There they go again." -Plagg whispered to Tikki, as he saw the teenagers going down –"They could at least invite us to also play." -he commented, slightly annoyed.

"Oh, stop being like that, and let them spend some time alone. You know the path they both had to go through, until they ended up together was not an easy one." -Tikki told him. –"And instead of being all annoyed by that, come and read with me."

"You're reading Harry Potter, again?" -Plagg asked the scarlet kwami. –"Don't you get tired of reading the same books, over and over?" -he asked.

"No. Just like you don't get tired of that stinking cheese you like so much, I don't get tired of reading these books… by the way, did you brush your teeth, before coming here?" -Tikki asked Plagg, as she smelled his breath. –"Phew… you shouldn't forget to do that! Otherwise, it's impossible to be next to you. I don't know how Adrien is even able to carry you around, with that stinking breath of yours." -she said.

After playing for almost an hour, and with both of them tied, when it came to the number of victories and losses, Marinette told Adrien that it was time for both of them to put on their face-paints, before went to meet the rest of the gang. Because Adrien was all thumbs, when it came to putting make-up on, Marinette volunteered herself to do it for him, before doing hers. Heading back to her bedroom, where they found Tikki and Plagg still reading, Marinette went to grab the face paints, she had bought the day before, as well as the brushes and a glass filled with water from her bathroom. She then asked her boyfriend to take a seat on the chaise -longue, next to Tikki and Plagg, as she herself sat on her armchair and began to paint his face.

"Just promise me, you won't paint a cute flower on my face okay?" -Adrien joked.

"You're such a silly kitty, you know that?" -Marinette teased him, as she grabbed one of the brushes. –"Now, let's see if I can do your make-up, without accidentally removing one of your eyes, with one of the brushes" -she joked.

"I trust you, don't worry." -Adrien smiled at her, before closing his eyes, and feeling Marinette applying the white paint to his face. –"I'll tell you something. Your hands are way smoother than those of my usual make-up artist." -she declared.

"Thank you." -Marinette said, as she continued to apply the white paint. –"You're going to look so handsome with this face-paint on." -she told him.

"You two… you're making me sick with all that lovey-dovey talk!" -Plagg said with a voice filled with sarcasm, when he was hit on the back of the head by Tikki. –"Hey!" -he complained.

"What do you think it was for?" -Tikki asked him. –"It's because you opened your mouth to say the wrong things." -she told Plagg with a sarcastic voice. –"You've got the same sense of romance as a piece of disgusting Camembert!"

"Hey! Don't badmouth my favourite cheese! I don't badmouth those cookies you like so much!" -Plagg protested.

Hearing their kwamis fighting like that, both Marinette and Adrien asked themselves if like them, they were in love with one another, but like it happened with them, they did not have the courage to say it to one another. They spent their time squabbling about the most trivial of things, and that was something that sometimes happened between those who loved each other. Both Marinette and Adrien knew a couple that was the perfect example of such thing, Alix and Kim. It was clear to them that they were in love with one another, but could not see it themselves. And the same thing could be asked about Tikki and Plagg. Neither Marinette, nor Adrien knew if kwamis could fall in love with one another, but if they could, then Tikki and Plagg were clearly in love.

"That much squabbling must mean that you two care a lot for one another." -Adrien joked.

"Either that, or they just love to squabble. Have you ever thought about becoming a comedic duo?" -Marinette asked them. –"You would be a success." -she joked, which made Adrien laugh. –"Hey, no moving, Adrien! I don't want to ruin this."

"S-Sorry."-Adrien apologized, as he tried his best to stand still, while Marinette continued to paint his face. –"Won't happen again." -he said.

"Never gonna happen." -Plagg told them.

"Ditto!" -Tikki agreed with him. –"Not only because we can't be seen by anyone, but also because I don't find any of Plagg's jokes funny." -she said.

"Just proves that you don't have a sense of humour, that clearly understands my humour, Sugarcube." -Plagg said, calling the scarlet kwami by the nickname, he knew she hated.

"Why… you! I told you not to call me that, Plagg! Get back here, right now, so I can pull those whiskers as a punishment!" -Tikki jumped on Plagg, who immediately ran from her.

Once again, their kwamis' antics made the two teenagers laugh. It was amazing just how two little creatures such as them, could make them laugh like that. Unfortunately, by making them laugh, Marinette made an error, while painting Adrien's face, and was forced to correct that mistake; not that Adrien minded about it. He was okay with having Marinette taking as long as she needed or wanted, to finish his make-up, because that meant that he could continue to look at her, admiring her beauty.

After exiting her limousine, and telling Jean to wait for her and Sabrina, Chloe walked to the door of Sabrina's building and rang the bell. Waiting for someone to open the door for her, she asked herself who would answer; if Sabrina's mom, who her dad. Once the door opened, Chloe took the elevator to the fifth floor. Exiting it, she was greeted by Sabrina's mom, Lilian, who welcomed her and told her that Sabrina was in her bedroom, getting ready. It had been a while, since she was in Sabrina's house, and as she looked around, it had not changed much since her previous visit. The only things Chloe noticed were different at first sight, was the colour of the walls, which were previously white, and were now vanilla-white, and there was a new bookcase near the corridor that led to the Sabrina's bedroom and her parents' master bedroom.

"It's always a pleasure to see you, Chloe." -Lilian smiled at Chloe.

"Thank you, Mrs. Raincomprix." -Chloe thanked her. –"I love what you did with the place. Vanilla-white is such a pretty colour." -she said, being honest about it.

"Oh, we painted it a couple of months ago. It was Roger's idea to paint it with this colour." -Lilian told the heiress. –"If he had let me choose the colour, I would have gone for turquoise or aquamarine." -she declared.

"Just like Sabrina's eyes. A great choice, indeed" -Chloe thought to herself.

"Anyways, I know that you didn't come here to talk about that, so I won't bother you about it." -Lilian told her, with a light-hearted voice. –"Sabrina's in her bedroom. When I checked her a couple of minutes ago, she was trying to do that face-paint she's going to wear to the concert. I asked her if she wanted some help, but she told me that she could handle it." -she said.

"I see. Well, I better go and see if she needs a little help." –Chloe declared, as she headed down the corridor, on her way to Sabrina's bedroom.

"If you need anything, don't hesitate to call. I'll be in the kitchen, prepping some snacks for Sabrina to take with her. She's not a big fan of hot dogs and hamburgers, so I'm sending her some fruits and some sandwiches." -Lilian declared.

"You clearly don't know Sabrina, like I do. Over the last couple of months, she has gotten a healthy appetite for junk food. And either I'm wrong, or she's going to eat at least five hot dogs tonight, if not more, if Mika decides to compete against her, to see who could eat more hot dogs." -Chloe thought to herself, as she imagined her best-friend and her kwami chowing down hot dogs like there was no tomorrow.

Knocking at Sabrina's bedroom door, she waited for her to say something before entering.

"Come in! And before you ask, I'm still not ready, Chloe." -Sabrina said, as the blonde entered her bedroom.

"Having problems with that face-paint?" -Chloe asked her.

"How did you… oh, my mom must have told you." -Sabrina said. –"But yeah, I'm having a couple of problems with it. I wish I had your steady hands. I just can't sketch this lightning bolt properly… I suck, when it comes to putting on make-up" -she sighed, as she grabbed a baby wipe, that Mika was holding for her, and wiped her face.

"Don't worry, about that. I'll help you out with the face-paint." -Chloe told her, as she gently took the paint and the brush from her hands. –"Now, close your eyes, and let me handle this." -she said, as she began to draw a perfect lightning bolt on Sabrina's face, just like in Marinette's sketch. A few seconds later, she had finished it. –"There, perfect. Now, all I need to do is to colour it."

"The paints are on top of my bedside table." -Sabrina warned her. –"Mika, could you bring them here?" -she asked her kwami.

"No need for that. I'll use my own paints on you. I bought them online yesterday, and they arrived this morning." -Chloe said, as she opened her purse and took them out. As she did that, Pollen, her kwami, came out. –"We'll start with the white paint. Pollen, could you do me a favour and hold Sabrina's hair, so I can paint her face?" -she asked the little bee kwami, while opening the white paint bottle.

"Of course." -Pollen said, as she flew from the pocket in Chloe's pants –"Mika, grab one end, I'll grab the other." -she told the wolf kwami.

"On it." -Mika said.

With the help of both kwamis, Chloe was able to finish Sabrina's face-paint a lot faster than she would. And as soon as she finished it, she wasted no time in doing her own. To her surprise, the paints she had bought online were much better than she had anticipated they would be. In her case, she had decided to go with the Demon face-paint, which belonged to Gene Simmons. The hardest part was making sure she got the spikes right. Finishing it, the blonde was pretty impressed with the final result, and she was not the only one. Sabrina and the kwamis were also impressed with it.

"You look terrific, Chloe." -Sabrina said.

"I agree. You look fantastic." -Pollen said.

"Just like Sabrina." -Mika declared. –"You both look ready for the concert." -he said.

"He's right. We both look ready." -Sabrina said, as she and Chloe looked themselves in the mirror the redhead had next to her wardrobe.

"I have to admit that I like the result, on both of us. We look ready for war… which reminds me, selfie time! Get over here, Sabrina." -Chloe said, as she pulled her cell phone from her pocket, while placing her left arm around Sabrina's shoulder. –"Alright, say kwami!" -she exclaimed as she took the photo with her cell phone. Checking it, she was pleased with the result. –"This is probably one of our best selfies together. Not counting the ones, where we are as Queen Bee and Louve Grise, of course."

"Of course." -Sabrina giggled. –"Though, I'll be honest, and you already heard me say this before. I don't like the fact of you having those selfies in your cell phone." -she said. –"One of these days, someone might get a hold of your cell phone and see them, or worst, hack into it. And they will find out about your secret… or better yet, our secret, and everyone else's."

"Don't worry about it. I already told you, Sabrina, I don't keep them in my cell phone for long. Only until I have the time to transfer them to a pen drive, I have." -Chloe reminded her. –"They only stay there for maybe an hour, tops. And I'm super careful with that pen drive. Nobody knows about it, except the two of us, as well as Pollen and Mika. And as for its location, it's on the very last place anyone would look for." -she told Sabrina, trying to calm her down. –"Nobody will ever find out about them, ever."

It was things like that, that sometimes, made Sabrina tremble with fear. Still, she believed her best-friend, and she did not have any reason to lie to her.

"Okay. But it better be inside a vault, which only you have the combination for." -Sabrina told her. –"Anyways, are you ready to go?" -she asked her.

"I am, if you are." -Chloe smiled at her, as she slipped her cell phone back into her pocket.

"Absolutely. I just need to get my backpack and the snacks that my mom made for me, and we can go." -Sabrina told her. –"And let's just hope that this time we don't have a flat tire, or something, that will prevent us from getting to the concert." -she said, as she grabbed her backpack, and looked at her kwami. –"Come on, Mika, get in."

"Coming!" -Mika said, as he entered the backpack.

"Time to go, Pollen." -Chloe said.

"Yes, my queen." -Pollen smiled at the blonde.

Chapter Text

As a blue minivan approached Le Parc des Princes, it was clear to its driver and passengers that they were arriving at their destination, because of the sound of music in the air. Plus, the whole circus that had been assembled around the stadium, and the number of people that were heading in its direction, was a giveaway to what was going on there. Originally called Stade Vélodrome du Parc des Princes, the stadium was inaugurated in 1897. Situated in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the area was a forested parkland used by the royal family before the French Revolution, which gave Parc des Princes its name. The stadium itself was the third stadium built there, and it was designed and built by Roger Taillibert and Siavash Teimouri, opening in 1972, having become the permanent home of Paris Saint-Germain in 1973. Besides receiving numerous football matches, from time to time, it also received concerts. And on that night, it was going to receive two of the greatest names in the world of music for thousands of fans, who were hoping to see one of the best concerts in their lives.

When the blue minivan stopped, its driver turned on the blinkers, before turning his attention to the passengers that were on the backseats.

"Now, remember Alix. Be careful, don't spend too much money, and when you see that the concert is almost ending, send me a text, and I'll come and pick you and Kim up." -Mr. Kubdel told his daughter. –"If I can't come, it will be your mother to do so." -he added.

"Thanks for bringing us, sir." -Kim thanked him.

"Yeah, thanks for giving us a ride, dad. And don't worry, I'll text you." –Alix declared.

"Anytime, Alix. I hope you and your friends have fun tonight." -Mr. Kubdel told Alix. –"Still, I don't like that you came with your face painted like that." -he said. –"This isn't Halloween."

"Oh, come on, dad. There are lots of people that have their faces painted. It's all part of the show. Just look outside." -Alix told her father. From the list of face-paints, she had chosen the one that had belonged to Eric "The Fox" Carr, while Kim chose the one Marinette had baptized with the name "The Cyborg". –"KISS fans paint their faces, to show the band their appreciation and devotion. Think about it how there are tribes and ancient people who did the same for their leaders. It's the same thing." -she said.

"I can understand that. But that doesn't mean I have to like it." -Mr. Kubdel said. –"Anyways, you best be going, before I begin rambling about something else. Have fun." -he said, as Alix opened the car's door.

Closing the car door behind her, Alix and Kim watched as her dad's minivan drove away. When the minivan merged with the traffic and disappeared, the two teenagers looked around and felt like they had just stepped into a whole new world. Everywhere they looked, they saw something KISS-related. There were also a couple of banners and posters advertising Jagged Stone, but most of it was related to KISS, which did not surprise them, given they were the main attraction that day. Just like it had happened to them on the day they attended Jagged Stone's concert, they could feel the unique atmosphere surrounding them, which was charged with electricity.

"You know something? Your dad can be a major buzzkiller." -Kim told Alix.

"I agree with you on that. It's like my dad was never a kid himself. Sometimes, I wonder if he hatched already old and too serious for his own good." -Alix declared, between chuckles. –"But who cares what he thinks? I can't believe that we're finally here!" -she exclaimed. –"And this time, hopefully, we'll be able to enjoy the concert, without being called on a certain kind of emergency."

"Don't say that, because you can still jinx it." -Kim warned her. –"And as much as I like to use my powers, unlike you, I don't want to spend my night chasing after one of Hawkdouche's minions." -he told her. –"Today, I just want to spend the night listening to good music and hanging out with everyone."

"Does that include me?" -a voice was heard. It was Kim's kwami, Imp, talking from the pocket he was hiding in.

"Of course, it does, man. Why do you think I brought you?" -Kim told Imp.

"I don't know… maybe because…" -Daria said, when he was interrupted.

"Don't even try it, Daria!" -Imp shouted at the dragonfly kwami. –"Whatever you're going to say, don't say it!" -he said. He knew just how Daria loved to push people and kwamis' buttons, just for the fun of it.

"Guys, guys, guys… no talking like that. The last thing we need is people finding out about you." -Alix told the two kwamis in an ushered voice, quieting them. –"Now, let's be quiet, and see if we can find the rest of the gang in this madness." -she said, as they began to walk, following the fans that kept arriving.

Most people they passed by were both wearing KISS make-up and t-shirts from previous tours from the band. And unlike what most people would think, the fans were not just people in their fifties and sixties, but rather people in their thirties, twenties, and even kids. Kim and Alix passed by several families, who seemed to nurture a liking for the band. But among all those people, there were also people without the make-up and wearing regular clothes. And occasionally, one person wearing a Jagged Stone t-shirt passed by them. Seeing all those people, the two of them quickly realized that if any of their friends was already there, it would take them too long to find them. As they waited for any of them to answer, they noticed the waiting line was already going around the fence that surrounded the stadium and its grounds. Still, neither one, nor the other was worried about that, because with their VIP passes, they would be among the first ones to enter, without the need to wait in line, like the rest.

"Any luck?" -Alix asked Kim.

"No. I can't get through to Max or Nino." –Kim told her. –"I'm going to try and call Adrien, now." -he said. –"What about you? Any luck?"

"Nope. Alya and Mylene aren't answering either." -Alix said. –"I'm going to try and Juleka now." -she said.

"Or, you could ask one of us if we could feel any of the other kwamis nearby." -Daria told Alix. –"Do you guys keep forgetting that we kwamis can feel the presence of other kwamis, when they're nearby?" -he reminded her.

"You're right, I forgot about that." -Alix smiled. –"Can you tell me if you can feel any around here?" -she asked her kwami.

Focusing, Daria tried to sense the energy that emanated from the other kwamis, and see if any of them were nearby. He immediately felt Imp's energy, but he ignored it, and continued to try and sense it. It did not help that there was a lot of noise around them. The dragonfly kwami, was used to using that skill, while there was silence. Still, he tried his best to sense the energy signature of his fellow kwamis, and after nearly twenty seconds, he felt the energy of two of them. Just as all kwmais were different, so were their energy signatures. And the energy signature he felt, belonged to Tikki and Plagg, the ladybug and the black cat kwamis, respectively. Telling Alix to head in the direction he was sensing their energy signatures, both her and Kim did not take long to find the kwamis and their holders.

"Hey, lovebirds!" -Alix called out Marinette and Adrien, when she saw them, talking to one another, while holding hands.

"Hey!" -Adrien exclaimed. –"Guess we're not the only ones here, anymore." -he told Marinette.

"Guess not." -Marinette said, before turning her attention to Alix and Kim. –"Whoa, you guys look awesome. Especially you, Kim. That face-paint looks amazing on you."

"Well, you designed it. Though, I'll admit that it maximizes my natural handsomeness." -Kim declared.

"Should I be jealous of him?" -Adrien asked Marinette, in a sarcastic, yet playful tone.

"Of course, not, you silly kitty." -Marinette smiled at the blond. –"You know I only have eyes for you." -she said.

"Hey! I thought that was my line." -Adrien joked.

"Last time I checked; you didn't own its copyrights." -Marinette told him, playing along.

"Okay, okay, enough, guys. We know you're both in love, but could you take it down a notch?" -Alix asked her friends, in an amused tone.

"For once, I'm with her." -Kim agreed with Alix. –"I'm happy that you two are dating, but keep that for when it's just the two of you." -he said.

"Alright, we'll stop." -Marinette giggled. –"I guess they just can't handle our love, Adrien." -she told her boyfriend.

"Undoubtedly. Sometimes I think that they would prefer, if we were still in the dark, regarding our crush on one another." -Adrien laughed, just to tease both Alix and Kim, who he knew, were not big fans of that kind of conversation.

"Well, I for one, I'm glad you two aren't in the dark about one another, anymore." -a voice they all knew, said. The voice belonged to Alya, who showed up wearing a "Catman" face-paint, along with Nino, who chose to wear one of the face-paints created by Marinette. In his case, he went with the one she baptized as "Lucky Clover". –"Can you imagine what it would be, if you two were still trying to see if you loved one another, when everyone else knew that you were made for each other?" -she joked.

"My girl is right. Everyone knew you were made for one another… everyone, except you." -Nino joked about it. –"But changing subjects, are you four the only ones here? As anyone arrived yet?" -he asked them group.

"As far as we know, we are." -Adrien answered him.

"Well, I hope the rest don't take long. According to what was on the passes, we're meeting both Jagged Stone and KISS in 40 minutes." -Alix said.

"Relax, they'll be here. Just give them a little more time to get here." -Nino told her. –"In the meantime, I think I'm going to buy me one of those t-shirts and put it on." -he said. –"Want to accompany me, foxy fox?"

"You betcha, turtle boy." -Alya smiled at him. –"But, I thought you were broke." -she remembered.

"And I was. But my dad gave me, my allowance a little bit earlier." -Nino answered her, with a smile on his face. –"What about you, guys? Want to join us?" -he asked them.


By the time they had finished buying the shirts, the rest of the gang had arrived, joining them, and also buying shirts for themselves. They all wanted to be dressed for the occasion, even if that meant spending a few Euros on overpriced clothes. It was not every day that they had the opportunity to meet world-renowned rock stars and spend a little time with them. Still, they knew that that they would only have to spend money on those shirts. The VIP backstage passes they had, granted them numerous merchandise articles that would be sent to their respective houses, so they would not have to carry them around, during the concert.

Finished shopping, they all made their way to the front of the line. It was nearly time for the meet and greet event, and their passes allowed them to be the first ones to do so. As they walked next to the line, to get to the front of it, they all heard all kinds of comments addressed to them. Most of them were praises for the wicked face-paints they were wearing. But they were also several insults, with people wondering why they were passing them ahead. Most of the gang ignored the insults, but some of them did not hesitate in shouting back at those who had decided to shout insults at them. When they finally reached the front of the line, they all showed the security guards their passes on their cell phones. After confirming their authenticity, the men told them all to wait, telling them, someone would come to get them. To pass the time, they all decided to take a couple of photos or make a video, with their cell phones. And as always, when trapped in a line, Max decided to entertain his friends with a couple of trivia bits. These were all about KISS and Jagged Stone, that he had been reading for the past two days.

"Did you guys know that KISS fans call themselves KISS Army?" -Max asked them.

"That explains all those shirts that say that." -Ivan said, as he finished changing into the shirt he had bought.

"Come on, if you're going to start quizzing us and throwing trivia bits at us, then, at least give us some that will make us think a bit, Max." -Kim told his best-friend.

"Okay, you want a tricky one… do you know what was Eric "The Fox" Carr's real name?" -Max asked.

"That one, I know. It was Paul Charles Caravello. And he died on the same day as Freddie Mercury." -Juleka said.

"That's cheating! You're like a music encyclopaedia!" -Kim exclaimed.

"No, it's not. Juleka just happens to know a lot about music. It's not cheating, if you know things." -Rose playfully defended her girlfriend.

"Well, people who know so much about music, should give others a chance to answer." -Kim said, as he looked at Nino. –"And yeah, I'm also saying that to you." -he pointed at him. –"You practically only talk about music."

"Something tells me that you are afraid of people finding out that you don't know a thing about music." -Nino joked with Kim. –"Hey, there's no reason to be embarrassed about it. I bet that if the subject was sports, you would beat me in two seconds."

"That I would!" -Kim answered in a cocky voice tone.

"Can we get back to the trivia bits and the curiosities?" -Mylene asked them. –"I really want to hear a few more." -she said.

"Thank you, Mylene. At least someone, enjoys hearing these things." -Max said.

"Oh, come on, Max, you don't actually believe that we don't like hearing you telling us those things, do you?" -Alya asked him.

"No. I just believe that you find it annoying." -Max sighed.

"Well, it is a bit annoying… but that doesn't mean, we don't like to hear it from time to time." -Sabrina told him. –"Plus, when you do it, it helps to pass the time a little faster." -she said.

"I'm with Sabrina on that one." -Chloe agreed. –"Go on, tell us another one." -she said.

"Never thought I would see the day that I would hear Chloe begging me to tell a trivia bit." -Max thought to himself. –"Alright… do you know why Jagged Stone's favourite colour is purple?" -he asked everyone.

A few more minutes went by, along with a couple of trivia bits, courtesy of Max, before someone came to get them. The person in question was a young girl, probably 18 or 19 years old, and was wearing a KISS shirt, and carrying several concert badges in one hand, and wristbands on the other. Signalling the security guards to let them through, one by one, they were all searched, to see if they were carrying any weapons or dangerous objects in them or in their backpacks. Once the guards finished doing their job, they were allowed to go forward, where the girl slapped a wristband with the KISS logo on their right wrist, as well as handing them a concert badge, which they put around their necks. She quickly explained them that that badge granted them access to backstage, which they would visit a little later, as well as the Golden Circle. She also informed them that she was going to escort them to one of the rooms where the first meet and greet would take place, after which they would be taken to a second one, where the second meet and greet would happen. They would first meet KISS, and then, they would meet Jagged Stone.

"If you could please follow me." -the girl told them.

Following her, they had a couple of questions regarding the meet and greet, which she wasted no time answering. She told them that they would get twenty minutes with KISS, and twenty minutes with Jagged Stone. She pointed out that selfies and photos were allowed with the musicians, and that they would sign maximum two objects per person. This was nothing they were not expecting. They did not say it, but they were more exited to meet Jagged Stone, than KISS. As they walked down the corridor, they all began asking what kind of questions they would ask, and how they would react to them. To say they were not slightly nervous, would be a huge lie. They all had their hearts filled with joy and anticipation, pounding inside their chests. Some were more nervous than others, but they were all nervous.

The inside of the stadium was like a maze, and without a guide, they would all get lost inside it. The corridors all looked the same. Still, their nerves prevented them from thinking about that. And instead, it made them shiver with anticipation, as the craziest things came to their minds.

"Can't forget to ask them all to sign the t-shirt for Luka, can't forget to ask them all to sign the t-shirt for Luka… come on, Juleka, stop repeating yourself. You won't' forget such a thing." -Juleka told herself.

"I'm sweating so much! If I keep sweating like that, I'll have to retouch the make-up. I wonder if I brought the inks with me? I must have… if I hadn't, Tikki would have told me by now." -Marinette thought to herself.

"This is going to be epic." -Nino thought to himself.

"It's going to be so nice to see Jagged Stone again! It's been nearly a year, since I last saw him!" -Chloe mused to herself.

They were almost at the room where the meet and greet would take place, when fate decided to intervene and give them a little gift they were not expecting. Turning left, they bumped into Jagged Stone, who was coming from the opposite direction. Seeing them, he immediately recognized Marinette, even with the face-paint she was wearing.

"Whoa, Marinette… I wasn't expecting to meet you and your friends for another half hour, or so." -Jagged smiled at her.

"U-Uh… H-Hello!" -Marinette greeted him with a nervous smile. –"Calm yourself, Marinette, calm yourself. There's no reason to be nervous. It's not the first time you see Jagged Stone in person." -she thought to herself.

"Still nervous to be around me, huh?" -Jagged Stone joked. –"I already told you, if you want to, you can call me Uncle Jagged, if it helps you. I won't mind it." -he told her.

"M-Maybe some other time." -Marinette said, trying not to sound as nervous as she really was.

"Well, alright, but remember, the offer still stands." -Jagged reminded her.

Neither parties thought that something like that was going to happen, especially the girl who was guiding them. Seeing that happening, she did not know what to do. She did not want to interrupt Jagged Stone, but she still had a job to do, and to do it, she would have to interrupt him.

"Uh… excuse me, Mr. Stone, but…"

"Oh, sorry, you were taking them to the room where the meet and greet is going to take place, am I right? Well, you don't have to worry. I'll take them to the room, myself in a couple of minutes. And if anyone asks, I was the one who insisted on doing it, and I'll take full responsibility for it." -Jagged Stone told the girl, who he saw was beginning to look a little nervous. –"It's okay, trust me." -he told her.

The girl was a little hesitant in doing as Jagged was asking her. She had her orders and disobeying such orders, could cost her, her job. A couple of seconds went by, before she decided on what to do. Grabbing the walkie-talkie, she had with her, she called her supervisor and explained it to him what had happened, and asked him how to proceed. After listening to it, her supervisor told her to allow Jagged to do as he had asked her, and to go back outside, to wait to bring another group for the meet and greet. Doing as she was told, she left them, and went back through the corridor they had come from, leaving Jagged Stone with the Miraculous gang.

"Well, as I was saying, I was not expecting to see you and your friends, a little bit later." -Jagged Stone said.

"Same thing with us." -Marinette admitted.

"Jagged!" -Chloe said, as she hugged him. –"It's so good to see you again! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you so much for getting us the tickets and the passes!" -she exclaimed. The blonde had told herself that she was going to thank the rock star for what he did for her. She was only going to tell him a few words, but at the last moment, she allowed her emotions to get the best of her.

"I-It's also g-good to see you. I'm glad I was able to help you." -Jagged told Chloe. –"I admit that it has been a while, since the last time I saw you." -he said, remembering that time. –"Her eyes… they clearly changed. They don't look like the eyes of an impulsive little brat, like I remember them. I think Marinette was telling me the truth. She has changed."

"Chloe, come on, don't do that." -Sabrina told her in a playful tone, as she pulled her away from Jagged Stone. –"You probably scared him." -she whispered to her ear.

"No, I didn't. He knows I do this, every time I see him." -Chloe whispered back the redhead.

"I guess she's a little too excited about this." -Mylene stated, giggling nervously.

"It's okay. I'm already used to that. Plus, nice shirt. You have good taste" -Jagged told Mylene, noticing she was wearing one of the t-shirts with his trademark logo on it. –"So this is the whole class, huh? Well, it's nice to see that you all like good music and… whoa!" -he exclaimed, when he felt something big slither against his left leg.

What Jagged felt was the head of his pet crocodile Fang. Somehow, he had escaped from Jagged's dressing room and decided to go look for his master. Upon seeing so many people around Jagged, the crocodile decided to greet them in his own unique way. Jump on them, and lick their hands.

"H-Hey, that tickles!" -Marinette giggled, as Fang licked her hands, covering them in drool.

"Hold on, there, King Croc, that's my girlfriend you're licking there." -Adrien chuckled, as he helped Marinette getting back up, while patting Fang on the head. –"You're a good crocodile, yes you are." -he told Fang, as he stopped licking Marinette's hands and walked towards Juleka.

"Oh, I get it, you want to be petted. Alright, we'll pet you then." -Juleka said, kneeling in front of the crocodile and petted him, which earned her a friendly lick from Fang.

It did not take long for everyone in the gang to start petting Fang. They were used to seeing crocodiles in wild life documentaries, where they are depicted as ferocious beasts, who preyed on any unsuspected victims, who dared to approach the waters where the crocodiles lived. So, to see one crocodile who did not behave like that, and who behaved more like a puppy, than a wild crocodile, it was cause for joy. Between laughs and giggles, which were music to Fang's ears, everyone enjoyed petting Jagged's pet crocodile, who could not help but to feel like the centre of attention. Seeing this, Jagged was slightly impressed by what was happening.

"He must really like you all, to act like that. He usually snarls and growls at people who aren't nice, or have second intentions towards me or anyone close to me." -Jagged said. –"Of course, he's also a sucker for attention." -he told them, when he saw someone else approaching them. –"Let me guess, you were on the phone and he managed to give you the slip, right?"

"I'm afraid so." -Penny told him. –"Still, I don't know how he managed to open the door with only his leash." -she confessed.

"I told you, Fang's smarter than the average crocodile." -Jagged told Penny. –"Besides there's nothing he won't do for a little attention." -he said, as he looked at the crocodile, being petted by Marinette and her friends.

Surrounding Fang, the whole group continued to take turns petting him and even rubbing his belly, which Rose and Mylene found out that he loved, when he turned around. They were almost hypnotized by how tame and meek the crocodile was. Never in their lives, they thought they would see such a thing.

"I guess you found yourselves a new friend." -Jagged told them. –"Sorry about the drool. Sometimes I think he drools more than a St. Bernard." -he joked.

"Here, I think you're going to need these." -Penny said, as she pulled from her purse a box of baby wipes. She always carried around one, in case Fang drooled over someone he was not supposed to.

"Thank you." -Nino thanked, as he took one of the wipes from the box.

"Thank you." -Marinette thanked Penny.

"You must be Marinette." -Penny said. –"I'm Penny Rolling. Jagged's agent. Nice to meet you and your friends" -she said.

"Likewise." -Marinette said.

"Well, before we were interrupted, I was going to ask you to present me your friends. I already know Chloe here, but not the rest." -Jagged told Marinette. –"So, care to introduce me to them?" -he smiled.

"Of course!" -Marinette said. –"Uh… this is Alya Cesaire, my best-friend. Remember the hoodie that on my bedroom the other day? It was for her." -she declared.

"So, you're the lucky girl who got to keep that amazing Rena Rouge-inspired hoodie, huh? Well, let me just tell you that it's a pleasure to meet you, and that I'm also jealous. Your best-friend has a gift for sewing, because when I saw it, it made me wish the hoodie she made for you, was for me." -Jagged Stone told her.

"It's also a pleasure to meet you, as well." -Alya smiled. –"I can't believe I'm meeting Jagged Stone! Oh, come on, girl, get a hold of yourself! Just act naturally!" -she told herself. She did not want Jagged to think she was nervous about meeting him. –"And yes, Marinette is incredibly talented."

"Super talented, that's more like it." -Nino told her. –"Hello, I'm Nino Lahiffe. Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Stone. Big fan of your work."

"Nice to meet you as well." -Jagged said, as he shook his hand. –"I can tell you like music, just from those headphones. Those are quite expensive." -he pointed out.

"They are his lucky headphones. Not only is Nino a very big fan of music, he's also an amateur DJ." -Alya told Jagged.

"You don't say?" -Jagged asked Nino.

"It's just a hobby…" -Nino said. –"Just a hobby?! Oh, come on, dude, what are you saying?! You love music! You want to be one of the best DJ's in the world, and you can't even say that to the man?!" -he thought to himself. –"… but it's one that I would really like to turn into a career."

"He's really talented." –Alya added.

"Well, if you have a talent, nurture it and then use it to do something incredible. That's what I always say." -Jagged declared.

One by one, Jagged greeted them all, as Marinette presented the whole group. After introductions were made, and the ice was broken between the teenagers and the musician, Chloe felt like it was a good time for a group photo, even though she knew they would get the opportunity to do that later. Still, no one opposed it, including Jagged.

"Alright, alright, selfie time, everyone! Come on, gather around, I want to see everyone in it." -Chloe said, as she placed her cell phone on the selfie-stick she had brought with her for the effect, and everyone gathered around Jagged Stone, who was then holding Fang. –"Okay, Sabrina stand next to me… Max and Kim, come a little closer… Ivan, you'll have kneel down, so you don't get your head cut-off… and Rose, try to nuzzle yourself against Juleka, just a little bit more… there, perfect!" -she said, as she tried to make everyone appear on the photo. –"Alright, everyone ready? Say cheese!"

After that one selfie, numerous others followed. As much as Chloe had changed, she was still a selfie-maniac, and whenever she had the chance, she would go for it. She needed the perfect selfie, which for her was only the fifth or sixth one she took with her cell phone. She took several with Jagged and with Fang, until the others told her that those were already enough, so they could also take turns taking selfies with the rock star.

"Come on, Chloe, I think you already took enough selfies." -Alix told her.

"Just one more, please!" -Chloe practically begged, while still next to Jagged Stone. –"I promise you, this is the very last one." -she told Jagged.

"Alright, one last. But this better not be like all the other times, when you say that, and then you ask for another one." -Jagged said. –"She has changed, but her habit of taking selfies is still very much the same." -he mused to himself.

"Scouts honour!" -Chloe said

A second after she snapped one last selfie with Jagged, a cell phone was heard. It turned out to be Jagged's. Putting Fang on the floor, he pulled the cell from his pocket and looked at the screen, recognizing the name. It was Aaron "Tuner" Turner, the roadie who was in charge of tuning his guitars. He knew Aaron would never call him, unless there was an emergency with one of the guitars. Answering the call.

"What happened, Tuner?" -Jagged asked him. –"Look, calm down… if you don't calm down, I can't understand what you're saying. Slow down, okay?" -he begged him, waiting for him to calm down. –"Okay, now that you're calmer, answer me this: which one is giving you trouble? Is it Ragnarök? No? Then, is it Queen Sheba? Not that one either? Then which one is it?"

Listening to the conversation, everyone understood that there was some kind of trouble with one of Jagged's guitars. Penny herself began to feel nervous. When things like that happened, it was never a good omen, but the complete opposite of it.

"Calm down. That Les Paul is a troublemaker. Tell me what happened, from the start." -Jagged asked him, in a calm and pondered voice. –"Okay… I see… well, are you sure you can't fix it?" -he asked. –"Not in time for the concert… well, then, you brought Sobek, didn't you? Awesome! I'll use that one at the start of the concert, then. But, maybe it's best if I tune it myself. No offense, but no one can get her to play the right way, except me. I'll be there in five minutes, then."

"Guess, he won't be accompanying us." -Nathaniel whispered to Nino, as they all heard Jagged talking on the phone.

"Guess not." -Nino agreed, as Jagged ended the call.

"Sorry, everyone, but duty calls. I guess I'll talk to you a little bit later, after you guys meet Paul and the others. Don't be nervous about it." -Jagged told them. –"Take Fang back to my dressing room, Penny. But before you do, be a dear and take them to the room where the meet and greet with Paul and the others is going to be." -he said, before turning to the group. –"I'll see you all in a bit. Just got to make sure that everything is perfect for when I bring the house down."

Following Penny, she took them to the room where they would meet KISS. Before entering, they took the time to say goodbye to Fang, by petting him, once more. As they entered the room, they saw this one was quite large. had been decorated to match the style of the rock band. The walls had been decorated with large posters from the four members, as well as banners, with both the name of the band and the name of the current tour. There were also four leather armchairs symmetrically arranged. If there were any doubts that they were on the right room, all that erased any kind of doubt they could have in their minds. They were all expecting for the members of the band to be there, waiting for them, but that did not happen.

"Guess we're a little too early." -Ivan commented.

"One thing's for certain. These guys don't save on advertisement." –Adrien said. –"Reminds me a bit of what happens when I'm promoting my dad's latest fashion line." -he stated.

"It's a way to decorate room, where you're receiving die-hard fans, I suppose." -Juleka commented, as she looked around. –"I'm sending my brother a photo of this room, just to tease him a little." -she said, as she pulled her cell phone from her pocket.

"You really are mean." -Rose joked.

"Well, I get to be a little mean, because from the two of us, you're the one who's the nice one." -Juleka winked at her girlfriend, as she took the photo of the room and sent it to Luka.

"What do you think it's keeping them? The girl who was bringing us here, before we bumped into Jagged Stone, was clearly in a hurry to get us here." -Alya pointed out.

Then, suddenly, the lights went out. When this happened, everyone's instincts kicked in. Their minds were telling them to stay on their guard, and be ready for anything, and their bodies responded by the same way, even though they knew that they were not in any kind of danger… or at least, they thought so. A couple of seconds later, the lights began to flash and they heard something exploding, which startled them.

"You wanted the best; you got the best! The hottest band in the land! KISS!" -a voice was heard, echoing all over the room.

When the lights came back, they all saw the air, along with the floor, was filled with confetti of all colours and shapes. And seated on the previously empty armchairs were four men, all dressed in casual clothes, and all of them wearing sunglasses. Even without their make-up on, their faces were easily recognizable. From left to right were Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, or as they called themselves, The Starchild, The Demon, The Spaceman and The Catman, respectively.

"How did they get there in just a few seconds?! The door was closed, they only had a couple of seconds to do that, and it's impossible for anyone to move that fast… at least, without having superpowers." -Max asked himself.

"Now that's how you make an entrance." -Nino thought to himself. –"Imagine if every time we showed up to fight an Akuma, we did that?"

"Welcome, KISS fans!" -Paul exclaimed.

"Come on, guys! What have I told you before? You can't use these effects, every time you make an entrance, especially, when you're not even in costume yet! If every time you guys find fans, and do that in front of them, it costs you a fortune in confetti bombs, not to mention the smoke bombs and the light show." -a voice was heard.

Entering the room was a man dressed in a black business suit, light-blue shirt and black shoes. He was tall, with a pale complexion. His face had premature lines, a Greek nose, and light black hair. He was Doc McGhee, the manager of KISS, as well as some other big names in the music world. He had heard the entrance the musicians had made, when the teenagers entered the room, and came to see what they had done.

"Oh, come on, don't be such a sourpuss. Our fans are the best in the world, and they deserve to be treated like that, Doc." -Paul told the manager. –"It's always amazing to see the look on fans faces, when we do that. It means we did a good job." -he said, while looking at Max, who was the one who was closest to him.

"But do you really have to do that with every fan?! Do you know just how much money you blew up with this little stunt of yours?" -Doc asked him. –"Believe me, it was enough to pay a lobster dinner for 10 people." -he declared.

"Like we don't have the money to do it. You worry too much." -Gene told him.

"Well, someone has to. If you guys don't, then I have to do it." -Doc declared, as he looked around and saw the amount of confetti on the ground. –"You could have used the cheaper confetti bombs, instead of the deluxe ones!" -he added, as he began calculating the amount of money they would have saved, if they had done that.

It was obvious to anyone who was hearing him, that Doc McGhee was someone, who was obsessed with saving money, wherever he could. But more importantly, he was someone, who was annoyed when someone spent money unnecessarily. And from his speech, it looked to Marinette and the others that KISS enjoyed to spend a little too much money, for his taste.

"You will all have to forgive our manager. He's a little too obsessed with the cost of everything, and with money we spend." -Tommy told the teenagers, some of which could not help but to chuckle.

"Yeah. A little too obsessed, if you ask me." -Eric said. –"It's not like we bought a private island lately, right?" -he joked.

"Very funny, very funny, Eric! But then don't come and cry on my shoulder, when you see a bill with lots of zeros, and you have no idea where it came from!" -Doc said, in exasperation. –"I never get this kind of problems with the Drew Davis Band or with Scorpions… why do I get them, with you? You guys are going to turn my hair white, with all this!" -he exclaimed.

"Even whiter than it already is? Everyone knows you dye your hair, just like us, man." -Paul laughed.

"Very funny, Paul, very funny!" -Doc said, as he left.

As KISS manager stormed out of the room, Marinette and her friends felt like they had just watched a scene out of a sitcom. They had all expected for their meet and greet with KISS to be unique, but not in that way. The whole scene could only be described with the word "unique", for the lack of a better one.

"And, then we're the ones who are the prima donnas." -Eric joked.

"He treats us like we're teenagers." -Gene commented.

"Maybe because we act like teenagers, whenever we're on tour, even though we're older than he is?" -Paul joked. –"But let's not talk about that. Let's talk about you, guys. Welcome. It's an honour to meet you all." -he said, as he turned his attention to the Miraculous gang, and got up to shake hands with everyone.

It did not take long for everyone to start mingling with the band members. Once the ice was broken, it was easier for the member of the Miraculous gang to mingle with the musicians. Just like it happened with Jagged Stone, Paul and the rest of KISS proved to be incredibly nice.

"Love the face-paint you're wearing. You've got great taste." -Pauls told Marinette, who was wearing Paul's signature Starchild face-paint. –"And yours is also really wicked… I'm sure Gene over there is going to say that he loves it." -he told Chloe.

"T-Thank you." -Marinette thanked him.

"Thank you." -Chloe smiled.

"Although I must say that those most of your friends are wearing are also very cool… that lighting absolutely rocks." -Paul admitted, complimenting Sabrina on her face-paint. –"They may not be official, but they are clearly KISS-inspired and for me, that proves that the spirit of KISS is present in them." -he said. –"It's always nice to see our fans doing these things."

"Thank you so much." -Sabrina thanked Paul.

"Marinette came up with those, while creating the one Jagged Stone is going to wear tonight." -Adrien declared.

"She's a natural, when it comes to these things." -Chloe added.

"Really? Then you must be the artist that Jagged was talking about. He wasn't kidding, when he told us that you are really talented. The face-paint you came up for him is amazing, and so are these your friends are wearing." -Paul told Marinette. –"He also told us that you want to work in fashion. Is that true?" -he asked her.

"Y-Yes. That's my dream." -Marinette answered, as she kept smiling at the lead singer of KISS.

"Well, I do know one thing. I do know that dreams are always possible, if you work hard, and have the talent, along with a little bit of luck on your side." -Paul told her, making her smile. –"Trust me. When we began as a band, there were dozens of critics who said that we wouldn't last a year, and look at us. Almost 50 years later, and we're still alive and kicking." -he said.

"Oh, she knows. And she's got the talent to do so." -Adrien said. –"I don't think we have been introduced yet… Adrien Agreste." -he said, as he shook hands with Paul.

"Adrien Agreste? You aren't by any chance related to…" -Paul asked.

"Gabriel Agreste? He's my dad." -Adrien finished his sentence.

"I knew those eyes of yours looked familiar. New York City is crawling with giant posters of yours. I didn't recognize you because of that make-up." -Paul told him. –"Well, let me tell you this, you've got a really talented girlfriend, not to mention beautiful, if you allow me to say it."

"Oh, thank you." -Marinette said. –"If I wasn't wearing this face-paint, I would probably be as red as a tomato, right now." -she thought to herself.

While Marinette, Adrien, Chloe and Sabrina continued to talk to Paul Stanley, Kim, Alix and Mylene were busy snapping a couple of selfies with Gene Simmons, while also asking him a couple of questions.

"Okay, okay, one question, do you burn yourself, while spitting fire the way you do, every concert?" -Kim asked Gene.

"Constantly." -Gene answered. –"I mean, when it happens, it's mostly first degree burns on the face and sometimes on the lips. It's not worse than a sunburn. Plus, the make-up helps to protect my skin, and I apply a flame retardant in spray to my face, before I spit out flames, just in case." -he explained.

"You probably burned your eyebrows a couple of times, over the years, right?" -Alix asked him.

"To tell you the truth, no. But over the years, there were a couple of times when I accidentally burned Paul's wig with the flames. Luckily, it was never a big deal, and we've learned that whenever I do that, the others stay far away, so they don't get with by the flames." -Gene explained

"By the way, there's one thing I wanted ask you. Why the "Demon"? Why did you choose that name for your stage persona? What's the story behind it?" -Kim asked him. While researching the band, he could not find the answer to that question he asked.

"To tell you the truth, I don't even remember it anymore. It was a long time ago. But one thing I do know. It was because of my love for comic books, like it happened with the rest of the band." -Gene answered, as he posed for a selfie with Kim.

"And you do your own make-up, right?" -Mylene asked.

"Indeed. The boys and I've been doing them since day 1, and with nearly 40 years of experience, we've become quite good at it." -Gene told Mylene. –"When I put my make-up on, it's symbolic. When I do it, I feel just like the ancient warriors did, when they went into battle. Because let's face it, a rock concert is just like a battle. The crowd is the enemy, and we must fight it and tame it, so we can earn their applause." -he declared, as he signed Alix's t-shirt.

"It's just like it happens with theatre actors. My dad's one, and I want to become one in the future. So, I understand what you're saying." -Mylene said.

Three meters to the right, Rose, Juleka and Ivan were talking to KISS drummer Eric Singer, who they were about to find out, had more in common with them, than they imagined.

"Do you mind signing this? It's for my brother. He's a really big fan of yours." -Juleka asked, with a rather shy voice.

"It would be my pleasure." –Eric said, as he pulled out a pen, he always carried with him. –"What's your brother's name?" -he asked Juleka.

"Luka." -Juleka said.

"And yours is?" -Eric asked her.

"Juleka… Juleka Couffaine." –Juleka said, shyly.

"No need to be shy." -Eric said, as he began signing the shirt. –"I don't bite." -he said, trying to make Juleka feel more at ease. Over the years, he had learned ways to make fans feel calmer and less shy around him, and was hoping that talking the way he was with the Goth girl, she would feel like she was talking to someone who was not as famous as he was.

"Jules is a little shy around most people." -Rose said. –"And so am I, I admit." -she told him.

"Well, let me tell you this, I'm also pretty shy myself." -Eric admitted.

"Really?" -Juleka asked, surprised. She never thought that someone like him would be shy.

"You don't look like it, if you don't mind me saying it." -Ivan said.

"Most people tend to tell me that. I always loved music, but I was too shy to try and think part of the reason why I became a drummer is because most of the times, drummers are the band's member that aren't seen in the spotlight." -Eric told them. –"And I was cool with that. Of course, over the years, slowly and steadily, I began to exit my shell and became a little bolder." -he said. –"Still, sometimes, my shyness still gets the best out of me. And that's okay. There's nothing wrong about a person being shy. Shy people tend to be the most interesting people… but don't tell others about that, or they might get jealous."

While Rose, Juleka and Ivan continued to chat in a cheerful manner with Eric, Nathaniel, Max, along with Alya and Nino were busy talking to Tommy Thayer, the Spaceman. Just like it happened with Eric, who was not the first Catman, Tommy was not the first one to wear both the face-paint and the nickname. That honour had belonged to Ace Frehley, the original Spaceman. Still, he had done his best to be worthy of Frehley's legacy, and though many fans considered him to be inferior to the original Spaceman, there were also many fans that considered just as good, or even better than Frehley's. As for Nathaniel, he was not a big fan of KISS, but he had fallen in love with their face-paints. So much, that when it came the time to decide which face-paint he was going to wear, he chose the Spaceman's. More so, he decided to make a quick sketch of Tommy as Spaceman, and offer it to him.

"Amazing… that's the word I'll go with, to describe this drawing." -Tommy told Nathaniel. –"You've got a talent, I'll tell you that." -he said. –"You really managed to capture my eyes, as well as my good looks, perfectly."

"Thank you. You're too kind." -Nathaniel said.

"Hey, I'm just telling you the truth. I'm known for being quite honest, when it comes to giving opinions about people and things." -Tommy declared. –"Maybe one of these years, you end up drawing a cover for one of our comic books, or a full issue, who knows?" -he told Nathaniel.

"KISS comics? I didn't even know those existed." -Max admitted.

"Well, they do, and to be quite honest, the versions of ourselves in them, are way cooler than us… mostly because they have real superpowers, and we don't." -Tommy said. –"Plus, they don't age, while we… well, they don't' call us dinosaurs for nothing." -he joked about it.

"I wonder if Marc knows about those comics?" -Nathaniel asked himself. –"I'll have to ask him, when I see him again… and who knows, I might buy one or two issues, just to see if they're any good, or not." -he thought.

"Well, I don't. As someone, who loves music, I believe that all music is great, no matter who plays it. As long as it's good music, I don't care who plays it." -Nino said.

"All music is great? Who are you, and what have you done with my boyfriend?" -Alya playfully asked him. –"I thought you believed that not all music is good."

"No, I said that not all songs are good." –Nino reminded her.

"Well, not all songs, if you ask me. There are songs that should've never been written, for one reason or another, but that's another issue." -Tommy told him. –"Anyways, you look like someone who loves to have his cap signed. Am I right?" -he asked Nino.

"Actually, no… but, I don't mind starting to be someone who likes to have it." -Nino chuckled, as he removed his cap and hand it to Tommy. –"You can make it to Nino." -he said.

"Nino, huh?" -Tommy said, as he signed the cap. –"So, you're into music. That's good. Any particular genre you like more than others?" -he asked him, curious.

"Not really. I mean, as a DJ, I have a tendency for anything that allows a person to dance, but like I said, all music has its magic." -Nino answered.

"That I agree with you. All music has its magic." -Tommy said, as he handed Nino his cap back.

"Oh, by the way, could you tell us how you managed to appear out of the blue, like that?" -Max asked him, curious.

"I'm with him. How did you manage to do that? Were you hiding, and we couldn't see you?" -Alya asked.

"Maybe, maybe not… maybe we were hiding, or maybe we just happen to have superpowers that you don't know about, that allow us to do that, right under your noses." -Tommy joked with a mischievous smile on his face.

Chapter Text

While the Miraculous gang were busy meeting KISS, on the field, last minute preparations were being handled by the crew of roadies in charge with assembling the stage and everything needed for the concert. The roadies were the backbone of any band or musical artist. Without them, it would be impossible for any concert to happen. Without them the stage and the sound system would not be assembled. Without them, the light system would not get synchronized, and the instruments would not be tuned. In other words, nothing would be possible. The band or the artist was the one giving the show, but in order to give it, the roadies had to make sure that everything was as it should. And even after everything was set and ready to roll, the roadies would still be there, to assist the band or the artist, when they went up on the stage. Most of them were themselves fans of the music played by the artist or the band they worked for, which made them enjoying their job a little easier. Some people in the music world, liked to say that roadies were like ninjas. Their job depended on them being able to move fast, while also remaining out of sight, except when it was absolutely necessary. In the words of Jack Black's character Eddie Riggs in Brutal Legend, "A good roadie knows his whole job is to make someone else look good, keep someone else safe, help someone else do what they were put here to do. A good roadie stays out of the spotlight. If he's doing his job right, you don't even know he's there. Once in a while he might step on stage just to fix a problem, to set something right. But then before you even realize he was there or what he did, he's gone."

Unfortunately, not all roadies began their careers like that. Some began it in the clumsiest way possible. And one of those roadies was Theo Danville. Theo was in his early 20's, and this was the first time he was out of the country. He had been a roadie for some minor bands, back in the United States. When he managed to get a jog as a roadie for KISS, he felt like he had won the lottery. Like so many roadies, he was an aspiring musician, and he believed that with some luck, he might get a shot at showing his musical skills, as well as the songs he composed. All he needed was some luck, and for someone to notice him. And travelling the globe with KISS, would give him that opportunity. The trouble was, being the rookie, he did not have much time to socialize with anyone. He was given most jobs that no one wanted to do. And to make matters worse, he did not start on the right foot with the crew chief. He had just finished unloading a few boxes from a van, when he decided to stop and rest for a minute.

"Let's see… I still need to finish unloading those boxes I was told to. But before that, I better grab the axe from its case and put it on its stand, so they can come and tune it for Gene." -Theo thought to himself. –"I can't mess this up."

The axe he was talking about was not a real axe, but the Axe Bass. It was the nickname given to Gene Simmons iconic bass guitar, which had been designed to resemble an axe. Anyone who was a fan of the band knew that bass guitar, and many would even sell a kidney, or even both, along with their liver, for a chance to possess it. Over the years, Gene had commissioned numerous versions of his iconic bass guitar, and the one he had brought with him on that tour was the latest of them. Entering the tent where the band's instruments had been placed, Theo's eyes quickly located what he was looking for. A black guitar case with the words "The Demon's Axe" in blood-red. Opening the case, he saw the guitar and just how beautiful it was. The blade was red, like it had been bathed in blood, while the handle was black and platinum, with the headstock looking like the closed fist of a skeletal demon. To say it was a work of art was almost redundant. Anyone with eyes could see that. Still, one could not help but to say it.

"Hey there, beautiful." -Theo said, as he gently grabbed it by the handle. –"What I wouldn't' give to be able to play you." -he thought to himself. –"Unfortunately, that's one privilege that I won't have. Still, tonight you can bet someone is going to take good care of you on stage."

Exiting the tent, he quickened the pace, carrying the axe, knowing that if he was not fast, and he happened to bump into the crew chief, he would yell at him, for taking too long to do the chores he had been given. What he did not notice, as he walked, was that the shoelaces of his left sneaker had untied. Without wanting to, he stepped on them, and nearly fell. Luckily, that did not happen, but for a split second he believed that he was going to fall on the ground and damage Gene's axe.

"T-That was a close one…" -Theo sighed out of relief. –"Thank God no one saw this." -he thought to himself.

"Hey! Do you realize what you're carrying there?!" -a voice was heard, yelling at him.

Unfortunately, Theo's luck had ran out, when he saw the person in front of him. It was the crew chief, Roger Lincoln, and he looked pretty upset. From looking at his face, it did not take much for Theo to understand that he had seen the whole thing, and more importantly, that he was going to get yelled at.

"I-I'm sorry, sir." -Theo apologized.

"I don't want to hear any excuses, especially from you, rookie." -Roger told him. –"Do yourself a favour, and tie up those shoes! And remember that that axe, costs more than the house you live in. If there's a single scratch on it, I'll know who to blame for it. So, watch out, and tie those shoe laces, before you break anything that it will take you the rest of your life to pay!" -he practically roared at Theo.

He knew that it was his fault, he almost tripped. But Theo also knew that there was no logical reason for Roger to be yelling at him like that. Shoelaces untie themselves all the time, especially when one doesn't tie them up as hard as it should. More and more, he believed that the crew chief had decided to make him his personal psychological punching bag. Still, as he tied his shoelaces, Theo tried not to think too hard on the words he had just heard. He wanted to believe that words could not hurt him, if he just ignored them. But it was not easy, especially when you have self-confidence issues and such words can hurt you more than any bullet or sword ever could.

"Put the bass where you're supposed to, and be careful with it. One more thing… you do something you're not supposed to, or screw up anything, and you're fired! Remember that. This is your final warning!" -Roger warned the young roadie. –"And one last thing, if I catch you writing lyrics, when you're supposed to be working, I'll personally escort you out!" -he said, as he left to take of other issues.

"What a douche!" -Theo thought to himself. –"The way he talks about it, it's like I'm always doing that. It was that one time, and I was only killing time, until that truck carrying the spotlights arrived." -he mused about it. –"I don't know what I did to him, but he really doesn't like me. He doesn't talk to anyone else like that, not even the other rookies… anyways, I better just try and forget about it and get this axe where it's supposed to go, before I get into more trouble today."

Both meet and greet events went without a hitch for Miraculous gang, even if in different circumstances. While meeting KISS, everyone was a little nervous at first. But when it came time to meet Jagged Stone, any shred of nervousness they might had in their bodies had disappeared, in part, because they had met him half an hour before. The whole event felt to them like a meeting of all friends. And during it, they all took a few more selfies with the musician, while also asking questions; something they were unable to before. Jagged gladly answered most of them, and asked them some questions as well. Unfortunately, the twenty minutes went by in a flash, and they were warned by one of Jagged's bodyguards, who was standing outside, that a new group of fans was about to arrive, and that they had to leave.

"Thanks for having us here." -Kim thanked Jagged. –"And thanks for all the selfies and the autographs."

"Hey, it's all part of the package. The tickets I got you, entitle you to all of them. Just promise me you won't sell any of the things I signed for you on the net." -Jagged asked them in a joyous tone.

"You have my word. These will never leave my possession." -Kim promised.

"Same for me." -Juleka smiled shyly, as she placed the signed shirt inside her backpack. –"Luka's going to scream like a little girl, when he sees this." -she mused to herself.

"Oh, before you all go. There's one last thing I need to say." -Jagged said, as he looked at Marinette. –"Marinette, I just wanted you to know, that tonight, when I go up on the stage to play with Paul and the others, I'm going to make sure that everyone knows that you were the one who created that face-paint." -he told her.

"T-Thank you, but there's really no need to do it, while on the stage." -Marinette told him. He had already promised her he was going to post photos of him wearing the face-paint on his website, with a link towards her page, and Marinette had already asked permission to post the sketch, after the concert. To hear him say that, made her heart skip a beat. She could not believe he was willing to do that. –"Not even in my wildest dreams, I ever thought Jagged Stone would do such a thing for me. Having been commissioned by him was already a pretty big deal. But having him, doing everything he could, so everyone knew I was the artist who created the face-paint he was going to wear that night, that's absolutely incredible! If this is still part of a dream, please don't wake me up." -she thought to herself.

"Nonsense. I insist on doing it. Besides, it will only take a minute." -Jagged insisted. –"Just remember to be on the first rows, as close as possible to the stage, so the guys controlling the spotlight can find you in the crowd. Which reminds me, I need a photo of yours, so they know who they're looking for." -he said, as he picked his cell phone. –"Alright, say cheese and smile."

"Cheese." -Marinette said, as she smiled for the camera. –"Thank you. But you really didn't have to do this." -she said.

"Of course, I have to." -Jagged told her. –"I told you before. I don't waste time with people, who don't have any talent, even if they believe they are the most talented people in the world. But those who I see that have the talent to perceive their dreams, I will do anything in my power to lend them a hand doing it." -he declared. –"it's the least I could do. After all, I was in your shoes once, and someone helped me out."

Hearing him say that, Marinette forced herself to hold her tears. She did not want to start crying and ruining her make-up. But it was not easy. The words spoken by one of her biggest idols had touched her heart, making her believe that anything was possible. And although she was able to withhold her tears, she could not withhold her feelings. Moving as fast as lightning, she placed her arms around Jagged Stone and hugged him as hard as she could, with him returning the gesture.

"Thank you… Thank you, Uncle Jagged." -Marinette said, as she tried her best to not start crying a river. –"Oh, my gosh, I actually called him Uncle Jagged! Marinette, what were you thinking?!" -she thought to herself.

"I see you finally accepted my offer for calling me that." -Jagged said, as he broke the embrace. –"I'm glad you did it." -he smiled at her, which made her feel even more embarrassed by the matter. –"And remember, you've got a talent that is unique. And I'll be glad to see you making use of it, in the future."

"I'll keep reminding her of that, in case she forgets it, don't worry." -Adrien told Jagged.

"We all will. Because this girl doesn't believe her talent is good enough to be recognized." -Alya smiled at her best-friend.

"Good, that's good. I know this is going to sound lame and quirky, especially coming from me, but that's what friends are for. And I can tell that you all share a unique bond. I don't know why or exactly what kind of bond, but I can tell it you share it, and it's a strong bond." -Jagged Stone said. –"Make sure to keep it that way." -he told them all.

After leaving the room, they made their way outside, escorted by one of Jagged's bodyguards. With still an hour and forty-five minutes, until Jagged's concert began, everyone in the group decided to check out the numerous stands, booths and amusements that had been assembled around the stadium's grounds. Splitting themselves up, they agreed to meet up 30 minutes before the concert began, so they would be among the first to enter.

Looking around, Adrien saw a booth that caught his eye, almost immediately. It was one where there was a Water Gun game. Feeling lucky, he told Marinette that he was going to win her a present for her. The objective was to hit one of the figures, which resembled the four members of KISS in the mouth, and see who could fill up the balloon on top of it faster. Determined to keep his promise to his girlfriend, Adrien went against three other contestants, who were also determined to win a prize. Initially, Adrien was unable to hit the designated target. But fortune favours the bold, and in the end, he came out victorious, much to his joy and Marinette, who applauded him.

"And we have a winner! You get to decide which prize you want, young man! So, what will it be?" -the man in charge of the booth told Adrien.

"That one over there!" -Adrien said, while pointing to a white cat-plushie that was dressed just like the Catman, complete with his face-paint.

"You got it!" -the man said, as he picked the cat plushie, and handed it to Adrien. –"Here you go. And thanks for playing." -he said.

"This one's for you, milady. One kitty cat, from your kitty cat." -Adrien smiled at Marinette, as she offered her the plushie.

"Oh, thank you, Adrien." -Marinette said, as she looked at the plushie. –"It's so cute… but it's not cuter than you." -she told him, with a smile on her face.

"Glad to know that I'm cuter and handsomer than this little guy." -Adrien smiled back at her. –"Can I just say that you look absolutely dazzling today?" -he asked her. –"I think that speech from Jagged Stone managed to boost your confidence in yourself, and make you look prettier than ever."

"A-Adrien… you're going to make me blush with that speech." -Marinette chuckled. –"But the truth is, it felt good to hear him say those words. I mean, I get praised by my parents, by everyone in our group, especially you, and by Tikki, a lot. But hearing one of my idols say those words… I feel like I'm over the Moon." -she smiled at her boyfriend.

"Well, you have every right to feel like it. We all keep telling you, that your talent is amazing and that you should always remember that." -Adrien told her.

"Your boyfriend is right. You're one talented girl." -Plagg said, his voice coming from the pocket he was hiding in.

"For once, Plagg's right. You not only have a talent, you also have a gift, Marinette." -Tikki told her, as her head peeked from inside Marinette's backpack.

"And there you go again…" -Marinette giggled. –"Fine, I'll try to remember that." -she said. –"Now, can I be the one to try and win you something cute?"

"You don't have to do that, milady." -Adrien smirked at her. –"Having you with me, is already the best gift you can give me." -he smiled, being honest about it. Having the girl of his dream with him, right then, was more than he could ask for.

There were a ton of things that made Marinette love the fact of having Adrien for a boyfriend, and if someone asked her which of those things was her favourite about him, she would not know which to say was her favourite. From his cute smile, to his sense of humour, to his dashing good looks, not to mention his kind soul, there was so much about him that she loved, it was hard to pick what she liked the most about him. But from all the things she loved about him, there was one, she absolutely loved, and would never get tired of: his sweet talk. He had a way with words, always knowing what to say, and when to say it.

"Whether you're wearing a certain mask, or being yourself, you're such a sweet talker." -Marinette giggled. –"But I'm being serious here. What would you like me to win, so I can offer it to you?" -she asked Adrien.

"Well, since you're asking so nicely… I guess I could go for that one of those beach balls over there." -Adrien told her, while pointing to a booth where there a high striker machine. In it you could read "Ring the Bell and Get a Prize!".

"I'm being serious, Adrien." -Marinette told him. –"I want to offer you something you will like." -she said, with an adamant voice.

"And so am I. I don't have a beach ball, and I want one, so in the summer I can take it with me, and we can play with it, on the beach, or in a swimming pool." -Adrien declared. –"If you can win me a beach ball, I'll be over the Moon." -he said.

Sometimes it was hard for people to understand if the person they were talking to, was joking with them or not. But in Adrien's case, you could see that through the look in his eyes. And his eyes were telling Marinette that he was being honest about what he was telling her.

"Alright, a beach ball it is." -Marinette agreed, with a smile on her face. –"It's a good thing I've got a mean swing." -she declared.

"I know. My jaw still remembers that time you hit me, when in practice. Your right hook is a killer." -Adrien joked.

"Master Fu did warn you to keep your eyes open, remember?" -Marinette joked as well. –"Now, let's get you a beach ball, my silly kitty." -she said, as she playfully petted him on the head.

"Come on, I want a selfie with you." -Rose begged Juleka. The blonde had been trying to convince her girlfriend to take one selfie with her for the past five minutes, only for Juleka to tell her no.

"Rose, I think we already took enough photos for today." -Juleka told her. Right then, she was not feeling like posing for a selfie. After all the selfies they had taken with both KISS and Jagged Stone, she needed a little break.

"But not one, with just the two of us." -Rose told her. –"Please, Jules, just one, so I can have a photo of us two as my cell phone's screensaver." -she said, trying to convince her.

"But your screensaver is already a photo of us, Rose. Plus, we look prettier on that photo, than we will on the one you want to take right now." -Juleka told her, trying to convince her to give up on the idea, when Rose decided to use one of her tricks to convince her to pose for a selfie with her; her sad puppy eyes look. –"Oh, no! No, no, no, don't you dare use that trick on me, Rose!" -she playfully protested.

"What trick? What are you talking about?" -Rose asked her, pretending she did not know what she was talking about, as she continued to give her that look. Anyone who looked at her, would think she was about to cry a river.

"Your sad puppy eyes look! You know I can't resist it!" -Juleka told her, as she covered her eyes.

"Then, take a selfie with me, and I'll stop doing it." -Rose said, while gently removing Juleka's hands form over her eyes, so she could see her.

Juleka tried to ignore it, but the more she tried, the harder it was for her to do it. Rose just had a knack to use her baby-blue eyes to pull a stunt like that, and make anyone do what she wanted them to. And the blonde knew it. She knew her girlfriend could not resist her eyes, and it was only a matter of seconds before she gave in.

"No, I'm not going to fall for it! I can do this… but she looks even cuter than usual, thanks to that face-paint she's wearing." -Juleka thought to herself. –"No! Come on, Juleka, you can do this! If you can resist Luka trying to make you laugh with one of his incredibly funny jokes, you can do this!" -she thought, as she tried to resist. But one last look at Rose's eyes, and her fate was sealed. –"Okay, okay, okay! I'll take the selfie with you!"

Hearing the Goth girl say that, Rose stopped making sad-puppy eyes, as she hugged her, as hard as she could. She loved when she managed to make Juleka change her mind about something, just by using her natural cuteness. It did not take much for the two girls to begin giggle like crazy.

"I win, again!" -Rose giggled.

"Yeah, you do." -Juleka said, rolling her eyes, before giggling as well. –"That was a really low trick, Rose. What kind of a heroine are you that has to resort to those low tricks?" -she asked her, between giggles.

"Maybe it's low, but it works, and deep down, you love it, when I do that trick." -Rose told her girlfriend.

"The sad puppy eyes routine never fails." -Flint said, his voice coming from inside Rose's backpack. –"That's one great trick, Rose." -he said.

"Thanks, Flint." -Rose thanked her kwami. –"But keep it down a little. Someone might hear you." -she told him.

"I can't believe I fell for that trick again." -Juleka told Rose, always with a smile on her face.

"You know you can't fight my natural cuteness, just like I can't fight your adorable gloominess." -Rose told her. –"Now, come on, let's pose for a selfie, so I can then go and see if I can win you a prize in one of these booths." -she said.

"Alright, but only because you asked so nicely." -Juleka said.

"Go on, pose for it, Juleka. You look so pretty in photos." -Tamara said, trying to encourage her.

"Even you, Tamara?" -Juleka giggled. –"Even my own kwami plots against me today." -she joked, as she placed herself next to Rose, who was readying herself to snap the selfie with her cell phone.

"But it's true. You always look pretty in photos." -Rose said. –"Hold on… this time, I want to have a photo of us, where we get to see both your eyes, and not just your right eye." -she smiled, as she gently pushed Juleka's hair to the side, revealing her left eye. –"There, you look perfect… and now, say kwami!"

"Kwami!" -Juleka exclaimed, as Rose took the photo. –"And now, you owe me a prize." -she smirked at her evilly. –"And I'm warning you, it's got to be something pretty, because you know I like pretty things."

"Deal. What do you want? A stuffed animal? Another t-shirt or a tank top? Oh, I know! How about one of those temporary tattoos, over there?" -Rose pointed to a booth, where they were making temporary tattoo. –"I know you want to make a permanent one in a couple of years, so how about we try to see how you look like with a temporary one?" -she suggested.

"Alright. But in that case, I want you to get one." -Juleka said. –"I'm sure they can make you a unicorn." -the Goth girl told her, which made Rose chuckle.

"You know me too well." -Rose said, as the two walked towards the booth.

"Well, you also know me too well, so we're even." -Juleka smiled at her.

Records. If there was one thing that Nino just did not have enough was records. As an amateur DJ, he felt compelled to buy every record he could find, for his collection. So, when he saw a huge booth that was selling records, he had to check it out. Dragging his girlfriend along, once inside, he wasted no time in checking everything that was for sale. He felt like a little kid in a candy store, and that was what Alya could see in his eyes. She had always loved music, but it was not until she began to date Nino, that she began to fully appreciate, just how incredible music was. By dating Nino, he had presented her a whole different view on the matter, and soon, she too began to feel interested in music, and not just because she was dating him. She had discovered the magic behind it. So, whenever he dragged her into what she had baptized as a "record scavenger hunt", Alya did not feel like she was being forced to do anything she did not like. That was the beauty of dating someone she loved with all her heart, who had taught her to love something, that she did not even know she would love.

"It's a good thing your dad gave you, your allowance a little earlier. If that was not the case, I bet you wouldn't be able to buy that record." -Alya told Nino, who was already holding two records he had found at an incredible price. –"Are you sure you don't want me to buy it for you? You already gave me this Jagged Stone tank top." -she declared.

"Nah, there's no need for that, foxy fox." -Nino smiled at her. –"A true gentleman is the one who should pay for his lady's presents, not the other way around." -he told her.

"You're sounding more and more like Adrien, when he's with Marinette." -Alya joked about it. –"I think you've been hanging with him, a little too much." -she told him.

"Hey, you can't argue that he's a good influence on me." -Nino said, when he saw something that caught his eye. –"Hey! Look at this! Honey White from Morphine! I've been looking for this single for a long time." -he smiled at her, as he grabbed the record. –"This just made my day."

"You really look and sound like you're a kid in a candy store, turtle boy." -Alya teased him. –"I'm glad you found that single." -she said.

"Well, I wouldn't have found it, if you hadn't pulled me from the oldies section." -Nino admitted. –"Once again, you guided me to where I was supposed to be." -he told her.

"It's my job, as your girlfriend." -Alya joked. –"Besides, we both know that you would be lost without me." -she said, when her phone rang. –"Who could it be?"

"It's your mom, Alya. Better answer." -Trixx said form inside Alya's backpack, as the brunette looked for it. –"Here, take it!" -the fox kwami said, as she grabbed the phone and placed it on

"Thanks." -Alya thanked Trixx, as she answered the phone call. –"Hey, mom! Is something wrong?" -she asked her. She had talked to her, when they arrived at the stadium, so she was not expecting her to call her again. –"No, I don't know where the twins "Pinkie Pie" shirts are, mom. Nora was the one who was in charge of the laundry this week."

"Tell her, I say "hi", okay?" -Nino told Alya, who smiled back at him.

After checking a few booths, Sabrina asked Chloe if they could visit the food court, because she was craving a hot dog, with the blonde agreeing to it. Once in the food court, they saw that the lines for different food booths were enormous. Still, that did not stop them. Looking around, they tried to find a hot dog booth that was not swarming with customers, but it looked, that just like every other food booth, the hot dog booths they passed by, had their hands full. Finally, after almost five minutes of looking around, they found one, whose waiting line had only two people. Placing themselves in them, they both waited, and when it was finally their turn, Sabrina ordered, not one, but six hot dogs with everything. Their smell was making Sabrina feel even hungrier than before, while also making Chloe feel nauseated. From all kinds of fast food there was, hot dogs were among the few things that she did not like. She did not know why, but she had never been a fan of hot dogs, and she was not going to become one, on that day. For that reason, Sabrina did not even ask her best-friend if she wanted a bite.

Finding a vacant table, they sat down, placing their backpacks on top of the table, and Chloe watched as Sabrina devoured the hot dogs, having placed two of them inside her backpack, so Mika, who was also super hungry, could eat them. The way she ate those hot dogs, people would think she had not eaten in days.

"Slow down, Sabrina. You're looking like Kim, when he eats spring rolls or tacos." -Chloe warned her.

"Sorry, but I'm as hungry as a wolf." –Sabrina admitted, as she finished what was her fourth hot dog.

"You don't say?" -Chloe said in a sarcastic tone, while raising an eyebrow at her best-friend.

"Hey, can I have another one?" -Mika asked, his voice coming from inside Sabrina's backpack.

"Another one? But I just gave you two." -Sabrina said, as she opened her backpack and stuck her head inside it, to see that the hot dogs she had given to Mika, were gone. The only thing left were a few bread crumbs. –"You're really trying to see which one of us can eat more hot dogs, aren't you?" -she asked her kwami, almost in a whisper.

"Guilty as charged, kiddo." -Mika said.

"Well, you may be magical, but I know that your limit is three hot dogs. After the third one, you can't eat another bite." -Sabrina joked at him.

"We'll see that. You may have a bigger stomach, but that means nothing, when it comes to kwami magic." -Mika told her.

"Oh, you're on." -Sabrina chuckled. –"I'll go grab a few more, and we'll see which one of us gets sick first. And I'm warning you, I'm really hungry." -she told him.

"But if you're so hungry, why didn't you eat the sandwiches your mom made for you?" -Chloe asked her.

"They're too good for me to eat right now. I'm saving them for later." -Sabrina told her. –"Why? Do you want one? My mom made a few extra ones, in case you also got hungry." -she said.

"No, thank you. I'm good." -Chloe said, when her stomach grumbled. –"I guess my stomach is disagreeing with me." -she admitted. –"I guess I'll have one."

Opening her backpack, Sabrina took one of her mom's sandwiches and hand it to Chloe, who removed the foil paper that was wrapped around it. Opening it slightly, she saw it was a cheese and ham sandwich with a few cucumber slices, on which Sabrina's mom had used some kind of sauce on it, instead of butter. The blonde was not used to eating sandwiches that looked that simple, except when she was at school, or with her friends. Taking a bite out of it, she took her time to savour it, as her taste buds tried to identify what was that sauce. Whatever it was, she liked it.

"Mmm… this is really good. Either that or I'm hungrier than I thought I was." -Chloe said, as she took another bite.

"It's my mom's secret sauce. She blends ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, honey and a little garlic, to make it." -Sabrina explained. –"It beats having just one kind of sauce to go with anything you put on a sandwich." -she giggled.

The idea of having all of those things blended, felt a bit disgusting to Chloe, but she could not argue about how the final result tasted like. Next time she felt like having a sandwich, she would tell the chef that was in charge of the hotel's kitchen during that shift, to make that sauce and use it on the sandwich.

"Well, it's a good sauce, I'll give you that. It's not really gourmet, but I'm not complaining about it. I could easily eat it every day." -Chloe declared.

"Hey, can I have a bite?" -Pollen's voice was heard from inside Chloe's backpack. –"If it's got honey, I want to try it."

"Of course." -Chloe said, as she knelt to open her backpack, allowing the bee kwami to take a little bite from the

"Delicious, though a little extra honey in it wouldn't hurt. My compliments to the chef." -the bee kwami said.

"Looks like your mom has not one, but two new fans of her home-cooking." -Chloe told Sabrina, as she bit the sandwich.

"I'll tell her that." -Sabrina said. –"Well, I'm going to get a few more hot dogs. Do you want anything? Maybe a soda?" -she asked the blonde, as she got up.

"No, thanks, I'm good." -Chloe answered her. –"How can she still have enough space in her stomach for another round of hot dogs? She must have skipped lunch. That's the only explanation." -she thought to herself.

Leaving the inflatable castle, Mylene was feeling a little dizzy, after all the jumps, tumbles and flips, which she felt it was a little strange. After all the hero training, she had gone through, and all the Akumas she had faced, she wondered why that still happened to her, when she was her normal self. Seeing her a little dizzy, Ivan told her to lean against him, as they walked away from the inflatable castle, which was packing with people.

"Feeling a little dizzy, huh?" -Ivan asked her.

"A little, yes." -Mylene said, while feeling her head spinning.

"Do you want to sit for a little bit? We can find a place for you to sit down and rest." -Ivan suggested her.

"No, there's no need for that. I just need a moment." -Mylene smiled at him. –"He looks so cute, when he's being this protective." -she thought to herself., when someone bumped into her. –"Hey!"

"Hey! Watch it, man!" -Ivan exclaimed. –"You could at least say you're sorry!" -he yelled at the man, who kept walking away. –"Why, I ought to teach that guy some manners…"

"Don't mind him. You know that there are people who just don't have any kind of manners." -Mylene told him. –"Besides, I'm okay. I'm a lot stronger than most people think, remember?" -she said, already feeling much better, as she playfully flexed her right bicep.

"Have I ever told you that you managed to be sexy, cute and beautiful, all at the same time?" -Ivan asked her, making her giggle.

"Not today, you haven't." -Mylene said, as she placed her right arm around Ivan's waist. –"And I love it when you say it." -she giggled.

"I'm only telling you the truth., my chubby princess." –Ivan admitted, calling Mylene by the nickname he had come up with for her. She did not like when people called her short or fat, but she did not mind when people called her chubby. To Mylene, chubby was a nicer word than fat was, and though she knew she was not model material, she did not like people to remind her. Still, she loved when Ivan called her "his chubby princess", because every syllable was filled with love and care.

"I love it when, you call me that, my little teddy bear." -Mylene said, calling Ivan by the nickname she had given him.

"Little? Do you realize that he's as big as a house?" -a voice was heard. It was Muria, Ivan's kwami, who was hiding in his jeans' pocket.

"Muria!" -Ivan told him, in a hushed voice. –"Don't talk so loud. You keep talking like that, and someone will hear you." -he said.

"Oh, yeah, right, big guy…" -Muria told him in a sarcastic tone. –"With all these people around, you practically need to shout, in order to be listened." -he said, with his voice, once again filled with sarcasm.

"Why is it that I had to end up with the most sarcastic kwami in the world? Not even Flint or Plagg are this sarcastic." -Ivan thought to himself. –"Even so, don't talk so loud. Someone might hear you." -he warned the bear kwami to keep it down.

What they did not know was that the person that had bumped into Mylene was none other than Reptile, disguised as one of the many attendees of that concert. To enter it, he was forced to alternate between disguises. When he found out about that concert, he was sure that he was going to find the perfect target for an akumatization, if not more than one. But as he moved through the crowd, he did not see or sense anyone whose emotions were particularly negative. There were one or two people who we saw and felt were not enjoying themselves or were a little infuriated by something that had happened to them, but they were not the kind of target he was looking for. Time was passing by, and the only thing in his mind was his master's words.

"You better not, Reptile. Because if you fail me again… if you dare to waste one more of my beautiful and priceless Akuma Butterflies in an Akuma, who's not strong enough to kill those infernal brats and destroy their miraculouses, the punishment that will be waiting for you, will make what I just did to you, look like something pleasant…For your sake, and I'm talking to the three of you now, you better not waste my Akuma Butterflies on prospects of useless and weak Akumas, or you will all suffer my wrath." -Hawkmoth's words echoed inside Reptile's head. –"I can't fail the master again. If I do, he will not be pleased… and I know that this time, whatever punishment he might have for me, it will be dozens of times worse than the last one." -he thought to himself, as remembered the pain he was subjected to by Hawk Moth. –"The person I choose to be akumatized, must be one that imbues one of the dark feelings that my master stands for. It must be someone whose heart is filled with either darkness, fear, hesitation or rage, and that it can be magnified by master's power, to achieve its unique goal. I can't waste one of the master's Akuma Butterflies on someone who's not worthy… but where will I find it? I'm beginning to think that I might have searched somewhere else."

He was determined to find a victim to be akumatized that day. He was determined to prove to his master that he was not an incompetent, and that though he had failed him before, he was not going to let those failures prevent him from fulfilling his duty to Hawk Moth. And so, he continued to look around, knowing that time was passing.

Thirty minutes before the concert began, they all met at the designated place, so they could enter. Once more their VIP passes, allowed them to enter ahead of everyone else, along with a small group of people, who also had those very same passes. Entering, they made their way inside the stadium. And once on the field, they all could not help but to feel really small, when compared to their surroundings. Not counting Alix, that was the first time they all stepped the lawn of a major football stadium. Some of them had gone and watched a football match in the benches, but they had never stepped on the lawn. And in Alix's case, she had done it a few years prior, when she tried her luck as a football player in the PSG's football academy for youngsters. Needless to say, she found that a career in woman's football was not what she wanted after all, because they did not allow her to perform any somersaults, while playing football.

"Who would've thought that you wouldn't be allowed to perform somersaults while having the ball? I mean, it's not like I was holding the ball with my hands." -Alix thought to herself, as she remembered about that time. –"Oh, well, too bad. The world lost a football player, but gained a future pro-skater, who happens to be the fastest superheroine in Paris." -she mused about.

Making their way to the Golden Circle, they all tried their best to get to the front of the stage. It was not easy to do it, but they all managed to end up leaning against the crow control barrier. From there, they could see everything. That also meant that that was as close as they could get to the action. Checking the time, they were calmly counting the minutes for Jagged's concert to begin. Even though he was American, he was known for having a British punctuality. Little by little, the Golden Circle filled up, as did the rest of the field and part of the benches. The voices from the spectators were echoing all over the stadium, as they called out Jagged Stone's name, as well as the names of the four members of KISS. To keep the spectators busy and cheerful, while waiting for the show to start, several roadies began distributing Jagged Stone's merchandise, such as keychains, t-shirts, caps, among other souvenirs, by throwing them into the crowd with the help of t-shirt cannon. Among those who caught something, was Nino, who caught a cap.

"You've got to be one of the luckiest people around. First, you get to meet Jagged Stone in person, not one, but two times, and now you get a free cap, to add to all the merchandise that you were given or bought." -Alya commented, as Nino exchanged caps, putting on the one he was wearing inside his backpack, and putting on the one he had caught.

"Hey, who am I to contradict lady luck?" -Nino smiled at Alya, who smiled back at him.

"The place is really packing." -Nathaniel said. –"I knew there were a lot of people outside, but I didn't think they would be enough to fill this whole stadium." -he commented with Nino.

"Just goes to prove, that just like football, music has the power to bring people together. Otherwise, a place like this would never get this crowded." -Nino declared. –"Plus, we've got a double concert today, which means double the crowd." -he said.

"Well, the crowd can continue to grow for all I care. All I care is that we've got the best seats in the house, so to speak." -Chloe said.

"All thanks to you." -Sabrina smiled at Chloe, who smiled back at her.

"Best seats in the house, indeed. It really can't get any better than this." -Alix told Chloe. –"The only way this could get better, was if we were called to the stage either by Jagged Stone or by KISS." -she admitted.

"That would make this day go from incredible to absolutely perfect." -Mylene said. –"But even if that doesn't happen, enough things have happened for us to classify this day as phenomenal." -she smiled.

"Phenomenal indeed." -Rose said. –"And it's all because, I'm here with you all. My best friends and the girl I love more than anything in the world." –she admitted.

"That's a bold one. She's always afraid to say the part that we're dating out in public, afraid that someone might not accept it. I'm happy that Rose is becoming like that… and maybe I should also be like that." -Juleka thought to herself. –"And I will, eventually. Once we tell our parents, and hopefully they accept our relationship, I will start doing that. That's a promise I make to myself." -she promised herself.

"Best concert ever?" -Adrien asked Marinette.

"So far, yeah, because I'm with you and all of my best friends." -Marinette smiled at Adrien. –"But I'll let you know if it was really the best concert ever, once it's over." -she said, before kissing him.

"20 seconds and counting. He should be coming up on stage in a matter of seconds." -Max said.

"If he's as punctual as he usually is in his concerts, then we should be hearing something." -Kim told his best-friend, as he too looked at the time in his watch.

"Well, he better be punctual. The crowd is starting to get a little restless." -Ivan said, as he heard the crowd calling Jagged's name, over and over.

Suddenly, there was a loud bang, followed by a small lightshow, as the stage filled with mist. At the same time, a soft melody began to be heard. This one began as a soft whisper, only to grow as the seconds went by. The melody did not look like it belonged to a rock song, but that was because it was not supposed to look like one, at least in the first twenty seconds. Fans of Jagged Stone immediately recognized it, and among those who did, was Marinette. Hearing the melody, she knew that Jagged Stone was going to begin his concert with her favourite song of him, Dark Velvet.

"Okay, definitely best concert ever!" -Marinette thought to herself. –"How did he know that that is my favourite song of his? I don't remember telling him that."

Three loud bangs were heard, as a guitar solo ripped through the air, with Jagged Stone showing up on stage, holding one of his legendary guitars, Sobek. As always, the rock star's entrance was flawless. Playing Dark Velvet, Jagged did not need much to put into trance the whole audience, as he heard everyone chanting the lyrics of that song. Looking into the audience, he felt like he always felt, whenever he went up on stage. He felt blessed and ecstatic.

"This has got to be the best feeling in the world… and I just can't get enough of it." -Jagged Stone thought to himself, while continuing to play.

As the song ended, he was greeted with even more applauses, than when he showed up. For him, those applauses were food for the soul, and for his ego, which he himself believed was not as big as some might think.

"Good afternoon, Paris!" -Jagged Stone exclaimed into the microphone. –"Now that was an entrance. One of my best, if you ask me. It's great to be here with you all! I know it's only been a week and a half, since I saw some of you, but it feels like an eternity. It's great to see you all, who are the best fans, someone like me can have! But changing subject, let me ask you something… are you ready to rock?! Are you ready to bring the house down?!" -he asked the crowd, who immediately answered him back, by shouting a loud "yes" into the air. –"I can't hear you! You've got to speak up louder, people! I could only hear the front row! I want to hear the electricity that's in this stadium!"

As it was a habit of his, Jagged Stone was warming up the crowd, for what he felt was going to be one of the best shows he ever played. He loved to hear the crowd cheering, before starting to sing the following song. And the crowd responded to him, the only way they knew. By chanting the title of the following song. After the iconic Dark Velvet, everyone who was a fan of Jagged, knew that every time he began a concert with Dark Velvet, the following song could only be one, and they made sure to shout its name as loud as their lungs allowed them to.

"Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!" -the crowd shouted.

"What did you say?! Could you repeat it for me?!" -Jagged Stone asked the crowd. –"Did you say Lightning Bolt?! Did you?!" -he asked,

"Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!" -the crowd continued to yell.

"Hit us with a lightning bolt!" -Marinette shouted into the air. After Dark Velvet, Lightning Bolt was perhaps her favourite song from Jagged's repertoire.

"Come on, hit us with as much juice as you can, man!" -Kim shouted from the top of his lungs.

"Bring on the storm!" -Alya exclaimed.

"You did, didn't you?! Then, I think it's time to turn up the voltage! And remember, with me around, lightning doesn't strike twice, nor thrice, but as many times as I want it to!" -Jagged Stone yelled, as the stage became blue and white. –"Bring on the storm! A lightning storm!" -he yelled, as the song "Lightning Bolt" began.