Adrien’s mistake was that he had listened to Plagg. Already he knew better because...well...it was Plagg. But Plagg insisted he had an “amazing idea” that would totally be worth the hassle. Which right away should have been his first indicator that things were going to go horribly wrong.
Well, that’s not quite true. The real first indicator was when his father informed him that he would be dating Lila to help promote the company brand. And that was indicator enough that things were already going horribly wrong.
At that point, Adrien reasoned that there was really nothing Plagg could suggest that could possibly make things worse.
“You just have to fake your death.“
“Sounds perfectly reasonable.“
In Adrien’s defense, he was a teenage boy. And teenage boys were prone to doing stupid and overly dramatic things.
Given his status as a model and “perfect”, as well as his overwhelming need to please, Adrien had been foregoing this rite of teendom. So really, SOME incident of crazy teenage antics was a long time coming.
The plan was simple. They would arrange a “prank“ where Adrien would appear to become deceased through some over the top fashion. His overly dramatic death would be attributed to the multitude of reasons outlined in the 14 page long note that Adrien left behind. Not that it NEEDED to be 14 pages but Adrien apparently had more grievances than expected. After that, Adrien would be a hobo for a while.
What could go wrong?
With the note set on his bed where it would surely be found soon enough, Adrien and Plagg headed off to the school with the necessary equipment to give the illusion of his false demise. Rope. Some electronic equipment with a pulley and remote. And of course, the wax statue of Adrien to serve as his body double.
How they managed to actually get to the school with his wax statue and other items without anyone stopping him or even noticing him remains open for debate. But it could, perhaps, be attributed to Adrien’s good luck. Mostly because that’s the point that said luck ran out and everything started to go horribly wrong.
Or right, if you’re Plagg.
In short order, the rope wasn’t fully tied and pulley wasn’t fully in place when Adrien tripped and knocked into everything, causing his carefully collected tools to fall off the edge of the school roof. The remote, the equipment, the wax statue, everything went falling over the ledge and landing in a clatter, utterly breaking apart. Pieces of metal and wax body parts scattered across the ground.
Right in front of a crowd of shocked (and possibly soon to be traumatized) onlookers.
“Well, that’s unfortunate.” Plagg mused.
“Plagg!” Adrien hissed. “Now everyone’s going to know something’s up and I’m not going to get another chance! Then I’ll have to date Lila and Ladybug won’t want to date me and we’ll never get married or run away to our own island and have a hamster named—”
“Come on, it’s a mess of parts and pieces. It’s not like they’d figure out what happened or that you were involved.”
“OH MY GOD, IT’S ADRIEN AGRESTE!”
Adrien sent Plagg a withering look.
The kwami just shrugged.
It was over. It was over before it’d even gotten a chance to begin. Everyone would know how Adrien stupidly tried to fake his death with a wax mannequin of himself. Then it would get back to his father who would be annoyed but otherwise unconcerned and he would be confined to his room unless he was on a “date” with Lila and honestly, he wasn’t sure which was worse at this point.
“Wait…what’s with all the sparking bits?”
“And why did Adrien fall apart when he hit the ground?”
There was nothing left to do but face the music and admit to what he had done. He could only hope they would be lenient. After all, with all the proof right in front of them, the conclusion everyone would come to was obvious.
“OH MY GOD, ADRIEN AGRESTE WAS A ROBOT!”
Of course, “obvious” doesn’t amount to much in Paris, where limited braincells had to be spread out between a populous that includes but is in no way limited to a man akumatized 24 times because of his pigeon obsession, a principal who moonlights as a furry, a guy who believed ice cream was actual magic, a wannabe supervillain who less than cleverly stole his evil plans from old comic books and designed his monsters after off brand 90′s reject toys, and an old man whose bright idea of dealing with said supervillain was to pick out two random teenagers to hand off the exact magical items the supervillain was after.
Really, it was no wonder everyone kept falling for Lila Rossi’s lies without even thinking to check. Clearly there was something in the water.
Adrien and Plagg merely decided to take advantage of the confusion of the growing conspiracy theory to vacate the premises and hope that by tomorrow, the whole thing blows over.
…Naturally, by the next day, the whole thing had not blown over. In fact, not only had it NOT blown over, but if anything, this crazy claim had somehow only grown in the meantime and soon become rooted as fact.
As was clear when Adrien entered the classroom.
“Wow, they got a backup Adrien already?” Rose asked in surprise.
Which seemed to be the catalyst that set off everyone else.
“Robro! Welcome back!” Kim exclaimed, cheerfully.
“We were worried yesterday, Adrien. We didn’t know you had replacement bodies.”
“How many of those things do you have, anyway?” Alix asked, curious.
“How many of what?”
“I should have seen it!” Max insisted, looking over his phone with an almost maniacal light in his eyes. “Clearly Agreste Industries was a front for a high tech robotics factory in the guise of a fashion company! AI! IT’S IN THE NAME! How could I have been so blind?”
“Wait—no. That’s not—”
“Hey Adrien.” Nino said, placing his hand on Adrien’s shoulder consolingly. “I just want you to know that I don’t think anything different about you. No matter what, you’re still real to me.”
“But I am real?”
“Yeah! You didn’t have to hide that you were a robot.” Mylene reassured him.
“Because I’m not?”
“Yeah, you have heart. That makes you real enough.” Ivan said with a resolute nod.
Markov of all people flew up to Adrien. “I’m so glad to know I’m not the only non-human in class anymore.”
No. Markov, no. You’re gonna break his heart…
“Ridiculous! Utterly RIDICULOUS!” Came the shout as Chloe stormed into the room, a harried-looking Sabrina following after.
Adrien blinked. “Chloe?”
His childhood friend gave him a speculative look. “I was sure you were real. But if you are a robot, there’s got to be a whole line, right?”
She flipped her hair. “You peasants can keep the used ‘public’ version. I am going to order a NEW Adrien Robot. No—a dozen!”
He balked. “Chloe?”
Wow. He’d known she could be mean sometimes, but…wow. Wow.
He wasn’t sure he even wanted to know how Lila was going to react if this was any indication…
“I’m sorry! I didn’t know what to bring so I just brought one of everything and I hope it’s okay!”
Adrien blinked at the sudden appearance of a box.
A familiar box with the logo of the Dupain-Cheng Bakery.
A box that seemed to be overflowing to the point where the lid was nearly coming off due to the bulk of what was inside.
From behind the box of delightfulness, Marinette looked up at Adrien in worry and he felt something in him clench.
“I just…I heard what happened and I felt so bad so I thought I would bring something to help and…” She wilted.
Okay, that was IT.
His little “prank” made his friends think he was a robot! They were cool with it, which was great and all, but it wasn’t true! He was human and they needed to know that!
There was no way he could let this continue!
“Wait…do robot boys eat sweets?” Marinette asked, surprised.
“Yes.” Adrien said, brightly. “Yes, we do. We have internalized distributors that break it down and convert it to fuel. It keeps up my energy levels, so the more the better.”
The brightness of Marinette’s smile was only outshone by the delightful smell of the rich buttery pastries she put in his hands.