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A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by DarkReyna16

Part 28 of 37

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“Nino? Are you all right?”

Nino hummed in a noncommittal fashion, opening and closing the nondescript jewelry box he held. Nestled within the dark velvet of the box was a shiny orange pendant, in the shape of a fox’s tail.

The Fox Miraculous.

Nino had had a difficult time choosing between the Fox and the Bee Miraculous, simply because he had never seen either of them in action. Their powers had been explained to him by Master Fu, of course, but that didn’t change the fact that he had never seen them with his own eyes. Still, as he understood it, the Bee Miraculous granted its holder powers that were better used for offense, while the Fox Miraculous, with its power of wielding illusions, was more a defensive type of power.

And since Team Miraculous (Nino inwardly shuddered at the name) already possessed two offensive fighters and one defensive fighter…and since the Bee Miraculous would look ridiculous on a certain someone, no matter how long his hair had gotten…

Nino frowned, staring down at the Miraculous as he questioned his decision for the umpteenth time.

Was this wise? Ladybug had already made it clear that she was still smarting over the ‘Volpina’ incident seven years ago, so having a new Fox Miraculous holder might put her on edge. But at the same time, she had told him that she would accept whatever decision he made in their new team member…

Green suddenly invaded his vision, and Nino blinked, finding Wayzz floating in front of him, regarding him with a grave look.

“You are doubting yourself again.”

Nino grimaced. It was kind of obvious, wasn’t it?

“No so much doubting as I am worrying,” he corrected the kwami, offering his hand. Wayzz sat down in his palm, regarding him with his calm green eyes as Nino sighed again. “‘Nette says she’ll be cool with whoever I choose, but while she says that now, I think she might change her mind later. She’s not good with new superheroes: she didn’t trust Camille when she first showed up, and she even accused me of being a thief when Emerald Shell first appeared!”

“Bear in mind, Nino, that Marinette was unaware that either of you existed before she met you,” Wayzz pointed out with a wave of his tiny hand. “Because she did not know any better, she jumped to conclusions based on previous bad experiences with supposed ‘new’ Miraculous wielders. But she is aware of the situation this time around, and therefore, it stands to reason that she will be less, ah, hostile, shall we say, to any new Miraculous wielder, because she will know that it was you who chose them.”

“Yeah...still, Volpina left a bad taste in her mouth. I don’t think she’ll be thrilled that I chose this Miraculous of the two…” Nino sighed again with a shrug. “But I’m kinda thinkin’ she’s already gonna be pissed at me for who I’ve decided to give it to…”

Wayzz folded his arms and closed his eyes, appearing to be in deep thought.

“So you are decided? You will give your friend the Fox Miraculous?”

Nino nodded with a firm look, though Wayzz couldn’t currently see it.

“Yeah. I already know we can trust him, and I think he’d do a good job. Besides, orange would probably look good on him.”

“But you fear Marinette will not be happy.”

“Well, he is her boyfriend,” Nino said, leaning back in his computer chair. “I don’t think she’ll be jazzed about the idea of throwing him into this mess. Hell, I don’t like it much, either…but when it comes down to who I can trust with this kind of options are a little thin on the ground, you know what I mean?”

Wayzz opened his eyes to peer at Nino in that strange, ‘wise master’-ish way he seemed to pick up from Master Fu; after spending decades upon decades with him, it was natural that he might pick up some of the old master’s mannerisms.

“…What? You think I’m making a mistake?” Nino asked when Wayzz didn’t say anything right away.

“…No,” Wayzz replied after a moment, a little hand stroking his chin. Nino thought of Master Fu and grinned despite himself. “I just thought I might give you some advice, Nino: not everyone wishes to be Miraculous. It is both an amazing gift…and a terrible burden. You have experienced first-hand what sacrifices must be made when you are a Miraculous wielder…just bear them in mind when you ask your friend to join you, and don’t be surprised if he declines your offer.”

Nino blinked. Well…there was a possibility he had never considered before now.

“You think he’ll say no?”

“He might,” Wayzz replied mysteriously, “I just want to make you aware of the possibility, Nino. And, if he does reject your offer, do not take it to heart. Everyone has their reasons for wanting power…and so does everyone who avoids it.”

Wayzz left Nino’s hand then, leaving him in front of his computer, frowning thoughtfully. Admittedly, when he played this scenario over in his head, he had always envisioned Adrien jumping at the chance to join the superheroes of Paris. After all, who wouldn’t? The danger aside, being a superhero was pretty effin’ sweet.

But now Wayzz had proposed a new possibility: the possibility that Adrien might not want to be a superhero. And, though Nino had never considered this before, and couldn’t really see it happening…at the same time, he couldn’t deny that it could happen. Adrien was a good guy, sure, and Nino would definitely trust him with his and Marinette’s lives as well as their secrets…but what if it was too much pressure for the guy who had been put under extreme pressure nearly all his life? Was it selfish, to ask a highly accomplished, practically self-made man to add one more responsibility to his already full plate of duties? Would Adrien be able to handle it? Or would it be the last straw, the one that would finally snap the back of the camel that was his sanity clean in half?

Nino’s hand closed around the jewelry box once more, leaning his chin on his hand.

There’s always the first option you thought of…’ Whispered a voice in the back of his mind. Nino huffed and closed his eyes.

No. He had already decided against it. As much as it made sense, and as much as he would finally like to clue her in on why he randomly disappeared or got injured…no. This would be too much to ask of her.

Adrien was his best friend, and Nino loved him, but at the end of the day, he could assure himself that Adrien was a big boy and could take care of himself.

And while she was just as capable, if not more so, if anything happened to her…

“Adrien,” Nino muttered into the still air of his bedroom. “Definitely Adrien.”

Because his first option was just unthinkable.



The café was warm and cozy; as soon as Nino stepped inside, a rush of heat hit him, fogging up his glasses. As he grumbled and removed them to wipe them clean, a blob approached him that looked like his best friend.

“Morning, Nino! You’re not as late as you said you were gonna be.”

“Yeah, my errand didn’t take as long as I thought. Hey, dude,” Nino greeted in return, replacing his glasses on his face and grinning at Adrien. “Good to see that you’re still alive—I haven’t heard anything from you all week.”

Adrien gave a dramatic groan, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Yeah, sorry. Fashion Week’s gonna consume my life until next Thursday.”

“Sounds rough,” said Nino sympathetically as he joined Adrien at the table he had already claimed for them. Adrien nudged a mug of coffee and a plate of croissants in his direction as Nino inspected his face. “Been sleeping much?”

“Not really,” Adrien replied with a slight lift of his brows. “But that’s what concealer’s for, right?”

Nino’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline.

“I thought you only wore make-up for the photoshoots you don’t do anymore?”

“Well I don’t wear it a lot, but if it makes my face pretty, why not?”

Nino shook his head.

“I think you’ve been in the fashion industry too long, bro.”

“And I think you put too much stock in gender roles,” Adrien returned simply, sipping from his mug of tea. “That could change with the right experiences, though…hey, you want to take a shot at modeling? I know some people—”

“Hell no,” Nino turned him down flatly.

“Aw c’mon! It could be fun!”

“Which is why you quit?”

“I meant it could be fun watching you try not to look as uncomfortable as you clearly would be.”

“Fuck you, too, man.”

Adrien chuckled as Nino grumpily bit into his croissant. He ripped off a piece of his own and popped it into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully for a moment before making a face.

“Hmm…not bad, I guess.”

Nino picked up on his tone, raising an eyebrow…but then he realized the problem and began to smirk.

“Gotten spoiled by the pastries at your girlfriend’s parent’s bakery, huh?”

Adrien flushed red, glancing away from Nino.

“…Maybe,” he admitted in a mumble. Nino cracked up, drawing stares from other patrons, but he couldn’t care less.

“Dude, you’re precious,” he teased, and Adrien stuck his tongue out at him.

“Shut up. Anyway, what was this errand you had to run before you got here?”

“Oh, it was nothing big. Just something I got for Alya.”

The words were a mistake, and Nino realized it immediately when Adrien’s eyes got big and sparkly.

“Ooh, you got her a present?”

Nino gave him a look.


“I wanna see!” Adrien insisted. Nino huffed and tugged his bag from the floor.

“What the hell is it with you and presents, man?”

“What? I think they’re nice!”

“But this one isn’t for you,” Nino pointed out with a roll of his eyes as he sifted through his bag. He tugged out the black, unmarked box, but thought to crack it open first—whoops, wrong box. This one contained the Fox Miraculous, and he wanted to ease into that subject before he just gave it to Adrien. Nino stuffed that box out of sight and grabbed the correct one, grateful that he had thought to look before just plucking a box from his bag at random and presenting it to Adrien. That would’ve been an interesting conversation on a mostly empty stomach…

“So? Gifts don’t have to be for me for me to appreciate the sentiment behind them…” Adrien paused as Nino placed the box on the table, glancing over in time to see his friend frown. “Unless this is an apology gift for something you did?”

Nino rolled his eyes.

“Nah, nothing like that. This is a ‘just because’ present…though I won’t be surprised if she automatically thinks I did something wrong like you did.”

Adrien grinned shiftily as Nino opened the box, revealing the amethyst earrings within.

“Oh wow, they’re stunning,” Adrien approved with a nod. Nino snorted with a grin.

“Well thanks, I’m glad you approve, dude,” he answered, taking the box back and putting it back in his bag. “I was losing sleep over whether you’dlike them or not.”

Adrien made another face at him, leaning his cheek in his hand.

“So Alya likes earrings, hm?”

“She likes them okay,” Nino answered with a shrug. “Her hair’s always down, though, so half the time I don’t know whether she is or isn’t wearing ‘em…but she doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry anyway, save for her engagement ring.” Nino grinned. “This is just something I’m getting to remind her how much I appreciate her.”

That…and he was starting to feel a bit guilty. Here he was, about to ask his best friend to join a superhero team, when he knew good and well that this had been his fiancée’s dream as long as he’d known her. True, the fervor of that dream had died down over time, and Alya had mentioned—to Shell—that it sounded like being a superhero was more work than play. But still, when Nino was knowingly choosing to trust his best friend over his fiancée with a secret and responsibility of this caliber…he couldn’t help but feel like she would be hurt, if she ever found out.

So, in the end…he supposed it was an apology gift, wasn’t it? Damn.

Adrien was quiet for a moment, appearing to mull something over as he ate more of his croissant. After he swallowed, he suddenly spoke.

“Mari’s always wearing earrings. Always the same pair.”

Nino blinked. That…was an odd thing to bring up…

“Oh, yeah?” He asked casually, picking at his croissant as he watched Adrien carefully from the corner of his eye. “I guess I never think about it.”

Because he knew why Marinette always wore the same earrings…but now he had to wonder: did Adrien know why? Or was he beginning to suspect things on his own…?

Adrien blinked, appearing to come to. He gave Nino the smile Marinette said was his “model smile”, the one he used when he wanted to assure someone that everything was all right when it really wasn’t. Now that Nino had come to recognize it, instead of putting him at ease, it just made him more suspicious.

“Oh, I’m just thinking out loud.” He took up his mug, but instead of drinking, he played with the tea bag, dunking it unnecessarily in his drink. As he watched the bag bob around, he continued, “I got her these earrings for Valentine’s Day, but she didn’t seem to be thrilled about them.”

Oh, right: Marinette had mentioned agonizing about that in the brief time Nino had seen her before this Fashion Week madness had begun. He had jokingly suggested she get more piercings in her ears so she could wear both pairs of earrings, but the way she laughed at him suggested that there was no way that was happening. Shaking his head at the thought of his hopeless friends, Nino clapped a hand to Adrien’s shoulder.

“Don’t sweat it, dude. ‘Nette loves the earrings, I can tell you that. It’s just…the earrings she wears all the time are special to her, that’s all.”

Adrien looked up, his green eyes searching as he met Nino’s gaze.

“…Do…you know why they’re special…?” He asked, his voice low and cautious, as if…

As if he suspected Nino knew something he didn’t, but was starting to catch on to.

Nino took a breath. Well…he supposed this was as good a lead-in as any…

“…Yeah, kinda,” he admitted, removing his hand from Adrien’s shoulder to root through his bag again. “Actually, there’s kind of something I wanted to ask you, Adrien—”

There was a sudden chime from Adrien’s pocket, and Nino looked over to watch his friend reach into his pocket and draw out his phone. He was about to ask if whatever it was could wait, but then Adrien’s eyes widened, and he shot up from his chair so fast that he knocked it over.

“Shit! I’m late!

Nino blinked as Adrien hurriedly righted the fallen chair, muttering apologies to nobody in particular, before snatching up his coat and scarf.

“Wha—late for what? I thought you didn’t have to do Fashion Week stuff until this evening?”

“Yeah, but I forgot I have a therapy session today,” Adrien clarified with a cringe.

“I thought you had those on Wednesday mornings?”

Adrien shook his head, perhaps too vigorously; blonde hair whipped his face and he cringed, pushing it back into place. Dude needed a haircut.

“I couldn’t do it Wednesday because Desiree needed me at IFA to choose the winner of her competition,” he explained hurriedly as he zipped up his ‘Ladybug Man’ jacket. (Nino couldn’t help but poke fun at a red-faced Marinette every time he saw that jacket.) “So I rescheduled it to this morning, but completely forgot like a dumbass—sorry, Nino. Can we take a rain check on this conversation?”

“Uh, I guess, yeah,” Nino agreed, and in his apparent relief, Adrien gave him a tight hug that nearly knocked the breath out of him.

“Thanks, Nino. Sorry for bailing halfway through breakfast, but I already paid for everything, so it’s on me! Catch you later!”

And out the door darted Adrien. Nino gave a sigh, picking apart more of his croissant.

Welp, there went his plan to get this going as soon as possible. The moment had been near perfect, and he was just about to ask…but then Adrien’s schedule intervened. Hmm…was this supposed to be a sign of some kind…?

Of course not,’ Nino chided himself, grabbing one more croissant to go as he finished off the rest of his coffee. ‘He just forgot he wasn’t free all morning. If I hadn’t stopped to get Alya’s earrings, we might have a new Miraculous holder already…


No,’ Nino reminded himself forcefully, scowling to himself as he stepped out into the chilly morning air, one half of the croissant wedged in his mouth. ‘I’m not having this argument with myself again. It’s Adrien. That’s final.

Nino shook his head, chewing slowly on the half of croissant in his mouth. Great, now he was having arguments with himself. He really needed to stop stressing about this whole thing.

Ripping off a piece of croissant that had not entered his mouth yet, Nino stuffed the chunk into his coat pocket, where Wayzz was resting. The little dude like sardines most of all, but Nino had learned that he wasn’t picky, and so he liked to give Wayzz a bit of food whenever he stopped to grab himself something to eat, just so he didn’t feel rude. Had to keep Wayzz strong in case of akuma attacks, after all. The Butterfly was quiet for the moment, which was a blessing amidst the rest of the chaos that was occurring in the city, but the stillness never lasted long, so whenever he struck again, Nino would be ready.

And hopefully by then, Team Miraculous would have another ally to fight at their side.



Fuck fuck fuck, he was late, Ivan’s secretary, whose name Adrien still had yet to learn, was going to chew him out like he was a disobedient schoolboy in Catholic school, fuck why had he bothered to reschedule if he was just going to forget about the appointment like a dumbass?!

“I know, I’m late, sorry!” Adrien called as he rushed into the lobby, speeding past the secretary to avoid the tongue lashing. “I’ll be on time next time, I promise!”

“Wait, don’t go in there!”

Too late—Adrien burst into the office like he was running for his life, panting.

Immediately, he saw why the secretary had warned him not to enter: Ivan was not alone in his office at the moment.

“—dangerous, and if you think I’m going to let you keep doing—”

“—not your decision, Ivan, this is important, and I’ll do what I—!” A small, curvy, blonde-haired woman was shouting over him before she looked over and spotted Adrien. Her amber eyes widened and she paused, her shoulders hunching defensively to make herself seem smaller, which was quite a change from the way she stood with her legs apart and shoulders squared as she shouted at Ivan. Ivan was staring down at her—he towered over her by a ridiculous amount—and it looked like he was having the hardest time calming down, judging by the fists clenched tightly at his sides. But once he glanced over and saw Adrien standing awkwardly just past the doorway, he closed his eyes and took the deepest breath Adrien had ever witnessed anyone take, it seemed endless.

Finally, Ivan opened his eyes again, looking down at his fiancée.

“…Myléne, can we finish this discussion later?”

Myléne ducked her head in a jerky nod and snatched up a bag that was at her feet, barely mumbling a greeting to Adrien before she left the office. Adrien was too slow to get over the shock of seeing her here that it occurred to him belatedly that he had just intruded upon something that looked very serious.

“Uh…I can come back—”

“No no, don’t worry about it,” Ivan cut him off, raising a large hand to massage his forehead. “It’s a conversation that’s meant for home in the first place…she just stopped by to bring the lunch I’d forgotten this morning, and…anyway, come in, Adrien. You’re running a little late today, aren’t you?”

“Sorry,” Adrien apologized with a cringe as he nudged the door shut behind him. “I’ve been working around the clock lately to get ready for Fashion Week, so I hadn’t seen Nino at all, and we agreed to have breakfast before I remembered I was supposed to be here instead of there.”

“Oh. Sorry to interrupt your limited friend time,” Ivan apologized with an awkward smile as he sat down behind his desk, Adrien having a seat before him. “Fashion Week starts in a few days, doesn’t it?”

“Five, to be exact,” Adrien sighed. “That’s why I had to reschedule; this is the only morning I have to myself this week.”


It was clear that Ivan was not invested in their conversation. Adrien briefly wondered if it was his place to ask his therapist about the problems he seemed to be having with his fiancée…

“Can I ask you something?” Ivan abruptly asked. Blinking, Adrien let out a startled “sure”, and Ivan huffed.

“Akumatized Victims Anonymous,” he began, making the words sound menacing as he growled them. “They’re…they’re not helping anything, are they?”

“‘Helping’? Ha!”

The front of Adrien’s jacket wriggled, and Plagg popped free, giving Ivan a disdainful look.

“It isn’t enough that we have to deal with both real and fake akumas and terrorists with bats and bombs, is it? Nooo, we also have to deal with goo-throwing, self-righteous brats who think it’s just fine to insert themselves into a fight that is not theirs, no matter what they might think!”

“Plagg, shush,” Adrien hushed him, snatching the kwami out of the air and pressing a thumb to his little mouth. As he struggled against Adrien’s grip, his Chosen did damage control. “What Plagg means is that…well, things aren’t as ideal for us right now…but no, AVA, isn’t exactly hel—ow!”

Plagg chomped on Adrien’s thumb; in his shock and pain, Adrien let go, and the kwami zoomed away from him, hovering in front of Ivan with his little arms crossed.

“If you have the means to dissuade the rebellion that your fiancée is a part of, then please, do it. I’m sick of seeing all the insulting graffiti around the city. It’s not as funny as they might think.”

Adrien blinked. Huh. He hadn’t known the Chat Noir abuse in the graffiti around the city bothered Plagg…

Ivan sighed again, a massive hand pressed to his face.

“I’ve been trying, Plagg, trust me,” he assured the tiny god, producing a wheel of camembert in what looked like a peace offering. Plagg appeared to resist for about three seconds before he dive-bombed Ivan’s desk, immediately gobbling down the nearest piece of camembert he could unwrap. Adrien rolled his eyes, but Ivan smiled, appearing relieved. “It’s been…an ordeal, to put it lightly. Alix—you do know Alix is the ringleader, right? The one calling herself Timebreaker?”

“Of course,” Adrien replied.

“Yeah. Well, apparently, she’s gotten a lot more charismatic over the years.” Ivan ruffled his carefully coiffed hair, huffing when the blonde streaks of his hair fell into his face. “She has everyone around her completely convinced that this is something they all need to do. I don’t know how long they’ve been planning this, but it has to have been a while, since they seemed to come out of nowhere in force. Now I’m wondering if all of Myléne’s acting classes were actually acting classes, and she keeps helping Nathanael make that goo they keep throwing around and…”

Ivan sighed again, and Adrien abruptly felt bad for him. After all, he knew all too well what it was like to be on the opposite side of an issue like this with someone he held dear…though he happened to be on the wrong side of things in that situation…

“I know what you mean,” he said soothingly, giving Ivan a sympathetic look. “Team Miraculous hasn’t been having much luck talking them down, either.”

Ivan abruptly cringed.

“Oh…right. They’re, uh, not big fans of you, are they…?”

Adrien gave a would-be casual shrug.

“They can join the anti-fan club. I hear they have jackets now,” he said, smiling a little bitterly. It was true, he had no one to blame for this animosity but himself, but even so, he still had feelings, for god’s sake…

Ivan frowned, folding his hands on his desk.

“I’m worried, Adrien,” he said, and Adrien saw his thumbs fidget. “Nothing I’ve said to Myléne has left an impression, and for every Anti-Akuma Taskforce member they injure or publicly humiliate, it seems like two more AVA members get put in the hospital. And I’m scared…how long will it be before Myléne is next? How long before someone takes it too far…and somebody ends up dead?”

The words chilled Adrien’s spine, making the hair at the nape of his neck stand on end. He…couldn’t deny that it was a possibility he and the rest of Team Miraculous had considered, more than once. It wasn’t a comfort.

“We’ll try harder,” he promised. But this only made Ivan’s frown deepen.

“I’m worried about you, too,” he admitted, causing Adrien to blink in surprise. “I know your super suits are supposed to be indestructible—”

“‘Supposed’ to be?”

Ivan silenced Plagg by shoving another piece of camembert in his mouth.

“—but you can’t stay in the suits forever. I know you’re superheroes, and all, but…I’m afraid there’s only so much you, and Ladybug, and Emerald Shell can do.”

Adrien, despite himself, did not like hearing these words. He sat up straighter, as if that would help prove his capability in solving a situation that had gotten so complicated that it was hard to see a way out anymore. But just because things had become difficult didn’t mean there wasn’t a way out.

“We’ll figure this out, Ivan. All of this leads back to the Butterfly: once we figure out who they are and stop them, we can deal with the rest. But in the meantime, you have my word that we’ll protect everyone from themselves and each other until the akumas are stopped. I promise.”

Ivan held Adrien’s gaze for a long moment, his frown growing less pronounced with every second that passed. Finally, he sighed one final time…before he smiled.

“I believe you…Chat Noir,” he said, and Adrien smiled in return. “Just…make sure not to overexert yourself, all right? Again, I know you’re a superhero…but you’re still human, too.”

“I know, I know,” Adrien replied, his smile evolving into a grin. “You think you’re the only one constantly warning me to be careful? I wouldn’t dare to die on Ladybug—she’d bring be back to kill me again on principle.”

Ivan blinked.

“Would she? Really?”

“…Well, no,” Adrien admitted, smiling as he gave a slight shrug. “Still, she wouldn’t be happy with me.”

Ivan’s eyes twinkled with the unspoken knowledge shared between the pair of them.

“I bet she wouldn’t.”

Adrien shifted in his seat, beginning to frown.

“Um…Ivan. About Ladybug—”

“Nope,” Ivan halted him, holding up a hand to stop him from speaking, suddenly frowning. “This is a safe space for you to share your thoughts, Adrien, but there are also some things I’m better off not knowing, too. Wouldn’t you agree?”

A corner of Adrien’s mouth turned down. This was weird—it felt like he was purposefully lying to Ivan whenever the subject of Ladybug came up. Was it really okay to leave things this way?

Suddenly, he noticed the way Plagg was looking at him. It was an intense look, and when Adrien stared at him, Plagg made a swiping motion across his cheese-covered mouth with a tiny fist.

Zip it,’ his cat’s eyes ordered Adrien. Adrien’s eyebrows raised…but in the end, he decided to heed the warning from both Ivan and his kwami. They were smarter than him, after all.

“I guess so,” he replied to Ivan at last, a little amused as Ivan visibly relaxed. Checking his watch with a cringe, Adrien added, “We have about twenty minutes left, thanks to me…should I just pick a playlist and be done with it for today?”

“If you choose,” Ivan allowed with a shrug of his large shoulders. “Or you can complain about all the fashion stuff you have to get done before next week, if that’ll help you relax some.”

“Oh thank god,” Adrien huffed, leaning forward. “I’ve been dying to complain to someone. I’ve been holding back since Mari’s just as stressed as I am, but you’re not involved in Fashion Week at all, so I can complain to you!”

“Yes, you can,” Ivan agreed with a chuckle, “whatever you like, Adrien. I’m listening.”

Adrien grinned. As bizarre as his life was lately, it was nice to be able to return to the mundane, even if just for a little while. Sure, ‘high fashion’ wasn’t what many people would consider mundane, but when the comparison was to ‘superhero lifestyle’, Adrien would take what he could get.



The upside to planning a wedding with Alya was that she was super-focused and super-organized when she wanted to be, but without being a Bridezilla: she made sure that every detail about the wedding included Nino’s opinion as well, even if it was about little things he didn’t necessarily have an opinion on, like if the tablecloths should match the curtains of the reception hall, or whether silver or gold rings would look better on the cloth napkins.

The downside to planning a wedding with Alya was that she got so jazzed about being able to plan it together that oftentimes, she got distracted by wanting to have sex. And Nino didn’t have the willpower to actually focus on what they were meant to be doing when she started getting undressed, so not a lot of planning got done in a timely fashion.

Other decisions ended up getting made, though…

“Where should we honeymoon?” Alya asked in between kisses to Nino’s chest as they were basking in the afterglow. Nino hummed, running a hand through her hair.

“I don’t care where as long as we can be naked the whole time,” he answered honestly, and Alya giggled.

“The whole time?” She asked, hovering close enough over him that he could see her even without his glasses, smirking down at him in a devious fashion. “You sure? I was just about to ask if you’d rather my lingerie be in white or black.”

Nino raised an eyebrow.

“Why not both?”

Alya gave him a flat look.

“Because I can’t afford to buy two pieces of honeymoon lingerie?”

“I’ll pay for them.”

Alya stared down at him in blank shock.

“You will?”

“Depends: will your choices make me think it was money well spent?”

A wicked grin split Alya’s face.

“Baby, the pieces I have in mind would make you want to rip them off me, despite them being so damn expensive.”

“Then I’ll pay for them,” Nino agreed immediately, and Alya threw her head back and laughed. God, she was beautiful. He couldn’t wait to marry her.

Nino was about to suggest a round two when his phone began to ring.

“That’s Adrien,” he announced, recognizing the ringtone. Before he could reach his phone, however, Alya snatched it up, straddling him as she answered.

“Hello, Nino’s phone, Alya speaking?”

“Alya—” he protested, sitting up to reach for his phone, but Alya stayed him with a hand to his chest, raking her nails down his skin in that intense way she knew he liked. Nino hissed and cursed under his breath, and Alya grinned at him.

“Can it wait, Agreste? I have your boy a little tied up at the moment.”

“Gimme the phone—”

“Shh,” Alya hushed him, a finger to his lips, thoroughly distracting him when she rocked her hips forward. Nino swore a little louder as his hands flexed over her thighs, but she appeared not to notice as she listened to whatever Adrien was saying. “Hmmm…well, I guess we can reschedule planning our wedding…you know the one that you’re the best man of and all?” It looked like Adrien said something snarky; Alya quirked a brow the way she always did when she was being challenged. “That’s none of your business, Agreste. Besides, you can’t prove whether or not we’re wearing clothes right now—”

“She’s using me as a sex slave, Adrien!” Nino cried comically, only to have Alya shove him back onto the bed. He could still hear Adrien’s laughter, however, and Alya rolled her eyes good-naturedly at the pair of them.

“Fine, fine, I’ll send him over. But you owe me for this, Agreste.” Alya smirked. “I’ll be sending you your meter long tab any day now. Bye-bye.”

Alya hung up and leaned over, pecking Nino’s lips.

“Adrien wants to see you. Apparently you guys got interrupted during your breakfast date this morning?”

“Yeah, he forgot he had a therapy session,” Nino explained, reaching over to the nightstand for his glasses. He accidentally picked up Alya’s instead, and handed those over to her in favor of his own. “You don’t mind if I go? We were in the middle of planning our wedding, technically.”

“It’s fine,” Alya said, tracing his jawline with her nose and making him shiver. “I know you’ve been missing Adrien all week. Besides, now that your CD’s out, things have slowed down a bit at the record company for you. And Eric’s cheap ass finally hired a couple more people to work at Paris Today, so we both have a little more free time now. So I don’t mind sharing you with your boyfriend every now and then.”

Nino grunted as Alya climbed off him, frowning at her back.

“Adrien is not my boyfriend.”

“Yeah, whatever,” said Alya, rolling onto her side to reach the glass of water on Nino’s nightstand. In between sips, she asked, “You wanna take a shower first?”

“Yeah…if I’m supposed to be meeting Adrien…where?”

“At his place.”

“Then I’d better shower first,” said Nino, getting up and stretching his long limbs. “Can’t go to his lovely abode smelling like sex.”

“What, he doesn’t like that?” Alya teased, and Nino turned to give her a look…but found himself staring at her instead, sprawled over his bed, completely naked, smirking up at him as she posed. Damn…that was a hard sight to walk away from…

Nino almost changed his mind and chose to stay with his fiancée…but then he remembered the very important question he had to ask Adrien concerning a piece of jewelry, and he sighed. Putting it off wasn’t going to do him any favors in the long run…

Kneeling on his bed, Nino leaned over to kiss Alya once more before he got up again.

“By the way, I got you something, babe,” he tossed casually over his shoulder as he headed into the bathroom, leaving the door open behind him so Alya could watch him walk away. As he started the shower, he heard Alya call to him:

“Why, what’d you do?”

Nino rolled his eyes as he took off his glasses and placed them on the bathroom counter.

“Nothing…I just thought I’d get you something. It’s in the front—no, wait, it’s in the big pocket of my bag,” he hastily corrected himself with a cringe. He distinctly remembered moving the Fox Miraculous to the front pocket of his bag so he wouldn’t confuse it for Alya’s earrings again, but even so, he almost told her the wrong pocket. Whew, bullet dodged there.

“Okay? Well, thank you, baby. I love you.”

“Love you too, babe,” he called back, stepping into the tub and letting the warm spray of water wash over him. “Remember, it’s the big pocket!”

“I got it,” Alya called back, laughter in her voice. “Hey, I’m gonna head back to my place for tonight, okay? There’s some work I’ve been putting off to plan for the wedding, so I gotta get that done if I wanna graduate on time. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“‘Kay! Drive safe, babe!”

“I promise nothing,” said Alya’s voice right outside the shower curtain, and Nino scowled, pulling it back to reveal her already dressed again and ready to go. He frowned at her mischievous expression.

“Not funny,” he said, only slightly appeased when Alya reached up to kiss him.

“Okay, okay, I’ll be safe,” she promised, nuzzling her nose against Nino’s before she let go, smiling at him. “Bye, baby.”

“See you later, babe.”

He was able to hear the door slam closed all the way in his bathroom, signaling Alya’s exit. He trusted she would lock up after herself, and so he stayed in the shower, grabbing the soap and working up a lather as his mind wandered, reliving the afternoon in vivid, glorious detail.

Easy there,’ he reminded himself when blood began to rush south. He couldn’t afford to take that long of a shower when Adrien was expecting him…and he really did need to have a conversation with the guy already. So Nino sternly focused on showering, and nothing else, slipping only occasionally (what could he do about it? His fiancée was fine as hell). In a few minutes, he was stepping out of the shower, shivering slightly in the cool air of the bathroom, thanks to the door he had left open. As he dried off, he realized belatedly that Alya had never told him what she thought of the earrings. Had she just grabbed the box and left? It was likely.

Nino shrugged. Oh well. She’d tell him what she thought later.

Right now, what mattered was the other fashionista in Nino’s life, and his opinion on a particular piece of jewelry he may or may not accept, for one reason or another. And in a strange way, Nino was nervous about it, almost as nervous as he had been about asking Alya to marry him. He supposed this was a commitment of sorts, as well, but a different kind: the commitment to fighting evil at his and Marinette’s side…oh, and with Chat Noir too, of course.

Oh god, Nino couldn’t believe he was just thinking of this now, but would Adrien even like Chat Noir? Somehow, Nino doubted it—they both had a sort of cheesy sense of humor, sure, but if Adrien witnessed how Ladybug sometimes looked at Chat Noir when she thought no one else was paying attention…?

Nino frowned. He was going to have to have a conversation with her too, right after he spoke to Adrien…but one thing at a time.



The coded knock on the door told Adrien immediately that it was Nino, which was good, because he was kind of too busy to answer the door at the moment.

“It’s open!” He called around the tongue wedged in between his teeth as he mashed the buttons on his controller, softly cursing under his breath whenever his Chat-bot took a hit. He barely nodded at Nino as he strolled in, leaning forward on his couch as he pressed his sudden advantage when his opponent’s bot fell to its knee—

But then his bot’s ass was handed to it when the Lady-bot performed a spinning kick that knocked it into pieces. Adrien sighed, resigned to the triumphant laughter in his ear.

“All right, all right: you win again, Mari.”

“So, what is that, like, thirty cookies you owe me now?”

“It is not thirty. That’s a ridiculous amount of cookies.”

“You’re just saying that because it’s cookies you have to give,” said Marinette’s voice through Adrien’s gaming headset. “If they were cookies you were getting, I wouldn’t be hearing any complaining.”

Adrien made a show of scoffing, but didn’t know where to take it from there. After all, she had a point…so instead, he changed the subject.

“Feeling a little better?”

Marinette sighed.

“Yeah. Surprisingly, kicking your butt at MechaStrike is an amazing stress reliever.”

Adrien rolled his eyes good-naturedly.

“At your service, Mari.” Nino flopped onto the couch next to him and nudged him pointedly. “But Nino’s here, so I gotta go.”

“Oh, all right,” Marinette sighed again. “I guess I can find…other ways to relieve my stress…”

Was Adrien imagining the suggestion in her tone? Either way, it brought a flush to his face that was hard to dispel. Nino raised an eyebrow at him, and Adrien cleared his throat.

“Uh, well, er, have fun with that…?”

“I will,” said Marinette brightly, with just the scantest hint of deviousness in her tone. Minx. “Bye, Adrien.”

“Bye, Mari.” Tugging off his headset and switching his T.V. to the news channel, Adrien turned to give his friend his full, undivided attention. “Hey, Nino. Sorry again for ditching you this morning.”

“Ah, it’s cool. I know you wouldn’t have left unless you had to,” Nino replied with a casual shrug. “Uh…am I allowed to ask how therapy’s going, or is it, like, confidential?”

Adrien laughed at the discomfort in Nino’s expression. While it was sweet of him to worry about boundaries, Adrien couldn’t help but be amused.

“Nah, you’re good.” He paused to marshal his thoughts. Hmm, how to explain… “And therapy is…well, ‘good’s not exactly the right word…it’s…therapy?”

At Nino’s blank look, Adrien grinned apologetically and tried again.

“I mean…it’s like…it’s somewhere I can breathe when I feel like the air everywhere else is toxic.” Adrien frowned. “God, that’s dramatic. It sounds like I think everywhere else sucks, doesn’t it?”

“A little bit,” Nino admitted, though he grinned. “But I think I get it—a place where you can chill and be yourself. It’s like a safe mental space or whatever, right?”

“Yeah, exactly,” Adrien agreed, nodding. “And Ivan’s really cool. He never pushes me to talk when I don’t want to, and everything goes at my pace.” He smiled, a tad awkward. “I didn’t want to stick with it at first…but I’m glad I did.”

Nino smiled, patting Adrien’s back in a comforting way.

“I’m glad you did too, dude. If not, I might not even be sitting here right now.”

“That’s true.” Adrien shifted uncomfortably, glancing askance at his best friend. “Nino—”

“I know, man,” Nino cut him off, understanding in his golden gaze as he patted Adrien’s back once more. “We’re cool.”

Adrien let out a breath of relief. He didn’t deserve the friendship of the man beside him…but he was grateful for it anyway.

“So…we were talking this morning,” Adrien began after they had sat in companionable silence for a time, watching some of the news (AVA was getting far too much coverage in Adrien’s opinion). Nino blinked, his brow furrowing as he scratched the side of his head.

“Yeah…about that…I’ve got something for you, Adrien.”

Adrien blinked as Nino tugged his bag into view, slipping a hand into its front pocket.

“But it’s not my birthday…” He remarked as Nino withdrew an unmarked box identical to the one he had shown Adrien this morning and set it down on the coffee table in front of them. He glanced over at Nino, but he was too busy staring at the box to make eye contact, as if something important was encased inside…something vital…

“Just open it,” Nino insisted when Adrien made no move towards the mysterious box. “I think it’ll be easier if you see it first…and then I’ll answer your questions.”

Adrien stared at his best friend. He looked awfully anxious about whatever was in this box…

“Okay…?” Feeling his pulse speed up in anticipation, Adrien reached forward, his slim fingers closing around the box. As he picked it up, he noticed Nino lean forward a little, as if he was really looking forward to Adrien’s reaction. Now even more curious, Adrien cracked open the box…

…And was promptly confused.

“…Okay, first question: why are you giving me the earrings you said were for Alya?”

Nino’s face went blank.

“…What?” He said, the word coming a little too slowly. Adrien frowned at him in some concern, turning the box around for him to see the amethyst earrings he had shown Adrien just that morning.

“These are for Alya, aren’t—Nino, what’s the matter?”

Nino didn’t reply—he was too busy ripping through his bag, tossing out random items as he searched through it…but he seemed to fail to locate whatever he was looking for, if his loud swearing was a clue. As he rocketed to his feet, it was Adrien’s turn to stare up at him in bewilderment.

“Nino, what—?”

“I said the big pocket,” Nino said, this sentence meaning nothing to Adrien…though, to be fair, he didn’t seem to be saying it to him as he pawed at the big pocket of his bag, his eyes wide and staring. “I said the big pocket because I moved it to the front pocket, I know I did! But it’s not here! And if Alya’s earrings were in the front pocket…shit!

“Nino!” Adrien tried again, but Nino was racing out of the living room, into the foyer.

“I gotta go!” Was the only explanation he tossed over his shoulder before he was out the door quicker than Adrien could blink. He sat there, staring after the trail of dust Nino had left behind. What just happened…?

“Alya’s earrings…” Adrien said to no one, glancing down and finding with some surprise that he was still holding the box. In his rush to leave, Nino had left them behind…as well as a lot of his stuff that was now strewn about on the floor in his furious search for whatever he had been looking for, like a spare t-shirt, his favorite pair of headphones, a key Adrien hoped wasn’t the key to his apartment, or he would have to come back immediately for it…

Jeez. What had been so important that he had to just rush out like that? And since these earrings were Alya’s, what was it that Nino actually meant to give Adrien? Question after question, with none of the answers within sight. How curious…

Though he was still frowning over this mystery, Adrien closed the box again and set it back down on his coffee table, and then got up to gather the rest of the things Nino dropped. Belatedly, he realized that if he had Alya’s present, then she must have whatever it was Nino meant to give to him. Whoops.

Well, at the very least, once Nino calmed down, it would probably make a funny story later.



Nino could not believe he had fucked up like this.

All that trouble to separate the two identical boxes, and he went and mixed them up instead! His first task as Guardian and he fumbled it! What a disaster!

Stay calm!’ The half of his brain that wasn’t shouting expletives at the top of its lungs commanded. ‘There’s a chance she hasn’t looked in the box yet! She might’ve had a lot of work she needed to catch up on! It might not be too late!

Nino huffed, drawing up short at a ‘do not cross’ signal, tapping his foot in an agitated manner as he waited for the sign to change. Alya’s place was about twenty minutes’ walking distance from here…but if he ran, he could make it in ten. So as soon as the sign changed, indicating it was now safe to cross the road, Nino took off, ignoring any and all surprised noises that might have occurred around him. He was a man on a mission, and nothing (save for crosswalk signals) was going to stop him from undoing the horrible mistake he had somehow let himself make…

…Well, it was more of a ‘misunderstanding’ than it was a ‘mistake’…a ‘mistake’ implied that it was something that wasn’t meant to happen, and while he hadn’t intended it, well, there were worse choices in a Miraculous wielder…and it wasn’t like he hadn’t thought about how his fiancée would fare as a part of Team Miraculous—

Stop it!” Nino scolded himself out loud, ignoring the startled looks a couple gave him as he ran past. “It was supposed to be Adrien! Now, if anything happens to Alya—!”

If anything happened to Alya…how would he live with himself?

Something nudged his side from within his coat. Wayzz was in Nino’s pocket; he supposed the kwami was trying to comfort him the only way he could at the moment. And while Nino appreciated that, he really did, the only way he would truly be soothed was when he took the Fox Miraculous back from Alya.

…He could do that, couldn’t he? If she hadn’t opened the box yet, that meant she hadn’t met the kwami for the Fox Miraculous, which meant she wasn’t Chosen yet, right?

But if she already had been Chosen…what would Nino do? What could he do…?

Nino was so distracted within his own mind that he ran right past Alya’s building; he skidded to a halt, whirled around and sprinted back the way he came, up the steps of her building and up to the fourth floor where she lived. When he reached the door, he had to hop on one foot to compensate for the too-fast stop he tried bringing his body to. He narrowly avoided falling over this way, and started rifling through his bag again for the key to Alya’s apartment that he hardly ever used, since she was always over at his apartment, and fuck, he just realized that he left her earrings back at Adrien’s place, and oh, Adrien, he had to be so confused after Nino had just run out on him like that, shit, no time to worry about him right now, where was that goddamn key?

He couldn’t find it. He must have either left it somewhere in his apartment, or tossed it out of his bag while looking for the box containing the Fox Miraculous while he was at Adrien’s. Fuck.

Nino pounded on the door instead, hoping with all his might that Alya wasn’t too busy to let him in.

“It’s open!” Her voice called, and Nino paused at that. Since when did she leave her door unlocked? Odd. Was she waiting for somebody?

No time,’ he sternly reminded himself, pausing only long enough to take a deep breath before he opened the door, poking his head into the whirlwind of stuff that was perpetually Alya’s apartment. Her laptop sat on the couch, unattended, while she was nowhere to be found.

“Babe?” He called, stepping into the chaotic living room and shutting the door behind him. At his summons, Alya appeared from the hall, blinking in surprise.

“Oh, it’s you,” she replied, quirking a brow. “I thought you were Marinette. She’s supposed to be coming over so we can drink instead of dealing with our adult responsibilities.”

Despite the situation, Nino snorted.

“Is that wise?”

Alya gave a shrug, her hands on her hips.

“Who cares about ‘wise’ when work is driving us both crazy?”

“Touché,” Nino chuckled before he remembered his purpose for coming. “Uh, babe, listen…you know that present I gave you earlier…?”

Alya merely stared blankly at him for a moment before she seemed to register what he was talking about.

“Oh, you mean this?”

From out of her shirt collar, she lifted a chain, the tail of the Fox Miraculous pulled free from under her shirt collar to rest against her thumb.

She was already wearing it.


“It’s cute,” Alya said when Nino did nothing but stare at it in mute disbelief. “Normally I’m not a necklace person, but I like the style of it. Thanks, Nino.”

Nino blinked himself back into the moment, taking in Alya’s smile.

Wait…he was confused. Why was she acting like…?

“…You…like it?” He asked blankly, hardly noticing as Alya lifted an eyebrow at him.

“Yeah? What, did you not expect me to or something? And what’s wrong with you? You look like you’re gonna throw up.”

“Alya,” Nino began, stepping closer to her and searching her hazel eyes for some sign that all was not as well as her calm demeanor suggested. “Didn’t…when you opened the box…didn’t…something happen…?”

Now Alya tilted her head to the side, her brows furrowing as she stared up at Nino in confusion.

“What was supposed to happen? Did you mean to stuff it with confetti or something? I’m glad you didn’t—that shit’s like glitter’s sluttier cousin. Just a little of it gets everywhere, and you can never get rid of it. Learned that the hard way when I let Marinette bring one of her dresses over here that one time—Nino? You okay?”


How exactly was he supposed to answer that? He, the newly appointed Guardian of the Miraculous, had fucked up his first Miraculous gifting by accidentally switching it with a pair of earrings, thereby accidentally giving his fiancée the Fox Miraculous when he meant for it to go to his best friend. But now as he stood there, nearly panicking, Alya was acting like…like there was nothing to panic over. She was acting like…the necklace around her neck was…just that. Just a necklace.

And Nino couldn’t help but wonder: was that possible?

“Uh…babe? Can I—?”

Just as he was reaching forward, Alya’s phone rang shrilly from her bedroom. She turned towards the noise and sighed.

“I’d better get that. Our new hire Derek is pretty much hopeless right now; he needs me to hold his hand through every edit he makes. Good guy, but…” Shaking her head slightly, Alya began to walk away, heading for her bedroom. She paused for a moment to look back at Nino, giving him an inquisitive look. “Oh, did you need to talk to me about something, Nino?”

Nino stood there, his gaze dropping to the fine chain he could just see encircling Alya’s neck. So many questions…but…

“…Nah,” he ultimately decided, stuffing his hand in the pocket that didn’t contain Wayzz. “It’s nothing.”

Alya gave him another quizzical look, but then her phone stopped ringing and she sucked her teeth.

“Damn it. I’d better call him back, or he’s gonna have a mental break down.” She glanced back at Nino once more. “See you later?”

“Yeah,” Nino agreed. Smiling, Alya blew him a kiss before she disappeared down the hall leading to her bedroom. And Nino, for his part, could do nothing but turn around and leave, closing the door behind him with a ‘click’. He stood there a moment, staring blankly at the floor.

Alya hadn’t behaved strangely at all. She hadn’t freaked out about a flying, talking fox thing, hadn’t cursed him or hit him for surprising her with such a startling occurrence, hadn’t acted like anything was wrong. In fact, she had just treated the Fox Miraculous like it was any other gift she would receive from Nino. Granted, she hadn’t kissed him for it this time, but she was busy with other things at the moment.

But still: what did this mean?


Nino blinked, a blur of green suddenly in front of him. He was startled to find himself outside again; he wasn’t aware that he had been walking up until this point. He hastily glanced around, covering Wayzz with his hands so no one would see him, but no one seemed to be looking his way.

“What’s up, dude?” Nino asked, only a little self-conscious that it was strange for him to be whispering to his hands; he could just as easily act like he was blowing on them to warm them up. Wayzz peered up at him, looking…troubled.

“Are you all right?” He asked, and Nino blinked. Damn…how bad did he look to cause his kwami to worry about him?

“…I guess?” he admitted slowly, cringing a little. “I mean, today didn’t go to plan…like, at all. But…I guess it’s fine? I don’t know what it means that Alya didn’t meet the kwami of the Fox Miraculous, though…what does that mean, when that happens?” He frowned. “You don’t think…it can’t be a fake, right? Volpina’s was fake, but Master Fu would definitely be able to tell the real thing from a fake, right?”

“Of course,” Wayzz confirmed with a nod of his bulbous head. This confirmation only increased Nino’s confusion, however.

“Then what the hell? Why didn’t it appear? Kwamis can’t really choose not to appear in front of their Chosen, right? Or did it not appear because I wasn’t planning to Choose Alya? Or—”

“Nino!” Wayzz interrupted, his tiny hands touching patting Nino’s nose to get his attention and pull him out of his bewildered mental spiral. As Nino focused on Wayzz, the kwami took a deep breath. “To borrow from your vernacular, you need to ‘chill out, dude’.” Nino snorted, unable to help himself; hearing Wayzz use slang was all kinds of silly. Wayzz waited until Nino had settled down before he continued, “Don’t forget: you are not alone in this endeavor. If you seek answers, you know where you can find them.”

“Master Fu,” Nino said, and then grimaced. “Right…”

“Something wrong?”

Nino huffed, nudging his glasses higher up his nose and scratching the back of his head.

“I just…” he paused, sighing. “I fucked up, Wayzz. I had one job today, and I messed it up so bad. I…kind of don’t want to tell anyone about it, least of all Master Fu. I…I feel like he’ll be disappointed. Like…”

Like he’ll start to think he made the wrong choice in the new Guardian…

Wayzz’s miniscule brow puckered at Nino.

“Do you truly believe that Fu has never made a mistake, with how long he has lived? He did not begin as wise and patient as he is now, Nino. In his youth, he was a very brash and arrogant man, so much so that working with him was a struggle from time to time.”

Wayzz shook his head, as if to rid himself of some annoying memory.

“Do not be so hard on yourself, Nino. While you might not have intended for the Fox Miraculous to fall into the hands of your fiancée, I do not believe it was a bad choice, even if it was accidental.”

Nino glanced up, at the window on the fourth floor he knew to be the one that peeked into Alya’s living room. He couldn’t see her, of course—she would have to be leaning out the window for that to be possible—but he still drew comfort just from seeing the light on in there, glowing as the sun’s rays began to fade from the world, giving way to the winter night.

While it was true that Nino never intended to make Alya Miraculous, simply for the reason that he didn’t want to see her hurt…it was also true that she had been his first thought when he had selected the Fox Miraculous to gift to someone. And now that she had it, he couldn’t not see her as the Fox Miraculous wielder now, dressed in orange, with the wooden flute that was the Fox Miraculous’ weapon, or at least that’s what Volpina made it seem like; maybe it would change, now that the authentic Fox Miraculous was out and about…

...Actually…could it be considered ‘out and about’ when the kwami of the Fox Miraculous apparently hadn’t revealed itself to Alya yet…?

Nino sighed. His head was starting to hurt.

“Back in my pocket,” Nino directed Wayzz, carefully shielding the kwami from view as he lowered his hands. “I need to call Master Fu and see what’s up with this weird situation.”

“Of course,” Wayzz obliged, zipping back into Nino’s pocket. He nestled himself there, taking warmth from his Chosen’s coat pocket. Through the gap in the pocket, he, too, stared at Alya’s window for a moment, watching the light glowing within.

Strange…he could have sworn, while they were inside Alya’s apartment, that the Fox Miraculous was active…but he only felt it for a moment before the feeling disappeared.

What that meant, exactly, he did not know. But he didn’t intend to bring it up, either, at least, not until Nino had a chance to speak with Fu. His poor Chosen was already confused enough as it was.



Alya waited until she heard the click of her front door shutting. She let out a breath as she ventured further down the hall, into her bedroom. There, another Alya was waiting, but this one was clad in an orange and white superhero suit, fox ears pointing up from atop her head and an orange and black lined mask over her eyes. With a careful hand, she waved through the casual-looking Alya, and the image dispersed in a cloud of orange smoke.

“Cool,” Alya breathed, tapping the fox tail pendant she wore with a finger. “Trixx: revert me!”

The transformation was undone, and a tiny fox-like creature appeared, her plum eyes bright and her grin mischievous. Alya watched in her mirror’s reflection as the kwami flew upwards, settling atop her red hair.

“So? How’d I do?”

“Not bad for a rookie,” Trixx giggled, rolling over onto her back so that she grinned at Alya’s reflection while upside down. “The jig would’ve been up if your tod had tried to kiss you, though. Oooh, how funny would it have been to see his face if you suddenly exploded into orange dust!”

“Why do you think I played the ring tone on my phone?” Alya asked, lifting her phone for emphasis. “I know Nino, and Nino knows me: if I’m really busy, he does his best not to bother me, because he knows how insane about work I can get.”

Trixx rolled over again—she seemed intent upon making a mess of Alya’s hair—and propped her furry little head up with her tiny paws, her little tail swishing back and forth, her smirk only growing more and more impish by the second.

“So how long are we gonna play this game?”

Alya gave an easygoing shrug.

“I don’t know. On the one hand, it seems kind of mean to act like I don’t know what’s going on, now that he’s given me a Miraculous…” Alya quirked an eyebrow at her reflection. “But after the weird way he decided to give me this Miraculous without explaining anything? I feel like being mean for just a little while longer.”

Trixx stuck out her tiny little tongue.

“I admit, it was kinda boring, the way you just accepted your fate without question. Usually I at least get a yelp of surprise from my Chosen kits before we spring into action.”

Alya laughed.

“That you can blame on my friends, and the fact that they’re not as slick as they think they are.”

“And they really have no clue that you know?”

“Nope.” Alya paused. “Well, Adrien does, but that’s because we kind of ran into each other right after he de-transformed. But Nino and Marinette have no idea.”

“Hmmm,” Trixx hummed, suddenly looking dubious. “I don’t know if I wanna join a superhero group that’s really that clueless.”

“But that’s why they need us,” Alya insisted, reaching up to try and herd Trixx off her head, but the sneaky little fox kwami just buried herself deeper in Alya’s thick locks, grinning at her in a self-satisfied way when Alya gave a huff. “I’ve been doing all I can to watch their backs as a civilian, but as a fellow superhero? I’m betting my capabilities will increase two-fold. Whether they know it or not, they could use someone like me on their team.”

“Well, before we start talking about team stuff, you definitely need an alias first,” Trixx insisted, draping Alya’s hair over herself, as if it were a luxurious red dress, and posing in the mirror. Alya snorted at the silly creature. “Your friends may suck at it, but keeping a secret identity isimportant.”

“Right…” Alya trailed off, frowning at herself in the mirror. A superhero name, huh…

“What was the name of that imposter fox you mentioned earlier? Volpina?”

Alya shook her head.

“I’m not adopting the name of a phony. That would just give the wrong impression, and I’m pretty sure Marinette would hate it.”

Trixx stretched out across Alya’s shoulder, still wrapped in her hair, posing seductively for no apparent reason other than to amuse herself.

“Well what do you propose, my street-wise kit?”

“Are you really going to refer to me and people around me with fox terms from now on?”

Trixx kicked one of her little legs into the air, twirling a strand of Alya’s red hair around and around in one of her paws.

“And why wouldn’t I? I’m the kwami of the Fox Miraculous, you know.”

Alya smirked at the creature on her shoulder.

“And what are you doing? My hair’s not a toy, you know?”

Trixx quite ignored this statement, rubbing her face against a strand of Alya’s hair.

“Mmm, I love the color red. It’s such a sexy color, you know?”

Alya tried to shake the kwami loose from her hair, but Trixx clung on, and Alya cringed as a couple strands of her hair were separated from her scalp.

“Sexy or not, red hair wrapped around you does not a vixen make, Trixx.”

Kwami and Chosen paused, staring at each other for a moment, their lips curving into nearly identical smiles.

“Vixen,” Trixx drawled, and Alya grinned at how pleased her kwami looked.

“Vixen,” Alya agreed, facing her reflection once again.

“Vixen, the foxy superhero Paris deserves!” Trixx declared, a paw raised dramatically. Alya rolled her eyes, amused, and put a finger on Trixx’s paw, lowering it.

“But not the one it needs right now,” she decided. Trixx’s face went into full-blown pout mode.

“Why not?”

“Because…” Alya paused, tilting her head to the side as her brow furrowed. “…I feel like the superheroes of Paris have enough to deal with right now. Even if I wasn’t in the room, I could tell that Nino was acting really weird. He’s stressed out about something, which might be why he didn’t bother explaining his ‘gift’ to me…” Her frown deepened. “In fact, from the way he was acting…it might be that he didn’t mean to give the Fox Miraculous to me at all.”

Now that she thought on it…he had been incredibly specific earlier today over which pocket of his bag she should be looking into, almost as if he was afraid she would find something she wasn’t supposed to find if she looked anywhere else…

But the Fox Miraculous was in the pocket he had directed her to, so, what did that mean? Did he mistake which pocket he meant Alya to look in? Or did he start having second thoughts at the last minute?

“You mean to tell me that we’re just gonna sit quietly and let everybody else have all the fun?” Came Trixx’s complaining voice from out of nowhere, intruding upon Alya’s thoughts. She rolled her eyes again and smirked at the kwami’s reflection.

“I didn’t say that. You said it yourself: Paris needs us. Just…not right now. Or not up front, anyway.”

Trixx’s face puckered further, and Alya let out a laugh over how adorable this silly creature was.

“Whaddya mean, ‘not up front’? If we’re not helping to save Paris, what’re we supposed to be doing?”

Alya’s gaze went to the black T.V. screen in her bedroom. She almost always had the news on nowadays, just to keep tabs on her friends and the trouble they had to deal with, in between akuma attacks, hate groups, and rebellious civilians…and lately, it seemed like the latter was causing the most ruckus.

Alya felt her brow quirk as she ran a thumb under the fine chain of her Miraculous.

“I might have an idea or two…”

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A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by DarkReyna16

Part 28 of 37

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