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

Part 29 of 37

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Alya let out a low whistle, getting to her feet as she watched her ex-supermodel friend approach her claimed table in the comic book store.

“Damn, Agreste! You clean up good!”

Adrien chuckled, looking a little self-conscious as he ran a hand through his freshly cut hair, blonde strands only long enough to rest against the nape of his neck, now.

“Yeah, well…I figured it was time.”

Way past time,” teased Alya, reaching up to ruffle his perfectly coiffed locks. Adrien dodged her hand, carefully arranging his hair again as she giggled at him. “I know some women are into that, but I personally think that long hair was getting ridiculous.” Her smirk grew mischievous. “I’m sure your girlfriend will appreciate the change, too—your hair will stop getting in the way of you two making out.”

Alya smirked as Adrien abruptly turned a bright shade of red.

“Wha—I—how do you—”

“Best friend,” Alya answered before the poor sap could finish trying to get the question out, pointing at herself as her smirk widened. “Therefore, I have access to certain privileged information. Kissing techniques, for example. Good job on the neck kisses, by the way. Apparently, you’re reallygood at it—”

“Alya,” Adrien mumbled, now looking totally mortified. Rather than be concerned by his embarrassment, Alya cracked up laughing instead.

“You are too easy to tease,” she ribbed him, resuming her seat as he sat down across the table from her, making a face at her. “Anyway, I know you only have a minute or two, since things are crazy busy for you right now. I just wanted to touch base, see how you were holding up.”

“Oh,” said Adrien, and Alya noted his apparent surprise with amusement. “Well…thanks. Uh, things right now are busy, sure, but there’s only two more days before everything kicks off, so it’s all last-minute checks over every little detail at this point—”

“Adrien,” Alya cut in, holding up her hand and making a face at him, “I didn’t come here to talk fashion with you. I was talking about your otherjob.”

“Oh,” Adrien muttered, his eyes widening in understanding. Alya began to frown as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Well…that’s, uh, going…”

“I saw on the news that a couple more AVA members were sent to the hospital with serious injuries,” Alya remarked, reading the darkness that entered Adrien’s eyes. “Seriously, are you guys okay?”

Adrien released a sigh that seemed to come from somewhere deep within his soul.

“…I don’t know,” he admitted, and there was no small amount of bitterness in his tone. “We’ve been doing all we can but…they just won’t listen. And each AVA member that gets put out of commission only seems to fire them up more. It’s ridiculous.”

Alya frowned. It was just as she thought—AVA was becoming more problematic to deal with than the AAT, perhaps because their cause was more easily sympathized with. And, judging from the exhaustion in Adrien’s face—exhaustion that matched Marinette’s and Nino’s, Alya couldn’t help but notice—he and his superhero team were no closer to a solution than they were when AVA first showed up…

“What if I help?” Alya offered, simply because it pained her to see how much this was weighing on her friends and fiancé while she seemed to be stuck on the sidelines.

Adrien glanced up at her in surprise, his golden brows furrowing.

“…Help?” He repeated, as if the term was foreign to him. Alya resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

“Yes, ‘help’. What, do I need a costume to help you guys out? Is this a ‘club members only’ deal?”

“No, no,” Adrien assured her with a shake of his head, “I’m not saying that. I’m glad you want to help, but…I’m not exactly sure if there’s anything—”

“Are you underestimating me, Agreste?” Alya asked in a honeyed tone that hinted immediately at danger. Adrien picked up on that immediately, and his eyes widened as he raised his hands in surrender.

“No! No, I’m not, Alya, I just mean—”

“I’m kidding,” Alya assured him with a mischievous snicker, grinning as Adrien’s shoulders relaxed. “God, you’re fun to mess with.”

Adrien sighed, massaging the sides of his head with two fingers.

“Alya, my nerves are kind of shot right now. I don’t have time for games.”

“Sorry,” Alya replied, her grin becoming apologetic. “I’m serious about helping, though. AVA’s all about recruiting former akumatized victims, right? Well, I was one of the originals—Lady Wi-Fi, remember? Oh wait, of course you do.” Alya gave Adrien a flat look. “You were quick to throw it in my face when you were in your ‘edgelord’ phase.”

Adrien cringed.

“I’m really sorry about that, Alya.”

“I know. I’ll forgive you…eventually,” she teased, unable to help herself. But Adrien looked so much like an abandoned kitten that she couldn’t help but laugh. “Relax, Agreste, we’re square. Seriously, though, what do you think? Personally, I think I’d be pretty good at an inside job, but I wanted to get the insight of someone who has to deal with all this nonsense on a constant basis.”

As Alya picked up her travel mug and sipped at her tea, she watched as Adrien leaned back in his seat, stroking his jaw thoughtfully, his eyes closed in concentration. The furrow of his brow suggested he was in deep thought; Alya waited, idly running a finger along the thin chain around her neck before Adrien’s eyes finally re-opened, and he met her gaze.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he answered at last.

Alya snorted. She knew he would say that.

“And why not?” She wanted to know, raising a challenging eyebrow. Cringing, Adrien raised his hands again, as if he expected her to lunge across the table at him.

“I’m not saying I don’t think you can do it,” he prefaced before his expression became serious. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea to go running around with a group that gets itself into danger every other day. I know Mari wouldn’t like it if she knew what you were planning, and Nino would definitely hate it.”

“Who says they have to know, though?”

Adrien gave Alya a deadpan stare.

“Alya, it would be too easy for Nino or Marinette to recognize you, if they ever came across one of the AVA rallies. A little make-up over your eyes won’t really hide your identity.”

Oh, the irony. It was almost physical pain.

Alya bit her tongue to keep herself from pointing out the obvious—that Adrien still had no idea that his superhero squad was comprised of his best friend and his girlfriend—and gave a nod.

“That’s true, I guess.” She frowned, resting her chin in her hand. “Well, the last thing I want to do is make them panic…and I’d probably have to be more of a pain than help at first, just to get Alix and them to trust me…and Nino and Marinette definitely wouldn’t like this plan.”

“So you see my point,” Adrien concluded with a shrug and a frown. A beeping sound came from his pocket, and he pulled out his phone, cringing as she stood up. “I gotta go. Thanks for the offer, Alya. I wish you could help, too…but I really think it’d be better for you to just sit this one out.”

“If you say so,” Alya sighed. Adrien patted her shoulder as he passed, smiling at her in an assuring fashion before he left, phone already at his ear. Alya let out a breath and sat back, her hands folded under her chin. There was a rustling underneath her hair, and a little voice was suddenly at her ear.

“Why were you asking permission from the kitty cat? I didn’t know you were planning on telling anyone what you were up to.”

Alya lifted her travel mug to hide the movement of her lips as she muttered back to Trixx:

“I was more or less trying to gauge where they were on the whole AVA issue. Doesn’t sound like it’s getting any better to me. It’d definitely be dangerous for me to get involved right now.”

“But you’re going to do it anyway, aren’t you?”

“Well, yeah. Just not as Wi-Fi.”

“And how’re you gonna get in with the in crowd if you’re not gonna pretend to be one of ‘em?”

Alya sipped at her tea, the gears of her logical mind whirring double-time to accommodate for the new ability of magic on her side. So many possibilities to consider…she would have to plan this carefully…

“Don’t worry—I’ll figure something out.”



Nino’s mouth came open with a pop after he entered the Boulangerie Patisserie, greeted Marinette’s parents, approached the counter she was working behind, and got a good look at her ears.

“Yoooo,” he laughed in surprise, leaning forward as Marinette wrapped up some beignets to go for the man in front of the register. “You actually did it! You got second piercings!”

“Shhh,” Marinette hushed him, looking harried as she rushed to bag the next set of pastries. “It’s not a big deal, Nino.”

Nino snorted to himself as he watched her run her hands self-consciously across her earlobes, a little smile playing across her lips. Despite the assertion of it ‘not being a big deal’, she seemed pretty happy about the development anyway.

“Adrien will be happy to see you’re finally wearing his earrings,” he teased, watching Marinette blush as she fumbled one of the pastries she was handling. She managed to catch it at the last minute, apologizing profusely to the customer, who took it in stride and paid the proper euros before leaving with a smile. Marinette let out a breath, frowning over at Nino.

“Will you stop distracting me? I’m trying to work here.”

“Actually, Marinette, isn’t it time for you to leave?” Tom cut in, glancing at the clock in the bakery. “You have a meeting for something or another concerning your spring line, don’t you?”

Marinette glanced at the clock, and then let out a squeak that had Nino chuckling.

“Ah, you’re right! Sorry, Papa, I have to go!”

“Go on, then, get out of here,” Tom insisted, smiling behind his mustache as he gently shooed Marinette away from the register, taking the apron she removed. “Make us proud, Marinette.”

“Bye, Marinette!” Called Sabine’s voice from the back room.

“Bye, Mama!” Marinette called before she stretched onto her toes to kiss her father’s cheek. “Bye, Papa! See you later! Come on, Nino, I’ll drive you home.”

As Marinette pulled on her coat and dashed by, she grabbed Nino’s wrist and yanked him along after her, leaving him to call a hasty goodbye to her parents before they were out on the street. Marinette shivered in the cold, quickly unlocking her car and jumping into the driver’s seat. Laughing to himself, Nino followed her into the vehicle, watching as she started the car immediately and set the heat on full blast.

“What’s up, Nino?” Marinette asked him as she fiddled with the heat controls on her car. “Did you stop by because you needed something?”

“Well, it was partially because I was in the neighborhood and wanted to see how you were doing,” Nino said, taking in Marinette’s appearance. “You and Adrien both look like you’ve stopped sleeping.”

Marinette sighed, her forehead hitting the steering wheel.

“It’ll all be over soon,” she insisted, rubbing at her tired-looking bluebell eyes. “Once the ball gets rolling, things should go smoothly from that point forward.”

“Isn’t Fashion Week, like…a whole week, though?”

“Well, yes,” Marinette admitted, her lower lip jutting out. “But my line premiers on Wednesday, hence all the fuss. Other lines will be shown throughout the week; I just have to worry about Wednesday at this point.”

“Good luck,” Nino bade as Marinette seemed to decide that it was warm enough to drive; she put the car in drive and pulled out into the street. “I also stopped by to remind you about our meeting with City Hall tonight.”

Marinette groaned.

“Is that tonight?”

“Yep. Time to try and coordinate with the government to see if they can figure out a way to stop AVA, other than jailing them for disturbing the peace, which isn’t really a solution at all, either.”

Marinette sighed, the sound defeated. Nino sympathized completely. Poor thing had far too much on her plate right now.

“Okay…I’ll try and get away from Fashion Week stuff as fast as I can…I’ll meet you and Chat there, all right?”

“Chat Noir isn’t going to be there,” Nino reminded Marinette as they drove through the street, the day coming to a rapid conclusion as the sky began to darken. “He said he’d be too busy with some other stuff this week, remember?”

An odd look crossed Marinette’s face at this reminder; Nino watched, raising an eyebrow as she inexplicably reached up to touch one of her pink sapphire earrings, attached just above her Ladybug Miraculous. It was still kind of amazing to Nino that she actually chose to get second piercings in her ears just to accommodate Adrien’s earrings. She must really care about him…but it wasn’t like this was news to Nino. Still, what was she thinking about that made her look like that…?

“Oh…right,” was all she ended up saying, however; Nino expected more, but was soon disappointed when, in the next moment, they had pulled up to his apartment. “Well…then I’ll just meet you at City Hall tonight.”

“Good deal,” Nino replied, opening the car door. “See you later, then—”

“Oh, Nino, wait!” Marinette stalled him, a hand on his arm to keep him in the car. “I’ve been meaning to ask you: how’s your search for a new Miraculous holder going?”

Nino tensed. Oh boy, he had really been hoping she would be too busy to ask him this…

“Oh…uh, actually, I have to talk to you about that, Marinette,” he admitted, ducking his head in shame. Marinette’s hand tightened on his arm, and he glanced over, his guilt increasing when he saw the concern in his friend’s gaze.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen?”

‘Something happening’ was probably putting it mildly…but Nino glanced at the clock and shook his head.

“I don’t think we really have the time to get into it right now,” he reasoned, shaking his arm loose from her grasp. “You have somewhere to be, and this conversation…well, you have enough on your plate already.”

This did not seem to assuage Marinette’s concern; if anything, her frown grew more pronounced.

“Nino, what happened?”

“It’s not something you need to worry about right now.”


“Seriously, ‘Nette,” Nino interrupted, getting out of her car, “go handle your business. We can talk about it later. It’s not like it needs immediate attention right now, just…well, we’ll have to have a conversation later, all right?”

“…Okay,” Marinette let it go, though she still looked worried. “I’ll see you later, Nino.”

“Bye. Good luck!”

Marinette waved as she drove off, and Nino stood on the sidewalk, watching her pink Bug until it disappeared. As he scratched the back of his head, he felt something wriggling around in his coat pocket, and Wayzz appeared. Immediately, Nino scooped the kwami into the collar of his coat, where he could be hidden and warm while saying whatever it was he popped out to say.

“Are you worried about telling Marinette what happened?” He inquired once he had settled into his new hiding space. Nino gave a shrug, turning to head into his building.

“A little. Still more worried about the fact that Alya’s kwami apparently hasn’t woken up or anything. It’s been two days, and nothing. What gives?”

“What did Fu say?”

Nino sighed as he recited, word for word, what wisdom the old master had to offer him:

“‘The Fox Miraculous is genuine, though why it is still dormant is a mystery. Still, as of yet, there is no cause for alarm. Give it time.’ ‘Kay, great, but how much time should I give it before I’m allowed to freak out for real? This situation is not the norm, from what I’ve been told.”

“True,” Wayzz agreed, and Nino had to stifle his groan as he climbed the stairs to the second floor. “But strange things regarding the Miraculous occur often, Nino. I would not start losing sleep over it just yet.”

Nino snorted.

“Why not? None of my friends are sleeping,” he pointed out with a shake of his head as he reached the second floor landing, fishing his apartment key out of his pocket. “They’re both trying to hide it, but both Adrien and ‘Nette look like this Fashion Week thing is kicking their asses. And ‘Nette has to deal with Ladybug stuff too…I feel bad for her.”

Briefly, Nino pondered over the strange look that crossed Marinette’s face at the mention of Chat Noir. He only glimpsed it briefly while in the car, but now that he was pondering over it, he was beginning to realize why he found it so strange: it was like Marinette was unsurprised at the reminder that Chat was apparently too busy to moonlight with them this week, as if she knew the reason for his absence. But of course, that was impossible—he hadn’t bothered to explain why he would be busy, just that he would be. Nino must be misreading the memory of Marinette’s expression—

“Nino! You’re home!”

Nino turned in time for Kira to fly into his legs; he hastily steadied himself, laughing as he patted her head.

“Hey, kid! Long time no see, huh?”

Kira pulled back to pout at Nino, and it was with no small amount of relief that he saw that her eyepatch was finally gone, leaving both of those sparkling brown eyes as bright and happy as they should be. He was so glad.

“That’s ‘cause you’re always busy now!” She accused him, and Nino grinned apologetically.

“I’m sorry, Short Stuff. Being an adult is hard sometimes.”

“Then I never wanna grow up,” Kira announced, making Nino laugh.

“Good call.”

“Are you busy tonight? Me and Baa-chan want you to come over for dinner! Please say yes! Pleaaaase?

“Oh no…the puppy eyes!” Nino cried dramatically, pretending to shield his face from Kira’s pleading stare. “My one weakness…! Oh, all right. I think I can make time to eat dinner with my favorite neighbors.”

“Yaaaay!” Kira cheered, seizing Nino’s hand and pulling him over to her apartment. “Good, ‘cause we need help! Fish is okay, right?”

The lump in Nino’s coat collar quivered with anticipation, and Nino chuckled.

“Fish sounds perfect, kid.”



Ladybug dropped onto the roof of City Hall, hooking her yo-yo around her waist for a moment. Her eyes scanned the surrounding area, searching for any kind of trouble, but so far, all was quiet. Good—she didn’t need to deal with any kind of trouble tonight. Tensions were already running high enough as it was—

“Yo, LB!”

Ladybug whirled around, the turn sharper than she meant it to be. It was so stupid for her to be this jumpy; she would recognize Emerald Shell’s voice anywhere at this point, so there was absolutely no reason for her heart to pound so hard after he had properly announced himself…

Shell hopped off his hover board and landed beside her, his golden gaze troubled as he took a good look at her.

“You okay?”

“Fine,” Ladybug huffed, pulling out her yo-yo again. “Just wanna get this over with.”

“You think this’ll be a waste of time, then?”

“I really hope not,” Ladybug answered, sending out her yo-yo as she gave Shell a flat look. “I could be sleeping right now. So, if it turns out we can’t find a solution to our AVA problem, I’m going to get really cranky.”

“Hang in there, LB,” Shell encouraged as they both jumped from the roof, landing separately on the stairs leading to City Hall. As Ladybug once again put away her yo-yo and Shell slid his hover shield onto his back, a door opened behind them. They turned in unison to find the deputy mayor approaching, looking relieved.

“Thank you so much for coming,” she said, shaking both their hands. “I’m so grateful you decided to try and work with us for a peaceful solution to the problems troubling Paris lately.”

“Our pleasure, Deputy Mayor Reine,” Ladybug replied politely, working to hide her skepticism. After all, even if she was certain that there probably wasn’t much the government could do about this situation, short of jailing all the troublemakers—which truly would not be helpful, as Nino said earlier—the fact that they were actually trying to reach a peaceful conclusion went a long way, in Ladybug’s book.

The deputy mayor smiled, her bright blue eyes sparkling.

“Please, call me Bridgette,” she requested. Ladybug blinked, unsure of whether or not she was comfortable with that—it seemed a tad unprofessional—but given the fact that Deputy Mayor Reine—Bridgette—seemed only a couple years older than her, maybe it wasn’t so strange…?

“So, Bridgette,” Shell said, seeming to take the name change in stride, offering her a grin, “you gonna invite us in or what?”

“Shell,” Ladybug hissed, but Bridgette laughed.

“Oh, of course! Sorry, you two must be cold.”

“Not really,” Shell replied, sauntering in behind the deputy mayor, with Ladybug frowning disapprovingly at his back as she brought up the rear. “Magic makes things like freezing weather a little more bearable.”

“Oh,” Bridgette said with a surprised blink of her blue eyes. “I see.”

She didn’t see, that much was obvious. But it was understandable: not many people knew much about how the Miraculous worked, and for safety reasons, it was better off that way. Still, Ladybug nudged Shell’s side, warning him with her eyes to settle down as they followed Bridgette through City Hall.

“By the way,” she spoke up, glancing curiously behind her at the pair of superheroes following in her wake, “Is Chat Noir not joining us tonight?”

“Oh…he’s occupied with other things tonight,” Ladybug explained, distracted by the coloring of Bridgette’s cheeks as she turned to face forward once again.

“Oh, I see. What a shame.”

Ladybug and Emerald Shell exchanged glances, their brows raised. While Shell seemed to shrug it off a moment later, Ladybug turned to stare at Bridgette’s back. Odd…it could be that she was just imagining it, or reading too much into the situation…but from where she stood, it kind of seemed like—

“Deputy Mayor Reine, do you have a moment?”

Ladybug halted in her tracks, her mouth coming open with a pop.

No…she had to be imagining that voice…

Sadly, as soon as she turned around, her worst fears were confirmed as that tall blonde with the perpetual poker face approached, clipboard in hand.


“You!” Ladybug snarled, quite forgetting that she was Ladybug at the moment. Even so, however, Felix responded to her the way he always did when she was Marinette: by raising an eyebrow. Other than his poker face, it seemed to be his default expression for everything.

“...Is there something wrong, Ladybug?” He wanted to know. Ladybug jolted and cringed, realizing that both Bridgette and Shell were giving her strange looks.

“Oh…sorry,” she replied, forcing the apology through her teeth as well as a polite smile on her lips. “You…I thought you were someone else, that’s all. Excuse me.”

Bridgette recovered the fastest from Ladybug’s slip, stepping around her to approach Felix. (Ladybug had to battle the urge to shield her from Felix, though he hadn’t proven that he was doing anything wrong at the moment…)

“Do you need something, Mon. Chevalier?”

‘Chevalier’? That was Felix’s last name? Ladybug had to fight the urge to snort, pressing a hand to her lips as Felix handed the clipboard over to the deputy mayor.

“These need the mayor’s signature,” he said as Bridgette quickly glanced through the documents attached to the clipboard. “I’ll have them filed as soon as he’s finished with them.”

“I see. I’ll see that he gets them, then. Thank you,” Bridgette replied, giving Felix a smile before she turned away, resuming her quick pace. “This way please, Ladybug, Emerald Shell.”

Ladybug began to follow Shell…but the sudden flush on Felix’s face brought her up short once again, staring at him with wide eyes. Whoa…was he blushing? Why was he…?

Felix was not looking at her; his cool gaze was focused on the deputy mayor’s back as she walked away. Ladybug only needed to register this fact before the pieces clicked into place.

Her mouth came open with a pop, this new information flooding her with glee.

“Oh my god…you like her!” She whispered, her amusement increasing ten-fold when Felix actually looked startled at her observation, his pale face turning even redder. Oh no…he was adorable!

“Wh…I do not!” He protested, looking away as he brushed his mouth with the back of his hand, clearly uncomfortable. Grinning now, Ladybug bounced back into his line of sight, taking pleasure in just how awkward he was. She could not believe it—Felix Chevalier, shady, stoic thorn in her side, had an honest-to-god crush on the deputy mayor of Paris! Oh, this was amazing.

“You do so!” She gloated, and Felix glared at her.

“Mind your own business,” he insisted, turning sharply on his heel and striding quickly in the other direction. Ladybug took another minute to smirk after him—she was going to have so much fun with this information—before Emerald Shell called for her to hurry up.

“What were you doing?” He wanted to know as she caught up with them, entering a swanky meeting room, completely with plush leather swivel chairs and a shining mahogany table that could seat twenty comfortably. Ladybug worked to rearrange her features so that she wouldn’t appear too amused.

“Nothing. Just found out something funny about Felix.”

Shell glanced out into the hallway again, frowning.

“He’s Adrien’s cousin, isn’t he? What’s he doing at City Hall? Didn’t you say he works for your old boss?”

Ladybug shrugged, though this reminder caused her to frown as well.

“I don’t know…maybe he decided he wanted to move up in the world.”

Though, now that she thought about it…it was pretty suspicious that he was suddenly working in City Hall after a career in fashion, wasn’t it…?

“Huh. Well, speaking of moving up, the mayor’s waiting for us.”

Ladybug followed Shell’s directing thumb to the head of the table in the meeting room, where a portly man she had only seen on T.V. sat, arguing with someone on his phone.

“No, I said that we shouldn’t hear him out, weren’t you listening? Don’t you follow the news at all? He’s a madman! How did someone like that even get elected to run a country? Not now,” he huffed, holding up a finger when Bridgette tried to interrupt, Felix’s clipboard outstretched.

“Sir, these documents need your signature.”

“Can’t you take care of it? I’m in the middle of an important call,” Mayor Fantoche insisted, turning his chair around to give Bridgette his back. He looked like he meant to return to his call, but then he spotted Ladybug and Emerald Shell, and he blinked for several moments, appearing startled.

“What’re they doing here?” He demanded of Bridgette, pressing his cell phone into his shoulder and staring at her, waiting for some kind of explanation. Bridgette tilted her head, frowning at him.

“Sir, you asked to see them. Remember? You asked me to schedule a meeting with Paris’ superheroes to see what could be done about the group known as Akumatized Victims Anonymous?”

“Was that tonight? Why wasn’t I reminded?”

“I left a note on your desk, sir. I even called you at dinner to confirm it—”

“Well tonight’s not a good night, I’m in the middle of a very important call,” the mayor insisted, drumming his fingers on his desk as he scowled at Bridgette. “We’ll just have to reschedule—”

“Dude, with all due respect, it’s not like we’re free to always answer your summons,” Shell spoke up, folding his arms as he quirked a brow at Mayor Fantoche. “We may be superheroes, but we have lives, too. Even Superman has to be Clark Kent sometimes, you know?”

The mayor frowned, appearing to not appreciate that he was being inconvenienced in this manner.

“Fine. Reine, handle this without me. I’ll expect a briefing in the morning,” he ordered, getting up from the chair and brushing past the superheroes to exit the room, phone raised to his ear immediately as he resumed his argument with whoever was on the other line. Once he was gone, Bridgette sighed.

“I’m so sorry about that,” she apologized, ruffling her short hair as she took the mayor’s spot at the head of the table. “He’s a very busy man, you see—”

“Even so, I was under the impression that this meeting was his idea,” Ladybug commented as she and Shell approached the table, taking seats on either side of Bridgette. She frowned at the tired-looking deputy mayor, feeling pity swell within her. Talk about a nightmare boss… “Isn’t it…well, rude of him to leave it up to you?”

Bridgette gave Ladybug a helpless smile.

“Well, actually…this meeting was my idea,” she confided, looking a tad guilty. “He thought it was a good idea, so he approved it—”

“You mean he took credit for it,” Shell corrected with a dry look. Bridgette cleared her throat, though it looked to Ladybug like she was trying not to smile.

“In any case,” she moved on, and Ladybug was impressed by her professionalism, “I really would like your opinions on what to do about the activities of the group known as AVA. Frankly, the Anti-Akuma Taskforce is much easier to deal with, simply because our police force has no qualms about imprisoning them for their terrorist actions. But with AVA…”

“It seems wrong somehow,” finished Shell with a grave nod. “Tell us about it.”

“Still,” Ladybug jumped in, “we can’t let them continue like this. The protests are blocking traffic, they get into constant fights with AAT members, getting themselves put in the hospital, and the graffiti’s more than insulting—”

“That graffiti only involves Chat Noir,” Shell pointed out, only to raise his hands in a placating manner when Ladybug gave him a seething look.

“Chat Noir is part of Team Miraculous,” she reminded him through gritted teeth. “If he’s getting disrespected, we’re all getting disrespected.”

“All right, all right, don’t tear my head off,” Shell grumbled, lowering his hands only when Ladybug looked away from him with a huff. “You do have a point—it’s not like they’re exactly listening to us when we tell them to cut it out.”

“So what should we do?” Bridgette asked, looking troubled. “It’s not against the law to protest, nor am I willing to treat it like an offense. But even so, things shouldn’t go on like this. Something needs to change.”

Silence fell in the meeting room as the three of them looked at each other, deliberation in their gazes.

As was his habit, it was Emerald Shell who broke the silence first.

“Well…what are their demands? Their goal is to battle the AAT to stop the persecution of akumatized victims, right?”

“I guess?” Ladybug answered, though she frowned as she realized that…well, she had never actually paid attention to the demands of AVA before. All she knew was that they were causing a ruckus and it had to stop, somehow. But now that Shell was bringing up their troublemaking as a legitimate cry for help…

“Well, why don’t we help them, then?” Shell suggested.

Ladybug gaped at him. Surely he couldn’t be serious…?

“We can’t do that!” She protested once she realized that Shell was, indeed, very serious. “We can’t take sides!”

“Why not? It’s no secret that we’re not on AAT’s side, right?” Shell countered, folding his arms, his brows furrowing over his goggles. “‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’, right?”

“It’s not that simple,” Ladybug protested, rubbing the bridge of her nose as she huffed. “AVA doesn’t want any more to do with us than the AAT does.”

“But maybe that’s because we haven’t been sympathetic to their cause. Hear me out,” Shell insisted as Ladybug opened her mouth to talk him down. She shut it, frowning at him as he leaned back in his swivel chair, pressing the tips of his fingers together as a thoughtful frown crossed his face. “The whole reason AVA formed is because they felt like no one was on their side. With a group like the AAT around, it was hard to find support for them. So they banded together to make themselves feel safe, and then mobilized to battle the AAT to take back their safety.”

“That’s our job,” Ladybug grumbled, hating how petulant she sounded. Shell didn’t look too happy about it either, but he could only give a half shrug.

“I know, LB. But apparently we weren’t doing a very good job, if they decided they needed to take matters into their own hands. So we need to deal with that and move on.”

Ladybug sighed. As much as she didn’t want to admit to failure…

“Fine,” she grumbled, crossing her arms and trying not to pout. “So where do we go from here?”

“I might have an idea,” Bridgette interjected, tucking a strand of her dark hair behind her ear as she frowned thoughtfully into the distance. “What if we start a unity campaign?”

“A unity campaign?” Ladybug echoed, unsure of where the deputy mayor was going with this. She blinked herself out of whatever reverie had seized her and focused her attention on the two heroes.

“Yes. There’s so much hate tearing the city—no, all of France—apart.” Bridgette’s eyes tightened, as if it pained her to acknowledge such a fact. “And most of it is based on ignorance. With a new supervillain, people are terrified, and quick to blame anything that’s easy to attack, rather than the actual problem itself. That’s how fearmongering works, isn’t it?”

“Spoken like a true politician,” Shell joked. Ladybug scowled at him, worried Bridgette would be offended, but she just laughed.

“I suppose,” she allowed, amusement glinting in her blue eyes before she grew serious once again. “This whole time, we’ve been working to suppress the chaos, but it was you, Emerald Shell, who made me stop and realize that we’ve never questioned why this chaos is happening. And I think you bring up a very good point: until we tackle the root of the issue, nothing will be solved.”

Withdrawing a journal and a pen from her blazer, Bridgette opened the nearly full journal to a fresh page, clicked her pen, and started scribbling, speaking only half as fast as her pen moved across the page.

“If we make it clear to the citizens that there are people willing to listen to their problems—that they are not alone in their fears and their doubts—maybe we can satisfy AVA and shame the AAT enough to disband their activities, respectively.”

“That’s a tall order,” Ladybug couldn’t help but note. Bridgette glanced up, and Ladybug was surprised by the sudden fire that surged in the deputy mayor’s eyes.

“Maybe so,” she allowed, “but in my experiences, nothing is impossible as long as you have the ability and the willpower.” She clicked her pen again and set it down on top of her journal, turning to Shell now. “Emerald Shell, since it was you who suggested it, would you like to be the face of this unity campaign? I know you’ve had your hands full spearheading the efforts to clean the Seine as well, but if you think you can juggle both projects…”

“Oh,” Shell replied, blinking in surprise. “Well, thanks, but, uh, shouldn’t LB be the face of such a campaign? She is the leader of Team Miraculous—”

“I don’t mind if it’s you,” Ladybug assured him with a shake of her head. “Bridgette’s right—you did come up with the idea in the first place.”

“I was just talking, though…” Shell replied, looking embarrassed as he rubbed the back of his hooded head. “Bridgette’s the one who was talking about a unity campaign and all that…”

“Well…what about Chat Noir?” Ladybug suggested, “I don’t want to leave him out of this.”

“Oh,” Bridgette said, and Ladybug noticed immediately when the deputy mayor flushed at the mention of Chat Noir once again. “Well, if you think he’d be best—”

“But half the city still doesn’t trust him, LB,” Shell interrupted with a shake of his head. “Nothing against the dude, really, but I really think it should be you. Out of everyone on this team, you have the most presence and the most sway. People will listen to you the most.”

Ladybug frowned. She wasn’t quite sure if that was true—the memory of the disastrous press conference announcing Chat Noir’s return was still fresh in her mind—but since Shell did already have one government project under his belt, and since he did bring up the very good point that a portion of the city still had misgivings about Chat, despite his best efforts to prove himself, and since she did have this burning desire to restore Paris’ faith in their heroes once again without anyone else having to get injured to fight for what they felt was a losing battle…

“…Then it should be me,” she agreed at last, nodding in affirmation. “I’ll do it.”

Bridgette let out a relieved sigh, smiling at Ladybug.

“Thank you. This will mean a lot. I just hope it works.” Flipping her journal shut, Bridgette stood up. “Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time tonight. I would like to get the ball rolling on this campaign as soon as the mayor approves it…how might I reach you?”

“Just get a giant skylight with a ladybug symbol to shine in the sky when you need her,” Shell joked, and Ladybug rolled her eyes as she got to her feet as well. Nerd.

“As soon as Mayor Fantoche approves the idea, if you make it official through the news, I’ll meet with you again,” Ladybug told her, shaking Bridgette’s hand when she offered it. “We’ll be watching.”

“Oooh, that sounded so cool,” Shell enthused as he rounded the table, and Ladybug rolled her eyes as she gave him a push towards the door.

“Shut up and let’s go.”

“I’m going, I’m go—oh,” Shell said, coming to an abrupt stop. Ladybug bumped into him, which made her grumpy, but before she could growl at him to move, he said to someone in front of him, “Uh, we were just leaving, dude.”

Ladybug stepped to the side, because she could not possibly see over Shell’s tall frame, and she was annoyed and unsurprised to find Felix there. It also made her suspicious—how long had he been there behind the door? He hadn’t been eavesdropping on their meeting, had he…?

Felix said nothing. He merely stepped to the side, allowing them to pass. Shell moved on without hesitation, but Ladybug paused, frowning up at Felix.

“Since when do you work for City Hall?” She questioned, unable to help herself. It was a mystery that would gnaw at her all night if she didn’t receive some kind of clue for it.

Felix raised an eyebrow at her.

“And how do you know that I haven’t always worked for City Hall, Ladybug?” He countered her question with one of his own.

Ladybug narrowed her eyes. He wasn’t about to get out of this that easily.

“I would have seen you around before.”

“Oh? Do you make frequent visits to City Hall to know that for sure?”

“Oh, he started working here about a week ago, actually,” Bridgette butted in as she approached, bringing Ladybug and Felix’s staring match to a close. “He came highly recommended; his organizational skills are excellent. He’s been a very big help around here.”

Ladybug noticed the reddening of Felix’s face as he looked away from Bridgette’s smile.

“Thank you, Deputy Mayor Reine,” he said quietly, scowling when Ladybug began to snicker. It was still incredibly suspicious that he was here in the first place, but really, she couldn’t not laugh at the situation. Who knew Felix actually had a soft spot? Certainly not her.

“Thanks again, Ladybug,” Bridgette made sure to thank Ladybug as she finally exited the meeting room. “I hope to be in touch with you very soon.”


As Ladybug walked away, she couldn’t help but pick up on the conversation going on behind her:

“Oh wow, it’s late. I haven’t even had dinner yet…”

“Shall I order something for you, Deputy Mayor Reine?”

“It’s after hours, Mon. Chevalier. Bridgette’s fine. And that’s okay—we can just go out to eat somewhere instead.”


“Sure, why not? Unless you’ve already eaten?”

“Oh…no. I haven’t eaten…”

“Then let’s go. My treat.”

“Oh…that won’t be necess—”

“Oh hush, it’s fine. Consider it a reward for your hard work this past week. Come on, let’s see what’s open!”

Ladybug chanced a glance over her shoulder. Bridgette was heading off to the side, her pace less brisk now that she didn’t have to be in ‘deputy mayor’ mode, something of a smile playing across her face. Felix followed a few steps behind her, looking red and awfully rigid. As if he felt her staring, his narrow gaze cut to her and he glared.

Not a word,’ his expression warned her…but his blush darkening did not help his cause in the slightest. Still, Ladybug said not a word as he passed.

She just grinned widely at him instead.

Oh, the ribbing she would do in her future visits to City Hall…



“So on top of everything else I’m doing, now I’m gonna be the face of a unity campaign.” Ladybug sighed, stretching her arms over her head for a moment before she relaxed. “I’m so tired.”

“You look like it, no offense,” Emerald Shell replied, eyeing his friend. The mask might be hiding the circles under her eyes at the moment, but he knew better. On another note, it amused him to see that her new earrings remained even after her transformation. Huh…maybe the Miraculous couldn’t transform other pieces of jewelry like it could transform clothes? He might have to ask Wayzz about it later, if his curiosity on this matter persisted.

Ladybug closed her eyes, slowly shaking her head from side to side.

“I’m going to bed. I’m going to go home, de-transform, and show my bed how much I miss it by falling on top of it, clothes on, and going right to sleep. I’m going to make sweet, sweet love to my bed, and we’re gonna cuddle until the sun comes up tomorrow.”

“Oh my god, you’re so tired you don’t even know what you’re saying anymore,” Shell laughed, snickering even as Ladybug stuck her tongue out at him. “Go on, LB, go home. Get some sleep while you can, because as I understand it, come Wednesday, you’ll be too busy to do anything else.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me.”

Shell watched as Ladybug sent out her yo-yo to loop onto a nearby streetlamp. He took off his shield, ready to see her off before he made his way back home…but then she paused and turned to him, a frown puckering her face.

“Wait—didn’t you have something you needed to tell me? Something about the new Miraculous holder?”

Oh. Right.

Well, he couldn’t keep putting this conversation off, could he? That’s what he thought, at least…but as he looked at Ladybug, the exhaustion clear in her eyes, Shell found yet another reason he didn’t want to have this conversation. Not yet, anyway.

“It’s not something you need to worry about right now, LB,” he assured her when she continued to look concerned. “We’ll talk about it soon, just…not now. Just go home and get some sleep for tonight, all right?”


“Everything’s under control, I promise,” he cut in, patting her back. “Trust me, okay?”

Ladybug bit her lip, but apparently she was way more tired than she let on, for she sighed and let it go. Poor thing needed a vacation.

“If you say so,” she answered, tugging on the wire of her yo-yo. “Then I’m going home. See you later.”

“Night, LB.”

Shell paused to watch Ladybug swing away; once he was sure she wasn’t about to drop out of the sky due to fatigue, he hopped onto his hover shield and flew off into the night. Somewhere inside, a part of him felt guilty, like he was purposefully hiding his mistake from Ladybug. He honestly wasn’t trying to—it just seemed that Ladybug had too many balls in the air for him to add one more. So, until things died down in her personal life, another concern to add to her superhero life could wait.

Besides, it wasn’t like there was any big rush to tell her about Alya, anyway: as long as her Miraculous remained inexplicably dormant, there was nothing to worry about at all.



The sudden figure that landed in the alleyway could not fail to bring the two guards to attention, and they tensed as it straightened up, fixing its dark cloak before it approached. The guards steeled themselves. Though they were convinced they were fighting for a good cause, it still wasn’t fun to witness their comrades in arms be put out of commission in the most violent of ways.

And since they refused to renounce AVA, either of them could be next…

As the figure drew near, one of them found their nerve before the other could.

“Hold it! State your business!” He barked, his muscles tensing, preparing for a fight if need be. The figure under the cloak chuckled softly.

“Relax,” said a feminine voice, raising hands clad in dark brown gloves. “I’m a friend.”

“Prove it,” the other guard demanded, getting into a defensive stance.

The cloaked figure shrugged.

“If you like.”

Moving slowly, the figure lowered the hood of the cloak, revealing large orange fox ears, dark hair that ended in red the lower it went, olive skin and dark green eyes.

“Recognize me?” She asked, smirking at the guards, who exchanged brief, bewildered glances.

“You’re…Volpina, right?” The first guard ventured a guess, remembering vaguely that there was such an akuma that looked like her, once upon a time, though she had been mistaken for a superhero when she first showed up.

Volpina gave them an impish grin.

“That was once my name. Now it’s Vixen, and I’ve made up my mind. I’m ready to join AVA’s cause.”

After a moment, the guards relaxed their stances.

“We could always use more bodies around here,” said the second guard, waving Vixen forward. “Come on in. Timebreaker will want to see you, and then we’ll put you to work.”

Vixen grinned, a finger stroking the fox tail pendant that hung around her neck.

“I can’t wait to get started.”

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

Part 29 of 37

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