Um. Hi. I suppose I should introduce myself, over two years and three months later. I am no longer the twelve-year-old who started this fic, nor am I the thirteen-year-old who abandoned it. Eighth grade was a rough year for me.
I was bullied for joining fandoms, my fanfiction, my race, my weight, my sexuality. I was asked out as a joke so many times I lost count. My classmates drove me to a breakdown in the middle of a basketball game.
I don't like basketball very much anymore.
I lost my love for Miraculous, lost my love for my writing, as horrendous as it was, lost my love for pretty much all media.
I wrote a goddamn novel—sure, it's crappy Miraculous fanfiction, but still, 65k words, that's a novel—and I have never once been proud of that fact.
I have an outline for a Hetalia fic, you know that? One with over 30 chapters. And given a minimum (minimum!) of 5k words per chapter (my current average is actually over 7k), that's a 150k+ word fic. And every time I opened up Google Docs, I would feel guilty for trying to start it. And I will never end up writing it. They took that away from me, and I will never forgive them for that.
In September 2018, I started high school. I was the only person from my middle school there. You'd think everything I'd lost would be found again, but nope.
Freshman year was insane. I found friends and fell in love for the first time. I changed my internet name. I got lost in the woods by my school, ran in the dark, got hit in the face with a bean bag, held hands with a guy, got into several snowball fights. It was great. A lot greater than eighth grade. And yet, I didn't write.
Flash forward to September 2019. I was in the shower one day when, for the first time in over 2 years, I came up with an idea for a fic. I thought it would be a simple oneshot, but I was wrong. I am currently staring at a 17-chapter outline. I have the prologue and three chapters finished, and I'm working on the fourth. The fic is Catch Me (If You Can, That Is) by garbageOwO on AO3. And I refuse to let the ghosts of my past haunt me. I'm going to finish it. I'm going to finish it, and that simple thought makes me cry.
So here is the next (unfinished) chapter of The Magic Between Us. It was last written December 2017. I have not edited it in order to preserve the pure trash that my middle school writing was. Enjoy.
Chapter 11: The Dangers of Polyjuice Potion (Part Two)
Marinette rubbed her eyes as she walked past the notice board.
A few students were pointing at a piece of parchment and whispering as if they had found the most exciting piece of gossip in their lives.
Marinette paused and glanced at the letter that interested them.
Meet me in Hallway Number One at 4:30. It's an emergency!
Your stunningly gorgeous partner Cat Noir
Marinette's eyes widened.
What kind of emergency?! she thought.
Did the Polyjuice Potion go wrong?
Did he find Hawkmoth's lair?
Did he find out my secret identity?
What if it's worse than that, what if he's discovered my crush on Adrien?!
Waves of disastrous possibilities (of which most were irrational) crashed in her mind throughout the rest of the day.
What if Headmaster Fu expelled him from Hogwarts?
What if he's dying of some unknown disease?
What if he has to give up being a superhero?
Is he moving to another country?
Is he transferring to Durmstrang?
What if he's decided to run away?
Argh, he should've been more specific!
"Hey! Mari! Wrong twig!" Alya whispered.
Marinette train of thought derailed.
She looked down to see that she had chopped up some acacia twigs instead of Wiggentree twigs.
She sighed and slid the acacia twigs off her cutting board and into the rubbish bin.
"Are you alright? Something's been bothering you lately. You were staring at your cauldron with a blank expression for the past few minutes," Alya said, squeezing the juice out of a Gurdyroot.
Marinette continued to chop up her twigs and her voice came out as a hollow, emotionless sound.
"I'm fine, Alya."
Alya bit her lip and put down her Gurdyroot.
"It's okay if you don't want me to help you. If this is a personal matter, then I'll stay out of your business. I'm here if you need to talk," she said.
Marinette's knife became a silver blur in her hand and bits of Wiggentree twigs flew across the table.
She squealed and dropped her knife as she cut her palm open by mistake.
"Professor Mendeleiev! Marinette cut her hand. Can I take her to Madam Pomfrey?" Alya asked.
"Only if you finish her antidote," Professor Mendeleiev grumbled.
"I will," Alya said.
She grasped Marinette's unwounded hand and led her to the hospital wing.
Right outside of the door, Alya put her hands on Marinette's shoulders.
"You're thinking about something. You're thinking about something, Mari, and it's bothering the crap out of you. You don't have to-"
"Something's happening to a friend and I don't know what to do!" Marinette blurted, her body trembling. "He sent me a letter today, an incredibly vague letter, saying that there's a crisis in his life and I don't know what it is! It could be anything! He's probably sick, or dying, or maybe he's dead already! It-"
"Slow down," Alya said. "Deep breaths. In, and out. In, and out. You make a good point, it could be anything-"
"Which is exactly why-"
"-which is exactly why you're overthinking it. It's going to be okay. If he needs your help, then he's going to ask for it," Alya continued.
"You're right," Marinette nodded. "Well, I have to get my hand patched up, so goodbye. I'll see you in Charms."
"By the way, which step of the potion were you on?" Alya asked.
"Step three," Marinette admitted, shutting the door to the hospital wing.
Alya groaned. "Of course."
"Who's there?" Madam Pomfrey called out, attending to a Hufflepuff boy who was covered in warts.
"It's Marinette again. I need a bandage for my hand," the Gryffindor said.
"Now, Paul, let Miss Berry's No-Warts Tonic soak in for another two hours," Madam Pomfrey instructed. "I'll check on you when I'm done with Marinette."
Paul grunted in reply.
Marinette sat on an empty cot while Madam Pomfrey hobbled over to her with her cart of supplies.
"I haven't seen you since you fainted," Madam Pomfrey smiled, removing an unmarked bottle from her cart.
"I'm glad to say I haven't fainted for the whole of December," Marinette said.
She held out her hand.
"That bit with Adrien's Basilisk bite was quick thinking. Have you considered a future at St Mungo's?" Madam Pomfrey asked, examining Marinette's palm.
"I haven't," Marinette said, flinching as purple liquid dripped from the bottle and onto her hand.
"I'm just cleaning your wound," Madam Pomfrey reassured her. "I need to remove the bacteria. Where did you get this cut?"
"I was chopping up Wiggentree twigs in Potions," Marinette said.
Madam Pomfrey's eyes widened. "You're quite lucky, then! That knife could've been coated with poison!"
She wrapped Marinette's hand in bandages.
"Take them off after your next class," Madam Pomfrey instructed. "Now, off you go, you don't want to be late!"
"Thanks!" Marinette said, trying to force a smile.
"I should talk to Mendeleiev about what she lets students brew in her classes," Madam Pomfrey muttered.
What happened to Cat Noir? Marinette thought.
What's happening to him?
What'll happen to him?
Remember what Alya said.
Everything's going to be fine.
Everything's going to be okay.
It can't possibly be that bad.
But it can be, a small voice in the back of her head said.
He could be dead, for all you know.
He could be gone forever.
Maybe you'll never see-
"I'll see him again," Marinette determinedly said. "I'll meet him in Hallway Number One at 4:30!"
She could barely focus during the rest of her classes.
She made her bag bright yellow in Charms (nobody noticed, thankfully), forgot to remove her bandages (she remembered in the middle of Transfiguration) and poured ink into her Whomping Willow's soil in Herbology (it didn't seem to mind).
And now, she had lost her turn in Exploding Snap for the third time in a row.
"Are you even trying?" Alya asked.
Marinette numbly nodded.
"You're thinking about your friend's problem again," Alya bluntly said.
Marinette nodded again.
Adrien took another card from the deck and hoped it didn't bear the title of the game.
Sure enough, as soon as he looked at the card it exploded.
He waved his hands around to clear the smoke.
"New round," Adrien sighed.
Alya finished shuffling the deck of cards just as Nino burst into the library.
"Hey Adrien! Guess who has two thumbs-"
"Guess who has two thumbs and will soon be kicked out of the library if he causes further disruption," Professor Damocles sternly said.
"Duly noted," Nino murmured as he briskly walked toward his friends.
"What's the big news?" Adrien asked.
"I have a date to the Yule Ball!" Nino excitedly said.
Alya dropped the deck of cards and they exploded under the table.
"I've had a crush on her for a while now. You remember Vivian, right? She's been helping me with my DJing. She knows a lot about it since her brother's into it. I think I might dedicate one of my songs to her. Do you think she'll-"
Alya abruptly stood up, knocking her chair over.
"I have to go now!" she shrilly said.
She brushed tears away from her eyes and ran straight out of the library and right into one of the stalls in the girls' bathroom.
"Alya, wait!" Marinette pleaded.
She shot an angry glare in Nino's direction before also exiting the room.
"What did I do?" Nino wondered.
Adrien shook his head. "You crossed a couple of lines, buddy. That was insensitive."
"Was it something I said?" Nino panicked. "What did I do? Does she have something against Vivian?"
"You'll figure it out one day."
"Yeah, but what did I do?"
A few corridors away, Marinette chased her best friend into the bathroom.
"I know you're in there!" she said. "You don't want to get akumatized, do you? Forget about Nino, he's too blind to see how amazing you are! You're smart, and kind, and sweet, and he's just a little slow at figuring all that out! There are tons of guys who want to ask you to the ball anyway!"
Alya's sobbing became louder.
"Oh, Tikki, what can I do?" Marinette whispered.
Tikki frowned and shrugged.
A ghost appeared on top of a nearby stall door.
"It's no use!" Moaning Myrtle smirked. "She's the third girl today. They're all the same, whining about the boy of their dreams being with someone else. What a pity!"
She seemed to find immense pleasure in seeing other girls heartbroken.
"Myrtle," Marinette darkly said.
"Stuck up brats, all of them! They don't know how much they've already got! They don't know what it's like to be….to be…..dead!" Moaning Myrtle sobbed and fell backwards into her toilet.
"Alya, it's gonna be alright! Besides, Ladybug and Cat Noir's meeting is going to happen in ten minutes. Do you at least want to write about it for The Ladybulletin?" Marinette asked.
"O-Okay," Alya sniffled. "Just l-let me w-w-wash up first."
She opened the door and splashed her face with water from the sink.
"I'll see you there!" Marinette nervously laughed.
She hightailed it out of the bathroom.
"Tikki, spots on!" she shouted, not even bothering with her transformation sequence.
"That gives me eight minutes to get there," Ladybug told herself.
Now, Hallway Number One is called Hallway Number One for a reason.
It's the biggest and most used hallway in Hogwarts.
Every student walks down it every day.
In the breaks between classes, Hallway Number One is always filled with crowds of bustling students.
Because Christmas break had started, you'd expect it to be empty, save for a few students looking for some peace and quiet.
But Cat Noir's emergency had caused an immense crowd of students and teachers alike to gather to see what was going on.
"There she is!" someone shouted.
"Ladybug, what's this emergency about?"
"Is Cat Noir hurt?"
"Did you guys defeat Hawkmoth?"
"I don't know what's- are those birds?" Ladybug asked.
Everyone looked up to see two doves, which were carrying something, flying overhead.
The doves dived into the mesmerised crowd and presented Ladybug with a heart-shaped wreath of roses.
"Ummm….thanks, I guess?" she bewilderedly said. "I'm pretty sure you have the wrong girl though."
Four previously unnoticed students wearing tuxedos suddenly Apparated away (scaring the piss out of everyone).
"Please back away," a fifth student boredly said.
The others followed his orders, and within a few seconds the four students returned with a cello, two violins, and a viola.
"A string quartet?" Ladybug choked.
The string quartet members nodded and began to play a romantic tune.
Another pair of doves appeared and dropped a small velvet box into her hands.
It popped open, revealing a diamond teardrop necklace with a delicate silver chain.
The crowd oohed and ahhed.
"What?! This is- How much did this cost?!" Ladybug yelped. "I can't accept this! I'm not worth a diamond necklace! This is way too crazy, and where's Cat Noir? I'm sorry, mystery person, but my partner needs my help! Don't think I'm not thankful for this, because I am, but could you just get to the point of all of- What happened to the lights?!"
A few screams and worried whispers echoed throughout Hallway Number One.
The string quartet members continued to play in the darkness.
With a spark, two spotlights turned on, one focused on the string quartet, the other focused on Ladybug.
"Is everyone fine?" Ladybug yelled.
"You certainly are," a voice purred.
Wait, was that-?
No, it couldn't be.
It couldn't be.
There was no way he would cause this much commotion over something like this.
This was stupid.
This was ridiculous.
There had to be a better reason, a better explanation.
Surely, he wouldn't-
"You look most lovely today, my lady."
He did and you'd be damned if you thought Ladybug wasn't going to tell him off for it.
Cat Noir rode into Ladybug's spotlight.
On a winged horse.
Cue the oohing and ahhing, yet again.
She didn't want to know how he brought it into the school.
"I've been thinking about this for a long time, and I've decided this was the perfect time," he grinned.
The horse whinnied and ruffled its feathers.
"Ladybug, will you accompany this knight to the Yule Ball?" Cat Noir asked.
The audience held its breath.
Here was Ladybug's dilemma.
Hallway Number One was so large that her answer would echo in the other hallways.
Her answer would be definite, final, because once she responded, there would be no going back.
Everyone would hear her answer, including the many, many girls (and quite a few boys) who wanted Cat Noir for themselves.
This was her choice:
Either a) Say yes, causing the jealousy of Cat Noir's fanbase to erupt with tears and possibly an akuma to fight?
Or b) Say no, making everyone disappointed, including her partner, and have to deal with an angry fanbase for a month?
You only live once, Ladybug thought.
She clenched her wreath and necklace in her fists.
The audience clapped and cheered.
Cat Noir face was frozen with shock.
What do I do now? The guidebook didn't tell me what to do if she says yes! he thought.
"I….I'm honored," he stuttered.
Before she knew it, Ladybug was pulled onto the winged horse's back.
"Hold on tight!" Cat Noir yelled, the horse leading them away.
The crowd clamored around an open window and watched as the magical steed leapt out of it.
Ladybug screamed for her life.
What was with green-eyed boys and making her fall from high places lately?
The horse stopped just above the ground and soared up.
"You almost killed us!" Ladybug shrieked.
"Relax, I trained it to do this!" Cat Noir reassured her.
"Then you're definitely going to kill us!" Ladybug snapped. "Look out for that tree!"
Cat Noir yanked on the reins and the winged horse dodged the incoming tree.
Ladybug nearly dropped her wreath. "What were you thinking back there?! You said it was an emergency! I was worried sick the whole day! I thought you were ill or dead or-"
"I had to make sure you showed up," Cat Noir sheepishly said.
Ladybug huffed and looked away from him.
"Do you at least like the view?" he asked.
She could see everything, from a unicorn herd in the Forbidden Forest to a group of students attempting to walk across the frozen lake.
Somebody had managed to decorate the Ravenclaw Tower with bronze and blue tinsel.
A couple was kissing underneath a tree adorned with mistletoe.
"It's amazing," Ladybug gasped.
But not as amazing as you, Cat Noir thought.
"So…..uhhhh…..do you like your presents?" he questioned.
"Do I like them? Do I like them?! I love them! Sure, the rose wreath is a bit corny but it smells wonderful! But Cat, I'm not worth a diamond necklace! It's gorgeous, but it must've cost over a hundred Galleons, and I can't-"
"You're worth every Knut," Cat Noir said.
"No buts. It's a gift, accept it. Has anyone given you presents without expecting anything in return?" Cat Noir asked. "Your parents don't count."
"Well, yes, but I like to give them gifts, too! It's almost Christmas, and you should know it's better to give than to receive," Ladybug justified.
"But receiving isn't always a bad thing," Cat Noir said. "It's okay to be a little selfish sometimes. When you receive presents, it means you're loved. Heck, all I've ever been doing for most of my life is receiving, whether I like it or not. And usually, it's from people who I don't even know. I think it's time I'd do some giving. You don't have to return the favor all the time. The holidays are a time for relaxing."
"With my friends, there's no way I'll be relaxing," Ladybug laughed. "They're energetic."
"We're going to land, so be careful," Cat Noir warned.
The winged horse descended and landed on the frosty ground with a soft thud.
"I want you to kick back in your common room with a book and a mug of chocolate for at least two hours. Cat Noir's orders," he winked, bowing. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go return this stallion to Professor Otis before he notices. Goodbye!"
He led the creature away.
It was beautiful up there, Ladybug thought. I wonder if…..Hold up! Cat Noir-
"-is my date," she finished aloud.
She had been so wrapped up in the presents she had forgotten that she would have to dance with him.
As his date.
As his romantic partner.
As what could easily be misinterpreted as his girlfriend.
A long list of profanities unraveled itself in her mind.
Nino yawned and fumbled for his glasses on the table beside his bed, accidentally knocking over his stack of books from Tomes and Scrolls.
He paused to see if he had woken anybody up.
Soft snores from his bunkmate, Paul, confirmed otherwise.
Nino hastily put on his glasses and picked the books up from the floor.
It was December 18th, the first official day of Christmas break, and he planned to spend the entire morning being as lazy as possible.
Half-asleep, he reached for his music notebook at the foot of his cot and opened it to the only dog-eared page.
A quill slid out from the binder.
Grabbing it, he dipped it in the inkpot he had magically glued to the notebook's cover and begin to scribble music notes onto the page.
Where was I? he thought. Oh, right. A, G, F, D, F, A, G, F… How about G, G, F, E, F, E, F, G, A, G, E, F an octave lower? Sounds good, but I better change those E's to D's…
He scribbled out a few notes and replaced them with D's.
Granted, I'll have to change some of those to actual chords later, he thought. It's a special remix for Vivian. Focus!
Ten minutes later, the page had so many ink blots that he ended up throwing it in the rubbish bin.
I'll keep the chorus, but the beginning doesn't go well with it, maybe B flat, C, B flat, A, G, F...hmmm...another F, E flat, E flat-
"Nino!" Kim shouted, waking up almost every male Hufflepuff.
A few bunks over, Ivan bumped his head on the bed frame and rolled off of his cot, creating a noise that woke up every male Hufflepuff.
"You're aware that this is the Hufflepuff dorm, right?" Nino irritatedly said.
"Is she here?" a drunken voice cried out from behind Kim. "Is my love here? Release me, you fiend! I need to see her! My beautiful princess is waiting for me!"
"I need your help," Kim said.
He sidestepped and revealed Adrien, whose wrists and ankles were tied.
"You! Young sir, could you be a kind man and untie me so I may lay my unworthy eyes upon my olive-skinned goddess with eyes of the finest lands and hair as smooth as a waterfall?" Adrien questioned.
"Save your questions for later. Do you have a towel or something to gag him?" Kim asked.
"I'll see what I can do," Nino grumbled.
He retrieved his scarf from under his bed and thrust it into Kim's hands.
"Thanks," Kim muttered as he tied it around Adrien's mouth. "I'll get the legs, you get the arms. We'll carry him to the hospital wing."
Nino immediately knew his morning plans were ruined.
An Hour Earlier
Adrien paced around his room.
He was the only one there.
The other Slytherins were hanging out in the common room by the fire.
"I've got a date for the Yule Ball. You know what I don't have for the Yule Ball?" Adrien muttered.
"An endless supply of camembert?" Plagg guessed.
"No," Adrien annoyedly said. "A decent lie to tell Felix so that he'll drink the Polyjuice Potion. I've tried everything, from a fake family vacation, to a fake sick relative, to a modeling gig, to a quest only I can go on to retrieve a special herb that sprouts only on December 25th-"
"Tell him the truth," Plagg shrugged, swallowing a cheese wheel whole. "It's obvious this guy can't see through anything. He seems trustworthy enough. There's nothing for him to gain from telling anyone your identity."
"You don't understand. There's gotta be something he'll fall for!" Adrien frustratedly said.
"You've gone through twenty-three excuses. What makes you think he'll fall for the twenty-fourth?" Plagg asked.
"I don't know!" Adrien snapped. "I don't know. I'm out of ideas. What about you?"
Plagg hovered over to a box of truffles on Adrien's bed.
"Eat one of these, they'll make you feel better," Plagg suggested, offering him a truffle. "A treat from the house elves will get those gears turning."
Adrien sighed and popped the truffle in his mouth.
His eyes glazed over and his skin became sickly and pale.
"Lila!" Adrien shouted. "My love! My heart! My life! My one and only! Where is she?"
"Umm….Ravenclaw?" Plagg responded. "You're causing a scene, Kim might walk in on us."
Adrien looked like he was going to burst into tears. "How cruel! She a majestic Ravenclaw and I but a shameful Slytherin! Forever separated by the color of our robes, like Romeo and Juliet. Oh, woe consumes me!"
He dramatically flopped onto his bed.
"Yo, Adrien!" Kim shouted.
Plagg hid underneath the bed.
"I was wondering if you wanna scrimmage with-"
"Hello! Will you take me to the whereabouts of my true love?" Adrien interrupted.
Kim paused and eyed the truffle box.
Everything clicked into place.
"Your true love's with Madam Pomfrey," he said.
"Blasphemy!" Adrien hissed. "Just now a small floating cat told me that my lovely Lila is in the Ravenclaw dorms! You're lying!"
He attempted to attack him.
Kim panicked and drew his wand from his pocket.
Ropes appeared and tied up Adrien.
"What have you done? Release me!" the lovestruck boy seethed.
"I'll see if Nino can help me," Kim sighed.
"This isn't working," Nino grunted. "Let's switch."
"We're almost there," Kim muttered.
Adrien continued with his muffled profanities.
"Does love potion make you heavier or something? I thought he'd be lighter than this," Nino complained.
"We'll be there soon," Kim grumbled.
Three more minutes of tugging, pushing, and whining later, they arrived at the hospital wing.
"Just a minute, just a minute!" Madam Pomfrey said.
The door creaked open.
"What are you doing here at this- dear lord!"
"Love potion," Kim frowned.
"Predictable," Madam Pomfrey murmured. "Help me carry him to a cot."
They dragged Adrien onto an empty cot.
"Which student created the potion?"
"Lila," Nino answered.
"I'll talk to Headmaster Fu. Trouble, that one is. I knew it from the start. This might take a while. You boys best be off."
"We're sorry for ruining your morning," Nino apologized.
"It's alright. I've dealt with much worse," Madam Pomfrey said.
She waved them away.
"Dude, we're totally gonna tease Adrien about this later, right?" Nino asked.
"You're insane if you think we won't," Kim grinned.
"Lila! My princess! My one true love!" Nino mimicked.
"Jeez, did you feel that? I think the temperature dropped twenty degrees," Nino shivered.
"It's December, what do you expect?" Kim retorted. "But I felt it too, that's really- Woah."
The hallway they had entered was completely frozen.
The walls, the lamps, the ceiling- all of it was made of ice.
The people in the portraits had left, presumably staying with their neighbors in a warmer section of the castle.
In the middle of the corridor stood a girl.
A girl covered with frost.
"Son of a Bludger! What the hell happened here?" Nino whispered.
"Looks like the result of some crazy duel," Kim mumbled. "Or an akuma."
"No way is it an akuma. They would've announced their presence as soon as possible. Hawkmoth's victims don't know anything about stealth," Nino rationalized.
"Must've been a duel, then. My guess is that the other person's spell went wrong and they chickened out," Kim said.
They walked toward the girl, being careful not to slip.
"She looks familiar. I've seen her somewhere," Nino said, examining her.
"That's Sophie!" Kim gasped.
"You know, Will's sister? Will Montgomery? From the Slytherin Quidditch team? Glasses? About this tall?" Kim explained.
"I know who he is. We have to get her to the hospital wing before she dies of hypothermia," Nino said. "I'm getting the legs this time."
Adrien opened his eyes.
"Oh, you're finally awake," Madam Pomfrey smiled.
"What...where am I?" Adrien asked.
"The hospital wing," Madam Pomfrey replied. "You were under the effects of love potion. Your friends Nino and Kim carried you here. It's 3:15 now. I'll give you five minutes before you can go."
She pushed her cart to attend to another student.
Adrien yawned and shifted in his cot.
"Frostbite," a voice behind him said.
Adrien sat up and turned around.
A girl with pale skin and glassy, icy-blue eyes stared back at him.
"W-What happened to you?" Adrien stuttered.
The girl fell silent.
"Was it an akuma?"
She locked eyes with him for a full minute before slowly shaking her head.
Adrien sighed with relief.
"Do you feel okay? Can you say anything other than 'frostbite?'"
"Frostbite. Frostbite. Frostbite. Frostbite."
"So I guess no-"
"What? Who's watching?"
A horrified look appeared on the girl's face.
And with those two words, Sophie fell back onto her cot, sound asleep.
News of Sophie's "Frostbite Fever" spread like the plague.
It didn't matter who talked to her.
It didn't matter what they said.
The response was either "frostbite" or silence.
Nobody knew why she said "frostbite."
Was it a person?
Who would let them know?
Certainly not Sophie.
Adrien kept quiet about the other phrase, the only other thing besides "frostbite" Sophie had uttered since she was found frozen in the icy hallway.
Adrien was certain that Sophie had been attacked by an akuma.
He had discussed the topic with Ladybug, but after an hour of finally convincing her that yes, there is an akuma and she has it out for Sophie, they came to the conclusion that there was nothing they could do about it until the akuma revealed herself.
After a couple of days, the "Frostbite Fever" had been forgotten in lieu of more important events, specifically, the Yule Ball; it would take place in three days.
Alya had been asked out by Shawn Gray, the previous Ravenclaw Chaser, and seemed as eager to rub it in Nino's face as possible.
"We know he's your date! Now could you stop saying his name every five seconds?" Nino asked, rather irritated.
"It's only fair that I talk about Shawn when you talk about Vivian all the time," Alya hissed.
She dragged Marinette away from him and Adrien.
Marinette hopelessly shrugged.
"Let's stop talking about him for the rest of the break," she suggested. "Watch your step."
The girls carefully treaded across the icy hallway.
"Maybe this one will work," Professor Bustier said.
Fire shot from her wand as if it was a flamethrower.
"Nearly gave me a heart attack," she hyperventilated.
The ice remained intact.
"I don't have too many spells left," Professor Bustier sighed. "It won't melt!"
Headmaster Fu frowned.
Did you find her yet? he mouthed to Marinette.
She shook her head.
The akuma had been quiet since the Frostbite Fever incident.
Headmaster Fu was vexed about the akuma, too.
Marinette doubted that there even was an akuma, but Cat Noir was adamant that Sophie had been victimized by one.
All they could do was wait.
A day passed without any signs of the akuma.
As did another.
Soon, it was Christmas morning.
Nino, Alya, and Adrien decided to hang out in the Gryffindor dorm; Nino, because Adrien was going; Alya, because Marinette was there; and Adrien, to escape from Chloe.
They exchanged gifts.
Marinette had given Nathaniel a set of colored inkpots, Alix a pink headband that she had crocheted herself, Alya an opal necklace, Nino a record collection for DJing, and Adrien a stuffed black kitten.
She had enchanted it so that it would act as a real cat without needing the additional annoyances like food and a litter box.
"Uhhh, you've always said that you wanted a cat, but your dad's allergic, so I….ummm, I made one! I had to use a lot of spells and other stuff, and I hope you like it!" Marinette rambled.
The kitten flicked his felt tail and scratched at his string whiskers.
"Are you kidding me? This is awesome!" Adrien gushed, hugging Marinette, whose knees felt like jelly. "I'm gonna name him Catastrophe!"
"Of course it's a pun," Plagg groaned from inside his owner's pocket.
"Now it's time for my presents!" Adrien beamed.
He happily retrieved a purple box from the sack he had brought.
"Me and Nino pooled our money for your gift, Alya," he grinned.
The Ravenclaw tore the wrapping paper off of her present.
"A new camera? I've had my eye on this one for a while! Thanks, Adrien!" Alya smiled.
"And Nino," Adrien reminded her.
"Thanks, Adrien," Alya coldly repeated.
Nino let out a noise of frustration.
Adrien patted him on the back and handed him a present.
"No way! These are the newest model!" Nino gasped, admiring his headphones.
"Now you won't have your backpack suddenly blaring 'Na Na Na' nonstop in the middle of Transfiguration," Marinette giggled.
"Don't remind me," Nino blushed. "My detention sentence ended last week, and that incident happened in October."
"Serves you right," Alya muttered under her breath.
"Professor Damocles wasn't too happy about that," Adrien remarked.
"He wouldn't have complained at all if it was Beethoven," Nino sulked. "He plays that stuff for the entire detention. Every time. I swear, Minuet in G's been burned into my brain."
"It can't be that bad," Marinette insisted.
Nino's head whipped towards her.
"Would you like to hear Für Elise on repeat for two hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays? Yeah, it's that bad. No ifs, ands, or buts."
"It's worse when you have to play that stuff," Adrien said. "I finally got a break this year."
"You're a pianist?" Marinette asked.
"Yep. I've been sickling the ivories since I was five," Adrien added.
No one bothered to correct him.
"I almost forgot your present, Marinette!" He rummaged through his bag. "Of course, it's nowhere near as amazing as yours, but-"
He handed her a box with a silver bow.
"-I think you'll like it."
Marinette carefully removed the bow (maybe she could design something based on it later; she felt inspired today) and opened the box.
"These are...these are...your father's most expensive fabrics….how..?" she whispered, her throat dry and her hands trembling.
"Well, I just had to ask him. It wasn't that difficult. I think he likes you! He likes your designs, at least, and….do you not like it?" Adrien asked, biting his lip.
"I love it!" Marinette squealed. "I love it! IloveitIloveitIloveitIloveit soooo much! You have no idea how much I've always wanted this fabriceven a tiny scrap of this fabric! It changes scent, color, texture, and it's super easy to stitch, but I'm sure you know this already and thanks!"
"I'm glad you like it." Adrien scratched Catastrophe's chin.
I hope my father won't notice a couple of fabric sheets missing, he thought.
"I don't like it," Plagg hissed. "I don't trust it. Get rid of it. It's taking up my cheese storage space."
"It's my pocket, not your cheese storage space," Adrien muttered, trying to scrub the smell of camembert off of his robes.
"It's my home for me and my date to the Yule Ball." Plagg chomped on a cheddar cube. "Which you still don't have, by the way."
"I have a date," Adrien slowly said. "Remember? I finally got Ladybug to say yes."
"Cat Noir has a date. Adrien doesn't," Plagg corrected. "To be specific, Felix doesn't, but you still haven't convinced him, have you?"
Plagg's last remark went unnoticed.
"But...oh. Oh. Oh! The Yule Ball is in six hours and I don't have a date. I don't have a date! What do I do? Everyone's already taken!" Adrien panicked, sliding into the hallway.
Plagg sighed. "Marinette."
"What about her?"
You know, the girl who's been pining after you for months, Tikki's chosen one, the girl you've failed to recognize as Ladybug over and over again, Plagg sarcastically thought.
"She doesn't have a date either."
"You don't have a date. She doesn't have a date. Do I need to spell it out for you?"
"I'm not that dense," Adrien hastily said. "I'll ask her out. As friends."
"Good luck. She's on the other side of the school," Plagg snickered.
"Yeah, I know. Plagg, claws out!"
"I didn't agree to this!" the cat kwami whined.
Cat Noir sprinted to the library entrance and detransformed.
"So unnecessary… could've just walked...need more cheese," Plagg dramatically wheezed.
"If I had a Sickle for every time I've heard 'need more cheese' from you, I'd be twice as rich as my father," Adrien said. "Orchideous. Do you think she'll like these?"
He sniffed the roses that had come out of his wand.
"You could give her a week's worth of moldy bread and she would never let go of it," Plagg muttered.
Adrien wasn't listening.
He entered the library and cleared his throat.
Marinette was checking a book out.
Why were his palms so sweaty?
Why was his throat dry?
Why were his knees shaking?
I'm probably coming down with something, he thought.
"Marinette Dupain-Cheng," he began, "will you accompany me to the Yule Ball?"
Accompany? Seriously? This is supposed to be casual! he thought.
Marinette became flustered and dropped her books.
"Me? You're asking me? Oh wow. Wow."
Adrien awkwardly presented her with the roses and rocked back and forth on his toes, waiting for an answer.
"Ahem. Are you still there? You haven't responded," he said.
Marinette's eyes sparkled. "Oh! I didn't respond? I didn't respond! How long have I been like that?!"
"A minute," Adrien said.
"Oh, well, um, yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" Marinette beamed. "I have to go now!"
She left the library immediately (forgetting her books in the process), presumably to tell Alya.
She also forgot that it would be Bridgette, not her, that Adrien would be dancing with.
That tidbit of information would soon dawn on her, causing her to sob into her pillow for an hour before Alya would remind her to get ready for the Yule Ball.
"Do you have the potion?"
"The Polyjuice Potion?"
"Yes, I mean the Polyjuice Potion! What other potion would there be?"
"Uh, I don't know. Yeah, I have it."
"Four doses each?"
"Four doses each."
"Hopefully, Br- um, the girl who's going to be me for tonight won't gag on my essence."
"I'm sure that your essence tastes like strawberries and sugar."
"Your essence probably smells like cheese and cologne."
The figure in black sighed. "I'm afraid I can't correct you."
"Remember to tell your person to take a dose every hour."
"Isn't it going to be obvious who-"
"Not if you come up with a signal. Just make sure that your person's appearance doesn't change in the middle of the Macarena."
"You've never heard of it?"
"I'll show you, then!"
The figure in red started dancing and the figure in black started copying them.
"Hold up, hold up! So you stick your arms in front, then you turn them, then you cross them, then you put them on your hips?"
"No! You put them on your head, then you cross them across your hips, then-"
"I got it."
"Do you know the Cha Cha Slide?"
"Lucky for you, that happens to be my specialty."
"And by 'specialty' I assume you mean 'that one song you can awkwardly flail to.'"
"You'd be surprised."
"What, have you had professional lessons for doing the Cha Cha Slide?"
"Let's just say that life gets interesting when you have a music expert for a friend."
"The string quartet guys?"
"As if they'd ever dance anything but the waltz." The figure in black chuckled. "It took forever to convince to them to play for you."
"Thanks, again. I still can't believe you did all that."
"Don't mention it. I'd do anything for you. Here's the potion. I'll see you later!"
The black figure detransformed into Adrien Agreste.
The figure who had been watching the previous scene unfurl before themselves smirked.
The figure briskly walked in Adrien's direction.
The Slytherin jumped. "Oh! Hi Felix, I didn't see you there-"
"My deductions were correct," the figure, Felix Bösedrachen, remarked.
Adrien began to sweat and wrung his hands. "What do you mean?"
"You're Cat Noir."
"What makes you say something like that? I could never- I would never- That's ridiculous," Adrien rambled.
"I saw you detransform," Felix shrugged. "So this is the secret you've been hiding? Interesting. Yes. I'll do it."
Felix grinned, specks of cold, dead determination flickering in his eyes. "I'll drink the potion. This is going to be fun."
"Okay, so I drink the potion, and Ladybug will notify me every hour-"
"Every fifty-five minutes," Marinette corrected.
"-same thing. So, she'll tell me when to drink another dose?" Bridgette asked.
Marinette plucked a hair from her head and dropped it into the bottle of Polyjuice Potion.
The potion immediately turned pink and the scent of strawberries wafted through the girls' bathroom.
"Bottoms up," Bridgette said.
She drank from the bottle.
Her features rounded out, her hair became more vibrant, and she grew a couple of inches.
Her dress (or rather, Marinette's dress) was no longer loose along her slightly larger frame.
"This is awesome," Bridgette gasped, placing the bottle in a hidden pocket.
"It sure is. Now, remember that- Merlin's beard, we're late! We're late! Go to the Great Hall, quickly!"
Marinette shoved Bridgette out of the girl's bathroom. "And I'm late too. Tikki, spots on!"
Instead of her usual Ladybug robes, she was wearing a beautiful red dress with black dots.
There were sequins, ruffles, ribbons, and everything else that could only be found in a designer's dream.
"Thanks, Tikki," Ladybug whispered. "But how am I gonna run in heels?"
A puff of red smoke appeared in a pocket and she nearly screamed.
She took out a small note.
I thought you needed something more extravagant for the Yule Ball! Tap one of your earrings three times to return to your normal Ladybug robes. The same goes for returning to your dress. Have fun!
Ladybug followed Tikki's instructions and arrived at the door to the Great Hall only five minutes late.
Cat Noir was already there, wearing a suit.
"You...you look pawsitively purrfect," he grinned.
"May I request another Christmas present?" Ladybug asked.
"Anything for you," Cat Noir said.
"No puns for the entire night," Ladybug demanded.
"I'm afraid that's a bit too expensive, my lady," Cat Noir laughed. "Now, shall we?"
He offered her his hand and she took it.
They entered the Great Hall.
Intense shrieking was heard immediately.
"Merlin's trousers, they're actually here!"
"Pinch me, I must be dreaming!"
"Wow, her dress is so pretty!"
I can't believe they're together!"
"Ladybug! Cat Noir! You- you- you're here!" Alya stuttered, absolutely starstruck.
She cleaned her glasses on her orange dress to make sure that she wasn't seeing things.
"Um….uh…ay...uh…Enjoy the party!" she squealed, too excited to say anything else.
"Don't worry, we certainly will," Cat Noir winked.
Ladybug could've sworn that she saw a girl faint somewhere in the crowd.
"Attention!" Headmaster Freeburrow shouted. "Welcome, everyone, to the Yule Ball."
The students applauded.
"The champions shall make a grand entrance.
"Yo! It's time for a fan-favorite: the Cotton Eyed Joe!" Nino yelled from his DJ booth.
Half-bloods and Muggle-borns cheered while purebloods looked around confusedly.
Vigorous fiddling blared from his speakers.
"I have no idea what I'm doing but it's fun!" Cat Noir yelled over the music, trying to mimic the other partygoers' dance steps.
The rest of the purebloods were whisked into the dance as well.
As the song continued, more people dragged themselves from the dance floor, far too exhausted to continue until only half of the original dancers were left.
"I've never been more tired," Cat Noir panted once the song was over, trudging toward the punch bowl.
Farewell, my OTPeople. This is where TMBU's road ends. It is officially abandoned. I am burying Shadow of the Elements so that I can continue in peace.