The house is light blue, and Victorian styled. It's got a lovely oak tree in the front yard, and an aire of light and happiness surrounding the grounds. It's the perfect home.

Adrien feels sick heading through the door.

"What do you think? Is it the one?" Gabriel asks, smiling at his son. Adrien nods dutifully. Gabriel already bought the place. It's not like there's a real choice anymore.

"What room is mine?" Adrien asks quietly, looking up at the chandelier that hangs from the ceiling, over the beautiful old stairway. It's as beautiful as anything else in the perfect, perfect house, but something about the way it's glinting in the light unsettles Adrien. Probably nothing. Maybe it just feels off because it's in such a similar, but still ever so slightly different shape than the one back in his own house.

Gabriel takes Adrien's shoulders, and guides him up the stairs into a wide room with a pretty view. He can see the mountains, and the sky, and a crystalline blue lake.

"You never had a view like this back home, did you?" Gabriel asks calmly. He does everything calmly these days.

"No, Father. Just buildings."

"It's nice to be out of the city. You'll see. You're going to like it here."

To most, this would be words of encouragement, but all Adrien hears is an order. "Yes, Father."

Gabriel nods sharply, and glances at the bed in the room. "Huh. Looks like the last owners left some furniture. We'll have to get rid of that soon."

Adrien shakes his head, going to sit on the old canopy bed. "Can I keep this, Father? It fits with the room better than any other we could find would. And the canopy's nice..."

Gabriel arches an eyebrow. "The canopy is ancient. Moth-eaten."

"Father, please?" Adrien looks up, eyes wide. "If we're really staying here, I want to at least get to choose this one thing. Please, let me keep the bed."

Gabriel closes his eyes for a moment. "We're replacing the canopy as soon as possible."

"Thank you, Father."

"Get settled in. I'm going to see about getting some decent furniture." Gabriel strides out of the room, ice clinging to him each step of the way.

As soon as Gabriel's gone, Adrien pulls his phone out, connecting to the wifi.

He pulls up a face-chat, and his friend Nino appears quickly.

"Hey man, how's your new digs?" he asks, poorly-hidden pity lacing his voice.

"It's pretty nice, I guess. Kinda cold. Everything's very nice-looking, and seriously old. In good condition though," Adrien smiles, cheerfully. He's gotten a lot of practice at that recently.

"Hey, dude, if you want to run away, you can always crash at my parents' place."

Adrien laughs, and this time it's almost real. Nino brings that out in people. "I promise to keep that in mind."

Nino nods, seriously. "I swear, my parents would be down with it, they like you better than they like me."

"That's because I actually bring home passing grades."

"That's low dude. Below the belt."

"Sorry... I meant it as a joke, we're still bros, right?"

"Always," Nino smiles. "Hey, I'll make sure to visit you soon. And, Adrien?"


"I know this is hard for you, man, and I won't pretend to understand what you're going through, but I'm here for you, man."

"Metaphysically, you mean."

"You're a dork for using that word in a normal conversation. But yeah, metaphysically. Hey, did you know that when I looked up your town, I found out it's supposed to be crazy haunted?"

Adrien rolls his eyes. "And I'm the dorky one. Nino, every small town is supposed to be haunted. It's the only way small towns can get tourists unless some big historic event happened there."

Nino shrugs. "I guess that's hey, just keep a lookout for Ladybug, okay?"


Nino taps his lips. "Dude, I'm not saying any more about Ladybug. Look her up yourself if you want to know."

"Yeah. Yeah, I'll do that on February 30th, okay?"

"You're going to wait three mon- oh. Oh, right, no such thing as February 30th."

Adrien snickers. "Talk to you later, okay? I want to explore a little, but I'm also definitely going to want to tell you what I find." And just talk, but he's got too much pride to say it outright. Anyway, Nino knows.

"Of course, man. It's a Wednesday night, it's not like I have plans."

Adrien nods. "See you then." He turns off the phone, and jumps up off the bed. Time to see what's up with this house.

He grabs the doorknob, and... Yanks his hand away, instantly. It's freezing cold... He looks down at his palm, blistered by the cold metal. It's November, sure, but there's no way a doorknob inside should be that cold, right?

He glances down, and notices that the blisters seem to be makinga pattern... An "M," if he's not mistaken. That's not normal...

But then they fade out, leaving no trace, and he shakes it off. He must have imagined it. He's been imagining a lot lately...

He carefully taps the knob, with the tip of one finger, only to find it's calmed down significantly. He opens the door, and heads out into the hallway, down the stairs, and out into the yard. Like the rest of the house, it's beautiful. White roses climb up the railings around it, and the lake he coukd see from his window begins in the yard. There's a little gazebo, and a path made of differtly-sized stones. It's immaculately lovely, the exact kind of perfection his father ordered. There's just one tiny detail that catches his attention.

Sitting on a bench, underneath the roses, and drawing in a book, is a girl with dark hair blowing softly in the wind. She looks up as he approaches, pretty blue eyes wide.

She says something, and his breath catches.

"No way..." He shakes his head. "You're not, I mean..."

She frowns, worry clear on her face, and repeats herself.

"I could ask the same of you!" he tells her. Slowly, realization and horror dawn on her face.

"Oh no..." she murmurs. "Not again..."

As she gets up, closing her sketchbook and disappearing into the roses, her question echoes through Adrien's head.

"What are you doing in my house?"