Aurore Beuréal is terrified of butterflies.
It is due to this fact that her father is currently screaming at a small man in a floral shirt.
"Fix this, you asshole!" he demands, glaring at the man. "You owe my wife and I an exorbitant amount, and you repay us by letting our Aurore get turned into a goddamned weather akuma?"
"Félix," the man puts a hand up, a hand that was swiftly slapped away.
"No, you don't get to call me that. Dr. Beauréal."
"Dr. Beauréal, I do not control le Papillon's actions-"
"Bull. Shit," Félix seethes. "You and I both know what you do to the kids you call heroes, you and I both know that he's your fault, and I'm not letting you target my family! Either you give Aurore some kind of protection, or I'm going to spill exactly where these heroes come from."
There is a moment of quiet.
"If you threaten me, your child will most certainly pay for it," Fu says calmly, with that kindly smile that always takes kids in. The smile that made Félix climb the tree to grab a cane, that made his wife Bridgette punch a guy holding him up. The same smile he gave them the day that they were told that the villain they'd fought against was all just training- that Fu had crafted him out of Bridgette's own father, and all the death was just to make them into perfect heroes.
"I won't let you hurt Aurore," Félix says softly. "I won't allow you to. If you don't give her some kind of protection against this new butterfly villain..."
"You cannot go to the press, Félix," Fu smiles. "They will not believe your story, and if they do, you and Bridgette will go to jail. Then there will be nothing keeping me from using Aurore. She was the first to try to physically fight the akuma, you know that? More that enough reason to make a hero out of her."
Félix took a deep breath. "Don't even think about it."
There's a box on Aurore's nightstand when she wakes.
She's been told her whole life not to open it.
Sleeping Beauty was told her whole life not to touch the spinning wheel.
Adrien is waiting for Ladybug on top of the eiffel tower. Instead, a kid with almost two feet of long blonde hair and vivid teal eyes dressed in about a million feathers lands there, looking as surprised by her sudden appearance as he is.
"Are... are you an akuma, by any chance?" Adrien asks. She definitely doesn't give off the akuma vibe, but then again, neither did Lila Rossi's Volpina. And everyone knew how that had turned out.
The bird kid's face goes absolutely white in horror. "No! No, no, never again, the kwami thing promised never again if I put it on, I can't be, it's never going to happen again, he can't control me!"
This is... less than usual, Adrien decides, flipping his staff to it's cell phone function.
"Hey, Ladybug?" he asks when she picks up.
"Yes, Chaton, I know I'm late, I'm on my way, just-"
"It's not about that," he cuts her off. "There's a kid here crying. She looks about twelve years old and she says she made a deal with a kwami. Long story short, get the hell over here, I don't have a clue how to handle this."
There is silence from the other end of the communicator for a moment. Then...
"I'm here. I should have warned you about this, I'm sorry. I just came from a discussion with Master Fu, he said he thinks we could use a new team mate."
This leaves a sick feeling in Adrien's stomach. "She's a child. There's no way."
"And we're technically minors, Chat. Well, I'm sixteen anyway, I guess I don't really know about you. It's not that big a deal, Tikki says she's mature enough if Fu says she is, and I trust Tikki. Last time I didn't trust Master Fu... didn't work out so well for me either. When I thought Gabriel Agreste was le Papillon, remember? If I'd talked to him, we'd never have wasted any time thinking something silly like that."
"My lady, with all due respect, she's still crying. That's not a sign of maturity."
Ladybug lands behind him, looking down at the blonde girl, and sighing. "Well, that's a little bit unfortunate, isn't it?"
"Ladybug, we can't make this kid do what we do. We can barely do it most of the time."
"Yeah, and a lot of that burden could be lifted by a third hero, according to Master Fu."
"Why haven't I been to one of these secret meetings with Master Fu yet, anyway?" Adrien asks.
"He says you aren't ready yet, I've tried to change his mind..."
Adrien closes his eyes, ignoring his growing annoyance with his Lady. Ever since she started meeting with Master Fu, it's as if she's stopped trusting his judgement. He kneels down beside the crying girl, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, hey, calm down kiddo. You're going to be okay, I promise. What do you want us to call you?"
She sniffles, looking up at him. "C-call me?"
"Like an alias," he smiles gently. "A superhero name."
She thinks for a moment. "S-Sunshine," she whispers. "I-if that's okay. Or does it have to be an animal?"
Adrien shakes his head. No way is he letting this actual child fight monsters, so the name she picks doesn't matter a bit. "Sunshine it is. We're glad to have you on the team."
She offers him a tiny smile, and he looks up at his Lady, and wonders when she stopped looking at him.
He loves her so much. They'll be okay someday, he's sure. But he's worried about her, and no matter what she says, Adrien knows for a fact that he doesn't- he cannot trust Master Fu.
Bridgette holds her husband's hand- or the half of his hand that was left- tighter than ever before as she looks at the news, and sees their child's face smiling nervously, and looks to see the same child playing on her phone, a new brooch pinned to her favorite dress.
"You opened the box," she says softly. "After all we warned you of, you opened the box. Did you not listen to a word we said?"
Aurore dropped her phone, looking up in shock. "How did you know about that, Mama?"
"Sunshine," Félix raises an eyebrow, nonchalance hiding the terror that's turning his veins to ice. "It's not very difficult to recognize your own child's face behind a few feathers, especially when her alias is the nickname you've used for her since she was a baby."
Aurore shrinks back against the couch. "I'm sorry!" she cries out, tears in her eyes. "I didn't mean to, I don't know why I did, it was like it was calling me and I... and I... and he said, he said he could protect me from Papillon, that I couldn't be controlled ever, ever again if I just wore the brooch, but then he wanted me to say 'Transform me' and-"
Her excuses are cut off as the feathered costume covers her, leaving the "Brand New Super Hero" the media has been screaming about for the past twenty-four hours sitting on the couch, terrified of being grounded.
Félix takes a deep breath. It doesn't seem as though Aurore rejected it yet.
That's good. It means he can get it off her.
"Come here," he orders. His daughter steps toward him, looking away.
"Daddy, I wanna keep it. I don't wanna be an akuma again!"
"I won't let you be," he mutters. "But no child of mine is going to go through the hell of the Miraculous." He reached out, pulling the pin from her collarbone, and throwing it to the ground as the feathers disappeared in a flash. "Never touch it again. If you do, Aurore, it won't end well for you."
"But Daddy, please!"
"Your father's right," Bridgette puts a hand on Félix's shoulder, her dark curls covering where her earlobes should be. "The Miraculous are too dangerous. I don't want you trying to get this back." She reached down, lifting the pin, and locking it in the family safe.
"B-but what about Duusu?" she cries.
"Duusu's the kwami?"
"They're immortal. He can stand a lifetime or two locked away."
"But he's my friend!"
"They are not our friends!" Bridgette grabs Aurore's hands, meeting her eyes. "Listen to me, sweetie, the kwami are not our friends, they don't care about us. They just want to use us, and then move on to the next holder. Okay? Don't try to find Duusu again."
Marinette curls up in her bed, looking at her hands. "So... I need to get rid of these... Beauréals?"
Tikki nods determinedly. "They're holding Sunshine and Duusu hostage, Marinette! You have to convince Chat Noir! It's the right thing to do, I promise!"
Marinette nods slowly. "Okay. Whatever you say Tikki. I trust you."