Since PatBC is entirely from Plagg's POV and Plagg has the annoying tendency to entirely miss things that are going on, I decided to have side stories from other POVs to fill in parts of the story. Currently, there are nine side stories.

This particular chapter refers to events from PatBC chapters 1-3.


Gabriel Agreste and the Very Bad, No Good, Terrible Day

Gabriel Agreste's day got off to an awful start when he accidentally scratched his eye while getting ready for the day. It hurt and hurt and didn't stop, so he had Nathalie set up an appointment with an eye doctor right away. He ordered Nooroo to stay put in the house before he left, and then left for the appointment, hoping for some fast relief.

He didn't get it. Instead, he got diagnosed with a scratched cornea that could take weeks to heal and was told to avoid bright light.

It wasn't exactly what one would call a good start to the day, much less a good start to the week.

Once he got back to the mansion, he was even less pleased to discover that Nooroo had wandered off. Evidently the kwami had decided to interpret the command to "stay here" to simply mean to stay in the house itself. The kwami's absence was made even more irritating by the fact that Gabriel couldn't design with one bad eye and his vision in the other eye blurry because he couldn't see well enough to get his contact in. Therefore, it would be the perfect time to go stand in his nice, dark lair and set an akuma on the city while he rested a bit.

He couldn't exactly do that if his kwami was AWOL.

Gabriel grumbled as he set off to try to find his wayward kwami. He stalked through the hallways, bad eye closed and the other eye squinted to try to make more sense of the blurry mess around him, peering around for flashes of purple. Thankfully Adrien didn't come out to ask what he was looking for, because Gabriel couldn't think of any excuses he might try to use.

Room after room turned up empty. Hallways were completely bare of magical gods. Gabriel's temper grew, as did the splitting headache growing behind his injured eye. He was starting to storm through the hallways, muttering under his breath the entire time.

Stupid kwami. Stupid eye. Stupid lost glasses that would make this entire search eons easier.

And then he found Nooroo floating along in the dim hallway near the kitchen. He snatched his kwami out of the air, scolded him, and that was the end of it. Or so he thought.

It was when he tried to transform that everything went sideways.

Instead of spiraling into his brooch, the kwami in his hands made a dash towards the window as another purple shape appeared from the shadows in the lair, sucked towards his brooch. Gabriel blinked and froze, and then his gaze shot to the fleeing kwami as something clicked in his head.

That hadn't been his kwami. That meant that someone had set their kwami in his house, dressed up as his kwami, to spy on him. The only reason that someone would have done that was if they had suspected him. Someone hadn't fallen for his ruse when he akumatized himself, and they had sent in their kwami to investigate, and now that kwami knew that he was Hawkmoth.

Gabriel caught a flash of green before the purple-clad kwami phased out through the wall of the wall and escaped.

He spent the rest of the day in various stages of panic as he paced back and forth in his lair, sword out and at the ready in one hand and controls for the missiles clutched in the other hand. He couldn't let his guard down at all, not even for a minute.

Surely he would be attached any minute. Now that the superheroes knew who he was for certain, they were bound to come charging in like the impulsive, reckless superheroes they were. He just had to be ready to knock them back and take them out fast enough that neither could escape and go tell the world who Hawkmoth was. That would just lead to a whole lot of unnecessary fighting that he didn't really want to deal with as the whole world turned against him.

So why was it that they were delaying? Were they already out telling the world who he was? Were they hoping that if they waited long enough, he would let down his guard and be easy pickings?

It wasn't going to happen. He would not let himself be taken down. Still, he couldn't stay transformed forever, especially not with a pounding headache that had just returned full force and was making it hard for him to think properly. Grumbling, he detransformed and headed back down to his office, ordering Nooroo to stay close by at all times so he could be ready to transform at a moment's notice. Even when he wasn't transformed, he was going to have to be on alert at all times.

"Nathalie, I'll need you to activate all security when you leave," Gabriel told his assistant as he downed the pills she passed him for his headache. She looked startled but nodded regardless.

"Of course, sir."

Once he was back in his room and had found his wayward glasses, Gabriel scanned every news site he could think of to see if there were any signs that Ladybug and Chat Noir had already gone to the press. The news stories were mercifully banal, and he slumped back onto his pillow in a combination of confusion and relief.

Relief because thank goodness the police weren't on their way and confusion because it had been hours, and surely the superheroes wouldn't delay. He had seen them in action up close several times, and he knew that they were hotheaded and impulsive. It wasn't like them to wait.

So why the delay? And on top of that, why had they suspected him enough to send in a kwami to spy on him?

"I don't understand," Gabriel told Nooroo as he settled into his bed for the evening. "I thought that akumatizing myself would throw them off for sure. They shouldn't have even suspected me in the first place, since that girl apparently had the book the entire time." He froze as a thought struck him. "Unless- maybe they hadn't suspected me- maybe it wasn't on purpose! I saw green on that kwami, green like Chat Noir's eyes and probably his kwami's eyes as well- perhaps I was right when I had suspected Adrien, and his kwami was just wandering around the place and I happened upon it when I was looking for you! And that means that it's your fault that I'm in this predicament in the first place!" Gabriel practically snarled the last few words at his kwami. "If you hadn't wandered off-"

"I was in the lair the entire time!" Nooroo protested, dodging his grab. "I figured that would be a good place to stay!"

Gabriel scowled regardless, partly because he should have thought to check there and partly because he wasn't actually thrilled with the idea of Adrien being Chat Noir. He had been hoping that he was wrong about his theory, that he was misremembering the degree of similarity between Chat Noir's ring and Adrien's, mostly because he didn't exactly like the idea that his own son would go against him and could easily slip away from his keepers just by transforming.

On the other hand, Adrien being Chat Noir could be quite convenient for Gabriel. All he would have to do to get the Cat Miraculous would be to send out as many tiring akumas as he could for Ladybug and Chat Noir to fight, with a break only for Adrien to tire himself out with basketball or fencing. Once Adrien was out cold, exhausted by the day, Gabriel could just stroll in and take the ring with no fuss. That would leave Ladybug alone to do the next fight, making it easier to defeat her.

And sure, maybe it would require betraying his son's trust just a bit, but that would hardly matter in the long run.

"It wouldn't make sense for any kwami to be wandering around in an outfit made to look like me unless they suspected something," Nooroo pointed out, breaking Gabriel out of his plotting. "And the Turtle is green as well."

Gabriel frowned. Nooroo was right about the costume thing, as much as he hated to admit it. But that didn't immediately mean that Adrien could be ruled out. Maybe he got curious about the book and asked his kwami to investigate even though he had seen Gabriel akumatized. "What Turtle? There's no Turtle superhero right now. It would have to be the Cat or nothing."

Nooroo shook his head. "The Turtle tends to not be a front-line superhero. Besides, he's probably too old to fight. But he'd be the one who gave Ladybug and Chat Noir their Miraculous. The cat kwami is unlikely to go nosing around much; he's far too lazy. But if the Turtle happened to hear anything about the book or thought that there was something strange about your akumatization, then he would probably be curious enough to send in his kwami to poke around."

Gabriel frowned. It was strange that Nooroo was offering up information like that. He never did that anymore, not since he discovered that Gabriel intended to become a supervillain instead of a superhero. Of course he knew that there was a Turtle Miraculous- he had seen drawings in the Miraculous book- but since no further superheroes had shown up and actually stuck around, he had assumed that a lot were dormant or lost, or so far away that the news about the situation in Paris hadn't reached them, or, after the apparent Fox visitor came through, that perhaps any other superheroes out there had simply assumed that Ladybug and Chat Noir were doing well enough on their own. He had at one point suspected that there were more Miraculous and someone guarding them in Paris, but he had finally decided that he must have been jumping to conclusions after the Fox didn't show up again. After all, if there were more Miraculous, then it wouldn't make sense to not use them.

The information was welcome, of course, and could probably be really useful in the future, but the sudden way it was offered made Gabriel suspicious. Nooroo just didn't give out information anymore, not unless he had some ulterior motive.

(Not that he didn't file Nooroo's words away for future consideration, of course. Confirmation that there was someone with any number of inactive Miraculous, likely in Paris considering how fast Ladybug and Chat Noir had first shown up? He would have to try to investigate that. If he could somehow find this Turtle person and steal the Miraculous they had, he could have more power to work with. He could even transform using one of the other Miraculous and try to parade as a new superhero so he could catch Ladybug and Chat Noir off guard.)

"I didn't think that there was anything particularly suspicious about my akumatization," Gabriel dismissed with a wave of his hand. "I went out, I destroyed things, I came back and fought the superheroes. They unfortunately defeated me, though if I had had one more second I could have cleared enough pages to capture them. I made an error in not clearing off the pages of useless items as I went. I could have gotten rid of the monuments as well once I had Ladybug and Chat Noir's attention."

Nooroo didn't say anything about that.

"Perhaps the girl lied about the book and how she found it," Gabriel mused. "Or maybe she had been reading it in a park or something and one of the superheroes or this Guardian asked her who she had gotten it from and she told them. I suppose that could have aroused enough suspicion to justify sending a kwami in. But it's been well over a month since that book was missing. Why wait to send anyone in until now?"

"Maybe none of the superheroes saw the book at all, and the Guardian has just been sending Wayazz around to explore the city," Nooroo suggested. "There have been a lot of akumatizations in this area, so maybe the Guardian knew that and was having Wayazz explore every house in the area."

"That would explain why he didn't investigate a month ago," Gabriel said slowly. He felt some of his earlier excitement fade. Nooroo was (for once) right; it made far more sense to think that this entire incident was entirely unrelated to his book's temporary unauthorized trip out of the house, which in turn meant that it wasn't further evidence that Adrien might be Chat Noir. "Still, that doesn't mean I was incorrect about Adrien and his ring. I will investigate further in the morning."

And so he did, and his discovery was simultaneously the most frustrating thing ever and somehow also somewhat uplifting, because the ring Adrien was wearing was definitely not the cat Miraculous. That meant that Gabriel wasn't constantly putting his only son in danger (or at least in any more danger than any of the other students at his school), but it also meant that his dreams of an easy win over the superheroes via snatching the cat Miraculous in the middle of the night had gone up in smoke.

Seething, Hawkmoth sent out an akuma.

Unsurprisingly, it didn't make him feel any better.


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