a/n: part 4 of the Alphabet Challenge! That's Z, Y, U, and now Q down, and J, V, W, and X to go!

Contains major references to Timetagger, in case anyone has not seen it yet and wants to avoid spoilers.

...er. If the summary hasn't already given things away, that is.

All her life, Alix had been short. Like, really short. All-of-her-classmates-were-taller-than-her short. That short.

It was frustrating. Her dad was tall, her brother was tall, and her mom was- well, her mom was normal-sized, at least. Add in the fact that all of her classmates were taller and bigger than she was, and her parents soon ended up with a little ball of fire on their hands.

Alix might be small, but she was going to be fierce. Even if the other kids were taller, she was going to be faster. Even if they were bigger, she was going to be stronger. And if they tried to tease her, well...

One very nice thing about being as short and petite as she was was that whenever she got her revenge for a mean comment (or a push, or any other teasing) and the other kid went crying to their mommies, their moms took one look at her, looked at their kid, and almost immediately decided that their child was exaggerating or just straight-up not telling the truth, because there was no way that their oversized kid could get tripped up by a tiny slip of a girl. So while it was maybe a little insulting- she could totally trip them up, after all- Alix (almost) never got in trouble. And she liked that.

...it didn't entirely make up for her distinct lack of height, but it was better than being short and in trouble.

As she got older, Alix pestered her parents into letting her do some proper training. Dashes up and down the hallway outside of her daddy's office and lifting heavy boxes turned into running laps at a gym and even doing some proper weights there, plus doing sprints on her roller blades, some serious lap-swimming during the summer, and even some self-defense classes when she had time, just to get some actual fighting practice in. She was going to be tiny but mighty, darn it, even if it was hard work.

People had stopped underestimating her. It had taken a while and a whole lot of work, but now the only people who teased Alix were her friends and it was all done in good fun.

Still, her training wasn't exactly serious (and it wasn't so much training as just keeping in shape and learning what to do in case she was ever in a bad situation, really). The self-defense classes were useful and practical, sure, but Alix had mostly been pushing herself to the top so that no one could push her around.

And then Hawkmoth appeared, and they were dealing with supervillains in the streets every few days.

Alix got a bit more serious with her self-defense classes then. Not that it would do any good against a superpowered akuma victim, exactly, but, well... Alix hated feeling helpless. She hated feeling like she couldn't do anything. So she trained.

As it turned out, her training was very useful against civilians who had been hit by an akuma villain's powers and were trying to attack random (or not-random) passerbys. She could flip those people out of her way and actually have a decent chance of escape, and it was a hell of a lot better than sitting and screaming like Chloe did whenever an akuma (rightfully) went after her.

And then. And then.

One akuma attacked, and Alix's mind was blown. At some point, she was going to become a Miraculous holder. She was going to become cool. She was going to become badass.

(She was going to become tall. Well. Taller. No longer ridiculously short. An acceptable adult height instead of being so short that she could pass under the noses of most adults unnoticed.)

To get there, she had to up her training and become properly serious about it. She had a purpose now. A goal.

And so Alix planned.

She had taken most of the basic self-defense classes now, ones that were just a handful of sessions, so maybe she should take up some kind of martial art or something. Adrien had once offered to teach people the basics of fencing, if they were interested; considering that her weapon-to-be was an umbrella, maybe it was time she took him up on that. And Alix had overheard Nino and Alya talking about their parkour dates, so maybe they could teach her, too. It would be useful training for a superhero-to-be, probably, and she wanted to be ready when Ladybug came around to give her the Rabbit Miraculous.

And so she did.

Karate started too slow for Alix's tastes, starting from the very baby basics. Fencing with Adrien was- well, she picked up a couple moves, but there were far too many rules for Alix to remember, let alone remember in time to not break them. And as for the parkour...

Well. Alix was sure that in their heads, Nino and Alya probably thought that they looked super-cool. It did not translate to real life.

(Barrel rolls across tables and not-quite-completed cartwheels did not parkour make, no matter how many time Nino and Alya referred to it as such.)

That kind of left Alix- well, not exactly on square one, considering that she was still taking karate and surely it would get to the interesting bits soon, plus Adrien seemed fine with teaching her fencing moves even with the understanding that she wasn't actually ever going to become a fencer. But it left her feeling restless still, trying her best to be ready for the responsibility that she was going to get.

At some point. She hadn't managed to interrogate her future self about when she would get the Miraculous. But given how good of a fighter she had been (facing off with a dinosaur! Only Ladybug had been able to do that before, and hers hadn't even been a real dinosaur, just an akuma), she had had the Miraculous for at least a few years. And considering how tall she was and all...

Well, the akuma had probably come from a good ten years out, Alix figured. So sometime between now and when she was 25...

That was a very long way away, and Alix had never been a very patient person.

Out of ideas for the time being, Alix went to Ladybug and Chat Noir. They were the established superheroes, after all, so they probably had training or something that they did in their spare time. They probably couldn't share too much because of the whole secret identity thing, but maybe they could point her in the right direction.

"Actually...I don't train."

Alix's jaw was on the ground, she was sure of it. "You don't?"

Ladybug shook her head, glancing over at Chat Noir. "It's a good idea, I admit, but I already don't have any free time and I end up missing stuff with my friends, or at school, and then I have to make stuff up to keep up. Maybe I'd try during the summer, but, well..."

"It's just one more thing," Chat Noir agreed. "Plus the suits definitely give a boost, both in just baseline abilities and fighting ability. Like, look at Queen Bee, and then look at Chloe-"

Alix wrinkled her nose. Now that she thought about it- yeah, that was weird, now that she thought about it. Chloe definitely didn't do any sort of fight training (cosplaying running around the Grand Paris aside), and yet she wasn't completely terrible at it when she was involved in akuma attacks. "So you're saying that there's no point?"

"I'm sure that it helps," Ladybug said quickly. "Like I said, a Miraculous enhances your abilities. So since you have the time to train, it definitely wouldn't hurt. Then you'll be ready to jump right in when it's time."

Alix narrowed her eyes. Had that been a rabbit joke that she had just heard? Already?

"And eat lots of carrots, so that you'll grow tall," Chat Noir chimed in, and this time Alix did glare. Ladybug stomped on his foot with a reproachful look, and Chat Noir actually had the audacity to look confused.

"They say that in Russia!" Chat Noir claimed, dancing out of the way of Ladybug's hit. "It has nothing to do with that Miraculous, I swear!"

"Uh-huh, because that sounds really likely," Alix shot back, smirking when Ladybug's yo-yo, tossed into the air, came down right on top of Chat Noir's head. He yelped and whined. "Just admit it, you're already working on storing up a whole boatload of puns for once I do get the Miraculous."

"Well, not a boatload, maybe, but a bushelful, perhaps?"

"Chat Noir!"

Alix was looking forward to their team-up already.

Several years later

Alix wiped the sweat off of her forehead as she watched Kim start his run through the demanding obstacle course. It hadn't been super difficult- sure, her arms felt a little wobbly right now, but that was fine- which meant that all of her years of training were paying off.

Which meant that she was going to kick major butt once she became Bunnyx. Which- well, she was eighteen now. So that meant that surely it would be happening soon, right?

"Nice run, Alix," Adrien told her, appearing suddenly at her side. He grinned at her scowl. He knew that she hated it when he popped up like that, but he insisted on doing it anyway. If it weren't for the fact that Gabriel Agreste would actually have her shipped off and killed for doing it, Alix would have practiced some of her self-defense techniques on his sneaky ass. "You looked like it was barely any work at all!"

"Are you doing a run?" Alix asked, already anticipating the answer. Some of her former classmates (and even some new university friends) sometimes tagged along to her gym to watch her run the course, but only Kim had ever joined her. "It's loads of fun."

"You just want to see me fall on my butt," Adrien said with a laugh, but his look had turned considering as he watched Kim struggle up the salmon ladder. Alix smirked at how red Kim's face was. She had the advantage there, with not having anywhere near as much mass as Kim did.

Kim might have bulging muscles- he certainly flaunted them enough- but they were more of the showy kind instead of the useful sort that Alix had built up. Besides, that ladder took some serious core strength, which...

Yeah, Kim definitely went for show over usefulness.

"I might try it," Adrien said, pulling Alix out of her thoughts. "I mean, I'll probably fail spectacularly, but it looked super cool when you were doing it."

"Yeah, after several dozen run-throughs when I looked distinctly less cool." Alix winced as she remembered her first few months at the gym that Jalil had found for her. It had been a fantastic challenge, if perhaps a little frustrating. "It helps that I can actually reach stuff now."

A small smile played along the corners of Adrien's mouth. "So you had been doing a lot of jumping before that, then?"

"I- yes, a bit," Alix said suspiciously, narrowing her eyes at Adrien's emphasis. "If that's another short joke, Adrien- just because you're ridiculously tall doesn't mean that I can't kick your butt. I'm perfectly normal-sized. I'm taller than Nathaniel, for goodness' sake. And Max is the same height as I am."

"No, no, not at all!" Adrien claimed, his wide grin absolutely full of trouble. "I would never!"

"I'm going to tell Marinette."

Adrien's grin vanished at once. "No, no, there's no need for that!"

Alix snorted. Ever since Adrien and Marinette had started dating several months prior, all she needed to do to get Adrien to straighten up when he decided to go jokester and tease her about her height was to mention his girlfriend. Why it worked so well, Alix didn't know- after all, Marinette wouldn't hurt a fly, and she certainly wouldn't hurt Adrien- but Alix appreciated it.

Now that Adrien was more relaxed around them, he could get to be a little too energetic for her at times. Not normally- normally Alix could take him on, no problem- but she was a little tired after two obstacle course run-throughs, and she still had at least one more to go before she could call it a day.

Across the gym, Kim yelped as he missed his next hook and he tumbled back down to the floor. Adrien winced as he watched. Alix smirked.

"Rethinking trying out the course?"

"No, I wanna try," Adrien insisted. "I might need some coaching to get across some of these, but it looks like good training, and potentially fun, too."

"It's fun in the same way that any workout that isn't boring is fun," Alix said with a shrug. "You sweat, you ache, you get to feel a sense of accomplishment for getting over stuff- that bit's the best part, actually."

"Like I said: fun." Adrien watched Kim attempting the ladder again. "Better than the workouts that my personal trainer insists on. That's all weight-lifting and treadmill."

Alix made a face. "Ugh. No fun at all. D'you get to get out of that stuff when you do other workouts?"

Adrien shrugged. "I mean, if I log it and present it, yeah. If I do a bunch of basketball or fencing one week, I don't have to do treadmill."

"And all to get that pretty-pretty body to go with that pretty-pretty face," Alix teased, even as she started jogging in place so that she wouldn't get cold and stiff before she could properly finish her workout. She had made that mistake before, and she was not going to let it happen again. "I'm sure Marinette appreciates your efforts, though."

Adrien laughed at that. "You say that as though Marinette doesn't work out next to me all the time. I'm sure she would appreciate mixing it up a bit."

Alix hadn't known that. She hadn't pegged Marinette as the kind of person who would do serious workouts like the kind that Adrien had to do for modeling. "Cool. Okay, so, for this course, there are a couple different routes that you can take to get from one side to the other, all in varying levels of difficulty and working on different strengths. I like hitting as many things as I can, just for difficulty's sake and to make my route a little longer, but to start I would recommend not doing that." She glanced over at Kim struggling again and snorted. "And yet no matter how many times I tell Kim that, he insists on trying to keep up with me by doing the full route."

"I kinda want to try, just to see how far I can get before my arms are too weak to continue," Adrien commented, eyes narrowing thoughtfully at the course. "Do we have to wait for Kim to get past the ladder?"

Alix snorted. "If we waited, we would be here all day. It's his arch-nemesis, I swear. We can just skip it this time. If we wait any longer, I'll be all cooled off and I'd rather not have that happen." She started bouncing up and down, arms swinging as she warmed them back up and considered how they were going to tackle the course. "Okay, normally I time myself just for an extra challenge and to see how much improvement I've made, but maybe this time I'll do an obstacle so you can see how to do it, and then you follow."

"Sounds good."

"All right, model boy. Let's see how you do."

Alix led the way to the start of the course, a rock-climbing wall. The gym staff changed up the handholds pretty much every day, so she had the additional challenge of figuring out a new path every day. Still, it wasn't hard to scramble up, reaching and stretching as she went. She reached the top and glanced down, startling when she spotted Adrien literally right behind her.

"I have a climbing wall at home," Adrien said with a cheeky grin as he pulled himself over the upper lip. "Easy as pie."

Alix narrowed her eyes.

Adrien didn't even break a sweat as they headed across the next several obstacles, keeping up with Alix easily. He nearly tipped off on the wobbling platforms, but caught himself and continued with a cheeky grin.

He had good balance and upper body strength, Alix had to give him that. She hadn't thought that typical gym floor workouts would help that much- like Kim's, they were usually geared more for getting muscles that were for show than for use- but maybe the fencing and everything else helped branch out from that.

Alix dove into the rope maze next, her compact body giving her an advantage as she wove and duck over Adrien's longer limbs. She heard a grunt and a grumble from behind her as Adrien tried to trace her path and failed, and a competitive grin spread over Alix's face.

Model boy had gotten cocky, and now he actually had to struggle.

By the time they reached the end, Adrien was just as out of breath as she was- maybe a little more- and he had had to repeat a couple stages when he fell off an obstacle, and there had been a few obstacles that he had really struggled across, taking far longer than Alix had. But he had completed the course. The entire thing. On the first time.

(So. Annoying. Alix had worked really hard to get to that level, and now Agreste was managing it just fine? Ugh.)

(At least it wasn't completely out of nowhere. Adrien had to work out a fair bit to keep up with the other professional male models, and he had focused on more lean muscle than bulk, which- well, apparently that translated to more useful muscle. And at least he had only been able to manage it through the one time, whereas Alix had gone through four times before being done for the day. And he had had to repeat some stuff after falling off, whereas she had been pretty much flawless.)

"I am going to be so sore tomorrow," Adrien said cheerfully as he and Alix finally headed away from the course, towards the locker rooms. "Worth it, though. I think I'll be coming back for sure. I gotta get to your level."

"You can try," Alix tossed back, grinning. "What you see is years of practice, dude."

Adrien grinned eagerly. "I look forward to it."

Alix smirked as she headed into the women's locker room. Adrien had said that he was going to be sore tomorrow, but if her suspicions were correct- and largely based on how she had felt after both her first time and the times when she had been on vacation for a week or two and then came back and resumed training- he was going to be stiffer than a board. He had no idea what he was in for.

She could feel some soreness coming on, too, but Alix didn't let that bother her as she showered and quickly changed into clothes that weren't soaked in sweat. She couldn't let it bother her. After all, while her superhero-prep workout was an important part of her day, it wasn't the only thing that she had to worry about.

Sighing, Alix left the gym and headed across the city towards her university library to study, hair still wet from her quick shower. She didn't exactly enjoy studying- she never had- but she had to get her degree, and it was a necessary evil while she waited to get her Miraculous.

...And Alix supposed that even superheroes had to have paying jobs, too.

Alix was in the middle of taking care of the newest part of her sleeve tattoo when the news of Hawkmoth's defeat broke. She stopped what she was doing right away and turned to the TV in her family's living room, frowning at the rolling announcement at the bottoms of the screen.

Gabriel Agreste was Hawkmoth. Nathalie Sancoeur was Mayura. The top dome of the mansion plus part of the upper story had been destroyed in the battle of supervillains vs. superheroes. No other staff or family members were hurt, though Mr. Agreste was in critical condition and Mrs. Agreste had been found in what looked like a magical coma and had been brought to an expert. The supervillains were defeated by a team of superheroes, though Ladybug and Chat Noir were responsible for taking down the main supervillain. No one else knew about Mr. Agreste and Ms. Sancoeur's supervillain activities.

Thankfully. Alix would have questioned her entire life if Adrien had known about his father being a supervillain and hadn't done anything about it.

Even though it was obviously great news for Paris, Alix couldn't help but be disappointed. She had never gotten her Miraculous, the Miraculous that she had been looking forward to so much- that she had been anticipating so much. Maybe the future wasn't set in stone after all, and she got her hopes up for nothing.

She didn't fully understand how the timeline was meant to work out with the whole Timetagger battle now, but maybe it was just one of those strange time things. Something that she might have understood if she had gotten Fluff and the Miraculous, but now...

It was just a dream.

At least she was still cool and taller than she had been, Alix told herself as she returned her attention to her tattoo. She could probably enter some TV contests with courses like she was training on and make some use of her training, or maybe she would dabble in being a stunt double for movies. She didn't need a Miraculous to be awesome.

(But she had really looked forward to seeing dinosaurs, just for historical interest reasons. And general curiosity reasons. And because she felt like it reasons.)

Alix couldn't help being downcast for the entirety of the next day, though. She had been so close...

But at least there wouldn't be any more akuma attacks in Paris. Alix had to remember that.

And then Ladybug and Chat Noir showed up at Alix's window thirty-one hours after Hawkmoth's defeat, stress written across their faces.

"You two have long faces for people who just defeated their arch-enemy," Alix commented, letting them in. Was it a little weird that they knew where she lived, right down to the window? Yes. But she wasn't going to question it. "What's up?"

"We defeated Hawkmoth, but we made a mistake," Ladybug said, her lips twisting in displeasure. "When we were fighting, his Miraculous was knocked across the lair and he- well, he was knocked in the opposite direction and was really badly injured. Since Mayura was distracted with her own fight, we got him down and on his way to the hospital before trying to locate his Miraculous."

"And then we helped the others finish up their fight," Chat Noir chimed in. "We figured that it would be fine, since we were pretty heavily in a battle zone and it was dangerous, but then we came back after the fight and- it wasn't there. It wasn't anywhere."

"We've picked through all of the rubble, and today our mentor told us that his kwami felt more negative vibes around the Butterfly kwami," Ladybug said, picking up from her partner seamlessly. "Someone came into the mansion while we were fighting, slipped by us, and stole the Butterfly. We don't doubt that we're going to be dealing with a copycat soon enough, and we've let the police know so that we can come up with an official statement before another akuma hits."

"But we want to be prepared," Chat Noir told Alix. "We need to be able to slap back as fast as possible and deal with this new Butterfly before they get a hang of using the Miraculous. So we've brought you a certain pocket watch."

It was happening. It was actually happening.

"Am I going to be a temporary superhero, like the others?" Alix asked, practically trembling with the effort of not just grabbing the Miraculous, slipping it into a pocket, and transforming. She wanted to know what that power felt like, but- well, she had to behave. She had to be patient.

She had already established more than once that she was not good at being patient.

"No, you're different," Ladybug told her. "We've decided that we need one more Miraculous out, even if you don't need to come to every fight. And, well- we've known for years that you would be getting a Miraculous. You've known that for years, and haven't told a soul. So between that and the Miraculous that you've been paired with, it makes the most sense for you to be the one to get the Miraculous to keep."

Alix blinked, even as she accepted the Miraculous. "Okay, so I know that Chloe gave away her identity literally right away, but Rena Rouge and Carapace?"

"They used to date and figured each other out pretty fast," Ladybug said wryly. "Or, rather, Rena figured Carapace out and then on the Heroes Day attack- oh, gosh, how many years ago was that?- when Scarlet Moth came out, there wasn't time to catch them separately and Carapace found out about Rena. So they know about each other, which wasn't ideal to start with, and now that they've broken up..."

Alix winced. To have exs on the same superhero team...yeah, not ideal. And if one got to keep their Miraculous full-time and the other didn't- well, that just screamed possible akumatization opportunity.

"At least it wasn't a super nasty breakup, but they had been dating for so long, it was always going to be awkward," Chat Noir added. "So they were a no. And Chloe was obviously a no." He grinned. "And our mentor happened to mention that with the Rabbit out, if we had particularly long fights that made us miss really important stuff, we could just hop through the rabbit hole and be able to make out job or class or- whatever. As long as we don't abuse it too much and stay out of our past selves' way, it'll be fine."

Ladybug let out a long-suffering sigh at the mention of rabbit holes. Clearly she had already heard all of Chat Noir's bunny jokes already. Alix rolled her eyes.

She would whack him over the head with her umbrella later.

"So, new teammate, d'you want to transform and come do a lap of the city with us?" Ladybug asked, grinning as Fluff appeared next to Alix. "Get a feel for things before an akuma shows up and you have to fight?"

"Do I? Hell yeah!" Alix said excitedly, grinning at Fluff. "I've been looking forward to this for years, I can't wait. Fluff, clockwise!"

The feel of power was subtle, but amazing. Alix transformed in a flash, grinning as her suit settled over her. "That is so cool! Just as awesome as I thought it would be."

"Yeah, it's pretty sweet," Chat Noir said with a grin, taking a step towards her window. "And it's even better when you start running across the rooftops. So enough talking- let's hop to it!"

This time, she really did hit him with her umbrella.

a/n: Bunnyx origins! Because you know that Alix would throw herself into being the MOST kickass superhero to ever superhero and training would be right up her alley. And obstacle courses a la American Ninja Warrior? She'd be there.

(also, that hella cringy DJWifi scene where they're parkouring it up? Yeah, I see that more of a 'what they imagine it looks like' rather than 'what it actually looks like', because civilians jumping and flipping up like that, without superpowers and without serious training Nope, not happening.)

As with most of my stories, this is a one-shot and therefore complete. And as always, reviews make my day!