a/n: Sorry for the delay! Life decided to kick my butt with car problems followed by a health scare (followed by being dragged out to help my mom with Christmas shopping, plus trying to actually make gifts in a shorter-than-expected time frame). (1/10 do not recommend doing any of that stuff. Particularly the health scare.)
It didn't take long for them to figure out what they were going to do.
All three of them would grab a Miraculous to use- Alix gravitated straight for the Rabbit, of course, Marinette stuck with the Bee and its yo-yo-like trompo, and after a bit of deliberation (and some apparent surprise that it was even in the Box, which...uh, Marinette wasn't going to look at that too closely at the moment), Adrien went for the Dragon because of its sword and his experience with fencing.
"Can I quick use the bathroom before we go?" Alix asked, raising her hand. "Since we're just going to use the Rabbit to go back in time and get set up in Mr. Agreste's office before he gets back anyway?"
"Go ahead," Marinette assured her. It wouldn't be a bad idea for her to do the same, actually, but mostly so that she could have a moment to talk to Tikki. It wasn't ideal that she was going to be going into the final battle with an unfamiliar Miraculous but, to be fair, if something went sideways she could always just add on her Ladybug transformation on top of the Bee. That would mean that her friends would know her identity, but, well.
She was the Guardian now, no one was going to be taking her Miraculous away. Besides, Hawkmoth's defeat was more important.
"Fantastic!" Flashing Marinette a grin, Alix darted out of the room, heading downstairs. Fluff floated eagerly after her, clearly excited to get to explore a bit.
A minute passed, and Marinette was starting to get jittery. She didn't like just sitting around and waiting and not getting something prepared. After a second, though, a light bulb went off in her head and Marinette stood up. "I'm going to go get some snacks for the kwamis. Alix is going to have to recharge Fluff after we jump back, and if anything drags on longer than we planned..."
"I'll come with!" Adrien volunteered, following Marinette towards her door. "It'll give me something to do, at any rate, beside just wondering what- what's going to happen to me once Father and Nathalie are in jail. Like, I have my aunt and cousin as family, of course, but they don't exactly live nearby and I don't know how much I would want to stay with them."
"We have a guest room," Marinette told Adrien as she pulled open the fridge. She knew that Fluff liked carrots and Pollen was a fan of honey in particular but anything sweet was good, and- well, the kwamis might prefer certain foods but they could eat anything, and so Marinette just had to get stuff that was easy enough to bring along. Outside, another fire truck zipped past. "And I know my parents would be willing to have you, too. They like you a lot."
A smile finally reappeared on Adrien's face. "I like them, too. I'd like that."
"All right, I'm back!" Alix announced, bounding back into the room. "Let's go kick some Hawkbutt-"
"You're doing what now?"
All three teens froze as Mrs. Cheng's voice rang through the room, and then Alix whipped around, wide eyes giving away the fact that she apparently hadn't noticed Marinette's mom following her back to the living room. Pollen and Longg vanished behind Adrien and Marinette, and Fluff followed suit a little too late. Mrs. Cheng's eyes followed the white blur, and then narrowed. "What was that? And why am I smelling smoke? And- oh good, Adrien, you're all right, thank goodness."
Marinette and Adrien exchanged a look, and Marinette could feel her heart racing. Her mom wouldn't want them going after Hawkmoth and would call it too dangerous- which, okay, maybe it was a bit dangerous, but they could do it just fine- but they couldn't not go, now that they knew. It would be more dangerous for Adrien to have to go back to his father's house when he had the information that he did. If he got upset by the betrayal again and his father decided to akumatize him...
That would be super dangerous. If Hawkmoth could get any information from an akumatized Adrien, Marinette and her parents- and the Miracle Box- would be at risk.
No, they couldn't do that. Surely, if they told her parents- and there was going to be no lying to get out of this one, her mom was definitely on their tracks- they could understand that, and let the three of them go.
Maybe. Possibly. And that comment about Adrien being all right- well, maybe that meant that they had been allowed and their attack was attracting a bit of attention. There was no other reason why her mom would say that, right?
"We found out that my father is Hawkmoth," Adrien blurted, apparently having come to a similar conclusion. "And we, uh, were going to go confront him."
"With superpowers!" Alix added quickly, pulling Fluff out. "Not, like, as regular people, that would be crazy. And we're going back in time to ambush him before he expects it, and- oh, Marinette already took Mayura down, so it would be three against one. In theory. Unless she's stayed an akuma and somehow un-froze."
Mrs. Cheng had gone pale, managing to make it over to the kitchen table before sinking into a chair. "Your father- Hawkmoth- Marinette did what?"
Alix cringed and mouthed 'sorry' at Marinette.
"Did I hear something about Marinette taking Mayura down?" Mr. Dupain cut in eagerly, appearing around the doorframe, and Marinette narrowly restrained herself from facepalming. Of course her dad would be super-excited about that. "Or did my ears deceive me?"
"And Mr. Agreste is Hawkmoth," Mrs. Cheng said weakly. "And these three want to go attack him."
"Well, they have the Peacock now, don't they?" Mr. Dupain asked, ignoring the look that his wife shot him. "So they have a Miraculous to use-"
A small smile slid onto Adrien's face. "Marinette stole the Bee from Chloe and an entire box of other Miraculous from Hawkmoth, too, so we have a bunch of Miraculous to choose from."
Her parents' gazes immediately shot to Marinette, a combination of horror and glee. Mr. Dupain reacted first.
"Can I come along, too?"
"Darling, think about it!" Mr. Dupain implored. "If there's more of us, then there's a better chance that we can overpower Hawkmoth safely. And if he's without his backup, then the chances of us succeeding..." He paused, then continued. "And think of how much safer Adrien and Paris will be without Hawkmoth out and about."
Mrs. Cheng wavered. "But Tom, they're kids."
"And you've commented before on how young Ladybug and Chat Noir look," Mr. Dupain reminded her. Mrs. Cheng finally sighed.
"Okay. I'll permit it if we can use a Miraculous as well."
"Marinette, your parents are so cool," Alix said, a wide grin spreading across her face. "C'mon, we can explain the Miraculous we have to you and you can decide what powers you want to have. We could definitely use someone on defense." She paused. "And, uh, is it just me, or am I hearing a lot of sirens nearby?"
It didn't take long for them to get Marinette's parents set up with Miraculous. Her dad went for the Turtle- "A shield is always a good thing!"- and her mom for the Snake, just in case.
"Having a redo button puts my mind at ease," she told them as they gathered in the middle of Marinette's room, all transformed and ready. Bunnyx was double-checking times so they would arrive while Mr. Agreste and Nathalie were out. "I won't be trigger-happy Marinette, I promise, but if I see any blood..."
Bumblebee nodded. That made her more relaxed, too, since so much of her team was made up of rookies.
With one last check to make sure that everyone knew what their powers were, Bunnyx whisked them into the past. As quietly as possible (and with a little bit of a struggle to get the transformed Mr. Dupain and his shield through Marinette's skylight), they took off through the sky, heading over to the Agreste mansion. They landed on the roof, glancing around for a way in. Mushu spotted an opening first.
"There's a hole in the roof," Mushu announced, waving them over. He peered inside before dropping in. His voice echoed up from inside. "And it's full of butterflies, and-" His voice turned disgusted. "Oh, of course he has spooky mood lighting. Of course he does."
Bunnyx snorted. "Adrien, couldn't you have looked inside before jumping in? Just because Cobra has resets doesn't mean that you can stop thinking before you leap."
"I told you, it's Mushu!"
"And I already told you, you have to think up a name that isn't just a rip-off from a Disney film or I'm just going to call you by your normal name!"
"Kids, let's please just get in before someone spots us," Cobra said with a sigh. Bunnyx sighed back as she hopped down into the lair.
"Okay, wanting to be inspired by famous dragons I get! But why go for Mushu when you have Smaug as a possibility?"
"The color scheme doesn't work!"
"Oh my god, you're such a dweeb. Bumblebee, tell Adrien he's being a dweeb."
Bumblebee couldn't hide her giggle. "I think it's cute- I mean! The name, and the connection, and, uh, the costume is also nice but- um." She cut herself off before she could start flailing too much. They needed to focus. She might not have her spots right now, but she needed to be in superhero mode. She took a deep breath, then continued. "Okay, so when Hawkmoth returns, he'll be coming in from that window, presumably. He'll have Nathalie- and she's been akumatized, but if he comes back fast enough then in theory Sting won't have worn off yet on her, so she'll be more of a hindrance than a help."
"Right," Mushu said right away. "And he'll probably drop in like-" He hopped up on the wall, demonstrating. "So if we stand by the wall here, then Hawkmoth won't be able to see us and he won't have any heads-up about our ambush."
"I feel like I should be concerned about how prepared you two are for this," Cobra said with a sigh, but followed Mushu's instruction. "Just was are they teaching you kids in school these days?"
Bunnyx grinned, even as she found a corner to hide in. "Battle strategy is all the rage in Paris classrooms right now, don'cha know?"
They fell into silence, all waiting anxiously for Hawkmoth's return. Bumblebee flipped open her top, pulling up a live news feed. There would no doubt be a little delay between when the fire started and the news broke out, but there should be something fast enough that they would get a bit of a heads-up-
"Bumblebee, I can see your past selves on my Paris map," Mushu piped up, coming over to stand next to her. "Can you tell by the way they're moving when Hawkmoth would be leaving the hotel?"
"If Bumblebee and Bumblebun are showing up at all, he'll be leaving soon," Bumblebee said at once. "All of that went pretty quickly. I mean, from transformation to grabbing the box to leaving..."
All of them fell quiet, listening anxiously and pressing themselves back against the wall to try to make themselves as hidden as possible. Bumblebee's eyes scanned around the room, trying to figure out if there were any hidden traps or anything else they needed to watch out for. That seemed like a very villain-y thing to do, to have his lair full of traps and other things just in case the superheroes found him. Nothing stuck out, but it was possible that things were just hidden.
She was very, very glad that her mom had picked the Snake. If anything went wrong, they could just reset and Cobra could give them a heads-up on the traps.
"It's been over five minutes," Mushu whispered. He shifted next to Bumblebee, his nerves clearly rising, and she reached out to take his hand. "He probably decided to hide, so that the Sting would wear off and they wouldn't be so obvious coming back. Otherwise they would be back by now- the Grand Paris is literally next door."
Bumblebee nodded. "There's so many people outside the Grand Paris right now, and all the lights there are on. The chance of someone seeing him come back, especially with what's essentially a human-sized board..."
It made sense. Maybe she had been surprised at first, but if Hawkmoth had gone directly home after leaving the hotel, she and Adrien would definitely have heard something on their walk back to her house. After all, Marinette didn't live that far from Adrien, either.
"So we'll have two supervillains to contend with instead of just the one," Tanker filled in. He was still in his action stance, shield out in front of him. "Five against two, not bad!"
They fell into silence again, listening closely. Bumblebee checked the news on her trompo again, watching the live coverage of the Grand Paris fire. It was well under control now, with just a few flickering flames still being stomped out, and Chloe had been rescued from her balcony. She had clearly moved from fury to shock and fear.
Bumblebee tried her best not to smirk. Now Chloe knew that someone out there knew that she had still been using the Bee, and it was only a matter of time before the police found out, too, and Chloe's perfectly perfect world would fall apart.
For Adrien's sake, Bumblebee hoped that Chloe would get the help she needed to be a better person. Marinette had seen a glimmer of hope at one point there, but then Chloe had decided to regress straight back to her old ways. With some actual punishment...
A thud on the roof made all of them startle, and then Hawkmoth was dropping in through the window. Even with the awkward angle and low lighting, Bumblebee could see the stress written across his face.
"The Box and the Bee and the Peacock, all gone," Hawkmoth was muttering as he landed, akuma-Nathalie right on his heels. "At least I thought to bring along a butterfly in case- gah!"
Bunnyx led the attack, followed by Mushu and Tanker. Bumblebee followed, getting her trompo into a yo-yo-like spin. Hawkmoth staggered backwards for a second, taken by surprise, but recovered soon enough, both him and Nathalie recovering fast enough and countering as best they could.
Well. Trying to, at any rate. Hawkmoth had been able to knock Bunnyx aside, which wasn't a surprise considering how much experience (and height) he had on her, but Nathalie had found herself well and truly bowled over by Tanker, thrown to the opposite side of the room. Mushu had stepped into Bunnyx's place, and was holding his own much better, even pushing his father back a little bit.
Hawkmoth ducked a blow and reached for his pocket with his free hand, snarl on his face. "Thieves!"
"Oh, that's rich coming from you," Mushu quipped, dealing another strike. Bumblebee circled around him, looking for a good angle to strike. They were moving too much right now, and she didn't want to accidentally hit Adrien. "Isn't your entire thing trying to steal the Miraculous from Ladybug and Chat No-"
"Missiles in the walls!" Cobra yelped suddenly. "Mushu, fry them!"
Bumblebee couldn't help but yelp as all of a sudden, fire filled her vision and the floor buckled as- from what she could gather- dozens and dozens of missiles exploded aimlessly. All seven of them tumbled down, dodging chunks of metal and concrete and wood. Bumblebee kicked into autopilot, kicking off of debris as she turned her downwards tumble into something more controlled. Her parents and Bunnyx weren't faring nearly as well, which wasn't a surprise, akuma-Nathalie seemed too stunned to dodge, and Mushu was still in lightning form, which just left Hawkmoth.
Hawkmoth, who hadn't seen active combat nearly as much as Ladybug had. Narrowing her eyes in focus, Bumblebee vaulted over one last twisted chunk of metal as she called for her Sting. Mushu rematerialized on Hawkmoth's other side at just the right time, distracting him, and Bumblebee slammed in for the hit, her aim true.
"Victory," Mushu announced grimly, snagging the Butterfly off of Hawkmoth's chest and then bouncing back out of range automatically- not that it was necessary, with Hawkmoth immobilized. Behind them, Bunnyx and Cobra were digging Nathalie- who was still akumatized, thankfully, and therefore protected- out from under the debris, with Tanker helping with the larger pieces. "You're finished, Hawkmoth."
"Hell yeah, team!" Bunnyx cheered from where she stood. "Take that, Hawkbutt!"
"I'm calling the police," Tanker called, holding his shell-shield up to his ear. It looked a bit awkward, but he didn't seem to mind too much. "They can take these two off of our hands. And- oh gosh- uh, there's a couple places that have caught on fire. Mushu, those are electrical fires, I think, so we should probably-"
"I know where to find fire extinguishers!" Mushu offered. He pocketed the Butterfly and caught Bumblebee's hand, pulling her along. "D'you think that Ladybug's Cure would fix all this, since Nathalie is technically akumatized right now?"
Bumblebee could only shrug. Honestly, she didn't know. Technically, the akuma had nothing to do with the giant, gaping hole in the Agreste mansion, but the Cure had taken liberties with fixing things before. It was worth a try.
For now, though, they had to put the fires out.
It didn't take long for emergency personnel to arrive, probably because so many had been practically next door at the Grand Paris and the lair's explosion hadn't exactly been subtle. Fire trucks pulled past the gate, rather harried-looking firefighters hopping out with police cars not far behind them. A police helicopter circled above, and beyond all of the emergency personnel, Bumblebee could see reporters pulling up, no doubt itching for their second fire-related story of the evening. They kept their distance for the time being, but no doubt would be pouring in the second that the police gave an all-clear.
"We have two people for you to take, sir," Tanker told the first policeman pleasantly, pushing Nathalie through the rubble in front of him. The stiff form of Mr. Agreste was slung over his shoulder. Behind them, Cobra helpfully contained the fluttering akuma in a jar that she had found, miraculously undamaged among the rubble. "Hawkmoth and Mayura. The Peacock Miraculous was recovered earlier this evening, and we got the Butterfly just now."
"Oh, uh..." The young policeman floundered for a second, clearly thrown by the new superheroes and the information. His hands reached for his belt, automatically pulling the handcuffs off. "R-right, of course. But, ah, I'll need to take statements-"
"Of course." Tanker smiled, clearly not about to give an inch. "Cobra and I can do that. The kids need to go- they've all used their powers, you know how it is. But I can tell you what I know."
Bumblebee nodded when her dad shot a look her way. It was obvious that he wanted Adrien out of the area, before the adrenaline from the fight gave way to realization of the full extent of his father's betrayal and he could actually react to that, or to the also emotional realization that his home was in ruins at the moment, the entire center blasted to bits by the misfiring missiles.
Maybe it could be fixed with a Miraculous Ladybug later, but it had to be a bit of a shock to see the familiar entrance hall to his house in such shape. Bumblebee briefly considered leaving Adrien with Alix once they got back to the house and returning as Ladybug to help with the arrest and see what could be done with the house, but it only took a moment before she decided against it.
Adrien needed his friends right now. With the Butterfly back in safe hands- well, everything else could wait.
The news of Mr. Agreste's arrest and secret identity as Hawkmoth broke the next morning as the sun rose over Paris. It spread quickly, one news outlet after the updating the breaking story and changing the explosion at the mansion from a general interest piece to a headline. The motives were still unclear (or at least unconfirmed; anyone with a brain could look at Mr. Agreste and then at the case of his missing wife and see that that was a pretty obvious motive) and his secretary had also been taken into custody, confirmed as Mayura.
And, strangest of all, it hadn't been Ladybug and Chat Noir who had brought about his defeat. It was a team of completely new, never-seen-before superheroes, which was causing considerable amounts of confusion, speculation, and even outright alarm.
The Miraculous, of course, had (almost) all been seen before- the Bee and the Snake and the Turtle and the Dragon, and there were a couple people who swore that they had once seen a version of the Rabbit, too, just taller- but the people wielding them were all different.
Were they connected to Ladybug and Chat Noir, or independent operators? Where were the city's superheroes? Were the new superheroes connected to the fire at the Grand Paris? What if these new superheroes weren't actually superheroes and had just stolen the Miraculous for their own means?
Alix snorted at that last bit. As if Marinette would ever used the Miraculous for unsavory reasons. She was far too straight-laced for that. And Adrien- well, he had insisted on coming along to help defeat his father, determined to help right some of his father's wrongs. It would be hard to get much more noble than that, which meant that the speculation in some of the less-reputable tabloids about how much Adrien might know was even more infuriating.
Alix was going to start throwing hands at anyone who suggested that Adrien might have known about his father being Hawkmoth. It was just- it was disgusting. She had to wonder if Adrien would end up revealing exactly how involved he had been with the final battle (the final ambush?), or if he would decide that going in a different direction to thoroughly prove his innocence would be a better idea. It probably depended on what the press was saying about him, and if the journals that the police had found in their overnight search of the mansion about Mr. Agreste's on-the-side activities said anything about who did and didn't know about his identity.
(Alix was also really, really hoping that the journals had some record of who was going to get Miraculous from Hawkmoth. If Adrien and Marinette were right about Lila...well, things like that couldn't just go unpunished.)
(Speaking of which... well, presumably Marinette (or Bumblebee, in case she didn't want to deal with Mr. Bourgeois trying to press charges for arson, because he totally would) would be turning over the footage from Chloe's meeting with Hawkmoth today, and then that could get punished, and Hawkmoth's comments would open the path for the police to search for that second name, if they hadn't already found it.)
The breaking, ever-updating news was the reason- aside from the fact that she wasn't emotionally exhausted like Adrien, or naturally a late sleeper like Marinette- Alix was already up, sitting with her back propped against Marinette's giant stuffed cat and scrolling through her phone, resolutely ignoring the way that the class chat was blowing up. It had been going strong ever since the fire at the Grand Paris, and now- hours and hours later- the messages had piled up like mad.
She had glanced at them briefly, but exited out pretty quickly after she saw Lila trying to claim partial credit for Mr. Agreste's discovery and the formation of the new team of superheroes. At least Alix would be able to catch Adrien and Marinette up to what was being said once they woke up.
With that thought, Alix glanced over to the side. Next to her, Adrien and Marinette were still fast asleep, curled up next to each other in a tangle of blankets. Marinette's bed had been a bit cramped with all three of them sleeping in it- it was clearly meant for one person, not three- but Adrien had clearly needed to be near people and it could have been a little weird if Marinette and Adrien were in a bed together by themselves. Besides, Alix hadn't exactly wanted to leave after the excitement of the previous night, either, and she wanted to be there to help in case Adrien got nightmares or something, which- well, if she was in his position and helped get her dad arrested and blew up half the family home and found out that her dad was Hawkmoth, she would definitely be getting nightmares.
At least Marinette had been the recipient of most of Adrien's thrashing around when he was getting settled. She was way more patient than Alix would have been if she had been the one getting kicked that much, and it was honestly a bit of a wonder that she had been able to drop off at all.
Maybe Marinette had just been too tired to care. After all, while Alix had been involved with the whole Hawkmoth takedown, that had been pretty short compared to Marinette's earlier stakeout in Chloe's room, plus the double dose of excitement with stealing the Miraculous twice over with an assist from the Rabbit. That must have taken a huge amount of focus and on-the-spot planning and confidence that she could do it- and not an ounce of hesitation in her step, or she would have failed.
Alix had expected that Adrien would probably be pretty kickass with a Miraculous even if it was his first time out, thanks to his training, but Marinette had been crazy amazing, taking to it like a natural.
Alix knew that she was going to be a permanent future Miraculous holder with Ladybug and Chat Noir, but she was going to have to petition them to see if Adrien and Marinette could be holders, too. If they had been that good for their first time out, she could only imagine what they might be like with a bit of training.
At that thought, Alix's eyes narrowed, watching as Adrien burrowed deeper into Marinette's embrace, his hair long since mussed out of his normal tamed style and into the messiest of bedheads. Or had it been their first times out? There were too many things that didn't quite sit right with her about their explanations, things that were rushed past and never fully explained or waved off with the world's thinnest excuse.
How both Adrien and Marinette separately found out about Chloe's meeting with Hawkmoth. How they already seemed to know about what Miraculous had what powers, even ones that hadn't ever been used. How they knew about kwami names and- in Marinette's case, with Bumblebun- kwami fusion.
Some things, of course- mostly Marinette's knowledge- could potentially be explained by Pollen telling her things quickly in order to get the Grand Paris Ambush pulled off successfully. But that much information, in as much detail as Marinette clearly knew, wasn't exactly a fast field briefing. Add in the fact that both Adrien and Marinette seemed to automatically know that Alix would go for the Rabbit, when only Ladybug and Chat Noir had been close enough to see and hear everything with Future Bunnyx- and had she ever actually told them what name she wanted to use, or had they just assumed?
Almost subconsciously, Alix's eyes slid down to Adrien's hand, where a silver ring sat on one finger, then up to Marinette's ears, where plain, dark earrings sat. Maybe it was just a coincidence, of course, but Alix knew that Marinette had always rotated her earrings before Ladybug's appearance, either wearing none at all or trying out experimental ones that she had made herself, and that ring looked like it was pretty much the same size and shape as Chat Noir's Miraculous. Add in the fact that neither Ladybug nor Chat Noir had showed up to the final battle, even though their team definitely hadn't been subtle about it with the whole blow-up-half-a-mansion thing, and the fact that both Adrien and Marinette were crazy (or driven) enough to separately come up with the idea to steal the Bee from Chloe, and their curiously timed absences...
Well. It might be a coincidence, but something told Alix that she was probably on the right track.
Smiling to herself, Alix went back to scrolling through her phone. She wasn't going to confront the other two, not right now. Adrien was already reeling from the dual reveal from his father and Nathalie, plus the arrest (and Alix wouldn't be surprised if there was probably more news about his family to come), and Marinette's full energy was focused on helping with that. Alix also wasn't going to breathe a word of this to anyone.
(Unlike Alya, she actually understood the importance of keeping secret identities, and not just her own secret identity.)
Hawkmoth's arrest and his identity reveal was going to be the news of the month, if not the year. Alix was sure that new breaks in the case and speculation about the other superheroes would dominate the headlines for a while, keeping it fresh in the city's mind. Their entire class (minus, of course, the wannabe supervillains) would have to rally around Adrien, she suspected, and make sure that no one bothered him. Alix could arrange that, maybe, and let Marinette focus on helping Adrien heal.
Alix glanced down at her sleeping friends one more time, smiling as she did. They looked so innocent and peaceful right now, not at all like the fierce heroes yesterday who had played such a giant role in taking down two supervillains. They would have to go out again later, no doubt- the police still wanted to talk to all of the superheroes involved in the takedown, and of course Marinette had evidence to turn over (and, if Alix was right about her assumptions, they would have to make appearances as Ladybug and Chat Noir later on)- but for now, she would let them sleep.
After everything, they deserved it.
a/n: This is the final chapter of Stealing from Supervillains! I hope you enjoyed the story- it was definitely fun to write!
As always, comments make my day!