a/n: I've seen several fanfics where Lila claimed to be dating Chat Noir, followed by either Adrien or Marinette claiming that Lila wasn't dating Chat Noir, Marinette was, because the thought of Chat Noir even wanting to date Lila was so very ugh. So I thought- well, why not try a similar set-up and put my own twist on it/go in a slightly different direction?
Thus, this story.
Lila had loved telling her superhero stories for months. She had become Ladybug's best friend only days after arriving in Paris, of course. Her grandparents had been superheroes in Italy. She and Ladybug hung out all the time, eating snacks that Lila had baked herself- she had been taught by a master baker, after all, and Ladybug set fire to anything she tried to bake, so it only made sense- and talking battle strategy. Ladybug took Lila to her and Chat Noir's hangout spots all the time- Lila showed off pictures that had clearly been taken from the top observation deck at night as proof. She helped Ladybug match powers and Miraculous, and wasn't it a pity that her hard work helping had been destroyed with Queen Wasp's appearance?
But her claim that she was actually dating Chat Noir? That was new.
Their classmates oohed and ahhed, exchanging excited looks while Lila ducked her head bashfully, not-so-subtly basking in the attention and fielding questions with a shy look on her face.
"Apparently her last story had stopped getting her enough attention," Plagg snickered from inside of Adrien's jacket. "Whatcha going to do about this story? Just let people believe that Chat Noir is dating Lila?"
"What else can I do?" Adrien hissed back. He didn't like it, but Adrien wasn't supposed to know what was going on in Chat Noir's private life. If he tried to claim anything else, then people would be suspicious and it would just draw unwanted attention. If he had an opportunity to correct the story as Chat Noir, then he would, but the chances of him getting that opportunity? Really low.
(After all, if he brought it up out of the blue, then that would suggest that he was close enough to hear Lila, unless Alya posted about it on her blog. And even if she did... well, it might be seen as mean-spirited to just bring up and bash that one specific claim when he hadn't been asked about it, even if it would totally be well within his right to do so.)
The bell cut off the questions, and everyone broke away from huddle around Lila. Almost against his will, Adrien's attention slid backwards as Alya and Marinette returned to their seats. No doubt Marinette would point out the very obvious holes in Lila's claims- after all, everyone with eyes could see that Chat Noir was interested in Ladybug, not a random lying civilian- and then Alya would just dig her heels in, ignoring all of the holes in the story in favor of complaining that Marinette wasn't giving Lila a chance.
It happened every time, after all. Adrien could understand why- it was really annoying to see their friends suckered, over and over again, and Marinette was all about justice and fairness- but they just weren't getting anywhere.
(He had tried jumping in on Marinette's side the week before, because Lila had been trying to get a class outing rescheduled because she was "going to be gone" and "would hate to miss it- she would feel so left out!" and rescheduling would have fallen on Marinette, but Alya had just dug in even deeper, meeting his resistance with her own. So that- well, it hadn't worked.)
(Thankfully Marinette had flat-out refused to change the date, informing the entire class that if they wanted to come up with a second outing on a date that worked for Lila, that was up to them but she was too busy to change everything.)
"She's so lucky that she's Chat Noir's girlfriend," Alya was gushing behind Adrien. "Ladybug as her best friend, Chat Noir as her boyfriend- I bet Ladybug introduced the two of them! And it's no wonder that he's interested, because she's a sort of civilian superhero on her own, isn't she? With all of her charity work and everything."
Adrien cringed. Here it came, another argument between two besties-
"You know, I bet that Chat Noir would love to tell you how they got together! He seems the romantic type- y'know, the kind to absolutely gush about their girlfriend?"
Adrien's mind flatlined.
"I bet that would make a really great video for the Ladyblog," Marinette continued, and Adrien turned to- well, not to stare, because that would be rude, but to try to figure out what was going on. Had Marinette been akumatized? Or, more likely, had Lila been akumatized and now was controlling Marinette like a puppet? "I know you said that videos have been slow lately, because too many of the fights have been too dangerous for you to get close, so maybe a superhero's personal life interest piece would help with that?"
"Ooh, yeah!" Alya agreed, hand shooting out to snag her notebook and pencil, and Adrien blinked in confusion. Had both of them been taken over by weird body-snatchers or something? Their Lila-centric conversations never went like this. "I can interview both of them! Lila said that I could ask her about their relationship after class today, so I can get her side of the story then, but yeah, my viewers would love to hear it from Chat Noir, too. I'll ask him for the story after the next akuma fight! Well, the next one I can get to," she corrected, looking a bit sheepish. "My parents said that if I run off again and leave my sisters in the apartment when I'm meant to be babysitting, I'll be grounded for a month. And I can't get out of school. But the next chance I get! Now I gotta think up questions before that happens- I can't get caught unprepared!"
Alya started scribbling furiously in her notebook, Adrien's eyes slid over to Marinette. She caught his gaze and her lips twitched up in a smirk before she winked, and it all fell into place. Once again, Marinette was proving just how smart she was and how well she could put that into practice when she wasn't letting her frustration blind her.
Clever, Marinette. Instead of doing the same thing she always did and arguing with Alya about Lila, she had outwardly gone along with it and in doing so, had managed to steer Alya into doing exactly what she wanted to. Now Alya would go to Chat Noir, not to fact check but just to get more information for her scoop, and end up find out exactly how truthless Lila's stories were.
...well, he might just get his perfect opportunity to debunk Lila's lies after all.
It really was no real surprise when Ladybug and Chat Noir spotted Alya biking after them during the next akuma attack. She kept on their tails, cell phone apparently mounted on the front end of her bike to minimize the likelihood that she would lose control of the bike while steering one-handed, and was the first reporter on-site after the akuma had been defeated and it was safe to approach.
Considering that she wanted her story first, that was no real surprise. She had to get to them first, since Lila's "side of the story" had been filmed and posted the previous day. Adrien had been surprised by that, but after texting Marinette, it had all become clear. Alya had never been known for her patience, and, well, two posts and two videos were better than one! So she had posted the interview with Lila, promising a "part two" soon. That meant that people would be interested, and they would no doubt come back regularly until the part two was posted.
(And they would, Adrien knew that. Apparently Lila had heavily implied that she knew who Chat Noir's civilian self was, though she hadn't said it outright, and that had people clamoring for more interviews to try to get any clues they could.)
...he had to feel a little bad for Alya, honestly. There would be no easy way for her to hide the fact that she hadn't fact-checked any of her articles featuring Lila and her friendship with Ladybug, and that wouldn't reflect well on her. Still, she couldn't say that Marinette hadn't warned her.
Maybe this would just be a much-needed wake-up call to Alya that she couldn't just dig her heels in and not check her facts just because she thought that she was right.
"Ladybug! Chat Noir!" Alya called eagerly, biking over eagerly and yanking her phone from the holder as she practically tossed her bike aside. "Do you have a few minutes for a quick interview?"
"It depends on how quick," Ladybug quipped. "I have three minutes, I think, and Chat Noir, you have-?"
"Four." He considered Alya. "But I'll have to go in two or three to be safe."
"Great!" Alya practically shoved her phone in his face, and it was only his model training that kept Chat Noir from yanking his head back and giving himself several chins in the process. "So, I recently learned about your relationship with the one and only fantastic Lila Rossi, and Paris and I would love to hear your side of the story of how you got together!" The camera swung to Ladybug briefly. "And how you helped set them up!"
Hook, line, and sinker. He had Alya right where he wanted her. Thank you, Marinette.
"You must be mistaken, I'm not dating anyone," Chat Noir told her, pasting on his best puzzled look. "All of Paris knows that I only have eyes for Ladybug, after all. I don't know why anyone would think otherwise." He shrugged. "Someone must just be spreading rumors."
Alya paused, clearly taken aback. The phone inched backwards a hair. "But- but Lila told me herself! All about how Ladybug introduced the two of you, and how you got closer, and- and-"
Next to him, Ladybug let out an exasperated sigh. "I thought I told Lila to quit making up stories about knowing me months ago. It was annoying then, it's still annoying now, and I'm certainly not thrilled that she's dragging Chat Noir into it now, too. I'm sure that if she's been making up stories about other famous people, that they're not thrilled about it either."
Alya took a slow step back, looking a bit paler than usual. Admirably, though, she kept on filming, even though she had to know that her integrity as a reporter was getting torn apart live. "I- oh."
"The first time either of us met Lila Rossi was at or right before her akumatization into Volpina for the first time," Chat Noir chimed in. "And the only time either of us has come into contact with her is during akuma battles, either when she was akumatized herself or when she was purposefully getting in our way by claiming that she was badly injured and needed attention. If she's claiming otherwise- well, then it's her own fault if Hawkmoth decides to target her thinking that we're friends. I suspect that she's just making up all sorts of tall tales to get people to like her so that she can manipulate them into doing what she wants."
"I had hoped that such a public call-out wouldn't be necessary and that Lila would realize that lying about having connections with famous people such as superheroes was wrong, but clearly talking to her relatively privately hasn't done a thing." Ladybug glanced around at all of the assembled reporters. They had caught up now and were eagerly recording. "So I might as well make it clear: We are not connected to Lila Rossi in any way. I am not friends with her, Chat Noir is not dating her, and any claims to the contrary are not at all based in fact. She is lying about having connections for her own gain, and I would take any stories she tells with a huge grain of salt." She waved, winding up to throw her yo-yo. "Bug out!"
...well, clearly Ladybug wasn't going to give Lila any wriggle room. Harsh, but admittedly deserved at this point.
"She said it all, folks," Chat Noir told the cameras with a winning smile. "Any stories from Lila Rossi should probably not be trusted, at least not without a very in-depth check first. If something sounds too good to be true, well..." He shrugged, determined not to lose his cheer. "It just might be."
With that, Chat Noir took off into the sky, heading back home and feeling lighter than he had for a while, a load off of his shoulders now that the rest of the world- well, Paris at least- knew not to trust Lila Rossi. Maybe it was a bit of a dramatic approach to the problem, as highly publicized as the call-out had been, but if he had learned nothing else during the months of dealing with Lila that they had gone through, it was that she was slippery and would just come up with more excuses. Maybe there would be fallout- fallout that he had, admittedly, initially been hoping to avoid, with Lila no doubt pouncing on yet another akuma to try to get revenge- but in the end, everything would hopefully be better.
It was weird to say, really, but maybe Lila lying about dating Chat Noir had been the best thing that could have happened, since it had provided the perfect opening for the superheroes to correct the lies that she had been spreading without looking like they were picking her out unfairly. If they were super lucky, maybe the added publicity from all of the major news stations would get the attention of Lila's mom, and some of her other lies would start unraveling with a vengeance.
Even if that didn't happen, Alya and the rest of their classmates would be aware of Lila's lying now. They weren't going to trust her, which meant that Lila would be left powerless. She couldn't do anything when everyone around her was aware of her manipulations.
The rest of the school year was truly looking up.
a/n: Sometimes, simple and straightforward is the best solution :D
As with most of my stories, this is a one-shot and is therefore complete! And as always, comments make my day!