a/n: I reference a few different sewing patterns/materials pretty much right away- if anyone wants to look them up, the first link when you google "game of thrones dragon scale fabric" shows both the dragon-scale fabric patterning and hints of the netting I mention, and "how to knit dragon scales" has a video that comes up that has the scales I had in mind (though the ones Marinette used might be a little smaller).
This is the last Jagged-related Lila-busting one-shot that I have planned at the moment, but I might come up with more in the future and if I do, they'll be added here. :)
Marinette had spent the past month getting everything absolutely perfect for Penny's birthday gift for Jagged Stone.
Shiny aluminum dragon scale beads shimmered and caught the light from between more muted scale-textured fabric on the slim-cut jacket. Uneven netting made the illusion of yet more scales, each texture carefully placed to make sure that it wouldn't impede Jagged Stone's guitar or piano playing. Marinette had gotten the idea from the Game of Thrones wardrobe and added her own spin, and she couldn't deny that both it and the pants that she had made- with the same fabric scaling texture wrapping around in uneven patches and lines- were absolute works of art.
(There had been so many hours spent frustrated as she worked at the texture, trying to get it to come out right, and then the actual pieces had taken ages, but- well, it was all worth it, both for her portfolio and for the check that she had gotten to cover the commission from Penny,)
And now- in only a couple of hours- Jagged Stone would have his birthday party and get to open his presents. The party wasn't in Paris- Jagged Stone's tour had him enjoying lovely summer weather in New Zealand while Paris shivered under a layer of snow and ice- and so obviously Marinette couldn't attend, but Penny had promised to send a video of Jagged Stone's reaction to his presents.
(Marinette was so glad that she- or rather, Penny- had paid for express shipping. Even with it, the package had only managed to arrive the day before, which was cutting it far closer than Marinette had wanted.)
"Are you going to make a piece for yourself that uses some of the dragon scale mail stuff?" Tikki wanted to know as Marinette anxiously waited for the text from Penny. "Or that texture? It turned out really cool."
"I think I'm going to give my fingers a break first," Marinette admitted with a laugh. "There was so much hand sewing on those pieces, my fingertips are pricked to bits. And it took up so much time- I haven't gone on any outings with my friends in forever, because I was trying to get that done. So I want to hang out with them a few times first, before everyone decides that I'm just flaking completely out on them, and then- yeah, I want to come up with some design to play around with."
"They wouldn't think that you're a flake if you hadn't decided to keep the commission and your gift for Jagged Stone a secret," Tikki pointed out. "I can understand why you wouldn't show anyone pieces in progress, so that the design wouldn't get leaked, but you could have told them that you had a commission for Jagged Stone, at least."
"And then everyone would be bugging me wanting to see it. No thanks." Marinette had considered it at first- after all, it would be a reminder to their class that she did know Jagged Stone, thank-you-very-much, and maybe if she said that one of Lila's stories about Jagged was a lie, people should actually consider listening- but then the cons had sunk in.
The pestering. The attempts to steal ("borrow") her sketchbook in hopes of getting a glimpse of the design. The snooping around her room- which would be a big problem now that she was also hiding the Miracle Box- to try to get a sneak peek at the piece. If she was especially unlucky, Lila or Chloe stealing or destroying her sketchbook out of jealousy.
It would be easy enough to admit to the commission after Jagged Stone had already gotten his present. That way, there would be no chances of sabotage. Then she could admit the reason why she hadn't been hanging out all month, everyone would stop complaining about her absence, and things would go back to normal.
(She had told Chat Noir, after her partner had dropped by her balcony while she was working on the texturing for the fabric scales, but he had been sworn to secrecy in return for a few pain au chocolat. Hopefully the rest of Paris never found out how incredibly easy he was to bribe.)
It was hard to do her homework with so much anticipation swirling around her gut, but Marinette forced herself through it. After all, as a superhero, she didn't exactly have time to spend just sitting around not getting her homework done, and there had been some projects that had been pushed aside towards the end of her present-sewing spree that Marinette had to get caught up on.
At least she had practice with shoving aside everything else in her life to focus on homework. Marinette had had to play catch-up after akuma attacks a few too many times for her to not know how to do that.
Two hours later, her email beeped with a new message. Marinette shoved aside her Chemistry practice problems at once, reaching for her computer mouse and opening the email from Penny.
Jagged LOVES his pants and jacket! the message read. They're absolutely gorgeous! He's gone to change into them right away because he just couldn't wait to wear them, so don't be surprised if you see a picture or two floating around on the Internet before long! Thank you so much for all of your hard work- I knew it was a fantastic idea to commission you!
Marinette had to laugh as she clicked on the video link and it started to play. That was so very Jagged, to be too excited about his new outfit to be able to wait.
Onscreen, Jagged Stone was opening a few presents, probably from his family and staff considering that they had been brought along on tour and weren't just waiting for Jagged Stone at his home studio. Marinette could tell the moment that Jagged spotted her present to him, because he lunged across the remainder of the pile to pounce on it at once. The wrapping paper- courtesy of Penny, because it was just more convenient to ship without extra packaging- went flying at once, the box was opened, and Jagged Stone crowed in delight as he pulled out the pants. A hand- Penney's by the look of it- slid another present to Jagged before he could run off and change into the pants. He opened that one eagerly, too- Marinette could just hear Penny over the music of the party telling him that she had commissioned her- and positively rocketed out of his seat with glee at the sight of the jacket.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Jagged Stone exclaimed, He waved the pants and jacket at the camera. "I'm gonna go change! These are too amazing to not be wearing this very instant!"
Marinette laughed again as the video cut off. She closed the window, only to spot a new email from Penny, with a series of photos. Jagged Stone was wearing his new outfit, posing in it with the world's largest grin on his face.
She could breathe a sigh of relief, at least- everything fit just like it was supposed to. The jacket sat correctly, and the pants were a perfect fit, slim-cut but with enough room for him to move around and rock out. With one more grin, Marinette emailed Penny back, asking her to wish Jagged a happy birthday from her. With the email sent, Marinette could only beam up at the ceiling.
Mission complete. She could breathe easier now, knowing for sure that Jagged loved the pieces she made for him.
She couldn't wait to tell Alya.
"I can't believe you know the designer that did all of the Game of Thrones costumes, Lila! That's so cool!"
"Oh, what now," Marinette grumbled as she recognized Alya's voice. Couldn't she go one morning without hearing another new lie from Lila? Just once? "And why is she trying to claim a connection to a costume designer? I'm the only one that would be really interested in something like that."
Tikki was frowning as she peered out of Marinette's purse. "Marinette, she mentioned Game of Thrones. Isn't that the TV show where you got the idea for the dragon-scale patterning from?"
Marinette's stomach dropped. In a heartbeat, she knew exactly what Lila must be trying to claim. How dare she try to take credit for getting Jagged the jacket and pants that Marinette had spent hours slaving over, stealing Marinette's accomplishment away-
-but wait. There was no way that would stand. Maybe the paparazzi and the world had gotten a glimpse of Jagged Stone's birthday gift outfit already, but he probably hadn't felt like answering press questions on his birthday. If she knew Jagged Stone like she thought she did, he would no doubt gush to the press where, exactly, he had gotten the pieces, and who had made them, probably within the next day.
Marinette grinned. Lila had picked the wrong lie to tell for sure this time.
"Marinette, guess what?" Alya exclaimed as soon as Marinette stepped through the door to the classroom. Just as Marinette had suspected, everyone was clustered around Lila at the front of the room. Even Adrien, for once, but he seemed far more interested in the pictures that were being shown than he was in Lila's story. "Guess who Lila knows? She knows this really amazing costume designer who did a whole bunch of the Game of Thrones costumes, and she commissioned this really awesome jacket and pants combo from that designer for Jagged Stone for his birthday!"
"He clearly loves it if he ran off to change into it before the end of the party," Rose gushed. She beamed at Lila. "That was a really great idea for a gift, Lila!"
"Yes, well, it was a bit pricey even with my connections, since of course I wouldn't ask my friend to work for free, but since he and I are friends, I wanted to get a nice gift for him," Lila told them. "And since he has Fang, well- crocodile scales and dragon scales are pretty similar, right?"
Alya nudged Marinette. "Isn't it cool that she knows such a fantastic designer?" The implied be nice, maybe she can introduce you hung heavy in the air. "That jacket- it's incredible. I bet she has a lot of tricks and tips about design and sewing!"
Lila nodded, her hair bouncing. "Yeah, she's super talented! And I was lucky enough to actually get to help her with the jacket when she came through Paris a couple weeks back! I didn't do a lot, of course, because I didn't have the time, but it was super cool to see how the scales were made." Her eyes slid sideways to Marinette, a silent challenge that she was so sure that Marinette wouldn't take. "If you wanted, Marinette, I could maybe teach you some of the things that she taught me."
…yeah, okay, Marinette was not going to stand here and pretend to play nice with Lila, not even for the few hours it would no doubt take for Jagged Stone to tell the press who, exactly, had made the pants and jacket for him. Not when Lila was actively claiming credit like this, claiming that she had made part of the outfit when it was all Marinette's work.
Whelp. Time for her to step off of the high road and for the gloves to come off.
"That would be so nice, Lila," Marinette crooned, keeping her eyes on Lila's surprised face. Then her eyes narrowed. "Except for the fact that it's all complete bullshit."
There were gasps at that, and Marinette could feel Alya's hand tighten around her arm in a silent reprimand. Lila gasped, pressing a hand to her chest as though deeply offended. "Marinette! I was just trying to be nice, and this is how you-"
"Oh, save me the sob story." Marinette's eyes slid around the group and caught on Max and Markov, who was out and clearly listening. A conversation from a couple weeks back tickled at the back of her mind, and Marinette went for it. "Markov, you record video of things you see to review later, right?"
"I do!" Markov chirped, clearly pleased that she remembered. "And I usually retain the footage for one to five hours, depending on how common or uncommon a social interaction was."
"Can you retain the story Lila just told for a bit longer?" Marinette asked, ignoring how Alya's hold was getting tighter and tighter. "For a day, maybe."
"Marinette," Alya hissed through gritted teeth. "Cut it out, Lila is trying to be-"
"After all, Jagged Stone is never quiet about the gifts that he likes or about giving credit where credit is due," Marinette continued, brushing Alya's hand off of her arm without sparing it a glance. "So I'm sure he'll tell the press about who actually gave him those gifts within twenty-four hours. So I'd like to have the footage of right now to make sure that your story doesn't magically change between now and then."
Lila blanched, then pasted her usual expression back on before anyone else could notice. "Actually, I asked him to keep it on the down-low right away- after all, I didn't want people flooding my other friend with requests, because she's starting work on wardrobe for a new movie soon. Besides, I don't need any public thank-yous. I know that he likes my gift, and that's enough."
Marinette didn't even bother hiding her eye roll that time. "Sure. And I'm the Queen of France." Brushing past the group, she headed over to her desk, ignoring the stares of her classmates.
She couldn't be surprised about that, really. After all, while Marinette had called out Lila's lies on a fairly regular basis before, it had always been more of a one-off comment, not- well, not her clearly calling Lila a baldfaced liar.
"That is not okay, Marinette," Alya hissed as she passed Marinette's seat. Apparently she was headed up to sit with Lila instead for the day. "I know you don't like Lila, but-"
"I'll accept 'sorry I didn't listen to you, Marinette' apologies in the form of fabric store gift cards once you realize that I'm right," Marinette told her instead of listening to Alya's scolding again. Alya scoffed.
"Well, when Lila is proved right you can apologize to her for not listening and to us for having to deal with this nonsense by taking us all out to lunch!" Alya shot back. "Lila loves this little seafood place a couple blocks away. I'm feeling hungry for their salmon bake already!"
"Don't hold your breath for it," Marinette muttered, but Alya had already flounced off, clearly entirely convinced that she was right.
Well. Marinette had more or less been kidding about the gift cards- after all, her allowance plus the money that she got from babysitting and commissions meant that Marinette wasn't exactly scrounging for money to buy the materials that she wanted for her projects- but if Alya was going to counter her joking suggestion with a completely serious response, then Marinette would gladly welcome a little extra fabric money.
Marinette turned back to the front, ignoring the looks that she was getting from the others around the room. Oddly enough, Chloe and Sabrina weren't sneering at her- in fact, they seemed to be hunched over Sabrina's tablet, which had the pictures of Jagged Stone pulled up on it. Chloe was tracing part of the picture, saying something quietly to Sabrina, and Marinette had to wonder what they were talking about. It wasn't as though the jacket was Chloe's style at all, so why were they finding it so interesting?
And then Marinette's gaze slid further around, and she practically had a heart attack when she saw Adrien turned around to face her, his chin propped up on his arms on top of her desk and his eyes sparkling.
"Hi, Marinette!" Adrien chirped, sounding incredibly cheerful and not at all bothered by Marinette abandoning the (incredibly ineffective) high road in favor of- well, calling out the bad guys. He grabbed his tablet, nudging it onto her desk. "I was looking at the picture of Jagged Stone's new jacket and- well, maybe it's not the highest-resolution photo in the world, but I thought I noticed your signature on it, like you did on the hat. Was Jagged Stone's outfit something you made?"
Next to him, Nino startled, glancing up from his notebook and back at Marinette.
"Yeah, I made it," Marinette told him, unable to hide her grin. Adrien had noticed her signature! He had looked closely enough at the jacket to notice it threaded in amongst all of the other patterns and textures going on. "Penny commissioned me for the jacket, and then I made the pants as a gift to go along with it. And I was going to tell people about it today, since I didn't want the news getting out early and spoiling the surprise, but Little Miss Lies-A-Lot decided to throw a wrench in that plan, apparently."
Adrien winced, then reached out to pat her hand comfortingly. "Well, at least you know that that lie isn't going to last long."
"Yeah," Marinette agreed. It was the light at the end of the tunnel, at long last. "Thank goodness."
Marinette headed back to school after lunch feeling much less excited about going there than she had that morning.
Maybe every passing hour brought her closer to the time when Jagged Stone would mention to the press where his gift had come from, but ugh were those hours ever dragging. Maybe Adrien knew the truth- and Nino did now too, since he had overheard her and Adrien talking about the pieces and the work that had gone into them and other possible applications of the dragon-scale patterning- but the rest of her classmates were apparently convinced that she was being unnecessarily mean to Lila and were acting accordingly.
(Marinette really liked the idea of scaled boots. She would have to poke through thrift shops for a base shoe, probably, but when they were finished? It would be killer.)
"Cheer up, Marinette, maybe Jagged Stone has said something already!" Tikki chirped when Marinette sighed again, her footsteps still absolutely dragging. "You know it's possible, since you were too busy helping in the bakery for the last part of lunch break to be able to check!"
"But it's not likely," Marinette pointed out. "I did check at the start of break, after all. Add in the time zone differences and the fact that Jagged is probably moving to a new place for his tour, and what are the chances?" She sighed. "And now I'll have to deal with Lila's new conspiracy theory about why I got so ticked off about the pants and jacket for the rest of the afternoon."
Lila's conspiracy theory, which Marinette had overheard Lila telling their classmates just before lunch and which was possibly one of the most maddening things about this whole mess, the thing that had made her go from being willing to wait the whole thing out to being more than a little impatient. Lila had told them that she thought that Marinette had probably wanted to claim for the credit for the jacket, because she was jealous of Lila's connection to Jagged Stone and wanted the attention for once. The tantrum-throwing, Lila had continued loftily, was probably just because Lila had told the truth before she could start spreading her lie.
Tikki giggled at that. "Yes, but just imagine the look on Lila's face when she realizes that you were actually the one to make the pieces! She'll be so shocked!"
Marinette certainly hoped so. It had taken everything in her not to turn around, march up to Lila, and inform her that actually, I DID make that outfit, and I have the receipts and progress photos to prove it!
She could have. But Lila would shove right back, and Marinette really hadn't felt like getting into another argument, not when she would get proven right without wasting her breath.
At least Marinette had Adrien to keep her sane. He knew the truth, just like Marinette, and understood why that particular story had been the straw to break the camel's back. He had wanted to know all about the process of making the jacket, and Marinette had been happy to comply. She even had in-progress shots, which meant that by the time classes let out, Nino had been convinced, too. He had been furious on her behalf, but had agreed that maybe it would be best to wait for Jagged to make some sort of comment instead of trying to argue with everyone else.
(After all- well, Marinette didn't want to risk seeing doubt in her friends' eyes if she tried to tell the truth and told them that she made the pieces. That- that would just hurt.)
With one last sigh- ugh, an akuma right now wouldn't be so bad, at least then she wouldn't have to listen to Lila 'answering' questions about what getting an on-set peek of TV shows was like- Marinette headed into school and up to the classroom.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that class was about to start, there were a lot of people missing. Alya wasn't back yet, or a lot of the other girls. Lila was there, though, and she smirked at Marinette as she came through the door. Clearly she was still riding the high of having gotten a reaction out of Marinette earlier.
Marinette smirked right back as she slid into her seat, Tikki's words coming back to her. Lila could gloat all she wanted, but that didn't change the fact that Marinette had made those pieces and the truth would come out. Even if it was taking longer than Marinette would have liked.
She was just being impatient, honestly. After sitting through months of Lila's nonsense, one day more was really nothing.
The afternoon bell rang, and Adrien twisted around in his seat to give Marinette a questioning look, glancing around at the empty seats before quirking an eyebrow. Marinette could only shrug in return.
After all, she didn't know where everybody was, either. Normally, she would have guessed that people had gotten distracted by a Lila-story in the cafeteria, but considering that Lila actually was in class, that clearly couldn't be it. She would suggest that Adrien ask Nino since Alya was his girlfriend, except Nino wasn't back yet, either.
Before Marinette could spare much more of a thought to wonder where in the world everyone was, the door burst open and their missing classmates tumbled in. They practically swarmed Marinette's desk, pushing Alya to the front to drop a gift card in front of her.
"Wait, what's going on?" Lila demanded, her voice shrill. "Why- why are you giving her a gift card?"
"Because, Lila," Alya started, her voice absolutely dripping ice, "Marinette was the one that made Jagged Stone's new outfit. The jacket was commissioned from her by Penny Rolling, and the pants were a gift directly from her."
"But- no, I already told you guys that she would claim that," Lila said with a titter. All of it came out too pinched, too high-pitched, too fake. "I knew Marinette would claim-"
"Jagged Stone told the press who it was from himself. Marinette never claimed anything." Alya cast a disparaging look at Lila. "Now I have to wonder how much of what you've told us is a lie. All of it, probably. Did you even leave Paris when you tried to claim that you were out traveling around the world?"
"The packages must have gotten mixed up," Lila tried, her voice climbing higher yet. Their other classmates were sending her dirty looks now, too. "The tags on them, I'm sure that they must have been switched-"
Chloe scoffed from her seat. "Right, and Marinette's signature just magically managed to jump from the pieces she made and onto your gifts, right? What a lame little liar."
…okay, Marinette was officially going to count herself impressed that Chloe had actually noticed her signature, because she had hidden it pretty well. That must have been what she and Sabrina had been looking at in the pictures earlier.
Maybe it wasn't that big of a surprise after all. Chloe had seemed annoyed by Lila's grand claims as of late, and Marinette wouldn't be surprised to hear that Chloe had wanted to discredit Lila and have her spot as the most connected person in the class back.
For once, Lila fell silent. Her face had gone pale. Alya spared her one more glance before rounding the desk and sitting in her regular seat.
"We all chipped in the price of what we would have ordered at the cafe," Alya explained as the rest of the students dispersed to their seats and Ms. Bustier headed up to the back to collect Lila, probably to march her straight to the office. "Food and drinks, and then- well, I at least threw in a bit extra, because we've been giving you a lot of grief about the whole Lila thing."
Marinette grinned, picking up the gift card. An amount was scrawled on the back, and- wow, it was not a small amount. Marinette was willing to bet that more people than just Alya had put in extra. Either that, or people had very expensive tastes. "Thank you."
"It's our apology to you. We should have listened to you earlier." Alya looked sheepish. "I was just too excited about all of the potential scoops that I could get from Lila, I didn't stop to fact-check and really think about what she was saying. I'll do better in the future, I promise."
Marinette could only beam. This was what she had been waiting for.
"So…" Alya started, leaning forward with her eyes alight. Marinette quirked an eyebrow back at her. "You dressed Jagged Stone and made the coolest jacket and pants that I've ever seen! What was that like? Nino says that you have progress photos- can I see them before Ms. Bustier gets back from the office? I want to hear all about it!"
With a laugh, Marinette pulled out her phone and swiped to the photos that she had taken. "Of course! So a couple months ago, Penny approached me about designing something…"
Maybe it would take a couple weeks for them to really get past all of this and for their friendship to fully recover, but Marinette was confident that they could. Alya had no doubt learned a few lessons about listening to Marinette, and something told Marinette that Lila was going to get in no small amount of trouble, potentially even getting kicked out of their school. Even if she didn't, Lila's power was gone. No one would believe her now.
And that was how it was meant to be.