Marinette's bracelet from Adrien was one of her treasured possessions and had been ever since she got it. Maybe it wasn't expensive or particularly valuable in other people's eyes, but- well, that didn't mean that it couldn't be special. Adrien had made the bracelet specifically for her, because of the lucky charm she had given him. He had picked out the cord and the beads and sat down and made it while thinking about her, so of course it was special and Marinette didn't want to lose it.
And of course Lila would pick up on that and try to steal it, snatching it from Marinette's fingers after she had pulled it out of her pocket. Marinette looked up, saw the evil smirk that flashed across Lila's face, and immediately visions of Lila destroying the bracelet flashed in front of her eyes, the beads rolling across the hallway and getting lost between people's feet and dropping over the edge of the walkway to the courtyard below, never to be found again.
And Marinette saw red.
"Give it back," she snarled, lunging straight at Lila and latching on to her closed fist with both hands. There was one goal in her mind, and one goal only, and she wasn't going to stop until her bracelet was back in her hands.
Get it back get it back get it back get-
And then she could feel the familiar shape of the beads against her fingertips as she pried Lila's fingers open one by one, a welcome relief even as Lila's fingernails dug into her fingers, but she wasn't safe yet. Another half-yank half-push and she was almost there, she almost had it, her grip shifted and she yanked again-
-and then there was a crack. Lila abruptly let go of the bracelet and Marinette snatched it away with a gasp, backpedaling back a few safe paces to look at the precious bracelet because that must have been what snapped, surely-
But it was fine, the cord in one unbroken piece and the beads all in place, none the worse for the wear.
Marinette blinked, puzzled- maybe she had imagined the crack, because she had been imagining the worst?- when a cry broke the air and she looked up quickly, expecting to see Lila charging at her.
Instead, Lila was practically doubled over as she clutched at her wrist, which was pointed in a decidedly not-wrist-like direction.
Or, to be more accurate, her wrist was just fine. It was the bone a few finger's-widths away from the wrist that was pointed in a strange direction instead of- well, instead of being straight. And it was the wrist of the hand that Lila had been holding the bracelet in.
Marinette had done whatever she needed to do to get Lila's fingers open and open fast, before Lila could try to pull away. Apparently her whatever she needed to do of choice had been to bend Lila's hand back until she let go, which had taken enough force to actually break it.
Or maybe it hadn't needed that force and Marinette had just dialed things up from two straight to eleven in her effort to get her lucky charm back in one piece and- because she was a superhero- her eleven was, well, maybe a bit on the strong side.
Whatever had happened, it had ended up with Lila crumpling in pain to the floor, for once not faking it as she cradled her wrist and sobbed. Her face was screwed up in genuine pain, red and splotchy and not at all attractive, a far cry from what she usually looked like when she 'cried' to get sympathy.
"What is going on here?" Madam Mendeleev demanded, appearing through the crowd of students that had gathered. They parted for her at once.
"Lila stole my bracelet, and I was just getting it back," Marinette said at once, before Lila could try to spin a story to make Marinette look like a villain that had just attacked Lila out of nowhere. She held up the bracelet. "I thought that she was going to break it, so I was just focused on getting it back. We- we must have yanked in opposite directions at the same time." Because that was what had to have happened, right? Marinette had yanked hard in one direction and Lila had yanked back and that- combined with the slight twist Marinette had had going on to make her let go of the bracelet- had been enough to snap Lila's wrist.
Madam Mendeleev frowned. "Enough for- oh, that is definitely broken. Lila, we'll have to call up your mom and you'll have to go to the hospital."
Lila could only whimper. Apparently the break hurt enough that she couldn't manage her usual manipulative theatrics.
Good. Maybe she would think twice about trying to make a grab for Marinette's stuff in the future.
"Marinette, we're going to have to file an incident report," Madam Mendeleev added. "Just because there's been an injury. That doesn't mean you're in trouble- we're going to have to confirm what happened before making any judgements."
Marinette muffled an internal groan. No doubt Lila would make something up to get Marinette in trouble as soon as she managed to compose herself enough, and it was unlikely that anyone in the hallway had been paying enough attention to Marinette and Lila to be able to confirm that Marinette was the one telling the truth. That, combined with the fact that Lila had been manipulating things to look like Marinette was out to get her for ages, meant that Marinette would probably get in a lot of trouble. And once again, Lila would get off scot free.
Except she wasn't off scot-free. Lila would have to deal with the broken wrist for several weeks while it healed. And-
-and her mom was getting called. There was no way that they would give up on contacting Mrs. Rossi this time around, not now that Lila had a broken bone. Even if she was busy, there was almost no way that she wouldn't put everything aside to come over.
And then, with any luck, the teachers would mention one of Lila's ridiculous lies about traveling or meeting celebrities or having a million diseases and afflictions and Mrs. Rossi would deny them and everything could go back to normal.
….that was probably wishful thinking, honestly. Given Marinette's track record with Lila, she wouldn't be surprised if she ended up on the receiving end of a lawsuit that would destroy all of her dreams of being a designer and force her to switch to a different school.
Madam Mendeleev hoisted Lila to her feet- "Stop collapsing, young lady, it's your wrist that's broken and not your legs, there is no need for anyone to carry you!"- and they headed to the office. Marinette kept a tight grip on her Lucky Charm, hoping that it would bring her a little luck and she wouldn't end up expelled and sued. Mr. Damocles was already in his door, alerted to the commotion and frowning at the students who were lingering and gawking at the sobbing Lila. Alya was inching forward with her phone in her hand, clearly ready to delve into investigating whatever the commotion was, but a dual look from both Mr. Damocles and Madam Mendeleev had her lowering her phone and taking a step back. Nino was next to her, glancing between Lila and Marinette, his brow furrowed, and the rest of their classmates weren't far behind.
Marinette tried not to groan at the thought of what rumors would no doubt be flying around as soon as the office door had closed. She doubted that anyone would try to claim that she had purposefully hurt Lila, not without Lila's influence, but- well, she supposed that it was possible that Lila had planted enough rumors and lies that someone would entertain the idea briefly.
The office door shut behind them, cutting off the staring eyes.
"Okay, how did this happen?" Mr. Damocles asked tiredly, settling down at his desk and pinching the bridge of his nose. Marinette spotted the corner of a magazine hastily stuffed into a drawer; clearly they had interrupted him in the middle of his comic time.
Marinette had to wonder if he was really supposed to be reading comics while on the clock.
"Marinette reported that Lila took a bracelet of hers and was just trying to take it back before Lila broke it," Madam Mendeleev reported before either girl could say anything. "And that Lila's wrist somehow got broken in the tussle." She turned to Marinette. "Can I see the bracelet in question?"
Marinette held it up. "It was a birthday gift to me from Adrien," she told them when both teachers looked exasperated, probably because- well, to anyone else, the bracelet probably wouldn't look like anything worth brawling over. "Because I gave him a similar one before, 'cause it was my lucky charm while playing video games."
"A sentimental gift," Mr. Damocles said at once, nodding wisely. "Of course, of course. It's understandable that you wouldn't want to risk it getting destroyed. So, uh, what made you think that it was in danger?"
"Lila ripped it out of my hands when I had just pulled it out of my pocket to look at it," Marinette said quickly, taking advantage of Lila's uncharacteristic quiet- or, well, not quiet exactly- she was still letting out little gaspy sobs and was clearly attempting to speak, but the shock was just too fresh. "Just for a few seconds. I wasn't trying to, like, flaunt it or anything. And when I grabbed for it, she refused to give it back- she just held on tighter and tried to pull her hand away instead of just giving it back like someone would if they had just been curious and hadn't realized that I would object."
"I see." Mr. Damocles turned his attention to Lila. "And Lila- oh, I suppose that can wait until after your arm is set. I'll call your mom up at once. I should have started with that, I suppose."
Lila sniffled, a flash of realization and panic flashing across her face for a moment. "N-no, b-busy-"
"Nonsense. No mom wouldn't want to know that her daughter will have to go to the hospital with a broken wrist." Mr. Damocles reached for his phone as he tapped a few things into his computer, pulling up Lila's file before dialing a number and holding it up to his ear. It only took a few seconds for someone to pick up. "Hello? Yes, this is Mr. Damocles, the principal of Françoise Dupont. Is this Mrs. Rossi? Yes, yes. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there was an incident just now and Lila has a broken wrist and needs to be brought to the hospital- yes, we're positive it's broken, the bone isn't exactly straight where it's meant to be- can you come to the school? You're right in the neighborhood now? Fantastic! Yes, we'll see you in a couple minutes- no, it wasn't a bullying incident, we're investigating it now- Madam Mendeleev, can you go out to the hallway and see if there's anyone who saw the whole incident from start to finish? Thank you- yes, yes, we'll have someone to let you in at the front door. I'll alert our hall monitor at once. Yes. Bye."
Marinette swallowed hard as Mr. Damocles hung up. Mrs. Rossi was going to be there in only a few minutes, and- well, no one had met her before. What was she like? Was she going to blame Marinette and refuse to hear a word against Lila? Surely she would be furious- after all, a broken wrist, and a broken dominant wrist at that was a big thing, a huge inconvenience, and not something that was supposed to happen at school.
She could only pray that someone else had seen Lila grab her bracelet, so it wouldn't be Lila's word against Marinette's.
"Okay, Lila, your mom is on the way," Mr. Damocles said, turning to the still-sniffling Lila. "Now can you tell me what happened?"
Lila sniffled for a minute, making several false starts as she tried to pull herself together, and- oh, Marinette could see that some of her acting was starting to slip back into place as the shock slowly faded. "She- she's lying, I d-didn't take her b-b-bracelet, she just a-attacked me out of nowhere when I a-a-asked what she had! I never took anything!" She gulped and let out a sob, wiping her face. "I-I-I just don't know why she's so mean to me!"
Mr. Damocles paused, his eyes darting between Lila and Marinette. Clearly he had been hoping that their stories would line up, that Lila would admit to taking Marinette's bracelet. "Uh…"
"S-she's hated me ever since my c-condition acted up and she got in t-trouble," Lila continued, clearly trying to put on a brave act. "And it's not my f-fault, I can't control it-"
"I have not," Marinette snapped, because it was true- she had hated Lila long before the expulsion incident. "And this has nothing to do with that- if you hadn't grabbed my bracelet, everything would have been fine."
Lila gasped. "And you're still trying to blame me, when-"
"When you're entirely to blame and I was only defending myself and my property? Yes!"
Lila opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by a knock at the door. A moment later, a woman that must have been Lila's mom swept into the room, concern written across her face. Her eyes slid across Marinette and went right to Lila. "Darling, are you okay? Let me see your wrist- oh my gosh." Her eyes flashed up, then over to Marinette. "How did this happen?"
"Marinette attacked me-" Lila started, her voice full of tears (more tears welled up in her eyes- whether or not they were real tears was, for once, actually debatable), but she was cut off by Mr. Damocles.
"We have two conflicting stories, so we're suspending judgement until we can talk to the students in the area," Mr. Damocles announced, his smile tense. "We'll keep you updated, of course, but I suppose you want to get Lila to the doctor's right away- do you have a car, or should I drive?"
Mrs. Rossi was frowning. "I have a car. Let's go, Lila. You can tell me what happened on the way."
Lila sniffled and nodded, standing up. Marinette watched, a sinking feeling in her gut about how this whole thing was going to go. Just as she had worried, Mrs. Rossi was going to come in and out of the school without discussing any of Lila's claims. Lila was going to feed her mom her side of the story on the way to the hospital, and unless there was some serious evidence in Marinette's favor, she was going to get hit with some serious consequences she definitely didn't deserve.
So Marinette decided to give the whole situation a little nudge.
"You know, maybe Lila can get a doctor's note for her other afflictions while she's getting treatment for her arm," Marinette piped up in her best 'helpful' voice. "I know that Lila's said that you've been too busy to go in, but maybe while you're there anyway…."
Mrs. Rossi frowned at her. "What?"
Mr. Damocles perked up, just as Marinette had hoped he would, and turned towards the Rossis. "Ah, yes! Perhaps not in the emergency room, since I'm sure that they're quite busy and rushed, but they'll require follow-up care with your primary physician and you can do it then! We've been making accommodations without, I know, but really we should have notes on file for the- let's see- " He spun towards the computer again, scrolling through Lila's file. "Ah, the tinnitus, the weak wrist, the arthritis, Lila's allergies- I know she's mentioned several, the teachers didn't remember to write down what exactly what it was at the time, the, ah, disease that causes compulsive lying- that one in particular, I don't know if there might be some sort of action plan that we should be implementing? And if there's anything else we need to know about-"
"What are you talking about?" Mrs. Rossi demanded, whipping around to face him, then glanced at her daughter. Lila looked like she was strongly considering screaming, and Marinette smothered a triumphant grin. Her nudge had gone just as she had hoped. "Lila doesn't have any conditions at all! She's in perfect health- well, other than her wrist now, but that's a temporary thing. Where did you get the idea that she was ill at all?"
Mr. Damocles blinked at her. "Ah, from Lila herself? She's been telling the teachers when she needs accomodations, primarily Ms. Bustier, and I asked her to keep a log of what afflictions Lila has so that we could try to follow up to get paperwork, but we've not been able to get in contact, the calls never went through before-"
Mrs. Rossi frowned. "Wait, so you were trying to get in contact with me when you weren't akumatized?"
Marinette sat back and watched as Mrs. Rossi and Mr. Damocles pieced together what Lila had been telling everyone and what the actual truth was while she and Lila watched. Lila was clearly torn between seething and being coldly furious, but there was nothing she could do to stop all of her lies from being exposed, torn down one after the other.
It was incredibly satisfying, really. And then the office door banged open and Madam Mendeleev marched in with several students trailing behind her, Adrien among them. She took one look at the scene, clearly disregarded it as being less important than her news, and then opened her mouth.
"I've talked to the other students as requested, Mr. Damocles, and I have five students who saw the entire incident from start to finish." She frowned at Lila. "And it turns out that Marinette was telling the truth. All of them saw Lila grab the bracelet from Marinette and refuse to give it back. All of them are willing to go on record to say as such."
"Ah, good, good." Mr. Damocles nodded, short and uncomfortable. "Yes, I suspected as much at this point- if I could get names, I would like to speak with everyone after school since we have a bit of a situation to deal with right now. Yes, you can return to class- yes, you too, Marinette," he added at Marinette's inquisitive look. "Just don't leave after school without checking in first. I'll see you all later."
Marinette let herself be ushered out of the office alongside the other students, the heavy door swinging shut behind them. Even then, she could still make out Mr. Damocles' next words.
"Now, about the trip that Lila claimed to be on for several months-"
It was several days before Lila returned to school, her wrist in a cast and a scowl on her face. The other students gave her a wide berth, even the ones in her own class. Even though she was actually injured now and struggled a bit with carrying her bag and writing, no one stepped up to help. They had been needlessly taken advantage of too many times already, so now Lila could lie in her own bed and deal with the consequences of lying before.
She wasn't going to be staying at their school, that was common knowledge. But the transfer to a correctional school was taking a bit of set-up, so Lila would be staying at Dupont until the last of her paperwork went through and her new teachers had been fully briefed.
Really, it was a punishment for her more than anyone else. Without her popularity, without people falling over themselves to help, school wasn't particularly pleasant for Lila. Add in the fact that everyone was giving her the cold shoulder for the lies she had spread and stunts she had attempted, and no one had ever been as much of a social outcast as Lila was now.
Even akumatization- which would normally be something Lila looked forward to, because it was a chance to defeat Ladybug- wasn't as fun as it had been for Lila. Apparently being akumatized didn't take away the fact that her wrist was broken, and Ladybug had taken full advantage of that fact every single time, snagging Lila's akumatized form by the wrist with her yo-yo right away every time and yanking, sending the Lila-kuma into spasms of pain.
Maybe Lila had been akumatized half a dozen times since her wrist broke, but each time it had only lasted for about five minutes because of Ladybug's little trick.
(Ladybug couldn't help but snicker a little to herself about that. Lila had been a thorn in her side ever since her arrival in Paris, and she knew perfectly well that, had the akumatization been something that Lila hadn't wanted- if she had had to be coerced, just like everyone else in Paris- then the additional pain from the battle wouldn't stay with Lila after the Cure swept around. The fact that it did…. well, that meant that Lila had still welcomed the akumatization and thus deserved all of the pain she got.)
As for Marinette… well, she was enjoying having everyone believing her again instead of assuming that she was just jealous of Lila whenever she questioned Lila's stories. She had gotten a lot of apologies after Lila's less-than-smooth fall from grace, and most people felt pretty sheepish that they hadn't listened to her in the first place.
Marinette smiled to herself as Lila sulked past the rest of the class to her desk. Maybe she hadn't intended to break Lila's wrist in her efforts to get her bracelet from Adrien back, but it had certainly solved several of her problems in one rather quick go.
Now, if only she could somehow break Hawkmoth's wrist.
a/n: Finally getting around to posting! My internet unexpectedly went out last week and potentially won't be repaired until the 15th (I am (briefly) elsewhere at the moment for work reasons, thus...being able to post), so that threw my entire schedule off.
As with most of my stories, this is a one-shot and is therefore complete.
And as always, comments make my day! :)