Lila groaned as she woke up. Everything was sore, sore, sore and shifting- however barely- in her bed made it worse. Something- a bedspring?- was stabbing her in the back, and she must have forgotten to take some bracelets off or something because there was definitely something on her wrists. She opened her eyes, about to sit up, and then froze.

Because this was all wrong.

She wasn't in her room, not at all. Maybe the room was mostly dark, but the light filtering in from the window and from the hallway was enough for Lila to see bare white walls, a large lack of furniture, and a couple of machines at her bedside. Lila bolted upright, her eyes flashing around the room, but nothing changed.

She was definitely in a hospital.

Frowning, Lila tried to remember how she had gotten here. Had she fallen at school? Maybe she would be able to pin it on Marinette. Or- no, she remembered what had happened. She had been at their class picnic and had been feeling a bit ill. She had been following Rose to get a container to put her food in, since she hadn't felt like eating, and then- then-

And then there had been nothing. She must have fainted. Presumably someone had called for an ambulance then, and from there she ended up at the hospital.

Lila scowled. So much for her photos being the star of the day. Clearly she should have faked a text from her mom about a last-minute trip and left before everyone started eating. Then she could have gone home and laid down and slept off whatever bug she had, she would have had an opportunity to have another story, and she wouldn't have completely shot herself in the foot by making her collapse the story of the day.

Maybe she could spin it? Lila didn't know how- her head still hurt a bit, probably from hitting the ground- but a hospitalization surely meant that her mom would let her take a couple days off from school. That should be enough time for her to come up with something halfway believable.

And speaking of her mom... Lila scowled around the room. She could see a chair for visitors to sit in next to her bed, but it was empty. What, was a visit to the hospital not enough to get her mom to come in and make sure that her precious daughter to visit her? Lila would have thought that her mom would have dropped everything and rushed to her side at once.

Maybe she was just visiting with the doctors or something. That must be it. Yes, she would be talking to the doctors and making sure that they were running every test that might be needed to done to figure out what was wrong with Lila. Maybe they were going over results now- except no, results already would mean that Lila had been out for a while. And since there was no reason for her to have been out for a while- she knew enough to know that fainting and being out for more than a couple of minutes wasn't good, and being out for hours was even worse- that meant that results already was doubtful.

Lila shifted, frowning. Okay, so maybe her mom was probably with the doctor. Fine. Great. But why was she all alone in her room? Surely they didn't normally bring in unconscious people, plop them in a bed- a really uncomfortable bed, by the way, did they never replace these mattresses or something?- and then leave them on their own? Really, there should be some nurses hovering around, waiting for Lila to wake up so that they could explain what was going on. Instead, they had let Lila wake up in the dark and by herself.

It was poor customer service, really. Lila was definitely going to leave a terrible review for them. Seriously, wasn't it Hospital 101 to not leave patients alone? Lila was going to get up and go find someone now, so that they could tell her what was going on and find her mom for her-

Lila froze, her legs swung over the side of the bed. The movement had made her head swim, but that wasn't what had given Lila pause. No, the thing- things- that had stopped her in her tracks were the handcuffs snapped around her wrists.

What?

Why- why would she be handcuffed to her bed? That made no sense! Lila frantically wracked her brains, trying to make sense of what was going on. Why would anyone arrest her? She hadn't done anything wrong- well, nothing that would warrant her getting arrested.

Well. Except for being Pavona, but how would anyone have found that out? She hadn't transformed outside of her house for over a week, and she had always been careful when she transformed and detransformed. Maybe one of the doctors had found the pin on her- but no, nobody would actually recognize it. It would just look like a pretty pin. She would be worried about Duusu exposing himself to someone to get her in trouble, but she had ordered him not to do that. As far as she could tell, Duusu couldn't expose himself to others without her permission.

So what was going on?

Scowling, Lila yanked at the chains, part of her expecting that the cuffs were just a figment of her imagination, maybe, or maybe just a dream. The metal bit into her wrists, though, assuring Lila that they were, in fact, real.

Lila kicked her bedframe, then let out a curse at the pain that shot up her leg. Someone had better come to explain what was going on now. She- she couldn't- there was no way that she was in trouble, there had to be some other explanation for this-

The unmistakable sound of a key in the door lock caught Lila's attention, and her head whipped up. At once, she shifted back to recline against her pillows, working a pleasant look onto her face.

She didn't know how much people knew. She didn't know why she was in handcuffs- not for sure. It would be better to play innocent and see if she could still twist things in her favor.

No, not if. How she could best twist things in her favor. Lila would not admit defeat.

The lock gave, and three figures entered. One flicked the light on- Lila squinted against the unpleasant glare, doing her best to not screw up her face and look mad or something. She had to play the part of a misunderstood girl who got framed for- well, for something.

Hopefully the nurse and officers approaching her bed now would give something away.

"Ah, I see you're awake," the nurse told Lila. She didn't smile, which- uh, weren't nurses supposed to smile, to set their patients at ease? This hospital was really earning a terrible review. "I had wondered if the heroes maybe pulled the healing too early, but it looks like they timed it just right."

"Well, they are the experts," the first officer said before turning his attention to Lila. His gaze wasn't the least bit friendly. "So. Pavona. You're awake. Now- we have questions."


Nothing that Lila said could persuade the officers who visited her at the hospital that she hadn't been Pavona, much to her displeasure. The Peacock had been found on her when she collapsed- all of the questioning in the world couldn't make the police officers tell her who had found the Peacock and actually been able to identify it- and the superheroes had been contacted. Duusu- the absolute traitor- had somehow managed to confirm Lila's identity plus Hawkmoth and Mayura's identities, so now all three of the city's former supervillains were in prison, or- in Lila's case- on her way there.

(Lila hoped that they would be at different facilities. She had been the one to set off the chain of events that had resulted in his arrest- even if it had been accidental and not her fault, since he hadn't told her that the Miraculous was broken!- and he knew who she was. That alone was a little scary, but she wasn't going to admit that. Much.)

(Okay, maybe she would play up her fear in front of the judge. Maybe she would get off easier if she told him that she was so frightened of what Hawkmoth- who, by the way, no one had told her his actual identity yet, even though she had asked- would do to her or her mom that she had had no option. If she could play things up for pity...yes, that could work.)

For the time being, though, Lila had to suffer through the indignity of actually going to jail after she got released from the hospital. Her holding cell thankfully wasn't terrible- but it also was a cell in the jail's medical center, and she wasn't going to be there forever, just until the doctors thought that she was more stable.

More stable, or at least until they were convinced that she wasn't going to pass out at random and get injured. Since the only way Lila was going to heal from the damage that the broken Miraculous had done to her body was by wearing the fixed Miraculous and the superheroes wouldn't let her wear it now that she was out of her coma, she wasn't really going to get better.

(Lila had a whole bunch of opinions about that and how it wasn't really superhero-y to make their former enemies suffer just out of spite, but it was probably in her best interest to not actually vocalize that yet.)

The trial started pretty quickly after she was discharged from the hospital. Apparently she had been in a coma for several months (which, uh, talk about yikes), which had allowed enough time for evidence to get collected and organized and for a trial- a jury trial- to be pulled together.

Lila had had a hard time not reacting to that particular bit of news when the lawyer that her mom hired had told her. She knew that jury trials only happened in France for the most serious of crimes, ones that tended to have really long sentences.

(That- that was terrifying. Lila didn't want to spend the rest of her days rotting behind bars. But she had a good lawyer- her mom had made sure of it- so that wasn't very likely, right? Right?)

Once the trial started, it didn't take long for the court to establish that there was no doubt about whether or not Lila had been Pavona. The fact that the Peacock Miraculous had been found on her (Lila still didn't know who had found it- the name, for some reason, was annoyingly staying redacted) and the cursed coma that she had fallen into that had only been undone by her wearing the fixed Peacock pin were conclusive enough evidence. Lila's lawyer had advised her before the trial to not try to fight that part of the accusation, because the evidence was just too strong. There was no way that the Peacock would have helped her if she had fallen ill for some reason.

That meant that Lila's only hope would be for a reduced sentence, and that would be based entirely on if she could argue that her participation was forced and not entirely willing. If she could convince the jury, then Lila should be golden.

It was a good thing that Lila's biggest talent was lying and convincing others of things that were entirely untrue.

The prosecutor watched her critically as she stepped up to the stand for the first time in the trial, everything about him screaming strict and severe. This wasn't someone who was about to believe her, no matter what she said. Lila felt herself waver for a moment, but she forced herself to stand up straight. This was no time to show weakness. Not real weakness, at any rate. Manufactured weakness... that was another thing altogether. She had an audience, and she had to play to it.

"Ms. Rossi. Your lawyer claimed that you were intimidated into accepting this position, but we have audio evidence of you willingly agreeing to help Hawkmoth. Care to explain?"

Lila very nearly gulped at that- audio? Hawkmoth had gotten audio of her agreeing to be Pavona? What a slimy, stinking asshole- but years of practice with lying helped her keep a straight face. Her mind raced, working to come up with an excuse, but she was coming up blank. Time to buy herself some time. "Audio? What- what audio? If there was real audio, it would show that I was terrified!"

The prosecutor looked unimpressed. "The audio has already been analyzed by a voice expert and has declared your voice and the one in the recording to be a match. We can call Dr. Hillary Blanc to the witness stand after this, your Honor."

The judge nodded. "That would be preferable. But for now- I would like to hear this recording before we continue with our questioning."

"Of course, your Honor."

Lila's attorney gestured for her to return to her seat as the prosecution set up their audio. He looked rather irritated as she sat down next to him, and it didn't take a genius to figure out why. Audio of Lila agreeing willingly- eagerly, she knew how she had sounded when she took the Miraculous- was going to make his job a million times harder.

It was also going to make Lila's job a million times harder. She was the one with the rest of her life on the line, really, and she needed to be able to argue her way out of the corner.

"The audio is ready," the prosecutor announced. The judge nodded.

"Proceed."

The prosecutor nodded, pressing a button to start the audio. There was the sound of a window opening, and then the unmistakable sound of Lila's voice eagerly greeting Hawkmoth, offering up the information that her mother was asleep and they were alone. And then-

"So, uh, how can I help you? Do you need an akuma with specific powers or something? I can do that!"

-the eager, oh-so-willing offer to help Hawkmoth. She didn't just sound willing to do it, she sounded positively bursting with enthusiasm to help out a supervillain.

This was bad. This was very, very bad. But Lila could still get out of this, she was sure. Lila's mind whirred, and almost immediately landed on an idea.

No one would be able to prove that she was lying, of that Lila was positive. Her idea was foolproof.

Well. Hopefully.

Lila plastered what she hoped was an appropriately shocked and confused look on her face as the recording went on. She forced herself to ignore the jurors on their bench, considering her with increasing disdain as the recording went on and Lila sounded nothing short of enthusiastic and eagerly consenting to Hawkmoth's suggestion.

She couldn't let their current opinions put her off. She had an idea to discredit the recording- or at the very least, throw a healthy amount of doubt on it- and after that, hopefully they would change their minds about her.

"Where was this recording found?" the judge asked once the audio came to an end. "And by whom?"

"In Mr. Agreste's office, by the police," the prosecutor told him. "They have the original recording, this is a copy."

"Okay." The judge's eyes swung to Lila. "Ms. Rossi, back to the stand. Please explain this recording."

"That's not even close to what happened!" Lila exclaimed once she had dashed back up to the stand, pressing a hand to her chest earnestly as she turned her eyes to the judge and the jurors. "He must have faked it- and I bet I even know how! The Peacock makes sentimonsters, everyone knows that. He's impersonated people before- he impersonated Ladybug, everyone knows that! He must have done that to make the recording."

There was a pause.

"How was Hawkmoth meant to do that when you had the Peacock?" the prosecutor asked tartly. She narrowed her eyes at Lila. "This sounds like another weak excuse."

"He probably made the recording before he gave me the Peacock." Lila bit back the obviously. There was no point in irritating anyone in the courtroom. If she could get this excuse to work, then she could maybe get off with a lighter sentence. Her reputation in Paris would still be toast, but if she just got a rap on the wrist for being a supervillain under duress, maybe she and her mom could move and she could start rebuilding her life once her sentence was over. If this didn't work, then it was game over. "He had to know that I wouldn't be fully willing, but he wanted to be ready to stab me in the back as soon as possible. He-" Lila faked a half-sob, pressing a hand to her lips. "I was in too deep before I could figure out how to fix it, and then he kept threatening to hurt me or my mom if I tried to get out of it. He said that he would tell everybody who I was!"

There was a pause. The judge, Lila was glad to see, finally looked a bit unsure, as did most of the jury. Fantastic.

"Why should we believe that?" the prosecutor asked after a moment. "Lila Rossi has a history of lying, her record shows that. She lies to get out of consequences and to get others in trouble and for her own gain."

"But you do have to consider that there is a possibility of the tape being faked," Lila's attorney argued, finally- finally!- making himself useful and speaking up. "There is magic at play here, and you have to admit that Mr. Agreste is a cunning businessman. He is a planner. It would not have been out of character to do exactly as Ms. Rossi described. After all, he handed a broken Miraculous to a minor for her to use without warning her of the consequences of using it."

"The defense has a good point," the judge agreed, though the reluctance was clear on his face. "I suppose we should ask the superheroes if there is a way to prove the authenticity of the recording and if not..."

He trailed off, clearly unsure. Lila forced herself not to visibly preen. Her lie had landed perfectly. She couldn't relax yet, though. Any slip-ups now could ruin her lie and put her right back on square one.

"We clearly need time to review the evidence and pull in more experts," the judge decided after a moment. "We will adjourn for the day."

Lila smiled.


Lila had been feeling pretty proud of herself for the rest of the day and overnight, doing her best not to smirk when she thought about the fast one that she had just pulled on the judge. Maybe they didn't fully believe her, not yet, but she had gotten the audio recording all but thrown out in court. Without it, she should have a much easier time in getting her sentence argued down to a small slap.

A small slap would be irritating, but not the end of the world. Lila could work with that.

And then she had walked into the court room the next day to see Ladybug and Chat Noir waiting, Duusu floating serenely above Ladybug's shoulder. Next to them sat Alya, who gave Lila a disgusted look when she spotted her.

Lila hadn't been expecting them. What were they supposed to add to the trial?

Oh, right. The judge had suggested that they pull in the experts on the Miraculous, as if they weren't just a bunch of kids themselves. They weren't experts, they just happened to have superpowers. That, and they got lucky in battles a lot, and really, the whole supervillain downfall was just one big stroke of luck for them. It wasn't as though Ladybug and Chat Noir had somehow outwitted the supervillains or something.

Just like every other day, all of the jurors filed in, followed by the judge. Lila suffered through all of the opening formalities- seriously, there was so much needless pomp that could just be done away with, it was such a major snoozefest- and then they actually got to the whole arguments bit again.

...in retrospect, the whole trial was just a heap of suffering through endless formalities and arguments and blah blah blahs. Lila would say that she would rather be anywhere else, but...

Well, for her, the only other place that she would be was at the jail, in her cell. That was boring, too, but at least Lila could get up and walk around and not have to pretend to be all apologetic and sweet all the time.

"Before we start, I want to say that Duusu cannot be recorded by either cameras or microphones," Ladybug told the courtroom once she was called on. "It's just the nature of kwamis. Machines can't record them."

The judge nodded, flashing a smile- a smile!- at Ladybug. "Thank you for that heads-up, Ladybug. We will ensure that we give enough time between questions for our court recorder to get everything that, ah, Duusu says."

"We also brought video evidence from the battles that Pavona joined in person," Ladybug spoke up again. She gestured to Alya. "Most of these clips came from the Ladyblog, though we got permission to also grab footage from several news stations. Alya Cesare here has compiled all of the clips for easy viewing."

"And what are these clips supposed to prove that we didn't already know?" Lila's attorney demanded. "We already know that she had the Miraculous, that's nothing new."

Alya stood up, very deliberately not looking at Lila. "All of these clips show that Pavona seemed to have her whole heart in the battle. She was fighting to the best of her ability-" her lips twitched, but she didn't add any commentary to that- "which you wouldn't expect from someone who was only fighting because she was being forced to."

"We will review the evidence," the judge told her. "Thank you."

"Objection to both!" Lila's attorney called. "How are we supposed to know that this kwami will tell the truth? And the videos- that's very subjective."

"We have also pulled in several behavioral experts to watch the videos and then give us their independent analysis of the body language in them," the prosecutor told the courtroom. "They can step outside while the others are giving their analysis to prevent them from influencing each other. All of the experts have been previously used by the court to review video before, and all have been deemed to give impartial analysis."

The judge nodded, looking pleased. "Fantastic."

"Objection," Lila's attorney called out again. "The clips could already have a bias to them. They've been picked out deliberately to push a narrative."

The prosecutor smirked. "We also have compiled all known footage of Pavona in battles. If the defense would prefer, we can present that rather than the cut version."

The judge turned to Lila's attorney. "Is that acceptable?"

Lila's attorney nodded, though he didn't look happy about it. "It is. Though- again, there is the matter of if this kwami can be trusted to tell the truth. We don't know enough about them to be sure."

The judge turned back to Ladybug. "Is there a way to address that?"

"There is." Ladybug smiled up at the judge, clearly fully at ease. She held up the Peacock Miraculous. "I thought that the best way to approach this would be to have a neutral party wear the pin- referring to you, of course, your Honor. Kwamis have to answer questions that their wielders ask honestly, to the best of their ability. If they don't know or cannot say, they will say as much." She held up another pin. "I also brought the Butterfly Miraculous, in case you wish to talk to both kwamis."

The judge looked surprised, then nodded and addressed Lila's attorney. "Mr. Nelson, does that address your concerns?"

Lila's attorney looked as though he had swallowed a lemon. "It does, your Honor."

Lila bit back her scowl. Stupid overly-prepared superheroes. How did they somehow think of everything? Couldn't they just let go of the issue for once and let Lila off? They could consider the social ostracization and complete destruction of her social status as her punishment.

"Approach, then," the judge told Ladybug. "We might as well start with talking to Duusu. Then we can let you and Chat Noir go on your way while we review the footage from the battles. You two have already spent plenty of time in courtrooms this summer."

Ladybug smiled and nodded, hopping to her feet and approaching the desk. She handed over the brooch, and the judge pinned it to his robes. Once Ladybug had sat down again, he addressed Duusu. "Please move to the witness stand."

"Of course!" Duusu zipped over, hovering in front of the microphone. "I'm ready when you are!"

Lila's eyes narrowed at the kwami. The airheadedness and naivety were nowhere to be seen as the little kwami replied to the judge's questions. Duusu seemed fully with it and sharp as a needle as he gave his answers. Lila had never seen the kwami act like that before, which begged the question of why.

Did the kwami switch personalities depending on the holder? No, that didn't make sense. There was no reason for any kwami under Lila's control to be an airhead. Which meant that he must have been acting when he was with Lila. All of the questions, all of the playing dumb, all of the forcing her to actually explain what she was doing, all of the ticking her off...

The little asshole must have been doing it deliberately.

In her seat, Lila silently fumed. She had put up with Duusu's ditzy personality for weeks, assuming that it was the kwami's nature and that couldn't be changed. The questions had nearly driven her up the wall- had driven her up the wall- and it had been entirely on purpose.

Lila bit back her scowl, slumping back in her seat and tuning Duusu out. It didn't really matter what exactly Duusu said, after all. Lila knew that he had to tell the truth, and the truth was that she had joined Hawkmoth willingly and eagerly, no blackmail needed on his part. She had wanted to see the superheroes defeated, and that was all the motivation that she had needed.

There was still all of the battle footage to go through, but by now Lila knew that all of her escapes were closing off. The evidence was piling up against her too fast, and the dark looks that Lila had been getting from the jury spoke volumes. The judge was asking Duusu about Lila's lies now, and it wouldn't be long before everyone in the room knew how to pick out Lila's manipulations and lies, and all of her attempts to control the narrative would be shot down immediately.

Now all she could hope was that the judge went easy on her sentencing.


It was no surprise when the jury came back and announced her guilty on all counts. The sentencing, though...

Lila had come up with a whole slew of scenarios, all sorts of outcomes from the best (no charges) to the more realistic yet still optimistic (charges for being Pavona but reduced because of being pressured into it), then slightly less optimistic, all the way up to what she had thought was a worst case scenario.

This was way worse that her worst case scenario. Way, way worse.

Lila sank back into her chair, staring blankly at nothing as everyone around her started packing up, the prosecuting team chatting cheerfully with each other while Lila's side of the room- Lila's mom and her lawyer- silently gathered up their things. Fifty years? That was forever! Wasn't there supposed to be some leniency for crimes done by underage kids? Like, her brain wasn't fully developed yet or whatever and she was supposed to be more prone to stupid decisions and everything. Surely she should be getting, like, juvenile detention. A permanent mark on her record. Maybe a couple of years of jail once she aged out of juvie.

She had been right about getting sent to juvie. The courts weren't about to send her to an adult prison when she was so much younger than most of the prisoners there, and besides, she had school to finish. Lila would be going to juvenile detention until she was 18, and after that...

Prison. Years and years and years of prison. Way more than Lila had ever expected.

She was going to be old and grey by the time she got out. Old and grey and with a completely destroyed reputation. Lila was basically going to be condemned to be in the poorhouse once she got out, which-

That wasn't what she had envisioned for her future. Not even close.

As the officers came up to collect her so that they could head back to the jail, Lila clenched her fist. Her entire future was gone, just like that. All of her dreams of schmoozing with famous people and marrying rich were destroyed. Just because- because-

Because Hawkmoth hadn't warned her about the side effects of the Miraculous. Because he had asked her to use the Peacock instead of just using her as a frequent akuma, willing to take on whatever shape and powers he wanted. Because Ladybug had been an infuriating interfering busybody who couldn't leave people alone and had to stick her nose where it didn't belong, when Lila's lies hadn't been hurting anyone.

Lila bit back her snarl. She wished that she had never come to Paris. She wished that she had never heard of superheroes. If things had gone one tiny bit differently...

This was all Ladybug's fault. If she hadn't interfered, Lila wouldn't have had to retaliate. And now..

Now her life was ruined.


a/n: ...ah, yes, someone clearly learned so much about personal responsibility here. Not. Apologies if I messed anything up about French trials! I did try to do some research around if there was a jury- Google said yes if it was a serious charge, I figured it qualified.

This is the end of this story! Thanks for reading! And as always, comments make my day :)