Summary: When Marinette is forced to expose her worst fear, she expects to reveal her secret as Ladybug. However, her listeners are left in stunned silence as she reveals a pain that ran far deeper, a pain so great that it would create a horrifying akuma. She would never let Chat face her alone. But even without fully understanding the consequences, Chat refuses to let her be akumatized.
The day had started out like any other. Well, actually it didn't, not that Marinette knew, as she sprinted to school, late as always.
She dashed into the classroom to find Lila sobbing crocodile tears in the back of the room, surrounded by most of her classmates. Mme. Bustier was nowhere to be found, nor were Chloe or Adrien. Half the class were giving her their condolences, while the other half seemed to be fuming for the liar's sake. Marinette almost turned right around and left, because she did not want to deal with this right now.
"I can't believe Chloe said that about you, Lila," Rose whispered.
"That bitch," Alya glowered, her hand on the liar's shoulder in comfort. Marinette ignored the pain that pierced her chest. So Alya would hate for Lila, but not for Marinette?
She shook the feeling away, instead wanting to ask what happened. Sadly, she knew no one present would give her the truth, besides Mme. Bustier wasn't even here. Marinette began to leave the classroom, to find Adrien, Chloe, Mme. Bustier, or maybe just to go home, she didn't care. But then, Lila began to sob, "I would never lie to you guys, you have been nothing but kind to me, I don't know why Chloe would ever think that."
Sabrina nodded emphatically. "This was the last straw; I'll never be Chloe's BFF again!"
Marinette blinked. So, Chloe was the target this time? She was half wishing Adrien was here, to give her the real story as the only other person who wasn't entranced by the fox, half grateful that he was not being forced to listen to this. On the other hand, where even was he? And what had Chloe done to incur Lila's wrath?
Could Lila have expelled Chloe, too?
Marinette opened the door to leave the classroom, only to be thrown back as the door was torn from its hinges. Her bag was thrown from her grip, landing with a light thud in the corner. She worried for a moment if Tikki was okay, but she was interrupted by her own screech of pain. The door landed heavily onto her leg, and she watched in horror as a yellow clad supervillain strutted into the classroom, murder in her eyes.
Alya's hand leapt from Lila's shoulder to her phone, and began recording for the Ladyblog, a grin on her face. Meanwhile, the rest of the class stood paralyzed, till Lila opened her mouth.
"Ch-Chloe! I'm so, so sorry, I thought you would be happy that your parents were in love again. After all, they spend so much time with each other now, you'll have more time to spend with us! I never would have thought you didn't think we were your friends!" Lila exclaimed, batting her eyelids.
"I am Chloe no more! I am Queen Exposer, and your lies will be no more! You exposed me, and I will expose you!" Queen Exposer sent out her stinger of sorts, though it did not appear she had the comb before having been akumatized.
Struck, Lila exclaimed, "I'm terrified that I will never be able to get revenge on Ladybug!"
By then, a few students had found themselves enough to attempt to sneak out, but they all stopped dead and stared at Lila. "Oh?" Queen Exposer smirked. The purple butterfly appeared on her face, and she snapped, "Shut up Hawkmoth, I don't care about allies or whatever. You promised me revenge on Lila, and my revenge I will have. Now, Lilaboo…. Revenge on Ladybug? Do explain, yes the world is watching you," she gestured to Alya's now shaking hands, holding her phone.
Lila paled, but it seemed her mouth moved without her consent, "I hate Ladybug, and I can't wait for Hawkmoth to get rid of her, but she is just too damned lucky. If I could lie her into obscurity, or better, to be hated, I would, but I can't. I'm so afraid she will never receive the punishment she so deserves." All fake sugar had fallen from her voice, no, it was thick with pure, honest hatred.
Several gasps were heard around the room, and those who had been holding onto her let go and took a few steps back. Marinette, meanwhile, wanted to rejoice.
"Well, that's a fascinating revelation, and explains your behavior towards m'lady," Chat Noir was in the doorway, a dangerous glint in his eyes.
Queen Exposer whirled around, her eyes dancing in triumph. "Ah Chat Noir, surely you are terrified of your identity being exposed. Please, do tell!" She sent her stinger out against the boy, who quickly avoided. The top hit the already crumbling door frame, which now collapsed, blocking off all exits.
Marinette paled, and realized she was still buried under the fallen door. As sweet as Chloe's revenge on Lila had been, she needed to become Ladybug. What if Chat got hit by the top? What if she got hit by the top?
Chat Noir glanced around the room, seeming to also realize how trapped they were, which meant a lot of things. There were many civilians, no entrances for Ladybug to swoop in, and a villain whose specialty was to reveal secrets.
The purple outlined Queen Exposer's face once more. "You got it Hawkmoth," she smirked. She sent her top out into the room, away from Chat Noir.
Ivan paled as he was struck, and admitted, "I'm afraid that everyone is afraid of me, and just don't tell me."
Queen Exposer rolled her eyes, as Mylene gasped. "Ivan! That's not true!" She assured him.
Ivan's terrified eyes quickly softened, and he took Mylene's hand. "I know, it's just a fear."
Queen Exposer moved on from the two, sending out her top unpredictably, as students cowered behind benches, afraid that their fears may not be so sweet as Ivan's. Marinette was lucky that none were sent her way, but she was almost incredulous. She should be super easy to hit, shouldn't she? Why didn't Chloe aim at her?
Chat Noir soon was by her side however and threw the door off of her leg. "If only Ladybug was here," he murmured.
"Chat Noir watch out-" Marinette shouted, but it was too late. Chat Noir had been struck, and his eyes became clouded.
"Yes, yes, now tell me mangy cat, what is your deepest fear?" Queen Exposer crowed.
Marinette watched in horror, as his eyes filled with sorrow, an aching sorrow she had only seen hints of until- she remembered a soft voice, "Little kitty on a roof, all alone without his lady," and she instantly pushed it down. She wouldn't think of that. She couldn't think of that.
"I'm afraid that no one loves me, and no one ever will." Marinette felt a chill, and took his hand without thinking, hoping to catch his eyes.
Queen Revealer blinked. "Explain, who doesn't love you? I want names!" She urged, hoping to fish out his identity. Marinette winced at the cold nature of the question.
His eyes squeezed shut. "My mother loved me, but she is dead. My father doesn't love me, and Ladybug will never return my affection," his voice was a mere whisper, and his hand squeezed Marinette's. "I'm terrified that I won't ever have a real family."
"Chat Noir…" Marinette breathed. Rose's eyes were filled with tears, while shock and sympathy were shared around the room. Everyone except Lila, who continued to sit in a dazed shock, staring at the floor.
Queen Exposer's eye twitched. "Well, that was utterly useless." She looked around the room, and sighed. "Where in the world is Ladybug?" She glared at Chat Noir, and sent her top at him again, "Maybe this time we'll get your second worst fear!"
"No!" Marinette shouted, attempting to pull him out of the way, but she only managed to get in the way. Nononono, was she going to expose herself as Ladybug? Surely, she was terrified of the responsibilities that came with being the Miraculous Guardian, and all the consequences that came with failure? Or maybe of her friends leaving her behind?
No, they'd already done that.
Her thoughts quickly disappeared, as fears and memories she had pushed away again and again began to resurface. Memories flew through her mind, memories of a broken world, of a Paris where only one person survived. "I'm terrified that my love for Chat Noir will destroy the world," she blurted. She was terrified of Chat Blanc, but it was more than that, as his words scarred her heart.
Marinette saw nothing of the classroom, she didn't even see the akuma villain, all she saw was her memories, and all she felt was Chat's hand stiffen in hers.
"I- I'm sorry? Your love for Chat Noir? Besides, destroying the world? Isn't that a little dramatic?" Queen Exposer repeated incredulously. Marinette barely heard her, but the silence didn't last, as Queen Exposer realized she had to directly ask for answers for her akuma effect to work. "Explain."
"I saw it with my own eyes, what our love did," Marinette began, knowing the effect of the akuma would force her to explain. Rather than hiding it, she forced her willpower into hiding the fact that she was Ladybug. "Bunnyx, the superhero of time, she brought me to an alternate future. She brought Ladybug to this horrible future, where Chat Blanc, the akumatized Chat Noir, sat alone on one of the only buildings that still stood, or was not submerged in water."
Tears began to fill her eyes. "Ladybug and Chat Blanc began to fight, and- and he called my name, he called me Marinette, he was crying, and he said, 'Save me.'" Tears began freefalling from her eyes, and she no longer felt the magic pull forcing her to speak, but the words continued to spill, "He used this… 'mega' Cataclysm, again and again, and buildings fell, and I realized even the moon was in two pieces. He said, he said that-" she choked on a sob. "He said that it was our love that destroyed the world."
Marinette turned to face Queen Exposer, but it wasn't Queen Exposer she spoke to. "You want to know what I saw, Hawkmoth? I was thrown into the sea, and I saw you and the Ladybug of that future, turned to ash statues. You were dead. Ladybug was dead. Everyone was dead, everyone except for Chat Blanc, and if Ladybug hadn't been able to deevilise him-" she cut herself off with a shudder.
"I am the only one who remembers this, except for maybe Bunnyx. I have no idea how he even came to become akumatized, or anything at all what I was like in that reality," she took a breath, shoving down tears if even for a moment. "I don't know what your villainous plan is, but if you care about anything at all, if you have even an ounce of kindness in your body, I swear to you, never akumatize Chat Noir," Marinette channeled just a bit of her inner Ladybug. If he was to know of Chat Blanc, then he would know that it should never happen.
AN: A pinch of Lila salt, a dash of Chat Blanc angst, a drop of Marichat, what else do you need? This idea came to me while I was watching Sandman, because honestly, the nightmares were pretty lame. I was like, Chat Noir wouldn't be afraid of Ladybug hating him, he would be afraid of failing and Ladybug dying or something. And Marinette's nightmare being a creepy Adrien? She has far greater worries on her mind. (Though that was just a nightmare, not a deepest fear kind of thing, but I just was inspired.) Then, then my mind drifted to Chat Blanc, and this story was born. There will be more coming, don't worry. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!