Marinette sighed to herself; her upper body began to slack with her arms dangling from her shoulders, and her head barely attached to her neck. She could literally feel the weight of the world on her, and there was nothing she could do to alleviate it. No one to turn too without putting their lives in danger. She was alone.

Sure, there was Chat Noir, her loyal partner. He always stood by her side, even when she didn't deserve him. She doesn't deserve him. Chat loved her as Ladybug, but if he knew she and Marinette were the same, he might realize that she wasn't as amazing as he hoped.

Then there was Master Su-Han, the true Guardian of the Miraculous. He didn't blame her for what had happened, but he should. He should be furious with her; he should despise her. Yet, he treated her like she did nothing wrong, that she'll fix everything as she always does.

No repercussions. Everything will get fixed. It was just so stupid, she wanted to scream. Shouldn't she be happy that no one hated her?

Marinette stood up straight and stared herself down in her mirror. Her face was ghastly to put it lightly. Hours of crying and begging some tighter being to bring back her little friends: Trixx, Roarr, Wayzz, Pollen, Mullo, Sass, Kaalki, Ziggy, Xuppu, Orikko, Barrk, Daizzi, Stompp, Fluff, Longg. She misses them so much!

A fresh wave of tears blurred her vision, leaving Marinette unable to stand under the weight of her remorse. How could she have trusted Felix, she should have known! How could she have let her guard down so easily! She should have been extra cautious. Surely Master Fu would be furious with her that she lost all the kwamis he cared for so much.

Would he insist it wasn't her fault as well?

Yes, because she knows him to be so forgiving.

Marinette though isn't so forgiving. She is hard and ruthless when it comes to herself.

She hates herself.

She wants to claw the stupid face staring back at her looking so pathetic.

She wants to crawl into a hole and die; let the world forget she even exists.

A gentle knock on her trap door sent Marinette into a frenzy. Quickly, she dries her eyes and fixes her hair and clothes at record speeds.

"Marinette, are you alright, sweetie?" Her mamma asked, trying the handle.

"Yes, Mamma, I'm fine," Marinette lies through her teeth; hating herself even more for doing what Lila does. The tricker fox-girl was proud of her lies and boasted about her luxuries without a care in the world. While Marinette has to deal with the sick, slimy feeling she gets whenever she has to lie to her own damn parents. Parents who love and adore her, and who don't realize how horrible she really is.

The door opens and her mamma climbs up with a plate of food, "You didn't eat your dinner?" She looked worried and Marinette struggled not to fall into her arms and sob.

"I'm sorry, Mamma, I just have a lot on my mind." She wasn't lying this time and that made her feel a tiny bit better. Stretching the truth a little, wasn't technically a lie, right?

"Marinette, what's wrong. You haven't been yourself lately." Her mamma said, setting the plate aside to cup Marinette's cheek. Sabine gasped upon inspecting her daughter's face closer: Puffy, red eyes; flushed face, and a quivering lower lip. "Marinette..."

"It's nothing," Marinette immediately stepped out of her mother's reach, wiping her eyes again. "I just haven't been feeling like myself lately and I really need to be alone."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," she nods, "Just for a little bit. I promise I'll be fine. I'll fix it." Or maybe she'll make it worse like she always does.

Sabine didn't believe it. She knows her daughter like she knows her own mind and is able to pick up on certain cues. However, Sabine wasn't the overbearing mother that some people might believe her to be. She was caring and knew that pushing will only cause Marinette to withdraw more.

Nodding, she kissed Marinette's head, whispering in her hair, "Whenever you need to talk, your father and I will always be ready to listen."

"Thanks, Mamma." Marinette's voice broke for a second. Once again, she wishes to dive into her mother's arms and tell her everything. Yet, Marinette couldn't bring herself to. She didn't want to be told that 'it isn't your fault'. She didn't want to hear those words from anyone else. It didn't make her feel better, rather it was the exact opposite. She felt worse!

Sabine returned downstairs, leaving Marinette alone once again. The young girl sighed and climbed up to the loft of her bed and collapsed face-first into the soft blanket and sheets, before letting out the biggest, saddest wail she could muster, all of which was muffled by her bed. She broke down sobbing, beating the mattress like it was the source of her ever-growing issues.

"Marinette...?'

Hearin her kwami's voice, Marinette sat up and looked at Tikki.

The red kwami shared her tears, "I'm so sorry, but please understand that it wasn't-"

"Don't Tikki. Just don't."

"But Marinette-"

"I said stop!" She grabbed a pillow and half-heartedly threw at her, "I don't want to hear how 'it isn't my fault', we both know it is. I should have been more careful. I'm the worst Ladybug there is and you know it."

"No, that's not true."

"It is, Tikki,' Marinette insisted, "You can't make me believe otherwise. I think-I think you're better off with Alya or maybe Adrien."

"What!" The kwami gasped before flying into Marinette's face, actually looking angry with her, "Marinette Dupain-Cheng! Don't you ever say such things! I know you made a mistake, but you are still my best Ladybug. I don't know how we're going to get the others back, but you can't give up on them!"

"It's because of me that we lost them!" Marinette snapped back, her voice rising. SHe didn't care if her parents heard, she was angry and needed to vent. "I was selfish, Tikki! Don't you get it! I pushed Chat away, I told Alya my secret when I should have trusted my kitty. I trusted Felix when I thought he was Adrien, and I believed Adrien when he said to let Lila be, but all she's done is turn my life into literal hell! I can't do this anymore! I'm done!" Without wasting another moment, she reached for her earrings.

"Marinette, no-" Tikki was gone. Marinette gazed down at her earrings and sobbed, "I'm so sorry, Tikki. I'm so sorry."

They were better off without her. They will always be better off without her. Not just Tikki, but everyone. All of her friends, and family. She was nothing. Just some stalker, with an unhealthy obsession with a boy who didn't even see her as anything more than a friend. He probably would never care about her the way she hoped, and that was fine. Her obsession was only going to cause trouble.

God, she was terrible to Chat with. He put his heart on the line for her and she never appreciated it until now. How can he still care about her?

He doesn't. He only cares about Ladybug, nothing else. She's just a faceless girl and that's all she'll ever be. Knowing the real her would end his fairytale dream of them. She's sure of it.

Marinette couldn't stand it anymore. Her room felt too confined. She needed some air.

She took the last few steps up to her roof and sat on the edge, looking out to the city lights, wondering if she truly did belong here, or if she was just some lost soul flowing through the wind with no real direction in sight.

Her dreams of being a fashionista were hilarious at best. She was too much of a screwup to be recognized by Gabriel Agreste.

Her hopes to marry Adrien and start a family were just silly dreams of some lonely, pathetic girl, who didn't deserve anything she had. She was nothing and no one seemed to understand that.

She didn't know if she could go to school tomorrow. Not with Lila there to spread her lies, or Alya, who had been blowing up her phone since Hawk Moth got the miracle box. What of Su-Han, would she wind up facing him again too?

She couldn't. They didn't need her. Her getting Tikki was a huge mistake. They just didn't realize it.

Marinette returned to her bedroom and grabbed a notepad and a pen. She scribbled a few things down, before taking Tikki's earings and placing them in the same box the kwami was originally stored. "I love you, Tikki. But it's because I love you that I'm doing this." She kissed the box and placed it down.


The next day, at school, Adrien set out his belongings and waited for Nino to arrive. As his classmates began entering, the blond quickly noticed a lot of tired, worried looks, specifically from Alya and Nino.

"Hey, what's wrong?" He asked, once Nino sat down. His friend turned to him in horror, "Marinette ran away."

"What!" Adrien blinked, struggling to make sense of what Nino had said. "What are you talking about, Marinette wouldn't run..."

"She did though," Alya said, spinning around in her chair to speak to him. Alya's face said it all, her flustered skin, puffy red eyes, and raspy voice, showed just how she felt. "She ran away last night. Her parents are worried sick. They called the police and set out a missing person's report."

"Why would she run away?" Adrien asked the obvious, his stomach twisting into knots, his own emotions getting to him. His first friend: Gone.

"I don't know. I mean, I might have an idea, but..."

"Wait, I thought you didn't know!" Nino stood up in his seat, "Alya, whats' going on?"

"It's a secret, I can't tell you, or anyone about it. Marinette would kill me."

"If Marinette ran away, then she might already be in danger," Adrien insisted, "Secret or not, she can't be out there by herself, someone might take her!"

"God, I know!" Alya raked a hand through her hair, "I know, but I can't tell you. I might tell her parents, but I doubt it'll help much. If anything it might cause more problems."

"Come on, tell us what's going on?" Nino begged, "Please, she's our friend. We can't just sit around and pretend nothing's happening."

Alya looked conflicted. Adrien wondered just what kind of secret Marinette had that made Alya this scared to tell. Was it bad? Did something happen at home to make her want to leave?

No, Tom and Sabine were as nice as they come. They would never hurt Marinette.

"Alya, please."

Before she could speak, their teacher entered the classroom, looking just as disturbed as them. It was obvious that word had gotten around about Marinette running away.

"Attention class, may I have your attention please."

A hush fell over the students.

Miss Bustier cleared her throat, "I would like to announce that one of our own, Marinette Dupain-Cheng has gone missing last night. Police were already notified and will be arriving shortly to speak to each of you. Please, if you have any information about Marinette's whereabouts, don't hesitate to speak up."

"That's terrible!" Lila gasped in horror, 'She's gone? What happened to her?"

"As if you care," Alya grumbled beneath her breath, but it was loud enough for Nino and Adrien to hear it and raise their eyebrows.

"It's horrible," Miss Bustier agreed, "If anyone has information, please give it to the police."

'Marinette is probably faking it! She's just an attention-seeking weirdo!"

"Chloe, that is not appropriate behavior!"

"Well, why else would she disappear?"

"This is a very serious matter, young lady! How would you feel if your sister disappeared overnight?"

"I would celebrate!"

Adrien glared at Chloe before raising his hand, "What did her parents say?"

Miss Bustier sighed, "Only that she disappeared last night."

The classroom exploded in conversations. Everyone asking each other questions and voicing their theories.

Despite the obvious depression in the air, Miss Bustier managed to start the lesson.


Midway through the school day, Adrien went to his locker to retrieve his physics book. Upon opening the door, he saw a familiar red box waiting for him inside. "What the?" Grabbing it for closer inspection, he gasped upon seeing it had the same insignia as the one Plagg came in. He didn't dare open it, knowing he was in public. Instead, he pocketed it and reached for the note that had been laid underneath it.

"Adrien,

You matter so much to me as someone I've grown to care for deeply. You mentioned before that you were close to Chat Noir, so please help him with this. I can't bear it anymore. It wasn't meant to be mine. I hope you can forgive me.

Much Love,

Marinette."

He stared at the writing for several seconds before noticing that dried teardrops stained the entire page. Looking around, he hurried to the boy's bathroom and locked himself in one of the stalls. Taking a deep breath, he opened the box. Brilliant light blinded him for a moment before he opened his eyes and gasped upon seeing none other than Ladybug's kwami, Tikki.

Wait, so all this time-

"Adrien!" Tikki cried, racing over to hug his face, "This is terrible. She ran away!"

"Tikki," he gasped, gathering her in his hands, the poor kwami was shaken, "What happened."

Tikki trembled, "She gave up."