Disclaimer: You know the drill by now.
AN: This is a miniature spin off/sequel (of sorts) to the excellent fanfiction Nullius In Verba by FlightfootKeyseeker/Keyseeker on AO3, in which akumatised victims remain as akumas instead of being purified. They challenged us to write more for this and…well you get the idea…This is set a day or two before the last chapter before the epilogue.
AN2: I discovered that my fic didn't line up with just_an_ordinary_fan's fic, so I changed some of the background details. Basically Reflekta exists, but it wasn't Juleka who became Reflekta.
Step one: Stay unnoticed.
Juleka always knew that people didn't notice her.
Well except for Rose of course. And Luka, but he didn't really count. He was her twin brother, of course he noticed her.
But as she walked the streets bordering the cordoned off warehouse, she was extremely glad that she was borderline invisible. Nobody paid much attention to the teenage goth girl with a purple streak in her hair as she walked these streets.
Even though the streets were mostly empty, the solitary girl evoked no response. They noticed a few protestors here and there, families hoping to see their loved ones and of course the ever present security presence of police officers and privately hired security goons hired by Gabriel Agreste as a gesture of goodwill.
Not one of them noticed the quiet goth who looked like she was merely on her way to another part of the city. Which was perfect really.
Technically she was supposed to be in school right now. Technically, she wasn't supposed to be here at all. After her fifth or sixth or was it the seventh attempt, her mother had, for the first time ever, actually put her foot down. No more attempts or she was grounded. Or was she already grounded? She wasn't actually sure at this point really.
Even though Anarka Couffaine was all in favour of 'sticking it to the man' and all that, she drew a line at her daughter putting herself into potentially deadly danger.
Juleka found that she really didn't care. She knew that akumas COULD be reasoned with. She knew that if only she could get in, she would be able to prove to everyone that they weren't dangerous where they were, that people could actually see their friends and families and lovers. She had already seen akumas hold back during attacks before. In fact, she had seen Horrificator deliberately ignore Mr Haprele during one outing, so she KNEW that she wasn't delusional.
She continued her walk. A handful of forged sick notes had done wonders for her freedom. Nobody would be looking for her. Not her friends and especially not that interfering pain Marinette. She might think that what she was doing was trying to be helpful to Juleka, but she should keep her nose out of other people's business!
The cordon spread around the building in a complete three hundred and sixty degrees, keeping the dangerous akumas in and the persistent loved ones out.
Fortunately it wasn't equally tough in all directions. Especially not from the outside.
Step 2: Distractions are a girl's best friend.
The security around the perimeter was more than adequate to stop her from just walking in.
But an akuma alert that made everyone sensible hide? (Juleka was pretty sure that she was far from sensible right now. But then again, how could she be when she was trying to save Rose?)
It was another team attack. Nobody new had been akumatised this time. Nobody else would be knowing the pain of losing a loved one like this. At least not this time. Reflekta, Stoneheart and Stormy Weather this time.
She bit her bottom lip and shook her head. Now was not the time to be thinking of Rose. And her other missing classmates of course.
It made her wonder for a moment why Marinette was so against trying to sneak in. Surely she wanted to see Alya again? Or Adrien see Nino?
Still, she didn't have time to ponder those questions any further. An akuma attack was underway and she had no time to waste.
That made the perfect distraction for someone to just slip through unnoticed. Especially if you happened to be easy to miss anyway. And happened to have rather conveniently figured out every blind spot in the security coverage. (Admittedly with a lot of trial and error, careful observations and some distinctly questionable and technically illegal hacking activities from one of mama's more interesting friends. Well technically so illegal it will get you thrown into prison and probably on a few watchlists, but as it was for Rose…so unimportant details really.)
With a series of careful moves and some slight stretching in places, she slipped through the various blind spots in the security perimeter and before she knew it, she was inside the cordon. Well the first layer at least.
Ordinarily, security would have caught her. They knew about these blind spots after all. They were hardly stupid. They knew and kept up patrols to keep people away and the akumas in. And normally it worked. Even people who were otherwise hard to see were caught, as Juleka had found out when she had tried. She had tried to slip across and a security guard had caught her. (And given her a long talking to about safety and not doing something like that again. And she had taken his words to heart. Which is why she was slipping through while everyone was hiding from the latest akuma attack instead of any other time. She had a feeling that was not what he had actually meant, but she really didn't care. It was for Rose and she KNEW goddamnit!)
It wasn't exactly enough to get her all the way there, but it was enough for her to put her next move into effect.
Step 3: People see what they expect to see.
There was a small alcove hidden from view just inside the cordoned off area. Barely visible from the outside. Invisible in fact, unless you knew exactly what you were looking for. Juleka had found it by accident and it was probably one of the best discoveries she had ever made. It was a good place for her to catch her breath, but more importantly, it was the perfect place to change clothes.
More importantly, a change into a fake security guard uniform. Together with a fake identity badge worn on her chest, she looked like just another member of the security guards.
The badge wouldn't stand up to anything more than a passing glance and the uniform was only marginally better.
Fortunately it only needed to pass a passing glance. The people watching the security cameras had better things to do than watch everyone passing through in great detail. Especially someone who clearly belonged there. Who else could they be after all? The cameras themselves showed a simple black and white image and as long as Juleka gave them no reason to take a closer look, she was safe. Probably. Well close enough really.
An acceptable level of risk in her opinion.
She had yet to be caught with this anyway. And it was safer than trying to get close as a civilian. That WOULD get her caught and stopped before she could get into the building.
She began walking towards the front door of the building, the place where all the deliveries were sent in.
She hoped Rose was getting enough to eat. That she was okay. That the confinement wasn't upsetting her too much. That the other akumas weren't bullying her. That they appreciated how sweet and amazing and special she really was.
The uniform gave her a surprising amount of false confidence. Her heart was pounding and her mouth was dry, but nobody would have known looking at her.
Well Rose would. And Luka. But neither of them were here. Luka was no doubt doing the sensible thing and staying in cover, while Rose…
Juleka blinked away the tears she felt welling up in her eyes. Now was not the time to be losing focus. She had no idea how long she had before Ladybug and Chat Noir defeated the akuma.
She continued walking towards the door.
Step 4: The door is not always the best way in.
The door leading into the warehouse was thick and secured with multiple locks. Sophisticated electronic locks from Tsurugi Industrial Group were functionally unbreakable. The chances of Juleka getting through them was close to nonexistent. (And after her last attempt, Juleka was reluctant to try. Getting arrested was not conducive to getting to Rose.) And if Juleka was someone else, it might have been enough to stop her.
But Juleka was trying to reach Rose. And there was no way that something as insignificant and pathetic as a DOOR was going to stop her.
It was just another layer of inconvenience really.
Fortunately, this was not the only thing that was here. Taking a careful look around, Juleka walked towards a small, barely noticeable ladder at the side of the building.
It was a maintenance ladder, from when the warehouse had used to be a warehouse. A quick way of reaching the roof to perform maintenance. And also somewhere that was convenient for her to get to the roof. Out of sight of the security cameras that watched this place and with a careful bit of prodding, she was able to pull it down towards her.
With a slight clang, the ladder descended towards her and into place. The alarm that was supposed to go off remained silent. Juleka grinned to herself. She was proud of that particular bit of sabotage. A simple bit of technically illegal rewiring to send its alerts somewhere else was all she really needed.
Her phone pinged with the latest news update and Juleka quickly checked her phone. Ladybug had just summoned up her Lucky Charm and the fight was almost over.
Juleka swore. She had much less time than she had expected.
A smarter or less desperate person would have left. Cut their losses and come back another day. Wait for the next opportunity to sneak in.
Juleka was not prepared to wait. She couldn't risk having to wait for another opportunity, not now. Not when she was so very very close. She quickly glanced at the news feed on her phone once more and began climbing up the ladder.
It took her less than a minute to reach the rooftop. One precious minute out of a possible five.
She pulled the ladder back up. She needed to avoid leaving any sign that she had been here. It would hardly do for her to get caught because someone noticed something. And it would be even worse if she had to find another way in for the next time. (Not that she wanted to fail, but she had been caught before because she hadn't been prepared for the next time.)
She quickly checked her phone once more. Reflekta and Stoneheart had already been defeated and now only Stormy Weather was left. She had very little time left. Stormy Weather was powerful, but the heroes of Paris were very experienced at this point.
At this point, it was really little more than a formality really. The heroes were going to win and Juleka had very little time left. For a moment she considered cutting her losses and leaving, before dismissing the idea as absurd. She had made it this close.
She knelt down and pulled out a screwdriver.
Like any warehouse, the building still needed ventilation. A way for air to flow in for the people inside to breathe. (Or in this case, akumas.) Four sealed vents with busy, rotating fans that were impossible to breach.
At least, that's what it was supposed to be.
She quickly unscrewed the hatch over one of the vents and peered in. Inside a broken, useless fan sat there idle.
She had found this the last time she had made it to this place. A lucky find really. (She had been planning on finding out how to disable one before then with no luck.)
The vent was not big. There was barely any room for her to squeeze in, much less perform any actions to help her gain entry. (Well technically sabotage, but it was for Rose…)
She started to crawl very slowly into the vent, but before she could get all the way in, a wave of ladybugs swept over the city.
Juleka swore once more. She needed more time. A few more minutes to completely enter the vent and disappear from view.
Ladybug or Chat Noir would be swinging by to check on the warehouse in less than a minute.
Tears of frustration ran down her cheeks as she quickly pulled herself out of the vent.
Step 5: Always have an exit strategy.
Juleka grabbed one of the drainage pipes built onto the side of the warehouse. Taking a slight breath, she quickly slid down the pipe, stopping only when she reached the anti-climb barrier that blocked the rest of the way down.
She looked down at the ground below. It was still at least four metres above the ground. This always made her hesitate.
The slight swish sound reminded her that Ladybug was on her way. She needed to move before it was too late.
There was a large dumpster nearby. She could make the jump to it. She had made the jump before. She knew what to do and she had done so before.
It didn't make it any easier.
She jumped, landed and rolled off the dumpster to land on the ground on her feet. Brushing herself off, she calmly walked away. Even though she could feel the inevitable bruises she would later have. Even though her heart was pounding Even though she could feel her heart pulling her back. Back to Rose.
Juleka bit her bottom lip and continued walking. She was so close! She could feel it, almost taste it! But it would all be for nothing if she was caught here.
Ladybug swung overhead without stopping. She didn't seem to have noticed Juleka. Maybe it was the uniform or Juleka's natural invisibility, but it had worked.
Juleka continued walking away. She WOULD get through next time!
AN: The next attack was the one where Alya took down Hawkmoth. Also, in case you're wondering why I didn't have Juleka succeed, well that would have introduced an uncomfortable plot hole in my opinion. If she had succeeded, I have no doubt that Alya would have found out. After all, something new in such a small group with very little to do? It's practically a given.