Special thanks to Oort on AO3 for being a wonderful and encouraging friend.
About this AU
If you haven't seen Miraculous Ladybug, you should totally do it. It's cute and funny and has the most spectacular love square which consists of two adorable people with secret identities. The two protagonists, Ladybug and Chat Noir, have objects called "miraculouses" that allow them to power up into superheroes and face off against the supervillain Hawkmoth. Ladybug has powers of good luck and creation, while Chat Noir has powers of bad luck and destruction. Hawkmoth uses his power to take people who have been emotionally compromised (lost a job, had a bad breakup, etc.) and turn them into super-powered villains by possessing them with "akuma". Once the akuma has been cleansed, the victim loses their memory of being a villain.
In ML canon, our heroes have little fairy-like creatures called kwamis that live in the miraculouses, but I left the kwamis out of this AU because it felt weird mixing Voltron and ML characters. ML is set in Paris, but you're welcome to imagine that this fic is set in any big city you want.
Lance jolts awake at the sound of a scream and realizes that 1) he's fallen asleep in physics again so Pidge is going to have no sympathy when he asks her for help later and 2) there's probably an akuma attack starting in another classroom. The professor, a very pregnant woman who could most certainly not take on an akuma, checks the hall and then orders the class to proceed towards the stairs like it's just a fire drill or some other normal activity. Lance dawdles so he's at the back of the line and then slips into the men's room to close himself in a stall.
After the hero transformation washes over him, Lance jogs towards the sound of pounding footsteps and sees students fleeing from the art wing. "I am the Sculptor," he hears, "and all who ignore an artist's hard work in favor of playing favorites will be returned to the earth."
Lance rounds the corner and spots Ladybug climbing through the third-floor window with his yo-yo in hand. He hastens over to his partner while the villain stands at the pottery wheels and flings chunks of clay at the students. Upon contact, the clay spreads and hardens around whatever it hits and completely encases the object or person.
"Not so fast, Sculptor," Lance declares with a grin, announcing the heroes' presence, "we'll be taking the wheel on this one."
Ladybug rolls his eyes and darts into the classroom with Lance close behind. There are about ten or twelve victims already trapped, with more trying to escape before they get completely taken over. Ladybug dodges a blob of clay and rolls left to take cover behind the teacher's desk. Lance prefers directness over subtlety and hops onto the tables with his staff out. With a flick of his wrist, Lance extends the staff and knocks the continuously replenishing block of clay out of Sculptor's hand.
"Fools! The award for best piece in the class should have been mine, and for your interruption I shall teach you a lesson!" Sculptor retrieves the clay block and slides it into her apron pocket.
"So you're a teacher now, huh? An educator like you should be fired." Then turning to Ladybug, who's moved from his previous position to weave between the tables, Lance adds, "Get it, LB, because to bake pottery you need to –"
"Get down, Chat" Ladybug yells, and Lance gets yanked off the table by a yo-yo at exactly the right moment to miss being slapped with clay.
"I would've been fine!" he exclaims. "I have catlike reflexes."
"I could name several incidents that prove otherwise, but right now we have a job to do."
"Right, so, do you want a distraction?"
"I need time to use Lucky Charm," Ladybug replies, which is probably a yes.
"Your wish is my command, LB, and if you want your other two wishes, I wouldn't mind if you rubbed my lamp someti–"
Ladybug shoves him out into the open. Sculptor immediately turns her gaze on him and Lance grabs the nearest object as a shield. The beads from the tray he'd borrowed scatter across the ground and Lance lets out a curse as he hops onto a chair to avoid slipping. Hopefully Ladybug's restorative power will fix things so he doesn't have to clean them all up.
Behind Sculptor, Ladybug tosses his yo-yo and calls on the Lucky Charm power. Two balled up Ziploc bags drop down into his hands and he looks perplexed. Sculptor looks at Lance and winds up again, but Lance is light on his feet and he's halfway to the photography class's adjoining darkroom by the time she throws. "Haha, Sculptor, I'd have to say that your last attempt wasn't quite as jarring as you expected!"
"Don't think that I will be as merciful on my next throw," she threatens. Now Ladybug is over by the supply closet with a ball of twine, poking holes in the bags and stringing them together, fingers fumbling over some kind of slipknot.
Ladybug darts into place behind the villain and at his signal, Lance pulls out the pun he'd been saving. "You know what, Sculptor? You may believe that you deserve this prize, but I think you haven't urn-ed it."
That gets him a shriek of anger from the villain and a groan from Ladybug, but the trap is sprung and Ladybug uses Sculptor's moment of inattention to shove the bags over each of her hands and then yanks the twine so the slipknot tightens and brings them together. With the villain's hands tied, literally, Ladybug snatches the unformed block of clay from Sculptor's pocket and grinds it underfoot until it's in chunks across the floor, breaking Hawkmoth's power. Immediately, Sculptor drops to her knees and the villain transformation wears off, leaving a student that Lance vaguely recognizes as an upperclassman. Ladybug calmly cleanses the akuma and uses his Miraculous Ladybug power to set everything back to normal.
"Mission accomplished!" Lance declares, bumping fists with his partner. It had taken Lance ten minutes to explain the purpose of a fist bump to Ladybug the first time they had defeated an akuma, but now Ladybug humors Lance at the end of their battles, even if he still doesn't show the same enthusiasm that Lance displays.
"We did well," Ladybug admits with a hint of a smile.
Lance grins. "Thanks. I'm glad that we managed to get her to vase the music. Soooo… you got plans for the weekend?"
Ladybug shrugs. "Training, homework, the usual."
There's a long pause, and when Ladybug doesn't say anything more, Lance sighs dramatically before saying: "Why thanks for asking what I'm doing, gorgeous." The term isn't even an exaggeration because Ladybug is unfairly handsome. Even now, after a battle, the only sign of Ladybug's exertion is a lock of hair that had slipped out of his hair tie at some point. The skintight suit makes it clear that Ladybug keeps in shape outside of his time as a superhero, and beneath the mask his eyes are just… lovely. There's really no other word for them. "I will be making plans to outwit my civilian rival in the upcoming school-wide trivia tournament and of course I will be thinking about you."
"You really should be training more," Ladybug replies, completely ignoring the second half of Lance's statement. "Defeating Hawkmoth is an important task."
"Hey! What happened to 'we did well'?"
"There's no such thing as too much practice."
"Yes, yes there is. It's called being no fun. Also, burning out is a thing."
"I doubt that will be a problem in your case."
Lance bristles. "Are you calling me lazy?"
"Think what you want. My earrings are beeping now, so I'll see you for patrol later, Chat."
Lance's ring is warning him too, come to think of it. "Well, this conversation isn't over!" He ducks out of the art room and finds an empty classroom to transform back in.
Lance makes it down to the first floor and is about to sneak out a side exit to join up with the rest of his class when he spies a figure with a familiar mullet headed for the same door. "What are you doing here, Keith?"
"Given that we're all supposed to evacuate when a villain attack breaks out, I could ask you the same thing."
"I was in the bathroom! I missed the whole thing, okay! What's your excuse?"
Keith doesn't look impressed. "I was checking the classrooms on the first and second floor to make sure everyone was out. Happy?"
That's totally a better reason and Lance should have thought of it first. "As long as we can both slip in under Ms. Clement's radar, I guess it doesn't matter what you were doing."
"Finally, something we can agree on."
There have been many moments since becoming a superhero when Keith has been tempted to use Lucky Charm to slap some polka-dotted duct tape over Chat Noir's mouth. Unfortunately, that would be a misuse of his power and any peace that came from the ensuing silence would be overshadowed by Keith's disappointment in himself.
"So, LB, once we finish our circuit of the city, there's a 24-hour café I know that serves great pastries and fruit tea, though I bet you're a coffee person aren't you? I've pretty much grown up on both with my family, and hey, if you'd rather be out of sight I can stop home and bring some to the roof of city hall and we could drink up there…"
It had taken Keith a while to realize that about half of what Chat Noir said consisted of attempts at flirting. He didn't seem to realize that Keith was a poor target for his affections, since Keith's interests, both fortunately and unfortunately, lay elsewhere.
Keith catches a flash of violet out of the corner of his eye and immediately grabs Chat Noir's wrist to pull the two of them to a stop. His partner follows his gaze and gasps when he too sees the black butterfly trailing purple smoke.
"I'll follow it," Chat Noir says decisively. "You backtrack west and see if you can find out where it came from."
Keith itches for a weapon other than his yo-yo when he realizes that Hawkmoth might be around here. "Call if you need help with the akuma."
"Likewise if you find Hawkmoth. Good luck, LB."
Keith's night vision with the ladybug miraculous isn't as good as Chat Noir's, but he checks every conceivable hiding spot within three blocks of the place where they'd first spotted the akuma. He's about to dial Chat Noir for an update when his yo-yo beeps to signal an incoming call from his partner.
"Yeah, so uh, I found the dude who was supposed to be akumatized – sweet quiznak, are those wings? – and I snatched the object right out of his hands as soon as the akuma set in, but he's – no worries, ma'am, nothing to see here – kinda following me. Meet me halfway so you can smash this laptop and cleanse the bejeesus out of the akuma?"
"I'll be there." Keith flicks his yo-yo around some metal piping on the next building over and takes off in the direction that Chat Noir had gone. He swings between buildings until he glimpses something large with wings pursuing a dark figure on the ground who could only be Chat Noir. Lowering himself to the ground, Keith runs forward and Chat Noir throws the laptop in his direction. It skitters across the pavement and Keith quickly steps on it, releasing the akuma. After six months of being a superhero, it's practically automatic to cleanse the butterfly and point the confused former villain back the way he'd come, and it's only after everything is back to normal that Keith takes a moment to pause.
"So," Chat Noir pants, winded after his long run, "did you find anything?"
"Not yet, but if Hawkmoth was here, he's long gone now."
"Quiznak. We have no idea where he might be?"
"That's not exactly true. I've got a record of all the akuma attacks in the city, but the map I marked up is at home."
"Ooh, do I finally get to see the Bugcave today, Broody Wayne?"
"For the last time, I don't have anything like that. Are you telling me that you've got a Kitty Corner or something?"
"Well, it's actually more like a lion's den…"
Keith can't tell if Chat is being silly or serious, so he changes the subject. "Anyway, I'll look over the map again and see how dense the attacks have been in the direction that tonight's akuma came from."
"Sounds good, my man. Keep me in the loop."
Keith nods . "Check your messages tomorrow."
Notes: "Wait a minute," you might say, "why was Ladybug climbing through a window when Keith was already in the building?" He had the same idea as Lance, but waited until they were outside to slip away from the class.
Also, I made some decisions regarding Keith's characterization based on the timeline I have in mind. In Voltron, it's not really clear how much time passed during S1, but they're definitely still getting used to the whole heroing gig. During the show, Keith is shown to be hotheaded and sometimes overconfident during battles, and my belief is that over time, as he integrates more with the team, he'll learn to be more cautious. In this story, he's been partners with Chat Noir for at least six months, so I have written a Keith who is more experienced with teamwork than the Keith in canon. There will still be instances of Keith running headlong into trouble, but his impulsive behavior will be tempered a little by wisdom.
This fic is already written in its entirety and updates will be posted every couple of days to give me time to make minor edits.