Chapter 1: Passing of the torch
Author's note: This was originally written before the spoilers for season 2 aired, so if some of the story is different from Canon such as names or certain events, it's because this was written before season 2 aired and the spoilers were known.
It's funny how one small change can cause such big differences in the timeline, in one timeline an old man gives a pair of earrings to a girl who helped him across the street, but in another timeline the girl wasn't there to help and so he was helped by a different girl who then received the earrings instead. In the first timeline the first girl then goes on to become a superhero along with a boy with a magic ring against a man who makes supervillains but with a consequence to her civilian life, but in the second timeline the other girl takes up that responsibility and the first girl is able to live her life normally and receive opportunities she wouldn't have had in the first timeline due to saving Paris getting in the way.
We all know what occurs in the first timeline. But shall we take a look into the second timeline created by one small change, created by the first girl leaving for school earlier that she originally should have, causing another girl to be there in her place and take on the responsibility that should have been hers? Maybe we should. But the universe has a way of correcting itself, the first girl was destined for greatness, and though she may have unintentionally missed her first chance, greatness shall come to her anyway, just in a slightly different form.
When Ladybug and Chat Noir emerged Gabriel Agreste did his best to ignore their existence, he knew exactly what the Miraculous were and it only dredged up painful memories for him to think about them. It was the same reason he was distant with his son, because looking at him reminded him too much of what he's lost, he knew it was wrong to treat his son like he did. For a while, ignoring the two heroes worked, the actions of the Akumas and heroes rarely ever affected him, though it did apparently affect his son as all but two students from his class including Adrien himself had become Akumas. The other students yet to become an Akuma had been a girl by the name of Marinette Dupain-Cheng, after the girl had won the derby hat competition while also proving that her design was her own and that the Bourgeois had been the one to copy it, Gabriel had decided to investigate the girl more and was impressed by her potential, he was also impressed that she had avoided being Akumatised despite how much Chloe Bourgeois seemed to enjoy picking on her, so he offered her work experience with him that she had accepted.
All had been going well until the Jackady incident. To Gabriel's defence, he had been tricked into appearing on the show, and he wasn't going to lower himself to go along with the stupid thing, and it wasn't technically his fault that the man who ended up Akumatised lost out on his chance to win by Gabriel refusing to take part, the people in charge of the show should have just got someone more willing to partake. Never the less, Jackady blamed him for losing his chance at winning, and so came after him and it put his son in danger, Ladybug and Chat Noir followed and tried to help, bringing up memories Gabriel found painful, causing him to act more cold in an effort to not show emotion. Marinette had been with Gabriel for her work experience when Jackady had attacked, and she had impressed him with how capable she was at fighting against Jackady's hypnotised minions, but she hadn't been able to hold them off forever with how many of them there were, leading Gabriel to eventually be captured and almost die by jumping off a building after being hypnotised.
When Gabriel had returned home he gave his son a hug, relieved that Adrien was safe. And then he saw the ring. The colour had been off and there was no paw print, but there had been no mistaking the shape, and Gabriel knew the reason for the absent colour and paw print. Adrien, his son, was Chat Noir, his son was regularly putting himself in danger. Gabriel knew that he couldn't just take the ring off his son or tell him to stop being Chat Noir, not only would it put Paris in danger, but he knew his son wouldn't want to give it up and get angry if Gabriel tried to force him to, and without the protection of the ring Adrien would also be vulnerable to Hawkmoth. Still, Gabriel had to do something, even if it meant facing his painful memories head on.
When Ladybug and Chat Noir hit the scene Marinette would run and hide during Akuma attacks just like everyone else, and celebrate the two heroes when they managed to overcome the odds and win. But whenever Marinette looked at Ladybug, she couldn't help but feel that something was wrong, that something about the heroine was off, it wasn't the 'she's suspicious' sort of off, Marinette just could describe what was off about her. And when she watched the Akuma battles, she always felt a niggling at the back of her mind that she should be doing something, she didn't know what, just something.
Marinette's first direct encounter with an Akumatised victim was when Nathanael, who'd been crushing on her, invited her out on a date for his birthday, feeling sorry for him for being Akumatised on his birthday and a bit scared as to how he'd react if she said no she had agreed. Despite being turned into a villain Nathanael, or the Evillustrator as he had been called, had been perfectly nice during his birthday date and Marinette had to admit that she had had a good time, but it had come to an end when Hawkmoth had decided the date had gone on long enough and ordered the Evillustrator to get the Miraculouses and caused him pain when he tried to refuse. The Evillustrator had dropped Marinette off at the dock and then ran off, Nathanael showing up the next day showed that he had found the heroes and been cleansed.
Marinette watched as one by one, her classmates became Akumatised, until she and Adrien were the only ones left not used by Hawkmoth. With how much Chloe loved to target her Marinette was surprised that she hadn't been sent a black butterfly yet, and so was a lot off the class as it seemed that many of them were waiting for her or Adrien to 'become one of them' as it were. Marinette credited her ability to remain Akuma-free to her fashion designing, whenever she got stressed, sad or any other negative emotion she would turn to designing or creating clothes, doing the activity calmed her and allowed her to pour emotion into her work. And it seemed that her way of remaining Akuma-free got her noticed.
Marinette knew she was lucky to get to where she was, doing work experience for Gabriel Agreste, not only one of her favourite fashion designers, but the father of her crush Adrien. She hadn't believed it when she had received the Email inviting her on work experience, she had thought it a joke by the likes of Chloe, but then Gabriel Agreste's assistant came up to her when they came to pick up Adrien after school and invited her along to speak with Mr Agreste. He had seen her work and had been impressed, offering to help her better her skills through work experience. So, twice a week for a few hours, Marinette would go to Adrien's home and learn from Mr Agreste.
This led to her being in Mr Agreste's mansion when an Akumatised victim and his minions came for Mr Agreste, thanks to some self-defence training from her mum Marinette had been able to defend herself and Mr Agreste fairly well until she had been overwhelmed and Mr Agreste taken. Thankfully, Ladybug and Chat Noir managed to save the day just in time and Mr Agreste returned safely home, he had thanked her for her efforts in trying to save him before sending her home.
Over the next few weeks Marinette noticed Mr Agreste acting strangely, she noticed that he seemed to be watching her more, with a conflicting look in his eyes, Marinette just wrote it off as the after effects of the Akuma. That was, until he day Marinette was called into Mr Agreste's office for a private chat.
"You wanted to see me, Mr Agreste?" Marinette asked as she opened the office door.
"Miss Dupain-Cheng, please come in." Gabriel told her. "Have a seat."
Marinette came into the office and closed the door behind her, she then sat on the chair opposite him.
"Tell me, Miss Dupain-Cheng. What do you think of Ladybug and Chat Noir?"
Marinette was caught off guard by the question about Paris' resident heroes.
"Uh, I think they're really brave and do their best to protect Paris, even if it is from my classmates." Marinette answered.
"Don't you think we've had a bit too many close calls lately?" Gabriel asked.
Marinette could tell this was mostly based on Gabriel's own near-death experience, but she could still see his point in that the Akuma seemed to be getting stronger and Ladybug and Chat Noir were struggling to take them down. If it wasn't for Ladybug's instant healing powers, many parts of Paris would be sectioned off because of the damage done by the villains and sometimes even the heroes themselves.
"Maybe, but I'm sure they'll be able to deal with the Akuma in the end." Marinette said.
"Maybe they will, or maybe there may come a time where they will be too late." Gabriel said. "If you had some way to help them, if you had powers of your own would you use them to protect Paris regardless of the danger?"
Marinette was getting really confused as to why she was getting asked all these questions, but she answered truthfully.
"Of course. Truthfully, I always feel that I should be doing something when an Akuma attacks." Mariette answered.
Gabriel gave a barely noticeable smile. He then reached under his desk for something.
"Have you ever heard about other heroes existing, before Ladybug and Chat Noir?" He asked.
"Not really. Before Ladybug and Chat Noir I didn't even know they could exist. I've heard rumours online but didn't think they were true."
"I assure you, some of them are more than rumours"
Gabriel took out a clipping from an old newspaper.
'Quantic Team Saves the Day Again!' Screamed the headline.
The picture to go along with the article was slightly blurred but Marinette could make out a group of young men and women dressed in costumes battling something out of the picture, they were obviously superheroes. The article went on about how the heroes save the day and the damages done by the opponent they were facing.
"The Quantic Team? That name seems familiar." Marinette mumbled.
"The Quantic team had their beginnings here in France many years ago with just a few members, but as the years went by they travelled the world and brought on new members in their quest to end to end an evil different from Hawkmoth." Gabriel told her.
"Then, why aren't they here now to help stop Hawkmoth now?" Marinette asked.
"With the evil they fought against defeated most of us decided to retire and give up our powers."
It took a few seconds for Gabriel's wording to sink in.
"Wait, you said 'us' and 'our'. You were a superhero?" Marinette gasped.
Gabriel simply nodded and handed over a photo, it was of a group of costumed heroes posing for the camera. The entire group of heroes looked beaten and worn, with torn costumes and some even having make-shift splints and slings, but despite their injuries they all looked like they couldn't be happier, grinning at the camera and some of them either doing peace signs or thumbs-up.
"Sir." Marinette finally said after a few minutes to process what she had been told. "I don't get why you're telling me all of this."
"Because," Gabriel said, standing and going over to the portrait that hung behind his desk. "Ladybug and Chat Noir need help." Behind the portrait was a safe that he opened. "The help needed is from my old powers but I am retired indefinitely, so someone new is needed." He took something out of the safe before closing it, putting the portrait back, and sitting down again. "And I believe that person is you."
Gabriel placed what he took out of the safe in front of Marinette, it was a broach in the shape of a peacock. Marinette recognised the broach from the photo and looked back at the group of heroes until her eyes picked out a male superhero themed after a peacock, wearing the same broach that was now in front of her. Gabriel had said that the broach was his, meaning that the man in the photo was him, Marinette was having a hard time seeing her stern mentor dressed up in such a flashy way even though the evidence was in front of her. Then Gabriel's words clicked.
"Wait. You want me to take up your powers?" Marinette gasped.
"Yes." Gabriel answered.
"Why me? Surely there are others more fit to take your place. I'm just a clumsy girl, I'm not fit to be a hero."
"Yes you are, Miss Dupain-Cheng. I know that Miss Bourgeois has a certain enjoyment in targeting, yet you have managed to remain free of Hawkmoth's influence when your classmates have been victim of him for less. You have a profound sense of right and wrong and will stand up for others, shown by how you stand up to Miss Bourgeois. And you have shown to be a capable fighter during the Akuma attack on my home."
Marinette grew red at Gabriel's words.
"Even though you're retired, isn't there any of your teammates who can come back to help out? They'd be more help that an untrained rookie like me." Marinette said.
"If it was a different sort of villain, maybe. Do you know about the Miraculous?"
"There the things that Hawkmoth is constantly trying to get off Ladybug and Chat Noir, probably the source of their power."
"They are. There are actually seven Miraculous in total, Ladybug, Chat Noir and Hawkmoth's are three of them, and this broach is another. Since Hawkmoth's source of power is a Miraculous, the best way to defeat him is with the other Miraculous. Which is why I am giving this to you."
"Do you really think I can be a hero? I know a little bit of self-defence, but not nearly enough to take on an Akuma."
"Which is why I shall be training you."
"The Miraculous may give subconscious knowledge of your weapon and how to fight, but it is better if you are trained. If you accept, that is."
Marinette looked at the broach lying innocently on the desk in front of her, apparently holding the same power that Ladybug and Chat Noir had, and the potential to make her a superhero. But did she really want that? Becoming a superhero meant being constantly under fire from the Akuma, her loved ones being put in danger if her identity was discovered, hiding the truth from everyone, and sacrificing who knows how much of her real life. But, her loved ones were already in danger from Akumas whenever they got caught in the line of fire, Alya herself doing it deliberately to get the latest scoop on Ladybug, and if she became a superhero then she could protect them, she could help like she always felt like she should be doing.
Marinette slowly reached for the broach, her hand paused halfway and pulled backward slightly in hesitance before continuing the rest of the way and picking up the broach delicately. With the same slow hesitance, she pinned the broach to her shirt.
The was a sudden flash of light as a blue orb appeared before her. The orb faded away to reveal a small blue creature with a resemblance to a peacock. The creature opened its eyes and looked at a freaked out Marinette, it looked around the room until it spotted Gabriel.
"Hello again, Pavo." Gabriel said.
The creature suddenly burst out into blue, sparkling tears, surprising Marinette but not Gabriel.
"Gabe." The creature sobbed, flying into Gabriel's chest.
Gabriel didn't seem to mind the tears on his suit and cupped the creature to his chest with a gentleness Marinette had never seen.
"Uh, Mr Agreste." Marinette awkwardly interrupted. "Who's this."
The creature stopped crying to look at Marinette.
"This is Pavo, he is a Kwami, a small god that gives the Miraculous its power." Gabriel answered.
Marinette looked down at the broach and was shocked to find it devoid of colour.
"The Miraculous lose their colour when us Kwami are not in them." Explained Pavo. He then turned to Gabriel. "Are you really giving me to a new wielder?"
Gabriel simply nodded, and Pavo nodded back in understanding but with a sad look on his face.
"She is also an aspiring fashion designer." Gabriel added.
Pavo suddenly brightened up and flew over to Marinette. "Really, let me see your designs. Are you wearing your own designs right now? You have to be, you look so nice. I can tell you are going to look fabulous when we transform." He fired out in rapid succession.
Marinette was slightly taken aback by Pavo's one-eighty in mood, but took it in stride and held out her hand for Pavo to sit on.
"Uh, thank you." Marinette said.
"Would you like to try it out?" Gabriel suggested.
"Yes!" Pavo burst out, rising from Marinette's hand and flying around her impatiently as the girl got up.
"Alight." Marinette said with a smile, Pavo's excitement was contagious. "What do I do?"
"Just say 'feathers flared', and the magic will do its work." Pavo said.
Marinette was sure that if the Kwami wasn't floating, he'd be jumping up and down on the desk.
"Feathers flared?" Marinette asked to see if she got it right.
Instead of answering, Pavo was sucked into the broach, Marinette felt like light feathers were brushing over her as a wave of blue light washed over her, leaving a costume and mask in place of her clothes.
"Woah." Marinette exclaimed once the transformation finished.
Marinette looked down at her new supersuit with wide eyes.
Gabriel stood up and guided her to a full length mirror where she was able to see herself in all her glory.
The suit was mostly a vibrant blue with the exception of an arrow of green that started at her chest and went over her shoulders, the sleeves ended in a point over her hands and her hands were covered by light brown gloves, she wore green boots that went half-way up her calves, and a green scarf around her waist, the Miraculous was on the centre of her chest at the point of the green arrow, lifting up her arms she saw that she had light brown feathers attached between her arms and body that went to her elbows, she wore a blue mask that went over her nose and had white markings around the eyes, the mask had crest feathers sprouting from the top of it and there were also crest feathers coming from her pigtails, and she had a large fan that was attached to the back of her waist that gave the impression of tail feathers.
Marinette spun around as she took in her new look.
"Wow." She said. "I look different than you did." She said, talking about how Gabriel looked in the photograph.
"Every wielder will look different but they will have the same power set. Like your fan." Gabriel told her.
Marinette reached behind her and detached the large fan from the scarf around her waist, it was light despite its size but she could still feel the weight behind it, she swung it around and it cut through the air effortlessly.
"It can also separate into two." Gabriel informed her.
Marinette was a bit puzzled, she didn't see a way to split the fan in two.
"Like this." Gabriel said, guiding her.
Gabriel guided Marinette's hands to move the handle of the fan in a certain way that it split in two, the two halves separated easily with feathers on each, on one of the fans the feathers were much shorter while on the other the feathers were the same length but soon retracted to match the length of the other fan, leaving Marinette with two smaller fans instead of her large one. She swung them around to get the feel of them.
"What else can I do?" Marinette asked in amazement.
"You also get a special power that you can only use once per transformation." Gabriel told her.
"Like Ladybug's Lucky Charm?"
"Yes. It is called Oracle Eye, and it will allow you to see five possible outcomes of a situation."
"I get to see the future?"
"Yes. But after you use this power you will have only five minutes before you are forced to turn back, the minutes are counted down by your Miraculous, it will lose colour in two of the jewels for each minute. You should turn back now. Just will it and it will happen."
Marinette took a deep breath and thought of becoming normal again, there was a flash of blue and the feeling of feathers again, and Marinette was back to her old self with Pavo floating next to her.
"I knew it. You looked positively elegant." Pavo said happily.
"Thank you." Marinette said.
"You may go home early today to get to know Pavo, but I expect you here tomorrow morning to begin your training." Gabriel told her.
"Okay." Marinette said, still slightly unsure about the whole superhero thing even though she had already accepted.
Marinette then left for home with Pavo tucked away in her purse and the Miraculous still pinned to her shirt but hidden behind her jacket.
Once Marinette got home and reached her room she opened up her purse and allowed Pavo out.
"This is amazing." Pavo said as he looked around her room.
Pavo then caught sight of Marinette's pictures of Adrien.
"Who's the boy." He asked with a grin.
"That's Adrien. Mr Agreste's son." Marinette answered with a sigh.
Pavo suddenly burst into tears again.
"Woah, what's wrong?" Marinette asked, cupping the crying Kwami in her hands.
"He looks so much like her." Pavo sobbed.
Marinette had a feeling who Pavo was talking about, she gently pet the Kwami's head.
"Um, how about some food to cheer you up? What do you like to eat?" Marinette suggested.
"Ooh, grapes, please." Pavo suddenly snapped out of his crying.
Marinette sighed, knowing that Pavo would probably have mood swings like this all the time. Still, she went down stairs and came back up with some grapes, she set them down and Pavo happily dug into them.
"So, what's been going on since I was asleep?" Pavo asked before eating another grape.
Marinette quickly explained about Hawkmoth showing up and turning people with high negative emotions into supervillains in order to get Ladybug and Chat Noir's Miraculouses, and the two heroes constant fight against him.
"Poor Nooroo." Pavo said sadly. "Being used like that."
"Who's Nooroo?" Marinette asked.
"He is the Kwami of Hawkmoth's Miraculous. Over the many millennia the Miraculous have existed we have mostly been used for good, but there have been times where we haven't, and it is never nice."
"Well, I promise to use this for good." Marinette said, tapping the Miraculous on her shirt.
"I know. Gabe wouldn't have chosen you otherwise."
"He told me that before I can help out that he's going to train me." Marinette told the Kwami after he'd finished eating.
"Good idea. When Gabe started out he didn't have any training, he had quite a rough time when starting out due to inexperience." Pavo said. "He didn't even choose a hero name, the press just made one up for him and he was stuck with it. So, you'll need a hero name."
"I don't know, what do you recommend?"
"My wielders have had a few. Belle Bleu, Paon, Paonne, Juno, Grande Plume, Phoenix, etc."
"I think I'll go with Paonne, thanks." Marinette picked.
"Bit ordinary, but okay." Pavo said.
For the next few hours Marinette got to know Pavo a little better, showing the Kwami her designs and getting him up to date with the world he'd missed while sleeping in his Miraculous.
"You'd best get some sleep." Pavo told Marinette, looking at the clock. "You're going to need it for training."
Marinette agreed and quickly got changed for bed before climbing up the ladder to her bed, once she was settled Pavo lay on her stomach and they both fell asleep.