In the darkened streets of Paris, Alya trotted along, her eyes sweeping from side-to-side. Her phone buzzed in her hand again, but she barely glanced at it before she continued on her way.
Yes, her mother was going to skin her alive.
It was late. It was dark. And one of her classmates had already been abducted today! Her mother had every right to worry! She should not be out here!
Her hand shook and she paused for a moment to wipe the tears from her eyes. No. She couldn't see anything if she lost it like this! She had to be alert! She had to be ready for the first sign of Marinette!
It was her best friend who'd been taken today, and SHE. COULD. NOT. LOSE. IT!
But I am losing it, she thought to herself, as she finally gave herself a moment to sit down and just cry. She'd been looking all day, and nothing! The police had been looking. Cat Noir had been spotted looking! Surely, surely he and Ladybug would be able to find Marinette!
I was the last person who spoke to her, Alya thought glumly, clutching her phone tighter as tears poured down her face. I didn't notice anything was wrong…
We were all laughing and joking… while she must've been screaming… a sob tore through Alya's throat. And then she couldn't hold them back anymore.
PLEASE, GOD, PLEASE LET HER BE OKAY, I'LL GIVE UP ANYTHING FOR HER TO JUST BE OKAY!
I shouldn't have reposted that picture of her and Cat Noir onto the Ladyblog—OH GOD, WHAT IF THIS IS ALL MY FAULT? WHAT IF SHE DIES BECAUSE I COULDN'T KEEP MY NOSE OUT OF SUPERHERO BUSINESS?
I'LL NEVER SEE MY BEST FRIEND EVER AGAIN!
"Alya?" a voice called to her. Alya drew in a shuddering breath, and slowly looked up. Nino was striding towards her, looking angry. "For cripes sake, woman, answer your phone!"
Alya gulped and looked at him hopefully. "Did they find her?" To her dismay, Nino's face fell and he shook his head.
"No, but your mom is going ballistic," he grumbled, "and if they have to call officers off the search for Mari just so they can come hunt you down, I'm gonna be super peeved at you." Alya drew in a deep, shuddering breath and wiped her tears away again. He was right, of course.
"I just… I feel like I have to do something," she whimpered. "What if they miss some important clue or something? We know her best, and Marinette's smart! She'd leave us a clue if she could!"
"If she could," Nino agreed glumly, sitting beside her.
"You don't think—"
"No, she's fine," Nino said firmly. "Marinette is fine. I'm gonna believe she's fine until they put the freaking body in front of me."
"Don't say stuff like that."
"I say it 'cause it makes it less scary," Nino said, looking up. "There's not gonna be a body, because she's gonna be all right. She'll be in class on Monday with the rest of us, and we'll all swarm her to get the juicy details. You're gonna be in full journalist-mode, and write down all the action she can tell you about, and Kim and Alix will make bets on who could've punched out the bastards first, and Chloe will actually be nice for once as she brags about how her daddy offered a reward for—"
"Did he really?" Alya cut it with a wry smile. Nino shrugged.
"He made some sort of announcement earlier. I missed the details. Now, will you please call your mom? I promised her I'd get you home."
Alya nodded, still a bit shaky, and held up her phone. Before she could press anything, however, she heard Nino gasp and looked up just in time to see a wave of pink light wash over everything.
Instantly, she felt calmer. Happier. She jumped to her feet.
"Ladybug," Nino murmured beside her. Alya looked at him in surprise.
"That was no Miraculous Cure," she said. "Not like any I've seen before anyway."
"It was her," Nino said firmly. He smiled, stood, and held his hand out to her. "C'mon, let's get home. I bet we get some good news before this night is over."
The second part of Issues is now up! It's called Consequences and can be found under my penname. I'd post a link, but this website won't let me. (I would've continued using this story, but honestly, I was running out of lyrics...)