A/N: I apologize to any Parisians if I got the details wrong. Like most I was shocked to discover today that so much of the Notre Dame has burned! This is dedicated to the people of Paris and the firefighters continuing to work to save the building.
Our Lady of Paris
It was a Monday night.
They were all at home, doing ordinary things, nothing fun or fancy, mostly just homework and doing stuff on their phones.
That was when the headline flashed across every screen. Not an akuma, not another protest, or a terrorist attack.
The Notre Dame was in flames.
Adrien jumped up and ran to his TV screen, with Plagg hovering just above his shoulder.
"We have to do something, Plagg! Claws out!"
"At least there's one disaster they can't blame me forrrrr—!" The flippant kwami was cut off as his body was sucked into Adrien's ring.
Gabriel had just transformed and was looking out over the city, hunting for negative energy, when a surge of it hit him like a tidal wave.
Curious, and slightly worried as to what had caused so much negativity all of a sudden, he peered out of his window. In the distance, a great plume of smoke rose into the sky.
His first thought was that the distraction of a historic fire would be perfect timing for an especially devastating akuma.
Almost immediately, however, he felt a rare twinge of shame.
His purple cloak fell from his shoulders, leaving him in his business suit, still staring out through the massive round windowpane.
"No," the artist and Parisian inside him softly whispered. "Not the Notre Dame."
Marinette was already dressed as Ladybug and was just finishing giving Alya the latest scoop for her blog. "Yes, Chat Noir's puns do tend to drive me crazy sometimes," she laughed, winking for Alya's livestream viewers. "But I can't lie, I do find them occasionally a-mew-sing."
Alya didn't respond to her right away, and Ladybug's expression grew concerned.
"Was that the right question?" she asked, trying to politely express her concern since she knew they were still live.
Alya startled, meeting her eyes distractedly. "Oh! Uh, yeah, but there's something you should see."
She turned the phone around so Ladybug could see. "Look!"
Several viewers had commented on the video, posting pictures of the cathedral on fire.
Ladybug's eyes went wide. "An akuma?"
"It doesn't look like it, Girl," Alya shook her head. "This is just a gigantic national disaster!"
"Then I should be there," she determined, drawing her hands to her hips. "Sorry to cut off your interview!"
Alya followed her with the camera as Ladybug shot her yo-yo into the sky and flew off in the direction of the fire. "You heard that, Ladies and Gents. Rest assured, Ladybug will be doing everything she can to help save our Notre Dame."
Ladybug and Chat Noir shared a grim exchange as they landed on a nearby rooftop at the same moment. "Maybe we could find a way to pour water from the Seine on top of the cathedral?" Chat suggested. "We could drop it from a helicopter or something."
"Chat, wait," Ladybug stopped him from leaving right away. "This isn't our area. We know how to fight akumas, not fires. Remember how bothersome it was when the police tried to help us with an akuma?"
Chat Noir reluctantly nodded. "But we can't just sit here and do nothing!" he exclaimed afterward.
"Of course not! We have to help, but let's ask the firefighters what we can do before charging right in," she gave him a wobbly smile. It was hard to muster her usual positivity with eight hundred years of worship, art, beauty, passion, and survival crumbling into ashes no more than a few hundred meters away.
Fortunately, a firefighter nearby had already spotted them and overheard part of their conversation. "I'm afraid that if we tried dropping water from above, the entire building would collapse and all the artwork within it would be ruined with no chance of restoration," he shouted up to them over the noise. "We are honored to have your help, though! Please, see what artwork you can help the collectors salvage from the building before the fire spreads!"
"We're on it!" Chat Noir gave him a two-fingered salute from the top of the building.
The two of them flew off toward the collecting vans.
The crowds were unlike any had seen, more than had gathered to watch any akuma attack, surrounding the burning cathedral as the orange flames took on a pink hue with the setting of the sun.
Alya and Nino, hand-in-hand, shoved their way to the front by the police bars to take in the entirety of the sight. Even from so far away, the heat was like a bonfire, warming the chilly evening air.
A sharp gasp rose up from the crowd as the famous spire, totally engulfed in flames, began to tip, and fell with a soft crash into what remained of the church's roof.
Both of the young superheroes had their phones out, but they had stopped paying attention to the screens, their mouths hanging open in unison as they watched the continual destruction.
For a long time, there were no sounds except the shouts of firefighters, silent weeping among the onlookers behind them, and the crackle and murmur of the flames. Alya felt her eyes well up with tears, unless maybe it was the smoke getting in her eyes. It just wasn't fair that a stupid fire, nobody's fault, could take such an invaluable piece of history away from them.
Then a new sound joined the stillness, blending with it at first before swelling to a more distinguishable timbre. A hymn, one Alya hadn't heard since she was little. A faint memory of Mamie sitting beside her in church brought back some of the words, now familiar.
She and Nino wrapped their arms around each others' waists as they hummed along with the words.
Even the most timeless and important things were not immune to tragedy.
It was the faith and hope in their hearts that would outlast the fire.