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Fanfic / Truth and Consequences

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"On Sunday, Marinette discovered who her arch nemesis really was. On Monday, she made Adrien's father a deal."
— Summary for Truth and Consequences.

Marinette and Adrien have been heroes for four years. Graduation and college are right around the corner for Paris' heroes, while Marinette and Adrien are in the beginnings of a relationship, but sadly, no end to the war against Hawk Moth is in sight. That changes when Ladybug accidentally discovers the true identity of her Arch-Enemy, leaving her with a choice she never expected to face: expose him then and there, potentially ruining Adrien's life... or give him what he wants in return for an end to the conflict?

Ladybug chooses the latter.

What follows is a downward spiral, as Ladybug and Chat Noir find themselves at cross purposes for the first time in their careers, resulting in an ever growing conflict that threatens to drag both heroes down, and all of Paris with them...

Truth and Consequences is a Miraculous Ladybug Fanfic by siderealSandman, and is complete.

Its sequel, Mending Warped Designs is ongoing, and can be read here: Mending Warped Designs.

Tropes found in this fanfiction:

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     Tropes For Truth And Consequences 
  • The Abridged Series: There's a side-story that retells the fic in a shortened and far more humorous manner.
  • Accidental Pun:
    Carapace: [fighting skeleton enemies] Hey numbskulls! I got a bone to pick with you...ahhh man, even Chat Noir would have groaned at that...
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: According to Thomas Astruc, canon Sarutobi Sasuke wielded the Monkey Miraculous. Here he's a Cat.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The final chapter reveals Felix has gone from simple jerkass to full-blown supervillain.
  • All for Nothing: Marinette name-drops this trope when it finally becomes clear to her that allying with Hawkmoth was a horrible mistake, and now even correcting it will probably lead to her losing nearly everything she held dear. By the end of the story, she does manage to salvage a few more benefits, but her partnership with Hawkmoth did cost her nearly everything she had hoped to gain in the attempt.
    “What happens afterwards?” Marinette said, glancing at Tikki. “He isn’t going to let me keep you after all this is ring, no wish...Adrien’s mom is gonna die...and this was all for nothing!”
  • All Take and No Give: In a twist on this trope, everything falls apart because Ladybug and Chat Noir feel that they’re in this sort of relationship, but they both feel that they’re the exploited “Giver!” Ladybug feels that she has to be the “responsible one,” the one one who ultimately needs to make all the decisions when it comes to the battle against Hawkmoth and can never, ever fail in battle. Meanwhile, Chat Noir appears to take absolutely nothing seriously- he shows up and battles at her direction, but does nothing else to lighten her burden. Because she feels this way, she ends up treating Chat Noir like her sidekick, unknowingly or not, while in the meantime Chat is increasingly resentful that nobody is willing to tell him anything. From his perspective, he shows up whenever he’s called and fights to the best of his ability- he’s been Brainwashed and Crazy and even killed several times in defense of Paris! - and yet, no one is willing to do much as offer him an explanation!
  • Amicable Exes: Prior to the story, Marinette was involved with Luka, and Adrien with Kagami. Both relationships have since ended, but both remain on friendly terms.
  • Anachronic Order: Starting with Chapter 30, the fic bounces between the In Medias Res opening and the final leadup to How We Got Here. As of chapter 35, the author is removing and rewriting some of the "future flashes" so they are not boxed into anything.
  • And I Must Scream: Luka's fate, for a while after "Mayura" takes control. With the Ladybug Miraculous gone, the heroes are left with no way to purify him from the Mayura Akuma, and they don't want to kill him. So, they're forced to imprison him in an inter-dimensional cell, with no way to speak to anyone, and Mayura constantly trying to regain control of him, until a way to purify him can be found. Eventually Luka and Duusuu are able to take control back, breaking free in the process.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Adrien continues to be Chat Noir, and is last seen fighting vampires on a train alongside Jade Chan.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Lampshaded. When Kagami (who at this point is working with Adrien) learns from Master He that she believes Hawk Moth is a warlock, she initially finds the idea ridiculous. Adrien sets her straight:
    Adrien: A thumb-sized talking cat powered by stinky cheese lives in my ring and gives me unfathomable powers of destruction, and you're having trouble buying the fact that Hawkmoth might have gone to Beauxbatons?
  • Arc Words: As things go From Bad to Worse, Ladybug begins fixating on the phrase "I (We) can fix this." Hawk Moth utters the same phrase when the heroes finally ruin his plans to save Emilie.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Adrien delivers a brutal one to Marinette when confronting her about making decisions about him and his family without his knowledge.
    Marinette: I'm not asking you to be grateful but don't say I don't care about you! I...I love you Adrien.
    Adrien: ...yeah? Maybe...but you sure as hell don't respect me.
    That's not true! Marinette's mind screamed but as she opened her mouth to protest, she struggled to come up with evidence to disprove Adrien's claim. Adrien's point of view didn't factor into her decision...and she actively ignored her partner's advice which might have saved everyone but Gabriel from the mess they found themselves in. Marinette struggled to fill the hollow silence with some kind of assurance; struggled against the mounting worry that Adrien might actually be right. Because as much as she loved him, she was beginning to realize that she never had the whole picture; there had been an invisible wall between them since the day they had met, preventing them from truly being their complete selves. Lies of necessity were still lies.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Admittedly a somewhat pedantic example, but Hawk Moth has five large black butterflies he feeds purified Akumas to. Real butterflies have proboscises instead of mouths, and are generally incapable of consuming anything but nectar.
  • The Atoner:
    • After Hawk Moth takes the Ladybug and Cat Miraculouses, Marinette swears to fix her mistakes and defeat him.
    • During Lila's cameo, she expresses a desire to put her sociopathic actions as a teenager behind her.
  • Badass Boast:
    Gamemaster: But is it really a good idea to discuss battle strategy in front of your enemies?
    Master Crane: It is if you know there's nothing your enemy can do to stop you.
  • Because You Can Cope:
    • At the end of the story, Marinette admits that on some level she believed Chat Noir could survive whatever she threw his way while Adrien wouldn't be able to.
    • Master Fu, after waking up from his coma, also confesses that this was the real reason he focused on training Marinette over him: being the Guardian is a lonely, secretive existence. He figured Adrien was already lonely enough and didn't want to force even more isolation on him, but believed that Marinette, with her many friends and loving parents, would be able to handle the burden.
  • Being Good Sucks: The four years of non-stop superheroing have really taken their toll on Marinette: she can't leave Paris for even a day for fear of an akuma attack, severely limiting her options for college, and she's lost several jobs due to vanishing every time Ladybug is needed, all of which contributes to her desperation to see the whole thing finally end.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Marinette ends up telling a lot of lies throughout her alliance with Hawkmoth, and many of the most insidious are to herself. The first and most damaging of these is that Chat Noir was being spiteful and irrational by refusing to go along with her plan to give Hawkmoth what he wants.
  • Beneath the Mask: There’s a lot going on behind Chat Noir’s image of a dorky sidekick who never takes anything seriously. As his former partner, Ladybug knows and exploits some of his depths- such as his insecurity about his place on the team- but as the story goes on, she convinces herself that he is just a goof so she can justify stealing his Miraculous by insisting he isn’t thinking rationally. However, even Ladybug is taken off guard by Chat Noir’s utter determination to fight the good fight and bring justice to the citizens of Paris.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Right as Gamemaster is about to capture Kagami, Chat Noir shows up with the fully mastered Fang at his side.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Emphasis on bitter over sweet. Hawk Moth is worm food and Emilie gets her one-up, but Marinette has destroyed her friendships with the other heroes, Kaiser Long and Firebird are still running amok with eleven stolen Miraculouses and will eventually become a new threat, and Tikki vanishes to take care of her own business.
  • Black Speech: Late in the fic, Adrien starts speaking in this manner whenever he is extremely emotionally compromised.
  • Blind Obedience: Ladybug’s popularity as a hero leads a large portion of Paris’s population to lean into this trope. Certainly, Chat Noir didn’t exactly help himself by attacking her and her team at the press conference, but still, Ladybug’s story is basically built upon her word and Chat Noir’s “inability” to provide evidence that absolutely couldn’t be faked. By the final chapter of Truth and Consequences, Ladybug’s pedestal has been slightly damaged, but she remains the most popular hero in Paris- popular enough that the other heroes can’t expose her without sinking their own reputations. And even three years after Ladybug and Chat Noir disappeared from Paris, the populace is still eagerly waiting for Ladybug’s return- and have failed to make amends to Chat Noir for what they had done to him due to Ladybug’s story.
  • Bluff the Imposter: When Queen Bee infiltrates Agreste Manor using Rena Rouge's illusions to disguise herself as Adrien, Nathalie catches her by bluffing that Marinette is pregnant with Adrien's child.
  • Body-Count Competition: Queen Bee and Carapace have one during the Final Battle.
  • Brainwashed:
    • Luka, after being given the Peacock Miraculous, is being influenced by some kind of super-Akuma inside of it, turning his affection for Marrinette into dangerous obsession and slavish loyalty. Eventually, it takes control of him completely.
    • A subtler form, but Gabriel, upon learning Marinette's name and after conditioning her to do what he says after saying a trigger phrase, was able to use magic to control her without her knowledge; anytime he says "I insist" she has to obey, and doesn't even realise it for most of the fic.
  • Broken Pedestal: Several.
    • Ladybug to Chat. While she's convinced that this is just a feud and that eventually they'll both be friends again, Chat holds almost no affection her any longer and is more than willing to take her down if she continues to stand with Hawk Moth.
    • Chat expresses the sentiment that he's not going to be calling Fu "Master" for much longer after finding out how badly his training was neglected.
    • Alya, Nino, and Chloé become increasingly disillusioned and mistrustful of Ladybug as her behavior becomes overbearing and it becomes more obvious that she's lying to them.
    • After being tricked into thinking Chat Noir is a traitor, the Parisians tear down the statue of him they'd erected.
    • Obviously, Marinette doesn't hold Gabriel in high esteem anymore after learning he's Hawk Moth. Obviously, neither does Adrien.
    • Alya and the Ladyblog end up with this in the eyes of Adrien and Kagami after Ladybug convinces the reporter to run her side of the story while ignoring the evidence Chat Noir provided. Before that decision, Adrien trusted Alya enough to choose her out of all the reporters in Paris to run his story. Afterwards, he and Kagami might have other things to focus on, but it's clear that they've come to regard the Ladyblog as little more than a pro-Ladybug tabloid. Kagami barely makes an effort to hide her contempt when she runs into Alya at a coffeeshop, makes thinly veiled jabs at the recent integrity of her blog, and completely refuses to clue her in on the real story of what's happening. This pedestal ends up somewhat rebuilt by the end of the fic, once things get explained and Adrien and Kagami learn why she chose to compromise her journalistic integrity.
  • The Bus Came Back: Lila Rossi returns to Paris after years away only to see the hellish mess the city is in and head off for Maui.
  • But Now I Must Go: Marinette, Adrien, Tikki, and Plagg all leave Paris for various reasons at the end of the story.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mayura. Chat Noir effortlessly flings him around every time they fight, Kagami feigns not knowing who he is the first time they meet, Team Paris is put off by his slavish devotion to Ladybug, and at Mayor Bourgeois' gala Adrien deliberately gets his name wrong and wonders why he's Team Ladybug's new leading man when Carapace should have gotten the title by virtue of seniority. All of this contributes to the festering anger in Luka stoked by the creature in his Miraculous.
  • Came Back Wrong: The "resurrected" Emilie, once Gabriel finally gets his hands on both Miraculous, is described as "like Adrien's mother if his mother had been made out of wax and left out in the sun for far too long. Spindly, uneven fingers pulled up a body that was too thin, too gangly, too badly proportioned. Its hair was patchy and thin and fell off its head as it moved, bones cracking in a way that suggested they hadn't been put together properly." Subverted when it's made clear that that isn't even Emilie at all, just a thing the Miraculous had created to try and grant his wish. The real Emilie is still in her life-support chamber. After all is said and done, Ladybug uses her Healing Hands to save her for real.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Chapter 36, Ladybug tries to tell Chat that Gabriel Agreste is Hawk Moth, but he doesn't believe her.
  • Cavalry Refusal: After all hell breaks loose in Paris, Master He tries to call on Section 13 and the Xiaolin Temple for aid. Unfortunately, they have their own problems to deal with at the moment, and aren't willing to help France until their own territories are secured.
  • Chaotic Neutral: In-Universe, Queen Bee jokingly refers to herself as a Chaotic Neutral wildcard when she reveals she swiped the Tiger Miraculous.
  • Cliché Storm: In-Universe, Chat has this reaction to Gamemaster kidnapping Kagami and using her as collateral for his Miraculous. Pointing out how overused this plotline is goads him into releasing her.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Adrien descends into a fit of enraged profanity when he learns Hawk Moth is his father.
    Adrien: Shut up! Don't touch me! Don't fucking touch me, you monster! You fucking monster, I- [...] I...I hate you! I fucking hate you! I hate you and mom's gonna hate you too! She's gonna call the fucking cops on you the second you bring her back to life!
  • Consummate Liar: Gabriel Agreste has spent four years honing his skills as a Manipulative Bastard, and the events of Truth and Consequences represent his masterpiece. This occasionally makes it hard to determine what he truly believes, and what he's just saying to ensure that Ladybug stays on his side. This includes his actual opinions on Ladybug and Chat Noir, what his actual plans are after he gets his Wish, and how much of the situation is just as planned.
  • Convenient Coma: Almost literally, since Master Fu is the only one who knows the identities of both Ladybug and Chat Noir; however, his health fails him early in the story, leaving him unconscious and thus unable to help defuse the situation.
  • Cool Sword: Fang, a sword of destruction wielded by Sarutobi Sasuke, fueled by the Power Of Hate and created by the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous being used together.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Ladybug dismisses Chat's desire to Hawk Moth brought to justice as revenge, largely as a means of rationalizing her actions. This finally ends up becoming the case at the end, after everything she's done to him finally causes him to snap.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Mayura and Chat Noir, to the surprise of exactly nobody; not only is the Black Cat Miraculous acknowledged as stronger than the Peacock, but Chat has four years of experience as a superhero, while Mayura has been at it for a few days.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Wielding the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous simultaneously would, in theory, grant any wish their wielder desires. In practice, it requires an incredibly strong will, and perfect spiritual balance. Only one person has ever successfully pulled it off, with the consequences of the failures ranging from turning the wielder's hair orange, to transforming them into a potted plant, to Ret Goning an entire civilization. Marinette is convinced she can pull it off; everyone else, not so much. When Gabriel gets his hands on both, not only does he fail to resurrect Emilie, but he himself is seemingly annihilated - taking both Miraculous with him.
  • Damned By a Fool's Praise: In Chapter 37 Mayura is given particularly barbed dialogue.
    • About the idea that Marinette shouldn't have to deal with problems.
      Mayura: He upset you, Marinette, [...] He disobeyed you; he failed to treat you as the pure, perfect creature that you are...and anyone who does that needs to be eliminated.
    • About the idea that Adrien should be punished for his flaws after being beaten to near-death.
      Mayura: Finally... finally! [...] He's gone...he's finally gone! [...] No more M. Sunshine! No more smug, spoiled, selfish, bratty little Adrien! No more supermodel outshining me at every turn!
  • Damsel in Distress: Gamemaster kidnaps Kagami and demands Chat's Miraculous. He gets out of it by pointing out how cliche this plotline is, causing Gamemaster to release her.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Kagami, upon becoming Monarch, the new holder of the Butterfly Miraculous, gives one of these to Max, Juleka, Kim, and Nathaniel, when she asks to empower them to stop Hawkmoth and Mayura.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • The In Medias Res prologue. The Ladybug and Cat Miraculouses are destroyed, Hawk Moth is dead, everyone has turned on Marinette, and the fact that Adrien and Luka are still alive is described as a miracle.
    • Chapter 41's author's notes neatly summarize how far to hell everything's gone.
      "TL;DR. Adrien and Marinette are going to take a field trip into their Sanctuary to soak up some magical energy that will either outright kill them, horribly horribly mutate them, or bestow on them the power to save the world. Gabey the Baby and Kaiser Long's Putty Patrollers are invading Paris, the 5-0 just got Jurassic Park'd, and Luka is composing a post-emo album about possession and powerlessness in the basement.

      Oh, and Wayhem has been sentenced to 30 years for tax-fraud but that's unrelated to this story.

      This is probably going to end well, right?"
  • Dating Catwoman: An example neither party is aware of; Adrien is dating Marinette, unaware that she is Ladybug and has betrayed Paris out of a desire to protect him.
  • Demonic Possession: In Chapter 34, the monster inside the Peacock Miraculous fully possesses Mayura and forces him to kidnap Kagami.
  • Determinator: An important, possibly the most important, part of Adrien's character.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Master Fu, the only one who could reliably defuse the conflict between Ladybug and Chat Noir (or failing that, reveal Ladybug's identity and be done with it), falls into a coma early in the story.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
  • Dirty Coward: When everything goes tits up, Mayor Andre flees to New York rather than stay and help.
  • Disappointed in You: Tikki towards Marinette, for obvious reasons.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Alya and Chloé, upon seeing Nino in only a Modesty Towel after using the Jade Colossus form caused him to grow several inches, are more than a little... flustered.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Marinette rejoices in the "best day of my life" after her fashion show in London, unaware it was a set-up to get her out of Paris for an akuma attack and that the day is going to get much worse for her.
    • Chat tells Ladybug that he wouldn't care if Hawk Moth's family got hurt as a result of him being caught. He is unaware that he himself is Hawk Moth's son.
      • One of the very first things he says when Ladybug tries to justify giving Hawk Moth what he wants for the sake of his family, is that if he were related to Hawk Moth he'd still understand that the villain needs to face justice.
    • Chloé is rather blasé about the way Team Paris is forced treat Chat Noir for most of the story. From her perspective, if Ladybug is telling the truth, then Chat does need to go down. If Chat is telling the truth, well, Team Paris just did what they needed to in order to get their Miraculous. Chat would understand, surely. But, given that Chloé also prefaced the formation of Team Paris by admitting that she didn't trust Ladybug, things would probably go a lot differently if Adrien gave her the full story. But given Queen Bee's public support of Ladybug, Chat is reluctant to so much as message her, much less unmask for her. When Chloé does find out who was behind the mask, she is less than pleased with Mayura and Marinette for what their actions ended up doing to Adrien.
    • From the very beginning, Gabriel was focused always and only on subverting Ladybug to his side. First, he informed her that Chat Noir couldn't be trusted to keep his cool and think rationally if he was let into the negotiations. Next, he suggested that Ladybug would be able to get the ring within an hour if she attempted to by force. Finally, he advises her that she's been too lenient in merely framing Chat Noir for joining Hawkmoth, since her decisions have already ensured that her partner will not share their "happy ending." Being Gabriel, it's hard to tell how he really feels about Chat Noir, but he eventually clears the way for Mayura to murder him, knowing that the Hero of Destruction would never stop until Hawkmoth was defeated. Naturally, Gabriel is horrified to learn that he'd been actively working to ruin his own son's life, and had even given the green light for his murder, and is left stammering that he "never would have" if he'd known.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: At one point, Gabriel is shown chugging vodka and lamenting how low he's sunk in order to save Emilie.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Zig Zagged, but actually seems to be leaning towards being defied as time goes on: Marinette's motivation is that she feels she has, and would like nothing better than to retire, become a fashion designer, and pursue her relationship with Adrien... something she feels would be threatened by the revelation of Gabriel's identity. Tikki, however, points out that it simply doesn't work like that. Being a hero does not guarantee a Happy Ending, and it certainly doesn't make her entitled to one. Gabriel even uses part of this-her dream of becoming a fashion designer-to manipulate her into leaving Paris for a weekend so he can kidnap Kagami.
  • Eagleland: Stigma, the American mercenaries Mayor Andre hires to bring in Chat Noir, are a definite case of the Boorish; gun-toting thugs who do more to rough up the citizenry than anything useful, and flee in terror when an actual Akuma shows up.
    Mayura: And here I thought Americans with guns were the answer to all life's problems.
  • Enemy Within: Mayura for Luka. Even though he and Duusuu are able to get control of Luka's body back, and force the Akuma down, it isn't gone. Dormant, apparently, but they still don't know how to actually get rid of it.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Kagami was already an Olympic fencer before she got the Butterfly Miraculous and became Monarch.
  • Epic Fail: The first time Ladybug and Chat Noir outright fight, Ladybug discovers that it’s harder than she thought to get Chat Noir’s ring off his finger in hand-to-hand combat. So she decides to use her Plan B- Lucky Charm- and gets a rubber ball. She plans out a fairly typical scenario to bring her victory- bouncing the ball between two surfaces to strike Chat from his blind spot so she can grab his ring. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize at the time that half of "her" Winds of Destiny, Change! powers had not only abandoned her, but turned on her since the last time she had used her Lucky Charm. Certainly, as the Hero of Good Fortune, things naturally tend to go Marinette’s way in battle - but she had never put together the fact that Chat Noir’s powers had helped make sure their enemies got the brunt of whatever plan she threw at them. With those complementing abilities now turned on each other, Ladybug’s plan gets somewhat derailed by the rubber ball bouncing straight back into her face instead of nailing the target with pinpoint precision. Her second try at this plan results in her slipping and hurling the ball harmlessly into the distance.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: All of the heroes are horrified when they finally discover Ladybug's betrayal, and it gets even worse when they learn she's Marinette.
  • Every Man Has His Price:
    • Defied by Ladybug. During their initial meeting, Gabriel briefly considers buying her Miraculous off of her, but her Death Glare shuts that offer down before he's even finished taking out his checkbook.
    • When Hawk Moth launches an attack on Paris through Gamemaster, Chloé is able to board a sold out train to Paris by bribing a couple of American tourists for their tickets.
  • Evil Mentor: Tikki outright refers to Hawk Moth as Marinette's "new master" at one point. Marinette vehemently denies it, but several of their interactions give the impression of a lesson from a teacher to their student, such as his explaining why making Chat into a Hero with Bad Publicity works to their advantage.
  • Eye Scream: Adrien is blinded in his left eye as a result of a beatdown he suffers in Chapter 37.
  • The Face: Ladybug assumes the role of public spokesperson for Team Paris at the end because her popularity is too great to squander.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: A downplayed example. For most of the story, Ladybug is the villain working with Hawk Moth to protect Adrien while Chat Noir opposes her for the sake of justice. In Chapter 33, Ladybug has a Heel Realization and extends an olive branch to Chat, but in Chapter 34 a badly timed case of Demonic Possession leads Chat to swear revenge on Hawk Moth's son just to hurt her, and Ladybug fights to stop Chat Noir from doing this. As indicated in comments on the story and on the author's blog, however, reader sympathy remains almost entirely with Chat and against Ladybug. This is largely because readers know Chat won't frame Hawk Moth's son due to being said son, Ladybug's sudden principled stand is much too little, too late and reeks of hypocrisy after she's spent the entire time hurting innocent people (Chat, Team Paris, Luka, the city of Paris itself), and Chat's pursuit of revenge is in retaliation towards what appears to be Ladybug's most loathsome betrayal yet in a series of betrayals (while she's actually innocent this time, Chat and everyone else has every reason to believe she's behind it considering what she's already done). This is compounded when the fight reveals that while Ladybug has accepted helping Hawk Moth was wrong, she still hasn't learned much from her disastrous choices; she can't shake a Why Did You Make Me Hit You? mentality in her fight with Chat, and then, after beating Chat and taking his Miraculous, attempts to salvage some of her original plan anyway by using both the Miraculous.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • The story begins with Ladybug turning to Hawk Moth's side in order to protect Adrien from the fallout should it get out that Gabriel Agreste is a supervillain.
    • It's implied at the end that Nadja Chamack has become a follower of Kaiser Long.
  • Fighting from the Inside: In Chapter 36, Luka has a brief moment of lucidity when Rena Rouge tells him he's working for Hawk Moth; he manages to mutter "get...get...", most likely telling either the akuma to get out of his head or the heroes to get away from him before he hurts them. Later on in Chapter 38, his voice can be heard mocking Mayura as the final battle progresses.
  • Flanderization: A justified example. As the fic progresses and the monster in the Peacock Miraculous exerts its influence, Luka's crush on Marinette warps into fanatical devotion.
  • Flash Back Echo: Ladybug and Chat Noir's first real fight as enemies is intercut with flashbacks to their first sparring session after they defeated Stoneheart.
  • Flipping the Bird: Plagg flips off Ladybug when he confronts her in Chapter 27.
  • Foil: Ladybug and Chat Noir: For all that they complement each other, as partners and as a couple, there's one key difference that drives a lot of the conflict: becoming a hero was the best thing that ever happened to Adrien, and he has no plans to quit even if Hawkmoth is ever beaten; he loves being Chat Noir. Marinette, by contrast, never wanted to be Ladybug. She even confesses in the Final Battle that whatever else it was, it was never once fun for her, and she only wants to retire and pursue her own dreams. It's why she believes Chat didn't take their responsibilities seriously: for him, it was a dream come true, but for her, it was a job.
  • Forced Transformation: Gabriel's use of the Black Cat and Ladybug backfired like this: he has now been transformed into a giant purple moth monster.
  • Freak Out: At the end of Chapter 38, Marinette finally loses it when she realizes that there's nothing she can do to fix the mess she's made.
  • Geas: The kwami are magically bound to certain rules, including their promise to Master Fu not to reveal Ladybug and Chat Noir's identities, even to each other. They can't consciously do anything that might lead to anyone learning a Miraculous holder's identity. Tikki outright refers to it as a geas in Chapter 14.
  • Generation Xerox: Gabriel's story of his and Emilie's youth is a mirror for Marinette and Adrien's own, with Emilie as the wealthy child celebrity with a controlling father and Gabriel as the wannabe fashion designer too nervous to talk to her. And there's the whole Love Makes You Evil thing...
  • Get Out!: Adrien's response after learning that Nathalie was knowingly serving Hawk Moth.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: During the Final Battle, the heroes rally pretty much every akuma ever victimized by Hawk Moth to take power from the Butterfly Miraculous and help bring him down once and for all.
  • Good Is Not Nice: In their final conversation, Master Fu appropriates Adrien's conclusion that to be a Guardian is to be something of a dick - you have to put up walls, see the worst in people, and assume everyone will betray you.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Master He. In chapter 38, she makes it clear that she won't hesitate to kill the Akumatised Luka, since they no longer have Ladybug to purify him, if it ultimately saves lives.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Gabriel dies smiling at the thought of how his son has surpassed him.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Subverted. Nathalie draws a gun on Queen Bee, who simply laughs at her. So she turns it on herself, and finds that she makes a much better hostage.
  • Healing Hands: After realizing that Plagg is teaching Chat to access more of his powers, Tikki (reluctantly) teaches Marinette how to use her powers like this, if only to keep her safe. She retains this ability even after the Ladybug Miraculous is destroyed.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • After Hawk Moth double-crosses her and takes both yin-yang Miraculous for himself, Marinette returns to the side of good.
    • Lila pulled one offscreen over the course of four years, thanks to six highly paid therapists.
    • After realizing just how far Hawk Moth is willing to go in the name of his goals, Nathalie turns to the heroes' side. The ending makes her assume the same role for Adrien that she did for Hawk Moth, managing his mundane day-to-day business while he deals with super-work.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Marinette has one late in Chapter 18, but instead of turning back from the path she's on, she doubles down on her actions. It ultimately proves temporary, as subsequent chapters reveal she's gone back to her previous mindset that she's the one who's thinking about the greater good.
    • Marinette has another one at the end of Chapter 33 in the aftermath of Hawk Moth's attack on Paris. This time, she actually swallows her pride and asks Chat to work together one last time.
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: It's noted at the end that while Adrien, Chloé, and Kagami come from wealthy backgrounds, Marinette, Alya, Nino, Luka, and Juleka have to handle their own income in addition to hero work; Marinette's juggling in particular may have contributed to her breakdown and Face–Heel Turn. Adrien brings the other heroes sans Marinette onto his payroll in the end.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Ladybug invokes this on Chat by convincing Paris that he's the one who turned traitor, forcing him on the defensive. Even before Alya's article, Chat Noir's behavior didn't earn him as much support as you would think, as one of the first duo of superheroes in Paris. Looking at his banter, constant comic references, repeated defeats by akuma, and obvious crush on Ladybug, most bystanders- including Hawkmoth and Ladybug herself- saw him as a goof that saw the whole thing as a game and was only a threat as long as Ladybug was giving him directions. In reality, Adrien does love being a superhero, and often jokes as a coping mechanism. But he is absolutely, unshakably driven in his determination to fight the good fight, and ultimately Hawkmoth is forced to acknowledge that he would never stop until Paris receives justice, making him perhaps Hawkmoth's greatest enemy.
  • Hope Spot: Chapter 34. Ladybug has had a full Heel Realization and successfully convinces Chat Noir to put aside their animosity and take down Hawk Moth once and for all. Then the creature in Mayura's Miraculous completely possesses him and abducts Kagami, leading Chat Noir to conclude Ladybug was leading him on, and he completely loses his shit and swears revenge on Hawk Moth's innocent son.
  • How We Got Here: The prologue shows a confrontation between Marinette and Adrien; their Miraculouses are apparently destroyed, and all that's left of Hawk Moth is a crater. The fic then rewinds three months to the main story.
  • Humanity Ensues: Tikki and Plagg both assume human forms at the end of the story.
  • Hypocrite: Many of Ladybug's assaults on Chat's character (particularly his "refusal" to bite the bullet in order to stop Hawk Moth) can apply truly, or at best equally, to her.
    • She spends most of the story fuming at how “selfish and spiteful” Chat Noir was being in refusing to help her end the war in Paris. Chat Noir’s point that if her plan is such a win-win situation, she should poll Paris to see whether Hawkmoth should get his wish was immediately dismissed as ridiculous without a second thought.
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: Fang is sharpest in the moment it is drawn from its sheath.
  • I Choose to Stay: Nooroo, after being freed from Gabriel, chooses not to return to the Miracle Box, but instead to fight with Kagami to save Paris. Wayzz, Pollen, and Trix agree with him on this.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After framing Chat and failing to capture him during his furious confrontation with her, Marinette briefly realizes that her motivations for aiding Hawk Moth are ultimately selfish, but doesn't reflect very long on this and ultimately goes back into denial and convinces herself that she's the true good guy in all of this.
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: Hawk Moth when using his powers to rip Chat Noir's identity out of Kagami's mind.
    Kagami: hell...
    Hawk Moth: I undoubtedly will.
  • It's All About Me: Ladybug's reason for helping Hawk Moth ultimately boils down to her wanting Adrien for herself.
  • I Know Your True Name: Knowing Marinette's real name allowed Gabriel to gain magical control over her without her even realizing it.
  • I Never Told You My Name: When a desperate and de-powered Marinette begs Rena Rouge and Queen Bee to save Adrien, she's so out of it she calls Rena "Alya," which is how the latter finds out Ladybug's real identity.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Chapter 36 has Ladybug and Chat Noir learn each other's identities and Chat Noir and Hawk Moth learn each other's identities.
    • Chapter 37 has Rena Rouge and Queen Bee learn Ladybug's identity.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In Chapter 36, when Gabriel suggests that they deal with Kagami, Ladybug shuts him down with the line "We? Who's we? What makes you think there's a we anymore?!" After Adrien finds out Ladybug's identity, he drops the same line on her.
    • The Trigger Phrase. Gabriel uses the phrase "I insist" to convince Ladybug to do what he wants. When she finally arrives for the final battle against him, she angrily declares, "I insist you fork over my Miraculous, Mothman!"
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The day after Chat Noir's ill-advised attack on the mayor's mansion, Chloé milks the event for all it's worth so people will be nice to her at school. When Alya and Nino confront her about how unhelpful that is to their mission to gain Chat Noir's trust and learn what's really going on, Chloé retorts that that's rich to hear from the girl who wrote an article accusing him of terrorism. She immediately takes the jab back, but the point stands.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Downplayed by Ladybug. In the end, she is so powerful that she may be needed again, and her reputation as a hero is too important for establishing the new hero team for her to face any real punishment for her crimes. She only loses friends.
    • Played straight by Nathalie. She avoids prison and becomes CEO of Gabriel in the aftermath so that Adrien has someone to manage the family business and fund his hero activities. On the other hand, Adrien despises her, and she's fully aware of this.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: During the Final Battle, Monarch akumatizes a repentant Nathalie and uses Hawk Moth's own "make an akuma that gives me uber-powers" strategy against him, resulting in nearly every single akuma he ever made coming to get a piece of him. The narration describes it as "the sins of his past literally gathered to confront him."
  • Literally Shattered Lives: After losing control of the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous, this is what happens to Gabriel: literally exploding into shattered fragments of violet light.
  • Living with the Villain: The fic's final plot twist is that Firebird and Kaiser Long are actually Marinette's cousin Brigitte and her husband Felix, who an ignorant Marinette has just moved in with.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Chapter 35 confirms that the Gorilla is not in on Gabriel being Hawk Moth.
  • Loophole Abuse: When Theo complains about covering monster battles not being part of his contract, Nadja points out "Other duties as assigned covers battlefield journalism".
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: When Marinette enters her Sanctuary to claim the true power of the Ladybug Miraculous, she is taken into a vision where she is Happily Married to Adrien and has three children with him.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father:
    • Adrien has to deal with the fact that both his father and his girlfriend are the villains who've been making his life a living Hell for the entire story.
    • Marinette's cousin Brigitte and her husband Felix are Firebird and Kaiser Long. Who, by the way, Marinette is living with at the end of the story.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • Mayura gets hit with this twice.
      • When confronted with extremely damning evidence that Ladybug has been working with Hawk Moth, Mayura's head starts ranting "Marinette doesn't lie; Marinette is never wrong."
      • When demanding that Alya take down the Ladyblog article that questions Ladybug's integrity, he rants "TAKE IT DOWN". 55 times.
    • "I can fix this" slowly becomes one for Marinette in the final act, as things spiral further and further out of control, before Alya finally tells her that, no, she really can't anymore.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The story is revealed to take place in the same universe as Jackie Chan Adventures and Xiaolin Showdown, when Master He has a conversation with two people heavily implied to be Captain Black and Clay. Adrien's final scene has him fighting vampires on a train alongside Jade Chan.
  • Meaningful Rename: After overcoming the akuma's influence on him, Luka abandons the Mayura identity and renames himself "Bluebird".
  • Mirror Character: The parallels between Marinette and Gabriel get increasingly pronounced as the fic progresses, namely in their relation to their respective love interests (Adrien and Emilie): both fell in love with someone seemingly unattainable, managed to get them anyway, and are now performing morally questionable actions for their loves' happiness. By chapter 29, she's having nightmares about becoming the same kind of workaholic Gabriel is, ruining her relationship with Adrien as a result. See if this line sounds familiar:
    Gabriel: Never mind the fact that she was as beautiful then as she is now and I was a skinny fourteen year old nobody who could barely say two words to her without making a total fool of myself...still honestly a bit surprised that she gave me the time of day.
  • Missing Time: Being Akumatised is described like this; a big blank space in a person's memory. Luka gradually begins experiencing the same thing, which is what tips him off that there is something very wrong with his Miraculous.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Adrien and Kagami begin spending a lot of time together, their friends suspect Adrien is cheating on Marinette. In reality, they're working together to defeat Hawk Moth and Ladybug.
  • Motivational Lie: A very subtle example, but it is there. When Marinette is reeling from the consequences of her decision to help Hawkmoth, and asking Tikki what she can do to fix things, Tikki attempts to calm her by saying that even with Adrien's father in jail, Marinette can still make a life with Adrien and work to achieve her dreams. The very next chapter, however, features Tikki and Plagg confirming via a private conversation that they know the identities of all the players at this stage of the game, and so they cannot imagine things ending well for the young heroes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the In Medias Res prologue and its aftermath, Marinette is horrified at what her actions have led to.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong:
    • Mayura slowly degenerates into a fanatical sycophant who is slavishly devoted to Ladybug in spite of any and all evidence she isn't on the level, caused by the creature possessing his Miraculous.
    • The Stigma mercenaries hired by Mayor Bourgeois insist on arresting Chat despite damning evidence of his innocence and an active akuma attack.
  • Mysterious Backer: Gabriel tells Ladybug that he received the Butterfly and Peacock from a mystery patron, but neglects to reveal he's still taking orders from said individual. And in chapter 27, we find out he's coming to Paris... He's revealed to be someone calling himself Kaiser Long, a student to Master Fu and Master He's Evil Former Friend Master Li.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Marinette's cousin, who lives in England, is named Brigitte, and her husband is named Felix, aka the prototypes of Marinette and Adrien. Stops being a gag in The Stinger, when it's revealed that they're Firebird and Kaiser Long.
    • In Chapter 37, Mayura nearly directly quotes his love confession from canon "Silencer" in the context that anyone who dares displease Marinette needs to die, right before beating Adrien to within an inch of his life.
    • An employee of Gabriel named Marcel is metioned a few times, with Gabriel advising Adrien to fire him if he ever inherits the company. The character is a reference to the author's older story Satisfaction Brought it Back, an AU fic in which Gabriel has died and the interim CEO is Marcel Dubois, an incompetent and corrupt manager with no understanding of fashion despite working in the industry for a decade.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Ladybug in spades. Everything, or almost everything, is Chat's fault in her view. She finally owns up to some of her mistakes at the end of Chapter 33. And starting with Chapter 37, Marinette does a full one-eighty as she's confronted with all of the consequences from her decisions.
      • Chat struck the first blow by trying to steal her Miraculous first! Never mind that this was after she issued an ultimatum to give up his Miraculous.
      • She only framed Chat Noir because he tried to get the media involved first! The fact that she actually is a traitor trying to help the villain who has terrorized Paris for years, mind raping countless people, and jeopardizing the lives of thousands is irrelevant.
      • Chat Noir should have had her back and did what's best for Paris, but instead he's motivated by "bitter self-righteousness" and a thirst for revenge. Let's not think too hard about how she's willing to deny the thousands who've suffered at Hawk Moth's hands justice and that she's really doing this because she can't bear to hurt Adrien.
      • Even after she recognizes that helping Hawk Moth was wrong, in their final fight, Ladybug still insists that she doesn't want to hurt Chat and he's the one forcing her do this. Chat Noir finally has enough with her rationalizing, and bluntly tells her that nobody is making her do anything, and that, "Everything you've done has been your choice. Not anybody else's."
    • Kagami snarkily mocks Hawk Moth's refusal to take responsibility for his own actions when he tries to blame Chat Noir for refusing to surrender his Miraculous.
  • New Era Speech: Kaiser Long gives one to his followers at the end of the story.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's repeatedly noted in the mid-to-lategame that one of the main reasons the situation escalated as far as it did is because Master Fu failed Chat Noir as a mentor and overly favored Ladybug, leaving him unprepared to deal with her betrayal.
  • Noble Demon: Firebird Wouldn't Hurt a Child and targets the boorish Stigma goons for death first in order to gain infinite power.
  • No Biological Sex: When Alya asks if Trixx is a girl kwami or a boy kwami, Trixx says it'd take at least one month to explain why the question makes no sense.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: From the akuma-possessed Mayura/Luka to the newly de-powered (or so it seemed) Adrien. It was bad enough that the author felt the need to put trigger warnings at the start of the chapter.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Adrien finds out Ladybug convened a massive press conference to accuse him of turning traitor for Hawk Moth, he's furious. So furious he... goes and attacks her in the middle of the conference. On live TV. And accidentally Cataclysms the Mayor's house in the process. Afterwards, Kagami berates him for doing something so incredibly stupid, as it all but confirms her accusations in the eyes of the public.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: At the end of the fic, Marinette gives Nathalie shit for betraying Paris for the man she loved. Nathalie fires right back that Marinette is guilty of the exact same crime.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ladybug claims to be doing this all for the greater good, but ultimately her claims fall flat because it's blatantly obvious that she just wants to be done, and is simply lying to herself to cover up her naked self-interest. Even she eventually admits that she's doing this because it's the right thing for her, only to quickly slip back into Believing Her Own Lies.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging:
    • Subverted. Marinette thinks this is what is happening at the gala when Adrien gives a toast about how noble and selfless Ladybug is. In reality, Adrien is Chat Noir and knows exactly what effect it will have on Ladybug.
    • Played completely straight, however, between Marinette and Alya. After the evidence that Ladybug is the one who joined up with Hawkmoth mounts to the point where it can't be denied anymore, Marinette ends up asking her best friend over text whether she believes the hero has betrayed Paris. Alya responds that she should have listened to Chat Noir months ago, and that they'd be in a much different place if she had. Alya then proceeds to call herself an "idiot Ladybug fangirl" for trusting Ladybug's word over the evidence provided by Chat Noir, and grimly confirms that she's going to have to pay the price for overlooking her journalistic integrity on her behalf. Marinette is left overcome with guilt over the way she had manipulated her best friend's trust and possibly destroyed her dream entirely by recruiting her against Chat Noir- and now, it's looking like she won't even get anything to show for it.
  • O.C. Stand-in: Due to being written before he was introduced as a proper character in Season 4, Felix in this story has basically nothing in common with his canon-counterpart beyond living in England. He's instead the husband to Marinette's cousin Bridgitte, both of whom are much older than the main cast, and is significantly more polite and personable. He's also the Supervillain Kaiser Long, and the Man Behind the Man to Hawkmoth, along with his wife Bridgitte/Firebird.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ladybug and Hawk Moth share a big one when Chat Noir returns to fight Gamemaster. Ladybug directly namedrops the trope, while Hawk Moth drops a Rapid-Fire "No!" and orders Gamemaster to throw everything he's got at him.
  • Old Master: In addition to Master Fu, we're introduced to his colleague Master He (actual age unknown), a respected medical professional, wielder of the Crane Miraculous, and member of a group called "The Viziers", which is implied to be related to the Guardians Fu was one of. Once she finds out what's going on, she offers to help Adrien and Kagami.
  • One-Winged Angel: Chapter 39 reveals that Hawk Moth has transformed into a horrific insectoid abomination as a result of his misuse of the Miraculous.
  • Original Position Fallacy: Marinette never really protested about the way Chat Noir was Locked Out of the Loop by her and Master Fu; part of this was because she genuinely didn't know the extent of the secrets they were keeping, but also because she accepted that it was "safer that way" and expected Chat Noir to do the same. After the heroes' Darkest Hour forces the Masters to reveal more details about the Miraculous, Marinette is more than a little taken aback that the backstory Master Fu had shared with her was Metaphorically True at best.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Tikki finds it odd that Duusu fawned over Luka because Duusu never fawns over anything other than "their own reflection on the mirror". Marinette just thinks it's because it's been "a while" ever since Tikki and Duusu last met.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Adrien pulls this on Ladybug during a gala in Chapter 27.
    Adrien: Now, most sane people would have just up and moved. But as anyone who has lived here recently can tell you, you can always count on the Heroes of Paris to do the right thing. Every one of us, in some way or another, has been saved by the efforts of Ladybug and her team at some point. Whether that's being protected from direct akumitization or being protected from all the...frankly silly ways Hawkmoth has attacked our city, we can always count on Ladybug to step up and do the right thing.

    Even with the...unfortunate business involving Chat Noir, I know we can rely on Ladybug and her new team to bring Hawkmoth to justice and avenge the thousands of innocent people he's harmed over the years. I believe now, more than ever, we are on the road to a future without Hawkmoth and whatever cronies choose to support him!

    To Ladybug. The most honest, faithful, and truest friend this city has.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Hawk Moth is fool enough to make the code to his secret lair his wife's birthday.
  • Persona Non Grata: At the end of the story, Ladybug (distinct from Marinette the civilian) is banished from France by her former comrades.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: A fully-trained wielder of the Black Cat Miraculous would be one of these; Diomedes (yes, that Diomedes) killed enough people in his day to populate an entire city in the underworld, and fought two Greek gods one-on-one.
  • Pet the Dog: In Chapter 49, Gabriel tries to comfort Marinette by claiming all of her selfish actions were due to his brainwashing. She doesn't believe him, but points for trying.
  • Playing with Fire: One of the new powers Chat Noir unlocks is the power to conjure green flames at will.
  • Pocket Dimension: Sanctuaries. Special dimensions each miraculous have for the express purpose of training their wielders. They feature Year Inside, Hour Outside, the kwami can conjure inanimate objects out of thin air inside one, past wielders of that Miraculous can come Back from the Dead inside it to give lessons, and if a Miraculous wielder is killed during training, they come back to life! Adrien's less enthused about that last one.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • The only reason this story can function is due to the Mutual Masquerade, since a large portion of the plot boils down to: Marinette fights Chat Noir to help Adrien. Yeah.
    • This is also part of what contributes to Adrien's unwillingness to consider Ladybug's plan, since, from his perspective, she's giving over their Miraculous to their mortal enemy for the sake of total strangers, not realizing her relationship with Hawk Moth's son (him).
    • It eventually becomes clear that a lot of the conflict stems from unresolved resentments the two had been building up for years, but never talked about; Ladybug for feeling like she was the one shouldering all the responsibility in their partnership while Chat didn't seem to take anything seriously, and Chat for feeling like Ladybug and Fu were keeping him Locked Out of the Loop because they didn't trust him.
    • After Chat Noir tries to alert the media to Ladybug's betrayal, Alya, Nino, and Chloé form a group they name "Team Paris," and dedicate themselves to protecting the city despite the feud between Ladybug and Chat Noir. Both the newly-made team and Chat Noir would love nothing more than to talk things through and form a united front against Hawkmoth. However, both sides have reasons that make communication with the other difficult. Team Paris is reluctant to throw in with Chat Noir lightly, given the beatdown the furious hero had given the three of them, along with Ladybug and Mayura, the last time they met in person. But from Chat Noir's perspective, their last meeting was a fairly definitive declaration in Ladybug's favor- so how could they possibly assure him that they weren't setting him up? Not only that, but since the city had already dismissed all the evidence Chat Noir could provide for Ladybug's betrayal, any explanation he could give Team Paris would have to rely upon his word- which had already proven to be cheaper than Ladybug's. Ultimately, Team Paris isn't able to make a decision until it's very nearly too late- after an akuma summoning a horde of monsters and nearly leveling Paris pushes Ladybug's story well into the realm of Implausible Deniability.
  • Power High: One he finally has both Miraculous united, Gabriel takes a minute to revel in the raw power he's experiencing.
  • The Power of Rock: What is Juleka/Nightwisher's opening salvo against her brainwashed brother? A magically powered rendition of Thunderstruck, what else?
  • Private Military Contractors: After Ladybug tricks Paris into believing Chat has turned traitor, Mayor Bourgeois hires a bunch of American mercenaries to keep the peace. They quickly prove to be little more than mindless thugs.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Chat Noir delivers this to Hawk Moth in the final battle.
    Hawk Moth: Adrien... Wait...please! I have a plan...a plan to bring your mother back to life...I just need-
    Chat Noir: You just need to draw the life out of everyone in the city to do it! You need to kill all my friends and destroy the whole world to do it, you selfish- [punch] -arrogant! [punch] -miserable excuse for a father! [punch]
  • Punny Name: At the end of the story, Plagg adopts the alias Cameron N. Bert after becoming human, an obvious pun on Camembert cheese.
  • Put on a Bus: In the end, Ladybug is exiled from France in her superhero identity, getting a new job in fashion design in London. She is so powerful that she may be needed again, and her reputation as a hero is too important for establishing the new hero team, for her to face any real punishment for her crimes.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Hawk Moth revives Emilie and gets to keep his public reputation, but dies in the process and completely alienates his son.
    • Ladybug ends the war, gets her ordinary life, and escapes with her public reputation intact, but in the process alienates all of her friends.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: As the situation deteriorates and it becomes apparent how badly Master Fu screwed the pooch with Ladybug and Chat Noir, the other heroes become increasingly angry at him. At the end of the story, he's firmly in the doghouse with them all, but they can't exactly toss away his many years of wisdom.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Chat Noir hits his twice. First, when Ladybug frames him for the very crime she is committing and turns Paris against him. Second, after Mayura kidnaps Kagami in the midst of Ladybug's attempt to make peace with him and reveal Hawk Moth's identity, which ends up making it look like that Ladybug was stringing him along to commit her worst act of betrayal yet.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": When Chat Noir returns to Paris to fight his akuma, Hawk Moth can only respond with a panicked "No... No, no, no, no, no, no!"
  • Rapid-Fire "Shut Up!": Hawk Moth's reaction when Gamemaster starts monologuing to all of Paris.
  • Redemption Promotion: Kagami wielding the Butterfly Miraculous is able to empower multiple people at once without an external power boost, something Hawk Moth could never do.
    Monarch: You're right about one thing, parasite. I am not Hawkmoth; my kwami actually likes me...and as it turns out, that comes with one or two perks Hawkmoth didn't have.
  • Regretful Traitor: Marinette never exactly stops regretting that she and Chat Noir are on opposite sides now- she's just very good at convincing herself that it was Chat who had betrayed her by not having her back, or that she hasn't done anything to him that can't be fixed as soon as she gets his ring. By the final chapter, Marinette has fully realized the damage that she had done, and admits that on some level, she was convinced that Chat Noir could survive whatever she threw at him, so she had prioritized her own concerns above his wellbeing.
  • Relative Button: During the confrontation between Luka and Mayura, Luka is finally spurred to beat the crap out of him when he threatens to break Juleka's neck.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Ladybug maintains that Chat Noir's desire to bring Hawk Moth to justice is this, prioritizing revenge over the well-being of Hawk Moth's (legitimately innocent) family. It's not true at first, but Ladybug ultimately ends up making this true when one (perceived) betrayal too many finally causes Chat to snap and he actually slides into Revenge by Proxy.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After believing that Ladybug's peace offering was a trap, Chat declares his intent to let Ladybug go free, but guarantee Hawkmoth's son (unknowingly, himself) is sent to prison for life, because he knows that would hurt her more than anything he could do to her personally.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Lila returns to Paris in the hopes of putting her past behind her, but takes one look at the devastation caused by Hawk Moth, says "fuck this shit", and promptly nopes right out to Maui.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper:
    • Both Luka and Kagami had figured out Marinette and Adrien's (respectively) identities years ago, and kept it to themselves until now.
    • By the time Chapter 30 rolls around, Gabriel has already sussed out all of the heroes' identities except Chat Noir and Master Crane, and for obvious reasons keeps this to himself.
    • Sabine figured out Marinette's secret a while ago. Apparently, the latch on Marinette's skylight isn't as quiet as she thinks it is.
  • Secretly Selfish: Marinette is very quick to take up the position that she's the only reasonable one for looking for a win-win solution. Gabriel Agreste's arrest would effectively orphan his innocent teenage son, and potentially leave thousands of people out of work once Gabriel's label felt the backlash. Ladybug is therefore willing to "bite the bullet" and work with a man she despises to grant his wish and ensure Adrien has at least one actual parent left. Tikki is unimpressed by this argument, as she knows full well that if Hawkmoth had turned out to be anyone other than her crush's father (not to mention a former idol of hers,) Marinette would have focused on bringing the supervillain to justice first, and done everything in her considerable power to mitigate the fallout to their dependents afterwards.
  • Self-Made Man: In this story, Gabriel Agreste is an orphan who built his company from the ground up, because Emilie's father would never have permitted her to marry a poor working class schmuck.
  • Shadow Walker: After Chat Noir takes a level in badass, one of his new tricks is the ability to create shadow portals to move through.
  • Shout-Out: Tons, mostly from Adrien.
  • Side Bet: Master Fu and Master He make a couple, implicitly as a way to deal with their own nervousness. The first is on whether Marinette or Adrien will emerge from their respective Sanctuaries first; two chapters later, Master He collects. Later on, they make another bet on which Miraculous will be recovered first; Master He collects.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Ladybug fears this befalling Adrien if word gets out that his father is Hawk Moth, leading to her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Sizeshifter: Carapace, in Chapter 30, unlocks the power to transform into a giant. Master He calls it the Jade Colossus and remarks that she never thought she'd live to see it again.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Ladybug commits more and more morally questionable actions in her quest to get Hawk Moth's wish so she can retire without costing Adrien his family.
  • Smug Snake: Ladybug, believe it or not. She's dismissive of Chat Noir's fighting ability even after he fights her to a draw three times and becomes more powerful than she can handle solo, and insists that she has all the power in her relationship with Hawk Moth despite him knowing her secret identity and turning Mayura into his Unwitting Pawn, unbeknownst to her.
  • Soap Opera Disease: According to Gabriel, the illness killing Emilie is so rare, it didn't even have a name; he was less than amused when the diagnosing doctor decided to name it after himself.
  • So Proud of You: When Alya takes command of everything after it all goes to pot, Marinette is proud of her and thinks that maybe she should have given her the earrings all those years ago.
  • Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: Queen Bee reveals that she palmed the Tiger Miraculous before the villains could get ahold of it.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Nathalie prevents the heroes from interfering with Hawk Moth by taking herself hostage, correctly gambling that they wouldn't want her to die.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In the abridged version, Ladybug screams "Sacre-tittyfucking- bleu!" when she finds out Gabriel Agreste is Hawkmoth and he cries the same expression upon learning she knows.
  • Suddenly Speaking: In Chapter 35, the Gorilla unexpectedly starts speaking regularly.
  • Summon Magic: The Peacock Miraculous gives its wielder the power to summon and control four knights. After his Akuma takes over, Mayura can summon hordes of them.
  • Super Mode: Queen Bee unlocks one in her fight against Mayura. It includes six insectile wings, her top transforming into a chain weapon, and gives her Super-Speed. Master He calls it "a coronation."
  • Suplex Finisher: Carapace uses this against a freaking Tarrasque.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In the abridged version, when Gabriel asks how Ladybug found out he's Hawkmoth, she says she wasn't peeping in his son's room and didn't accidentally see him transform.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Due to the monster infecting his Miraculous, Mayura slowly degenerates into a mindless sycophant who worships the ground Ladybug walks on and goes berserk at the slightest hint of disagreement with her.
  • The Take: One of Chat Noir's complaints about the newest recruit of Ladybug is said hero's utter lameness — being the type to write "Gorillaz fanfiction in his underwear". Chat Noir gets a "Who told you about that?!" for an answer, and both he and Ladybug stare bewildered at the new Peacock wielder. Joke and Receive, indeed.
  • Take That!:
    • In Chapter 32, Carapace mentions he never liked the Godzilla movies, "especially the shitty American versions."
    • The second chapter of the Abridged version has a big one to Damian Wayne and to the Maribat AU and its imitators:
      "Le sigh...I just wish I had someone who understood me," Marinette pouted, opening her closet shrine to DC comic book hero/Worst Robin Damien Wayne with a loving sigh. "Oh Batboy...why can't you take me far away from this life? Surely you, a petty, spoiled, murderous little shithead, would be the one to take all my cares away..."
  • Teach Him Anger: Sarutobi's training for Chat boils down to this; according to him, the powers of destruction are fueled by negative emotions, and Ladybug's betrayal has left him with plenty of those...
  • The Team Benefactor: The final chapter has Nathalie assume leadership of Gabriel's fashion empire and use it to fund Adrien and co.'s careers as superheroes.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Enemy Mine aside, Ladybug and Hawk Moth still despise each other. At one point, Adrien even wonders if they couldn't just hide from the two until the partnership implodes on its own.
    • The rest of Team Miraculous with Mayura (Luka). Though, in his defense his Miraculous is infected with something worse than an akuma.
    • When everything goes to pot, all of the heroes make it very clear Marinette is number two on their shitlists, but are forced to put aside their anger with her to save Paris.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • When Chat Noir returns to Paris to save the day from Hawk Moth, the fic links to "From Shadows".
    • When Luka regains control of the Peacock Miraculous and saves Monarch's life, the fic links to "Devil Trigger".
    • And of course, when Marinette and Adrien engage in The Final Battle with Hawk Moth the music provided is Bad Apple by Cristina Vee. Really, what else were you expecting?
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After spending the whole story up to this point doing mental gymnastics to try and justify her actions as "the right thing to do", Marinette confesses in Chapter 18 that, no, it's not the right thing to do, but it's the right thing for her, and after four years of self sacrifice, hasn't she earned the right to do something selfish for once?
    Marinette: Just once...this one time, we're doing the right thing for me... even if I'm the only one who will...
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Ladybug admits that she only saw Hawk Moth as an anonymous force of evil, and finds it somewhat unnerving to see him cooking dinner like any other family man.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: After Ladybug's Face–Heel Turn, Chat is approached by Master Fu's colleague Master He, who offers to give him the opportunity to wield the full power of the Cat Miraculous.
  • Too Clever by Half: Tikki bemoans that this is one of the reasons why Marinette refuses to listen to anyone. She's so used to coming up with the clever plan and calling the shots that she hasn't truly considered whether she's wrong. Gabriel also says that this is something they have in common.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In response to the circumstances, Plagg and previous Black Cats start teaching Adrien how to access a wider variety of the Black Cat's powers, including how to create portals, generate a caustic fire, and using Cataclysm with more finesse and creativity (such as destroying a color). It reaches a point where he can injure the other heroes through their supposedly indestructible suits.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Luka, after getting the Peacock Miraculous and becoming Mayura. The akuma infecting his Miraculous isn't helping.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • After Hawk Moth goes behind Ladybug's back and sics an akuma on Paris. The narration describes her voice as a venomous whisper.
      Ladybug: You...are a fucking dead man.
    • Queen Bee is like this for most of her battle with Mayura. After finding out Marinette is Ladybug, seeing Adrien on the brink of death, and Mayura saying she doesn't deserve to be a hero, she goes from utterly furious, to dangerously quiet before entering her Super Mode.
  • Trigger Phrase: "I insist."
  • The Unfavorite: A mentor version. Master Fu horrifically neglects Chat Noir's training in favor of Ladybug, which bites them all in the ass when Ladybug goes rogue. Fortunately, his colleague Master He is more than willing to pick up the slack.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Ladybug not only dismisses all the times Chat Noir sacrificed himself for her but criticizes him for not being good enough to avoid it. Admittedly, several of these moments in canon have been criticized by fans as either Stupid Sacrifice or Senseless Sacrifice, which could have been avoided if he had been more professional to begin with, but still...
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Team Miraculous is being used by Ladybug to get Chat Noir's Miraculous so she can deliver it to Hawk Moth. Alya, Nino, and Chloe downplay this, as they suspect Ladybug may not be on the level, but Luka plays this fully straight.
    • Mayura to Hawk Moth. His Miraculous was infected by something that not only fuels his negative emotions, and turns his affection for Marinette into a borderline obsession, but lets Hawk Moth see through his eyes; by the times the story reaches its climax, he's used this to figure out the identities of all of Paris' heroes except Chat Noir.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Sarutobi Sasuke challenges Adrien to a duel with his Cool Sword as the prize.
  • Villain of Another Story: Played for laughs; the author's notes for Chapter 41 reveal, completely out of the blue, that Wayhem got 30 years for tax fraud.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gabriel, after remaining calm and in control for most of the fic, spirals into this towards the end. It begins when his patron announces his intention to come to Paris, which terrifies him and pushes him into self-destructive recklessness in the hopes that he can claim the Black Cat Miraculous before he arrives, and climaxes when he discovers that Adrien is Chat and that while he still has a shot at resurrecting his wife, he will not have a happy ending with his family.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Paris at large is unaware that Ladybug has defected to Hawk Moth's side.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: In Chapter 33, Mayura subtly threatens Carapace in front of Rena Rouge, whispering how Nino should take responsibility for Carapace's actions. Ladybug arrives on the scene to find Rena pinning Mayura rather painfully to the ground.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Marinette and Gabriel might be working together for the majority of the story, but saying that they "have their differences" is a massive understatement. Still, there is one thing that they are total agreement about. Both of them agree that Adrien Agreste is a kind, compassionate, and altogether perfect young man - and because of that, he desperately needs other people's protection if he's to survive in the real world. Gabriel utterly refuses to involve Adrien in his plans. Even though he continues to claim that everything he does is for his son and his wife, he is convinced that that same son doesn't have the willpower to stomach the unfortunate methods he needed to use. Marinette, meanwhile, agreed to start helping Hawkmoth because she couldn't bear the thought of hurting her crush, and never considered asking for his opinion on the matter. She was so certain that Adrien wouldn't be able to handle the Awful Truth- never mind the storm that would follow that revelation- that it would be best if he never learned who his father really was.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: A heartbroken Adrien furiously asks Marinette at the start of Chapter 37 this question. Fresh off the revelations that Adrien was Chat Noir, Gabriel had been secretly hypnotizing her to the point she handed him both Miraculous, and now Gabriel, Tikki and Plagg are seemingly vaporized because of the former's Villanous Breakdown... Marinette can only tearfully conclude No, it hadn't been worth it. What follows for both of them only reinforces her guilt.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 26: Hawk Moth's mysterious backer, and someone else, is coming to Paris soon, and Gabriel is terrified.
    • Chapter 27: Hawk Moth, at the behest of his patron, has five black butterflies that he feeds ex-akuma butterflies to regularly. They're extremely malevolent, they frighten Hawk Moth, and there used to be six. The sixth one is possessing Mayura's Miraculous.
    • Chapter 29 ends with Hawk Moth going behind Ladybug's back to akumatize a man and force him to bring him Kagami.
    • Chapter 30 has Nathalie remove the battery from Marinette's phone when she's in London to prevent her from learning of the akuma attack, confirming what was long suspected that Hawk Moth knows her secret ID.
    • Chapter 33 is when Marinette finally realizes how little control she had in her alliance with Hawkmoth (i.e. none) and how badly she's abused the trust of her team and Paris as well as the strange behavior of Mayura since she gave Luka the Peacock Miraculous. Realizing she won't get her perfect ending after all, Marinette finally calls Chat Noir so they can bring down Hawkmoth.
    • Chapter 35 has Hawk Moth psychically compel Kagami to reveal that Chat is Adrien, but he absolutely refuses to accept this revelation.
    • Chapter 36: Ladybug defeats Chat Noir and claims the Black Cat Miraculous, at which point Gabriel uses his hypnotic Trigger Phrase to force her to surrender both Miraculous. Then Adrien emerges from where Ladybug threw him, and all three finally realize who it is they've been fighting.
  • Wham Line: In Chapter 36.
    Gabriel: Give me Chat Noir's ring... now.
    Ladybug: And why, pray tell, would I do that?
    Gabriel: Because I...insist. [cut to all of the times Gabriel has used the word "insist" when convincing her to follow his orders]
  • What Would X Do?: When faced with an akuma who has his friend hostage and no apparent way to rescue her, Chat finds himself wondering what kind of half-baked scheme Ladybug would cook up to get out of the situation. He quickly hits a "Eureka!" Moment thinking along those lines.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Whenever Ladybug grumbles that she just wants the whole Hawk Moth thing to end, someone (typically Tikki or Chat Noir) asks her why she doesn't just turn Hawk Moth in and be done with it.
  • Working-Class Hero: Several of the protagonists have to juggle mundane jobs with superheroism; Kagami speculates that the reason many historical heroes were nobles was because they didn't have to worry about money and could focus on being superheroes. Luka in particular is unable to attend the final press conference because he has a shift at work.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Firebird orders her minions not to attack children.
  • Yandere: When completely under the influence of the akuma in his Miraculous, Mayura is perfectly willing to murder people just for "disrespecting" Marinette.
  • You Are in Command Now: At the end of the story, Alya succeeds Ladybug as the new leader of Team Paris and becomes the de facto Guardian of the Miraculous.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Downplayed; Hawk Moth's backer makes no effort to prevent the heroes from defeating Hawk Moth since they have what they need from him, but doesn't actively turn against him either.

     Tropes For Mending Warped Designs 
  • Adaptational Badass: Zoe is a Section 13 agent now, with everything that implies.

  • Armor-Piercing Question: When discussing Firebird and Kaiser Long's goal to create a new perfect world, Ladybug corners them when she asks how they're going to bring the people of the old world into their new one. They are forced to admit that by their calculations, only about 14 million people will survive.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: After Nino indulges in some Anger Born of Worry after Adrien's injuries, he askes Plagg how he could be so cavalier as to focus on food while his partner has yet to wake up after a battle. Plagg's response stops Nino in his tracks for a moment, throws some light on the Trauma Conga Line that Adrien has been going through recently, and reminds him that things are a little more complicated than Adrien refusing help over stubborn pride.
    "Kid, if I had a nickel for every time Adrien almost died in the past four years, I’d be rich enough to buy every block of American Cheese on Earth, build a rocket, and shoot them into the sun... Oh, what, you thought we were on a road trip?"
  • Archnemesis Dad: Toad/Andre to Chloé and Zoe.
  • At Least I Admit It: A yakuza working for Firebird holds politicians in contempt. He figures that they both steal from innocent folk, but at least he's honest about it.
  • Badass Crew: The heroes of Paris have grown into this during the Time Skip; the first chapter shows them easily dealing with a Mad Scientist and his robotic t-rex, with all the practiced ease that only experience brings.
  • Big Damn Hug: In Chapter 26, Adrien gives one of these to Marinette after she takes a near-fatal hit for him and profusely apologizes to him for all that she's done, while telling him that she doesn't expect his Forgiveness or even tolerance, but begging him to at least work with her because she can't do this alone. Emphasizing that while he still hasn't forgiven her, he's at least willing to try.
  • Broken Ace: After three years of training and fighting in the field, Chat Noir has fully mastered his powers and is practically in a league of his own among the heroes, not to mention he's made a lot of allies among supernatural organizations. However, he's also become distant, gruff and short to even his friends, and the fact that he still isn't on par with Firebird or Kaiser Long, let alone both of them, wears at him. He refuses to accept any help save for Plagg and Master He, and remains very bitter about how his partnership with Ladybug ended. For that matter, Chat doesn't even think highly of the "dopey sidekick" he used to be; he believes (or rather, tries to believe) that if he had been a little more proactive and independent before it all went wrong, he could've stopped Ladybug and saved Plagg from getting captured in the first place. Ultimately, Chat Noir can't forgive himself any more than he can his ex-partner.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: The differences between Hawkmoth and the team of Firebird and Kaiser Long become even clearer as the story progresses. Gabriel Agreste was a Manipulative Bastard and The Chessmaster- his masterstroke lay in engineering circumstances in which his enemies turned on each other by convincing Ladybug that his crimes were all in service to his family. Firebird, who has some jab to make about anyone who isn’t on board with her goals, enjoyed mocking him for his Control Freak nature- for the most part, events in Truth and Consequences proceeded All According to Plan until the climax, but developments that deviated far enough from his plans tended to drive Gabriel to self-destructive recklessness. Firebird and Kaiser Long, on the other hand, seem to favor Xanatos Speed Chess. They have spent years gathering all the cards they'll need for their plan, but Firebird attributes her success as The Strategist to being "Flexible enough to not get [her] hair in a knot when [they] hit a snag." She claims that one of the main perks of their Superpowered Mooks is that despite their power, they can be replaced by just about anyone if necessary. The power couple also make overtures to the heroes on several occasions, but theirs have a lot more elements of Join or Die than manipulation; they and their henchmen place very little faith in the heroes' ability to get in their way, whereas Gabriel gambled a lot on Ladybug’s ability, even if he expected to roll right over Chat Noir with her help. Gabriel grievously misused the power of the Butterfly Miraculous for his villainy- he used the power to create champions along with his own magical abilities to create the akuma. Kaiser Long and Firebird are such a threat because they are a proper team of Creation and Destruction- they have been studying those forces since Ladybug and Chat Noir were in kindergarten, and mock the heroes as complete amateurs. And finally, one of the first things Gabriel made clear from the start of his "alliance" with Ladybug was that he would not be taking to the battlefield himself. Sure, with the power of the Butterfly Miraculous, he technically doesn’t have to be a Non-Action Big Bad… but he is a tier below Ladybug and Chat Noir in power, so why would he take the insane risk of meeting them in battle? Kaiser Long and Firebird, however, are all too happy to demonstrate how Ladybug and Chat Noir couldn’t beat them on their best day.
  • Curse Cut Short: Queen Bee nearly drops the F-bomb in front of a six-and-a-half-year-old girl, but catches herself in time.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Kaiser Long and Firebird saw themselves as the true masters of Creation and Destruction by virtue of studying those forces from the ground up. Ladybug and Chat Noir, meanwhile, are simply naive kids who need their Miraculous as a crutch. Because of this, the couple saw no issue in draining their counterparts’ strength to add to their own as soon as the brats refused to join up... and they never once considered that said brats might be capable of draining their power in turn.
  • Distant Prologue: The first chapter takes place 19 years before the main story.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Andre signed over his hotels to Chloé to avoid losing them to her mother during their divorce.
  • Double Standard: Nino's argument that Adrien should suck it up and come back to Paris to help deal with the rising threats there despite feeling uncomfortable there (bear in mind, he's been Walking the Earth fighting Eldritch Abominations for three years) comes off as hypocritical when he says he won't make Alya uncomfortable by forcing her to bring Marinette back if she doesn't want to. Lampshaded by Masters He and Fu:
    Master He: Oh, so when Alya is unhappy about Marinette, the world stops turning, but when Adrien is uncomfortable being in Paris, it’s his problem?
    Master Fu: My dear, you should know by now that double-standards are humanity’s most prolific invention.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kaiser Long and Firebird believe that Masters Fu and He murdered their teacher Master Li; the Distant Prologue in the very first chapter, however, shows very clearly that he killed himself as part of a failed attempt at Taking Them With Him.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: With Hawkmoth gone, other villains showed up to terrorize Paris and it reaches a level Alya says Hawkmoth used to keep Paris safe from them just by being around.
  • Exact Words: When Adrien says he won't hurt a demon, he "can't imagine being instantly obliterated is very painful".
  • Face–Heel Turn: Andre is very heavily implied to have joined Kaiser Long's group as the Toad.
  • Foil: Kaiser Long and Firebird are like the evil versions of Chat Noir and Ladybug: teenagers chosen by a Miraculous Master and trained to wield the powers of Creation and Destruction, who fall in love and become a deadly Battle Couple. Aside from the whole evil thing, their interactions paint a picture of what Adrien and Marinette could've been if the events of Truth and Consequences hadn't driven them apart; even their civilian lives closely resemble the life Marinette wanted to have with Adrien.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: When Queen Bee nearly says the F-word, a small girl calls her out on it.
  • Hero Insurance: Without Ladybug and her Miraculous Cure, the property damage from villain fights is a lot harder to clean-up; Monarch can empower Evillustrator to repair what he can, but it's not the World-Healing Wave Marinette could bring.
  • History Repeats: The events of the first fic were set off when Ladybug discovered that her crush's father was a supervillain, and she had to choose whether to tell them the truth or keep them in the dark to avoid breaking their heart. During the course of Mending Warped Designs, Rena Rouge discovers that The Toad is Chloé's father, and has to make a similar choice.
  • Hourglass Plot: At the start of Truth and Consequences, Ladybug and Chat Noir had very well-defined roles in the Status Quo in Paris, which had inspired no small amount of resentment in both parties. Ladybug hated being the one ultimately in charge of the defense against Hawkmoth. Master Fu devoted the majority of his attention towards training her as his replacement- burdening her with huge amounts of responsibility while leaving Chat Noir totally in the dark. While he never intended to neglect Chat Noir, that didn’t stop the hero from hating that neither his partner nor his mentor cared enough to tell him anything. Plus, this uneven allocation of training led Ladybug, and ultimately most of Paris, to treat Chat as a No-Respect Guy at times. Ladybug always had a plan, and always saved the day, while Chat… he had good intentions, but he was a liability as often as he helped, so he was mostly regarded as Ladybug’s sidekick at best, and the comic relief at worst. On the surface, everything seemed to be going well, but the issues this relationship caused would end up nearly destroying Paris. It’s safe to say that the events of this series shook up the Status Quo big time. By the time the heroes all reunite in Mending Warped Designs, Ladybug and Chat Noir find their roles largely swapped- if imperfectly, at times. After three years of living the "normal life" she wanted so badly, Marinette comes back to Paris to find that all her friends had grown to be powerful, effective superheroes- without her. Nobody is going so far as to drive her away, but after the way her last three months as Ladybug went, even the team members who aren’t still furious with her are more focused on making sure that she doesn’t take too much on herself and make things worse, again. That means sending her home to get some rest while they work at being superheroes, and certainly not including her in all the discussions they have regarding their plans for moving forward. Marinette is left wondering painfully to herself, "Oh my god, is this what it was like being Adrien?" As for Chat Noir, as one of the two top-tier Miraculous users, the most experienced superhero of Paris, and the one pre-existing hero who had never worked for Hawkmoth as part of Marinette’s “plan”, he has more than earned his "place at the table." However, now that people are finally valuing Adrien as a teammate, the trust issues Marinette’s betrayal caused him prevent him from working with them. And after three years of constant superhero activity with little to no support, he is rapidly heading towards his own breakdown- which all of his teammates can see, but they’re left at a loss as to how to help him. And of course, there’s also the fact that Marinette spent a large portion of Truth and Consequences pitying Adrien because she had learned the Awful Truth that he’d been unwittingly living with Hawkmoth for a father for the last three years. She assumed that the news would be enough to destroy him, before learning that he had been fighting his father as Chat Noir. In Mending Warped Designs, the reader is aware, long before any of the characters are, that Marinette spent the following three years living with the villains who had sponsored Hawkmoth- her cousins Bridgette and Felix! The jury’s still out on how Marinette will react to that reveal.
  • If I Had a Nickel...: Plagg says that, if he "had a nickel for every time Adrien almost died in the past four years", he would be "rich enough to buy every block of American Cheese on Earth, build a rocket, and shoot them into the sun".
  • I Hate Past Me: Crossed with Other Me Annoys Me. Adrien and Marinette have... conflicted feelings toward Ladybird and Cat Noir, their younger Alternate Selves, viewing them as a painful reminder of past mistakes. Though it's only really hatred in Adrien's case, as he resents how happy-go-lucky, blindly trusting and dependent on Ladybird Cat Noir is. Marinette on the other hand doesn't hate Ladybird so much as she feels guilty in the presence of who she used to be in contrast with who she became. They later manage to get past this in Chapter 26, as both of them are starting on the road to forgiving themselves.
  • Immune to Bullets: Master He tests Nino's durability by shooting him with a handgun. The bullet bounces off him.
  • Ironic Name: Nathaniel still goes by Evillustrator under the effects of the Butterfly Miraculous even though neither he nor the Butterfly's wielder are evil anymore.
  • I Should Have Been Better: As much as he hasn't forgiven Ladybug for selling him out, Chat Noir blames himself just as much, if not more, for how everything ended in the previous story. He thinks that he was too lax with the whole hero business and too busy trying to impress his partner, thereby stunting his own abilities and leaving himself helpless once she turned on him. Even saving Plagg from Hawkmoth is little comfort because Plagg shouldn't have needed saving in the first place in Adrien's eyes. Since then, he's been keeping his allies and friends at arm's length, even damaging his friendship with Nino in the process, in an effort to never let himself be vulnerable enough to be backstabbed a second time. Needless to say, he's dangerously close to breaking down come the start of the story.
  • I Work Alone: Aside from Plagg, Adrien has spent the Time Skip chasing down Kaiser Long and Firebird, as well as any other magical evil he comes across, more or less on his own. While he does occasionally team up with groups like Section 13, he's become far more withdrawn from his former teammates, to the point where he and Nino have had a major falling out that's implied to be over how aloof and isolated Adrien has made himself; it's all but stated that the events of the previous story have left him with trust issues.
  • The Magic Comes Back: Not that it ever completely left, but after Truth And Consequences, it's a lot more widespread: the events of that story's finale apparently blew open every Sealed Evil in a Can on the planet, with organizations like Section 13, the Xiaolin Warriors, the Mircaulous wielders dedicating all of their efforts since to keep them under control.
  • Make an Example of Them: The Scorpion name-drops this trope during her second recruitment speech to Team Paris. She insists that there's still a chance for the heroes to save themselves and their loved ones from the fallout of the "plan". However, that offer did not extend to "the bug and the cat"- they had shown themselves to be "disappointing" in the Big Bad's eyes, and so now they would be used as an object lesson.
  • Manipulative Bitch: The leaking of the Fox Miraculous' powers into Alya makes her extremely good at manipulating people, and she is afraid she will become a sociopathic chessmaster as a result.
  • Mindlink Mates: As a side effect of their becoming Avatars of Creation and Destruction respectively, Ladybug and Chat Noir now have an apparently permanent psychic link to one another. They have initially little control over it, causing them to pick up each other's thoughts at random, and Adrien for his part isn't exactly thrilled about this connection to the girl who betrayed him. As time passes, though, Marinette and Adrien discover exchanging thoughts isn't the extent of the link, but it extends to emotions and even perception. This actually helps them down the road to reconciliation, as Marinette understands just how exactly her actions hurt her former partner, and Adrien realizes she is genuinely ashamed of her actions and wants to do right by him and their friends.
  • Mook Horror Show: Adrien and Plagg inflict this on Firebird's yakuza goons in Chapter 3.
  • Moral Myopia: Definitely a good way to describe Kaiser Long and Firebird. When they aren't looking down on the Miraculous wielders as ignorant children who couldn't possibly hope to oppose them, they're talking about the righteousness of their plan and expressing their fury towards those who would stand in their way, especially Masters Fu and He. In particular, they blame them for killing Master Li, their mentor and the one who originally came up with their plan, and they seek to kill them in revenge. They neglect to consider that Master Li had already killed most of his old allies when Fu and He cornered him. In fairness, it's possible that they didn't know about that fact, but it's just as likely that they believed those deaths were for the "greater good", and so Master Li's death was the only "unjustified" death. But in the years since, Firebird and Kaiser Long have fallen far, far down the slippery slope. They acted as The Man Behind the Man to Hawkmoth, enabling him to torment all of Paris for years on end, simply to obtain funds, collect some super-akuma and get a chance at some of Ladybug and Chat Noir's powers. They formed an organization that has funded yakuza, stole cultural artifacts, and generally endangered and victimized the public. Oh, and then there's the fact that their "master plan" involves killing ninety percent of humanity. And yet, they remain convinced that they're the good guys here- they have no qualms stomping on the heroes for being stupid kids getting in the way, and then leaving them to die in their apocalypse. They believe that the kwamis should be using their powers solely for humanity - so they have no problems enslaving them for their purposes. And once Firebird and Kaiser Long have the chance, they incinerate Master He as vengeance for their "murdered" teacher.
  • Nay-Theist: A big part of Kaiser Long and Firebird's motivation: they see the Kwami, and by extension the fundamental forces they embody, as selfish, uncaring gods for refusing to do more to help humanity; their goal, at least in part, is to take all that power and put it in the hands of humanity to "shape its own destiny."
  • Polyamory: Alya and Nino have entered into a triad with Chloé.
  • Rejected Apology: Discussed by Adrien, Plagg, and Master Fu. Adrien initially refuses to accept Marinette's apology, despite their Psychic Link proving to him that she truly is sorry and believes It's All Her Fault. After all, "sorry" doesn't change the fact that she chose to do all of that in the first place or give him his life back. Fu agrees that Adrien has every right to say that This Is Unforgivable! and refuse to accept her apology, but he also notes that while an apology can't Set Right What Once Went Wrong, it can be a start to something new, something better.
  • Relationship Upgrade: During the timeskip, Luka and Kagami have started dating, while Alya and Nino have turned their relationship into a triad with Chloé.
  • Self-Serving Memory: A slight case on Nino's part. Frustrated by Chat Noir's recent I Work Alone attitude, he ends up venting about the poor decisions he has made along those lines after Chat Noir's determination to take out Firebird and Kaiser Long leaves him comatose. One of the points Nino ends up making is that "He just can't act like we wouldn't have fought Ladybug for him if he'd just asked." Nino seems to be forgetting at this point that Chat Noir had asked them to stand against Ladybug, if indirectly- he had gone to Alya with a pile of evidence and asked her to expose what was going on to the people of Paris. However, given the fact that Ladybug was aware of all of their identities and controlled their access to the Miraculous, "Team Paris" had decided that "Choosing Neutrality" was the only option they had- and they announced that position by going up against Chat Noir in a five-to-one brawl. Is it really surprising that Chat Noir didn't make any further efforts to convince them that Ladybug had gone to the dark, when Carapace had dismissed the evidence he'd already provided as "not good enough"?
  • Shout-Out:
  • Taking the Bullet: At one point, Chat Noir grouses about how whereas he would've happily put his life on the line for the sake of his partner and had done so more times than he could count, Ladybug would never do the same for him. She proves him wrong in Chapter 26, pushing Chat out of the way of Kaiser's stinger so it hits her instead. She then discusses this with him afterwards, wanting to prove how much she values her partner.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: A one-sided example on Chat Noir's part. He absolutely hates having to work with Ladybug again, and for the most part treats her as simply a necessary evil at best, and views her as The Load at worst. Ladybug, on the other hand, desperately wants to make amends with him by any means, despite fully resigning herself to the fact that he will likely never love or even tolerate her again. This even includes Taking the Bullet for Chat Noir to prove that she's sincere. It's this that convinces him that she's truly changed.
    • Adrien's equally unhappy about working with Nathalie, and even outright admits in Chapter 22 that he hates her.
  • Time Skip: Picks up three years after Truth And Consequences left off.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Pretty much everyone during the timeskip - between Adrien Walking the Earth fighting evil, and Team Paris protecting the city without either of its premier heroes around, they've all grown into incredibly competent and experienced superheroes with much better grasps on the powers of their Miraculouses, so much so that Marinette feels like a rookie by comparison. Credit where it's due, though, Marinette is no slouch as she's spent the Time Skip mastering Creation's powers, and her Establishing Character Moment has her casually run-off a flesh-eating Changeling by conjuring up an iron bar. Too bad the villains did not forget to level grind.
  • Was It All a Lie?: The crux of Chat Noir's lingering frustration with Ladybug is that he believes she never trusted or respected him, and their four years of partnership (which he grudgingly admits were four of the best years of his life) meant nothing to her. After all, if she had cared about him, why was she so eager to make a deal with Hawkmoth and turn all of Paris against him? It takes Ladybug a lot of effort including Taking the Bullet for Chat to prove to him she did and still does treasure their partnership.
  • We Can Rule Together: Kaiser Long and Firebird make this kind of offer to Ladybug at the beginning of the story, offering to let her and her family be among the chosen few to live in their new world. Marinette, however, learned from her experience with Gabriel.
  • Why Can't I Hate You?: Played for Drama; In a heated argument at the end of Chapter 22, Chat Noir finally confesses to Ladybug that as much as he wants to hate her for what she did, and for all his efforts in trying to hate her as he does his father and Nathalie, he just can't. Hearing this increases Ladybug's guilt all the more.
    Ladybug: Really? How? Your father wouldn't have won if it wasn't for me.
    Chat Noir: Yeah, but he was always horrible to me, but you… you just had to give me four of the best years of my life before taking it all away. And in some ways…that's worse.
    Ladybug: Do you…not hate me then?
    Chat Noir: I just don't feel safe trusting you… Someone has to protect me. Someone has to look out for me…no one else is gonna do that. So it has to be me...and I can't protect myself so close to you.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: The heroes call out Dr. Oliver for wasting his talents on robbing banks when he could cure cancer, and point out that there are plenty of legal and moral ways for him to indulge in his obsession.
    • Funnily enough, this is a fairly good way to describe Firebird and Kaiser Long's attitude towards Ladybug. Though the older pair certainly seem to see themselves as above the heroes due to their mastery of magic not relying on the Miraculous, there are a few hints that they do hold a certain amount of respect for Ladybug. It can be difficult to get a proper read on them- at the end of the previous fic they attempted to recruit Chat Noir, citing Ladybug's treachery, but at other times they seem to have followed Hawkmoth's lead in considering the Hero of Destruction a stupid child, only a threat because Ladybug was there to make the plans. But at the very least, Kaiser Long and Firebird did respect Ladybug enough to give her the opportunity to lend her aid to their master plan, rather than try to stand against it. Unfortunately, Ladybug was never likely to join them, and outright attacks them once they threaten Tikki and the other kwami. Firebird and Kaiser Long take a moment to express some disappointment with the young heroine during the ensuing battle, since from their perspective, she's choosing to hang onto the "old world" and the shackles of uncaring deities rather than aid humanity in taking a step forward.