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Back To Us by DarkReyna16 is a completed Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction published on Archive of Our Own.

After a reveal so shocking it rocks the core of Paris itself, the villain Hawk Moth is finally defeated... at a great personal cost to heroes Ladybug and Chat Noir. With the city safe, they go their separate ways, returning to the lives they were forced to put on hold since receiving their Miraculous. Now, seven years later, Marinette Dupain-Cheng is on the rise, studying at the fashion college of her dreams by day, working at her dream internship by afternoon... and occasionally moonlighting as Ladybug by night. This routine is set so firmly in place that, once it's shattered by an old-yet-new enemy, and the reappearances of a cold friend and a hot partner, the whiplash threatens to send Marinette spiraling down into chaos. As Ladybug, she can do anything... but soon those limits will be tested, whether she is in or out of the costume.


Back To Us contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: The reaction to Gabriel/Hawk Moth's death, mostly because it was (sorta) Ladybug's fault.
  • April Fools' Day: Reyna posted a link to Chapter 32 on her Tumblr, which turned out to be a Rickroll.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Chat/Adrien gets a couple of these, though it takes a while for either of them to take effect.
    • When Chat talks with Marinette while she's patching him up in the middle of the Bari-Star attack, he tries to justify his approach by claiming that akuma victims have something inherently dark in them that draws Hawk Moth to them:
      Marinette: …Seven years ago, my best friend was akumatized. Hawk Moth took advantage of her when she was at her lowest point, and I knew that. Even afterwards, not once did I hold it against her. She’s such a spirited and compassionate person, always concerned with truth and justice… and if it weren’t for her, I honestly don’t think I’d be the person I am today. Are you telling me someone like that deserves to die just because a supervillain used her for his own schemes, once upon a time?
      Chat: …Is she really so great, if she was willing to go along with the schemes of a supervillain?
      Marinette: She was feeling trapped. She was in a Moment of Weakness, with nothing and no one to turn to. And then someone came along and offered her power beyond her wildest dreams, the power to change her life. Are you really so arrogant that you can claim you wouldn’t jump at such at such a chance immediately? (Grabs his hand and holds it up to his face.) How can you sit there and judge anyone for wanting the power to change their life with this ring on your finger?
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    • Later, Ivan brings up the same point in a therapy session with Adrien, when he admits that Chat Noir scares him: "I don’t know what happened to change him… but the guy saved my life, once. I thought he was the coolest guy ever. But now, how do I know that he wouldn’t rip right through me if he saw me on the street? Or… Or what if Mylene ran into him in a dark alleyway? What if, instead of us, he only saw the akuma we once were?" Adrien is torn between thinking, "I would never do that!" and "Once an akuma, always an akuma," and he immediately recognises his hypocrisy. The above conversation then comes back to him, with Marinette's question being described as a seed of doubt that's taking root.
  • The Atoner: Chat, after he sees the result of his mistakes.
  • Atrocious Alias: Emerald Shell is unimpressed with Ladybug's proposed name, "Team Miraculous". Alya shares his reaction - when she first meets the others as Vixen, she struggles to even say it aloud without laughing, and in the narrative paragraphs from her perspective, it's repeatedly followed or preceded by "(Pfft)".
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  • Balcony Speech: During the confrontation between Team Miraculous and AVA at City Hall, Ladybug tells Alix she's never been so disappointed in her. In response, Alix goes to the window and addresses AVA with a megaphone. "You wanna hear something funny? And by ‘funny’, I mean stupid? Ladybug’s here right now, with her merry band of misfit heroes. She rudely interrupted my meeting with the mayor, and then she has the nerve to claim that she’s disappointed with me! …You know what disappoints me, Ladybug? A hero who chooses to fraternize with a ‘reformed’ hero who, just a few months ago, would gladly see us burning in that fire down there instead of him. I’m disappointed by a hero who claims she wants to help, but then comes up with some bullshit plan about a peace rally. I mean, what the fuck is up with that? Instead of telling us to stand and fight, you want us to sit down and be quiet? You really expect us to accept that? We, who have been accused of evil beyond our control, and you, who should know better than anybody else what we have to go through because of it? Are you telling us to lay down and die?! Well we will not sit down and be quiet! We will not lay down and die! We are Akumatized Victims Anonymous, and if you think we’re a problem, then we’ll give you a fucking problem!!"
  • Big Bad: The Butterfly, also known as Shade, real name Desiree Trace.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The Butterfly and Shade appear to be in cahoots, but it’s then subverted with the reveal that they’re actually the same person.
  • Book-Ends: The story begins with Hawk Moth falling off a roof to his death. The story ends with Ladybug saving the Butterfly from falling off a roof to her death.
  • Boomerang Bigot: The Anti-Akuma Taskforce contains a number of past akuma victims, as Chat points out.
  • Breather Episode: Chapter 35, which revolves around Ivan and Mylene's wedding. While it does have some drama lingering from the previous few chapters, it's largely resolved positively by the end.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Shade presents herself as such, taunting Ladybug with the fact that she has no other motive for her actions and no redeeming qualities (she's lying on both points).
  • Clark Kenting: The morning after Ladybug meets Emerald Shell and learns his identity, Marinette visits Nino and he opens the door in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt. Marinette notes with amusement that he's not bothering to try to hide much.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Akumas are usually powerful foes all on their lonesome. Team Miraculous mows them down by the dozen during the final battle.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Despite the Butterfly Miraculous being presumably in enemy hands for seven years, the second wave of akuma attacks only begins within days of Adrien's return to Paris. Adrien admits that this had him paranoid for a while, but he can't see any way the Butterfly could have known who he was or that Chat Noir was back. As it happens, she did, and it was not a coincidence.
    • Marinette worked with Felix for two years without finding out he was Adrien's cousin.
  • Convenient Coma: Averted. When the mayor of Paris whacks Alix with a trophy and renders her comatose, Kim is seriously worried she may never recover. Then played straight when Alix recovers after a month in the hospital, just in time for the final battle.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Adrien and Marinette run into each other in this fashion in chapter 5, interrupting Marinette's plan to visit Master Fu.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place a year after Shade's defeat, with Nino and Alya now married, Felix living with Bridgette, who is about to become the new Butterfly Miraculous holder, and Adrien on the verge of proposing to Marinette.
  • Don't Say Such Stupid Things: Camille's approach to helping a woman who had been akumatised into a Face Stealer named Beauty Queen, thanks to an verbally and emotionally abusive and unfaithful fiance who had almost destroyed her self-esteem. After the woman expresses her fears that she may not be beautiful enough for him or anyone else, Camille gets livid and basically orders her to stop disrespecting herself or letting anyone do the same.
  • Door Stopper: The longest Miraculous fic on Archive Of Our Own, at 446,244 words spanning 36 chapters. What Are Friends For adds another 6,252, while another side story, Not Your Choice, adds another 1,357.
  • Downer Beginning: The prologue, due to Gabriel's death (even if he was Hawk Moth), Adrien being forced to leave the country with little time to grieve or say goodbye to his friends, and Marinette being forced to deal with her guilt over Gabriel with no contact from Chat Noir. And it doesn't help that the Butterfly Miraculous goes missing again.
  • Dramatic Irony: The bread and butter of this fic. One notable example is after weighing up his options for the remaining Miraculouses, Nino decides to offer Adrien the Fox necklace, not knowing that he's Chat Noir.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Amanda, after being freed from her Akuma, attempts to jump off a bridge fearing that her life is ruined. Ladybug narrowly manages to save her, and she's shown to have recovered in later chapters.
    • Marc Bonnhomme, a politician who commits suicide by jumping from the Arc de Triomphe after being linked to multiple planned anti-Akuma attacks and labelled a terrorist. His wife is akumatised the following day (the spider-themed Black Widow) and blames Ladybug for failing to stop it. Indeed, Marinette likewise blames herself because if she hadn't turned off the news all day to focus on her sewing she would have found out in time to save him.
    • Desiree's father committed suicide due to accumulated guilt over taking money to protect both Hawk Moth and Chat Noir's secret identities.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: After both Marinette and Adrien start to figure out the other's secret identity and guess that the other may have figured out their's, they manage to avoid addressing this with each other for nearly eight chapters.
  • Fantastic Racism: The new wave of akuma attacks and Chat Noir's approach to it spawns a number of protesters taking the attitude of "Once an akuma, always an akuma." Even after Chat renounces these views and returns to Ladybug's side, the protesters remain, eventually forming the Anti-Akuma Taskforce. Opposing them are Akumatized Victims Anonymous, led by Alix and including Nathanael, Kim, Chloe and Mylene among others, who refuse to cooperate with Chat, and Team Miraculous by extension.
  • Get a Room!:
    • Said by Marinette to Alya and Nino. Alya's response: "This is a room. You and a bunch of other people just happen to be in it." (For the record, they're in a gelato shop.)
    • Said by Vixen to Ladybug and Chat Noir after they celebrate their final victory with a Big Damn Kiss.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Camille shows up to help out for the final battle.
  • Green Aesop: Chapter 13 deals with an akuma called Poseidon, who was turned due to being upset about pollution of the Seine. Emerald Shell manages to turn him back without having to break the possessed object by offering to become a spokesman for that cause, which he makes good on as soon as Alya shows up to cover the attack.
  • Hates My Secret Identity: Nino patches things up with Adrien, but still hates Chat Noir (with reason), even for some time after his redemption.
  • Heel Realization: Chat Noir, though more anti-hero than villain, eventually realises his mistakes and returns to Ladybug's side, resolving to fix the mess he helped create.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The sound of a screaming akuma butterfly, which results from Chat Noir or Ladybug getting too aggressive with the victim during a battle.
  • Hero of Another Story: Erika Soriano, an amicable ex-girlfriend of Adrien's from Milan who is soon revealed to be Camille, the holder of the Chameleon Miraculous.
  • Hypocrite: Symone, who gets akumatised out of anger at Chloe for stealing her designs, but has no problem trying to screw Marinette out of getting any credit for hers when trying to buy them.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: As much as Plagg makes fun of and criticises Adrien, he gets genuinely disgusted at the graffiti tags insulting and threatening him after his reformation.
  • If You Ever Hurt Her:
    • Alya tells Marinette at one point that she plans to make sure Adrien knows that she knows all the vital points of a person’s veins, including the knowledge of which particular veins would be the most painful to bleed out from. She's later tempted to make good on this after Adrien admits that he accused Marinette of murdering his father, wanting to grab the nearest knife and cut Adrien’s tongue out.
    • Non-romantic example (kinda) from Emerald Shell to Chat Noir after he returns to Ladybug's side. "If you're actually serious about helping us fix what you’ve done… then I think I could come to trust you. Maybe. But if you screw LB over again, I’m gonna take my shield and bash your skull in, got it?"
  • I'll Kill You!: Kim's reaction when Alix is knocked out by Mayor Fantoche.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Invoked by Marinette when she reveals herself to Nino; she refers to the new turtle superhero as Emerald Shell despite the fact that the only two people who know that name are Nino himself... and Ladybug.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • The first one happens when Adrien reveals himself to Ivan, and from there the story continues to accumulate them.
    • Ladybug learns that Cat Noir knows about Master Fu when Cat mentions the latter albeit Ladybug admits to herself she should have figured out considering Master Fu is the one who gave them their Miraculouses.
  • Interquel: What Are Friends For?, a one-shot side story set during the time frame of the prologue, about Adrien's relationship with Erika.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Alya uses the Fox Miraculous to make the AVA members think she's Lila, they wonder if she's really a Miraculous holder or if she's akumatized. When Alya asks why it's so hard to believe she has a Miraculous, Chloe points out Lila lied about it before and Alya begrudgingly concedes the point.
  • Kill Him Already!: Chat Noir's new attitude towards akuma victims, which unfortunately catches on with a significant number of Paris citizens.
  • Last-Name Basis: In his first couple of meetings with Marinette, Adrien insists on calling her "Miss Dupain-Cheng," which quickly becomes a Berserk Button for her (not helped when Chloe interrupts the meeting and does the same thing). He drops it after she brings it up with him: "If you’re trying to be professional, fine, but leave it in the office. Outside of those industry walls, it’s Marinette, damn it."
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: In Chapter 24, when Alya learns Adrien is Cat Noir, she has this reaction upon being told Ivan is the only other person who knows it.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Jokingly discussed when Vixen properly joins Team Miraculous; she informs Chat Noir that he must have level 2 friendship to learn her Chosen story and level 6 friendship to learn her "tragic heroine backstory".
  • Manipulative Bastard: Shade is described as one by Erika, thanks to the powers of the Snake Miraculous: "She speaks with honey and velvet, and because of this, it is said that she can convince the most peaceful of rulers to go to war, and make them think that the idea was their own in the first place." As such, it's not too surprising when she turns out to be the Butterfly as well. Then when we learn Desirèe is Shade it takes on another dimension, as in hindsight her interactions with the main cast frequently pushed them apart from each other.
  • Mayor Pain: Mayor Fantoche, initially presented as an Incompetent example who seems to leave a lot of responsibility with Deputy Mayor Reine. Later comes closer to Evil when he's shown to buy into the Anti-Akuma Taskforce's rhetoric and attacks Alix during the protest at City Hall. He finally proves himself to be this when he unhesitatingly abandons Paris during the final battle.
  • Mistaken for Cheating:
    • The host of the Christmas Ball is akumatized because he believes his supermodel wife is unfaithful, having a lot of private meetings with other men, including Adrien. In reality, she was cancelling arrangements so that she could quit modeling and dedicate her time to their upcoming baby.
    • Alya comes to suspect something's going on with Nino and Marinette after overhearing and misinterpreting a conversation between them about keeping their superhero lives from her, leading her to break up with Nino right when he was about to propose. She figures out the truth before too long and they get back together.
  • Mole in Charge: Alya infiltrates AVA, using the Fox Miraculous to impersonate Lila, and, after Alix is hospitalised during the protest at City Hall, attempts to take charge at a meeting and steer them in a more peaceful direction. She seems to have succeeded as of Chapter 32, but her plan puts her relationship with Nino in jeopardy, and Adrien isn't in a forgiving mood after how they treated Chat Noir.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ladybug's reaction after she causes Hawk Moth's death, especially when he's revealed to be Adrien's father. Chat's reaction when the battle with Trinket causes all his doubts to catch up with him.
  • My Instincts Are Showing: It's briefly mentioned that Marinette, thanks to being the Ladybug Miraculous holder, feels constantly sleepy during winter, like a beetle wanting to hibernate.
  • Mysterious Protector: Pavone, the Peacock Miraculous holder, occasionally lends a bit of well-timed aid to Ladybug and Chat Noir in a pinch, but he never shows himself to them until Chapter 33.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The protagonists of the Miraculous Ladybug pilot video are both referenced by supporting characters: Felix Chevalier is introduced as Marinette's co-worker at Tres Bien Boutique and is revealed to be Adrien's cousin, while Bridgette (a common fan nickname for the original version of Marinette) Reine is the Deputy Mayor of Paris - her resemblance to an older Marinette is noted a few chapters before we find out her name.
    • When Chat Noir shows up to rescue Ladybug from Black Widow, he spins her a story about his ring being cursed so that he can't take it off without a kiss from Ladybug, as an excuse to get close enough to Ladybug so he can cataclysm her free of the restraints. This premise comes from an early concept for Felix/Chat Noir.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Alya, posing as Lila, attempts to call AVA out on this after the protest at City Hall, as did Ladybug to Alix during said protest. Both make the point that their tactics are doing absolutely nothing to debunk the rhetoric that former akuma victims should be feared.
  • Not So Stoic: Felix's stoic demeanor cracks when his crush on Bridgette is pointed out.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Ladybug's culpability in Hawk Moth's death is thrown in her face several times by her critics, usually misrepresenting it as her murdering him, and usually in response to her objection to using lethal force against akuma victims. It especially hurts when Adrien brings it up at the height of their argument in Chapter 33.
    • On a lighter note, Alya refuses to let Nino forget that he gave her the Fox Miraculous by mistake, at one point wondering aloud what would have happened if he had given it to Adrien.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Akumatized Victims Anonymous disguise themselves with facepaint based on their akuma forms, and use their akuma names as codenames, which, as Alya points out, does nothing to actually hide their identities.
  • Plot Allergy: Chat's allergy to feathers flares up a couple of times when he encounters the Peacock Miraculous holder Pavone, as well as when he's in a car with Felix. Bridgette asks if Felix happens to have a pet bird, to which he replies, "Something like that."
  • Polyamory: Kim, Alix and Max have had this kind of relationship since university.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered by Team Miraculous to the Anti-Akuma Taskforce. After the group march on the scene of a recent attack and declare Chat a traitor to the cause and Ladybug a hypocrite and a Karma Houdini for the death of Hawk Moth seven years earlier, Ladybug steps forward and gives their leader a Death Glare:
    Ladybug: …You know, I once pitied you. All of you. I thought your mistaken convictions were my partner’s fault — my fault. I thought I had failed you, that I somehow fell short of your expectations of what a hero should be. But now I see you. You’re nothing but scared children, lashing out at something you don’t understand in exactly the wrong way, making the situation worse than it actually is. So in the name of your ‘justice’, you terrorize the city I love in your own way — with fearmongering and ignorance. And then you accuse me of 'throwing my weight around', acting like I’m a hypocrite, when you know damn well that the difference between what you want to do to the akumatized victims and what I did to Hawk Moth is intent. I didn’t mean to kill Hawk Moth. I was responsible, but I never wanted him dead. But you threw bombs into another citizen’s house for something he had no control over! If you think the akumatized victims are monsters, then what does that make you?
    Bomb-flinging woman: We’re not the ones tearing up the city and threatening innocent folks every other night!
    Emerald Shell: Yes you are! You’re persecuting victims, damn it!
    Another AAT member: Those people are inherently evil if they allow themselves to let a madman possess them! Chat Noir taught us that!
    Chat Noir: I was wrong! Some of you have even been akumatized, for fuck’s sake! How are you not choking on your own hypocrisy by standing here and claiming that akumatized victims are inherently evil?! At least I realized that there’s something wrong with this mindset!
  • Redemption Rejection: Chat Noir turning his back on Ladybug during her speech under Shaming the Mob. As noted elsewhere, it doesn't last.
  • Reformed, but Rejected:
    • Happens to Chat Noir to varying degrees, and he knows that he has no right to expect otherwise. While Ladybug is ready to welcome back her partner with open arms after his heartfelt apology, Emerald Shell is grudging at best - he doesn't like him or trust him, but he's willing to work with him and see if he's serious about fixing the mess he created. The Paris public are largely hostile, with most former akuma victims still feeling betrayed (with exceptions such as Ivan and Alya) and the Anti-Akuma Taskforce feeling betrayed by his reformation. AVA take it to the point of spraying graffiti of Chat being violently attacked by them, and later burning him in effigy during their protest at City Hall.
    • Turned around after Alya manages to steer AVA in a more peaceful direction and it's Adrien who's unwilling to forgive after how they treated Chat Noir, feeling betrayed when Marinette involves a few of their members in her fashion show. Marinette raises this point during their argument in Chapter 33 - "What AVA did to us — and to you — was wrong, but they’re trying to change now. And they needed me. What, did you just want me to turn my back on them? After I’ve seen, with my own two eyes, how hard they’re trying to turn themselves around? What if I had done that to you?" - and it leads to Adrien questioning whether even she ever really forgave him, considering how long it's taking her to be comfortable with Adrien being Chat, prompting their breakup.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Adrien officially asks Marinette to be his girlfriend after their dinner on Valentines Day, but as the rest of the cast notes they really started dating when they went to the Christmas ball. Elsewhere, Nino and Alya progress from dating to engagement.
  • Resentful Guardian: After his father's death, Adrien was sent to live with his mother's sister and her family in Milan. While they treated him well, Adrien eventually found out that they didn't care about him and were only afraid that he'd turn out like his father (not understanding how the Miraculous worked).
  • Save the Villain: Ladybug tries and fails to save Hawk Moth with her yoyo after realising her trap is about to cause him to fall to his death. She later has to save more than one akuma from Chat. She redeems herself for Hawk Moth's death by saving the Butterfly from the exact same scenario.
  • Saying Too Much:
    • During Emerald Shell's debut as the Turtle Miraculous holder, he almost immediately blows his identity to Ladybug by identifying Alya as his girlfriend. Marinette repays him by visiting Nino the next day and giving him an album cover design with a turtle motif, claiming to have been inspired by Emerald Shell, a name which he hadn't gone public with yet.
    • When Adrien and Marinette's Valentine's Day date is interrupted by an akuma attack, both Ladybug and Chat Noir give each other a few too many clues, leading each to suspect the other by the end of the night. Specifically, Chat mentions the earrings he gave Marinette which he thinks she doesn't like, and Ladybug apologises for kissing him on the cheek after the fight, saying that she knows he's seeing someone - information that Chat had only told Marinette. She also tells him to wipe the lipstick off before he sees his girlfriend again, echoing advice Marinette gave Adrien that day.
    • During the AVA attack on the mayor's office, when the group encounters Lila Rossi/Volpina (actually Alya using the Fox Miraculous to pretend to be her), Chat accidentally lets slip that he knows Lila was Volpina. Emerald Shell just as quickly blows the fact he knows Chat was talking specifically about Lila Rossi.
  • Second-Act Breakup:
    • Played with when Alya and Nino break up when she suspects him of cheating, as while the spirit of the trope is used, the story is closer to a five-act structure. They come close to this again after he learns that she's been using the Fox Miraculous to infiltrate AVA without telling him, but again reconcile pretty quickly.
    • Adrien and Marinette break up at the end of chapter 33, after an argument in which he accuses her of not still not trusting Chat. They reconcile by the end of chapter 35. Again, this is played with due to it being closer to the fifth act by the time it happens.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • In Chapter 11, Adrien tells Ivan his secret during an unscheduled therapy session.
    • In Chapter 24, Alya becomes one to Adrien after she runs into him when he's about to transform into Chat Noir.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper:
    • In Chapter 19, Alya figures out that Nino is Emerald Shell when he calls her "babe" in costume and builds on that to deduce Marinette is Ladybug. Nino finds out towards the end of Chapter 31, while Marinette only learns in the final chapter.
    • Also in the final chapter, it's revealed that Felix/Pavone always knew Chat Noir and Camille's identities, and Gabriel Agreste and Daniel Trace always knew about Chat Noir.
  • Shaming the Mob: Ladybug attempts this on a group of anti-akuma protesters after narrowly preventing the latest victim from committing suicide. Much of her speech is directed at Chat Noir, watching from a nearby rooftop.
    Ladybug: Citizens of Paris. Today, I am forced to say something I have never had the cause to say ever since becoming Paris’ hero: I’m disappointed in you. Just a minute ago, a woman’s life almost ended, because she was dreading this exact reaction from you. Tell me, Paris — when did this behavior become acceptable? Standing here before you now, I’m ashamed to be a citizen of Paris myself — ashamed to be your hero! Who in their right mind would want to defend a city that’s so determined to destroy itself from the inside out? When did you lose your heart, Paris? How could you act so thoughtlessly? How could you have become so cruel? (glances up at Chat) This madness has to end. The akumatized victims have no more control over their emotions than any other citizen of Paris. To blame them for being taken advantage of is to blame them for daring to be upset, which is ridiculous. No one can control their emotions like that. And before you say something ridiculous, like they had the darkness inside them all along or something, think: how would you feel if it was someone you loved? A relative you adore? Your best friend? …What if you’re next? Is this how you want to be saved? Coming back to yourself, confused, scared… surrounded by angry people who have no idea what they’re talking about? I’m trying. I’m doing everything I can. But I’ll say it: I’m scared, too. Scared of what this new enemy means, of the damage he’s causing… and what we’ve become as a result. I’m scared, but I know that this is not right. Things shouldn’t be like this. I’ll always be here to protect Paris… but just because I can do it alone doesn’t mean that I want to. The only way I can keep going…is to know that you’re on my side. I need your support. I…I need you. Please, please don’t make me do this alone anymore. Come back. (She watches as Chat turns and leaves. When she looks back to the mob, she notes that at least some of them have been affected by her loss of composure.) We can be better than this, Paris, and we will be. I’m going to get to the bottom of this, and I’m going to stop this second Hawk Moth… but I can only do that if I know that Hawk Moth’s victims will not be harassed for something they had no control over. I don’t judge or blame any of the victims, and neither should you. Please, let’s bring back the Paris that I love. The Paris that I’m proud to protect. Let’s be better together, Paris.
  • Shout-Out: In Chapter 26, Nino compares "a feud between akuma haters and former akumatized victims" to "some sort of civil war" and "something straight out of Marvel comics".
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Joked about by Alya and Nino after Marinette and Adrien become ‘friends who kiss a lot’.
  • Sins of the Father: Shade's true objective. She hates Gabriel Agreste's guts for driving Daniel Trace to suicide after he discovered his identity, and seeks to exact Revenge by Proxy on his son Adrien.
  • Sleep Cute: Marinette and Adrien fall asleep together while watching Christmas movies. Marinette's parents even put a blanket on them.
  • The Stoic: Felix. Marinette initially admired this quality when watching him deal with Symone's tantrums, but it becomes a source of annoyance to her once she becomes suspicious of him.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: When Alya learns from Adrien that the other members of Team Miraculous don't know who he is under the mask and he doesn't know who they are, she facepalms at realising just how stupid he, Marinette and Nino are.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • Chat Noir and Emerald Shell after the former returns to Ladybug's side. They've since gotten better, perhaps Vitriolic Best Buds or Fire-Forged Friends (in fact, they're described as fire-forged teammates in the narration) by the time they reveal themselves.
    • When Ladybug learns Felix is Pavone, she works with him despite her personal distaste for the man.
  • Their First Time: Adrien with Marinette at the end of chapter 35.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted thanks to, of all people, Ivan Bruel, who plays a key role in Adrien's gradual redemption.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Ladybug makes this resolution due to guilt over causing Hawk Moth's death. "Costumes don’t make us heroes, Chat. Our compassion — even for our enemy — does." A lesson that Chat eventually reiterates in his speech at City Hall as part of his redemption, but which now looks set to be tested by Shade, who has stated that has nothing redeemable about her.
  • Title Drop:
    • After Chat Noir asks Ladybug how she could ever forgive him after the way he hurt her, she replies "Because we’re partners, chaton. No matter what, we’re always meant to be partners. So, though you strayed for a while… I think you were always meant to come back to me. Back to us."
    • It shows up again as a Meaningful Echo during Ivan and Mylene's wedding, in Ivan's wedding vows. Marinette immediately realises he got it from Adrien and is initially hurt by it until he tells her that Ivan finished his vows a month ago.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Adrien, by the time he returns from Italy, with much of his uglier behaviour being directed at Marinette and Nino. And then there's the fact that Chat Noir has become an Anti-Hero willing to kill akuma victims. He gets better, in both personae.
  • Touché: When Nino points out Adrien is wearing Marinette's charm bracelet, Adrien says "men can wear bracelets" and points out Nino himself is wearing one. Since Nino's is the Turtle Miraculous and Adrien doesn't know it yet, Nino just says "Touché".
  • Troll: Alya, in particular after Nino accidentally gives her the Fox Miraculous: The first thing she does is to mess with him by pretending she thinks it's an ordinary necklace. In reality, she's already met Trixx, has transformed, and is talking to him through an illusion at that moment. When Nino finds out, he is not happy.
  • Unexpected Virgin: Adrien, which amuses Marinette (more his adorkableness while telling her than the fact itself) even as she tells him it's nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: Nino has two similar boxes in his bag: one containing a pair of earrings for Alya, the other containing the Fox Miraculous, which he intended to offer to Adrien. However, when he tells Alya he has something for her in his bag, he directs her to open the wrong pocket, and only finds out his mistake when he gives Adrien the box with the earrings.
  • The Unmasking: The story gets a lot of humour and drama out of the four main characters learning some but not all of the other heroes' identities:
    • In Chapter 13, Nino/Emerald Shell takes about three minutes as a superhero to blunder his identity away to Ladybug by identifying Alya as his girlfriend. The next day, Marinette throws him a bone and responds in kind.
    • Alya figures out Marinette and Nino's secrets in Chapter 19 (without either of them realising that she knows) and Adrien's in Chapter 24 (which he does know), all before getting her own Miraculous. Nino figures out that she's been operating in secret as Vixen in Chapter 31.
    • In Chapter 24, circumstantial evidence leads Marinette to deduce that Hero of Another Story Camille is Adrien's ex-girlfriend Erika Soriano.
    • In Chapter 25, Marinette and Adrien both start to suspect each other, but they take until Chapter 33 to directly discuss it. Marinette later states that she found out for sure the day of Desiree's competition.
    • In Chapter 34, Marinette, in a fit of rage about the breakup with Adrien, tells Chat and Shell that they know each other out of costume and basically forces them to reveal themselves to each other.
    • In Chapter 35, Alya gives herself away to Adrien, first by calling him "Tiger" (which she called him as Vixen in the previous chapter) and then when he sees the Fox pendant peeking out of her dress.
    • In Chapter 36, this happens a lot. First, Marinette learns Alya's identity. Then, Team Miraculous, Camille, and Bridgette all learn that Felix is Pavone. Felix also reveals that he knew about Chat Noir and Camille all along. Chat himself deduces that Erika is Camille.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Adrien's new attitude towards akumas is revealed to be rooted in some advice his cousin gave him, the night he almost ran away from his aunt and uncle after finding out that they were only treating him so well out of misguided fear. "If you don’t want to be mistaken for a demon…then show them what real demons look like." Adrien confronts Felix about this later, and Felix protests that he misunderstood him. "Adrien, I never meant for you to change. What I meant was that you should just keep being you — this upbeat young man, optimistic nearly to the point of foolishness. Eventually, my parents would have realized that they were wrong about you, that you were nothing like Gabriel. I never said that you should have to prove yourself." In response, Adrien angrily maintains that Felix should have made himself clearer, and Marinette, eavesdropping on the conversation, considers the role Felix played in this mess unforgivable.
    • Oddly enough, Gabriel himself. If it weren't for him going along with Daniel Trace's blackmail and Trace's subsequent suicide, Desirèe would never have tried to attack Paris.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 30: Marinette's fashion show is attacked by Shade, the Snake Miraculous holder who was previously believed to be helping the Butterfly. As it happens, she is the Butterfly, she knows who Chat Noir is (having stolen the Butterfly Miraculous from him seven years ago) and most likely knows who Ladybug is (having broken into Marinette's apartment in an earlier chapter).
    • Chapter 31: An AVA protest at City Hall gets out of control when Alix and Kim force their way into Mayor Fantoche's office, and ends with Fantoche knocking Alix unconscious and admitting that he agrees with the Anti-Akuma Taskforce. Also, Nino figures out that Alya has been lying to him about not knowing what the Fox Miraculous does, and he confronts her as Emerald Shell.
    • Chapter 33. Marinette's friend and teacher Desiree turns out to be Shade, Pavone makes his first onscreen appearance, Marinette and Adrien see each other transform, and the ensuing argument over that last bit causes the two of them to break up.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Ladybug gives one to Chat after he tries to kill Patchwork during a fight rather than let her purify her as they've always done. His response to this makes it pretty clear that he's not that kind of hero anymore. But as noted, he does get better eventually.
    • Nino confronting Alya about keeping her activation of the Fox Miraculous from him and working undercover with AVA, reminding her that she's supposed to be helping Team Miraculous, and saying that maybe he should take the necklace back, "because you clearly can’t handle the responsibility!" An enraged Alya retorts, "Says the guy who gave me this power by accident! You wanna talk about responsibility? How about making sure you actually know what you’re doing when you give out magic jewelry! Seriously, if you’re supposed to be the guardian of these things or whatever, if I were in charge, I’d fire you for negligence!"
    • Tikki calls out Marinette for telling Chat and Shell that they know each other out of costume and forcing them into a reveal which they may not have been ready for, pointing out that she did it specifically to hurt Adrien.
  • World of Snark: The amount of characters who don’t snark could be counted on one hand.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Like Hawk Moth, the Butterfly is willing to akumatise young children, in this case a young girl afraid of her abusive father, responsible for the death of her mother, regaining custody of her.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: Chat picks up the nickname "Whiskers" thanks to Nino/Emerald Shell, despite his mask not having whiskers, as he points out.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Marinette/Ladybug has this reaction to seeing Felix a couple of times, which in the latter case sparks confusion from him, since he's never met her as Ladybug before.


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