Instead of encountering Marinette or Adrien as they make their way towards Collège Françoise Dupont, he meets two other students. Both walk away unaware that a new addition has been slipped into their bags, though Alya Césaire and Nino Lahiffe soon learn how they've been drafted to fight against a mysterious new threat rising in Paris.
Alya leaps at the chance to become a superhero. Nino... isn't quite so thrilled. But like it or not, the two of them are going to have to work together as Chartroux and Red Beatle, Paris' new protectors!
Fortune Favors the Brave explores the way the world shifts in this Role Swap AU, as Alya and Nino struggle to balance their newfound responsibilities with their normal lives. Not only do they have to contend with Hawk Moth, personalities clash as both find that their ideas about heroism don't quite sync up. Not with each other, and not with their respective kwami.
And what about Marinette and Adrien? How do they fare in a world where they weren't selected to serve as Ladybug and Chat Noir?
Note: Following the airing of Season 4 episode Rocketear, the fic has been paused to go through revisions.
This fanfic contains examples of:
- Armor-Piercing Response:
- Plagg counters Alya's insistence that "American heroes out themselves" by bluntly informing her that she's not one. And furthermore, that if her Secret Identity is outed, she won't be able to use his ring anymore.
- When Tikki insists that the Ladybug is irreplaceable, Nino shoots back that he isn't — and if she expects him to repress his emotions in the name of 'the greater good', then she can find somebody else to be her hero.
- Both Sides Have a Point: While Chartroux's suggestion that Red Beatle should start training and learn how to defend himself better is sound, her demands that he shape up immediately when they've both barely started are far less reasonable.
- Bystander Syndrome: Both Nino and Alya impress Fu by being the first to come to his aid; Nino helped him up when he fell in the middle of a crowd, while Alya saw him about to step into traffic. Nobody else reacted to either scenario.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Gabriel's harsh critique of Nino may be rooted in classism, but also reads as though he's reacting poorly to discovering his son has a Black Best Friend. Further underscored by Nino's struggle to remain calm, knowing that even the slightest hint of anger over being treated so rudely would be twisted around into 'proof' that he's a 'bad influence'.
- Tikki's insistence that Nino isn't allowed to express his emotions has undercurrents of Men Don't Cry. Ironic, given that Canon has the reverse Double Standard, with Marinette expected to be the responsible one while Adrien is permitted to do as he pleases.
- Double Standard: Tikki claims that, while it would still be bad if Chartroux got akumatized, the Black Cat isn't as irreplaceable as the Ladybug, so she's under far less pressure to control her emotions. Nino calls bullshit on that.
- For Want of a Nail: Aside from Nino and Alya becoming Red Beatle and Chartroux...
- Since Adrien didn't stop to help Master Fu, he wasn't caught before making it to school. When he gets pulled out, Chloé blames Ivan for getting akumatized.
- Marinette helps Ivan confess to Mylene, preventing him from being targeted again; instead, Adrien Agreste takes the fall.
- Tikki helps ensure that Nino doesn't become the Bubbler, though that sparks off a larger conflict between her and her holder instead.
- Ideal Hero: Deconstructed in several ways:
- Alya's drive to follow the example of the American superheroes she idolizes means that she struggles with anything that clashes with her ideas about What Heroes Are. She also tends to neglect the civilian side of her life in the process.
- Tikki holds her bearers to impossibly high standards, expecting Nino to shut off his emotions on her say-so and calling it 'maturity' rather than repression. Nino resists this, declaring that he can be replaced if that's what it takes.
- Insistent Terminology:
- Free de Lis takes umbrage at Chartroux calling him a 'grunt', informing her that he's an akuma, thank you very much.
- Chartroux insists on labeling Red Beatle her 'sidekick', though she acknowledges that his healing abilities make him 'probably the most important sidekick to exist'.
- The Leader: Alya sees herself as this, being the more headstrong of the duo and the more offense-oriented compared to Red Beatle. Unfortunately, she treats this as carte blanche to order him around, even assuming that she can boot him off her team and pick his replacement if he doesn't shape up to her demands.
- Mythology Gag:
- Marinette confesses to Alya that she's considered transferring into Ms. Mendeleiev's class, but Bustier keeps guilt-tripping her into staying.
- When Alya tells him that Camembert is far too expensive, Plagg grouses that he told Master Fu to give him to a rich kid.
- The Only One: Tikki claims that Nino must push himself to adhere to her impossibly high standards because the Ladybug is irreplaceable. Nino shoves back against that, reasoning that there must be other Miraculi with healing capabilities, as it's impossible for her to be in multiple places at once. She refuses to confirm or deny his suspicions.
- The Power of Hate: Played With: the only reason Gabriel agrees to let Adrien return to school is because the sheer force of his son's anger proves too distracting to his butterflies, drawing them in even when he's not his intended target.
- Selective Enforcement: Bustier gives Chloé a free pass for all her crimes while singling out students like Nino and Marinette, scolding them for not molding perfectly to her high expectations.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Nino calls Tikki out for expecting him, a fourteen-year old grieving the loss of his older brother, to suppress his own emotions because the Ladybug is too valuable for its bearer to risk akumatization. He points out how illogical it is for her to be the only one with healing powers, and if she expects him to hurt himself in the name of the 'greater good', then she can find herself another holder.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Alya is taken aback by Plagg shooting down her plan to follow the example set by American superheroes and reveal her Secret Identity, not understanding why that's a bad idea with Hawk Moth around. Her preconceived notions about how superheroes work also hinder her partnership with Red Beatle, as she looks down upon him for being less gung-ho about the whole endeavor and labels him her sidekick, even arrogantly suggesting that she should replace him when they've both only been active for a few days.