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Fanfic / Recommencer (Miraculous Ladybug)

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Recommencer is yet another Miraculous Ladybug AU inspired by the events of "Chameleon" and subsequent episodes. Unable to continue dealing with Lila's constant lies and manipulations, as well as the utter lack of support she's receiving from any of her Fair-Weather Friends or the staff of Collége Françoise Dupont, she decides to transfer to Rosenhart Academy for the Gifted.

Once there, she soon makes new friends, discovering the joys of having an actual support network. But while she's no longer struggling to help her old classmates, that doesn't mean that redemption is completely out of reach for any of them. They'll just have to work on themselves, finding their own way.

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This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Absence of Evidence: This works against Lila when Principal Achthoven asks to see the nasty texts she claims to have been getting. When she claims to have deleted them, Achthoven points out that this means there's nothing they can use to prove that the harassment ever happened. (Because it didn't, despite Lina trying to take the heat.)
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
  • Animal Motifs: The behavior of the long-term Miraculi holders is gradually affected by their kwami, as they start to adopt thematic quirks.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: Juroghumo manages to catch Ladybug's left foot with their spotlight, causing it to disintegrate. It's restored afterwards by the Miraculous Cure.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Posed to Adrien by his new kwami when they advise him to start being more assertive, and he hesitates:
      Remember that your avoidance of conflict caused you to lose a dear friend. Are you willing to make such a mistake again?
    • Principal Achthoven uses one that gets through to most of Lila's would-be defenders when they try backing up her claims that she was being cyberbullied.
      Principal Achthoven: Did anyone physically see these texts before Miss Rossi deleted them?
  • Aura Vision: Marinette develops a version of this, enabling her to see others' potential to use various Miraculi. The better she knows them, the stronger this is.
  • Badass Bystander: Ashli and Félix serve as the first examples when they help out against Restarter, proving more useful than the envious Chat Noir.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Invoked by Ringleader, who calls Lila out and declares that if she wants to be victimized so badly, they're more than happy to give her precisely what she wanted.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Thanks to Lila's influence, Alya has gone from an Intrepid Reporter known for Going for the Big Scoop to somebody whose journalistic integrity has become a joke. Though she's blissfully unaware of this.
  • Beyond Redemption: Gabriel is declared to be this by Cecily, his former mentor within the Butterfly Brooch.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Marinette finds herself in this position during Ringleader's assault, unable to escape the room she's been trapped in. She is, however, able to send Tikki out with the Earrings and several notes instructing her allies, organizing her own temporary replacement.
  • Brutal Honesty: Bella is naturally prone to this, though she's trying to teach herself how to be honest without being cruel.
  • Caught on Tape: Musicifer's akumatization is recorded by a witnesses' camera phone. Critically, they also capture the fact that Mark offered his guitar pick to the butterfly, intentionally getting akumatized.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: It's eventually revealed that Adrien and Félix made one when they were younger, shortly before Gabriel forcibly separated them. This is, in fact, WHY he tore them apart, as he didn't approve of Adrien saying he wanted to become his wife.
  • Closet Key: Referenced when Adrien wonders whether or not Ladybug counts as one after realizing that they're more comfortable identifying as a girl.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Malchatceux has a grim history with the Miraculi that made them reluctant to take up the Ring. Namely, one of their loved ones held the Peacock, until they were killed for it.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Lila is completely caught off guard when one of her lies is countered by a False Confession. She never expected anyone to respond that way, Taking the Heat for their friend.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Invoked by Bella when she comments that somebody looking for sugarcoating should talk to "that Agreste kid", declaring that she drinks her coffee black.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: Lila finds herself being ferried away from an akuma in rather humiliating fashion, as it's clear that neither of the heroes involved is thrilled at having to protect her.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Lila is struck hard by this when Lina falsely claims to be responsible for harassing her, unable to understand why anyone would be willing to confess to a crime they didn't commit, that never actually happened, for the sake of protecting their friend.
  • Fisher King: Each Miraculous possesses an inner world that a bearer who's attuned enough to it can eventually unlock access to. While these are typically places of comfort and serenity, the environments are drastically different for anyone who abuses the Miraculi, like Hawkmoth.
  • Flat "What": Imperatrix utters one when Alya declares that she's an imposter.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
    • When Chloé unlocks access to the inside of her Miraculous, her kwami assumes a different form: one that greatly resembles a younger Marinette, with tousled hair, darker skin, bright orange eyes, and an elkskin dress under a bear fur cloak.
    • The same happens for Adrien, with their kwami explaining that their first form is based off of somebody they trusted wholeheartedly, and who never betrayed that trust. In their case, it's their childhood cat, something they find rather disheartening.
  • Gender Bender: When Adrien uses the Bee Comb, their body shifts to be female-presenting, allowing Amellié to better disguise their identity... and to further explore their gender identity over time.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Bella spells out for Adrien that people will only change if they have no other choice, and will try to change only in ways that personally benefit them. Being a Reformed Bully herself, she was only willing to make the effort because she decided the cost of continuing to act that way was too high for her tastes.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • Lila's attempt to slander Marinette by accusing her of cyberbullying blows up in her face in three different ways:
    • Alya's stubborn insistence on blindly believing whatever Lila says and 'following her gut instincts' rather than researching anything (as she once claimed good reporters do) has ruined the Ladyblog's reputation, as it's become regarded as an 'obvious satire site' rather than a credible news source.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Many of Marinette's former classmates suffer from this to varying extents, but Adrien and Alya are the two worst offenders by far.
    • Adrien's poor judgment stems primarily from naivete, as he sincerely struggles to understand that people like Lila and Mark are fully aware of how their actions are hurting others and perfectly comfortable with that.
    • Alya, on the other hand, simply straight up refuses to accept any evidence that Lila is a False Friend, spiraling further and further into denial the more it piles up.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • It takes nineteen chapters before Adrien and Félix encounter each other and unravel Gabriel's lies.
    • Marinette explains what happened at her old school to Bella during the Fall Fun interludes. Bella is furious, to say the least.
    • During the conclusion of the Ringleader arc, Alya reveals that Lila claimed to be Imperatrix to her, digging them both deeper as a result. Ashli also realizes that the school's founder was the vigilante Marienkäfer and a former Ladybug.
  • Ironic Echo: Though she doesn't realize it, Principal Achthoven's declaration to Alya that schools must check their sources carefully echoes Alya's infamous claim that "A good reporter always checks their sources," underscoring how Alya has been anything but vigilant in that regard.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Played With in regards to Chat Noir. While his behavior during the Restarter incident leads to Master Fu deciding that he's unworthy of his Miraculous, he's given a second chance in the form of receiving the Bee Comb as a replacement.
  • Lack of Empathy: Bella cannot sympathize with others, but still cares about them enough that she's making honest effort to learn how to act more sympathetic.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Chat Noir's flagrant misbehavior while Restarter's rampaging is criticized by everyone who witnesses it, shaming him into retreating. This also convinces Master Fu that he cannot be trusted with the power of Destruction any longer.
    • Mark's harassment of Jay is witnessed by Mr. Cesar, who immediately boots him out of the music showcase as punishment. He's also seen willingly taking an akuma, getting him into even more serious trouble.
    • Durant gets hit by this after sparking off an akumatization, as Principal Achthoven makes clear that she's punishing him to the full extent that she can.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: While Marinette is aware of the fact that Master Fu is taking Chat Noir's Miraculous - and, as a natural extension of that, that Amellié is the former Chat Noir - she is NOT aware of their Secret Identity, and is fully content to keep it that way.
  • Marry Them All: Ashli jokes about this early on, reassuring Marinette that love is complicated and "remember that it's France, and polymory is, like, very accepted!"
  • Mirror Character: Many of Marinette's new classmates are quite similar to the old ones:
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Bella is aghast when her Brutal Honesty towards a girl who asked her opinion of her fashion causes their akumatization.
    • Adrien realizes that his decision to let Lila go unchallenged led to Marinette being driven away. He also starts regretting his childish behavior as Chat Noir right before Fu replaces his Miraculous.
  • My Greatest Second Chance:
    • Chloé's outing herself makes it impossible for her to continue being Queen Bee. However, her efforts to actually improve herself and become a Lovable Alpha Bitch convince Ladybug to offer her another chance, letting her become the new Fox Heroine Imperatrix provided that she continues working on her behavior.
    • Along similar lines, Adrien is given another chance after Chat Noir's forcible retirement via the Bee Comb and Amellié, contingent upon his ability to recognize where he went wrong and try to change his ways.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Lila's decision to 'send off' Marinette by slandering her online triggers Luka's akumatization into Restarter. During the struggle that follows, several of her new friends prove their trustworthiness, and she learns that they weren't taken in by her Blatant Lies, helping her feel more comfortable. Chat's behavior during this incident also proves to be the tipping point for Master Fu, leading to his replacement.
    • Lila tries to slander Marinette further while hanging out with her classmates, and when Adrien tries to defend her, casually insults his attire, commenting on how his father likely wouldn't approve of him 'looking like a girl'. This sets off alarm bells for both Nino and Kim, weakening her sway over them as they rise to his defense.
    • Alya's attempt to back up one of Lila's claims only serves to completely destroy her case and clear Lina's name.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • Lila exploits Marinette's transfer by making her out to her former classmates as a Dirty Coward, slandering her online for good measure. Marinette almost gets akumatized in her anguish over the notion that leaving Dupont might have been pointless.
    • After Lila goes through some very public exposure of her lies thanks to Ringleader and Principal Achthoven, Alya leaps to her defense by falsely claiming she saw the messages and that they came from Marinette's number. She then lists it off from memory, only for Achthoven to inform her that that's not Marinette's number. (She changed her number after transferring to get away from Alya's harassment.) This also serves to clear Lina's name to boot.
      • Alya then takes this one step further by making a bold accusation: that the Imperatrix with the heroes is a fake. Doing so inadvertently reveals another lie that Lila 'told her in confidence', that she was Imperatrix; this tarnishes both girls' reputations further.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • The first thing we learn about Mark is that he goes out of his way to misgender and harass Jay.
    • Vice Principal Durant immediately establishes himself to be an utterly ignorant Control Freak, not recognizing sign language, harassing Bong-Cha over her name, complaining about the girls not acting according to his close-minded ideas about how they should behave, and generally being a clueless Jerkass, culminating in him demanding that Hemi be kicked off the stage for being 'broken' due to his selective mutism.
    • Gabriel Agreste is revealed to have punished Adrien severely for questioning his gender identity in the past, creating holes in his memories through Laser-Guided Amnesia and stripping away their friendship with Félix.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Ringleader calls Lila out for her love of Playing the Victim Card and utter lack of care for the consequences of her actions, so long as she's not the one suffering.
    • Chapter 52 features one in the form of Gabriel's former mentor Cecily berating him, listing out his crimes and declaring that he's Beyond Redemption.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • When Gabriel makes Adrien wear his brand at an event, the suit's collar is noted to be a bit too tight, reflecting his father's Control Freak tendencies and keeping a tight leash on his son.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Principal Achthoven is aware of the Miraculi, as the school's founder once held the Ladybug Earrings herself. She figures out Marinette's Secret Identity and takes her aside to inform her of this, offering to help provide excuses and cover for her as necessary. Later on, she serves as one for Madame Red and Qashr-Tari, having recognized them in their transformed states.
    • After Adrien receives the Bee Comb, they contact Chloé in a panic, since her former identity of Queen Bee is well known. This naturally means that she's aware of Amellié's secret identity.
    • Played With through Alya. Lila tells her that she's Imperatrix, swearing her to secrecy so that she can mooch off the heroine's fame. This bites her in the ass when Alya publicly accuses the real Imperatrix of being an imposter, as that's the only way she can reconcile her showing up with Lila around.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Gabriel's abuse of the Butterfly Brooch and other crimes, such as his murdering the previous holder of the Peacock Pin, has turned its mental realm into a hellscape, which it forcibly drags him into every night.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Played With during the mall incident. In order to deal with the rampaging Passionista, Marinette has to get away from Chloé first. So when they're about to pass through a gate into safety, she throws Chloé through while letting herself get trapped inside. Through Chloé's eyes, this is completely pointless and uncalled for, and she confronts her about it at the first opportunity, unaware that she only did this so she could protect her Secret Identity.
  • Shallow News Site Satire: Ashli mistakes the Ladyblog for one, unaware that Alya is entirely serious about everything she posts. Some of the reaction to Alya publicly accusing Imperatrix of being an imposter reveals that Ashli's not the only one who views it that way.
  • Shamed by a Mob: Chat Noir finds himself on the receiving end of this after they see that he's more interested in sexually harassing Ladybug than helping take down the akuma.
  • Shipper on Deck: Deconstructed after Chat Noir's retirement; certain fans of his are more concerned about what this means for the status of their ship than anything else. Alya remains a diehard LadyNoir shipper, posting delusional rants on her blog about how their relationship can still be salvaged if Ladybug just gives back his Miraculous and complies with his every demand.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift:
    • Chloé starts braiding her hair into a crown, and dons a more muted color palette. She also tones back her makeup, replacing her bright blue eyeshadow with a smoky brown.
    • Adrien begins to select his own wardrobe more, reflecting his own tastes rather than following his father's preferences.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Chat Noir decides to taunt Ladybug in the middle of a fight by declaring he won't help unless she confesses her feelings. This comes mere moments after he whines about her getting help from civilians. Nobody who witnesses this is impressed by his behavior.
    • Played With through Alya's accusation. Several witnesses recognize her as the Ladyblogger and assume she's doing a bit, commenting on how this isn't the time or place for satire. Alya is dead serious.
  • Taking the Bullet: Luka intercepts an akuma butterfly aiming for Marinette, spurring his transformation into Restarter.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: When Mark is complaining about being punished for his treatment of Jay, Miss Desrosiers responds by insulting his faith. Her callous words cause him to tear up - and then realize just how it feels to be on the receiving end of such personal attacks.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Ringleader declares as much, accepting their akumatization because they see it as the only way to expose Lila once and for all.
  • There Are No Therapists: Thoroughly Averted. Several characters are already in therapy, while others find them/get pointed towards it by their concerned friends.
  • Tongue-Tied: Tikki and the other kwami were cursed by the Order of the Guardians so that they cannot inform their bearers of anything without being directly asked about it first. When Tikki reveals this to Marinette, she's immediately hit by a backlash effect.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe: The replicas Ringleader creates of the heroes of Paris are all missing their mouths, with Blank White Eyes that glow faintly. In addition, every time they move, their bodies look as though they're being sketched in.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: Gabriel, to the point that he messed with Adrien's memories in order to force her to continue identifying as male.
  • Wham Line: After an akuma fight goes poorly, Ladybug gets into an argument with one of her allies about her tactics, spurring her to confess that she's afraid of recruiting any more temporary heroes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • During the fight with Restarter, Chat Noir grumps over Ladybug working with a civilian, then attempts to Blackmail her into 'admitting she loves him' before he'll put her plan into action. Félix steps in to do the job himself, and several witnesses tear into him for his Skewed Priorities, roasting him on social media afterwards.
    • Played With when Imperatrix confronts Ladybug after the Juroghumo debacle; Ladybug already blames herself for how the fight went, and spends more time berating herself than Imperatrix does.
    • Master Fu gets raked over the coals when confronted by Madam Achthoven over how poorly he conducted himself, handing out the Miraculi to children without offering further guidance and support until his hand was forced, then withholding aid and making them rely upon temporary heroes. As she points out, the temporary hero system has only served to reveal that multiple Miraculi are in Paris — more than might have been exposed had he just chosen a handful of other permanent holders from the start.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: The general reaction from everyone who witnesses Alya accusing one of the heroes of being an imposter while claiming that Lila is the real deal. Several wonder if she's doing another satire bit for her blog.
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