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Fan Fic / Spots Off

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Spots Off by CadenzaRose is a complete Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction published on Archive of Our Own.

Through a series of unfortunate events, the world learns that Marinette is Ladybug. Now Marinette must deal with the consequences while her friends and classmates come to terms with a reality that has been carefully kept out of sight.


Spots Off contains examples of:

  • Anxiety Dreams: Marinette has to deal with two of these in the opening chapter, both before she finds out the video was re-uploaded. The first has her in her classroom as Ladybug and answering to her name, the second has her stuck in the middle of an akuma fight as Marinette and Chat not recognising her.
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  • Big Damn Kiss: In chapter 4: "Marinette wasn’t really thinking very clearly. All she knew was that the boy of her dreams and possibly her best friend had just told her that he loved her, all of her, Ladybug and Marinette. The one-sided prison she had thought she was trapped in had been an illusion all along. She leaned forward, closed her eyes, and pressed her lips to his. He felt surprised at first, but then he relaxed and leaned forward, wrapping his hand around her neck. It was just like she had always pictured in her dreams, only better because this wasn’t kissing some idolized stranger, this was kissing her partner and her friend. It was perfect."
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Adrien stands up to Gabriel when he orders him to stay away from Marinette for his own safety. All it does it get him grounded.
    • Chloe surprises everyone when she calls out her father for even considering withdrawing his support for Ladybug, telling him that he's a coward if he does and all of Paris will know it. Andre orders her back to her room, but once she's gone he admits she's completely right.
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  • Contrast Montage: Chapter 7 ends by cutting back and forth between Tom and Sabine assuring Marinette that they're proud of her work as Ladybug and that they have complete faith in her, and Adrien writing a letter to Gabriel in an (apparently failed) effort to convince him to let him support Marinette. The letter segments are alligned to the right.
  • Cooldown Hug: Chat pulls Marinette into one after she breaks down in tears in front of him, which has the effect of shutting up the voice in her head that's been telling her to suck it up and deal with this alone all chapter.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Alya: There is no way you just got here. You told me at 7am that you were coming to visit Mari.
    Nino: Yeah dude, what gives? How did Mari's mom not know you're here?
    Adrien: Ah, I, um... I came in really quietly?
    Alya: Bull-
    Marinette: Sit! We should all sit down. So we can talk about everything.
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  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: The reason Adrien gets caught in Marinette's room when he was supposed to be sneaking back out as Chat Noir and returning through the front door, is that he was distracted by Marinette's computer desktop, a collage of his modelling shots.
  • Double Don't Know: After Adrien and Alya see Marinette's identity being reported on the morning news:
    Adrien: Alya, I’m gonna go visit her. Do… do you think that would help?
    Alya: I don’t know Adrien, I just don’t know. I don’t know how to help her anymore...
  • Endangering News Broadcast: Once Marinette's identity makes it to the mainstream media, the bakery is soon surrounded by news reporters who have no apparent concern about making her or her family a target for Hawk Moth.
  • Exact Words: Nadja arranges for "an interview" with Mayor Bourgeois, not telling him that she'll be bringing along dozens of Ladybug supporters for him to interview.
  • From Bad to Worse: What starts as a mundane (for the setting) bad day - waking up late, hairdryer breaking after a shower, missing breakfast after burning her toast, being antagonised by the class Alpha Bitch upon arrival at school with none of her friends available to talk to and then having to skip lunch due to an Akuma attack - turns into an absolute nightmare when Marinette is publicly unmasked. It's bad enough when she has to spend the rest of the day not sure whether anyone who saw the livestream at the crucial moment will be able to identify her, but then she finds out the video was saved and reuploaded to Youtube. By the following morning, her name is on the news and the bakery is surrounded by reporters. And right when she feels like she may be able to get through this with the support of Adrien, Alya, Nino and her parents, she learns that she may be facing prosecution for vigilantism. And just as soon as that crisis is resolved, Adrien gets taken hostage by Hawk Moth.
  • Hates My Secret Identity: The contrast between Chloe's hatred of Marinette and her hero worship of Ladybug is brought up, with Marinette noting that she's not sure what she'd do if that hero worship shattered with the reveal of her identity. As it happens, the hero worship wins out, and Chloe's continued support for Ladybug may have been what kept her father from withdrawing his support for the heroes.
  • Headbutt of Love: Chat gives one to Marinette during the exchange under You Are Not Alone below.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Has been hinted at, as we've already seen the media treating Ladybug differently now that they know she's Just a Kid, and Nadja Chamack brings up the possibility of her and Chat Noir being denounced as unsanctioned vigilantes and prosecuted, if some of the Mayor's supporters have their way. At present, though, the Mayor is still on her side, thanks to Nadja arranging for him to hear testimonials from dozens of people that Ladybug has saved.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: When Marinette assumes that Chat found out from the news broadcast, he hesitates before agreeing. He actually found out when Nino called Adrien about the video hours earlier, but he's not yet in a position to tell her they have mutual friends out of costume.
  • I Have Your Wife: Chapter 8 ends with Hawk Moth contacting Marinette after taking Adrien hostage, to get her to hand over the Ladybug Miraculous. Backfires at the last minute when Ladybug yells to Adrien and throws her yoyo at Hawk Moth, right when he thinks she's about to take the earrings off, causing him to loosen his grip on Adrien and give him the chance to transform.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Marinette takes Chat's hand in her own like this right before she takes off his ring. She and Adrien stay like that for most of the following chapter.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Each of the chapter summaries aside from the first one, though the chapters themselves have their own titles.
  • It's All My Fault: Both Marinette and Alya insist on blaming themselves for what happened: Marinette for not finding a better hiding place to change back, and Alya for having followed Ladybug into an alley with her camera phone running. Adrien is equally insistent on blaming neither of them, but it's hard to deny that they both made avoidable mistakes. Marinette eventually suggests the two share the blame with whoever reposted the video and the reporter who chose to out her for a payrise, but Alya still refuses to give her friend even that much of the blame. Nadja later advises them against playing the blame game - "His fault, my fault, your fault… it never ends. Just take the situation you have and work with it as best you can." - which seems to help both of them.
  • It's What I Do: Stated by Chat when he assures Marinette that he will stand by her as her partner.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The unnamed news reporter who decides that getting a raise is worth ruining a young teen's life, privacy, and reputation. He's never seen, or even really mentioned, after Nadja calls Marinette to tell her why he finished outing her identity note  on public television and thus never gets any comeuppance on-screen.
    • Same goes for whoever re-uploaded the video to Youtube after Alya deleted it from her blog.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Downplayed, but Gabriel threatens to pull Adrien out of school if he doesn't cut off contact with Marinette and stay out of "the line of fire." And then somewhat subverted when he uses him as a hostage.
  • Late to the Realization: Even after Marinette kisses him in response to his confession, it takes Adrien a while to realise just how long she's liked him back - it's not until after he sees her collage of his modelling photos on her computer screen and brings it up with her that he starts to get it. She privately acknowledges that a kiss isn't quite the same thing as a confession, but it might as well have been. She then clarifies that she's had a crush on him since she stopped hating him for the gum incident, and to his credit he does manage to trace it back to the umbrella.
  • Love Confession: Adrien telling Marinette that he fell in love with whoever was beneath the mask after they defeated Stoneheart. She responds by kissing him, though he doesn't entirely get her meaning.
  • Love Epiphany: A variant from Adrien, in the middle of a minor freakout over what's happened to Ladybug:
    She hadn’t wanted this. And the more he thought about it, the more he realized that he hadn’t wanted it either. Not like this. He had pictured them revealing their identities to each other a million times over. It would be in a beautiful, romantic setting—maybe the Eifel Tower at midnight. That sounded nice. They would be holding hands. Then they would close their eyes and both release their transformations at the exact same moment, and then he’d see for the first time the eyes of that face under the mask and he would know who she was, though it wouldn’t really matter who it was because he had already decided that he was in love with her no matter who she turned out to be.
    Wait.
    Oh.
    Oh, oh, oh.
    Marinette was Ladybug.
    Marinette was Ladybug.
    He sat up straight in his bed, nearly knocking Plagg, who was on the pillow next to him, onto the floor. The tiny kwami groaned in annoyance. Adrien looked over at him.
    Adrien: Plagg. Plagg, I’m in love with Marinette.
    Plagg: Great. Good for you. Be sure to invite me to the wedding.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Defied by Adrien when he finds out the truth (immediately following the above exchange with Plagg):
    But Adrien was already lost in thought, running through every memory he had of his kind, cheerful classmate. He saw every time she smiled, every time she laughed, every time she stuttered shyly when he tried to speak with her. He saw her talking with Alya, her face vibrant. He saw her comforting classmates, standing up to Chloe, helping to keep the class calm and safe every time an akuma attacked. He saw her peeking out from under the umbrella he had just given her and giggling in that adorable way of hers, that way that made him feel so welcome and so relieved and so…
    Adrien stopped. He had already known that Ladybug was strong and brave and caring and confident and graceful and gorgeous. But now he also knew that she was adorable. And smart and talented and…
    The longer the list grew in his head, the more he became convinced that he couldn’t put it off any longer — he would have to tell her. He would have to tell Ladybug, tell Marinette, how he felt.
    And suddenly that wasn’t so scary, because he knew her. He knew both sides of her, loved both sides of her, and… and maybe he actually had a chance.
    • Likewise defied by Marinette, though she does momentarily wonder otherwise:
      He hadn’t been flirting with her. He had been flirting with Ladybug. She felt her smile falter. Would he still want Marinette?
      That moment of doubt was silenced with one half-second’s thought about the boy in front of her, the boy who had rushed to her house ready to reveal everything just to make her feel loved, who repeated to her that she wasn’t alone, that it wasn’t her fault, that he would support her whatever the situation. Yes, she thought, he would probably still want Marinette.
      And did she want him? Did she want Chat?
      Her heartrate picked up even at the thought of it. The question burned with possibility. Chat wanted her, she knew. So if she wanted Chat…
      She had been crushing on Adrien since he had, in a moment of utter kindness, proved to her that he was his own person, a beautiful, generous person, and not just a product of the cold, wealth-infused world he was brought up in. She still had the umbrella from that moment, a symbol for her of the unreachable boy with the soft smile and honest, infectious laugh. But while she had been crushing on Adrien, she had been getting to know Chat, his free spirit, light-hearted when he could be, serious when he needed to be, always supportive and funny and fun. He was Adrien freed from all expectations, free to be himself fully and not just in part. Did she want all of him? Bad puns and all?
      Yes, she decided. Yes she did.
      And with her mind settled, the world around her came into focus once more.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: After Adrien transforms in front of Hawk Moth, he's shocked enough to basically admit to being Gabriel. "No. No, it can’t be. Not my son. Not my son."
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Both Marinette and Alya following the reveal.
    • Gabriel after he's defeated, believing all he's done is lose Adrien for good.
  • Oh, Crap!: Alya, when she realises her livestream probably caught Ladybug de-transforming. Marinette when she learns that the video, which Alya removed from her blog as soon as she could, has nevertheless made it to YouTube and amassed 75,000 views in six hours.
  • Relationship Upgrade: During Chapter 4, Adrien tells Marinette that he's been in love with her since Stoneheart. She responds by kissing him.
  • The Reveal Prompts Romance: After Ladybug is revealed to be Marinette, Adrien is pushed to finally tell her his feelings. After Chat Noir unmasks himself as Adrien and tells her he loves her, the two share their first kiss (or second, counting "Dark Cupid").
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Nadja tells Marinette that she and her fellow reporters were told about the viral video and were offered a raise to whoever identified Ladybug first. She refused to have anything to do with it and told them that if they had any decency at all, they would respect what privacy she had left and leave her alone. They did not.
    • After Mayor Bourgeois's campaign backers try to pressure him into withdrawing his support for the heroes, Nadja manages to convince him otherwise with testimonials from dozens of people Ladybug has saved, including some unexpected support from Chloe. "Well, to hell with it. I’m the mayor, I’ll do what I can to protect Paris."
  • Skewed Priorities: After Adrien finds out what's happened from Nino, he realises that he may actually have a chance with Ladybug/Marinette now. He then catches himself and realises this isn't the time for such thoughts: "Marinette was panicking. Her world was falling apart. He couldn’t swoop in and make everything better with a reveal and a confession — actually, that would probably make things even worse. What she really needed right now was support and understanding." He later confesses anyway after she's managed to calm down and react well to his identity, and he admits that this may be a terrible time to bring it up. Of course, it was exactly what she wanted to hear.
    • When Alya calls Marinette in chapter 6, she apologises for interrogating her about the situation with Adrien earlier when she should have been focused on how Marinette was coping after her unmasking. Marinette laughs it off, pointing out she was trying to avoid that topic as well.
  • So Proud of You: Tom and Sabine assure Marinette of this in chapter 7.
  • Stop Saying That!: Played for drama during Marinette's breakdown, after Chat offers to tell her who he is, so that he can be there for her out of costume:
    Marinette: You can’t reveal your identity just because I messed up so badly! It’s too important!
    Chat: But I want to! You don’t have to do this alone-
    Marinette: Why aren’t you listening to me?! It’s my mistake, and I have to face the consequences! You can’t help me, Chat!
    Chat: Yes, I can! You just aren’t letting me! This isn’t your fault! Let people help you, Marinette!
    Marinette: No! No, I can’t!
    Chat: Why!?
    Marinette: Because… because… Because it’s my fault! I need to take care of this! I have to be the one to take care of this!
    Chat: No, you don’t!
    Marinette: Stop telling me that! Stop encouraging me! I’m just… I just… I’m stupid and I’m weak and I have to learn to accept the consequences when I mess up. So just let me deal with this, Chat!
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Alya returns to the bakery, she talks about dodging the few reporters still outside. "I sort of made a run out of it. Just to keep those reporters off my trail. I swear, they’d annoy the crap out of me if I didn’t want to be them one day. (She panics as she realises how that came out.) Well, not them exactly, but you know. A reporter. A good reporter. I-I mean, not that they aren’t good, like, skill-wise, but like, respect-wise they could use some work, I mean, they should be giving you space…"
  • The Unmasking: Marinette is caught de-transforming on Alya's livestream, and while Alya deletes the video as soon as possible and tries to contain the damage, it ends up on Youtube a few hours later. By the following morning, her identity has been exposed by the mainstream media. In addition, Chapter 3 ends with Chat convincing Marinette to let him unmask for her.
    • In chapter 5, Adrien is forced to come clean to Alya and Nino (with Marinette's blessing) after they find him in her room and start asking questions about how and when he got there - he was supposed to transform, leave via the balcony and come back through the front door of the bakery as Adrien, but got distracted while Marinette was downstairs.
    • By the epilogue, Adrien's identity is public as well, thanks to the coverage of the showdown with Hawk Moth.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Marinette sees the morning news bulletin, she's hit hard by a reporter asking if a middle-schooler is really fit to protect them, as if that detail was enough to devalue her entire track record as Ladybug. But Tikki is quick to remind her that she was given her Miraculous for a reason, and when Chat Noir shows up, he assures her that she is a hero, in and out of costume.
  • You Are Not Alone: Chat repeatedly insisting that Marinette doesn't have to go through this alone, which eventually gets through to her:
    Chat: (wrapping her up in a tight hug after she breaks down in tears) You don’t have to punish yourself for this. Even if it was your fault, which I will personally never believe it was. No one’s asking you to handle it alone. (Pulls back, presses his forehead to hers and looks her in the eyes) We all want to help you. Do you believe me?
    Marinette: (meets his gaze and sees the unconditional support and love in his eyes) I mean… I guess
    Chat: (laughing quietly) You guess?
    Marinette: (gives him a smile) Fine. I believe you.
    Chat: (returns it) Good. Because you aren’t alone, Marinette. And we can deal with this, together.

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