Another boring, ordinary school day was underway at Collège Françoise Dupont. As Mademoiselle Bustier took roll call, Alya leaned close to Marinette. "Hey, miss fashion designer," she said. "Have you ever noticed something weird about our class?"
Marinette frowned. "Weird in what way?" she asked. *Has she noticed that I'm the only person in our class who's never been Akumatized? No, wait, Adrien hasn't either. Huh. That's weird...oh well! It's probably just because he's so perfect nothing ever bothers him enough to make him vulnerable!*
Alya gestured around the room. "Everybody here always wears the exact same outfit, day after day. Even me! Even you! Even Adrien!"
Marinette blinked. "That's..." She trailed off. "Huh. Now that you mention it, that is weird. Especially for me, Adrien, and Chloé. I mean, I know Chloé has closets full of designer clothes, Adrien is a model, I'm..." She blinked repeatedly, brow furrowing in thought. "Wow." She lapsed into a thoughtful silence as Mademoiselle Bustier droned on during homeroom.
A good twenty minutes later, Alya nudged Marinette. Leaning close again, she whispered, "Hey...have you noticed? Something's seriously up with Chloé today."
"Huh? Oh, yeah, you're right," Marinette replied, glancing at her least favorite person in the world. She wasn't the only one looking; most of the class was distracted by Chloé's squirming and fidgeting. Her face was pinched in a clench-toothed frown as she writhed on her bench.
Mademoiselle Bustier slammed her chalk down on the chalk rail and sighed in exasperation. "Mademoiselle Bourgeois!" she snapped. "Please stop disrupting my class with your...whatever it is you're doing!"
Chloé sneered at her. "Mind your own business," she snarled.
"Excuse me?" Mademoiselle Bustier asked archly. "Young lady, you do not speak to a teacher that way!"
"And you don't speak to me that way without hearing from my daddy the Mayor," Chloé retorted.
The class fell deathly silent.
Mademoiselle Bustier sighed. "Whatever," she muttered. "I don't want to deal with you today. Go spend the rest of this period in the toilet."
With a whiny sniff, Chloé got up, gathered her things, and stormed out of the classroom in a stiff, thighs-clenched walk.
* * * * *
During free time, Marinette was relaxing in the courtyard with a bottle of water when Sabrina approached her, wringing the hem of her sweater worriedly. "Umm...Marinette?" Sabrina began in trepidation.
"Yes?" Marinette asked, blinking at Sabrina.
Sabrina swayed awkwardly in place. "S-so, umm...there's something wrong with Chloé and..."
"This is news?" Marinette muttered in a bored tone.
"You saw how she was acting this morning, right?" Sabrina continued, undeterred. "Well, the thing is..." She looked around, then leaned in close and whispered, "This morning, I was looking for something in Chloé's bag, and I found this ointment..." Sabrina flinched. "S-so I didn't know what it was, so I looked it up on my phone, and..."
Sabrina's face turned red. "I-it's for treating a rash," she said. "You know, a, um...bad kind of rash."
Marinette blinked several times. "When you say a bad kind of rash, you mean..." She thought about the way Chloé had been squirming, and her lips quivered in a suppressed snicker. "That kind of rash?"
Sabrina nodded mutely.
"How would Chloé even get...?" Marinette shook her head. "No, nevermind, don't wanna know." She looked at Sabrina, struggling to keep a straight face. "Why are you telling me this? You do realize Chloé hates me more than anyone else in the world, right? And I don't exactly think much of her either."
"I know, but...!" Sabrina whimpered. "You're the closest thing I have to a friend who isn't Chloé, and...and I needed to...because I'm just so worried and so, so very confused!"
Marinette sighed. "Well, thanks for the update on Chloé's crotch, I guess," she said. "Do you feel better now?"
Sabrina shook her head.
"SABRINA!" Chloé's voice cut across the courtyard. Sabrina yelped and turned around. Chloé stomped up to them angrily. "I need you to cut class next period to run an errand!"
"O-okay!" Sabrina squeaked.
Chloé glared at Marinette. "What are you looking at, trash girl?" she snapped.
"I wonder," Marinette replied with a smirk.
Tossing her hair snootily, Chloé dragged Sabrina off. Marinette waited until they were well out of earshot, then exploded in laughter.
Marinette's purse popped open, and a tiny pink head poked out. "Marinette, really!" Tikki huffed, hands on her hips. "I'm surprised at you! You shouldn't be laughing about somebody's health problems!"
Marinette forced down a giggle, patting her chest with a hand. "I—I know I sh-shouldn't," she tittered, "but it's just...it's just so random and so hilarious! I mean, of all the things I never expected to hear, it's..."
Tikki suddenly ducked out of sight as Adrien and Alya rounded the corner, each with a canned drink. Alya raised an eyebrow, smirking as she sat down next to Marinette. "I thought I heard you out here," she said. "What's so funny? I don't think I've ever heard you laugh like that!"
"Yeah, we heard you clear over there," Adrien said as he sat down on Marinette's other side, popping the tab on his drink. "Wanna let us in on the joke?"
Marinette paled. "Oh! Um. Well." She ducked her head and played with her hair. "I-it's nothing," she said.
"Sure didn't sound like nothing," Alya said.
Marinette looked at the two of them, her face screwing up in thought. "W-well," she said hesitantly.
Everything froze. A tiny white Ladybug with white angel wings and a halo appeared on one shoulder. Don't do it, Marinette! You know it's wrong to gossip about something like this! Besides, it's just going to cause trouble for you down the road and you know it!
A tiny red Chat Noir appeared on her other shoulder, sporting bat wings and little red horns. He smirked devilishly. Oh, come on! This is choice! You can't keep it to yourself! Besides, if you tell Adrien about Chloé's cooter cooties, he'll be totally repulsed by her!
Marinette swallowed, then beckoned for both of them to lean in closer. "Okay, I guess I'll probably explode if I don't tell somebody, and I trust both of you," she said. "But this doesn't go any further than us, alright?"
"Of course," Alya said.
"No problem, you can trust me," Adrien agreed.
*With my everything,* Marinette thought, blushing. "W-well," she whispered. "Sabrina of all people just came over to talk to me, and she told me why Chloé was acting so much more Chloé-ish than usual this morning."
"Wait, Sabrina snitched on Chloé to you?" Alya asked, her eyebrow arching again. "Girl, you know that sounds like a trap, right?"
"It does seem out of character," Adrien commented.
Marinette blew on her bangs. "She was freaking out, okay? And she says I'm the closest thing she has to a friend who isn't Chloé, which is pretty sad if you think about it."
Alya and Adrien exchanged a glance. "Yeah, that's pretty sad," Adrien agreed.
"Okay, so Sabrina dished some dirt," Alya prompted. "How dirty is it?"
This set Marinette off again, as she let out a string of giggles, doubling over and squeezing her eyes shut. "S-sorry!" she gasped out between giggles, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes.
Adrien raised an eyebrow. "Oh, this must be good," he said.
Alya blinked at him. "Wait, aren't you and Chloé technically friends?"
Adrien shrugged. "Honestly? She kinda burned that bridge a long time ago. I mean, yeah, she was the only friend I had for a long time, but it's hard to stay friends with somebody as nasty and self-centered as Chloé."
By this point, Marinette had recovered enough to speak. "Okay, here's the deal," she whispered. "Sabrina found some ointment in Chloé's bag. It's...it's for the kind of rash you really don't want anybody to know you caught."
Adrien blinked. "What?!" He took a sip of his drink, staring at Marinette.
Alya gasped, eyes wide. "You don't mean—?"
Marinette nodded. "Looks like Chloé rubbed her rhubarb raw," she said.
And promptly got a faceful of Orangina.
"Ack!" Adrien spluttered, coughing and pounding his chest. "Sorry, sorry!" Alya started laughing as Marinette wiped furiously at her face with the sleeve of her jacket.
"I-it's okay," Marinette said. "I, uhh...just love Orangina, so...thanks for sharing!" This only set Alya off even harder.
"Oh God, i-it hurts!" Alya wheezed, clutching her stomach and squeezing her eyes shut as she doubled over.
Adrien fished around in his pocket for a handkerchief, handing it to Marinette. She accepted it with a hesitant touch and a blush. As she continued wiping herself off, Adrien cleared his throat. "So, uhh..." He coughed. "That isn't something I can picture Chloé...doing," he said. "I mean..."
"It fits with all the squirming and bitchier-than-usual attitude though," Alya said. "Still don't get Sabrina telling Marinette about it. I mean...that's courting death, right there." An alarm went off on her phone, and she grimaced. "Well, looks like we'd better head back inside." She chugged the rest of her drink and tossed the can into the receptacle at the end of the bench, then stood and stretched. The others stood as well, Adrien tossing what was left of his drink as Marinette made a final pat-down to make sure she was mostly dry.
* * * * *
The rest of the morning was sheer torture. Every time Chloé squirmed or made a face, it was all Marinette and Alya could do not to burst into giggles. Even Adrien was having trouble keeping a straight face. Sabrina, for her part, was white as a sheet—and occasionally flashing Marinette a shocked, hostile expression that positively screamed "I know you told them and I can't believe you did that!"
It didn't help that Chloé's squirming was massively disrupting class, annoying the teachers, and eliciting snickers from her classmates. With less than an hour to go before lunch, Chloé was fuming and red-faced, Marinette and Alya had just about lost it, and even Adrien was no longer bothering to keep a straight face.
* * * * *
A dark place...
Shutters irised open, flooding the dark room with bright sunlight. White butterflies swarmed around a masked figure standing in the light.
"Ah, the pain and humiliation of an embarrassing social malady," Hawk Moth chuckled darkly. "If nothing else, this might well...irritate Ladybug and Chat Noir." He frowned. "I have used this girl before...I wonder if it is possible for her to become a new villain." He smirked. "Ah well. It matters little."
A white butterfly landed in his gloved palm. He covered it with his other hand. Motes of darkness gathered, turning the butterfly a purple-splotched black.
"Fly away, my little Akuma, and darken her heart once again!" Hawk Moth watched the Akuma flutter through the central gap in the window's wrought iron butterfly motif.
* * * * *
Half an hour before the bell, it finally happened. Ms. Mendeleiev lost her temper with Chloé and started chewing her out, which led to Chloé screeching at her, which led to the entire class watching in fascination.
So it was that two sets of eyes saw the black butterfly that dropped through the ceiling and landed on Chloé's bag. Green eyes and blue eyes widened in surprise and horror.
They weren't the only ones who noticed. Half the class suddenly stopped snickering and started whispering.
"Hey, that was one of those Akuma things, wasn't it?"
"It went into Chloé's bag."
"Oh my god, is she gonna turn into a monster now?"
"You mean she isn't already one?"
"Oh, this is gonna be so cool!"
Ms. Mendeleiev and Chloé both stopped snapping at each other and looked around wildly. Marinette numbly pointed at Chloé's bag. Chloé frowned and looked down, opening her bag. Marinette could just see the black butterfly perched atop a tube of ointment, fluttering its wings.
It dissolved into inky black motes as it sank into the tube...
...which then erupted in showers of purple and green sparks as a warbling nimbus of purple-black energy wrapped around it.
Then, something completely unexpected happened.
The Akuma shot right back out of the tube of ointment. It swelled to double its usual size, its purple-black wings turning a black-mottled green. A sickly yellow-green aura surrounded it as it flew drunkenly around the room, listing wildly to the left. It bounced off Chloé's table, and a red, scaly, blistery rash spread across the wooden surface. After bouncing off several surfaces, all of which erupted in crusty rashes, the green Akuma finally managed to escape from the classroom by phasing through the window, leaving a filmy, greasy rash in its wake.
Ms. Mendeleiev swallowed heavily. "Umm..." She coughed. "Well. Anyway, as I was saying—"
* * * * *
Hawk Moth's jaw dropped. "What in the...?"
Clenching his fist tightly, he struck his cane sharply on the floor. "Absolutely useless...! What is the point of an Akuma that can't bring me the Miraculous?"
The shutters irised shut.
"At least I have coq au vin," he muttered into the darkness.
* * * * *
As soon as the lunch bell rang, Marinette transformed, leaping up onto the roof of the school. Seconds later, Chat Noir landed beside her. "Hey Bugaboo," he said casually. "I heard there was a sick little bug flapping around out here."
Ladybug nodded. "Hawk Moth tried to Akumatize someone, but something went wrong," she said. "I saw the Akuma right around here, but there's no telling where it is now..."
Just then, the mottled green Akuma flapped right in her face. "GAH!" Ladybug screamed, jumping back and grabbing her yo-yo. Before she could open it to catch and purify the Akuma, it squirted a jet of steaming yellow-green fluid at her feet. It splashed on the roof, and a blistery, crusty rash spread across the hard surface.
Ladybug and Chat Noir stopped short, staring with wide-eyed disbelief at the green Akuma. It did a loop-de-loop in midair, then flapped out over the city in a crazed, listing, random path.
Chat Noir glanced at the patch of rash on the rooftop with a grimace of disgust. "Well," he said, "that's new."
Ladybug edged away from the blistery rash. "Ick," she opined. "Come on, we need to catch that thing."
They followed the little green butterfly, watching as it sprayed its rash-incuding fluids at random things it passed. They watched in horrified fascination as it encrusted an entire car in scaly, fluid hives.
"It's..." Ladybug began.
"...peeing," Chat Noir finished.
There was really no other word the streams of steaming fluid issued from the Akuma. Everything the fluid touched, whether it was alive or not—organic or not—developed a red, scaly rash, fluid blisters, hives, or other disgusting malady.
"Okay, eww," Ladybug groaned, cringing.
"Come on," Chat Noir said. "I'm itching to finish this nasty little bug off fast."
Ladybug smirked at him. "Aww, is kitty hungry for his daily tuna?"
Chat Noir's cheeks bulged. "Ulp," he said. "I, uhh...I don't think I can eat tuna for a while. Not after, uhh..." He coughed. "Weird morning. Let's go."
The teen heroes chased the drunkenly flapping green Akuma all over Paris. It kept evading Ladybug's every attempt to sweep it out of the sky; at one point, it managed to squirt her in the leg. "AGH!" Ladybug cried as she went down on one knee, hissing.
Chat Noir landed next to her, concern on his face. "Ladybug! Are you alright?"
"It...itches," Ladybug hissed.
Chat Noir frowned at the crusty, scaly rash spreading up Ladybug's leg. "Ordinarily I'd love to get my paws on your lovely legs, but right now? I'll pass."
Ladybug growled at him. "This would be easier if we had a couple of really big butterfly nets..."
"Or a lot of big butterfly nets," Chat Noir mused, sliding open his baton and making a call. "Hello, KIDZ+? This is Chat Noir, I'm with Ladybug, we need a huge fa—no, this is seriously Chat Noir! Ugh...look! Can you turn on the news or something? Surely they're reporting about this rash of Akuma attacks—err, this Akuma attacking Paris with a rash—yes, that. Listen, we're having trouble catching this thing, we need a favor. Well put me on with Alec or Nadja, they both owe me and Ladybug a solid! Okay."
Ladybug scratched her leg as she glanced up at Chat Noir. "What're you—"
Chat Noir held up a hand to silence her. "Ms. Chamack? Yeah, hi. We need some help from everyone in Paris to catch this Akuma, and Ladybug's taken a bad hit. Can you get a message out asking for volunteers? We just need people out on the streets with every really big butterfly net they can find. Yeah. Great, thanks!" He slid his baton shut.
Ladybug stared at him. "Butterfly nets? That's your plan?"
Chat Noir shrugged. "Got a better idea?"
Ladybug sighed. "Not really." She stood up, grimacing. "Okay, I think I'm good to go. Let's find that nasty bug and put a stop to this."
In the end, it took three hours for Ladybug and Chat Noir, with the help of a few hundred Parisians armed with butterfly nets, to contain the Akuma. By the time it was finally pinned down under three nets—one wielded by Mayor Bourgeois, one by Lieutenant Roger, and the third by Tom Dupain—most of the 21st arrondissement was covered in crusty, oozing, blistery rashes, and dozens of citizens had been rushed to the hospital.
Once the Akuma was confined, Ladybug used her Lucky Charm, which took the form of an extra strength douche kit. Chat Noir watched in amusement as a stone-faced Ladybug douched the writhing Akuma into submission, then captured and purified it. Order was rapidly restored, but it was one Akuma attack the people of Paris would never forget.
And that's the story of how Chloé Bourgeois managed to give half of Paris a venereal rash.
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