he was going to get her that epipen and save her

Ridiculous Reveals

The Miraculous Ladybug fandom has had so many great possible identity reveals, but have you considered:

  • Oops, I tripped and my miraculous fell off (like the freezer scene from Lady Wifi). …And I didn’t have time to get fully dressed before the akuma attack. Well, this is awkward.

  • I accidentally messed up your hair with chewing gum/a freak scissors accident in class today and I am so sorry, but in my defense I also was not expecting you to also be my superhero partner…I am awkward. Sorry. How do I bring up this secret identity thing without you hating me?

  • While we were being superheroes and saving the day, I got a parking ticket/my car got towed and I noticed before we changed back and made a big deal about it. Apparently I was your ride here.

  • That’s my phone number on your face…apparently that was a permanent marker. Sorry.

  • Ladybug agrees to reveal her identity to Chat Noir, but is nervous about it, so she tries to make a game out of it, telling him that’s she’ll only reveal her identity  if he wears Ladybug merch and ONLY Ladybug merch for a whole week. She even gives him a “Ladybug is the Best” pin to wear. When Adrien shows up in class decked out in ladybug clothing, Marinette is shocked. But she gets over it quickly proceeding to snicker at Adrien for the rest of the class. The next day Marinette comes to school in a Chat Noir costume and stops in front of Adrien’s desk. He’s still wearing his Ladybug clothing and when he looks up at her, she smirks and whispers “Hey Bugaboo. 6 days to go.” Then winks. Adrien spends the rest of the class period losing his mind, while Mari keeps making cat puns just to mess with him.

  • Apparently, I just spent thirty minutes ranting about you to your face until you couldn’t take it anymore and revealed yourself. 

  • You went into the wrong bathroom/locker room to change into your superhero persona.

  • I recently told your superhero/civilian self I just wanted to be friends, but only because I have a massive crush on you, not because I wasn’t attracted to the other version of you. I swear that logic made sense yesterday.

  • You have some really bizarre talent/knowledge that no-one else would ever conceivably have and you’ve told me about it in both your civilian and superhero form. It must be you. Why do you like this weird thing so much? 

  • I accidentally gave you something that you were horribly allergic too and it was awful, you had to inject an EpiPen and go to the hospital to get checked out. I felt so bad. So, my superhero/civilian pal, would you like these leftovers because I can’t give them to my crush? Why are you making that face? My cooking/baking’s not that bad is it?
Shirts [ Mercy76 ]

This is another Mercy76 though it’s a bit mild as compared to the rest. You can almost see some Mercy/McCree in it too as well as DVa/Junkrat and Ana/Reinhardt. 

Anyway, it’s complete trash. 

And, with any luck, I’ll get you. Get you all soooooo good. Please let me know if you didn’t see it coming. I have to know. xP

And sorry about not posting in Secrets. I had every intention to but… well, something happened this weekend. I had an allergic reaction and stopped breathing. Spend a good chunk of time in a hospital. I’m okay now. Waiting to get food/drug tested for allergies to make sure I never need another epipen to bring me back. It was a scary experience. And, funny story, I wrote this BEFORE the whole thing (wrote this on Friday). Didn’t post it Friday. Wanted to reread before it and… well, yeah. I like the irony. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Kinda.

Anyway, as per the norm, this is cheesy and stupid. Complete trash.

Secrets will continue… just… not right now. Need to get back up to speed. Still not at 100% but I suppose that’s to be expected when you… well, do what I did.

Thanks for your support and patience. Secrets will get an update soon!

It should have been just like any other day. The routine, get in, take out the hostiles, get out.


Today was different though. There was something off about these marks. They were smarter, more equipped. Perhaps they actually researched their enemy and became familiar with weaknesses, blind spots. They worked as a team, rather than a bunch of lone wolves. Movement was fluid, with a purpose. Whatever they fought to protect, it had to be something of the utmost importance. These men were at the top of their game, something the reborn Overwatch hadn’t seen a lot of lately.

“Tracer here,” her voice chirped over the headset that wrapped around the task forces’ ears. “Things are lookin’ bloody ugly. Could really use so-GET DOWN!”

An explosion rumbled off in the distance, about a mile or two from where one of the groups stood with guns prepped.

“Treefrogs, pull back,” Genji insisted. “We’ll circle around and flank them. Keep to the shadows.”

He was the squad leader for this group-Mercy, Jesse, Hanzo, and Zenyetta. They were the small group, the group that was supposed to keep back and keep low. They were the ‘when shit hits the fans, save us’ group.

Without question, all fell in line behind the robotic ninja, knowing full-well that their silence was what had gotten them this far. With Tracer and the rest taking all the heavy fire, getting around enemy lines was easy as pie.

As requested, they kept to the shadows, though Mercy’s glowing Valkyrie suit sure had its weaknesses. Since they didn’t want to call unwarranted attention on their flanking, she and Jesse pulled off the rest of the group. McCree said it himself, he could handle his way through a situation, should one arise.

Thankfully, their route, though far less direct, proved to be quite safe.

Regrouping with the rest of the Treefrog Team, McCree and Mercy fell right back in line. Marching down a completely open road. If any snipers were privy to, say their location, they would all be done for.

“Seems… quiet.” McCree’s lips wrapped around the cigar in his mouth. “Not sure I like the feel of this.”

“Silence,” Hanzo hushed. Genji was quick to agree with his brother.

Forward they went. But Jesse, he kept back.

“Whoa,” his hand flew forward, gliding Mercy back just a few paces behind the others. “I don’t like that we’re coming in blind.”

Her brow hitched. Genji and Hanzo were more than capable. Zenyatta was there too, scanning every edge of the building for movement. If someone did lurk on the upper floors of the abandoned apartments, one of them would call it.

“Just… just not feelin right,” he stated again.

Brows falling forward, she cast the cowboy a scowl. Didn’t feel right? They weren’t under fire. How could it not feel right? They were safe while, a good half-mile ahead of them, sat their friends. Bullets spraying and bombs making craters in the earth.

And McCree was insiting that it didn’t feel right.

Was he mad? Or did he just like getting shot a-


Before her mind could process what was going on, the rough brick was tearing into her skin, her suit. Eyes wide, they panned toward Jesse, who’s back was flat against the wall she made impact with. His pistol was out but it was in the opposite hand. Examining further, the rush of red entered her view. He’d been hit! Hit saving her, the easy, obvious target.

“Jesse,” her hand fumbled for the staff. It was time she do what she was best at.

“No,” his head swiveled back. “We’ll hold this line. You need to get to the others.”

Zenyatta, across the way, nodded. “I will ensure tranquility. You are needed elsewhere, Ms. Ziegler.”

No part of her wanted to run. Run away from her friends who were now under suppression fire. Friends that couldn’t move. Couldn’t do anything but either 1) wait for the enemy guns to run dry or 2) find themselves littered with a million holes because the goddamn decrepit buildings made piss-pour shelter.

“Go,” Hazno’s arrow passed just inches from her face.

“But they ha-” she couldn’t leave them. Genji’s leg was laced with holes. McCree’s arm had a through-and-through. Hanzo’s brow wore a nice, thick cut-likely from when he rolled off the main road and straight into debris.

A voice spoke through static across their earpieces.

“Lucio’s been hit. Ana’s under suppression fire.” It was DVa.

“Where the hell is our backup.” That was 76.

“Keep holding,” Tracer tried to keep them fighting but even her voice was failing to hide the intensity and severity of the situation. They walked right into a trap. An ambush. Whoever was behind this clearly wanted to make Overwatch suffer.

Grunting, Mercy turned on her heals. “Cover me.”

Bolting from behind what little cover she had, the blonde held her breath.

Feet colliding with the rough soil beneath her, she pushed. The dull sound of bullets engaging bullets waged on around her. As soon as little red dots fell onto her pure white suit, they would fall off. Or rather, jump, twitch, and then clatter every which way. Seconds later, a body would crash off to her right, left, or front.

They guys were 100% on point today.

Wait a minute… She was the bait. They weren’t telling her to rush forward to help the others. They turned her into a moving target!

Hand snaking up to her earpiece, she smirked. “I’m beginning to feel a lot like a worm out here.”

“You were the one that mentioned fishing,” Jesse quipped. “Thought you’d be on board.”

In less than a minute, Treefrog was regrouping. All the enemies were neutralized.

“Ballsy move,” she admitted while holding up a clenched fist, signalling the group to stop. “Looks like we’re just a building over. Can see Rein’s shield from here.”

The brothers glanced at each other. Heads nodding, they broke off.

“There,” Jesse’s finger pointed forward. Behind a busted up dumper sat a panting Tracer, a bleeding Lucio, a flightless Pharah, and an exhausted Roadhog. They were doing what they could to keep the others-on the other side also behind a dumpster-from taking the brunt of the attack.

“It’s time,” Jesse smirked.

“Really?” Her eyes glanced up at the sun. Sure enough, it was high in the sky.

“Would be a real shame i-”

“Ryuu ga waga teki wo kurau!”

Head snapping toward the howl of a wolf, he caught the massive might of the archer. His attack making the perfect opening for Mercy.

“Maybe next time,” she teased before running forward. The look of sheer annoyance on Jesse’s face still causing a smile to crawl up on her face.

With each passing step, she drew closer and closer to the group. The sound of gunfire seemed to shift, too. It was no longer coming strictly from the left, from the enemies. Finally, Overwatch had a chance to hit back. And hit back hard they did. Hazno was always on point. Always perfect. Alw-


Her face drained of all its color.

Hand trembling, a timer began in her head. To steady her nerves, she clasped her hands together before her head turned toward the blue sky above.

Please have mercy on m-


A blinding light, the deafening silence, and the fire of a thousand suns consumed her.

Body flying forward, all consciousness was lost.


All eyes fell on her limp, burning body that landed a few feet behind Tracer and crew.

Lip curling up to reveal a snarl, a pistol turned to the blinding ball of yellow high within the sky. A faceless man with a red tactical visor stepped out into the open, gun locked on the enemy. Explosive flying into the pile of enemies, the brunette clad in yellow shouted. Thrusters forward, a mecha suit flew into enemy fire as the pilot ejected herself. Black fur turning red, his feral arms pounded against his chest. Transforming into a tank, he charged forward. Despite broken wings, she took to the sky to send out a barrage of rockets.

Had her ears not lost their ability to hear, she would have been able to smile.

Coordinated, precise attacks. Each fueled by raw emotions, by fear. They unleashed hell on those poor unsuspecting men. On the desolate, ghost town.

But she heard none of that. The only thing she could hear-assuming she hadn’t lost her wits-was the faint beeping nose that told her she was losing blood. That her suit had sustained critical injuries. That if immediate medical attention wasn’t received, she wouldn’t get to be Mercy anymore. That she could finally join her beloved. Her family.

Pulsing her eyes open, her burned hand rose up. Jesse’s face was the first she saw.

He was right. This didn’t feel right.

Body limp, her hand fell back down against the soiled red dirt.

They were talking to her, but she couldn’t hear a damn thing.

Then she went cold. Her breathing stopped. Her lips fell blue. Her eyes rolled back. Her heart stopped.

Ana. Lucio. Zenyatta. Pulling together, they injected her body with as much as they could.

“Get the Caduceus Staff,” Ana choked. She knew she had no right to use this as it was Mercy’s pride and joy, but right now they needed to get their golden haired angel back.

Blood. There was so much blood. And it spread with each footstep. It coated Jesse’s face, his hands, his boots. But he didn’t care. He’d been with Merc since the beginning; he could do this. Not like anyone else would.

A beam of golden light flickered and danced over her body. It seeped into the wounds, her veins, her core.

The light intensified until none could look at her, not even the visor-wearing 76, though he was nowhere to be found. He, DVa, and Junkrat made it their personal mission to ensure all threats were eliminated. If a single heartbeat echoed in the distance, they would find it. Execute it. And ensure revenge was met on behalf of their fallen angel.

Finally, with the light fading, Tracer stepped forward. Her goggles were fogged up, likely from crying. “Hey,” her quivering hand found its place right alongside Angela’s cheekbone.

“Hey,” her raspy voice caused those nearby to choke.

She was alive. Weak. Faint. But alive.

Head light and body feeling fuzzy (too much of that stuff can make you feel a little funny!), she slowly rolled up to a seated position. Her heart was racing due to all the adrenaline.

“How you feeling, love?”

“Like I just had 20 cups of coffee,” her lips curled up into a coy smile. “Did you guys use my stuff and your own medical apparatus.”

“We would never,” Lucio winced but forced a smile. “We know that mixing drugs is bad.”

Ana nodded before shaking her head. “We are all licensed professionals after all.”

“Uh-huh,” Mercy glanced down at her jittery hands. They definitely used everything on her. “Mind if I see your diploma,” she teased.

With a friendly hand, Jesse’s, she stood up. “Where are the others?” She kept herself upright thanks to Jesse’s inability to let go. He rested a tender hand across his heart before giving him a weak smile.

“You sure you’re feeling okay?” Jesse’s concern was sweet, but misplaced.

“Oh trust me, I won’t be dying any time soon. Probably just added 20 more years onto my life right there.” Her blue eyes narrowed. “Which means I need to come up with something to keep me from aging another 20 more years.”

“Knew it,” Ana turned to Reinhardt. “She’s holding out on us. Has some special formula that keeps her flawless.”

“Mom,” Pharah groaned. “I hardly think we should be joking after what just happened.”

Mercy laughed before her face fell grim. “She’s right. We need to figure out what they were doing here.”

“And who they were.” Hanzo added.

Genji stepped up with something in his hands. “I think I know who the they is.” Turning the item around, he revealed an all too familiar symbol.


Brows furrowing, all eyes fell on Tracer. The hell was she talking about? That was clearly Blackwatch, the Black Ops division of the former Overwatch.

“W-why does your shirt say Morrison?” Tracer’s hand wrapped up and around her shoulders, allowing her to point to her own back. “Morrison.”

Brow hitched, Jesse stepped back. Mercy was looking loads better and no longer needed to use him as a support beam. Moving his head back, he spied her back. Sure enough, beneath the suit that needed some serious repairs sat a perfectly in tact black Overwatch issued shirt. And, across the back in big, white letters 'MORRISON.’

76, DVa, and Junkrat returned. “Fear not, the area is clear for miles and miles. How ya feelin, Ang?” Though upon seeing the white faces, she wondered if maybe Angela wasn’t doing as well as she looked. “…Ang?”

“I’m fine,” her hand rubbed the back of her neck. She never wanted them to find out that she was still lingering in the past as it could compromise her. Make her falter when she was needed most.

“The shirt,” Tracer’s foot tapped the ground. She wasn’t going to let this go.

“I borrowed it.” Her voice was faint, soft. “As you may or may not have known, Jack and I were… together. But, per new regulations after the whole Amelie…thing we weren’t allowed to date one another. Or rather, he wasn’t. He was too high up to be 'blinded by love’ or whatever political nonsense they told themselves at night. We had to keep it hush-hush. So,” she rolled around to face the brunette, “we traded shirts.”

“Called it,” Ana punched Reinhardt. “You owe me a hundred bucks.”

“It’s been, what, five years?” He huffed.

“Deal’s a deal.” She waved her fingers up at him. “And you owe me.”

Fine.” His hand burrowed into his pocket. A few green dollars later, he grunted. “Happy?”

“Like I said, he, the face of Overwatch, wasn’t allowed to see anyone. Though frankly, I wasn’t either. Anyone in top ranks or roles wasn’t encouraged to love as they didn’t want loyalties to be created. Or worse, for relationships to blow up and cause issues.”

She signed before touching the dark fabric that kept her warm. “I wear this whenever we go out on missions like this. I… I like to think it’s,” she blushed before brushing back a loosen strand of blonde hair, “it’s how he watches over me. If I wasn’t in this shirt, I don’t think I’d be alive. This is my guardian angel, my Jack. Up there,” her eyes fell on the white clouds above, “keeping an eye on me. Making sure I’m alive.”

DVa’s hands clasped together. “That’s so romantic,” she cooed. “Did you give him something of yours?”

It was funny. Just minutes ago-15 to be exact-Angela was unconscious, bleeding out. And now, here she was, telling them stories while they waiting for their ride back to base to arrive.

“Of course,” Angela started to open up. It was clear that the medication was working as even her burns were starting to retreat back into oblivion. “I gave him my shirt.” That’s when she laughed. “Oh I was worried about it too. From time to time, the committee would tell them to take their jackets off. If he was wearing my suit during one of those briefings… oi,” her fingers pinched the bridge of her nose, “I’m pretty sure we’d both be fired.”

Just then, DVa’s hand jerked up her pistol. It was trained on 76, which caused those nearby to cock a brow (those not nearby were calling in Zayra to come pick them up in a helicopter that she, Mei, Torbjorn, and Symmetra were working on back at an underground base).

“ZIEGLER, right?”

“Yeah?” Mercy stepped forward, uncertain as to what was going on.

Junkrat lifted his weapon, also locking it on 76’s back. “You sure you didn’t give one to anyone else?” he questioned.

Brows furrowing, she stepped forward. With that step, all the charred skin feel to the ground before getting swept away with the wind. Clearly she was amped up on more than just the medication applied moments ago. She likely had nanobots or something coursing through her veins too for her recovery speeds were off the chart.

“Yes,” her voice heavy with confusion. “I have 6, Jack had 1. And I’m pretty sure he wore that shirt to his grave as I never found it when I cleared out his locker and room.”

“That’s because someone else got to it first,” DVa’s gun butted up against 76’s back. “Turn around.” When he didn’t, she barked, “Now!”

Hands retreating to the air, 76 turned around. He was the newest member of the group, the one not trusted.

Ana bit her finger. Shit. She knew his secret and couldn’t believe he was dumb enough to hold onto a memento like that. It was just begging to get called out, caught. And caught it was.

Sure enough, as he turned around, the letters Z-GL-R could be seen between the torn fabric of his jacket. It would take an idiot to not recognize that it was ZIEGLER, Angela’s last name.

Gasping, she stormed forward. The happy vibes in her completely gone with this new found discovery.

“Where did you get that,” her hands landed firmly on her hips.

His hidden eyes remained as such, hidden. He uttered not a word.

“She asked you a question,” Junkrat jumped in, also pushing his weapon closer to 76’s body.

Where did you get that.” She was seething at this point.

Knuckles cracking, Jesse took a full step forward. “I believe the misses asked you a question.”

Genji’s blade found its home right along 76’s throat. And Hanzo pulled back an arrow, ready to hit him should 76 run.

“Answer the question,” Tracer added while pulling out her own pistols.

In a matter of seconds, the mood shifted from worried about Angela’s health to who-the-fuck-is-this-guy.

“I traded it,” dropping his hands, his shoulders fell.

Dammit, Jack. Ana wanted to tranq him but knew she couldn’t. Why didn’t he lie! This was all just a mistake. Joining them was a mistake. Alone, they would have been find. But no, he had to get all soft and want to get close to her. To Angela.

“Traded it?” A wrinkle marred Angela’s pretty face. “With who? And for what?”

His silence caused Hanzo to draw his arrow back just a bit more.

“With you. Because you refused to give mine back.”

She wasn’t buying it. If anything, it pissed her off. Her jaw tightened, visible veins running down her neck.

“All right, wise ass.” Jesse stepped forward, pistol cocked right between the sea of red that hid 76’s eyes. “Wanna try that again because you just heard that Jack Morrison was the only other person, besides her, to have one of those.”

Soldier 76’s head fell off to the side.

Well,” Tracer impatiently tapped her foot.

“I stole it,” he began again. “Or rather, she stole mine so I stole hers.”

Growling at this point, Angela stepped forward, pushing all the others off the unarmed, clearly guilty Soldier 76. “I nearly died just moments ago. The least you could do is be honest with me.” Tears welled within her reddening orbs. “And tell me where you got my shirt from.”

Stark silence kissed her right in the face.

Please,” she begged, sad eyes consuming every aspect of her strength.

Angel,” 76 went to move, to cup her cheek and tell her not to cry, but DVa’s gun stopped him. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell you it, but I got this from you.”

Slowly, his fingers curled around the mask that clung to his face. Unlocking it, the black and red material pulled away.

Sure enough, Jack Morrison’s face sat behind that mask. Only, instead of young, blonde, and beautiful, it was aged, grey, and war torn.

“Jack Morrison died,” Tracer fought to speak those words. “We buried him.” She pulled her pistol back up. “Who’s to say you’re not wearing his face.”

Taking her cue, Angela stepped back. Her finger stroked her chin. “All right, Jack, if you’re really Jack, then tell me something they don’t know.”

76-Jack-smirked. “You like sunflowers.”

“Duh,” Junkrat groaned. “She talks about them all the time.”

“Your family died when you were young due to the war.”

“Pretty sure the Overwatch Museum tells you that, so yeah, not good enough,” DVa responded.

“You were seventeen when I first met you.”

“Yeah, and so was I,” Jesse mocked.

“The first time we went out, you refused to dance with me.”

Reinhardt jumped in for that one. “I wouldn’t blame her either! You were embarrassing. It’s why Ana and I stopped going out with you.”

“Do you know why?”

Mercy quirked a brow. “We’re asking you the questions. Not the other way around.”

“You claimed you didn’t like my singing.”

A few glances were exchanged. Jack… sang?

“Said it was embarrassing how I would just start singing cheesy love songs to you.”

Angela had some doubt in her mind, as Reyes was more than aware of this. But… Reyes was dead. But did he ever share this? Joke with someone how Jack was probably the cheesiest man alive? The kind of man that still believed in serenading, asking one’s father for permission to date, getting to know a gal before bringing her to bed?

“The night we first made love, the bar…” 76’s lips curled up into a smile, there was a glimmer of hope in his pretty blue eyes. “We went to a place way outside or norm. We wanted to be alone, just you and me. We drove for hours to get there. And when we did, he learned it was karaoke night.”

He went on, uninterrupted as his story had piqued the interest of all, “A few singers, horrible might I add, were attempting to sing when we entered. I immediately wanted to go up there and put them out of their misery but yo-”

“I kept begging you not to.” Her eyes grew wide, the realization that maybe, just maybe this was Jack finally started to seep in.

“You wanted to go someplace else. A park, that would be nice.”

“But you refused. And you did the thing I told you I absolutely hated.” Her hands pulled up from her hips and crossed over her chest. “I begged you not to,” her smile lit up her face.

“But I had to. We both faked being sick. To drive 8-hours to just turn around and go back to the park? That was out of the question.”

“You ordered me drinks-”

“I ordered you Sex on the Beach-”

“And three later,” her eyes pulled off him as a blush clung to her cheeks, “and I had no control.”

“You were laughing, dancing, singing right along-”

“And I was dumb enough to complain-”

“Complain that the man up front singing sounded like-”

“A dying cow.”

Her hands hand crept up to her heart, clutching the fabric of his shirt for dear life. She looked so relieved but worn all at the same time.

Then her gaze hardened. The love in her eyes fell. A stiff frown sat on her face. “But if you were there that night, you would have known all this.”

The cue was missed so no one knew to raise their gun back on him so Angela did it herself. “So far, you haven’t proven anything.” Her frown followed. “Other than you might have been where I was a few different times. I need something, just the two of us, that proves you’re actually Jack. If you can’t, then I,” she drew in a sharp breath-the thought of actually stepping on a mine was already looking prettier than having to kill the man with the face of her ex-lover.

“The morning after,” he voided his face of emotion. He was caught red-handed. He wasn’t Jack. He couldn’t talk himself out of this one.

Her finger landed against the cool metal of the trigger. She couldn’t believe this. She’d have to bury him again. Even though he was an impostor, it didn’t make it any easier.

Breaths head, they waited.

“Well?” She positioned her gun so the bullet would land square between his brows.

A small smirk jerked at the corner of his lips. It was faint, but she caught it, which caused her to squint an eye.

“I… I just. Before you… Before you kill me, you need to know…”

She leaned forward. Need to know what…?

His head fell forward, casting a dark shadow over his face. Her brow hitched. What on earth was h-

76 dropped to his knees. His hands flew out to his sides. Head turned up, he belted out-

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down.”

Keep reading


RivaMika Week: [Day 5] - * NUTTY

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 

Modern AU where Mikasa and Levi are co-workers at a restaurant, but are extremely competitive with one another. Levi is allergic to peanuts and unknowingly consumes something that causes him to enter into anaphylactic shock. Of course, Mikasa is there to save the day.

Keep reading

The Trust Destroyers

Donald Trump’s warning that he might not accept the results of the presidential election exemplifies his approach to everything: Do whatever it takes to win, even if that means undermining the integrity of the entire system.

Trump isn’t alone. The same approach underlies Senator John McCain’s recent warning that Senate Republicans will unite against any Supreme Court nominee Hillary Clinton might put up, if she becomes president. 

The Republican Party as a whole has embraced this philosophy for more than two decades. After Newt Gingrich took over as Speaker of the House in 1995, compromise was replaced by brinksmanship, and normal legislative maneuvering was supplanted by threats to close down the government – which occurred at the end of that year.

Like Trump, Gingrich did whatever it took to win, regardless of the consequences. In 1996, during the debates over welfare reform, he racially stereotyped African-Americans. In 2010 he fueled the birther movement by saying President Obama exhibited “Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.” Two years later, in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he called President Obama the “food stamp president.“

As political observers Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of Brookings have noted, “the forces Mr. Gingrich unleashed destroyed whatever comity existed across party lines.” Gingrich’s Republican Party became “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

In truth, it’s not just Republicans and not just relationships between the two major parties that have suffered from the prevailing ethos. During this year’s Democratic primaries, former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her staff showed disdain for the integrity of the political process by discussing ways to derail Bernie Sanders’s campaign, according to hacked emails.

The same ethos is taking over the private sector. When they pushed employees to open new accounts, Wells Fargo CEO John Strumpf and his management team chose to win regardless of the long-term consequences of their strategy. The scheme seemed to work, at least in the short term. Strumpf and his colleagues made a bundle.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO Heather Bresch didn’t worry about the larger consequences of jacking up the cost of life-saving EpiPens from $100 for a two-pack to $608, because it made her and her team lots of money.  

Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turin Pharmaceuticals, didn’t worry about the consequences of price-gouging customers. Called before Congress to explain, he invoked the Fifth Amendment, then tweeted that the lawmakers who questioned his tactics were “imbeciles.”

A decade ago, Wall Street’s leading bankers didn’t worry about the consequences of their actions for the integrity of the American financial system. They encouraged predatory mortgage lending by bundling risky mortgages with other securities and then selling them to unwary investors because it made them a boatload of money, and knew they were too big to fail.

Even when some of these trust-destroyers get nailed with fines or penalties, or public rebuke, they don’t bear the larger costs of undermining public trust. So they continue racing to the bottom.

Some bankers who presided over the Wall Street debacle, such as Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, remain at the helm – and are trying to water down regulations designed to stop them from putting the economy at risk again.

Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, Newt Gingrich is positioning himself to be the politician best able to mobilize Trump supporters going forward.

“I don’t defend him [Trump] when he wanders off,” Gingrich recently told ABC News. But “there’s a big Trump and there’s a little Trump,” he said, explaining that the “big Trump” is the one who has created issues that make “the establishment” very uncomfortable. “The big Trump,” he said, “is a historic figure.”

By stretching the boundaries of what’s acceptable, all the people I’ve mentioned – and too many others just like them – have undermined prevailing norms and weakened the tacit rules of the game.

The net result has been a vicious cycle of public distrust. Our economic and political systems appear to be rigged, because, to an increasing extent, they are. Which makes the public ever more cynical – and, ironically, more willing to believe half-baked conspiracy theories such as Trump’s bizarre claim that the upcoming election is rigged.

Leadership of our nation’s major institutions is not just about winning. It’s also about making these institutions stronger and more trustworthy.

In recent years we have witnessed a massive failure of such leadership. Donald Trump is only the latest and most extreme example.

The cumulative damage of today’s ethos of doing whatever it takes to win, even at the cost of undermining the integrity of our system, is incalculable.