All they had done was save a bunch of cows. It was outside their normal line of work, sure, but they were heroes. The panic at the dairy event had been easy enough to contain compared to some of the supervillains they had had to face, so Ladybug and Chat Noir weren't expecting to get something in return.
They definitely weren't expecting Chat Noir to get gifted several large boxes of a wide assortment of cheeses. Apparently his occasional requests for cheese (for recharging, but no one knew that) had somehow spread, and the city got together with the dairy farmers to give him the huge gift.
"Your kwami will be happy for months," Ladybug laughed as they stared at the gift. Her own much most modest gift of chocolates was tucked neatly under her arm.
"Yeah. I'm glad I have a fridge in my room," Chat said, staring at the three large boxes. They would fit, but just barely. "Hopefully he'll eat all of them. He's picky sometimes."
Ladybug laughed. "Maybe you can enjoy some of your gift, then."
"Maybe. I should probably start getting this home," Chat sighed. "Mind guarding the other boxes for me, My Lady? I won't be long but I don't want the boxes walking off."
"Of course. I have plenty of time left." Ladybug settled herself of the chimney and waved her hands at him. "Don't slip because you have your hands full, kitty."
"Who do you think I am?" Chat bluffed, knowing full well he had just been worrying about the same thing. He started off, already feeling a little awkward with only being able to use one hand to steady himself. Thankfully the building they had brought their stashes to was fairly close to his house, and it didn't take long to get there even with the cheesy handicap.
Chat grabbed a bag from under his bed before heading out again, holding it up to make sure it would be big enough to fit his boxes in. The second trip was faster, and soon he was stuffing the last box in the bag.
"I'm not familiar with all of these cheese," he admitted, looking at the label on the side. Some were varieties that he knew he didn't like, and he could only hope that Plagg did like them. Some were common types, like cheddar or mozzarella. Others were complete mysteries.
"What does your kwami usually like?" Ladybug asked curiously, leaning forward to read the label over his shoulder. Her breath washing across his cheek was giving him shivers.
"Camembert is the best, but I usually try to use other stuff since it gets really expensive." Chat sighed. "Plagg inhales it like there's no tomorrow."
"Tikki likes cookies," Ladybug volunteered unexpectedly. "Anything sweet, really. She loves cake, but we- er, she- doesn't get it very often. Cookies and sweetbread are easier."
Chat couldn't help the grin that spread across his face. "Ah, sweets for the sweet. So very fitting."
"Oh, shush you."
"So did you have to learn how to bake, then?" Chat asked, hoping that she wouldn't clam up. Ladybug rarely gave out anything that might be considered personal information. "I feel like buying cookies would get really expensive, especially the good ones."
Ladybug snorted. "I've been baking since I got out of diapers."
"I've never baked a thing in my life," Chat admitted. "Or baked anything. I'll be in serious trouble once I leave home and have to fend for myself."
Ladybug snorted, then peered at the label again. "You should have him try Pepper Jack. I've heard it's really good."
Chat eyed her expression warily. She wore a smirk that wouldn't be out of place on his face. "O...kay?"
Ladybug's earrings beeped once, and she took off with a wave and a smile. Chat waved back and headed back home, his last box of cheese on his back. Releasing his transformation, he opened the fridge again and stuffed the last box in. He should unpack everything, really, just in case one of the staff decided to look in and recognized the boxes, but there was just so much cheese and he already had a half-eaten package of Camembert to use up.
Plagg zipped up behind him, spinning in excitement. "So much cheese! I can't wait!"
"I'm so glad I don't have to go cheese shopping for a while," Adrien sighed. "Finally, no crazy grocery bills to eat up my allowance. Ladybug is so lucky-cookies don't cost much made from scratch."
"Not like you would know," Plagg cackled, snatching up a wedge of Camembert.
Adrien shrugged. "Marinette mentioned it once in class."
"Uh-huh." Plagg nibbled on the edge of the cheese. "I can't wait to try the cheese Ladybug recommended. Pepper Jack, did she say?"
"You don't know a cheese? Impossible."
A week later, Adrien broke open the packages of cheese. Plagg helped him sort out the cheese into Plagg's only, Adrien's, and never heard of it. Thankfully, most of the cheese was Plagg-approved, and the only things he didn't particularly want were things Adrien did want.
Apparently Adrien had a poor taste in cheeses. He didn't like to eat things that smelled, so sue him.
"Akuma!" Adrien gasped as soon as he finished fencing and got outside. He couldn't see what was causing the commotion, but the screams were indication enough. "Plagg-"
"I need to charge first!" Plagg whined. "I haven't eaten in hours! We'd only be able to transform for a really short time."
Adrien groaned, then rummaged in his bag for the satchel of cheese. It was filled with cubes of Pepper Jack. He tossed one to Plagg. "Eat it, quick!"
Plagg's eyes bugged out as soon as the cheese hit his tongue. Adrien didn't give him time to complain before transforming. That was a mistake.
Ladybug blinked as Chat flew past her as though his feet had wings. The grilling-themed supervillain snickered and turned, ready to fight. Chat didn't even pause before plowing into the Griller, sending him flying into a wall.
Ladybug blinked. This was new.
The Griller struggled back upright as Chat flipped backwards swiftly to ready another attack. The expression on the Griller's face was odd, uncertainty that hadn't been present in the other villain's faces so early on in the fight. He readied himself again, only to be knocked back by a practically whirring Chat Noir.
The entire fight was pretty much that- the villain managing to find his feet, only to be sent flying by Chat Noir, who seemed to be positively bursting with energy. Finally the Griller just turned tail and ran, not even bothering to pause to send flaming bits of coal at Chat Noir, who was hot on his tail. Ladybug followed from above, positively baffled as her partner shot down the streets like a black bullet.
"I give up!" the Griller finally screamed when he was cornered in an alley. "Take it and leave me alone! I don't want to do this anymore!" He flung his spatula at Chat Noir's feet as he curled up in a ball in the corner. "I'm done!"
Chat snapped the spatula easily, releasing the akuma. From her spot on the roof, Ladybug caught it and purified it, gaping the entire time. She flung her yo-yo into the air in place of her normal Lucky Charm, since she hadn't even gotten the chance to use it.
"What was that, Chat Noir?" Ladybug demanded as the middle-aged man who had been the Griller escaped with a terrified look at the black-clad superhero. "I've never seen you do that before!"
"I- yeah- I don't know," Chat Noir managed. He suddenly seemed very unsteady on his feet. "I fed my kwami Pepper Jack, like you recommended. It did something funny."
"Oh boy." Ladybug caught Chat Noir as he suddenly keeled backwards, knees weak. "Was that you kwami's first time eating pepper jack, just now?"
"Yeah. It was all I had on me." Chat fought against the urge to close his eyes and take a little catnap. How was it that he had been so full of energy only seconds ago and now he was about ready to pass out? "Can I take a nap?"
"I didn't think that you wouldn't try it until a fight!" Ladybug groaned, scooping Chat Noir up into her arms. He snuggled up against her. "I gave my kwami this slightly spicy chocolate once and it was funny watching her shoot around my room for hours. I'd never try transforming with her like that, though."
"Mmmm. Didn't know that the cheese was spicy."
Ladybug sighed. "You really are something else, Chat Noir." She looked down at the exhausted figure in her arms. "And now you're sleeping? Great. Fantastic."
She stood there for several minutes, looking at the limp figure in her arms. Chat Noir was well and truly asleep, snoring lightly in her arms.
"Now just what am I supposed to do with you?"
Marinette sent a nervous look over at the lump under a blanket on her lounge chair. Completely unable to figure out what she was supposed to do with her passed-out partner, she had panicked a bit when his ring started beeping and had dragged him back to her house. It really was a good thing that she had worked together with Chat Noir while in her civilian form before, since then there was already an established link between her and the superheroes and it wasn't totally out of the blue for Ladybug to drop Chat Noir off at her house.
What was probably more unnerving was the black kwami that was curled up in a nest of half-eaten cheesebread, keeping a beady eye on her while his charge slept. It meant that Tikki couldn't come out, so they couldn't discuss what had just happened and if there was any way to get Chat Noir back to normal quickly so that he wasn't just hanging out in his room for the entire day. At least she had managed to get all of her Adrien photos taken down and hidden before Chat Noir's transformation wore off and his kwami came out.
Well... just because she couldn't talk to her kwami didn't mean that she couldn't talk to Chat Noir's kwami.
"Is there anything I can do to help Chat Noir recover faster?" Marinette asked the small black creature as it nibbled on the cheese bread. "What even happened during the fight to tire him out so fast?"
The kwami yawned. "Ah, he'll wake up eventually. He'll probably be hungry when he wakes up. Food might help then. Maybe more cheese for me?" He gave her a hopeful look.
"Finish the cheesebread first," Marinette sighed. "But what went on in the fight?"
The kwami inhaled a piece of bread the size of its head before responding. "I got some really spicy cheese right before the fight and it pretty much made him go all-out for the entire fight and completely drained him of energy. He'll be pretty wiped out for the rest of the day."
"Fantastic," Marinette groaned. "Hopefully Alya won't visit today."
"Oh, is she the one who runs the Ladyblog?" The kwami was interested now, floating off the plate with a chunk of the cheese bread in hand. At her nod, he continued talking. "This dork is the blog's biggest fan, I kid you not. He sees Ladybug for ages during the day, and then goes home and stares at her some more. And talks about her some more. Like seriously, can't a kwami get a bit of peace?"
Marinette smothered her giggles. Chat Noir watched videos of her at home? Her partner was such a dork.
"But noooo," the black cat droned. "Of course there's no rest for a poor kwami's ears. It's all 'Plagg, look at how cool Ladybug is!' and 'Plagg, who do you think she is? Do you know? 'and 'I'm in loooove with Ladybug, Plagg, do you think I should tell her?'"
"So your name is Plagg, then?" Marinette asked, grinning. Chat Noir's kwami was hilariously grouchy. Then what he had said hit her. "He loves Ladybug?"
She had never taken his flirtations seriously, but if his kwami wasn't lying and he talked about her like that at home, she might have to consider rebuffing him more gently.
"He's heads-over-heels for her. I can't see the appeal myself; cheese is so much better, and less complicated, too!" Plagg swallowed the last chunk of bread in a single bite. Marinette winced an said a silent thanks that she got the nicer, better-mannered kwami. Tikki at least chewed before she swallowed.
Silence fell on the room as Marinette started her school work, occasionally glancing over at the lumpy shape of her partner. Plagg still kept an eye on him, but spent most of his time exploring her room, bored until she found a ball of scrap yarn for him to play with. Her room fell into dusk, and the lump under the blanket finally shifted. Plagg perked up from his tangle of yarn.
"I'll go find something for Chat Noir to eat," Marinette whispered, standing up. "Is he allergic to anything?"
"Nah. He'll eat anything except smelly cheese. More for me!" Plagg didn't bother lowering his voice as he zipped over to the wriggling lump. "Can I have more cheese?"
"I'll get some for you as well, Plagg," Marinette sighed, heading down the stairs before Chat Noir's blanket could fall off.
The first thing Adrien heard when he woke up was "Finally! I was getting bored."
"P- Plagg?" Adrien groaned and pushed himself up. "Aggg. My head. What happened? Where am I?" There was a pink blanket pooled around his waist that had been thrown over his head and he was on an unfamiliar pink lounge chair in a very pink room. "Oh my god, where am I? Plagg?"
"Don't freak out, kid. Geez." Plagg rolled his eyes. "Ladybug couldn't stay with you for long, so she dropped you off at Marinette's house. Marinette covered you with a blanket so she wouldn't see you once your transformation wore off and then she gave me cheese bread and yarn. She's getting food for you now since she figured that you probably wouldn't stay covered once you woke up. I suggest you put the blanket over your head again, since she'll definitely recognize you."
"Yeah, yeah." Adrien yanked the blankets over his head just as there was a light tap on the trapdoor in the middle of the floor.
"He's decent!" Plagg called, zipping over to the trapdoor. "You can come in!"
Adrien watched from under the covers as Marinette pushed open the trapdoor and sped through with a tray. One plate on the tray had a sandwich, while the other-
"Cheese danish!" Plagg squealed, zipping right at it. He froze three centimeters from impact. "For me?"
Adrien had never seen Plagg ask permission before.
"Of course," Marinette laughed. "Go ahead."
Plagg immediately dove in with a squeal. Adrien let out a quiet chuckle as his kwami settled himself on the plate, munching cheerfully.
"I hope Plagg didn't bother you too much, Princess," Adrien said from under the blanket as he accepted the sandwich. "I don't know what happened to me today. I had way too much energy then I had none."
"Plagg explained it a bit," Marinette said after it was clear that Plagg was too busy eating to explain it himself. "He said that the spicy cheese gave you a bunch of energy and made you go all-out, so you burned out completely once the fight was done. Ladybug said to tell you that she was sorry about not giving you a heads-up about the spicy food, since her own kwami had an interesting reaction to it but she wasn't transformed at the time."
"Good to know that my lady wasn't trying to poison me," Adrien joked. "Yeah, I don't think I'll be doing that again. Not that I mind the treatment I get here," he added quickly. "But my legs feel like jelly and I've got a splitting headache. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow."
"I hope you feel better quickly." Marinette paused and for a minute only the sounds of chewing filled the room. Adrien finished his sandwich off quickly as Plagg savored his danish. "No more spicy foods, I think."
"Yeah, not for a while," Adrien agreed. He winced at the thought of the baggie of cubed cheese. He wasn't big on spicy things either, so what he would actually do with the cheese was a mystery. Maybe he could pass it on to Ladybug.
"Awww," Plagg complained from the now-empty plate, absolutely stuffed to bursting. "C'mon. It's fun when you don't have to transform right away."
"Yeah, but I never know when there might be an attack," Adrien argued, still under the blanket. He suspected that it might be undermining his authority in the argument, since it was pink and fuzzy and Plagg was laughing at him.
"There are almost never two attacks in a row," Marinette pointed out. Her voice sounded further away; Adrien suspected that she had probably headed across the room. "And when there are, one of them is usually small enough for Ladybug to get by herself."
Adrien pouted. "Like I'd leave my Lady to fight by herself," he muttered rebelliously. He knew perfectly well that Ladybug could (and did) take down supervillains by herself, but he liked to at least be there in case she needed help.
"After the big attacks, there usually isn't anything for a day or two at least," Marinette pointed out. Her voice suddenly turned amused. "It sounded like whatever reaction Ladybug's kwami had was pretty funny and she just wanted to share the experience with you."
"Yeah, she told me that too. I think I'll hold off on trying it for a while, though." Adrien peered out from under the blanket. Marinette sat with her back to him at her desk, working on homework. Right. He still had stuff to get done this evening. "Well, I thank you for the couch and the food, but I'd best get going before someone notices my absence. Plagg, transform me!"
One week later, Adrien's curiosity finally got the better of him and he allowed Plagg to have one very small piece of the spicy cheese. Within minutes, the kwami was quite literally bouncing off the walls and screaming happily across the room.
Apparently spicy foods were basically caffeine times a hundred for kwami. No wonder Ladybug had been so eager for him to try it.
Still, a heads-up would have been nice.