Plagg was being absolutely, insufferably smug.
"What do you want, Plagg?" Adrien asked as Plagg floated past him for the n-th time that morning, sniggering quietly under his breath. Adrien shoved his homework to the side and turned to frown at his smirking kwami. "Seriously, just spit it out."
"I know who Ladybug is," Plagg sing-songed, as though Adrien didn't already know that Plagg knew. He knew it full well, thank you, and of course Plagg was going to rub it in his face. "I know and you doooooon't."
"That's nice, Plagg," Adrien said with a sigh, doing his best to ignore his kwami again while he turned back to his homework. He had to focus, since several weeks of having to run after Mr. Damocles- er, Mr. Owl- every afternoon had put him behind. Now that he and Ladybug could be sure that the Owl wouldn't be getting himself in trouble as soon as they turned their backs, they could put a hold on any patrols until they were on top of their schoolwork again. It was kind of unfortunate- Adrien had rather liked running around the city with Ladybug when there weren't akumas to fight and hanging out together on rooftops just chatting- but ultimately it was for the better.
Principal-sitting was exhausting, especially when neither of them particularly had any time to spare.
"I could tell you who she is, given the right incentive," Plagg continued, draping himself over one of Adrien's computer monitors and peering down at his Chosen. "I'm thinking maybe three dozen rounds of Camembert and a dozen of Brie, plus a couple baked Brie rounds on top of that...and maybe a pot of fondue."
Adrien ignored him.
"Of course, I could be generous and decrease the amount of Camembert in return for some cheese bread," Plagg continued, rolling over and eying Adrien briefly before closing his eyes again, presumably to revel in visions of being surrounded by cheesy goodness. "And of course, you would have to promise to not act any differently around Ladybug or her civilian identity, because then she would get suspicious. But if you could do that, and if you greased my palm with a little cheese..."
"What would Ladybug's kwami say if I told her that you were trying to persuade me to bribe you into telling me who Ladybug us?" Adrien asked as he scribbled down an answer to a Literature question and started scanning his book for the answer to the next question. The eeping sound from Plagg made him smile. Apparently he had hit a nerve. Even with as sweet as Ladybug always said her kwami was, apparently she was also a force to be reckoned with. "I bet she wouldn't be very happy with you, would she? And stop drooling, you're dripping on my book."
"B-but you wouldn't do that," Plagg said, only sounding somewhat confident. "Because you want to know who Ladybug is, right?"
Adrien looked up and gave his kwami a deadpan look. "Plagg."
"Hasn't it occurred to you that I could have figured out Ladybug's identity on my own when we were in that storage container?" Adrien pointed out. "I could have opened my eyes. I could have peeked then and done my best not to react- we were together and detransformed for over five minutes, it wasn't as though I was lacking for time- and it wouldn't have cost me any cheese at all. But I wasn't going to go behind Ladybug's back and abuse her trust to do that, and I'm not going to do that now, either."
Plagg's jaw was hanging open and he looked a little bewildered as his visions of swimming in cheese fled. "Wh- what?"
"Besides, Ladybug had a good point when she said that it wouldn't be a good idea for us to know in case we get our Miraculous taken or something," Adrien continued, turning back to his homework. "We've had far too many akumas with mind-control powers of one sort or another. It's only a matter of time before there's one that makes us blurt out secrets or something, and if one of us gets hit then, then we're both at risk."
Plagg was pouting. "Oh, come on."
"No, Plagg. Now go eat your cheese and leave me alone."
As he refocused on his homework, Adrien missed the narrow-eyed glare his kwami leveled at him, as well as the impish smirk that followed.
"Ladybug is really pretty as a civilian," Plagg commented in passing the next afternoon as Adrien worked on a Literature essay. Despite himself, Adrien's head popped up.
"She is? I mean, obviously she is, she's gorgeous as Ladybug, but- she is?"
Plagg smirked at Adrien and pulled a cheese order form out from behind his back and shook it out, waving it at Adrien. Adrien's eyes widened as he realized what Plagg was up to and then narrowed at his kwami.
"I bet Ladybug would like seeing that," Plagg said cryptically as Adrien buttoned up one of the coats from his father's latest line.
"I could tell you what Ladybug would really like as a present," Plagg hissed as Adrien paused to glance through the window of a small shop on his way to a photoshoot.
"Cut it out, Plagg."
"Do you think Ladybug would like- oh, wait, that's right, you don't know."
"Did you know Ladybug-"
"Plagg. Cut. It. Out."
"I think you'll be pretty happy with who Ladybug is."
Adrien whipped around to level yet another glare at his kwami. The expression was starting to feel permanently present on his face, which wasn't a great sign. "Seriously, Plagg?"
Plagg tried for his best innocent expression. "What?"
"Are you trying to tempt me into giving you to Hawkmoth? Cut it out."
Plagg's jaw dropped. "Uh, rude!"
"Not if you deserve it, it's not."
"My kwami keeps trying to make me ask him who you are," Chat Noir mentioned offhandedly as he and Ladybug perched on the rooftops, scanning the skyline in search of the latest akuma. "He seems to think that I'll crack and give in to his ridiculous bribe demands somehow."
Ladybug shot him a startled look. "Bribe demands? And what do you mean, he's trying to make you ask him who I am? Our identities-"
"Have to stay secret, I know," Chat Noir finished. "I told him right off the bat that it wasn't going to happen, but he keeps hinting."
"And the bribes?"
"He wants a ridiculous amount of cheese," Chat Noir told her as they headed off towards the Eiffel Tower, still keeping an eye out for the akuma. "He eats a lot to start with, but he wants even more. And he only brought it up directly the one time, but every time I step away from my computer for a bit while I'm at home- if I'm in the shower, or someone wanted to talk to me for a few minutes- I come back and he has a bunch of tabs up with pages for cheese shops or recipes for fondue or cheese bread or cheese-themed blogs. And he never did that before Dark Owl."
Ladybug looked slightly alarmed.
"And then there's the torn-out cheese ads that he leaves on my desk, and the photos on my phone and- anyway, he keeps leaving out reminders that hey, here's this deal you can take any time now. I could have handled the cheese stuff, but he keeps dropping cryptic little remarks about you all the time to try to tempt me. I keep threatening to tell on him to your kwami and he plays stupid about what I'm talking about with the hints, but..."
Ladybug shot an impish look his way. "Want to detransform close by each other after the fight so my kwami can yell at yours?"
Chat Noir just grinned at her. "It's like you read my mind, bugaboo! That would be great."
Once they found the elusive akuma, they finished the fight off in record time. They waved good-bye to the akuma victim and the reporters that were starting to congregate before bounding off to find a proper alleyway. They didn't have to look far.
"We could hide on either side of that pile of boxes," Chat Noir said, pointing. "And we'd still be hidden from the street by that dumpster."
Ladybug grinned and led the way down into the alley. "Perfect!"
Five minutes later, Adrien was watching with an amused expression as Plagg cowered in front of a small red kwami as she chewed him out. As he had expected, Ladybug's kwami had been none too impressed with Plagg's coercion efforts and wasn't at all shy about letting him know. Loudly.
"That was unnecessary," Plagg grumbled after Tikki and Ladybug had finally left. "Cruel and unusual punishment."
"You're just a drama queen," Adrien informed Plagg, tossing him a small slice of Camembert. "And I did warn you what would happen if you didn't stop bugging me about Ladybug's identity, you just didn't listen."
"I just wanted my cheese," Plagg whined as Adrien stood up and dusted himself off so he could head back out to the street. "I was just taking advantage of the opportunity, can you really blame me?"
Adrien could only sigh.
A/N: As with most of my stories, this is a one-shot and is therefore complete. Please review, it really makes my day!
This particular piece was mostly inspired by the multitude of jokes floating around Tumblr about how Adrien would try to bribe Plagg into telling him who Ladybug is now that he knows. As funny as some of the posts were, I felt that they completely ignored the fact that a) Adrien could have looked and didn't while they were in the storage container and b) asking about it would go against Ladybug's wishes (and it wouldn't be safe, considering the mind-control akumas), and he has always been shown as willing to comply and not go behind her back to try to figure her identity out. Thus, this story was born.