"Eeeek! A rat!"
Plagg groaned and zipped into the wall as the shriek reached his ears. He could hear whatever Agreste staff member that had spotted him rattling around in the hallway, trying to figure out where he had gone. Plagg waited until they had finally given up and left before phasing back through the wall and continuing on his way down to the kitchen, still disgruntled.
Seriously, a rat? They thought he was a rat? He was a god, and gods shouldn't have to sneak while heading to the kitchen for a bit of a snack! That wasn't even the first time someone in the household had made that mistake, either. Plagg had been spotted probably five times overall, including this time, and every. single. time. their first impression was rat.
It was truly unfair. If almost any of the other kwami got spotted, people probably didn't think rat.
"Seriously, did you go out again?" Adrien demanded as soon as Plagg got back to his room, after munching his way through several wedges of Brie in the kitchen. "I give you plenty of cheese! Someone is gonna get a proper look at you someday and put the pieces together, and then my father won't let me out of his sight ever again."
"I'll be more careful next time," Plagg grumbled as he settled into the bottom of the trash can that he had claimed as his own. "And there's no such thing as enough cheese."
Adrien just groaned and went back to his homework.
Still, Adrien's words did give Plagg something to think about. It would be bad if Adrien's secret identity was discovered. His father had already noticed Adrien's ring once, and it would just take a few reports of a "mouse" in the hallways between Adrien's room and the kitchen for Mr. Agreste to put things together. If Mr. Agreste decided that it was too dangerous for Adrien to be fighting, then he might even try to take the ring away or keep Adrien from going out. But Plagg didn't want to give up his extra cheese snacks.
Plagg spent several days puzzling over the problem. The best idea he could think of was some sort of disguise, but he was 100% positive that a small bush shuffling through the hallways of the Agreste mansion would be about a million times more noticeable than one very small kwami zipping around in his quest for quality cheese.
He was stuck. And he stayed that way for several days, until Adrien went over to his pigtailed friend's house for a study session. After the last of the cheese bread that they had gotten for a snack was polished off (Plagg had gotten the wrong Chosen, obviously- cheese bread? He was in heaven), Plagg wandered off. Adrien was studying with his friends in Marinette's living room, so Plagg headed upstairs to explore.
What he found was a disaster zone full of fabric scraps in all colors and a half- made quilt draped over the desk. Apparently Adrien's friend had been in the middle of raiding her fabric stash for more colors to use when everyone came over. Plagg poked through the piles of fabric curiously, rolling around on a particularly soft and fuzzy swatch before continuing. He'd never had a kitten that liked making things, really, so he had never been surrounded by so many scraps of fabric.
He had definitely gotten the wrong chosen. Cheese bread and his own bed padded with little pillows and scraps of fabric and he would be in heaven.
After a few minutes, Plagg went back to burrowing through the piles of fabric, occasionally popping up to toss them in the air like confetti. He draped himself in a scrap of red silk and made faces in the mirror for a while, amusing himself by pretending that he was a vampire. Then he draped himself in blue knit and imitated Duusu for a few minutes. Impressions of Tikki, Wayazz, and Pollen soon followed, and then Plagg finished up with a rousing impersonation of Nooroo while he was wrapped in a scrap of purple fabric that matched the butterfly kwami's color perfectly.
Suddenly a burst of inspiration hit him and Plagg paused, paw still raised in the air mid-gesture. He glanced over at the mirror, then wrapped the fabric more securely around himself and posed a few times.
He had grumbled only a few days ago about how the other kwamis wouldn't get confused as rats if they were spotted. They just weren't the right color for that to happen. But if he was dressed up as Nooroo, then no one would think rat, or cat. They would think butterfly, and they would just smile and continue on with their day, because how would be bothered by a pretty little butterfly?
No one, that was who. And it wouldn't be at all suspicious, since it was spring now and there were all sorts of butterflies out and about, so Plagg could go to the kitchen as often as he wanted for extra cheese.
Excited, Plagg started gathering up fabric. There was the purple cotton that he was wrapped in, and then some mesh stuff that would probably work well for wings. Plagg stored away a length of thread and a needle with his cache, and then very, very carefully smuggled the entire bundle downstairs before Adrien left. Once they were home, Plagg started his work.
It was harder than he thought it would be. He couldn't freehand draw himself onto the fabric so he could cut it out, so he had to resort to trying to trace his outline while laying down on the fabric itself. Once that was done, he had to cut it out (Adrien's scissors were not designed for kwami paws) and then sew it together, all without Adrien noticing.
Plagg had thought that it would be easy. He had wondered how hard it could possibly be, just sticking a needle in and out of some fabric. The answer was very hard.
The thread knotted endlessly. The fabric shifted out of place while he was trying to sew. Some parts of his purple onesie were a bit too tight, while other parts were baggy. The hood for his head had to be made entirely separately from the rest of the outfit and then attached so that it would fit around his head. The edges of the fabric frayed.
Plagg found himself frantically gluing some parts of the fabric so that they wouldn't fray and the seams would stay together. It wasn't pretty, maybe, but from a distance it probably would look fine.
He copied the swirl on Nooroo's forehead with a purple marker that he swiped from Adrien, and then soaked the mesh in glue to make it stiff for the wings. Those got tacked on the back of the Nooroo onesie with a couple large, crooked stitches, and then Plagg was done.
Maybe his cheese-stealing suit wasn't perfect, but Plagg thought it looked amazing. He slipped it on (then had to tug a bit, because one of the legs was tight), pulled the hood over his head, and did a little twirl. His disguise squished his ears and his tail a bit, but if that was the price he had to pay to get cheese, then so be it. It wasn't that annoying.
During the next several weeks, there were no yells about rats during any of Plagg's excursions. He had been at least glimpsed during one of them, though, and the only response was a confused "Huh?" from the cook that had spotted the brief glimpse of purple.
Plagg preened, proud of himself. Problem solved, and he did it all by himself. He had earned all of that extra cheese that he got.
And then one day, everything went wrong.
Plagg had been cheerfully headed through a dim hallway towards the kitchens when he heard the muttering. At first, he ignored it. Adrien's father had had to go to the eye doctor that morning (apparently he had injured one of his eyes somehow), and whatever had happened during the appointment had put Mr. Agreste in an even more sour mood than usual. The muttering had been going on pretty much all day. It was background noise at this point.
Plagg paid more attention when the muttering suddenly cut off and then, after a pause, there was a sudden and very close "Ah-ha! There you are!"
Then hands that were decidedly not Adrien's grabbed Plagg out of the air. Plagg gasped and wriggled, but the hands only tightened around him.
"Stop wriggling, Nooroo! I am your master and you will obey me!"
Plagg froze and then promptly went limp, curling in on himself to try to hide his face as his mind raced. The man who had caught him knew of Nooroo and had called himself Nooroo's master. That meant that he was Hawkmoth. For some reason, he had actually been tricked by the outfit Plagg had made. He wanted to look up, to see who Hawkmoth was so that Adrien and Ladybug could track him down and surprise him, but he didn't dare. He couldn't risk looking up and having Hawkmoth see his definitely-not-Nooroo face peering up through the purple hood.
"We have work to do. Perhaps I cannot see as well as normal, but that does not mean that I can't akumatize someone and defeat the heroes!" Hawkmoth continued, stuffing Plagg into his jacket (Plagg wrinkled his nose; Hawkmoth, it turned out, wore cologne. It stunk like a sewer, overpowering and musky and seriously why did humans douse themselves in the disgusting stuff). He started walking, headed away from the kitchens. Plagg briefly mourned the loss of his mid-afternoon snack before remembering that there were more important things going on at the moment. "And you- I told you to stay put when I left this morning when I left for the doctor's office! There will be consequences for wandering off! I've wasted hours looking for you, and now my eye hurts more than before and I have a migraine."
Plagg burrowed down into the jacket nervously. They were crossing the atrium now, and Hawkmoth wasn't bothering to sneak at all. Clearly he was comfortable being in the Agreste household and wasn't worried at all about being caught. On top of that, now that he thought about it, Hawkmoth wouldn't have any reason to be looking for Nooroo in the Agreste mansion unless Nooroo was likely to be there, and Nooroo was only likely to be there if Hawkmoth himself normally was.
This was bad. But maybe there was an explanation that wasn't the one that Plagg was fearing.
There was the sound of a door opening and then clicking shut. Plagg tried to prick up his ears to get a better sense of where they were, but then remembered that his ears were pinned against his head by his outfit. A second later, it didn't matter since another voice spoke up, close enough for Plagg to hear clearly.
"How are you doing, sir?"
Hawkmoth snorted. "Awful. The doctor said that you were right and my cornea was scratched, and it could take weeks for it to get fully back to normal. Right now, it hurts and I can't see out of that eye, which meant that I couldn't put my contacts in the other eye so I can't see as well as normal out of that eye either."
Plagg's eyes widened in understanding. Clearly he had (sort of) gotten lucky with when Hawkmoth spotted him. His problems with his eyes meant that he couldn't immediately see the differences between Nooroo and Plagg in his butterfly outfit, when he normally might have. The dim hallway that Plagg had been in when he was spotted probably had helped, too.
"And now I have a migraine," Hawkmoth continued. "I can't possibly get any work done today, so I'm headed up. I might as well try to make something out of the day."
"Do you want me to get you some medicine for your headache, sir?"
"I've already had some," Hawkmoth responded. "But I might need more later. Have something ready for when I return, Nathalie."
Plagg froze. Nathalie? Oh no, oh no, oh no...
There was an affirmation, and then Hawkmoth was walking again. He paused and reached out, and then the floor moved.
Plagg hastily muffled his squeak of surprise as the floor moved downwards. Hawkmoth stayed eerily straight and still as the floor kept moving, downwards and then sideways, and then up, up, up.
This was ridiculous, if nothing else. Ridiculous, excessive, overly dramatic, absolutely stupid...
The section of floor slowed, then came to a stop. Hawkmoth stepped forward, and then reached into his jacket to yank Plagg out. Plagg hastily grabbed onto his hood to make sure it didn't slip. If he got discovered now...
He was in danger. He should have run while he had the chance, even if he would have gotten Nooroo in trouble because of it. But now that he was here, he just had to confirm who Hawkmoth was and then he could scram.
"All right," Hawkmoth- Mr. Agreste, Plagg confirmed with a careful glance to the side, oh crud- said. He adjusted his tie, enough for Plagg to spot the Butterfly Miraculous hidden underneath it. "Nooroo, transform me!"
There was a squeak from a corner of the lair- because that was the only thing it could be- and then a blur of purple zipping towards a clearly befuddled Mr. Agreste. He squinted red, puffy eyes towards the sound, and Plagg took the distraction to zip towards the closed window as fast as he could. There was a little more resistance than normal as he phased through the window because of the butterfly outfit, but then Plagg was free. He took a moment to pause and catch his breath once he was free of the lair, and then he zipped downwards as fast as he could go while staying hidden. He burst into Adrien's room with a gasp and a cough, spiraling through the air to land with a small thud on Adrien's couch.
Adrien's father is Hawkmoth. Holy crud.
I just discovered something actually useful. Holy. Crud.
"Plagg, what were you doing?" Adrien asked, not even looking up from his homework. He looked so normal, like his entire world wasn't about to be shifted on its axis. He glanced up, and caught sight of Plagg sprawled out on the back of the couch in his purple Nooroo outfit. "What are you wearing? Where did you go?"
For a moment, Plagg considered lying. He knew full well how much Adrien loved his (stupid, evil, neglectful) father, and Plagg knew that his Chosen's heart would be broken if he knew that his father was actually Hawkmoth and had nearly gotten Adrien killed several times. But he couldn't lie. It was far too dangerous for Adrien not to know. If Mr. Agreste put things together and assumed that Plagg was Adrien's kwami and not just a random person's kwami sent in to scout things out, then Adrien was in serious danger.
So Plagg made a decision. They had to go talk to Master Fu and get some advice on how to keep Adrien safe when he shared a house with Hawkmoth.
"You remember where we went when I was sick?"
Adrien nodded, clearly puzzled.
"We need to go there. Now."
A/N: This was supposed to be a one-shot. It was only ever meant to be a one-shot. I wrestled with it for AGES to try to keep it as a one-shot.
...it's not a one-shot.
I still have a bit more editing to do on the rest of the story before I start posting on a more regular basis, but it's getting close! The main story itself will be all Plagg's POV, though I'll also have a companion story with POVs from other characters to fill in places where Plagg is asleep/transformed/elsewhere (and I will mention when there will be such chapters; also, I'll probably be treating the two stories as one in that I'll either update one OR the other but not both on the same day unless it's a really important chapter and I have the time). I'm just super-excited about this story because it's a lot of fun and it's really a lot more plot-driven than HTFAM.
As usual, please leave reviews! They really make my day :)