This chapter—as well as the following one—is dedicated to a comment made by Draxynnic, who rather cruelly (for Gabriel's sake) pointed out that the most diabolical thing which Plagg could have done is for the kwami to take Gabriel's order of always being in his sight as literally as possible.
…so now it's a thing. Poor Gabriel. Little warning, there's a bit of dirty humor in this chapter. That being said, Gabriel gets mentally tortured. So really, it all balances out.
Chapter 3: At Arm's Length
The war had just begun.
Actually, scratch that. This game of wits had started the very moment that Gabriel decided to be petty and use Nooroo for his own gain, fueled by the vigor to become Paris' feared Hawkmoth by using the Butterfly Miraculous because of what Plagg could only assume must be some ridiculously petty—and quite possibly moronic—reason.
So really, this feud for the Miraculous has been ongoing for quite some time now. It just so happened that Plagg happened to conveniently get involved at this point.
Surely Gabriel knew that the jet-black kwami was against him, right? The man couldn't possibly be daft enough to believe that Plagg could be quashed by words and orders alone.
Well, if he was still in a state of denial, Plagg decided that Gabriel would be in for a rude awakening. A very rude awakening. Maybe Nooroo might have been meek and submissive, but Plagg was resolute that he, on the other hand, would fight tooth and nail to make things as tedious as possible for Gabriel.
Plagg violently refused to submit and go down without an ensuing bloodbath — he would answer to no one but himself. He was the Kwami of Destruction! Causing mayhem and anarchy was his forte! A mere mortal like Gabriel Agreste would not get the better of the great and almighty Plagg!
After the kwami's epic prank and the ensuing stare down in the studio room, Gabriel had summarily retreated to his bedroom. Plagg remained unabashed as he followed Gabriel, the kwami remaining staunchly proud of his mischievous actions. He made sure to show it by flashing a triumphant grin and never wiping the resulting smile from his face.
"You know, Mr. Agreste… if you want me around so much, then allow me the pleasure of being by your side always."
Plagg made sure to make that statement sound as awkward as he possibly could—using the same slick tone that he would use to direct cheesy pickup lines towards Tikki for the sole purpose of messing with her—and was promptly rewarded for it as Gabriel let out a displeased groan, Nooroo bearing witness to the chaos from behind the two. The poor mauve-colored kwami wisely stayed back, uncertain of whether he should traitorously cheer Plagg's trolling on or play it safe and remain impartially silent.
Gabriel slumped onto the queen-sized bed, diving into a pillow as he suppressed the urge to scream. Loudly. "Get lost, Plagg," he moaned, swatting the kwami away as he smothered his head against the smooth down pillow.
Plagg smirked, observing that Gabriel had actually bothered to remember the kwami's name after his fangs had successfully defaced the man's torso. It appeared that 'Operation: Annoy Gabriel' was thriving quite well. "But I can't do that, Mr. Agreste," he purred, malevolence shining through his glistening emerald eyes as he replied to Gabriel. "Because y'know, ya ordered me to always remain by your side."
Gabriel rolled over and covered both his ears with his hands, sucking in a large gulp of oxygen. It didn't take a genius to comprehend that Plagg's ironic echo was clearly getting to him.
With a swift motion, Plagg pitched forward and rubbed himself against the collar of Gabriel's suit. "Come on, Mr. Agreste. I unabashedly admit that I am but a clingy feline. So allow me to show you affection!" he whined, snuggling up to Gabriel in a manner which was not too dissimilar to that of an actual cat. In fact, Gabriel would have actually bought the act had he not spotted the twinkle of mischief in Plagg's eyes.
Gabriel jumped off the bed, putting distance between himself and Plagg. "Don't you know the meaning of personal space, you pest?" he seethed.
"Hah!" Plagg enunciated the single word as he cackled wildly, his head lolling in laughter. "Personal space?" the black kwami quipped as though what he was saying happened to be an outlandish concept, one which almost seemed as absurd to him as undertaking a dairy-free diet. "Whatever might that be, I ponder?" he mocked, laughing inwardly when he saw Gabriel's distraught face.
"I value my personal space." Gabriel unhooked his necktie from his collar and used the candycane-colored fabric to wipe his brow. "No one can intrude on me when I'm in the zone."
Plagg bristled, feeling his fur stand on end as he perceived those words and their implicit meaning. "Not even… your own son?" he asked slowly, fighting with his own instincts as the cat struggled to remain calm. Reacting drastically or doing something like scratching Gabriel again would give away his unease regarding the topic, and the last thing that Plagg wanted to do was give this guy any ammunition or leeway.
Gabriel winced slightly at the blunt query, but carefully kept any of his inner thoughts from showing on his face. "Not at all," he answered without emoting.
Plagg remained quiet after that, the kwami appearing briefly troubled. There was a crushing silence which permeated the room's atmosphere before he next spoke. "Mr. Agreste, is that your… final answer?" He twiddled his paws together, looking at the man nervously for once.
It was almost as if he was afraid of the response that he was going to receive.
A flicker of annoyance crossed Plagg's face, but as quickly as it appeared, it vanished. "So be it, Mr. Agreste." The cat sharply inhaled before narrowing his eyes. "I'll make you eat those words."
Gabriel doggedly ignored the kwami and set about doing his work. He thought nothing of it, dismissing it as yet another empty threat. After all, he was the one who held all of the power, not that tenaciously stubborn kwami.
Plagg could resist all he wanted for the moment, but Gabriel knew that sooner or later, he would be able to crush whatever remnants of resistance Plagg had left within him.
As a result, everything was all fine and dandy for Gabriel until he had to use the washroom.
Gabriel strolled out of his bedroom and made his way over, but soon felt his brow twitching when he saw Plagg nonchalantly floating beside him as he was about to enter.
"What do you think you're doing?" Gabriel's words to Plagg were calm, but there was a hint of frustration in them.
Plagg bared his fangs at the man, the kwami pretending to look disinterested by glancing down at his paws. "I'm following you in, duh. I can't leave your side, remember?" he repeated to Gabriel in an ironic echo, tapping his forehead with a deadpan look.
Gabriel simply stared at the kwami, feeling a migraine beginning to loom. "Give me a moment and wait outside," he stressed, quickly losing his patience. "I am not having a kwami watch me do my personal business in the washroom." The sentence was muttered eloquently… as eloquently as one could without one questioning their sanity on why such words should ever be used together in a single sentence, sarcastic or not.
"Well, too bad." Plagg stuck his tongue out, clearly enjoying the mental torment he was inflicting on Gabriel. "Orders are orders." His smile grew even wider, if that was even possible. "Of course, if you're willing to take back that rule about me constantly being around you…"
"Never." Gabriel gnashed his teeth together, immediately shooting down the suggestion before Plagg could finish. With a sense of dread, he was beginning to see that his new kwami had pitted him in a battle of sheer willpower.
To hell with mortification. This was for Emilie's sake. This was for his wife. This was for his son. He and Emilie and Adrien will finally be together if it meant tolerating this utter troll of a kwami for just a little while longer.
Just a little longer.
Almost as if Plagg could tell that he was searching for his own inner resolve to surmount this obstacle, the kwami had a taunting expression on his snarky little face. His emerald green eyes screamed, "Do it. I dare you."
Gabriel remained undaunted. Even if it meant having the literal lord of destruction awkwardly watch him taking a dump while he was at his most vulnerable state, he would merely take it in stride. It was just another price for him to pay. He would not falter at this late juncture. He was this close to getting his wish — having to deal with Plagg was but a necessary sacrifice.
That was what Gabriel told himself as he calmly strode into the toilet, firmly pushing down his chagrin and reluctance. He felt courageous and strong. Nobody could stop him from accomplishing his goal!
At least, that was until he actually sat down on the toilet seat. Taking that as his cue, Plagg started to snicker as he hovered in front of the man, and the worst part was that he adamantly Would. Not. Stop.
"Hehehehehehee!" Plagg was hollering now, relishing the moment as Gabriel began to cringe. "Feeling embarrassed yet? Oh, I bet that the press will have a field day with this one, Mr. Agreste." His eyes gleamed as held his paws apart, pantomiming the action of reading the daily papers if said newspapers were kwami-sized. "Can you imagine it? Because I can certainly see the headlines now! Ah, how about 'Famous Fashion Designer Gets—'"
"Shut your trap before I rip your tongue out!" Gabriel squeaked, raising his voice to that of a yell in a bid to stop the kwami from talking any further and turning him into a literal tomato.
Fat lot of good it did him though. Plagg simply switched from directly mocking the situation to sniggering at it — which was arguably worse because the tiny cat happened to have the most annoying rambunctious laugh ever.
The man was feeling his willpower slowly ebbing away as Plagg continued to laugh at his predicament. Mercifully, Nooroo was tucked within his suit and couldn't see a thing, but the man knew that the kwami could still hear the ensuing exchange.
Nooroo trying his best to restrain his muffled laughter from within his coat only irked Gabriel further.
He almost wanted to order Plagg to zip it, knowing that the magic of the Miraculous would take it literally, but at the same time he was terrified that doing that would backfire on him. At least now the rowdy kwami was only pestering him with words. If he ordered Plagg to halt with the verbal abuse, Plagg would only come up with something else, and frankly he was terrified of what kind of things the cat could physically do in the washroom.
Worse, Gabriel was almost one-hundred percent certain that his sneaky kwami knew this. Despite Plagg's unremarkable outward appearance while he taunted Gabriel, there was some part of Plagg, such as his slightly hunched posture, which made it seem like the kwami was actively restraining himself.
It was an unspoken threat — 'keep me from talking and see what I'll do to you.'
And boy, could Gabriel already imagine what Plagg could do if he was riled up.
Stealing his garments and making a dash for it… or worse, destroying them? Getting so up close and personal to him while he was vulnerable that it would warrant a legitimate restraining order? Flinging fecal matter everywhere?
He would take verbal mortification in a heartbeat over any of… that. Gabriel had seen the shrewd kwami in action after he'd made Plagg hide during the incident with Adrien earlier in the day and thus wanted no part of this.
Plus, he shared the mansion with Nathalie, Adrien, and his bodyguard. He had no intention of ever explaining any one of those above scenarios to them.
He could imagine it now. "Adrien, this is not what you think," he would say in a controlled voice to disguise his panic, "the bathroom is brown because we intend to change the wallpaper to celebrate autumn."
"Oh, seriously! What is wrong with you, Mr. Agreste?"
Plagg furrowed a brow, catlike curiosity bursting on his facial features when he noted that Gabriel had been staring off into space. Not knowing that Gabriel was contemplating the worst-case scenarios, he barreled on, "You're always so calm whenever you're indirectly taunting Ladybug and Chat Noir as Hawkmoth, and so dead and emotionless when talking as Mr. Agreste. But now, with just a mere article of clothing short, you're acting like a toddler on their first day of preschool."
A feral grin lit up Plagg's face as he casually twirled an antenna, flitting closer to the man. "Besides, there's no need to get feisty. I've worked with multiple Chat Noirs and have seen it all before. And seriously, they all react to this in the exact same way that you do. Peh, humans," he waved a paw in a circular motion, "You're all just the same…"
As Plagg droned on and on about human mortification, Gabriel started praying for the ground below the washroom to swallow him whole. Anything was better than listening to Chat Noir's kwami casually explaining human anatomy to him in a non-ironic, completely serious manner.
His new kwami's lesson was unbelievably bad. Like, it was so bad that if Plagg happened to be a lecturer at Françoise Dupont, the kwami would have been fired within a week.
Actually, no. Within a day.
"According to some cultures, being without clothes is a sign of purity!" Plagg raised his paw to the ceiling, before dramatically pushing down on the flush valve as Gabriel squirmed in discomfort. "We cats shed our fur all the time and you don't see us complaining about it. After all," he paused, his ears twitching as he delivered a subliminal message to his master, "it is what is on the inside that counts, not the outside…"
Gabriel perked up at the sudden change of tone. In that exact moment, Gabriel completely forgot that Plagg was supposed to be instigating him. He swore that Plagg had dropped his mischievous demeanor completely for a second. The cat appeared solemn, his eyes shining a dazzling green that seemed to pierce into his very soul.
But right as the thought of something being amiss crossed his mind, it was blown sky-high by Plagg's next words.
"But then again, you humans always do that disgusting kissy-wissy stuff." Plagg snorted, shaking his head despondently as he let out an annoyed whine. "Ugh, you humans and your hormones and whatever. I guess that's the real reason you lot wear clothes and stuff. Feh! No wonder all you humans value your privacy so much," he murmured, winking in a knowing manner before he cackled. "I mean, who knows what y'all do behind closed doors?"
Gabriel choked on his saliva, futilely clamping his hands over his ears and trying in vain to shut out Plagg's horrifying words as he curled in on himself and sank lower into the toilet seat.
I did NOT sign up for a lesson on the birds and the bees taught by Chat Noir's bloody kwami!
Nooroo was chuckling audibly now, which made Gabriel seriously reconsider not ordering Plagg to stop talking earlier. He had thought that Plagg trying to mess with him with a practical joke would be much worse than if the cat were to use his words. Quite evidently, mistakes were made, because it didn't make much of a difference.
The worst part of it all was that his stomach told him that he was definitely constipated, which meant that he was going to be stuck here on this toilet bowl for quite some time. One did not know what agony was until they were stuck with a shameless kwami prattling on in a manner which led to them taking a round trip to embarrassment land and back, all expenses paid for by a roguish kwami named Plagg.
As his face glowed a shade of crimson red which could legitimately rival the color of Ladybug's suit, Gabriel made a mental note to himself that the impish Plagg was virtually incapable of shame. The tiny brat had absolutely no limits whatsoever, and that was dangerous.
The second mental note Gabriel made to himself was to ensure that Nathalie would purchase and stock up on antacids so that he would never, ever, ever have to go through this mental scarring ever again.
So yeah, Plagg is a little shit. It's even a tag on AO3. Seriously, this knowledge should not be anything new.
This chapter might be a little too squicky compared to what I usually write, but this was seriously my first thought when the pitfalls of Plagg being glued to Gabriel's side was brought to my humble attention. Next chapter will build more on this "exactly how close is too close?" concept.