A Scent of Quality
Disclaimer – Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is the property of ZagToon and is used without permission.
With a relieved sigh Adrien saved his homework on his computer and started printing it. He pushed away from his desk, rolling his chair back and stretching his arms over his head. With his schoolwork finished he had a rare afternoon to himself – no photo shoots or fashion consultations, no fencing or basketball, no tutoring. He spun around in his chair, deciding to call Nino and see if his best friend wanted to go out somewhere, but paused as he was about to stand. Plagg was floating above Adrien's bed, flying in long, looping circles, paws folded behind his tiny back as he muttered to himself.
"Are you okay, Plagg?" Adrien asked. Unless he was eating or looking for something to eat, Plagg usually lazed about. It was rare to see the cat sprite so restless.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," answered Plagg, sounding distracted.
"Are you certain?"
"Of course! I'm just... waiting for something."
Adrien was about to question further when the house intercom buzzed. As he turned toward it Adrien noticed Plagg freezing, the kwami's green eyes practically popping out of his skull as a big grin creased his features.
"Yes?" Adrien asked.
"Adrien, there is a package for you," Natalie answered.
The young man frowned slightly. I didn't order anything. He saw Plagg flying around excitedly, like a black, over-sugared bee. "Send it up, please," Adrien said. He looked sternly at his kwami. "What's going on?"
Plagg ignored him. "It's here! It's finally here! Callooh callay! Frabulous joy, what a wonderful day!" He continued zipping about, performing loop-de-loops.
"What's here?" Adrien demanded, feeling annoyed with Plagg's antics.
Before he could get an answer there was a knock on his door. Plagg flew to hide in the upper level of the bedroom. Adrien sighed, shaking his head before answering the knock, thanking the servant when she handed him a plain brown parcel. He looked at it curiously as he slowly walked over to his desk. It was addressed to him and had a return postage mark for a place in the United Kingdom named Dymock.
Plagg streaked down like a black lightning bolt, landing on his shoulder. "Open it, Adrien! Open it now!" he demanded, quivering with excitement.
"Alright! Jeeze, give me a minute." Adrien set the parcel on the desk and opened a draw to fetch out his pocket knife. "What is it, anyway? You're acting like it's the Holy Grail."
"It might as well be, considering how long I've waited for it. C'mon!" Plagg started hopping up and down. Adrien sighed again and sliced open the packing tape.
As soon as the parcel was open a smell that could most charitably be described as rancid assailed Adrien's nostrils. He stumbled back a step with a gag, clapping a hand over his nose. Plagg started flying about again, minuscule tears of joy running down his face.
"Ugh! Plagg, what is this? It smells like... like... wet, moldy gym socks!"
"I know! Isn't it wonderful?" Plagg sighed rapturously.
"You're a Philistine. It's obvious that despite your privileged upbringing, your palate is as unrefined as any lowland peasant's."
"Right, whatever. Now will you please tell me what exactly is fouling up the air of my bedroom?"
"Stinking Bishop!" whispered the cat sprite, using a low, reverent tone usually reserved for the most sacred of subjects.
Adrien stared at the kwami. "Say what?" he asked flatly.
"Stinking Bishop," repeated Plagg. "You've never heard of it before?"
"No, and I'm wishing I've never heard of it now. It's disgusting!"
"How can you say that, Adrien? It's the crème de la crème – the very apex of the cheese making art. The stinkiest cheese ever devised by human ingenuity! Only twenty tonnes of this ambrosia is made each year, and I managed to get ten pounds of it. Ten pounds!"
Plagg squeaked, spinning like a top, hugging himself. He dove head first into the box; wet gobbling sounds could be heard as little bits of cheese sprayed from the parcel.
Adrien watched in wide-eyed disbelief for a few moments before turning away. He loved being Cat Noir – he honestly did. He loved the freedom and strength it granted, as well as having the opportunity to help the strongest, most beautiful young woman in all of Europe fight evil. But sometimes – just sometimes – he did wonder if all that was worth dealing with the eccentricities of a gluttonous cat sprite that had a serious fetish for the smelliest cheeses imaginable.
Author's Notes: Thanks again to PurseMonger for pre-reading and her usual enthusiastic support.