Continuing Tales

How to Bond With a Cat

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by Theonewhosawitall

Part 3 of 19

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Things were quiet for a while. It was the longest Hawk Moth had gone between akumas and Adrien was beginning to miss Ladybug. The gloomy look was beginning to lose sympathy from Plagg.

"You shouldn't wish for an akuma y'know. It's peaceful without them, you shouldn't want them," Plagg insisted firmly.

"I know, but it's been almost a month! Usually there's at least one a week," Adrien groaned.

"If you miss her that much why don't you try phoning her. It's a lot safer for everyone else," Plagg said, sarcastically.

"Do you think she'd pick up?" Adrien asked.

Plagg shrugged. "I hope so for my sake."

Adrien tapped his desk thoughtfully. He real did want to see his lady...

"Plagg... claws out."

Chat Noir wandered back and forth across his room with the staff in his hand waiting for her to pick up. She didn't. He groaned and tried again. She still didn't pick up. Third time wasn't the charm either. He threw the staff across his room in frustration and it landed on his bed.

"It's no good Plagg she's not Ladybug right now so she doesn't have the phone!" Chat complained.

"If she's not answering, who's talking?" Plagg asked from inside the ring.

Chat frowned. His attention turned to a faint talking coming from over near his bed. He frowned, and picked up the staff. When he'd thrown it, it had phoned Marinette. She had answered.

"Chat? Chat Noir?"

"Um, hi princess, I didn't mean to phone you, I guess it was a butt dial," he apologised.

"Oh. Ok cool. How are you doing anyway? I mean there hasn't been an akuma in a while, what are you doing as you?"

"As opposed to?"

"As opposed to whoever you are normally,"

"I…" how could he tell her that he was lonely enough to try and call Ladybug because he didn't have anyone else to hang out with?

"Mari?" a voice called out of shot.

"Yeah papa?" she called.

"me and your mother are having a competition again. We need a taste tester, can you help?"

Chat's ears drooped. his father hadn't spoken to him for two days now because he was busy working. Marinette's wanted her to join in with the fun side of the work. She was so lucky. Her eyes sparkled at him as she grinned.

"How about it kitty? Wanna come taste test with me?"

Desperately! But he couldn't let err know that. he was a cool cat after all. "I'll have to check my schedule." He glanced to the left for a second, and then immediately said, "I'll be there before you can say meow."

"In a meow or two would have been better," she said.

"Very a-mew-sing princess. I'll be there soon," he grinned.

"I'll tell papa," she grinned back.

She hung up and Chat lit up. her parents baked the best bread in the city, and that talent spilt over into their other treats. Plus they were kind and warm and welcoming to everyone. Maybe that's where Marinette got it from. It wouldn't be like hanging out with Ladybug, because hanging with your friends and hanging with the love of your life are entirely different things, but it was better than hanging around his bedroom being lonely. Within minutes of leaving his bedroom window, he was swinging down through the city streets, over to that pretty little bakery where his friend was waiting for him. the bell tinkled as he pushed the door open, and a blast of warmth filled every part of him that the February air had chilled. The bakery was empty.

"Marinette?" he called.

Seconds later she appeared through a door from the kitchen and grinned at him. "You were right. quick as a cat."

he warmed even further as he grinned back at her. This side of her, the one she never let Adrien see, it was amazing. She was cool and collected and funny about it. she didn't treat him like some kind of hero, she treated him like a friend she'd known for years. He loved it.

"Come on, we're working in here today," she beckoned for him to follow.

She led him into the kitchen. It was more like a house kitchen than one for a professional bakery. There wasn't a wall, so they had red and white lino instead of the wood around the rest of the room. There were pink polka dot curtains and pink cupboards and pink lamp shades to match the floor. A pair of oven mitts were sitting on the oven door handle. They had two ovens, to double the number of products they could cook at the same time. Along the sides and table, they had laid out ingredients for prep. Twice the normal amount, since they were preparing for both of them to compete.

"These are my parents. Parents, this is Chat," Marinette explained.

Tom gave him a smile like Santa Claus smiles at a toddler. "Hello! Thank you for saving Paris with our dau-"

"Daughter's favourite hero, Ladybug!" Sabine corrected sharply.

They couldn't let Marinette find out that they knew their daughter was the city's hero. They didn't understand how she didn't know though. They raised her from a bump in a belly to a brilliant young lady, and she thought hiding her eyes made them unable to recognise her.

Chat Noir shrugged, "it's nothing, really. Thank you for having this amazing bakery!"

"our pleasure," Sabine smiled.

This bakery, and Marinette, was her pride and joy, and Tom's dream. She and tom had scrimped and saved to buy it, and now it was popular across all of Paris, and she couldn't be prouder. Especially now she could share it with her daughter and her daughter's friends.

"Chat' going to help me judge, so if you disagree with our decision, blame him," Marinette said.

Chat laughed, but it was tinged with nerve. She was joking, but he really didn't like having the blame put on him. or being trapped. Especially in small spaces. These were things he knew he had to deal with one day, but for now, they were best left unmentioned. Tom picked up two stalls from the breakfast bar, and set them up in front of the kitchen so they could sit on them and see the whole kitchen at the same time. Chat held out his hand to help her climb up onto the stall. She took it, even though she didn't need it, and Tom raised an eyebrow at Sabine. Sabine giggled. She picked up an egg whisk.

"You're about to be beaten!" she grinned.

Tom gave a huge belly laugh, and picked up a spatula, "You'll flip when you see what I make!"

Sabine laughed louder. Marinette groaned, and blushed with embarrassment as Chat beamed with utter joy. He was finally in his element. Bad pun central. Who would have thought Marinette would live there?!

"Ready? Set?" Marinette asked. Chat chuckled as her parents tried to psych each other out from opposite ends of the kitchen. then, dramatically, Marinette declared, "Preheat the oven!"

And away they went. Immediately they set off to their individual ovens to preheat them to the exact temperate they wanted, and raced to the sink to wash their hands and prepare.

"Now we make a bad commentary," Marinette explained, quietly.

Chat's eyes widened. "Commentary? Like on a real baking show? I don't know anything about baking."

"You don't need to. It's easy, watch," she said.

She and Chat looked back at the competitors as they started hurrying to their first ingredients. Marinette cleared her throat.

"Welcome to the second Dupain-Cheng bake off of the year! it's the 23rd of February, it's 4 degrees outside, but in here, the action is really heating up. what degree is the oven mum?"

"Two hundred dear," Sabine said.

"Two hundred degrees in the kitchen, wow! Time to welcome our new commentator, the one, the only, the amazing Chat Noir, say hi kitty," Marinette said.

"Um, hi," Chat said, suddenly feeling nervous. Marinette nodded at him, encouragingly. He cleared his throat. "Hi, it's great to be here on this brisk morning. We've got great expectations for how today is going to go, do you want to explain what we're baking this morning Mari?"

"Of course Chat. Today is – hey what are you baking this time papa?" she asked.

"Iced biscuits. Your mother said hers sold faster on valentine's day because they were better. That's just not true," Tom smirked.

"He's upset because valentine's day brought LOVE into my biscuits and not his!" Sabine stated.

"Oooh, trash talk! Chat, you must have some good come backs for trash talk, tell us about some," Marinette grinned.

"Certainly, you can't fight akumatized villains without learning how to trash talk. I wouldn't repeat any around you though, you can't be rude when a lady is present," Chat said.

"I'm sure Ladybug will take no offence from that," Tikki muttered to Marinette, and Marinette repeated it.

Chat's higher cheeks turned pink, but he kept his cool. "Obviously Ladybug is a lady, but she's also a hero. She can trash talk with the best of them."

"Can she now?" Sabine raised an eyebrow at Marinette.

"moving on!" Marinette said briskly when she caught her mother's eyes, "Looks like Tom's using just a smidge too much butter, and either Sabine is pushing the boat out or she's forgotten to use the eggs, I can't wait to see how that will affect the final products,"

"I have a feline they'll still be absolutely paw-some!" Chat beamed.

Marinette smiled to see him slipping back into his comfort zone, but groaned at his puns. "That was absolutely claw-full!"

Chat turned his head, his eyes pointed sharply, eyes shining, with a beam so bright it could block out the sun, and pointed it right at her. she covered her face with her hands and squealed at herself shamefully. Her parents laughed at her too. There was no sympathy in the pun-dome.

"ooh, tom is already beating his mix together, Sabine, do you think you'll be able to catch up?" Chat asked.

"you can't rush purr-fection," Sabine chuckled.

"Excellent ans-fur!" Chat beamed.

"No more bad puns or I swear I'm walking out," Marinette groaned.

"No more bad puns, I pawmise," Chat's eyes twinkled.

Marinette leapt to her feet, "THAT'S IT!"

Chat reached out to stop her, catching onto her arm as he bit back a laugh and insisted, "No, Mari, no, I'm sorry!"

"You're on thin ice cat!" She warned.

"Sorry," he beamed.

She shook her head and smirked. she should have expected this before she invited him over. This was her fault. Even so it made her cringe. she took her place back on the stall, beside Chat, and they went back to their bad commentary.

"I'm going to put so much love in this that they'll put our anniversary to shame, so just you watch out!" Tom smirked.

"Hey, Tom?"

When he turned around Sabine blew a handful of flour into his face, so the front of his apron was covered, and he sneezed. Sabine laughed and went back to mixing up her batter.

"Now that's what I call flour power," Chat glanced over at Marinette, waiting for the reaction.

"I don't know about the peace but there's a lot of love going into this work, apparently," Marinette added.

Chat laughed brightly. She clearly hated that he had dragged her down to his level, but it was so much fun down there that she stuck it out and joined in anyway.

"Time for the rolling pins," Marinette declared as Tom brought out his rolling pin.

"Maybe for Tom, but Sabine's got a trick up her sleeve!" Chat said.

Tom wrinkled his nose. "A trick?"

Sabine had picked up a lemon from the fruit basket while no one was paying attention, and now she was adding genuine lemon juice to her biscuits to boost the flavour.

"What'd you think of this secret weapon Marinette?" Chat asked.

"It'll put a sour look on Tom's face that's for sure," Marinette grinned.

"I thought we were done with bad puns?" Chat teased.

"shut up kitty," Marinette smirked.

Tikki laughed a little too hard, and had to cover her mouth with her hand to make sure she wasn't heard.

"Now this is a key part of the final design. The shape of the biscuit will determine how many you can fit neatly into the oven at the same time, and how many trips in the oven it will take to finish your whole batch. It was also give you a limited space that your finally icing designs will have to fit into. Take that all into consideration if you want to win this month's top prize," Marinette warned.

"And what is this month's top prize?" Adrien asked.

Marinette frowned and glanced around for inspiration. Her eye fell on the side where her father was working. She grinned. in the most dramatic tone she could muster, she declared, "The spatula of destiny!"

Chat Noir gasped in awe automatically, and then it hit him what she had said, and he gave her a funny look that made her burst into laughter. He joined her. nothing made them laugh more all day than the spatula of destiny.

"What's so amazing about the spatula of destiny?"

"Well, it's a spatula…"

Chat Noir was already beginning to lose it as she tried to think of thing to make it mystical and worth winning.

"It's got magic powers!" she laughed.

Giggles slipped through Chat's serious face, "Like- li-" snort, "Like what?"

"It can, ooh! It can show you your destiny!" She almost lost it too, when Chat broke and let a laugh slip though, "It can! And – shut up – and it can, it can force you to answer truthfully to something!"

Chat was close to tears now, and Marinette wasn't far behind him. Sabine and Tom shared a knowing, yet amused look, about how insane these children were these days. They tried to regain control as an oven buzzed and brought them back to attention. It was time to start making the icing.

"Black isn't usually very appealing Tom, could be a mistake," Chat warned.

"Red from Sabine. Is that any more appealing to you?" Marinette asked.

"Strawberries are red, they're very appealing," Chat said.

"I'm so glad you didn't say banana," she said.

"Orange you glad," he grinned.

Marinette walked into that one and still groaned, "NO."

They stayed quiet for a minute as they watched her parents piping the icing onto the perfectly baked biscuits. They were professional right to the end.

"Tom's gone for a perfect circle while Sabine has gone for more of an oval. Do you think that will effect taste?" Chat asked.

Marinette gave him an unimpressed look. "Do you?"

"Fair enough, silly question," he shrugged.

Tom laid the biscuits onto a tray and began cleaning up his station. Sabine squeezed past him to grab the spatula to move her biscuits.

"Sabine goes in for a sneak peak of Tom's biscuits!" Chat teased.

"Nothing she can do about it now, I've got perfection down," Tom smirked.

"Bring them here and prove it!" Marinette said.

Tom chuckled and brought the tray over to them on their stalls. His smile grew as Marinette and Chat burst into laughter. His biscuits were plain except for a black paw print with claws, just like Chat Noir's logo.

"Low blow papa!" Marinette laughed.

"Wait till you see what your mother made," Chat gestured to the tray Sabine was bringing over.

A dozen little ladybugs nestled together with their red smooth between little black spots. They were fair prettier than Tom's. Chat picked up a ladybug first so Marinette reached for a paw. She broke a bit off and slipped it into her pocket for Tikki's opinion. Then they bit into the next biscuit. Again, Marinette slipped another piece to Tikki.

"They're both clawsome," Chat murmured between mouthfuls of crumbs.

The ladybug tasted tangy with the boost of lemon. It crumbled on the tongue, sugary and sweet. Utterly beautiful. Whereas the paw was smooth and melted in the mouth, and tasted of vanilla. Gorgeous. Chat Noir had no idea which was better, but he was completely delighted to have two delicious biscuits to eat.

"Which is better?" Marinette asked.

"Who knows? All I know is when you get to heaven, this is what all the food is like," chat said.

"Oh you little charmer," Sabine chuckled.

"What'd you think Tikki?" Marinette whispered.

"I like the ladybug, but I might be bias," Tikki smiled.

"I like the Ladybugs," Marinette said. It felt smug to say that. "But the paws taste better."

"Yes! I knew I could count on you!" Tom beamed.

"You get final say Chat. What do your animal instincts tell you?" Sabine asked.

Chat glanced between each family member. Each looked eager to know his answer. At first, he thought he'd just agree with Marinette and save time, but it felt too much like a brag to pick himself. And, to be honest, he preferred lemon.

"I prefer the ladybugs," he shrugged.

Sabine beamed, and Tom groaned. Marinette chuckled and Chat bit his bottom lip nervously.

"I'm going to put a no pets sign on the bakery!" Tom joked.

"We're just going to have to sell them and let the public decide," Marinette shrugged.

"I'll put them in the shop window," Tom declared.

"No, you'll put mine in the back, I'll put them in the shop window," Sabine countered.

"How about I do it?" Marinette offered.

"You favour your father, you're probably in league with him!" Sabine said.

"I'll go too, to make sure it's fine," Chat said.

Even the arguments in this family were given with a hint of amusement. Marinette carried Tom's and Chat carried Sabine's, and they wandered into the bakery.

"If we put them next to the till they can work on their sales techniques," Chat suggested.

"Until one of them is the only one in the bakery and the only one who gets to sell them. No we'll put them in the window, where they can be seen," Marinette said.

She and Chat slotted them into place in the window so that all the passers-by could see them plain and simple. Marinette dusted of her hands and turned back to smile at Chat. He had crumbs all around her mouth which made her chuckle, but he didn't seem to notice.

"D'you know what we could do to find the winner?" Chat asked.

It felt like a trap, but she was okay with that. "What?"

"We could ask, the spatula of truth!" He said, spookily.

"It's the spatula of destiny," she corrected.

"Oh because that's so much better!" He scoffed.

Both of them laughed as they wandered back into the kitchen. Sabine was waiting for them.

"Are you staying for dinner Chat?" She asked.

"Um, I don't want to be a burden," he said.

"You wouldn't be. We're having chicken," she said.

"Cat's like poultry," Marinette teased.

"I haven't got much time," Chat said.

Really, he should have been back at home by now. Natalie would flip if she realised he wasn't there. In another hour she'd been heading up to his bedroom to find him.

"It shouldn't take long to cook," Sabine said.

"Well if it's not too much bother-" Chat began.

"I'll set the table," Marinette declared.

Chat Noir had his first family dinner in a long time that night. It wasn't much, just chicken and a few vegetables, and they had to finish eating fast so Tom could reopen the bakery. Even so, all four of them were gathered together, chatting about the day's events and making extra jokes that they had thought of but missed the opportunity to use. Sabine took the empty plates to the kitchen, even though Chat volunteered to, and left the children at the table as she went back down to the bakery.

"Your family is great princess. All those puns and all the food, you must be so happy," he smiled.

"Sure. They're super embarrassing, but I love them," she shrugged.

Chat smiled a weak smile. The dinner wasn't the best he'd ever had, after all he had a personal chef, but they were bakers not chefs, and they did their best, so it tasted... it tasted like it had more love in it. That might be sappy, but let me put it a different way.

Have you ever been out on a cold winter day, where your shivering and you can't feel your nose and your fingers are blue? Imagine you were like that now, with the cold still biting at you, and your starving. Now imagine you buy a packet of fresh from the fryer chips, with your chosen sauce and salt and vinegar if you like. It's the way they instantly warm your poor blue fingers, and make them feel a little wiggly, like you can feel the life flowing back into them. Or the way they smell making your mouth water, and your stomach beg for a taste. But most importantly, the way they make you grin with satisfaction, even if they don't usually taste good, because it's exactly what you needed at that moment. That's what made that dinner taste so damn good.

"Chat, are you ok?" She asked, uncertainly.

"Yeah. But I have to go, and I really don't want to, so I'm just psyching myself up," he said sadly.

She smiled to herself, and nudged hum playfully. "You can come back anytime kitty. We'll put in a little cat flap!"

"Thanks, but I think I'd stick to your bedroom window, it'd save money," he laughed.

"Any time Chat. Especially Thursdays. I'm usually free on Thursdays," she said.

"Maybe I'll come and see you on Thursday then."

"Sure. Whenever you want."

Chat smiled, and stood up. "Thanks princess. It's been amazing. We should do it again sometime. Maybe Thursday."

Marinette laughed at how he said it. He didn't want to sound like he was imposing, but he wanted to come back. He wanted to be welcome back any time like she said.

"I'll see you Thursday Chat."

How to Bond With a Cat

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by Theonewhosawitall

Part 3 of 19

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