A fan fiction story by Melpomene and PSC based on the characters and backstory of so many different fandoms that I can hardly keep count and composed without permission. No copyright infringement is intended and no monies have been earned.
“So you think it’s going to be a quiet Mardi Gras?” Mickey didn’t sound convinced. “You do remember this is New Orleans, right?” She ran her finger down a list of their most recent acquisitions from their uncle’s old ledger.
“Sure,” Ryan assured her. “We haven’t heard about anything strange in at least a week, let’s take a break and relax. We could close up shop for the weekend.” He grinned at her. “Let your hair down… party…”
“Uh huh,” she muttered. “I think I’d rather get a second opinion from Jack before I make too many Mardi Gras plans. And I don’t know about closing the store, we’re just barely staying in the black as it is. But you go on, enjoy yourself. Besides, you know that as soon as we relax…” The phone rang and ended her explanation.
With a sidelong look at her cousin, Mickey lifted the receiver. “Curious Goods. No, this is an antique store. No, no one by the name of Champaign works here. Yes, our number is 555-4581. Yes, 4581. No, that’s fine. Have a nice day.”
“The Voodoo Queen really needs to get a phone number that has more than one digit different than ours.”
Ryan flashed her a winning grin. “So, how about taking the night off and going with me to a little gathering. It’ll be fun… You remember fun, right?”
“Yes, I remember fun,” Mickey said with a smidge of irritation staining her tone. “But I also remember responsibility. Like I said, let me get Jack’s opinion first and then I’ll let you know.” She glared Ryan into silence when he opened his mouth to argue, and reached again for the phone. “Let me talk to Jack first,” she repeated, being sure to pronounce each word clearly and slowly.
Mickey lifted the receiver to her ear and began to dial the appropriate number when her eye was drawn to the sidewalk outside the shop’s picture windows. A pair of women drifted past, seemingly enjoying the day. They were out-of-towners to be sure, no one dressed that way in New Orleans: couture ala California.
“Come on, it’ll be fun.” Phoebe pulled on Piper’s arm as they followed the path led by the bright sun-drenched sidewalk. “No demons, no warlocks, no worries.”
“That’s what you said about the last vacation we went on, Pheebs.”
“Piper, you can’t blame me for that one. How was I supposed to know a time-warping dimension-swapping ghoul had staked his claim to that cabin? Besides, we vanquished it in the end and we still had time to get in some skiing.” Phoebe pulled a face but kept her grip on her sister. “The concierge said there’s a place near here that has great oysters. Leo and Paige are already waiting.”
“Oysters? Why would I want to eat oysters?” Piper allowed herself to be pulled along but she kept her eyes focused on the street around them.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Phoebe drawled. “It couldn’t have anything to do with you being on your first real vacation with your husband. Or the fact that your sisters are going to be out partying tonight so you won’t even have neighbors in the hotel…”
“Yeah right. You say that now,” Piper grumbled, unbelieving. She looked up just in time to avoid colliding with another pedestrian. The stranger took a staggering step sideways to avoid bumping into Piper as she halted her course. “Sorry.”
The stranger adjusted a dark scarf to cover his face more completely and grunted what might have passed for an apology in one of the lower demonic realms. He shrunk back from Piper’s hand as she tried to steady him and darted further along the sidewalk.
“Okay, now that was weird.” Piper turned around to watch the stranger in the black leather coat and heavy scarf dash away. She cocked her head curiously. “Was he smoking?”
“This is New Orleans, everyone’s weird here,” Phoebe consoled. “I didn’t see a cigarette.”
“No, no, no. I mean that I think he was smoking. Him. His body.”
Phoebe sighed in exasperation. “Come on and stop stalling.”
“I’m not stalling, I’m showing genuine concern for my fellow man.”
“And yet many would call it stalling.”
Piper and Phoebe turned the corner just as a dark sedan pulled up to the curb and parked.
Two men quickly exited the car. “I don’t see any hot sheets, K. You sure we’re in the right place?” J squinted up and down the street before replacing his dark glasses.
“No sheets, slick.” K, undeterred by J’s halt and cocked head, strode purposefully to an apparent blank brick wall.
“You walkin’ through walls now?”
K ignored his partner and rapped lightly on one of the worn red bricks.
“Okay, so you’re knockin’ on walls.”
to be continued