AN: Not sure if this was done before but oh well. First published multi-chapter fic. Shorter than I wanted it to be but I'll edit it later.
Oh, he was loving New Orleans.
The sights and sounds greeted him just as he touched down on the new world, music blaring loudly in his ears. Ven grinned, unconsciously doing a little jig at a corner of a street as he watched everything, until one of the street performers pulled him along, locking arms with him and pulling him in a little dance. Laughing, he tried his best to keep up, and even with the steps all wrong, the passerbys clapped at him, one of them throwing a Mardi Gras necklace around his neck.
Breaking free from the merriment, he continued sight seeing, already wondering what souvenirs to bring Aqua and Terra. Probably Mickey and Master too (if he was even into this kind of thing). By afternoon, he had to take a breather, realizing he had been wandering around town for most of the morning. Taking a ride on the trolley (which he absolutely loved, by the way) he stopped to what appears to be a famous eatery.
The moment he entered the restaurant, the smell of delicious food and noisy crowds embraced his senses, and his stomach groaned its approval.
"Man... I'm starving." he mumbled, taking a seat and looking around in awe. Just as a dark skinned waitress walked over, menu in hand.
"Hey there. Never saw you before. New here?" she talked fast, but was quick to smile at him. What made Ven marvel was that the waitress even had plates on her head. It reminded him vaguely of Cinderella, and he grinned at her.
"Sort of visiting, I guess." he answered, looking around impressively, then turn back to her to find out that she had swapped the plate on her head for dirty ones. Wow. "You're good."
"Why, thank you." she gave a little bow, before pointing to the menu. "So what will it be?"
Ven browsed the list, momentarily getting confused by some of the unheard of food names. He glanced around and noticed majority of the customers eating the same thing. Some sort of brown pocket pies with powdered sugar on it or something. Before looking up at the waitress in some sort of sheepish and helpless manner. 'Uh, yeah, I'll have what they're having. It looks yummy."
"One order of beignets, coming right up." she smiled warmly at him, looking pleased with his choice, before slinking back into the kitchen.
Beignets, huh? He glanced back at the menu, checking the price, before digging in his pockets for munny. He had been training by killing Unversed, so he was pretty loaded by now. Just as he contemplated ordering flapjacks, there was a screech from the kitchen from the waitress. Instinctively, he go out of his chair. Terra always said being nosy was bad, but he couldn't help it.
"What was that?!" the waitress screamed, just as the chef stumbled out of the kitchen, apron splattered with various food stains, trembling. Ven peeked from the counter and saw what was unmistakably an Unversed raiding the kitchen, leaping from tile to tile and peeking at the food.
"Hold on, just leave it to me!" he yelled out, diving into the small, cluttered kitchen. He saw the waitress try to stop him, before focusing her attention on the chef. Just as he entered the kitchen though, the Unversed disappeared. tentatively, he slowly walked around, keeping his guard up. Until something leaped out of the pantry. With a yelp, he made a dive for it, wrestling with it for a few good seconds. He ended up hitting a sack of flour as he rolled around the floor with it, and despite his blurry vision and coughing fit, refused to let go of his death grip on it.
"Hold on to it!"
The yell came from just behind him, and glancing behind him with the Unversed trapped in his arms, he saw the waitress holding a frying pan over her head, ready to hit it.
The Unversed became limp, just as the frying pan became dented, and Ven stared at it in his arms in mute shock, just as it started to fade into wisps of Darkness.
"You okay?" the waitress pulled him up by the arm, worry on her face. Ven grinned a little, half laughing from being awed.
"Yeah. You got a good arm there." he grinned, and the waitress sighed in relief, before placing her hands on her hips.
"No good just staying back there and doing nothing. Though that was fast of you too, um...?" she snapped her fingers in his direction, and Ven wiped flour from his eyes.
"Ventus. You can call me Ven." he gave her a floury grin, and the waitress whipped off her apron, using it to wipe his face.
"I'm Tiana. Sorry about this... let's get you cleaned up. And then I'll get you your beignets." she added as an after thought, leading him out of the kitchen and into the main restaurant by the shoulders.
Just as the main door opened right into his face as they were passing it.
"TIA! OH TIA, TIA, TIA!"
"Oh, you okay, honey? I didn't mean to hit you like that." Charlotte crooned, looking at the blonde boy covered in flour and holding an ice pack on his nose lying on one of the restaurant's booths.
"'m fine." Ven mumbled, feeling his head starting to slowly stop spinning. He sat up, blearily looking at the rich girl and her father's worried faces from across the booth. Charlotte sighed in relief, waving a hand in his direction.
"Oh good. I'm so sorry, really. But I just had to run over and tell Tia the news right after I heard it!"
"What news?" Tiana approached them, setting down the plate of beignets in front of Ven with a small smile. Just as he was about to pay, Charlotte cut him off, stuffing one of the beignets in his mouth.
"It's okay, honey, I'm paying for you. AS I WAS SAYING." she resumed happily, ignoring the fact that Ven almost choked on it (never mind that it was probably the best pastry he had ever tasted in his whole life) "PRINCE Naveen of Maldonia is coming to town!"
Ven forced himself to swallow the beignet, eyes watering from the pain, but immediately felt relaxed after it stopped blocking his esophagus. And then proceeding to eat the rest in a slow, steady pace, quietly listening on the conversation. Charlotte seemed the type that can't stay still for one moment, standing up and attaching herself to Tiana as she talked.
From what he could gather in between savoring the mouthfuls he was having, Charlotte's squeals and the sound of plates as Tiana worked on, Charlotte was having a party that night and inviting the prince. After staying quiet for a while, he swallowed.
"I don't think it's that impossible to marry a prince." he thought back to Cinderella and Snow White, adding his two cents in. From what he gathered of Tiana's personality, she wasn't one to believe in fairy tales. As Tiana set down another plate of beignets for him, Charlotte latched on to him, jumping up and down.
"See? See? Even Ven-ny here agrees with me! I'm gonna need to put out all stops just to get him to like me!" Ven choked again, trying to get out of the death hug, and inhaling for air when he's released. Man, that girl is vicious. "What do you think I should do, sugar?"
Ven glanced at the beignet he was eating, before grinning up at Tiana.
"Well, all boys like good food. How about feeding him some of these? These are great!"
The scream from Charlotte that followed sent his ears bleeding.
"That's GENIUS! You're a genius, Ven!" Lottie dug around her father's pockets for cash, pushing them into a startled Tiana's hands.
"I'm gonna be needing five-hundred of your man-catching beignets. Will this cover it?"
The expression on Tiana's face was genuine happiness. "T-this should cover it just fine."
"Well, that settles it. Come on, daddy! We still got some preparin' to do! Bye, Tia! Bye, Ven!" and with a last death hug on the young apprentice, Charlotte ran out of the restaurant, dragging her father with her. Ven stared as the car left, munching on his beignet.
"She's quite the character, huh? But that's Lottie for you." Tiana smiled, cleaning up Big daddy's plates, along with the plate of a guy on a tall hat who just left. "Sorry for getting you caught up in all of this."
"Nah, it's fine. I like making friends. But I want to ask you something. Is it normal for Unversed like that to pop up around here?" he asked, remembering what he was supposed to be doing. Tiana frowned, juggling trays and plates.
"Noooo. Is that what they are? For a minute, I thought it looked like something the shadow man would conjure up."
Tiana wiped her hands on her apron, handing a tissue to a kid cleaner than Ven is right now.
"He's a Voodoo specialist. Might wanna keep out of his way if you know what's good for you."
"Magic. Most people think they can take the easy way out by going to him, but it ain't worth it. The only way to make it in this world is through hard work." Tiana continued with a serious expression, piling up plates expertly. Ven nodded solemnly, realizing she has a point, before glancing down at his plate and finding it empty already. Oops.
"... wow, I finished two plates?"
Tiana laughed, setting the plates aside. "Three, actually. Want more?"
"Actually..." Ven slowly smiled, digging his pockets for more munny. Terra and Aqua need to try these. "Can you have three bags for take out? I want to give some to my friends."
"Sure thing, Ven."
Ven grinned, starting to clean himself up with napkins as he watched the musicians playing as they passed the window.
New Orleans was definitely interesting.