thebratqueen: Captain Marvel (NOLA)
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Lagniappe
By: The Brat Queen

Fandom: Heroes
Characters: Monica, Nathan/Peter
Warnings: Hi, did you SEE the pairing?
Spoilers: Takes place in a vague time sometime in and around s2
Rating: G
Wordcount: ~1086

Notes: For the Day 59 prompt at [livejournal.com profile] theyreitalian, Bourbon Street.

Summary:
It was the early part of the season. A time when the whole family could gather on the sidewalks and neutral ground, set up chairs and a barbecue, and make a game of who could catch the most beads.

***


The French Quarter was still in the cool quiet that came before the sun fully rose. It was the transition between the night time Bourbon Street crowds and the daytime jazzbrunchers . Folks who actually lived and worked in the Quarter came out, hosed off sidewalks, opened their restaurants and shops, and readied for the day.

It was a good time to be in the Quarter if you were a local and wanted to go shopping. Which Monica did, as she was on a mission. It wasMardi Gras season. Specifically it was Micah's first Mardi Gras season. Monica wanted to show him what it was like. Real Mardi Gras . Local-style. None of the drunken chaos that came when the town filled with college students and others who confused the holiday for an excuse to make fools of themselves, treat the city like a public toilet, turn the streets so sticky that walking through the Quarter - when you could manage to walk through the wall of people inside the Quarter - was like peeling your way through a movie theater floor, and treat any woman within view any way that they cared to all with the rallying cry of "Lighten up! It'sMardi Gras!"

Of course that wasn't all of the holiday. And there were fewer tourists who came, now. It made the festivities more sane, but the money was gone right along with the tourists who brought it. Time was that a person who planned well could earn enough during Mardi Gras to make the rest of the year pretty comfortable. Not that Monica had been one of them, but she knew of some who had.

But New Orleans would rise again. Limping, shuddering, achingly slowly in a way that threatened even Monica's innate optimism. But Monica loved her city and believed in her city and would fix it with her bare hands if she had to.

Monica wanted Micah to know this. She didn't know why, but she felt as though if Micah believed in it the way he believed in her then they'd be on the right track. Maybe because she could picture Micah cheering the city on the way he cheered her on. After all, Monica could personally attest that stranger things had happened.

It was the early part of the season. A time when the whole family could gather on the sidewalks and neutral ground, set up chairs and a barbecue , and make a game of who could catch the most beads. Pegasus was still running, and Monica wanted to be sure that Micah saw that one as his introduction to what the parades could be like. It wasn't as famous as some, but it was small and fun and for a first time parade it was just right.

Later on would be the bigger parades, and the Indians, and if Micah was lucky maybe even a coconut. But he should do it up right, which was why Monica was on this secret shopping trip for him. She'd saved up some of her money and wanted to get him a mask. Something nice, something that would last. Which meant hitting one of the artists who had a shop in the downtown part of the Quarter.

Afterwards Monica couldn't say what had made her notice the two men. They were across the street, tucked into an alcove that lead towards a courtyard with a fountain and bright pink flowers that Monica couldn't name. The men were handsome, and close to one another, and in the middle of what wasn't a fight but couldn't be called a conversation either.

"It's okay," one of them - the one with shorter hair - was saying. "Nobody knows us here. It doesn't matter."

"It matters, Peter," the other one said. He had the kinds of lines around his mouth and eyes that suggested he didn't want to be the one saying what he was saying. "People might not know but they'll see."

"Fine, Nathan," Peter said. His eyes were flashing with anger and determination. "It doesn't matter to me. Let people see. Let everyone see. I almost lost you and I am so over giving a damn about everyone else."

If Monica had any doubts about the nature of the argument at that point, they were cleared up when Peter reached for Nathan's hand. Nathan backed away, not making eye contact, and Peter's face fell with disappointment.

"It's all right."

Surprise was shared by three people as Peter, Nathan, and Monica realized at the same time that Monica had just spoken out loud.

Monica had no idea why she had. She didn't know these men. What they did was none of her business. But she was so tired of hope being squashed down. She wasn't a huge fan of the mental images of what these two might do when they were together - and Lord if there were some actions her muscles couldn't pick up Monica hoped that these were on the list - but, dang it all, it looked like maybe they could be happy. And folks deserved to be happy, and not have to be so terrified that they couldn't even hold hands with someone they cared about.

"It's New Orleans," Monica said, deciding she may as well take the plunge. After all, it wasn't like they knew her either. "Nobody minds. Well, some do but it's not everybody. Plenty of folks here do what you do. Heck, stay in town long enough and y'all will see your own parade. It's the dog parade, but you guys run it. Or guys like you."

"Thank you, miss," Nathan said. He had the kind of demeanor that suggested he was used to dismissing people with a few words.

Monica kept going. "I'm not saying it's easy. I don't know what y'all have to deal with back home. But around here we've dealt with just about everything and then some. There's worse things in the world, is what I'm saying."

"Did you lose anyone?" Peter asked. "In Katrina?"

"Lost a lot of folks I've cared about," Monica replied. "Katrina, violence - you name it. Makes you realize all you can do is hang on while you can."

Nathan wasn't looking at either of them. However Monica could see him reach out and quietly take Peter's hand.

"Thanks," Peter told her, speaking with the sincerity that Nathan had lacked earlier.

"Happy Mardi Gras," Monica replied, and went on her way.
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