Summary: Mystical forces send Jaye to The Pie Hole.
Fandom: Wonderfalls/Pushing Daisies
Spoilers and/or Warnings: general spoilers for both series
Title, Author and URL of original story: Mistaken Identity by storydivagirl
Thanks: to scoured and prozacpark for betaing.
It had been seven months, six weeks and eighteen days since Jaye Tyler had last indulged in pie. Of course, she hadn't considered it an indulgence at the time, sitting at the table with her mother, father, Sharon and Aaron, wishing she'd had the foresight to go with her gut as usual and spend the evening curled on a bar stool, downing free kamikazes care of the one person in Niagara Falls she might--if sufficiently soused--call her own.
And like that night, tonight Jaye also hadn't gone with her instinct, but listened to the little voice at her side, her near constant companion in life since the fateful moment months ago when she was first chosen, or chanced upon, or... something.
So, of course, Jaye Tyler wasn't in Niagara Falls. She was at present driving through a little town called Couer d'Couers, accompanied by her friend, the Wax Lion.
"You're not my friend," Jaye snapped, glaring at the orange beast with a smooshy face, reaching forward to turn up the radio and tune him out.
The lion simply smiled, or winked, perhaps, and queried, "Lemon merengue?" Jaye wasn't counting, but this was roughly the fourteenth flavor suggestion the lion had come up with since his initial cry of "A piemaker! A piemaker!" had whipped the young protagonist into action.
"I've never liked pie," Jaye insisted, having long ago realized that the benefits of holding conversations with the inanimate animals who advised her misadventures far outweighed the trouble. "And I can't think, by any stretch of imagination, how this is going to help anybody, me eating some pie."
The Wax Lion made himself comfortable on the dash, as they had a way to go before reaching the proper destination. He stewed for a moment, and said "Berry, with cream?"
Jaye simply laid on the gas.
A chime in the doorway. And she thought Wonderfalls was bad.
"Welcome, welcome," came a high-pitched voice from behind the counter, and Jaye narrowed an eye at the speaker: a petite blonde with way too much cleavage to be according to food service code. "I don't suppose you've been to The Pie Hole before, you look positively flummoxed!"
"Flummoxed. Right." Jaye finished stepping through the glass door, jingling the chime again, and walked towards the counter. The restaurant wasn't full by any means; a few patrons in booths, scattered here and there. Okay, so maybe it would make a difference, buying a slice.
"Have a seat and take your time with a menu, then, sweetie," the woman said, and shrugging, Jaye complied, setting Wax Lion on the counter, daring him to speak. She was sure he'd have suggestions.
After a moment, the woman was still watching and Jaye had no idea what to order. She glanced up. "Nice lion you got there," the waitress said, grinning. "I'm Olive."
Jaye frowned. "Not so nice if you ask me." She glared at him. Go ahead.
"Well, alright." Olive shrugged. She tapped a finger on a cutesy chalkboard menu with the specials on it. "Ch--er, the piemaker's assistant made a nice little Cinnamon & Chinese Pear number you might want to try out. Special today. If nothing else catches your eye." Her voice now had an edge to it. Apparently, she didn't like being disagreed with.
Jaye sighed, fingering the sleeves of her jacket. Could she be here just to keep a seat warm?
"Compliments of the chef," the lion said, stretching his legs.
"Compliments of the--" Jaye sighed. Alright. Go with it. "Olive, I. Appreciate your help, but I'd love to.... Get a personal recommendation from the chef?" Wax Lion could have had the decency to nod, but he didn't, just sat. Like the stupid, smooshy-faced lion he was.
Olive frowned. "I see." She turned around with a flounce of her short hair, not hiding the fact that she was obviously ticked off. "Ned! A customer has an issue she needs resolved." And with that, she disappeared into the back room, leaving Jaye to eye the Wax Lion, wondering if she was doing the right thing.
And Ned stepped forth, swiping flour from his hands, smiling. Jaye frowned immediately.
"Aaron?" Not funny, Lion. Definitely not funny.
He quirked an eyebrow. "No, Ned. The piemaker." He placed his hands on the counter and stared her in the eye. "Olive says you have an issue."
The lion looked intrigued, crossing his front paws jauntily. Jaye swore to run him back through the wax machine when she got back to Niagara. "I have a lot of them, actually. Starting with the fact that you're Aaron, and I don't like you pulling my leg, so just. Stop." She may have pouted. Okay, she did.
Ned-Aaron smiled. "Definitely not Aaron. And definitely not pulling your leg." He poured her a glass of water, letting a few ice cubes drop in, the sound of them clinking against the glass loud in the silence. "I can get you some pie though, if you want."
Jaye looked up, wondering if it was possible. "Not Aaron?"
The piemaker laughed. "Not Aaron."
"You're way nicer." She felt the tiniest of smiles peeking through, and then stifled it with a glare to the Wax Lion. Pointless.
Ned-Aaron-Ned smiled at her again. Her brother's smile. Ugh.
Jaye's stomach growled. "Oh. Pie! I guess that's what I came here for." She eyed the lion, who was back to not giving her the time of day. "Which is why I needed to talk to you in the first place, because I can't decide what to order." She gestured to the menu. "All these great flavors, and all."
"You look like a girl who could use a slice of pumpkin pie," he said, not at all condescendingly.
Jaye blinked. "I do?"
Ned smiled--for it was surely Ned, Aaron would never attempt this. "Have you ever experienced a truly transformative piece of pie?" He turned to the pie shelf and pulled out a sumptuous-looking pumpkin.
"Safe to say that I haven't. Pie's more of a... family thing, and well." Jaye raised her eyebrows, indicating herself and... herself.
Ned thought a moment, taking his time plating a generous slice. "You're alone?" he asked, reaching for a can of whipped cream, asking her with his expression if she wanted any.
"Please. And, not... exactly. Just the ugly duckling, in a way."
He presented the pie to her with a flourish, adding a fork in his other hand. "This may sound odd, but I figure I have a bit of license here, as you did insist that I was Aaron." He waited for Jaye to take a bite, so she did, and golly. He smiled, again.
"This place, the pies... even Olive, have become my family. You have to make your own, choose it."
Jaye took another bite and spoke around it. "I like that, Ned-the-piemaker-who-looks-like-Aaron." Almost as much as she liked the pie.
Ned offered her a napkin. "Who is this Aaron, anyway?" He reached aside and flicked on a radio, adjusting it with a bit of static. A smooth jazzy song was wrapping up its final notes with slow flourish.
"My brother. He'd probably have something to add here about how, you know, in some ancient culture, pie was considered part of religion. Blah, blah, blah." She took on an affected voice, "Crust is a form of deity!"
"Murder!" The Lion interrupted her, mid-imitation.
"Murder?" she hissed at his plasticy form, scrunching up her forehead angrily. She was not going to kill anyone for the Powers that Weren't. There were... lines.
"Murder?" the piemaker echoed, his pie server clattering onto the counter.
"Murder!" Olive chirped from the back room, and in a flurry, was again among them, poking her head around a door. "Did someone say murder?" Her eyes glinted and Jaye was almost (almost) scared.
The radio crackled. "Up next, another hour of cool jazzy favorites, but now a news alert from Niagara Falls--"
Jaye had never been good at improvisation. Acting for Beginners was one of the highest ranked mistakes of her life, up with not changing her name, and staying in town when she looked at trailer parks.
"Murder. Yes," she scrambled.
"Unsolved murder at the falls!" the radio continued. Jaye sighed. She could take direction. She could do that.
"He's hardly our friend, Olive," Ned interrupted her.
"--Emerson is a detective! You should hire us." Olive must have been standing on her tippy-toes, for she was a good four inches taller than she had been moments before.
"Hire... you?" Jaye blinked. "To solve the murder."
"I shot the sheriff..." sang the Lion, helpfully.
A woman's voice came on the radio, sounding frail and concerned, "I didn't see who did it, but--"
"The murder in Niagara Falls. That you should come solve."
Ned frowned. "Why didn't you say anything earlier?"
"I had to be sure that you were... that I could trust you."
"And that I wasn't your brother?"
"But I swear it was in self-defense!" continued the Lion, really getting into the song.
Jaye gave up. Again. "And that you weren't my brother."
"Who's got a brother?" Olive asked, not waiting for a reply. "I'll get Emerson! We've got a case!"