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Summary: Seth has late holiday shopping to do. Moxie is dragged along because she is untrustworthy and a child and Seth likes making other people miserable.

Date It Happened: December 24, 2001.


Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market is known as the largest, most comprehensive open-air market in Los Angeles, and for good reason. It's filled with history and people, merchants of every variety, and just about anything one could hope to buy. The smells of exotic dishes waft in from the Market Court — one of the best places to sit down and enjoy excellent dishes from all sorts of cultures and locales — mixing with the aromas of fresh produce and quality meats from the other stalls. Stalls themselves are constructed of high-quality and sterile steel, yet are unique enough in and of themselves that one would not really say they are made the same. The market is protected overhead by the other floors of the Homer Laughlin Building, the ground floor of which it occupies in full. Nearby is the Angels Flight Railway, which services the businesses and upper-class residences of Bunker Hill.

It's a teenager's worst nightmare: being dragged out by a parent or guardian on Christmas eve to do some last-minute shopping in the heart of the city. Though the evening is quite chilly as far as Los Angeles standards go, the weather is not going to stop Seth Ward. Why? Because he forgot to get a present for his dear old mama back in Salem, for shame. He's hustled Moxie out with him for the sole purpose of providing amusement during the late little adventure, and is currently guiding her through the Market with a hand on her shoulder just in case she attempts to do some weird teenagery disappearing act. "You're female, presumably. What do women like?" So maybe he's also after gift advice.

Moxie is certainly a master of the teenage sulk, glowering out at the world from behind that thick lock of hair that falls in front of her eye. Really, though, on a scale of one to Moxie, she's not all /that/ pissed off at the world right now, which is why she allows herself to be guided through the Market instead of telling Seth where to shove his cane sideways. "What do you mean, presumably? Do I /look/ like a boy?" Maybe she'll have to start wearing even shorter and tighter skirts to make her gender clear? More eye makeup? She heaves a world weary sigh, glancing around the booths as she tries to think. "Well, what sort of thing is she into?"

"Jesus. Bibles. Crosses. More Jesus. She doesn't have a wide range of interests." Seth is not shoving his cane anywhere, sideways or not. It's for walking with. "As for you, I'm not sure people your age actually have a gender. You're all so… flighty. Practically asexual, when you're not drooling over bare-chested pansies with hair that most women would kill for." Obviously Seth is huge into the Christmas spirit. He sends a sneer across most of the market stands that come within his range of sight, finding most things unsuitable without even so much as stepping closer for a better look. "Women like dishes, don't they?"

"Sounds like a fascinating woman," Moxie replies, rolling her eyes as she gives a disdainful look around. "And you've never seen me drooling over /anyone/," she goes on defensively. Which isn't to say that she /doesn't/ drool, but she knows well enough not to do it where he's going to catch it. Besides, she's totally into the bad boys, of course. When he mentions dishes, she wrinkles her lip, giving a very unconvincing, "I guess…? I mean, they're … dishes. Not exactly exciting. 'Here's something to put food on. Merry Christmas.'" She mimes handing over a dish as she says this with faux enthusiasm.

Harrumph. Seth glances down towards Moxie with a less than thrilled expression. This is most certainly because she is a little upstart without any tact. He squeezes her shoulder a little tighter for a moment and then snorts. "Fine, no dishes. I suppose I could just get her some jewelry or something and call it a night." It's most definitely an afterthought, but the warlock pauses and then adds: "Do you want anything?"

Moxie makes a bit of a face as her shoulder is squeezed, but leaves it at that. "Get her something diamond or gold. Then if she doesn't like it, she can hock it," the teen points out with the sage wisdom of someone from the slums. His question actually catches her a little off-guard. "Uhhh… I don't know. Like what?" Which would probably be a question for her more than him, but she just really has no idea.

"I have no idea. What do crazy tasteless kids want for Christmas? Other than Orlando Bloom." Seth isn't buying that Moxie doesn't drool, even if he's never seen her do it. She's a Girl, and girls Do That - especially since Lord Of The Rings came out a few mere days ago. The warlock gestures around and frowns again, indicating some more colorful tables. "Go forth and be materialistic, unlike my mother, who doesn't hock anything."

"Hey, I've got taste. Just because I talk to /you/…" Moxie mutters, though she's still a little too surprised by the offer to really sell it. She squints up at him from behind that hair of hers, trying to figure out this offer. Or maybe how it is someone can get through life without hocking anything. No, definitely the former. "Seriously? Is this some sort of trick?" Suspicions aside, she seems intrigued and can't a quick glance around their location. It's been quite awhile since she's had anything new, let alone anything nice. Stolen property aside, anyway.

A sidelong glance is directed Moxie's way, and Seth drops his hand from her shoulder to give her a gentle push in the center of her back. "Yeah, seriously. Unless you'd rather not have something, in which case I'll save my money. It's Christmas though, right? So why not." There were many Christmases of awesome when the warlock was young. He's allowed to remember them! He tucks his free hand away into his jacket pocket, making ready to follow after wherever Moxie might happen to go.

"No, I want something," Moxie is quick to assert, brushing her hair aside for a moment because, well, she needs to be able to see the goods being vended here. A little more awkwardly, she adds, "I mean, uh, thanks." Not one to get into the whole sappy business, she starts off in a random direction before it can become A Thing, strolling through the crowds at a pace consciously chosen to make it easy for him to keep up. Because he will be required for the paying part of the purchase, that's all! "I'd sort of forgot about Christmas," she goes on with a shrug, busy looking down at some baubles laid out on a table.

Seth ambles along after Moxie, silently grateful that she hasn't gone dashing off like a Ritalin junkie. "Christmas is something I never forget about. My mother won't let me." It's almost like a joke! Except it might be that Seth gets off on mentioning parents. Regardless, he's now resolved to get Moxie a present of some sort and he's not intending to go back on it.

"Yeah, well," is all Moxie can think to reply in mutter to that little comment about his mother, since she's not exactly inclined to point out that hers is in no condition to remind her about the holidays. Her mood sags slightly but then she is getting something bought for her, so it's nothing more than a momentary dip before she spots a table that might have cool stuff and veers off that way. "Just don't get her dishes then," she finally comes up with to finish that thought, since it's a safe topic. "Your mom's big into the religion thing, huh?"

"About as Catholic as you can get without being the Pope." Seth catches up with Moxie at the the sparkly table she has chosen to head for, almost immediately resting his side against it to take his weight off of his leg. The eyeballing he gets from the guy who's manning the table is completely ignored. "Are you even Christian? I don't know. Whatever, it doesn't matter."

"I guess? I don't know. I was never really anything," Moxie replies with an indifferent shrug as she leans over to examine some of the costume jewellery. To her, it's expensive! "The neighbour-lady took me and my sister to her church once when she was baby-sitting us, but it was pretty creepy." Not so creepy that she's horribly bothered by it though, clearly, for all that the shiny baubles distract her.

"Christianity's just the world's most popular cult; Christmas is only good for the loot. And for the business it brings." The second sentence is added as a happy afterthought, because Seth always loves the opportunity to get hip deep in more curses. He takes a moment to send a disdainful look down at the table's contents, and after a moment he just ends up frowning at Moxie. "If you want jewelry, Julie, I'll get you something actually worth looking at."

"Yeah right. I bet you were like a choirboy or something, weren't you," Moxie replies with a smirk, giving him a sidelong look. "But yeah, I mean we - we did the tree and stuff, so I guess we were?" As he comments on the quality of the wares, she frowns down at the several similar rings adorning her fingers. But then she's faced with a decision: she can be insulted or she can get some good stuff. "Yeah, okay," she agrees with a shrug, dropping the plastic bracelet she was looking at.

That choirboy barb might not be that far off the mark, judging by the sudden flush in Seth's face. Regardless - it was a long time ago and he is well rid of that life. As far as Moxie's taste in pretty things goes, Seth is willing to tolerate it only if it's actually of quality. Despite this he grins, digging into his pocket. A pair of twenties are produced and then held out to Moxie between two fingers, hovering at the girl's stomach-level. "Get what you want from here. I'll see about an actual present later."

Moxie doesn't fail to notice the flush of course, and looks pretty self-satisfied for managing to get under /his/ skin for once. Turnabout is fair play! Not that either of them worry about such petty things as fairness, but still. Her eyebrows go up a little as he holds out the money, but she wastes no time in plucking it from between those two fingers, curling it up protectively in a little fist. "Cool," she says simply, but with a grin that cannot be denied. "I think I like this Christmas thing." Something occurs to her then and her brow furrows with thought. "Should I … Should I get you something?" she asks, seeking guidance in this unusual situation. "I mean, that's a stupid question, but, well … should I?"

"You can get me something if you want, Julie, but you don't have to." Good. Good. Yes. A change of topic is always a good thing when embarrassing past events are concerned. Seth returns his hand to his pocket once the money is taken, setting his cane across his raised knee. "What do you like to eat, anyway? If you're in the mood for something specific we can have a Christmas dinner tomorrow." Old habits are hard to break, and twenty-odd years of observing cultish tradition have left their mark.

Moxie looks thoughtful at his response and then nods, neither confirming nor denying that's what she'll do. Quite possibly even she doesn't know, but she will when she gets there. "I dunno, food?" she replies with a shrug, not sarcastic so much as just utterly unhelpful. "Don't people usually have, like, turkey or ham or something?" she goes on, trying to be at least a little more useful in her contribution. "But dinner would be good, I think, yeah. At least then I can prove I eat, right?" she adds with a little grin, shaking her head and picking up another item from the table to give it a closer look.

It doesn't bother Seth that he's getting no real response from Moxie to speak of, since he's putting it all down to the weirdness of teenagers. He's heard about their type. They're just plain evil. "My mother used to make ham. I can pick one up tomorrow - sounds good to me. And you'd better eat if you want to keep living, 'cause I'm not going to be paying any sort of hospital bills if you start withering away into an anorexic twig."

"Oh my God, I'm not anorexic, okay?" Moxie replies with a roll of her eyes. "I'm just /skinny/." And sometimes had to decide between food and rent, typical teenage stuff! "I mean, this is LA. You're /supposed/ to be skinny here." Not that she has any desire to be in the biz, but it makes her point she hopes. "Ham is good, sure. So how come you don't go see your mom for Christmas? Isn't that what people do? Go home for the holidays?" She finally decides on a couple of bracelets and a ring, a step above the stuff she has on, but not exactly what anyone would call fine jewellery.

Seth doesn't answer for a moment, simply frowning down at his cane. "If my mother wants to see me she can come to California. I'm not really welcome back in Massachusetts. It's a long and painful story, and you're not going to be hearing it until you're at least twenty." Assuming Moxie is going to be sticking around in the long-term. "How about you? No extended family? Cousins? Aunts or uncles?"

Now that gets a curious look from the girl. "What happened?" Moxie asks, despite the fact that he's just said he isn't going to tell her. Selective hearing is another one of those teenager things. Wait until he tells her to clean up her room. When he asks about her family, she shrugs her shoulder, handing over the cash to pay for her selections before replying. "Guess there must be some out there somewhere, but they were never around. Besides, I've been ditched by enough family." Now she's his problem!

"At least twenty." It bears repeating, since Moxie seems to be hard of hearing. Seth isn't going to be spilling the beans any time soon, that's for sure. "I guess you and I are stuck with each other. Let's head back home. I'm sure there's some tooth-rotting Christmas movie marathon taking place that we'd be terrible to miss." He slides off of the table and straightens up his stance, cane clacking down against the pavement.

Moxie sighs and rolls her eyes, because he's being so silly. "Like I haven't heard worse already," she points out deadpan, taking her bag and her change and then stepping back a little from the table. "You really get into this whole holiday thing," she observes, but it's not sarcastic for once. Hey, it got her some stuff, so it's working out just fine for her! "Yeah, okay. As long as the movies are in colour. I don't want to watch that lame black and white one with the three ghosts."

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