Simple does not mean safe


This area, in the northwest section of the city, is characterized by a large number of Korean-owned businesses, serving a primarily Korean community, despite signs that simply label this as the "Asian Trade District". The streets are clean, the storefronts barely containing any English to them at all. Several of the more prominent businesses in the area do have English signs, but they are always below those that name the establishment in Korean. Restaurants, cafes, noraebang bars, grocery stores, and gift stores are among the shops found here.

Night falls over the city of Dallas. That is when the nightlife begins, and while the streets aren't crowded, there are a goodly number of people wandering. It's the weekend, and more to the point, Memorial Day. This is the beginning of the tourist season, and the shopkeepers are more than aware.
Barkers call their wares, food trucks are pushed along, and gift shops have their doors open to traffic, encouraging the shopper in.
New to the city, Marius has taken it upon himself to learn the streets, to watch the crowds, and to discover that which may be of use to him while carrying out his duties to his current master and friend. He doesn't bother moving out of the way as people pass shoulder to shoulder, and more often than not, he is the immovable object against which breathers bounce off.
It is before a particularly tacky-looking antique shop that Marius stops his path, ice-blue eyes staring at the window to study that which lies within. Tables, chairs, knick-knacks..

Some people may use Memorial Day as an excuse to party with friends, and others enjoy cruising the inevitable sales. Todd, for his part, seems to be one of the latter, as he wanders alone down the street, with a couple of shopping bags over his arm.
He passes a stand where an asian woman is selling particularly odd-looking food items that could be desserts. Maybe. Todd looks them over, but gives a polite smile and wanders away when the woman fails to speak in a language that he can understand.
Todd continues wandering down the street, giving that same polite and slightly puzzled smile to the passersby, and eventually passes the antique shop. He stops for a moment, glancing through the window. His smile grows into a little grin, and he comments, "Wow. You gotta wonder how they even sell some of this stuff…"

Marius had some hope for something vaguely familiar in an asian shop; after all, wouldn't they have a different concept of 'antique' than most others? What is needed, really, is a shop run by vampires— there should be, right?
His gaze doesn't shift from the window display as he hears the child speak.. to him? "Trash. All of it. Pathetic and laughable. Someone will buy it, however."
Now, the veteran turns as if to leave, but as he turns, he stops.. and freezes, nothing moving if only for a second as he eye catches hold of something in the middle distance. Whatever it is, however, only holds is attention for a heartbeat, and animation returns to the vampire. "If you wish something of value, you will not find it here."

Todd's gaze remains trained on the antiques for a moment, then he glances up with a little grin. "It /is/ pretty funny-looking," he agrees, cheerfully. He watches Marius as he turns to go and stops, causing Todd to tilt his head in a quizzical expression. He follows Marius' gaze, trying to figure out what he was looking at, but then dismisses it just as easily with a shrug.
"It's okay," he responds, in regards to the furniture. "I probably don't need any furniture. I would like some dinner, but I'm not quite sure where the grocery store is." He glances around, with a rueful grin, and comments, "I seem to have forgotten how to read."

Finally, Marius looks at the mortal, and his head cants as he studies him. Simplicity.. a child touched by the divine, or perhaps an imbalance of humours. Regardless, buried deeply in historical precedent, the veteran gives the mortal a little space. "Dinner?"
Twisting around at the various signs on the doors, most of the writing is in some flavour of asian, whether it is Korean or Chinese. "No.. unless you can read Chinese," it's all Chinese to him, "then I would say that you have forgotten nothing."

Todd looks around with some surprise as Marius explains the odd writing. "Oh! Well, I guess I don't know how to read Chinese. That's a relief," he says, with a little laugh. If he notices Marius giving him space, he doesn't show it, but just keeps the same friendly smile. "But yeah, dinner would be nice. I'm /starved/. I can't possibly have eaten yet. Do you know where the grocery store is?" he asks.

"Grocery store." Marius takes a moment to look around, but he doesn't read chinese either. The pictures that accompany some of the odd lettering gives him a little more of a clue as to what is sold or traded within, but..
"I do not believe there is a market that sells food on this block. Further along the street, however, you will find a stal that sells fruit, vegetables from the fields and some cooked meat. Perhaps that will suit you?"
There's something about the child, however, that keeps calling his attention back. A touch, perhaps.. but as for knowing exactly what it is that bothers him? He's a soldier, not one that goes for the more subtle of touches, and so doesn't really recognize what could be right before him. "Have you caretakers?"

Todd looks down the street, perhaps attempting to catch a glimpse of the stall that Marius is talking about. He considers this, then nods decisively. "That should work. I'm sure I like one of those things. Hold on a second," he requests, and reaches into his shirt pocket to pull out a small notebook and pen. He starts making notes on the paper, though he glances up from it to blink at Marius and his question.
"Caretakers?" He puzzles over that for a second, with a confused little smile. "Maybe. I mean… I had a mom. I think. She's not here now, so I can't imagine where she'd be." He stops writing halfway through a sentence, and starts flipping back pages in search of the answer to Marius' question.

"Yes, caretakers. Those that are responsible for your safety." In the past, it was the village that would care, but Marius is more than aware how things have changed in that regard. Now, there are homes, those that are assigned to take care of those touched, and it is of this he inquires.
A brief check is given to determine that there are none frantically searching for this child, and so, there's that moment where he can choose— does he end this simple man's existance as a blessing, or allow him to continue on his meagre existance.
"This book has your information?"

The notebook is flipped through, even as Todd answers Marius' question. "Well, everything is written down /somewhere/. It might as well be here," he comments, cheerfully.
Todd is wearing a medical bracelet, but Marius may not realize that this is significant. However, Todd reaches the first place and gives a bright smile. "Here it is! I live at a place called Hope House. There's an address and a phone number." He turns the book so that Marius can see it. The name 'Todd Landers' is also written at the top of the page.

"Hope House." Pithy. Unfortunately, undoubtedly inventory is taken, so if this child does not return home, there will be questions raised. It's been a long time, though, since Marius has Hunted within the area limits in which he resides, and there is no reason to begin now. Particularly now.
"I would advise that you find your meal and return home, mein kind. When you return, find your rest."
Nagging in the back of the veteran's head, there is something there, but it has been so long since he's had to deal with a child in the body of an adult. And afflictions of chattel? Unless a true disease is present, there is no harm that would come to the vampire should a meal be made, certainly, but a touch..
Marius studies the man before him, and steps in, his voice lowers such that it's almost a whisper, "Do you know what occurs around you without that book?"

Todd blinks and gives an uncertain smile at Marius' advice. "Oh. Yes, I /am/ starving…" He glances down at his book, and starts flipping through the pages again. "Would you happen to know where a grocery store is?"
Before he can reach his half-finished note from before, Marius asks his question. He glances up, slightly startled, and in an unconsciously defensive gesture, he holds the notebook a little closer to his chest. He looks around, uncomfortably, then smiles again, though this time it's awkward and embarrassed. "Well. Between you and me… I don't really remember," he admits.

"Down the street," is repeated by the vampire. "Fruit. Vegetables. Meat."
Marius narrows his eyes and looks back at the notebook as breather holds it to his chest. "You do not remember." Inclining his head in a single nod, the type of affliction is noted. Not a student of human frailties anymore, Marius is certain of one thing. This one will be taken, but later. This 'Todd' is touched, yes.. but he's pretty sure that it has nothing to do with an imbalance, but rather, simply.. a simpleton.
All's fair.
"That is a grace, Todd Landers. Remembering is a curse. To live in the moment is a touch of grace." For this mortal, anyway…

Todd reaches his half-finished thought in the notebook, and smiles slightly, seemingly amused by it. "Right. I knew that," he comments, as he writes the rest of the information in the notebook.
The man glances up, looking puzzled by that. "You really think so?" He looks around, watching the few people still bustling about the streets to one Memorial Day celebration or another, and finally he comments, just a bit wistfully, "I don't know. I think…remembering your friends would probably be a nice thing. And family. And home…"
Todd grows silent and contemplative for a few moments, then suddenly looks up with an unconcerned smile. "Sorry, what were we talking about?"

Hope House.
Marius will have to remember that.
"We were discussing your dinner." Gesturing before him with a sweep of his hand, his head nods in the same direction. "Meat. Fruit. Vegetables. Soon enough, there will be fruit on the trees from your homeland here, but that which was on the cart smelled fresh enough that one such as yourself would enjoy it."
As for his part? Marius commits the address of the haven for those.. touched.. and will visit it at a later date.
Time.. all the time in the world.
"I haven't the time, however, to lead you there. There are things that call for my attention."
Another indication for the direction in which the child is to take before he turns to face another, "Eat your fill and return to your home." With that brief instruction, the vampire returns to his evening.. and discovery of the city that lies before him.

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