Timeline: Sometime after the instance "Elementary, Watson-Chan".
Eddie: Exhaling a somewhat dissatisfied sigh, Eddie rubbed his eyes with a hand, the other in his pocket as he wandered over the grounds of the cordened off crime-scene area again. The back of his brain felt like it was itching - so sure he was of missing something plain as day amongst the clues.
Eddie: He approached the marked ground where the body was previously: the dark stains on the soil from where the blood had seeped in still indicating it clearly alongside the white spraypaint. He knelt down, recalling the scene from the night it was found, playing it over and over as if something key was missing.
Eddie: 'Cannibals....group perhaps...traps on school grounds...inside agents? Secret agenda of Xaviers? Hhhahahaa, the X-Force has come back. They've come back to get you! To make you all suffer. IT'S ALL A TRICK. FIND THEM. THEY WILL KILL YOU A-'
Eddie: "Goddamnit, sparky!", Eddie hissed, squeezing his eyes shut and slapping his head, "Shut up, you have no idea that's true. Shut up!"
Cassie: "I didn't even say anything yet." The raven-haired figure perched on one of the thicker branches, the black coat helping to make her slender figure blend into the shadows cast by the tree tops. "I've heard that the culprits are often drawn back to the scene of their crimes. I wonder, what does that say about the two of us?"
Cassie: Cassandra smiled down at Eddie. She was crouched down, arms wrapped around her bent knees. "At least in my case, I can claim that I haven't tasted any human flesh recently. Now, I don't know about you, of course."
Eddie: Catching sight and sense of the girl above, Eddie stood, "Oh....it's you.", he took a short breath, "You know, you shouldn't sneak up on someone like that.", he frowned a little - she shouldn't have been able to sneak up on him, which offered either little praise to his powers or worthy praise of hers - shrugging off the thought, he turned, both hands in his pockets as he looked to Cassandra.
Eddie: "You're Cassie, right? The 'shadowmancer'?", he asked, "You shouldn't be in the trees, or anywhere past that yellow tape..."
Cassie: "The one and only," Cassandra replied, smirking as she held out her hands. "Though you may also know me as the Uncanny Dusk!" She held on to the tree branch as she sat down on it, letting her legs dangle freely. "Oh, I figured that tape only fenced off the ground around the scene. Which is why I thought I'd be okay up here."
Cassie: Letting herself tip back, knees hooked around the branch, her upper body swung downwards, until she hung upside-down. "You must be Eddie, right?" She revealed a smile, slowly swaying from side to side, her black hair almost touching the ground.
Eddie: Nodding, Eddie confirmed such, "That's me.", he looked around, "....is this one of those 'Goth' things? Hanging around crime scenes?", as an afterthought, he mused where he could have gone with the 'hanging' part, sure there was a joke somewhere that he'd missed, "The trees are as part of the crime-scene as anything, so just....be careful, at least."
Eddie: 'She is quite dexterous....'
Eddie: 'Oh, don't even start...I know where this is going...'
Cassie: "Oh please, don't confuse me with one of those," Cassandra told Eddie, showing another wry grin, before she swung her body back and forth, a somersault taking her off the tree. Without making a sound, her feet touched the ground in a graceful landing. "Even though I'll admit to be quite fond of their aesthetic, I prefer to avoid any pigeon-holes."
Cassie: "And don't worry, I promise to be like a ghost," she added, revealing a fain smirk as she sorted out her unruly mane.
Eddie: Eddie sighed, looking around. There weren't any officers in the immediate vicinity, so he supposed it was fine. An irritable spark in his mind had him recall the bitchy attitude of everyone in the wake of the report on the weekend: God forbid he was caught out to not be doing his job right again.
Eddie: Still....what harm could Cassandra be? He frowned shrugging, "Eeeh, whatever.", he finally said, "Don't touch anything.", he wandered around for a few moments, prospecting the quiet grounds before returning his eyes to her, "So, er...why are you so interested in being here at the moment?"
Cassie: "I'll keep my fingers to myself, Officer Eddie," Cassandra promised, holding up her hands to wiggle said fingers. Slightly tilting her head, she gave the young man a look. "Seriously? Why couldn't I be interested in being here?" She turned around to encompass the whole crime scene in wide gesture.
Cassie: "I think even someone without any appreciation for the macabre would find it rather difficult to simply ignore the half-eaten corpses, murderous traps, and occult symbolism." She carefully avoided any markers left by the police on the forest ground. "Especially when they happen to be found right in front of the new home they just moved in to."
Eddie: "That's an awfully good point.", Eddie agreed, mulling over those three things again: cannibalism, traps, symbols. He sighed, "What, you some kind of P.I. now, Cassie? Got a theory you'd like to present? 'Cause I have to be honest, I'm drawing a total blank..."
Cassie: Cassandra smiled to herself as she glanced sideways, looking thoughtful, and tapped an index finger against her chin. "Cassandra St. Commons - performance artists, private investigator, and soon-to-be super-hero. I'd need a bigger business card."
Cassie: "Now, the X-Men fight crime, don't they? Protect the innocent, vanquish villainous schemes, and save the city in the process." Her focus shifted back to Eddie. "As someone who aspires to one day be part of that team, the least I could do is help out where I can, no? Especially as this case seems as if an unusual perspective might prove quite useful."
Eddie: Eddie nodded, smiling still at the buisness card comment, "Heh, someone's unusually peppy. I like that - makes a change from the usual uptight assclowns we get here.", he rolled his eyes at the thought of the other students, "I don't like most of the new people. Far too hypocritical..."
Cassie: Cassandra chuckled. "Oh, I love clowns - some of my best friends used to be clowns." She sent a smile at Eddie over her shoulder, before turning towards one of the carved trees. "I think we both agree about uptight people, though."
Cassie: After pausing for a moment, she then looked back at him, wearing a more serious expression. "If you don't mind me asking, what was that between you and the others? There surely seemed to be a lot of ruffled feathers that night." She frowned and held up a hand. "Which I guess is understandable, considering all... this."
Eddie: "I....honestly have no idea.", Eddie admitted, "I mean, maybe the comment was a little insensitive, but come on, really? Given some of the shit people come out with - some of the shit Ichiki told me you all came out with afterwards - I don't see what the big deal was, to be frank..."
Eddie: He turned to Cassandra, "Don't worry, I don't judge. I just think people should judge themselves before they go in with their own judging.", he winked.
Cassie: "Now, who could argue with that?" Cassandra offered a small smile, turning away from the strange carving in order to step towards Eddie. "I'm not the biggest fan of being judgmental, either. If you ask me, there are much more clever ways to question others. I mean, why bore someone with your opinion when you can provoke them to think about themselves instead?"
Cassie: "Anyone can posture and spout 'listen to me - only I am right and everyone else is wrong'!" She held up her hands and rolled her eyes, laughing a little at herself. "Seriously, how bland is that? Where's the wit in that? Now me, I love myself a good allegory - though calling someone a fool without saying so seems to become more and more of a lost art."
Eddie: Eddie smiled back, "Well, in the end, one can only change oneself. And whether or not we believe it or no, we all have to adapt to survive.", he looked around again casually, "So...that said, let's go back to the inquiry at hand...", he gestured behind her to the carvings, "Your thoughts, Miss St. Commons?"
Cassie: "Right! My thoughts!" Cassandra gave a firm nod. "I would say..." Her voice trailing off, she turned in a full circle, taking in the entire crime scene. "...that the one who did this has awful table manners and loves to doodle while eating."
Cassie: She looked back at Eddie, showed him a winning smile, and held up a finger. "Officer Eddie, it's my professional opinion that we're looking for a cannibalistic toddler."
Eddie: Laughing, Eddie patted her shoulder, "An astute deduction, my young friend. Alas, how would a toddler sneak past a state-of-the-art security system and its on-board A.I., or have the strength to lift and place the body?", he gave Cassandra a playful nudge, "Close though, I'm sure..."
Cassie: "Why assume it's a human toddler? Have you considered that we might be dealing with a youngling forest troll here?" Cassandra revealed a sheepish smile and shrugged. "You raise a good point, however. Whoever did this was not only sly enough to avoid all the security this school has in place, they also managed to slip past a whole group of students."
Cassie: Granted, students who may or may not have been intoxicated that night," she added. "Of which several possess quite the keep senses, however. Or in my case, are even more perceptive in the dark as they would have been in broad daylight. And still we stumbled from one trap to the other like a bunch of blind fools."
Eddie: "Hmm....yeah.", Eddie frowned, 'traps' again. That word stood out. Moments later, his eyes widened, "No. No way.", he shook his head, "No, not him....it couldn't be....", he felt his heart sink at the very idea.
Eddie: Turning, Eddie grapped Cassandra's shoulders, "Did you see anything? Anything that could have been a male adult, maybe moving as if he had superhuman dexterity?", his grip on her tightened, "I need to know."
Cassie: "Squishing me won't help me concentrate, you know?" Cassandra squinted at Eddie, her brow furrowing. "As will nailing me with questions. I'm trying to focus here." The girl bit her own lip, glancing from side to side as she tried to remember any detail. "I didn't make out anything specific, I'm afraid. Certainly not enough to tell whether it was a man or woman, or even human."
Cassie: "My instincts tell me weren't alone, however, and I know better than to simply dismiss my feelings on such matters," she continued. "And this time, my feelings tell me that we're being hunted."
Eddie: Releasing her, Eddie stepped away, clenching his hands into fists. It was. It was him, he knew it. Some dark, sickening feeling in his soul made him aware - it had to be, "That filthy sonofabitch...", he scowled to one side, eyes finding the silhouette on the ground where the corpse had been, "....so this is your game now..."
Cassie: A frown darkened Cassandra's expression. "A game," she asked, slowly stepping up behind Eddie. "You have a very good idea about who is responsible for this, don't you?" Her gaze was focused on the side of the face. "I started looking into the history of this school, and this is not the first time someone stalked the woods around here, isn't that true?"
Eddie: "It is.", he answered shortly, turning slightly towards her, "I...know who it is. And there's not a thing the police can do against someone like him.", Eddie's expression was darker than it had ever been, "I had my chance to stop him once...I won't waste this one..."
Cassie: "Don't worry, you won't," Cassandra assured him, the sly smile finding its way back onto her features. "Because this time, you' have someone to help you stop him."
Eddie: Eddie looked up at her, "No offence, kid, but you're way too inexperienced to go up against Kraven the Hunter.", he looked away, shame clear in his eyes, "I tried that...it didn't work. Should've known he'd be back..."
Eddie: He looked at his hand, flexing it, "This time it'll be different. This time I'm gonna tear out his spine..."
Cassie: "No offense to you either, but you might not know what the Uncanny Dusk is capable of ," Cassandra replied, her lips forming a cheeky grin as she put both hands on her hips. "Sly as a fox, swift as a hare, mean as a wolf, keen as an owl, and brave as a bear, I' assure you I'm beyond any game this so called Kraven the Hunter has gone up against before."
Cassie: "If he thinks he can stalk me at night just as all these other poor souls, he'll learn that the dark is my domain, and then this hunter will find himself as the hunted in no time." Her nod was as confident as it could have been.
Eddie: "Inspiring...", Eddie commented, shaking his head, "But I had the same thoughts about myself, too. He's too strong for you alone. We need to get the faculty preparing for next time. He'll be back, and you all need to be ready..."
Eddie: He took a deep breath at that, "You all need to prepare. If Kraven's out there again, then it's worst-case scenario. I...I don't want to be responsible for letting him do this to any one of you."
Eddie: 'And what if that means killing him? Will you cower away? Will you let morailty stop you again?'
Eddie: The question of the symbiote made him feel like he'd swallowed lead. Truthfully, he didn't know. And it hurt to admit, even just to himself.
Cassie: Cassandra's eyes narrowed as she gave Eddie a look that betrayed her displeasure about what she had been told. "Come on, I've risked neck and limb in the big top ring when other kids still learned how to ride a bicycle without falling over." After a brief pause, she let out a sigh and looked down.
Cassie: "Fine, just..." She held up a hand. "Promise me I get to help in some way. This is why I decided to come here, after all. I need to be able to prove myself somehow."
Eddie: Approaching her, Eddie placed a gentle hand on her arm, "Cassie, I don't doubt you're good. Your power's something else completely: it may not even have a limit, but....", he took a breath, "...I will not watch another person get tortured by him. I can't."
Eddie: Smiling a little, he patted her arm, moving his hand away, "You'll be integral in that fight, should it happen. But you have nothing to prove to anyone - you're a valuable member of this team, and when it comes to it, I trust you to do the right thing."
Eddie: He poked her chest gently with his finger, "That there. That's all you need to prove you have."
Cassie: Her smile returned, taking on a slightly silly edge as she asked, "My boobs?" Cassandra arched an eyebrow. "I know they're amazing, but I'd still rather be valued for my skills than just my more obvious assets." She laughed, the sounds of it much more light-hearted already. "Yes, I get what you mean. And... I thank you for your faith in me."
Cassie: "I promise it's not misplaced," she assured him, some of that confidence slipping back into her voice. "Trust me, when the time is right, you can count on me to do the right thing."
Eddie: "I know.", Eddie tapped his nose, "What was it you were saying about having instinctual feelings?", he nodded, "Also, your boobs look great, too. In case you were wondering.", he winked with a little smirk, trying to blott out the dark feeling in his chest.
Cassie: "Oh, I know, but thank you for noticing." Cassandra snickered, returning both his smirk and his wink. "As for my instincts... well, when you earn your living performing on the streets and in the circus, you better learn to listen to what that little voice in the back of her mind tries to tell you, or sooner or later you'll end up falling on your face."
Eddie: 'SHE understands us...'
Eddie: Eddie sighed a little, "Trust me, sometimes you gotta ignore the black-hearted shit...", he looked back to the mansion, "Walk back with me. We need to discuss this with the faculty ASAP."
Cassie: "Ain't that the truth?" Cassandra's smirk grew bigger as she turned and fell into step next to Eddie. "Trust me, I understand. I'd be a lousy entertainer if I didn't. No matter how grim things may look, there should always be time to see spirits lifted. In fact, when would anyone need it more if not for times like these?"
Eddie: "God knows we could think of a few ideas...", Eddie muttered, looking her up and down, realizing at once he'd said it out loud, "W-we didn't....I mean, that....wasn't implying...", he shook his head, looking away in amazement, "Really!?", he hissed, seemingly to nobody.
Eddie: 'Oh, come on...we only said what we were thinking. At least we can't be called 'LIAR' now...'
Cassie: "Oh, you weren't?" Cassandra gave Eddie a sideways glance, her smirk full of suggestive mischief. She let out an exaggerated sigh as she skipped along by his side. "And here you almost kindled my hopes. Too bad."
Eddie: Eddie's palm slapped him clean in the face, "...you're gonna get us arrested...", he groaned to himself, rising the hill towards the mansion, "Dare I even ask what that meant?", he smiled at her.
Cassie: "No, only you, if it's any consolation." Cassandra laughed, a shameless grin across her lips as she walked backwards in front of Eddie. "Well, seeing how we were just talking about this... why not ask your instincts what it could have meant?"
Eddie: "....and so as to not risk a court summons, we're gonna stop that thought train riiiight now.", Eddie laughed, blushing just a little bit, "Besides, the girlfriend'd kill me. Unless she wanted to....hm...", he smiled at the thought, "Bitchin'....", he smirked.
Cassie: "Aw, you're no fun," Cassandra said, even though her tone and the grin on her face claimed the opposite. "How am I supposed to stop if you keep teasing me with such enticing ideas?"
Eddie: Eddie shrugged, "Eeeh, well...you'll have to wait and see, shadow.", he waved a finger at her, "I mean, who knows what might be, hm? Hell of a victory party once we're done with all this crap."
Cassie: Cassandra arched an eyebrow and smirked. "Mmm, as if I hadn't already been motivated enough to prove myself..."
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