First Homestuck Fanfiction! XD Let's get this party STARTED!

...Okay, I need to get some sleep. This is a contest entry for the Murderstuck AU by BalledKalilee on deviantArt.

Enjoy.


"What is it? What is the key?"

Detective Kanaya Maryam ran a hand through her well-kept black hair, letting out a frustrated sigh. Her first case in a long time...and it was an impossible one. The Capricorn Killer; a psychopath who had a gruesome - yet strange - signature to his kills.

Every victim had been beaten brutally to death. Broken and battered, each body was usually mauled so it was nearly impossible to identify them. Usually, the victims had their faces smashed in, and every one of their fingers were broken in disgusting angles. What gave the killer his name - however - was the mark he drew on the victims: the Capricorn insignia drawn in the victim's blood. In other words, he was one sick bastard.

Kanaya groaned and rubbed her sore eyes. I need coffee, she decided, a yawn escaping her. God, she was tired. She really shouldn't be pulling late nights.

She made her way to the break room, smelling the sweet aroma of coffee; hot, freshly-brewed coffee. Chief Ampora must still be here, Kanaya thought, breathing in the relaxing aroma.

Eridan Ampora was Kanaya's boss at the Alternian Investigation Department (or AID). He was just one of the many...colorful faces at the department. He was generally kind, but he could be extremely terrifying when someone questioned his authority. Either way, he had a good heart, as Kanaya judged. Just...not always in the right place most of the time.

Kanaya grabbed a mug and filled it with coffee. She drank long and deep, but not before breathing in the wonderful smell. Did Chief make one hell of a pot of coffee or what?

"Well! Good morning, Kanaya."

Kanaya jumped, nearly dropping her coffee as she whirled around, tensing up instantly.

"Oh." She let out a relieved sigh. "Detective Makara. You startled me." Staying up through the night was no help on her nerves...

Makara laughed, earning a glare from Kanaya. "Did you pull another all-nighter?" he asked, stifling back a laugh.

"I believe I did," Kanaya replied, frowning and looking at the clock. It read "8:23." I could have sworn it was three...

She felt a large hand on her head as Makara chuckled. "You really need to get some sleep, Kanners," he mused.

"I am perfectly fine," she protested, removing his hand from her head. "And I request you cease addressing me as 'Kanners.'"

Makara shrugged. "Just thought you'd like the nickname."

"Detective Makara, we aren't children anymore."

"I know, I know." He laughed and ran his hand through Kanaya's hair - irritating her further.

"Look, just get some sleep," he said, adjusting his glasses. "Don't want to pass out on the field, now, do you?"

Kanaya rolled her eyes. "You don't have to fret over me. I can handle myself."

"I'm having a hard time believing you, Kanners-"

"Kanaya."

Makara rolled his eyes. "Kanaya." He sighed. "Get some sleep tonight. Or do you like passing out on your desk?"

Kanaya ground her teeth. "Gamzee..."

He laughed. "That's my name! Don't over use it!"

"It's 'don't wear it out...'"

"You get my point."

Kanaya sighed in exasperation.

Gamzee Makara was a detective from the Northern District - 1413, to be exact. He was only in this area because he was working on the Capricorn Case; actually, he had been working on it for five years with no luck whatsoever.

Gamzee...stood out like a sore thumb, really. He was the only man in the station to wear his hair beyond his shoulder blades. It was dark brown, and messy as hell. He kept it in a ponytail...probably to keep it manageable (as Kanaya guessed). He stayed indoors a lot - as shown by his pale, pale skin (in contrast to Kanaya who had tan skin from enjoying the sun). Deep indigo eyes were hidden under his glasses, that were really...odd. Almost disconcerting. He also literally stood out by the fact he was freakishly tall; tallest person there.

"Oh!" Gamzee snapped his fingers. "I nearly forgot; there was another murder last night. I wonder who could have done it?"

Kanaya sighed. No need to ask; Gamzee's expression said it all. "It was our dear friend the Capricorn Killer, wasn't it, Makara?" she asked rhetorically. She had calmed down a bit; coffee tended to do that to her.

"Bingoroo. Chief wants us down at the crime scene. Downtown...seemed like a club, from what he said."

Kanaya rolled her eyes. Just lovely...

"Then I will see you there, Makara," she replied, adjusting her grip on the coffee.

"Right. If you don't fall asleep before then!" Gamzee laughed again; did he really enjoy tormenting Kanaya so?

"I assure you I won't do such a thing," Kanaya stated, trying not to be rude.

But Detective Makara was gone.

xxx

Later that day, Kanaya found herself at the latest crime scene; an alley just behind a club called the "Dark Carnival." It was rumored it supported junkies and other drug addicts, but it could never be proven. Either the rumors were false, or they were really good at hiding drug activities.

The alley was painted red with blood. Blood stained the ground, coated the walls, and completely soaked the victims. Yes, victims. A man and a woman, dressed as if they had - or were about to - enjoy a night of partying. But there they were, lying dead on the pavement; skulls bashed in. It was sickening.

Kanaya held a handkerchief to her mouth and nose to ward off the revolting smell that came from the victims. She made her way to the bodies, only to find a brunette crouched over them, donned in a strange blue and red jacket - that was literally blue on one side, and red on the other.

"I see you've beaten me, Sollux," Kanaya mused, walking over to the bodies and gagging slightly. It was disgusting...

Sollux shrugged. "It'th my job," he said, cursing as his lisp slipped through his control. "Sorry."

"It's quite alright," Kanaya reassured.

Sollux Captor was the head of Forensics (actually, the only person working there...) at the AID. A brilliant young man who seemed to know more than he let on, but could be extremely childish at times. He was very fond of technology - especially computers. Not only was he fond of them, but he also enjoyed programming them, and hacking them. And - on occasion - blowing someone else's computer up (usually Officer Vantas').

Sollux had short, light brown hair (usually a large mess since he didn't like taking care of his hair) and was about as pale as Gamzee from spending all his free time in the lab. For some odd reason, he liked to wear two-colored clothes - like his odd, unfashionable jacket. It might have been because he had heterocrhomia, Kanaya guessed. His right eye was blue, while his left was red. He had to wear glasses, though. Kanaya always thought he'd look less geeky if he just wore contacts. His pesky lisp really didn't help anything, either. It just further added to the fact he seemed like...a geek. But, he did try to hide his lisp (despite how thick and apparent it was), and was successful...most of the time.

"So, what have you found?" Kanaya questioned.

"Not much. The usual, really," Sollux replied with a shrug, poking a gloved finger at the woman's ribcage. "Huh. That's weird..."

"What's weird?"

"There's a pair of extra gloves in my pocket. Can you put them on?"

Kanaya hesitated, but pulled them out and donned the blue gloves. "What now?"

"Poke his chest," he said, pointing at the body of the man a few feet away. Kanaya nodded and did as Sollux said, wincing slightly as she touched the man's decaying flesh.

"It's soft," she commented as she turned back to Sollux.

"Now poke hers," was all he said. Kanaya hesitated, but walked back over and prodded the other victim's chest.

"It's solid," she muttered with a frown.

"Exactly," Sollux began quickly. "Now, I can't be thertain until I do a full autopthy on them, but - from what I've found - I think she died of blood loth, while he wath beaten to death brutally." Sollux paused, then swore loudly. "Damn it! I let it slip again!"

Kanaya rested her clean hand on (the one that hadn't touched a cadaver) Sollux's shoulder. "It is alright, Sollux. Please, continue."

He let out a a sigh. When he got excited over evidence, he often forgot about his lisp, and it caught up with him. Fast.

"Our John Doe sustained numerous wounds all over his body," he started slowly. "I can't say for sure what killed him, but he certainly took a beating.

"Now, our Jane Doe: she only sustained one wound; a blow to her head." Sollux pulled away matted clumps of bloodstained blonde hair to reveal an ugly bruise with bone protruding out of her skin. "It didn't kill her immediately, I don't think. I think she was struck, tried to crawl away-" he pointed to a trail of blood, "-the fell unconscious from blood loss...and then died."

He paused for breath. "Now, this where it gets interesting." Sollux pointed to the woman's cheek, where the mark of Capricorn was. "See how sloppy that is?"

"Yes..." It was, indeed, very sloppy. Not nearly as neat as the marks that had been on the previous victims.

"It's the same with our John Doe over there. Sloppy. I'm guessing the killer was rushed."

"Rushed?" Kanaya was confused.

"Yeah." Sollux began to speak faster again. "I found numerouth wounds on him - in placeth you wouldn't expect. They looked ath if he had been blocking thomething. Like a weapon. Tho, I think our John Doe fought back before dying, but cauthed a ruckuth and brought attenthion to the killer. Tho, our killer wath rushed!" Sollux moaned and slapped a bloodied hand to his forehead. "Shoot."

"Sollux." Kanaya sighed. "Don't worry about your lisp. I can still understand you. What were you saying? About your theory?"

Sollux let out an almost depressed sigh. "I found dried blood on his knuckles. Too thin of a coat to be his. I think-"

"Hey, Squint! Kanners!"

A groan escaped Kanaya as she caught Sollux stiffening. It was that name.

Kanaya turned to face the voice. "Hello, Maka-"

"Theriouthly, Gamzee? The hell? I have told you a million timeth not to call me Squint! It'th annoying and jutht abnothiouth!"

"Whoa!" Gamzee backed up a little as Sollux shot up and turned on him. "Whoa! Calm down, Lispy!"

"Are you making fun of my lithp? Becauth, I thwear! If you are, you will not hear the latht of thith! You do not have any right to make commenth like that when you barely do any work! Do you dithect bodieth? Tediouthly tetht DNA thampleth for matcheth? Deal with the grieving familieth? No! You don't! I do! And without any help! You are not in any pothithion to make fun of. My. Lithp! If it weren't againtht the law, I would-"

"Break it up!" came a third man as he stepped between Sollux and Gamzee, shoving both backwards. "Are you serious, Sollux? Complaining about all this work you have to do? You never want help. And Gamzee wasn't making fun of your lisp! So just calm the hell down before I frigging make you wish you had never gotten out of your damn bed today!"

Kanaya sighed in exasperation and hid her face in the palm of her hand (clean one, mind you). It was Officer Karkat Vantas. Just wonderful...

Kanaya didn't have anything against him; rather, he was one of the few people she considered a friend - but he was extremely rash and quick to assume. Crabby, and easily angered; rude, and had the mouth of a sailor. But, despite all of that, he was...an okay guy. Just didn't know how to express his feelings; that was all.

Sollux glared at Gamzee, but backed off. "Whatever." But - before Karkat could speak - Sollux said: "Hey, KK. Since you're here, you can help me bag up the bodies. I already photographed the crime scene, and chalked the area around them. So, it's time to haul corpses."

Karkat gaped. "What the-No! No! What do I look like? A stupid valet? A janitor? This was not in the job description, thank you very much! I didn't want to lug cadavers around! I'm not like you; I never aspired to grow up and grope dead people! I'm not that desperate!"

"KK, I don't grope them." Sollux glared at Karkat. "I perform autopsies - so you could say I dissect them. Now, grab a pair of gloves and help me. They aren't moving on their own anytime soon."

Karkat looked as if he was going to argue with Sollux further, but he clamped his mouth shut and angrily stormed over to the bodies.

"Aren't they fun?" Gamzee laughed.

"Makara, you did start the fight with, well, that name," Kanaya sighed, staring up at Gamzee.

Gamzee shrugged as Kanaya watched Karkat and Sollux strained to lug the body of the man into the back of Sollux's van. "I was just joking."

"A joke that went too far, it turned out," Kanaya sighed as she peeled the gloves off of her hands and placed them in her coat pocket. "I was actually curious, Detective Makara. Why is it you give us all nicknames?"

Gamzee shrugged again. "Well, Chief Ampora's always shortening your names - like Kan, Kar, Sol, even Gam for me...I thought maybe you guys would appreciate nicknames-"

"We don't! Would really appreciate it if you just stop with those childish names!" Karkat yelled.

"Wait, what do you call Karkat?" Kanaya asked, a bit confused.

"I call him-"

"Gamzee! Don't you dare!"

"Crabbypants."

"Damn you!"

Thump!

"KK, you dumbasth! You jutht dropped the body!"

"Like I care!"

"Oh, you will! Ampora'th hearing about how you tampered with evidenth and cauthed the case to fail!"

"It was just her feet! Why does dropping her feet matter?"

"Will you just pick the damn body back up?"

Kanaya sighed and rolled her emerald eyes. "I envy your gift to cause the pettiest fights with just a simple sentence, Makara," she said sarcastically.

"Why, thank you."

After another session of screaming and name calling (and Karkat swearing his head off), the bodies were finally loaded and Sollux headed back to the lab, leaving Kanaya with Officer Vantas, and Detective Makara.

"Well, that was fun," Kanaya commented, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

"You didn't have to haul corpses around!" Karkat sneered, glaring at Kanaya, his red eyes just filled with loathing and anger.

"No, but now I have a splitting headache," she replied coolly. "I believe it is you who is to blame, Karkat."

"Hey, why don't you ever call me by my first name?" Gamzee wondered, glancing over at Kanaya. "You only say it when you're mad."

She paused. "I'm not entirely sure. I guess it is because I'm not as familiar with you as I am with Karkat or Sollux."

Gamzee grumbled and looked away. Was he fooling around again?

"I'm heading back to the station," Karkat growled, still thoroughly mad.

"I will see you there later, then," Kanaya said, bidding him farewell as the crabby officer left.

She turned her attention to the crime scene, mulling over what Sollux said. She couldn't completely understand what he was saying - since when he got excited, it was hard to understand what he was trying to say...he usually had to rephrase his sentences to get people to understand him - so she was replaying what she had understood in her head, and was piecing it together with what she saw.

"Is something bugging you?" she heard Makara ask.

"I'm merely thinking," she replied, tapping her fingers against her pursed lips. "Sollux said that the victims died different - and separate - deaths. The woman died of blood loss, while the man was beaten to death. He was also going to say something about the man's knuckles before you came, Makara. There was a thin coat of blood on them, and he was about to say something about it...I think-" She stopped, looking down on the ground.

Lying there, was a bloodstained tooth. Surrounded by strands of hair.

"Did Sollux miss this?" she murmured, pulling out the gloves and picking up the tooth with them examined it. It appeared to be a large molar. It was slightly cracked at the roots - as if it had been forcefully removed from whoever's mouth it came from.

The hair, however, was brown - nearly black. It were fairly long, which she found odd. The woman had had long hair - yes - but it was blonde. The man had shorter hair - much shorter - that was styled in a mullet, and dyed neon green (it had been black before, since a streak of black had been visible when Kanaya saw his body).

She could only come to one conclusion: it was the killer's.

"Makara?" she asked.

"Yes?"

"Do you have any plastic bags on you and - possibly - a marker?"

"Yeah, hold on." She heard him walking over. "How many do you need?"

"Two," was her reply as she pulled out her cellphone with her free hand.

"For...?"

"Hold, please." She quickly dialed Sollux, and waited for him to pick up.

"Hello?" she heard him say.

"Sollux, it's Kanaya," she said, looking at the tooth. "I was wondering; are the victims missing any teeth?"

"Teeth?" She shuffling on the other side. "What makes you ask that?"

"Will you just please check if you can?"

"I can...I guess."

It was a few minutes before he finally responded. "They aren't. I see a few shattered teeth inside the John Doe, but that's about it. They're all accounted for."

"Hmm..."

"Why did you ask anyways, Kanaya?"

"I think I may have a lead, Sollux." Without another word, she hung up and slipped her phone back into her pocket.

"What was that about teeth?" Gamzee asked from behind Kanaya as he handed her the bags and a dark purple marker (a miracle he had them on him).

"Hold on," she muttered, uncapping the marker with her teeth before writing on one bag: "Unidentified Hair Sample," in her neat writing, then "Unidentified Tooth: Molar," on the other. She carefully removed all the hair from the tooth, then place each find in their corresponding bags. She scanned the ground - finding a few more hair samples and slipping them into the bag - before closing them and standing up and recapping the marker.

"Well?"

She held them up. "I think I may have a lead. I'm going to take these to Sollux and-" She stopped. "Damn it."

"What?"

"I forgot. I had a meeting today. If I go back to the Department, I'll be far too late to participate." She shrugged. "Case fir-Gamzee!"

Gamzee yanked the bags out of her hands and held them out of her reach. "I'll take them to Squint. You go to that 'meeting' of yours."

"And why should I listen to you?" she asked, trying to reach for the samples. "The case needs to be solved, Gamzee!"

"And you need to get some relaxation!" he countered almost playfully, placing his other hand on her head and pushing her back slightly. "You're running yourself to the ground, always working on the case twenty-four-seven. It's not good for your health-"

"Since when have you been an expert on health?" she asked sarcastically, pushing his hand off of her head.

He just looked at her disapprovingly. "Do something you enjoy, for once! Doctor Gamzee orders it."

Kanaya sighed, defeated. "Fine. But get those DNA samples back to Sollux as fast as you can."

"Don't worry! I've got it covered." That's when I worry the most...

Kanaya hurried out of the alleyway, but stopped. "Thank you, Gamzee."

"No problem. Now go! Time's a-wasting!"

With a roll of her eyes, Kanaya left.

xxx

A few minutes after leaving the crime scene, Kanaya called her boss. She asked him if he minded if she took a few hours off for a program, and he had willingly cooperated and allowed her to go - since she had been working so hard on the case lately, and spending every bit of her free time on it.

It wasn't long after she left, did she reach her destination. It didn't take her as long as she thought to get to the Community Center where her "meeting" was being held. "Meeting" being a club for aspiring florists - and authors. An odd combination - yes - but it was fun all the same. She had a couple of acquaintances there (friends, but she wouldn't say that), and enjoyed conversing with them.

It had just started to pour heavily when she reached the large black building that was the Community Center in Alternia - the city Kanaya called home. It's a good thing that Sollux managed to take those photos when he did; he would have lost a lot of evidence...

She walked into the foyer and ran her hands through her hair; trying to remove as much water as she could while she made her way to the stairs. She made her way to the second floor - climbing two steps at a time. She hated being late.

She managed to get there on time, slipping off her sopping wet coat and hanging it on one of the hooks.

"Hi, Kanaya!" came the eager voice of Jade Harley.

Kanaya turned around to see a woman with black hair making her way to her. She was wearing an...interesting dress that looked like a suit, but the skirt was torn up in shreds, while she had red pants underneath. I need to talk some sense into her. That "dress" is just horrendous. And paired with her glasses! She needs to learn a few things about fashion.

"Hello, Jade," she said, nodding. "What an...interesting dress you have."

"Thanks!" She grinned. "Rose helped me make it! I drew out the designs, and she stitched it for me!"

At the mention of her name, a girl with blonde hair (nearly white) just laughed. "Jade, I believe that Kanaya finds your dress absolutely horrendous, but is trying to spare your feelings so she does not harm you. Am I not right?" she said in her mysterious - almost distant - voice.

"No, you are correct," Kanaya said, crossing her arms over her chest and raising an eyebrow. "But, I do think the dress could be altered to be a bit more...practical." And fashionable, she added in her head.

"I think it's nice," Jade pouted. "And that's all that counts! …Right?"

Kanaya sighed. "I guess." Though she really needs to get a sense of fashion.

Jade Harley and Rose Lalonde were two of Kanaya's friends at this club.

Jade was a girl who was actually from the Pacific Ocean. She lived on an island there, before moving to a nearby city, Prospit, where her brother lived. From living on an island for her whole life, Jade had very tan skin. Actually, she was slightly similar in appearance to Kanaya - with black hair, green eyes (hers were more the color of jades, whereas Kanaya's were the color of emeralds) and tan skin. But other than that...she was very different, with her buck teeth, large, round glasses...and the love of wearing dog ears.

Okay, not really. She was the granddaughter of a famous scientist - so she picked up a few things from her grandfather. Like how to split atoms, and other things like that. Nothing abnormal. Somehow - a few years before she moved to Prospit - she accidentally merged her DNA with the DNA of her dog, Becquerel. So now she had dog ears, and sometimes acted like a dog - especially around cats. But, really, she had managed to get a hold of her dog side over the years she had lived in Prospit. Now, she has control over those annoying habits. Though, she can't help but have a strong dislike of cats.

Rose, on the other hand, loved cats. Cats, knitting, the occult, and psychology. She was mysterious, and never forthcoming with her feelings or thoughts. She always spoke of higher, darker powers that commanded her will, but Kanaya never believed it. But, despite her odd...dwellings on, she was a very skilled writer, and seemed to enjoy writing stories about wizards. And, she was quite good at it.

Rose was a girl from another city that was close to Alternia: Derse. She lived there with her albino brother...well, half brother, Dave Strider. Being from Derse (or a Dersite, as they were sometimes called), she was a little distant. Actually, "a little distant" would be an understatement; she - and a lot of other Dersites that Kanaya knew - were often in their own worlds and not paying attention to what was going on. Maybe the rumor that Derse was possessed by dark forces was true. Though, Kanaya never believed in such folly, since she grew up in the peaceful Prospit before moving to Alternia, which really had more job opportunities.

Kanaya made her way to the table Rose was seated at, sitting down in one chair, while adjusting her red skirt so it wouldn't be uncomfortable to sit.

Rose was wearing a black blouse with the mutilated Squiddle she seemed to be fond of on the right side of her chest (possibly a nod toward one of her favorite authors, H.P. Lovecraft). Her hair was pulled back like always by a white headband, while she was wearing black makeup again - lipstick and thick eyeshadow. Goth? Most definitely.

She had her nose in another book, while she had a second open, her right hand poised over the paper as she furiously jotted down notes while reading. A multi-tasker anyone could be envious of.

"What are you reading now?" Kanaya asked, crossing her arms and leaning them on the table. "Another Lovecraft book?" Kanaya was fond of classics like Dracula, herself.

"Actually, no," Rose said, turning a page before returning to reading. "This one is by one of my preferred authors. A...mister William Scratch. I highly doubt that's his real name, actually. Yet another pen name to hide one's identity. Both ingenious, yet spontaneously tedious."

"You've really been poring through those books, haven't you?" Jade asked as she sat down next to Rose and leaned on the table herself.

"That I have." Rose picked up an embroidered bookmark and slipped it into the book and set it down, closing her notebook and placing both in her purse. "Say, Kanaya. I couldn't help but be curious. You're usually the first one at our meetings to arrive, but today you were rather late. I must implore you; what happened?"

"Was it work?" Jade asked, resting her head on her hand. "Did Ampora give you more paperwork?"

"No, he did not," Kanaya reassured. She looked around, then lowered her voice and leaned forward so only Rose and Jade could hear. "There was another murder last night."

"Another?" Jade exclaimed, catching the attention of few people. After lowering her voice to a whisper, she continued: "It was the Capricorn Killer, wasn't it?"

Kanaya nodded. "It was."

"Then just who was it that perished under the light of the leering moon?" Rose questioned, looking intrigued for once.

"Sollux hasn't identified them yet, but it was a man and a woman. They were found just outside of a club called the Dark Carnival."

"I've heard of that place," Jade commented. "It's filled with wackos..."

"It's a night club where the apostles of the 'Mirthful Messiahs' and the 'Subjuggulators' congregate to spread their teachings," Rose explained. "It's like a virus, really. Cultists of a degree I never wish to explore. Whereas I delve into the darker side of life and all that there is, they delve into clowns." She said it with disdain - as if she loathed such people. "Clowns and the 'Dark Carnival' - hence the ridiculous name of the club. Hardly stimulating at all, in my opinion. Where is the knowledge or personal gain in such a cult? But, I hear the only reason why they migrate to the 'Subjuggulator religion' is because their practice in drugs - such as marijuana, opium, and other...new drugs - is hidden and encouraged."

"You seem to know quite a lot about the clown cultists," Kanaya commented. "Are you sure you're not one yourself?"

Rose laughed. "Hardly. I just happen to have a neighbor that is one such cultist. He is always trying to 'convert' me, though it will never work. He is quite lucky that I haven't reported him to the police yet."

"You just did."

"I did not. I am telling a friend who won't do the same - despite the fact she is a detective. But, because of that, she cannot arrest him and bring down the Dark Carnival." She shrugged and leaned back into her chair. "It's for the best, really. There would a large scale outcry if the 'Subjuggulator religion' were to be torn down without warning. Many lives would be lost, and it would be the perfect distraction for that dear, dear friend of yours, Kanaya."

Sometimes, Kanaya wondered why she was even friends with Rose, with her constant tormenting.

"I never implied I would have had him arrested," Kanaya sighed. "I just mentioned a flaw in what you said-"

"The was no flaw. I'm not talking with an officer; I am talking to a detective. And Jade?"

Jade jumped, her white ears perking up. "What-? Yes?" Kanaya moaned at Jade's absent-mindedness and hid her face in her hand. How embarrassing...

"Were you even listening to us?" Kanaya asked.

"Partially..." Jade looked away. "I kind of stopped when Rose went into detail about the clown cultists." She laughed wearily. "Guess I kind of dozed off there."

"Jade, you cannot tell your 'friend,'" Rose said, pulling out a scarf she had been working on for a few days now.

Jade's face turned a considerable shade of red as she turned her head away at the mention of her 'friend' (though Kanaya didn't know what Rose was talking about). "Okay! I won't! I'll keep it to myself. Though I really don't know what you're talking about..."

"Good."

xxx

The club meeting was rather interesting. One member had brought someone that gave them advice on growing plants that were meant for tropical climates in the cool Alternia, while another brought a book they were working on and read it to the group - asking for advice on how to improve it.

It was a very interesting book, actually. Jade thought it was kind of boring, but Kanaya thought it was a good start. It was about vampires (a race Kanaya just loved) and a struggle for them to just survive in a world that was designed that almost made it seem like the gods (the higher powers in the story) were trying to erase them for good.

Kanaya walked back to the station - relieved that it had stopped raining - while her thoughts strayed to the case. Sloppy insignias? One died like the others, while the other died of blood loss? It was odd, to say the least. Sollux had mentioned blood on one of the victim's hands, and then Kanaya found strands of hair, and a missing tooth at the scene of the crime. Could that lead to the identification of the killer?

She sighed and ran her hand through her hair. She was tired again...she needed coffee...

But coffee could wait; she wanted to talk to Sollux about the DNA samples.

She made her way to the Forensics lab and rapped her knuckles against the door.

"Sollux, can I come in?" she asked - knowing for a fact he would be in there (where else? It was like a second home to him.)

When no answer came, she knocked harder. "Sollux."

No answer.

She ground her teeth. "Sollux! Are you at your computers again?"

Again, no response.

"Sollux, if you do not answer, I will come in there."

She let out a sigh. "Sollux, I'm coming in."

No response yet again.

She let out an exasperated sigh and opened the door. "Sollux, I wanted to-" She stopped, her eyes wide as she walked into the room.

Sollux had been standing a few yards away from the door with his back to it. But...he didn't acknowledge Kanaya.

She could see headphones on his ears...and he was dancing. And singing.

"Make me come alive! Come on and turn me on! Touch me, save my life! Come on and turn me on! I'm too young to-" He finally turned around and stopped, his two-colored eyes wide. "Kanaya! Theriouthly! Knock before you come in! At leatht thay thomething!" he yelled angrily.

Kanaya had to restrain a laugh. "I did. Five times," she finally said, trying not to bring up the fact he was singing a Nikki Minaj song. She wasn't sure if she didn't have the heart to bring it up, or just was too amused - and frightened - at the thought he was listening to it.

Sollux grumbled and ripped off his headphones, reaching into his pocket, before pulling his hand back out. "What did you want?" he demanded, his face red with anger and embarrassment.

"I wanted to know if you had tested those DNA samples I had Gamzee bring to you," she said. "Have you?"

"DNA samples?" Sollux raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What DNA samples? Does this have anything to do with the victims teeth?"

Kanaya frowned. "Yes...actually. I found a tooth and some hair samples at the crime scene. I asked Gamzee to bring them to you. He...never came?"

"I've been the only one in the lab," Sollux said, pressing his glasses further up his nose. "No one else."

Kanaya frowned. "Are you sure? You didn't hear me come in, he could have-"

"I'll prove it."

Kanaya raised an eyebrow in turn, but followed Sollux as he walked into a side room. Inside, were hundreds of computer screens - with cables everywhere. There weren't any lights on, save the soft glow of the monitors. There also weren't any chairs - just a bunch of pillows in front of a makeshift desk with a keyboard on it. It just screamed "Sollux."

The lispy man sat down in front of the keyboard and began to furiously tap away, the screen in front of him flickering to a desktop before switching to a video of the lab. After a few more key strokes, the video began to play at a speed which would allow them to watch the entire footage from when Sollux got to the lab, to current time in a matter of minutes, but slow enough to tell what was going on.

After a few minutes of watching Sollux examine the two bodies, before he wheeled them into a different room (the morgue so he could work on them later, she guessed), Sollux actually leaped up and covered one part of the screen with his hands.

"Th-That's personal!" he exclaimed, fast forwarding a bit. But Kanaya couldn't help but notice that she saw Agent Megido walk into the lab just as he covered his hands over the screen.

They finally got through the tapes of the lab. The only people who had been in there were herself, Sollux, and Agent Megido. No Gamzee.

"What about the tapes for the front door?" Kanaya questioned.

"Hold on a sec," Sollux murmured, running his hands across the keyboard. "And, up."

The screen switched to the door that lead outside of the department. People were coming and going quickly - such as Chief Ampora; Officer Vantas at some point; Agent Megido; Terezi Pyrope, a blind bounty hunter that came by at times, and several people she didn't recognize. When she saw herself walk through the door on the tape, she knew that it was close to the end. With no Gamzee in sight.

"So, he never got here," she murmured, furrowing her brow in confusion. "But it's been well over an hour or so! He should have made it back by now..."

"Dunno." Sollux shrugged and went back to typing on the computer. He was accessing files...with names Kanaya couldn't understand - cryptic and confusing.

She sighed and ran her hands through her hair. How frustrating... She happened to glance over at one of the monitors and frowned. She hadn't seen that on the tapes.

"What's this screen?" she asked, pointing at the monitor.

"That?" Sollux turned around. "Oh. I keep a few screens locked on live stream so I know who's doing what so I don't get jumped when I'm working in here." He muttered something after that, but Kanaya couldn't understand what he said. Something about "AA," whoever that was.

Kanaya frowned and turned back to the screen. It was set on the entrance to the department, nothing really different-

"There's Gamzee!" she exclaimed, pointing at the screen.

And there he was, walking through the entrance. But, something seemed off.

"He's swaying," Sollux commented. Kanaya turned and saw he had brought up the footage on the screen he was in front of. He could have just walked over...

"Can you zoom in?" Kanaya asked, looking at his screen.

Sollux nodded and input a few commands, and the camera zoomed in on Gamzee.

The detective was holding his hand to his face, and Kanaya could see the startling sight of blood on his hands and face.

"What?" she murmured, looking at him with shock. She pulled out her phone and quickly composed a text to Gamzee:

GA: Gamzee I Request You Make Your Way To The Lab

GA: It Is Of Utmost Importance That You Do

She paused and watched the screen.

TC: You sure...?

TC: Welp, okay then.

She frowned. Welp. That word was spreading like a wildfire...

GA: It Does Not Matter

GA: Just Come To The Forensics Lab
TC: Alright now...

TC: Ha ha, I just realized your username is the first two letters of my name.

"He's delirious," Kanaya muttered, glaring at the screen of her phone as she walked out of the computer room into the main part of the lab. She heard Sollux get up and follow her as she leaned against a table, waiting for Makara to show.

And show he did.

He walked through the door of the lab, just covered in blood. His hand was against his face, while his other hand was putting away his phone. He was a terrible mess, with a large, ugly bruise on the right side of his face.

"What happened?" Kanaya demanded, almost forcing Gamzee into a chair as she quickly reached for the box of tissues that was lying next to a sink.

"I dunno," Gamzee replied, his voice a bit muffled from his hand that covered his face. "I was heading back to the station, when I got hit over the hea-oww, Kanners! That hurt!"

Kanaya sighed. She had just simply placed her hand on his forehead, and he was complaining. "Can you remove your hand?"

"Blood'll squirt everywhere," he said, grossing her out instantly. "Just warning you."

She heard Sollux muttering something as she held up the tissues in her hand. "I think we can manage."

Gamzee just looked at her, but then removed his hand - blood pouring from his nose and hand and onto himself and the floor. "Told ya."

Kanaya leaned forward and placed her fingers lightly on the bridge of his nose, a whimper of pain coming from Makara.

"It's broken," she commented. "I'm going to have to set it." She placed one hand on Gamzee's forehead, then took her other hand and placed at the very top of his bridge.

"Kanners...? What are you-Agh!" She ran her finger down the bridge of his nose, resulting in a loud crack. More blood gushed forth, and another sickening crack as she set the cartilage in his nose correctly.

"God damn it! That hurt!" he yelled, his hand shooting to his face again.

"Calm yourself," Kanaya said, handing him a few tissues - which he gladly took. "I'm trying to help you."

As she was making a few plugs to try and slow the bleeding, Sollux walked over, looking at Gamzee's head.

"Ugly bruise you got there," he commented, poking at the dark purple and green bruise forming on Gamzee's head.

Gamzee hissed slightly. "That hurts," he murmured, almost glaring at Sollux.

"Sollux, this isn't helping anything," Kanaya said as she finished the first plug. Motioning for Gamzee to remove the tissues, she carefully inserted the plug into his nose, before making a second and repeating the process. "That should slow it down. Can you tell us what happened?"

"I can try. Ahh..." He moaned and placed a bloodstained hand to his head. "Ugh, I feel like crap..."

"Sollux, can you get him an ice pack?" Kanaya asked, picking up the bloodied tissues and discarding them into a trash can.

Sollux scoffed, but left to do as Kanaya said.

"Why are there black spots around you...?" she heard Gamzee ask.

"I think you've lost too much blood," she commented, rolling her eyes. "It's getting to your head."

"Nah, it hasn't." He leaned back slightly, his hand against his head.

"Gamzee, if you do that, the blood will flow into your throat and you'll choke."

As if on cue, Gamzee sat up straight again, coughing. "You could have warned me sooner!"

She rolled her eyes. "Haven't you dealt with nosebleeds before?"

"Never really had them as a kid..."

Kanaya sighed. She had dealt with them countless times; she never understood why her nose was so sensitive to the weather. But, it just was. They had calmed down quite a bit by the time she was an adult, but they still came occasionally when cooler weather rolled in, and the air began to dry.

Sollux came back in with the ice pack...and a new tissue box.

"You're going to use up all the ones I have," he growled, passing Kanaya the pack.

Nodding in thanks, she took the pack and placed it on Gamzee's head, a hiss coming from him when it touched the bruise. "Thanks..." He groaned, his hand holding the ice pack in place.

"What exactly happened to you, Gamzee? How did you become injured?" Kanaya asked once more, becoming impatient with all the interruptions.

He shrugged. "I dunno. I was walking back from the crime scene, when I thought someone was following me. I headed in a different direction, then I got hit across the head!" He reached with his other hand and pointed toward the back of his head. "Right there-Agh! God! Sollux! Ow! Don't touch it! That hurt!"

"Sorry," Sollux said, laughing a little. He really enjoyed tormenting Gamzee...

Makara glared at Sollux, but continued. "I turned around to see who attacked me, when I was hit across the face! Then I blacked out. Came to I think...half an hour ago. Maybe. My glasses were cracked, but I could still see out of them, thankfully. But the DNA samples you gave me, Kanners-"

"You stole them from me," Kanaya corrected.

"Yeah, well, they're gone. Along with my watch..."

Kanaya's eyes widened, and she heard Sollux choke.

"You lost them?" she asked with disbelief.

"What the hell? Who took them?" Sollux demanded.

"I don't know! Whoever attacked me, I guess!" Gamzee defended. "Some freak! Wearing this weird black and purple suit...dark purple..? I don't know. Some weird tight suit thing, I think..."

Sollux slapped his hand to his forehead. "Not them!"

"Not who?" Kanaya asked.

"Stupid Juggalos," Sollux grumbled. "Bunch of clown cultists. Worshipers of the 'Mirthful Messiahs' or some crap like that."

Kanaya frowned. "Don't they congregate at the Dark Carnival?"

Sollux nodded. "I've been researching them for a while - trying to figure out if they are dealing with drugs, and if there was a way to bring them down. It never occurred to me that the Capricorn Killer could have been one!" He hurried over to a file cabinet, and rummaged through some folders, before pulling out one. "Another note addressed to you, Kanaya," he said, pulling out a photo of a note.

Kanaya took it, her eyes slightly widening:

TiCk ToCk gOeS tHe ClOcK oF lIfE

wHoSe WiLl StOp NeXt?

YoUrS, dEtEcTiVe MaRyAm?

HoNk :o)

"What's it say?" Gamzee asked, trying to read the note in her hands.

"'Tick tock goes the clock of life. Whose will stop next? Yours, Detective Maryam? Honk...' Then a peculiar smiley face with an O for a nose..." She stared at it for a second. The same dripping, purple ink used in the previous letter she had gotten from the killer, and the same writing pattern...

"Juggalos write like that," Sollux pointed out. "They've got this weird drug that makes them so high they just go insane. They actually honk, write and type in that weird pattern when they're 'normal' and a different one when they're mad...some weird one where the first sentence is completely lower case, while the next is capitalized, then the next is lower case, etc, etc. And they use Os to represent clown noses in any smiley face they use."

He quickly began to write something down on a piece of paper to show Kanaya what he meant:

XoD :o) :oD :o( :o?

"It looks weird, but that's what they do," he muttered, shaking his head. "And they're big into graffiti...rainbow colors. God, it's an eyesore."

Kanaya paused. "So, the killer could be one of these...Juggalos."

Sollux nodded. "Clown cultist, Juggalo, Subjuggulator, whatever you want to call them."

"I thought they worshiped Subjuggulators?" She still didn't know what they were.

"The Mirthful Messiahs are their gods, basically. Subjuggulators are the 'higher' members of their religion. It's dumb."

"I'm seeing stars..." Gamzee muttered, his face paler than it normally was.

"He's lost a lot of blood," Kanaya said, placing her hand against his head. It was getting really cold... "Can you take him to the hospital?"

Sollux rolled his eyes. "Why should I?"

"Sollux, do you wish to be responsible for someone else's demise?"

"No, but I'm still mad at him-"

"That is childish!"

"Wait, who's dying here?" Gamzee exclaimed.

"No one," Kanaya said at the same time Sollux said: "You."

"Sollux!"

"What?"

"That was extremely uncalled for." She could feel a headache coming on; she was losing her temperament...she needed coffee...

"I'm not kidding; he could have died long before."

"What?" Gamzee's eyes were wide with fright. "What are you talking about?"

"Your nose." A smirk spread across Sollux's face. "If it had broken a certain way, the cartilage would have shot up and punctured your brain, killing you. You were an inch away from death, Makara."

The look of fright in Gamzee's eyes was too great to really express with words, as his face paled further (was it from blood loss, or fright?).

"Sollux! Please. Just escort Gamzee to the hospital," she said, placing her fingers against her forehead.

"Why don't you?"

"I don't have a car; you do."

He stopped. "Well-"

"Sollux! For the love of God! Just take him to the hospital!"

Sollux seemed slightly shocked, but didn't argue; instead, he helped Gamzee up and quickly left the lab.

Kanaya let out a frustrated sigh. Headache...crashing...need coffee... She rubbed her temples and made her way to the break room. Never had she really had to get into a fight like that...it was almost infuriating.

After getting herself a mug of coffee and making her way back to her office, she sat down and began to slowly drink from it. She was still puzzled by what Gamzee had said (and, well, mad for Sollux being childish and uncooperative again). She had the copy of the note that the killer had most kindly left her, and then the first note, which read:

HeLlO

dEtEcTiVe

MaRyAm

HoNk :o)

It was a note that had scared her beyond her wits. First of all, how did the killer know she would be on the case? Second...it had been placed after the bodies had been inspected, as Sollux claimed he never saw it. But he had caught the note on the two new victims. Odd...

She placed both notes side by side, studying them carefully. Same dripping ink (a deep purple) and the same writing style...what was missing?

"I just don't get it."

Kanaya spent the next few days at the station, reviewing old case files on the Capricorn Case, and studying every bit of evidence that had been uncovered.

As it turned out, it was thought that the murderer's weapon of choice (or rather, weapons), was a pair of twin clubs, as the bruises on the victims were awfully round, and long. In a footnote, she noticed the yellow ink Sollux liked to use:

ii have no iidea iif thii2 wiill help or not,

but the wound2 look liike club2. or, rather,

bowliing piin2. more 2peciifiically, the kiind

clown2 u2e to juggle. 2ame length, wiidth,

and there were paiint 2taiin2 on the viictiim2.

red, black, green, and whiite. iit looked liike

iit chiipped off of the iiniitiial weapon.

ii can't 2ay, but ii thiink the juggalo2 are

behiind iit.

Kanaya found it interesting that the weapons could have been clubs, but at the same time cursed Sollux for the way he not only wrote, but typed. It could be so hard to read...

She began to do some research, finding actual pictures of Juggalos. They wore these odd black and purple clothes - black tight suits, almost, covered in deep purple lines that looked like...ribcages... And all of them had face paint. This just makes the case that much more difficult...

At one point, she thought that maybe the killer was hiding as a Juggalo to throw her off, but she brushed that aside. There was no way that was true.

On the night of the fourth day after Gamzee was attacked, she was sitting at her desk as usual. A cup of coffee was resting to her left, and a pencil was resting between her fingers. I still don't understand what's going on...

A large hand clappped against her shoulder - sending a jolt of fright through her body - as she was yanked out of her chair and away from her desk.

"Shift's over, you're going home," came Gamzee's voice - albeit a bit stuffy.

Kanaya looked up and saw, well, Gamzee. There was a splint on his nose, but he seemed otherwise fine - not nearly as pale as a few days before.

"I didn't realize they had released you, Makara," she commented, trying to pull away from him.

"They did this morning. Why didn't you ever even check in on me? Weren't you worried?" he chided.

"That's ridiculous," Kanaya looked away. "I was engrossed in the case. You should know that."

He shrugged. "I was just teasing you. Now, you are going home."

"Makara, I am trying to work," Kanaya protested.

"Nuh uh. Shift's over, you're going to bed."

Before she knew it, she was dragged out of her office and out of the department. And no one seemed to take notice!

"Gamzee! I demand you stop this!" Kanaya protested profusely. "Unhand me!"

Gamzee let go of her arm, but stood in her way. "Kanners, I thought I told you to relax a little-"

"My name is Kanaya, not Kanners," she interrupted, glaring at the other detective.

"-so, you are going to. Even if I have to force you," he continued as if she had never said a word. "Now, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Easy way being you come with me without any complaints. Hard way being me dragging you to your house."

Kanaya looked at him disapprovingly. "Gamzee. You don't know where I live. And it would appear as if you were kidnapping me."

"Who would kidnap someone from a police station?"

An idiot. "Gamzee. I am going back to work and-"

"Nope." He grabbed her arm again and began walking - causing her to follow...reluctantly. "Not hearing a word of that, Kanners. I didn't think I'd have to do this, but you leave me with no choice."

He pulled out a ring of keys from his pocket (Kanaya could only tell by the sound and slight glimmer in the darkness) and then she heard a click, like he had pressed a button (car alarm, maybe?), then she heard a louder beeping as he dragged her over to a nice looking car.

"What are you doing?" Kanaya demanded.

"Helping you." He walked over to one side of the car (Kanaya still in tow) and opened it. "After you."

Kanaya looked at him disapprovingly. "Not unless you tell me," she said, yanking her arm out of his grip.

"Now, that would ruin the surprise," Gamzee said, placing a finger against his mouth - as if he was trying to tell Kanaya to stay quiet.

I swear he is sick in the head, Kanaya thought, pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation. "And this is so important that you would stop my work on the case?"

"Yes. You need to take a break for once."

Kanaya sighed, shaking her head. "Fine." She did not like this...but he was so stubborn, and would never let her go.

With a sigh of defeat, Kanaya climbed into Gamzee's car, noticing him climbing into the driver's side.

"Lighten up," Gamzee said, nudging Kanaya with his elbow as the car revved to life. "It's not like I'm taking you somewhere to dump your body." He laughed, but when Kanaya didn't, he stopped. "Sorry, that wasn't very funny." No, it wasn't.

The two stayed silent through the ride, Kanaya's mind straying to the numerous details of the case as she watched lights flash by the window. Sollux stated that the Juggalos...or whatever they were called acted very similarly to the killer, but they're very...mellow. Passive. They would only arouse themselves if something were to happen to their cult. So why would one - maybe two - go out of their way to kill people violently? It just doesn't fit.

Her thoughts stopped abruptly when the car did, startling her.

"We're here," Gamzee said, pulling his keys from the ignition and unbuckling his seat belt.

Kanaya raised an eyebrow. Where is 'here,' exactly? She unbuckled her own seat belt and stepped out of the car, taking in her surroundings. They were in Downtown Alternia, a place that seemed to glow even at night (like New York City). They were outside a small restaurant called the "Gl'bgolyb" (though Kanaya had no idea how to pronounce the name).

"Where exactly are we?" Kanaya asked, looking cautiously at the restaurant.

"Welcome to the Gl'bgolyb," Gamzee said, pronouncing the foreign word "gl-uhb-gahl-ii-b." "Best seafood restaurant in Alternia - better than all those froo-froo diners."

Kanaya looked over at Gamzee, an almost mischievous look in her eye. "Is this your way of asking me out on a date?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

Gamzee laughed an awkward, almost embarrassed laugh. "You would have just ignored me if I directly asked. I had to pull you away from those files."

"You could have at least told me," she said, looking down at her general work clothes - a red skirt with a long sleeved brown blouse. "These are really no clothes for going out..."

"Hey, I've got a splint on my nose," Gamzee said, pointing at his face. "I think you won't stand out too much."

Kanaya couldn't help but laugh a little. "I guess I won't."

"That's the spirit!"

The two made their way into the restaurant, and Kanaya was surprised to see that it wasn't all that full - despite it being the general time people went out to eat. There was a steady amount of noise; it wasn't like one restaurant she had gone to once where she couldn't even hear herself think. They were seated almost immediately and given menus. Kanaya had to admit; the food pictured did look pretty good, and she was starting to feel hungry.

But she couldn't help but notice all the...tentacle and cuttlefish designs on the menu. An odd pattern.

She finally settled on getting grilled salmon coated in lemon juice and pepper (it sounded delicious), while Gamzee...was still sifting through the menu.

"Whale! Good evening!" came a cheery voice of a woman as she walked over to the table. She was an odd one, with black hair that stuck out in odd places, and magenta eyes covered by the same color goggles (goggles, of all things!). It also looked as if she was wearing a black one-piece swimsuit with a multicolored, neon skirt over it. Interesting...but...still...what an eyesore...

"Did you just say 'whale?'" Kanaya asked, a little confused.

"Yup! I did!" The woman grinned. "Sea, I reelly like fish puns! I'm always using them! I don't like to coast, but I think I'm pretty good at them."

Kanaya raised an eyebrow. "You don't happen to know Eridan Ampora, do you?" She asked because when he wasn't in a work situation - such as on break - he often started adding fish puns to his sentences...for no apparent reason, really.

"Eridan? Why, he's my roommate! He's reelly nice once you get to know him, reelly."

"Then you must be-"

"Oh, hey, Feferi." Gamzee finally seemed to notice the woman was there. "How are you doing on this fine day?"

The woman laughed. "I'm doing fin! But you! What happened to your nose, Gamzee?"

Kanaya just stared at them. They knew each other...? Well, that was unexpected.

"Just work. But, sorry, Kanners. That was rude of me."

"Kanners?" Feferi giggled. "That's a cute pet name!"

"It's not a pet name!" Kanaya and Gamzee exclaimed quickly - Kanaya's face reddening.

"It's just a nickname," Gamzee murmured, looking away.

Feferi laughed again. "Whale, if you say so! So, what would you pike to order?"

After placing their orders, Kanaya looked over at Gamzee - a questioning look in her eye. "You know her?"

"Yeah, she's a nice girl," he said, waving his hand around. "She's always worrying about her roommate, though. She said she thinks that he keeps trying to make passes at her, but she's not sure if she can return the feelings."

"A relationship counselor, now?" Kanaya mused.

He shrugged. "I just give her what advice I can."

For a few minutes while they waited for their food, the two began to chat. Kanaya was actually surprised to learn that Gamzee grew up in Prospit like she did.

"Outskirts, really," he said, waving it off. "I didn't really get to meet many other people. Save Crabbypants. Only friend I had when I was growing up."

They were eventually interrupted when Feferi came back with their meals - salmon for Kanaya, and shrimp and scallops for Gamzee.

But she was humming a tune that seemed...familiar to Kanaya, for some reason.

"What are you humming, Feferi?" she asked, her curiosity piqued.

"Oh, it's this song I frond on the internet," she began to explain. "It's part of a song series called the Seven Deadly Sins. A friend showed me somefin called Vocaloid, and that song series was made by it! The one I was humming was Tailor Shop on Enbizaka. It's about this woman who becomes reelly obsessed over this one man, where she krills any woman she seas him with, because she thinks he's cheating on her! But, it turns out that the people she krilled were his wife, and two daughters. But, in the end, she krills him! It's kind of scary, but interesting at the same time!"

Kanaya raised an eyebrow. "You don't say. It is a bit odd that you would find a song about murders interesting..."

"I know! I just reelly like the song! Not the meaning... That lady killed them all with scissors!"

"Scissors?" Gamzee asked. "Weird, there was a killing a few years ago where this crazy person killed four people with a pair of scissors."

"That's how people were krilled in the song."

"That sounds very much like a copycat murder," Kanaya said, cradling her head in her hand.

"I guess it does..." Feferi looked. "Sorry, I have to go deal with some otter customers! I had a lot of fin talking with you two! Nice talking with you again, Gamzee! Don't let Karcrab get to you!" With that, she hurried off to another table.

"Karcrab...?" Kanaya asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Ever since I started calling Karkat, Crabbypants, she's been calling him Karcrab," Gamzee laughed. "Ticks him right off."

"You seem to enjoy that," Kanaya mused, laughing a little.

"Hey, he makes it too fun."

xxx

The meal was amazing, Kanaya had to admit. She didn't expect that such a small restaurant such as Gl'bgolyb to be that good, but it was. They talked with Feferi a few more times, before they finally left.

"Well, that actually was enjoyable," Kanaya said as she stepped into Gamzee's car.

"This is why you should listen to me more often," he said with a laugh. He glanced over at her, and let out a sigh. "What's with that look?"

"Huh?" She looked up. "Oh, I apologize. I was wrapped up in my thoughts."

"About what?"

"The idea that the Capricorn Killer might be a copycat murderer."

Gamzee sighed and banged his head against the steering wheel, hissing as he probably remembered he had a huge, ugly bruise on his head, and...well, his nose hadn't quite healed yet. "I thought I told you to take a break from that."

"I cannot help it," she said with a shrug. "I want to solve the case."

He rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Hey, where do you live? I could drop you off at your house."

"I appreciate the offer," Kanaya started, "but I was actually going to go back to the office. I left some of my things there."

He raised an eyebrow in suspicion. "What about afterwards?"

"I can walk back," she explained. "I don't live that far away. You don't have to fret over me."

"All right, then." He looked at her with a look of suspicion, but started the car anyways and began to drive back to the station.

Kanaya mainly stayed silent on the way back to the station, her thoughts straying yet again. She could hear Gamzee trying to strike up a conversation, but she really didn't have the focus to talk with him. She was thinking about the case again, and wondering if it was a copycat murder. She wasn't going to tell him, but she was going to stay at the department for a while and research old cases with similar patterns. If all else failed, then she would head to the library and search for murder novels to find connections. She was thankful the library in Alternia stayed open so late.

The car finally slowed down, and Kanaya almost hurriedly unbuckled and climbed out.

"Thank you, Gamzee," she said, nodding her head in thanks. "That was rather enjoyable."

"It was fun," he said, a smirk on his face.

"Good night, Gamzee."

"Yeah, 'night." He stopped. "Don't fall asleep on your desk."

"Gamzee..."

He laughed. "I'm just messing with you. Good night, Kanaya."

Without another word said, he drove off.

xxx

Kanaya hurried into her office and quickly booted up her computer, tapping her fingers impatiently while she waited for it to start up. When it finally did, she clicked on a folder listed "Closed Cases" and began to scan through its contents. It was filled with old cases Sollux had found for her when she first joined the department. He thought it was a good idea for her to read through them.

After maybe an hour or so of reading through file after file, she finally gave up. Nothing...There was no other case that was similar to the Capricorn one.

"Time to head to the library, then," Kanaya said, grabbing her coat and purse.

Just as she was about to leave her office, she heard a loud curse come from one office, followed by the slamming of a door. Worried, Kanaya opened the door to her office slightly to see Karkat storming down the hall, before disappearing around a corner.

She stepped out of her office to see that his office door was slightly ajar. Odd... She walked into Karkat's office and noticed a large pile of papers on the ground, and his chair was knocked over. What happened here?

She began to pick the papers up and place them on his desk. She was about to straighten them up, when she noticed a single crumpled piece of paper in the waste basket. Kanaya couldn't help but pick it up and straighten it out, her eyes widening when she saw the dark purple ink on it:

i've got the girl

THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU CAN STOP ME

you know exactly what to do

KEEP DOING IT

or you know what will happen

SO YOU BETTER CONTINUE

or you can say good-bye

TO YOUR DEAR "FRIEND"

honk

HONK

What Sollux said about the Juggalos came to Kanaya's mind as she reread the note. Write one way when they were angered, and another when they weren't. She vaguely recalled Sollux mentioning which one was which, but she couldn't remember. But the note definitely seemed like a threat.

Relying on the hope that Karkat wouldn't notice its disappearance, Kanaya tucked the note into her pocket, before leaving the room. The library must have some answers...it just had to.

xxx

It wasn't a long walk to the library. When Kanaya reached the large, extravagant building, she quickly made her way to the "Mystery" section of the library. She pulled out any book that looked promising and flipped through it, but had no luck at all.

She almost gave up and was about to quit. It was getting late, and Kanaya was starting to feel like she was just running on steam. It was hopeless; she'd never find any connection.

"If it isn't the person I expected to find here the least," came a voice from behind Kanaya.

She turned around to see Rose standing at the end of one aisle of books.

"I wasn't expecting to find you either, Rose," Kanaya said, slipping another book back onto its spot on the shelves. "What brings you here?"

"I often come to the library when I am feeling a bit dejected."

"What's the matter?"

Rose set her book down on a table and sat at it, letting out a sigh. "A friend of mine disappeared the other night. I can't locate her."

Kanaya couldn't help but become curious. "Who was it? Maybe I can help you find her."

Rose fingered the spine of her book, before finally speaking. "It was Jade."

The detective's eyes widened. "Jade? You've got to be joking. You're not serious, are you?"

"I am not joking. She disappeared the night before last. She was going to visit her boyfriend at the AID-"

"Did you say AID?" Kanaya's interest was suddenly piqued.

Rose nodded. "I thought you would have known. She's dating Officer Vantas. Though, she will not admit it; she insists they are simply friends." Oh, my god...

Kanaya quickly pulled out the note she found in Karkat's office and spread it out on the table. "I think might know just who captured her," she said, turning it so Rose could see. "I found this in Karkat's office."

The blonde scanned over it. "It sounds like blackmail. But who exactly wrote this? It looks like the work of a clown cultist."

"I think it may have very well been a Juggalo," Kanaya said, pointing at the odd writing. "Sollux told me about them. They write like this when they're angered. And it seems they also honk. But I know this writing; it's the Capricorn Killer's."

"Jade may have already left this world," Rose muttered, looking at the paper.

"I doubt it. I think Karkat only just found out; as I was leaving, I heard him swearing from in his office before he stormed away."

"So, she could be safe."

Kanaya's eyes slid to the book Rose was holding. It had an odd title. "The Slaughter of Cancer." Could it mean the disease? "What's that about?" she questioned.

"Oh." Rose slid the book out from under her arms. "It's a murder mystery by William Scratch. I took interest in it not all that long ago when I saw familiar circumstances in reality. It's about this psychopathic murderer that only seeks those that fall under the astrological sign of Cancer, and writes that insignia on them. He has been on the loose for five whole years, but a new face is on the scene and is trying to solve the case."

Kanaya furrowed her brow. "That's odd. All the case files I read, the people who were murdered by the Capricorn Killer that have been identified...all were under the sign of Capricorn." She stopped. "You don't have that sign, do you?"

Rose shook her head. "I don't. And neither does Jade; we both fall under the sign of Sagittarius. What of you? Do you?"

Kanaya shook her head. "Mine is Virgo. It should spare me...for some time, at least. The detectives that were killed before me were the only exceptions..."

She felt something against her hand and noticed the book Rose had was resting there.

"You should read it," Rose said, lacing her fingers together. "I have already finished it. I think it will aide you more in the long run."

Kanaya fingered the book, and then decided to take it. "Thank you, I shall try and read it," she said, nodding. She was just about to leave, when she stopped. "I'll make sure Jade isn't harmed. Don't you worry, Rose."

Rose nodded, and Kanaya could see her fingering a pair of black knitting needles in her purse. "I know you will. And I thank you for that, Kanaya."

xxx

Kanaya made her way to her apartment, setting her purse on a table. It was nearly ten, but Kanaya knew she wouldn't' be sleeping that night.

After setting a pot of coffee to brew, she cracked open the book Rose had given her and began to read it.

She spent the whole night reading - a cup of coffee always beside her. She could not help but be engrossed in the storyline - and frightened at how similar the characters were to people she knew in real life. It was if the roles had been switched. A character that was very similar to Jade was the detective working on the case, and it was a character that was similar to Kanaya herself was the one that was the one the killer kidnapped. A crabby detective that was similar to Karkat, an officer that acted quite a lot like Gamzee...it was startling. And she also found it extremely disturbing to read that the character that was like her, and the character that was like Gamzee, were dating...

But things began to become confusing, as things took a turn for the worse when the detective "Jacqueline English" found out that her partner, "Panthros Nile," was actually the killer. He had been blackmailing "Kinos Lerna" to tamper with evidence so he wouldn't be caught.

And Kinos' motivation?

A girl named Charon Teach. And this character - Charon - acted quite a lot like Kanaya.

It was extremely shocking that the story was so scarily similar to what was going on real life - almost exactly the same, save the name differences...and the fact the other detective was the killer. There was no way that was true.

She had just finished the book when it was time for her to get ready for work. But, she she had the hardest time motivating herself to. The only thing on her mind was the book. Was it true?

She hoped not.

Finally managing to motivate herself to leave her apartment, she walked to work - the book under her arm. She was expecting Gamzee to make a comment about her "getting some sleep" (though she really didn't), but rather moments after she entered her office, Karkat burst in.

"Were you in my office last night?" he yelled.

Startled by his sudden accusation, Kanaya backed up slightly. "Pardon me?"

"I asked if you were in my damn office last night! My paperwork wasn't where it was when I left!"

Caught.

Kanaya placed her fingertips on her desk. "Yes. I was worried something terrible had happened to you, so I went to investigate. I saw your office was a mess, so I was cleaning up a little-"

"So you took it!"

Kanaya blinked. "Took what, exactly?"

"The trash can in my office was empty! Why did you take it? It's none of your business-"

"You seem rather agitated today," Kanaya commented, trying to deter the focus of the conversation. "Does it have to do anything with a miss Jade Harley?"

He stopped, eyes wide. "Wai-Wha-How did you-?" He stopped, clenching his teeth together. "What is it about Jade?"

Right on the mark.

"I ran into Rose last night," Kanaya started, straightening some of the papers on her desk out of habit. "She said that Jade disappeared a few nights ago, and that she had disappeared while going to visit someone. I do believe she said it was you."

All the anger seemed to melt away in Karkat, and seemed to be replaced with frustration, or sorrow. "It's all my fault," he muttered, slumping down into a chair and burying his face in his hands.

Kanaya looked at the officer with a look of pity and walked over to him, pulling out the note from her pocket. "Does it have anything to do with this?"

He looked up, and instead of yelling at Kanaya, he just nodded. "It does. Damn it, I knew it was wrong, but..."

"But what, Karkat?"

"Someone I know is the killer."

Kanaya took in a breath of surprise. "Who is it?"

"I can't say," Karkat said, looking to the ground and hiding his face with his hand. "If...If I do, Jade will..."

She rested her hand on his shoulder. "I understand. But can you tell me what's going on?"

He nodded reluctantly. "The killer...is a friend of mine. He wasn't always like that. He just...freaked right out. I didn't want him to go to jail, so...I tampered with the evidence. If anything was found that would put him in jail, I'd mess with it...or destroy it. I just did it for a while, hoping he would just stop! But he didn't. He took advantage of my 'help' and continued! And when I threatened to stop..." Karkat's voice began to crack. "He threatened to kill Jade. So I...I continued. Reluctantly, but I still did it.

"Then...then I confronted him earlier this week. I told him it had gone too far. I told him to stop or I'd turn him in. He...He didn't even acknowledge what I said! And then that night, I didn't hear anything from Jade. Or the day after. I was beginning to worry, when...I found that note on my desk...last night... I can't believe he kidnapped her! I just..."

Kanaya really couldn't believe her eyes. She had never seen Karkat acting the way he was; it was like he was just falling apart, piece by piece.

"Was there anything else?" Kanaya asked.

"He said that the next victim...was going to be someone in the office. I've been keeping an eye out...but I haven't seen anything other than the fact that Ara-" He stopped and swore. "Aradia hasn't been here all day."

As if on cue, Kanaya's phone began to beep wildly, alerting her of a new text message.

TA: hey, kanaya. have you 2een aa?

GA: AA

GA: Do You Possibly Mean Aradia

TA: yeah, aa. aradiia.

GA: No I Have Not

GA: Karkat Mentioned How He Hasnt Seen Her Either

TA: …

TA: you are jokiing, riight?

GA: No I Am Not

TA: 2HOOT!

GA: Sollux Could You Please Speak Normally

GA: I Am Having The Hardest Time Reading Your Messages

TA: ...fine.

TA: aa's missing. i can't find her anywhere.

TA: i asked ampora if he had seen her, but he said she never came in today.

GA: I Will Keep My Eyes Peeled Then

She closed her phone and looked over at Karkat. "Sollux can't find Aradia, either."

Karkat cursed and punched himself in the head. "I told him not to!" he growled.

"Are your referring to Sollux?"

"No!" He stood up and hurried out of the room, leaving Kanaya as confused as ever. Could he be talking about...?

She didn't have the time to finish that thought, when her phone began to ring.

"Hello-"

"Kanaya! Get over here!" came Sollux's voice. "I...I'm behind the station. Oh god...Hurry! Please!" She could hear him speaking on the other end - but not directly into the phone. She could hear him saying things like "Hold on," and "Don't die on me," but she wasn't sure who he was talking to.

Kanaya nodded. "All right. I will go as fast as I can." She hung up, but was instantly texted.

CG: DID SOLLUX JUST CALL YOU, TOO?

GA: Yes He Did

GA: He Seemed Frantic

CG: DAMN IT...GET A FIRST AID KIT.

GA: What For?

CG: JUST GET IT!

Kanaya hurried out of her office and quickly ran to the front desk - catching the attention of her boss.

"Kan? Wwhat are you doing?" Eridan asked, his voice filled with confusion.

"I can't talk right now, Chief!" she said, grabbing the first aid kit that was kept behind the desk and rushing out of the door.

She hurried out, running into Karkat when she reached where Sollux was.

It was horrifying.

There was blood all over the walls, and written on one wall was:

ThE rAm Is DeAd. WhO'Ll Be NeXt?

ThE tWiNs? ThE cRaB? ThE rIvEr?

ThE gOaT? ThE mAiDeN?

HoNk

:o)

And lying underneath the ominous writing was a bloody Aradia Megido.

"Aradia! Please! Get up!" begged Sollux who was crouching by her and propping up her bloodied head. "Please! Don't die on me! Please!"

"Sor...ry," Kanaya heard Aradia rasp. "Couldn't...see him..."

"Don't talk! I called an ambulance, they should be here soon-"

"It's...all right...Sollux," she said. Her eyes began to slowly close.

"No! Aradia, don't!" he yelled frantically, trying to get her to wake up. "No. No, no, no, no, no!"

She became limp, her breathing ceasing to be heard.

Aradia Megido was no longer.

Sollux's breathing suddenly sped up with fright, his two-colored eyes wide. "No! No! Aradia!" he cried, burying his face in her hair.

Kanaya looked to the ground, anger and sorrow welling up in her. Aradia? Dead? It just seemed so impossible, but there she was; as dead as a doorknob. It just made her hate the killer even more; she desperately wanted to take him down.

She set down the first aid kit and walked over to Sollux, crouching down and wrapping her arms around him to at least try and console him. She knew that Aradia had been one of the few people he trusted his life with, and she was also one of the few people that truly understood him. And now...she was dead.

"Wwhat's going on out he-oh, cod..." came Eridan's voice as she heard him walk into the alleyway. "Ara...is dead? Kar, Kan, Sol, wwhat happened?"

"It was that damned Capricorn Killer," Sollux growled as Kanaya hurriedly moved away as he stood up. "He killed her! And he's going to kill the rest of us! Just random people off of the street weren't just enough! He had to go and kill AA! He'll pay for it!" She noticed tears streaming down his face. "I swear it!"

Kanaya looked over at Karkat, who was just standing there, staring at Aradia's corpse. What was going through his head, she could only guess. But the anger and fright was written across his face clearly. It seemed everyone assembled had a bone to pick with the Capricorn Killer.

Kanaya began to wonder what the message meant. A maiden? A ram? A goat? A crab? A river? Twins? What did it mean... Then it hit her: Cancer was represented by a crab, while Virgo was represented by a maiden. And she was Virgo. So that meant...

"Sollux, wasn't your astrological sign Gemini?" she asked, referring to the sign that was represented by celestial twins.

"What of it?" he asked, looking over at her.

"Why are you asking such dumb questions right now?" Karkat grumbled.

"It's about the message," she said, looking at the blood. "Wasn't Aradia under the sign of Aries, the ram?"

Sollux stopped. "She was..." He looked up at the message. "Wait..." His eyes widened. "Do you mean...?"

Kanaya nodded. "Aries is represented by a ram, and Aradia was under the sign of Aries. Gemini is represented by twins, Cancer by a crab, Aquarius by a river, Capricorn by a chimera of a goat and a fish, and Virgo by a maiden."

"Wwait, I'm under Aquarius," Eridan pointed out.

"And Cancer for me," Karkat murmured.

"And I am under Virgo," Kanaya added. "Karkat, what is Gamzee's sign?"

He paused. "Capricorn..."

"Then the killer means all of us," Eridan said, a frown on his face. "So wwe all might vvery wwell be targets."

Kanaya nodded. "I'm afraid so..."

xxx

Sollux didn't come to work for the rest of the week, or the week after. Kanaya could understand; he had just lost someone very close to him, and she didn't fault him for taking some time off to collect his thoughts. But, she was still scared by the idea that the killer was going to target another in the department...and she could very well be next.

During that time, she had been furiously working as hard as she could to figure out who the killer was. She wouldn't let Sollux down. But, also in that time, she had decided to look into William Scratch's other works, only to find that they followed a pattern: they were similar to old, closed cases, but each was published while the case was still being investigated. And, they were all surprisingly close to real life - in terms of what happened, and what didn't. She had to talk to Scratch; he probably knew something about the case.

However, the more she worked, the more Gamzee insisted she took it easy before she drove herself to the point of exhaustion. She did listen - on occasion. Though, when she was taking a break, she was usually with Gamzee. She didn't want to admit it, but she had developed feelings for the other detective. So, she was a bit more willing to let him drag her to some mystery place every now and then. But she couldn't help but have her thoughts stray to The Slaughter of Cancer. The main protagonist - Jacqueline - had fallen for her partner, Panthros...but he turned out to be the killer.

You're just being paranoid, Kanaya'd tell herself. It's not true. But the feeling of unease and uncertainty would never leave her.

So, she decided she would try and have a talk with the author of the book; she would find William Scratch.

xxx

Rose had mentioned that William Scratch was probably an alias, a pen name, but Kanaya couldn't help but feel that was his real name. So, where else to find out more about this elusive author, than the library? Maybe there was a biography or an autobiography on Scratch.

Kanaya began her search by flipping through every one of his books - trying to see if they listed where he was from, but she had no luck.

When she began to look for a possible news article on him, she happened to be stopped by a librarian.

"Is that a book by William Scratch?" the woman asked.

Kanaya nodded. "It is. He is a rather...interesting author."

"He is. Ingenious, really! Who knew he was so good at writing crime dramas? He always seemed just your average Joe to me."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Oh, he comes to the library to write. I don't know why he doesn't write at his home, but he just does. Actually, he's right over there." She pointed over at a man reading a newspaper a few tables away who looked as if he was in his late sixties, with stark white hair, and the same colored skin, clad in a white suit.

Well, that was...convenient. Who knew? "He sure seems to like white," Kanaya commented.

"He does. He even writes notes in invisible ink! It's odd, but that's Mr. Scratch."

Kanaya thanked the librarian, then walked over to the man.

"Are you William Scratch?" she asked, the book tucked under her arm.

The man looked up, startling Kanaya with his bright, neon green eyes that seemed to flicker with yellow energy at times. "Why, yes, I am," he said, leaning back slightly. "And you might be...?"

"Kanaya Maryam," she replied, holding out her hand.

"Ah, Kanaya." He shook her hand. "You are quite the interesting woman, detective. I've heard quite a lot about you." He chuckled. "Though, you would never believe me where my sources lie."

"Try me."

He laughed again. "I knew you would say that."

She raised an eyebrow. "Is that so?"

He nodded. "And I knew you would say that." Before she could speak, he continued: "And you are about to ask how I am doing this, and I of course would reply with another vague response, in which you would then leave in frustration after another few cycles of such banter. I say this because I think you will be interesting to converse with, Detective Maryam."

She blinked. How did he know what she was going to say...? She just was about to ask how he was doing that.

Kanaya shook her head. "Aside from that...I wanted to ask you about your book, Mr. Scratch-"

"Please, call me William," he said, folding the newspaper up and placing it on the table. "Mr. Scratch is so formal. Though...Doc Scratch does have a nice ring to it..."

"You should stick with William Scratch," Kanaya interjected.

"Yes, I suppose. But what was it you were saying? I - of course - already know your question, but I don't wish to be rude. I would be a terrible gentleman, would I not? And please! Sit down."

Kanaya frowned. He was so arrogant... But, she still sat down anyways, placing the book on the table.

"I was wondering, about your book The Slaughter of Cancer, when did you start writing it?"

"Six years ago," he stated.

"And it was finished and published?"

"Three years ago."

Odd... "Were the characters written the way they were on purpose?"

"Everything has a purpose."

"Why is it similar to the case I am working on, the Capricorn Case?"

"Everything is similar to another in its own way."

Kanaya moaned and slapped her hand to her head. "I meant, why does it seem like your book is predicting what is going to happen in real life?"

"Simply put, it is."

"Pardon?"

"I do not mean to boast, but I consider myself to be omniscient. I can see into the future, predict what people will say, and know everything about them in almost an instant. Though, I do not understand why some consider me mad."

Possibly because he is... "Just how do you do it?"

"I take a pen and-"

"I meant your visions, not how you write."

A smirk played across Scratch's face, as if he were enjoying harassing Kanaya. "Do you believe in higher powers, Miss Maryam?"

"No, I never have."

"I am honestly surprised. I thought one such as yourself would, what with your infatuation with the fantastical realm."

"It intrigues me. Nothing more. But I wish to know how you are able to be omniscient."

"There are just some things you can't explain, Miss Maryam," Scratch said, shrugging slightly. "I wouldn't advise you stick your nose into that kind of thing, if you understand what I mean. But I am quite sure you do."

Kanaya sighed. He was so odd...

"Does the book have any ties to real life?" she couldn't help but ask.

"That, is for you to find out," Scratch said as he gathered up a book on the table and standing up. "Why don't you come back here tomorrow at three? I have a meeting to attend to. It was interesting conversing with you, Miss Maryam. Though, I advise you do your research on astrological signs; Wikipedia can be quite helpful at times."

Before she could say anything else, he left.

xxx

Frustrated at the cryptic author, Kanaya made her way back to the department, mulling over what he said. Astrological signs? What good would that do? But, she decided to listen and quickly searched the different astrological signs on Wikipedia.

She just skimmed through the articles, but when she reached the article on Cancer, she stopped. The article mentioned the crab that was supposed to represent Cancer - a crab named Karkinos that was sent to distract Heracles in his task to slay the hundred-headed Hydra. Wasn't the character that was similar to Gamzee named Kinos? That can't be a coincidence. But wouldn't the killer have been named Kinos, instead?

She began to scroll through the articles once more, finding out that "Charon" was the name of the ferryman that lead the souls of the dead to the Underworld. Why the character from the Slaughter of Cancer would be named that, she wasn't sure. When she reached Capricorn, she stopped and read that article. The figure that is associated with Capricorn in Greek myths is...Pan? The goat god? Wasn't the character that was similar to Karkat named Panthros? Panthros...Pan...What does it mean?

The character that was like Karkat seemed to be named after a figure that represented Capricorn, while the character that was like Gamzee was most likely named after the figure that represented Cancer... Just what was the connection?

xxx

The next day, Kanaya hurried to the library as soon as she could get a break. She just had to talk to Scratch; it was beginning to seem like he was an important piece of the puzzle.

"Good afternoon, Miss Maryam," Scratch said, looking up from the notebook he was writing in. "I had a feeling you were going to be a bit early, so I thought I would be even earlier. Hoo hoo." His laugh was odd...

She tried to brush it off. "Good afternoon to you, as well, Mr. Scratch."

"Please, call me William."

Kanaya sighed as she sat down. "Do the names you wrote in the Slaughter of Cancer mean something?"

"Of course they do. All names have meanings."

She sighed and rubbed her temples. "I meant any significance. Any connections to real life."

"You'll have to-"

"Figure that out myself, yes, I know." She sighed. "Are the names Panthros and Kinos derived from Pan and Karkinos, the figures that represent Capricorn and Cancer respectively?"

Scratch raised his eyebrows. "Why, aren't you the quick learner. Yes, they are. I thought it would be interesting to have a Capricorn with the name of a Cancer. An instant target, wouldn't you say so?"

Kanaya sighed. "I would tend to think otherwise."

"Suit yourself, then. I know I am right, anyways. I am always right."

She had to restrain herself from glaring at him. "There is someone I know named Jade Harley. She disappeared a few weeks ago. Why is it that Jacqueline - the character that acts uncannily like her - is the detective, while Charon - the character that acts so much like myself - is the one that is kidnapped?"

"Sometimes your questions are so amusing, Miss Maryam." Scratch tapped his fingers on the table, before writing down another note into the book. He waved his pen at her. "They can be quite literal at times, really. What have you learned about the case - and the book - thus far?"

"You 'already know,' why are you asking me?" she asked, still not believing that he was omniscient.

"So I am not rude. A terrible gentleman I would be," he said, continuing to write. "And for you to realize it yourself. I've found answering obvious questions can be quite enlightening."

She paused. He had a point...

"The killer brutally mauls-"

"No, no, no. I didn't mean the technical part of the case. What you have been doing while working on the case."

She was taken aback. He wanted her to...what?

Kanaya groaned and massaged her temples. He really wanted her to answer?

"And don't forget people," Scratch added. "The people you interact with the most are the most important piece of the puzzle, you know. The most important piece for any puzzle."

Kanaya paused, trying to figure out what he meant.

"I have diligently been trying to solve the case," she stated slowly, deep in thought. "I have worked with the late Agent Aradia Megido; Detective Gamzee Makara; Officer Karkat Vantas; and our forensics expert, Sollux Captor. When not working with them, I usually participate in a club in which I socialize with others of my interest. I have two acquaintances there: Jade Harley, and Rose Lalonde. Jade and Officer Vantas are in a relationship-"

"What about you and Mr. Makara?"

Kanaya stopped, her face reddening a bit. "No...not really. I mean, we are good friends, but-"

"You have developed feelings for him, have you not?"

How did he-?

"No, I have not," she lied.

"Then why did you seem flustered when I proposed the idea of you and Makara being in a relationship? Or, as the kids call it now, 'being a thing.'"

"That is not important!" Kanaya took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "About what I was saying earlier." She sighed. "Jade disappeared a few weeks ago, and Officer Vantas has been frantically searching for her since. It was also around the time she vanished, that Agent Megido was murdered. Sollux hasn't been to work since then, out of depression, I gather, and the office is in a state of near panic."

"That is just real life. What of the book?"

She paused. "The main character is Detective Jacqueline English - though the last name honestly does not fit her at all-"

"She was named after a very good friend of mine," Scratch cut in.

Kanaya blinked; that had never even occurred to her. "Uh, well. Her partner is Detective Panthros Nile, another name that does not make any sense at all since Panthros sounds like panther-"

"It was intended to be that way." She was having a hard time not punching Scratch in the face every time he interrupted her.

"The officer that works with them is Officer Kinos Lerna, who is dating..." She hesitated. "Charon Teach. Charon is later kidnapped by Panthros, and he blackmails Kinos into helping...him..." Her eyes slightly widened. "Karkat said Jade was kidnapped, and he was being blackmailed into helping the killer."

"And?"

"And I don't think it's a coincidence that when said together, Karkat and Kinos sound like Karkinos, the crab that the sign of Cancer was based on."

"You're starting to get it, but what is Lerna? What does that have to do with anything?"

Kanaya wracked her brain, trying to remember what she read. "Karkinos was the crab that was sent to distract Heracles when he was tasked to kill the Hydra, a monster that was found...in the swamps of Lerna? The whole name refers to Cancer?"

"Very good. And Panthros?"

"Pan is the goat god of Greek myths. He jumped into the Nile river to escape a monster...and the half of him that was in the water became a fish, while the half that didn't remained a goat..." She snapped her fingers. "A chimera! A chimera of a fish and a goat! Capricorn! You intentionally named him after Capricorn. He represents the Capricorn Killer, doesn't he?"

A smirk played across Scratch's face. "That he does."

"But Charon Teach..." She stopped. "Charon. Chiron. Chiron is the figure that symbolizes Sagittarius! And he was a teacher of heroes. And..." She stopped. "Rose told me that she and Jade were under Sagittarius. Charon may act like myself, but she is supposed to represent Jade, is she not?"

"She does, indeed."

"So then you know who the killer is. The Capricorn Killer."

Scratch nodded. "But it would be no fun at all if I told you."

Kanaya sighed and ran her hand through her hair. She felt as if she was just an inch from solving the case, but she still didn't understand. Why was the character that acted like Karkat, named after Capricorn? She knew for a fact that Karkat wasn't the killer; seeing him break down like he did a few weeks ago just cemented his innocence...well, general innocence; he still helped the killer.

But who was it?

Charon was supposed to be Jade; she knew that. And Kinos - with the name similar to Karkinos - was in a similar position to Karkat...

She snapped out of her thoughts as her phone began to rang.

"I think you should answer that," Scratch said, picking up a nearby newspaper and leaning backward as he began to read it.

Kanaya raised an eyebrow, but pulled out her phone and flipped it open. "Hello?"

"Hey, Kanaya." It was Sollux.

"Sollux. I'm glad to hear from you. Are you all right?" His voice sounded flat, and almost solemn.

"As fine as a guy who lost one of his closest friends could be," he said, causing Kanaya to worry about him.

"Sollux, I promise we'll catch the killer. He'll be behind bars soon."

"I'd rather see him on Death Row."

She sighed as she stood up and walked away from the table a bit, trying not to be rude. "What was it you called about?"

"I found some plastic bags with your handwriting on it, Kanaya," he said. "They had a tooth and some hair in it?"

Her eyes widened. "Those were the samples I was talking about. I thought they were gone."

"Well, they aren't. I tested them, and I did get a match." He sounded almost furious.

"You did? Who was it?"

"It-" Sollux was cut off by a loud crash, and she could hear what sounded like Sollux yelling in pain from the other end.

"Sollux?"

Her phone began to beep; a text message.

TA: forensiic2 lab. noolwsxc

She didn't get the last part, but she understood.

"I'm sorry, I have to leave early. My friend-"

"No, it's quite all right. That call was actually right on time. I knew you would leave, so I do not mind." He held up his hand before Kanaya could leave. "Though, you might want to take this." He slid a large plastic bag filled with white cloth inside of it across the table. "You might find it useful."

Kanaya was confused, but she didn't question him, but rather thanked him as she hurried out of the library. The whole time she ran back to the department, she was praying that Sollux was all right.

Kanaya skidded through the hallways, startling a few other of her coworkers as she hurried to the Forensics lab, her heart pounding in her ears.

xxx

She reached the lab and quickly opened the door, looking around frantically for Sollux. The room was a mess. Equipment was strewn about and broken, a couple of tables were turned over, and one of the windows was shattered.

And then there was the blood. It formed a trail from the file cabinet to a side room. It ran up the door, and continued underneath it. Praying that nothing happened, Kanaya carefully opened the door to find it was Sollux's computer room.

With a bleeding Sollux lying at the computer.

Kanaya gasped and hurried over, placing her fingers against his neck as she checked for a pulse and prayed that he was still alive. There was. He was just unconscious. She let out a sigh of relief, but was still scared. What had happened?

She looked down in her hand. She still had that cloth Scratch had given her. She opened the bag and pulled it out, to see it was actually a bunch of linen bandages. How did he know what I was going to need? She shook her head; she shouldn't be contemplating on things that didn't matter at the present.

She propped Sollux up, then began to wrap his head in the bandages in an attempt to slow down the bleeding so she could get help. He was starting to become pale, and had already lost a lot of blood, but she was praying - praying - he would be fine until she got him to a hospital.

She heard the sound of an IM client, and looked over at one of the screens of his computer. Karkat was messaging him?

CG: SOLLUX, I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU HAD A LEAD ON THE CASE.

CG: DON'T YOU?

TA: I Am Not Sure If He Does

TA: Please Come To The Forensics Lab

TA: I Require Your Assistance

CG: KANAYA? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THERE?

TA: Please Do Not Stall

TA: Sollux Is Unconscious

CG: WHAT?

TA: Please Hurry

She returned her attention to Sollux and carefully picked him up the best she could, trying not to harm him. When she was bandaging him, she had noticed a considerable wound to his head. She wasn't sure what it was, exactly, but she didn't want to take any chances.

Kanaya carefully made her way out to the main part of the lab, hearing Karkat swearing profoundly.

"What the hell happened here? It looks like a hurricane tore through here-What the hell? Sollux!" He hurried over, but stopped, wide eyed. "What happened to him?"

"I am not sure," Kanaya said as Karkat tried to help steady him. "I received a call from him not that long ago about a lead, and then there was a commotion on the other end, and he didn't respond. I received a text message from him next telling me to come to the Forensics lab. I do not know what happened."

Karkat swore again. "We have to get him to a hospital. An ambulance will take too long; help me get him into my car."

Kanaya nodded in acknowledgment. She didn't want Sollux to die; she would not let him die.

xxx

After causing a ruckus in the department and startling their chief (as he began to start going off about how "glubbing unlucky" he was), Karkat and Kanaya managed to get Sollux into the back of Karkat's car. Kanaya slid in with Sollux - to make sure he would be fine as Karkat got into the driver's seat.

"You better make sure he doesn't get hurt any more than he already is," Karkat warned as he started up the car and sped out of the parking lot.

Kanaya lurched forward, but managed to stay seated (somehow) and kept Sollux from flying forward. She kept a close watch on Sollux as Karkat sped through the streets of Alternia, a chorus of angry car horns and voices coming from every direction.

"Back at you!" Karkat yelled at one point when someone flipped him off.

Just as they were pulling into the hospital, the car lurched and caused Kanaya to lurch forward herself. She only just caught Sollux before he hit the floor, but noticed something white fall to the ground. She pocketed it; she'd examine it later.

She quickly unstrapped herself and carefully tried to lift Sollux out of the car, while Karkat came and helped her. Someone from inside the hospital came out - demanding what all the noise was (Karkat had kind of made a sudden, loud stop that probably could have been heard inside of the building) - but then stopped and told them to hurry in as they held the door open and called for some help.

Some doctors (or nurses, she wasn't sure) came out with a stretcher and helped Kanaya and Karkat carefully lie Sollux down on it, before they took him into the E.R.

"I hope he will be all right," Kanaya muttered, worry overcoming her.

"I'm sure he will," Karkat muttered, though by the tone of his voice, it seemed as if he didn't believe himself. "I'm sure of it."

The two of them stayed at the hospital waiting room, and though he would never admit it, Kanaya could tell that Karkat was extremely worried. Sollux was - essentially - Karkat's best friend, in a similar way that Aradia was Sollux's. It's like the killer is trying to tear us down not only by diminishing our ranks, but also destroying our will to continue.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the paper she had seen drop onto the floor of Karkat's car and unfolded it, spotting Sollux's handwriting on the crumpled, bloodstained paper:

blame the juggalo2. they're found iin

the 2econd drawer of the cabiinet iin

the lab. ii had to hiide iit; he would have

found iit easiily, otherwiise.

"Hide what?" Kanaya wondered aloud.

"What are you talking about?" she heard Karkat grumble.

She showed him the note. "This. I found it in your car. I think Sollux may have been holding it."

He stopped. "Juggalos? What does that mean? Did he write this before he went out?"

"Possibly. I found a trail of blood from the file cabinet to his computer room, so I assume he was conscious for sometime before blacking out."

He stayed silent for a minute or so. "Go figure it out," he finally said. "I think this may have been important. The longer we leave this..."

"The longer the killer runs free." She stood up and looked at the officer.

Karkat looked away. "Yeah...he does..." She could see the confliction in his red eyes; she knew he wanted to bring the killer down for his deeds, but she also knew...that the killer was his friend. There was no way he could bring himself to do that, she saw. And she also saw the worry that had creased his face since he had told her that Jade missing.

"I promise I will be back with results," Kanaya said, resting her hand on Karkat's shoulder.

He hesitated and looked at the ground. "Thanks, Kanaya."

xxx

Kanaya was about to head to the Forensics lab, when she was stopped by her boss.

"Okay, Kan. Wwhat the shell is going on?" he demanded, his normal work attitude slipping away with his more casual one...but it seemed he was more freaked out, than casual. "Ara dies, and noww Sol is dead, too? And you just happen to be there. Wwhat is going on?"

"Sollux isn't dead, Chief Ampora," Kanaya said calmly. "He's in the hospital."

"Oh." She swore she heard him mutter "Wwell, that's a shame," but she brushed it off. "But I still wwant to knoww wwhat is going on here."

"I would rather not say until I have more facts to back up my hypothesis," she said. "I was actually just about to go investigate his attack."

Eridan raised an eyebrow. "Vvery wwell. But you had better tell me wwhat is going on here, Kan."

"I will. In due time."

She hurried to the lab and made a beeline for the file cabinet, avoiding the trail of blood that stained the tiled floor. She pulled open the second cabinet, and began to search through the folders. Cold cases, crystallized blood, Caribbean trips? Oh. Here it is. Clown Cultists. She sighed at how Sollux organized things; it was by the first letter only, and everything else was just thrown in there. And each title had at least two words in it.

She pulled open the file and began to sift through it, furrowing her brow when she found a second file inside of the Clown Cultist one. She pulled it out.

"'DNA sample results?'" she read, opening the folder.

She thought for sure her eyes were betraying her, but there were the results for the tooth and hair samples she had found maybe two weeks ago. And the genetic match.

"It can't be..."

Written in yellow ink at the bottom was:

ii should have kiilled hiim when ii had the chance.

aa wouldn't have diied.

She closed the case folder and quickly and texted Eridan.

GA: Chief I Need To Talk To You

xxx

It was getting late. Kanaya decided she should head home that night, as she was exhausted beyond belief.

"You sure you're going to be okay, Kanaya?" Karkat had asked her after he got back from the hospital.

"I will be perfectly fine," she had said.

Even Eridan asked the same thing.

"You're sure you don't wwant someone to escort you home?" he had asked her.

"Yes, I am capable of making my way home myself. I have done it many times before, as you know," she had simply said before taking her leave.

It was getting dark, and but the street lamps hadn't turned on yet; so the only light was rising moon, and the light from the buildings around her. It was quickly becoming cold as Kanaya walked home, clutching her coat closer around her frame. She sped up her pace, her high heels clicking against the pavement. Soon she would be home, and she'd make herself a nice hot supper to warm herself.

She stopped. She could hear low, gravely laughter coming from behind her. Low, ominous laughter that seemed almost mocking.

She turned around to see who was there, but there was no one else there but herself.

"It's just your head, Kanaya," she told herself, turning back to the path. "Scratch's book has just set your nerves off."

Another round of laughter came from beside her this time. Without waiting to see who it was, Kanaya whirled around, drawing a gun from inside her coat and aiming it into the dark alley beside her.

"Show yourself!" she commanded, cocking back the hammer on the pistol.

The laughter came again, louder this time, and followed by a raspy honk that Kanaya could barely understand, until whoever it was yelled in their raspy voice "HONK."

Her heart pounded in her chest when she heard a commotion behind her. She turned around, the gun held in front of her.

Standing in front of her was this crazy looking man - tall and lean, with long, thick arms trailing at his side. He had extremely long, messy hair that seemed almost black. It poofed out, and made him seem even larger than he was. A crazy grin was spread across his painted face. His face was covered in strange gray and white face paint that made him seem even more demented. And he was wore in the disturbing black and purple clothes of the Juggalos, the clown cultists.

He laughed again, walking closer to Kanaya as she took a step back, dragging large clubs with him.

"Who are you?" Kanaya demanded, her finger wrapped around the trigger.

"What?" the man said in his raspy voice, an almost amused smirk across his face. "After all this time I've let you live. AFTER ALL OF THAT DAMN SNOOPING YOU DID. You don't know. YOU DON'T KNOW WHO I AM? You've got to be kidding me. WELL, THAT'S A DAMN SHAME. Maybe I'll have to show you. SHOW YOU JUST WHO THE HELL I AM."

Kanaya stepped back again, adjusting her grip on the gun. He had startled her with his sudden yelling, but she wouldn't let him get the jump on her.

"I'll shoot," she said, aiming the gun at the man's chest. "Take one step towards me, and I will shoot you."

"Now there. NOW THERE'S AN ATTITUDE I LIKE. None of the others had it. THEY ALL JUST DIED MISERABLE, PITIFUL DEATHS. But that's what makes you different, Detective Maryam. THAT'S WHY I'LL ENJOY SMASHING YOUR SKULL IN TONIGHT."

When it looked like was about to charge at her, Kanaya called out: "Where are your glasses?"

The man faltered. "What? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I don't need glasses. I'VE NEVER NEEDED A PAIR OF DAMN GLASSES."

The gun still aimed at her attacker, Kanaya reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a pair of rectangular glasses - the kind that Gamzee always wore. "Are you quite sure? I think these would fit you just fine, Mr. Capricorn Killer."

He just laughed. "You're toying with me. NO ONE TOYS WITH ME. Not you. AND NOT ANYBODY ELSE. Got it? DO YOU-"

"I hate to interrupt you," she said, cutting him off, "but I just had to point out the fact that you are right; you never needed glasses. See, these glasses don't have a prescription." She saw the killer just staring at her, and she couldn't help but smirk in turn. "I'm saying, I know exactly who you are. I do not understand why I never saw it before, but maybe that was because I never met the killer face to face." She tossed the glasses at the killer. "Why did you do it, Gamzee?"

He stopped and gave Kanaya a strange look, then continued - and she automatically recognized who spoke then. "Why did I do what? Be a bit more specific. I won't know what you're talking about unless you do."

"You know what I'm talking about." She kept the gun trained on his chest. "Why did you kill all those people? Why did you kill Agent Megido? Why did you attack Sollux? Why did you blackmail Karkat?"

He just laughed. "You would do the same. It seems terrible before you take a life, but once you do, you realize just how ENJOYABLE IT ACTUALLY IS." He flipped one of the clubs around in his hands. "It really was an accident. A GLORIOUS ACCIDENT THAT STARTED IT ALL. Accidentally killed someone on the field. BUT THEY DESERVED IT. I was scared, God, was I scared. BUT THEN I REALIZED HOW ENJOYABLE IT ACTUALLY WAS. The sound of their skulls cracking. THEIR DYING SCREAMS SOUNDED JUST LIKE A CHORUS. You'd never understand. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. That's why he stepped in and tried to hide it, so I would stop. BUT HE JUST GAVE ME THE OPPROTUNITY TO CONTINUE."

"So you kill for pleasure, and nothing more?" Kanaya asked, horrified. "Then why did you kill Megido?"

"She nearly found me out. SO THAT BITCH HAD TO DIE." He began to sound more and more demented the more he spoke, and it scared Kanaya.

"And Sollux? Why did you attack him?"

"He had to die, as well. HE HAD TO DIE FOR TESTING THOSE DAMN SAMPLES. I haven't got the slightest clue to how he got them. BUT HE DID AND HE FOUND ME OUT. Had to shut him up before he let the cat out of the bag. BUT HE SENT A DAMN S.O.S. AND LIVES. He's next, you know. AFTER I KILL YOU."

Kanaya ground her teeth. "I trusted you, Gamzee! And this is how you return the favor? By trying to kill me?"

He just chuckled. "Don't look so glum, Kanners. IT WILL BE SLOW AND PAINFUL. It'll give you time to wish that you hadn't taken this case. AND WISHED THAT YOU HAD NEVER INTERFERED." He took a step toward her, raising one club.

"Don't come any closer!" she yelled, pointing the gun at his face. "I will shoot!"

He laughed again, a throaty laugh that sent chills down her spine. "You don't have the guts to. YOU DON'T HAVE THE FREAKING NERVE TO KILL ME."

"Just tell me where Jade Harley is," she said, backing up. "Tell me...and I'll close the case, say you escaped. That's more than Karkat could ever do."

He just laughed. "You'd never do that. Squint'll wake up, and confess; then I'm dead meat. He'd have to die, but you won't let him. You just couldn't leave your MEDDLING HANDS out of it. No. EVERY WITNESS HAS TO DIE. You, Squint, EVEN KARKAT AND HIS DAMNED GIRLFRIEND." He stalked toward Kanaya again. "You ain't getting away. YOU'RE GOING TO DIE HERE AND I AM GOING TO KILL YOU AND WATCH YOUR BLOOD STAIN THE CONCRETE."

Gamzee lifted one of the clubs. "SAY GOOD NIGHT, MARYAM!"

Bang!

The club fell to the ground as Gamzee cried out, clutching his now-bleeding hand.

"Freeze!"

Kanaya turned to the voice to see Eridan walking toward them, a rifle held in his grip. There were three others with him, each holding a rifle of their own.

"Put your hands in the air," Eridan ordered, the gun pointed right at Gamzee. "You're under arrest, Gamzee Makara."

Kanaya couldn't help but smirk. "You're a little late, Chief."

"Wwell, sorry, he caught me off guard."

One of the officers cautiously walked over to Gamzee and pulled his hands behind him, cuffing them behind his back while he was glaring at Kanaya. "WHAT?"

She smirked. "I have Sollux to thank. He lead me to the file that marked you as guilty, Makara. After telling Chief, I asked him to help me. And thus, the trap."

"YOU'LL NEVER SEE HARLEY, THEN!" he roared. "She's going to be trapped for eternity. YOU'LL NEVER SEE HER!"

"Actually, she was already released not that long ago," Kanaya said. "Was she not in your basement?"

He faltered. "What? HOW DID YOU KNOW?"

"I have my sources," she said as she held up the Slaughter of Cancer, while silently noting that she thought that Scratch was rubbing off on her. "Good bye, Makara."

"DAMN YOU!" He struggled against the hold of the officers, but to no avail as they pulled him away. And that's the last of Gamzee I'll see, she thought, almost a bit solemnly. She was still a little depressed at the fact that he...was actually the killer.

"Good job, Kan," Eridan said, slapping a hand on Kanaya's shoulder. "I'm still shocked that it wwas Gam...howw did you figure it out?"

"A very reliable book," she said, wrapping her arms around her chest. "And really wouldn't have done it without Sollux."

"Yes..." He seemed a bit sour, when he spoke. "I'll havve to congratulate Sol wwhen he gets out of the hospital..."

"And he deserves it," Kanaya said, closing her eyes. "He lost a good friend to the killer. He certainly deserves any form of recognition." She turned to her boss. "Now, if you do not mind, I am going to go get some well deserved rest at home."

"I don't fault you for it. Good night, Kan."

xxx

Things drastically calmed down after the case was closed, and it almost went back to the way it should have been. Though, Megido was still dead, and Sollux was in a coma.

For aiding the killer, Karkat was arrested, but thankfully was only in jail for a few weeks. He didn't protest; he understood that what he did was against the law, and took the punishment surprisingly well. Kanaya didn't find it fair, but he did break the law.

After being released, he was suspended – a lucky break, really; he could have been fired. It didn't seem like he cared either way, though. Kanaya assumed he was just happy that Jade was safe.

After about a week after Gamzee had been arrested, Sollux finally woke up. He had freaked out - demanding to know if Gamzee was still loose, but Kanaya had reassured him that he was behind bars, and about to be tried and sent to prison. It seemed to really calm Sollux down; almost to the point where he could smile again.

Kanaya...was really the only one who wasn't too happy with the outcome of the case. She still found it hard to believe that Gamzee - who had been so kind and friendly - could have been the killer. But he was, and he had tried to kill her. And since then, hate began to blossom inside of her where love for him once was. She hated him for what he had done. For all the lives he had taken. For all the pain he caused. She loathed him; she loathed him so much.

But there was one thing she did gain from the case; a friendship between herself and Scratch. He was an interesting man to talk with - a bit frustrating at times - but interesting all the same. She managed to read all of his books, and found each of them interesting. Though, she held her judgement on the Slaughter of Capricorn; she wasn't exactly too sure she wanted a reminder of the Capricorn Case.

One day, though, he stopped her before she left the library.

"Why don't you read these?" he had said, handing her two books. Upon examination of the covers, she found they were called "Sburb," and "Sgrub." On Sburb, there were four kids standing on a chess-like field, looking up at the sky as a meteor hurtled toward them. She couldn't help but take notice that the two girls on the cover looked just like Jade and Rose; albeit much younger. Opening the cover, she found out that the two boys were Dave Strider, and John Egbert - who she knew were Rose's and Jade's siblings respectively.

Her shock was nothing compared to when she glanced at the Sgrub cover, which revealed twelve kids. Or, rather, twelve aliens. Each had gray skin and black hair, with varying orange horns stretching out of their heads. She was shocked to find that one of them - a girl wearing a black t-shirt with the sign of Virgo on it - looked uncannily like her.

"I was trying something new," Scratch explained. "I think you will enjoy it. And, the manuscript I also handed you."

She had wondered what went through Scratch's head sometimes, but thanked him for the books anyways, and headed home.

It was a few days later when Karkat walked in on her reading, only to rip the book out of her hands.

"What the hell are you doing?" he demanded, looking at the cover. "'Sburb...' Hey! What's Jade doing on there?"

"I'm not entirely sure," she said, taking the book back and placing her bookmark in it. "Though, I think you will find this even more shocking." She pulled out Sgrub. "I have already finished it, so you can go ahead and read it if you'd like."

He stared at the cover, then swore loudly. "Thats me! With horns? And what is with my skin! And why am I a kid?"

"You should read it," Kanaya said, picking up the manuscript Scratch had given her. "It is a most interesting concept."

She saw him flip through the pages out of the corner of her eye. "We're aliens? Who don't even have parents? That's just frigging messed up."

"What did you read?"

"Some part where I was supposed to be explaining to some idiot about 'lusi' or whatever the hell they were."

"I think you meant the part about ectobiology."

"Whatever!"

She sighed and opened the manuscript, then took a double take. "Oh, my."

"What?"

"Scratch is at it again." She scanned the paper, then read aloud:

Jacqueline made her way to to Kinos' office, rapping her knuckles on the door.

"Kinos, I need to talk to you!" she persisted.

The man came to the door and opened it. "What do you want?" he asked.

"I came to ask you about the killings," she stated.

"I thought we were done with that," Kinos replied, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, they started again! Explain that," she pouted. "Panthros has been released!"

"He's what?" Kinos stopped. "No, that can't be true."

"It has! They found he was under some weird influence, so they released him! He's under house arrest, but he is free!"

"Wait, what are you talking about?"

Jacqueline turned around to face Castor. "Panthros. Is. Free."

Castor's eyes widened. "That bastard...I don't care if they released him for a reason, he is dying for what he did to Helle!"

"Well, you shouldn't do anything until I tell you this," Jacqueline continued. "There was a sighting of a group that was described to act just like Panthros when he was apparently 'under the influence.'"

"Influence? Isn't that the character that acts like me?" Karkat roared.

"It is, now please, I am reading."

"And you want to know the weird part?" Jacqueline said, looking between her two colleagues.

"What?" Castor asked.

"They each have a spiderweb insignia on them. And when caught and examined, they each have these weird bites on their necks, like a bug bit them. Or, it was a needle injection."

Kinos swore.

"What? What's wrong?" Jacqueline questioned out of confusion.

"I only know one person who acts that way," Kinos hissed.

"Who?" Castor asked.

"Yeah! Who? Tell us, Kinos!" Jacqueline demanded.

"Arachne," Kinos explained. "She's has a reputation of being a backstabbing bitch that gets her way by killing anyone that doesn't listen to her with spiders. She just loves black widows."

"How do you know about her?"

"I tried to take her down once, but it failed. She's just too slippery!"

"Did he say spiders and a backstabbing bitch?" Karkat asked.

"Yes, why?" Kanaya asked, finding the correlation slightly odd.

He swore loudly. "There was this bitch I tried to arrest a few years ago that acted the same way! She acted like she was working with me, then she literally stabbed me in the back! She set a bunch of scorpions on me...but I was able to get out. But she is known for manipulating people, and then killing them with spiders."

"Who are you talking about, KK?"

Both Kanaya and Karkat jumped, turning to the door.

"Sollux!" Karkat yelled, glaring at him. "Don't sneak up on me!"

"Gee, thanks for the warm welcome. 'Oh! You're out of the hospital! Welcome back.'"

"I am glad to see you are well," Kanaya said.

"Why, thank you, Kanaya."

Karkat grumbled and sat down, but didn't say a word.

"So what are you two talking about?" Sollux asked, walking into Kanaya's office.

"A work in progress of Scratch's," Kanaya said, waving the papers around.

"You mean that guy who predicted how the case would turn out three years before it happened?"

"The very same."

"And what's this one about?"

"It's Jacqueline again, so I have to assume that he is referring to me yet again. And he spoke of a character named Arachne, and Karkat was just saying how he knew someone similar. Would you care to say who?"

Karkat just rolled his eyes. "I'm talking about this crazy ass bitch called Vriska Serket."

Kanaya raised an eyebrow, then flipped through the pages. "Well, then I guess we'll be having our hands full quite soon, then. I see the name Librai Scale in here, a blind bounty hunter with a love of dragons-"

"Damn it!" Karkat yelled. "Not Terezi! God, she's a handful!"

Kanaya just laughed. "Then I guess we'll have another adventure on our hands."

"Whoop-dee-doo," Karkat growled.

"As long as no one else from the department gets killed, I'm fine with it," Sollux said, looking at the paper.

"My sentiments exactly, Sollux."


I do not own Homestuck, Murderstuck, Wikipedia, "Tailor Shop on Enbizaka" by MoTHY-p, or "Turn Me On" by Nicki Minaj.

~Shioko (Kono, whatever)