Three On A Match
⁂ Third on a match. Meaning: bad luck.


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Mid-Summer

It's hot, it's time to hit the beaches!


Scrying must be with the sage, just deeds with the judicious
Barbarous Nightclub 


Past midnight
#1
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Aspect (Detect Magic)

The evening air was crisp, but the firemen milling around the fire engine had their jackets off. The mood was relaxed, a couple of them joking around. The nightclub they were parked outside of was lit up, but not for a party. The inside was free of neon strobe lights and loud music, the dark floors and walls exposed by the bright lights of the overheards as the partiers had been evacuated a while ago.

Some adrenaline of the moment lingered, but it found its outlet through loud laughter as they joked and waited for the police to arrive. Their LT was in the basement, doing the prelim investigation of the source of the fire. A few would-be partiers mingled around the edges, waiting for their rides, while the nightclub employees were inside doing the clean up they needed to do at the end of each night anyway.

Max was leaned against the front grille of the truck, eyes looking down the side alley and the basement steps. He knew they'd called it in, some kind of police or detective would be joining them, but right now it was still their scene. He was listening to the LT cursing to himself, muttering angry nonsense, right before he came out of the open basement doors. His expression was annoyed, but a little confused too.

“Boss?” Max called out, checking in, as a car came to a stop nearby. The murmuring words from the new arrivals identified them as the cops they were waiting for. And one was familiar, but Max didn't turn to look as he waited for his LT's answer.

"Christ, Kuryakin. Cool it," the man muttered, annoyed, but his brows furrowed into something that looked more confused rather than angry. He turned to watch the cops get out of their car. "Shit, they're here."

Max was reminded of how they'd all been working more than a little overtime in their shifts, the spring bringing with it eager idiots who wanted to fire up the grill but didn't exercise proper fire safety. He pushed up from his lean, stepping closer to the LT and lowering his voice. “Want me to deal with them?”

"What?" The man huffed out, like he was zoning out, and Max felt a worrisome little shiver of magic from the man as he seemed to gather himself, the irritation fading into concerned confusion. Yeah, yeah. Deal with it, you know how to identify the signs?"

“Yeah, boss, I got it squared away. I'll deal with it. Go sit down, dunk your head, man.” Max slapped the LT on the shoulder, pushing him back towards the end of the fire engine where the others were standing, and turned to the approaching cops. One of them more familiar than the other.

“Detectives,” Max greeted them, lifting a hand in an easy salute, accompanied by a charming smile. His eyes lingered on Emily, but he didn't eyeball her for too long.
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#2
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
After it got out to the precinct that Emily was dating a firefighter, it became a running joke to offer her to come along on arson calls. And if she was assigned an arson call, she was roundly accused of messing around on the job. Heaven forbid she was caught checking her make-up before any call involving the fire department--the other detectives had a field day with the whole thing.

Emily took it all in good humor. She didn't typically engage in the departmental rivalry anyway, being neither competitive nor quick-witted enough to say anything beyond occasionally calling them 'hose monkeys'. Or 'evidence destroyers'. And even then, she appreciated firefighters too much to get too sassy. However, as the patrol car pulled up, her partner, Flynn, was locked and loaded, ready to razz his friends in the fire department over having to call the police.

"Wow, they are really working hard out here," he muttered, the headlights flashing across the big red engine and the firefighters milling about and chatting outside the club. As they stopped, she snapped the vanity mirror closed after checking her make-up and he added a with a shit-eating grin. "Don't get too cozy with 'em, Reyes."

Emily just gave him a sour close-lipped smile, to which he just laughed as they got out of the car. Flynn was a colleague and a friend, so he could get away with it. Still, having been on shift since early that the morning, she saw no harm in freshening up. She was just about to reply and assure him of her consummate professionalism when she caught sight of a familiar figure heading toward them from around the engine, and her stomach swooped a little. She'd seen Max only earlier that day, right before work, but seeing him now in his some of his gear had her thinking about what a tall drink of water he was. Regardless of the circumstances, it was pleasant to see his face after a long day.

Her expression must've shifted to something a little warmer, because Flynn laughed again and nudged her with his elbow. Emily snorted a little, but composed herself as Max put on that familiar charming smile. She was glad he was keeping it formal, though--it made it easier to follow suit. “Fireman,” she replied, though she said it with warmth and smile that had Flynn looking between them with cocked eyebrow. Still, he returned Max's salute as Emily asked, open and curious, “So, what's going on?”

The detective knew it was arson from dispatch, but getting the particulars from the personnel first on the scene usually helped establish a good rapport, she'd found. Not that she needed to do that with Max, but it was a habit. Firefighters knew what they were looking at generally, so she wasn't going to come in and swing her badge around if she could help it.
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#3
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Max's eyes flicked to the other detective as he nudged Emily, barely hiding his amusement as he hooked his thumbs into his belt loops, relaxed even when the situation was making him uneasy, based on that flicker of magic. It wasn't urgent, not if the LT was fine if irritable, but he was thinking of how he could get Em down there without her partner raising an eyebrow.

Maybe the guy would make some assumptions. Max knew about the back and forth between police and firefighters, even if being the target of it was relatively new. Emily made it clear how much flack she got for dating a 'hose monkey' or 'ladder jockey' or whatever new name they'd thought up for the week. Max was used to it from the army, so it was familiar, and when things got serious, everyone did their jobs.

“A fire started in the basement. Unknown cause at this time, but we suspect it was deliberately set. We put it out before it got serious, but the employees are acting... a little erratic?” Max twisted his torso a little, looking over his shoulder at one of the bouncers standing outside the nightclub doors, which were wide open. His expression was less than friendly. “So we haven't gotten much out of them. Thought it best to call the police, make sure they knew it was serious. I can show one of you the basement?”

Max looked to Em's partner, but let his eyes slide to Emily and linger for a beat longer than normal. He flicked his eyes back to her partner, charming smile still in place, tugging a little at his belt loops. He hoped Em had picked up on the unsaid emphasis, that he wanted her down there because he knew she could help if it was magic related.
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#4
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
Familiar with Max like she was, Emily caught his amusement, and resisted the urge to purse her lips at him. Getting ribbed by her partner and having her boyfriend laugh about it was not her idea of a good time. It was a relief, however, that the man looked relaxed, hooking his thumbs in his belt loops, and generally being terrifically eye-catching. Reminding her how glad she was they didn't work together frequently.

Uniforms were trouble, she thought idly, surreptitiously admiring the line of his shoulders accentuated by the suspenders. Or... uniforms on Max were trouble. Max was trouble, she concluded, although this was already a constant refrain in the back of her mind. As Max took the time to detail the situation, she stowed all of that, none of it showing on her face as she looked past him at the sour-looking bouncer. If the employees were notably agitated, moreso than a small fire might cause, that was the kind of thing they ought to dig into. Could be nothing, could be a mountain of bad things.

Reaching into her pocket for her notebook, Emily started organizing her thoughts, thinking of how they could best help process the scene, and looked back at Max in time to catch his lingering glance. Emily lifted both eyebrows, but despite his relaxed demeanor, the impression she got was not 'let's go somewhere private'. Rather, it made her think she ought to expect a special kind of trouble and when he suggested showing one of them the basement, he meant her. Catching on, she trusted him although she couldn’t fathom what it might be, and fortunately, she had the rank to throw around to make it happen.

“Sure, yeah- Hey, Flynn,” she said, glancing over at her partner. He looked over at her, expectantly. Emily was the ranking officer on scene, so he hadn't yet made any moves, waiting on her orders. She leaned in to hold a quick conference, tipping her head toward the bouncers. “See what you can get out of the employees, I'll head down to the basement.”

Flynn was an easygoing guy with an open face, and he grinned at the way she'd delegated--she knew he would, considering how keen everyone was on implying she liked sliding down the fire pole regularly--but he held his tongue. "You got it, sarge," the man replied smartly, tipping his chin up at Max before jogging off toward the bouncers.

Emily waited until he was out of earshot before her serious expression melted away and she grinned crookedly at Max. “I'm not gonna hear the end of this once we're back in the patrol car,” she chuckled ruefully. She put on a voice imitating Flynn, “'Detective Reyes ran off with one of the firemen the second we got there'!”
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#5
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Cinder (Concordance) Complete success

Even with the mysterious bit of magic on his mind, Max didn't miss Emily in her element. Or Emily subtly ogling him. He felt the threads of her admiration in the back of his mind, and he couldn't help preening just a little. He was careful to not be too obvious, but he flexed, hooked thumbs pulling on his belt loops as he tilted his head, still trying not to look at her too hard until they were in some semblance of privacy. Keep it professional.

Still, even as he was appealing to Emily, the woman, he could feel Emily, the detective, catching on. The way she took charge was attractive, confident and competent as she got on with it. She directed her partner–Flynn, this time–to canvass the employees, neatly lining herself up to check the basement with him. As much as he wanted to smile at her, Max didn't react outwardly to it, even if he was relieved she'd caught on. As Flynn tipped his chin to Max, the werewolf returned the gesture, smile going crooked.

Finally, out of Flynn's line of sight, Max gave Emily a softer smile, even if the face of her 'all business' expression. He could track Flynn's steps with his hearing, measure the distance the man was putting between them, and when Max would've guessed the man was fully out of earshot, the expression dropped and he got a genuine grin out of her. His own soft smile spread into a cocky grin as she spoke, imitating her partner.

“Well, who can blame you?” Max murmured, voice low and intimate, just between the two of them. “Look at me.” He slipped his thumbs out of his belt loops and smoothed them up his suspenders, slipping them under the elastic suspenders and snapping them against his chest.
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#6
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
When Max's grin grew cocky, he had Emily's attention, a bit of warmth preemptively creeping up her neck. She suspected a bit of mischief, and the man didn't disappoint. The question made her scoff but the snap of his suspenders on his chest went straight through her, her stomach muscles jumping. Her gaze cut away from him as a blush sprang to her cheeks. There was no question that she liked it, despite being baffled at her own reaction. He was deliberately being ridiculous, so what was it about him that made her brain fall straight out of her skull?

Lifting a hand to clasp her chin as if in thought, hiding her foolish smile, Emily took a moment to compose herself before she looked back at him. “Look at you,” she agreed softly. If anyone happened to glance at them, it was painfully obvious they were flirting, but Emily wasn't sure how she could hide it at this point. Still, needing to cut the tension before they checked out the basement, she reached out and hooked her fingers beneath one of Max's suspenders as well. “Did that hurt?” she asked with an affectionate laugh, pulling at the elastic band. “I hope it didn't catch your nipple.”
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#7
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
The cocky grin eased into something pleased at Emily's foolish smile, charmed without her needing to do much at all other than react to his nonsense. He knew it was obvious to anyone who cared to look in their direction that they were flirting, Max having unconsciously tilted his body towards Emily in a way that invited intimacy between them. He glanced down as she reached out and hooked a finger under one of his suspenders, Max tipping his chin down to look at her hand, before he looked at her, underneath his lashes.

Max huffed a laugh at Emily's next words, cocking an eyebrow at her. “Thinking about my nipples?” He teased, stepping close to give her a quick peck on the lips. Nothing too involved, and he straightened almost as soon as he'd done it. He glanced back to the firefighters mingling by the fire engine, Flynn doing his job, flipping a notepad open as he engaged the bouncer in a conversation. He looked back to Em, jerking his head to the outer stairway leading to the basement. “Come on, I'll show you... whatever it is.”
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#8
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
Emily laughed at Max's question, but merely shrugged as he stepped in to kiss her. Guilty as charged; she supposed she was thinking about his nipples if she'd asked. She'd been concerned about them, what with him snapping his suspenders like he did.

In any case, she tipped her face up into the kiss, but kept it brief as well, firmly unwilling to do more than that when there was work to be done. Still, it put a sweet smile on her face that might've had her partner doing a double-take. Emily didn't tend to smile much at work. Releasing Max's suspender, she let it pop gently back against his abdomen as she cut a look at the basement stairs. She nodded, and then one side of her mouth quirked up in faint amusement at his uncertain description.

“Yeah, what's this about?” she asked curiously, her eyebrows furrowing as she pushed aside her work blazer to pull a maglight from her duty belt, in case the fire had shorted out the breaker in that part of the building. “I mean, your long meaningful looks?”

She naturally trusted that Max had a point to this, but it was curious that he didn't know already. It made her stomach do a few flips, suspecting something supernatural was afoot. She absently touched a pouch on her belt at the small of her back. She didn't go anywhere without a sleeve of chalk and a few essential components anymore.
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#9
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Waving for Em to follow him, Max rolled his shoulders and dropped his hands, moving into a walk, heading towards the alley and the stairs. He huffed a quiet laugh at Emily's words, his attempt to grab her attention without bringing attention to himself.

“Magic's involved,” he murmured, shooting a look down the front of the club as they stepped into the relative privacy of the alley next to the building. He jerked his thumb back to the street. “The LT came out of there like–” he waved a hand, wordless, “–like something pissed him off, but I caught a bit of magic. Made me think about that fucking ghost go-go dancer that sent me feral years ago. That was here. In this fuckin' alley.” He gestured with his pointed finger at the ground, emphasising his point.

He was only just starting to piece it together; the magic, the LT's unusual attitude, the mood of the staff. Max had got into the habit of remembering the magic he ran into, constantly building a mental reference library of it all. He'd told Em it was to know how to fight it, but even just identifying it was valuable, if he was right about this.
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#10
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
Flashlight in one hand, notepad in the other, Emily followed Max, heels clicking, the woman walking quickly to keep up with his long strides. She took a careful look around the alleyway as they stepped between the buildings, naturally on alert for clues. It was clean, save a few dumpsters and other containers against the wall, and she briefly wondered if this was the same one she'd done some very inadvisable things with Max in. That night had been a blur.

The mention of magic and the go-go dancer snapped her attention back to him, and eyebrows lowering, she hummed, immediately concerned. The idea of magic didn't concern her as much as the implication that Max's LT had had his head messed with. And that this ghostly dancer had gotten in Max's head once before, enough to send him feral. She nodded slowly, eyes flicking off to one side in thought.

“So... It's possible something's down there, twisting people's heads around? That's... consistent with the employees acting erratic,” she agreed thoughtfully, starting to piece things together as well. Mentally checking in with her own emotions, she noted she was steady, if a little amped up by the mention of magic. She looked down the dark basement stairs, tipping her head to one side as she considered their options.

They could call the Exchange, she thought, with a little flip of her stomach. Encountering ghosts in the dark was actually fairly unnerving to Emily--they were unnerving in general, but especially so for her after their eerie encounter with the thing in the APL's catacombs. Anything that Max couldn't punch into smithereens was completely out of line, in her opinion.

But... if it was only hints of magic here and there, with a fire able to be put out by mundane means, was it worth the Exchange's time?

After a moment's pause, she ground her back teeth as she clicked her little light on. “Alright,” she said with a breath, steeling herself. With a rictus of a smile for Max, she said through her teeth, “Well, this is the job.”
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#11
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Strike (Pheromone charm) 5 passes, Contested

Max glanced at Emily as she agreed, her houghtful tone telling him that she was working through the problem same as him. He could feel the tension sparking–his fault, but unavoidable. He felt tension himself, but it had the flavour of... getting ready for an op. Mind shifting to the work at hand, what he'd have to do to keep him and his safe.

He slowed his pace and stopped just before the basement stairs, Max unknowingly tracing the same thoughts Emily was. Should they go to the Exchange? This was the first time he was fully cognisant of running into something, rather than being a sceptic or getting caught by surprise. He could prepare, or he could call the Exchange. Still, did they really know what it was? Was it overly cautious to call them in? How would they explain this to both the FD and PD? In his mind, it put them more at risk to bring the Exchange in now. They had to.. deal with it, at least partially, and they could call them in after the fact, when the FD and PD had their reports and weren't looking at the fire too hard.

Emily seemed to settle into some decision for herself, clicking her flashlight on and giving him a stiff smile, more habit than genuine. Max couldn't help huffing out a quiet laugh, spontaneously leaning down and kissing her in the relative privacy of the alley. On the touch, magic sparked, although Max wasn't fully aware of it, not sensitive to the feeling of his own magic as he was to foreign–potentially dangerous–magic. The pheromones released as he sought to reassure both her and himself would soothe anyone receptive to them, as well as encourage those who needed it.

Max pulled back, grinning crookedly and, notably, more relaxed. This wasn't a problem he couldn't deal with, after all, not with Emily right there too. “This is the job,” he echoed, although entirely lacking Em's grim presentation.

Then, he stepped down the basement stairs and led the way down. The site of the fire was further in, so they wouldn't suddenly be faced with whatever was down there. They could... get the lay of the land.
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#12
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
No Contest

The kiss took her by surprise, but she returned it lightly, if a little distractedly. At first, it was the prospect of heading down into the dark that had her mind elsewhere, but as the unseen magic took hold, Emily thought she caught a hint of Max's aftershave, an attractive scent that made her hum unconsciously in appreciation. Something about the man and his nearness--even the kiss, however short--made her scalp tingle, and as he pulled away, she watched him, a faintly moony expression dawning on her face.

It was difficult to look away from him, and her smile brightened as he grinned at her, and she chuckled softly. The pheromone charm did its work, although Emily was especially open to suggestion from Max already. Shoulders loosening, she exhaled, eyes pinned on Max as he started down the stairs. He was right to be so relaxed, she thought. After all, they had each other and the know-how, what was a ghost going to do? They weren't about to be caught unawares. Notably relaxed as well, she started down the stairs after him and pressed into the dark beyond the doorway.

As she suspected, the lights were either shorted out or off, for safety. Emily swept the beam of her flashlight down the hallway, looking around for signs of the fire. “How big was the fire?” she asked, her voice loose and curious, lacking the tension of before. She poked her head into one of the open doors to find a storeroom, with a bit of spare furniture.
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#13
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Kissing Emily always left him feeling good, but he felt particularly bouyed as he stepped into the darkened basement. Maybe it was the way her smile went a little brighter after, the little chuckle, or even the way he could see the tension slipping away from her. She was following close behind, eyes on him, and Max wasn't bothered by whatever they might find as he crossed the threshold.

As the dim light from outside barely reached beyond the doorway, the basement was near enough pitch black. Max had a flashlight attached to his tool belt, but he didn't reach for it. He didn't need it, with his eyesight, and with Emily holding up hers that was enough light. He let his eyes track through the darkness as Emily swept her flashlight around. Nothing jumped out at him as particularly notable, beyond the smell of smoke and lingering fire.

Max glanced to Emily as she asked about the fire, and he let out a low breath, thinking on what he'd seen when they'd first rushed to deal with it. He remembered none of them had been too worried, focusing on getting the fire out so it couldn't do more damage than it already had.

“Relatively minor, in the grand scheme of things, although it could have been worse,” he shared, moving past where Emily had stopped to look and walking to the space where the fire had started. “Isolated to one of those large, heavy duty trash cans, at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the bar. That kept it contained until we could go deal with it, but it was one of those dangerous smouldering burns until it caught.”
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#14
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
Emily's attention was inexorably drawn to Max as he moved further into the basement, and although she hadn't thoroughly inspected the side room, she trailed after him. The woman wanted to cozy up to his side so intently that she was left a little puzzled, but she resisted, knowing it would be a distraction while they were on the job, not to mention unprofessional. Not regarding their relationship, but the fact that they were standing in a crime scene.

Still, it stuck out to her how being near Max and listening to his voice made her scalp prickle with comfort and cheer, and she started to suspect there was magic involved. The possibility came to mind easily, when she was already keyed into the idea that something down here was messing with people's emotions, but this certainly didn't feel like anger. Emily's anger gave her an attitude, manifesting as grouchy silences punctuated by ranting spells until she cooled off.

As he explained, her eyes were on the side of his face, his profile, her flashlight lazily skimming over the burned out trash can and the stairs, and the blackened walls. The paint had peeled from the cinderblocks and the place smelled like wet and burning plastic.

When she finally glanced out at the ruined scene, she noticed a lack of nerves where she expected a sting of trepidation. Absently, she ran her thumb over her rings. “A fire in a trash can sounds pretty open and shut for arson,” she mused, chewing her lower lip. “Are you picking up anything else? With your spider senses?”

With a teasing smile, Emily ventured toward the perimeter of the fire's origin point, looking around for any evidence of mundane tampering but sure it would be a hopeless search. Much as they teased the fire department for destroying evidence, it was still an unavoidable outcome when fire and water were involved around the crime scene.
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#15
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Strike (Detect magic) Exceptional success
Strike (Preternatural senses) Exceptional success


Max glanced Emily's way as she spoke, noticing she was chewing on her lip. It wasn't necessarily a sign of nerves, he'd noticed her do it while thinking. A physical marker that her thoughts were churning as she worked to figure something out. Usually Max found it cute, but now it only made him admire her in a work context. He teased her about handcuffs and doughnuts, but it was always more than that.

Her conclusion, breaking him out of the moment, had Max frowning as he considered the situation. Deliberate or accidental, if a human set the fire there'd be legal consequences. What did you do if the culprit was intangible? A literal ghost no normal human could catch? How many people around a fire simply looked like the likely subject because the investigators didn't know to factor in invisible criminals? Thankfully, Emily distracted him from that depressing train of thought, her follow up question bringing him firmly back to the moment.

“Spider sense,” the werewolf muttered, humorously indignant, but he took a moment to carefully take stock of the underlying scents in the space. Under the human scents that passed through this high traffic area by the stairs, the smoke and ash, and the scents of his fire crew. The hardest work of tracking anything was filtering out the smells you didn't need to pay attention to.

Under the most recent scents, he caught the telltale smouldering scent of old magic. It had left its mark, but it wasn't active anymore. Here he couldn't feel the shiver of magic at work. He moved around the burned area, trailing after the scent, trying to find the layers, and caught the smell of ozone. It reminded him of Priya, but it was also entirely different from the friendly ghost he knew. It was similar only on the most basic level.

“Traces of magic,” Max murmured, circling the area and singling out the smell of ozone, trying to follow it. “I'm assuming just what started the fire, and...” he trailed off, stopping as he took a step down the hallway. The trail went cold, disappearing from one step to the next, like the one causing it had popped out of existence. “Ghost. I can't track it.”
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#16
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
Max’s indignant reply almost made her burst out laughing, so Emily couldn’t reply immediately, pinning her lips between her lips to stifle it. It wouldn’t reflect well on her already-sullied reputation if anyone at the entrance of the basement heard them joking around.

Instead, she focused on the details around the crime scene, but found very little except the broad strokes of where the fire started and a few possible implements for the crime. A technician could do more, gathering samples and sending them to a lab, but there was little she could do in the here and now. She kept Max in her peripherals as he skirted the other way around the scene, quiet as she awaited his findings.

The first thing out of his mouth rendered a lot of her mundane conclusions moot, but they’d been suspecting that already. She looked up at him as he started toward a darkened hallway, a thrill tickling up her spine. Then, the mention of a ghost made her exhale, that initial trepidation worming its way through her good mood.

Still, Emily forced herself to start after him, flicking her flashlight down the length of the hallway. She kept her flashlight low for an irrational fear of sweeping it across a pale ghostly face staring back at them.

No such bad luck though. It looked like it led to a few more storerooms, though, and she patted her sternum, finding her spellqueller beneath her shirt. “How come?” she wondered, her voice dipping into a whisper, while her cheeks warmed with tension. Did the trail end, or was something else obfuscating it? If it ended in this direction, then maybe it was still the direction they had to go to find this ghost-shit, they were hunting down a ghost—and with that in mind, Emily crept forward just enough to crane her neck and peek into one of the doors.
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#17
Third on the Match Offline
Raconteur
Calamity
An Angry Ghost
DC 5
Hostile
Empathy (anger), Fire, Illusion, Shadow
Cinder
6d6
Strike
7d6
Luck
4
The spirit's presence is not visibly obvious, but the pair can feel something shift in the air. Something is lurking in the shadows down this hallway, and it has nothing but ill intent. Rage crackles in the air like electricity, but it does not attack right away.

In Combat
The spirit is not visible, and thus, it is not yet manifested. In order to take down its luck, it must be forced to manifest. Because there is an Arcanist present, this can be done by searching for spirit orbs and Collecting them, if able. Likewise, a ritual may be done that can pull the spirit from the spirit realm. For others, common ghost hunting techniques such as using a spirit box or laying down lines of salt may serve to provoke the spirit.

Once the spirit is provoked with three successful rolls or there is a ritual performed, or both, the spirit will manifest and attack, allowing its Luck to be drained.
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#18
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Strike (Detect Magic/Ground Sense) Complete success

Max drew in a long, low breath, scenting the air and getting ready to answer Emily as she whispered her question. Like before, the scent hovered in place but did not go anywhere beyond where he'd come, the remains of the trashcan fire. He glanced towards it but knew it wouldn't give him any new answers, so he turned his head, taking in her mood as he answered.

“It disappeared. Ghosts kind of leave a trail, but they can, well, pop out of existence,” Max murmured, frowning thoughtfully as he wondered at the differences between the friendly ghost he knew and the unfriendly ones he'd run into. Priya seemed to go into dreams, he'd experienced that, but he didn't think that was universal. He stepped down the hallway, narrowing his eyes as he tried to focus. “Sometimes, they leave... I don't know, background radiation?”

e glanced back at Em, waving loosely for her to follow, as he wandered. Outwardly, it might've seemed a little erratic, as Max moved around to try to pick up something. It took a bit of focus, but it didn't take long for Max to catch a little telltale shiver of magic, shuddering up from the soles of his boots and up along his spine. He gave another, more urgent gesture at Emily as the feeling intensified, ramping up like the ghost had noticed Max had caught its trail.

It was uncomfortably familiar, an electric fury in the air raising Max's hackles and making him want to growl into the darkness. He didn't, but he glanced at Emily, wondering if she felt it or if it was another case of him being sensitive to it.
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#19
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
As Max gave her the details on the ghost’s apparent whereabouts (or lack thereof if they could pop in and out of existence), Emily involuntarily shivered again. Then she chortled, the sound soft and nervous as she shook off the tension. It died out quickly, letting Max continue uninterrupted. She was left to wonder how much experience he had with ghosts, although in an admiring way. She made a curious noise; background radiation sounded interesting, and she was glad there was something material about it. Also, Emily never got tired of hearing about the sorts of things he got up to, even if knowing he got into fights made her heart live in her throat.

He waved her closer to follow after him and she scampered to his elbow, performing that maneuver girls in heels often did where she balanced on the balls of her feet so she didn’t need to deal with her heels. Standing at his elbow, and a little behind the werewolf, she didn’t feel particularly cop-like as they proceeded into the shadows, every soft breath and scuff of their feet putting her on edge, but she was alert and ready for trouble. And besides, in situations like this, being a mundane cop hardly mattered. Now, she was Emily the Arcanist and they were ghost hunting. Never mind that she also leaned in surreptitiously to try and catch another whiff of Max’s curiously attractive cologne. They might be ghost hunting but he could still raise her body temperature.

In any case, eyes fixed on the round beam of her flashlight, Emily’s lips moved, starting to form words to ask for an update, but he gestured again. This time, the woman pressed her side against the back of Max’s arm then, her free hand looping around his elbow. As she looked over the curve of his shoulder, she gasped softly, suddenly understanding the emotional manipulation she’d been looking for. It was an oppressive sensation, twinging in her belly and in the back of her head. Uncomfortable, and irritating, inspiring the strangest intrusive thought about a disagreement she’d had with a coworker. Unresolved, it still annoyed her, and Emily found her thoughts shifting to a brooding state, her lips twisting down into a frown. When Max looked at her, she knew from his face this wasn’t something from inside her.

“Yuck,” she muttered softly, shivering to try and shake off the tension. She didn’t like something toying with her emotions like that and it aggravated her. Her upper lip curled back as she looked around. “That feels bad- now I just want to dust this thing as fast as possible.”
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#20
Max Kuryakin Offline
Wolf Shifter
Mundian
Emily's audible gasp was all Max needed to know she felt it from, and enough for him to conclude he'd been right about his hunch. They were both feeling the emotion being forced on them, and to Max it was uncomfortably familiar. Too close to feeling like his control was unravelling, but that might have been sense memory. It had happened before. The echo of Emily's emotions in the back of his mind reminded him that it was coming from without, not within, and he could ignore it.

The soft 'yuck' that left her encouraged the werewolf to let out a low chuckle, ignoring the manufactured emotion around them in favour of amusement. “Yeah,” he agreed, reaching for her hand and giving it a squeeze. “I'm not looking forward to it,” he added, recalling how the rage had felt before. Even buoyed by amusement at Emily, his hackles were up.

Despite every instinct in him, Max forced himself to take a step closer to the space where the feeling of the echoing emotion was the strongest. His hold on Emily's hand was loose, ready to slip out if she didn't want to follow him
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#21
Emily Reyes Offline
Arcanist Human
Conjurer
Emily appreciated the confidence in Max's reply. It wasn't an if, but a when, even if he wasn't looking forward to it. She wasn't either, she had no idea how it would go.

Distracted by the sensation pressing in on her, the woman was slow to return Max's hand-hold, but when she came back to herself, she squeezed back gratefully. She thought she could feel tension in the werewolf's grip, and rubbed her thumb over his knuckle, soothing.

When he stepped forward, she followed, her breath going a little shallow. Her eyes were still on the darkness, following the circle of her flashlight, although the shadows were starting to play tricks on her peripherals. “Right,” she asked tight with adrenaline. “Any ideas? I missed the departmental ghost hunting seminar.”
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