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Proven Guilty

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Gravel crunched underneath the car's tires as Bellamy pulled up to the scene. Yellow tape was already wrapped around everything, fluttering about and mingling with the brightly colored police lights, making the place look like a birthday party gone wrong. He clenched his jaw and opened the door, the smell of blood mingling with rain soaked asphalt causing bile to rise in the back of his throat. He didn't want to see the body, he didn't want to hear them say it, but he had to. He shouldn't even be on this case, but since he'd been with the department since he'd graduated high school, they'd made an exception. He'd forced them to.

The sound of the door slamming turned heads, all of them staring at Bellamy with looks of surprise and pity. They knew as well as he did that he shouldn't be here, but none of them were going to say a word. If he wanted to get involved and break protocol for this, they weren't going to stand in his way, half because they feared what would happen if they did and half because they knew they'd do the same if they were in his position.

Losing a partner was hard enough as it was, but losing one to the very same killer that you and he had been trying to catch for the past year offered up a whole new level of horrible. Now, Bellamy would have to go it alone, because as soon as they dropped a new officer's file on his desk, it was going in the trash. He wasn't going to train another rookie brat while he was working this case, he didn't have the patience for it, all of his effort was being put towards finding the killer. He was going to catch this bastard if it killed him.

He took a deep breath and slid on his sunglasses, blocking out both the sun and the pitiful gazes being thrown his way. With his head held high he made his way over to the body, currently covered by a body bag, which he was grateful for, he didn't really want to see the face of his dead partner staring at him, before stopping in front of the medical examiner, watching she stood up, brushing dust off her pants. “Bellamy, I'm-”

“Time of death?” He didn't want sympathy, he wanted answers and he trusted Clarke to understand that. Sentiment could wait until after he had brought his best friend's killer to justice. “And the cause?”

Two AM this morning, based on liver temp, the cause is the same as all the others.” She looked up at him for a second, hesitating like she wanted to say something else, but shook her head instead. “Multiple stab wounds to the torso, I'm not sure which one killed him just yet, though.”

“What is it?” He'd noticed her hesitation. He noticed everything, at least, he liked to fuel his ego by believing so.

“It's different this time, somehow. Sloppier.” She bent down, rifling through her bag for a moment before standing back up, a plastic evidence baggie held in her hand. “And he left this behind.”

Bellamy's eyebrows shot towards the sky when he saw what was in the bag. He gingerly took it from her, his fingers running over the plastic covered metal, turning it over and over trying to understand why someone who had been so careful so far would leave behind something as telling as the murder weapon. It didn't make any sense, but he couldn't help the flutter of hope he felt. They finally had some solid evidence besides the bodies, maybe this would lead them to the killer and they'd finally be able to put him behind bars were he belonged. “This is the murder weapon?”

“As far as I can tell,” Clarke nodded, motioning her assistants over to load the body up on a stretcher for transport. “And Bellamy, I'm sorry. I know, it doesn't mean much, but I am. Atom was a good guy, he didn't deserve to go out like this.”

“No, he didn't,” Bellamy agreed. He watched as they began to load up Atom's body.

The kid had been just twenty-four, a rookie, but he'd shot up the ranks quickly, landing himself a job in the department, then somehow managing to talk his way into becoming Bellamy's partner. They'd been good together, great, solving 12 cases in their first year together before they got assigned the serial killer case. Atom had worked tirelessly, putting up with Bellamy's griping and general grouchiness when things didn't go his way. If Bellamy had known he was having troubles, that he'd been working overtime as a patrolman, Bellamy would have helped him out somehow, talked to Marcus about getting him a raise, because if Atom hadn't been out here, if he'd been at home like he was supposed to be, he wouldn't have died. Bellamy was sure of that. If only he'd paid more attention, maybe he could have done something.

Logically, he knew it wasn't likely he could have done much, but Atom was his partner, they should have been out here together. Then this wouldn't have happened. Bellamy grit his teeth and dropped his gaze, standing around here feeling bad wasn't going to help anything. “I'm going to take this to Jasper down at the station, alright?”

“Alright. Tell him I said 'Hi.'”

Will do.” He clutched the plastic bag tightly and made his way past the people milling about, gathering evidence and taking photographs for Monty and Jasper to pour over later that day. His nose wrinkled in disgust when he saw the crowd of reporters that had gathered. Fucking vultures. There was nothing he hated more than a pushy reporter sticking their nose into something they knew nothing about and blowing everything out of proportion. Ninety percent of his problems came from reporters fucking up his cases with shitty information.

“Hey, over here, officer!” One of the reporters pushed through the crowd, following Bellamy to his car. “Can I get a statement from you? What happened? They're saying an officer was murdered, is that true?” The reporter bombarded him with questions, holding out a tape recorder, one of those low tech ones that looked like it had been made in the nineties. He was young, no more than twenty, Bellamy assumed, and had too long hair flying around his face. Adding in ripped jeans that were tucked into untied combat boots, this kid was the literal definition of 'unprofessional.' He was probably just some work-from-home hobbyist with a mediocre blog in some underground crime enthusiast circle that Bellamy was sure he wanted nothing to do with.

“Get lost kid,” He growled out, jerking his car door open with more force than necessary. He had places to be, like Jasper's lab, so he could move this case along. The sooner he got it to the lab, the sooner he'd have results, and the sooner he'd be able to close this case and give Atom some peace. That's all he wanted.

The reporters face fell, eagerness being replaced by disappointment and anger at being dismissed. “Come on, at least tell me if it's true? Was there really an officer murdered here last night?”

Bellamy ignored him, sliding into his car, moving to close the door but finding it blocked by the kid. God, he was annoying. Fucking pushy reporters could never let him just do his damn job, could they? “Look, kid-”

“Murphy. John Murphy. I work for City of Light News.”

I could not possibly care less,” Bellamy informed him, rubbing a hand across his eyes. He did not want to deal with this right now, if he had his way, he'd crush the brat with is door and drive off, but after the last incident, he'd sworn to be polite, or at least civil, towards the press, no matter how annoying, or he risked losing his job. “Look, Murphy, I have a job to do-”

“And so do I, so if you could just help me out here, I'd be more than happy to let you go.” The kid smirked like he'd won some kind of game and the urge to run him over grew.

“Okay, fine. Yes, my partner was murdered here last night. Unfortunately, the body's already been taken in so there's nothing for you to feed on. Sorry to disappoint,” Bellamy snapped venomously, glaring at the kid.

“Your partner?” The kid had the decency to at least look somewhat ashamed, but it only lasted a moment, the determined interest returning. “Was that detective Atom Thompson?” He'd heard the name thrown around by the other reporters and figured that was probably who it was.

“Get out of my way, kid. Now.” Bellamy tried to close the door again, but Murphy leaned back against it, smirking cockily. With a sigh of exasperation, Bellamy confirmed, “Yes, that's his name. Damn, can't you people let a man die in peace without picking at his corpse?”

“From what I've heard, I'd hardly call it a peaceful death. Is it true he was stabbed twenty times?”

“No, he was stabbed seven. Where the hell do you people come up with this shit?”

“Dunno, but they seem to believe it. Might want to correct them,” Murphy shrugged, pointing over his shoulder at the crowd.

“You can do that yourself.”

“No way, man. If they want the truth, they'll have to read my article,” Murphy grinned and Bellamy had to fight off the urge to punch him.

“Right. Can I go now? I have evidence to log.” Bellamy held up the bag, giving it a little shake.

“Is that the murder weapon?” Murphy asked, eyes widening and hands reaching. “Can I see it?”

Hell no!” Bellamy laid the bad down in the passenger seat, well out of Murphy's reach. Was this kid serious? He had to be new at this, that was the only polite explanation Bellamy could come up with. “This is a murder, not a show and tell. Now, I've told you enough, let me leave before I arrest you just because I can.”

“Whatever, man,” Murphy huffed, disappointed at not being allowed to see, and moved out of the way. Bellamy slammed the door closed and turned the car on, pulling out but not before he heard, “I'm sorry about your partner by the way. Shit sucks.”

He couldn't tell if the guy was being sincere or not, but either way it rubbed him wrong. Everything about Murphy had rubbed him wrong, the pushy son of a bitch. Bellamy really hated reporters, especially pretty boy reporters with stupid smirks that made him want to break something, preferably Murphy's face. Maybe he'd ask Chief Marcus if he could just taser them and move on, rather than have to deal with the questions. He doubted it, but the thought amused him as he drove off.

It didn't take him long to reach the station, or, at least, he didn't notice if it did. He was still numb, the news had been shocking to say the least, and hadn't yet set in. He knew Atom was dead, gone, murdered, but it hadn't clicked, he was still floating around in half denial. He knew when it finally hit, it would send him reeling and he'd most likely end up blacking out in some back alley later that night, but as long as he was on the clock he was going to shove down the grief and guilt over his best friend's death as best he could and crack the damn case once and for all. He owed Atom that much.

He climbed the steps to the front door, taking a deep breath and mentally preparing himself for the onslaught of pity and sympathy he would have to wade through before he reached Jasper's lab. He wondered what sick joke evolution was pulling by giving humans the need to show others that they, too, felt their pain, even when none of them could possibly understand it and he'd much rather they all just go fuck themselves because he was fine, dammit. He wasn't the one lying on a slab in the morgue.

The door opened silently, the rush of noise and scent of stale coffee swallowing him up. It was like coming home, he thought, and with as much time as he spent here, it might as well be. He walked forward, pointedly ignoring the stares sent his way. If they wanted to treat him like he was a fragile child incapable of dealing with death, then they could, that didn't mean he had to respond to it. He would deal with his own grief, he didn't need their help, nor did he want it.

He made his way to the lab, grunting in the general direction of anyone who tried to speak with him and moving on. The steel doors that separated the forensics lab from the rest of the department swung open as he approached, a laughing man in a horrid purple spotted jacket backing out. “No, that would be a terrible idea, Jas. Don't do it.” Monty Green, their resident tech analyst, spun around, almost colliding with Bellamy. Up close, Bellamy could see tiny blue dinosaurs made up the spots on the jacket, the ridiculousness of it pulling a small smile from him. “Oh, sorry, my bad.”

“It's alright,” Bellamy shrugged it off. Of all the people in the building, he liked Jasper and Monty best, simply because they seemed to be the only ones not affected by the constant death and darkness that filtered into their daily lives. Maybe it had something to do with weird goggles and purple dinosaur jackets, he'd have to check into that.

“Hey, I heard about what happened. If you need something, you know where to find me, okay?” That would be the extent of sympathy Bellamy would get from Monty until he willingly sought it out.

“Thanks,” Bellamy gave him a sincere smile, honestly meaning it.

Monty nodded and walked off, leaving the conversation at that. If only the rest of the department was like Monty, but, then again, Monty did know him better than most. Bellamy couldn't remember all the times he'd picked the kid up for drugs or something equally stupid. Once Monty had turned twenty, he and Jasper having breezed through both high school and college faster than Bellamy had expected from two burn out stoners, who'd have thought they were secretly geniuses with nothing better to do, Bellamy had pulled some strings to get them placements in the department, and those two had been causing mass destruction of department policy ever since.

He pulled open the door and smiled wide, holding up the bag for the young lab tech to see. “Jasper, I brought you a present.”

“Fuck yeah! Is it cake?” Jasper's eyes widened in glee behind his goggles, hopping over one of the steel tables, he landed a few feet from Bellamy, crossing the distance and grabbing the bag before Bellamy had time to react. How he managed to do that while being as gangly and uncoordinated as a baby giraffe, Bellamy would never know. “This isn't... No way! This is the murder weapon?”

“It seems like it,” Bellamy nodded. “Now, if you'd be so kind as to run a few tests and confirm that theory, I'd be one happy man.”

Jasper stood up straight and gave him a mock salute, “I'm on it, boss. Give me a week and I'll have checked everything there is to check. Sign this.”

Good lab rat.” He patted the top of Jasper's head, earning himself a half-hearted glare, before signing the evidence log. It was always amusing, being around Jasper, just his general presence seemed to drive out any unpleasantness. He turned around and walked out, momentarily forgetting the grief that bubbled in his gut.