Actions

Work Header

Proven Guilty

Chapter Text

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.

 

 

Chapter Text

John Murphy leaned against the railing outside the police station, a place he'd been many times before, though usually in handcuffs. He sipped at his iced coffee, pretending the April chill didn't get to him. It was springtime, dammit, and he was not going to be hindered by something as trivial as the temperature. His fingers tugged at the frays of his jeans absently while he waited. He'd been out here two hours already, but he'd gladly wait longer if it meant he got to speak with detective Blake again. What did that man do that kept him so long after hours, anyway?

He knew the guy didn't like him, but Murphy wasn't really used to being liked, so it didn't bother him. He was just here for more information about the serial killer, if that was really what was going on. There had been very little information released to the public, Murphy assumed this was because the case wasn't closed yet. That's was alright, he'd comply, he'd promise the detective not to release anything until the case was over. As long as he was the first to get an article out, he didn't care if he had to wait years for them to give the okay. A story this big would guarantee his career for sure.

He hopped up on the railing, moving out of the way as two uniformed officers walked past, eyeing him suspiciously for a second and receiving a sarcastic wave in return. He wondered if any of them remembered him. It was doubtful, considering he hadn't been back here since he'd been released from Juvie three years ago. His boss, and mentor if he was willing to admit it, Thelonious Jaha, had seen to that.

'You're better than that, John, so prove it. Prove you're worth something. Prove them wrong.' And he had, or, at least, he was trying to. He had toed the line for three years, he'd made a home for himself, a life, everything his mother had said he wouldn't. He'd made something of himself, even it it was in the form of a few tiny articles about trivial things no one really cared about. Murphy had cared about them, even if no one else thought they were important.

He had cared enough to write about the man that had saved over two hundred animals after hit-and-run accidents. He'd cared about the kids who'd put together a fundraiser to send their friend to Mexico to meet her father for the first time, which had accidentally become a rather lengthy article about immigration reform stuck on the bottom of the last page. He had cared about the little things, the ones nobody paid attention to, nobody noticed, but he had. He'd written articles about protests, about issues that no one wanted to talk about, and more than anything, about the tiny, happy things that people failed to notice, the ones that gave him just a little bit of hope that people weren't all bad.

He knew that the inconsistency of his articles, and the fact that he took a very blunt stance on moral debates -he had no fucks to give to those who would rather make money than save human lives and he wasn't about to cater to their feelings- would have gotten him fired from any other paper, but Jaha refused to do that, instead, he printed every article Murphy wrote, after a bit of heavy editing. 'John, it's not necessary to use the word fuck so many times.' 'No, John, you cannot call the mayor a 'shit-headed, scum-sucking, sewer-dwelling, money-grubbing, rat of a liar,' even if it's an accurate description.'

Of course, small articles had only satisfied the paper's creator for so long, and she was breathing down Jaha's neck to either fire Murphy or prove he was worth keeping, and as far as Jaha was concerned, Murphy was definitely worth keeping. Murphy was hellbent on proving him right. No one had ever believed in him like Jaha had, and Murphy wasn't going to repay him by turning out a failure, even if the idea of covering a serial killer case physically repulsed him.

Sure, he acted like a badass, and maybe he kind of was, in his own right, but give him a choice between covering a crime story and covering a cat playing with a piece or string for ten hours and he'd chose the cat hands down every time. He hated death and violence and the stories that revolved around them,. He had had enough of that in his own life, thank you very much. He'd been a violent kid, and even now he found himself in the occasional fist fight, usually with cops during peaceful protests that had long gone south, usually due to the actions of the authorities, but he was changing, and he'd rather be as far from that as possible. Granted, that didn't make him any easier to tolerate, but that didn't really bother him all that much.

He sighed when he reached the bottom of his drink, looking up and searching for a place to throw it out, instead finding the dark, curly head he'd been waiting for. He hopped down, tossing the empty cup in a bin as he ran past, following after the detective. “Bellamy! Hey, wait up! Bellamy!”

The man turned, an eyebrow raised in confusion, “Can I- You.”

“Me,” Murphy grinned, fumbling around for his tape recorder. Jaha had given it to him when he first started writing for the paper, and while it looked like something his grandfather would have used, Murphy loved it, more because of what it meant than anything. “Since you were so helpful earlier, I thought maybe you'd be willing to help me out some more now, since, if I'm correct, you're off work now.”

“You thought wrong. And it's Detective Blake to you.” Bellamy huffed, turning to leave.

Murphy stopped him by placing a hand on his arm. “Come on, man, just a little bit of information. I won't release it until you give me the okay, but just let me write it down, okay?” He didn't like to beg, but if he didn't get this story, then he was screwed.

“No. Now fuck off.”

Murphy stood there fuming as the man walked off. This story was everything, and if Detective Blake thought he was going to go away just like that, he was nuts. He tore after him, jumping over the last railing to land in front of the man, startling him into taking a step back. “I. Need. This. Story.”

I. Don't. Care.” Bellamy moved to go around him, but Murphy blocked his way. “Move it, kid.”

“No.”

Bellamy sighed, considering cuffing the brat to the hand rail just to get away from him, but seeing as how persistent he was being already, he wouldn't put it past Murphy to chew through the metal. However, that didn't mean he wanted to deal with the pushy reporter. “Get fucking lost or I'll arrest you.”

“You can't, I've done nothing wrong.” Murphy smirked smugly. He was going to get this story if it killed him, and by the look on the detective's face, it just might.

“I'll make something up,” Bellamy growled, pushing past the kid, shoving him none too gently into the metal.

“Hey, you can't do that.”

“I just did. What are you going to do? Tell my mommy?”

“I'm gonna fucking kick your stupid ass.” Murphy muttered under his breath, glaring at the back of the man's head. Maybe he should do that. If he got arrested then Bellamy would have to pay attention to him, at least until he was booked. Except then Jaha would have no choice but to fire him.

“What was that?”

“I said fuck you, you stupid pig. Just give me a statement so I can get the fuck out of here.” Well, he needed more than a statement, but regardless, it would be something more than what he had so far, which was admittedly not a lot.

“Fine, you want a statement? Have a statement: Fuck you and every other whiny ass reporter who thinks they're entitled to knowing anything about my case. It's not open to the public, get over yourself and leave me the hell alone,” Bellamy snapped, opening his car door viciously and getting in, jamming the keys into the ignition.

Murphy saw his chance and grabbed for the passenger door, sliding in just as the car began to move.

Bellamy slammed the brakes. “What the hell? Get the fuck out of my car, asshole!”

“I told you, my name's John Murphy,” Murphy informed him once again, buckling his seat belt. “Where we going, boss?”

“Absolutely nowhere! Get out!” He couldn't believe the nerve of this kid! What was his problem?

“Nah, I'm good. I like car rides.”

Oh, well, he liked car rides. Fucking prick. Bellamy was sure he'd never hated anyone more in his life. “Oh, sure, fine. You want to stop and get takeout? Maybe catch a drive-in movie? Or do you want to just skip all of that and go back to my place for cuddles?”

“Whatever you want, man, as long as I get my story.” Murphy had done more for less and he wasn't too proud to admit it, either. Whatever worked.

Oh, for the love of god. Get out of my car, Murphy!”

“No.” Murphy refused, reaching out to fiddle with the radio, flipping through the stations as Bellamy slammed his head against the steering wheel repeatedly. “Oh, hey, I love this song!”

Please, for the love of all that is holy, Murphy, get out of my car. Just, please,” Bellamy begged. He didn't want to deal with this kid at all, but today was probably the worst time of them all. “Please. Look, I'll give you a statement, hell, I'll tell you everything you want to know, just please, let me fucking mourn my friend in peace, you fucking vulture.

Murphy perked up. Sure, he felt bad about the whole 'dead friend' thing, but he needed this story, and to be honest, he didn't much care for personal feelings. He'd never grieved over anyone, it wasn't in his nature, so he didn't get it, but if Bellamy was willing to make this offer, “How long do you need?”

Bellamy sat there speechless. This kid was so incomprehensibly unsympathetic, which, ironically, had been the one thing he had wanted from everyone else, but damn, he had no idea how infuriating it was until he was actually faced with it. He took a deep breath and found his voice, “I don't know. Give me a week, alright? Now, please, just leave.”

Murphy smiled brightly, sending another wave or fury through Bellamy, “It's a date, Detective.” And he was gone, the car door slamming shut behind him, leaving Bellamy staring at the empty seat trying to process exactly what had happened as the music played on. Did he really just agree to tell the kid everything? Fuck, he was so screwed.

 

 

Chapter Text

Bellamy smiled, holding the door open for Wells as he walked out, a stack of case files in his hands, “So, you're telling me that after all that work, he just plead guilty? Just like that?”

“Yeah. I didn't even have to do anything, he just took the deal and the case was closed. A waste of effort, though I can't say I'm disappointed,” Wells shrugged, shifting the files in his arms.

“Yeah, suppose it could have been worse. You need help with that?”

“Nah, I got it. Besides, it looks like you've got company. You never told me you had friends. I'm shocked and proud. Guess your social skills have improved some,” Wells joked, nodding at Bellamy's car.

Bellamy followed Wells' gaze, eyebrows knitting in confusion when he saw a young man leaning up against his car. Who- Oh, right. His stomach dropped, his good mood vanishing completely. It had been a week, a long week, with the funeral and Jasper getting him his results, and he'd completely forgotten about John Murphy and his promise to tell the kid everything about his case. Great. “He's not a friend.”

“Fine, boyfriend, whatever. See you 'round, Blake,” Wells laughed, heading towards his own car.

“He's not-” But Wells was gone, leaving no room for argument. Honestly, as if Bellamy didn't have better taste than that. “You really showed up.”

“Didn't think I would?” Murphy grinned up at him, sunlight forcing him to squint.

“I had hoped not,” Bellamy sighed out. “Get in.” He motioned to the car as he did the same.

Murphy didn't need to be told twice and had already buckled his seat belt by the time Bellamy stuck his key in the ignition. He sat his bag down in front of him and opened it up, searching for his tape recorder. Once he'd found it he held it up with a triumphant smile, “So, should I ask questions, or do you just want to start talking?”

“I'll talk. You just, sit there and pretend not to exist or something equally as quiet.” The car pulled out and began to head down the road, streetlight beams occasionally illuminating their faces.

“Rude,” Murphy scoffed, turning the device on. If that was what it took, he would attempt it, but he made no promises.

“You want your story? Deal with it,” Bellamy retorted. He wanted to get this over with as fast and as painless as possible. “I can't give you the names of the victims, they haven't been released and they won't be until the case is closed, so, for now it's just going to be victim one, two, and three, plus Atom. Understand?” He waited for Murphy to nod before moving on. “Good.”

He launched into the story, sparing Murphy the occasional glance to make sure he was still paying attention. He told him how they'd gotten the case, the body of a man had been found floating in a pool in some park. He'd been stabbed multiple times, seven to the torso. He'd bled out sometime around four in the morning. The others had been killed in the same way and whoever the killer was had done them all at night, the time of death varying no more than two hours either direction. He, they were assuming male based on the violence, was extremely careful, too. There had been almost no evidence left behind before the newest scene.

Bellamy wasn't sure where to stop, but he figured there was good enough. He didn't want to tell the kid about all of their evidence, especially not since the conversation he and Marcus had had regarding the young reporter. No one, not even the most dedicated of reporters were this determined to learn about the case. It was more than a little suspicious, considering the paper Murphy worked for was relatively small and had never gotten this involved with police business before. Maybe Murphy was just aiming for a promotion, since none of the articles he wrote that Bellamy had read seemed to be very important. Maybe, but Bellamy wasn't so sure. The guy just rubbed him the wrong way.

He'd already shown Murphy the knife, though, so he might as well tell him about that. “The knife, remember you tried to play with it? We got the results back on it. Some crappy replica from a video game or something, Monty's trying to track down the seller. He should have the details by tomorrow afternoon.”

“Really?” Murphy perked up. All the talk of violence had made him want to tune out. He'd have to replay the conversation later so he could sort through and isolate the important bits. “That sounds strange. Is the guy some sort of cosplayer or something?”

“Some sort of what?” Bellamy scrunched his face up in confusion.

“Cosplay? Where you dress up as a character from a show or a game or something and you go to conventions... and you don't really care, do you?”

“Not really, but it might help the case. Like Halloween?”

“Sort of, but more intense and nothing's free.” In fact, the last con Murphy had been to was when he was seventeen and it had cost him the same as two months rent on his apartment.

“Oh,” Bellamy nodded, not really getting it. It didn't matter, he'd bring it up with Monty the next day, maybe the techie would know what it was.

“So, is that it?” Murphy asked, rubbing his fingers across the recorder's buttons, pausing over the stop button.

“Yeah, for now, but I'm going to guess you want me to keep you updated?” Bellamy could have just kicked him out right then, he hadn't promised to tell Murphy anything else after this, but if Marcus' suggestion was right, he should probably keep an eye on the kid. At least until he had another suspect.

“Preferably.”

Right, then meet me at Rosie's tomorrow at noon. Monty promised me an address and I want to check it out. I'm busy tomorrow night, so you might as well tag along then, so I can update you as it happens, alright?” Octavia was coming over for diner and he wasn't going to be late because of some brat, and, with tomorrow being Friday, if he finished updating Murphy, then the chances of him showing up out of the blue during the weekend got a bit slimmer.

“Yeah, that would be great!” Murphy's eyes lit up at the thought of more information. At this rate, he'd be able to write the most in depth article in the city. It might even bring in more readers for the paper. Jaha would be thrilled.

“Alright, now, tell me where you live and I'll drop you off.”

Murphy gave him directions and they spent the rest of the ride in silence, Murphy staring out the window and fighting the urge to mess with the radio. He didn't do well with silence, not when he was around other people, at least. Alone, it was comfortable, his silence, around people, it made him feel like he was doing something wrong by not keeping up the conversation.

When they pulled up in front of his apartment building, Murphy looked back at Bellamy, “Thanks. For the ride and for the story.”

“Just remember you swore not to release it until I let you.” Was all the answer he received. Bellamy pulled away as soon as the passenger door was closed, not even sparing Murphy a glance.

Murphy waved as he sped off, a sarcastic grin plastered on his face. Detective Blake was a dick but he had made good on his promise and that was a good enough reason to tolerate his gruffness. Who knows, maybe they'd eventually get used to each other. Right.

He dug in his pocket for his keys as approached his door, pulling them out and unlocking it before giving it a hard shove, the warped wood groaning in protest as it dislodged. He stumbled into the room, flailing slightly in order to regain his balance. Once he'd managed to right himself, he leaned back against the door, shutting it and standing back up with a sigh.

He hated this apartment, everything was broken and the landlord refused to fix it, so his door was warped, the bathroom faucet leaked, and the heater only worked occasionally, but the rent was cheap and it was a place to sleep. Crappy or not, it was his home, and that was more than he had ever expected to have.

He tossed his bag onto the floor next to his desk where it landed with a dull thud and pulled out the chair, dropping down into it and turning on his desk lamp. The lamp was enough to cast the entirety of his small apartment in a pale yellow glow. It was only nine, so he may as well start the article. The laptop's power button flashed when he booted it up and he grabbed his glasses case, sliding them on while he waited for the home screen to pop up, a picture of three grease smudged guys standing in front of a beat up Ford minivan smiling in greeting.

He smiled back, remembering exactly when the photo had been taken. It was a month before he had ended up in Juvie, possession of illegal substances and breaking and entering being his worst charges. They, that was Mbege, Craig, himself, and a few others -he couldn't remember their names, but they hadn't really stayed in touch- had been hellbent on heading to the beach for spring break but the stupid van had crapped out halfway there, leaving them stranded in some tiny town somewhere with no way home. Mbege, the only one who even remotely understood the inner workings of cars, employing the help of a very uncooperative but quick learning Murphy and an overly clumsy, completely clueless but well-meaning Craig, had managed to fix it and get them back on the road. By then they had missed out on spring break, but they'd stopped at couple amusement parks on their way home, so it hadn't been a total loss. Mbege and he had managed to add one more to their crew, making them a trio, the three musketeers, Craig had jokingly called them.

Now, four years later, they still kept in touch. Mbege owned a mechanic shop where he restored classics in his spare time. People looked down on him for it, considering the job to be lesser than their own, but it was what made him happy and Murphy had backed him completely, spending every weekend he could spare helping him fix the shop up and then helping with paint jobs whenever Mbege gave him a call. Which reminded him that he really should give him a call that weekend, or maybe just swing by with pizza and Mario Kart, which he would lose at spectacularly. He'd give Craig a call, too, tell him to meet up. He'd gotten lost in the paper, doing what he could to prove to the paper's creator that he was worth keeping, that he'd completely lost touch for the past month. Mbege was going to kill him for not texting back.

With that thought in mind, he set to planning the rough draft for his article. He knew there was more information to come, but with what he had now, he came up with a pretty good way to shape it. He didn't want to make a call out article, claiming the police weren't doing their jobs, even though he knew that's what Alie wanted. That's what she'd created the paper for, call outs and 'enlightenment' about the current authority figures, and while Murphy was on board with that, he couldn't see calling Bellamy out on something that wasn't his fault. He wanted a different approach, one that put the facts forward, but also offered a look into the why. Why would someone do that? Why had they become so twisted that they wanted to take the lives of others? It would require more research, a lot of it on topics he'd rather avoid, but he wanted to make an article that stood out from just facts. He wanted to explain the killer's actions, not make them seem justifiable, not at all, but just explain, maybe even get people to understand warning signs so they could maybe call someone to investigate or help. A thousand overreactions were better than one under reaction, he thought.

After he'd finished typing up his basic outline and making a list of the things he needed to research for it, the clock numbers showed it was past midnight. Murphy groaned and rubbed his eyes, he had hoped to be able to start on the research tonight, and he would have if he didn't need to meet Detective Blake tomorrow. He put his computer to sleep and popped the tape from his recorder, replacing it with a new one. He pulled out a sharpie and carefully wrote the date, Bellamy's name, and the article summary -serial killer story- on the white label before tossing it into a box labeled 'current' next to another, larger box that was almost full of used tapes that he couldn't bring himself to tape over labeled 'archives.'

He stood up from the desk, groaning as he gently laid his glasses down on the closed laptop -no sense in breaking them, he'd just have to get another pair and that always sucked- and flicked the light off, kicking his boots off and ridding himself of his shirt as he made his way to his bed. He shoved his pants and socks off by its side before collapsing onto the unmade futon. He never made his bed, never saw the point, he was just going to mess it up again the next night. He pulled the blankets over his head and buried his face in his pillow, playing out scenarios of what might happen tomorrow over in his head. He particularly liked the one where Bellamy got shot and he had to save him, it was unrealistic, but he enjoyed the thought nonetheless.

 

Chapter Text

Murphy ran down the street, his jacket fluttering behind him. Under different circumstances he would have found it cool, like he was a superhero or something, but as it were, he had more important things to worry about. Like being fifteen minutes late to his meeting with Bellamy.

Of course he would over sleep, because if something didn't go wrong, it must not be happening to Murphy. Detective Blake was going to kill him, he was sure of it. He didn't seem like the type of guy you kept waiting. He'd better not go back on his promise to keep Murphy informed because Murphy would flip some serious shit. He hadn't meant to be late, it just happened, he should have double checked that his alarm was on.

He skidded to a stop outside Rosie's Diner, a tiny place frequented by all manner of law enforcement. As if they knew he was late, cops glared at him, eyes following him as he walked in, trying to keep his breathing under control. He looked around, heart skipping a beat when he couldn't see Bellamy right away. He nearly sighed with relief when he saw him in the back booth, sipping at a cup of coffee while he studied the menu. Murphy smiled at him as he slid into the seat across from him, taking his bag off and sitting it beside him.

“You're late.” Bellamy informed him before he had a chance to say anything. He laid the menu down and slid it to Murphy. “Next time, assuming there is a next time, I expect you to be on time, or we're done. Understand?”

Murphy sat there gaping at him. Did this guy really just give him an order? Who the fuck did he think he was to order Murphy around? “Excuse me?”

“Just this once I will. Do not keep me waiting again, Murphy. I don't really like it.”

Murphy was fuming. This stupid pig thought he was in charge? Thought he could just tell Murphy what to do? What gave him the right? Murphy was tempted to walk out right there, but he couldn't. He needed all the information Bellamy could give him. “Whatever.” He grumbled, rolling his eyes. This guy obviously had a thing for giving orders. He probably liked to be called Detective in bed or something, the weirdo.

Bellamy pursed his lips and stared at Murphy for a minute before shaking his head and tapping the menu. “Order.”

“What's good?” Murphy asked, staring at the menu. He had never been here before -why would he want to spend time in a place crawling with cops?- so he had no idea what was edible and what wasn't. From the looks of the menu it was just standard crappy diner food, but he wanted Bellamy's opinion, anyway. Maybe if he acted like he cared what the man thought then he'd dislodge the stick currently stuck in his ass.

“Nothing,” Bellamy answered honestly. “Except the coffee. The coffee's wonderful.”

Well, in that case, I'll have the cheese fries,” Murphy rolled his eyes, giving the menu one last glance. “And coffee.”

The side of Bellamy's mouth quirked up in what Murphy was certain qualified as a smile and he motioned one of the waitresses over, giving her their order and turning back to Murphy. “After this, we're going to see the knife's manufacturer. He should know who bought it. You are going to stay in the car. You are not going to go inside, you are not going to talk to anyone, you are not going to do anything other than sit there and keep quiet.”

“Can I breathe?”

Bellamy glared at him. “If you get out of the car and it's not because of an emergency, then I will arrest you. Got it?”

“Yeah,” Murphy nodded, smirking. He could do that.

Bellamy opened his mouth to say something else but the waitress' return interrupted him. She set the plates down on the tables in front of them along with coffee and a bowl of tiny creamers. “You two enjoy, alright? If you need anything else, just let me know.” She gave them a smile and walked off, leaving them to their meal.

Murphy stared at the cheese fries, wondering what hell kinda of alien they were harvested from. Crappy diner food, indeed. He looked up at Bellamy who was busy drowning his eggs in ketchup, causing Murphy's nose to wrinkled in disgust. Gross. “Who eats breakfast after eleven?”

Bellamy cocked an eyebrow, setting the bottle of ketchup down and reaching for the salt. “Lots of people. It's quite common actually.”

“Well, that explains the decline of western civilization, then.”

“Eat your food, Murphy. We need to be at the warehouse by two.”

“Fine, fine.” Murphy grumbled, picking up four of the little creamer cups and five packets of sugar, mixing them into his coffee and taking a drink. He noticed Bellamy's stare and set the cup down. “What?”

“And you said breakfast after eleven was bad. How do you drink that and not die?”

“Not everyone likes to torture themselves with black coffee. Believe it or not, it actually can taste good if you add sugar to it.”

“That's not sugar, that's syrup.” Bellamy corrected, pointing to the cup with his fork.

“Call it what you like, it still tastes better than the ash water you're drinking.”

“Man up, Murphy. It's not that bad.” Bellamy took a sip of his coffee to emphasize his point.

“That is the utmost example of toxic masculinity I've ever seen,” Murphy told him, digging into his fries. “You should be ashamed.”

“What?” Bellamy's eyebrows knitted in confusion. “It's bitter, but not toxic, it won't kill you.”

“Not the coffee, dumbass. The idea that you have to do something specific to 'be a man.' Man up is a ridiculous phrase that makes it sound like being anything other than a man is somehow lesser.”

Bellamy blinked at him. Was he seriously getting a lecture on sexism from some punk kid? “That's not what I meant.”

Regardless of how you meant it, it was still received as a sexist statement that forces the idea that where a person falls on the gender spectrum is what determines their worth. 'Man up' is a terrible phrase,” Murphy concluded, ending his rant. “And your coffee tastes like shit.”

Okay,” Bellamy nodded. “So, what, you're some sort of social justice writer or something?” Well, now that he thought about it, at least half of the articles he'd read of Murphy's took some turn into those waters, but it had been subtle in most of them. Huh, maybe the kid wasn't just a punk, after all. He was a liberal hippie punk, and for some reason, the thought amused Bellamy to no end.

“Or something,” Murphy shrugged. “My father didn't raise me to be an ass.”

“Did that all on your own, then?”

Murphy cracked a smile. “Yeah, that was all me.”

They continued their meal in silence, Bellamy calling the waitress over and giving her his card so they could leave. Murphy wasn't going to complain, free food was free food, crappy or not. They left once she'd returned and were on the road moments later, Murphy flicking through radio stations while Bellamy tapped his fingers in annoyance.

They'd be there soon, but if Murphy didn't stop switching in the middle of every song, Bellamy was going to throw him out of the car and make him walk. “Find a station and stay there or turn it off.”

“But there's nothing good on!”

“Then turn it off.”

“But then I'd actually have to talk to you,” He muttered as he turned the radio off and crossed his arms, sitting back in his seat and pouting like a child.

“Yes, because I'm such a horrible conversationalist,” Bellamy rolled his eyes at the bratty journalist.

“Uh, yeah, have you met yourself? You're about as easy to talk to as a caged lion. You're either going to bite my head off or lay down for a belly rub and I'm never sure which.”

“That was... That was a very strange analogy.”

“Accurate is the word you're looking for.”

“Nope, sticking with strange,” Bellamy grinned. Murphy was a strange kid and, as per Marcus' request, Bellamy would watch him, just in case he turned out to be the killer, but Bellamy had a hard time believing that the pouting brat in his front seat was capable of hurting anything other than his own ego. He was actually kind of cute when he pouted, not that Bellamy would ever allow himself to entertain that thought.

Of course, he could see Marcus' point. The kid was persistent, and he did have a record, so, it was possible. He didn't seem to be particularly socially skilled, either, if the way he handled their first meeting. It was a possibility, and Bellamy was going to look into it, even if it meant dragging the kid all over the city with him. They couldn't afford any more murders, and keeping an eye on Murphy might just prevent them, and if he was lucky, the kid might just slip up and say something. He didn't seem to be very good with keeping his thoughts to himself, anyway, though Bellamy was finding he didn't really mind. He wasn't used to quiet car rides.

Murphy chattered on about, well, Bellamy wasn't sure what, he was certain he'd heard the phrase 'dragons can't be seduced easily' but he wasn't too sure. He really hoped not. He pulled into the parking lot of the manufacturing warehouse were he'd be meeting with the manufacturer. Bellamy hoped he would be able to learn something important.

He parked the car, rolling the windows down and glaring at Murphy. He wasn't sure if there was a difference between leaving a baby in a car and doing the same to a twenty-something journalist with dragon issues, but he assumed that the only one was that this wasn't illegal. “Stay in the car.”

“Okay, boss,” Murphy nodded, giving him a thumbs up. “Can do.”

I mean it, Murphy. Do not leave this car. Clear?” Bellamy couldn't afford having Murphy running around unsupervised. That would only end in disaster.

“Crystal, detective,” Murphy assured him with another smirk.

Bellamy wanted to punch him, but resisted, instead he walked away, watching him until he had to turn away. If Murphy would stay in the car, then they'd be okay.

He walked into the building, pulling his badge from his pocket and laying it on the front desk, startling the man behind it. “I'm here to see Mr. Lanston?”

“And you are?” The man asked, studying the badge. “Detective Blake. Right, okay. Through those doors there and to your right.”

“Thank you.” Bellamy took the badge back and followed the directions the secretary had given him. He opened the door to Lanston's office, immediately finding the man sitting at his desk. He was middle-aged, probably somewhere in his forties, but he was already balding, the light from the single bulb ceiling fan shined off his bald spot, forcing Bellamy to fight down a laugh. “Mr. Lanston?”

“Detective Blake, I'm assuming? Welcome, please sit.” He motioned to a cheaply made faux leather chair that reminded Bellamy of the doctor's office.

Bellamy smiled, taking his seat. “When we spoke on the phone, you mentioned having to find the record, did you?”

“Yes. I've got the invoice here.” He slid a paper across the desk to Bellamy. “It was ordered online through an independent seller, a custom order, so it shouldn't be too hard to track, unfortunately, I can't track it from here. Like I said, the seller was independent and you'll have to use their records to find the buyer.”

Bellamy frowned. He'd hoped that this would be a one stop kind of thing, but apparently not. He kept professional, though, and nodded, “Do you have the address of this seller?”

“Yes, it's there on the paper. I'm sorry I couldn't help you more,” The manufacturer apologized but he didn't seem sincere.

“It's alright. Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Lanston.” Bellamy took the paper and stood up. He loved it when these things were quick and easy.

“Of course, of course. I hope you find the guy, Detective.”

I will.” And he'd better still be in my car. The man showed Bellamy out of his office and closed the door behind him. He walked out, back into the lobby. He was almost out the door when he heard voices coming from an open door down the hall.

That is so cool, man!” No. He fucking knew better.

“That's our newest one, we're planning on holding it until Christmas, the boss is hoping for better sales then.”

Dude, this is gonna sell a lot. Hell, I'm going to buy one.” He had better not have.

Bellamy walked quickly down the hall, stopping in the doorway to the open room. His suspicion was confirmed when he saw the secretary holding out a strangely shaped sword to Murphy. “This one is my personal favorite.”

Murphy reached out to take the sword but froze, head snapping towards the door when Bellamy spoke, “Exactly what are you doing? Didn't I tell you to stay in the car? You said you understood!”

“I had to pee. And besides, onyx is a crystal, too, so, technically I didn't do anything wrong.” He smirked, sticking his hands in the pocket of his jacket. “I mean, so I left the car, big deal. What are you going to do?”

Bellamy scowled at him, furious. Fine, the kid wanted to play games, they'd play games. “John Murphy, you are under arrest.”

“What?” He questioned, staring at Bellamy in disbelief, smirk dropping. “I didn't do anything!”

“You left the car.” Bellamy had meant what he said back at the diner. He couldn't believe that stupid kid had disobeyed him. He grabbed his cuffs and strode over to Murphy, ordering, “Hands behind your back.”

I'm not going to- You can't arrest me!” Murphy sputtered, refusing to comply.

“You're really going to resist?” Bellamy raised an eyebrow in challenge. “Please resist, Murphy. Please. Make my day.” He'd finally get to tase the kid.

Murphy shook his head dumbly, unable to comprehend. He hadn't done anything wrong, not technically. “What fucking charges?”

Interfering in a police investigation. Obstructing justice.” Annoying me, being an ass, that stupid fucking smirk, which he was sure is completely illegal, he'd have to check. “Hands, Murphy.”

Murphy gaped at him, not moving as Bellamy grabbed on of his wrists roughly and looped the cuff around it. He did the same to the other so Murphy's hands were bound in front of him him before shoving him towards the door, leaving the secretary standing there in shock. “Let's go.”

Bellamy escorted him to the car, leaning him up against it and standing back, arms crossed as he looked at the journalist. “Why must you purposely piss me off?”

Why must you be such a fucking prick all the time?” Murphy shot back, grinding his teeth together. If Bellamy couldn't take a fucking joke, then that was his problem and definitely not something Murphy deserved to be arrested for.

“I'm not a prick all the time. Just around you,” Bellamy corrected.

Well, thanks for the special treatment, detective,” He spat the word with venom,glaring up at the man. He should have just covered another story about a heroic dog or something. This was too much fucking trouble for him to deal with. “If you don't think I'll have your ass for wrongful arrest, then you're fucked.”

“Shut up, Murphy,” Bellamy sighed, fingering the key in his pocket. “Just, stop purposely pissing me off and we'll be fine.”

“Fine? Fine is not what we are, detective. Fine is so far from what we are. In fact, as soon as I get out of these cuffs, I'm going to kick your fucking ass! You stupid fucking prick!” Murphy yelled, gritting his teeth and raising his hands. “Take them the fuck off, now!”

Bellamy shook his head. He definitely understood what Marcus was talking about now. This kid definitely had enough rage in him to commit a murder or four. “Why should I? If you're just going to attack me when I do, what's the point?”

The point? The point, Bellamy? The point is that I've been nice, I've been fucking trying to be nice to you, trying to behave, but you just can't fucking take a joke. I've been trying not to fuck this up and you're treating me like some punk kid in need of parenting. You're an asshole, Bellamy, that's the point. Now let me go.”

That wasn't- Bellamy hadn't been trying to upset the kid like that. He'd just wanted him to stop getting under his skin, stop trying to piss him off, but apparently Murphy hadn't meant to piss him off. “This is a joke, then?”

“No, it's not a fucking joke! Putting me in fucking cuffs is not a fucking joke!”

“No, I meant- I meant you getting out of the car. That was a joke?”

“Give the man a fucking gold star,” Murphy grumbled, slumping against the car. He couldn't hit Bellamy, cuffs or no cuffs, because if he did then he'd really be done for, but that didn't mean he didn't want to.

“Oh.” Bellamy ran a hand through his hair and let out a breath. Maybe this was his fault. Maybe his thinking that Murphy was the killer had slipped into how he treated the kid. Maybe he'd over reacted. “I'm sorry.”

“What?” Murphy's rage was replaced with shock, his temper cooling slightly.

“I said I'm sorry. I over-reacted. I shouldn't have put the cuffs on you,” Bellamy muttered, staring at his feet. He'd never been good at apologies, but he owed one to Murphy. “Give me your hands.”

Murphy raised his bound hands, still trying to process what was going on. “So, I'm not under arrest?”

“No.” Bellamy's hands were much gentler in taking the cuffs off as he was putting them on and if Murphy wasn't so angry he might have enjoyed Bellamy touching him. “I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry.”

“You think?” Murphy spat. He rubbed at his wrists and glared at Bellamy. “The hell is your problem, anyway?”

“I don't know.” He did know, though, his problem was Murphy. The brat had managed to get underneath his skin without even trying and as sure as he was that Murphy was the guy they were looking for, he had no right to treat him like that. Hell, if the circumstances were different, Bellamy would have probably liked the kid, enough to befriend him, at least. The circumstances weren't different, though, they were as they were and Bellamy couldn't afford to allow himself to become friends with Murphy, not knowing that he could have been the one to kill his partner. “I'm sorry, alright?”

“It's not alright,” Murphy refused to accept the apology, though he was no longer angry. “Take me home.” He wanted nothing more to do with the detective today. He knew he'd eventually have to see him again, but for now he wanted away from him.

“Okay,” Bellamy nodded, resigned. He'd fucked up and now he wouldn't be able to keep an eye on Murphy. Kane was going to kill him. He opened the door for Murphy who refused to look at him, sitting in the seat and buckling his seat belt. Bellamy swallowed, getting in the other side. “Do you want to turn on the radio or-”

“Take me home, Bellamy.”

After that, Murphy refused to speak for the rest of the ride home, ignoring Bellamy's attempts at conversation until he stopped completely.

The silence drug on until they had parked outside the apartment complex. Once they'd come to a stop, Murphy jerked open the door, climbing out and slamming it behind him. He took off into the building, not even glancing at Bellamy.

Bellamy sighed, letting his head drop onto the steering wheel. He'd really fucked up now. How was he supposed to keep an eye on their number one, or, well, their only suspect, now?

He cursed under his breath as he pulled away from the curb, heading back to the station to continue his work on the case. Just because Murphy hated him now and wouldn't be asking for anymore information didn't mean Bellamy didn't still need it himself. He glared at every stoplight he came to on the way, hating everything. He shouldn't have over reacted like that. He didn't know why he had over reacted so badly. There was just something about Murphy that he couldn't quite place but it drove him up the wall. He felt certain that he hated the kid, but a second, much more ridiculous, thought scratched at the back of his mind.

He turned the car off outside the station, leaning his head back and groaning. He wished he could take it back, maybe just chill out a little before cuffing Murphy. He glanced out the passenger window at the people passing by, wishing he could trade places with any one of them. They probably didn't have to worry about pissing off potential serial killing journalists they may or may not want to strangle or kiss.

No. No, he didn't really just think that. That was not okay. Bellamy shook his head, frowning at himself. He'd never once thought that before and he was going to blame it on the fact that he'd just lost his best chance at catching his best friend's killer and that was making him think stupid things. He sighed, opening his door and getting out, he ducked back in, mentally berating himself for leaving the keys in the ignition when he noticed something in the floorboard of the passenger seat. He leaned over the centerpiece and picked it up, recognizing it as that crappy tape recorder Murphy had shoved in his face when they'd met.

Well, at least now he had legitimate a reason to see Murphy again. He'd wait until after the weekend in hopes he'd cooled off some. No sense in going to his apartment just to get punched in the face or something worse, probably involving long term torture or whatever serial killing journalists did in their spare time. Until then, he had a case to work on.

And a sister to cook dinner for tomorrow, which he had forgotten about. Today was really, really not his day.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Saturday afternoon found Murphy standing outside a door, trying to find a way to carefully balance four pizza boxes, three giant bottles of soda, and a bag of various junk foods in one hand whilst attempting to knock with the other. He gave up after the fifth attempt and simply kicked the bottom of the door frame, alerting the house's inhabitants to his presence. He would have shouted, but the copy of Mario Kart he had balanced between his teeth prevented that from being a possibility.

“The hell man, it's been a month, not a year, you don't have to knock,” The man grumbled opening the door with a glare before taking in Murphy's appearance and letting out a loud laugh. “Never mind.”

Murphy huffed, shoving the pizzas into his chest. He spit out the game and grabbed one of the liters of soda, calling out, “Craig, Mbege needs help!”

Footsteps thudded down the stairs, Craig bursting into the room, a giant smile plastered on his face, “Murphy! 'Bout time you got here, bro! I've been having to deal with Mbege bitch about you not texting him back for the past hour.”

“I was busy,” Murphy shrugged. The truth was that he had forgotten to text him back, with all the confusion with Bellamy, it had slipped his mind. If he was honest, Bellamy had been the focus of ninety percent of his thoughts lately, something that only annoyed him more now that he had vowed not to have anything more to do with the asshole detective.

“Busy! Doing what?” Mbege cried, indignant. How dare Murphy ignore him in favor of, well, anything. “You got a new girlfriend or boyfriend or parole officer or something?”

“Or something,” Murphy shrugged, setting everything down on the kitchen table, Mbege and Craig following suit. He wasn't really sure what Bellamy would be considered as, but he doubted telling his friends he'd been ignoring them in favor of a cop would go over well.

“This something got a name?” Craig asked, tearing open a bag of chips and shoving a handful into his mouth.

“Yeah, it's name is 'giant story I have to cover if I want to keep my job,'” Murphy informed him, hopping up to sit on the table and snatching the bag of chips from him and taking a few, passing the bag to Mbege who had been pulling plates and cups from the cabinet.

“Story? What's it about?” Craig perked up, chips flying as he spoke. “Kittens? Immigration reform? Human rights? Immigration reform and human rights for kittens? Would kittens even have human rights? Or would they be called feline rights?”

“Swallow before you speak, loser,” Mbege smacked Craig on the back of the head. “It's gross.”

“Whatever.”

Murphy chuckled at the two's antics. He'd missed this, hanging out with people who couldn't arrest him. “No, it's actually over some serial killer Bellamy's trying to catch.”

“Serial killer?” Craig cringed.

“Bellamy?” Mbege smirked with a raised eyebrow. “So it was a boyfriend you were ignoring me for.”

Murphy frowned, “Bellamy is a detective, he's not my boyfriend. In fact, he hates me. If the fact that he arrested me says anything.”

“He arrested you? For what?”

“Leaving the car.”

“Leaving- Murphy are you sure he's a detective?”

“Yeah, he's got a badge and a gun and everything.”

“And he arrested you for leaving his car?”

“Well, he said I was interfering in a police investigation, but I'm starting to think he's just got control issues,” Murphy shrugged, picking at the edge of a pizza box. “That or he just wanted to see me in cuffs. Which, honestly, if he had just asked-

“Stop.” Craig ordered, covering his ears with his hands. “I don't want to know.” He had heard enough about Murphy's exploits when Murphy had lived with them, before Murphy got his own place and Craig had started taking classes at the college a town over, classes he would be done with in less than a week, and he was absolutely certain he never wanted to hear anymore. Murphy was forever going to be a child to him, despite only being two years younger, and he really didn't want to know what he got up to.

“Oh, come on! I was just about to describe all the horrible, dirty things I wanted him to do to me!” He joked as he tugged on Craig's arm, trying to pry it from his head.

Mbege doubled over in laughter as Murphy began listing off several things that he was certain would require a bath in holy water just to forget. Craig had turned three different shades of red as Murphy continued to describe in great detail exactly what he wanted the detective to do to him, preferably in the backseat of a police cruiser.

“Okay, okay, enough! Please!” Craig begged, slapping a hand over Murphy's mouth.

“What? You mean you don't want to hear about how I want him to-”

“No! No, just, fuck you. I'm going to go set up the Wii. You assholes can talk about detectives and creative uses for handcuffs and whatever else you want, but I'm out. Fucking gross.” He stomped off, red to the ears, while Mbege and Murphy cackled.

Once he'd taken a few deep breaths and gotten himself under control, Mbege asked, “Okay, but really, this Bellamy guy, he's not gonna get you in trouble, is he?”

“Probably not. He actually apologized after he decided not to arrest me. I think he's got anger issues, but he's pretty harmless, as far as trouble goes. I'm just hanging around until he solves the case so I can be the first to write about it, that's all,” Murphy explained, pouring himself a drink. “It's not like we're friends or anything.”

“Not friends or anything,” Mbege nodded, not buying it. “He's kept you so distracted you haven't returned my texts, haven't been over in a month-”

“That was because of work, though, I've only known Bellamy for like, a week or so, and besides, it's over. He's an ass and I'm cutting my losses.”

Mbege nodded again, “If you say so.” He knew Murphy well enough to know that one week to him was the equivalent to a year for normal people. When Murphy got attached, he did it very quickly and very hard. Mbege was certain this wouldn't be the last he heard of Detective Bellamy and the next time he heard of him it would probably be with a crying Murphy on his couch, yelling about he'd fucked this up, too. He was not looking forward to that, but he made a mental note to add Goldfish crackers and cherry ice cream to his shopping list.

Murphy gave him a small smile and got down off the table, stretching his arms over his head. “Come on, Craig's probably broken everything by now.”

 


 

Bellamy groaned as the smoke detector went off for the thousandth time. He was about ready to just take the damn batteries out of it and be done with it. He hadn't even burnt anything this time! This happened every other weekend. He would attempt to cook something, that annoying smoke detector would go off over nothing and distract him and cause him to actually burn something, and then Octavia would show up and he'd have to deal with her insisting the should have just gotten take out instead, but, dammit, he was a great cook, nobody had every had anything bad to say about his food except for that lousy smoke detector.

He smiled victoriously as he ripped the battery out of the damn thing once and for all before jumping down off the stepladder and tending to his lasagna. It smelled great, the detector was just faulty, that was all. The black edges meant nothing. Nothing.

He nodded to himself, proud of his work and set about making a salad, pausing to look up only when he heard keys jingling in the door. He wiped his hands on a towel walked out of the kitchen to greet his little sister. It was about time she got here, she was two hours late and he'd already finished everything.

“Bellamy!” A blur of brown hair and squealing flew into his arms. “I missed you and, oh god, what is that smell? Did you catch the fridge on fire again?” She wrinkled her nose, pulling back and looking behind him, as if searching for flames.

“No,” He rolled his eyes at her, not appreciating being reminded of that particular accident. It wasn't his fault, he had no idea that lighting a cake on fire was not a good thing, he'd seen it on TV, he'd thought that was how it worked, and it also wasn't his fault he'd tripped and the flames had lit on the grade school drawings still tacked to the fridge. It hadn't been his fault, he'd been twelve, it could have happened to anyone. “The fridge is fine. I just made lasagna and a salad.”

“So you burnt the salad, then?”

“No, but I wouldn't be opposed to setting you on fire,” He muttered under his breath, following her into the kitchen. “See, nothing's burnt.”

“Smell's like it, though. You know, it'd be a lot easier if we just got-”

“Take out, I know. You'd think with being a college student you'd be happy to have a home cooked meal once in a while.”

“There are restaurants that can do that, and they're only half as likely to kill me.”

“Keep complaining and I'll just stop feeding you,” Bellamy grumbled, grabbing a pot holder to lay on the table.

“Hey, Bell, what's this for?” Octavia asked, holding up a black tape recorder that had been sitting on top of his work files.

Bellamy looked at the recorder and sighed, running a hand through his hair. He had forgotten about that. He would have to return it to Murphy tomorrow.

Or he could mail it to him, that was an option. He could just get his address from the file on his computer and send it to him and let the postman do it so he wouldn't have to see Murphy's face and be reminded of exactly how badly he'd screwed up. He'd read and reread Murphy's file and he honestly couldn't believe he'd put the kid in cuffs over something so trivial. Murphy had been in and out of the station since he was thirteen, only stopping after spending a half a year in Juvie, after that he had no actual arrests. Not one. A few altercations where the police were called, but nothing serious. He'd sent off for a copy of all of the calls in which John Murphy was involved, but he hadn't gotten anything back yet, because as bad as he felt, he couldn't shake the feeling that this kid was somehow connected to the murders. Still, that didn't mean Bellamy wanted to see him in person.

Whether or not Murphy was the killer didn't change the fact that he'd been the first to put the kid in cuffs in over three years. He put the kid in a position he'd probably convinced himself he'd never be in again. He was an ass, and he was a little scared to face Murphy again.

“Hey, Bellamy, you okay?” Octavia asked, snapping Bellamy from his thoughts.

“Yeah, no, I'm fine. It's a tape recorder, it's Murphy's,” He explained, picking up the lasagna pan with an oven mitt and taking it to the table. “You want to grab the salad? Everything else is already on the table, so we can eat.”

“Remind me to be late more often,” Octavia laughed, setting the bowl down on the table.

“You so sure? Cause I was thinking that since I cooked everything by myself, you could do the dishes by yourself,” He smirked.

“What? No!”

“Yep.”

“Bell-am-y,” She drug out his name in a whine.

“Sucks, don't it?”

She huffed, crossing her arms and pouting, causing Bellamy to chuckle. She'd do the dishes, she wouldn't be happy about it, but she would do them. “Fine, but who's Murphy? You didn't get a new partner, did you?”

Bellamy shook his head, poking his lasagna with his fork. “No, he's not my partner. He's a journalist.”

“Thought you didn't like journalists?”

“I don't, but he's-”

“Different? Special? The One?” She teased.

“No, well, yeah, he's certainly different, but not like that.”

“Oh. So not a-”

“Yeah, no, he's just some punk kid, O.” He shrugged, “But I've fucked up big, anyway.”

“How?” She prodded, taking a bite of noodles. “This isn't too bad, actually.”

“Thank you,” He cracked a smile. “And I was an ass and probably scared him off completely.”

“Then apologize and get him back,” Octavia told him simply.

“It's not that easy, you know. He probably hates me now and it's not like I ever really liked him or anything, so, maybe it's for the best, really.” He could always get someone else to keep an eye on Murphy for him.

“That's bullshit, Bellamy. 'It's not like I ever really liked him.' Bullshit. If you didn't like him at least a little bit, you wouldn't look so sad about it.” She'd known Bellamy all her life and she could easily tell he was upset over whatever had happened between them. She could also tell that there was no way Murphy was just a journalist to Bellamy, not with that look on his face. She'd only ever seen that look once before, during high school when Bellamy had fallen for one of his best friends. They'd dated but it hadn't worked out, him and Wells, but Bellamy had had the same look on his face back then as he did now.

“He's a punk ass little brat who can't keep his mouth shut about anything and constantly pisses me off, Octavia. He's constantly being a pain, purposely gets on my nerves, and he scolds me about everything I do even when I didn't mean it the way he took it! There's absolutely nothing likable about him, he's like the physical embodiment of irritation.”

“So, exactly your type, then?”

“I've known him less than a month!”

“I knew Lincoln for like, two days, Bell.”

“I don't like the kid, I just think he murdered my partner, that's all!” Liar, liar. That wasn't the only reason he liked Murphy and it had been bugging him all weekend.

“Wait, what?” Octavia's face scrunched up in confusion. “You think he's the killer?”

“Well, Kane does and I mean, all of the signs are right. He fits the stereotype, which is actually kind of ne, because usually our suspects don't. He's not very good with empathy and he gets really angry, really easily,” Except that was completely justified, honestly, “I just think that Kane has a point and it's worth checking into. He has a record, too, so it's not that far of a reach.” Bellamy finished with a shrug, staring down at his food like it was the most interesting thing in the world. He hated discussing his work with Octavia, he'd rather she never know the crap that was in the world, the evil he stared at everyday, as dramatic as it sounded, he couldn't find another word for it. Granted, he knew he couldn't protect her from it, but it was instinct to want to and even if he couldn't keep her completely sheltered he didn't have to expose her to any more than necessary.

“So, do you have any actual proof, or is it just a gut feeling kind of thing?” She inquired, staring him down, not willing to let him ignore the conversation.

“Nothing static yet, but there's no harm in checking.”

“Right. Well, do me a favor and don't ruin some kid's life just because you have indigestion, okay?” She told him, snatching up her dishes and taking them to the kitchen. Bellamy's gut feelings had cost her three boyfriends, two jobs, and he had caused countless people to be thrown in jail overnight only to find out they'd done nothing. She knew he meant well, but he could be a little single minded when he thought he was right about something.

Bellamy sighed, dropping his fork onto his plate with a clang. He knew the kid had something to do with it, there was no other reason why he'd be so aggressive with his questioning. Killers liked to revisit the scene, liked to be kept updated on what the police knew, Murphy had to be the guy, he was certain. He just needed proof.

“You staying the night, or?” He asked, bringing his own dishes to the dishwasher. He really didn't want to argue with her, not about Murphy, the brat had somehow managed to upset his weekend plans even though he wasn't even here.

“Yeah. I thought I'd head back in the morning,” She confirmed with a smile. “I'm sorry for getting snappy, Bell. I just- Don't do anything without proof, okay? Promise me.”

“I promise.”

 


 

Bellamy sat at his desk, recorder in front of him and a glass of Jack in his hand. He'd been staring at it for the better part of an hour, not sure what to do with it. He'd found out four glasses ago that there was nothing on it, just a blank tape, probably changed in preparation for whatever information Bellamy would have told him after his meeting at the warehouse where Bellamy had royally fucked up.

He'd fucked up so bad and he'd made Murphy hate him and Murphy had all but ran from him once he'd gotten him home and Bellamy had stared after him because he had wanted him to turn around, to accept his apology, to say it was alright, but it wasn't. He'd hurt Murphy, and he didn't deserve to have his apology accepted. He deserved Murphy hating him, so why did it make him so angry? Why did he want to punch something? Preferably himself? Why the hell did Murphy matter so damn much?

He didn't. He didn't matter at all. He was just some bratty journalist that had waltzed in and demanded Bellamy answer his questions. He was rude and brash and he got underneath Bellamy's skin so badly and Bellamy should hate him for it, he should hate everything about him but he didn't.

He didn't hate him, but he knew Murphy was guilty. Murphy had to be guilty, he had to be. Why else would Bellamy care so damn much about him? Why else would he be so upset about by the idea of not getting to see him again?

Octavia didn't know what she was talking about. 'Just his type.' Bullshit. His type wasn't Murphy, it was wild eyes and fire. It was brown hair and attitude problems, smirks and jokes and not giving in to anything ever. Bellamy liked people with fire, and Murphy- Well, okay, maybe Murphy had that. Maybe he had all of that. Maybe Murphy was exactly his type and maybe all he wanted was to wipe that stupid smirk off his face and make him fucking listen to him for once. Maybe he wanted Murphy, but Murphy was a killer, his best friend's killer, at that, and he couldn't have him, so that was that. He couldn't have Murphy, so it was just better that Murphy hated him and they'd never, ever see each other again until Murphy was being sentenced. That was for the best.

But that wasn't what Bellamy wanted.

Bellamy wanted Murphy to be in the passenger seat of his car bright and early Monday morning with his horrible syrup flavored coffee and a new idea of how best to irk Bellamy that day. He wanted Murphy to play with his radio and ask too many questions and they had barely just gotten to know each other but Bellamy wanted him to stay. At least until he had to go to jail, but that was a minor detail.

Octavia had met and fallen in love with Lincoln in two days, he could do the same with Murphy, right? Of course he could. Fuck anyone who said otherwise. He wanted Murphy back, and he knew how to do it, too.

He managed a wobbly smirk, the alcohol convincing him that this was, indeed, a good idea and that he wasn't being irrational at all. This would make Murphy come running back to him, right? Right. He switched the tape recorder on and began to speak, his speech slurred only slightly.

“Murphy, this is Bellamy, of course you know that, never mind, just, I'm sorry. I told you before, but I don't think you believed me. You have to believe me, okay? Cause I am. Sorry. Very sorry and I would very much like it if you came back. Please? Please don't hate me, Murphy. I don't hate you, so it's kinda unfair of you to hate me, you know? I don't hate you at all, in fact, and this is a secret, okay? A secret, but I kind of like you, okay? And I want you to forgive me. Cause you ran out before I could tell you anything and I'd like to tell you what happened at the manew- manyou- manufa- fuck, the place, at the place.

“Nothing happened, actually. The guy gave me a piece of paper. A paper! I drove thirty miles across town and all I get is a paper! So, I'm going Monday to the place the paper told me to go, because I got nothing from the bald guy.

“God, Murphy, he was so bald, it was ridik- no, ricdu- funny. So funny, the light shined off his bald spot and I really think you would have laughed. I almost laughed, but I couldn't, because it wouldn't have been very professional of me. So I didn't, but I wanted to.

“But they told me nothing and then I arrested you. I'm sorry about that, by the way. But, if it makes you feel better, you do look very pretty in handcuffs. Very pretty. You look pretty in general, actually.

“No, that's weird, I can't say that. Forget I said that, okay? Okay. But, I'm going to go Monday to the next place and I want you to come with me, please? You can play with the radio, I won't complain about it. Please come with me, Murphy? I'm sorry, I won't arrest you again. Yet. Not yet. Not 'til I need to, okay?

“I'm sorry I'm an ass. I'm sorry, Murphy. Sorry, sorry. Really sorry. So, come with me, because you're pretty and I like your smirk. A lot. Okay, now, how do I turn this off? There's a button-”

“Got it,” Bellamy slurred, turning the device off. He pulled out a pen and sloppily scribbled a note and stuck it on the recorder. He'd put it in the mail tomorrow. For now, he needed to go to bed.

He laid the recorder on top of the paper with Murphy's address on it on the stand in the hallway, so he wouldn't forget it. He'd get Murphy to come back, he had to.

 


 

“Three times, Murphy!” Mbege yelled, tossing his controller to the floor and standing up. “You've hit me with that damn shell three games in a row and yet you still lost each one. That, my friend, is the very definition of failure.”

“Fuck off, I'll still kick your ass at Halo,” Murphy huffed, reaching for his cup from his place on the couch. Craig had passed out next to him eight rounds ago and Murphy was fairly certain the sun was already starting to rise.

“Halo sucks.”

“Only because you suck at it.”

“Or because it sucks.”

“Whatever, man.” Murphy laughed, shaking his head. “What time is it?”

“Like, eight, I think.”

“AM or PM?”

Mbege snorted, opening the curtains and letting in a stream of light. “AM.”

“Fuck, I've gotta go, then.”

“Why? You've stayed here before.”

“Yeah, but I've got to call Jaha and get him to see if he can find me a different story.” Murphy sighed before downing the rest of his drink. “You want me to help clean up before I go, or are you just going to make Craig do it?”

“Gonna make Craig do it. He fell asleep first, and it is tradition,” Mbege shrugged. “You need me to call a cab?”

“Please.” Murphy stood from his place on the couch, Craig muttering in sleepy protest. “I need to pee.”

“You want me to hold your hand or something?”

“If you want to.”

“Fuck off, Murphy.”

Twenty minutes later Murphy was seated in a cab, yawning and waving to Mbege and a half-awake Craig. He was sure he had pizza sauce everywhere and he'd drank enough caffeine to make him shake, but all he wanted was to crash and pass out. He would shower and call Jaha when he woke up.

The drive to his apartment was short, and he handed the cabbie a handful of bills before slamming the door and entering his building. “Home, sweet home,” He muttered to himself, pulling out his keys.

He was mid yawn when he looked up and saw a woman in front of his door, fist raised to knock. Who the? “Don't bother, sweetheart, he's not home.”

“Don't call me sweetheart,” The woman spat, glaring hard at him. Yikes, he wasn't sure if he should run away or stay very still.

“Okay, whatever you want, uh, lady?”

“Octavia Blake. Thanks for asking,” She sneered before pointing at the door, “You know the guy who lives here?”

“Yeah, real dick, kinda full of himself.” Blake, that was- “You by chance related to Bellamy Blake? The detective with a five foot pole stuck up his ass?”

A sharp laugh rang out in the hallway, making him jump. “Yeah, that's my brother. You John Murphy?”

“Unfortunately.”

“Then this is yours. He must feel pretty bad if he wrote you a note to apologize. What'd he do?”

“Arrested me,” Murphy answered, taking the offered object. “My recorder, I didn't know I forgot it. Thanks.”

“No problem. Bellamy was going to stick it in the mail, but I figured I'd swing by and see who had my brother's panties in such a twist,” She grinned at him. Yeah, he definitely saw the resemblance now.

“Right, well, do me a favor and tell him he's a prick, okay?” He stuck his key in the lock as she walked away. Once inside, he sat the recorder down on his desk, peeling off the sticky not. He was tempted to throw it away without reading it, but his curiosity got the better of him and he held it up, squinting at the letters, the dim light from the window illuminating them just enough.

'Shut up and listen, okay? -Bellamy'

Blunt and to the point. Nice. Murphy scowled. Bellamy had recorded something on the tape. Great. Maybe he could just tape over it or something. In the morning. He'd erase it in the morning.

After he listened to it. Just out of curiosity.

 

 

Chapter Text

Bellamy marched up the steps to the station and pulled the door open with more force than necessary, glaring at anyone who dared so much as look at him. Fucking Octavia just had to go and be 'nice' and give the damn recorder to Murphy before he even woke up yesterday. He'd been drunk when he'd recorded that fucking message and, fuck, he couldn't remember exactly what he'd said but the parts he did remember made him want to slap himself. If he hadn't ruined everything with Murphy before, he certainly had now, and he wouldn't be a bit surprised if Murphy was the reason Kane had called him in an hour early today. Murphy had probably showed him the tape and demanded the detective never be let anywhere near him again, and Bellamy couldn't blame him if he had.

He'd gotten the call early this morning, Kane telling him to come in that they needed to talk, and he wasn't going to deny the anxiety bubbling in his gut. If Kane was calling him in, it couldn't be good. Maybe it had nothing to do with Murphy, though, maybe it was completely unrelated. It was going to be bad, he knew that, but he'd take the worst if it meant it wasn't about Murphy, especially if it were something that would cause him to have to face the fact that Murphy was still a suspect. After his revelation the other night, he really didn't want to have to arrest Murphy.

“Blake, my office!” Kane barked as soon as he saw the detective enter the room. “Now!”

Bellamy was well and truly fucked, this was it, he was going to die, murdered by the Chief of Police probably with a letter opener or some paperclips, he wasn't sure which, but he had no doubt Kane would be creative. He swallowed nervously, walking into the office steeling himself and trying to keep a neutral expression on his face, not that it would matter, he was sure Kane could smell fear. “Yes, boss?”

Kane stared him down, making him feel about eight inches tall, before pursing his lips and throwing a file down on the desk. “You asked for this? Do you know something you aren't sharing, Blake?”

“What?” Bellamy managed to force out, staring at the file in confusion. The only thing he'd asked for was call records, what was Kane on about? He'd only wanted to check up on Murphy's behavior, maybe find a way to prove this was an overreaction, but what if- “Are those the call records for Murphy?”

One record. The other's don't really matter to you, do they?”

“I'm sorry, sir, but I-”

“Look at the fucking file, Blake, and stop tripping over yourself! Did you know Murphy was picked up by Detective Thompson on the night of his murder?”

Bellamy grabbed the file, not believing what he was hearing. No, those records were supposed to help him convince Marcus that Murphy couldn't be the killer, that he had just been a messed up kid but he was trying now, dammit, even Bellamy could see that! It couldn't be right, it couldn't be, but it was, right there in the file, Atom responded to a call about a break in involving John Murphy, aged 21, let go because the owner of the company didn't want to press charges. Atom had logged the information two hours before his death.

Murphy was there, he had motive, especially if he freaked out about being arrested the way he had when Bellamy had cuffed him. He could have done it, this was probable cause, they could bring him in right now if they wanted, but Bellamy didn't want to do that. He couldn't, because he didn't want to believe it, even if it was right in front of his face.

Go figure, as soon as he admitted to himself that he might actually like the kid, he turns out to be a killer, fucking typical. “Kane, you can't, I mean, is this really enough to bring him in on? What about the knife? That's a better lead, don't you think? This could be a coincidence for all we know.”

“And you really believe that?” Kane asked, skeptical. “You put in for those records for a reason, Blake, and just because you don't like what they say doesn't mean you can ignore them. I want you to bring him in, understand?”

“No,” Bellamy shook his head. No, the knife was a better lead, he wanted to check it out first.

“Excuse me? I don't think you understand who's in charge here. Just because you have a little crush-”

“No, I mean, let me check out the knife first, alright? Otherwise the kid can just lawyer up and we won't be able to touch him. You know as well as I do that that's circumstantial at best,” Bellamy amended, praying Kane bought it. He couldn't bring Murphy in, not after not after he'd already fucked up so badly. What if they were wrong? They had to be wrong.

Kane looked at him, almost as if he were judging whether or not to let him live and Bellamy wished he could disappear. Bellamy was right, circumstance was not enough, especially since they could only connect him to one of the murders, and only just barely. It wasn't enough, “Fine.”

Bellamy sighed in relief, causing Kane to raise an eyebrow at him. He didn't care, he had a chance to potentially prove it wasn't Murphy.

“Just out of curiosity, why are you so adamantly against bringing him in? Last week you would have been happy to, in fact, we spoke of doing just that. Has something changed in you two's, er, relationship that I should know about?”

“No,” Bellamy answered a bit too quickly. “No, I just want to check all possibilities, so if it is him, then we've got all the proof we need. That's all.”

Kane nodded, motioning towards the door, “Very well. Go, chase down your knife. But Blake, remember that there are protocols for this sort of thing, ones you'd be trampling all over if you and Murphy were more than just-”

“We aren't anything, Kane.” And they would never be because Bellamy had screwed up and even if he hadn't, there was the whole matter of Murphy being a killer and the detective wasn't even sure that, if circumstances were different and none of the above mattered, Murphy would even like him, too. He doubted it, he really did.

Bellamy left, almost running out of the building, he wasn't going to waste any time dallying about when he could be at the seller's house in less than twenty minutes, assuming traffic was good. Less than ten if it wasn't and he used his lights. If the seller would cooperate, he'd be able to find the person who'd bought the knife and they'd have another suspect to take a little bit of the heat off of Murphy.

Granted, Bellamy knew, deep in his gut, that Murphy was involved in this, he knew by then end of it the kid would be in cuffs, but he didn't want to believe it, not having just admitted to himself that he wanted the kid for his own. He was being irrational, ridiculous even, for trying to ignore the facts, but dammit, he just wasn't willing to admit to himself that he'd fallen for a serial killer. It was something people did, sure, he knew that most of them were charismatic and charming -the complete opposite of Murphy- but he wasn't one of those people. It just wasn't something he did, he liked to believe he was smarter than that. Apparently, though, he wasn't.

He huffed in annoyance, running a hand through his hair. He'd figure it out, finding Atom's killer trumped getting into the kid's pants any day. That was what mattered, finding the truth, and if the truth was that Murphy was a killer, so be it. He wasn't going to lie to himself about the mess he'd fallen into, and he wasn't going to pretend like he didn't like the kid, but he wouldn't have to, after all, Murphy wanted nothing more to do with him. Maybe it was for the best.

“'Bout fucking time.” Bellamy's head snapped up, heart leaping into his throat. No way, he wouldn't have come back, not a chance. “Do you always get here so early? I'd planned on meeting you out here, but of course you're one of those people who actually wake up before the sun.” The phrase was delivered with a quiet laugh, but Bellamy could hear real venom behind it. Murphy was still pissed off at him, but he couldn't find it in him to care, the kid was here, waiting for him, weird syrup coffee in hand perching on the hood of his car.

“You're better not leave footprints.” Was all Bellamy could think to say. Brilliant, you are absolutely genius. The kid comes back and all you can do is scold him? You're such a wonderful conversationalist, Bellamy, no wonder you don't have friends. Of course he'd say something terrible, but what else could he say? Hi, Murphy! Guess what, I think I might be in love with you? Know we've only known each other for a short while, and most of it was spent hating each other, but, hey, it must just run in my family or something. Oh, and by the way, I think you're a serial killer, but that's okay cause you're really, really hot? Yeah, that would go over well.

“And if I do? What? You gonna arrest me again or something, officer?” Murphy frowned at him, refusing to leave his spot. He sipped on his iced coffee as he watched Bellamy struggle in amusement. “I mean, you did say you liked me in handcuffs.”

“Wait, what?” Bellamy blinked owlishly, feeling like a child caught doing something wrong. How did Murphy know that?

“The tape? Your really shitty apology and confession of adoration? It's understandable that you wouldn't remember, you sounded pretty drunk.” Murphy shrugged, obviously pleased with himself. “Granted, if I had known the only reason you put me in cuffs was because you liked me, well, the whole thing would have worked out a bit better for all involved. Communication is the key in all great relationships, my dearest Bellamy.”

“No, I-” Bellamy stopped, shaking his head. He had remembered that part of the tape, but Murphy's sarcasm was irritating, though he supposed the journalist had a point. “I'm sorry.”

“Yeah, I got that,” He rolled his eyes. “Do you really think I'm pretty?”

“Quit being an ass.”

“I think I have a right, don't you?”

He did, the detective couldn't deny him that, but it didn't make it any less annoying. “Okay, whatever, fine. Are you coming with me or not?”

“To the place on the paper?” Murphy teased. “I'm not even sure where that is, for all I know you made it up just to get me here so you could kidnap me.”

“Murphy,” Bellamy rubbed his hand over his face, sighing deeply. This kid was going to be the death of him. “Murphy would you please get in the car?”

“Well, since you said please.” Murphy stood up, the hood popping under his weight, causing Bellamy to cringe and bite his tongue to keep from yelling. If Murphy broke his car he was going to kick his ass, regardless of personal feelings. He watched as Murphy jumped to the sidewalk and took his place in the car. Bellamy nodded to himself, thankful no one was around to see them, the last thing he needed was for Kane to see him taking Murphy with him on police business. “So, this place, is it somewhere cool, or?”

“It's an apartment downtown.”

“Okay, that's not really cool. To be honest, I was hoping for a nicer place, you know, somewhere with candlelight, maybe some music.” Murphy gave a little shrug. He was so not going to stop teasing Bellamy about liking him, probably because he wasn't sure what else to do about it. He wasn't a likable guy, exactly, and he knew it, so his initial reaction had been shock, then disbelief, Bellamy had to be lying, except he'd never known a drunk person to lie, so that left amusement and slight happiness. He had to admit, Bellamy was cute enough, and his gruffness was kind of attractive, and then there was the whole cop thing, and Murphy was nothing if not a sucker for authority figures.

“It's not a joke, Murphy.” In fact, it as the farthest thing from it. This trip was serious, it's outcome would determine whether or not they had a new suspect, whether or not Murphy was the killer. If the seller's records, which Bellamy had a warrant for in his jacket pocket, showed Murphy had been the one to buy the knife, it was over right then and there. Bellamy really hoped they didn't, but he was prepared to deal with the possibility that Murphy was guilty.

“Oh, right, sorry. I forgot how seriously people take crushes.” Murphy rolled his eyes yet again. One day he was going to roll them so hard they got stuck and it would be all Bellamy's fault.

“It's not a crush.”

“No? What is it then? Are you in love with me, Detective Blake?”

“No.” Maybe. So what if he was. People had fallen in love in less time, it was common enough. “You're too much of a pain.”

“So you just want me because I'm hot, right? Typical.”

“Yes, that's it entirely,” Bellamy snorted, doing his best to ignore the boy as he turned into the parking garage. “That's exactly why I have a crush on you, Murphy.”

“So you admit it, then.”

“Admit what?”

“You have a crush on me.”

“For fuck's sake, Murphy, are you twelve?”

“The joke I want to make is in poor taste and isn't funny, therefore I shall refrain,” Murphy muttered to himself with a frown. Bellamy could only imagine what the joke was, but nonetheless he was thankful Murphy was going to keep it too himself.

“Good. Now get out.”

“Can't you be polite for once?” Murphy grumbled, exiting the car and leaning against it, pouting. “Why do you even want me out, you aren't going to let me come in with you, are you?”

“I was planning on it, yeah,” Bellamy informed him, stopping in front of him, enjoying the look of surprise on his face. “You don't seem to be able to stay in the car, anyway.”

“Seriously?” Murphy perked up, no longer sarcastic and rude, instead looking more like an excited child. “Does this mean I'm your partner for the day? Like Batman and Robin? Or, well, more like Captain America and the Winter Soldier, because you've got the whole 'justice' thing going on and I'm awesome, so, that's more fitting. Or maybe Spiderman and Deadpool. Yeah, you're totally Spidey, makes complete sense. Or Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, maybe? No, they don't really fit, do they? I mean, sure, you're a detective, but you're kind of a shit one. Maybe more like-” Murphy rambled, naming off several other duos that Bellamy didn't know of, nor was he sure he wanted to be a part of. He was definitely no Spiderman, though, he wouldn't be caught dead in tights.

“Murphy-”

“Oh, hey, do I get a gun?”

“Hell no.”

“Oh, come on, please? I could totally cover your back, like in video games and-” Fuck, this kid was a fucking geek, and why did he find that so attractive? “It'd be so awesome like-”

“For the love of god, fucking shut up or I'll leave you out here and do it alone.” Bellamy groaned.

“What?”

“I said shut up, Murphy.”

Murphy raised an eyebrow at him, obviously offended. He'd thought his rambling was very interesting, thank you very much, but, if Bellamy wanted to be like that, fine. Murphy smirked, “Make me.”

Bellamy's eyes narrowed at the challenge. He wasn't sure exactly how Murphy expected him to proceed, and he didn't want to read it wrong, but then again, from the way Murphy was smirking at him, he doubted he was and he didn't want to lose the opportunity by questioning, so after a brief moment of hesitation, Bellamy took two quick steps forward and crushed his mouth against Murphy's in a bruising kiss.

Murphy smiled momentarily before returning the kiss with just as much force, as though it were a fight he was determined to win. He wasn't going to give in to Bellamy, he'd been given what he wanted and now all he wanted to do was take. His hands flew up, one gripping Bellamy's neck and pulling him closer, holding him in place, the other on his chest, fiddling with one of Bellamy's shirt buttons for a second before getting it undone and moving on to the next.

Not to be outdone, Bellamy rested his hands on Murphy's hips, pulling Murphy towards him until there was no space left between them. If Murphy wasn't going to give in, neither was he, though he wasn't sure why it was a competition, but everything seemed to be with the kid, if he wasn't in charge, he was going to make everyone else's lives hell until they gave in. Well, good fucking luck. Bellamy startled when Murphy's fingers met bare skin but refused to break the kiss, instead biting down on Murphy's bottom lip, earning a quiet gasp for his effort and using the opening to deepen the kiss.

Murphy was content to let his fingers explore for the moment, letting go of Bellamy's neck in order to shove away the fabric, accidentally untucking it in the process. He smirked into the kiss, Bellamy wasn't going to like that he'd messed up his clothes, if the way he kept himself perfectly groomed was any indication. When Bellamy bit down and tugged at his lip, his fingers turned to claws, gripping Bellamy and pulling them both back so he was pressed between Bellamy and the car. Bellamy moaned softly, pressing himself up against Murphy and grinding into him. He'd be lying if he said he could imagine a better or more pleasurable way of wiping that annoying smirk off the journalist's face.

“Fuck,” Murphy breathed out when they broke for air, panting slightly.

“Hm?” Bellamy raised an eyebrow, turning the expression into an offer.

“No, no, not this time, Romeo.” Because the back seat of a state issued unmarked car was exactly where he wanted to do this, what could be more romantic. “Gotta buy me dinner first.”

“Did that, remember?” Bellamy grinned, moving away from Murphy so there was at least an inch of space between them.

“Yeah, well, that was before you arrested me, which was less than three days ago, in case you don't recall. It's gonna take a lot more than crappy diner food to make up for it.”

“I could make it up to you now,” Bellamy offered, running his fingers across the skin above the waistband of Murphy's jeans.

“Tempting,” And it was, it really was, but Murphy liked to believe he had a little more self respect than that. Parking garages with men who'd had him in cuffs just days before was still a low he hadn't quite reached. Unless you counted that one time in tenth grade, but he didn't, so, uncharted lows. “But you have work to do, don't you?”

“It can wait a bit,” Bellamy shrugged.

“I'm sure it could,” Murphy laughed, giving Bellamy another kiss, “But not this time.”

This time. That was enough to bring a smile to Bellamy's face. So, apparently, Murphy liked him back on some level if there would be a next time. “Alright, if you say so,” He agreed as he stood up straight, backing away so they could move again, hopeful despite knowing that there most likely wouldn't be a next time. Funny how the small things slip your mind in the heat of the moment. Small things like how the guy he'd had pressed against his car was probably a serial killer. Bellamy figured that definitely earned an 'oops.' Not that he regretted it, yet.

“I do say so,” Murphy nodded, straightening his shirt and wiping his mouth. “You might want to fix yourself before you go up. Meet you there?” He asked before taking off towards the elevator before Bellamy could say anything.

The detective pursed his lips, buttoning his shirt and tucking it back in. He used the car's window as a mirror so he could fix his clothing, letting out a pathetic groan when he realized his clothing wasn't all Murphy had been talking about.

That fucking little shit.

 

 

Chapter Text

Murphy leaned against the wall of the elevator, smiling while his thoughts raced. He'd just kissed Bellamy, Detective Hard Ass, and he was still alive because Bellamy hadn't killed him for it, better than that, Bellamy had started it. There was a chance here, Murphy wasn't about to deny he wanted Bellamy, just not in a backseat, but he wasn't so sure how he felt about Bellamy actually liking him? Not that Murphy wasn't on board with it, but he wasn't used to the people he liked liking him back. It was a new concept and it had him a little scrambled. On one hand, he was probably going to do something to screw it all up, but on the other, Bellamy fucking liked him. That, in itself, was enough to give Murphy butterflies.

He probably shouldn't have run from Bellamy, but if he'd stayed for much longer he would have given in because, fuck, he did want him, but he didn't want to be a one time thing, and that was what he was scared of. How much id Bellamy like him? Would he still like him after he got what he wanted? Murphy wanted Bellamy for more than that, if he would be allowed that. He knew he was being incredibly irrational about this, he'd met Bellamy only a couple weeks ago, but he'd never been the 'take it slow' type. He was all or nothing, and usually in a very short time frame, and he knew that wasn't a good thing, because most people required more time than he did to fall for someone and it left him with a lot of pining and longing while they figured out how they felt and usually those feelings never quite matched his. He was scared Bellamy was going to be the same.

The elevator dinged, doors opening and allowing him to walk out into the lobby, which was done in an attempted modern style, but it had fallen flat because the white paint was peeling In one corner and there was an over abundance of dying plants everywhere. He looked around for a minute before realizing that he had no idea which floor they were going to. He should have asked Bellamy, except, well, they'd been a bit preoccupied. Murphy scowled angrily, turning back and pressing the down button none to gently, he'd have to go back and ask Bellamy.

It opened a second later, a blonde woman moving away from him as he walked back in, glaring at everything. He was a fucking idiot. He rode down, ignoring the woman's stare, focusing on trying to find a way to make it look like he wasn't as big of a moron as he actually was when he saw Bellamy. As soon as the doors opened, the woman left in a hurry, and Murphy didn't doubt it was him she was running from. He should probably stop scowling so much, it made him look like he was planning a murder.

“Forget something?” Bellamy asked as he walked in and pressed the button for their floor, apparently they were going to the fifth floor.

“Don't be a jerk.” Was all Murphy could manage, thrown by Bellamy picking the exact reason he had come down so quickly.

“Oh, I'm the jerk? You're the one who left me!” Bellamy joked.

“If I hadn't, you never would have gotten back to work and we'd still be in that garage, probably scarring that lady for life.”

“I see no problem with that.”

“Of course you don't.” Murphy rolled his eyes.

“Hey, that's not-” Bellamy stopped, trying to find the best way to string his words together, “That's not all I want, you know that, right?”

Murphy didn't know that, and he wasn't so sure he believed Bellamy. Not many people had ever wanted Murphy for more than that and those who had, well, it had never worked for very long. Maybe it would have been better if that was all Bellamy wanted, but Murphy couldn't stop himself from smiling. “No?”

“No. I want you for more, a lot more, if you'll have me.” Bellamy had already come to grips with being in love with Murphy and he saw no reason to hide it, there was just as much chance of Murphy not being the killer as there was. Innocent until proven guilty, after all. At least, that was how Bellamy was justifying it to himself at the moment.

“I don't know, I mean, you are an asshole.” Murphy shrugged, smirking.

“I'm an asshole? I'm sorry, but have you ever looked in a mirror?”

“Hey, when I do it, it's cute.”

Bellamy laughed, shaking his head. “It's annoying.”

“Are you saying I'm not cute, Detective Blake?” Murphy gasped, feigning offense.

“That's exactly what I'm saying.”

“I refuse to believe that. I'm offended.” Murphy sniffed, crossing his arms and turning his head away from Bellamy.

“Oh, come on. Are you really going to be a child.”

Murphy remained silent but his mouth quirked up in amusement.

“Apparently so.” Bellamy snorted. He walked up to Murphy and wrapped his arms around his waist, resting his chin on his shoulder. “I'm sorry?”

“Tell me I'm cute, then.” Murphy demanded, still refusing to look at Bellamy despite his amusement. Yes, this relationship with Bellamy could be a very nice thing indeed.

“You're cute.”

“How cute?”

“Adorable. Like one of those tiny teacup chihuahuas or something.”

“Really? A chihuahua?”

“Would you prefer a kitten?”

“I would prefer you let go of me so we can exit the elevator now.”

Bellamy hadn't noticed the elevator stop, but he didn't care all that much. “No.”

“Fine.” Murphy shrugged and began walking, Bellamy holding on to him as he went. It wasn't the easiest thing, but at least Bellamy had raised his head up so it wasn't as awkward as it could have been. “What door?”

“54. Travis Chandler, that's our guy, lives in apartment 54.” Bellamy answered, taking great pleasure in annoying Murphy.

Murphy nodded, searching the door numbers as he went down the hallway. “You know, you're going to have to let me go when we get there, right? Nobody will take you seriously if you don't.”

“I know.” Bellamy whined. “I don't want to, though.”

“Why?” How could Bellamy enjoy walking like this? It was annoying and hard and very unnecessary.

“I don't know, I just don't.” Except Bellamy did know why. He didn't want to let go of Murphy because he was scared that whatever they learned today would mean that he had to let him go forever and he wasn't prepared to deal with that, wasn't prepared to face that fact and let go the one person he'd ever fallen for so quickly, as if the universe wasn't going to give him time to change his mind. He and Murphy were meant to be together, they fit perfectly, even if the edges were a bit jagged and unpolished, they were going to be good together and Bellamy didn't want that taken away before he had a chance to actually experience it. He could hear Kane's voice in the back of his head, 'You should have thought about the before you fell in love with a suspect.'

“Well, too bad. We're here, let go.”

“I will if you kiss me.” Bellamy bargained, wanting at least one more before going inside. Maybe he should just take himself off the case. What he was doing with Murphy was breaking so many rules and if he was caught he could get fired because he wasn't even supposed to be on this case, if it wasn't for Atom. No, he couldn't take himself off the case, he owed it to Atom to find his killer. He would just have to go about this as best he could and pray none of the evidence came back to Murphy. He'd play it by ear and hope no one noticed how biased he'd become, and now, watching Murphy roll his eyes at him and his antics, Bellamy realized that he'd become very, very biased.

“Bellamy? You still with me?” Murphy looked at him with concern.

“Yeah, I'm here.” Bellamy smiled, shoving his doubts to the back of his mind. Now was not the time or place to dwell on them.

“Good, you spaced and I got worried.”

“You were worried about me?”

“No, I was worried that your soul had left your body and I was going to be stuck here forever because you won't let go.”

“I'll let go.”

“Then do it.”

“Gonna kiss me?”

“I already said I would, you missed that part, apparently.”

Bellamy grinned, “Then turn around so I can.”

“Let go of me first.”

“I have no proof you won't run away.”

“I'm not going to run from you.” Murphy sighed, exasperated. He wasn't going to run from Bellamy, and Bellamy really didn't have to hold him hostage for a kiss, though, he had no doubts Bellamy would back off if he said no, not that he was going to. He'd take any opportunity he could get to kiss the detective. Murphy turned around so he was facing him, Bellamy's arms still wrapped around his waist. “Happy?”

“Very.” Bellamy nodded once before leaning down ad capturing the journalist in a kiss. Murphy returned it enthusiastically, giving up control of it to him, much to Bellamy's surprise. They must have been a sight, standing in the middle of the hallway pressed close together, one of them terrified he was about to lose the other and one thanking whatever stroke of luck had granted him a chance at being allowed to have the other for his own.

When they parted, Bellamy letting go of the younger as he'd promised, Murphy smiled up at him, butterflies in his stomach. “Okay.”

“Okay, what?” Bellamy asked, confused.

“Okay, I'll have you.”

“Oh.” He had forgotten that Murphy hadn't actually answered his question and now that he had, Bellamy was torn between elation and fear. Murphy was willing to give him a chance at a relationship but it might be a very short lived one, depending on what they were about to learn inside the apartment.

As Murphy knocked on the door, Bellamy sent a silent prayer to anyone or anything willing to listen that he could keep Murphy and he didn't have to arrest him again so soon.

“The fuck do you want?” A hoarse voice, like they'd been chain smoking for the last ten years, called through the door.

Bellamy gently nudged Murphy out of his way and held his badge up to the peephole. “Mr. Chandler? I'm Detective Blake, I have a few questions-”

“Well, I ain't answering shit without a warrant.” The voice came again, none to politely.

Bellamy clenched his jaw and handed his badge to Murphy before digging into his jacket pocket and pulling out a sheet of paper, unfolding it and holding it up to the door. “Got one. Open up.” There was no sense in being polite if all he was going to receive was trouble in return.

They could hear grumbling as the resident unlocked the door, letting it swing open to reveal a middle aged man in a stained bathrobe, stained with what, Bellamy would rather not think about. “I haven't done shit.” The man shook his head, his greasy blond hair falling over his shoulders. And Bellamy had thought Murphy had long hair. This guy looked about as unpleasant as he behaved and his apartment was no better.

The only organized thing Bellamy could see as he pushed his way past him and into the living room was the shelf of comic books along one wall. Various costume pieces were scattered everywhere, dented toy swords and plastic armor with chipped paint nestled amongst wrinkled robes and broken wizard staffs. The wall opposite the comics was mounted with a large amount of replica swords, unsurprising considering they were dealing with a man who sold them for a living.

“You're a cosplayer?” He heard Murphy ask as he looked around.

“A what?” Bellamy looked back at him, frowning in confusion.

“No, I just sell the shit.” Was the man's reply.

“Oh.” Murphy nodded, finding his way to Bellamy's side. “He's right about it being shit. I could make this in my apartment with spare parts and it'd look more realistic.” He grumbled, his voice low enough that only Bellamy could hear him.

“I have no idea what any of this is.” He'd asked Monty and received a two hour lecture on cosplay and superheroes and video games and honestly, Bellamy had tuned out once he'd realized it probably wasn't relevant to the case.

“Junk.” Murphy told him, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

“So, Mr. Chandler, I have a question about a very specific knife you ordered a few years back?”

“A few years? How the hell am I supposed to remember back that damn far? I can barely remember where I left my pants last night let alone a damn knife from a years ago.”

“No need to be so vulgar about it, he's just asking a question.” Murphy told the man, annoyed with how rude he was being. Bellamy looked at him with a raised eyebrow and Murphy shrugged. He didn't like how the guy was talking to Bellamy, sue him.

“And who the fuck are you? His partner or something? You look too young to be a cop.”

Bellamy opened his mouth to respond but Murphy was faster. “Yes, but that's beside the point. I'm not a cop, but I am assisting the department on this case. I'm legit, see?” Murphy pulled a card out of his bag and held it out to the man.

“I don't care, just shut up and let us grown ups talk, I don't have time for you running your mouth.”

“A little respect, Mr. Chandler, if you please.” Bellamy growled, there was no way he was going to allow this man to disrespect Murphy like that, he'd arrest him first. He'd have to ask about the card later, but for now he was more worried about finding out about the knife. “Now, I have a picture of the knife along with a serial number, you should be able to use that to find it in your records. You do keep records, right?”

“Yeah, I keep records. They're over here.” The man said, his tone a bit less aggressive. Bellamy smirked and followed him into another room, brushing his fingers across Murphy's wrist as he passed him.

“Gonna take a while to find it.”

“I can wait.” Bellamy assured the man, stepping into the room and looking around. “Or not.” The walls were stacked high with boxes that Bellamy assumed held all the paperwork the man ever had done. There had to be forty boxes, going through them would take a long time.

“It'll take me a month at the least.”

No, a month was way too long, Bellamy couldn't wait that long, Kane was already breathing down his neck, he wouldn't get a month out of him. “Is there any way to speed up the process?”

“You have an exact date of purchase?”

“I have a month and a year, will that do?”

“Narrows it down some, but it'll still take some time.”

“Fine.” Bellamy huffed, annoyed. “March 2010.”

Chandler nodded, inspecting the boxes while muttering the date under his breath until he got to the ones he was looking for. “It's these five here.” He pointed to a group. “It'll take me a couple weeks to get through them.”

Two weeks. He might be able to get two weeks out of Kane, if he was lucky. “Fine.” Bellamy pulled a card out of his back pocket and handed it to Chandler. “Let me know when you find it. The second you find it.”

“Got it, got it.” The man grumbled, taking the card and laying it on a box. “I'll go through these, you two can show yourselves out.”

Bellamy nodded, retreating back into the living room where Murphy was examining the comic books, a frown on his face. “You okay?”

“This asshole has his Marvel comics mixed with DC. That's disgusting.”

“Come on, you geek. It's time to go.” Bellamy chuckled quietly, taking a hold o Murphy's hand when he was within reach, receiving a cute half smile from Murphy. Bellamy was disappointed by the lack of information, but at least it meant he had two weeks with Murphy, he was going to make them count, because in the end, they may be the only time he would have with the kid.

“You find out anything?” Murphy asked as the door shut behind them.

“Not yet, but he's going to call when he finds the receipt. Said it'll take about two weeks.” Honestly, the man should switch to digital record keeping and catch up to the rest of the world.

“Oh.” Murphy sounded disappointed. He needed the story soon or he would lose his job. Jaha was doing his best to fight off Alie, but who knew how long that would last.

“Cheer up, you'll get you story, kid. Until then, I do have two weeks with nothing to do.”

“They won't give you a case while you're waiting?”

“They would if Kane would let them, but this case has been on my desk for a year now, Kane doesn't want to distract me with anything else, especially since there's only one person working it now.”

“Oh, right, your partner.” Murphy nodded. “Sorry, by the way, losing people sucks.”

“You told me that once already.” Bellamy smiled and pressed the elevator button.

“Huh? When?” Murphy looked at him with confusion.

“The first day we met? I drove off and you yelled 'shit sucks' at my car, remember?”

“Oh, right. Sorry. I can be a bit insensitive at times. I'm working on it, though, but I've never been all that good with empathy.”

“It's alright, Murphy. I get it. Truth be told, shit does, in fact, suck.”

Murphy let out a giggle, pulling Bellamy into the elevator when it opened and pressing the button for the parking garage. “Whereto next, detective?”

Bellamy groaned, leaning his head on Murphy's shoulder. “Please stop calling me that.” The kid had had no problem calling him Bellamy before, but now that he had a reason to be informal, he seemed to be doing his best to be anything but.

“Why? Don't like it?” Murphy teased.

“I like it when other people say it.”

“But not when I say it?”

“They say it with respect, you say it like it's a joke.”

“How else would you rather I say it, detective?” Murphy dropped his voice, purring the word out in a way that made Bellamy swallow hard and remind himself they were in public and had literally only started dating moments ago.

“Not like that.”

“No? You sure, detective?

“Murphy, I swear to god, the next time you call me detective, you'd better not be wearing clothes.” Bellamy groaned, hating everything but especially that stupid title. He'd worked too hard to get it just to have the word ruined by a bratty journalist with no respect for anything. The elevator signaled it's stop, doors opening so they could leave, but Bellamy hadn't yet raised his head up.

“Fine.” Murphy smirked. “So I should just stick to Bellamy?” This time he moaned the word, earning a dirty look from an elderly couple waiting to go up. “Come on, we need to get out of the elevator.”

“I hate you, you know that? I hate you so much, you are such an ass.” Bellamy griped as Murphy pulled him along, laughing. “I don't even know why I like you.”

“It's because I'm amazing.” Murphy told him when they reached the car. “I'm so amazing and you just can't resist me.”

“Or maybe it's because I'm doomed to forever fall for absolute assholes with no brain to mouth filter.”

“Hey! I have a filter!” Murphy objected. He was doing very well with not saying things he shouldn't say and he was getting better.

“Maybe you should turn it on.”

“I'd rather turn you on.”

Bellamy groaned, unlocking the car and playfully shoving Murphy towards it. “Get in.”

“Fine, fine, Mr. No Fun Allowed.” Murphy pouted, arms crossed.

“Car, Murphy. Get in the damn car.”

“Getting in the damn car.”

Bellamy rolled his eyes and got in on his side. Murphy was going to be the death of him, he was sure of it, but Bellamy couldn't find it in him to complain. He liked the kid, loved him, maybe, he was working on figuring it out, and even if Murphy was incredibly inappropriate, Bellamy was okay with that, but damn, that moan was going to haunt him for a long time. He could just imagine how Murphy would sound when it wasn't a joke, when it was because of Bellamy, when they weren't in an elevator or in a parking garage and he was free to make Murphy moan as loud as he could. He wondered how Murphy would look underneath him and- No, no, he needed to stop thinking about that. That was not a good train of thought. E needed to think of something else.

Bellamy cleared his throat and started the car, pulling out of the garage and back onto the road, the mid-afternoon sun making him squint as his eyes adjusted. “So, Murphy, where did you get that card?”

“Card?” Murphy asked, feigning ignorance. “I have no idea what you're-”

“Murphy.”

“I know a guy.”

“A guy who makes fake badges?”

“Technically it's just a press card, let's people know I'm allowed there. This one just happens to have the department's seal on it, that's all.” Murphy dug into his pocket and pulled the card out, showing it to Bellamy.

Bellamy looked at it for a second before turning his gaze back to the road. “You should not have that.”

“Are you going to take it?”

“I should.” Bellamy sighed. “But I won't. Might be useful if someone questions why you're with me again.” Bellamy hadn't even considered that when he brought Murphy inside, he should have though, and he was pleased -if not a little bothered by the legality, or lack there of of how he did it- Murphy had. He was a geek, but he was smart.

Murphy smiled, putting it away before Bellamy could change his mind. He made a mental note not to tell him about the drawer full of various versions of press cards he had back at his apartment, he didn't think that would go over well. “So, what's next, Bell?”

“Bell?” Bellamy raised an eyebrow at the nickname.

“You don't like detective and you didn't react too well to Bellamy so...” Murphy trailed off with a shrug.

“I don't mind Bellamy, just don't say it like you did. That was inappropriate and,” And it was going to sick with Bellamy for days. He wasn't about to admit he'd committed the sound to memory for, well, reasons. “You should never do it in public again.”

“No? We aren't in public now, are we?”

“Do. Not.”

Be-”

Bellamy slapped a hand over Murphy's mouth. “I said do not.”

Murphy giggled and said something unintelligible, the sound muffled behind Bellamy's fingers.

“What?” Bellamy asked, removing his hand.

“I said, what are you going to do about it?”

“I am driving, Murphy, I'm not doing anything.”

“So you really can't stop me, can you Bellamy?

Bellamy groaned, pulling up at at a stop light and dropping his head onto the steering wheel. What had he done to deserve this level of hell? “Murphy, that's not funny.”

“No?”

“No.”

“I think it is.”

“Well, I have different opinions on the matter, and considering I'm the one who's being affected by it, I think my thoughts matter a bit more, don't you think?”

“Affected by it?”

“Mother of god, Murphy, please, just, do not unless you plan on fixing whatever problems you cause.” Bellamy snapped, taking his foot off the brake as a driver behind him honked.

“What if I want to? Maybe that's the point.”

“It's not and you know it.”

“Fine.” Murphy pouted. If Bellamy didn't like the joke, he'd stop, but he still made a note of how it affected the detective. Maybe one day it would be useful knowledge.

“Thank you.” Murphy was a fucking tease, Bellamy liked it, but there came a point when it was more problematic than funny. “But, to answer your original question, I thought we'd get something to eat. You have any preferences?”

“Not that crappy diner.” Murphy scrunched his nose up in disgust. “That place was bad and you lied about the coffee.”

“How would you know? You couldn't even taste it through all the sugar you put in it.”

“We are not having this argument again. You are not superior for drinking black coffee. It's not manly or poetic, it's gross and you should just get over yourself. There's enough bitterness in the world, you don't need to start your morning with it, too. In fact, maybe people would be less bitter if they stopped forcing themselves to drink ashes every morning just because they think it makes them better or more badass. You know what's badass? Not insulting other people just because they like sugar in their coffee. It's just annoying.” Murphy ranted, ending with a huff.

“Okay, then. No coffee, then.” Bellamy nodded to himself. “You know what? I think I know just the place. I used to take O there after school sometimes, before she went to college. I think it's still around.”

“O?” Murphy asked, his interest peaked.

“Octavia, my little sister.” Bellamy explained, turning down a street towards one of the less developed parts of town. “The only problem with the place is that it's drive through only, so we'll have to eat in the car.”

“Oh. You guys are close? And we could go to the park.” Murphy suggested, watching the buildings out the window. “There's one about a block from my place, it's pretty much abandoned, but it's nice. There's a pond and a few trees. The slide's broken and the monkey bars are missing a few, but the swings work and there's a lot of flowers everywhere. I think someone just through out a bunch of seeds one day because they're like, everywhere.”

“Yeah, I practically raised her. Mom wasn't around much, always working or something and so I took care of Octavia so she didn't have to stress over that, too.” Bellamy told him. A broken park? Well, he supposed it was something that Murphy would like. There was a nice metaphor to be found in there somewhere. “Sounds nice.”

Murphy snorted. “No it doesn't. It's a wreck, but it's not a bad place. That sucks, man, how old is she?”

“She's twenty now. I'm six years older than her, so by the time she entered high school I was already working for the department.”

They pulled into a tiny little shack of a place that Murphy wasn't sure was even open, but Bellamy seemed unconcerned, so he said nothing about it. He watched as Bellamy pulled around, up to the window, disregarding the busted intercom. “Your sister's like, a year younger than me. How old were you when you joined the department.”

“I was recruited by Kane when I turned eighteen. He put me in academy classes until I was twenty and technically old enough to get hired.” Bellamy smiled wide when the little window opened, “Hey, Georgie, how's business?”

“Well, I'll be damned! Bellamy Blake in the flesh. Haven't seen you around these parts for a while.” The white haired man exclaimed, smiling at Bellamy. “How's your sister?”

“She's good, in college now. We moved out of the old apartment when my dad kicked it, he left a house, so we moved out there, haven't had a chance to stop by since.”

“Oh, yeah? Nice of your pop to give you something, even if it was a little late coming.” The man grumbled, “You got a friend with you or something?”

“Or something. Georgie, this is Murphy, Murphy this is Georgie.”

Murphy gave a little wave, smiling politely. He wasn't the best with new people, especially ones that seemed to be important to the people that he liked. “Hey.”

“Or something? Bellamy you got a boyfriend?” Georgie laughed, returning the wave.

“Yeah, kinda.”

“Kinda, he says. Well, it's nice to meet you, Murphy. You keep my boy in line, alright? He needs it.”

“I'll do my best.” Murphy laughed.

“He's the one who needs keeping in line, not me!” Bellamy objected.

“I don't believe it for a second.” Georgie shook his head. “You guys here for food or just to catch up?”

“Food. Murphy keeps complaining about my taste in food so I'm going to prove him wrong.”

“You eat crappy diner food on a regular basis, I think my concerns are well founded.” Murphy shrugged.

“Diner food? Bellamy! I expected better of you!”

“Oh, please, Georgie.”

Georgie held up his hands in surrender, “Two of the usual?”

“You remember?” Bellamy asked, grinning.

“Of course I do. Now, sit, wait.” Georgie turned away from the window, presumably to go cook.

“He's nice.” Murphy said, picking at a loose piece of leather on the console between them.

Bellamy knocked his hand away. “Don't make it any worse, jeez. That's Georgie, he's been around forever. Watched O and I grow up, kinda like a weird uncle, you know?”

Murphy nodded, he didn't know much about weird uncles, or family in general, but the guy certainly seemed like he would fit that description. “He owns this place?”

“Yeah.” Bellamy licked his lips, staring at Murphy. “He, uh, he's always owned it. I'm not too sure how it stays open, he doesn't make much of a profit cause he feeds anyone who needs it without pay.”

“That's nice.” Murphy cocked his head. “You're staring at me.”

“I wanna kiss you again.” Bellamy told him matter-of-factly.

“Then do it. You don't need permission. You're my boyfriend, remember?” Murphy teased. The word seemed childish, but he was willing to go with it for lack of a better term.

Bellamy smiled and leaned over the console, gently pressing his lips against Murphy's before pulling away a second later.

“That was not a kiss.” Murphy complained.

“Yes it was.”

“Not a proper one.”

“Then what's a proper kiss?”

Murphy rolled his eyes, taking the challenge. He grabbed a hold of Bellamy's tie and pulled him closer, crashing there lips together, nipping and biting until Bellamy parted his lips, letting Murphy do as he pleased. Murphy ran his tongue across Bellamy's bottom lip before pushing forward, kissing Bellamy mercilessly. He'd show Bellamy what happened when he was teased. He tangled his free hand in Bellamy's hair, tugging on it gently, pulling a soft moan from the elder.

Bellamy turned in his seat so he wasn't at such an awkward angle and gripped Murphy's shirt in one hand, pulling him closer, the console digging into his stomach, the ache dulled by the pleasure the kiss was creating. He lifted his other hand to cup Murphy's cheek as e let out another moan. He should have let Murphy take control a lot sooner, he certainly seemed to know what he was doing as he explored Bellamy's mouth, leaving no part untouched. If Bellamy had his way, he'd stay like this forever. Even in the uncomfortable position the car forced him to be in, he'd never felt as good as he did now. He wanted this to never end, the flutter in his stomach bringing about the dawning realization that it was more than just a crush, that somehow in the sort time he'd known the journalist he'd fallen head over heels in love with him.

Murphy smiled into the kiss, letting out a quiet moan of his own that almost broke Bellamy. He wanted to make him do it again, louder, wanted to hear him beg and say his name, and oh, fuck, how could some geeky kid do this to him? Bellamy didn't have the chance to answer as his thoughts went a bit fuzzy when Murphy bit down on his bottom lip, harder than before and he groaned, hand that had twisted into Murphy's shirt letting go and sliding down, finding the hem of his shirt and slipping under it. He was still having a hard time believing Murphy had agreed to date him, he couldn't believe the boy across from him was his and that this wouldn't just be a one off thing.

Murphy panted as he pulled back, breaking the kiss, much to Bellamy's disappointment. He took a few breaths, calming himself down and and smiling at Bellamy, “That is a proper kiss.”

“I'm not so sure I understood the lesson. Would you mind repeating it?” Bellamy asked, grinning dumbly.

Murphy nodded, leaning back in for another kiss only to be interrupted by someone clearing their throat.

“Am I interrupting something?” Georgie asked with a raised eyebrow.

Bellamy settled back into place, ducking his head like he'd been caught doing something he shouldn't be. “Sorry, Georgie.”

“I really should get a warning bell or something.” He joked, looking at the two of them. “How long have you been together, anyway?”

“About four hours, give or take.” Murphy answered, straightening his shirt, unashamed of being caught. He'd been caught in worse situations.

“Really? I'd have thought you'd been together a while with the way you two were going at it.”

Bellamy let out an embarrassed groan. “Georgie, please.”

“Sorry, sorry.” The old man laughed, handing the styrofoam take out trays and soda bottles to Bellamy who passed them to Murphy so he could dig out his wallet.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Same price as always. Never gonna change.”

“You need to adjust your prices, Georgie, the economy's tanking, prices are going up, you need to keep up with it.” Bellamy told him, pulling out a couple bills.

“The economy tanking is exactly why I refuse! A lot of the folks in the neighborhood can barely afford to live as it is, I'm not going to raise my prices and make it harder for them.” Georgie shook his head. “The economy can go to hell, I'm not changing anything.”

Bellamy laughed, but it was almost humorless. “I get it. Take care of yourself, okay, old man?” He smiled, handing over the money. “I'll do my best to stop by soon, okay?”

“See ya, then, son. You two take care, alright?” He smiled, waving as they pulled away.

“That was terrible.”

Murphy laughed, “It could have been worse. The way things were going, I'm surprised you left my clothes on as long as you did.”

“Shut up.” Bellamy whined, trying not to laugh.

“It's the truth.”

“Just give me directions to this park of yours, brat.”

Murphy complied, laughing as they drove. He was surprised at how fast Bellamy could go from being a complete ass to someone whose company he enjoyed. It probably had something to do with the fact that he didn't have to hide his crush like an embarrassed schoolboy anymore, but Murphy was only speculating. It seemed like their relationship would be a good thing, Murphy was happy so far and Bellamy seemed like he actually liked him, so maybe it would actually work out in Murphy's favor for once. It would be nice.

He reached over and pulled on a strand of Bellamy's hair, effectively getting his attention, “Turn here.”

“I know, I heard the instructions.” Bellamy grumbled as he turned onto the cracked asphalt, parking the car next to a railing. They got out, Murphy holding the food and blatantly staring as Bellamy stretched, grinning at him. “What?”

“Your tie's all messed up.”

“And who's fault is that?” Bellamy asked, attempting to straighten it but giving up after a couple of seconds and undiong it. He tossed the tie and his suit jacket into the back seat and walked to the front of the car.

Murphy handed him a tray and a bottle, grinning proudly. “It was my fault.”

“It was a rhetorical question, dumbass.”

Murphy shrugged and pointed off towards the water, “There's a bench over there. We could eat there.”

“Okay.” Bellamy nodded, holding out his free hand. Murphy took it, beaming at him. “Let's go eat so we can get back to solving crimes.”

“Or doing other things?”

“Or doing other things.” Bellamy agreed with a bark of a laugh. Murphy may be a serial killer, but he had two weeks with the kid before he had to think about it again and he was going to make the most of them. They might be all he ever got.

 

Chapter Text

“So, everything was going great until Mbege decides it'd be a good idea to vandalize the cop car Hoot-style, right? So he grabs the spray paint and starts blacking out the windows and, because nothing ever goes as planned, the cop wakes up when he's, like, halfway done and he flies out of the car, freaking out and yelling at us. So, instead of running like a sane person, Mbege just smiles and says 'Man, that is really not your color. My bad.' Because of course that's exactly what you say to cop that's about to arrest your ass, right? Right, well, if it wasn't for Craig we'd have both been screwed because he's the one who smacked Mbege and told him to run.” Murphy laughed loudly, flipping through the pages of a recipe book that Bellamy had handed him. “I swear, if it wasn't for Craig we'd have both been arrested twice as many times as we actually were.”

Bellamy shook his head, smiling wide. He loved listening to Murphy's stories. Sure, most of them weren't legal, but they were entertaining as hell.“So, Craig's like your voice of reason, then?”

“Nah, he's more like the only one of us with any self-preservation. He's never actually been arrested and he tries to keep it that way. He's a good kid, I actually don't know why he hangs out with us.” Murphy loved him, though, loved both of those idiots. They'd all been friends for years, he'd met Mbege back wen he was in grade school but Craig had come along towards the end of high school. “He's like a puppy, you know? You have to take care of him and be really nice and not get too upset when he eats your furniture.”

“So, why do you get in trouble so much, anyway?” Bellamy pulled a few pots out from the cabinet, he wasn't sure what they were going to make, but they'd need them. They'd spent the last few days hanging around each other whenever Bellamy wasn't stuck behind a desk. Kane wasn't happy about ow long it was taking to get the information from their seller and in retaliation he'd stuck Bellamy with a forest's worth of paperwork. He had briefly wondered if Murphy was going to get bored of being around each other constantly, but it seemed he'd underestimated the journalist's need for attention and human contact. Bellamy was sure most new couples didn't see each other everyday but, well, they weren't most couples. Bellamy had never been one to take things slow and it seemed like Murphy wasn't, either. They worked the way they were, there was no reason to slow things down.

“Because everything fun also happens to be illegal.” Murphy gave a shrug. He'd never really bothered to care about the legality of things, it just wasn't important. Life was to be lived, assholes were to be punched, rules were to be broken, it was just how it was for them. It wasn't his fault so many people had problems with what they did. “Spaghetti?”

“Spaghetti isn't illegal.”

“Bellamy.”

“Sure, spaghetti is fine. You do know that there are plenty of things that you can do that aren't illegal, right?”

“Am I about to get a lecture? I don't want a lecture from a cop.” Murphy grumbled, setting the recipe book aside. Nothing in it had interested him, and most of it would take forever to cook, anyway. Spaghetti was simple and quick, which meant they'd spend less time cooking and more time doing, well, other, more fun things. Murphy had found that one of his favorite things to do was touch, or be touched by, Bellamy, in any way. He was especially fond of being held, no kissing, no grinding, just being held by Bellamy. It made him feel loved.

“How about a lecture from your boyfriend, then?” Bellamy wrapped his arms around Murphy's waist from behind and pulled him close, pressing feather light kisses into his neck.

“Would that be any different?” Murphy hummed happily, leaning into him and tilting his head to the side.

“Yeah. It's less 'don't do it because it's illegal' and more 'don't do it because I don't want to see you arrested.'” Of course, in two weeks time, Bellamy may not have a choice, but he refused to think about that until then. For now, he was going to pretend this was a forever thing, that Murphy was just some annoying journalist he had happened to fall in love with, not a killer who was probably just playing him to see what he knew. Bellamy wanted it to be real so badly he was willing to ignore his better judgment. There was no actual proof Murphy did it, not yet, anyway, so for all he knew, this really could be a forever thing.

“But I thought you liked me in handcuffs?” Murphy teased.

“Mhm, but I could get you in cuffs without having to through you in a cell.”

“Could you?”

“If you'd let me.”

Murphy smirked, “I might. Someday. If you behave.”

“Brat.”

Murphy only shrugged, amused rather than offended. “Where's the pasta?”

“Cabinet.” Bellamy replied, letting him go.

“Which one?” Bellamy seemed to forget Murphy had no idea where anything in his house was, he'd only been over once before.

“The one by the fridge. And the spaghetti sauce is in the one below it.”

Murphy nodded and went to fetch the ingredients while Bellamy filled one of the pots with water, returning and setting them down on the counter near the stove. It had been Bellamy's idea to cook, rather than go out, said it was a better date, Murphy agreed. He preferred just being around Bellamy, and it was much nicer watching a movie on the couch as opposed to a theater. It wasn't very easy to cuddle in a theater, and as much as Murphy teased Bellamy, he liked the small, sensual things more than he did the rest. Not that the rest wasn't great, or at least, as far as he could tell it would be, when they got that far. Murphy was well aware Bellamy was completely ready to take that step whenever Murphy wanted, but Murphy wasn't too sure. He'd had a lot of relationships based on sex and as sappy as it was, he actually wanted to get to know Bellamy first, he'd had enough quick fucks, he wanted Bellamy to be different. So far, Bellamy seemed to be content waiting, he backed off every time Murphy wanted him too, often without Murphy even having to say anything.

“You wanna grab the hamburger from the fridge?” Bellamy asked, breaking Murphy from his thoughts.

“Couldn't you have asked while I was over there?” Murphy groaned, walking back and opening the fridge roughly.

“I forgot.” Bellamy shrugged, “Don't break my fridge.”

“Not going to break your fridge. Might break your face.” Murphy muttered, dropping the meat onto the counter.

“Is that a threat?”

“Yeah.”

“You know you can go to jail for threatening a cop, right?”

“Then arrest me.”

“Don't tempt me.” Bellamy joked, pouring oil into the pan. “Now, come here and help me.”

 


 

 

“Rinse it an put it in the dishwasher.” Bellamy scolded when Murphy tried putting his plate in the sink. “Otherwise everything piles up and it makes for a pretty terrible Sunday.”

Murphy rolled his eyes ad turned on the tap, rinsing off the plate and handing it to Bellamy to put int the machine. “Want me to get the pots from the stove?”

“If you wouldn't mind. Leave the sauce pan in the sink, though. I want to soak it.” Which wouldn't be necessary if Murphy hadn't distracted him and caused some of it to burn. It had tasted fine but the pan had suffered.

Murphy nodded, bringing them over. He turned the tap on, holding his hand under it as it ran, waiting for it to warm up. He watched out the window, cars passing in front of the house. He'd expected Bellamy to live in some apartment close by the station, not an actual house. He'd never taken Bellamy as the family type, but the way he talked about his sister and her achievements in college, Murphy had him pegged wrong. He was pleasantly surprised to see this other side of the detective.

“Watch it!” Murphy screeched, Bellamy accidentally bumping into him. He grabbed onto the faucet so he wouldn't fall over, causing warm water to spray everywhere. “Fuck.”

“Shit, are you alright?” Bellamy grabbed Murphy, holding him upright. “Sorry.”

“It's fine. I'm fine.” Murphy sighed, letting go of the tap before it could burn him. His shirt was drenched and so was most of the counter. “Gravity's a thing that exists, Bellamy.”

“Shut up.” Bellamy rolled his eyes, grabbing a towel and drying off the counter. “Finish filling up the pan, please.”

“I'm serious. Gravity exists. Without it you'd float away.”

“Kind of like the fucks I gave.”

Murphy snorted, turning off the water. He leaned against the counter and held his shirt out. “Gross.”

“It's water.”

“It feels gross.”

“Then take it off.” Bellamy told him, pulling his own damp shirt off. “Next time don't spray everything with water.”

Murphy grunted in displeasure, toying with the edge of his shirt. It had been Bellamy's fault that his shirt was wet. He liked this shirt, too, it fit him best and he had chosen it just because he thought it made him look nicer. He was disappointed that the two hours he'd spent trying to figure out what he should wear tonight were going to waste.

“Murphy-”

Before he could say whatever it was he was going to, Murphy had pulled his shirt up and over his head, dropping it onto the counter and crossing his arms. It didn't matter. It was uncomfortable to wear wet clothing. He glared at Bellamy, goosebumps forming on his exposed skin, “Now I'm cold.”

“Aw, I'm sorry, babe. Want me to warm you up?” Bellamy smirked, holding out his arms.

“Fuck off.” Murphy huffed, stalking off towards the living room, leaving a giggling Bellamy behind him. He dropped down onto the couch with a huff, pointedly ignoring Bellamy.

“Stop pouting.” Bellamy said, picking out a random movie. “You like Disney?”

“Everyone likes Disney.”

“Big Hero 6 or Hercules?”

“I don't care, Bellamy. Put the damn movie in and come here and cuddle me, I am very cold and very unhappy, dammit.” Murphy whined, his need for attention and warmth overpowering his annoyance.

Pay attention to me, Bellamy.” Bellamy mock-whined, putting in the DVD.

“Shut up and do it or I'm never kissing you again.”

“Oh, no, however will I survive.”

“You won't.”

Bellamy laughed, grabbing the remote from the top of the television and flopping down on the opposite side of the couch, spreading out and motioning for Murphy to come closer. “Here.”

Murphy did as he was told, smiling contentedly when Bellamy pulled him against his chest. He was like a heater and the chill that had been bothering Murphy disappeared altogether. “Yes.” Murphy nodded to himself, satisfied.

“Dork.”

“And?”

Bellamy shook his head, grinning. “My dork.”

“Yes.” Murphy agreed, resting his head on Bellamy's shoulder as the movie started. “Which one did you pick?”

“Big Hero 6. That damn robot's adorable.”

“Mhm.” Murphy sighed lazily. He closed his eyes for a minute, listening to the TV.

“You're not going to sleep already, are you?”

“No.”

“You are, you're falling asleep!” Bellamy laughed, loud enough to earn a glare from Murphy.

“How can I when you're being so damn loud?”

“Sorry, sorry. Going to sleep at nine on a Friday night, wow, Murphy, your life is wild.”

“Fuck you.”

“Anytime.”

Murphy rolled his eyes behind his eyelids, groaning at the lame joke. “Must you?”

“Yes. If I didn't, I would die.”

“I don't know why I put up with you.”

“Because you love me?” Bellamy joked, poking Murphy in the side.

“I might.” Murphy answered truthfully. He hadn't thought about it all that much, but he couldn't deny what he felt when well beyond just lust or friendship. He wanted to be with Bellamy for a long time, the few days he'd spent with him had convinced him. No, Bellamy wasn't perfect, he was far from it, honestly, but Murphy liked him more for it. He was rough and grouchy and a pain in the ass when things didn't go his way, but he was sweet and he cared, try as he might to hide it. He was an ass, but he was the type of ass Murphy could picture being with for a very, very long time.

Bellamy's heart jumped in his chest hearing that. It wasn't a promise, it wasn't anything certain, but it was a chance, a possibility. It meant maybe one day Murphy would love him back. Bellamy wasn't about to start spewing confessions, though, he wasn't an idiot, there was nothing worse than an ill-timed declaration of love, and right now, with everything that might happen, now was the worst time imaginable. “So, what, you're just going to fall asleep here so I can't move?”

“Maybe.” Murphy grinned. He might just do that just because he could. “You going to stop me?”

“It's nine, if you sleep now you'll wake up at like, two in the morning and what then?” Bellamy whined, not liking the idea of dealing with someone as energetic as Murphy in the middle of the night.

“Then you'll just have to tire me out again, won't you?” Murphy yawned. He wasn't exactly tired but Bellamy was warm, he was full, comfortable, and he felt safe with Bellamy's arms around him, it was enough to make him sleepy. “Now shh, watch the movie.”

“Try to stay awake.”

“Fine. Shh.” Murphy promised, not bothering to even try. He closed his eyes again and relaxed.

Bellamy shook his head and leaned down, kissing Murphy's neck, getting no response he did it again, scraping his teeth along the base of Murphy's throat.

“Bell, let me sleep.”

“Huh-uh.” He sucked a mark into Murphy's skin, enjoying marking the boy as his. Murphy squirmed under his ministrations, biting his lip and refusing to give into Bellamy. “Come on, I don't want you to sleep, it's too early.”

“But you're warm and I'm comfortable. Why can't you just go to sleep, too?”

“Because I don't want to wake up at the crack of Satan's ass. And we can sleep all day tomorrow, if you want to.”

“I can't, though, stop being so unfair.”

“You have plans?” Bellamy pulled his head up, ceasing his efforts.

“Yeah, I told Mbege I'd be by. We hang out every weekend, ever since high school.” He didn't mention that he'd missed an entire month's worth of weekends and therefore could not skip out again or face the wrath of Mbege, which wasn't actually wrath, it was more disappointment and hurt, but it was a terrible thing to experience, nonetheless.

“Oh.” Bellamy nodded. “So, you'll be leaving early, then?”

“Yeah, so let me sleep on you while I can. You make a wonderful pillow, did you know?”

“I have finally fulfilled my dream career, then. Being a human pillow for a bratty journalist.”

“A great achievement, indeed.” Murphy paused to yawn. “You know, you could come with. I'm sure Mbege would love you. You two are both complete assholes.”

“And you aren't?” Bellamy wasn't sure whether to accept the offer or not, on one hand, he was flattered that Murphy was willing to introduce him to his best friends, but on the other he was slightly terrified because Murphy wanted to introduce him to his best friends. Did that mean that Murphy was serious about their relationship being a thing? Did introducing your boyfriend to your best friends actually mean anything to Murphy, or was it just wishful thinking on Bellamy's part?

“I thought we established that it's cute when I do it?”

“Did we?”

“Yes. It is fact. So, you wanna come or not? It's fine if you don't want to, though, I mean, I don't know if that's, like, weird or not, inviting you. Is it weird?” Murphy rambled, realizing that he may have made Bellamy uncomfortable. It wasn't a normal thing to introduce your boyfriend of less than a week to your best friends who were technically the only family you had, was it? Fuck. It probably was.

“I don't know, actually. But I'll go, if you're serious about wanting me, too. I mean, like you said, I am an ass.”

He was entirely serious. Mbege would probably love Bellamy, Craig might not, but, then again, Craig hadn't liked any of Murphy's previous partners, so it wouldn't be a new thing. Bellamy was an ass, but Murphy liked it, it wasn't often he found someone who was both capable of putting up with his shit and dishing it out, too. It was a nice change. “Then we leave at noon tomorrow.” Murphy ordered, turning over so he was curled up next to Bellamy instead of lying with his back to him. “Now, let me sleep.”

Bellamy sighed, turning the television down so it wouldn't disturb Murphy's sleep. He considered telling Murphy that they could sleep easier on his bed but decided against it, he didn't want to be misunderstood and potentially scare Murphy off. “Fine, but if you wake me up at two in the morning I'm going to kick your ass.”

“Shut up and cuddle me, jackass.”

 

Chapter Text

This is Murphy's shirt, in case anyone was wondering.

 

“Annnndddd I forgot to put your shirt in the washer. Fuck.” Bellamy cursed, resisting the urge to bang his head against the wall. This morning was not going well at all. First, he'd burnt toast and forgot to put on any coffee, then he'd almost tripped over fucking air which had resulted in him knocking a half-asleep Murphy into the armchair, where he curled up and went back to sleep for another half hour, and now he was realizing Murphy was still shirtless for an actual reason and not just because he looked good and enjoyed teasing Bellamy.

“That's nice.” Murphy muttered from behind his coffee cup. He'd been very unhappy to learn that Bellamy didn't keep any creamer on hand whatsoever and so he'd spent about fifteen minutes attempting to make it drinkable buy pouring in copious amounts of sugar but it hadn't helped all that much. Now it tasted bitter and horrifically sweet at the same damn time and if he wasn't so tired he'd say fuck it and skip the coffee altogether but, unfortunately, he was dead tired despite sleeping almost twelve hours. It was a special skill of his, sleeping more than enough and still being tired come morning.

“I might have one that'll fit you, hold on.” Bellamy held up a finger before quickly taking off towards his room, returning a moment later with a folded shirt in hand. “Okay, so, it's not mine, but I don't think Octavia will mind all that much.” All of his clothes would swallow Murphy whole, but Octavia's might fit him. Maybe. It was worth a try, the worst that could happen was it ended in an amusing disaster.

“Your sister's shirt?”

“Yeah. Is that okay, I mean, it's a girl's shirt but-”

“Cloth has no gender.” Murphy pointed out. One day he would train Bellamy, and after Bellamy, the world. Cue evil laughter.

“Yeah, but it's, like, pink and girly but it's all she left behind-”

“Let me see.” Murphy sighed, sitting his mug down on the counter and walking over to Bellamy, and taking the shirt from him, letting it unfold. He raised an eyebrow at the unicorn staring back at him, rainbows seemed to be all over the damn thing, it would have been horrendously cheesy if it wasn't also somehow cute. Murphy grinned as he read the pink, bubbly lettering across the bottom, “Go to hell? She actually wore this?”

“Yeah, well, I don't pick out her clothes, you know. And I don't think she does anymore, it was part of her hipster-grunge-what the fuck ever phase. You don't have to wear it. I'm sure we've got time to stop by your place so you can change.”

“Nah, Mbege expects me there by noon and it's already almost eleven.” Murphy dismissed the idea. “Besides, it's cute.”

“Alright, then. If you're okay with it.”

“It's just a shirt, Bell.” Murphy said, pulling it over his head. It was tight, Octavia was probably a size smaller than him, but it would do fine. “I mean, personally, I like my rainbows with a little less Illuminati symbolism, but it's good. How does it look?”

Bellamy nodded, looking him up and down. It looked strange, but a Murphy kind of strange, and it worked. “Tight. Is that even comfortable?”

“I've worn worse. At least I can breathe in this.” Murphy shrugged, picking at the bottom of the shirt. “Trust me, this is much better than a corset.”

“You've worn a corset? Do I want to know why?”

“No, but I'm going to tell you anyways.” Murphy told him, slipping his shoes on and nodding towards the door, “On the way, though. I don't want to end up on kitchen duty. You remember my directions?”

“Yes.” Bellamy nodded, grabbing his keys from the bowl on the counter and tugging at the sleeves of his shirt, hoping he looked presentable enough. He wasn't sure what the proper protocol for meeting your boyfriend's best friends was, but he assumed it involved making a good impression.

“Okay, so, it was junior year and the theatre department was putting on a play, right?” Murphy started as they headed out the door, “And Mbege will never tell you this but he's a huge fucking theatre nerd and he's got a thing for musicals, especially. So he signed up.”

“What play?” Bellamy asked, opening the passenger door for Murphy and closing it, holding up a finger so Murphy would pause while he got in on his side.

Murphy waited until Bellamy had started the car to continue, “I was getting to that. It was Rocky Horror, because fuck the district and their rules about what's appropriate, you know? At least, that's what the drama teacher said. So, he gets the part, Rocky, and let me tell you, he's perfect for it, holy shit. Anyway, so he's got lines to run and I'm laughing at him because it's just so damn ridiculous, I mean, really, he's standing on stage in this pair of gold shorts that barely cover anything and it's so fucking hilarious but he has to do it because he has to get used to wearing them in front of an audience, right? So, he's trying to run lines with one of the other theatre geeks and I'm sitting in in the front row, laughing like a loon, his words, not mine, and eventually the little theatre geek, I think he played one of the Transylvanians, I don't know, anyway, he gets fed up with me and leaves.”

“Understandable.”

“Yeah, I guess, but come on. Wouldn't you laugh if you had to watch your best friend dance around in gold shorts?”

“I most certainly would not. She'd kill me for it.” Clarke would strangle him and tie him to a fence outside her house as a warning.

“Well, Mbege loves me to much to kill me.” Murphy shrugged. “So he gets pissed because I scared off his partner and he decides that, because it's technically my fault and he has to learn these lines by like, next week, that I have to help him with it. Which is annoying enough but when I get up on stage instead of handing me a script he hands me a bundle of clothes and tells me to change. I'm thinking, what the fuck, right? But okay, sure, I'll change. It can't be worse than what he's wearing. So half an hour later he comes back stage to check on me because he thought I ran off, I didn't. It's just fishnets are really hard to put on, you know? It takes time. Anyway, he comes back there and he starts laughing because he didn't actually think I'd do it. But, really, why not? So we get out on to the stage and instead of it being an empty auditorium like we expected, there's a class in there. A whole fucking grade. Some science lecture or something. So the entire ninth grade class got to see me in Frank N. Furter's clothes, what little there was of them.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously. And they're all pulling out their phones and taking pictures so Mbege's trying to stop them because that's just rude as fuck but he can't so I do the only thing I can think of at the time.”

“Run away?”

“I posed.”

“No.”

“Yep. Lots of posing, I saw some of the pictures afterwards. I looked damn good.”

“How did you not die of embarrassment?” Bellamy asked, astonished. If it had been him he probably would have fled the damn country.

“I don't care, honestly. I looked good. It was uncomfortable and I most definitely won't be doing it again because, you know, I like breathing, but it was just a costume. Of course, after that incident I became rather well known. You'd think that being seen in full on Frank N. Furter costume would be considered an act of bravery, not a reason to have homophobic slurs spray painted on your locker.”

“That happens in real life?” Bellamy asked, a little shocked. He was used to seeing it in movies and the like but he'd never known it to really happen.

“Yeah. I mean, I tracked the fucker down and broke his nose, but still, do you know how hard it is to remove spray paint?” Murphy whined, pouting. “My locker smelled like acetone for weeks.”

“That sucks, man.”

“Yeah. Mbege felt really bad about it, too, said it was his fault. He helped me clean it up. It didn't matter all that much to me, personally, because people are jackasses, but he was real upset about it. Said he found some idiot posting to pictures online and reported them. I dunno what happened, but I did ask him to print them out for me. I used them as Christmas cards one year.”

Bellamy nearly choked laughing, “Why?”

“Because I looked damn good. And also because I photo shopped antlers onto myself to make it more festive. It was a very enjoyable process.”

“You are- Well, I'm not sure what you are, honestly.”

“The approved term is 'strange' but the most common is 'crazy.'”

“I was kind of going for something more like 'entertaining' or 'incredibly odd but in an endearing kind of way,' actually.”

“That is also acceptable.” Murphy nodded, sitting up in his seat, “Okay, turn here.”

“I know. You told me.” Bellamy turned the car towards the house, nerves finally taking over. What if they didn't like him? Would Murphy leave him because they told him to? What if he completely fucked this up and ruined everything? This was probably a terrible idea, he wondered if he could still back out now. He considered it as he parked the car in the driveway. He could easily say he wasn't feeling well and get out of it. He didn't have to do this.

“Bell, you getting out or are you just going to stay here the whole time?” Murphy asked, poking his shoulder, “It's a lot more fun inside, just to let you know. And that's Craig over there and, okay, well, I'm not sure what he's doing but we'll probably find out.” Murphy pointed to the man who was running around the yard, a net raised above his head.

“Right. Getting out of the car.” Bellamy nodded, watching the man run in circles. Murphy friends seemed to be as strange as he was, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It was, however, a little intimidating.

“I hate to burst your bubble but you aren't actually doing that.”

“I'm doing it now.” Bellamy told him, opening his car door. “Getting out of the car.”

“Good for you. Now let's try walking inside.” Murphy laughed as he got out. He walked around to the front of the car and frowned at Bellamy, 'Okay, no.”

“What?” Bellamy asked, brow creased in confusion. Had he already fucked up?

Murphy said nothing, just shaking his head and pulling at Bellamy's shirt, undoing the top two buttons and the ones on his sleeves, “Now roll them up, you look like a minister. You don't want to look like a minister. The last one to drop by got chased off in a rather dramatic and completely unnecessary way.”

“You guys are strange.” Bellamy observed, pushing up his sleeves.

“Yes.” Murphy agreed, “Now, meet the family. Hey, Craig!”

“Family?” Bellamy asked but his question went unanswered, Murphy's attention having been captured by the net carrying man.

“Murphy! Have you seen a squirrel around here?” Craig asked running up to them.

Bellamy instinctively wrapped and arm around Murphy's waist, pulling him a little closer so he could protect him from Craig if need be. He didn't seem to be entirely safe.

“I haven't. Dare I ask why?” Murphy asked, leaning into Bellamy.

“It's eating the bird food. I want it gone.”

“You're chasing it off, then?”

“No, I'm going to catch it.” Craig corrected, pointing to the net.

“And then what? Release it into the wild? This is the wild.” Murphy pointed out.

“He's going to turn it into a hat. At least, that's what he says.” Mbege rolled his eyes behind Craig's back, making Murphy snort.

Bellamy wasn't sure when Mbege had come out of the house, he'd been too focused on the squirrel enthusiast in front of him but seeing him in person, he was a lot more imposing than Murphy's stories made him seem. Maybe because the look he was giving Bellamy was down right deadly. He wondered if he should introduce himself but he didn't want to interrupt the conversation for fear of having everyone's attention on him.

“You bet your ass I am.” Craig nodded. “I've had enough. It's a bird feeder, not a bushy tailed, pecan throwing, tree rat feeder. I'm gonna catch it and I'm going to turn it into a hat.”

“No you won't.”

“What? You don't think I can? Fuck you, too, man. I can catch that fucking tree demon, you just watch.”

“You cried when we watched Bambi. You're not turning anything into a hat.”

“He needed his mother, Mbege! He was just a baby and that evil son of a bitch shot his mother! For sport, Mbege! For sport!” Craig whined, obviously distraught.

Mbege shook his head and sighed, “You about done? We've got guests. You should chill before you scare off Murphy's new, um, boyfriend?”

Murphy nodded at Mbege, letting him know that was indeed what Bellamy was. The dark look that he'd been giving Bellamy returned with a vengeance.

“Yeah, whatever. But I'm gonna catch that fucking squirrel.”

“Well, when you do, you aren't keeping it in the house.” Mbege warned.

“It's gonna make a nice hat.”

“I'll buy a cage, then.” Mbege gave in, realizing this was getting nowhere.

Murphy giggled. There was no way Craig was going to hurt anything small and fuzzy. He could just see them having a pet squirrel in the house. He turned to Bellamy, “Right, so, the squirrel lover-”

“I don't fucking love it!”

“Anyway, the loud one is Craig and the one who looks like he's going to eat you, which is not appreciated, by the way, is Mbege.” Murphy introduced his friends, “And this,” He waved to Bellamy, “Is Detective Blake.”

“The Detective Blake you said you were done with?” Mbege asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“Well, see, that didn't really work out.”

“Obviously.” Mbege frowned, holding out a hand to Bellamy, “Like he said, I'm Mbege. First name's John.”

“Like Murphy.” Bellamy nodded, understanding. He took the offered hand and shook it, surprised when Mbege didn't try to crush his bones. Maybe he just looked scary.

“Right.” Mbege nodded, letting Bellamy's hand drop. “Okay, squirrel shit, inside the house. The net stays in the garage. So help me, if you drag that disgusting thing through our house I will kick your ass-”

“It's not disgusting!” Craig objected, pointing the net at him, “How am I supposed to catch that fur demon if I have to run to the garage to get the net every time?”

“You used it to clean the swimming pool last summer!” Mbege countered. “In the garage.”

“But-”

“Garage.” Mbege pointed, leaving no room for objection.

Craig did so anyway and opened his mouth, “It's my house, too!”

“To the fucking garage.” Mbege ordered, escorting Craig by the shoulders. “You two go on inside, I'm going to show this jackass where to put the disgusting, smelly, absolutely under no circumstances is it going in the house, travesty of a net.”

“I don't want to put it in the garage!”

“I'm going to shove it up your ass, don't think I won't.”

“You wouldn't!”

“Not literally, no, but I may just beat you with it.”

“That's a bit too kinky even for me, love.”

“In the fucking garage.”

Murphy giggled, listening to them fight until they'd closed the garage door behind them. Once he could no longer be amused by them he pulled on Bellamy's hand and led him up the steps and into the house, breathing in deep and flopping down onto the couch, leaving Bellamy to stand there awkwardly. “Make yourself at home, babe. They're going to be a while.”

“Are they together or something?” Bellamy asked, wondering how Murphy managed to find friends who seemed to be the literal opposites of each other.

“I don't fucking know. Maybe. I think so? Like, Craig's ace, ya know? And Mbege's like, hella straight, but they're both panromantic, so maybe? They act like it, but honestly, who the fuck knows? They live together, though.” Murphy shrugged. Mbege had a crush on Craig, he knew that much, but otherwise, it wasn't his business to ask and they'd never volunteered the information, so he assumed they still weren't. But who knew. Maybe he should ask again.

“Well, that was very informative.” Bellamy snorted, poking Murphy, “Move over.” He hadn't actually understood all of the terms Murphy used, but he figured Google would be a less sarcastic source of information.

“I don't want to.” Murphy whined as he sat up.

“You can lie back down now.” Bellamy told him when he'd sat down.

Murphy smiled to himself and leaned back, his head resting in Bellamy's lap. “So, what do you think of them so far?”

“Well, I think the squirrel guy is a bit dangerous, not criminally, but in the sense that he might accidentally spill acid on you just because he forgot he was holding it, and I think Mbege wants to disembowel me with a gardening spade.” Bellamy answered honestly.

Murphy let out a laugh, “Yeah, Craig probably would. But Mbege doesn't want to disembowel anyone. Except maybe Craig, but that's a different matter altogether. He just doesn't know you, yet. Give him time, he'll come around.”

“You think? Because I feel like the gardening spade is an appropriate fear.”

“It's not. He won't hurt you. He's all glaring and no follow through.”

“You sure?”

“Yup.” Murphy nodded, popping the 'p.' “He didn't kill any of my other partners, that means the odds are in your favor.”

“I'm just going to pretend like that's reassuring and-”

“And that is why you cannot use fish bait to trap the damn squirrel, dumbass. It's fish bait, not squirrel bait. They are two entirely different species, okay?” Mbege groaned as he and Craig walked into the room. “Murphy, tell him squirrels won't eat fish bait.”

“Squirrels won't eat fish bait.” Murphy told him, his voice flat.

“See? Squirrels won't eat fish bait.”

“Okay, fine! Killjoy.” Craig pouted, dropping down into an armchair with a huff. “Maybe this squirrel would like it, how do you know? Maybe some squirrels eat fish bait. Maybe some fish eat squirrel bait. You can't tell them how to live their lives.”

“Uh-huh. Right then.” Mbege nodded, sitting in the armchair next to him. “So, Murphy. Nice shirt.” He told him without any sarcasm.

“Thanks. It's Bellamy's sister's.”

“So you spent the night at his place, then?”

“Yes.”

“So, you two-”

“Oh, for fuck's sake, Mbege, stop it. Leave them alone. Can't you see they're in love?” Craig berated, tossing a book he'd found shoved in the side of his chair at Mbege.

Mbege caught the book before it could hit him in the face and sighed, “Craig, please find some fucking chill, man.”

“He has no fucking chill, Mbege.” Murphy reminded him. “And no, Bell and I didn't fuck each other. Thanks for checking up on me, Dad.”

“You're welcome. Make sure to use protection if you do.”

“Christ, Mbege, can you not?” Craig rolled his eyes, unhappy at being told to chill. “Our son can take care of himself.”

“Our son?”

“Yeah. Ours. Our house. Our Murphy. Our Murphy's boyfriend. Ours.”

“Fine, then. If hes your son, too, then you can help raise him.”

Bellamy watched the exchange with a mix of confusion and discomfort. “Are they always like this?”

“Nah, sometimes they're worse. And occasionally Craig finds some chill hidden somewhere and mellows the fuck out.”

“Right.” Bellamy accepted the answer. “So, uh, Murphy?”

“Yeah?”

“Is this going to continue the whole time or?”

“Huh? No, hold on.” Murphy turned his head to the side so he was facing the arguing pair, “Hey, fuckheads, you're making Bell uncomfortable. Can you not?”

“What?”

“Bellamy? Uncomfortable? He's not used to your weird ass shit like I am. Please don't make him hate me this soon. The last thing I want is for him to think I'm as weird as you two.”

“Do you not want to be like your parents?” Craig asked, feigning hurt.

“I will leave and you two can work out your marriage without me.” Murphy threatened.

“Okay, we'll stop.” Mbege held his hands up in surrender. “So, Bellamy, you arrested Murphy?”

Murphy let out a groan and turn his head away from them, hoping that by pretending they didn't exist they would magically disappear.

“Uh, well, yeah, but it was kind of a misunderstanding. You see, Murphy, well, he was joking around and I may have over reacted and Murphy-”

“Is a complete and utter jackass? We know.” Craig told him with a grin.

“I wasn't going to say that.” Bellamy denied.

“It's cool. He is. We all know it.”

“Wow, fuck you, too, Craig.”

“You love me.”

“I did. Now I'm not so sure.”

“I don't think he is.” Bellamy shrugged, running a hand through Murphy's hair to calm him down. “He can be a little over the top, but it would see he comes by it honestly. Genetics and all that.” Bellamy tried to joke, hoping to clear some of the awkwardness.

“Indeed he does.” Craig nodded, grinning at Bellamy.

“Oh, god, now he likes you.” Murphy groaned.

“I do. Very much. He's mine now.”

“No, he's not.”

“Yes, he is. I've claimed him as my own. He shall join me on my great squirrel hunt and we shall bring home fame and fortune and be crowned kings.”

“I'd be honored.” Bellamy told him as dramatically as possible.

“No, no. Murphy tell your boyfriend not to encourage mine.”

“Oh, yeah, right. Bellamy wants to know if you're together.”

“Does he?” Craig asked, raising his eyebrows at the detective. “Well, what if it's none of his business?”

“Sorry, I-”

Mbege cut off Bellamy's apology. “We might as well be. We live together, pay bills together, eat together-”

“Sleep together.” Craig chimed in, laughing at the horrified look on Murphy's face.

“We do not.” Mbege shut him down. “We aren't together.”

“So, that's a no.” Murphy told Bellamy.

“Yeah, I got that. Thanks.”

“You're welcome. So, what are we doing today? Or are we just going to lie around and make my boyfriend incredibly uncomfortable?”

“Halo?” Craig asked hopefully, pointing to the TV. “You do owe me a rematch.”

“He can't, he's going to help me cook lunch.” Mbege dashed his hopes, rising from his chair. “Tacos alright with everybody?”

A chorus of affirmatives was heard and Mbege nodded, pleased. “Good, come on, Murphy.”

“Since when do you let me touch the stove?” Murphy asked, hopping up to follow Mbege into the kitchen.

“Since now.”

“You just want to talk about Bellamy.” Murphy accused, heading to the fridge and beginning to pull out ingredients.

“I'm not going to deny that. You want to cut up vegetables while I cook or would you rather the reverse?”

“You can cook.” Murphy told him, handing him a package of hamburger. “So, ask.”

“Alright, what's up with you two? You told me last time you were done with him?”

“I thought I was.” Murphy shrugged, washing the vegetables in the sink. “But then he apologized and kind of admitted he liked me and it just kind of spiraled from there.”

“You've known him for like, three weeks now, right?”

“I knew Richards for less.”

“Richards didn't work out.”

“Nobody works out, 'Begs.” Murphy pointed out, chopping up vegetables with more force than necessary. “But, you know, I'd kinda like him to. He's great and you should give him a chance.”

“Murphy, he arrested you not too long ago and now you're acting like you're in love with him or some shit. You aren't, are you?”

“No. Fuck, I don't think so.”

“Okay, well, what do you want? What do you expect out of this relationship, huh? Is it just sex again, because we both know how you do with that.” Not well. Murphy wasn't the type of person to be able to stay in a relationship that was based solely around sex, he got attached too easily and ended up wanting more than that and then the relationship would unravel in front of him.

“I don't know. I want an actual relationship with him, you know? I like him a lot, I'm not sure it'll work out, but I want it to. I want to be with him for a long time, 'Begs. I just don't know if that's what he wants, too.”

“You should ask him, then.”

“How? Just go up to him and ask 'Hey, Bellamy, do you actually want me or just to fuck me because I really need to know?' It doesn't work like that.”

“Yeah, it kind of does.”

“Yeah? And how would you know? You've been in love with someone who obviously loves you back but you're too scared to do anything about it so you've just spent years pining instead, so I don't think you're in a position to give me relationship advice.” Murphy spat. He didn't need to be told how to handle his relationships, he was an adult and he hadn't asked for advice.

“That's not fair and you know it.” Mbege told him, voice cold. “I know how to handle a relationship, Murphy, I just don't know how to handle Craig.”

“Then tell him! Fuck, you've been pining for three years now, just do it! He already lives with you, what's the worst that can happen?”

“I push him too far and he leaves, that's what! You know that! We've had this argument a thousand times. I'm happy with what he's willing to give me. If he wants more, he'll tell me first. Deal with your own relationship and stay out of mine.”

“I would but you don't have one.

“I fucking know that!” Mbege growled, stirring the meat violently. “I know but I'm not going to do anything about it, so fuck off.”

“Fine. But only if you back off of mine.” Murphy wasn't sure why he was so defensive of his relationship. This was Mbege, his best friend, he should be happy he cared so much but all it was was annoying. He didn't need Mbege to tell him to talk to Bellamy, he knew he needed to, but he didn't want to scare him off. Sure, they'd had that talk in the elevator, but Bellamy could have meant anything by it. He could want Murphy for more than just one time, he could want Murphy but not for anything real, Murphy had no idea how to approach the subject so he as going to leave it alone for the time being. It was best just to let things play out the way they would.

“Fine, but don't come whining to me when you get hurt.”

“I won't. Don't worry.” Murphy spat, setting the bowls of vegetables on the table forcefully, the loud noise causing him to flinch.

“Don't break them.” Mbege scolded. “Or the table.”

“They are plastic, they will not break.”

“Would you stop?” Mbege sighed, turning the heat off and pushing the pan to the side. “Is something wrong or are you always this grumpy after not sleeping with somebody?”

“I'm always this grumpy period.”

“No you aren't.”

“Fuck you.”

“You aren't my type, but I'm flattered.”

Murphy bit his tongue to keep his cruel comment from coming out. He had no reason to be insulting Mbege, not when all he was doing was trying to help. “I don't know, man. I'm worried, I guess.”

“About?” Mbege prompted, transferring the meat into another bowl and setting it in the middle of the table then leaning against it next to Murphy. “Bellamy?”

“No, global warming.”

“Global warming is not a joke, Murphy.” Mbege said sternly but the grin on his face ruined the effect.

Murphy gave him a brief smile before nodding, “Yeah, Bellamy. What if he doesn't want me, man? Like, what if he finds out he only likes me for sex and then he'll get bored with me? Or what if he finds out how fucked I am and he just drops me? I wouldn't blame him, but it would suck.”

“You aren't fucked, Murphy. Bratty, childish, and sometimes an asshole, but not fucked. And if he does leave you because of that, then he's the one who's fucked.” Mbege bumped his shoulder against Murphy's, “And besides, even if he does leave you, you've still got me and Craig. We'll never get bored of you.”

“That shouldn't be as comforting as it is.”

“Aha, but it is, and that's what matters. Now, go, tell Craig to set the table and bring your boy toy in here, would you.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure.” Murphy rolled his eyes, slowly making his way out of the kitchen.

“Damn, Murph, if you moved any slower you wouldn't be going anywhere.”

“If you want it done faster, do it yourself.”

“Go, now. The table isn't going to set itself and Craig's been annoying so he can do it.”

Murphy laughed, turning into the living room. “Guys, food.”

“Aw, yeah! Time to eat. That means the game's over and I totally kicked your ass, Blake!” Craig cheered, pressing the start button on their game.

“Like hell you did, squirrel boy. Two more seconds and I'd have won.” Bellamy set his controller down and stood up, stretching his arms above his head.

“No, two more seconds and we would have tied. There's a difference.”

“It doesn't matter. Mbege wants you to go set the table.” Murphy jabbed his thumb over his shoulder, “Go. Do it. Before he explodes.”

“Whatever. You just want to make out with your boyfriend.” Craig pouted, sticking his tongue out at Murphy as he walked by.

Murphy returned the gesture, knowing it was childish but doing it anyway. He turned back to Bellamy who was staring at him with raised eyebrows. “What?”

“Nothing.” Bellamy shook his head and smiling. “So, time to eat, then?”

“In a minute.” Murphy nodded. “After Craig sets the table.”

“So, should we go in there now or wait?” Bellamy wasn't too sure on what was considered polite by these guys and he'd rather ask Murphy a bunch of dumb questions than embarrass himself or come off as rude.

“We can wait.” Murphy closed the distance between him and Bellamy, “Craig was right, you know.”

“About what? Beating me? I swear, Murphy, I would have won.” Bellamy defended himself. “If I had another minute or two I would have broke that damn tie and kicked his ass.”

“I'm sure you would have.” Murphy patronized, “But I meant about the 'me wanting to make out with my boyfriend' thing.”

“Oh.” And then, “Oh. Well, don't let me stop you.”

Murphy smirked and placed a hand on Bellamy's neck, pulling him down so he could kiss him. He leaned forward, stopping when there was only a fraction of a centimeter's distance between there lips, frustrating Bellamy who'd been expecting to be kissed immediately. Murphy looked at him, his eyes bright with amusement at the other's frustration. He held back, pulling away ever so slightly when Bellamy tried to kiss him, “Huh-uh.”

“Why not?” Bellamy whined. It was unfair for Murphy to do this. This was teasing, plain and simple and it was not fair.

“Say please.”

“You're kidding.” Bellamy could have groaned. “You know, I think you've got a kink. You just want me to beg.”

“Begging is nice, yeah, but I just want you to say please, that's all.”

“You're a tease.”

“And you're wasting time. How long until Craig's done setting the table and comes to get us, huh?”

Murphy had a point, as much as Bellamy hated to admit it. “Alright. Please, whatever.”

“Good.” Murphy praised, finally closing the tiny space between them, catching Bellamy in a kiss. It was rushed and sloppy but Bellamy didn't mind. He could have moaned when Murphy drug his teeth across his bottom lip before slipping his tongue in Bellamy's mouth, holding the back of his head, fingers twisted in his curls, but he didn't, not wanting to attract the attention of the two in the kitchen. Murphy explored his mouth lazily, running his tongue alongside Bellamy's and pulling away almost completely before doing it again, as if it were something he did everyday rather than something he shouldn't even be doing right now with the possibility of being caught looming over their heads. Murphy didn't seem to care but all Bellamy could picture was Mbege's glare, though it wasn't enough to make him pull away. He didn't pull away until he heard a throat being cleared.

“You know, when I said that, Murph, I was joking, not giving you a suggestion.” Craig reprimanded him, amusement poorly masked by a facade of boredom.

“My bad.” Murphy shrugged. “Time to eat, then?”

“If you're not to busy.” Craig confirmed.

Murphy smirked and shrugged, grabbing Bellamy's hand and nodding towards the kitchen. “Come on, before Craig tells Mbege to make us sit on opposite sides or something.”

Bellamy snorted and walked into the kitchen with Murphy, sitting down across from Craig who rolled his eyes and muttered, “You two are going to have to stop holding hands if you plan to eat.”

“Aw, don't be jealous. I'm sure Mbege would let you hold his hand if you wanted to.”

“I don't want to.” Craig scowled down at his plate. “And he doesn't either, so eat your food and mind your own.”

“Sure, sure.” Murphy surrendered, grabbing for a tortilla, “I will gladly mind my own. With my actual relationship. With actual requited and acted upon feelings. With my-”

“Shut up, Murphy.”

._-*-_.

“Do you want me to help with the dishes?” Bellamy offered, taking his plate to the sink.

“Mbege and I can do them, you're a guest, you can go sit down.” Craig declined, taking Bellamy's plate and sitting it in the stack of dirty dishes.

“Are you sure? Because I don't mind.”

“No, it's fine. We can-”

“Let him help, Craig. You already got a chance to get to know him. I didn't. Go. You and Murphy go try to catch that damn squirrel, okay? Murphy's great at bringing home annoying rat-like creatures. Uh, that wasn't a dig at you, by the way.” Mbege clarified, looking at Bellamy. “He's literally very good at bringing home various rodents.”

“And cats.”

“Stray dogs.”

“Once he brought home a snake.”

“That didn't stay long.”

“No, it certainly did not.” Craig agreed with a shudder. He'd woken up to find it on his pillow and he'd screamed until Mbege threw it out the window. To this day he still hated anything with scales.

“And after you catch it you can squirrel proof the bird feeders to make sure it doesn't happen again.” Mbege told him as he turned on the water. He really needed to invest in a dishwasher, but that would involve taking out part of the cabinet and that was just too much work, it wasn't worth the effort.

“On it, boss.” Craig saluted and marched out of the kitchen, leaving behind an amused Bellamy and an exasperated Mbege.

After he had turned the corner and shouted for Murphy, Mbege turned off the tap, reaching for a plate. Bellamy moved to stand beside him, waiting to be handed something to rinse. He fiddled with the edges of a frayed drying rag, feeling awkward being left alone with Mbege. He could still feel his glare cutting through him though he seemed to have warmed up to Bellamy quickly enough. “So, uh, this is the part where you tell me that if I hurt him, you'll kill me?”

Mbege was quiet for a minute before sighing, “Murphy is trying his hardest right now. He's trying to make a life for himself that doesn't involve getting arrested every week. It's hard, he's not very good at it, but he's trying. He's always been in trouble with someone since he was a teenager, but he's working on it. He's got a job at the paper and he loves it. Gives him a chance to shout at a lot of people at once and he's a damn good writer. He got arrested when he was seventeen, the why isn't my story to tell, but he went to Juvie for a while, got out when he was eighteen. He'd missed the last of high school so he studied his ass off, got a GED. I lost count of how many times I found him on the couch at two in the morning surrounded by textbooks and practice tests. He hated it, but he did it. It was the first thing he ever did that he was really proud of himself, you know?”

Bellamy nodded, not really understanding why Mbege was telling him all of this, but he was listening nonetheless. He wanted to know more about Murphy and Mbege seemed willing to share so he wasn't going to stop him. He rinsed and dried dishes as he listened to Mbege talk, not daring to interrupt or do more than nod whenever he looked over at him.

Mbege continued, “He did good. Not top marks, but good enough to pass and that was what mattered. He wasn't sure what to do next, the kid's got a good head but he's not really the college type. Too expensive, anyway. But somehow, by some miracle, the universe stuck Jaha in his path. Met him at a protest. I only know what Murphy told me cause I wasn't there, but apparently it ended with Jaha offering him a job and Murphy accepting despite never writing more than a half-assed essay in his life. But he likes to talk and he likes to yell at people about things he thinks are obvious so it worked out. Got him out of my shop, so that was a plus. I'm telling you, Murphy can't handle anything more advanced than a toaster without breaking it. Or taking it apart and forgetting to put it back together.” Mbege laughed and turned of the tap, holding his hand out for the towel.

Bellamy handed it to him and waited. He didn't know what to say. He had a lot of questions but he didn't want to pry into something Mbege wasn't willing to tell him about Murphy and have him stop talking. Bellamy hadn't asked Murphy anything about his family life or his past because they hadn't been together long and he didn't want to send Murphy running, but he did want to know.

Setting the towel down on the counter, Mbege motioned for Bellamy to sit with him at the table. He wasn't done, he had more to tell him, If Bellamy was going to be with Murphy he had to understand a few things, “So he's getting his life together now for the first time since he was ten and his dad died. That's not my story to tell you, either, but the gist of it is that his mom wasn't the greatest. He'll make all kinds of excuses for her but I won't. She was a drunk and unfit and abusive and she's lucky she's dead because if not I'd probably track her down and kill her myself. Murphy went through a lot because of her, but like I said, she's dead now.

“He was thirteen when he showed up on our doorstep with a social worker. My dad was a foster parent but he'd never actually taken anyone in before Murphy. Murphy literally is my brother, just not on paper. He could have been but he didn't want to be, something about not needing a piece of paper to tell him who his family was. I think it's because he didn't want to let go of his dad.

“He was an angry kid, got into a lot of fights and that hasn't changed. He has this attitude, like he doesn't care but he does. He cares too much. He gets attached really easily, too. He can be clingy but he tries not to show it, jealous, too, but that's understandable. He's worried everything's going to fall apart in front of him again and I don't blame him. Almost every relationship he's ever had has been based around fucking each other and nothing else, every time he wants more, they don't and so he goes along with it because it's something. He's starved for affection and he holds on too tight because he wants something that's going to last but he's not sure how to ask for it, so he goes along with it and gets hurt often.

“And I'm sure you're sitting here wondering why I'm telling you any of this, right?” Mbege asked, leaning back in his chair.

“Kind of, yeah.” Bellamy admitted. He'd learned a lot about Murphy just now and he wasn't sure how he felt or what to do with the information. On one hand he wanted to find Murphy and hold him close and refuse to let anything hurt him again but on the other, he was shocked. He had never expected Murphy to come with a back story like that. It was a little heartbreaking to think that the overly chatty kid he'd fallen for had gone through all of that. Mbege hadn't given him any details but he didn't want them, just knowing that it happened was horrible, he didn't know what he'd do with anything more.

Mbege nodded, “I'm telling you because Craig and I are the only family he's got. He brought you here probably because he didn't think it was a big deal, to him it's not, but to us, that is Craig and I, it is. We've met his other partners before but he didn't seem to like them half as much as he likes you. He's not very forward with it, but it's easy enough for me to see. He likes you a lot and he probably doesn't even realize it himself. One day he's going to and then what?”

“Then it's fine. Nothing changes.”

“That's the problem. Everything changes. You're in this for what? Sex? Something fun before you get bored and go back to wanting someone older, someone more like you with a badge and no record?”

“No. It's not like that.” Bellamy defended. How dare he? Bellamy wasn't going to get bored of Murphy. “I like him, I care about him-”

“You've known him for three weeks!”

“And? Is that not long enough for you? Because it's long enough for me.”

“Yeah, and what, you love him? Wanna be with him forever? Tell me, how much do you actually know about him, huh?”

“I know enough.” Bellamy crossed his arms and stared at Mbege, not giving in. He cared about Murphy, maybe even loved him, he wasn't going to just up and leave. He wasn't going to hurt him.

“Yeah? Okay, fine. Tell me what you know.” Mbege challenged, spreading his arms in front of him. “Go on.”

Bellamy swallowed, thinking, “I know that he takes his coffee with too much sugar and that he likes Disney movies but falls asleep easily while watching them. I know he takes forever to wake up in the morning and that he wears stupid shirts unironically because he actually likes them, whether they're girly or not. I know that he freaks out when you handcuff him and he doesn't know it's a joke. I know he doesn't trust me as much as I want him to and that's okay. I know he fucks with the radio in my car constantly because he can't decide on what he wants to listen to and it's annoying as hell. I know that he likes to talk about anything and everything that pops into his head, probably just because someone's listening. I know that I like to listen to him. I know that I don't know much at all but that I want to, I want to learn. And I know that I might actually love him, three weeks or not. Sometimes it doesn't take forever to realize how you feel about someone.” He finished, the last words spat with a little more venom than he intended.

“Yes, it does. When it comes to Murphy it does.” Mbege sighed. “But fine, do as you please. Just know that I've only told you any of this so you realize that, cop or not, if you hurt him, at all, in any way, I will kill you. Slowly and painfully and then bury you in the garden because I've heard dead bodies are great for flowers.”

“I understand, but I'm not going to.” Bellamy told him. He wouldn't hurt Murphy. He couldn't hurt Murphy.

“You will.”

“I will-”

“Okay, so the squirrel is a bust.” Murphy laughed, entering the kitchen, Craig right behind him. His face was bleeding from a few scratches on his cheek but he was smiling. Craig looked like he'd fared worse, bits of duct tape in his hair and half a broken net clutched in his hand, a dazed expression on his face.

Bellamy stood up, concerned, “Are you okay? Your face-”

“Is attractive.” Murphy nodded. “I know.”

“And bloody. Come here.” Bellamy ordered, grabbing for a clean rag next to the sink. “Do you have a first aid kit or something?”

“I don't need one, Bell. I've had worse. This is like, nothing, okay? Chill.”

“Under the bathroom sink. Craig, what happened to your arms?” Mbege asked, taking one of Craig's arms in his hands and examining it with a frown.

“Squirrels are evil.” Craig gave in way of an answer, staring down at the scratched up skin. “Very evil.”

“Right. I'll get the kit, then.” Mbege decided, ignoring the protest of both boys. “Shut up and sit down.”

“Overly protective asshole.” Murphy muttered sitting down.

“Yeah, well, he cares, so deal with it.” Bellamy hushed him, taking his face in his hand. “Hold still.”

“I could do it myself, you know.” Murphy flinched when Bellamy pressed the warm cloth to his skin, the rag irritating the cuts.

“Or you could sit there and be quiet.”

“Here.” Mbege returned, setting a box on the table. “Almost an entire hospital in a box. Necessary for these two idiots.”

Bellamy couldn't help but agree, watching Murphy and Craig make faces at each other from across the table. It was cute and Murphy was happy, so he wasn't going to point out how absolutely childish he was being. Instead he shoved a couple band-aids into Murphy's hand and told him to hold them while he made sure the cut wouldn't get infected.

Murphy rolled his eyes more times than he could count during the exchange but he didn't deny that it was sweet of Bellamy to be concerned, even if it was just a scratch. 'From a wild animal. It could get infected, stop giggling.' So he let Bellamy take care of him, watching Craig get the same treatment from a less enthusiastic Mbege. Mbege had been doing this for years. Craig may have been the one to keep them out of real trouble but it Mbege was definitely the mother hen of their group, not that Murphy was complaining. He was used to it by now. “So, should I bring Bellamy next weekend or are you guys tired of him, yet?”

“Doesn't matter. We won't be here.” Craig informed them. “'Begsy here has a car show we have to go to.”

“I told you that you don't have to go if you don't want to.” Mbege muttered, placing another bandaged on Craig's arm.

“And if I don't? Then what? You'll meet some new, shiny model and me and the Begs-mobile will be left behind while you travel the world or something.”

“Please don't ever call my car that again.”

“Yeah, it sounds horrible, doesn't it?” Craig agreed. “So, we're going to a car show next weekend. I mean, if you guys want to come over, we won't stop you, Murphy has a key, but we won't be here.”

“Ah, then what am I supposed to do with my weekend?” Murphy pouted.

“You have a boyfriend, you figure it out.” Mbege told him with a roll of his eyes.

“Yeah, Murph, lots of things you can do with a boyfriend.” Craig added with a wink.

“Mhm, lots of things.” Bellamy agreed, smiling. Murphy's friends were strange and he couldn't say he really liked them too much, but he could see why Murphy did.

“Well, when you put it that way.” Murphy giggled, pulling Bellamy down for a kiss, ignoring the gagging noised Craig made. He pulled back when Mbege chucked a tube of antibiotic ointment at them and laughed.

._-*-_.

“Thanks for, you know, not pointing out how incredibly weird my friends are.” Murphy said when they were outside his apartment.

“They aren't, okay, no, they are very weird.” Bellamy acknowledged, “But I had fun. Mbege is a wonderful person to talk to.”

“Oh, god, he didn't give you the best friend speech, did he?” Murphy groaned, covering his face with his hands. “How do I put up with them?”

“He did.” Bellamy nodded, “Told me he'd kill me and bury me in the garden.”

“He didn't.” Murphy really hated Mbege sometimes.

“Yup. Craig's was shorter but somehow just as terrifying.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he said 'Don't hurt Murphy' and sniped my player. It was very effective.”

“I'll bet.” Murphy shook his head. “I'm sorry about those two.”

“Don't be. They care. And besides, I have no intention of ending up in their garden.”

“No, I don't think anyone does.” Murphy shook his head, missing Bellamy's point.

“So, I've got another week before the seller gets back to me, which means it's another boring week me not being able to help you with your story. What now?” Bellamy asked, taking Murphy's hand in his own. He was still thrilled that he was allowed to just touch Murphy for no actual reason other than he wanted to.

Murphy smiled at him and intertwined their fingers. “Now I work on the part of the story I do have. Which means I'm going to be really busy for the next couple of days.”

“Nooo.” Bellamy whined dramatically.

“Yes. I know. Work sucks. But I have to live somehow, you know.”

“Why don't you just run away with me? We could skip the country and live in, like, Iceland or something.”

“Did you just ask me to elope with you?” Murphy laughed.

“I might have. It would mean no work?”

“Tempting, but I love my job.” Murphy told him honestly. “Maybe some other time. I'll call you when I'm done and we can go out, okay?”

“Like, actual date go out?”

“On an actual date, yeah.”

“Awesome.” Bellamy smiled, making Murphy laugh again.

“Yeah, awesome. Come here.”

“Why?”

“So you can kiss me before I leave, asshole. And make it good cause I have to do work and won't see you for like, ever.”

“What if I don't want to?”

“Then you're lying to yourself.”

Bellamy accepted the answer as truth and leaned over the console, cupping Murphy's face in his hand and brushing their lips together gently before pulling back. “Good enough?”

“Not even close.” Murphy muttered, pulling him back down.

 

Chapter Text

Murphy didn't get text him until Wednesday, leaving the first half of Bellamy's week to be full of nothing but dull conversations with his coworkers and one phone call from Octavia on Sunday letting him know she wouldn't be home that weekend because she was spending it with Lincoln's family, something about his sister's wedding and her hopes to catch the bouquet which had left Bellamy a stuttering, objecting mess while she laughed and told him that she'd see him next month and to take care of himself. He figured he'd tell her about Murphy then.

The knife seller hadn't called him yet, which Bellamy was grateful for because it meant he had more time to pretend that there was no way Murphy was a killer and that this was all real. Never mind the fact that he'd been in Atom's car that night. That was a coincidence, nothing more, and Bellamy was doing his best to believe it. He'd spent the past three days trying to find a suspect who wasn't Murphy but he'd had no luck so far. He was about to bang his head into his desk and say fuck it and skip the country with Murphy in tow, willing or not, when his phone went off, the annoying ring tone Murphy had set for himself -something about starting a war at a gay bar but Bellamy didn't really care- was, quite literally, music to his ears.

The screen lit up and Bellamy wasted no time opening the text, ignoring the stares he received for the shitty ring tone.

-I'm done. Wanna come over now?

-its 11 am

Bellamy replied, wishing that he could just ditch out and take the day off, but he couldn't. Responsibilities and all that.

-No it's not. It's like, 6PM.

Bellamy stared at his phone in concern. Murphy couldn't seriously believe that, could he? How long had he been awake? Had he even slept since Bellamy had last seen him?

-no its 11 am

-wednesday morning

-No.

-Fuck.

-u ok?

-I may have forgotten to sleep.

-And also lost track of time.

-yeah i figured

-u shouldnt do tht

-No shit.

Bellamy rolled his eyes despite Murphy not being there to see it.

-q stands. u ok?

-Yeah, I'm fine. Need sleep, but I'm fine.

-then sleep

-Come cuddle me?

Bellamy was tempted to but he couldn't, not with Kane already pissed at him.

-cant

-working sry

-No fun.

-You still taking me out tonight?

Was he? Right, he'd promised Murphy he'd take him on an actual date once he had finished working on his article. He'd have to find somewhere to take Murphy, he wasn't the best when it came to picking out places for dates, but he was definitely on board with seeing Murphy later.

-yeah

-dinner @ 7?

-Pick me up.

- : ) see u then.

-now go 2 sleep dumbass

-I'm not a dumbass. I just make poor life choices. That's all.

Bellamy chuckled to himself as he laid his phone down, deciding that he may as well try to get some actual work done. He flipped through the files on his desk, none of them even remotely close to interesting enough to hold his attention for more than five minutes. He couldn't focus like this, the only thing on his mind was what was going to happen when the seller finally called. Was it Murphy's knife? Or someone else's? Whatever the outcome it would either prove Murphy to be the killer or give them another suspect to look into. Bellamy prayed it was the latter. If Murphy honestly turned out to be the killer he didn't know what he'd do. The thought of losing Murphy, even if he had only been playing him this whole time, made him ill. He had fallen hard for the journalist in the few weeks he'd known him and whether or not it was a smart decision, Bellamy couldn't change it. He didn't want to.

He wanted so desperately to believe this was real and that Murphy had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and that all of this was mere coincidence and they would find a new suspect and evidence against them and then Bellamy could prove to Kane that Murphy wasn't the bad guy and they could ride off into the sunset together like some cheesy movie or something. Bellamy didn't know. He just knew he didn't want Murphy to be the killer.

But if he was, what then? What would Bellamy do? He was a cop, a damn good one, and he'd never given a second thought to his morals before, but, then again, he'd never fallen for a potential serial killer before, either. What would he do if Murphy was his killer? That would make Murphy the guy who brutally murdered Bellamy's partner, his friend, could Bellamy really overlook that? And would he be willing to carry on a relationship with a man in prison?

If it was Murphy, well, he didn't know.

He wanted to say no outright. To stick to his morals and refuse to associate with a killer but could he? Could he really just give up Murphy, just like that?

No.

That was the simple answer. The easy one. He wouldn't be willing to do that. But he would have to. A cop loving a serial killer was- it wouldn't work. He'd risk his reputation and his career and everything that he'd worked so hard for. Would he give that up for Murphy? Some punk kid he'd met only a few weeks ago?

Again, the answer was an easy no. But nothing was ever that easy. Bellamy would have a hard time accepting it, he might even go so far as to outright reject the idea of leaving Murphy because the kid had gotten him wound so damn tightly around his finger and he didn't even know it.

Or maybe he did and this was all just a part of his plan to keep from getting caught. He could be using Bellamy to keep track of the investigation. If Kane found out he was still telling Murphy about the case he'd be fired, or worse. He didn't know what was worse but he was sure Kane would find something.

Murphy could be using him, leading him on and pretending, but Bellamy hoped not. He didn't want to believe it, even if it was true. He couldn't let himself believe Murphy was a killer. He couldn't let himself believe Murphy was lying to him. He couldn't let himself believe this was all fake. He needed to believe otherwise or else he may just lose it. If Murphy was a killer, he was a manipulative and charming one and Bellamy wasn't sure that if that turned out to be the truth and Murphy asked him to help him hide or flee the country he wouldn't do it.

He just might.

Because damn it if he wasn't in love with Murphy after three weeks, an unrealistic time frame but damn if if he cared, and just, fuck the universe and whatever beings control who he fell in love with. The fuckers.

He groaned and crossed his arms on his desk, dropping his head onto them and hoping that maybe, if he was lucky, he'd close his eyes and when he opened them he'd be in a parallel universe where none of this was happening and he and Murphy were, like, part of the last bit of humanity left dropped in a post-apocalyptic, radiation soaked, nightmare of a world where they could live happily ever after because surely that would be better than this.

“No sleeping on the job, Blake!”

“I'm not sleeping.” He replied, voice muffled by his arms.

“Then what are you doing?”

“Rejecting reality. What are you doing?” He asked, raising up and staring at Clarke, exhaustion and frustration evident on his face. He didn't bother hiding it from her, she would see through him anyway.

I am doing my job. Or I was, but now you're taking me to lunch.” She told him, leaving no room for objection, not that he would. He nodded, standing up from his desk and stretching, his back popping and Clarke frowning in disgust. “You should work on your posture.”

Bellamy shrugged, no point in arguing with her because she was a doctor, even if it was just for dead people, and she was probably right anyway. There was a lot Bellamy needed to improve in his life. Like his morals. “So, what did I do to deserve this level of hell, princess?”

“I heard you got yourself a new toy.” She answered, ginning slyly at him as they walked out of the building. “Exactly when did you plan to tell me about him?”

Never? After the case was cleared and he wasn't risking losing his job? Or, also, never? “I don't know what you're talking about.” He lied. He couldn't tell her about Murphy, he was a suspect and there were rules in place. He already shouldn't be on the case considering how close he was to one of the victims, now he was dating his main suspect, he'd get kicked off in a second if anyone found out.

“Oh? So Wells didn't see some punk in a leather jacket willingly get into your car? And Monty didn't see said punk on the hood of your car and then watch as you didn't kill him for it? And you weren't just texting him instead of doing your actual work?” Clarke prodded.

“Circumstantial at best.” Bellamy denied her accusations, heading towards his car. “And I was texting Octavia.”

“You never look like that when you talk to Octavia. At least, I hope you don't.” Clarke made a face at him. “And we're taking my car.”

Bellamy let out a groan, “No! Your car sucks.” He hated that thing. It was tiny and looked like a clown car.

“Do not insult my car! She gets great gas mileage and looks cute. You wouldn't be so bothered by her if your masculinity wasn't so fragile.” She scolded him, pointing at him with her keys.

“You know, Murphy keeps nagging me about that, too. I should introduce you. You could poke fun at my fragile masculinity together.” Bellamy snarked, following her to her car. The horrific, white Volkswagen stared at him, daring him to get in it. He swore every time he looked at it it gave him flashbacks of that one movie about the evil car-slash-demon-beast. Herbie, he thought it was.

“So, his name is Murphy, huh?” Clarke grinned at him and Bellamy could have slapped himself.

Fuck. “No?” Well, he'd fucked up.

“Yes, Blake. You fucked up, now get in and spill.” She motioned to the car, far too cheerful than any person Bellamy was about to give potentially career-ending information to had any right to be.

“I hate you.” He grumbled, sliding into the passenger seat and fastening his seat belt. He'd need it with the way Clarke drove. Like a bat out of hell, always in a rush, she was the worst driver he'd ever encountered and yet, somehow, also the best, if her ability to avoid tickets and traffic accidents was anything to go by. Her track record was better than his and he'd taken a defensive driving class.

“And I enjoy it immensely.” She told him, smiling victoriously.

He huffed and crossed his arms, spending the entirety of the car ride in silence. He wanted to tell her about Murphy, sure. She was his best friend and the likelihood that she'd rat him out was very slim, she'd only do it if she thought it was going to end horribly, like the time he'd tried to go undercover at a high school even though he looked nothing like a high schooler and she had told Kane who had forbid him from imitating anything he saw on TV ever again. Ever. She was probably right to do that.

Still, Bellamy didn't want to tell anyone about Murphy, because how was he supposed to explain he might be dating a serial killer? How did one go about admitting to that? Or, even harder, making it seem less like the incredibly dumb idea that it was? Clarke was going to destroy him and he would deserve it for being the moron he was.

Stop sulking and get out of my car.” Clarke ordered when they'd stopped outside Rosie's. “You can tell me all about your new toy over crappy coffee and food with questionable quality, okay?”

“He's not a toy, okay?” Bellamy told her as soon as they had sat down. He grabbed for the menu and buried himself in it, hoping it would tell him how best to proceed. Maybe the cartoon pictures of food could coach him through it.

“So, what, you're serious about him or something?” Clarke asked, shoving her own menu to the side and focusing on him.

“Yeah.” Bellamy grunted. The stupid cartoon burger was of no help, instead it sat there, staring at him with dead, unseeing, badly drawn eyes. It was actually really creepy, the more he stared at it. And the fries were no better. They stared at him and offered no help, only a soulless gaze that seemed to look right through him but also right at him at the same time as if they knew everything about him, including how badly he was fucking everything up and they knew how it would all end and- He slammed the menu on the table, startling Clarke and drawing the gaze of several other customers.

“You okay?” She asked, concerned.

“No.” He admitted, dropping his head into his hands. “No, I'm really not.”

“Stress from the case? I thought Kane said you were close to catching your suspect?” She had told him he needed a vacation. The stress was going to kill him one of these days and she would make sure to carve 'I told you so' into his headstone.

“No. Well, yeah, kind of.” He sighed, “It's Murphy.”

“Murphy's why you're stressed? Relationship problems or something? You know, I could-”

“Murphy,” Bellamy took a deep breath, knowing that he was about to end his career and quite possibly also his life because Clarke would kill him for being so stupid, “Murphy's the suspect, Clarke.”

“The... suspect?” She repeated, trying to understand. “So, you're dating your suspect?”

“Yes.” He nodded, surprised at how calmly she was taking this. He'd expected more screaming and maybe a few plate being smashed over his head, but he wasn't going to complain about this. “I know, I shouldn't but, Clarke-”

“What the absolute fuck were you thinking, Bellamy Blake? Are you insane? Do you realize that you could end your entire career if anyone found out about this?” She yelled, finally understanding the situation and reacting more appropriately. Bellamy was such a fucking idiot, how did she deal with him?

There was the shouting he'd expected. “Yes, I know that. Which is why I'd be really grateful if you would keep your voice down. ” He hissed, glaring at her. She'd drawn the gaze of every customer that hadn't already been staring at them and spooked their waitress who now looked vaguely terrified of Clarke. Which actually wasn't a new thing.

“I won't! You're an idiot and everyone needs to know that!”

“No, they really, really do not.” He hushed her again and smiled at their waitress, “Sorry, just-”

I really don't want to know, Blake. I really don't. So if you could just order?” She asked, exasperated. Those two were in the diner at least once a month causing some kind of scene and the staff had long since gotten used to it to the point where they even bypassed pretending to give a shit about it. As long as nothing got broke and nobody got hurt they didn't care. They weren't paid enough to.

“Right.” He smiled, rubbing the back of his neck. Sometimes he felt really guilty for all the trouble he'd caused in this place, not enough to stop, but still guilty. “Uh, the usual, I guess? And coffee. Going to need coffee.”

“A lot of coffee.” Clarke agreed. If she was going to have to sort out Bellamy's shit she was going to need caffeine to do it. “And I'll have the usual, too.”

“Why I bother asking I don't know.” The waitress sighed, leaving them and heading to the kitchen.

Clarke shrugged. It was the only thing on the menu that didn't make her choke. Honestly, they needed to find a better place to eat, but it was close to the station and the coffee wasn't terrible. It was better than what was in the station so it was good enough. “Okay, so, you want to tell me why you thought it was a good idea to date a suspect. And not just any suspect, but a potential serial killer who may very well have murdered your partner in cold blood ? Do you even have a reason? Or is it just a Bellamy thing?”

“A Bellamy thing?” He asked, wrinkling his nose. “What's a 'Bellamy thing?'”

“It's a really stupid idea that generally ends badly. Like you trying to go all 21 Jump Street on that high school or the time you decided blonde was a good color choice.”

Bellamy winced, remembering the time he'd tried to bleach his hair. No, that hadn't ended well at all. “Okay, so I've done some not so brilliant things, I'll admit it, but this is different!”

“How so?”

“I love him.” He did. He was past caring about how short of a time it was. It was one of those things, story book romances that Bellamy had never believed in but he was starting to now because maybe it didn't take years to fall in love with someone. Maybe it only took a few car rides and a few snarky comments.

“No.” Clarke shook her head, rejecting the idea entirely. “No, see, you can't love him.”

“Why not?” He asked, rolling his eyes ad waiting for the lecture to start.

He's a suspect. A suspect, Bellamy. He could be playing you and you're just going along with it-”

“I know.”

“You could lose your job.”

“I know.”

“You could be his next target.”

“I know.” Actually, he hadn't even considered that to be a possibility, but remembering the way Murphy smiled at him and the way he felt pressed against him, he refused to believe that was the case. Murphy wasn't trying to kill him. Except maybe of sexual frustration, but that was a different matter. He couldn't accept anything else.

“Everything you worked for, Bellamy, all down the drain because you think you love him.”

“I don't think, I-”

Know. Right, you know. Well, then, tell me, Mr. Know-It-All, what are you going to do when Kane finds out, huh?” She asked, not nearly as smug as she felt she should be. She was more worried for Bellamy than anything. She thanked the waitress when she brought them their coffee and stirred in sugar while she waited for Bellamy to puzzle out his answer.

“That I don't know.” He admitted. He didn't know what he would do so he was praying that Kane didn't find out until the case was closed -with someone other than Murphy as the killer- and he could pretend they hadn't started dating until it ended. Kane couldn't do anything about it then. “But as long as he doesn't know it doesn't matter, right? It's my case, Kane isn't going to interfere. I've got plenty of time to figure out a way to catch the killer and keep Murphy. Kane's not going to matter.”

Really?” She asked, skeptical. Kane was always ahead of everything going on in the department, that was common knowledge. Bellamy thinking he could get away with something like this was hilarious but she didn't feel like laughing. She felt like screaming, like taking the napkin holder and beating Bellamy with it until he realized that this was a terrible, horrible, stupid, absolutely no good, bad idea that was going to end horribly, she just knew it. She only wished he could see it too.

“Yeah, really.” He was certain. Kane wasn't involved, he'd promised to let Bellamy take care of the case. It would be fine on that front. He didn't have to worry about Kane, he only had to worry about proving Murphy innocent, and someone else guilty. It was unlikely to work that way but Bellamy was going to cling to that mentality for as long as he could, no matter how wrong it may turn out to be. “Kane's not a problem.”

“Are you just saying that to make yourself feel better?”

“I might be.”

“You're a dumbass.” She sighed, shaking her head at him. One day he was going to fuck up so bad that even she couldn't help him fix it. Until then, she would do what she could to help while insulting his decision making skills the entire time. “So, is that's the reason you've been moping around the station the past few days, then.”

“I am not a dumbass. I just make poor life choices.” He grinned, remembering what Murphy had told him earlier. “And yeah, that's pretty much it. I mean, other then worrying that my boyfriend is really a serial killer and that my boss is going to find out I'm dating a suspect and will can my ass, there's also the worry that Murphy might not really want this to be as serious as I do-”

“If he's not just playing you.” She pointed out. Bellamy scowled at her and she shrugged, “Just saying.”

Well don't. From now on, let's just assume he's not a serial killer and proceed from there, okay? Okay.” Bellamy snapped. He knew very well that Murphy could be playing him but he wanted it to be real so badly. He wanted everything to work out. He wanted them to be together for a long time and for this case to be put behind them, becoming nothing more than a story they told their children one day because, yeah, your dad and I met when I thought he had killed my partner, isn't that funny? He wanted to be with Murphy, screw the idea that he had to know everything about him to fall in love with him. Screw the idea that he had to know him for a specific amount of time before he could be in love with him. Screw everything that told him he shouldn't love Murphy because he did and he was so damn tired of constantly being reminded that this could fall apart at any second and he'd lose the one person he'd actually wanted to be in love with since fucking high school. He wanted Murphy, wanted to be with him, and he was going to pointedly ignore anything that told him he shouldn't.

“Alright. Calm down. I get it, he means a lot to you.” She patronized. It was a terrible situation that Bellamy had gotten himself into but as his best friend she was obligated to help. God save them both. “Have you told him, then?”

“Told him what? That I love him or that I think he might have killed four people?”

“Either. Both.”

“No to both of them. It's too early to tell him I love him because it'll just scare him away and it's not like I can just go up to him and say 'hey, I know I told you that I wanted to date you, but, well, see, I actually think you're a serial killer and I'm currently compiling evidence against you because it's my job, so do you wanna, I don't know, skip the country with me or something?' I don't really see either of those working out.” He grumbled, defeated. He couldn't see any way out of this that didn't end with Murphy hating his guts and running far, far away from him. He'd really fucked up this time.

Clarke stared at him for a moment, not sure whether to call him an idiot or comfort him. He was in a right mess this time and it couldn't be fixed with a hat and a bottle of black hair dye. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, knowing that she should go straight to Kane and tell him, stop this whole mess before it could get too out of hand, but Bellamy was her friend, she couldn't do that. All she could do was hope it worked out, for Bellamy's sake, and offer him advice, because so far he didn't seem to be handling it all that responsibly. “He cares about you, too, right?”

“Yeah. I think so. I hope so.”

“Then tell him. About the case.”

No. No way. I don't want to lose him, Clarke. That's the entire problem right now. I want to keep him out of jail and with me.”

“Then tell him.” She repeated. “I cannot stress this enough, if you lie to him, he will hate you. Anyone would. I don't know Murphy, and I'm not asking you to share because god knows I don't have time to listen to you babble on about how amazing he is-”

“He is pretty amazing.”

“But you can't lie to people like that. And yes, purposely not telling him something this important is lying to him. You cannot have a healthy relationship based on lies.”

“And you're the relationship guru now, huh?”

“Lexa and I have had our share of problems, I'll admit, but we've worked them out. We've been together for two years, Bellamy, I think I'm qualified to give you advice.”

“I didn't ask for advice.”

“And yet, I gave it to you anyway. You're welcome.”

He was saved from replying by the reappearance of their waitress and their food. Bellamy smiled when she set the plate of breakfast down in front of him, ignoring the disgusted look Clarke gave him from over her own burger. He didn't care what she thought. He liked breakfast, whether it was eight in the morning or two in the afternoon and no one was going to rain on his fucking parade. Breakfast food was the only thing that made sense right now, so screw them.

Wow, he was pathetic. He really needed to sort his life out. Starting with Murphy, because Clarke was right, as much as he loathed to admit it. He needed to tell him. He couldn't keep acting like there was nothing wrong because Murphy had every right to know and if he left Bellamy because of it, that was his own fault. He should have been upfront about it from the beginning. Murphy seemed to like him a lot but something like this was hard to get past, because Bellamy had lied to him. Not outright, but it was still a lie. That was not a good way to start a relationship and he had to fix it. He'd do it tonight, on their date. He'd talk to Murphy and explain himself and hopefully Murphy would understand. If he didn't, then at least Bellamy had told him the truth. He didn't want to lose Murphy, his heart ached at the thought, but he had to tell him, especially if the evidence pointed to him.

If Murphy was really a killer then telling him they were onto him might make him run, but, honestly, at this point, Bellamy wasn't sure he cared. If Murphy ran he could easily have him stopped at the airport or something, and it would only confirm that Murphy had done it. He might get in a little trouble at work, but he'd rather tell Murphy upfront and get it out of the way so that they could figure out how to proceed from their. Maybe Murphy could help Bellamy clear his name. It might all work out, he didn't know it wouldn't just yet. Except that the likelihood of Murphy staying with him after finding out that Bellamy had originally only kept him around because he was a suspect was incredibly slim. Tonight may very well be the last date he got with Murphy.

Suddenly, his eggs didn't taste so good.




 

“Sir, there's a man out here looking for Detective Blake, says he has information regarding his case.” Miller sighed, mentally preparing himself to be shouted at. He did not get paid enough to deal with this shit, he really didn't. Maybe if Blake wasn't such a pain in the boss' ass as of late things would run a lot smoother, but no, of course not. It was not in Bellamy's nature to do that, or so it seemed lately.

Kane looked up from his desk, a scowl on his face. He didn't have time to deal with Blake's messes, and the man certainly caused enough of them. If Kane didn't like him so much he would have fired him long ago just for being a pain in the ass. Sure, he was a good detective, he was a great one, one of the best Kane had ever had working for him, but this current mess, the one involving the serial killer journalist, was getting way out of hand. Kane knew, how could he not? Stories of that creepy kid hanging around the station waiting for Blake like a lost puppy were spreading everywhere, he'd have to be an imbecile not to notice by now.

Kane wasn't sure Blake would have what it took to bring in the kid should the evidence prove -and Kane was willing to bet anything that it would- Murphy guilty. He had assumed it was just Blake's way of keeping an eye on Murphy, hanging around him, but the car he'd had outside Murphy's apartment building -an extra measure, not because he didn't trust Blake, but, okay, yeah, he didn't trust Blake- had proven otherwise. Unless Blake was going for some very unnecessarily deep undercover bullshit, there was no reason his tongue should be that far down his suspect's throat. Something had to be done about it and he'd spent the entire morning fighting the urge to call Blake into his office and beat him over the head with his name plate. That would not solve anything, but it would result in a lawsuit and he doubted Wells would take his side in it.

Kane took a deep breath, rubbing his eyes hard enough to see stars. “And you're telling me why?”

“Because Bellamy isn't here right now, sir.” Miller explained, forcing himself not to look as annoyed as he felt. He was not a secretary, dammit, he would not be treated like one.

“Where is he, then?”

“Lunch with Dr. Griffin.” Not a secretary.

“And did you tell his visitor that?”

Miller bit back a sarcastic response. It would do him no good to piss Kane off further today. “I did.” Even though he wasn't a secretary.

“And hes still here why?”

“Because he refuses to leave without seeing Blake. Something about not driving all the way back here just because that dick of a detective wanted to play hooky.”

“So tell him to wait.”

“I would but-” I'm not a goddamn secretary, Jesus fucking Christ. Miller had work of his own to get done, too. He wasn't solely here to play pigeon. “-he's causing quite a stir and I'm afraid Harper is going to kill him soon.”

“Why?” Kane asked, feeling more and more like an exasperated kindergarten teacher than the Chief of Police as the day went on.

“Because he tried to grab her ass. I'm afraid she's going to staple his hands to a desk soon.”

“Understandable.” That would be a lawsuit he'd consider worth it.

“Oh for the love of fuck- She's taken, you douchecanoe!” An angry voice rang out, the familiarity of it, and the anticipation of the consequences that usually came with it, causing both Miller and Kane to flinch.

“Detective Miller, would you please show this guest into my office?” Kane's forced smile came off more threatening than polite as he attempted to solve the situation. “Before Detective Monroe shoots him. Or after. It depends on whether or not she already has her gun drawn. Wouldn't want you getting caught in the crossfire, you know?”

Miller nodded, taking a deep breath and turned around, wishing he were dealing with an entire army of armed gunmen rather than with an angry Monroe. Granted, Miller understood her anger, but, seeing as how he was well acquainted with it, he knew that right now it was better to run away than to go near her. Unfortunately, he didn't get that option

“I said to leave her alone, you fucking creep. I'll arrest you, don't think I won't.” He heard Monroe hiss as he got closer.

“Wait, so you two are, like, together? As in, you're lesbians?” Miller wasn't sure which one of them was going to rip the man's face off first, but he hung back for a moment, out of curiosity. And he really didn't see the point of rescuing the jerk from those two just yet.

“I am. Monroe is pansexual, jackass.” Harper told him, giving him a look that Miller knew could stop a convict in their tracks. He'd seen it happen, it was impressive.

“I don't know what that means but that's hot.” He leered at them, the look on his face making Miller's skin crawl. If it made him uncomfortable, he could only imagine what Monroe and Harper must be feeling. This was definitely a good time to step in, before anyone got murdered.

“Oh, yeah, well-” Monroe began, fingers twitching as she moved towards her gun.

“Monroe, please don't. We just had the floors cleaned.” Miller made his presence known, voice flat and uncaring. “He's not worth the cost of cleaning.”

“Or the bullet.” Harper muttered, moving away from the man now that he was distracted.

“And who are you? You aren't Detective Blake. Are you his partner?” The man asked, attention drawn from the two girls, much to the relief of everyone in the building. Monroe was a favorite among them all, a sweetheart if you knew her, but she had a hair trigger temper that was truly terrifying.

“I'm Detective Miller. Detective Blake isn't here so-”

“Well then get him here. I shouldn't have to wait just because he wants to play hooky and screw his little punk of a boyfriend.”

Miller grit his teeth. He didn't like this guy. He didn't think anyone liked this guy. How could they? But he had to remain polite and professional, no matter how much he would rather cuff the guy and stick him in the Cage with all the other scum they'd caught today. “He's busy with police business. He and Dr. Griffin are discussing the case right now and I'm afraid he won't be back for a while.” Miller held up a hand to stop the man's oncoming complaints, “However, my boss, Chief Kane, is willing to speak with you, if you'd rather? Otherwise you may have to wait a few hours for Detective Blake to return.”

The man frowned, looking like it was the biggest inconvenience in the world and Miller had to fight not to roll his eyes. Fucking geeky ass neckbeard acting like the entire world should revolve around him. Honestly, Miller might have had more sympathy for him if he hadn't been harassing his partner. He had no doubt Harper could take care of herself, but he felt very protective of her, seeing her as more of a little sister than anything else. She'd been his partner since they'd joined the force, being paired up in the academy and then the arrangement becoming permanent after graduation. That in mind, Miller wanted nothing more than to shove this loser into the fish tank they kept near the Cage for several minutes. Not kill him, just, come really, really close. But he wouldn't, because he liked those fish and he wouldn't subject them to that.

He led the man along to Kane's office, knocking on the door frame before entering. “This is Chief Marcus Kane, you can tell him what you came here to tell Blake. He'll make sure the information gets to him when he gets back.” Miller informed him, turning to leave and finally be done with the annoying dick of a man and all of Bellamy's problems and actually get some of his own work done when Kane stopped him.

“Could you stay?”

“Why? Feeling lonely?” Miller spat, fed up and annoyed beyond what could be considered acceptable. He needed to get his own work done now. No, actually, what he needed was a nap. A long one. Maybe he could crash in the tech room. Monty had a couch down there and Miller frequented it. He didn't slack off, no, far from it. He and Monty had the same problem with forgetting they actually had homes to go to. Why bother when the tech room had an overstuffed couch, was always comfortably lit by blue screen glow, and the tech nerd was one of the few people in the station that didn't drive Miller up the wall? He was also a very good cuddler, but that wasn't something that was supposed to be discussed outside of the tech room.

“Excuse me?” Kane asked, not angry just taken aback. “Miller, is everything alright?”

“Fine. Sorry. I'll stay.” He apologized, entering the room, closing the door behind him. He leaned against the wall and watched Kane shuffle his papers around, smiling politely at the man. Why he couldn't get back to his own case, he didn't know, but he wasn't about to disobey Kane, not right now.

“Alright, Mr- I'm sorry, I'm afraid I never got your name?” Kane looked to Miller who shrugged.

“I didn't care enough.”

“Right.” Kane sighed. “My apologies. You are?”

“I'm Mr. Chandler? I'm the guy who sold your murder weapon. Detective Blake came by a few weeks ago and demanded I tell him who bought it. He was rude as hell, too. Absolutely no people skills-”

“I'm not sure it's Bellamy's people skills that were the problem.” Miller muttered, receiving a glare from Kane.

“You got something to say to me, huh?” Mr. Chandler demanded, turning in his chair so he could look at Miller. “Go on, then. Tell me. You got a problem with me?”

“Yes.” Miller nodded but didn't elaborate any further.

“Mr. Chandler, if you would?” Kane directed the conversation back on topic, rubbing his temples. When had his station become such a circus, where had he gone wrong? Officers dating suspects. Snark and sarcasm seemed to flow as much as coffee. Scary women wielding staplers as weapons and threatening to shoot civilians, even if they did deserve it. Rude civilians forcing him to listen to them or be witness to a murder within his own station. It was all Blake's fault. All of it. Okay, maybe not all of it, but most of it could be directly traced back to him and that which couldn't, well, Kane was going to pretend it could be anyway.

“Right. He wanted me to find the receipt for the knife so he could track down the buyer, I guess. Well, I found it. I've got it here so you can just take that-” Mr. Chandler pulled a few wrinkled and folded papers from his pocket and dropped them on Kane's desk, “-and I'll be done with this mess, right?”

“I would hope so. However, it is possible we may need you once more. If that happens, I'll be sure to get a hold of you.” Kane nodded, taking the papers.

“If you do, make sure to send those two lesbian chicks, okay? They're fucking hot.”

“Thank you, Mr. Chandler, that will be all.” Kane spoke forcefully, wanting the man gone as soon as possible.

“You're welcome.” He nodded once and stood up. “I'll see myself out, then?”

“Yes.” Miller told him, moving closer to Kane's desk so he could see the paper's. “And Mr. Chandler?”

“Yeah?”

“I'm afraid I'm busy. I won't be able to stop Detective Monroe from shooting you this time.” Miller warned politely. “So I'd advise you steer clear, yeah?”

The man huffed, indignant, and left, muttering obscenities that Miller wasn't sure he wanted repeated until the door swung shut, cutting off his voice.

“So?”

“So, it would seem we have a new suspect. Raven Reyes, a mechanics student at the university uptown. I'm surprised.” Kane told him, looking over the papers.

“You assumed it would be the journalist?”

“Yes. I have a phone number, but the carrier went out of business two years ago, it's safe to assume that it's no longer in service.”

“So, what then?”

“We pay her a visit. Classes should be in session for a few more hours. If we're lucky we can find her and bring her in.”

“Do you want me to get an arrest warrant from Wells?” Miller asked, once more feeling like a secretary. At this point he should just start running around bringing everyone coffee and filing their paperwork.

“No. Not yet. But I do want you to get Harper. You two can come with me.”

“Wait, by 'we' you actually meant you?” Miller stared at him in shock. Kane never did field work, it wasn't his job. He must really be done with Bellamy for him to do this.

“Yes. Why wait for Bellamy when we can do it now, right?”

“Uh, sure. Whatever you say, boss.” Miller shook his head, leaving to find Harper and get her to come along. Everything was going nuts today. He really needed that nap.




 

The smell of stale coffee and printer ink assaulted them as Bellamy opened the door to the station, waiting for a giggling Clarke to pass. After the initial lecture, which had taken the better part of an hour because she had had to tell him exactly why every last one of his life choices was a terrible idea, they had fallen back into their usual routine of horrible jokes and complaining about everything and everyone, especially Kane.

“And he was all like, 'I told you to stop doing that, Griffin!' and I was like, 'stop doing what, my work?' and he couldn't come up with a proper response because this time, technically, it was necessary. I mean, sure, there were a lot of easier ways to do it, but none as fun as that. Who doesn't want to hang a dead body from the ceiling tiles, right? So he just kind of grunted and left. Then he told my mom.”

“He told your mom?” Bellamy asked in shock.

“Yeah. Perks of knowing him my whole life. I'm twenty-two and I still have someone calling home to mommy whenever I get in trouble.” Clarke snorted. “She was very disappointed but even she couldn't come up with a reason for not doing it, other than 'hanging bodies from the ceiling is just weird, Clarke!”

“It is pretty weird.”

“Yeah. But it was funny to watch Kane turn eight different shades of purple.”

“I'll bet. How'd you manage to hang the body up, anyway? Seems like it wouldn't be easy.”

“Jasper.” She told him, not needing to explain any further. The lab rat was an explanation in and of himself. He never said anything but yes to anything fun, unless, of course, Monty said no. Then Jasper would say maybe, which usually meant 'let me have a day to convince my reasonable friend here that your plan won't end up causing the destruction of a small village.'

“Understood. Why did you hang the body from the ceiling?”

“Because I could.”

“Well, that seems like a proper scientific reason. Good on you, Dr. Griffin.”

“Thank you.” She laughed, stopping in front of his desk, her laughter quieting. “Hey, Bellamy, for what it's worth I really do hope it all works out for you two.”

“Thanks.” He forced a smile, wishing she had said nothing more about it so he could go back to pretending it wasn't an issue.

“Really, Bell. It's going to be fine. You've done stupider things that have worked out well before, this'll be no different.”

“You honestly believe that?”

“Not in the slightest.” She actually thought it would crash and burn and blow up in his face but for Bellamy's sake she hoped she was wrong.

“Well, thanks anyway.” He sighed out, pulling out his chair and dropping into it. Wondering why the hell he even bothered coming in to work right now. His seller wouldn't be there for a few days, he might as well just go home. It seemed like everyone had, if the empty desks around him was any indication. Even Kane seemed to be missing, which was nearly unheard of. Maybe he'd finally killed over from the stress.

He turned his head, catching sight of the only other person in the office, “Hey, Monroe! You seen Kane? Or anyone?”

She looked up from her report, probably another drunken disorderly or something from last night. He really didn't envy the rookies, they always got the worst calls. “He took Miller and Harper and went somewhere. I don't know where, though, I wasn't paying attention.” She'd been busy corralling the two wanna-be robbers that had gotten stuck in their Cage. Loud and probably high, she really wished she was allowed to just knock them out and drag them in there. These lowlifes were a pain in the ass to deal with.

Bellamy snorted, “Miller with Kane? Christ, Monroe, the world really has gone crazy.”

“Yeah, well, speaking of crazy, you want to help me with these reports? Seeing as how you have nothing better to do. Must be nice doing nothing all day.” She jabbed with a smile.

Bellamy hopped up, glad for the chance to do something other than focus on a case that was going no where. “Sure, I'll help with the reports if you help me with something.”

“I am not going to help you cover Kane's office in tinfoil again.”

Bellamy laughed, remembering that April fool's prank. Kane had been pissed but it was tradition so he couldn't do much about it. Except get revenge. Bellamy still had glitter in his desk drawers. “No, not that. I need a good place for a date.”

“You have a date?” Monroe gasped sarcastically. “And here I thought you were married to your job.”

Well, technically, he is my job. “Yeah, well, I can't really cuddle a stack of paperwork, now can I?”

You could cuddle a criminal, though. We have a few in the Cage that could use some love, I'm sure.” She joked, shoving a stack of files at him.

Bellamy winced, her comment a little too close to home. She didn't know, though, it was just a joke. “Right, I'll keep that in mind in case he's not impressed with me tonight. He's already expressed his displeasure with Rosie's-”

You took a date to Rosie's?”

I wasn't dating him then.” He defended himself. “And Rosie's is great.”

Rosie's is shit.”

Bellamy really couldn't argue, it was true, so he let it go. “So, know anywhere good, then?”

There's a nice place down by the waterfront. It's French. Harper likes it. I can't read the menu, myself, but the food's great.”

Is it like, romantic and stuff?” Bellamy asked, awkwardly fiddling with a pen.

Very.” Monroe laughed at his embarrassment. “I take it you really like him, then?”

Yeah. A lot.” He admitted, opening one of the files and looking it over. “Why? Got any advice, Detective Casanova?”

Flowers.”

He's a guy.” He could just see himself getting laughed at for doing something so sappy.

Did I stutter?” Monroe questioned, beginning to fill out her own form. “Everyone loves flowers. It's a romantic gesture. It's nice.”

Fine.” Bellamy gave in. “What kind, then?”

Anything but roses. Roses are like, commitment stuff, I guess. Or for Valentine's day. They're cliché and boring.”

Well, that narrows it down a lot.” He rolled his eyes at her.

I don't know much about flowers, okay? Ask Monty, his mom's a florist.”

Bellamy nodded, making a mental note to do just that. If Monroe was serious about flowers being a good idea, then he'd do it. She'd never given him bad advice yet. Except for when she told him to bleach his hair, but he was beginning to suspect that had been a prank. “Will do. This report's from last night, right?”

No, that one's from Miller and Harper's arrest yesterday. Miller wrote it down already, all you've got to do is fill in the rest so it can be turned in.”

Got it.” He nodded, putting his pen to the paper and filling in the needed information. By now Kane had to know that half of their reports were done by other people, whoever had the most time, Bellamy suspected he didn't care anymore. He almost felt sorry for the guy, he had tried to encourage a professional environment but it just hadn't happened. “So, how's Harper been?”




 

“This is the place?” Harper asked, frowning at the large campus stretched out in front of them. The booklet Miler had grabbed while Kane had asked the receptionist where to find Raven Reyes told him it was compromised of a total of twenty two buildings, making it the largest college in the state and it ranked at number two in the country for all science programs, but ranked at number one for it's rocket science programs, which were held in building eleven, which was where they were told they could find their suspect.

Kane hadn't cared but Miller had done some research on Reyes, okay, he had done a Google search while they drove over, but it was enough tell him she was sixteen when she had started and was the youngest student to receive a full scholarship to the school in over half a decade. She was close to finishing her PhD and would be presenting her final project to the board this fall, if she wasn't arrested for being a serial murderer anyway. Miller had to admit, she sounded impressive, and there was even an article about how NASA had already offered her a job whenever she graduated. She didn't sound like the type to commit four murders, but who knew. Sometimes people did things that made no sense.

“It's the place. She's a student here.” Miller told her as the followed behind Kane.

“Why would someone going to a school like this murder four people?”

“Stress? Exams can be brutal.”

“I don't buy it.”

“Well, she just bought the knife, that doesn't mean she's the killer.”

“Would you two hurry up? I'd like to close this case sometime this century.” Kane called, having stopped in front of the building's door to wait impatiently for them to catch up.

“Sorry, boss.” Harper rolled her eyes and smiled at Miller, entering the building. It was cold and loud and Monroe instantly hated it. Everything smelled like burning metal and the shrill scrape of metal on metal grated on her nerves. “This is a classroom?”

“Hands on learning environment.” Miller shrugged, less affected by it. “She should be- And he's not listening.” He watched as Kane crossed the room, stopping to ask a student a question, presumably where Reyes was, before making his way through the mass of projects taking place.

Miller and Harper followed after him once again, feeling more like children on a field trip than officers of the law. They all three came to a stop in front of, well, they weren't sure what it was, to be honest, and none of them really cared to ask, currently being welded on, the bright light forcing them to shield their eyes. A young man with long hair and a pair of safety goggles poked at someone in a welding helmet, getting her attention. She stopped the welder, the blazing light disappearing, leaving Kane seeing tiny colorful spots.

He blinked and cleared his throat, waiting for the welder to take off her helmet. “Ms. Raven Reyes?”

“Who wants to know?” She asked, pulling her gloves off and dropping them next to her contraption.

“We're with the police department? I'm Chief Kane and these are Detectives Harper and Miller, do you have a minute?” He asked, all smiles and politeness. She wasn't his suspect, he didn't think it was her, he could come up with no reason why someone like her would do this. It had to be something else. “We'd like you to come with us to the station to answer some questions?”

“If you can make it fast we can talk right here. I don't have time to go anywhere. I'm on a deadline here.” She refused, watching as the long haired guy gathered up the welder's cord, stowing it under the work table. “Don't put it up, Finn, I'm going to be needing it again.”

“Last time I left it out, you tripped over it, landed on a piece of scrap and ended up needing eight stitches.” He pointed out.

“Well, leave it there, then.”

“Planned on it.”

Raven sneered at him, receiving a chuckle for her efforts, before turning back to the detectives. “I've got a project coming up, so I can't be wasting any time.”

“Alright.” Kane nodded, agreeing to her terms, much to Miller's surprise. He'd never known Kane to give in so easily. “We're investigating a series of murders in which your knife was used.”

Harper tensed, getting ready in case Raven attempted to run but relaxed when all she did was shrug, “I didn't murder anybody. Haven't got the time, though if I did...” She trailed off with a smirk.

“Right. So you're saying someone else used your knife to commit the murders?” Miller asked, not buying it.

“Probably. I dunno, big guy, I don't really have knives, ya know? Never was my thing. I like guns, though. But I don't have one, campus rules.” She sounded a little disappointed.

“Right. Well, can you at least identify the knife?” Kane asked, much too calm for someone who was getting nowhere. It made Miller suspicious, like Kane knew something they didn't and he didn't like it, but there was nothing he could do but hang back and watch. He and Harper had been brought in for muscle only, he knew that, so it wasn't too big of an annoyance. He didn't want in on the loop, anyway, it would only mean more paperwork for him.

“I can try?” She shrugged.

“Harper?”

“Here.” Harper shoved a photo of the knife into Raven's hand, Kane having asked her to print it before they came. “Recognize it?”

Raven shook her head, showing the photo to Finn beside her. “I don't think so. It's not mine. Looks a little familiar, I admit, but I can't really place it.”

“I can.” Finn spoke up, tracing on of the knife's edges on the paper. “You bought it for Murphy, remember? His seventeenth birthday.” He informed her, studying the photo intently.

“I did?” Raven couldn't remember. She hadn't thought about Murphy in years, let alone some obscure gift she'd bought him so long ago.

“Yeah. We went to Comic Con and you met this loser who sold custom knives, remember? You had him make one like his character's.”

“Joysword the Faithless.” Raven laughed, nodding as she remembered. “We came up with the names while drunk. I think Murphy's was the worst of them all, poor guy.”

“Poor guy? He was a dick and so was his character.” Finn scoffed. “Anyway, that's his dagger. Perfect for a rogue, and I don't think any class fit him more than one built on treachery and deceit-”

“Finn!” Raven snapped. “If anyone was deceitful it was you so fuck off. Because of your bullshit I lost my best friend.”

“You didn't have to choose me.”

“I shouldn't have had to choose at all.”

“But you did.”

“Because you are family and Murphy-”

“Was a jackass that ruined everything he ever touched? I know. If it wasn't for him-”

“If it wasn't for him I'd still be dating your lying ass.”

“No, it it wasn't for him I would have married the girl of my dreams!”

“Who wasn't me!”

“Uh, I'm sorry, but if you would?” Kane butt in, stopping the argument before it could get any further out of hand. “Who is Murphy?” Of course, he already had an idea of who he was. It was too much of a coincidence for it to be anyone else.

Raven shook her head, “John Murphy was a friend of ours in high school. Well, he was in high school with Finn, I was already here, but we hung out a lot after classes at his foster dad's mechanic shop. We were great friends until-”

“Until Murphy stuck his damn nose where it didn't belong.”

“Until Finn cheated on me and Murphy told me because he was a fucking friend not a lying asshole.

“It wasn't his fucking business.”

“No? Cause I think it was.” Raven defended Murphy. She hadn't wanted to choose between them but in the end she had had too, and Murphy had made the choice easy for her by making himself scarce. She turned to the detectives once more, purposely ignoring Finn, “Finn cheated on me a while back with some girl-”

“She wasn't some girl!”

“Do you even remember her name?”

“I was going to marry her!”

“That doesn't answer my question and you were in high school.

“Fuck you, okay?” Finn hissed, “Murphy was an asshole who liked to stir up trouble. If he's the guy killing people I wouldn't be a damn bit surprised. He's got a record, you know? He liked to beat on people, nearly killed a kid once.”

“He has, or had, I don't know about now, a temper.” Raven admitted. “But he wouldn't kill anyone. He was a messed up kid, not a killer.”

“He was fucking psycho!”

“He was not.” Raven stopped him. “He was troubled but he was a good guy. A little rough, a lot rude, but he wouldn't just kill people.”

“It's his knife, though, correct?” Kane asked, not caring for the rest of the conversation. It didn't matter to him. Whatever issues those two had with Murphy were their own, they could work them out with him later, he'd have plenty of time in prison.

“Yeah, but-” Raven began but Finn interrupted her again.

“He probably did it. Probably got off on it, the sick son of a bitch. I always knew he was crazy, I just didn't think he'd go that far.”

“Finn, stop it.”

“Why? He ruined everything for me, Raven! Everything!”

“You ruined it for yourself.”

“Well, we should get back to the station. Thank you for your help, Ms. Reyes, Finn. We may be in touch again.” Kane nodded at them both and turned away, smiling a bit too wide and resembling a cat who'd caught a mouse between it's paws and had decided to take some time to torture it before devouring it whole. All in all it was a terrifying look and Miller pitied whoever it was meant for.

 


 

Bellamy ran a hand through his hair, letting out a sigh of frustration as he stared at the bouquets of brightly colored flowers that littered the store, clumped in groups here and there, sometimes nested between larger potted plants. Maybe he should bring Murphy a Venus flytrap, it seemed like something he'd like. Or a cactus.

Monty had been busy all day and when Bellamy had finally got a minute with him all he'd had to say was 'something pretty.' Bellamy had hoped for something a little more profound or meaningful but Monty had laughed and told him it didn't matter. What were the odds Murphy would actually care about the meaning behind the specific flowers?

That had been incredibly helpful. And now, already dressed and ready to go pick up Murphy, Bellamy was at a loss. They all looked pretty, but which was was the right kind of pretty? And should he even be thinking about it this hard?

“Need a hand?”

Bellamy jumped, startled by the voice behind him. He recovered quickly and nodded, “Please?”

The old woman smiled, “Know what you're looking for?”

“Flowers?” He shrugged awkwardly.

“Well, no shit, son. This sure as hell ain't a bakery, now is it? I meant specifics. Favorite color? Anniversary, birthday, something important?”

“I don't know. I didn't ask him.” Fuck, he didn't even know Murphy's favorite color for fuck's sake. “And it's a really important date.” It may be the last one he got, if he told Murphy the truth and he reacted badly, which he probably would.

“Ah, right. Well maybe you should have.”

“Yeah. So, can you help me, or?”

“Yes, of course.” The woman nodded. “Do you love him?”

“I don't want roses.”

“Did I ask if you wanted roses?”

“No.” Bellamy sighed. “I do. A lot.”

“How long have you been together?”

“A week?”

“Mhm. Love at first sight, then?” She asked, looking through a stand of bouquets.

Bellamy grimaced, remembering their first meeting, “No? Just really quick to fall, I guess.” Should it have taken him longer? Probably.

“Understandable. Sometimes fate doesn't believe in slow, sometimes you don't really get a choice. Sometimes the universe sees two souls and says 'yes, you two should be together' and doesn't give you much choice in the matter.” She chattered, pulling out a bright pink wrapped bouquet. “This one?”

“It's all pink?” He asked, looking at the mix of various pink and white flowers that made up the bouquet.

“He doesn't like pink, then?” She nodded and moved to put it back but Bellamy stopped her.

“No, actually, I think he'd like it.” He smiled, remembering the incident with the shirt and how pleased Murphy had been with it. The flowers definitely seemed like something Murphy would like. “How much?”

“Ten and the promise that you'll hire me to do the arrangements for your wedding.” She laughed, taking the bills he gave her.

“Thanks. The job's yours.” He joked, half wishing there would be a wedding in their future. Maybe there would be if they made it past tonight.

He sighed to himself, setting the flowers down in the seat next to him and fixing his shirt. He hadn't really dressed up, choosing to stick with his standard button up and slacks, Murphy seemed to like it well enough. He could have worn a suit but he disliked wearing them outside of work, and he doubted the restaurant would be that fancy, anyway. He ran a hand through his hair, hoping to smooth down his mess of curls before taking off, heading towards Murphy's apartment, excited and nervous for his first actual date with the journalist. Hopefully there would be plenty more after this one.




 

Kane whistled to himself as he walked through the station, coming to a stop outside the DA's office. He had everything where he wanted it, he was going to close the case and finally be done with it. No more murders, no more journalists, no more sappy eyed Blake turning his department into a damn circus. Things could go back to the way they were, he could assign Blake a new partner and they could go back to having the highest rate of closed cases in the tri-state area. It truly was a wonderful evening.

He knocked on the door, waiting until he heard a tried voice tell him to come in before bursting in, feeling like he should be accompanied by songbirds or something. “Wells, my boy-”

“Don't call me that.”

Kane frowned and started again, “Wells, I need a warrant.”

“You have proper evidence?” He asked without looking up.

Kane set the file down on Wells' desk and tapped it. “Here. How soon can you get it too me?”

Wells sighed, closing out of his game of solitaire and checking the time. If he emailed the judge now he could get her to give him one and he'd be able to put it on Kane's desk before he went home. “It'll be on your desk when you get here tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you.”

“I need the name.” Wells reminded him, bringing up the browser window he needed. He would look through the file later but he needed to send the email now or the judge would leave without giving him the warrant and he'd have to wait which would only lengthen the process.

“John Murphy.”

 

Chapter Text


 

Bellamy parked his car in front of Murphy's apartment and shut off the engine, smiling to himself and grabbing for the flowers in the passenger seat. He hoped Murphy would like them, he hoped it wouldn't be seen as some attempt to make up for what he would be telling Murphy later.

The smile dropped from Bellamy's face and he let out a sigh, there was no way around this. By the end of the night Murphy was going to know the truth and if he decided he wanted nothing more to do with Bellamy, then that was Bellamy's own fault. He should have been truthful from the second they started dating. It was one thing to withhold information from a nosy reporter, it was quite another to withhold it from someone you were dating. He was lying to Murphy.

He had to come clean tonight, he had to do it before this went any farther and he lost any chance he might ever have for keeping this relationship. He had to tell Murphy he was a suspect, the suspect, and that this entire case revolved around him. It was going to hurt him, Bellamy knew that, because he'd lied to him and he got the feeling Murphy had been lied to plenty. He was a good kid, he didn't deserve to be kept in the dark about this. Bellamy had to tell him.

Murphy is trying his hardest right now. He's trying to make a life for himself that doesn't involve getting arrested every week. It's hard, he's not very good at it, but he's trying.”

Fuck. Bellamy was going to ruin this kid's life.

Mbege had told him Murphy was trying and Bellamy hadn't even thought of what this might do to him. If he had actually cared about Murphy he should have told him the truth from the beginning, but now? Now it wasn't going to do any good at all. Telling Murphy now would only hurt him, it wouldn't help anything. Bellamy was going to destroy him and he'd just went about pretending like flowers were going to lessen that somehow. He was an idiot.

No, he couldn't do that to Murphy. Not with what Mbege had said about him trying to get his life together and stay out of trouble. Murphy wasn't the killer, Bellamy knew that, he was sure of it. It just wasn't possible for someone like Murphy to be a serial killer. Murphy wrote sappy articles about kids doing charity work and drank overpriced coffee and berated him for subscribing to outdated gender roles. Murphy was a messed up kid, but he was no killer. Bellamy knew Murphy was innocent, believed it with everything he had, and he would just have to prove it.

He would keep his mouth shut and take Murphy out and they would have a nice evening. He wouldn't talk about his case, he wouldn't tell Murphy he was a suspect. There was no point in telling Murphy because he didn't need to know. All he would need to know is who the actual killer was so he could write his article, and Bellamy was going to find out. Because there was no way it was Murphy. It couldn't be Murphy.

Bellamy grabbed the flowers and made his way into the building, having made his decision. Clarke was wrong. He didn't need to tell Murphy. It would only cause problems. He could figure out who the real killer was and keep Murphy, he'd just have to work harder. He'd call the seller next chance he got and demand those receipts.

He knocked at Murphy's door and stood back, tugging at his shirt collar. Remembering what Murphy said about him looking like a minister with his shirt buttoned all the way he popped the first two, smoothing down his shirt and waited, flowers in hand and a nervous smile on his face. This would go fine, he'd been on dates before. Granted, not under these circumstances, but it didn't matter. They would be fine. What was the worst that could happen?

The door to the apartment jerked open, a smiling Murphy behind it, “Bellamy!”

“Murphy.” Bellamy nodded, his nerves only getting worse when he saw Murphy. “I'm not too early, am I?”

Murphy smiled wide, “Way too early. Five whole minutes, Bellamy. Jeez, you just couldn't wait, huh?”

“No, I couldn't.” Bellamy's nerves began to dissipate. Murphy was being sarcastic and normal, he should be normal, too. He held out the flowers, “These are for you.”

“Oh?” Murphy's eyes brightened when he saw them, taking them from Bellamy gingerly, like they were fragile and he might break them if he wasn't careful. “These are beautiful, my favorite color, too. Thank you.” He pressed a kiss to Bellamy's cheek and pulled away with a blush. He'd never been brought flowers before and he wasn't sure how to react. It was such a sweet gesture and it made him unreasonably happy. “I'll find something to put them in.” He motioned for Bellamy to come in as he retreated into the apartment to find something to put the flowers in.

Bellamy followed him in and stood by the little desk Murphy had, looking around awkwardly. It was a small place, a studio apartment, but Murphy had posters covering the walls, some from bands and others from various comic books. In one corner leaned a stack of protest signs, the sight of them making Bellamy smile. Liberal hippie punk. And Bellamy loved every bit of it. It was the type of room Bellamy would have expected someone like Murphy to have, messy but almost intentionally so, with a mattress shoved to the side, blankets piled on it with no actual theme to be found.

“I don't really have a proper vase, never needed one, but I think,” Murphy looked around, spotting an empty coffee cup near his bed and grabbing it with an 'aha.' He took it to the bathroom, rinsing it out and filling it with water, returning with the flowers in it. He set it down on his window sill with a laugh, “I think that should do, you think?”

“It's cute.” Bellamy agreed, laughing along with him.

“Right. I've got to get my jacket and then we can go, okay?” Murphy told him. “You think I should put my hair up or not?” He paused, staring at himself in a mirror and fiddling with a hair tie. “And am I dressed for where we're going? You kinda left me in the dark, so I just guessed.”

Bellamy shrugged, looking over Murphy. He looked good, very good. A simple black shirt and tight, dark jeans that made Bellamy weak at the knees because he was half sure that was paint and he was completely sure Murphy had chosen them on purpose, if the smirk he was giving Bellamy in the mirror when he noticed where he was looking was any indication. Murphy looked fine to him and Bellamy told him as much.

“So, the hair. Up or down?” He asked, holding it up to show what it would look like.

“Up. And you should wear these,” Bellamy picked up the wire framed glasses that had been sitting on top of Murphy's laptop. How many stickers could fit on one computer? “Sort of a sexy hipster thing, you know?”

“I'm surprised you even know what that word means.” Murphy snarked, tying his hair up. “Put those down, don't get anything on the lenses, please.”

“Are you calling me old?” Bellamy asked, setting the glasses down gently.

“I might be.”

“That's mean.”

“I'm mean.”

“You're cute.”

“I can be both. Ready?” Murphy asked, pulling on his jacket, a few strands of hair falling out of his ponytail.

“Yeah, sure.” Bellamy nodded, reaching for the door. He took Murphy's hand and walked outside with him. He stopped outside his car, opening the door for Murphy who raised an eyebrow at him.

“Are you trying to get laid or-”

“No! No, no.” Bellamy protested, his cheeks reddening, only realizing Murphy had been joking when the journalist tipped his head back, laughing loudly. “Get in the car, brat.”

Murphy snorted and complied, his laughter calming down into quiet giggles, he was completely straight faced by the time they'd gotten to the restaurant.

When they'd gotten out of the car, Murphy stared at the building in front of them, everything was blue and white and the sign on the building read, “Montagne Météo?”

“Uh, Monroe, a friend of mine, she suggested it. It's French.” Bellamy explained.

“I figured.” Murphy said. “Looks nice.”

“Hope so. Thought it would be better than Rosie's.”

“Yes.” Murphy agreed. Anything was better than Rosie's. He didn't like to think of himself as a picky eater, food was food, unless it was made by Mbege, then it was art, but Rosie's was pushing it. He didn't understand how Bellamy could actually like that place.

“Come on, then. Let's see if it's any good.” Bellamy prompted, walking up to the door and holding it open for Murphy.

Murphy smiled, looking down as he passed Bellamy. He'd never been treated like this, not even when his dates had been trying to get laid. It was new and a little weird but also sweet and Murphy thought that this could end up being a good idea, being with Bellamy. He seemed to actually care about him, and Murphy enjoyed it, he wasn't used to it, but Bellamy treated him like he was something he wanted to hang on to, something none of his previous partners had done.

“Bonjour! Bienvenue à La Météo Montagne! Une table pour deux?” They were greeted by a waiter as soon as they'd stepped inside. The restaurant wasn't as busy as Bellamy had expected, but Monroe had recommended it, so he was sure it was good. Even if he had no idea what the man in front of him had just said.

“Yes?” Bellamy answered, too embarrassed to admit he didn't understand and hoping it meant what he assumed it did. He followed as the man took them to their booth, Bellamy nearly sighed in relief that he'd guessed that one right. The waiter left them with menus and a promise to return shortly with their drink orders. Bellamy looked over the menu, frowning. He couldn't understand a word of it. Why hadn't he taken French as a second language in high school? Because you were a nerd and took Latin instead because of your mythology fetish.

He glanced over at Murphy who was studying his own menu with far less concentration. Maybe he knew what some of this was. Bellamy could ask him, but then he ran the risk of looking like an idiot and he didn't want to do that. Who took their date to a restaurant they couldn't even understand? No, he'd figure it out himself.

Shifting in his seat, he pulled out his phone, bringing up the translation app he had. It really helped when dealing with witnesses who spoke different languages than he did and he'd found it was better to be prepared with some way of understanding than to wait for a translator in emergencies.

He hastily typed in the first item on the menu, making a face when he learned what it was. No, not that. The sounded weird. He wondered if they had omelets.

“You okay?”

“What?” Bellamy's head jerked up and he tried to hid his phone like a child caught by a teacher.

“You look like you're going to combust if you think any harder.”

Bellamy was about to answer when their waiter reappeared with their drinks. He sat them down and looked at Bellamy expectantly, “Vous avez choisi? Ou avez-vous besoin de plus de temps?”

Bellamy stared at him, unsure how to proceed. He assumed the man was ready to take their order but Bellamy had no idea what the menu said let alone what any of it was, “Um.”

“Voulez-vous une suggestion? Ou une liste de vin?”

Bellamy bit his lip, looking from the server to Murphy, who looked like he was watching a very interesting TV show. “What?” Bellamy barked, annoyed. It wasn't his fault he was confused. When Monroe said it was all in French he hadn't thought she meant, well, all of it.

“You don't understand, do you?”

“And you do?” Bellamy snapped, glaring at the menu in his hand as if he could threaten it enough to make it translate itself.

“Yes.” Murphy nodded, surprising Bellamy. “He wants to know if you need a suggestion or if you want a wine list.”

Bellamy stared at Murphy in shock, “You speak French.”

“Yes. Are you going to answer his question?” Murphy acted as if it were no big deal but Bellamy was a little awestruck.

“I honestly don't know any of what's on the menu but a wine list would be nice, I think?” He looked to Murphy for approval.

“Up to you. I don't drink.” Murphy shrugged. “And I can help you with the menu if you want.”

“Please? And no to the wine, then.”

Murphy nodded and turned to the waiter, “On n'a pas besoin d'une liste de vin, mais pourrions-nous avoir quelques minutes de plus?”

“Bien sûr.” The waiter smiled, “And I do speak English, if that would help?”

Murphy began to giggle while Bellamy stared, his mouth open slightly in shock as the waiter walked away, smirking. The whole time? He could have been speaking English the whole time instead of being confused? Right, note to Bellamy; next time swallow your damn pride and make everything easier on yourself.

“Oh, shut up and come help me understand this thing.” Bellamy waved the menu, sulking.

“Fine.” Murphy stood up, still smiling and switched seats so he was sitting next to Bellamy, “Okay, so, let's see...” He began pointing out various dishes and explaining them to Bellamy as best he could from their descriptions, Bellamy making faces on a few of them, making Murphy laugh, glad there were very few customers around to disturb.

After he'd read off most of the menu, he leaned his head on Bellamy's shoulder, “And I think that's about the extent of what is edible. In my opinion, at least.”

Bellamy, who had stopped paying attention to what Murphy was saying and had simply focused on his voice, nodded, “Why do you know French?”

“Did you even listen?”

“Mostly.”

Murphy rolled his eyes, “You know how I told you I used to get arrested a lot, right? Well, turns out not doing anything illegal left a lot of time on my hands and there was only so much Mario Kart with Craig that I could take before we both got so bored we resorted to whining about it, which didn't really help anything at all. Mbege got pissed and kicked us out, forcing us to do something other than annoy him with our whining about not having anything to do. I believe his exact words were 'There's an entire world out there! Go to a theme park! Take a cooking class! Hell, learn fucking French, just stop whining about being bored and do something about it, dammit!' So, I learned French.”

“Really?” Bellamy snorted, “That's amazing.”

“He thought so, too. He tried to get Craig to learn, too, but it just resulted in Craig filling the cabinets with croissants until he stopped. I think he even employed the use of a mime costume once, it was beautiful.”

“I'll bet.” Bellamy had gone from snorting in amusement to shaking with silent laughter.

“Yeah, I understand the language, but I've never actually eaten French food before, so I'm as in the dark as you are with this one.”

“Then it'll be an adventure, won't it?”

 


 

“That was nice.” They walked out of the restaurant, their dinner having gone much smoother once Bellamy admitted to not speaking French. “Next time, though, we should probably stick to something you understand, what with all the faces you made.”

“It was strange.” Bellamy defended, opening Murphy's car door for him. “And the waiter kept laughing at me.”

“That's what happens when you make funny faces.”

Bellamy stuck his tongue out at him before walking around the car to the driver's side. If all went well, and it would, it had to, there would be many more dates to come and Bellamy couldn't wait. The thought of being with Murphy for a long time made him feel almost giddy, something he could remember feeling when he had his first crush and kissed Echo behind the slide in fourth grade, and even that paled in comparison. He wondered if this was how Octavia had felt when she'd met Lincoln, if so he owed her an apology for being such an ass about it.

The sun had set and streetlights illuminated the streets as Bellamy drove, Murphy watching out the window with mild curiosity, “Where are we going?”

“A place.” Bellamy answered, suddenly feeling very nervous about what he had in mind. Would Murphy think it was too sappy? Bellamy didn't think it was, he thought it was romantic, but there was a fine line between the two and for all he knew he was going to end up hanging himself with it.

“A place in the middle of nowhere?” Murphy asked as the city disappeared behind them, turning to fields and pasture.

“Yes.”

Murphy didn't ask any more questions until Bellamy had turned down a dirt road and parked the car, the headlights illuminating a field of short grass in front of them. Murphy couldn't think of any reason to be out here, but he trusted Bellamy, he was a detective, after all, if he wasn't safe to be with then who was? Still, “Are you planning to murder me and bury my body out here?”

Bellamy looked at him, startled and offended. He was not the one currently being accused of murder, or had Murphy forgotten?

No. No, he hadn't forgotten. Bellamy hadn't told him. Right. He wasn't going to tell Murphy, because that would ruin everything. He couldn't hurt Murphy like that. At least, that was what he was going to tell himself in order to keep from thinking about the fact that not telling Murphy was also hurting him and Bellamy really couldn't win here, and it was all his fault.

“Bell? It was joke. That's not- You don't plan to actually murder me, right?”

“No! No, I swear, nobody is getting murdered. Because nobody here is a murderer, right?” Bellamy forced a laugh.

“Ri-i-ight.” Murphy nodded, looking at Bellamy like he had grown three heads. “So, we're out in the middle of nowhere to do what?”

Bellamy resisted the urge to slam his head into the steering wheel. God, he was an idiot. “It's a date, Murphy.”

“A date to an empty field of grass. I can honestly say this is a new one.”

Bellamy rolled his eyes and opened his door, “Just come on.”

“Hey, I'm joking. I'm sure whatever this is, it'll be fun. I trust you.” Murphy assured him. Bellamy was acting weird but Murphy was completely sure he wasn't planning to kill him or hurt him, after all, he'd had plenty of opportunities to do that before. He trusted Bellamy completely, because Bellamy hadn't hurt or lied to him yet. Hell, he was even telling Murphy about his case so he could write his article. He had no reason not to trust him and he felt he might have offended him in some way with his jokes.

Bellamy opened the door to the backseat and pulled out the blanket he'd put there when he'd come up with the idea. Murphy seemed to like romantic gestures so far, he could only hope he'd be alright with this one, too. He nodded when he'd made his way back to where Murphy could see him, “I know.” He felt he should apologize for acting weirdly but he didn't really know how to without giving an explanation and he couldn't do that.

Murphy watched from the side as Bellamy spread out the blanket, he could think of a few reasons why they'd need one but he wasn't sure which was more plausible. “Jokes aside, Bell, what are we doing, exactly?”

Bellamy stared at the blanket on the ground, the area lit only by the dim headlights. He shuffled his feet, awkward and unsure. Would Murphy think this was cute or would he think it was stupid? He couldn't really tell and he was afraid he might have done something really cheesy. This was probably a terrible idea.

Apparently it had taken him too long to answer because Murphy had been staring at him for a long time, long enough for his frown of confusion to turn into a smirk of amusement, “You know we both have houses right? A field is a little weird.”

“What?” Bellamy's eyebrows knitted together and he looked at Murphy, trying to understand. When it clicked he shook his head, holding up his hands, “No! No, no. I thought maybe- Okay, look, it's stupid and sappy, but I thought we maybe we could, I don't know, the stars are really nice out here and I thought it would be romantic but we can just go back home if you want. This was a bad idea, I'm sor- Hm?” Murphy had stepped around the blanket and closed the distance between them, kissing Bellamy to stop his rambling.

“I think it's a cute idea.” He told him when he pulled away.

Bellamy smiled, almost shy, “Yeah?”

“Yeah. I'll admit, though, I don't know much about stars.”

“I'll teach you, then.” He took Murphy's hand and pulled him onto the blanket, sitting down, Murphy following behind him. Murphy rested against his back, one of Bellamy's arms around his waist, the other raised to point at the stars, “Okay, so that is Orion. It's one of the most common, see, the belt's the easiest to spot, and those stars are his shield, those over there are his sword.” Bellamy pointed to the rest of the constellation.

“He was a hunter, right?”

“Yes. One of the best, but he fell in love with the goddess Diana and her brother, Apollo, fearing for her chastity, sent a scorpion, Scorpius, the constellation for the zodiac Scorpio, to kill him. Diana, in her grief, turned him into stars.”

“Apollo killed her lover so she wouldn't have sex with him?” Murphy asked.

“That's one of the myths.”

“Why?” His nose wrinkled in disgust. “Why was it any of his business?”

“Jealousy, I think.”

“Oh.” The gods were weird. “Doesn't make it okay.”

“Well, when you see Apollo, you can take it up with him, alright?” Bellamy teased. “He's the sun god, though.”

“I'll attack at night.” Murphy nodded. “Where's Scorpius?”

“On the other side of the sky. They're never visible at the same time.”

“Hmm. Others?”

Bellamy smiled, kissing Murphy's temple, “Yeah, let's see. That right there is Gemini. The twins.”

“Diana and Apollo?”

“No, Castor and Pollux, actually. The stars the the top of each twin are named after them. They, too, met a tragic end.”

“Turned into stars?”

“Everyone becomes stars, Murphy. And stars become stories.”

“That sounds very deep and pretentious.”

“You're a hipster, aren't you supposed to appreciate that?”

“I'm punk. I don't care.”

“Liar.” Bellamy laughed. “Okay, there's Perseus, the Greek hero.” Bellamy pointed to another constellation, “He was the son of Zeus. The Oracle of Apollo foretold that Acrisius, the king, would be killed by his daughter's son, so he locked Danae away in a tower so she would never marry or have children.”

“Like Rapunzel?”

“A little bit. He locked her up but one day, Zeus came to her and, well, that went about the same as every other myth Zeus is involved in and she had Perseus. It's a very long story, but Arcrisius locked them both in a chest and through them in the sea. After a long journey through various peril, Perseus became very strong and rescued a maiden, Andromeda, from a sea monster and then they stopped so he could play some games, threw a discus, hit the old king in the head and he died. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled in the least dramatic way possible.”

“Ouch.”

“Yep. After that, Perseus married Andromeda and they loved happily together for years, until Perseus was killed by Dionysus and he and his wife, after her death, became stars so they would forever be together.”

“Romantic.”

“Yeah.” Bellamy laughed. “Alright, let's see, here, that's the Big Dipper, obviously...”

Murphy listened to Bellamy point out the rest of the constellations he knew, leaning against his chest, content and enjoying Bellamy teaching him. It was a nice night, even if Bellamy had been acting strangely. Even now he was holding on to him like he was afraid Murphy might fade into stars if Bellamy let go. Murphy didn't mind being held, he loved it, but Bellamy was worrying him, so, when Bellamy dropped his arm with a final, “And I think that's it.” Murphy decided he'd ask.

With his voice quiet, a whisper, like he was afraid of being too confrontational and breaking the peace that had settled around them, Murphy asked, “What's wrong?” Something had to be up. Bellamy was sweet, but he had never held onto Murphy so tightly, and then there was the way he reacted to Murphy's jokes, like they'd caught him off guard or hit close to home, which made no sense at all. “There's something bothering you, isn't there?”

Bellamy tensed behind him and he dropped his head to Murphy's shoulder. He hadn't thought Murphy would ask. He had considered telling him but he hadn't never once thought Murphy would notice or catch on and ask him anything. But, dammit, he was tired of keeping secrets from him, it wasn't fair to him and he deserved better that that. Still, Bellamy couldn't bring himself to tell Murphy about his case, he couldn't tell him the truth, but he was so tired of lying. Bellamy sighed, deciding on a different truth to tell. It was better to scare Murphy off than to hurt him, and besides, if this all ended badly, he wanted to at least tell him once. “You know, my father took my mother stargazing on their first date. She told me stories about it when I was little.” He took Murphy's hand in his own and held onto it tightly, “She taught me the stars and the stories that went with them.”

Murphy nodded, listening. He didn't understand what that had to do with anything. Had something happened to Bellamy's mother? Had he missed something?

“My father, he was a soldier, and they didn't work out. He was away most of the time and he was in danger often, so he left her when I was four months old. She didn't want him to, but he did, because he was afraid of hurting her.” Kind of like how Bellamy was afraid of hurting Murphy. Except his father made a choice to protect the people he loved from that, Bellamy couldn't, no, wouldn't. He was selfish.

Murphy craned his neck so he can look at Bellamy, “Are you-”

“No. No, I'm not leaving you. I promised myself I'd never be like he was. In the end he did hurt her, by leaving her. There are no certainties in life and expecting love to be one and leaving when it might not be is only going to cause everyone to be unhappy. I'm selfish, I wouldn't leave someone I loved just because I was scared of what might happen.”

“Oh.” Murphy said, nodding, and then, “Oh,” when it hit what Bellamy had just said.

“I'm sorry. I don't think anyone in my family has ever learned how to love slowly.” This was the part where Murphy left him, because it was too fast, too soon, and Bellamy probably came off as some desperate loser who fell in love with anyone who so much as looked at him.

“It's alright.” Murphy whispered, intertwining their fingers. He was flattered, he couldn't remember the last time someone other than Mbege or Craig told him they loved him.

That hadn't been what Bellamy expected and he took a second to process it, “You aren't upset?”

“No. Why would I be?” Should he be? Was there a problem he hadn't thought of? Did Bellamy want him to be upset?

“I thought it might scare you off.”

“No.” Murphy shook his head. He wasn't scared off at all, if anything it made him want to stay with Bellamy even more, because who knew? In time Murphy could love him, too. He cared about him a lot as it was now, but he wouldn't go so far as to say he was in love with him. He could be, though, given time. He wanted to be.

Bellamy was beyond relieved that Murphy hadn't pulled away and ran. He was already terrified he was going to lose Murphy and he had wanted to tell him, just in case everything fell apart, but he had been scared to. But it was a better truth than the other one, that was certain.

Murphy took a breath, he figured Bellamy was waiting for him to say something back, but he couldn't say that, not just yet, because it would be a lie. He wasn't going to lie to Bellamy, not just to keep him, it wouldn't be fair to him at all. “I don't, I'm not sure if I-”

“It's fine.” Bellamy stopped him. He had no expectations for this, and he would have been shocked if Murphy had said it back so soon. Not everyone was as hopeless as he was, “I don't expect you to.”

Murphy smiled, shifting so he was more comfortable. Maybe he would one day. He hoped so, because he couldn't think of anyone he'd rather fall in love with. “So, that was what was wrong, then?” Bellamy loved him and was scared to say it. That wasn't such a terrible thing after all.

“Part of it.” Bellamy admitted.

“What's the other part?” The worry crept back into Murphy's veins, freezing them. Everything was going so well, nothing was really wrong, right?

Bellamy took a deep breath, this was it. He could tell Murphy now and it would be all out, he wouldn't be lying or hiding anything from him anymore. He needed to tell him, he had to. He opened his mouth, but the words twisted on his tongue, coming out wrong but no less true, “I'm afraid that I'm going to lose you.”

“Why?” Maybe if he knew why he could fix it, because he had no intention of going anywhere. He might not yet be in love with Bellamy but he was going to stay because he knew he could be, if he was given a little more time to get to know him and grow closer to him.

Because this entire thing has been a lie from the beginning. Because you're a suspect. Because come Monday I'll have proof that you either are or aren't guilty and that is so close, so soon, and I'm so terrified. “I don't know. Just a bad feeling.” He couldn't force the words to come out. He was a coward, like his father, so afraid of hurting the person he loved that he couldn't see that's exactly what he was doing. Except he did see it, he was just ignoring it, hoping it would go away and he'd fix everything without Murphy ever knowing or getting hurt by it.

Murphy pulled away from him, leaving Bellamy's embrace and turning around to face him, his legs folded under him to give him enough height to look at Bellamy directly, “I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying with you, alright? You aren't going to lose me.” Bellamy had done nothing to make him want to leave, and Murphy doubted he would. He had complete trust in the man in front of him. Bellamy wouldn't hurt him or give him a reason to leave, he had faith in that.

Murphy's words didn't help, but Bellamy nodded, knowing that Murphy may not have a choice in the matter. He was convinced Murphy didn't do it at this point, but he was extremely biased. Still, he was going to do everything he could to prove Murphy was innocent. Maybe even if he wasn't. “Okay.”

Murphy gave him a reassuring smile, “That being said, I do have a question and I really should have asked sooner, but this is, where do you want this to go? Is it just going to be sex or is it going to be more than that?” He had a feeling he knew, he'd suspected for a while but he hadn't let himself get his hopes up too far until tonight. Of course, if he was wrong, he could still back out of this.

Bellamy returned his smile, “A lot more than that. I want this to last, I really do.” And he hoped it would. He could figure everything out, it was going to work out fine. Murphy was a punk and a brat. He messed with Bellamy's radio way too much, put too much sugar in his coffee, went on hour long rants about the smallest of things, and, according to his friends, sucked at Mario Kart. He was brash and rude and sweet and a little on the socially awkward side. He was everything Bellamy had never wanted but was so glad he'd found. He wanted to hang onto this and never let go because they could make it work, he knew they could, and it would be amazing, as long as they could make it past this case. And Bellamy would make sure they did without ever having to let Murphy know it was a problem.

“Me, too.” Murphy told him, reaching out and taking Bellamy's collar in his hand, pulling him in for a kiss. It was slow and gentle and all the things Bellamy hadn't thought Murphy could be but had realized were fundamental parts of who he was, once you got past the snark and authority problems.

Bellamy lifted himself up so the angle was less awkward, holding onto Murphy, one hand on his back, the other tilting his face up, he let Murphy lead, giving back just as much when Murphy deepened it, the kiss growing more passionate as it went on until Bellamy had lowered Murphy to the ground and was pressed against him. His hands found the hem of Murphy's shirt and he broke the kiss, trailing soft pecks to Murphy's jaw and down his neck. He was rewarded with a quiet moan when he bit down, marking Murphy as his. He shoved Murphy's shirt up and continued down his chest, kissing and leaving small marks as he went. He slid his hands down, no longer holding up the shirt and his thumb brushed across Murphy's nipple making the younger suck in a sharp breath. Bellamy smirked, wondering what other sounds he could get Murphy to make and attached his mouth to one, sucking hard and swirling his tongue around it, Murphy letting out a loud keen beneath him.

The next thing he knew Murphy's hands were on his chest and he was being shoved away, Murphy sitting up and looking at him, his lips swollen from their kiss and his pupils dilated. Bellamy wanted nothing more than to kiss him again but Murphy's hands were still on his chest and he was shaking his head. “I don't want-'”

“Right.” Bellamy nods, pulling back and kneeling, coming back to his senses and letting Murphy get up. He should have thought first, because Murphy literally had just said he didn't want a relationship based on sex.

“I mean, in a field is not-”

“I got it. Sorry. I shouldn't have-” Bellamy apologized, fixing his collar as he stood.

“My place, then?” Murphy asked as he got up, dusting off his jeans, bits of grass that had gotten on the blanket falling to the ground.

“What?”

“In a field, Bellamy? There's, like, grass and bugs, and I really don't want mosquito bites on my ass.”

“Oh. So, like-”

“I did expect it.” Murphy nodded, it was why he had asked what Bellamy had wanted out of this. He'd decided when Bellamy had come along with him to Mbege's that he was worth hanging on to -not just anyone could put up with his friends and still be willing to see him again- it was just that he was tired of just being a toy. Bellamy had said he wanted more than that and that was what Murphy had been waiting for. Bellamy could be lying, but it would be an elaborate and unnecessary one, so Murphy doubted it. “So, my place? I think it's closer, since yours is all the way across town and-”

“Yours works.” Bellamy nodded, grinning wide, glad he hadn't misread anything or pushed Murphy too far.

Murphy laughed softly, Then hurry up. We have all night and I'd like to spend it doing other things, yeah?”

All night. Oh, no, he couldn't. It was Wednesday, wasn't it? “Fuck, I have work.” Could he not be a responsible adult for ten minutes?

Murphy gave him a shrug, picking up the blanket and throwing it in the backseat, “Call in sick.”

Bellamy couldn't find it in himself to argue. Kane's wrath was worth it. He'd been wanting this since that first kiss back in the parking garage. He sure as hell wasn't going to say no now just because he might get scolded by his boss for using a sick day when he knew for a fact that Kane had used plenty of them himself for the same reason. And he'd been less discreet about it.

The drive was shorter than Bellamy remembered, but he wasn't going to complain as he let Murphy drag him up the stairs by hand, glad Murphy only lived on the second floor. He waited as Murphy unlocked the door, giving it a hard shove to open it. He felt himself pulled in and then roughly slammed against the door, Murphy's mouth on his neck. God, he liked this. One of his hands reached up to tangle in Murphy's hair but he found he couldn't. Grunting in frustration, Bellamy worked the hair tie lose, letting Murphy's hair fall down. Better. He ran his fingers through it, pulling on it when Murphy sucked a mark into his neck. “Fuck.”

Murphy pulled back and Bellamy was almost ashamed of the whine he let out but Murphy only smirked as he began to unbutton Bellamy's shirt. “Did you bring your handcuffs?” He jokingly asked.

“No?” Why would he have? This was a date.

Murphy giggled, shoving Bellamy's shirt off his shoulders, “Maybe next time, then.”

Bellamy finally got the joke just as Murphy pushed him towards the bed, Murphy pulling his own shirt off as they go, tossing it to the floor next to Bellamy's.

It didn't take long for them to lose their pants, having been tossed aside to be forgotten about until morning. Murphy dug through his drawer, pulling out a bottle and a condom and shoving them both into Bellamy's hands. Bellamy looked down at them and reality set it, “You're sure you want this?”

Murphy nodded, ignoring the urge to tell Bellamy to hurry the fuck up, “Yes. You do, too, right?”

“Fuck yes.” Bellamy almost groaned, setting the stuff down beside him. He pushed Murphy back down, wanting to take his time with this. Liek Murphy had said, they had all night, but he stopped when he saw Murphy's face. “Is something wrong? We can stop, if you want.”

“No, I want to,” Murphy assured him, worrying his lip between his teeth. He took a breath and admitted, “It's just been a while.” He hadn't bothered to find anyone to share his bed for a while now, so as much as he wanted it, he was a little anxious.

Bellamy nodded, understanding. He could take his time and make sure it didn't hurt Murphy at all, he wanted to make this good for them both, and if Murphy was worried then he'd do whatever he could to set his mind at ease. “I'll be careful. Promise.”

 


 

Bellamy groaned, trying to ignore the incessant pounding noise that demanded he wake up. He didn't want to. He was comfortable and warm and he was vaguely aware of someone's head on his chest. But the noise wouldn't stop and the closer Bellamy got to consciousness the more identifiable it became. Knocking.

Some jackass was knocking on his door at, Bellamy blinked his eyes open, looking for his alarm clock so he could properly assess just how much of a dick the person responsible for waking him up was. He didn't find it, nor did he find his night stand or anything else that had previously been in his room. He looked down at the person snuggled up next to him, recognizing the tangle of dark hair immediately.

Murphy. Right. He was at Murphy's place. Under any other circumstances he would have probably smiled like a fool and rolled over, going back to seep but the pounding wasn't stopping and it was accompanied by words that Bellamy couldn't make out, but he replied anyway, “Give me a damn minute!”

His shout woke Murphy with a start, his boyfriend looking up at him sleepily, confused and disoriented. “What?”

“There's someone at the door.” Bellamy explained. “Sorry for waking you.”

“'S fine.” Murphy yawned. “Who is it?”

“I don't know. I'll go look?”

“Please.”

Bellamy smiled, giving Murphy a chaste kiss before sitting up, running a hand through his hair as he searched the floor for his pants. They hadn't gone far, just at the end of the bed so he grabbed them, tugging them on as he stood up. “Rude ass motherfuckers can't even wait until a decent fucking time to wake everyone up. God, were they raised in a barn or something?” He grumbled to himself as he made his way to the door. “I'm coming, shut the hell up!” He shouted, hearing a snort from Murphy.

He turned to look at the boy, giving him a soft smile. His hair stood up at odd angles and he'd found his own pants but he was wearing Bellamy's shirt, still unbuttoned and it swallowed him, making him look adorable. He smiled back and Bellamy found himself thinking that he wouldn't mind waking up to him every morning. Last night had been amazing, not just the sex, but Murphy in general, and who would have thought he was the cuddly type? Not that Bellamy minded in the slightest, in fact, though his pride wouldn't let him admit it, he enjoyed it, probably more than Murphy, himself, had.

Another knock pulled him out of his thoughts and Bellamy groaned, jerking open the door with more force than necessary, “What?

Bellamy's jaw dropped in shock. Had he been found out? He had meant to call in sick when he woke up but maybe he had overslept? Kane didn't look like he was there to reprimand Bellamy, and neither did Miller or Monroe. Why would Kane bring back up just to drag Bellamy's ass to work? Why would he show up in person at all? Bellamy's mind moved as fast as it could in it's sleep muddled state. He couldn't come up with a reason for Kane being there so he simply repeated himself, “What?”

“Good morning, Detective Blake. What a surprise.” Except Kane didn't look at all surprised and it clicked in Bellamy's brain that whatever he was there for it was Not Good At All. His first instinct was to slam the door in Kane's face and use the fire escape to take Murphy far away from him because this was Murphy's apartment, Kane wasn't here for Bellamy. He didn't get the chance, though, because Kane shoved past him, Miller and Monroe right behind him.

“I'm here for John Murphy?”

“You can't be in here without a-” Bellamy started but Monroe shoved a paper into his hand, giving him an apologetic look. “Search warrant.” Bellamy finished, unfolding the paper in his hands. When he read the words on the top of the page he felt like the floor had fallen from underneath him.

“Bell? What's going on? Do you know these people?” Murphy sounded half-asleep and annoyed. “What are they doing in my house.”

“Are you John Murphy?” Kane asked, voice stern. He was working, this was a job.

No, no, no, no .

Bellamy wanted to tell Murphy to shut up, not to answer. To run away as fast as he could but he couldn't get the words out. All he could see were the big black letters spelling out 'ARREST WARRANT' on the paper he held. This wasn't happening. This couldn't be happening. He was asleep, this was a nightmare. He was going to wake up next to Murphy in a minute and everything was going to be fine.

But it wasn't.

“Yeah, that's me. Are you a friend of Bellamy's?”

Kane ignored the question, instead motioning for Miller to take Murphy. “John Murphy, you are under arrest.”

“What?” Murphy asked, looking to Bellamy for some kind of reassurance. “This is a joke, right, Bell?” It had to be. Just like the first time. A terrible, ill timed joke that Bellamy was going to be making up for for weeks.

Bellamy shook his head, numb, “Not this time, Murphy.”

The cold metal cuffs closed around Murphy's wrists and he began to panic. This wasn't happening, it couldn't be. He hadn't done anything. He'd been good! Straight as a fucking arrow! Figuratively, at least, but this wasn't the time for crappy puns, what was going on? “What charges?” He managed to force out, trying to keep his voice steady.

“Four counts of murder.”

“You can't do this, Kane.” Bellamy tried. “This isn't your case.”

“It's not yours, either, seeing as how I've taken you off it.” Kane told him, coolly. “Honestly, Blake, sleeping with a suspect? You're lucky that's all it is, I could fire you, if I didn't like you so much.”

Murphy's veins turned to ice. “Suspect?”

“Murphy, I-” Bellamy began to defend himself but Murphy wouldn't let him.

“I'm a suspect? So, this whole thing was you trying to get close to me?” That couldn't be true. It couldn't be true. Please, for the love of god, tell me it isn't true.

“No! No, that's not it. Well, in the beginning it was but-”

It was. He was a suspect. Bellamy had lied to him this whole time. “You lied to me, then?”

“No! Yes? Kind of. Murphy just listen to me-”

“Fuck you.” He ground out, his teeth clenched. His eyes stung but he'd be damned if he cried in front of Bellamy. He had trusted Bellamy and the whole time Bellamy had been lying to him.

Bellamy shook his head, trying to stop this from happening, “Mur-”

Fuck you. You fucking lied to me. I fucking trusted you, Bellamy! You said you weren't going to arrest me again. You promised. And I was a suspect? This whole fucking time? So you dating me, that was just some ploy to, to what? Find some evidence? Or do you just like fucking around with all your suspects, huh? Do you tell them you love them, too? All this was just a fucking lie, then?” He didn't love Murphy. It had been a lie. He didn't care about him at all. He'd been trying to get evidence on him, to lock him away for the same crime Murphy had been trying to write about, and oh, god, he didn't do it. He couldn't have done it. He was a lot of things, but he'd never murdered anyone. He wasn't the bad guy but Bellamy thought he was. This whole time that had been all Bellamy saw when he looked at him. This was all fake. The first real relationship Murphy had had since getting out, since he had started to get his life together, and it was a lie.

Bellamy couldn't stop this, he should have told Murphy the truth from the beginning and he hadn't but if Murphy would just listen to him, please, “No! No, Murphy, I do love you, it's just, you were a suspect first and-”

“Shut up.” Murphy snapped. He didn't want to hear anything else, he couldn't bear to hear Bellamy try to justify it. He hadn't cared. Murphy was stupid to think he had, to think anyone would.

“Murphy-”

“I said shut up. You fucking lied to me, I don't want to hear it.”

“Just, listen to me-”

“No thanks. I think I'm done listening to you. In fact, I'd like a lawyer.” There was nothing left in him but numb, cold acceptance. This was really happening. Bellamy had betrayed him. Not once did he ever care about him. Murphy should have seen this coming. It always fell apart, he should have expected it. If he had, he would have prepared himself, and then maybe it wouldn't hurt so badly.

“Murphy, please-”

“A lawyer, Detective Blake.” Murphy's voice was as cold and hard as stone. Bellamy felt like his heart had been ripped out of his chest. He watched as Kane took him away, Murphy avoiding looking at him at all. Monroe gave him a pitying look as she left and Miller clapped a hand on his shoulder, a gesture meant to be reassuring but it didn't help at all. Bellamy felt like he was going to collapse.

His feet carried him down the stairs after them and he stood on the sidewalk watching as Murphy was shoved roughly into the back of a police car. He was being treated like a murderer, he was being arrested for a crime he didn't commit, Bellamy was sure of that, and it was all Bellamy's fault.

He sat down on the steps outside the building, no longer able to stand without falling over. Everything had just fallen apart right in front of him and he was the only one to blame. He held his head in his hands, knowing he couldn't do anything to help Murphy. He was off the case, it was over. Murphy was going to jail and he couldn't save him. Not that he had the right to, it was his fault in the first place.

He'd just watched the man he loved escorted away by cop car because he had been too scared to tell him the truth. Maybe if had have then Murphy could have defended himself, or at least he would know what was going on. But Bellamy had been selfish, he'd been so afraid Murphy would leave him he hadn't even thought of what might happen if he couldn't fix everything.

What the fuck had he done now?

And how was he going to fix it?

Could he?

 

Chapter Text

The room is dark and his coffee almost burns his hand as he holds it, clinging to it, the warmth comforting even if it hurts. Through the window he can see Kane's back as he talks to Murphy, who's sitting there, head down, withdrawn and scared and Bellamy wants nothing more than to run in there and comfort him but he can't. He shouldn't even be in here. He's not on the case anymore and he's risking his job just being in here, because no one would believe any excuse he could come up with, not now.

By now they've all heard about Detective Blake and his serial killing boyfriend and the looks he gets are full of thinly veiled curiosity and outright disgust. How could he, a man of the law, stoop so low as to be with a criminal of that caliber? It wasn't something that happened. But it had and because of that Bellamy stood there, watching Murphy, his grip on his coffee mug too tight and his empty hand clenched into a fist at his side because there was nothing he could do and this whole mess was his fault. So he stood there, watching and hoping for some sign that Murphy was alright.

He received none. Murphy was so very far from alright. After spending a week behind bars Kane had finally gotten a second go at him, the first that had been all defensive sarcasm and insults to Kane's sanity, -at least, that's what Miller had told Bellamy- but this was the opposite.

Murphy sat there, head down, arms pulled to his chest, and cuffs around his wrists. From what Bellamy could see they'd been rubbed raw, like he'd fought against them. He looked like he hadn't slept since he'd been arrested if the dark circles under his eyes were any indication, or, well, the one under his right eye, Bellamy couldn't see his left through the bruising. He'd gotten into a fight. The bandages around his knuckles proved he'd fought back but it didn't look like it had helped him out any. It seemed like that had been the last bit of fight he'd had left, the rest of it having been sucked out of him, leaving him with the look of a wounded animal. Terrified and withdrawn, pulled in on himself as though making himself smaller would save him from Kane's questioning.

Bellamy watched, Kane talking and Murphy refusing to look up. His mouth moved once in a while but Bellamy couldn't hear, the speakers had been turned off. He hit the button, allowing the sound of the other room to be broadcast.

Immediately, Bellamy regretted it.

“I didn't do it. I swear.” Murphy's voice was quiet and tiny, so unlike Murphy that it made Bellamy's heart ache. He was broken and pleading, but his words fell on deaf ears because Kane didn't believe him, and with the evidence they'd dug up, Bellamy couldn't blame him. But even so, Murphy refused to admit to the crime, instead sitting there, shaking his head. “I didn't do it.”

Kane opened the file in front of him, pulling out crime scene photos and setting them down in front of Murphy, slow and deliberate. “These are the people you killed, they had lives, and you took them away. Why?”

“I didn't-”

“I don't believe you. Look at these people, Murphy. Look at them.”

“I d-”

“Look at them!” Kane demanded, startling Murphy into looking up. His eyes were wide and terrified, “Look at these people and tell me why you thought they had to die.”

“They didn't.”

“I agree. But that doesn't answer my question, Murphy. Why are they dead?”

“I don't know.”

“You have to know. You killed them.”

“I didn't. Please.”

“Look at the people, Murphy.”

Murphy swallowed hard and nodded, looking down at the photos, turning away almost immediately, eyes closed. He looked like he was going to be sick.

“Don't like the look of your own handy work?”

“I didn't kill them, I swear I didn't kill anybody.”

“And somehow the evidence says otherwise.”

“Then why are you here?” Murphy didn't sound challenging or defensive like Bellamy would have expected, instead he sounded tired and drained.

“Because I'm giving you a chance here.”

“A chance for what? You don't need me to tell you anything. Like you said, there's enough evidence to put me away. What do you want out of this?”

“I want to avoid a trial, Murphy. I want to avoid the fuss and mess and just get it over with. I want you to confess so I don't have to deal with a circus.”

“But I didn't do it. I'm not confessing to something I didn't do.”

“Let me rephrase; I want you to confess and plead guilty, and in exchange for your cooperation I'll recommend a life sentence with no chance of parole.”

Murphy took a breath and licked his lips, that sounded like a shit choice, which only made him more terrified of what the other would be. “And if I don't?”

Bellamy's hand hovered over the button, he knew what was coming and he didn't want to hear it. The thought turned his stomach to acid and made him want to cry. He did this. This was his fault.

Kane sat back in his chair and shrugged, “We live in one of the few states that still practices capitol punishment. So, that's the most likely outcome of a trial.”

“The death penalty.”

“Yes.”

“But I-”

“Didn't do it. I heard. I still don't believe you.”

“Please-”

“I'll give you another week. Just enough time for us to wrap up any loose ends. By then you should have come to the conclusion that pretending like you're innocent isn't going to help in this case. Of course, if you haven't, well, we'll see about it then, won't we?” Kane's back was to Bellamy but he could practically feel the smug smile that he wore. He had this case all wrapped up, any jury would convict Murphy within seconds. It was hopeless. “It's up to you, Mr. Murphy. You can decide now or we can wait. It's up to you, but there is no other option here. You've been caught. You should have been more careful.”

“I didn't kill anyone.” It seemed to be all Murphy could say. He stared at the photos, close to tears. He reach a hand up and touched one, it looked to Bellamy like the first victim. “They didn't-”

“Didn't, what, Mr. Murphy?”

“How did they die?”

“You should know.”

“I don't. Please, did Emori, they didn't hurt her?”

“You killed her. I think that's pretty hurt.”

“Please.”

“Stabbed. Seven times. She bled out, slow and painful. All alone. All thanks to you.”

Murphy swallowed hard, shaking his head, “I didn't kill them. I swear. I never-”

“Yes, you did.”

“I didn't!” Murphy objected, raising his voice. “I didn't, I didn't. I never hurt them, I promise, I didn't do it. I loved her, I would never have hurt her.”

“Then who did?”

“I don't know, maybe you should be looking for them instead of sitting here with me?”

“Or maybe you should stop playing games? We've caught you. It's your knife, you're the only one with a personal connection to all the victims. You were clever, I'll give you that, cleaning up the first three crime scenes and then going after Detective Blake once you were caught, using him to find out what we knew about you. Tell me, what did you plan to do with him, exactly?”

“W-what?” Murphy's voice broke. His head was swimming. He didn't do this and he never used Bellamy for anything.

“Did you plan to kill him, too?”

“No!” Murphy shook his head violently. “I never planned to hurt him. I didn't use him. I didn't kill anyone. Just believe me, please!”

“But I don't.”

“Please-”

“That's enough.” Murphy's lawyer spoke up, rolling his eyes. Court appointed, had to be. Anyone else would have stopped this sooner.

“Whatever you say.” Kane shrugged, standing up. He left the file and photos on the table and walked out, Bellamy standing in the shadows of the dark room, holding his breath as he passed, not sparing him a glance.

Back inside the room, Murphy's lawyer sighed, “I'm going to go see if I can get you out of here.”

“And back to prison, right?” Murphy spat, but there was no venom left in him.

Look, kid, I'm just trying to do my job here, okay? Just sit tight, I'm going to see what I can do.”

“Whatever.”

The lawyer left, going after Kane and as soon as he'd passed Bellamy opened the door, slipping into the room and closing it quietly behind him, hoping not to draw their attention.

He turned around, smiling weakly when he noticed Murphy staring at him. The hatred in his eyes as he stared at Bellamy made his stomach drop. Right. Murphy was angry with him, and with good reason. “I'm sorry.”

The hatred didn't fade but Murphy looked away, tugging at his handcuffs. “A little help?”

“You want me to break you out?”

Murphy looked at him like he'd gone mad, “No, I wanted you to loosen my cuffs a bit. They hurt. Trust me, I'd rather die than go anywhere with you.”

“Right.” Bellamy nodded, walking over, fishing his own key out of his pocket. He took one of Murphy's wrists in his hand, holding it gingerly, afraid to hurt him anymore. Up close he could tell that Murphy's wrists weren't just rubbed raw, they were cut open, scabbed over scars lining them. He had probably panicked when they locked him up. “Fuck.”

“I don't like handcuffs.” Murphy said in way of an explanation.

“I know. I'm sorry.”

“No you aren't.”

Bellamy took the other wrist and loosened that cuff, too, not saying anything. He understood why Murphy didn't believe him. He deserved it. He must have held on to long because Murphy jerked his arm back, glaring at Bellamy. “Sorry.”

“Stop apologizing, it's annoying.”

Bellamy nodded, sitting down in the chair Kane had occupied moments ago. “You've been alright?” Obviously he hadn't but Bellamy wasn't what else to ask.

Murphy snorted. “No.”

“Of course not. Stupid question.”

“Yes, it was. Here's a better one: Should I be talking to you without my lawyer present?”

I'm not on your case anymore, Murphy, okay? Nothing you tell me is going to be used against you.”

Murphy scowled at him, “You think I'm stupid, don't you? Anything I tell you you'll twist around and go tell your buddy in there so he can lock me up for good.”

No, I won't. I'm on your side, Murphy.” Bellamy pleaded, trying to get Murphy to believe him. If he would give Bellamy something, anything to go on, to help him, he would. He got him into this mess, he had to get him out.

So you don't think I did it?” Murphy asked, sounding hopeful and hating it. He didn't want anything to do with Bellamy, but it seemed like he was the only one willing to help.

Bellamy looked down, the pictures on the table staring up at him. He picked them up, shoving them back into the file. Murphy didn't need to see them any longer, all they were was a scare tactic. Murphy was scared enough. No, Bellamy didn't think he was the killer, but he couldn't say he was certain about that. The evidence was there but Murphy looked so broken he couldn't believe this kid was a killer. A trouble maker, sure, but not a killer. “I want to believe you didn't do it. But you have to give me something, please.”

Murphy leaned back in his chair, handcuffs clanking against the table when he moved his hands. “What have I got to lose?” And then, the hatred he felt fading into exhaustion, “You really think you can help me?”

Bellamy hesitated, he honestly didn't know if he could or not, but, “I will do everything I can for you, Murphy. I promise.”

Alright, then.” It was more than he'd gotten from anyone else, “Where do you want to start?”

Tell me how you knew these people. I asked Monty but he said Kane had threatened to fire anyone who gave me information about you.”

They really took you off the case.”

I fell in love with a suspect, Murphy, it's not exactly approved.”

You slept with a suspect. You didn't love me, if you had've you wouldn't have lied to me.”

Bellamy wanted to object. He did love Murphy, honestly, but he didn't think it would help. He wasn't here to plead his case, he was here to listen to Murphy's, “The people, then?”

Right. The first one, the girl. Her name was Emori and we used to date before, um, before I got sent to Juvie. She was my Junior prom date. I kind of loved her, as much as any loser teenager could, you know? But, we broke up when I got sent to Juvie. She liked bad boys but not criminals.” Murphy laughed, hollow and bitter, “She didn't want to see me after I got out and I didn't push it. I hoped she'd want me back but she didn't, told Mbege to tell me she didn't want to see me again so I didn't. I haven't seen her in years. I thought she was in college, or traveling the world, it's what she used to talk about all the time. I guess she never got the chance.” Murphy sniffed and brought his hands up to rub at his nose, “Anyway, that's how I knew her. I haven't seen her in years.”

And the others?”

Conner and Miles. I was with them when I got arrested. I didn't know about the drugs, they didn't tell me. I had limits, you know? Shit like that can fuck you up, it wasn't my thing, but I didn't know and we got pulled over going to a concert. We weren't friends, just acquaintances that liked the same shit music, so when the cop searched the car they blamed it on me. Said they were mine. I tried to tell them different but Conner and Miles were good kids, no record, good grades, you know the type, and I, well, I'm me. So what else could be expected? No one believed me and that was the final straw. Juvie til I turned eighteen. Once I got out I stayed far away from them and people like them. I didn't even know they were still around this place, not until your boss told me so.”

Kane.”

Yeah, him. Again, I hadn't seen them since I got out.”

And,” Bellamy stopped, gritting his teeth. His partner was part of this, too, and while he didn't believe Murphy killed him, he couldn't deny the anger he felt, knowing that someone had, and right now all hands pointed to Murphy, “And what about Atom, the cop you ki- the dead cop?”

I didn't kill him, Detective.”

What did I say about calling me detective?”

Unfortunately I don't think it counts anymore. Bellamy's a little too personal for our relationship, don't you think?”

Murphy-”

I didn't know the cop's name. I thought he was just some beat cop, had the uniform and everything. He picked me up for breaking and entering. I had been researching a chemical company for an article, they were dumping shit in the river and they had records that showed it. I broke in but I tripped a silent alarm and he's the one who showed up, along with the CEO. Have you ever seen a CEO in their pajamas? It's a sight.”

I haven't. No.”

Anyway, I traded the files I took for my freedom and Atom drove me home. That's all. I didn't even know his name. I swear, if I had known, I would have told you from the beginning.”

Would you have?” Murphy didn't seem the type to trust cops at all, even when it could help him.

I would have the second I started trusting you. But, then again, maybe I shouldn't have done that. Didn't really work out for me, did it?”

I'm sorry.”

Forgive me for calling bullshit.”

Bellamy sighed and rubbed his face. Murphy seemed to have reverted back to their initial stage of meeting, only with more personal jabs and a real reason to spew them. He wanted to apologize but the glare Murphy gave him told him it was better not to. “And the knife?”

I lost it. A while back I kinda got pissed after Raven and I stopped talking and I threw it into some boxes. I just assumed that Mbege had thrown them away or something.” He'd hated himself for doing it, too, because Raven had cared enough to get him something special, that was one of a kind and a little dorky but it had meant a hell of a lot to him at the time and when he'd realized he lost it he had gotten pissed at himself. “I know it's a shit excuse, but I'm telling the truth. I lost the damn knife.”

It is a shit excuse.” Literally everything Murphy had told him was useless, none of it could prove his innocence because none of it could be proved. He could have killed those people and just said he hadn't seen them, who was to say otherwise? Dead bodies and a murder weapon spoke a lot louder than Murphy's pleading. “It's all your word against the evidence, Murphy. That's not good.”

I know. I know, but look, I know you talked to Finn, okay? Kane said so. You can't listen to anything he says, okay? He's a fucking jackass and he hates my guts. He's lying, so whatever he said just ignore it, okay? You can't trust him. Talk to Raven, she'll help me out.” He hoped. He hoped she didn't still hate him. He had only tried to help, but maybe he should have stayed out of it. They'd all still be friends if he had have.

Alright, but what happened between you three, exactly?”

Finn-”

What the actual fuck, Blake?”

Bellamy jerked around, mouth open with an explanation on his lips but it died when he saw Wells. “Hi, buddy.”

I'm not your buddy.”

Pal?”

No.”

Amazing DA that isn't going to turn me into Kane because all I'm trying to do is help my boyfriend because this is all my fault and if you close your eyes I'll be gone and you can pretend I was never in here?”

That I might be.” Wells agreed with a long suffering sigh. “But only if you're out of here before Kane and Mr. Murphy's lawyer get back in here. Which is going to be maybe five minutes.”

Okay, got it. I'm out.” Bellamy nodded, standing up.

Murphy panicked, “Wait!”

Murphy?”

You're going to help me, right? You aren't going to let them kill me for this, are you? I didn't do it, I swear to god I didn't, Bell, just please help me.” Murphy begged, terrified that once Bellamy left the room it was going to be all over, that Bellamy was going to cut his loses and leave him at the mercy of Kane.

Bellamy rounded the table, kneeling in front of him. He took Murphy's hand in his own, hoping to comfort him somehow, “No. No, I'm not. I'm going to do anything it takes to get you out, okay?”

Murphy nodded, eyes welling with tears he didn't want to shed because he didn't want Bellamy to see that. He didn't deserve to see Murphy weak, not after everything he did. It was bad enough that Murphy had to rely on him for help. “Okay.”

I'm going to get you out of this mess if it means I have to break you out and take you to Iceland, okay?”

Okay. Okay.” He couldn't say anything else because, yes, it was Bellamy's fault but Bellamy was his only lifeline here and he was going to cling to him because he had to have something to hold onto or he was going to drift away.

I don't think I should have heard that.”

I don't care, Wells.”

Just hurry up.”

Bellamy nodded and looked back to Murphy, “I'm going to fix this, I promise.”

You'd better.”

I will.”

“You've got less than two minutes.” Wells warned, watching the hallway with worry. “If he comes in here I'm letting you take the fall.”

Bellamy nodded, rushing, “I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for getting you into this mess. I will get you out, I promise you. I'm going to get you out.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. I love you, okay? It's going to be alright.”

“You don't. You lied to me.”

“I know, I'm sorry, I should have told you from the beginning, but please believe me, I do love you, Murphy.” Bellamy brought his hand up and cupped the uninjured side of Murphy's face, leaning in but he was shoved away the second their lips touched, Murphy pulling back and glaring at him.

“I don't believe you. You lied to me already, I'm not going to give you a chance to do it again. We aren't together anymore, Detective. Just because you're helping me doesn't mean anything. You got me in this mess, remember?”

Bellamy remembered. He wanted to stay and argue that he did love Murphy and this was a mistake and he was sorry but he didn't have the time. He couldn't be caught because then he wouldn't get to help Murphy. He stood up, giving Murphy one last look, feeling guilty for leaving him here when he could see just how bad he'd been affected by prison but knowing there was nothing he could do, and headed out the door Wells held open for him. “I might need your help.” He said as he passed by.

“Bring me proof and we'll talk. Real proof.” Wells told him. He wasn't against helping Bellamy, but he wasn't going to risk his career for him. They weren't that close.

“I will. I promised him I would.”

“You might have to break that promise.”

“I won't” Bellamy stated, clenching his jaw, taking his leave seconds before Kane came down the hall. He really hoped he could help Murphy. He had made a promise, but Wells had a point. He might have to break it, because what could he do now? All he had to go on was Murphy's friends, Raven and Finn and he'd have to be careful about how he handled that because this wasn't his case anymore. He couldn't get caught or he'd lose his job and any chance he had of helping Murphy.

He wasn't going to break his promise if it meant leaving the country with Murphy in tow. He meant it. He was going to help Murphy because he had fucked this up, he'd hurt him, and it was his job to fix it.

He just hoped he could.

 

Chapter Text

“Miller!”

“Oh, no. Hell, no.” Miller shook his head, turning around to walk back the direction he'd come from. He was not dealing with this, it was not worth it.

“Miller!”

“Nope.” He muttered to himself as he kept walking. He was not dealing with Bellamy today.

“Miller, dammit, stop! Miller!”

“I have things to do, Blake, I can't help you!”

“Miller, stop! Listen, it's about Monty!”

Miller stopped, turning around on his heel. “What about Monty?”

“Nothing about Monty, but now that I have your attention-”

“Go away.” Miller sighed, walking away from Bellamy once again.

“No, stop, look, it could be about Monty?”

“It's not.”

“No, it's actually about Murphy, but-”

“Stop. Stop right there. I am not risking my career for your love life. Move on, Bellamy.”

“I refuse. Help me.”

“No.”

“Please.”

“Stop following me.”

“Come on, Miller, please, I just have a question.”

“One question and then you swear to leave me alone?”

“Yes.”

“Fine.” Miller gave in as they turned the corner. “But if Kane finds out I told you anything, I'll kill you.”

“Great. I need to know who Finn and Raven are.” Bellamy told him, grinning. He was once step closer to maybe finding something that could help Murphy.

“Finn and Raven are the people we talked to before Kane brought Murphy in. Apparently Raven was the one who bought the knife for Murphy and they all used to be good friends. Used to be because they had some sort of falling out, Kane wasn't interested and the two fought the whole time we were there. I don't think they've gotten over it, honestly. Finn seemed angry about it still, kept shouting and I thought Raven was going to weld his mouth shut. Would have loved to see that.”

“So, they were Murphy's friends?”

“Yes.”

“Where are they?”

“The college. Engineering department.”

“Thank you.” Bellamy smiled, stopping, no longer needing to keep up with Miller.

“And Bellamy?”

“Yes?”

“That was three questions.”


 

“Room 103.” Bellamy muttered to himself as he walked down the hallway, scanning the door numbers. “Room 107, room 105, and room 103.” He nodded to himself and knocked on the door. It hadn't taken much to get the room number of Finn Collins, a sociology major at the school. All he'd had to do was show his badge and say please, which he was grateful for. Technically he wasn't allowed to be here, but he needed to be. Murphy had said to talk to Raven, but she'd been busy with a class and he'd been warned not to interrupt, so he decided that he should start with Finn.

The door opened, revealing a short man with long messy hair in nothing but a pair of pajama bottoms who yawned and looked at Bellamy like he wanted to kill him but was too tired to do it, “Yeah?”

“Finn Collins?” Bellamy asked, trying his best to look friendly and not like Murphy had just told him how much of a jackass this guy was only hours prior.

“Did you come all this way to ask my name? Because it's on the door and you could have saved us both some trouble by finding it. Can I go back to sleep now?”

“Uh, no. Sorry. I need you to answer a few questions for me.”

“I do that often enough in class. I'm going to have to say no. Find someone else to help you out.” Finn shook his head, closing the door.

“Hold on a second.” Bellamy demanded, stopping Finn from closing the door. “I'm Detective Blake. My, uh, partners, I guess, were here a few days ago?” He dug in his jacket pocket for his badge and held it out for Finn to see.

“The detectives?” Finn asked, furrowing his brow in concentration as he looked at the badge. “Oh, right. About the knife. What, did you have follow up questions or something?”

Bellamy nodded, “Yeah, I do. Would you mind if we talked for a bit?”

“Not at all.” Finn told him, opening the door wider and turning around, motioning for Bellamy to come inside, his attitude changing completely. “What do you need to know? And why aren't you asking Raven, she was the one who bought the knife, she'd know more about it than me.”

“She's in class, so I thought I may as well speak with you first.” Bellamy explained, putting his badge away and following Finn inside.

Finn nodded and sat down on his bed, rubbing a hand over his face and yawning, “Alright, ask away.”

Bellamy sat down on the bed opposite of him, the owner apparently being named 'Wick' if his wall was to be believed, and cleared his throat, “Right, so, the knife is Murphy's, but the people he killed, do you know of any reason why he would do that?”

“I don't know the people, Detective, you haven't told me their names.” Finn said, narrowing his eyes at him, “But I suppose, just in general, Murphy could have finally snapped.”

“Snapped. So, was he usually violent, or?” Bellamy prompted. He didn't know much about Murphy's past, only what Mbege had told him and what Murphy's police records showed. Overall it wasn't a pretty picture. He would have just gone straight to Mbege but he really didn't think that was a good idea. He didn't doubt Mbege had been serious about killing him.

“Back when I knew him, yeah. He got into a lot of fights, usually he had a reason for them, not always a good one, but a reason. Look, I'm sure by now he's told you a lot of shit about me, right? How I'm the reason we aren't friends anymore?”

Bellamy nodded a little hesitantly, not sure where this was going.

“Right, well, that's true. It's my fault. I was a kid back then and I did stupid shit and Murphy called me on it and I didn't like it.”

“Miller said you were very angry when he spoke with you.”

“I was. I am. Just, not at Murphy.” Finn sighed and pushed his hair back from his face, “I'm angry at myself for fucking things up. Not just with Raven and Anna, but with Murphy. He was a jerk, rude, loud, violent, but he was loyal. Had my back more times than I can count. I don't hate him. I am angry, and I rant about him, ask Raven, happens a lot, but it's not because I hate him. It's because I fucked up and I've got this stupid idea in my head that if I paint him as the bad guy then he really is and that would excuse my behavior but it doesn't.” Finn finished, looking up at Bellamy. “He was one of my best friends. I'm not helping you prove he's guilty.”

“That was very... Self aware.” Bellamy commented, lacing his fingers together. This wasn't what he'd expected, but he could work with it. If Finn wasn't willing to help prove Murphy guilty, then maybe he'd be willing to help prove him innocent.

“Yeah, well, I've got a therapist, we're working on it.”

“I see. Do you think,” Bellamy paused, trying to find a way explain himself without coming across as desperate or unprofessional. He shook his head, unable to find the words to phrase it and sighed, “I'm just going to come out and say it, do you think that Murphy could have been framed?”

“Framed?” Finn repeated, blinking at Bellamy. “By who?”

“You tell me.”

Finn bristled, “You think I did it?”

“I didn't say that.”

“No, but that's why you're here, right? Look, I was angry at Murphy, we fought, we stopped talking, that's all. That was years ago. Honestly, if I wasn't completely sure he hated me I'd probably find him and apologize. He was my friend, Detective. I wouldn't do something like this. I wouldn't kill people and I certainly wouldn't do it and then frame Murphy.”

“I'm just chasing every potential-”

“I don't care. I didn't do it, neither did Raven if that's why you're wanting to talk to her. We cared about Murphy, both of us, as hard as it may be to believe, and we'd never hurt him like this.” Finn told Bellamy, his voice steady but firm. “Now I think you need to leave.”

Bellamy nodded, standing, “If you think of anything-”

“I think that Murphy finally snapped, Detective. I think everything finally caught up with him and he broke. It's sad, it sucks, I feel bad for the guy, but that's probably what happened. He needs help, but I'm not going to help you put him away, no matter what you find out, so please, don't come by again.”

“Fair enough.” Bellamy agreed, leaving the dorm room. “Thank for your time.”

“Whatever.” Finn huffed, beginning to shut the door, he stopped about half way, looking at Bellamy, “Get him some help, okay? If he did this- He doesn't have the greatest track record, but killing someone is a little extreme, even for him. If he did do it, then he needs help more than he needs a prison cell.”

Bellamy nodded and watched the door close. That hadn't helped him do anything other than rule Finn out. If he had done it, he certainly wasn't letting on to anything, so it was best Bellamy just pursue other leads for the time being.

He walked back out to the courtyard, Finn's words echoing in his head. Murphy wasn't a killer, Bellamy didn't believe he had it in him, but Finn knew him better, maybe he was right. Maybe Murphy really had done this. If that was the case then there wasn't much Bellamy could do for him. He hoped Finn was wrong. Murphy being a murderer was something that Bellamy just couldn't believe, but he had to wonder if that was less because he was sure of Murphy's innocence and more because he was desperate to believe in it.


 

Bellamy took a deep breath once he'd exited the building, hoping the air would help to clear his thoughts. It didn't, not even close, and he blew it out in an angry huff, pissed that he was even considering that Murphy might not be innocent. If he wasn't then what was all of this for? He may as well just go back to the station and let Kane yell at him about needing a new partner before he got a new case. He should just drop it and let it go if he was so willing to believe that Murphy had done it.

Murphy who had wormed his way into Bellamy's life probably without meaning to. He'd wanted a story, just a story, and he'd ended up with Bellamy wrapped around his finger, if it turned out he really was the killer, Bellamy had decided he didn't care. He'd find a way to get him out regardless and they'd leave the country. He wasn't giving up on Murphy just yet. He couldn't. He loved him too much to do that, even if it looked like Murphy was never going to want to be with him again. Once the case was over and Murphy was proven innocent they could work it out, and even if Murphy never wanted him back, at least he'd be free and that was what mattered. Bellamy had made this mess, he'd been the one to hurt Murphy, he was going to fix it, even if it cost him his job.

He looked at his phone, checking the time. Raven should be out of class by now, the receptionist having told him when she should be expected to finish. He wasn't sure where he should start looking for her, but he figured he may as well start near her class building.

“You the detective?” He was asked as soon as he got to the front door. The woman asking had a backpack slung over one shoulder and a look that made Bellamy want to run away. He liked it, reminded him of Murphy, but in a more refined way, like she's walk all over him and he'd end up saying thank you. She was exactly what he'd expect from a friend of Murphy's.

“Yes, ma'am. You're Raven Reyes?”

“The one and only. You catch the guy who framed Murphy?” She asked, getting straight to the point.

Her bluntness and assumption that Murphy had been framed threw Bellamy through a loop, leaving him struggling to understand, “Why do you think he was framed?”

Raven shrugged, adjusting the strap of her bag and walking off, expecting Bellamy to follow. “He's Murphy. I've known him since he was thirteen, he's not a killer. A grade-A jackass, but not a killer. The worst he'll do is give you a few broken bones and slash your tires.”

Bellamy nodded, “Okay, so, who do you think did it, then? Because I have no suspects left and I'd really love it if you could help me out here.”

“Really? Isn't it your job to prove he did it?”

“It's my job to catch the killer.”

“So you don't think it's Murphy?”

Bellamy shook his head, grabbing the door to the main building for Raven, “All the evidence points to him, but I don't believe it. I was hoping you or Finn could help.”

“Have you already spoken to Finn?” She asked, making her way to the school's cafeteria.

“Yes, he wasn't much help, though. He said something about Murphy finally snapping, but that was about it.” Bellamy told her. “He thought I was accusing him of framing Murphy.”

“Were you?”

“A little bit, maybe.”

“Here, sit. I don't want to go back to my dorm, my roommate's probably asleep.” Raven sat down, sitting her bag down beside her with a heavy thud. “Right, well, Finn didn't do it. He's been too busy, anyway. When he's not working on his own project he's bugging me with mine. Not that I mind.”

“You two argue a lot?” Bellamy pried.

“Usually. He's coming to terms with a lot of things and he's not dealing with it well. It doesn't excuse his behavior, he knows it, and I refuse to let him get away with it. He's got a temper. It takes a lot to set it off, but once it comes undone he still hasn't figured out how to deal with it healthily. He's a peacemaker, marches in protests, starts petitions, but after the incident with Murphy, he kinda came undone.”

“Undone enough to commit four murders?”

“No. No way. Look, Detective-”

“Blake.”

“Detective Blake, Finn made mistakes, he was a kid, that doesn't mean he's automatically forgiven, he knows that, he's trying to make amends now, but he didn't deal with it well at the time. It was like he was a time bomb, he'd never gotten angry before, not that I had seen, anyway, but after what happened, he lost a lot. He lost Anna and me, romantically, at least, we'll always be family, but he also lost Murphy. He won't admit it, but he didn't have many friends, not real ones, anyway, but Murphy was one of the few and he cared about him a lot. The fact that Murphy wouldn't stop and listen to him, didn't trust him, everything just kind of piled up and he snapped.”

“Snapped?”

“He didn't kill anyone. He and Murphy did fight, though. Real bloody, too. I don't know which one was more fucked up over it, afterwards. He just snapped and went off, but he wasn't a violent person, not really, and he wouldn't kill anyone. It's just not who he is.”

“Is it who Murphy is?”

“No.” Raven shook her head. “Murphy's troubled, but he's a good reason. When I met him he was violent and acting out, that's why he was enrolled in the program by Mr. Mbege, it was supposed to help him.”

“What program?” Bellamy asked, curious to learn more about Murphy's past. They hadn't exactly spent much of their time talking about the past, aside from a few stories, but it had been lighthearted and fun. This was different. Bellamy was a little worried about what he would find out.

“One of those programs they have for foster kids, you know, counseling by older volunteer foster kids who'd been in the system before. I was one of the volunteers. It's where I met Finn, when I was fourteen, his parent's were foster parents and they'd taken in a lot of kids. Finn had been going to the sessions with a friend of his. She was scared of going alone and so he went with her. It was sweet.

“Murphy came along two years later, some scrawny, bloody knuckled kid who picked a fight with anyone who even dared look at him. He wouldn't talk to anyone except to hurl insults and tell them he didn't need to be there, that he wasn't broken, he was just smart enough to know it wasn't going to last. He was wrong about that, all of it.

“He only calmed down after he tried to fight Finn and I ended up kicking his ass. This tiny little thirteen year old brat, it was hilarious, honestly, the way he fought. He didn't hold back for anything, I think he was trying to fight the world one person at a time.” Raven laughed. “But he mellowed out after a while and we became friends. He hung out with us when he went to the sessions, sometimes dragging Mbege along, but Mbege never seemed to like us much. I don't think he liked sharing Murphy, honestly. I remember in school one year Mbege ended up beating the shit out of three dudes for picking on his little brother. He didn't come out unscathed, though, and it was me who patched him up. He made me swear not to tell Murphy about it.

“We were friends for a few years, but other than the sessions and sometimes at school, we didn't really see each other. We had different extracurriculars, I guess. Murphy would get into trouble with the cops and Mr. Mbege would pull him out of jail, never yelled at him. I think that's what Murphy was trying to get him to do, though. I don't think he understood that he wasn't going to be hit or shoved around for fucking up. Good parenting didn't sit right with Murphy. Mbege was more than happy to sit right beside him in the police station, too. Not to say that it was all Murphy's doing, Mbege could be a little shit, too. He was just smarter about it. Aside from the time that Murphy spent with us, those two were attached at the hip. Probably still are.

“But, we were all stupid kids and stupid kids make mistakes. Finn cheated on me and Murphy found out. He ran to me, didn't give Finn a chance to explain or anything, not that he deserved it. He told me and everything got all fucked up. I broke up with Finn, Anna broke up with Finn, Murphy and Finn fought, it got out of control and I ended up having to pick sides, you know? Except Murphy didn't really give me a choice. He left, stopped talking to us both, stopped coming to the sessions. Got himself arrested a few months later and ended up in Juvie for it.” Raven sighed, disappointed, “I never thought he'd fuck up that badly.”

“He's doing better now.” He assured her. Or well, he was, until Bellamy ruined everything for him.

“I know. I didn't tell Finn, but I saw him a while back, less than a year ago. He was at a protest rally, I think it was to stop some kind of big oil company but I can't remember exactly, Finn drug me along with him but he'd gotten lost in the crowd, I don't think he saw Murphy.

“He was happy, though. Shouting with everyone else. He was with some guy named Richards. His first name was Derek or Dalton, one of the two, but Murphy called him Richards. Said they'd been together nearly a year and he was happy. It was probably the best relationship he's ever had. I mean, aside from dating Emori and having a crush on Finn, I don't think he had many relationships.”

“He had a crush on Finn?”

“Yeah. He didn't know that I knew but it was kind of obvious. I think that was one of the reasons he was so pissed that Finn was cheating on me.”

“Because he liked Finn?”

“Because it wasn't him Finn was with. A bit heart broken over it, I guess.”

“He wanted Finn to cheat on you with him?” Bellamy asked, not really following the logic there.

“No. No, he didn't. Murphy's jealous, but he's not selfish, he was very supportive and it was cute, actually. I think he figured he cared about both of us so he'd rather Finn and I be happy than his crush be requited. Then Finn fucked that up for someone completely out of the loop. Someone neither of us even knew. He was upset by it, and I think that's why he fought with Finn.”

“And why the reaction was so extreme.” Bellamy nodded, understanding. “Now, this Richards guy, do you know where I can find him?”

“Is Murphy not still with him? I thought they were in love. At least, that's what Murphy told me.”

Bellamy scowled, ignoring the flare of jealousy that flared up over that bit of information, “No, they aren't.”

“Shame. He seemed really devoted to Murphy. A little over the top about it, in my opinion, slightly creepy, but Murphy was okay with it, at least, that's how he acted.” Raven shrugged, “I don't know where to find him, but you're a cop, so shouldn't you be able to do that?”

“Yeah. I should.” He agreed, hoping he could convince Monty to help him out with it. “I think I should probably get on that now. Thank you for your time.” He stood up, smiling at Raven. “You've been very helpful.”

“No problem.” She waved him off. “Just get that brat out of there, okay? He's not a killer, not him.”

Bellamy nodded and walked away, pulling out his phone and dialing Monty's number. He hadn't found anything here, but maybe Richards could point him in the right direction. If not, then he needed to book plane tickets for Australia or something.


 

“Derek Richards, twenty-two, lives in an apartment uptown, he's got family money, doesn't have a job that I can find, dropped out of college two years ago to do, well, I don't know. He keeps to himself a lot.” Monty rattled off the second Bellamy walked through the door to his tech lab. “He doesn't have a criminal record, either. Nothing there. Finn, too, aside from a couple small charges from before he was eighteen, joyriding and an assault charge, there's nothing.”

“The assault charge?”

“Nothing big. A scuffle that ended up with the cop's being called. More of a disturbance of the peace, really.”

“So Finn's clean.”

“Squeaky.” Monty confirmed what Bellamy had already expected.

“And Richards?”

“Nothing that I've found so far.”

Bellamy let out a frustrated sigh, running a hand through his hair. “And there's really nothing?”

“Nope.”

“And you searched everything?”

“Everything I'm legally allowed to. There's nothing there that will make Wells give you a warrant for either of them, let alone enough to make an arrest.”

Bellamy sat down on one of the couches Monty had somehow managed to convince the department were necessary and let his head fall back, defeated. “I don't suppose you can get me a list of prices for plane tickets to Australia?”

“One way trip?” Monty asked, turning back to his keyboard, “And I'm assuming you'll need two of them?”

“Uh-huh.” Bellamy confirmed but didn't look up.

A few seconds later Monty spoke again, “Only about two thousand dollars, your career, your life, and potentially your freedom. Is Murphy worth that?”

Bellamy took a deep breath before raising back up, nodding, “Yeah, to me, at least.”

“He's more important to you than your career? That you have worked so hard on and have finally gotten where you want to be? More important than your life here, your freedom, financial stability, house, friends, all of that? You'd be willing to start all over, on the run, with a serial killer?” Monty asked, his voice holding no accusations, only curiosity.

Bellamy thought for a second, the idea of leaving everything behind didn't appeal to him in the slightest, but he couldn't just let Murphy go to prison. It wasn't right. Murderer or not, Bellamy couldn't lose him, not like that. “I would be willing. I don't want to, but, fuck, Monty, I've gotten myself in deep and I don't know how to get out of this. I don't even know if I want out.”

“Well, do you know what you do want?”

“I want to prove he's innocent. I want to make all of this disappear and go back to the day we met and not tell Kane about him. I want to pretend none of this happened at all. I want to wake up and find out it was just a shitty dream and he's there laughing at me for it. I just want him back, Monty. I didn't want this to happen. I fucked up big time here.”

“No shit.” Monty muttered before swiveling around in his chair to face Bellamy, “Okay, how about we get your mind off of it, then? You could come out with me and Jas tonight for drinks, yeah?”

“I don't know. I just-”

“Want your serial killing boyfriend back. Yes, you mentioned that. Look, Bell, the case is over. Atom's killer's been caught. You got played, don't beat yourself up about it.” Monty tried to reason with him. He didn't think it would work, but it was worth trying before he did anything else.

“I didn't get played, Monty. Murphy is not the killer.” Bellamy told him, firmly. He had to believe it. He couldn't stand to think otherwise.

“How can you be sure?”

“I just know.” Bellamy huffed, frustrated because he couldn't provide Monty with any actual proof. He had none. Nothing but desperation and a gut feeling that was probably guilt.

“Are you sure you aren't just being biased?”

“No.” He probably was being biased, actually, he just didn't care. By this point, he was too far in to back out.

“Are you going to need my help again?”

“I don't know, Monty.”

“Well, I'm here if you do.”

“What, no speech about how you'd be risking your job?” That was a first.

“You got me this job. If it weren't for you I'd have ended up burning out or getting locked up myself. If you need my help, I'll do it. Even if it isn't legal.” Monty told him, his words holding implications Bellamy wasn't sure he wanted to know about.

“What do you mean by that?”

“I mean that you don't have enough to go on to get a warrant. But maybe if you had something else, you might.” Monty explained.

“Something else like what?”

“I don't know, but I can try to find something. Maybe. I don't know what I'd be looking for, but between Richards and Finn, I'm sure I could find something, at least enough to get you a warrant.”

“Like an alibi for Murphy?” Bellamy asked, his hope returning, though still dampened by the huge mess around him.

“And proof that one of the other two doesn't have one.”

“You'd do that?”

“Of course I would.” Monty said, sounding a little offended that Bellamy would question him. “I'll just need some time. In the mean time, you should visit Richards. I'll send his address and number to your phone?”

“Please do.” Bellamy nodded, standing up with a smile. “Thank you, Monty, for helping me.”

“Yeah, of course. You've got my help, and Jasper's, too, if you need it.”

“Yeah. Thanks.” Bellamy told him again, leaving. He felt better knowing he had at least a couple allies on his side. It made this whole mess seem a little easier to navigate, now that he wasn't completely on his own in this. He worked better when he wasn't alone.


 

Murphy swallowed hard, his back pressed to the wall. He was sure his ribs were bruised, if not broken, and he had one of his eyes squeezed shut, trying to keep the blood trickling down from the cut on his head from getting in it. He held his arms up, his knuckles bruised to the point that making fists hurt him worse than the blows that were sure to come if he didn't. He wouldn't surrender to these assholes, he was stronger than that.

“Look, he's still got some fight left in him.” One of them laughed, his voice rough, like he'd been smoking nonstop for the past decade.

“Just doesn't know when to give up, does he?” Another one spoke up, but he was out of the line of Murphy's good eye, so he couldn't tell who it was. It sounded like the bald one.

“Then we'll just have to teach him, won't we?” The one in the middle, the biggest one and the one Murphy had come to fear most spit out, stepping closer to him.

Murphy struck out, his fist making contact with the man's chest but it did no good, he didn't have much strength left in him. He wondered where the guards were. They were supposed to be around, weren't they? He looked around, taking his eyes off the men in front of him. That proved to be a mistake with the leader grabbed a fist full of his hair and forced him to look back at him.

“I don't know who you're looking for. Nobody's coming to save you.” Murphy tried to get away but his struggle was futile, “Oh, don't be so rude. We just want to be friends.” He laughed, raising his fist and bringing it down. Pain exploded across Murphy's face. “Just real. Good. Friends.” Each word was accompanied by another blow and Murphy began to think he should have kept his mouth shut.

He stopped struggling, not having the energy left, only letting out pathetic whimpers as blow after blow came until he was finally thrown back against the wall, the men leering at him as they left, one of them giving him one last kick, sending him crashing to the floor.

Murphy took a shaky breath, his chest hurting with the effort. He laid there for a moment, trying to gather his bearings before sitting up and leaning against the wall. This was much different than Juvie. These guys weren't just screwed up teenagers. They wanted to break him, and they were succeeding. Murphy didn't want to think of what would happen once he broke. He wouldn't survive much longer in here, he knew that.

He also knew it was Bellamy's fault. Bellamy who he had trusted, who had told him he loved him, said he wanted to keep him. Bellamy who had fucking lied to him. He never loved him. He was just lying to him to get information so he could lock Murphy up in here for something he didn't do. Bellamy had been lying since the beginning and Murphy had believed him.

Murphy pulled his knees up to his chest, tears stinging the backs of his eyes. Bellamy said he loved him but it had been a lie. He should have known it was. No one loved him, no one could. Murphy had been stupid to trust Bellamy. To trust a cop. To trust someone who said they cared about him. He should have known better.

But he knew, even knowing now that it was a lie, he would have bought into it a second time. He wanted it so badly, wanted to believe Bellamy, but Bellamy had never cared for him.

The tears stung as they rolled down Murphy's cheeks, trailing through the blood and dripping onto his shirt. Murphy sucked in quiet breaths, hating himself for not being able to hate Bellamy. For wishing Bellamy were there, that he'd bust in and save him and they'd be together again and this would all just go away. He hated that he believed Bellamy when he said he loved him and when he said he'd help him. He believed it, even though it was a lie.

It was a lie. It was a lie. It was a lie. It was a lie. He said he loved him but it was a lie. Nobody would love him, he deserved to be in here. All he ever did was make life hard for people. He should never have believed Bellamy. Murphy could have loved him back but it was a lie. It was a lie. It was a lie. It was a lie.

Murphy let the tears fall, he hadn't cried in years, but he couldn't stop it now. Everything had fallen apart right in front of him even though he'd tried so hard to be good. He was going to die in here, and he knew he deserved it. He should have died years ago, or just not have been born, because if he hadn't have been born his dad would still be alive and his mom would still be happy and everyone would have been better off. He deserved to die, because they were right. He was a murderer, he'd killed his family. His father by getting sick, for being the reason he was out that night, and his mother, she wasn't dead that he knew of, but she may as well have been. The mother he knew had died that night alongside his father, leaving nothing more than an empty shell that reeked of alcohol. He'd killed them, and he'd hurt so many people and he deserved this. He did. He deserved to die here.

Murphy choked back a sob and buried his face in his hands. He missed his father, missed his mother, and Mbege and Craig. He wondered if they even knew he was in here, or if they even cared. Probably not. They'd had to deal with him long enough they were probably glad to be rid of him. He wondered what his father would think of him, if he could see him now, a blood stained orange jumpsuit probably wasn't what he'd pictured when Murphy had been born. That was okay, Murphy was used to disappointing people. They probably would all laugh at him if they could see him. But even so, Murphy missed them. He missed Bellamy, too, even though he shouldn't. He wanted him to be here, to hold him and tell him he was going to be alright and that he loved him. To lie to him again and make it better. That wasn't going to happen, though. Bellamy didn't care. Murphy was going to rot in here and Bellamy couldn't care less.

Murphy wiped his face and stood up, stumbling over to the sinks, feeling more alone than he ever had before.

 

Chapter Text

Bellamy stood outside the apartment building, finally deciding to give up and accept that nobody was home or he was being ignored. He couldn't do anything about either of those things, not in his current position of 'not supposed to be here.' He'd told Kane he was investigating some small crime that had come in, honestly he hadn't even looked at it, just signed his name on the file and shoved it into the hands of a rookie who's eyes had lit up like it was Christmas. The kid probably had been stuck doing desk work for months, Bellamy had made his entire week by letting him take the job, simply telling him that if Kane asked, he did it, and if anything got fucked up, he'd strangle him with his own over-pressed tie.

That had given him an alibi so he could work on finding someone who didn't have one. Richards had dated Murphy about a year ago, Raven said, so if anyone would know who would have been around at the time to frame Murphy for these murders, Bellamy was betting on it being Richards. At least, that was his safest option. Going to see Mbege and Craig, either one, was a terrifying thought and Bellamy was trying to avoid it. He didn't want to have to admit to them that he was the reason Murphy was in jail, that he'd done exactly what Mbege had said he would. He hurt Murphy and he wasn't sure he would try to stop them if they decided to kick the shit out of him for it.

However, that option was starting to look more and more like his only one, since no one was answering the door. Monty had sent him both an address and a phone number so Bellamy could still call, but he wasn't going to hold his breath that he'd get an answer.

He retreated to his car, pulling his phone out and dialing the number, hoping someone would pick up. He was running out of options here and he really needed a miracle or something. Anything that could help him prove Murphy's innocence, even if it was something small, just enough to cause someone to doubt the guilty verdict so they could look at it again and find another suspect, because there had to be one. Bellamy needed there to be one.

The dial tone rang in his ear, each ring chipping away at the small amount of hope he had left. Five rings in, the tone was replaced by a voice, a confused, “Hello? Who's this?”

Bellamy smiled wide, believing that he may still have a chance at this, and answered, “This is Detective Blake with the police department. Is this Derek Richards?”

There was a pause and Bellamy was worried that he was about to be hung up on but then, “Yes, that's me. Why are you calling me? Has something happened?”

“I'm investigating a case and I need your help. It can't really be discussed over the phone, I'm afraid, so is there somewhere I could speak with you?”

“I suppose, if it's important. May I ask what the case is about, at least?”

Bellamy debated telling him, was it worth it? Would he flat out refuse if he knew? Murphy was his ex, after all, and Bellamy didn't know anything about the circumstances surrounding their breakup, but he was willing to risk it, because if he didn't, then the guy may end up refusing to meet him. “Like I said, I can't say much, but it's regarding John Murphy and-”

“What happened to Murphy?” Richards cut him off, sounding a little panicked, “Has he been hurt?”

Well, yes, he had been, but Bellamy didn't think that was the best thing to say. “No, he's, well, he's a suspect in our case and I was told you and he were close-”

“He's a suspect? For what?”

“I can't really talk over the phone, Mr. Richards, I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but is it possible for us to meet up somewhere to-”

“Yes. Of course.” Richards said, still sounding concerned. “Where?”

Bellamy looked up through his window, not sure where to tell this guy to meet him. Bellamy squinted, looking at the sign above the coffee shop across the street and trying to read the curly script, figuring that was about as good a place as any, and it would hold a lesser chance of being caught by Kane or anyone else. “Capulus Locus?” He asked, his nose scrunching up in disgust. It sounded like one of those annoyingly pretentious coffee shops, the kind that prided itself on having organic beans from unpronounceable countries and gluten free cups or something.

“That's across from my building. Are you- Never mind. I'll be there.” Richard agreed, then, “Is he alright?”

“He's in jail.” So, probably not. “I don't know much more than that.” That was a lie, he'd seen Murphy when he was in the interrogation room. He'd spoke to him. Murphy wasn't alright, far from it, but he wasn't going to tell Richards that. He didn't need more problems and he felt that might end up being one.

“I'll be there in a few minutes.”

“Thank you.” Bellamy hung up the phone and sighed, both relieved and terrified. If this worked out and Richards could help him find something to clear Murphy's name, then all would be well, or at least, not as shitty as it was currently, but Bellamy had to face the possibility that this wouldn't turn up anything at all and he'd be back to square one, with nothing left to do except accept that Murphy was a killer. He wasn't sure he was ready to deal with that right now.

He left his car, it wasn't worth the gas to drive the half block to the coffee shop, and walked it, nearly choking on the smell of coffee when he walked inside. Bellamy enjoyed coffee, he did, but this was ridiculous. And Murphy had made fun of him for being pretentious about his coffee. He'd love to see the look on Murphy's face if he ever saw this place.

The menu board boasted several different roasts, none of which Bellamy could pronounce, he wasn't sure they were even real words, and the look he got from the barista made him reconsider just ordering black coffee and hoping for the best. She looked like she'd kill him if he dared order anything with a name less than eight syllables.

He gave her a polite smile and chose a table close to the back, far away from the other customers clustered around the windows, he didn't want anyone over-hearing his conversation, and waited, amusing himself by imagining all the sarcastic comments Murphy would be making about this place we he there.

'This décor is amazing, it's like a look into the mind of Holden Caulfield.'

'This coffee is almost as bitter as my high school math teacher. I'm impressed.'

'That man looks like the type to spend eighty dollars on a shirt and then say he got it at a thrift store. I think that's beautiful.'

Bellamy sobered as he remembered that the only reason he was here was because Murphy was in jail, potentially facing a life sentence if Bellamy couldn't find a way to fix the mess he'd made for Murphy. Maybe then he could bring him here just to laugh at everyone. They'd probably get thrown out, but it would be worth it.

Bellamy closed his eyes, letting his head fall back. He missed Murphy. He missed his sarcastic comments and inappropriate innuendos made just to rile Bellamy up. He wanted him back. Wanted to be able to hold him close and watch movies on his couch again. He wanted to wake up next to him and spend breakfast poking fun at how much sugar he put in his coffee. He wanted this mess to be over, and when it was he was going to apologize and beg Murphy to take him back and if it worked he'd spend the rest of his life making sure Murphy knew he'd never let him get hurt again. He just wanted to fix this. He had to fix this somehow. He hadn't known him long but the journalist had become an important fixture in his life and Bellamy needed him back, needed to know he was safe, not locked up in a cell going through god only knows what, all because of him.

Bellamy didn't deserve Murphy's forgiveness, he knew that, not after doing this to him, not after being the one to tell Kane about him, not after lying to him, hiding the real reason for spending so much time around him. He didn't deserve it, and he should just forget about the possibility of Murphy ever taking him back after this, but he couldn't. He was clinging to it, needed to, and he was far too selfish to let go of it.

“You look stressed. Guess being a detective isn't as easy as it looks on TV?”

Bellamy opened his eyes and sat up straight, forcing himself to adopt a more professional look, “Derek Richards?”

“Just Richards, please.” The man requested, sitting down in the chair opposite Bellamy, a steaming cup of coffee in his hands. “Is there something I can do to help Murphy?”

“I'm hoping so. Look, he's our only suspect, and every bit of the evidence points to him, but-”

“But you don't think he did it, right? And so you're here trying to do what, exactly?” Richards asked him, “I'll help in any way I can, I love John, but I really don't understand what I'm supposed to do. If he's gotten into trouble, I know nothing about it. I haven't seen him in a couple months, so I don't know anything about what he's been up to.” Richards sounded pained saying that, like it hurt him to have to admit he couldn't outright help him. “If he needs to be bailed out or something, that I could help with. Is that something I can help with?”

“No. No, Kane's got him with no bail.” His reasoning was that Murphy had managed to fool a cop, he was too dangerous just to be let out. That, and Murphy had no actual family in town, since he wasn't technically adopted by the Mbeges and therefore wasn't actually Mbege's brother. He had nothing keeping him from running. “I just, would you mind helping me out by maybe telling me about him? And if you know about anyone who would want to frame him, maybe?”

“Yes, sure. But frame him for what?”

“Four murders. They think he's a serial killer, think he's been killing people.” Bellamy explained. “Do you think he'd be capable of that?”

Richards paled, his fingers tightening around his coffee cup. “Serial murders.”

“Yeah. Some people he used to know, and someone we assume caught-” Bellamy couldn't bring himself to say Murphy, “the killer, caught the killer off guard. A police officer. Wrong place, wrong time, as far as we can figure.”

“Oh.” Richards nodded, taking a sip of his coffee. “And uh, these people, can you tell me their names?”

Bellamy bit back a 'Why?' and nodded. What was the harm? The case would be open to the public soon enough, anyway, “Yeah. Emori, Conner, and Miles. And Detective Atom.” Maybe Richards would be able to help him if he knew who the victims were. At this point, Bellamy was willing to tell this guy anything if it meant it helped him get closer to helping Murphy.

Richards nodded then fell silent for a few moments, staring at his coffee with a pained grimace on his face.

“Did you know them-”

“No. No. That's not it. I know of them, though.” Richards tapped his fingers on the side of his cup, swallowing hard, “Is it terrible that I'm not unhappy they're dead? Not the officer, of course, I know nothing about him, but the other three?”

The question caught Bellamy off guard, and he frowned, “Well, I think that would depend on why that is.”

“Murphy told me a lot, in the time we were together, about his record and the things he'd done, as well as the people he'd known back then. He talked a lot, about his mother and about Mbege, there weren't any secrets between us. I never judged him for any of it, I understood, I loved him and he knew it. I know he knew it.

“Murphy told me about Emori breaking his heart, how she wanted a bad boy until he was too bad and she didn't love him anymore after that, and about how he didn't blame her, but honestly? He should have. He should have been angry that she hurt him, but he wasn't. I didn't understand at the time, but after we broke up, I thought about it a lot and I realized that he didn't get mad because he thought he deserved it. He didn't expect anyone to love him for long and he just accepted it.

“Then Conner and Miles did what they did and ruined Murphy's life. Murphy didn't do drugs, he didn't sell them, either. He had nothing to do with it but they pinned it on him. He never graduated because of them, and forget college. They fucked up his life, Detective. I can't help but feel like they deserved it.” Richards told him, refusing to meet Bellamy's eyes. “They hurt Murphy. Being stabbed a few times is not even close to what they deserve, don't you think?”

“No, I don't. No one deserves that.”

“But you don't know how bad it was. You don't know how bad Murphy was. How fucked up he was when we got together.” Richards looked up at him, his eyes hard, “He didn't believe he deserved to be loved after everything. Do you know how many times he tried to get me to leave him because of the things he'd been through? Because of the people who had hurt him? He expected it. Wanted it. He couldn't comprehend someone actually wanting to stick around him and it hurt to watch that.

“Do you know how much it hurts to know that no matter how many times you tell someone you love them, no matter what you do to prove it to them, they're never going to believe you? I loved him, I still do, I always will. He was everything to me, but he didn't believe he deserved it.

“Those people, the ones that caused him to be like that, that hurt him so badly, I don't feel bad for them. They deserved it. I imagine you've been around Murphy at least a little bit, right?”

“Yes.” Quite a lot, but he wasn't about to say that to the person who'd just confessed their undying love for his -ex?- boyfriend.

“Then you know how he is. How hard he is, how rough and rude, like he's ready to fight the entire fucking world, right? He's not. He's not hard at all. He's broken and tired and scared to death that he's going to end up alone because he's hurt so many people. At least, he believes he has, but he hasn't. They're the ones who hurt him. He deserves better than that. He deserves a little revenge, but he's not going to seek it out for himself. He's not that person, try as he might to get people to believe he is.

“He's been through hell, Detective Blake, and I feel no pity for the ones who put him through it. They deserved it, whoever did that to them, they did something good for Murphy. They stopped those people from being able to hurt him again.” Richards finished, dropping his gaze back to the table, “But it wasn't Murphy who did it.”

“Then who was it?”

Richards shrugged, “I don't know. But when you find out, let me know. I'll pay their bail and shake their hand.”

Bellamy sucked in a breath, this was not what he had expected. He had expected an angry ex, or maybe even a sympathetic one, not one who was still in love with Murphy, and especially not one who was all for the murder of innocent people, no matter what they'd done. But, even so, Bellamy couldn't help but want to pry. To know why Murphy had left him, if only to satisfy his own curiosity, “So why did you two break up? It sounds like you loved him a lot.”

“I did. I do. I still worry about him a lot, too. I guess it's for good reason, with all of this happening.” Richards said, “As for why we broke up, I don't know, exactly. Murphy said he was going through a lot of stuff and he didn't want to get me involved because it wasn't fair. I don't think he realized that I wanted to be involved. I wanted to help him. But he left, said we just weren't working out, that he couldn't love me like I wanted him to and that he needed to leave. That he'd be better on his own for a while.

“I let him go, I figured he'd come back when he was ready. I called him in the beginning, but he never picked up. Whenever I tried calling his friends, they only told me that he had moved on and wanted me to stop calling. I didn't believe them, I still don't. I don't think they wanted Murphy to be around me anymore. They were just jealous.

“And I think he thought that I was unhappy with him, with the way things were between us. I wasn't. I tried to help him, to care about him. I did what I thought he wanted me to, but I guess it wasn't enough. I really did love him, I was even considering asking him to marry me, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but he left before I got the chance.” Richards smiled sadly, “I still have the ring in my nightstand, in case he comes back. I know he'll come back, when he's ready. He just needs some time to sort himself out. That's alright. I'll wait as long as he wants me to.”

Bellamy wasn't sure how to reply to that. This entire conversation was awkward and a little disturbing to him, but this was the best lead he had at the moment, so he could put up with Richards obsession if it meant he got a real lead. “I'm sure he will.” Not. Ever. Why would he do that? Bellamy cleared his throat, wanting to be done with that part of their conversation, he was really sorry he'd asked. He changed the subject, “But, right now, do you know of anyone that Murphy spoke of that might want to frame him for this?”

Richards thought for a moment before nodding, “Finn Collins. Murphy talked about him a lot. Said he one of his best friends at one point, but then he'd ended up hating him. It really fucked Murphy up, knowing Finn hated him as much as he did. He told me what happened, it was Finn's fault, but he blamed Murphy. If anyone would try to hurt Murphy, it would be him.”

“I see.” Well, that meant he was back to square one. He'd already spoken to Finn, there was nothing there he could go on. He could get Monty to check into him more, but it felt like he was just grasping at straws. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” Richards smiled, standing up, “And hey, next time you see Murphy, tell him I said 'hi' and that he should come down to my studio when he gets out. I think I'll have it finished by then.”

“Studio?” Bellamy asked, also getting up from the table. Monty had said he couldn't find any information on what the guy did for a living, but maybe Bellamy could find out. He was already planning on having Monty check this guy out further, he just rubbed him the wrong way, and any extra information could be helpful.

“I'm a photographer. Or at least, I'm trying. I just started out, but I really love it. I figured I might as well do something with it. I'm looking for a studio right now, but I should be able to find one an get it fixed up before he gets out, considering how long it takes the police to do anything productive, no offense.” Richards explained, “So tell him to stop by, alright?”

“I'll pass the message along.” No, he wouldn't. He wasn't going to even mention this guy the next time he saw Murphy. He wanted to forget all about him, there was something deeply unsettling about him. It made Bellamy's skin crawl, but it very well could just be jealousy.

Richards gave him one last nod before walking away and exiting the shop, leaving Bellamy standing there, feeling vaguely disturbed and very disheartened. Richards had been his last lead, but that had only lead him right back to Finn. Maybe there was something he'd missed? But Finn hadn't seemed like he was the type to kill people. An asshole, yeah, kind of, but not someone who would frame someone for murder over something that happened in high school. That was a little far fetched. And Raven had given him an alibi. No, she hadn't given him any exact times, but he was willing to bet it wasn't Finn who did this.

Bellamy left the shop, feeling like he'd just lost Murphy for good and all because of some annoying, unhelpful, disturbing ex-boyfriend that was still obsessed with Murphy. No, that couldn't be right. It wasn't fair, dammit!

Bellamy growled, kicking his car's tire in frustration. He'd looked at everyone, aside from Craig and Mbege, but there was no way either of them would do this, not if it would hurt Murphy. No, it was just Finn, the guy with anger issues but was 'working on it,' and Richards, the guy who said he was glad that people had been fucking stabbed to death, but surprisingly, he couldn't get a fucking proper lead from either one of them!

Wait.

That was it. That was what unsettled Bellamy so damn much about the guy.

Never once in their conversation had Bellamy mentioned how the victims were killed. Sure, it could have been a lucky guess, but that paired with his reactions to their deaths? That went from unsettling the downright fucking suspicious, easily.

Bellamy felt a grin spread across his face, he had a lead.

He had a fucking lead. A real reason to investigate someone, not just someone to question in hopes of finding a suspect, but an actual suspect. If he had less restraint, he would have probably done a victory dance right there on the street, but as it were, he prided himself on being a respectable member of law enforcement and waited until he was inside the car to do that.

Once he'd calmed down enough to actually do something about it, he called Monty, eagerly waiting for him to pick up.

“Green.” Was the answer he got, Monty sounding sleepy and disoriented. He heard a sigh in the background and almost laughed.

“You and Miller working on a case?”

“No, he's down here hiding from Kane. I don't know why, I didn't ask. All I know is he makes a very nice pillow. Did you need something?”

“I found a clue.”

“That's great. Find two more and I'll get you your very own thinking chair.”

Bellamy snorted, “Right. Anyway, I need you to do some digging on Richards for me.”

Sure.” Monty answered, “Give me a couple hours, I'll see what I can find for you.”

I'll talk to Wells in the mean time, see if he'll give me a warrant. Maybe I'll get lucky.”

Doubt it. But no harm in trying.”


 

“How'd you know I was in here?” That's the first question Murphy asks when Jaha sits down in front of him, somehow having known exactly where to find him and then taking it upon himself to actually visit him inside this hellhole, making him the first person to do so and Murphy wasn't sure how he felt about that. Jaha was his mentor, someone he didn't want to disappoint, and now he was sitting across from him, smiling as though they were discussing a story over lunch instead of sitting in a jailhouse visitation room with a guard listening to their every word.

“You missed our meeting, you never miss our meetings, so I went by your house yesterday to check up on you. Your landlord told me what happened.” Jaha explained, “How are you?”

“Not good.” Murphy answered honestly. He held up his cuffed hands, “They're very fond of bondage here.”

Jaha looked at him for a moment, his smile fading, “What happened, John? You were doing so good-”

“I didn't do anything, I swear.” Murphy stopped him. “This is a misunderstanding, Jaha, I swear. I am doing good, but... But they think I murdered people and they've got me locked up here because they've got evidence against me somehow but I swear I didn't do it. I swear I never hurt anybody, I wouldn't. I'm doing better, I'm being better, and this is a mistake but they said they're going to put me away for life, or death row if I don't confess and, I swear, I didn't do it.” If there was anyone he didn't want thinking he was a murderer it was Jaha.

Jaha had been the one to offer him a job, the first person outside of his family to actually believe in him, to believe he could be something other than a violent punk. He was the closest thing Murphy had to a father since Mbege's father had passed, a weird uncle, maybe, but the specifics didn't matter, Murphy couldn't stand the idea of disappointing him, and the look he was giving him, Murphy couldn't take it. He could take being beaten by a bunch of criminals, he could take Bellamy lying to him, but he couldn't take disappointing the one person who actually believed he was worth something.

“I swear I didn't do it. I didn't kill anyone.” The words were more of a plea than a statement, Murphy practically begging Jaha to believe him. He hadn't killed anyone, he wasn't- He was doing better now. He actually cared about people, and Jaha knew that, or Murphy thought he did by now. Murphy wasn't a killer, a jerk, sure, but not a killer.

Jaha nodded slowly, looking at Murphy sadly, “Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Okay, you didn't kill anybody.” He clarified. “Look, John, I know you, I trust you wouldn't lie to me, I believe you. If you say you didn't do it, then you didn't do it.”

Murphy sighed, lips quirking into a smile, the first time he'd smiled in since this started, relief flooding his veins. Jaha believed him. He trusted him. He wasn't disappointed, he didn't hate him, he still thought he was good. “If only the police did, too, yeah?”

“Have faith, John. You didn't do this, right? Then someone else must have. They'll figure that out. Just have a little faith in them.”

“They won't. Somehow they've got enough evidence against me to convict so it really doesn't matter if I have faith in them or not. It's over. I get that, I've made peace with it.” Honestly, it was for the best, he might not have done this, but eventually he would have fucked up again. It was just in his nature. He'd have ended up in here sooner or later. At least, that as what he was telling himself, it made it a little easier to accept. “I just don't want you or my family, I don't want you believing I did it, okay? Just, don't let them believe I'm a killer.”

“So you haven't spoken to them yourself?” Jaha asked, a little shocked. He would have thought that Craig and Mbege would have been the first people Murphy called. “Have you spoken to anyone?”

“No. I don't want to,” Murphy shook his head, “I don't want to bother them, you know? I've caused enough trouble for them both. They don't need me to fuck things up anymore than I have. They won't want to be bother by me, anyway. Not with this.”

“They care about you-”

“That doesn't give me the right to burden them with my problems.”

“I think that's exactly what it means, John. They're your family, they love you. I guarantee that if they knew they'd be down here in an instant.” Jaha said, reaching out to take one of Murphy's hand in his, squeezing gently and Murphy swallowed hard, tears stinging the backs of his eyes. He hadn't been touched without the intent behind it being to harm him since Bellamy in the interrogation room, and that didn't really count because it had been a lie, and here Jaha was trying to comfort him, believing him, despite having no reason to. It was too much. “As for them not wanting to be bothered, why not give them that choice?”

“Because they're happy right now. Everything's going great for the first time in forever. Mbege's shop is doing great, Craig just moved in with him for good, despite refusing to admit they're together because they're both emotionally stunted idiots, and they're happy, Jaha. I don't want to stop that, and something like this, it would do that. It's not fair of me to do that. I'll be fine. Just, they'll find out later, after this is over.” Murphy paused, swallowing thickly, “Just, just don't let them believe I really did it, okay?”

“John-”

“Please.”

“Okay.” Jaha agreed. “But you're going to get out of here. It's not going to happen like you think. You didn't do this, they'll figure it out. Have faith.”

“Faith isn't going to make my case any stronger.”

Jaha snorted quietly, nodding, “Alright, but speaking of cases, do you have a lawyer? Because my son is one, and he doesn't generally take cases like yours, but I'm sure he'd make an exception. If you want, I could talk to him?”

“No. No, thank you. I have a lawyer, he's pretty good.” He was terrible, actually, but Murphy knew exactly who Jaha's son was. He'd been in the interrogation room when Kane had come back to tell him again that he had a week, now only a few days, to confess or he'd face the death penalty. Wells had been the one to stay after Kane left and assure him that, despite what Kane may say, that wasn't going to happen, but Murphy wasn't sure he believed him.

Jaha nodded, falling silent, staring at Murphy like he pitied him, like he had something to say but he was trying to find the gentlest way of breaking it to him. Murphy had seen that look before, he'd seen it the day Jaha had told him that Alie was considering firing him if he didn't bring in a bigger story. She'd never liked him, and they'd both known that was the reason, but Murphy had agreed, and spent weeks searching for the right story, finally stumbling across Bellamy's crime scene and into this mess.

“What is it?”

“John, I don't know how best to tell you-”

“Then just say it. Trust me, it's not gonna hurt me.” At this point, he didn't think anything could.

Jaha frowned, nodding, “I told you that your landlord told me where you were, right?”

“Yeah?”

“He also told me that having the police barging in and making a ruckus at seven in the morning was not something he would tolerate. And that renting to criminals was something he was against entirely.” Jaha told him, his tone cautious. “He said that when you get out, you'll need to find a new place.” Jaha was paraphrasing, the original statement was not something he felt like repeating.

“I see.” Murphy sat back with a sigh, “Well, I don't suppose it matters, you know. I don't think I'll be getting out anyway.”

“You will.”

“I don't think so.” Kane had made it very clear that they were going to convict him, that the evidence was all there, and that they were just waiting for a trial. He wasn't getting out. Despite what Jaha said about faith, Murphy wasn't going to buy in. It would just end up making it worse when he was convicted. Whether he did it or not didn't matter anymore. It looked like he did and that was all that mattered. “So, any other bad news?” He joked, raising an eyebrow. Jaha said nothing and Murphy's expression sobered, “What is it?”

“Alie-”

“I'm fired, aren't I?”

“I'm sorry, I tried to talk to her, but-”

“She's been trying to find a way to get rid of me since the beginning and now she has a reason, right?” Murphy laughed bitterly, ignoring the way he felt like floor had fallen away from him. “Again, doesn't matter. Not getting out, so, whatever.”

“You'll get out, John.”

“Not without a miracle and I don't believe in those.”

“Maybe you should try.”

“I did. For years, Jaha. Faith is what you have when you have nothing else. I know, been there, done that, it didn't really work out for me then, I don't think anyone's going to be listening now.”

Jaha started to say more but he was stopped by the guard warning them that their time was up. Jaha sighed, squeezing Murphy's hand once more, “Just, try to hang on, okay? Don't give up on it just yet.”

Murphy nodded, “I'll try.”

“Will you?”

“No.” Murphy forced a smile, standing up, “I'll see you around.”

“I'll be at your trial, okay?”

“If you want.” Murphy shrugged.

“I do. I'll see you then, John. It'll all work out. You might not have faith, but I do. You're a good person, things will work out for you.”

Murphy wasn't so sure Jaha was right, but he said it with such conviction that Murphy found himself wanting to. “Yeah, maybe. Thanks for coming here.”

“Of course. Take care of yourself.” Jaha told him, walking out of the room, leaving Murphy alone with the guard.

Murphy took a deep breath and let her escort him back to his cell, feeling like he'd just jumped from a plane only to find that his parachute had been cut. Even if he did get out of this mess, what did it matter? His apartment, his job, it was gone. Everything he'd worked so hard for, everything he'd been so proud of, it was gone. His life was gone. He was back to square one, like he'd never even tried to be good in the first place. All that work, all the struggling and the forcing himself to wake up and work towards something, knowing it would be worth it, it wasn't. It was all gone. He had nothing to return to.

He heard the bars close behind him, leaving him alone with his cellmate, a quiet man, the one person who wasn't trying to kill Murphy in here. Which was a great thing because Murphy was never getting out. He wasn't sure he wanted out. What did he have left out there? Not a job or house or Bellamy. Craig and Mbege were better off without him, anyway, so what did it matter?

It didn't. It didn't matter at all. Murphy was going to end up here eventually, it was where he was headed from the day he killed his father. It didn't matter at all.

So why the hell did it hurt so much?


 

The door swung open, revealing a very tired, very displeased man, glaring at Bellamy like he was solely responsible for everything bad that had ever happened in the world. “I do not have time for you to beg me to help your serial killing boyfriend right now, I'm buried under a mountain of paperwork already for Kane and this case. I cannot help you. Go away.”

Bellamy shook his head, pushing past Wells and entering his office, “I need your help.”

“Did you hear anything I just said?”

“Yes, but I'm blatantly ignoring it in favor of pretending you welcomed me in because you love me so much.”

“That's not- You know what, fine. Beg, plead, whatever, I hope you don't mind if I actually do my damn job while you do that.” Wells told him, closing the door and taking a seat behind his desk, picking his pen back up. He liked Bellamy, they were friends, but he really needed to learn when to give up on something.

Bellamy shrugged and stood in front of his desk, determined. He needed a warrant and he was going to do his best to convince Wells to give him one. If he could get that, then he could search Richards' apartment while Monty looked for anything else they could find and by the end of the day they might actually have enough to put together an actual case against him and get Murphy out of jail. Hopefully. That was the plan, anyway. “I need a search warrant.”

“And I need a vacation.”

“I have a suspect.”

“So does Kane.” Wells didn't look up from his paperwork as he countered Bellamy. He had too much work to do to deal with Bellamy right now.

“Mine's guilty.”

“I assume you have proof?”

“Not exactly.” Bellamy confessed with a grimace. “But if you give me that search warrant, I can get some.”

“That's not how it works.”

“Of course it is. You give me a warrant, I break down his door, which is going to be incredibly enjoyable, then I find some evidence, we arrest him, bring him in, there's a trial, he gets convicted, Murphy's free, we get married, the killer's caught, everything works out perfectly in the end. It's like a fucking Hallmark movie, Wells.”

“Do you even know how the system works?”

“Yes. I just explained it.” Bellamy nodded, knowing that was not even close to how it was going to go. He wasn't here for a lecture, though, he just wanted a warrant. For once, something was going his way and he really, really wanted that to continue.

Wells sighed and set his pen down, looking up at Bellamy, “That's not how it works and you know it. I can't just give you a warrant for nothing, Bellamy. I can't just dispense them like a vending machine. I have superiors, too, and I have to answer to them.”

“I know you do, but this is important. Just make something up. Just this once. Please, Wells? I'll owe you big time if you do this for me.” He just wanted to save Murphy. He knew that he was being unrealistic and unfair, asking Wells for this, but he had to at least try.

“I'm not going to lie for you.”

“I will do anything, anything at all. I'll walk your dog-”

“I don't have a dog. I have a cat but I don't think he needs to be walked.”

“Wells, please!”

“Bring me probable cause and we'll talk.” That was the only way Wells would risk getting him a warrant. Kane was already pissed at Bellamy and Wells wasn't about to risk his career, too. He'd worked too damn hard to get where he was. He wasn't going to risk that much for Bellamy's crush.

Bellamy broke, “I can't, okay? I can't! I don't have anything right now but please, Wells, I'm telling you, something's off about this guy. And Monty's going to find something but by that time who knows what might have happened to Murphy.”

“No! Now stop asking! Look, you got the guy. You did good. It's over. Forget about him and go home. Atom can rest in peace now. Just stop looking for something that isn't there.” Wells told him, angrily opening another folder, hoping Bellamy would take the hint and leave.

He didn't. “Wells, I swear to god, I know Murphy didn't do this.”

“Yeah? You got proof to back that up?”

“Not yet, but-”

“No, Bellamy. No buts. You've got a crush and it's clouding your judgment. Murphy's a killer, that's all there is to it.”

“I know he isn't! Please just help me out here!” Murphy couldn't be, Bellamy wouldn't believe it. Not even Wells could convince him otherwise.

“I can't! You know I can't!” If Wells could then he would in a heartbeat. He wasn't needlessly cruel, nor was he one to just dismiss Bellamy's judgment. If he thought there was something fishy about Richards, then there probably was, but that didn't change the fact that he needed proof before he could justify getting him a warrant. As good of a detective as Bellamy was, he was still going to be held to the same rules as the rest of them. If he got Wells proof, then he could get him a warrant, but the judge wasn't just going to hand one over to Wells just because Bellamy had a feeling. It didn't work like that.

“They're hurting him, Wells! He's not going to survive in there, you saw him, didn't you? He's hurt and it's my fault and I really need your help. Please.”

Wells sighed, wishing he could help. He understood, he did, Bellamy cared a lot for this Murphy guy, and this was important to him, but he couldn't just magically make a warrant appear. If he could, then he imagined his job would be a thousand times easier. “Bring me proof.” Wells requested before giving Bellamy an apologetic look, “Look, Bellamy, I want to help you, I really do, believe it or not. You're my friend and seeing you like this, it isn't something I enjoy, okay? I want to help you, but I can't just hand you a warrant and let you do whatever the hell you want. It doesn't work like that. Bring me something to work with, something more than just a gut feeling and I promise, I'll get you that warrant. Swear I will.”

Bellamy nodded, giving in. It was worth a try but he hadn't actually expected it to work. He just wasn't able to sit around doing nothing while he waited for Monty. He had to do something, and trying for a warrant had been that thing, but it hadn't worked. “Proof. I can do that.” Maybe. If Monty found something for him. Which he didn't doubt. If anyone could find something it was Monty.

“Can you?” Wells wasn't mocking him, he really wanted to know, because if Bellamy was sure, then he might as well start the paperwork now.

“I hope so.” Bellamy told him, turning to leave. With his hand on the door he paused, looking back over his shoulder, “Sorry.”

Wells shrugged and waved him off. Bellamy was one of the only people who could get away with barging into his office and interrupting his work with few consequences. It happened at least once per case. Bellamy didn't have a lot of patience when he felt he was right about something. “I get it. Just next time, a little less shouting, if you can manage it.”

Bellamy left, making a mental note to take Wells out to lunch for putting up with him during all of this. Normally Wells would have just kicked him out of his office the second he started shouting -it had happened before- but he seemed to be making an exception this time, even if he wasn't going to outright say it. Wells would help him, he knew he would, but he wasn't going to do anything that could sabotage his career, and Bellamy understood. Two months ago he would have been the same.


 

“I was just about to call you down here.” Was the greeting he received when he entered Monty's computer lab, the young genius grinning excitedly.

“So you found something?”

“Yeah.” He nodded, motioning for Bellamy to follow him to his computer.

Bellamy did, raising an eyebrow at the couch, a sleeping Miller snuggled under a blanket. “He does that a lot?”

“Often. I don't mind. I generally finish with my work quickly, and he comes down here whenever he doesn't have a case or when he's hiding for Kane-”

“Or when he misses you.” Bellamy teased.

“That, too, but, that is not important. I think this time it was because he and Harper were on a stakeout last night and instead of going home he came here to file paperwork and ended up down here.” Monty laughed, bringing up a program on his computer. “It's not much, but it could almost kinda, sorta, maybe if you tilt your head and squint, possibly prove Murphy had an alibi.”

“That sounds like a long shot.” Bellamy muttered, not feeling very hopeful anymore.

“All we have are long shots.” Monty reminded him.

“Fair point.” Bellamy conceded, “Show me.”

Monty clicked through some files, finally bringing up one for Bellamy to see. “These are Murphy's phone records.”

“Okay?”

“About fifty-three minutes before Clarke estimated the time of the first murder to be, Murphy ordered food from that pizza place, that's like, twenty minutes from his apartment, really nice cheese pizza. There's a box on the table if you want some.” Monty pointed behind him.

“You bought pizza?” Bellamy asked, raising his eyebrows at the box on the table.

“I felt it was a necessary expense, solving this case would be a lot harder without it.”

“You bought pizza and the department paid for it?”

“Yes.”

Bellamy looked around the room, noting Miller sleeping on the couch and the box of pizza surrounded by scattered coffee cups and empty soda cans, “Did you even go home last night?”

“Nope.” Monty shook his head, “Now, according to Murphy's internet history, and some records that I shouldn't have been able to access, so we aren't going to ask how I know, okay?”

“Okay.” Bellamy agreed, knowing it was better if he didn't know, anyway. His favorite thing about have a reformed hacker as their tech guy was that he tended to find more than anyone else would have, even if his methods were questionable.

“From that point until two hours after the murder, Murphy was watching Netflix. Now, I talked it out with Jasper earlier and we agreed that sure, it's possible he left it to run, but Netflix does have the check in feature, and you have to confirm you're still watching after a while. I, personally, don't think it's possible that he did it, but Jas brought up the point that he might have just left it to run and it just didn't register the pause.”

“That doesn't help my case.”

“Yes, it does. He could have still committed the murder, but I don't think so. Not Conner's. It's incredibly unlikely that that is what happened.” Monty finished.

Bellamy stared at the screen, not feeling very happy with what they had. Kane could easily rip through that alibi. It was flimsy, but it was something. “Okay, so there's an alibi for Murphy, but were you able to prove Richards was there?”

“Better. I can prove he's the killer.” Monty told him, smiling proudly.

“How?” That was the best news he'd heard all day. If Monty could prove that Richards did it, at least to the point of causing them to doubt Murphy's guilt, than maybe everything would work out.

“As far as I can tell, Richards has no actual alibi. Granted, Murphy's is flimsy, too, but Richards has none. He lives alone, and no one stopped by. I can't say he wasn't at home, but I also can't prove that he was. That, and I'm pretty sure there's only two types of people that Google 'how to remove bloodstains,' 'where are the main arteries,' and like, eight different searches involving 'John Murphy' in a three hour period, and those are stalkers and murderers.”

“So which one does Richards fall into?”

“Both is my guess.” Monty turned to Bellamy, “So, think that's enough?”

“I think it's enough to get Wells to give me a warrant.” Bellamy smiled.

“Yeah?” Monty asked, returning his smile.

“Maybe.” Bellamy nodded. “Thanks, Monty.” He told him, ruffling his hair as he left, laughing at the boy's indignant protest.

Wells had said he needed probable cause, and Bellamy hoped this counted. It was all he had, and he was going to run with it as far as it would take him. Maybe it would be enough to help Murphy.

 

Chapter Text

“So?” Bellamy asked, looking at Wells, expectantly.

Wells had been staring at the emailed screen shots from Monty for what felt like hours to Bellamy, even though the clock told him it had only been about three minutes. He wanted the warrant as soon as he could get it and he was practically vibrating with anticipation because he was finally going to be able to prove Murphy was innocent just as soon as Wells gave him a warrant and he couldn't wait to get Murphy out of jail and be able to hold him and apologize and explain everything and make sure he was okay. Murphy had to be okay.

Finally, Wells nodded, “I think so. I might end up having to exaggerate a little bit, but I think I can get you a search warrant.”

Bellamy grinned, clapping Wells on the back, “Thank you. I owe you one.”

“You owe me several, actually, but I'm not keeping score.” Wells told him, standing up from his desk, “But you had better be right about this, because if you're wrong, it's not just your ass on the line.”

“I know,” Bellamy told him seriously. “I swear, Wells, I know this guy did it. He had to have.”

Wells looked at him for a second before sighing, “Alright. I'll go talk to the judge.”

“I'll wait here.”

Wells gave him an exasperated look, considering telling him to go to his own desk, but deciding against it. He shook his head with a sigh, “Don't break anything.”

It took two hours of nervous pacing around Wells' office before the door opened again, Miller stepping inside, Wells behind him, both of them frowning.

For a second, Bellamy thought something was wrong, but then Wells said, “Miller is going to be accompanying you to the house, since you technically can't go alone. The judge believes it was him who asked for the warrant, so it's his ass on the line if you fuck up. Don't fuck up.”

Bellamy nodded solemnly, well aware of how serious this was. If he was wrong, then not only him, but Monty, Jasper, Wells, and Miller were in trouble for helping him. But he wasn't wrong. He couldn't be, not this time. “Thanks.” He knew he should probably say something more, maybe even write a speech about how grateful he was to them, but he didn't have the time. Maybe later.

“Monty said you'd need help,” Miller shrugged, heading out the door, expecting Bellamy to follow, muttering under his breath that, “Fucking adorable, manipulative hackers are going to get me fired one day.”

Bellamy smiled to himself, making a mental note to do something really nice for Monty for doing this for him. If there was anyone he could count it was him. He owed them all big time when this was over, he'd be paying for this for years and he still wouldn't be able to convey how grateful he was to them for helping him fix his mistake. It made him feel a little sentimental, knowing he had so many people willing to put their jobs in jeopardy to help him, but he shoved it down. Now was not the time. “Your car or mine? And who's driving?”

“Mine, and I'm driving,” Miller told him. “You can sit next to me and give me directions. I'll even give you one of those cute Junior Detective stickers if you're nice.”


 

Less than an hour later they stood outside the door to Richards' apartment, waiting for an answer to their knock. They had gotten the doorman to allow them inside, one flash of their badges was all it had taken, and now they stood, waiting, Bellamy shifting his weight from foot to foot impatiently.

“You want to just open it up?” Miller finally asked, deciding that if the door hadn't been answered by now, it probably wasn't going to be answered at all.

Bellamy nodded, trying the door handle first before shrugging and stepping back, aiming a kick at the door's handle, the lock giving way and swinging inwards, banging against the wall. “I love doing that.”

Miller snorted and shook his head, drawing his gun from it's holster, “Yes, because it was so necessary. It's not like we could have asked for the key.”

“That would have involved making a trip downstairs and wasting time,” Bellamy reasoned, drawing his own gun and following Miller into the apartment.

They cleared the living room quickly before splitting up, Miller going through the kitchen and Bellamy heading towards the bedrooms, taking care to check the hallway before he went down it.

He cautiously opened the door to the first room, his eyes scanning the space, it seemed like a normal enough bedroom, a bed and a dresser with a few articles of clothing scattered across the floor, but not much else. He entered and opened the door to the closet, checking inside, and under the bed. Prior experiences had left him to believe that it was better to look in the most ridiculous of places than it was to end up with a gun to your head. Then, deciding that if anyone was there he would have found them, he moved on, leaving the door open behind him.

The next room was about the same, except it was cleaner and showed no signs of being lived in at all. A guest room, he assumed. He repeated the process of checking everywhere someone could hide, not risking taking any chances, and left, heading towards the last room at the end of the hall.

He turned the knob and pushed, letting the door swing open slowly, tightening his grip on his weapon when he saw what was inside.

He stood there, staring at the contents of the room, wondering if he'd stumbled into some b-rated serial killer slasher film, because that was the only place he'd ever seen something like this. He'd expected a lot of things, maybe some bloody clothes or something, but not this. This was...

Well, he wasn't sure what to make of it. It simultaneously shocked and underwhelmed him.

Cork boards lined one wall, pictures of crime scenes lined the other, everything was meticulous and neat, like some kind of horrible hobby room. Pinned to the first cork board were pictures of the first three victims, taken from school yearbooks, surrounded by more recent photographs all seemingly taken without the knowledge of the people in them. They'd been stalked by this guy, stalked and murdered. They each had a photo taped above them of their bodies, lying in pools of blood, looking at the camera with terrified eyes. Bellamy could feel their fear, their desperation, and it turned his stomach.

Taped off to the side, not quite fitting in with the rest, was a newspaper clipping. Bellamy recognized it, it was taken the day he and Atom had solved their first big case. He'd been cropped out of the photo, but Atom was still there, smiling wide, proud of himself.

Bellamy had been proud of him, too. The kid had gone from rookie to hero in one day, holding his own in the field and even saving Bellamy's life when what was supposed to be a routine call turned violent. Bellamy had gotten shot once, in his shoulder, the bullet passing through and leaving little damage. Not much left but a scar and an ache when the weather was cold, but if it hadn't been for Atom, he would have died in that warehouse, frozen by shock and fear, unable to even drawn his weapon. Atom had been his friend, his partner, and here he was, a side note in some sick bastard's obsession. It wasn't right.

He reached out, not quite touching the photograph of Atom's body, rage boiling in his veins. Atom had deserved better than this. He was a good cop, a great friend, and his death had been pointless. He hadn't even known Murphy, hell, knowing Atom, he'd probably even tried to help him out, but he'd been killed nonetheless. A side note. An accident.

He looked away, hoping for something less horrific, but what he found on the second board was no less disturbing. Four other victims, the first two he recognized as Finn and Raven, and the third one he didn't. A girl, maybe in her late teens, the paper underneath her picture read 'Charlotte, Foster Sister,' was the only one surrounded by the stalker-esque photos that the other victims, save for Atom, had. Bellamy was willing to bet that she was the next one he'd planned to kill before he'd killed Atom.

Bellamy studied the photographs, until he was finally able to place where the last two were taken. The girl was standing in an empty parking lot, near fifth, the same one that Bellamy had been in when he'd met Murphy. The same one Atom had been murdered in. That explained at least one part of the creepy puzzle that filled the room. Atom must have interrupted Richards, stopping him from killing the her. Or at least, that was what Bellamy was assuming based on what he could see. They'd find out for sure during the trial.

He took a couple steps and then froze, staring at the fourth photograph, pinned up after Raven's. The man was smiling, the photo taken at the academy's graduation ceremony. Bellamy didn't quite understand it, he didn't know why his photo would be on the board, too, but there he was. 'Bellamy, Ex-boyfriend,' was what his label said, and he wondered how Richards knew that. How he knew that Bellamy had been with Murphy, even for such a short time. It was unsettling. Richards meant to kill him, too, just like he'd killed Atom and all the others.

It wasn't that Bellamy had never had his life threatened before, that wasn't what shook him so hard, but he'd never once felt like he deserved it. Granted, he wasn't about to offer himself up or anything or the sort, but he knew why he was up there. He knew he'd done the same thing all the others had. He'd hurt Murphy. Murphy had trusted him and he'd hurt him. His picture belonged up there with the rest.

That wasn't what disturbed him most, though, not who was in the photos, but the fact that there were more photos. Richards had never planned on stopping. And now that Bellamy had told him Murphy was the suspected killer, he was going to continue, because he was doing this for Murphy. He didn't want him to get locked away any more than Bellamy did.

He moved on, exploring the rest of the room, only becoming more disturbed as he did so. He looked through the wall of photos, half of them were of the crime scenes and victims, but the rest were of Murphy. Richards had taken dozens photos of him. In them Murphy was talking with people, or waiting for a cab, eating lunch or ordering coffee, little mundane things that made it all the more creepy. Bellamy scanned the photos, making his way towards the door, he stopped in front of one of them, staring in horror.

He was in this one, with Murphy, in his car. It was taken outside Georgie's place, Bellamy recognized the sign reflected in the window. Murphy was leaning over the console, Bellamy's tie in his hand as he kissed him. It was strange, staring at himself and Murphy, knowing that Richards had known exactly who he was when they'd talked. It made his skin crawl, knowing that he'd only been trailing two steps behind him this entire time. Richards had known from the beginning. Bellamy had been searching for him and he'd been there, watching, just out of reach, without Bellamy even knowing.

From the start, Richards had been in control, planning his moves without giving any thought to what would happen if he got caught, because he wasn't going to be. He had been meticulous, never leaving behind any evidence, until he'd screwed up. Until Atom had interrupted him. Then he'd panicked and left the knife behind. A knife he'd probably stolen from Murphy's things, because Bellamy had no doubt he knew what it had meant to Murphy. A sick, twisted detail that Richards thought would make it better. To kill them all with the one thing Murphy had actually kept from that part of his life.

But he'd messed up and then everything fell apart, or at least, Bellamy had thought it would, but it hadn't. He'd been led to the wrong guy and Richards hadn't meant for it to happen. That was the problem. Murphy was being blamed. Murphy was being hurt. That was why Richards was going to kill again.

To clear Murphy's name.

Richards was going to kill again and Bellamy knew exactly who it was going to be. He was going to pick up where he'd left off before Atom had happened, before he had messed up. He was going after Charlotte, the girl he'd been stalking, the one who'd been there that night but Atom had interrupted Richards' plan. Richards was going after her, he was going to continue where he'd left off, and more people were going to die if Bellamy didn't find him.

Bellamy pulled out his phone and took a picture of the girl's photo, sending it and a hurried text to Monty, hoping he could find him something quickly. An address or a phone number, anything. He needed to find her, before Richards did.

He left the room, retreating to the living room in hopes of finding Miller. He didn't expect to literally bump into the man, nor to have Miller's gun pointed directly at his face, but that's what happened.

“Fuck, Blake, one of these days you're going to creep around and someone's going to shoot you.”

“Sorry,” Bellamy apologized, watching Miller put his weapon away. “You find anything?”

“The bathroom's full of latex gloves and peroxide bottles, but that doesn't really mean much of anything. There's a dark room, like for photography, and a study, but both were pretty much empty aside from a few undeveloped pictures and other than that there's not much else.” Miller informed him, shrugging. “You?”

“I found-” Bellamy stopped, not sure how to explain what he'd found. He shook his head and motioned for Miller to follow him to the room, “Let me just show you while I wait for Monty to text me back.”

“What for?” Miller asked, frowning in confusion, “Exactly what did you find, Blake?”

“He's looking up an address for me. A girl, Charlotte, I think she's the next victim he's going after.”

“Okay, hold on, I don't understand. How do you know he's going to- Holy shit.” Miller looked around the room, his eyes wide. He wasn't sure what to make of it, the only words coming to mind were, “This is fucked up.”

“A little bit, yeah.” Bellamy nodded as Miller walked around the room, “Charlotte's the girl in the first photo, second board. She's the only one surrounded by the stalker pictures that isn't already dead, so I'm assuming she's the one he's going for next.”

“She's just a kid,” Miller breathed out, sounding shocked. No matter how long he did this job, he didn't think he'd ever get used to the things people could do. “He's going after her next?”

“Yeah, but I think we should call Kane and get him to send some people over to the college for Finn and Raven, just in case I'm wrong.”

“You're on here, too.” Miller pointed out, giving Bellamy a look that was half confusion, half concern, “Why?”

“I hurt Murphy,” Bellamy said, though it killed him to admit it out loud. He hadn't wanted to hurt him, but he had, and that was why his picture was there. He'd been the one to suggest Murphy as a suspect and then he'd gone and let Murphy trust him. He hadn't wanted to tell him the truth because he hadn't wanted to lose him. He'd hurt him because he was selfish.

“This guy is crazy.”

“But he's organized. If he hadn't fucked up, if Atom hadn't been there that night, I don't think we ever would have caught him. I mean, he stalked these people for weeks before killing them. He plans out every last detail, I'm certain of it. How else could he have done it without getting caught? I mean, the guy uses peroxide instead of bleach to clean out bloodstains. Who knows that?” The entire thing was so beyond what Bellamy was used to dealing with. This was some kind of horrific movie villain type thing, nobody was this organized.

“And he's doing all of this for Murphy?” Miller sounded like he didn't quite believe it and Bellamy couldn't blame him. It was something he'd expect to read about in a bad crime novel, not something he'd ever expected in real life, but yet, he it was, unfolding in front of them.

“Yeah.”

“I'd say love makes you do crazy things, but this is-” Miller shook his head and looked around the room again, “An obsession. A terrifying one.”

“It proves Murphy didn't do it, though.” And that was what Bellamy had wanted, that was why he'd come here. Murphy was innocent, he had proof, he could get him out and take him home and make sure he was okay and that nothing ever hurt him again.

“I think I would have preferred it if he did.”

Bellamy was unable to disagree. If that had been the case then it would have been so much less horrific. Murphy was angry, it would make sense, him getting revenge, but this was cold and calculated. This wasn't about the victims, this was about some stalker going too far and hurting people because he thought they deserved it because they'd made mistakes. Yes, the mistakes had consequences and Murphy didn't deserve to go through what he had, but Bellamy could never imagine him wanting this to happen. Not like this. Richards was seven shades of fucked up. “But he didn't.” But he's safe now, or at least, he will be.

They fell into silence, neither of them knowing how to proceed. They were waiting for Monty to tell them what they needed to know, so they could stop this jackass before he hurt anyone else. This wasn't just about Murphy and his innocence anymore, this was about making sure no one else got hurt because of Richards' obsession.

Bellamy's phone rang, sharp notes filling the room and startling them both. “It's Monty. He found her.”

Miller wasted no time in leaving the room, wanting as far away from it as possible. He was never going to be able to forget the photographs, the people still alive but only just, knowing they were going to die. It turned his stomach to acid, seeing them, and he couldn't say he'd seen worse, not so far, and he really hoped this was as bad as it got. “Then let's go.”


 

“You want to call Kane?”

“Can't. I'm driving,” Miller replied, not even trying to hide how relieved he was to have an excuse not to be the one to inform Kane that not only had Bellamy defied direct orders with Miller's help, but they'd also fucked up his entire case, meaning that Kane wasn't going to be getting the easy trial he'd been hoping for. He wasn't going to be happy and Miller wasn't the least bit guilty for being glad it wasn't him who had to break the news.

“Right,” Bellamy sighed, pulling out his phone as he got into the car. “Should I write my will now or do you think he'll give me a day to get everything in order?”

“Just call him and get it over with.” Miller ordered, starting the car. “The sooner you get it done, the more time he'll have to cool off.”

“Or the more time he'll have to think of all the creative ways he could kill me.” Bellamy grumbled, waiting for Kane to pick up. As much as he didn't want to call, he had to. They had to make sure that everyone was safe. He swallowed nervously when he heard the phone pick up and Kane's irritated demand of 'What?' “Chief, I need you to send someone over to the college to keep an eye on Finn Collins and Raven Reyes.”

“Why?”

“The serial killer who killed the others is possibly on his way to them now.”

There was a sigh, “No, he's not. I just saw him. He's in jail. Where I put him. Are you understanding any of this, Blake? Because it doesn't seem like it.” Kane spoke slowly, like he was trying to educate a child, “Murphy's in jail-”

“Murphy isn't the killer.”

“Blake!” Kane growled and Bellamy heard the distinct sound of a cup being knocked over. Kane had probably hit his desk.

“Just hear me out, okay?” Bellamy waited a second for Kane to object but he didn't and, taking Kane's silence as agreement, he began, “Short version is I never quit the case and I found a guy who seemed suspicious and we looked into him and he's definitely the killer, the evidence is in his apartment, Monty has the address, you should send crime scene there, but first I need you to send someone to the college and then to Charlotte's house, again, Monty has the address. We're on our way there right now because I think she's next because he's not done killing.” Bellamy rushed out his explanation, making it as simple as possible. There would be time for details later, but right now, “And I need you to find Derek Richards.”

“Derek Richards,” Kane sighed and Bellamy could just picture him rubbing his forehead and frowning. “And you're certain of this?”

“Completely. Just, ask Monty for his address and go to his place, you'll see. I'd explain, but it would take too long and we're close to Charlotte's now.”

“Right, sure. One more question?”

“Yes?”

“Who is 'we,' Blake?” Kane asked, wondering exactly who all Bellamy had managed to drag into his mess.

“Uh, well, we is-” Bellamy glanced nervously at Miller who only rolled his eyes at him and shrugged. “We is me and, uh, Miller.”

“Okay, great. Just needed to know who else I needed to fire. You two have fun.”

“Kane! Come on, look, I was right, wasn't I? You can't fire me for being right! And all Miller did was come with me! He did nothing wrong!”

Kane was silent as he seemed to consider it before, “I'll send some officers to the college and get the search for Mr. Richards started so we can get him into custody.”

“And Murphy out?”

“...And Murphy out,” Kane reluctantly agreed, hanging up the phone, leaving Bellamy staring at the screen as Miller pulled up outside the house.

Bellamy closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had been right and because he'd pressed, Murphy was going to be alright, but that was far overshadowed by the fact that he may have just ruined several of his friends careers. He'd really fucked up this time.

“Well?” Miller asked, looking at him expectantly, “Are we fired?” He didn't sound upset or disappointed, in fact, he sounded more amused than anything, and it made Bellamy feel a little better. If Miller wasn't worried, then things would probably work out alright.

“I don't think so, but he's definitely not happy.”

“I didn't hear any shouting.”

“He didn't shout. He just, kind of, accepted it.”

Miller was quiet for a second before deciding, “We're screwed.”

“Probably,” Bellamy admitted. He hadn't meant to cause trouble, but he had, and now everyone's ass was on the line for it, because he'd fucked up. But he was right, so maybe it wouldn't be too bad, maybe Kane would at least leave everyone else out of it, since they were only trying to help him. He'd fucked up really badly this time, and he'd be lucky if any of them ever spoke to him again. “I'm sorry.”

Miller shook his head, dismissing the apology for now, “Come on, we should get her to the station before Richards gets a chance to get to her.”

“Yeah.”

“Are you going to mope around the whole time?”

“No,” Bellamy sighed, opening his door and getting out. No, he wasn't going to mope, he was just going to feel a little sorry for himself for a minute.

“Then hurry the hell up and snap out of it, Blake, we've got bigger problems right now. We can worry about whether or not Kane's managed to untwist his panties when we get back, okay?” Miller snapped at him, annoyed by Bellamy's moping. They had a girl to keep safe and Bellamy was being childish. “You figured it out, good on you, now let's make sure Charlotte's safe. You can beat yourself up after we know that there isn't a kid being brutally murdered while you throw your fucking pity party over there.”

Bellamy stared at Miller, shocked by his words. He wasn't used to being scolded by anyone other than Kane, and occasionally Clarke or Wells, but Miller was right, and Bellamy needed to sort out his priorities. Charlotte was number one right now, making sure that she was safe was at the top of his list, they didn't have time for him to feel bad right now. He nodded and Miller turned away from him, satisfied.

They walked towards the house, Bellamy looking it over as they did so. The green paint was peeling around the windows and the yard could use a trim, but it seemed comforting enough. Nothing too fancy, but it was nice. The porch railings were white and curvy, the kind that came standard with most small houses, making it look a little nicer than it was. Bellamy studied the numbers above the door, 294, in slightly rusty metal that had once been gold but was now faded and gave shelter to a couple of house spiders. It was just like every other house on the street, but Bellamy couldn't shake off the feeling of dread that made his hand twitch towards his weapon.

Miller opened the screen door and raised his hand to knock on the wooden one, but the second his fist came in contact with it, it slowly swung inwards, having been left ajar by whoever had been through it last. Miller took a step back, looking to Bellamy as he reached for his weapon, drawing it and nodding towards the inside.

Bellamy drew his own, silently making his way inside after Miller. He had no idea what to expect, for all they knew it could have been an accident, just left slightly open by someone who lived there, but they couldn't ignore the fact that Richards may have beat them here.

“Charlotte?” Bellamy called out, “Charlotte, it's the police.”

There was no answer and Miller furrowed his brow, searching the kitchen as Bellamy made his way towards the back of the house.

“Blake!” Miller whispered, getting his attention. “This way.”

Bellamy frowned, coming back to Miller, the question on his tongue dying as he looked at the mess on the kitchen floor. The knife drawer had been pulled out and it's contents were scattered across the floor. One of the knives was off to the side, a bit of blood on it's tip. There was a small trail of blood leading from it towards the living room, the injury couldn't be serious, not with such a small amount, but it was still worrisome, “He's here.”

“That's my guess.”

Bellamy took a deep breath, nodding, “Right. You want to call for back up?”

“And let you have all the fun?” Miller scoffed and shook his head, “You're not going in there by yourself.”

“Radio for back up then go around to the other door,” Bellamy pointed towards the hall, “If we both go at him like this, he's liable to run. Plus, if he's got Charlotte-”

“I see your point,” Miller said, though he looked a little skeptical. He pulled out his radio and told Bellamy before pressing the button, “But if you get killed, I'm carving 'I told you so' into your headstone.”

Bellamy grinned at him, “I'd expect nothing less.”

Miller rolled his eyes as Bellamy walked away from him. He heard Miller call in for backup as he turned the corner, clearing the dining room and heading towards the living room door, careful not to step on the blood trail.

He entered the room, his weapon in front of him, scanning the room and finally stopping when he was met with the one person he was hoping wouldn't be there. They should have gotten here a little faster, maybe they would have made it to her before he did, but they hadn't.

The blood trail ended with them, the side of Richards pant leg was stained red, leading Bellamy to believe that not only had Charlotte fought back, but she'd at least gotten in one good hit. They stood near the end of the room, Richards' back towards the television, glaring at Bellamy. Charlotte was in front of him, a kitchen knife to her throat and she looked at Bellamy, her eyes wide with fear as she stood, shaking, with Richard's free hand on her shoulder to keep her in place.

“Officer Blake,” He nodded in greeting, his tone relaxed and easy, like it had been at the coffee shop. “You're a bit early, aren't you supposed to show up after I leave so you can pretend like you have a chance at catching me?”

Bellamy frowned, ignoring the jab, “Put the knife down and-”

“Don't start that, please. It sounds exhausting. I'm not going to let her go just so you can arrest me before I've finished what I came here to do. I'll put the knife down, but when I do, it's going to be buried in her.” Richards tone hadn't changed, he still sounded like he was having a nice conversation with Bellamy about the weather. None of this phased him, not Bellamy's gun on him, not being caught, he was calm and it unnerved Bellamy. It gave him no clues as to what Richards was going to do.

“Richards, look, I know you think you're helping Murphy but you aren't,” Bellamy started, seeing Miller appear at the door. He shook his head at him, knowing that if either of them tried to stop Richards now it would end with Charlotte dead. “You're only making it worse.”

“I'm making it better, Detective. I'm making sure that the people who hurt him pay for it.”

“That's not going to erase what's already happened-”

“I know that!” Richards snapped and Charlotte flinched, “I know it won't change what happened, I'm not an idiot. But it will make it better. It'll help him.”

“It won't-”

“Yes, it will! It'll help him because if they're gone then they can't hurt him anymore. They hurt him, Detective, all of them hurt him and he deserves some revenge-”

“Did you ask if that was what he wanted?”

“I didn't have to. I know he wants it. I know he wants them to pay for it. You don't, because he never told you. But he told me. He said he hated them, hated what they did and hated that it messed him up. He cried, too, when he told me about it, he broke down. If you had seen it, if you had seen him that messed up, you would understand,” Richards explained, “It's not fair, that they can hurt him and they never have to pay for it, but he's so fucked up over it, that's why he left me. He left me because he was scared I'd do the same to him but I wouldn't! I wont!”

“I don't think-”

“Shut up! I don't care what you think! You hurt him, too! You hurt him, you locked him up! You're just as bad as they are!” Any trace of Richards' once calm demeanor had vanished as he shouted at Bellamy. “If I do this then he'll know I'll never hurt him! He'll understand I would do anything for him because I love him! And he'll see that. He will and then he'll come back.”

“That's-” Crazy. Not going to happen. Honestly, what the fuck, man? Bellamy bit back his initial response and nodded, trying to calm Richards down, “Okay, I understand, but you've already made your point. I'm sure he knows you love him by now, just talk to him. You don't have to kill anyone else. It's enough.”

“No. No, it's not enough,” Richards shook his head, “She deserves to pay just like the others, they all do. And so do you. All of you, for what you did to him. You all hurt him. You all broke him. Because of you he's scared and fucked up and it's all your fault. And you want me to just let that go? No. No, you have to pay. Someone has to. You can't just hurt people and get away with it!”

“You can't just kill people because they hurt one person, Richards! You can't stab them because you think they deserve it! Why? Why do you get to decide what happens to them? How is you hurting them any better than them hurting Murphy?” Bellamy wasn't getting through to him, he knew that, but if he kept him talking, maybe their back up would get here in time. If they had enough officers, maybe they could intimidate Richards into surrender.

Miller still had his gun trained on Richards, waiting for a chance that wasn't going to come. There was no way he could shoot him without risking Charlotte getting hurt, too. There was a way out of this, there had to be, and as long as Bellamy kept him talking, then Richards wasn't hurting Charlotte. They just needed to wait and keep trying.

“Because I love him and they didn't! They didn't or they wouldn't have done it!”

“That doesn't make it right! You can't just hurt people for making a mistake!”

“Her mistake caused him to be put in the fucking system and labeled a problem! Do you know what happened to him? In the two years before he was put with Mbege? Do you fucking know what happened to him?”

“No, I don't. Why don't you tell me?” Bellamy asked, hoping Richards would keep talking while he tried to figure out what to do.

“The only people who wanted to foster him were horrible! They beat him, they fucked him up, they hurt him bad, Detective. He told me all about it. It makes me sick, knowing what the people he was put with did to him. They were supposed to be his parents, surrogate or not. The system isn't good, is broken, and Murphy got caught up in it. In stranger's houses with people he didn't know. Used as a punching bag when they got angry. Worse things, too. Just ask Charlotte here, she was in the system, too, weren't you?”

Charlotte didn't answer, but her hands turned to fists at her side as she stared at Bellamy, begging for help.

“Answer me!” Richards yelled, pressing the knife harder on her neck, a small line of red forming, beads of blood trickling down from it.

“Y-yes.” She managed to get out, her voice shaking.

“And you knew Murphy, didn't you?” Richards pressed.

“Yes.”

“And you hurt him, too.”

“No! I didn't!” She told him, panic in her voice. “I didn't hurt him!”

“Yes you did. He got hurt because of you, remember? You know exactly what you did.”

“I didn't know what would happen!” She sobbed out, trying to move her neck away from the blade, “Please! I'm so-sorry, I didn't know!”

“It doesn't matter! You caused him to get hurt, it's your fault,” Richards hissed. “Tell Detective Blake what you did.”

“I didn't- I didn't mean to!”

“Tell him!”

Bellamy stood there, unable to move, terrified if he did that Richards would cut her throat. He tried to shake it off, keeping his voice steady, he addressed Charlotte, hoping to calm her down, “Charlotte. Charlotte, it's okay. Just tell me what happened.”

“I didn't know he would get hurt!” She pleaded, “Let me go!”

“I know, it's okay. I need to know what happened, though, you need to tell me. It's going to be okay.” Bellamy said, wishing there was a clear shot and they didn't have to do this. If there was another way out he'd take it, and she'd never have to say anything, but there wasn't, Richards had made sure of that, and Bellamy had to buy some time and maybe get Richards to drop his guard a little. “What happened?”

“The people we were with, they weren't good, okay? And I tried to run, I took some stuff, money so I could by a bus ticket, and I was going to run but they caught on before I could and found out their stuff was missing and they blamed Murphy and I didn't say anything. I thought it would be okay! I didn't think they'd hurt him! Not that ba-ad.” Her voice cracked and tears fell down her face, “I'm sorry. I didn't' want him to get hurt but I was scared!”

“You were scared and he ended up in the hospital!” Richards spat, his hand tightening on her shoulder. “They almost killed him!”

“I'm sorry!” Charlotte cried, wincing in pain. “I didn't know they would do that! I just didn't want to get hit again!”

“They strangled him! They were going to kill him and you let them!”

“No! I got him help!” She tried to explain, “I went to the neighbors-”

“He was eleven!”

“I was eight! We were kids! I didn't want him to get hurt, I thought they would go easier on him because he was new! I'm sorry!”

“Sorry isn't enough!”

“Richards, stop it!” Bellamy demanded, getting Richards' attention back on him, “She was just a kid.”

“So was Murphy!”

Bellamy sighed, knowing he wasn't going to get to him like that. He seemed to think Murphy was the only person capable of being a victim, despite having a knife to Charlotte's throat and knowing she had gone through the same thing. “People make mistakes, Richards. People hurt people and it sucks, it does, but that doesn't mean you can hurt them back. Sometimes people mess up and they do bad things that they don't mean to do, and that's not an excuse, no, and it's not going to make it better, but neither is hurting them in return. Why don't you ask Murphy? Ask him if this makes it better? What do you think he's going to say? Do you really think any of this is going to do any good for him? Look what it's done so far. He's in jail because of this. Because of you.”

“No, he's in jail because you put him there!” Richards rejected the idea, shaking his head violently, “I wouldn't do that to him.”

“But you did. You took his knife and you used it and you left it at the scene. You're the reason he's in jail,” Bellamy explained, keeping his voice calm even though he wanted to scream that this was not going to help Murphy. If Murphy was messed up over what they did, then he needed therapy, someone to help him work through it, he needed to get past all of this, and Richards probably just made the whole thing a thousand times worse. “You hurt him.”

“No!” Richards screamed, pointing the knife at Bellamy, Charlotte taking a deep breath and pressing her hand to the still bleeding cut. “I didn't hurt him! I would never hurt him! Never! I love him!”

“But you did hurt him. By hurting them, you hurt him, because now everyone thinks he did it.”

“No, no, no! That's why I have to kill her! To prove Murphy didn't do it!”

“No you don't. You can come with us and tell them yourself. Tell them that Murphy didn't do it. Fix your mistakes, Richards, before you hurt him any more.”

“I'll go to jail!”

“If you don't, Murphy will.” Okay, maybe that wasn't entirely true, now that they knew Murphy didn't do it, but if it got Richards to surrender, then Bellamy was okay with smudging the truth a bit. “Let Charlotte go and put the knife down.”

“But she hurt Murphy,” Richards sounded conflicted, looking from Bellamy to Charlotte and back. “She hurt him.”

“Yes, but that was a long time ago. She's not hurting him now, is she?”

“No, but-”

“But you are. Let her go.”

Richards hesitated for a second before releasing his grip on her shoulder, letting go of Charlotte who ran straight to Bellamy. A second later the knife clattered to the ground beside Richards and Miller crossed the room, immediately cuffing him so he couldn't do anything else.

As Miller read Richards his rights, Bellamy wrapped his arms around Charlotte, holding the shaking girl as she cried into his chest, sobbing out broken apologies and thanking him between breaths. “I didn't mean for him to get hurt.”

“It's okay. I know you didn't.”

“Does he?” She asked, looking up at Bellamy, “Does he know I didn't mean to?”

“Of course he does.” Bellamy wasn't entirely certain of that, but that wasn't what she needed to hear. He didn't know whether it was true or not, but he was going to tell her so anyway. “He wouldn't blame you.”

She nodded, letting go of him when one of the paramedics that had been called in with their backup came to take her away to get checked out. Bellamy wasn't sure when they'd gotten there, but he assumed they'd just arrived and he hadn't noticed.

Bellamy followed Miller and Richards out of the house, the lights on the cop cars flashing, almost useless in the afternoon light. He stood there, watching as Richards was put into a car. He'd done it. He'd found the real killer and Murphy was going to be safe now. He'd fixed his mess. Everything was going to be okay now.

“Do you think he'll love me now?” He heard Richards ask Miller. Miller only stared at him as he closed the door, shaking his head and heading over to Bellamy.

“Kane's not here, but one of the officer's said he's expecting us, you wanna head back now?” He asked, watching Bellamy with concern.

“Yeah, let's get it over with.”

Miller nodded, “You okay, Blake? After what happened back there-”

“I'm fine,” Bellamy cut him off. “I did what I meant to, didn't I? Caught the guy?”

“Yeah, you did,” Miller agreed.

“Thanks for helping me.”

“I think that's what friends are supposed to be for, Bellamy.”

“You think?”

“It's just a guess.”


 

Suspended?”

“For two months. Or until the case is clear, whichever is longer,” Kane nodded.

“So, I'm not fired?” Bellamy wasn't really able to wrap his head around that part. He'd been certain Kane was going to rip him into tiny pieces and use him as fish bait on his next vacation, but apparently not.

“No, but only because I like you. And only because you were right. You did technically catch the killer, but I swear to god, Blake, if you ever pull something this stupid and go behind my back to play Scooby Doo again, I swear I will fire you and then turn you into a floor lamp.”

“Is that actually possible?” Bellamy jokingly asked, the relief of not only catching the killer and clearing Murphy's name, but managing to also keep his job, and his friends, who didn't suffer under Kane's wrath at all, probably because of Wells and his ability to calm Kane down considerably, making him less than professional.

“I don't know, but I'm willing to find out.” Kane growled, not having any of Bellamy's shit. “Now get the fuck out of my office, and this station, until your suspension is up. If you even think about this building I will extend your suspension by a month.”

“How will you-”

“Get the fuck out!”

Bellamy snorted and did so, giving Miller a wave as he left, getting an eye roll in return. He had no idea what he was going to be doing for the next two months, but he hoped he'd be doing it with Murphy.

Murphy was going to be out within the week, as soon as the paperwork cleared, and Miller had sworn to let him know the second it happened so he could be there for him. Murphy would be out and free and everything was going to be okay. He would apologize and explain himself and then he'd make it up to Murphy in every way possible and make sure that Murphy knew he wouldn't let anything like that happen again. He couldn't keep Murphy safe from everything, but he could swear to never, ever withhold any information from him, because that was what had got them here in the first place.

But now it was over and everything was going to be okay. At least, that's what Bellamy was hoping for.

 

Chapter Text

The prison's lobby was too bright, the light reflecting off of the cold white walls and not softened in the slightest by the disturbingly dark red chairs that Bellamy couldn't bring himself to sit in. He couldn't sit still long enough. It was an uncomfortable place, but it was nothing compared to the inside, but Bellamy wasn't allowed back there today.

Today he wasn't a detective, he was just a man in a lobby waiting for the love of his life to come out the thick metal doors. Also white, he had noticed, because this place had a thing for white, like it made up for the horrors beyond the doors. Bellamy knew about them, but it wasn't his job to stop it, wasn't his place to speak up, he only hoped Murphy had survived well enough- and back into the world of the free.

He paced nervously, worried that something had happened, that Kane had forgotten to tell them Murphy was innocent, though he had been present for the call, or that something had gone wrong and Murphy wasn't going to come out those doors. But that didn't scare Bellamy half as much as knowing that Murphy would. That's what scared Bellamy the most, knowing that Murphy was getting out and he had no idea what to expect. So many things could have happened while Murphy was in there and Bellamy refused to even begin to let himself think about that.

That didn't stop him from doing it, though, and the thoughts scratched at the back of his mind. Murphy, broken and bruised and scared, so scared, like he'd been in the interrogation room. What if it had only gotten worse? What if Murphy was hurt? It was his fault, he did this to him, and it killed him because he didn't know what to expect.

But he wasn't going anywhere, no matter how hard the lady behind the desk glared at him as he paced, hands clenching and unclenching at his sides as he did so. He was over a hour early, he knew that, but he didn't care. He had been worried he would be late if he waited and sitting at home watching the clock was the same as doing it here. He would be here when Murphy got out, no matter what, because he had to know Murphy was okay. He had to know he was alright.

This whole thing was his fault and he was going to do whatever it took to make it right. He was going to make sure Murphy was okay and take him home, wherever Murphy wanted to go, and apologize and make sure Murphy knew he would never, ever let anything like this happen again. His job be damned, Murphy mattered more to him and he hoped that Murphy would listen. If he didn't, Bellamy wouldn't force him, because he was under no illusions as to how badly he had screwed up, but he hadn't done it purposely. He had been trying to protect Murphy and he'd messed up and he knew it, he wouldn't deny it, but he had never meant to. Of course, that didn't change what had happened.

Nothing would change what happened, he just hoped he got a chance to make up for it.


 

The second Murphy came through the doors, Bellamy was there waiting for him. He had planned out so many ways for this to go, so many speeches to give that sounded great and perfect and would say exactly what he meant to but none of them mattered because the second he saw Murphy he forgot them.

Murphy was bruised and tired, with dark circles under his eyes that made him look half dead. He had a cut on his cheek and Bellamy winced in sympathy. He didn't smile when he saw Bellamy, he just stared like he didn't quite believe he was really there. He was dressed in the clothes he was arrested in, Bellamy's shirt still swallowed him, the sleeves hanging off his hands and it would have been cute if Murphy didn't look so fragile. For a moment neither of them said anything but then, as if finally realizing where he was and what was going on, Murphy took an almost hesitant step towards him.

Bellamy opened his mouth to say something but he didn't have a chance to get anything out before Murphy was colliding with him, wrapping his arms around him and stunning Bellamy. Slowly he brought his arms up to return the hug, holding Murphy tight. Murphy buried his face in Bellamy's neck, glad to be near someone who wasn't trying to hurt him for once. He didn't think, he didn't care, right now he just wanted to be held and comforted and he listened as Bellamy whispered apologies to him, holding him tightly like he ever meant to let go and Murphy felt himself break.

He felt tears begin to slide down his face and then Bellamy's hands were on his face, wiping the tears away and telling him he was going to be okay and Murphy nodded, wanting to believe him just for a second and he leaned forward, pressing his lips to Bellamy's, relieved to be out and safe and Bellamy was here and he had kept his promise to get him out. All that mattered was Bellamy right now, he didn't want to think about anything else because it was too much to take.

“I love you,” Bellamy told him between kisses, holding him close and pressing gentle kisses to his lips and cheeks. “I love you,” Bellamy repeated, kissing Murphy hard, all the relief he felt upon knowing Murphy was okay spilling into it. Murphy was safe, he had him back, everything was okay.

Murphy pulled him close and there were tears streaming down his face and he was crying in the middle of the prison's lobby but he couldn't bring himself to care. He was terrified and Bellamy made good on his promise to save him and he was okay now.

Bellamy held him close, whispering 'I love you' between kisses and Murphy knows, he knows, and he wanted desperately to believe him. “I know, I know,” he nodded Bellamy told him and once, “I love you, too,” and he meant it but it was swallowed by a kiss. He didn't want to stop and he couldn't tell how long they had been standing there but he couldn't bring himself to let go of Bellamy no matter how much it hurt to hold on to him because maybe if he didn't let go he could pretend that everything just might be okay, because Bellamy was there and he might be alright now. He could pretend.

Except he couldn't, he still knew it was a lie, and the tears fell faster down his cheeks. It would never actually be okay and Murphy knew it, but he only pressed closer to Bellamy. Bellamy who loved him. Bellamy who had believed him, who came back for him, who got him out. Bellamy who was the reason he was in there in the first place. Bellamy who had lied.

That snapped him back to reality and his relief faded a bit as he began to realize how fucked everything was now. His job was gone, Alie refused to let him come back, he had been told by Jaha when he'd visited. He had lost his apartment, they wouldn't rent to serial killers And even though he was cleared of charges, his name was destroyed, not that it was any good before but still. It was all over for him, the life he had built up for himself was gone. He had to start over now, but he didn't know if he could.

He had built up a life for himself, done his fucking best. He'd made something of himself because he wanted to prove everyone wrong, but now it was gone. His life was gone. He had nothing, was nothing, and his mother had been right about him. He'd lost everything he had worked so hard for. Three years of doing everything right, of working his ass off to prove he was worth something, to make something of himself, and now it was gone. All of it. Gone completely and he couldn't get it back.

And it was all Bellamy's fault.

Murphy shoved him away as the realization dawned on him, leaving Bellamy to stand there confused. He couldn't believe that everything he'd worked so hard for was gone and all because of one person. All because he' trusted Bellamy and he shouldn't have. He didn't care whether or not Bellamy loved him. He didn't care that he loved Bellamy back. He didn't care, it didn't matter, because everything he'd built was gone. He'd worked so hard and now it was all gone. He was back to the beginning.

He broke. There was nothing left to hold him together. Everything he was proud of, everything he'd made for himself was gone. It was all gone. He shook his head, backing up until his back hit the wall, trying to put some space between him and Bellamy because the last thing he wanted was to reach out for him again, and he knew he would given the chance. “You did this.”

“Murphy, I-”

“You lied to me, Bellamy,” Murphy told him, his voice cold. Bellamy had said he loved him, but he had lied to him and caused everything he'd worked for to be taken from him. Murphy couldn't tell whether he was more angry or hurt but he knew that he wanted to scream and shout and break down, but he didn't think he had it in him. He was too drained to be able to work up the energy to scream at Bellamy, but he wanted to. “You lied. You ruined everything.”

Bellamy nodded, not even trying to defend himself. Murphy was right, he had ruined everything. He had hurt Murphy and he couldn't expect him to forgive him for it. “I know. I'm so sorry.”

“Sorry's not going to fix it,” Sorry wasn't going to get him his job back or his apartment. Sorry wasn't going to make the bruises Murphy had fade any faster. Sorry wasn't going to change the fact that everyone believed he was a killer. Sorry wasn't going to make him stop loving Bellamy and right now there was nothing he wanted to do more. He wanted to hate him, he should hate him, but he didn't. He couldn't. Of all the shitty times for him to realize that he, without a doubt, loved Bellamy, it had to be now, in the middle of a prison lobby while he still had red marks from the cuffs he was in just moments ago, knowing that Bellamy was the reason he was there to begin with.

He wanted to hate Bellamy. He wanted to scream and rant and vent his frustration but he couldn't. He couldn't. Everything was so fucked up now and he felt like he couldn't breathe. The world fell out from under his feet and he was left reeling because for once it wasn't his fault that everything had fallen apart and he hated it so much. It wasn't his fault and he wanted to make it stop. He didn't know what to do.

How the fuck was he supposed to fix this. He couldn't fix this. Everything was gone, it was over. He'd tried so damn hard, but it didn't matter now. It never mattered. He was never going to actually make something of himself and he was deluded to think he could. It just wasn't in his nature. He wasn't good enough. He didn't deserve it. He was nothing more than a screw up, all he did was break things, but he had thought, he had hoped, that maybe he could do better. Be better. But he couldn't. He'd ended up back in jail despite everything. He'd done everything right and he had still fucked up by trusting Bellamy. By dating Richards. By thinking someone could ever actually love him.

He felt a sob escape his throat and he couldn't stop himself. He felt like a child, helpless and hurt and he couldn't do anything to fix it. He collapsed, sliding down the wall, the events of the past weeks catching up with him. He hadn't wanted any of this to happen. He'd just wanted a damn story! He'd just wanted to prove he was worth keeping around. He'd only wanted to make something of himself. He had tried so hard and he thought he would make it. He thought he could do it.

And then there was Bellamy. God, there was Bellamy. Murphy had trusted him too easily. He knew better than to trust people because it always ended badly but he had wanted to trust Bellamy. He had liked him, thought they could be friends or at least work together sometimes, but then Bellamy had to go and fall in love with him. Bellamy had fallen in love with him and Murphy had let him because it had felt so good to have someone care about him that wasn't family. It had felt so good to have Bellamy's arms around him and to know he cared about him. He was foolish, he'd let himself believe that it could work out despite knowing it never did. He should have known better. He did know better, but he had wanted so badly for it to work.

He felt Bellamy's arms around him, pulling him close and he couldn't find it in himself to push him away. Instead he let Bellamy stroke his hair as he sobbed. “It's going to be okay, Murphy. It'll be okay.”

“N-no, it's not!” It was all screwed up and he should have known it would end like this. “I can't- I can't do this. I just can't. It's not okay.”

“It will be,” Bellamy insisted but Murphy only shook his head.

It was supposed to be a happy ending, but it wasn't. It should have worked out, but it didn't. It never, ever did and Murphy should have counted on it instead of letting himself believe that maybe it would. “It's not. You lied to me.”

“I'm sorry. I'll fix it,” He promised. “I won't let you get hurt again.”

“You can't. It doesn't work like that.” But, god, he wished it did. “You need to leave.”

“I'm so-”

“Leave,” Murphy sniffed, sitting up and pulling away from Bellamy. He couldn't do this. It wasn't fair to either of them. “Leave. I don't want to see you again.”

Liar. Liar. Liar. Murphy felt like he was being ripped in two because he wanted nothing more than for Bellamy to pull him back into his arms and tell him it was going to be okay and lie to him until he believed it. He wanted Bellamy to take him home. He wanted to be able to forget all of this, but he couldn't. This was Bellamy's fault. Bellamy lied to him.

“Murphy, I'm sorry. Just, let me take you home, at least,” Bellamy pleaded, not willing to leave Murphy alone like this.

“Don't have one. Leave.”

“Murphy-”

Please,” Murphy begged. He couldn't do this. He couldn't let Bellamy stay or take him anywhere because he wasn't sure he'd be able to stop himself from begging him to stay.

Bellamy nodded and Murphy felt another sob rise in his throat. “I'm sorry, Murphy.”

“I know.” He almost wanted Bellamy to stay, to refuse to leave him, to prove that he wasn't going to let anything happen again, but he doesn't think he could stand it. He needed Bellamy to leave him alone and never come back and stay, stay, just, please, stay. Don't leave him alone.

But he doesn't. He did exactly as Murphy asked and he left. Because Murphy was right, it was his fault, and if Murphy wanted him gone, then he had no right to stay. He had ruined Murphy's life, the least he could do was stay out of it.

Murphy watched him leave and pulled his knees up to his chest, pulling his phone out of his pocket and turning it on, hoping it would work so he could call Mbege to pick him up. He couldn't leave by himself, he didn't have his wallet, and as much as he hated to bother Mbege he didn't have it in him to ask Bellamy to take him. He was gone now, anyway, even though he knew he could still catch him if he tried.

He didn't.


 

Murphy picked at the hem of his jacket, the worn leather peeling slightly under his fingers. He wanted to chase after Bellamy, to let him try again, but he couldn't. He couldn't trust him, couldn't trust himself not to trust him, and then he'd be too vulnerable, to easily hurt again. He wanted to forgive Bellamy, because, dammit, he really could have loved him. He really did love him. But he couldn't, because there was a reason it hadn't worked out.

Murphy trusted too easily or fell to hard even when he tried not to and nobody wanted that for long. It was better this was. He needed time to himself. He had a life to pick up before he could even consider sharing it with anyone else. If he ever did. Maybe this was a lesson. Maybe he should learn from it and realize that no matter the circumstances, he was better off not getting involved with anyone. It always ended badly. He always got hurt. It was the one constant in his life, or what was left of it.

When Mbege showed up he was ready to murder someone, because who the fuck else could be responsible for him having to pick Murphy up from jail? But he found no one but Murphy waiting for him and his anger faded immediately, turning to sympathy and concern the second he saw Murphy.

He covered it up, though, not wanting to cause a scene in the middle of the lobby and he simply waited by the door for Murphy, walking silently into the parking lot towards his car. He waited until they were at it before sighing and asking, “What happened?”

He hadn't heard from Murphy since he'd brought Bellamy over. He had tried to call but it always went to voicemail and he had just assumed Murphy had gotten caught up in Bellamy, since it wasn't uncommon for Murphy to become incredibly single minded when he was interested in something, be it a story or a person. Mbege never took it personally because he knew Murphy didn't do it purposely. He had, however, gone to check Murphy's apartment but no one was home and, again, he had assumed he was with Bellamy. Seeing him now, though, Mbege felt guilty for not making sure that was the case.

“Got arrested.”

That much was obvious and Mbege resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “For how long.”

“Couple weeks. No big deal,” Murphy shrugged, giving Mbege a forced smile. He didn't want Mbege or Craig to worry about him, it wasn't their job. They had enough problems of their own.

“Murphy, I swear to god-” Mbege begin, using the same voice his father had used on them when they were kids. Murphy had once found it amusing that Mbege could do it but now it only made him feel guilty for keeping secrets. “Why the hell didn't you call me?”

“I didn't want to bother you.”

“For fuck's sake. What really happened, Murphy? And none of that smartass 'I got arrested' shit,” Mbege demanded. He couldn't fucking believe Murphy wouldn't call him first. That was how it had always been. First call went to the Mbege's house, always, and that didn't change just because his dad was gone. That was what family was for and he had thought Murphy knew that.

“I got arrested because they thought I killed people. Lots of people. Turns out Bellamy was investigating me, not just helping me with the story. I was a suspect, he fell in love with me, it got really messy and I got arrested by his boss,” He explained simply, not wanting anything more to do with it today. He'd explain in more detail later, but not right now.

“And Bellamy and you-”

“Nobody works out, 'Begs,” Murphy shrugged, looking like he was on the verge of tears. Nobody ever worked out and Mbege had been right about Bellamy and he should have listened to him. He expected Mbege to scold him for not listening or say 'I told you so' but all he did was pull him close, wrapping his arms around him like they used to do whenever one of them was upset.

“I'm sorry, Murph. I'm so sorry,” He told him. He knew it wouldn't work out, he knew Murphy's track record too well to have any doubts, but he had hoped, for Murphy's sake, that he would be wrong.

Murphy's fists gripped Mbege's jacket and he cried, quiet and shaking in the parking lot. Mbege rubbed soothing circles on his back as he sobbed into his chest, glaring at anyone who dared look their way. “I'm sorry, little brother. It's gonna be okay. We're gonna fix it. You, me, and Craig, we can fix this, okay? Gonna fix it like we fix everything.” Usually by sheer force of will, some duct tape, and a hell of a lot of cursing, at each other and at inanimate objects and sometimes the sky, but they always managed to fix it, and this would be no different.


 

“Okay, so, first, shitty comedy movies and ice cream, because even Hollywood thinks it works, then we murder your ex and bury him in the back yard, and last, but certainly not least, you fill out all of these,” Craig listed off his plans as he shoved a stack of papers into Murphy's hands.

“And these are?” Murphy asked, looking at Craig as he settled in beside him on the couch, a new movie starting on the player, trailers for various films that he was sure were at least a decade old playing. Murphy was comfortably seated between him and Mbege on the couch while a terrible movie played out on their TV. Junk food littered their coffee table and Murphy couldn't remember how long they'd been there, but he was sure he hadn't moved in a week.

Once he'd gotten past the initial shock of his life falling apart he had slept for a day and a half and when he'd woken up, he'd been shoved towards the couch and they'd sat there for the first half of Murphy's emotional break down over everything. Then, after he'd calmed down, Craig had began what Murphy was sure was the world's worst movie marathon, because half of them weren't even supposed to be comedies, and he'd nearly been force fed more junk food than he thought he could handle.

His phone laid on the kitchen table, left there and turned off because Bellamy wouldn't leave him be and every time he had read one of the texts or listened to a voicemail he had ended up crying again because he wanted to go back, he really did, and he wanted to give Bellamy another chance, but he couldn't because Bellamy had lied to him. He wanted to trust him but he couldn't. He didn't know how to explain it. How to explain that he almost, kinda, right there at the beginning and sometime during the middle and definitely, definitely there at the end, loved Bellamy back. But Bellamy had lied to him and he wasn't sure that it was something that could be fixed, no matter how much he wanted to. It was over.

“Those are college applications. We'll have you take the SATs next month and then those are the colleges that offer journalism classes. And that top one is the only one you actually have to fill out now, because it's to register for the test itself,” Craig explained.

“So, what? I'm going to college?” Murphy frowned, skeptical. There was a reason he hadn't tried to go before. He wasn't exactly the college type. He had barely been the high school type.

“Yep. And don't worry, little one, I will be your tutor. We've got a month, think you can do it?”

“Sure, why not,” Murphy shrugged, giving Craig a smile, his first real one since he'd come home.

“Awesome. Craig can tutor you in history and I've got math and science covered. You've got English already, right?” Mbege asked him, resting his head on Murphy's shoulder and looking down at the paper, deciding it shouldn't be too hard to get Murphy ready for his tests.

“Yeah,” Murphy nodded. “But are you sure you want to help me with this?” He had been called 'unteachable' several times and he wasn't so sure he wanted to put his friends through that.

“Of course we do. After all, I'd be a pretty shit teacher if I didn't,” Craig returned his smile and wrapped an arm around him, pressing a kiss to his temple as the movie began. “We'll get you sorted, Murphy. It might take a little time but we'll get you back on track.”


 

Bellamy spent the next month trying to get Murphy to talk to him, because, yes, he knew he had walked away and left, and yes, he knew he should stay away and leave Murphy alone, but he couldn't. He wasn't that strong. He loved Murphy and it wasn't going to go away and he knew he fucked up and ruined it even though that was the exact opposite of what he had been trying to do. He wasn't sure how many more times he could apologize, but Murphy never replied.

Bellamy wanted him back, he wanted a second chance because he knew he wouldn't fuck that one up. He just wanted to apologize, to explain himself, and to know whether or not Murphy was alright, because Bellamy knew that he wasn't. He wasn't alright without Murphy.

He sent text messages and called, but it only ever went to voicemail because Murphy didn't want to talk to him and Bellamy was aware he should let him be, but he couldn't. He wasn't ready to let go yet.

He was lying to himself when he said that he just wanted to know Murphy was okay. He doesn't want him to be okay. He wants him to be just as broken and as fucked up as he was and it was selfish and he knew it and he hated himself for it but he had to know. He had to know for certain that Murphy didn't want him back, that he had listened and understood and still didn't want him back. He needed to know that Murphy was perfectly fucking fine without him and then he could let go. But Murphy wouldn't talk to him.

He had even gone to Mbege's, but that had ended about as well as could be expected. He hadn't gotten to talk to Murphy, but he had gotten punched in the face. Craig had managed to find his chill and it was fucking terrifying. He had no intention of going back, because Murphy had seen him. As he left, Murphy had watched him from the window and when Bellamy had called out to him he shaken his head and turned away.

Bellamy just wanted to make it right, but he didn't know what to do. He tried calling Murphy again but all he had receive was 'number disconnected' and empty silence.

Bellamy didn't fall in love. He just didn't. He didn't have time for it and since high school, he hadn't really cared enough to seek it out. He knew his coping skills were rusty and that he should have already come to terms with it, but he couldn't. He missed Murphy. He missed having him snark at him and fuck with his radio and he missed touching him. Not kissing him, though he missed that, too, but just being able to reach out and know he was right there.

But he wasn't there anymore and he didn't want to be.

It took a week long visit from Octavia and her boyfriend, who Bellamy had found himself actually getting along with, and more whiskey than was healthy before he realized that Murphy wasn't coming back. That it was over and he'd fucked up and yeah, it was only a short time, but he had loved Murphy, the kind of love his mom used to tell him about. The kind with stargazing and early morning breakfasts and rings and time, lots of time, and mistakes and apologies and jokes and getting old. It was fast and he'd fallen hard and he had never understood why Octavia was so damn sure Lincoln was the one but now he did.

Now he did and he wished to god he didn't.

Bellamy took a shuddering breath and sat down, Lincoln's car disappearing down the road. He wasn't sure how to even begin going about accepting it. How was he supposed to get over losing someone he had well and truly loved? It was over, no more, and he wasn't sure how to deal with that.

Bellamy felt his eyes sting and he rubbed at them, refusing to let himself be that weak.

'That is the utmost example of toxic masculinity I've ever seen.' He heard Murphy scoff and with a laugh that sounded more like a sob to him, he let the tears fall.

 

Chapter Text

The next time Bellamy saw Murphy it was by chance, two years later.

Bellamy was standing in line at some new hipster coffee shop not to far from the station because Rosie's closed and he needed something other than station coffee and he couldn't help but think as he ordered that the place reminded him a little of Murphy. The outside was nice, a little torn up but it almost looked like they had planned it -though Bellamy knew that it hadn't been intentional at all and was leftover from the collapse of the building next door- and the inside felt a little bit like coming home. It was comforting but it also held an air of being so very far from what home could ever actually be, because that wasn't what it was meant for, and it was the exact place he imagined Murphy would have stopped on his way to the station to annoy him and for a second he missed him terribly, but it passed and he paid for his coffee and turned around to find a place to sit.

As he turned his breath caught in his lungs and he felt like he'd walked into a dream. Maybe he was hallucinating it, but he couldn't be. Murphy was really there in front of him, sitting in the booth, completely lost to the world. He wasn't smiling, he was frowning at the laptop in front of him, but even so, he seemed so much happier than Bellamy had left him and for a second Bellamy considered leaving without saying a word to him, but he couldn't.

The last news he had gotten about Murphy was that he had moved for college, the information given to him by Monty in hopes that it would help Bellamy move on. It hadn't. He still hadn't properly moved on, even now, despite Octavia and Clarke's attempts to get him to date other people. He had tried, he really had, but he couldn't do it. He had accepted that Murphy was gone, but he hadn't moved on. He didn't really want to.

But this, this could his second chance, right here. He could get Murphy back and they could start over. It was unrealistic, he knew, and entertaining those thought was only going to leave him hurting and disappointed, so he shoved them out of his mind as he stared at the man. At most, he might be allowed to say hello to him, but nothing else, because he wasn't getting Murphy back. He knew that, he had accepted it.

Murphy just sat there, typing up something on his computer that still had the same impossible number of stickers on it, his wire framed glasses perched on his nose. His hair was tied up and he looked older. He still wore the same leather jacket from before and it made Bellamy smile, to know that at least one thing hadn't changed. He was concentrating so hard on whatever he was doing that he didn't even notice Bellamy staring at him as he tried to figure out what to say.

Maybe he should just wing it. He had never been good with words, anyway, but Murphy knew that, already. He took a few steps forward, taking a sip of his coffee as he did so, still hoping that somehow the right thing to say would come to him, but it didn't and he walked over, giving up on it.

Just as he got close enough to say something the words died on his tongue. Someone slid into the booth beside Murphy, shoving a cup full of ice and whipped cream in front of him with a “Your syrup, sir.”

“Thanks,” Murphy laughed and it was the best sound Bellamy had heard in forever and it twisted his stomach because he knew what was going to happen before it played out.

The young man leaned over and wrapped his arm around Murphy, looking at the screen for a second before laying his head on Murphy's shoulder, sighing and resting there for a second before Murphy shoved him away, laughing, “Stop being a jerk, Drew, I have to finish this. Go bother Craig.” He readjusted his glasses and looked up, noticing Bellamy for the first time.

His mouth fell open in a little 'o' of shock but before he could say anything Bellamy was gone. He was out of that cafe, his coffee crashing to to floor, and he was promising himself he wouldn't ever return. He should have known better than to try to talk to Murphy. He should have just left it be and walked away.

Bellamy scowled at himself and ran a hand through his hair. He should have just left instead of making an ass of himself like that.


 

Drew stared out the window after Bellamy in confusion for a moment before looking to Murphy and asking, “So, you know that guy or something?”

Murphy stared at the spilled coffee on the floor, hesitating before shaking his head, “No, not really.” No, he never really did get to know Bellamy, had he? Two weeks wasn't very long, not long enough. No, he didn't know Bellamy.

“You sure? Because he seemed to know you and he looked pretty shaken up about it.”

“I'm sure.” He didn't want to see Bellamy. It was better this way, he'd convinced himself of that before he'd taken off for college. It was for the best, but even now, the words felt like a lie.

“Really sure? Like, so sure that you're completely willing to let him run out of here like that and never, ever see him again?” Murphy hesitated again and Drew laughed at him, “Not that sure, then. Go, my brother's wedding plans can wait. Chase him down and kick his ass for whatever he did that's got you looking like that.”

Murphy stood up, nodding because Drew was right. He couldn't let Bellamy walk away from him again. The first time Murphy had begged him to, but now, after two years, he still wasn't as over it as he would have liked to have been and he knew when he came back after graduation that there was a chance he would see Bellamy again. Hell, he'd been counting on it because even if it was just to work together once in a while, Murphy wanted him back in his life. Two years was a lot of time to think and a lot of time to get over someone, but Murphy hadn't gotten over him. And he would be damned if he let Bellamy run away from him like that.

Murphy left the cafe, following after Bellamy, hoping he hadn't gone too far, but even if he had, Murphy knew where to find him. He didn't have to go to the station, though, because he found him not too far down the street, leaning against his car with his head in his hands and Murphy chuckled, startling him into looking up. He didn't know what else to say, because this was two years coming and he'd be lying if he said he hadn't imagined it a thousand time usually there was a lot more screaming and crying and some begging involved, but it wasn't turning out like that now.

He took a breath and, as smooth as he could be, which, really, was about the equivalent of sandpaper, asked, “You still drive that thing?”

“It still runs,” Bellamy answered with a shrug.

They lapsed into a moment of awkward silence until Bellamy asked, with forced cheerfulness to hide the disappointment he felt, “So, new boyfriend?”

“Brother,” Murphy clarified. “Well, kind of. Brother in-law, really. He's Craig's brother. He's in town for the wedding.”

Bellamy frowned, his confusion evident, “So, you're getting married to... Craig, then?” That didn't sound right even to him, but who knew. A lot could happen in two years.

“No, Mbege's getting married to Craig. I am still woefully single,” Murphy told him, smirking at the relief on Bellamy's face and adding, “Have been for the past two years.”

“Oh,” Bellamy nodded, somewhat ashamed by the relief he felt. It didn't matter whether Murphy was getting married or not. He wasn't Bellamy's anymore and Bellamy had no right to be relieved or disappointed either way.

“Yeah, oh,” Murphy snorted. This was so much more awkward than he had imagined it being. He had always thought it would be easier, that they would immediately pick up where they left off and it struck him that maybe Bellamy didn't want that. That maybe he was just being polite by asking questions and making small talk.

“Me, too,” Bellamy said, smiling slightly. He wasn't sure what to do now, because Murphy was single and so was he and if he hadn't convinced himself that Murphy would never be his again he would have considered it possible that they should get together and try again. But Murphy didn't want that, he had made it clear when he told Bellamy to leave.

“Okay,” The silence was back and Murphy wished he didn't have nearly as much pride because that was the only thing stopping him from just taking two steps forward and grabbing Bellamy by the collar and kissing him because he had wanted that everyday for the past two years and his pride had kept him from seeking it out and now his pride was keeping him rooted in place.

Bellamy wasn't sure what Murphy expected him to do or say but finally, finally he gave in and asked, “Did you want to maybe, I don't know, get coffee?” It was a harmless offer and Murphy could take it however he wanted. If all he wanted was to catch up then that was fine with Bellamy. He would be whatever Murphy wanted him to be to him, he just didn't want him to leave his life again. And there was still that little bit of hope he couldn't stomp down that told him maybe, just maybe, Murphy would want more.

“Just did,” Murphy winced when the words were out of his mouth, his sarcastic reply falling short. He hadn't meant to turn down the offer, but that's exactly what he had done. Smooth as sandpaper.

Bellamy nodded sheepishly, “Right, sorry.” Of course Murphy wouldn't want anything to do with him. He probably was just out here to see why Bellamy had been in the cafe and to tell him to stop stalking him, not that Bellamy was, but Murphy had no way of knowing that.

Murphy bit his lip and tried his best to recover, “I wouldn't say no to a car ride, though.” He wouldn't say no to anything, really.

“You got another story you're after? Because there's a lot of other detectives in the department,” Bellamy told him. There was no reason why Murphy had to come to him. He was sure Monroe or Miller and Harper would be just as good of a source for him. “It doesn't have to be me.”

“Yes, it does,” Murphy said, quietly. It was always going to be Bellamy. It could never be anyone else, really. He figured that out a long time ago, he just hadn't done anything about it.

Bellamy looked at him in surprise, “You mean- Are you serious?” He hoped he was hearing right and that Murphy meant what he thought he did.

“Yeah, I am. I'm incredibly fucking serious and I swear to god, two fucking years is too fucking long and I'm probably completely off and if you don't want this to then you can leave and I'll never try to speak to you again, if you do, then for fuck's sake, but Bellamy Blake, if you don't get over here and kiss me right fucking-”

His speech was cut off by Bellamy's lips as he pulled him in to a kiss, chaste and quick and he broke it a second later, smiling at Murphy. “Do you ever shut up?”

“Not usually,” Murphy smiled back, letting his arms come to rest around Bellamy's neck. “But you're willing to try and make me.”

Bellamy smiled wide and pressed his lips to Murphy's once more, his arms around Murphy's waist as he pulled him close. The kiss was slow and almost hesitant, gentle and full of regret because the last time they had done this there had been tears running down Murphy's cheeks that Bellamy had been the cause of and he swore to himself he was never going to be the cause of that again. He was never going to walk away again. He couldn't.

It didn't take long before Murphy was licking at his lips, wanting more, because this was too long coming for it to be slow for long. Bellamy obliged, parting his lips and pushing his tongue against Murphy's, making him shudder and hold back a whine. They were rough and passionate, two years apart making it so much harder to keep it easy.

Bellamy pulled him back until he had Murphy pressed against his car as Murphy kissed him like they'd never parted. He couldn't have cared less who was watching them, he didn't care that they were in the middle of a public and there was the possibility of a write up if word got back to Kane about it. He didn't care, because he had Murphy back.

Murphy was back in his arms and he was laughing, his head tipped back and Bellamy buried his face in Murphy's neck because this was just like their first kiss, except Bellamy didn't have to worry about it being their last. Murphy kissed him again and this time it wasn't desperate or rough, it was sweet and safe and Bellamy melted into it. Two years Murphy had been gone, two years since Bellamy had screwed up one of the best things to ever happen to him, two years and he finally got a second chance.

He had fallen for Murphy in two days, had him for two weeks, and then lost him for two years, but now he was back and Bellamy wasn't going to let go again. He wasn't going to screw this up again. He wasn't going to keep anything from Murphy, he wasn't going to hurt him, not this time. He was going to hang onto this bratty, loud mouthed, sarcastic, liberal, hippie punk of a journalist and never let go, because two years without Murphy had been hell. He couldn't even begin to imagine a lifetime without him.

Murphy smiled at him when they finally broke apart, nodding his head at the car, “Come on, Romeo. We've got a lot of catching up to do.”

“Let me buy you dinner first,” Bellamy told him, pressing a kiss to his nose.

Murphy gave him a skeptical look and asked, “Rosie's?”

“God, no,” Bellamy assured him. “Finally closed their doors, actually.”

“Shame, they had great coffee,” Murphy laughed and got in the car, sending a text to Drew not to wait for him. He wouldn't be back for a while. Two years left a lot of catching up to do.

They had screwed up the first chance they'd gotten, but that was alright, because they were getting another. Murphy had never really been good at first chances, anyway. Second ones, though, he could do second chances.

They were broken -Bellamy didn't trust enough and Murphy trusted too much- but it had been two years and neither one of them had really moved on. It might end up failing again, they both might get hurt, but it was worth trying. Because Bellamy loved Murphy, and Murphy, well, Murphy almost loved him back. Maybe more than almost.

No, Murphy smiled to himself as Bellamy took his hand across the console. Definitely more than almost.