Disclaimer: Not ours!
"I feel like a criminal sitting back here," grumbled Artemis as Butler nodded in agreement with. The boy genius eyed the old, beaten patrol car a little distastefully, deciding that for Beckett's birthday he was giving her a new car if it meant that he wouldn't have to be associated with someone that owned the current hunk-of-junk he was riding in.
The four of them were currently maneuvering through the New York traffic, en route to the famous Central Park to scourer the place for possible hide-outs, which Artemis wasn't too keen about. Outdoors really wasn't his thing. Sure, he was up for sitting around in bogs and tromping through ant hills if it meant he was going to catch a fairy or occasionally going on a horseback ride. But searching the Park on foot, in his ridiculously expensive loafers, didn't exactly sound like his cup of tea.
"Maybe because you are?" Castle asked a little peevishly, sending the boy a grin over his shoulder, still triumphant about calling shot gun before Artemis.
Artemis glared back but soon adopted a smirk over his face, not letting the author getting the better of him, and asked, "I've been meaning to ask, what's the deal with you two?"
"What do you mean the 'deal' with us?" Beckett said a little sharply, giving him a warning look in the mirror.
"It's obvious," Artemis said offhandedly, while folding his hands as he usually did. "You two are in a relationship of some sort."
"What? No, we're not," Beckett said, surprise clear in her voice. This made Artemis and Butler exchange looks but neither of them said anything, both mirroring one another's raised eyebrow of disbelief. Artemis had adopted his usual cat-got-the-canary look and Butler, well he was Butler and just never talked. Castle was enjoying the exchange quite thoroughly, and gave the other occupants of the patrol car a sunny smile.
Just then, Beckett's phone buzzed and she wiped it out and barked, "Beckett," into it. In the meantime, Castle had twisted in his chair to face the two in the back.
"She's my work wife," he offered with an amused grin.
"Is that some kind of American way of saying you have a crush on your co-worker?" questioned Artemis, still peeved about being called a criminal, even though he knew perfectly well that not all his dealings were legal, and-maybe just a little-on not being able to sit shot gun.
"Well, children," Beckett cut in before Castle could reply, "it seems a bunch of kids found a body in Central Park."
"That saves a far bit of time, convenient," mused Artemis, thanking whoever was looking out for him that he wouldn't be ruining his loafers today, before adding, "I'd also like to add that there's only one child in this car and it isn't me."
Beckett let out a slight chuckle while Castle just stuck his tongue out at the Irish boy. The car soon pulled into one of the parking lots throughout the park and Beckett led the way into the groves of trees, with the three boys trailing behind her; Castle still pouting but seeming to be getting over it as he walked along with Artemis who toyed with his Pen Pal and Butler who kept a wary eye for anyone suspicious-which was everyone in the bald man's opinion.
It wasn't a far walk before they came across the yellow tape that blocked off a section of a footpath that didn't look nearly worn as some of the others and cops were already swarming the place. Doctor Lanie was at the scene, by the looks of some of the equipment set up. Beckett waved to some of the policemen standing guard around the perimeter of the scene and the small mismatched troupe of unlikely allies all made their way to where a certain woman clad in a white coroner's coat crouched over a body, looking distastefully at it as she did.
"Gloves," barked Beckett, sticking out her arm to stop Artemis from rushing over the body to see if it had anything of his on it. He scowled before striding off to box of blue latex gloves and shoving them on before coming back over to the doctor.
"Anything of mine?" he asked as he skidded to a halt next to the other three and the doctor.
"Nice to see you too, Master Fowl," Lanie said in her usual sensible tone.
Artemis sighed and started over again, "Hello, Doctor Parish, fancy meeting you here. What are you up to?"
Lanie gave him a slight smile; it was nice when there was someone around that wasn't an idiot (i.e. Castle) or a stick in the mud (i.e. Beckett, but only at times) before saying, "I didn't find anything on the body, tech-wise."
"Is it even human?" asked Beckett, who had crouched down to inspect the body while Artemis and Lanie talked.
For the first time, Artemis really looked at the body while Castle peered curiously over his shoulder. The body was short, almost child-like, but it was properly sized proportion-wise like an adult's would be. Other than that, it looked like it was well into the decomposition stage and it was surrounded by a rather impressive collection of empty alcohol bottles. Artemis smirked at the familiar sight, which went unnoticed by all except Butler, who was thinking along the same lines as his master.
"It's hard to say, it's the size of a child but it does have the body structure of a full grown human," Lanie said, observing the same things as Artemis did before she continued on, "But, it's definitely male in his mid-twenties. Despite the decomposing rate, I'd say he has been dead around four days."
"Let me guess, laser gun is the cause of death?" Beckett asked wearily while peering at the wound in the bodies' chest.
"Yes, it would appear so," Lanie replied hesitantly, while Castle let out a little squeak of glee.
"Where are those kids that found him?" questioned Beckett, remembering what the initial call had said found this…person.
"Over talking with Ryan. Esposito is sweeping the area for any evidence," the Doctor replied, indicating where a group of teenagers, all holding skateboards, were talking with Ryan.
"Any way to get prints off this guy?" asked Castle, peering at the victim's little hand that had barely recognizable skin on it.
"I doubt it," the doctor replied, carefully inspecting the victim's hand herself. "I've never seen decomposition this fast though, even with this weather."
"How do you know that it's been four days?" questioned Artemis, raising an eyebrow.
"When it's this hot out, bodies decompose quickly, this one just even more so," the Doctor replied frankly while Beckett just frowned and Artemis inspected the body through narrowed eyes from behind his sunglasses, not planning to tell what he knew about the body anytime soon.
"That sure is a lot of alcohol, even for a normal sized person," observed Beckett as she stood back up and walked around the circumference of the body, paying more attention to the bottles than the actual victim for the time being.
"If you think that's impressive, you should come see this," Esposito said as he approached the group. Beckett and Castle exchanged looks while Artemis raised an eyebrow and Butler remained stoic as always.
As the Detective and her 'lover,' as Artemis peevishly referred to the two in his mind, followed Esposito, the young Irish boy whipped out his Pen Pal and snapped a picture. The others might not know what or who exactly their victim was, but Artemis sure did. Now was the problem of figuring out the 'who' part of it. The phone dinged as he sent the message and slid the phone into his pocket once again, making Lanie glance up suspiciously at the boy.
Artemis smirked at her before giving her a wink and heading off in the direction the two detectives and one author. The Doctor narrowed her eyes at the retreating back of the boy. She liked him, he had spirit, but that didn't mean she wasn't suspicious of him. He definitely knew something that he wasn't sharing with the class, and she had a feeling that no one would ever be able to pry it out of him.
The pair-master and butler-soon caught up to the other three, who hadn't noticed their absence-as they headed farther away from the path and into the rocky outcropping of land that appeared to be a perfect hiding place. If it weren't for the other officers hanging around the place, guiding the group, Artemis seriously doubted he would have known exactly what he was looking for or how to go about finding it.
But then Esposito halted the group and they found themselves standing outside a small alcove in the rocks that was littered with glass bottles. The bottles were in various states, ranging from empty to unopened. Many were smashed, making the glass shards crunch under foot, and they were all scattered around in a random mess. But then again, when was a drunk organized?
Other than the bottles, the place also was draped with old t-shirts and pants, even a backpack full of chocolate bars, Mountain Dew, and chips. "Your basic video gaming snack essentials," Esposito said, as he held up the bag for the rest of them to investigate.
Castle snorted in amusement while Beckett and Artemis simultaneously rolled their eyes at the immaturity of the author, before said author commented, "So looks like our victim was a serial drunk."
"Or our murderer was," Beckett said as she continued to peer around the crime scene, picking up one of the t-shirts and finding that it was a much larger size than the body would have been able to wear.
Artemis, who up until that point, had remained silent, slightly smirked at that before his phone began to play its ringtone of 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.' He slid it out easily, saying, "Excuse me," and turning away from the alcove and its many alcohol bottles. "Foaly, what did you find?"
"Hey Sunshine," replied the centaur from the other end and then hurrying on before Artemis could bite back with a remark. "We found a match of your newest dead body; seems that he's the missing son of a Doctor Mycota of LEP tech development. He's around twenty-one, Mud Men years, and his name is Cerimon. By the looks of it, his family was pretty wealthy. Like millionaire wealthy. But don't worry, Arty, they aren't nearly as rich as you." Artemis slightly grinned at that, but the centaur continued on. "He's your typical spoiled rich kid, grew up in Elven Heights, the uppity part of town, and looks like he was on the straight and narrow up until a few years ago, when he was caught with some of uh…vodka?"
"Mud Man alcoholic beverage," Artemis supplied before adding, "Russian water."
"So, your Russian pseudonym self loves the stuff," Foaly quipped from the other end before hurrying on, "He was given a warning, since his parents are rich enough to buy that kind of favor. He seemed to be recovering until he vanished while on holiday to the New England coastline, but I guess you found him."
"Would it be pretty easy for Cerimon to get a Neutrino from his dad?" asked Artemis inching a little farther away from the two detectives and author while lowering his voice.
"Mother, actually," Foaly corrected before adding, "And yes."
"Hmm," Artemis replied in thought, already coming up with a hunch.
"That's all we got on him, got an idea?" the centaur concluded.
Artemis ignored the question and said, "Thank you Foaly, I always appreciate your assistance and I can't wait to try on those goggles." He clicked the phone off before the other could reply. With a slight grin, the boy turned and took the few steps back into the alcove, where Beckett was going about checking the sizes of the discarded shirts, seeing if they were all the same size; Castle was standing around, being in the way; Esposito was sifting through the contents of the backpack; and Butler was keeping a close eye on everything.
The two detectives were talking to one another, theorizing, while Castle would add in additional input that was pretty much ignored by the other two. "Who was that?" questioned Beckett, once she noticed Artemis was off the phone.
"One of my people," Artemis supplied, before turning and mouthing 'Foaly' to Butler.
"You have people?" Beckett said in disbelief, raising a skeptical eyebrow at him.
"My dear Beckett, after how our little Arty has thus far shown off his wealth, I'm really not surprised," Castled said, almost fondly.
Artemis scowled at him from behind his sunglasses and said, a little irritably, "Do you want to hear what I found out or what?"
"Shoot," Beckett said, a little distractedly as she picked up a pair of worn khaki cargos and began searching its pockets.
"Well, apparently the victim's name is Cerimon Mycota, son of a tech developer in a weapons manufacturing company. From what my people say, the kid was an alcoholic and also could have easily gotten his paws on a weapon," Artemis reported, leaving out as much information concerning the LEP and anything fairy-related as possible.
"Wait, how old is Cerimon? Did you get that?" Beckett asked, finding a wallet in one of the cargo's pockets and drawing out a silver credit card.
Artemis immediately saw where she was going with this; but before she could explained this, Castle said, delighted with himself, "I got it! Jason McArthur befriended Cerimon, an underage rich kid with an alcohol addiction, and he bought our victim drinks in exchange for a shoulder to cry on and bonded over their need to drink! Eventually, Cerimon probably spilled about being able to easily get weapons and Jason only needed to get him more drinks for the exchange to be made. That's how our killer got the gun!"
"And the inviso-suit?" Esposito prompted skeptically, although, judging by the look on his face, that story seemed pretty logical to him. And it pretty much was, as far as Artemis could tell, although there were some gaps in it.
Castle shrugged in response before asking Artemis, "Did this weapon company also make invisibility suits?" Artemis gave him a look that said 'that's just stupid,' even though it wasn't too far off the money and Castle just frowned a bit, like he knew that Artemis know something that he wasn't quite sharing.
"Well, we can see if Castle's story is true by checking Jason's credit cards," Beckett finally said, showing the three men and one young man the credit card.
"How do we know he didn't pay in cash?" Esposito asked.
"Because he didn't have any money to spend," Beckett replied with a grin, like for once, she was one step ahead. "We've already checked in on his savings. He hasn't had any money to withdraw for a month."
"But that was before Mircosoft bought Arty's tech," Castle replied before Artemis could say anything.
"I thought we decided to not call each other by nicknames, Rick," Artemis glared at the author before continuing, "But, in any case, it appears that him being fired from Mircosoft was the last straw and finally pushed him over the edge and he turned to his old friend Cerimon for help."
"So, you think my theory is true?" Castle said, a little ecstatically as Beckett and Esposito led the way back out of the rocks and to where Cerimon was, hanging out with Doctor Parish.
The slightest of smiles appeared on Artemis' face slipping off as fast as it came on and he said flatly, "No."
A/N: (RM) Yay! Finally got this chapter done! I'm so sorry for the super long wait; I really don't have an excuse. But, on the up side, Arty has been pestering me for the past few weeks to get this done (more like stalking) and now he'll leave me alone…although I have to write the next chapter. (I'll muddle through.) Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Leave review telling us how you though I did!