azombiewrites: (The Magnificent Seven)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: A Murder Mystery
First story in the 'Four Corners Detective's Mystery Series'
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
AU: Four Corners Detectives
Genre: Hurt/Comfort
Summary: Detective's Standish and Dunne investigate a murder and find an unlikely witness.
Main Characters: Ezra, JD and the rest of the seven
Disclaimers: The guys are owned by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, and The Mirisch Corp.
Beta: Not betaed
Notes: I was in the weirdest mood when I wrote this but I will not use that as an excuse for the way this turned out.
Spoilers: None.
Word Count: 8,330




Part One


Why wouldn't that damn alarm clock stop ringing! He'd slammed his hand against it four times now and it was still trying to wake him. Wait a minute; wasn't it still dark? The alarm shouldn't be going off while it was still dark. Damn! It was the phone.

His arm snaked out from underneath the thick blue bed covers to pick up the phone. He silently hoped it wasn't what he thought it was.

'Standish.' He listened to his own slurred voice as he answered the phone.

'Hey, Boss, we've got a body for you.'

'Who is this?' How could he recognize someone's voice in the middle of the night?

'Uh, Boss, it's me, Wilmington, I'm on desk duty tonight. Something to do with trying to get a date with the Mayor's daughter, which he didn't like, and for some reason he called my boss and here I am.'

'And you're calling me because you think I can get you out of it,' Standish said.

'No, you put me here and we have a body.'

'She has a body?'

'Boss, you really have to stop taking a turn with the weekend call rotations,' Wilmington said.

Standish sat up and pulled the covers away from his face. He switched the phone to his left hand and used his right to rub his eyes clear. 'I'm on call?'

'You okay, Boss? You don't sound too good.'

'It's the middle of the night,' Standish growled. 'Of course I don't sound, as you put it, too good.'

'It's not the middle of the night, boss. It's nearly five in the morning.'

'It's still dark . . .'

'Boss, we don't have time for your early morning confusion . . . you're on call and we've got a body!' Wilmington snapped.

'Okay, okay. . okay. Who else?'

'Dunne.'

'Tell him to pick me up in fifteen.' Standish hung up the phone and climbed out of bed. After ridding himself of his pyjamas, he headed towards the bathroom and looked at his reflection in the mirror.

Haunted green eyes stared back at him. He hated looking at them because they told the truth of his state of mind. He quickly looked away before his eyes could reveal more. After cleaning his teeth, he put on a pair of blue jeans, white shirt and a thick brown jumper. He retrieved his revolver, keys and notebook from the table near the front door then left without looking back.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-


Forty-five minutes later Detectives Standish and Dunne arrived at the Denver Memorial park and double-parked next to a patrol car. Other official vehicles lined the street. They had been the last to arrive.

Standish opened the passenger side of the car and waited until the tremors left his body. He had a fear of dying in a car accident since he was a child and Dunne's driving didn't help. A child psychologist had called it a phobia but it was too strong a word for him. The word fear was simpler, less girly. Once he was sure, he had his body back under control he got out and looked over the roof of the car at Dunne.

'Give me the keys.'

'What?' Dunne asked him.

'I said . . . give me the keys.'

'Why?'

'Why,' Standish repeated. 'Because you can't drive.'

'I have a driver's license that says I can.'

'Just give me the damn keys, and when you prove that you can drive, you can have them back.'

'I can prove it now by showing you my dri--'

'We don't have time for that.' Standish walked around the car, took the keys from Dunne and headed for the crime scene.

They walked past the coroner's van to find the crime scene cordoned off with yellow tape. After crossing under the tape, Standish and Dunne gave their names and badge numbers to the uniformed officer who was in charge of the crime scene attendance list.

Before moving towards the body, Standish stood back and took in the entire scene. He wanted the picture in his head before evidence, photos and witness statements separated it. He only had a few seconds before a man came towards him.

'Hey, Bob.' Standish addressed the coroner's technician.

'Standish.' Bob Fenton nodded to Standish then smiled at Dunne. 'How ya doing, JD? Enjoy your weekend with Casey?'

'What weekend? It's Saturday morning and I'm here.'

Fenton laughed at the young man's expression. 'You can get laid anytime, JD'

'What would you know?'

'What have you got, Bob?' Standish asked while he pulled on a pair of rubber gloves.

Fenton looked down at his notes, shook his head then looked back up. 'Female Caucasian, twenty-seven years of age. Name Shannon Bell. From the look of her, she was raped, beaten then strangled. Time of death would be somewhere around eight last night.'

'You found her id then,' Dunne said while he wrote notes in his small notebook.

'Found her bag and everything in it, including her cell phone.'

'Eight last night and it was only just called in.' Standish had moved to Four Corners in Denver seven months ago but he knew that a few people hung around the park on a Friday night.

Fenton nodded towards the body. 'Go do what you need to do so the crime scene guys can finish, and I can take the body to the morgue.'

'Let me know when the autopsy is. I know JD here loves to watch, especially when it's a woman.'

'Fuck you, boss!'

'Save it for Casey.' Standish always did what he could to make the young detective laugh in a situation like this. Crime scenes could sicken the best of men, and so far, JD had been lucky. Dunne had been a Homicide Detective 1st Class for less than fifteen months, and so far, had only investigated crimes that involved victims that were over twenty-five. He had yet to come across a murder that involved a child. When that day came, it would change the young man forever.

Fenton laughed, and then went back to the coroner's van to wait.

Standish and Dunned walked carefully towards the uniform officer standing close to the victim. Standish took in the scene with experienced eyes. The body laid face down, the shoulder length red hair was a mess: full of dirt, leaves and twigs. A white shirt covered her back but her black jeans and underwear were down around her ankles. A pair of white sneakers covered her feet. A brown purse lay a few yards away to her right.

Nothing in the scene stood out, nothing that would immediately give them an idea of where to start in finding the victim's killer.

'TANNER!' Standish yelled.

A uniformed officer jogged over to the two Detectives and smiled at Dunne who nodded in return.

'You yelled, boss.'

'Yes, I yelled, and don't call me boss. I'm not your boss, Larabee is, call him boss.'

'He doesn't like being called boss. Besides, he said that if I call him boss again he'll hit me.'

'And I wouldn't.'

'No, you wouldn't.'

'Tell me what I need to know.'

Standish had gotten to know the men of the small police force of Four Corners. There were only twelve of them and every one of them knew how to do their job. They knew what was expected and were ready when he needed information.

'Ed Price,' Tanner pointed to the man sitting in the patrol car, 'said he found the body about nine last night. He's not sure though because he doesn't own a watch. He--"

Standish sighed and ran his hand through his hair. 'Then why does he believe it was about nine last night?'

'Well, if you hadn't interrupted me, I would have told you.' Tanner stood with his feet slightly apart, his right hand rested on the butt of his gun. Standish glared back at him. 'He left the library at eight-fifteen and thinks that only about an hour had passed.'

'Where did he make the phone call?'

'He used the phone in the center of the park.'

Standish looked over at the man. 'Did he say why he took so long to call it in?'

'He said he was scared.'

'Time to clean himself up,' Dunne said.

'Tanner--'

'Yeah . . . boss.'

'Tell the crime scene guys that I want her bag and cell phone dusted first and then I want a list of calls made to and from the victim's cell phone during the last forty-eight hours.'

'Anything else?'

'Do we have a next-of-kin--' Tanner gave him a piece of paper.

'There was an address book in her bag and before you say it, the crime scene guys did their job with it first.'

'Have Wilmington run her name through the computer and see if she has any priors. Meanwhile Dunne and I will have a quick talk with Price then do the next-of-kin.'

Standish and Dunne walked to the Patrol car. Dunne opened the door and introduced himself and his partner. He then gestured to Price to get out of the car and stand against it. After giving him, the once-over Standish began his questions. He liked to do most of the questioning and then allow Dunne to ask questions at the end of the interview.

'I understand that you found the body at about nine.' Standish was watching Price for some indication of guilt but all he could see was fear.

'Yes I did,' Price said.

'What did you do when you found it?'

'Don't you mean her?'

'Excuse me?' Standish frowned at the man.

'You said it, don't you mean her. She was a person after all.'

'Mr. Price, I've seen a lot worse than this, a lot worse, that's why I left the city and came down here to a small town where I thought this sort of thing didn't happen but that was my mistake and none of your business. If I were to call each victim by his or her name, it would become too personal and I'll end up blowing my head off because I couldn't separate myself from them. It's the only way I'm able to deal with it. Now can we please continue with the interview?'

'Why didn't you call the police when you first found the victim?' Dunne caught the change in his boss's stance.

Standish knew he had allowed his emotions to take control. It was the wrong thing to do and Dunne had just given him the opportunity to take control again. Didn't mean he had to like the interruption.

'How am I supposed to learn how to question a suspect or witness if you won't let me ask any of the questions.'

The witness glanced quickly at the younger man then back at Detective Standish who seemed unhappy with the interruption. 'It's okay, I don't mind if Detective Dunne asks me questions.

'Like it's up to you!' Standish snapped. He saw the fear deepen. 'Sorry, you can answer the question and if Detective Dunne here wants to ask another question he can do it later. Perhaps he can ask you if you would like a cup of coffee or something like that. He likes asking that question don't you JD.'

'It's only polite to ask if you're getting some for yourself.'

'And you're saying I don't.'

'No, you don't.'

'I was scared,' Price said.

Standish only just managed to control his anger. What the hell were they doing arguing in front of a witness? It was this town. The people in it weren't normal and it always seemed to bring out the worst of him.

'Why were you scared?' Dunne asked.

'Hell help me.' Standish looked up towards the sky when Dunne asked another question. Maybe he should just let Dunne take full control.

'Hell is that way.' Dunne pointed towards the ground.

'I know that.'

'Then why are you looking up there?'

'Detective Dunne, a minute please,' Standish took a few steps to the side and squeezed the bridge of his nose. 'What the hell are you doing?'

'Don't you mean what the hell are we doing? It takes two to argue.'

'Okay, it's early, I'm in a bad mood and you're trying to get me out of it but we're interviewing a witness who could easily turn into a suspect and you're going out of your way to bait me.'

'It's working too, you're baited.'

'Yes, I'm baited, so can we get back to business.

'Okay,' Dunne shrugged.

'Finally.' Standish moved back to his position and saw movement in the bushes behind the Patrol car. He also saw who was causing the movement. The person wasn't a threat so he ignored it. They could wait a few more minutes.

'Can you answer the question please, Mr. Price.'

'I'm homeless, I have no money. I thought I would be your first suspect, that you would arrest me or something.'

'You are our first suspect. The person who finds the body is always a suspect until they are ruled out of the investigation,' Standish said.

'What?' The man's head lifted so quickly Standish thought it was going to snap off like a twig. 'You can't do that, I didn't do anything.'

'What you did do was take your sweet time reporting a murder to the authorities.'

'I told you--'

'Does he belong to you?' Standish nodded to the boy who was watching them.

'Who?'

'The boy who thinks we can't see him.'

Dunne looked where Standish was looking. 'What boy?'

For a fleeting second Standish thought about shooting Dunne then thought it might be easier if he just shot himself.

'The boy that thinks I can't see him.' Standish stepped around the Patrol car. 'Get out here where my blind police partner can see you.'

'I'm not afraid of you!' A young voice called out.

'I don't give a shit if you're afraid of me or not. Now get out here before I send Dunne in there after you.'

'If he comes anywhere near me I'll kick him in the balls so hard he'll wish his mother never gave birth to him.'

Standish glanced over his shoulder at Price who shrugged.

'He's got his mother's mouth,' Price said.

'You mean had his mother's mouth.' Standish growled. 'What's your son's name?'

'Garrett.'

'Garrett,' Standish called out while flicking his notebook closed and placing it in his pocket, 'if I have to come in there after you I'm going to kick your balls so hard they'll never drop.'

He knew it was an empty threat and the kid would know it too but the boy's father was scared.

'Garrett, get out here now!' yelled Price.

When Garrett came out and stood next to his father Standish could see that the boy was clean where his father wasn't, he looked healthy when his father didn't, and he was clothed where his father wasn't. Price gave his son everything. This man wasn't capable of raping and murdering a young woman, he was sure of it.

'You look after the kid but not yourself,' Standish said.

'The kid's name is Garrett, moron.'

'Mr. Price, would you please tell your boy to be more polite to his elders.'

'Garrett, please, this isn't the time.'

'Fine, Dad, but when the time is right I'm going to give him Hell.'

Price looked down at his son.

Dunne smiled at the boy.

Standish glared at Dunne.

'Tanner!' Standish turned on his heel and began to walk back to his car. 'Take these two down to the station while Dunne and I do the next-of-kin.'

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-


He hated doing next-of-kin, but it was worse, cowardly even, when you gave the task to someone else. After knocking on the door, he took a deep breath and held it then let it out a few seconds later. He knocked louder the second time, even louder the third and by the fourth he could hear someone moving around inside the house.

When the door opened, a woman hurled abuse at him. Something about what time of day it was and how some people needed to sleep because, they had to get up and go to work later in the day. The abuse stopped when he showed the woman his police ID.

'Mrs. Bell?'

'Yes, is this about my daughter? Is she alright?'

'No, Mrs. Bell, she isn't.' It was all Standish could think of to say.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-


'Where are they?' Standish asked Wilmington as soon as he walked into the Police Station.

'Where's who?' Wilmington lifted his eyes from the magazine he was reading at the Sergeant's desk and saw Dunne shake his head at him.

'We just did the next-of-kin,' Dunne informed him.

They all knew what Standish was like after notifying the next-of-kin of a death. His mood was a mixture of sadness and anger and he was never in the mood for smart-ass remarks. It was also too early in the morning for the senior Detective.

'Oh you mean Price. He's in interview room one. '

Without another word, the two men headed towards Four Corner's one and only interview room.

There were only three chairs in the room so when Dunne headed straight for the empty chair Standish leaned against the door after closing it. He saw the sweat that beaded Price's forehead and the tear streaked face of his son.

'First of all, we are not going to separate you,' Standish said. 'You obviously take care of your son and as long as you can assure me that there is somewhere that you stay during the night you're both fine as far as I'm concerned.'

'What?'

'I'm not going to repeat myself, Mr. Price.'

'I'm sorry. It's just that . . . we expected it when you told Officer Tanner to bring us down here.'

'Did you hear me ask him to call Child Services?'

'No.'

'Then you have nothing to worry about.'

'Breakfast?' Dunne asked.

Standish noticed that Dunne was already clicking on one of the speed dials of his cell phone before he got an answer from anyone.

'I'll go and get some drinks,' Standish muttered and left the room.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-


Three men and one boy sat around the table, Standish having gotten an extra chair when he had gotten sodas for the boys and coffee for the men. Standish watched as Dunne and Garrett ate pancakes that had been delivered ten minutes earlier.

He remembered how Garrett's face had been wet with shed tears when he first arrived back. It was obvious that the boy's first thought had been that they were going to take him to a foster home. Standish knew this because it had been his first thought when his mother had been arrested when he was a child. He had silently hoped that they would send him away and they had. It wasn't a pleasant experience and when he was re-united with his mother six months later, he had made her promise never to let them take him away again. She had made the promise and she had broken it on more than one occasion. When he had gotten older, he had realised that it hadn't been his mother's fault. She was just doing what she could to feed and clothe them both.

'Where do you go to school, Garrett?'

'The library,' Garrett said between mouthfuls of pancake and syrup.

'Really,' Standish said.

'Yeah, I read all sorts of books. History, science, biology, and all the stuff that teaches me about English and Math.'

'Do you have somewhere to stay at night?' Standish wasn't surprised when the boy stopped eating and quickly glanced at his father. 'When we're done here, go to this address,' Standish pulled a card from his pocket and wrote on the back of it. He then handed it to Price. 'Mrs. Wells, who runs the place, will take you in for a while and if you ask her nicely she'll even help you.'

'This is good food,' Dunne spoke through a mouth full of food.

'At least Garrett here has enough manners to speak when his mouth isn't full.' Standish slapped Dunne on the back of the head and Dunne started to choke on his food. Standish ignored him.

'Aren't you going to . . .' Price started to ask.

'No.'

'But he's choking on--'

'At this moment I don't really care.' Standish was looking at Garrett and not Price. 'Will you please hurry up so we get this done? I have other things to do.'

'Let the kid eat.' Dunne had finally managed to swallow his food.

'Who am I Dunne?'

'You're an irritating son-of-a-bitch who doesn't--'

'I know that but I'm talking about what I do for a living.' Standish continued to watch Garret Price.

'You're a police officer,' Dunne said.

'What kind of police officer.'

'You're a Detective.'

'And what kind of Detective am I?'

By this time, Garrett had noticed that Standish was staring at him.

'A Homicide Detective.'

'A very good Homicide Detective that . . . ?

'That solves Homicides.'

'Very good,' Standish didn't notice when Dunned grinned like an idiot. 'And what is the most important thing about a Homicide.'

'The first forty-eight hours.'

'That's right, so you won't really mind if I hurry this along then do you.'

'But Mr. Price isn't eating,'

'Mr. Price isn't the one who found the body,' Standish said.







Part One | Part Two


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