A/N: Dedicated to Pilipa, who let me steal her prompt, let me talk out all my ideas down to the last detail, introduced me to cassocks by means of the most awesome fanart ever, and then told me to hurry up and post this since Hot Priest Mihael needs to be shared with the world. It's thanks to her that you're reading this. You know what that means, right? Don't like it, blame her.
This is an alternate universe fic, based on the prompt "in a world where the heroes are villains and vice versa". I tried to keep the characters true to themselves, but their motivations are very, very different from what you may be used to.
Warnings: Slash, violence, religious themes, an abundance of illegal activities
"I need a favor," Beyond said, leaning forward earnestly.
If it had been anyone but Beyond, Matt would have said no. He didn't do favors. He did transactions. But, it was Beyond, so Matt raised his eyebrow as an invitation for Beyond to explain.
Beyond leaned forward further, at an angle that would look awkward and unusual on anyone that wasn't him. He spread out several sheets of paper. Some were computer print-outs, their high quality serving as proof that Beyond had been borrowing Matt's laser printer again. Most of the papers, however, were lined notebook paper, college rule, and crammed with cramped writing.
"What's this?" Matt asked, though he had a pretty good idea already.
"Just a few things I've been keeping an eye on," Beyond said, smiling. Beyond's smile was a little off, with one side higher than the other and a manic look coming into his eyes.
Matt frowned, staring at the papers. "When did you even have time to work on these? They're all dated with today's date." He was used to Beyond's obsession with dates, and knew where to find Beyond's shorthanded dates at the lower right-hand corner of every page, even the computer print-outs.
"Those aren't the dates they were created. Those are the dates I knew my research would be completed and I should give them to you." Beyond said.
Matt knew better than to question Beyond's fanaticism with temporal awareness, so he began skimming the pages. Two faces stuck out, centered on several of the computer print-out and diagrammed with an architect's precision on the notebook paper. There were other people profiled on the pages, but none of them so many as these two.
"Who are they?" Matt asked, sliding two of the printed-off pictures towards Beyond.
Beyond put one finger on the picture of a blonde priest smiling invitingly at the camera. "A priest." Beyond's finger moved to the second picture, the mug shot of a boy with pale hair. "A criminal."
"Thank you so much for stating the obvious. What do they have in common, then?" Matt asked, lighting a cigarette. "Because there's no way in hell I'm going to try to read all of your notes until I don't have any other choice."
Beyond considered Matt's question. "Nothing, as far as I can tell."
"Then why am I looking at this?" Matt asked.
Beyond deftly began sorting the papers into two stacks. Three of the papers were ripped neatly in order to be put in separate piles. "Two cases. I want to take them both."
"The reward that good?" Matt asked, beginning to smile around his cigarette in anticipation. Beyond was the detective, but he and Beyond shared everything, including half a dozen aliases who each had a bank account or two where the profit they made from solving cases was carefully allocated.
"Not really," Beyond said. "The criminal has served an inconsequentially small amount of time in a juvenile detention center, but I suspect that he got off without anyone having any idea how much of a role he really had -- and if I'm correct, still has -- in what's going on."
"So no reward at all," Matt said morosely. "Again. What about the hot priest?"
Beyond stared at Matt thoughtfully for a moment. "You think he's physically attractive?" he asked, interested.
Matt looked at Beyond as if he was crazy. "Who wouldn't?"
Beyond snatched one of the papers in the priest's pile and began scribbling furiously on the back of one of the pages. When he was done, Matt grabbed it to see what he wrote. It took a few tries to decipher Beyond's ever-changing shorthand, but Matt had more practice than practically anyone.
"Suspect found highly physically attractive by average male. Perhaps uses this --" Matt frowned, and huffed a bit, insulted. "You think I'm average now?"
"I would have to verify the information with multiple average males to be completely sure," Beyond said placatingly as he avoided Matt's question entirely. "If I wanted to be scientific about it. I trust your opinion, though, as you seemed particular confident in your appraisal of Mihael Kheel."
"That's his name? Mihael? Sounds kind of foreign." Matt thumbed through the rest of the pictures of the priest.
"He is Italian. He came to the United States looking to--" Beyond looked down at one of the papers in order to quote it, but Matt knew that was just for show. Beyond remembered every word he wrote on those papers. "--'correct those who have strayed from the flock and showed them the true glory and power of God.'"
"A cult leader? We haven't played with one of those before." Matt said, intrigued.
Beyond frowned, his face a strange mixture of motherly scolding and familiar fondness. "This isn't a game. This is justice."
"So what's the reward on hot priest Mihael?" Matt asked. Beyond got so freaking patronizing when he started talking about justice. It was usually best to divert all conversations from the topic.
"There is no reward," Beyond replied.
Normally he would complain, but right now, Matt was just grateful he didn't bust out with something ridiculously cliche like "Justice is our reward." Matt slumped down in his chair, though, mentally revising the groceries budget. With his passion for this justice thing, Beyond tended to forget that humans couldn't just survive on jams and other condiments.
"So what is my part in this?" Matt asked. "Hacking telephone records? Bank accounts? Criminal records? Surveillance camera footages? Please let it be the surveillance footage."
Beyond was staring thoughtfully at the ceiling. He'd leaned his body backwards gracelessly in order to get the best view of the crumbling plaster. "I do need your help," he said.
"And?" Matt asked.
Beyond jerked upright in order to stare Matt in the eyes. Matt flinched a bit and was grateful for his tinted goggles. No matter how much time he spent with the older boy, there would always be something deeply unsettling about his gaze.
"I need jam," Beyond said. "Fourteen jars of strawberry would be ideal, but the store two blocks down stocks nine jars maximum of my preferred brand and as it is midweek, I expect there are no more than seven left. I will accept raspberry as well."
"Fine, but I'm picking up a pizza too, and you're eating at least one slice," Matt said.
B considered. "I will eat the pizza if you pick of the cheese for me and replace all of your avocado bits with gumdrops and all of your smoked ham pieces with Oreos."
"Deal." Matt said, standing up and grabbing his wallet off the counter. "Want to come with?"
"No," Beyond said.
"It'll be fun and you don't get out enough. You're coming with me," Matt said.
"No," Beyond said. "I have cases."
"It's not like they're going to be paying our bills or anything," Matt said. He grabbed Beyond's arm and pulled him to his feet. "Come on, you big baby. It's only a couple of blocks. The walk isn't going to kill you."
Beyond found that it was generally useless to argue with Matt when he had determined that something was "healthy". He let out a very put-upon sigh and followed Matt to the door. As they left their apartment, they nearly bumped into the little old lady who lived across the hall. She was short, rotund, and had an unholy fear of both boys. She crossed herself as she nearly fled into her own apartment, knocking the wreath off of her front door as she slammed it.
Beyond knelt down and examined the wreath the same way he examined corpses on other days. One of the plastic pink roses had fallen askew. He fixed it and gingerly picked it up and replaced it on the nail on her door while Matt tapped his foot to display his impatience. Beyond took a few extra moments to both assure that the wreath was hung correctly and two annoy Matt as punishment for making him tag along in the first place.
When they arrived at the grocery store, Matt and Beyond promptly engaged in a scuffle to see who would get to ride in the cart. Matt seemed to be winning at first, but abruptly, Beyond ducked out of Matt's grip and sat down on the ground, sticking his entire thumb in his mouth, staring up at Matt with wide, imploring eyes.
"What the crap are you doing?" Matt demanded, once he had regained his balance.
"Earlier, you informed me that I was -- and I quote -- 'a big baby', so I am now behaving as my position dictates is socially acceptable," Beyond told him, mumbling around his thumb.
"You suck," Matt informed him, but he had already realized that the battle had been lost and scooped Beyond's gangly body up and dumped him in the cart unceremoniously.
"That hurt," Beyond informed him, nursing his ankle, pulling it up to his face in order to examine it for bruising.
"Maybe you should lay off all the sweets so that you aren't too heavy for me to pick up," Matt said. He shoved the cart into motion, sending Beyond sprawling backwards, both legs flopping over the front of the cart.
"It helps me think," Beyond said. Matt ignored his oft-used excuse and pushed forward through the store, in search of pizza, jam and assorted appealing junk foods. As they passed the cereal aisle, Beyond's hand shot out and snagged the corner of one of the shelves in a vice grip, sending the cart in a tight turn into the aisle.
Matt slammed his foot on the rack on the bottom of the cart, stopping it from careening into a shelf of Frosted Flakes. "You're lucky I have a good reflexes or your head would be occupying the same place as Tony the Tiger's," Matt told Beyond, who had slipped off his flip flops and was cheerfully ignoring Matt as he grabbed boxes of Lucky Charms with his feet.
Matt snatched the Lucky Charms and put them back on the shelf. "No way are we spending money on those. You only eat the marshmallows and waste the rest of the cereal."
"You can eat the rest of the cereal and I will eat the marshmallows," Beyond said logically, grabbing one of the Lucky Charms boxes out of Matt's hands, still using his feet. He dumped the box onto his stomach and hugged it protectively.
"Fine," Matt said. "One box, but I'm not eating the cardboard crap you leave behind when you're done with the marshmallows."
"I'll put them on my pizza!" Beyond informed Matt as if this was his most brilliant plan to date.
"Leave them off my side of the pizza, then," Matt said, maneuvering them back out of the cereal aisle.
"I do not plan on sharing," Beyond said.
It didn't take long before the two had made their way in a zig-zag pattern through the store, with Beyond occasionally forcing a stop as he snagged something off the shelf, sometimes using his feet, sometimes using his hands, whichever seemed more convenient. Eventually, however, they had made their loop, grabbing all the essentials, including a massive pizza that Beyond was now balancing on his head, sitting up straight in the cart and keeping his head perfectly still and level in order to maintain the pizza's position.
They went through the check-out with relative ease. They were on a first name basis with the cashier, who knew enough not to comment by now. Sometimes they got a newer cashier who slowed things down by asking questions and getting bewildered when Beyond started fiddling with things beyond the register, but this woman knew better and merely handed Beyond her jangly set of keys before quickly beginning to scanning the items. Matt figured that she assumed Beyond was completely unstable and liked the shininess and the clang of the keys. Really, however, Beyond was completely enthralled by the concept of being given her set of keys. He fiddled with them, wondering if Matt would be proud of his adept social interaction.
Matt paid using a credit card put in the name of Mail Jeevas. It had been his name before Beyond had adopted him out of the foster care system they had both been born into, and it served as a decent alias. Not a great alias, since it was so easily linked back to him, but it worked for hosting the bank account that paid for their groceries, and even got to use an ID card that had at one point been legal.
Matt grabbed about half the bags and dumped the rest of them out along with Beyond as he tipped the cart over. "This is abuse," Beyond informed him, crab-walking his way out of the cart with the rest of the bags looped around his wrists.
"You know, if you didn't deserve it so much, I might feel sorry for you," Matt said, reaching down and giving Beyond a hand to his feet.
They arrived back at their apartment without (much) incident, and Beyond bounded back to his favorite thinking chair while Matt went to put their half cucumber, avocado and smoked ham, half Oreos, gummy worms and Lucky Charms marshmallow pizza in the oven. Both young men puttered in silence for a long stretch, before Beyond spoke up, making startling Matt into losing a life on his Gameboy. "What?"
"I want to take these cases at once," Beyond said. "I think they'll both prove to be interesting."
Matt raised and eyebrow. "I am completely willing to --"
"Are you about to make a sexual innuendo about Mihael Keehl?" Beyond asked politely.
Matt exhaled loudly. "You ruin everything."
"I think your pizza is on fire," Beyond said, pointing at the oven, which was smoking violently.
Matt raced over and yanked the oven out with the fuzzy green potholders he'd been wearing for just such a purpose. He peered at the pizza, wrinkling his nose a bit. "Actually," he said, glancing over to where Beyond was attempting to get a look at the pizza without actually rising to his feet, "I think only your half of the pizza burnt. Or melted. I've never seen blackened gummy worm goozing into marinara sauce like that. It looks like someone stepped on them and their guts are gushing out all over the pizza." In one fluent gesture, Matt pulled a slice off the pizza and sat it on a paper plate, then brought it over to Beyond. "Bon appetite!"
"It's just how I like it," Beyond said so that Matt wouldn't get upset with him for being impolite and ungrateful again. He peered at the pizza suspiciously. "Thank you, Matt. It looks delicious." He picked up the slice, ignoring the heat, and examined it from all angles. "Are you sure it's safe to eat?"
"Not at all," Matt said. "But you're going to eat at least two slices to assuage my conscience."
"Giving me food poisoning will assuage your conscience?" Beyond asked, chewing thoughtfully on his first piece. "Have you ever been tested for sociopathy?"
Matt chuckled. He'd been around Beyond long enough to recognize Beyond's way of making jokes. "It's a win-win situation. If you don't get food poisoning, I feel like a responsible homemaker. If you get food poisoning, I get to laugh at you."
"And you get to hold my hair out of my face when I vomit," Beyond said. He took another bite. "This tastes much better than it looks."
"Hold back your hair when you --" Matt snatched Beyond's slice of pizza from his hands. "Hell no."
"Matt!" Beyond whined, leaning as far forward as he could in his chair without falling out, trying to reach for his pizza. "Give it back!"
Matt frowned. "I am not going to give you food poisoning again and suffer through another vomit session," he said.
Beyond pulled back from Matt, then scooted forward with bumpy little movements, stretched forward again, and took his pizza back. Matt let him this time, rolling his eyes and succumbing to the temptation of his own pizza.
"So you already told me about Hot Priest Mihael," Matt said between bites. He pulled out a sheet of paper from Beyond's stacks, smearing the picture of the white haired boy with pizza grease. "But what makes him so interesting, exactly? He doesn't really look like much of a challenge."
"I'm almost positive that he's running a massive crime ring," Beyond said.
"What makes you think that?" Matt asked.
Beyond shrugged. "Something about him," he said vaguely.
"Right," Matt said. "Want another piece?"
Beyond considered. "No thank you."
Matt stared at him critically. "You're too thin. Eat another piece."
"You called me fat earlier, when you were lifting me into the cart," Beyond pointed out.
"I also told you that you should eat real food instead of just jam," Matt said. He handed Beyond another piece.
"Why did you ask me if I wanted another piece when your answer overrode mine anyways?" Beyond asked inquisitively.
"Just eat the pizza," Matt said. "What's Crimelord Kid's name?"
"Nate River. I want to test him. Can we buy a car?"
Matt considered. "That depends. Is this a 'I want to see if he's interesting' test, a 'this could lead to a break in the case' test, and most importantly, is this a 'Matt will get the car back' test?"
"Yes, maybe and probably not," Beyond replied.
Matt considered, then shrugged. "It's a terrible idea, but I like car shopping. We can go tomorrow."
"I have work," Beyond said. "Perhaps you'd like to go by yourself? I trust your judgment. I'm sure you will pick out a very nice car for as little money as possible. Something a chop shop would be interested in."
Matt nodded. "Sure. I can do that first thing tomorrow."
"I like the used car lot four blocks west of the Chinese restaurant that gave you the fortune cookie that told you 'You are not a person who can be ignored'," Beyond said.
Matt and Beyond Birthday had technically been living together for the better part of twelve years, thanks to Matt's amateur manipulation of the foster care system. When Matt was nine, Beyond turned eighteen and applied for legal guardianship of the useful young hacker. Since then, they had moved from being a business partnership to a dysfunctional but ultimately healthy family. Those twelve years had taught them a lot, and that was the only reason why Matt knew how to recognize all of LA's Chinese restaurants by the fortunes they had given him at some distant point in time.
"Sure thing. Krazy Karl's Karz it is," Matt said. "I will shop there, as much as it pains me to shop at a place that spells 'cars' with a K and a Z, then goes out of its way to have the initials KKK. The things I do for you, Beyond. Seriously."