A/N – The title is taken from Metallica's "I Disappear", and Korn's "Coming Undone" is also good theme music.
The trial was a blur. B had been on so many painkillers that he could barely recall what was said. It was only a month or so after his capture, so they told him, so his injuries were still in the early stages of healing. Every brush of his orange jumpsuit against his ravaged flesh brought screams if he wasn't medicated, so the doctors had learned early on to pump him full of whatever analgesic was handy, whether it left him his ability to reason or not.
He'd already confessed; it didn't matter what he said now anyway. Naomi Misora, as well the great L himself, had closed the case. L had not revealed his hand in it, and Naomi and the FBI took the credit for solving his riddles. Riddles which had taken close to a year to plan. They were essentially his life's work, the one thing that would have justified his presence on this earth. He would have bested L, the world's greatest detective, leaving him with a case he could never solve. It would haunt the obsessive detective until the end of his days. It would also haunt Wammy, that evil old bastard, the same one who kicked him out of the program for supposedly failing to become L. He would have shown them both that they were wrong.
The execution of his plans was so perfect that it almost made him weep, at least until he recalled the moment that the blast from Naomi's fire extinguisher hit him, putting out the flames that were obliterating all thought, all reason, all that B was.
Damn her. His death was necessary. His death was something he'd been waiting for anyway. Every morning as he woke and put on the makeup that paled his skin and shadowed his eyes, he saw his name, floating over his head. But no death date. If he could not know the date of his death in advance, he would know it by deciding it. Suicide, or rather murder, would fit so perfectly into his plans anyway.
He hated Naomi Misora for robbing him of everything. It should have been L's victory if not his. Not hers, never hers. No one other than L could best him. He refused to believe that she could have solved it if not for his clues, his intervention in his own murder investigation.
Hate was the only thing keeping him alive right now. Every time he woke, he cursed whatever gods there were for not killing him while he slept. Every time he drifted in and out of sleep, he prayed to the gods that gave him the damned eyes that they would take him. Hell itself could not be worse than having his skin rubbed raw by physicians that were less than expert and bore him a great deal of ill will. The cold baths and constant cleansing of his wounds with saline left him fearing the agony even when he couldn't feel it because of all the morphine in him. He knew what the doctors were doing; he knew they loved finding new ways to make him suffer.
Only a few weeks into the madness and he was tearing at the wounds with his ragged nails, crying out that it itched, that everything still burned. He woke from nightmares in which L had the eyes and horns of a demon and flogged him with a scourge made of fire. Wammy, who sported goat's legs like a satyr from Hell, stood by and recited the same speech he had given B before "releasing" him from Wammy House. His limbs spasmed out of control when he was going through withdrawal, which started only 6 or so hours after they gave him his dose. The humiliation of being found in that state, being seen like that by other people, made him wish even more to be dead. He would not attempt to kill himself again, though. It didn't fit into his plans now.
He didn't have any plans. He couldn't reason most of the time. His thoughts were so jumbled. When he wasn't convinced that he was sitting on the ceiling staring down at skeletal shinigami that were gambling for pieces of himself, he was moaning endlessly at the agony of his wounds. Logic had abandoned him. Rational thought had fled.
He was eventually released from the torture chamber known as the hospital inside one of the local jails that basically served as a holding chamber for those awaiting trial. His only hope as he was roughly escorted to the police car was that he would get the death sentence. The doctor that escorted him along with the police administered another dose of that sweet godsend morphine, that beautiful substance that took away the pain at the cost of his sense. He sighed with euphoria and slid bonelessly down the seat, his limbs gone limp with pleasure, at least until the guard jerked him back upright and tightened his seatbelt.
The looks he received as he was taken to the courtroom assured him that he looked a sight. His hair was mostly gone, only clinging to his skull in patches in the back, and what he could see of his arms was knotted red and pink flesh. His self-inflicted gouges were scabbed over, some of them still fresh enough to need bandages. He knew his face looked terrible; he had felt it with his ruined hands one day and found that his nose was misshapen, his mouth twisted terribly with scars, his eyebrows gone. His forehead had been grafted over, for the flesh had been completely burnt away, right down to his skull. It was where the fire had started, after all. He had drenched himself in gasoline, then tilted his head back dreamily, as though taking a normal shower, and dropped the match in his hair. Even his tongue was scorched; if he had been able to eat, he would not have tasted anything.
After hearing a great many whispers and some not-so-subtle gasps of horror, he was seated harshly at the front of the courtroom. His heavily bandaged wrists were handcuffed behind him as he hunched in his chair. It was frightening to be surrounded by so many people, and even though he tried to make himself small, he knew they were all there because of him. Him and his damned failure.
"You look terrible, Ryuzaki." B opened his eyes and forced them to focus. "Or should I say, B?"
Naomi Misora stood there in the space between the prosecution and defendant's desks, pulling off her motorcycle gloves as if she hadn't a care in the world. Her face held no malice, merely polite interest. It infuriated him.
"You bitch!" he hissed, and even as he jerked toward her the guards on both sides grabbed him, slamming him again in his seat. "Who told you?"
"The FBI has its sources. You've been fingerprinted, after all, Beyond." He breathed in and out harshly. Her "slip" had been intentional, revealing that L had told her who B really was, but that L was unwilling, as B had been, to drag Wammy House and himself into the investigation.
As he looked at the woman, his face even more contorted with rage, he saw her death date floating so innocently over her head. He debated telling her and letting her worry about it every moment until she died. It would be a fitting punishment for her.
Something stopped him, however. Lack of interest, perhaps. He was getting tired. Even expending the energy to lunge at her was tiring. He settled for slumping again in his seat, closing his lash-less eyes against the sight of her. This was humiliating. Every aspect of his incarceration and treatment had been more humiliating than anything else in his life, including being expelled from Wammy House.
His mind slipped into that half-doze that he nearly always found himself in when he was being medicated. Eventually the murmur of voices around him quieted and only a few voices spoke. The trial was beginning. One guard jabbed him to get him to sit up straight as his so-called defense attorney spoke for him. They all knew it was pointless, though. If he had to, B would confess again and give them every damn detail of the murders, right down to finding each person and giving explicit details as to exactly how he had killed them.
The final murder in particular he could get disturbingly graphic with, for that woman had been unfortunate enough to have short, dark hair and pale skin. B had not been able to hold back when all he could envision was L's face and L's body giving way beneath the saw blade and the knife. The eyes had been ripped out, so L would stop looking at him with those accusatory eyes. He had cut out the tongue so L would stop calling him a failure.
Ultimately, though, his guilt was quite clear and they didn't make him confess again. Most of the chatter he forgot, focusing mostly on Naomi Misora as she gave her testimony. How he wished her heart would stop.
Other than Naomi, only the judge held his interest when he rapped his gavel for silence. Finally, the words he had been waiting to hear. His mouth formed the word "execution" as he leaned forward, his eyes alight with joy as he contemplated the end of his wretched existence.
"I find the defendant, Beyond Birthday, guilty by his own admission of the murders of Backyard Bottomslash, Quarter Queen, and Believe Bridesmaid. This court sentences him to life imprisonment in Los Angeles federal prison."
"NO!" The scream rang in his ears like the shriek of metal on metal. Apparently he shouted the word as well, for everyone he could see before him flinched as though struck, including Naomi, who held an arm up before her face as if to ward off an attack. He didn't care what they thought or did, though. His chair fell over backwards as he tried to leap over the table, intending to tear the throat out of the first person he could reach with his unnaturally sharp teeth. Maybe a reckless display of insane aggression would get him the lethal injection.
He would not, he could not survive this!
A nightstick caught him across the throat and he was jerked backwards as he only partially cleared the table. His head slammed into his fallen-over chair as he hit the floor, gasping as the wind was knocked out of him. Because his arms were bound behind him, he had been unable to break his fall. His bruised windpipe stung as he drew shaky breaths, his mind not quite realizing what had happened. His muscles refused to fight as he was lifted to his feet again, his guards keeping an iron grip on his biceps.
He was dragged from a room loud with excited chatter, his legs unable to move as his mind screamed at him to come up with a plan. He couldn't go to prison. Not to a federal prison, where unspeakable horrors awaited him.
Fear clutched him in its icy fingers, squeezing a plea out of him. He couldn't quiet it, not with his mind senseless with morphine, which had a knack for obliterating any ability he had to reason.
"No, please, don't make me go! Kill me, I deserve the death sentence. Please!" The words coming out of his mouth were shameful, but he couldn't shut them up, not when they were what he truly felt. His struggles were futile as his strength returned, and he looked like a child fighting his parents' grip as he was hauled bodily from the courtroom. The last thing he saw was Naomi, who looked away as though embarrassed for his sake by his behavior.
"No," he cried quietly as damned tears burned his eyes. After he was chained up in the van that would take him to a larger federal prison, he let his head fall between his knees and let the sobs come. It was over. Everything was over for him. He knew what went on in federal prisons compared to county jails. There would be no guards coming to anyone's rescue if violence broke out. The guards there mainly ensured that the violence didn't turn into a riot that would threaten the prison staff. Most people there were on death row or life imprisonment, and no one cared what they did to each other as long as they weren't killing the general public. There would be rape, murder, and brutal violence, and he would live each day afraid of what others would do to him. He knew he was strong, but he was also shorter and thinner than the average man. He would be an easy target for bullying, which in prison was far worse than being bullied in school.
There would be no mercy there for him.
Not that he deserved any.
But he was still afraid.
He kept his face hidden, disgusted by the fact that his knees were damp with tears as the sobs subsided. The guards driving the vehicle were talking to themselves. The one in the passenger seat apparently looked back at him, for he addressed him.
"You feeling sorry now? It's a little late for that." B glanced up, but he had nothing to say.
"Ah, leave him alone," the driver admonished the other. "Going to prison is worse than getting the death sentence. At least give him a few minutes of peace before we get there." They both laughed as though sharing an inside joke.
"You know what's waiting for you, don't you, kid? At least you're damned ugly, so they probably won't make you one of their bitches."
"Fuck you, James Caldwell Hallsworth. I hope you enjoy the 2 years you have left to live. September 15, 2004. Mark the day." It was the only card B had to play, and play he did.
"How do you know my name? And what the hell are you talking about?" The man looked perplexed and more than a little nervous.
"Ignore him, James. He probably saw your ID at some point. He's mental."
"But I didn't see yours either, Stewart Lynn Amerosi. You only have a month and a half. I wonder what will kill you in such a short time?" He gave him a lopsided smile.
"Shut up, freak." That came from the driver, and he didn't sound so much intimidating as frightened. The knowledge gave B a little bit of joy. "Keep your threats to yourself. I hope you know that was the last of the medication you'll ever get. The guards here don't care how much you hurt."
B bit his tongue and cursed them. He had told them the truth, and it had certainly gotten to them, but he didn't like the reminder that he was going to be in considerable agony after this. One more thing to add to the misery of this situation.
The van came to a stop, and B looked out the window to see the chain-link fences topped with razor wire that were much taller than he could reach, even by jumping. Guard towers were positioned at each corner of the facility, and there were signs posted intermittently around the perimeter warning that the fence was electrified. The building in the distance was low, probably only 3 floors, with no windows and only a few doors. There were several prisoners in orange jumpsuits identical to his own with numbers stenciled on the backs milling closer to the building. There was at least one orange object lying on the ground, and some guards were dragging it away while other security personnel watched their backs with nightsticks. There was at least one rifle pointed out one of the towers as well, keeping an eye from a distance on the proceedings.
"Looks like they had to clean someone up. We'll wait until the area is clear before we take you in. Welcome to Los Angeles Federal Prison, your home for the rest of your life." He couldn't look at the men as they spoke. All he could see was the ravaged corpse of some fool as he was dragged out of the courtyard.
B knew he was a dead man, and he even craved the release of death, but he would prefer not to die in the same horrible way that he had killed Backyard Bottomslash, for instance. Trying to die once by immolation was enough; he wanted to slip quietly in the afterlife, whatever it was, at this point.
His insides were cold when they pulled him out of the vehicle, and his slight body offered no resistance. These muscle-bound hulks had no problem tossing him around like he was a doll. He fell at least once into the dirt after they pushed him, and he couldn't get back up with his hands bound behind him. They were forced to yank him back upright before giving him another shove in the direction of the prison.
He was escorted to a desk where his presence was recorded in the prison's logbooks. Another jumpsuit and bedding were dropped in his arms, his hands now unbound so he could carry them. The man signing him in gave him a quick run-down of the prison's procedures and rules in a bored tone of voice, but he was barely listening. He was advised to avoid Alpha Wing after dark, and he didn't question them as to why. He just wanted to go to his cell and never come out. It took 30 days to die of starvation? B wondered if he could hold out that long.
When the pain came back, he doubted he would ever want to eat again.
B huddled on his bunk, curled into the smallest ball that he could make, still half-soaked from the locker room. He had held out as long as he could until the guards found him hidden under his bunk, for they were ordering everyone into the showers today. It seemed he was not the only one reluctant to go in, so it was a prison rule that every other day, everyone was ordered in according to what section their cells were in.
There was no supervision in the locker room. He noticed that the guards were nowhere in sight, and with good reason. He kept his eyes averted from what appeared to be consensual activity by some of the inmates, trying to slip into the streams of water as quickly as he could. He had already been pushed around enough in the halls for the so-called "state of his face". He didn't want to know what they thought of seeing his entire body a scarred mess, but it turned out that he didn't have to wait long.
"Hey, look! It's that freak!" a voice rang out with false cheeriness, and B felt his shoulder caught in another's grip as he was turned violently around. He spun, half-slipping on the wet tile, and let out a cry as he was slapped against the shower wall. His wounds were a constant source of agony now, and having the warm water spill over them was painful enough, let alone the sharp contact with a hard surface. Other inmates cleared enough space around him and went on with their showers, ignoring his plight. His voice was lodged in his throat, almost as though something hard was blocking his ability to speak.
"You are one ugly mother fucker, aren't you?" the man holding his shoulder commented, examining his face by gripping his jaw and moving his head around. There was a minor chorus of assent behind him as his cronies agreed. B had found this man to be the most dangerous-seeming in his section. He even looked like the typical serial killer, whereas B did not. This man was much taller than B, overly muscled from plenty of time in the prison's weight room, and he was bald with tattoos covering his skull, probably courtesy of the prison's artistic population. Needless to say, B was very afraid of becoming this man's plaything.
"How'd you get all these?" the man gestured at the rest of him crudely. B tried to ignore the fear squirming in his insides as he answered.
"It's all self-inflicted. I tried to burn to death." Hopefully that would earn him something approaching respect, or at least enough disgust that he wouldn't get raped in front of all these men. As much as B wanted to die, he did not want to get violated publicly or suffer unnecessarily.
"Cute. Looks like you failed, though. Don't worry, you're too ugly to fuck, 'cept maybe from behind." More laughs came from the cronies, and B's face burned with humiliation. He was pushed again, and this time he fell, cracking one elbow against the tile. He cried out with the pain, mortified when others jeered and mocked him for the sound, claiming that he sounded like a girl. He waited until they moved on before trying to sit up, stopping when he felt the bones in his injured elbow shift and tear through his skin. A trickle of blood ran into the drain. Truly, the pain was no worse than the sheer agony of his burns, so he stood shakily and put his uniform back on, ignoring the looks of mild astonishment from the others at the blood starting to soak through his jumpsuit.
One thought stuck in his mind. The man, one Jason Fieldman, was due to die in 13 days. He wondered at the shortness of the man's lifespan when he seemed to be one of the ringleaders in this place. He filed the information away for future contemplation as he walked back to his cell, water squelching in his slip-on shoes, and curled up into the tiny ball on his bunk. His arm throbbed, but everything hurt, so he could ignore it as he shut his eyes and tried to sleep. Sleep was the only escape from this hell. He had tried to close the cell door against intruders, but only the guards could actually lock it, so he was at anyone's mercy during daylight hours.
As he had started to do each night, he started his prayers by wishing that Naomi would die, the methods varying every time. He added L to the list, hoping that the man died a senseless, obscure death in mockery of his infamy. Last of all, he wished Wammy torment and a slow demise for being the one responsible for his suffering. It was all the old man's fault anyway; if B had merely been raised as an orphan, albeit an intelligent one, he would never have developed the complex that he had. He would not have wasted his adolescence trying to become someone who was a stranger to him. His life might have had meaning.
Dammit, B might have been happy if not for the experiments.
But that was all in the past, and really not worth reminiscing about.
The first week was a new kind of suffering as B understood the true horror of an addiction to morphine. He couldn't leave his cell, not for food, not for water, not to relieve himself. He cried out in his sleep at the nightmares, which were even worse when he woke and realized that there would be no painkillers to lessen the withdrawal symptoms. He woke to landscapes he didn't recognize, no doubt hallucinations generated by his overtaxed mind. His throat was always dry, and his skin itched, both from the healing of his burns as well as the sensation that there were spiders crawling all over him. Other inmates yelled at him to stop screaming while they were sleeping and locked inside their cells, but he couldn't listen. Didn't they realize that he would stop if he could?
During the day, he was rewarded for his night terrors by various people wandering by and administering a blow or two, twisting his broken arm, or just knocking his head into the wall a few times. They usually left him alone when the blows failed to cause a stronger reaction. They were like schoolyard bullies; their violence was fueled by the reactions they got. By not acknowledging their actions, B made them feel powerless, and they scurried away. The vaguely rational part of his brain took note of this even as the rest of his existence was consumed by pain and the urgent, mind-crushing desire for more of the drug that had kept him functional.
He often woke to find himself tied into knots from the muscle spasms, and his stomach screamed for food while threatening to make him vomit at the same time. He refused to think about the fact that he was lying in his own filth, his broken arm was bleeding, and saliva was drooling out of his mouth.
It was a wonder the guards had not bodily removed him from the cell yet. They probably didn't care, though, as long as he wasn't killing innocents.
He had started finding food left in the cell after the third day, and it was all that kept him alive. He craved the water and could usually drink it even if he lost interest in the food after he immediately vomited it back up. It vanished some time during his unconsciousness and was back in a few hours the next time he woke. He suspected that this was what amounted to medical care in this facility, and the thought made him laugh.
He woke to clean sheets one day, surprised that they could change them while he slept. He remembered dreaming that he was on a boat, though, so maybe he had been awake and just hadn't known it. His arm was even splinted, and he flexed his fingers, surprised that he could still move them. He had long ago thought the nerves irreparably damaged by being moved around so much.
Other than that, he was left to suffer alone. Depression the likes of which he had never known was a constant companion. He was devastated, and every new nightmare made him weep like a child when he woke to still find himself in misery. There was no end in sight. After all, he was to be here until the day he died.
After that first week, B left the cell to take a shower. He wanted all the sweat and filth off him, and he had torn all of his bedding off and deposited it in the laundry. This was the most clear-headed he had felt all week.
He stood in front of the mirror after his shower, seeing the full extent of his injuries for the first time. He looked like a monster. One hand stretched out, touching his reflection as the other went to his ravaged face. It was slow to come, but one solitary tear leaked out at the sight of his scars. He wiped it away angrily.
Damn his non-existent plans. He wanted to die.
He punched the mirror with his good arm, and it mocked him by bending rather than breaking. He hit it again, ignoring the pain in his knuckles as he prayed that he was wrong, that this was not plastic rather than glass. He screamed as he hit it again, senselessly angry that he was being thwarted from death again.
He sank to the floor, laughing a little maniacally as one abused hand gripped the sink.
The third time was a charm. He couldn't burn to death, get the death sentence, or cut his wrists. He was going to have to stay alive.
13 days after his first experience in the locker room, the next person to grab B's shoulders in the showers got B's thumbs jammed into his eyes, followed closely by B's teeth ripping into his throat. Disgusting, yes, but B was beyond reason at this point. He ignored the taste of iron in his mouth and the memory of the feel of muscles and trachea giving way under his canines and concentrated on making sure that the same tattooed man that had grabbed him the first time was dead. His followers backed away, apparently frightened by the violence of B's reaction.
B breathed harshly, still crouching atop the man's chest in L's trademark pose, blood smeared all across his lips and shreds of skin and tissue clinging to his teeth. He spat loudly, and a few more men backed away slightly. He had taken advantage of this being Jason's death day. The thought made him smile.
"Do we have a problem, gentlemen?" his voice was remarkably civilized, given that he'd just behaved like an attack dog and had the face of a monster. The heads shaking at him were good enough an answer, so he made sure to bend and lap up a little more of the blood just to cement his insanity in their heads.
No one looked at him as he left, so fortunately no one saw him duck into the nearest broom closet and rid himself of everything he'd eaten that day. The memory of crunching through someone's windpipe was a grisly one, and he tried to banish the memory as his stomach got rid of all the blood that had run down his throat. Some much vital fluid ran through those arteries that B had thought he would drown and swallowed to keep from doing so.
It was an act of desperation, but he had made up his mind that he needed to make his place as someone not to be fucked or fucked with. A violent disposal of one of the rapists seemed a good idea. He hoped it would be enough to keep people away in the future. If he didn't make a habit of pushing others around, hopefully they would leave him alone rather than trying to make him some sort of leader. He noticed that people liked to band together, thinking it an illusion of safety in this hellhole, and he didn't want any part of it.
Years passed, and B settled into the routine of getting his meals, sitting alone, and not driving anyone away while not allowing anyone to push him around either. Tales of Jason's violent murder had made the rounds, and coupled with his hideous appearance, no one wanted to get too close to him for any reason.
He took his showers in relative peace and was no longer anything other than the occasional object of cruel remarks about his looks. A lazy glance from him usually shut them up, though. He had perfected the "demented lunatic" look and used it whenever necessary.
He did as much reading as he could stand, for it was the only thing that took his mind off the monotony of prison life. The pompous muscleheads that hung around the weight equipment all the time kept him from using that as a distraction, but running helped his mind disconnect a little. He didn't do it out of any real desire to stay healthy, though.
When he wasn't reading the prison's idea of literature or the newspaper, he was ruminating on his past. As much as he tried to ignore it, it was threatening to consume him. The majority of his physical withdrawal symptoms had faded, leaving him with occasional bouts of depression and self-hatred that tended to fuel his reflection on his past.
On those days, he rocked back and forth on his cot, gripping the hair that was rapidly growing back in as he tried to keep the tears back. They were weak, pathetic reminders of his humanity, but it was near-impossible to stop them when it felt like his heart was breaking in two. He cursed the withdrawal for making it worse as he sobbed quietly into his knees, refusing to let the other inmates see him like this. Hopefully they would think he was going crazy, hence the rocking back and forth and mumbling to himself.
Dammit, how he hated Wammy, but he was starting to hate L more. He saw the imagined picture of L in his mind, for, having never seen the man, he couldn't picture him clearly. Instead, he put all the sketches he had seen and all the comments he had overheard together into a portrait that he labeled "L", complete with the letter floating over his head and an imagined death day.
All B had been was a Backup, a mere attempt at copying L. He was not "Beyond Birthday", and he certainly was not "B" or "Ryuzaki Rue". He was "not L", the entirety of his existence a testament to his failures. He wished that L had never been born, that Wammy had never met him, that the orphanage had never been founded. Without L, B would never have become...
He was so sorry that he had never met the man he had unconsciously idolized for so long. He wished that he could have succeeded with the Los Angeles B.B. Murder case. He wished he could have reclaimed some dignity for his expulsion years ago.
Despite being the source of most of his misery, Wammy House had been the only home he had known. His childhood home was broken and forgotten, but at least the orphanage had been a place for him to live. They had made him feel purposeful, important even, as they detailed the things they were going to teach him and make him capable of doing. After it became clear that Wammy's program was not going to succeed in re-creating L, the knowledge of his inadequacy had been a blow that he never recovered from.
Wammy House washed their hands of him and sent their little failure off into the world, unwilling to teach him to be something else. Instead, he wandered off, thinking that all he could be was a failure. As soon as he had found a home, it disappeared.
These thoughts were nothing new, but every time it was like realizing it all over again as the depression made him relive it. When the worst of the self-deprecating thoughts subsided, he could get himself back under control and wipe the incriminating tears all over his sheets and hide his face against the wall until the redness went away. It wouldn't do to be caught in such a weakened state. His disposal of his adversary might be forgotten if he was perceived as anything less than a monster in human skin.
Broadcasts about Kira were on the news regularly now, each noon and evening report seeming to have new information about this supernatural killing machine. B watched the television with only vague interest during his meals, but the Kira reports were somewhat fascinating. Several of the lifers in this prison had already succumbed to mysterious heart attacks, and this facility was not alone. Kira's hand was everywhere. Europe, America, Japan, China, and the Middle East had all reported inexplicable heart attacks.
He stirred up his soup, which was largely flavorless broth and pieces of equally tasteless meat and vegetables. The news was the only interesting part about meals, but he couldn't blame cooks for not caring whether or not prisoners ate well.
His ears perked up as a Special Report flashed across the screen of one of the televisions in the cafeteria. The news anchorwomen sounded positively delighted as she excitedly spewed off the fact that Kira's location was now known. Silence fell like a smothering blanket over everyone in the room, all eyes moving to the TV screens.
"This is a re-broadcast of a Special Report that was shown in Japan just a few hours ago. The events of the broadcast have not been simulated, and viewer discretion is advised."
B watched the dark-haired man appear on the screen, his appearance neat and tidy and a nameplate before him. No name floated over his head, so the man must be dead. Oh, this should be interesting, he thought to himself as he propped his chin on one hand.
"I am Lind L. Tailor, more commonly known as 'L', the sole person able..." B quit listening after that, his heart stopping, then starting again with a jerk. His breath came hard and fast. There was no way that L was dead. It was impossible.
Unless his prayers had come true, and L had in fact died a largely pointless death. He forced himself to keep paying attention despite the devastating knowledge. He hadn't ever expected L to actually die before he did.
As he continued to watch the broadcast, watching as L caught as his chest and groaned as he fell dead against the desk, he tried to make sense of the warring emotions in his heart. It was true that he wished L was dead, but having him actually die was like having his life goals made worthless. If L had stayed alive until B had died, B could continue thinking of him as some inhuman ideal, as a nameless, faceless world-famous detective should be. L could keep being something that B could never become.
Seeing L as a mere mortal made him inexplicably sad.
"I don't believe it." The words spoken in that garbled voice that was both dear and damning to him sounded over the television's speakers. "This was an experiment to test a hunch I had..." B felt elation fill him despite his consent. L was alive! He was too smart to be killed in such a way.
The emotional roller coaster that he was riding was taking its toll on him as he felt himself grow weary. He wanted L dead, he wanted L alive and untouchable. Either way, he was going to be unhappy.
Either way, he was also tired. He watched the rest of the broadcast, feeling that weird mix of emotions again as L continued speaking, his deduction brilliant, as always. Some of the criminals cheered at the end of the report, but B simply left his tray and went back to his cell.
He was too confused to feel anything.
Only a month and a half later, B lay in his cell, staring up at the ceiling. Today's newspaper lay on the floor under his outstretched hand. The newspapers had said in early January that FBI agents had been killed by Kira after being sent to Japan. He hoped Naomi was one of them, though their names had not been in the report. Lately, though, Kira's activity had taken a sharp decline, as though Kira was taking a break or something. There was little that was interesting in the papers now.
B had always suspected, as L proved, that Kira was human and as fallible as anyone else. Maybe Kira got tired of killing.
What better a way to die, though, than to just have a heart attack? It had to be better than the man who was stabbed 30 times in the courtyard earlier today. It seemed Kira's killings were making many of the prisoners here unusually nervy.
It was almost ironic that B had made himself a place in the prison. He was almost the oldest lifer there now in terms of how long he had been in prison. The others had a tendency to get knifed, though where the others got the knives, he had no idea. Probably the guards gave them to the more mild-mannered inmates. Others died of the drug addictions that they still managed to feed, and still more were killed by Kira, though that had not happened as much lately.
B was the lone wolf here. He had no pack, no gang, and yet no one messed with him anymore. He wasn't so much respected as simply avoided, and that was fine by him.
The irony of it was that now that he had found a place for himself, his left arm, the one that had long ago been broken, started to ache. The tell-tale sign completely missed him, for he was a mere 22-year-old and relatively healthy despite his burn scars and a formerly crippling addiction.
When the pain lanced through his chest, realization struck. His hands unconsciously reached to grip at the front of his jumpsuit. The spike of pain was like a red-hot needle being driven into his heart. He gasped, trying to fight the oblivion away for a few more moments.
It wasn't as peaceful as he had thought it would be, but he had been hoping that his name would come up eventually. He didn't know whether to thank Kira for finally fulfilling his death wish or to be annoyed that it only happened after he had to claw his way out of so many problems beforehand.
Either way, he was getting his wish.
The agonies of his past resurfaced, but they weren't a problem anymore as he felt his limbs growing numb. The depression that had threatened to un-man him was no longer a concern, and his burns would never trouble him again.
It was true that Wammy House would never know or care that their long-ago experiment, the friendless orphan known as B, had died a meaningless death in an American prison, but the knowledge didn't devastate him this time.
No one had ever wanted him; they had only ever wanted another L. So now, he did them the favor of disappearing quietly, without a fight.
B let his eyes fall shut, his lips moving to thank Kira for killing him even though he couldn't breathe to give voice to the words. Gradually his consciousness faded away.
Finally, Beyond Birthday was at peace.
A/N – I hated the ending to Another Note despite the fact that it was necessary, so here is my attempt at coming to grips with it. Beyond was too awesome a character to have so little exposure.
This fic was the brainchild of a 3-hour drive after an overnight shift to a friend's wedding (no sleep, again!), too many energy drinks, a lot of Metallica and Korn, and a 3-hour drive back. I think the songs fit the state of B's mind in the end.
If it looks a little rough, it is. That's a first draft in all its ugly glory. I'll probably look over it again soon, but right now my brain is fried. I'm curious if regular readers of my stuff can see the difference, and whether or not the heavily edited regular stories are better or if it's lacking something, like, say, personality. I don't really know what I'm trying to say, but if you have suggestions, help a new fanfic author out!