Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note. Quotes are Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett. Don't own that either. As for the 'mad, bad or sad' quote incorporated here, I have no idea where that originated, or if it's a quote or just a saying. But whichever way, I didn't come up with it.

Note: Because everyone's got to give writing B a go, right? Okay, few points to make about this. First - 'mad, bad or sad'. That's something my Psychology teacher always says about mentally ill criminals - 'it's the old question, isn't it - are they mad, bad, or sad?' As for the actual text here, the stuff in italics is essentially what happens at B's 'trial', whereas the non-italicised stuff is playing through the story. Before the murders, during the murders, and after, when he's in prison. Hope it makes sense, this feels to me like it's just rambling and saying the same thing three times over. Hope I got B okay - this is my first time even attempting him from any perspective. Quotes, by the way, are three from the Hogfather about the assassin character Jonathan Teatime. The quotes seem to fit B so well they just had to get in here. Anyway, enjoy.

x

Rhyme And Reason

-

Mr Teatime had a truly brilliant mind, but it was brilliant like a fractured mirror, all marvellous facets and rainbows but ultimately, also something that was broken.

"I want to be quite certain about this, Mr Teatime. You...have...applied...yourself to a study of ways to kill Death?"
"Only as a hobby, sir."

"I suppose I just see things differently from other people," said Teatime.

-

Beyond Birthday is mad.

-

All the people said it at his trial. Well, they would have, if he'd had one. But L didn't let him. L let him have a tiny little show in a dark little room with silly little people who shook their heads, and said,

"The boy is quite mad."

So they locked him up, this mad boy, this genius boy with the mind like firecrackers who could have been the smartest in the world – yes, who could have been smarter than the world, because everyone stops, don't they? They get to the edge and they stop because they can't see past it, but B...

B isn't blinkered the same way they are. B has eyes that see past the edge of the edge, past the end of the end and into the things that come after, and Beyond Birthday isn't afraid, no, he isn't afraid of anything.

Not anything...

Except being forgotten.

It comes from living a life in second place, you see. It's such a strange feeling, knowing you are so alive, and so gloriously brilliant, so much better than everything that came before, and having it all ignored and pushed under the rug and swept away because you are not L.

But Beyond Birthday is better than L and he's going to prove it.

So long before they call him mad, long before they see him as anything but a strange little brilliant boy (but L was strange too, wasn't he? Isn't that what they all said, that L is weird? Why is it wrong for him to be strange, then, just because he is not the First?), Beyond Birthday runs away. He runs and he runs and he runs but he runs in the shadows, skulking and giggling to himself, creeping around and peeping in windows at women changing and men flexing their muscles. And eventually, he arrives at where he wants to be.

His journey hasn't been spent just running though – oh, no. B can do lots of things at once, can't he? He's sure L just does one – just does his thinking, and never does the kind of running B can do, the kind of fighting, the kind of action...Beyond Birthday is better than L, and now, he knows how he's going to show it.

-

Beyond Birthday is bad.

-

The prosecutor who'd already been paid for his silence got up and said that B was not to be excused just because some people thought his mind was broken, oh no. B was an evil person with his soul rotted through to the core, who saw life and death as one in the same, and should never, ever be forgiven.

He's a bad man, the prosecutor said, he's a bad, bad man who knew exactly what he was doing and knew exactly what it meant.

And in the world the bad have to be punished...

But it's not all about punishment, not for B. Punishment is such a limiting, binding concept, because what B did wasn't wrong at all, now, was it? After all, at least when he killed them, they were asleep and happy in their dreams. How much worse could it have been, hm? Imagine - imagine! Little Quarter Queen, if B had left her, who knows what might have happened? She might have been mangled under a car, she might have been torn to pieces by wild dogs.

And it would have hurt so much, don't you think? But B let her sleep, and she simply didn't wake up. It's only the people left alive that found it horrible, that found it scary and painful and awkward, and those people left alive were stupid anyway. Everyone was stupid, except B. And L, but L is still more stupid than B. And Misora, perhaps.

But she's a woman, so she doesn't count.

B isn't bad – he's curious. He likes to work things out – just like L, right? And no one says L is wrong, no, people like him, people pay him to do things that are far worse than B has ever done.

L is not as good as Beyond Birthday – L can't see the things Beyond Birthday can see. L thinks in a straight line, and he's smart, oh, B is willing to admit that – he's so, so smart, but B, he can think better, he can think in all directions at once and L will never catch up to him.

Beating L is the most important thing. Those people who say life is sacred have never spent their lives in second place.

-

Beyond Birthday is sad.

-

But sad doesn't really cover it. He sits hunched at the table as the older men say their pieces, showing their evidence in little plastic bags with stickers stuck on the side. Nobody notices that B is sad and nobody cares because B is MAD and B is BAD and B is BRILLIANT but nobody notices that, either. All they care about is the killing, and that's stupid, because the killing wasn't anything at all! If he'd waited until the day was over and they had each died, and then he took their bodies and arranged them, nobody would have anything to say about him except he was weird.

And L is weird, too.

B is better and he knows it but now, no one else will. He hasn't proved anything at all. L was meant to be after Beyond Birthday and L IS after Beyond Birthday and he only beat him because of Misora. And that's cheating! If L was really better he could have done it all on his own.

L didn't do it on his own though, oh no, he called in a little Japanese girl to run around for him. Not like B, who did all the thinking AND all the doing, B who is better, B who is BRIGHTER.

But after a while the talking stops and B is alone in a red-lined world.

What a silly place he has found himself in. A silly, silly place full of people who cannot see the woods for the trees. They get so stuck on little details, all of them, because they're thinking the wrong way, swallowing down little pills and hunching themselves in comfy little rooms. They give B pills, too, and sometimes he takes them, and sometimes he doesn't. Mainly when he takes them he's curious, because everything here is so dry and so boring and there's nothing to think about at all. There's no way to plan an elaborate, fun escape because it's far too simple for that. No huge security procedures, just a locked door at the end of a corridor with a guard outside.

Too simple and so simple that you can't work your way round it.

Beyond Birthday is failure. He didn't do what he set out to do, and why? Because he played by the rules! He didn't cheat and bring in a number two, he didn't creep back to the orphanage and whisper to Mello to come out and play with him. He could have, of course he could, because Mello is smart like him and he doesn't want to be second, either, and they could have beaten L together. But Beyond birthday played by the rules and did it alone.

L cheated.

L won because he cheated. And yet, and yet! – it's B who's here in the place where rule-breakers go, not L. L is still sitting on his throne thinking he's oh-so-brilliant...

L will get his come-uppance. B sits and he scratches on the floor of his cell, and he thinks that what they need is someone as smart as him, someone with his wonderful, glittering intellect, and someone who could see life the same way he did – in its trivialities and its uncertaintly and its futility –

And someone who could cheat. Someone who could find a way to break the rules and throw a curve ball to L, the way L threw a curve ball to B with Misora.

What they need is someone with magic.

Beyond Birthday giggles to himself because no one else believes magic is real. But he's seen it – only him, with his Special Eyes, an if someone else could have the Special Eyes, and if that someone else could learn to cheat...

Then L would be after Beyond Birthday after all.