Title: Silent Consonant
By: Dr. Kim-chan
Author's Note: Before we begin, I'm warning everyone now—I've looked up whatever info I could, but just remember that I am but a fanfic writer. That said, I will do my best.
And all this pseudo-legal blathering means what? That the trial is finally beginning, and Beyond is coming back to the spotlight (as much spotlight as I can give him, anyway, what with everything else going on). Also, I'm finally ready to take the Yotsuba case up a notch…well, a couple of notches. I hope this was worth the horrendous wait.
"About right—turn it—there…thank you."
With a small sigh, Carter straightened his back and stepped away from one of the extra end tables placed in front of the suite furniture. Along with two extra televisions placed on either side of the set that was already present in Room 1301, a rudimentary cable connection with a splitter had also been rigged up, with VCRs to record footage for possible future use.
And over the next few days, they would all be recording the same program.
To increase his chances for true objective observation of the trial, he'd also requested everyone else to join him in his suite and work there for the time being, only leaving to sleep in their own rooms or attend to immediate pressing matters, namely the Yotsuba case. By the time everyone finished plugging in laptops and moving their stuff around, Room 1301 looked like one big LAN party.
"Matsuda says Beyond should be en route to the Assembly Hall right about now," Naomi said. "Light we won't have to worry about for a while. He's not set to testify for a day or two; they're going to use the kidnapping charges as their ace-in-the-hole."
"You'd think they'd want to nail him with the strongest evidence right from the get-go," Aiber muttered.
"Since a lot of attention is being paid to the proceedings, my guess is that they want to establish competency and logical connections rather than simply 'nail him' and get it over with," L said. "His crimes have been largely non-sequential, with little apparent motive, and since Watari still wants to keep many of my—his—secrets, he can't emphasize revenge as a singular cause."
A grim cloud passed over Naomi's face when the words 'Watari' and 'secrets' were mentioned, but she shook off the gloomy aura as L switched each of the televisions to different local and international news channels, all of them with their cameras trained on the front of Shinjuku's Metropolitan Building…
"…It's certainly been evident that the local police have been on edge since about 6:00 AM, but it could be said that stringent preparations have been under way in this country for the past several weeks. The NPA has even gone so far as to step up security at nearby Shinjuku Station in order to reduce any risk, but so far—ah, we're now hearing that the defendant's convoy is coming round and off the expressway—"
While the mob surrounding the building's main entrance appeared hectic through the television screen, it felt more so at the actual scene.
As Watari predicted, reporters from America and Europe were practically elbow-to-elbow with their Japanese counterparts, analyzing almost every second of the morning. A couple of journalists were also waiting in the wings, but some of them were already inside. Security guards, foreign agents, and regular Japanese policemen were stationed in almost every conceivable space within a five-block radius; in addition, most of the elevated street that cut through the complex and hovered over the Assembly Building Plaza was barricaded. A portion of normal government functions had been temporarily moved to different offices, but timely preparations had ensured that vital bureaucracy wouldn't be stopped in its tracks.
Just outside the doors, despite the warmth of the spring morning, Aizawa shuddered and stiffened as he ensured that his watch said 8:13 AM. Beside him, Ukita held a ubiquitous cigarette between his fingers, the smoke and his demeanor ensuring that no more hapless policemen asked him any moronic questions about that morning's procedure.
They'd also heard about the arriving convoy.
"We're clear," Aizawa mumbled into a walkie-talkie. "Bring in Azuki."
He said it with a straight face, but it'd long since become an inside joke among SIS-L members: Beyond had hardly wanted anything to eat other than jam during his incarceration, so the Japanese police gave him the code name Azuki, a sweet jam made of red beans of the same name.
Of course, the sight that was to be seen would be anything but sweet.
A wave of hushed voices and camera shutter clicks swept over the whole crowd as a line of police cars swung around the circular drive and came to a stop in front of the Assembly Building, with a dull blue and gray van positioning itself directly in front of the manmade passage. Even Ukita dropped his cigarette and mashed it with a loafer heel as the van's back doors swung open and the noise rose to a mild clamor.
"…And we are now seeing, in person for the first time, the defendant of the Interpol trial. Official sources refer to him as 'Beyond Birthday', but of course that's most likely an alias. It's assumed his real name is being withheld for security reasons. He has been known by that name for many years, all the way back to his first major trial in Los Angeles—yes, that is his court-appointed attorney next to him…"
As some of the journalists immediately and simultaneously bombarded the attorney with questions he wasn't in a position to answer right now, others went on and on about Beyond's appearance: the cuffed hands behind his back, the standard-issue jumpsuit given to him the night before, remnants of burn scars on his face and neck, hair left untouched by brush or comb, and (as L was likely taking note of right now) his eyelids and cheekbones were startlingly bare. Having gone without eyeliner for weeks, he hadn't had the chance to paint his signature imitation bags under his eyes.
And then there was the smile.
It wasn't too odd, of course. He always seemed to have an inane smile plastered across his face. But today he was absolutely ecstatic, beaming straight into a row of camera lenses.
As if he had no idea what he was walking into.
And neither did Light.
In an eerie flashback to the weeks after Beyond kidnapped him, his professors had given him a few days' reprieve from his classes, an order that had come down from both his father and Watari. Though he wasn't being kept prisoner in the house this time, Light had deigned to isolate himself to his room this morning, watching the live feed switch from the Metropolitan Building plaza to the Assembly Hall as he tackled a pile of catch-up assignments.
Though it wasn't exactly set up like a traditional courtroom, it was large and enclosed enough to serve as such, and with some rudimentary organization, no layman watching could tell the difference. A small section of seats on the upper tier's left side had been reserved for the jury members: a good portion of them Japanese, but all of them well-versed in international law and customs. With a couple of exceptions, the rest of the hall was almost standing-room-only; most of them presiding delegates, local and foreign guards, translators, reporters, and the odd clerk transcribing every moment.
Light's eyes had strayed to a page of notes when the volume of the commentator's voice suddenly dropped, and he looked back up just in time to see Beyond being escorted to the 'defendant's table'—in this case, the first of a few rows of bench seating flanking one side of a three-seat podium, facing the spacious gallery. On the prosecutor's side sat the Japanese-American attorney duo, Takimura, his father…
His white mustache, his impeccable three-piece suit, his crinkled eyes devoid of all personal responsibility.
It almost made Light want to burn his textbooks, seeing this lunatic misplacement of justice—and worse, knowing he'd soon have to play a part in perpetuating the farce. It was as if someone scrambled the picture, placing Watari and Beyond in the wrong spots.
But this was why L formed Twelve, wasn't it? Some day they'd be able to tell the world the truth about what had happened.
As long as L worked up the courage to do it first.
Shaken out of his thoughts, Light dug around scattered papers until he found his cell phone.
Too wound up to think of any viable and potentially catastrophic reason she would be calling on this particular day, Light decided to kindly put her out of her misery and answer.
"Light-kun! Guess what?"
"…The defendant is hereby charged with five counts of murder in the cases of FBI agents Everett Wayne, Marcia Addison, Jerald Janz, Otto Gibson, and Raye Penber, all of whom died during the MacArthur Park shootout in Los Angeles, California. The defendant is also charged with conspiracy; two counts of attempted murder; use of a false identity; illegal possession and use of a firearm in Japan; the battery and kidnapping of the son of NPA chief Soichiro Yagami, Light Yagami; larceny; escape from prison involving battery on a prison guard; obstruction of justice; the kidnapping of FBI agent Anthony Carter, CIA agent Stephen Loud, and former Secret Service operative Halle Bullook; and crossing international borders during the commission of a crime."
One could almost hear the jury take in a long, sharp breath as the judge enumerated every single allegation the prosecution was bringing upon Beyond. He'd had some help, of course; the American trial against the mafia members concluded just a few days ago, with all the defendants having been sentenced either to death or life in prison. (In the grand scheme of things, Watari had concluded, his so-called deal with Rod Ross was null-and-void, particularly since they didn't technically succeed, and no doubt the mob boss was stewing behind bars right now.)
But for just one person to be the mastermind behind so many heinous crimes?
The judge (who would probably have been out of breath if not for his deliberate tone of voice) then allowed for a moment of silence before turning his head.
"How does the defendant plead?"
The attorney appointed to Beyond cleared his throat and stood up.
"We plead not guilty by reason of mental incompetence."
Small mumblings of disbelief rippled through the Assembly Hall, but those sitting in the upper tier immediately caught an instantaneous switch in Beyond's demeanor.
"No I don't."
The mumbling grew even louder, and his defense attorney looked as if he wanted nothing more than to melt under a puddle.
"…Do you wish to change your plea, Mr. Birthday?"
"I don't wish to say I'm 'mentally incompetent'," Beyond growled. "I already told my attorney that that was a ridiculous excuse, but he doesn't seem convinced I am capable of high intelligence."
"Then do you plead guilty?"
"No. I just want it on the record that I am not insane, and that I resent my attorney for saying so."
If this wasn't high-profile international court, Watari would have found Beyond's protests amusing. Almost verbatim, that was what L said to him when he took him to Broadmoor.
"Then what do you wish to plead?"
"I don't want to plead anything. By principle I don't consider myself guilty, and if I say 'not guilty' in light of the presumed evidence, everyone involved in this case—including my own attorney—will consider me crazy anyway, which would be counterproductive to my original argument. But neither do I wish to plead 'no contest', because, again by principle, I don't believe in giving up."
On the verge of a migraine, the judge scowled and returned order to the now-tittering court with his gavel.
"Counselor, would you please approach the bench?"
"Well, if people didn't think he was crazy before, they definitely do now," Wedy exclaimed, reclining into a loveseat. "It's not even ten minutes into the damn thing and he's arguing with his own attorney!"
"Probably something else he's been waiting to pull out of his sleeve," said Naomi. "I guess he figures if he doesn't plead anything he can change the outcome of all this, namely the sentencing."
"It's pride," L said breezily. "He has a few other surprises in store, no doubt, but I imagine anyone with his intellectual capacity would resent being called 'insane' when they know what constitutes true mental illness, even in spite of all his reckless actions that would suggest otherwise."
Aiber leaned over his laptop and chuckled.
"Probably why being dumped in Broadmoor didn't sit very well with you either…"
The con man then immediately shut up as L shot him a very rare glower, the kind of look that said even that topic was a line that shouldn't be crossed around the eccentric detective.
At almost the same time, the judge announced that the court would interpret Beyond's noncompliance as a declaration of 'not guilty', and Bullook re-entered the room, having left a few minutes before to answer her cell phone.
"Who was it?"
"Mido calling on behalf of Namikawa. Sounds like they finally decided on their spokesmodel."
She sat down in a chair beside Naomi, and then slightly pursed her lips.
Almost everyone in the room collectively raised a single brow.
"You mean more than one?" Aiber inquired.
Bullook shrugged. "They spent almost all Sunday arguing about it. Remember how they primarily wanted to promote their banking services and their next-gen consumer electronics? When they whittled the finalists down to the last five, they thought one had the sophistication for their banking commercials, and they thought another had the international and youth appeal for their electronics. They reached a compromise when they started crunching the numbers and realized they could pay each girl equally, on top of royalties and publicity."
"So who are the winners?"
"…Yui Kotoguchi for their banking, Misa Amane for their electronics."
…Just as he thought: a seventy percent chance.
"So what do we do now?" Naomi asked. "If Amane invited him to tonight's VIP party—"
"Then we let him go."
"We let him—? I thought we weren't trying to attract any attention to ourselves!"
"I also said this wouldn't be the last time Beyond makes a spectacle out of this trial," L replied, redirecting his attention to one of the TVs, where the American prosecuting attorney was pacing the floor in front of the delegates as he delivered his opening statement. "In that case we'll need a diversion of our own."
L picked up a frosted doughnut with his thumb and forefinger.
"Yagami-kun chose to walk into this of his own free will. I have full confidence he can escape from it."
(End Chapter 55)
Silent Extra: L's sweets, Part Two.
Chapter 11: Tea and sugar cubes. Since he was in England, I gave him a standard. Also, nothing too rich to detract him from reading Watari's logs.
Chapter 12: I gave L tea again, but the more interesting points were 1) the log in the beginning explaining the start of his sweets obsession, and 2) the sugar cookies Beyond leaves at L's grave. I imagine A served as an anchor and counterpoint to Beyond, almost like how Light served as a counterpoint to L, so I figured, sugar cookies, light and plain.
Chapter 13: Chocolate chip cookies and strawberry tarts. Chocolate-chip cookies always felt homey to me, and L was "going back home", so to speak. The strawberry tarts and L eating them so slowly I just used to show how much he was being affected by reading the logs further in-depth.
Chapter 15: Angel-food cake. Naomi and L back together again, just like in Los Angeles. Also at this point it felt like L looked at Naomi as some kind of deus ex machina to his problems.
Chapter 18: Pocky. I simply wanted something that would make a loud sound when Naomi offered to confront Beyond. Also, it's Japan, so why not?