A/N: Homygod.

Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls. Regulars, lurkers, and newbies. Fanatics and the simply curious. It gives me unrivaled pleasure, unbridled joy, and a dark sense of glee to present, at long last, this: The first chapter of What's My Name?, a story meant to tell the tale of Beyond Birthday, his early days, and his slow decent into madness as seen in Death Note: Another Note. It has been long in coming, but at long last, it is here. I will not detain you from the story, all notes that I feel are important at this early stage are to be found in the second Author's Note.

Enjoy, my lovelies!

Beta: Voice of the Shadow Realm.

Music: 'Lonely Soul' by UNKLE.

Warning: Rated 'T' for future chapters depicting disturbing imagery and gore. Possibility of rating jump to 'M'.

Disclaimer: Death Note and related characters © Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Death Note: Another Note and related characters © NISIOISIN.


What's My Name?

Part One, "Nameless"

Raven Ehtar


"The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms."
~ Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ~


When B had arrived at the Wammy House, the large red bricked orphanage set aside in a small patch of country near Winchester, he hadn't expected to stay for very long. Since his parents' death, he had gone through many such homes. This was just one more in a long line of orphanages that had taken him in, feeling sorry for his pitiable circumstances, and who had all eventually found some way to offload him to another set of waiting hands. It was routine by now, and B had learned not to expect anything to change in that routine. To hope that he would one day find a place that would not eject him back into the world, back into the system that processed homeless children like so much freight, it was a cruel hope at best. One that was inviting in its comfort, and which would blindside him when he least expected it. Better to just accept that every home was transitory, and form no expectations.

He sat outside the dominating structure with its dusty, twisting halls and tall bell tower, his most recent home. He was a goodish distance away, under an old maple, with the trunk between his back and the windows that stared out like dozens of eyes. He didn't want to be seen. As soon as he was called back inside by his new keepers he would emerge obediently, but until then he wanted some distance between himself and them.

He had been allowed to remain under the tree undisturbed for over an hour, and B had come to the conclusion that the ones inside wanted to see as little of him as visa versa. That suited him fine. He preferred solitude to the alternative, to being part of a group. Adults or children, none could help but notice his particular oddity when he was around, no matter how hard he tried to conceal it. It was the part that revealed him to be truly different from everyone else around him, and labeled him a target.

His eyes. His strange, wondrous, and utterly cursed eyes that were the source of so much trouble for the young boy.

The iris of each of his eyes were a deep red, almost garnet color, so deep and dark that it had been some time before anyone had noticed that the shade had crossed and contaminated the black pupils as well. B looked out at the world through a red filter, and the entire world could see it.

B tried to hide his eyes. He avoided social interaction, and spent a good deal of his time alone, lowering the chances of ever meeting up with another human being. When contact couldn't be avoided, he never looked someone in the eye, even when speaking to them. His red gaze would be fastened on the ground, or closed, or, if he could get away with it, he would face away from the other person entirely. From the last orphanage he had gained a pair of dark sunglasses, which worked well to conceal his coloring, and he wore whenever possible. Even now, they were at his hand, neatly folded and ready to be whipped into place. There was only so much that could be done, however, and eventually everyone found out about his eyes. After that, it was only a matter of time.

B's eyes were not only remarkable for how they appeared. Their true strangeness was something that only B knew, had only ever shared with one other soul, but which others somehow intuited, even if they never understood their power. His eyes, put simply enough, saw more than any other set of eyes. He could see a name and a set of numbers hovering above the heads of every person he met in red, glowing characters.

Why he could see these things when no others could, B didn't know, but he blamed his eyes. Those little ruby orbs that revealed a person's identity and those numbers… The numbers…

B had been able to see these things his entire life, and while the meaning of the names was easy enough to understand, he had only recently realized the significance of the numbers. The meaning behind those floating figures was far less innocent than the names, and what truly made him a freak among his peers. The numbers told him exactly how long a person was to live. Years, months, weeks, days, hours, all the way down to minutes. He could tell anyone on the street just how old they would be when they died, and greet them by name when he did.

It was the curse of his eyes, exposed by their color.

Somehow, others could tell that there was more to them than a simple genetic mistake, altering their hue. They could tell that B wasn't quite human, could sense that he knew something they did not, something vital. Wondering would eventually turn to suspicion, suspicion into fear and resentment… it all began with that first glimpse of his eyes. Then the whispers would start. Whispers that would flit around his ears, taunting him and reminding him that he didn't belong among others who were fully human. Whispers that would grow in number and volume until he couldn't sleep at night, until everything finally broke apart, and if he was lucky, he would be sent along to the next home on his path. If he were unlucky…

It was why he spent so little time in the company of other children. All of the adults already knew about his red eyes and allowed him to wear his sunglasses inside to hide them, but so far none of the other orphans had discovered them. He had been at the Wammy House for about two weeks, so this was a personal record for B, and one he was determined to push as far as he could. Sideways looks from adults were tolerable, but from peers they could be dangerous. The least amount of time his eyes were seen, or that he was seen, the less disturbance he would cause, and the longer his home would last him.

Besides wanting to keep his eyes a secret, he just didn't want to see anyone else. For how much his eyes could unsettle those who saw them, what he saw upset him much more. To ignore his eyes, all anyone had to do was look away. In a group, to avoid seeing the red and dancing numbers and letters over everyone's heads, B had to shut his eyes completely or stare fixedly at the ground. In a group, there was rarely anywhere to look other than down that would not have that reminder of his own monstrosity burning into his mind. He didn't want to know the name of every person he met before he was told, didn't want to know just how long every one of them had to live before some calamity or other claimed them. He didn't want to know, beyond shadow of doubt, that all came to death.

Flickering strings of numbers and letters, streaming past his garnet eyes and revealing to him secrets. Names and numbers and numbers and names.

Names. When he had first arrived in the Wammy House, taken off of the plane that had flown him across the Atlantic to England and hustled into a small, dark office, he had been told some of the intentions of the orphanage. He had been too tired, jetlagged, and otherwise muddled to make much sense out of any of it, but a couple of things had been driven home. There had been some talk of the Wammy House starting a new, experimental program for gifted children, something about training them to some specific occupation or other. Then there had been something about the founders of the orphanage, or perhaps just one founder. It had sounded like there was just one, but another name had been mentioned a few times, so B wasn't sure. What had really been driven past B's confusion, though, was what the man on the other side of the desk had said about names.

No one here had any names. The personal title they had been given at birth was cast aside, and in its place a fake name was taken by the child themselves, to be based off of the first letter of the discarded name. Until that new name was chosen, they were merely referred to by that letter.

The man, Roger Ruvie B's eyes revealed him when he chanced to look up, had stressed that point quite forcefully. B was simply B in this place, and until he decided on his taken name that was what anyone was to be told. He was never to introduce himself by his real name.

That point had been repeated several times, to be sure that B understood and would not forget. B had simply kept his tired eyes on the floor between his feet and nodded, assuring the middle-aged man that the importance had not been lost on him. It was simple enough, and he spent so little time with the others that it had yet to become an issue. In the two weeks he had resided at the Wammy House, he had yet to introduce himself to anyone.

Besides, it was so close to the game he had already been playing, it was hardly a switch.

Excepting that one point, the Wammy House wasn't so different from any of the other halfway homes that B had known. It was more accommodating than any other in that he was given a private room and allowed to wear his shades or disappear for hours - provided he always reappeared when called - but that wasn't odd so much as something to be very grateful for. There were structured mealtimes, and the food, while very healthy and well prepared, had the same generic blandness of every other orphanage. Recess times were scattered throughout the day, small jungle gyms, swings, and plenty of open space was provided, giving the dozens of orphans a variety of ways to tire themselves out. And of course, there were the classes.

B found that his feelings were mixed when it came to the classes. In theory every orphanage was obligated to provide their wards with some kind of education, but for most that translated to the bare minimum in terms of skill sets. Such was not the case, here. The Wammy House had in place a very difficult curriculum, and it was quickly becoming more strenuous as B's limits were being discovered. Every day he underwent tests, hundreds upon hundreds of questions that had little or nothing to do with his regular studies, which he was told were meant to ascertain his characteristics on different levels. The boy wasn't quite sure what the results were telling his guardians, but it only ever seemed to increase the difficulty of his classes.

Whatever it was they wanted to achieve here, they were determined, and willing to press their wards quite hard, although B hadn't seen any other orphan undergoing the same rigors that he was. Roger said that it was a new program, perhaps it was so new that he was the first to undergo the tests, and all of the others were regular orphans, still waiting to find permanent homes.

For all the difficulty, though, he found that he enjoyed the time spent exercising his mind. It had been rare, even when his parents had been alive, for him to be challenged intellectually, and it was a welcomed change. It gave him something to focus on, taking his thoughts away from their regular self-destructive patterns. The subject matter was broad, as well as advanced. Everything from the standard courses of math, social studies and English to things like botany, sociology, physiology, and languages, all tailored to be challenging but not impossible. It was stimulating as well as a distraction, and B found he looked forward to his classes.

Ironically, it was that reason, that enjoyment that gave him one of his sources of disliking time spent at his desk. Just the simple act of taking pleasure in his lessons, of entertaining that sense of anticipation, it sent his stomach into knots. He shouldn't be feeling things like that, shouldn't develop any kind of love for this place, when it would all only be stripped away from him later. No matter how careful he was or how antisocial he became, eventually his eyes would be noticed, and after that… Whispers, rumors, fear, and finally the apology that he just couldn't seem to fit in with their facility, and a new search for a place that would take him in.

Pattern, it was all part of the pattern, and he couldn't forget that.

B shook his head, clearing away the swirling thoughts that only seemed to echo and re-echo through his skull, repeating endlessly and giving him a headache. He hadn't come outside to chase himself around in circles, but to get away and relax. It was a calm afternoon in late summer, warm and drowsy, and B was alone. The property the Wammy House was situated on was very green and private; it was easy to think that the orphanage was somewhere deep in the country and not mere miles from Winchester. The tree B was leaning against was set far enough away from the play sets and the ball field that the sounds of children playing were faint at best, silent more often, and the chances of anyone finding him by chance were slim, indeed. The nearest structure to him was a smallish fountain, the sounds of its water splashing very gentle and soft in B's ears.

Through the dense leaves of the maple, B could just make out the random patterns of a few high clouds, the wind shooing them across the high roof of the sky. The breeze also brought the scent of rain to B, belying the appearance of a perfectly fine summer's day.

B stretched lazily beneath his tree, and just hoped the weather would hold until after he was already inside. If it started raining before that, then he would be called in earlier than he wanted to be, putting him back in close quarters with the others and their flickering labels. Tilting his head into a more comfortable position and snuggling is back into the unforgiving bark as best he could, B's bloody gaze slowly drifted closed…

The sound of the bell chiming startled B awake, and his neck twanged painfully as he bolted upright. After falling asleep his head had rolled to the side, and now there was a dull ache forming at the base of his skull.

Rubbing his neck, he counted the tolls, which echoed slightly around the grounds. The first one had woken him, so two… three… four… Four in the afternoon. He'd been asleep for a little less than an hour, which meant his total time spent outside had almost been two hours. Had no one called him or come out to find him? Were the others still playing somewhere? B stretched his ears, listening for any of the telltale sounds he had worked to ignore before. There was nothing besides the soft sounds of the fountain and the breeze through the maple leaves to be heard.

The boy shivered. It had gotten noticeably chillier since he had fallen asleep, and he hadn't brought a jacket out with him. From the smell in the air, and the dark clouds quickly approaching, it would rain soon, and it felt like it would be a big one.

He sniffed, and rubbed his cold nose. It was almost certainly time to head back inside. He had likely slept through any calls for him to return, and now his guardians would be busily searching for him, and when he reappeared he would be roundly scolded. Or perhaps, whispered the darker corner of his mind, they are celebrating that he was gone so quickly, and with no trouble to themselves. All they would have to do to be rid of him was fail to search too thoroughly…

B tossed the thought away. As easy as it might be to believe, he knew it was false. Besides the fact that those at the Wammy House had not yet developed quite such an intense dislike for him, no orphanage or adult had ever actually wished harm on him. Just his absence.

He sighed. His entire body had grown stiff sleeping against the tree, and the warm summer afternoon had become an almost autumnal cold one. B stretched both arms up high, and heard a few pops come from his spine. It felt good, and loosened him some, but he could feel more joints that wanted to release. He crossed his legs Indian style and twisted around at the waist until he was facing the tree. A small tattoo of pops rang out and it became a little easier to breathe. He repeated, twisting the other way, and was again rewarded with a series of snaps. Now all that was left was his developing headache.

B took hold of one side of his head and gently pulled down and to the side, bringing ear closer to shoulder. It hurt a little with the stitch he had developed, but after a few of the vertebrae released with a crunch, the growing ache lifted a little. The same treatment to the other side almost relieved it completely.

Rolling his head around in circles and bobbing from side to side to loosen up any last bits of pressure, B didn't hear anyone approaching until a voice made him practically jump out of his skin.

"Doesn't that hurt?"

B started violently, and almost whipped around to look who it was that had snuck up on him, but caught himself. His sunglasses weren't in place, and the voice behind him was young. It was another orphan that stood behind him. He couldn't let another child see him without his eyes covered, their redness hidden. Allowing an adult see his eyes was endurable, but not a peer. So he kept his back turned, his red tinted vision fixed on a clump of weeds nestled against an exposed tree root.

His reaction only took a second or two, and as was the case in most situations like this, he ended up startling the one who startled him in the first place. "Whoa, sorry!" B heard the one behind him take a quick step back. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. You okay?"

The red eyed boy tried to slow his breathing. Whoever was behind him sounded like a boy, and not a familiar one, which wasn't surprising. He hadn't seen B's eyes yet, so all he had to do was find his glasses and speed his way back inside, and he would be safe. Keeping his gaze on the weeds, he began patting the grass around him in search of his cover.

"I'm fine," he replied to the boy behind him. "Just didn't hear you coming is all." B hoped he sounded defensive enough that whoever it was wouldn't take much notice that he wasn't facing him as he spoke, or that he was frantically searching around himself for his wayward glasses. They had been so close, where could they have gone? Trying to bite back the rising panic, B asked, "What do you want?"

The other boy hesitated a moment, then, "Roger sent me out. Recess was over half an hour ago, and nobody's been able to find you." The boy paused, and B could almost feel him watch as his hands continued their desperate search. "Did you fall asleep?"

B couldn't think of any way to deny that without sounding deliberately disobedient. If he hadn't been asleep, then he had to have ignored the call back inside. "Yes," he said.

"You'll catch a cold, you know, 'specially if you kept sleeping when it started raining. Have you been doing a lot of studying?"

Apparently he was determined to stay until B either left or became too boring to hold his interest. B made a face the other couldn't see. His shades were obviously nowhere within reach, he would have to get up to search for them properly, but he couldn't with someone standing over him. "Yes," he said again. "Tests every day."

"I knew it!" There was suddenly the sound of quick, heavy footfalls approaching, and then looping around in front of B. The red eyed boy ducked his head even further, staring at the little patch of ground between his knees, only allowing the top of his head to be visible. B heard the boy drop down to the ground. "You're the new one, aren't you? B?"

B's shoulders tightened at that. No one else, save the adults, had known his name, or rather, his letter. No other orphan had approached him, much less already known who he was. It was unsettling, and set his stomach twisting. "Yes…"

"That's great! I'm A, the first one starting at the new Wammy House, and you're the second!" The other boy - A - shifted, and a hand appeared in B's line of vision. He flinched away, but didn't scoot backwards. A either didn't notice or ignored B's reaction.

"My name's Any."

It took an effort to not raise his head, to look up at the boy's face and then above to where his floating figures would be waiting. It was hard not to look, because it was automatic for B to confirm the name he was given, and the proof was right there. He knew the name was false, though. If Any was part of the same program as he was, then he had received the same instructions that B had to never reveal your true name to anyone, but only provide your letter or taken name. "Any" must have been the name A had decided to take. It was a strange name, and B wondered why he had chosen it.

Forcing himself to keep his eyes down, he carefully took the extended hand and shook it slowly. Any's grip was warm around his chilled fingers, and nearly enveloped his hand entirely. B wondered how old Any was.

"I'm B," he replied quietly, even though Any already knew. It was the first time he'd introduced himself by letter, and it felt strange.

B could almost hear the grin in Any's voice. "Haven't decided on a name, huh? It's okay; it took me a long time, too."

B's hand was released, and for a moment he remained still and silent, hoping that Any would leave, now that he knew who he was. Small hope.

"How come you're not looking at me?"

B swallowed hard. This was becoming more awkward and difficult with every one of Any's questions! It was like he was on some sort of personal mission to know everything about him, and that was not to be tolerated. If even one other child found out about his eyes, it would spread until everyone knew, and then the whispers and watching would begin. "I- I can't find my glasses," he said, voice trembling slightly.

"You mean your sunglasses? I've got them. They were by the tree." A second hand came into view again, just on the edge of his vision so B had to raise his head ever so slightly. Lying in Any's palm between five curled fingers were his glasses.

He made to snatch them out of the other boy's hand, but they were pulled back too quickly, and B caught only air. Still keeping his head down, B didn't see what Any was doing with his prized shields, or what his expression was, but he imagined there being some sort of gloating smile there. "Why do you wear these?" he asked, and B fancied he heard the sneer in his tone. He gritted his teeth. "The teachers are usually pretty strict about things like that."

B didn't answer for a moment. What could he say that didn't sound like a complete lie? What reason could someone have to constantly go around wearing dark glasses, unless they were blind? Finally he decided on, "I can't see without them. I'm nearsighted."

There was another pause. "And these are prescription?"

B nodded, hoping his lie worked, hoping that Any would just hand them back, and then B could hide behind them again, and avoid seeing Any ever again. Although, if he really was part of the same program that he was, that would prove difficult…

"Is it because your eyes are red?"

Everything seemed to stop for B. His breathing, his heart, his thoughts, the sounds of wind and the faraway fountain… everything froze with what Any said. If he already knew, than someone else had to know as well, and whoever that second person was wasn't likely to keep quiet, and neither would whomever they decided to tell… How many already knew, how many planned to try and confirm what they had heard, how many stories about his unusual appearance were already circulating, and how long he would have to wait until the pattern was complete, and he was moved on?

Chilled air was dragged in by aching lungs, and time restarted. B licked his lips, and cleared his throat. "Uh… how did you know about them?" Even to his own ears his voice sounded shaky.

The other boy shifted, rearranging himself into a more comfortable position. "I overheard some of the adults talking about you before you showed up." There was a chuckle. "Well, I eavesdropped, but no one caught me, so it's okay."

"And how many others know?" he asked, curling his hands into fists, pulling up the strands of grass that were unfortunate enough to be caught in his fingers.

"As far as I know, no one," Any said, sounding confused.

B caught himself again before looking up in surprise. No one else knew? Could he believe that?

"No one would believe me if I told them, anyway," Any continued. "No one else heard Roger talking about it, so they would just think I was making it up. And besides, the only ones that are here now who are staying are us. We're the only ones in the program so far, so everyone else is being placed in different facilities."

"Everyone else is leaving?" B asked before he could stop himself.

"Yep, and new kids who can take the program will be brought in."

That was… good. B felt like he could breathe easier. There were many reasons the shift in the child population would make life at the Wammy House a little simpler for him… but Any leaned forward into B's personal space, cutting off his thoughts as fresh alarm swept through him.

Any didn't come in very close, just close enough to catch his attention and so he could speak softly and still be heard. "Can I see them?"

B twitched slightly, drawing in and further away from Any.

Seeing the miniature retreat, Any spoke quickly. "I won't tell anyone else about them, I swear. You can ask Roger or anybody else, I never break a promise. It's just I've never seen red eyes before, so…"

B was at a loss. His first instinct was to refuse outright. Showing his eyes to anyone who had not already seen them for themselves was just a bad idea on the very face of it. If they didn't already know, then why invite trouble and inform them? Except that Any already knew, had found out on his own. If he refused to show his eyes, then he wouldn't be keeping information away from the other boy, he would just be making him frustrated and possibly drive him to making his own attempts at catching a glimpse of B's eyes. And refusing to show would practically be the same as showing as far as proof went: why would anyone with a normal hue to their eyes not present them when requested?

But… revealing them meant looking up. It meant looking at Any, and seeing his real name and his numbers. It meant knowing exactly how old this boy would be when he died, and being reminded once again that death was always waiting for them… hovering right above them…


B dug his fingernails into the soil. Why couldn't he just stand and leave like he should? Why was he hesitating so long over so simple a decision? Just walk away…

Slowly, as though his head weighed four times what it did, B raised up, his vision slowly filling up with a pair of folded legs in worn jeans, tanned hands resting in his lap, one still holding a pair of sunglasses, a red and yellow tee shirt under a light jacket, a large '76' emblazoned on one shoulder… B's head slowed to a halt, refusing to answer his order for it to continue lifting. B's gaze finished the upwards journey, and finally looked at Any's face through his short clipping of auburn bangs.

B found himself staring at a boy at least one year older than he was, probably a little more. His face, like his hands, was lightly tanned; a smattering of freckles decorated his nose and cheekbones. Taking in his entire form, Any proved to be quite chubby, closing in on fat. He had a full mouth, a small upturned nose, and bright green eyes that stared back at him under a messy thatch of sandy hair.

Don't look, B told himself. Just look at his face, stop at his hair, don't look up…

It was useless. He could see them already, dancing just in his peripheral vision, beckoning him to take a closer look. All unwilling, B's traitorous eyes snapped up, finding Any's name, and his greatest secret, that even he didn't know.

Anwyl Brice, followed by a string of numbers.

B saw the numbers, which were seemingly very random, but his eyes were accommodating to him, and translated them into a pattern he could understand. Without knowing exactly how he knew, the series above Any's head broke down and he knew that they meant. 66 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 23 minutes… how long this boy would enjoy life before it was taken away. If B knew his birthday and the time of day he was born, then simple math could tell him to within an hour when he would die, perhaps even the minute.

Doing his best to ignore the visible lifespan that fluttered and taunted, B focused on the name, Anwyl Brice… "A" was of course just a code given to him by the Wammy House, and "Any" was the name he had taken for himself, to protect his true name for whatever reasons. All of which was pointless to B, who saw through the disguise with a glance. The labels he saw didn't change to suit what a person called themselves, but remained what it had been the day they had been named. All he had to do to remember that was to look in a mirror, and see his own. For all of the aliases he had taken in his short life, the one in glowing letters never changed once.

B blinked, and realized that Anwyl… "A" was still staring at his eyes closely. The other boy didn't look particularly shaken, but there was a faint frown on his face as he studied B's red orbs. Mostly, there was interest in the other boy's expression, but B recognized the doubt that lurked in the corners. B wanted to look away as his eyes were scrutinized, but found that he couldn't, quite. Instead, he just stared back into Any's bright greens, and waited for his judgment.

Finally, when B thought he could no longer bear the strain of waiting, Any spoke, his light tone a touch forced. "Wow, they really are red."

B looked back down at the ground, expecting any number of taunts to be thrown at him.

"I think they're cool. Better than brown or blue."

B looked back up, a frown creasing his features. "You don't think…" B hesitated, not sure how to phrase what he wanted to say. "You don't think they're… weird?"

Any shrugged. "Sure, they're weird," he said with a self-conscious grin. "I've never seen red eyes before, and only ever heard of albinos having them. You don't look like an albino, so I guess that makes them a little strange."

"You aren't…" B's voice trailed away. He could tell that Any was trying, trying hard to not show signs of being uncomfortable. It wasn't as common a reaction as outright fear or misgiving, but it was one that he had seen before. By questioning Any so closely, he was setting himself up for disappointment, but he couldn't seem to stop himself. Why would he be trying so hard?

Any's head tilted. "I'm not what?"

B took a breath. "You aren't scared?"

That same awkward, confused smile broke across Any's face. "Why would I be? It's just eye color. Not like you're some kind of monster or anything."

Directly on the heels of Any's statement that sounded like an echo, the rain that had been threatening finally made good on its promise, the front of it driving down to earth hard and heavy. Any hitched up his jacket over his head, groaning in disgust. "Jeez, couldn't it have held off a few more minutes?" He got up off the ground, and B followed his move. He wasn't sure he wanted to trail after the larger boy the entire way back in, but he certainly didn't want to stay and get soaked.

"Oh, here you go." B's glasses were handed back to him. "If you don't want the others to see, then you'll need these."

The shades were put in place almost as soon as his fingers curled around the frames. What was already dark from the thick rainclouds obscuring the sun became darker still. Any's label seemed to dim, but still hung there, visible as ever. B felt a little better once his eyes were hidden, but wished there was some way to block out what he could see, not just what others did.

B followed Any in, just because it seemed ridiculous not to when the rain was coming down so hard. On their way through the doors leading to warmth and dryness, Any actually grinned at B, the former uneasiness seemingly disappeared. "Since we're going to be in the program together, I'll show you around." He shook his head hard, sending droplets from his hair flying. "It's an interesting place, Wammy House; you could probably use a tour."

The red eyed, dripping boy only nodded, hurrying past to get to the safety of his room as possible. Any seemed nice enough, but reality was beginning to set in for B once again. It was only a matter of time before Any decided B was too strange, and gave up whatever game he was playing at trying to become his friend. It would become too much work to ignore B's mutation, his particular moods, and what any other orphans might say about him when they discovered that he spent his time with B.

It was only a matter of time before the old pattern repeated itself, he knew; which was why he hadn't even picked out a name yet. Why choose a name for a place you would be leaving?


A/N2: (sigh) It's good to finally have this story moving forward. ^^ For anyone as yet unaware, Beyond Birthday is my favorite character out of all the DN characters, and yes, that includes all of the fourth generation Wammy boys. This particular story has been sitting in my mind and slowly developing over the last five or six months, and so it feels good to finally start really working on it. For anyone who's read Names and Numbers, the short preview to this, you can tell that we've got a long way to go before we reach the level of insanity seen there, so strap in.

My goal with this project is to tell BB's story without filters. In Death Note: Another Note, (an awesome book, by the way), we're told the tale of the Los Angeles BB Murder Cases through Mello, who was told about it in turn from L, who, to be fair, took no in-person action in that case that we are aware of. From everything that we know, L never even met Beyond Birthday, and so in that sense had very little authority to tell what BB's true motives or drives might have been… besides the fact that L is known to be an inveterate liar. -.-;

Keeping that in mind, some small details will be altered somewhat, and in most cases, I'll be pointing back to our uncertainty as an audience as to what was true in DN:AN and what was false or simply misinformation. For the most part, I'm working hard to keep everything consistent not only with the novel, but with the DN manga and anime. The largest diversion I'll be making that is quite deliberate will be with BB's name. As the title suggests, the theme of names will be popping up again and again, and will eventually become part of the plot. The name Beyond Birthday is still in existence, the only difference is that here, it's not his real name, but another taken name. What's his 'real' name? Continue to read, and you may find out. ;D

Any other discrepancies should be minor in nature and self-explanatory as we reach them. Should I ever feel they need explaining, or more than one person questions it in reviews, I'll mention it in a follow-up Author's Note.

Special thanks goes out to my wonderfully patient Beta, and thank you all for reading. I hope to see you in the next chapter!