Hello, everyone! This is the long awaited, insanely long second installment of my Porcelain Fists series. I worked on this for... ages and ages and ages. I would be delighted if anyone even took the time to read the whole thing, let alone review. Anyhow, I am honored to share my work with you all, and I hope that you take the time to let me know if you liked it, or give me some constructive criticism (Beyond knows I need it.)
Dinner at Wammy's had always been a boisterous event. There were thirty-seven total participants. Fifteen preschoolers sat at one table, twelve elementary students at another, and then Wammy, Roger, A, and Beyond at the final table. Beyond, on good days, would generally throw his plate at A somewhere between 7:15 and 7:30. On bad days, when A politely excused himself to the bathroom for those fifteen minutes, Beyond would launch his plate at the far wall behind the preschoolers' table, and the gravy that slowly seeped down the wallpaper would only add to the growing food stain there.
The children used to scream when Beyond did this, but now they were used to it, and dinner continued without Beyond, who, by 7:45, would be in his and A's room spooning jam into his mouth. A, by 8:00, would arrive in their room as well. A would shower before bed because there would be no time to do so in the morning. He would then brush his teeth, occasionally shave (which Beyond didn't understand because A never felt fuzzy), and get into pajamas. Then, still wet from the shower, A would climb to the top bunk.
From 8:15 to 10:00, Beyond would stare at the top mattress, or eat jam, or play with a (stolen) knife, while A typed away at his laptop, diligently doing his schoolwork and his "You're-gonna-be-L-someday" work. Beyond didn't do any work at night because nobody expected him to, and he liked living up to expectations.
By 10:30, when A's laptop was delicately lowered to lay on their shared nightstand, Beyond would climb up to A's bed and usually find the older boy awake.
(A, by now, knew Beyond's quirks. He understood that when Beyond Birthday wanted something, whether it be jam, attention, or A himself, he would stop at nothing to get it. A also believed in the principle of regulation: in order to prevent the abuse of a substance, the governing body should not ban, but instead regulate that substance.)
So, on a good night, A would allow a drowsy Beyond to undo the three topmost buttons on A's pajama shirt. Beyond would rest his head on the slightly chilled skin of A's chest, and A would wrap an arm around Beyond's back. That was how Beyond would sleep, listening to A's slow, rhythmic breathing. That was how it had been since Beyond, in all his feral glory, had first arrived at Wammy's.
On a bad day (bad days had been happening more often, recently), Beyond would climb up to the top bunk to discover A crying silently. When Beyond would try to open A's chest to understand what was wrong, A would give him the absolute most intense gaze as was humanly possible and Beyond would recoil. Then A's gaze would soften apologetically, the moonlight reflecting off of his wet hair and the tear stains on his cheeks. A would then violently embrace Beyond, his arms tight and restricting as he gasps into Beyond's shoulder. Beyond would awkwardly squirm, because he isn't used to comforting others. Beyond's inability to empathize only made A cry harder.
A (though their age difference was not nearly as substantial as this may imply) had practically raised Beyond! Beyond had showed up at Wammy's malnourished, abused, violent... A had taken the younger boy under his wing, and taking care of Beyond had become his top priority- especially because Wammy and Roger were refusing to do so. A had given Beyond's world two things Beyond had never had: rewards, and consequences.
Had A failed?
A would pull Beyond back onto the bed, and Beyond would allow him to, Beyond would curl up in the curve of A's body, and he would absentmindedly slip a few finger under A's pajama shirt and trace the scars on the older boy's stomach, the skin hot to the touch.
Beyond didn't like it when A was like this. When A allowed Beyond to hug him, Beyond felt satiated. But on bad night's like this, Beyond felt dominance slip away from him, which Beyond hated.
Because when Beyond was the one hugging A in the dark, Beyond didn't feel arousal.
Not like when A was affectionate with him.
Beyond would allow himself to be hugged on these nights- not like the little one-sided hugs A gave him on good nights- really hugged. Embraced so fully that there was no longer any room between their bodies, clung to like he was the last concrete thing on Earth. Beyond would allow himself to enjoy the feeling of A's fingers in his hair, the feeling of A firmly stroking down from his neck and down his back. His forehead was kissed on the off beats of A's heavy but calmer breathing.
A's affection was Beyond's drug. Once A began this ritual of hugging and petting and touching, Beyond needed it more than anything in the world. The more he received, the more he craved.
(The worst part of bad nights was that they would eventually turn into good nights.)
Eventually, A's hold would loosen and he would stop crying, and Beyond would desperately tighten his hold around A's neck and plead into his shoulder, "No...don't..."
A would chuckle softly and try to remove Beyond's arms, which would then turn into a choke-hold. They would wrestle for a moment, but A had always been stronger and Beyond was exhausted.
"But- But, A..." Beyond sobbed.
"Shh..." A would caress Beyond's cheek and Beyond would just sit there miserably, "I know, Beyond. But you have to get some sleep."
(...On a good night, A would allow a sleepy Beyond to undo the three topmost buttons on A's pajama shirt. Beyond would rest his head on the slightly chilled skin of A's chest, and A would wrap an arm around Beyond's back...)
On both good nights and bad nights (especially bad nights) Beyond would try to stay awake and catch A sleeping, to see the older boy's face completely at peace. And on both good nights and bad nights (especially bad nights- with the hypnotic circles A's fingers would rub into Beyond's shoulders and the sleepy warmth emanating from A's body) Beyond would fail.
On all mornings, Beyond would wake up find himself tucked into his own bed instead of A's. Yesterday was the first morning that he woke up cold.
"You have no sense of boundary, do you?" Beyond said loudly as he walked into the dining room, silencing the whining of preschoolers and the gossip of older students and calling the attention of each orphan to himself. This was all purely accidental, because the only person he was addressing was L, who was sitting in Beyond's seat. His face was bandaged from forehead to jaw, almost a trophy for Beyond... but L was where L should not be, and that was unforgivable.
L glanced sideways at Wammy before answering Beyond with an empty voice, "I am not entirely sure what Beyond is talking about."
"You know perfectly well what I'm talking about! You're sitting in my seat!"
L stared into Beyond's eyes defiantly, "Would you like me to leave, Beyond?"
Beyond walked through the room, past the agape mouths of multiple young people, until he was practically standing on top of L.
"Yes, I would like you to leave." Beyond said, menacingly.
Wammy and Roger were two seats over, watching tensely as L began to move onto the adjacent chair and off of Beyond's.
Beyond's hands were suddenly on the small detective, grabbing him by the shirt collar and throwing his light body a full five feet before he landed haphazardly against the back of a preschooler's chair.
"Go to hell."
Though the screams and the expressions on the faces of the other orphans read as horrified, and the angry tones of Wammy and Roger as they helped up their bewildered prodigy read as embarrassment, Beyond didn't understand what was on L's face. It wasn't "What is wrong with you?", it was "What is wrong with you?", as if L was only interested in the puzzle Beyond's overflowing psyche proposed.
Beyond stomped out of the room, because that was the kind of thing Beyond did.
Beyond lay on his own bed, staring up at the bottom of another mattress in the darkness of his room. There was one window in this small bedroom, it was covered by off-white blinds, and the bright flashes of lightening outside filtered easily through and lit up the ceiling violently. It was raining heavily tonight, as if God himself was shedding tears for A's death.
These musings were entirely unlike Beyond, but he simply couldn't help himself tonight. The mattress above him was empty and cold, and he couldn't stand it at all. There was an awful feeling in the pit of Beyond's stomach. The thought of death always made him pensive.
It had been one day since A's funeral. The children at Wammy's house were all quiet and sad, a cloud of sheer heaviness hung over the entire orphanage. In an effort to avoid the thought of suicide grinning at them from behind their backs and from the shadowy darkness of the orphanage at night, the youngest children were all sleeping together in the foyer near the bright fireplace. Roger, who was so old that he should never be lying down, for fear he might kick the bucket then and there, was sleeping on the couch in the room with the children. Roger was always present, but terribly unapproachable. Nonetheless, Beyond assumed that the mere presence of a trusted adult comforted the young children.
Some of the older children who were not enchanted out of their misery by the simple presence of an authoritative figure were relying on each other. The grouped together in twos and threes of close friends, and then began rooming together, and talked darkly about things beyond their years.
There was a particularly bright bit of lightning.
Beyond didn't know where L was now, but felt that he wasn't too off the mark to think that the injured detective's wound was being re-bandaged, as it had been on the hour every hour for the entire day. If that wound became infected...
A knock at the door, and Beyond rolled off his bed and landed cat-style on the floor. He faced his nightstand and opened the cabinet. Inside the shadowy box was a half-empty jar of strawberry jam. Beyond picked up the jar. He liked the feel of the heavy glass in his hand, the sticky paper, and the sickly sweet smell.
He threw the jar with all of his speed at the door, which L was supposedly behind, but he missed and the jar went through the wall instead, creating a fist-sized hole in the plaster.
With a sigh, Beyond crawled across the room, and settled down with his back firmly barricading the door.
"Wammy believes I injured you because I hate you," He said to the wall. "You don't share that belief, do you?" It's not that Beyond was worried about L's opinion, it was more that he was worried about L's misconceptions.
"Possibly," L answered through the door.
"Your vocabulary is astounding." Beyond replied, smiling to himself and rubbing a few fingers against the cold wood, feeling the smoothness of the paint.
"Must we speak through a wall, Beyond?" L asked.
Beyond's nail scraped against the door. "I don't hate you." he said quietly.
"You wanted to see me." It wasn't a question. Beyond stepped into Roger's office with a confident air, and plopped down in one of the seats in front of Roger's desk. The old man, who had been speaking in low tones (the kind of tones Roger uses when punishing someone) with ten year-old Mello, dismissed the boy. Mello exited, staying as far away from Beyond as physically possible as he did so. When the door to the office shut, Roger leaned back in his chair, and his wrinkles became more pronounced as he yawned.
"Beyond, yes, I wanted to see you." Roger nodded to himself and leaned forward, suddenly all-business. Beyond found himself distracted by the way Roger's wrinkly lips formed the words, floppily.
"I have been worrying about you."
Beyond's eyebrows raised a millimeter, and Roger probably noticed.
"Ever since... ever since the funeral..." Roger met Beyond's eyes, and Beyond looked down, "You're impulses, Beyond, the ones that caused you to attack L on multiple occasions, are unhealthy."
Beyond didn't like it when Roger spoke to him as if he was a child.
"Wammy and I have discussed this issue. We worry that you are becoming both a danger to others and a danger to yourself."
"I'm not psychotic, Roger." Beyond said. He believed those words were 92% true.
This was bad. If Wammy and Roger were worried about Beyond's sanity, there was no way they would let him near L
"I wouldn't be so quick to use labels, Beyond-"
"You wouldn't be so quick to do much of anything. This is an empty threat." Beyond said a little too quickly and he thought he saw something of a smirk flash across Roger's face before the man leaned toward Beyond and spoke in a pacifying tone.
"I have invited my colleague, Ms. Wallace, to come meet with you. She is a psychiatrist."
Heat. Not figuratively; literally. The feeling of the temperature going past 98.6 and rising, quickly. Not figuratively; not arousal- that's different. Literally too hot. A humid, hundred-degree summer coupled with heavy blankets and comforters that hadn't yet been removed for the season.
"Beyond, you look sick." They were in bed together, but Beyond wasn't sure whether it was a good night or a bad night. It certainly couldn't be a good night, because A definitely wasn't just lying there, letting Beyond have his way. But then it couldn't be a bad night, because A wasn't crying. He didn't even seem sad in any way. For Beyond, who was a very black and white (red and darker red) kind of person, this facet of A was new and terrifying. It was as if all of A's inhibitions had disappeared. He was shirtless, damn it.
"Seriously, Beyond, are you okay?" A mumbled into Beyond's neck, and Beyond would shiver if he didn't feel so hot. A wasn't warm, he was burning; his face and neck and torso (Torso? The hell?) were flushed. His skin was hot to the touch, which meant Beyond was burning too because A was touching him everywhere.
On any other night, good or bad, Beyond would probably be feeling some kind of cross between ecstasy and desire at the touch of A's fingertips on his jaw and the feeling of A's hair tickling his neck. He would gasp as A's palm slipped under his t-shirt and slid up his side. He would curl his fingers into A's hair as the older boy nuzzled into him. But this was not any other night.
Beyond didn't want to answer A's question because he was trying to keep himself from breaking a fever.
"A, flip over the pillow."
"What?" A's voice was not nearly as sensual and warm as it had been a few moments ago.
"Flip over the pillow now." Beyond said urgently, and A complied, bewildered, removing his body from Beyond and sitting up on the bed. This freed the white, sweaty pillow to Beyond, who untwisted himself from the suffocating sheets and shoved his head and shoulders in between the cold side of the pillow and the mattress. It was cooler if not cooling, and Beyond let out a long sigh.
A, who probably had that stupid grin on his face that he only wears when Beyond is being childish, rested a scalding hand on Beyond's back in what would normally be a reassuring, comforting fashion. Beyond growled hoarsely, "Get your fucking hands off of me."
A chuckled and Beyond grimaced, still hidden in the confines of the pillow, ostrich-style.
What gave A the right to act so random like this? This was Beyond's job.
A's hands moved to Beyond's shoulders and then to the collar of his t-shirt, putting the back of his fingers on Beyond's neck and checking the temperature. Then, before Beyond could yell at him, A was gone.
The cold side of the pillow wasn't cold anymore. Beyond shifted uncomfortably and finally pulled out his head from the pillow. He sat up but then put a few fingers to his head because it seemed as if the floor was spinning, but then his fingers felt like they were on fire so he removed them. He defaulted to staring dazedly down from the top bunk at the yellow light painting patterns on the floor. Or was it the ceiling? Beyond wasn't sure.
The light was coming from the bathroom, where A probably was. There was water running. Beyond shut his eyes and scrunched them up because the light was far too bright, but even the slight action of closing his eyes tightly gave Beyond a bit of a head rush.
The clock read 3:30.
"Beyond?" The bathroom light was off again, and Beyond's eyes were readjusting to the light at a sluggish pace. A was climbing to the top bunk, and he had a towel in his hands. "Beyond, take off your shirt."
"I don't want to." Beyond returned, but what A said wasn't a suggestion, it was an order.
It was too hot to do anything, let alone remove an article of clothing. And surely A was asking this of him only so that A would be able to spread scorching heat over more of Beyond's skin.
"Beyond, it'll help."
"Help what? Are you planning on screwing me?" That was uncalled for, Beyond thought, but then he remembered those were his own words. Damn heat.
"Beyond," A's voice was lightly threatening. With the hand that wasn't holding the soggy towel, A began coaxing the shirt from Beyond's sticky pale skin, and Beyond weakly held his arms up over his head to allow the large shirt to slide off.
A then lightly pushed Beyond back onto the bed, on his stomach. Again, Beyond's vision swam.
Why was it so, so hot?
Suddenly, it was cold.
The towel had been soaked in icy water, and now the icy towel covered all of Beyond's back and his neck and oh, did it feel good. A was adjusting the towel around Beyond's body, tucking it under to the younger boy's stomach and around his neck and shoulders. And then, strong fingers were rubbing those places, rubbing the soothing cold into Beyond's skin.
Beyond let out a moan of pleasure, and A's fingers began wandering again, and everything felt much, much better.
Twenty-two minutes later, A had apparently realized that it was the middle of the night. The mattress dipped next to Beyond as his older bunkmate lay back and closed his eyes.
"You know," Beyond mumbled into his crossed arms, "you can be a real bastard sometimes."
A chuckled, rolling from his back to his side and then to his stomach, draping an arm over Beyond's shoulders. And then, will all the confidence of a steady boyfriend (which A most definitely was not), he dropped a peck on Beyond's cheek.
Behind the skin of his forearm, Beyond's eyes shot open and his heart stuttered.
In Beyond's third week at the orphanage, he had bitten another child. He had left tooth marks on the poor child's skin. This would be normal daily routine, at Wammy's House, because preschoolers bit preschoolers all the time, but with Beyond, things were always different. Beyond had bitten this small person in the center of their torso, right below the ribcage. Because this place is normally clothed, and because there had been no saliva on the child's shirt, this had not been a normal biting. This was a partially-premeditated act of violence.
That was when Roger first called in a psychiatrist.
His name was Dr. Dewitt Preston. He arrived in the orphanage with his framed PhD peeking quite obviously out of his briefcase. That was the kind of person Dr. Preston was.
The second the door to the office closed behind Roger, Beyond leveled a (water) gun at the man's forehead and told him to scream.
"Would you like anything else, B?" She was a young blond, with sharp blue eyes that were doing their best to avoid Beyond's glare without dropping her pleasant, bubbly facade. He had never seen her before, it was as if she had materialized next to him. "I'll be going into the kitchen to get more chicken."
Beyond resisted his first instinct, which was to strangle her. He instead clenched his jaw, looked back down at his empty plate and said, "No." Because killing the psychiatrist would only lead to more problems.
She giggled and said something along the lines of "suit yourself". When she disappeared into the next room, L gave Beyond a look, but Beyond couldn't quite read it. Curiosity? Or judgment?
That's the other thing. Killing the psychiatrist would also lead to more judgmental looks from L. What right did he have to judge, after L had stained Beyond's shirt with his own tears?
"Fuck off, L."
L didn't react, but Wammy raised an eyebrow and Roger seemed to be hiding a smirk behind his cloth napkin. This was a victory for the damned old man, wasn't it? In his and Beyond's personal war, he had won his first battle; he had gotten under Beyond's skin.
In his mind, Beyond turned up a pompous nose to the giggling Roger and said, "How childish."
The blond lady was back again with a chicken leg that was probably the smallest on the plate. She had probably chosen it for this reason- not because she was "watching her weight" but because she wanted to appear to be "watching her weight" (an important distinction).
"So, Beyond, I hear that you haven't been doing very well on some of your tests recently. That must make you rather disappointed in yourself?"
And she called herself a psychiatrist. Pfft. Beyond had been bombing tests since he was eight, why would he be disappointed in himself now?
L's eyes were blank, but Beyond could see him smirking in his mind.
Beyond stared at L, contemplating the idea that when he squinted his eyes, the bandage on L made it look like L's face was sliced in half with marshmallow fluff leaking out of it. L's brain... made of marshmallow.
"Bombing tests," Beyond told the blond without taking his eyes off of L, "holds no correlation to my intelligence level."
Beyond then stood up to leave the room.
"In fact, I only bomb tests to spite L."
The corner of L's mouth twitched before the psychiatrist glanced at him, and Beyond left.
The psychiatrist was allowed everywhere except L's room, so, naturally, that was where Beyond was. And naturally, L was there too.
Well, not yet.
But he would be. Soon. Beyond was sure of that.
In the meanwhile, however, Beyond was sitting on L's bed with a fist in a jar of jam and his eyebrows knit at frustration. Frustration at nothing and everything at once.
He was thinking (a strange activity he had found himself participating in more and more lately, as opposed to the blank emptiness that he felt before A's death) about L. L had been so... provocative lately. So defiant. So... mean.
L is being downright mean. Beyond jammed another fistful of jam into his mouth. That's the word.
Beyond had waited for L, that first night after the funeral. He had expected L to come to Beyond's room and either suddenly profess his undying love for Beyond (unlikely), or try to kiss him again, try to start back up everything from the funeral (more likely). Beyond hadn't expected L to just let things sit and fester and do nothing, just because he knew how much Beyond hated it.
So, that was mean.
But also, L had been showing off these little smiles all the time around Beyond, these little smirks to provoke the younger boy when Roger wasn't looking, these little sneers whenever the psychiatrist was around. And then, at other times, he was flaunting what little camaraderie he and Beyond shared. Every single emotion that he had flashed Beyond for two days was conspiratorial. As if he was entitled to Beyond's attention.
That damn detective and his damn sense of entitlement. Beyond would show him. Beyond would make him scream.
Beyond's hand froze on the rim of the glass jar, gooey strawberries sliding down.
Low viscosity, right? That was what the science teacher had said.
(Think, Beyond. Think. What's really going on?)
L hadn't lashed out at Beyond after Beyond cut up his face at the funeral. He had taken every violent action of Beyond's in stride. What had Beyond called it?
L was captivated. Beyond was a puzzle. So L was trying to provoke Beyond.
Beyond was going to lash out. L wanted Beyond to try.
So the proper punishment is no punishment at all. Ignore.
Or even better, if only to be expected: fight back.
"A," Beyond walked near the older boy, who was sitting on the windowsill in the library and staring outside into the dark. A seemed... pensive, an unusual occurrence because A was normally rather cheery (or at least put on a brave face in sight of adversity.)
"Yes, Beyond? Is something wrong?" Beyond could hear the snarl in A's voice. Beyond almost grinned to himself. Finally he had surpassed A. Finally A would drop that fake charismatic façade and show the real A; the passion that lies beneath the placid surface.
"Nothing is wrong. In fact, everything is quite right, now."
"Now... what makes now different from yesterday or the day before?" A asked.
"She's gone." She... A's girlfriend, Miriam. Miriam was gone, and she would never be coming back, so everything was right again.
A said nothing in response to Beyond, but he did clench his fist.
"Everything is better now, don't you agree?" Beyond continued, "Now you won't be so distracted. You'll pick your grades up, you'll spend more time at Wammy's,"
A stood up and turned around, eyes burning intensely as he looked at Beyond. He was taller than Beyond now, and Beyond smirked even though he was suddenly struck with a feeling of 'maybe this wasn't such a good idea...' A was scaring Beyond, but Beyond couldn't stop now.
"Why? Why should I shut up? I didn't say anything for weeks! I thought you could balance her with the rest of your life, but you proved me wrong, A! I haven't had a conversation with you for weeks!" Beyond's back was flat against the wall and his palms were shaking, but he continued yelling and smirking and provoking. His words bounced around on the inside of his own head, echoing in his ears, terrifying.
A turned to the side, talking to no one, a maniacal grin on his face, hysteria peeking through, "Oh, that's it, then. You're jealous, aren't you?" He turned back to Beyond, emotions returning to anger, "Why don't you get it? Why can't you look past your own nose!"
"And what?" Beyond yelled, "You weren't happy with me? Is that it?" A snarled. "Or maybe you're just a fucking follower! You can't handle being alone!"
A's fists were clenched at his sides, and his eyes wrenched tight when he yelled, "Shut the hell up, Beyond! For once in your life, just shut up!"
Beyond's smile was faltering, and he was trying to suppress the burning behind his eyes. A had that way of doing things, that parental hold on Beyond that made Beyond want to cry every time he was yelled at, to scream he was sorry and beg for forgiveness- but no. Beyond had to be strong. A was coming closer to Beyond, and Beyond was backed into the wall as he yelled.
"And, of course," Beyond screamed, desperate now, trying to regain the security of his self-righteousness "now you won't waste your affections on her!"
Beyond was just a whiny child, and he knew it. He regretted chasing away Miriam, suddenly, when A's backhand connected with his face and sent him sprawling. Beyond flew like a rag doll and hit his head painfully against the wall before crumpling to the ground.
"Beyond?" A yelled, "You're a terrible person!"
And then the burning behind his eyes became unbearable.
Beyond pulled his legs to his chest and shook, because he simply couldn't offer a retort. He knew he was wrong. He knew he was the devil's hand. He knew A was right and always right. He knew that A was like a parent to him. He knew that he secretly loved A so much that every sharp word the other boy screamed shot like a knife through his chest.
But he couldn't admit to it. None of it.
Come on! he screamed to himself on the inside, trying to stop the tears from coming, trying desperately to stop the shudders, If you're going to be an asshole, at least own up to it!
Beyond cried. He could control himself.
A paused, and the routine of this situation was settling back in, even though A didn't want it to. "Beyond, don't do this-" A pleaded to Beyond, who was sobbing uncontrollably. Because Beyond shouldn't be the one crying, Beyond should be the one feeling guilty for yelling. Beyond should be apologizing, "Beyond, this isn't fair."
But Beyond was past and logic or truth as he shivered and hiccuped on the floor.
A just stood there and deliberated and wrung out his hands and watched Beyond. And then A knelt down, as A was supposed to do, and took Beyond in his arms. He held the boy, kissed his forehead, smoothed down his hair, and told him that everything was okay between them, and that he was sorry for yelling. Beyond nodded, and buried his face in A's shoulder, and breathed.
"L, I think I love you," Beyond said clearly and loudly in the middle of dinner that night. In the dead silence that follows, Wammy coughs, the preschoolers become silent, the psychiatrist leans in to the action, but, most importantly, L's eyes widen in true surprise for a half a second before returning to their passive state.
"Is that so?"
"Yes." Beyond put a finger to his lips in thought, "I think I want you so much, that if you didn't come to my room tonight, I might die." The operative idea in that sentence being Beyond's death. It was a threat, really. If you don't fulfill my requests, I will manipulate your beloved orphans by creating another suicide.
The room went silent. No one, except possibly L, was quite sure what to do.
Beyond scooted out his chair and stood up, offering a hand to L, "Would you care to join me for a walk?"
L stared at the hand for a moment, and then moved to get out of his own chair. Beyond grinned evilly. Yes, that's it. Come to me, L.
And then Wammy put a hand on L's shoulder, holding him back before saying, authoritatively, "I think it it time for B to leave the table." He nodded at the psychiatrist (babysitter), and she stood up and began to coax Beyond, trembling with rage, out of the room.
Beyond locked eyes with L, who met his gaze without the usual lack of passion.
There were things that Beyond knew about the world that normal people would assume he didn't know. But he knew because of A; A had taught Beyond many things.
Things like why people manipulate people, why not to trust people until they earn your trust, why to eat more than just jam, why the same temperature feels both good or bad depending on the situation. But A also taught Beyond about Beyond. Why Beyond isn't normal.
Beyond is a sociopath, and he knows it.
Unlike the monsters in many science fiction movies, self-awareness in Beyond's case didn't lead to super powers or self-destruction, nor did it lead to enlightenment or anything of that sort. Beyond was the same person he always was. There were suggestions in the psychiatry books that A made him read about what to do when someone you know is a sociopath, but Beyond found that institutionalization didn't appeal to him, and he just didn't care enough to do small experiments with a psychiatrist. He didn't care that much at all, really. What was the difference?
The only good thing about diagnosing himself, Beyond found, was that he could suddenly understand every emotion he had ever felt. He could identify his different relationships with different people, he could name the instincts that led him to take every action he has ever taken. No one else in the world could do this. No one but him. Beyond was special, because he understood himself and could, therefore, distance himself from his emotions. He could become an empty shell, or an emotional nutcase, with a flick of a switch, depending on the preference of his omniscient consciousness.
In learning that he was, apparently, a sociopath, he started to investigate and reroute his own emotions to the point where he was, in fact, sociopathic.
A was staring at him.
A was staring at him, and Beyond shifted uncomfortably, fingers brushing against the enormous encyclopedia placed in front of him, a shiver running up and down his spine.
A was staring at him, and Beyond's eyebrows turned down in anger. "What is your problem, A?"
"You're the one with the problem, Beyond. I only want to help."
Beyond snarled a bit but he hoped A didn't notice. A did, and put his hand on Beyond's on the table. "I'm sorry," A chuckled, but then said in all seriousness "That was insensitive of me."
Beyond yanked his hand away from A and frowned.
A leaned back in his chair. "Fine, be that way. Read that last paragraph, then we can go to dinner."
"I don't want dinner."
"Then you can go to sleep."
"Then you can have dinner." A said, "It's your choice. Either way you have to finish reading."
"I don't have to do anything! You're just being a jerk!" Beyond complained.
A leaned forward and said, commandingly, "Read."
"However, other differences between psychopathy and sociopathy, aside from origin, have been cited. The capacity to feel attachment and empathy towards another and to feel guilt and shame after doing something wrong is not associated with psychopathy; however it is suggested that sociopaths can emotionally attach to others, and feel badly when they hurt those individuals that they are attached to. The sociopath will still lack empathy and attachment toward the greater society and will not feel guilt in harming a stranger, or rebelling against laws, but does not lack empathy entirely, as is typical with the psychopath."
"Are you finished?" A asked.
Beyond looked up at A and studied his face, for a moment, bewildered. Then he looked back down at the book. "Th-" He cleared his throat, "This makes me sound like an animal."
A seemed to debate something for a moment, and then stood. "Alright, time for dinner."
"I think I'll go to bed." Beyond leaned back in his chair.
A walked around the library table, slammed shut the encyclopedia, and, from behind Beyond's back, slipped his hands under the younger boy's arms and lifted him off the chair. A carried Beyond out of the room, easily avoiding getting kicked and ignoring Beyond's objections. "You think a lot of things Beyond. The question is whether you are able to put your thoughts into action. And-" A swung Beyond, who is, in fact, an unbelievably lightweight person, so that A was carrying him fireman-style, "given your current predicament, I would say not."
"Damn it- A, put me down!"
A tossed Beyond in the air a moment, and Beyond squeaked, arms latching frantically around A's neck. A laughed.
At midnight, Beyond's door opened. Beyond sat up in bed, bare feet brushing the cold hardwood floor of his bedroom. He looked up at L, who stood silhouetted in the light of the hallway. Beyond brushed hair out of his own face absentmindedly. "You came anyway?"
L stepped into the room deliberately, and Beyond could just make out his facial features, the bandage. Beyond forced himself to stay rooted to his bed, even though he wanted to run to L and touch his skin and his hair and make sure that this was real.
For the first time since the funeral, Beyond was alone with L.
Alone, with L.
Beyond stood and walked slowly over to L, instead. He then put his hands on L's shoulders, feeling his doppleganger's collarbone through the thin white t-shirt and the soft skin, rubbing into his neck slightly. L stared at him but Beyond didn't make eye contact for a few seconds.
They shared a chaste kiss, instigated by Beyond but accepted and fermented by L. Beyond broke away. His forehead rested against L's bandage, his eyes were closed as he breathed in the detective's scent, mingled with antiseptic. "You came anyway." Beyond whispered again.
L kissed him again, before saying, as unaffectedly as he could sound, "Of course I came, Beyond. I'm not a child." another kiss, and L stepped forward, forcing Beyond to step back, "Watari can't keep me like one."
Wammy. Damn it.
"No..." Beyond whispered.
Beyond's eyes shot open fiercely and he screamed like a madman, "NO!" Beyond shoved a startled L away from him, dropped to the ground, and, with a quick spin, kicked L in the face. L blocked instinctively and backed away as Beyond began coming towards him again. "What are you doing?"
"Get out of my room, L! Get away from here!" Beyond screamed, grabbing the nearest item, a mostly empty jar of jam, and threatening to throw it at L as a weapon.
And then L slipped out of the room.
You're the one with the problem, Beyond. I only want to help.
The lighthearted chuckle turned into a throaty, malevolent laugh inside Beyond's head.
Beyond shivered now that L was gone, and collapsed on his bed, and cried himself to sleep.
The psychiatrist woke him at seven in the morning on Saturday. She walked into B's room and walked over to his bed. She put a hand on his bed, and felt around for him in the twisted sheets before realizing that he wasn't there. "Hmm... I wonder where B is?" she whispered to the empty room sarcastically, as if expecting him to jump out like a four-year-old and squeal 'Here I am!'.
She put a looks-like-designer shoe on the metal frame of the bed and hoisted herself up to look at the top bunk.
She then gasped and nearly fell off of the bed; B was awake, and looked like someone out of a horror film.
"Hello, psychiatrist." he muttered quickly and darkly, black eyes boring into her soul, "It seems I haven't bathed in four days, and I am absolutely incapable of washing myself." He jumped forward into a feline crouch, face suddenly uncomfortably close to hers, "Might you wash me?" His eyes were crazed, his black hair wild.
She jumped back to the floor, and found herself backed into a wall. She tried not to let her fear of this boy affect her voice, "B, you're not a child, you're a young man; it would be entirely improper for me to-" He was coming closer, leering at her from his perch on the top bunk. She continued speaking, "'wash' you. However, I would be happy to call for Mr. Roger or Mr. Wammy..."
"No!" he yelled, his composure breaking into rage for a moment before he slid back into his snake-like demeanor, "No," he said again, "It has to be you." He jumped down from the top bunk and would've landed on top of her had she not jumped out of the way.
He was herding her toward the bathroom.
"You're scared of me, aren't you?" He chuckled, "How fitting. I haven't yet given you any reason to be scared, but you diagnosed me your first day at the orphanage and have been terrified of me ever since. But it's not of me, it's of what I could become. The sociopath. The killer. You think I'm evil."
"Beyond!" She yelled sharply, "You're having a psychological breakdown, and I need you to calm down." She tried to stop him from moving forward by putting her hands firmly on his shoulders, but he shirked her off and snarled.
"Don't label me, bitch! I know what I am doing!" He screamed. "I know exactly what I'm doing."
They were in the white tile bathroom and there was only a few feet before he would have her crouching in the corner.
There was a jar of jam on the bathroom counter, which he grabbed before moving forward. "Go on!" He screamed, "Wash me! Clean me! Give me salvation! You're a psychiatrist, right? Fix me!" He through the jam at the mirror, and suddenly there was a rain of glass shards upon them.
"Beyond, you're human! Please! Don't hurt me!"
I was only trying to help.
Wammy and Roger heard the scream. They found her unconscious, barely alive, with the word shallow written up and down her forearm in jam and blood. Then they began looking for Beyond. Who else could it have been?
Beyond stomped into L's room breathing heavily, bloody shard of glass gripped in his palm, then paused. L was crouched on his own bed, face and shirt illuminated by the light from his laptop, innocently looking up at Beyond.
Beyond took two breaths, opened his eyes, and, with a yell, threw the shard of glass across the room, where it lodged itself a foot off the ground in the wall. L flinched when the shard impaled itself, but when he looked up at Beyond again his eyes were calm.
That angered Beyond. Not that Beyond wasn't already angry, but now he was frustrated, on top of it. The anger was settling into his stomach and collapsing his chest, and Beyond could hear his own blood in his ears.
Her blood was on his hands. They would see it on the handle of the door. They would know! They would arrest him and take him away from L...
"Beyond," L said again, coolly, closing the laptop, "That shout, earlier, was that you?"
"Shut up!" Beyond screamed.
… they heard her screams. They know!..
He fell to his knees and clutched at his ears, "Just shut the fuck up, L! You're trying to- you're just..." Beyond felt tears prick at his eyes. "You..." He looked up but L wasn't on the bed anymore, and Beyond, for a moment, sincerely wondered if he'd actually been there in the first place. But then he saw L's pant leg in his left side peripheral vision, which he grabbed and held onto in panic. His nails dug into the coarse fabric.
"Beyond... what is going on?" Beyond felt three delicate fingers on his shoulder and he trembled.
L's jeans in his death grip, Beyond choked out, "I need to hide." before collapsing.
Beyond woke with his neck in an awkward position, and an uncomfortable weight on his leg. He looked up, but the room was dark, and, besides, there was a blanket over his face. After a quick assessment he discovered that his left hand was in a bandage.
The weight was cutting off the circulation to his feet. Beyond squirmed, and slid himself out from under the comforter, where the light from L's laptop burned his eyes. Squinting, he also saw L, and that made Beyond relax. He must've been the weight on Beyond's leg.
L glanced down at him, but his eyes returned to the laptop before he spoke softly, "You collapsed."
Beyond sat up more, because it was rather unsettling looking up at L. "I did, did I?" Beyond stared at the screen in an attempt to understand what was so interesting L would ignore him for, but the letters swam on the screen. "And you dragged me into your bed?"
"What a waste." Beyond sighed dramatically, "I wish I had been awake to enjoy it."
"If you were awake, I wouldn't have needed to drag you."
"Well, aren't you witty..." Beyond was now fully awake, and still trying and failing to read L's screen. "What are you doing?" When the letters finally settled, Beyond saw that they weren't English.
"What kind of work?"
"Work." L said. His voice had a very soft quality to it, Beyond thought, and it was pleasing to listen to.
Beyond glanced down at his bandaged left hand. "I cut myself?"
"I'm assuming on that shard of glass, yes." L shifted, "I thought you wanted me to stay away from you." Beyond scooted closer to L until their shoulders were touching and then turned his face into L's hair.
"Lawliet," Beyond whispered sensually into L's neck, "I know that is far too much to ask of you." L wasn't very warm, but he was comfortable to lean against. Beyond fingered at the bandage running down L's face. L stopped typing, looked straight ahead and didn't move. So Beyond carefully peeled the tape off from the edge of the bandage and then began to remove it from L's face.
The gauze was sticky and brown, the wound itself an ugly purple color. And when Beyond ran his fingers down the cut in wonder, L's eyes closed, in pain or because of the intimacy of the touch.
Before he could stop himself, Beyond was whispering, "I'm sorry..."
L didn't breathe.
Beyond brushed the hair up from the detective's neck, looking for the bite, but then he realized the bite was on L's other side and inaccessible.
When, without warning, L spoke, Beyond could feel the vibrations in the older boy's throat, "That scream, earlier. Was that you?"
"I don't scream like a girl, L. That's your trademark, I would know." Beyond's voice was sultry.
"So, the psychiatrist?"
Beyond ran a fingernail down L's unmarred cheek. He then crawled behind L to the other side of the bed. Here, he could see the bite. The skin was still dark around it, but it wasn't bandaged anymore.
Beyond's hands went to L's shoulders, "Does it hurt anymore?"
"Does what hurt?" L asked.
Beyond didn't answer, more focused on the coolness of L's neck and the goosebumps on his arms.
"Beyond, whatever happened with the psychiatrist... why did you do it?"
Beyond didn't dignify that with an answer. He crawled back into the corner between the wall and the framework of the bunk-bed. "I believe a French philosopher once said, 'There are some minds like either convex or concave mirrors, which represent objects such as they receive them, but never receive them as they are.'" Beyond huffed grouchily, "Ms. Wallace- she's one of those people."
"That doesn't mean you had a right to attack her."
"She disrespected me."
"Again- no right." L was on the laptop again, and the corresponding incessant clacking was giving Beyond a headache.
Beyond sat up and leaned forward, and, when L froze but didn't try to stop him, nudged the laptop so it fell off the bed and onto the carpet, shorting out in the process.
"That was uncalled for." L commented.
Beyond's forehead creased in thought- how to explain this to L? "You know," he began, "how you keep asking all of these questions and trying to understand me and how my mind works?"
The son of a bitch nodded.
"Well, she did that. Honestly, you should be thankful, because I would've attacked you if you weren't so..."
L's face was unreadable. "Complacent? You need someone who will fight back?"
"Aww, Lawliet." Beyond rubbed his thumb down L's jaw, sarcastically loving, "I was going to say fragile and delicate, but if it makes you feel better, we can call it anything you want."
L snarled at him and turned away.
Beyond looked down at himself again, and was surprised, because there was blood down the front of his shirt- deep red and stiffening the cotton. Looking down at the sheets in which he had been sleeping, he saw that they too were stained. "Damn." he remarked, eloquently. "Do you have a plan for this... complication?"
L kept his back to Beyond, "I didn't think it was a complication."
"You're right. They'll just assume it was- how to put this? You're time of the month."
"No- you are going to wash them." L said, matter-of-factly.
Beyond snorted, "I'll be hiding from the cops. You'll be washing your sheets."
L turned around but didn't make eye contact, suddenly serious. "I never learned how."
"Me neither. And, besides, I don't think you can wash blood out of sheets. Plan B: these will hang out in your closet, where I too will be living. In the meanwhile, I'll borrow some of your clothes." He grinned, "You have other clothes, haven't you?"
"Some." L stood and opened the dresser next to his bed. One of the drawers opened to reveal a slew of white t-shirts, the next to a pile of jeans. Beyond stood up to join him by the dresser and peered over his shoulder. He glanced down at L's arms again as the other boy moved clothes out of the way, looking for other clothing. There were still goosebumps.
Without warning, Beyond grabbed one of L's hands, and found that it was cold as ice. "Hey,"
"Yes?" L responded.
"Have you got a jumper?"
Roger was speaking with the police, or, rather, the police were speaking with Roger and Roger was taking his time answering. He spoke slowly and deliberately- no indication to his feelings, he was actually quite worried- because he was an old man whose minutes seemed to be half as long as they used to be. They were speaking of a certain missing sociopathic orphan.
Wammy, meanwhile, was on the phone with the hospital about an injured psychiatrist. He, unlike Roger, spoke briskly, because he was less worried about Ms. Wallace's health care provider and more about his ward: the detective staring broodingly at the piece of shortcake in front of him, a dark cloud of teenage angst amidst the hustle and bustle of various officers.
Or perhaps he only was a "dark cloud of teenage angst" because of his sudden change in attire. L was wearing a thick black jumper which hung limply on his skinny torso, and socks.
(L can't stand socks.)
Finally the nurse on the other end said something that sounded vaguely like a goodbye, and Wammy hung up. He walked around the dining table and sat decisively in the oak chair across from L.
L looked up for a second but didn't greet the old man, instead running a spider-like finger across the top of his cake, creating a finger-sized rut in the icing. L then took the finger into his mouth for a moment, made a satisfied noise, and rubbed the saliva off on his new black sleeve.
"Where is your bandage?" Wammy asked.
L didn't respond.
Wammy frowned, "L, you know where Beyond is." This was true, and Wammy knew this because he could tell these things about L.
"I am absolutely clueless, he seems to have disappeared."
"You're never clueless." Wammy rolled his shoulders and leaned onto the back of his chair.
L was eating with his fingers, taking off chunks of yellow cake with his forefinger and thumb and slipping them into his mouth. "Stop that; get a fork." Wammy admonished.
L looked up as if he'd just had a revelation in his thoughts, picked up his plate, stood up, and made for the kitchen in search of a fork.
Wammy nimbly snatched the plate from L before the young man left the room. L gave him a look of pure innocent betrayal as Wammy set the plate on the table, "You're only getting a fork, you don't need the entire cake with you."
Obviously, Wammy stealing the cake was only to insure that L would be coming back to the table, as opposed to wandering off to avoid Wammy's interrogations.
Wammy smiled, satisfied.
After a few minutes, he realized that L wasn't coming back.
He then, after another few minutes of searching, found L crouched in the hallway, watching the policemen rush past in both directions while eating a new piece of cake with his fingers.
Wammy, with a sigh, sat down next to his ward and handed him a fork, which L took and held in his right hand while he picked at and ate the cake with his left.
Wammy gave up, "Where is he?"
"He doesn't want to be found."
"Since when have you cared what he wants? He's your successor, not your superior."
L carefully examined the next piece of the cake, "He is my successor."
"That's what I said."
L stood up and shoved his hands into his jeans pockets after dropping the fork. He then looked down at himself, paused, and put his hands instead in the jumper pocket. He then walked off again in the direction of his room and Wammy didn't follow.
"Thank you," Beyond breathed into L's shoulder, "for wearing this." Beyond was quite possessive, and L was quite the possession, so he had told L to wear the jumper. They were in the walk-in closet connected to L's bedroom, and Beyond was indulging himself. With no insurance that this particular situation they had gotten themselves into would last very long (Beyond was literally living in L's bedroom; surely he would be discovered eventually?) Beyond was using his time with L to cement the dynamic of their relationship.
"I still don't understand why you prefer this over my usual attire. You aren't one to be interested in appearances." L's voice was more forced towards the end of that sentence because Beyond was being bold. Very bold.
Beyond removed his mouth from L's neck in order to speak, "Neither are you, apparently, or you would realize that jumpers aren't exactly a step up from t-shirts."
"Still- you are asking me to wear more clothes rather than less. One would expect the opposite, according to multitudes of domestic abuse cases-"
Beyond tensed, "Don't start labeling, detective." He said the word "detective" with such fondness that he didn't even recognize his own voice.
L shifted, his head falling onto Beyond's chest so sleepily, so comfortably, that Beyond was blissful.
"I wanted you to wear the jumper for multiple reasons. One, you look less like a walking corpse and more huggable." As if to prove his point, Beyond tightened his arm around L's stomach and hummed happily into L's shoulder before continuing to speak, "Two, I am the only one allowed to see so much skin as that t-shirt reveals."
"That definitely sounds like domestic abuse, Beyond."
Beyond nipped at L's shoulder and L started. "You're far too immersed in law than is good for you." he retorted, "And three, Wammy's house is chilly in the winter." L was back to normal so quickly. Beyond had bitten him- lightly, but biting nonetheless- only two or three seconds before, but now, once again, he was calmly relaxed in Beyond's arms. L was like Jelly.
L leaned back and squirmed a bit to make himself comfortable, soft hair brushing Beyond's chin. "Excuse me?"
Beyond grinned to the wall because L couldn't see it, showing off incredibly sharp teeth, "I said, Wammy's house is chilly in the winter."
"That sounds suspiciously empathic." L mumbled. He didn't seem to really care. He felt so warm, Beyond thought. So...
Beyond's grin disappeared. He pushed L off of him, turning L around to face Beyond. "What's it to you?"
"It is interesting to me, how you can at one moment threaten to kill me and at the next worry about my becoming chilly."
Beyond grimaced, "Careful, Lawliet, don't ruin my good mood."
"I don't intend to; your good mood is quite gratifying." L was smiling conspiratorially again.
Beyond brought up his hand and smacked L across the face, removing the smile effectively and causing L's cut to bleed some. The loud noise the slap made put Beyond on edge, though, because who could've heard?
"What was that for?"
"You could take a guess."
"You're a complicated person, Beyond."
They were butting heads again. Why was it that they always ended up butting heads? Couldn't L just, for once give in to Beyond. For once, couldn't he just... It was obvious to Beyond that L wanted to be kissed and loved. It was so, so obvious. It was in the way he spoke to Beyond, that calm, comforted voice that he used. It was in the way he wore the jumper, even though Beyond had been joking when he asked him to wear it (well, half-joking.) But why couldn't L just ask? Why did L have to muster up all of the false independence he had left and use it to push Beyond away?
"You're awful." Beyond muttered ruefully in L's general direction. The other boy was leaning against the wall opposite from Beyond now, smile wiped from his face but still emanating a general pleasantness that Beyond didn't feel.
"I'm sorry, have I offended you?" L asked good-naturedly, and Beyond wanted to slap him, but Beyond had already done that and it hadn't helped.
Up until this point, L had been trying to understand what made Beyond Beyond. But now L had discovered that Beyond was a sociopath, and the damn detective was so self-satisfied about his accomplishment that Beyond needed to prove him wrong. Beyond felt the need to prove to L that he was deeper than L thought.
Yes, Beyond thought, you have offended me, deeply. Beyond pinched the bridge of his nose and frowned, "No- no. But you do make me angry, sometimes." Beyond didn't look up when he continued sadly, "But that's alright, right? Sometimes friends can be angry with each other."
Of course, L wouldn't completely fall for this ploy. Playing the victim was the oldest trick in the book. But just because L could identify what Beyond was doing didn't mean he was immune.
L was floored. And had he been a weaker minded man, and hadn't had fallen prey to Beyond's more violent side in the past, he would've said that no, it wasn't okay for friends to be angry with each other and he's sorry. But instead L stuttered out, "Well, Beyond, I... I wouldn't call us friends, exactly."
"No?" Beyond responded without missing a beat, "I thought you'd prefer that to underage homosexual lovers."
L just stared at him, and his eyes looked like they were going to fall out. "This is very, very wrong." he said, his voice a monotone like the first day they had met.
Beyond crawled up to him, "It is, isn't it? Only you don't care anymore. You're in too deep." Beyond kissed him lightly on the lips. L tasted like L. The real L. "That's what stuff like this does, Lawliet, it's intoxicating."
L said nothing.
Beyond commanded, "Meet me up on the roof in an hour." before jumping out the window.
"Yes, A?" Beyond grinned, and for once it was a real grin, the kind a ten-year old was supposed to wear, which made this all the more unsettling.
"What is that?"
Beyond sat amidst a slew of glass bottles, tin cans, and brown paper bags. His eyes were shining and his cheeks were tinged pink. He held up the clear bottle in his hand and said excitedly, and a bit slurred, "Vodka!"
A rushed forward and snatched the bottle from Beyond, speechless. Sure enough, that's what the bottle said. And Beyond was suddenly attached to A's arm.
"Beyond, how much?" A asked frantically, eyes running over the rest of the bottles and cans. How could Beyond do this? He was only ten.
"Only-" Beyond hiccuped, "Only a little from each, Gotta taste 'em all, y'know? Beer 'nd wine 'nd spirits 'nd vodka! Vodkatastes like gasoline!" Beyond giggled, as if that made him very happy.
"But, Beyond, you're too young! And now you're drunk!" A turned to Beyond, put his hands on the boy's red cheeks, and stared into his unfocused eyes, "Oh, B, how could you do this?"
"Mmm... do what?" Beyond stuck out his tongue and tried to maneuver it to the side to lick A's exposed fingers, but they were too far and Beyond only ended up with spit on his cheek. "You're gonna take me to the 'ospital, aren't you?"
"No!" Beyond wailed, "No you- you can't make me! I don't wanna! I-"
When Beyond's eyes widened exponentially, A picked him up and rushed him to the bathroom, so that he could lean over the toilet when he became sick. A held his nose with one hand and rubbed Beyond's back with the other, and tried not to listen when Beyond lost his dinner.
When that was over, A looked down at the boy and found his red face was now streaked with tears. "D-Don't make me go to the 'ospital, A! I don't wanna! The 'ospital is for-" he sniffed, "sick people, and I'm not sick I promise!" Beyond was shaking and there was snot coming out of his nose along with the tears out of his eyes. "Please!"
A wrapped his arms around Beyond's torso and head, stroking his back and his hair as he cried into A's chest. "Alright, Beyond. You're alright. It's all gonna be okay."
Beyond's yelling was muffled now, "But A! You can't make me go! I don't wanna go!"
"I won't make you go to the hospital, Beyond, calm down. You vomited most of it up, anyway." Beyond shivered, A held him tighter, "But why did you do this in the first place?"
"M-Mello... Mello said that alcohol tasted like strawberries and I hadta, I hadta prove him wrong. But then when I got back in, y'know, in the orphanage, he was already asleep and Roger was practically guarding the door and I figured I might as well..."
"Oh, Beyond..." A flushed the toilet and helped Beyond to his feet, leading him out of the bathroom and over to his bed. When Beyond was sitting A kneeled in front of him and tried to make eye contact. "Beyond, I need you to lie down facing outwards from the bed, okay? Face the bathroom. I'm going to bring you some water."
Beyond lay down and squinted, "...have a headache."
A smiled, "I'm sure you do. You're gonna be fine, alright?"
Beyond looked up at A and tried to match his smile, "Okay."
The roof of the orphanage was cold at night. a slight breeze bearing the bite of ice sent shivers down Beyond's spine. He was perched next to the bell tower, leaning against the brick. There was a large bottle, wrapped in brown paper, nestled between his knees and his chest. The roof next to the bell tower was flat, so he wasn't worried about falling off. He stared up at the black sky, pink stars and red moon, and listened to the crickets chirping ten meters below.
Beyond had decided that he definitely cared for L, so he was trying not to think about what he was about to do. He instead wondered if there were badgers out tonight.
There was a scratching sound from inside the bell tower, and then L's head appeared over the edge from the inside. Beyond didn't move. He would've stood up and helped L, but then the bottle would've been revealed and that wouldn't have been good.
L ended up sitting next to Beyond before asking, "Why am I here?"
"'Cause I told you to come here."
"'Cause you're intoxicated." Beyond said contemplatively. He turned to L's dark outline. "I need to show you that this relationship is not going to hurt you."
"Alright." L shifted. He didn't come closer. He probably would've an hour and a half ago, but Beyond had practically slapped him in the face with that "homosexual lovers" line.
"Have you ever drank?" Beyond asked.
"Why not? It's legal."
"Alcohol is a depressant and slows brain function. Why would I want that?"
"It makes you feel good."
"It depends on the person."
"Okay." Beyond relented, and L was so surprised that he looked over at Beyond with his mouth gaping. Beyond met his eyes. "What?"
"You're... unusually calm."
"Yeah. Sorry." Beyond let his legs fall so they were crossed, and held the purple, wrapped bottle in his hand. L looked at it curiously.
Beyond's stomach churned.
He put an arm around L's shoulders and guided the complacent detective so that he was lying down, head in Beyond's lap, flat on his back. "Beyond..." he mumbled warily. The breeze picked up and L shivered, but didn't move from where Beyond put him. He was in a position of absolute submission and vulnerability.
Beyond, before anything else, smoothed down L's hair sadly, "Why do you let me control you like this?"
"Why fight?" L whispered.
"But you don't want me to do this. You're scared."
L closed his eyes. "You're trying to prove you mean no harm. If you are true to your intentions, I know I will be alright. The worst you can do is kill me."
No, L, the worst I can do is do what I have already done. I created a situation in which the only way you can get what you want from me is to be entirely submissive. You don't understand social relationships, and I used that against you. I created a relationship between us which I then used to destroy you. And now I've attacked the psychiatrist, and I need to leave, and I can't leave you behind like this. I can't leave you behind when you are broken.
Beyond uncorked the sweet port. There was only about a third of the bottle left, and Beyond had researched enough to know that this much alcohol wouldn't be dangerous. Or, not life threatening.
He lifted L's head with one hand, and tipped the drink to the older boy's lips with the other. L closed his eyes and drank it like poison. After a few seconds Beyond removed the bottle, and L coughed. Beyond stroked his hair and let him breathe. "Do you like it?" Beyond asks.
"Really? I thought you'd like it. It's supposed to be sweet." Beyond's fingers ran over L's forehead and then turned back up the bottle. L swallowed. A few more seconds and then Beyond removed it once more. L breathed. Beyond licked his own lips, then put the bottle up once again.
Again. The third time he let L breathe, half of the drink remained. L's eyes were half-lidded and his face was flushed.
Again. Again. Beyond saw tears at the corners of L's eyes, and the smile fell from Beyond's face.
Again. Again. Again. After the last drops slipped between L's lips, Beyond removed the bottle and set it aside. Beyond picked L up to let him curl up like a child in his lap, Beyond's arms warm around his frigid body, his face pressing into Beyond's shoulder.
"How do you feel?" Beyond asked softly, close to L's ear.
For a few seconds, L didn't answer, and Beyond waited patiently, nuzzling into soft hair and the cool skin of L's shoulder. Then he heard, "... ashamed."
L moved, arms wrapping around Beyond's back tightly, fingers clutching at Beyond's loose-fitting t-shirt. Beyond slipped an arm under L's knees and lifted the small detective up in a fireman's hold. He jumped down two levels, then off the roof itself, carrying L away from Wammy's and into the night.
I will probably continue this, depending on its reception. I know everyone says to write stories for yourself, but I am writing for the audience, and the characters. Please show me if you enjoyed this piece, and I will put even more effort into the next one. Much thanks to everyone who reviewed Porcelain Fists (especially the Chemical Kid, who reviewed twice.) I'm touched :)