A/N: Alright! This is another request set to me, (which is why there's an 'R' in the title), and which has, predictably, taken forever for me to get around to writing. A little less predictably is how long this piece has become. Seriously, I was trying to write a one-shot, which as I wrote turned into a long one-shot, then into the longest one-shot ever… then into a reluctant two parter… and now I think it's going to become a three part story by the time it's finished. I really didn't mean for it to do that, it just… got away from me. :'(

Anyway, this was requested by ~Mysteriousgirl991 from deviantART, and she wanted a BB and BB!Misa piece. She's done a few BB!Misa cosplays on her dA account, and I recommend a look, they are deliciously creepy. Enjoy, everyone!

Music:
City by Hollywood Undead
Dead is the New Alive by Emilie Autumn

Warning: Rated 'M' for future disturbing imagery, psychological trauma, gore and sexual situations; read with caution. True name reveals are a possibility.

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

Jihi no Tenshi

Part I

Raven Ehtar

Misa Amane was a star. A model loved for her sweet face, her adorable body and her natural sense of performance. From modeling it was a natural progression to acting, appearing in more than a few commercials aired all across Japan. Whatever she advertised increased its sales by a visible margin. She became a sought after commodity, with many suitors after her contract. Advertisements were leading to even bigger roles; she was now signed for a starring role in one movie, with prospects for more if it did well in the box office. She was developing her own clothing line, and there was talk, somewhere, about a television program. In the world of pop idols, where rising stars were apt to fall again before they reached their peak, Misa Amane had a good chance of having staying power, a quality worth even more than her million yen smile.

This all used to be important to her. When her career was just starting off she had worried and fretted over such things: getting the best deals, the most exposure, of stamping out her rivals and making herself not only visible but beloved of the public. But that had been before she had been gifted with the death note, that instrument of the gods that allowed even humans such as herself to strike down the evil and the corrupt. It had been before she had felt that power of righteousness and sought out her personal god, Kira, Light Yagami, and become his beloved angel of death. Together they, the god Kira and his faithful angel, worked to make the world a better and brighter place by weeding out the unworthy so only the pure and innocent remained. The world would be reshaped to their vision, a place where anyone could walk the streets without fear, under the sure protection of their watchful eyes and ready hands.

What was popularity, or money, or the sale of the newest model car or flavor of soft drink when compared to the salvation of mankind?

Still, she was glad of her connections, as they had helped her on the road to finding Kira, and her burgeoning skills as an actress had stood her in good stead just recently, in fooling the detective L. How anyone could possibly see Kira as anything but a savior was beyond her, but one, a very intelligent and determined one, only saw the dark side of what Kira did. He saw only the killing, and not the great amount of good that was coming from it. L was choosing to not see the deaths as necessary to the good work they were doing. Really, they were on the same side, both working to make the world a better place, but L chose to defend the lives of people who only used them to cause harm. He had pitted himself quite firmly against Kira, against Light and Misa. As an enemy of Kira, he was an enemy of justice, and therefore had to be removed.

The game of cat and mouse that had sprung up between L and Light, and eventually Misa as well, left her dizzy from time to time. She was aware that she wasn't as clever as either of the other two, but that didn't mean she was helpless. After all, when the three of them had all been working together to capture the Kira of the Yotsuba company – a false, shallow, and utterly base human being, unworthy of the title Kira – hadn't she, through her own intuition and acting skills practically given them Kyosuke Higuchi? Yes, that had been her, while everyone else had still been too busy chasing their own tails to do anything useful. While doing so she had fooled not only L, supposedly the greatest detective ever, but Light as well, who at the time had no memory that either of them were Kira. Maybe she wasn't quite as smart as they were, but she was still a player to be reckoned with in this game.

And now, finally, she was free. With the capture of the Yotsuba Kira and his notebook with the fake rules, the suspicion of her being the second Kira had been lifted, along with those on Light. No longer was she being constantly monitored, either by cameras – she just knew they were recording her to watch her again later, the perverts – or by L himself, with his creepy, gaping eyes. For the first time in what felt like forever she was allowed to walk around independently, without having to worry about her every eyebrow twitch. She would have liked to have spent it with Light. Now that they had privacy, she wanted to use it, but he was still stuck at the Investigation's headquarters, playing his role as L's partner.

This left her at a bit of a loose end, with nothing better to do then go through the motions of being the rising pop idol, Misa-Misa. But it was more than just giving her with something to do while Light was taking care of L; it would have looked odd if Misa-Misa suddenly dropped her career for no reason. Just because the suspicions had been officially dropped didn't mean that she was completely free and clear yet. She wouldn't put it past that nosey L to still be looking in on her from time to time.

So she was here, meeting with some of the head sleaze-balls of Ichigo Television, one of Sakura TV's most aggressive rivals. If anything, they were even less principled than Sakura, but they also lacked whatever sophistication their rivals had. Normally, Misa wouldn't even give Ichigo a second glance, but it helped sometimes to stir up some competition. It was playing the field on a corporate level.

"Yes, Takagawa," she said to the final executive, intentionally dropping off the formal 'san' and edging out of the boardroom door. "I'll keep what you and your associates have said in mind as I consider all my offers."

Takagawa Ryouga, a middle-aged balding man of average height, bowed deeply to her. "Thank you, Misa-Misa," he said. "We greatly appreciate your consideration of out poor station to make your television series debut. I think you would be very happy here." It might have been her imagination, but as he straightened back up, she could swear that his eyes trailed over her legs, from the tops of her shoes to the hem of her skirt which brushed across the tops of her thighs.

Calling on those acting skills, Misa didn't allow her disgust or the fact that she had even noticed, show with a brilliant smile. "I'm sure I would," she said, and turned away, automatically putting a little twist to her hips as she did so. "Goodbye, Takagawa-kun!"

A returning 'goodbye' came from behind her; she did her best to ignore the feeling of the man's eyes lingering on her as she walked away. A two hour meeting with – for the majority – men old enough to be her father and all of them sucking up to her and looking at her like Takagawa… she needed a shower. As soon as she got to her apartment, that's what she would be doing.

Misa Amane walked through the labyrinth of hallways, offices and cubicles that made up this floor of the station, largely ignored by everyone she passed. She was a star, true, but despite what that boardroom full of old men would have her believe, the sky was full of them, and a television station was really an observation station. They were used to seeing stars here.

The young blonde found her way to the elevators and against all probability got one to herself. Now, if anyone had shared the elevator with the girl as it descended to the ground floor they would have observed something strange. They would have heard this young lady speak, so lowly it was barely above a whisper, to thin air. Though had they been looking at her as well they might have doubted their ears. Nothing in her appearance suggested it had been she who spoke. Her eyes were straight forward and unfocused and her lips hadn't seemed to move at all. But if it had been she who spoke, then she would have said, "Ryuk. Do you remember the way we came in?"

It was odd to ask empty air a question as though it could respond, and as a hypothetical observer might expect, there was none. However, the girl did address the air again, still speaking softly, hardly moving her lips, as though afraid there really was someone watching. "Could you check out in front of the building, see if there are a lot of people? I want to avoid any hassle."

No one would have heard any sort of reply, but to Misa's ears came a sound like the beating of huge wings. For several floors the girl remained silent. At one she gained another passenger in the form of a young aide, overburdened with boxes, who got off again after only one floor.

When she reached the ground floor and the elevator doors slid open, a death god was waiting for her just on the other side, staring down at her with bulging yellow eyes. Misa barely glanced at the black, towering figure and walked out into the lobby, so close to the apparition that one of her arms passed right through it. The god, a shinigami, followed a pace behind her. "The area in front of the building is more crowded now than when we first arrived," the shinigami said. "And there are a few humans out there with cameras." It would have been hard to tell what the shinigami felt based off of its expression, as its face was fixed in a permanent, leering grin, but the tone of voice it used suggested it thought little of what humans chose to do.

"Mmm…" The lobby was more crowded than when they had first arrived as well, people busily shuttling from place to place, chattering as they did. Misa walked from the elevators to the wall where a large map of the building was posted for visitors, virtually ignored and pretended to study it carefully. Any media people that happened to be around probably had nothing to do with her specifically, but they might take an opportunity if they spotted her. She was tired, and model or not, she didn't want to deal with it just now, she wanted to go home and have her hot shower. Focusing on the map, Misa found and then memorized a path to a back way out of the building. It would lead to the rear parking lot; from there she could call a cab on her cell. With the shinigami trailing after her, Misa headed for the back of the building.

She realized she must have made a wrong turn as soon as she opened the door to the outside. Instead of opening to the back lot, it led to the narrow alleyway between the station and the building next to it. Misa stepped out to look up and down the passage. In one direction she could see light and the main street. She could also see plenty of people up that direction and, yes, some of them held cameras. Down the other way it was darker, leading away from the street and a few large dumpsters narrowing the way and the alley branching as the station building came to an end. Neither way looked particularly inviting, but it would be easier to find her way to the lot from the outside when there was only one path to get there. A young girl traversing an alley wasn't the safest of options, but it was broad daylight and she had Ryuk with her. Misa wasn't worried; she walked down the dimmer branch of the alley.

As it turned out, the path to the lot wasn't as direct as she had imagined. What she had assumed was the final outside corner of the station turned out to just be an irregularity of the outside wall. The station wasn't a perfect square, so when she turned the corner she was faced with a brick wall only a few yards away and another turning. Still, she reasoned, as long as she kept the station at one hand she would eventually come to the rear wall and find the lot she wanted.

That also turned out to be false as she progressed, her pathway branching, turning or becoming crossed with unexpected walls. Whether these were connections to other buildings or deliberate blockages she couldn't tell, and they confused her sense of direction. She lost track of which walls were the station and which were other buildings. With the odd shape of the station, it was much easier to do than she would have thought. Coming to dead ends and retracing her steps, only to be faced with more dead ends, Misa was quickly turned around in the unexpected maze.

It took about twenty minutes of determined walking, and a little help from Ryuk, before Misa found her way to the open air and the parking lot.

On her way towards the light, she tripped over a body hidden in a shadow.

Misa stumbled, grazed her hand along the rough wall as she caught herself. Looking back into the darkness, she searched for what had caught her foot. It was difficult to see in the shadow cast by the buildings, but she could just make out a lean hand and arm, clothed in a torn and dirty sleeve.

She didn't scream. Misa-Misa, pop idol and advertisement darling might have screamed, but she was also Kira, and knew death and its faces. A body alone didn't frighten her, though she did cast a quick look around for any potential causes of why there was a body. The alley seemed empty, but that didn't mean there was no one there.

Ryuk, the grinning, crow feathered shadow at her side, leaned over her shoulder to look at the arm. "Well, well," he said. "What do we have here?"

"I'm not sure," Misa replied, casting her eyes from the wide open lot to the narrow bottleneck of the alley. "Ryuk, keep a lookout, warn me if anyone comes close, okay?"

The shinigami grunted as Misa crouched down, following the arm to the rest of the body it was attached to. Here was another one of the ever present dumpsters that populated the alley, the arm came from beneath it, and whomever it was attached to was hidden underneath. Either someone else had shoved him underneath or he had crawled under himself. The more she saw of first the arm, then a shoulder and part of a torso, the more certain she became of foul play. The shirt was dirty and torn, but it wasn't the long, set-in wear of a vagrant. This was fresh damage. It was also fresh blood that spattered the shoulder, bright red as blossoms on the torn white shirt.

"What're you doing?" The shinigami sounded more curious than impatient.

She called back without turning her head. "Checking to see if he's alright." She was on her knees beside the supine form, attempting to pull it out while at the same time wriggling herself into the small space left between the dumpster and the body. It was difficult, and dirty, but now she could make out that it was a man, of short and slight frame, wearing his dirty white long-sleeved shirt and baggy blue jeans.

"Why?" When Ryuk didn't immediately receive an answer, he continued. "There are plenty of humans in the world who suffer all their lives. Why help this one?"

"Because," the girl said, frustrated, "we should take care of the innocent as well as punish the guilty; it's the way Kira should behave." She pawed at the abused white shirt, tugging the man closer to her, wondering where the blood had come from. All she could see were spatters but no wounds.

He was heavier than he looked, the dead weight and dragging him across concrete making his slight frame weigh twice as much as it looked. He came closer by a couple of inches, and a small rip at his shoulder seam opened wide, exposing a white shoulder. He was so pale Misa wondered if he really was dead.

The shinigami, while keeping the watch imposed on him by the girl, pursued the argument. "This human might be one of those guilty you mean to kill. Besides," he added with a rustling, clinking shift. "He's probably already dead."

"He's not dead," Misa said after a pause. "I can see him breathing." It was a strain, but she could just make out the steady rising and falling of the man's chest. If she listened close, she could hear it as well. "And you shouldn't judge a person just based on appearances, Ryuk."

Misa gave another mighty tug, and succeeded in pulling the unconscious man another few inches. His head lolled slightly before flopping back away from her, leaving only the right side of his face visible to her. One source of trauma became obvious then, his right eye was surrounded by a deep purple bruise, and it looked like his lip was split. His hair, now that she could see it, was black, cropped haphazardly, as though he'd cut it himself, and an absolute mess. As she reached out, straining to fit her shoulder under the edge of the metal dumpster and turn the man's face towards her, some of the pieces of his appearance began clicking together. Thin, short, white shirt, baggy jeans, and a head of thick, messy black locks…

"There's no reason for a shinigami to learn a human's character," Ryuk was saying, half to himself. "We hardly interact with you, it's hardly worth the effort-" The shinigami cut off at the sound of Misa's gasp and turned back around to her. "What's wrong?" He tilted his head at her, his silver earring swinging and sparkling in the light.

The girl was now out from under the dumpster, sitting back on her heels and leaning away from the man while staring at him with wide, horrified eyes, one hand clamped tightly over her mouth as though to hold back a scream. She stared as though transfixed, wanting to back away but unable to tear herself away from what lay before her. It took another, more urgent prompt from the shinigami to break the spell. Swallowing hard, she stammered out, "I- It's him! Ryuzaki!"

For a moment they remained, frozen and staring at each other in mutual astonishment with the unconscious man, Ryuzaki, between them.

Misa made a sudden, mad scramble for her purse. While she dug through the bag, tossing aside the miscellaneous junk that had migrated into it, Ryuk ducked down to look at the human that Misa had named as Ryuzaki.

The pop idol found what it was she was looking for, a cell phone weighted down with a dozen straps and charms and flipped up the screen. She barely saw the alert telling her she had missed calls before frantically dialing in the number she had memorized not so long ago. It rang four times before being picked up and Light's voice, heavy and laced with irritation, answered. "Misa, what is it? You know you're not meant to call me while I'm at headquarters…"

"I know, Light," Misa burbled at him. "But this is really important! It's Ryuzaki-"

There was a noise of surprise from the shinigami as Misa spoke. "Hey. Misa," he said, turning back to her, his permanent grin a little smaller than its usual frozen rictus.

Misa ignored him, but Light took the slight pause as an invitation. "What about Ryuzaki?"

"I don't know how, Light, but he's-" she was going to say, 'He's here, and he's hurt. He could have been killed, he's alone and I have a page of my notebook with me. If he dies like this, here, then who could say that it was the work of Kira?' She was going to say that, and then delight in Light's pleasure of such a perfect opportunity landing at their feet, and of her readiness and preparedness to pick it up at once. Until she heard a familiar voice in the background on Light's end of the phone, a voice that drawled, practically slumped as much as the person whom it belonged to.

"What's this, Light? Taking personal phone calls? I thought I made my feelings on cellular phones in this building perfectly clear."

A tiny sigh and a forced chuckle from Light as Misa's jaw slowly dropped open, her eyes flicking over to the body under the dumpster. The body of a man she could clearly hear over the phone.

"Sorry, Ryuzaki. You know how clingy girlfriends can be…"

"Actually, no," said the impossible voice. "Nevertheless, I would appreciate it – very much if you could terminate the call?"

The voices continued back and forth, but Misa lost the meaning of them as she stared slack jawed at the form, and at Ryuk, bent over it and half embedded in the dumpster itself rather than attempting to wedge himself underneath. He pointed a long, talon-like finger towards the man's face, still half hidden from Misa. "It's not L," he said simply.

Not L? Misa thought dully. Then who could it be? He looks just like Ryuzaki.

Light's voice, sounding even more frustrated than before, called her back. "Sorry, Misa, but I have to hang up. What was it you wanted to say about Ryuzaki, can it wait?"

Misa stared at the unconscious man, trying to think. He looks like Ryuzaki, but Ryuzaki is with Light. Why does he look like Ryuzaki…? He must be important somehow… She looked at Ryuk, but there was no help there, he only stared back at her with his lantern gaze. I won't tell Light yet, she decided. He has enough to concentrate on right now, and it might be nothing. And if it is something, he'll be so proud when he sees I've handled it all on my own!

"No, it's nothing," she said aloud, smiling into the phone. "I'll talk to you later, Light!" She hung up before he could insist on knowing why she had called and turned her attention back to the man wearing L's clothes. If he wasn't L, but looked so much like him, it had to be deliberate. No one could look so much like someone else by accident. If he was trying to look like L, he knew L and had seen him, which made him important. She needed to know who he was, and what his connection was to L and the rest of them.

It took some heavy pulling to get him out from under the dumpster, and by the time he was finally free Misa was craving that shower. However, all thoughts of hot water and floral soaps were pushed away the moment she saw the half of his face that had been hidden until then. She gasped and drew away, and even Ryuk, normally unmoved by such trivial things as human suffering, save to laugh at it, gave a surprised "Whoa."

The entire left side of his face, from hairline to the collar of his shirt, was a map of red twisted flesh, uneven, shiny and ridged. For a moment Misa was sure that the skin had been peeled away and what she was looking at was raw meat for half the man's face. She wasn't sure what it was that made her realize that it wasn't a fresh set of wounds she was staring at, but it did dawn that it was in fact, scar tissue twisting his face. It was disorientating to look at him when he resembled L so much, but with such a severe disfiguration.

It took more than a minute of studying him before Misa realized that she hadn't bothered to check what his name was. Since making her second eye deal with Ryuk she could see everyone's name and lifespan, but she had to see more than half of their faces before the numbers and letters would appear.

Beyond Birthday, the red and dancing letters told her.

Strange name, she thought, and then shuddered at the face still turned towards her. "What a terrible face," she muttered aloud, wrapping her arms around herself.

"It's not so bad," Ryuk chimed in, looking down at the human. "For what's there," he added. "And what about not judging a person by their appearance?"

"I know," Misa snapped at the shinigami. "It just took me by surprise is all…"

The idol, sensitive to such things as appearance, was fascinated as well as repulsed by the dichotomy presented to her. One half of his face was so soft, from the gentle curve of his cheek to the arch of his brow, even his thick eyelashes resting against his cheek. The other half, however, was the very face of the devil. There was no softness or gentleness to the left side. The very flesh seemed to have been melted away like wax, leaving the harsh, uncompromising lines of his bones, covered only with skin that appeared as forgiving as the shell of a beetle. It made Misa feel unexpectedly melancholy. "I wonder if it hurts him?"

"Who knows?" the words barged in on Misa's reverie. She withdrew a hand she hadn't realized had been creeping close to touch his cheek. "What will you do with him?"

A good question. She didn't want to tell Light about this man, this Beyond Birthday, just now, and she felt that she shouldn't let L find out. The hospital was out of the question if she wanted to maintain any sort of control over him. Which left only one real option.

Taking out her cell again, Misa dialed the number of the cheapest cab company she knew, one whose employees would be the most likely to take a little extra cash to not see something.

Getting the unconscious Beyond Birthday from the alley to her apartment building proved to be easier than she thought it would be, but getting from the cab into the apartment itself was a little trickier. She thought about trying to sneak him in a back way, but she wasn't even sure there was one, and if there was she wouldn't know how to get from there to the elevators. And there was the problem of how she was supposed to transport a full grown man all by herself. It was hard enough to just drag him along, carrying him was out of the question.

In the end she had the cab pull up to the front door and then fed the doorman a story of an old school friend picking a fight with the wrong person. He really was a very private person, she explained, and didn't want to have the police brought in over something so small as a bruised face, and if he were seen with her, especially in this condition… he understood, right?

Indeed he'd understood her predicament, and had promised to remain discreet so long as she was sure her friend would be alright. He even went so far as to help her carry Beyond Birthday along a roundabout route, away from as many curious eyes as possible.

Now. Now she had an unconscious man lying on her couch. A man whose face – the half not the living equivalent of a meat patty – was still swelling and purpling from the beating he had taken. She wondered if she should tie him down, or at least bind his hands and feet. But then, she didn't have anything sturdy enough to work very well in tying up an adult. She would have to rely on guile to keep him complacent, possibly resorting to the threat of police action or even Kira's vengeance if he tried escaping. And if he proved to be a real danger to her or Light, then there was always the notebook.

Leaving Ryuk as an indifferent watchdog over him, Misa gathered up what first aid supplies could be found in her apartment and came back to her patient. When she returned she was weighed down with a bowl of warm water and washcloth to clean his battered face, disinfectant, swabs and some bandages to bind up what wounds she could, an ice pack to take down the swelling in his face, and a bottle of water and some aspirin for him to take when he woke up.

Laying out her supplies, Misa began with the bruising around his eye and mouth, washing away blood and dirt carefully and then applying the disinfectant. It had to sting, but he only flinched a bit. Misa was relieved; she'd rather be finished before he woke up. Next she cleaned his hands, which were quite a bit dirtier than his face had been, soil set into the creases and under his nails. When she got to clean skin she discovered that his knuckles were bloodied as well. Some of it was fresh, but the majority of what she found were old scabs already healing over, and which had been ripped open again. She had assumed that he had gotten into a fistfight and lost, but this suggested he got into them a lot. Was that important?

She cleaned his hands of blood and soil until the water in her bowl ran dark. After getting a fresh bowl, she made a more thorough, delicate job of it, washing until his hands were practically white and his nails dirt free. He had quite slender hands, she realized, what some people would call artistic, which always made her think they meant would be good for playing an instrument or painting a picture. Certainly they looked designed to do those things. Working as gently as she could, Misa applied the disinfectant and wrapped his hands in gauze. Even after that, the man did no more than sigh in his sleep, so Misa set about checking the rest of his body for injuries. It wasn't until Ryuk chuckled lasciviously that she blushed, realizing what she was doing.

Casting a dark look back at the floating shinigami, Misa bit her lip and continued. It wasn't as though she were stripping him naked, she reminded herself. She wasn't even going near his pants. She was just taking off his shirt to make sure nothing else was wrong with him. After a minute of struggle, she realized why it was scissors were always employed when removing shirts on those hospital drama shows and found her own pair to do the same.

The scars that covered the left side of his face continued down below the collar of his shirt and became, if anything, more horrifying as it progressed. Where his face was only half covered, after dipping below his collarbone the path of ruined flesh spread so by the time it reached his lower ribs all she could see were scars. His left arm, too, was covered until about a quarter of the way down his forearm. Possibly the worst of it, though, was what she thought were unscarred patches, but on closer examination turned out to be huge graphs, sewn into his skin.

Well, now she had an idea where the scars had come from. She only knew one reason why skin graphs of that size were ever used for anything other than major surgery, and that was for burns. With that in mind, his scars made much more sense. Though the more she examined him, the more damage she found that wasn't the result of burns. Most notably was his right arm and shoulder, which more or less was free of burns, but bore the unmistakable corded lines of healed cuts. Across the front and back of his armpit, the inside and outside of his elbow, and faintly, around the wrist, right where the joint bent, were thin white slashes. When she checked his left side for signs of the same she found them, plus some extra she hadn't expected. Along his inner elbow, the marks every idol learned to recognize early, and every idol who wanted to continue her career learned to avoid. Track marks, the sign of regular use with a hypodermic needle.

Misa sat back on her heels and wondered anew exactly who it was she had brought into her home. She didn't think she was wrong in her original thought that this man, whoever he was, had something to do with L the detective, but now she had even less an idea of what that connection might be. L seemed… well, not exactly straight laced, his mannerisms kind of disqualified him for that term, but he did seem very much on the up and up. This man, from all appearances, seemed to be involved in any number of underworld activities. Which made her wonder what it was he had been doing just outside the Ichigo Television station, and how he had come to be in that condition, all in the middle of the afternoon. The area around the Ichigo station wasn't the best, but neither was it very well known for daylight crimes, even less so since the advent of Kira. So what had happened?

The girl sighed and came up to her knees, taking up the ice pack to put over his swollen face. It wouldn't do a lot of good by this point, but it was something. As she was setting the pack into place over the Beyond Birthday's right eye, the left one suddenly snapped open and swiveled to focus on her.

It was a bright and bloody red.

Misa started to gasp, which turned into a yelp as he came up, swinging wildly and yelling something at the top of his voice.

Misa fell back, the ice pack flying out of her hands and the ice cubes breaking free and skidding across the floor when it landed. She jumped up again as soon as she got her feet underneath her, unsure what Beyond would do next and not wanting to find out while on the floor. However, after his first outburst, he hadn't gotten to his feet or left the couch at all. Instead of rising from his place he was looking around at the apartment and down at his own half nude form with wide, confused and, yes, very red eyes.

They weren't the red of bloodshot eyes, his eyes were red the same way her eyes were a tawny, golden brown. It was the iris that held the tint, which was unsettling enough, but for the eye surrounded by a mass of scarred tissue the effect was downright disturbing.

Finally those eyes refocused on her, making her take a step back at the sheer baleful force of the glare. He said something, something harsh and angry sounding and – the reason she couldn't understand it – English. Misa knew some English, but she wasn't very good at it, and whatever Beyond had said was too fast and garbled for her to interpret. The only thing she did understand was that it was a question. Considering the last place he probably remembered being was in that alley, it was doubtless something along the lines of 'Where am I?'

Misa held up her hands in what she hoped was a universal sign of harmlessness. "I don't understand you," she said slowly and calmly, her heart thudding against her ribs the whole time. "But it's okay, you're safe here. I'm a friend." For now, she added to herself.

Ryuk, who had been helping by staying out of the way, hung from the ceiling like a giant, deformed bat and looked Beyond Birthday up and down, chuckles escaping between his pointed teeth. "Lively, isn't he? Rude, too."

Not taking her eyes away from Beyond, who was muttering to himself, Misa spoke out the side of her mouth to the shinigami. "You can understand him?"

"Of course," he replied. "I'm a death god, we understand all human languages. Comes with the job." He gave his equivalent of a smirk; it nearly split his head in two.

"Can you tell me what he's saying?"

"Yes."

Misa waited a moment or two for the shinigami to continue before remembering just how different his personality was from that of Rem's, the shinigami she had known first. "You're not going to though, are you?"

"Nope," he replied smugly. "This is much more interesting."

Beyond, meanwhile, had ceased his mutterings and taken to watching Misa closely. The pop idol was quickly coming to the conclusion that she preferred him unconscious, at least then his eyes were closed. They flicked from side to side, as though to reassure himself his surroundings hadn't changed, then settled on the blonde again. His mouth was set in a firm line, obviously not intending to speak again before Misa did.

"It's okay," she said again. "No one is going to hurt you."

Beyond turned his head slightly, bringing one ear closer to Misa while keeping scarlet eyes locked on her. "Thank you for the reassurance," he said in accented but perfectly understandable Japanese. "But where exactly am I?"

Misa didn't try to hide her surprise, though in retrospect she shouldn't have been so startled. It wasn't uncommon for gaijin to learn some of the language before coming to Japan. Though admittedly, his was considerably better than most. "You're in my apartment," she said, giving as little information as possible. "I found you in an alley and brought you here."

"Why?" The question was so abrupt that Misa was left blinking, trying to process it.

"To clean you up," she eventually managed. "You were – are – a little beat up, so I brought you here to take care of you rather than take you to the hospital. Who might ask awkward questions." She calculated that last comment, and was rewarded with a raised eyebrow.

Beyond took a minute to look down at himself again, at his bare chest and ruined, discarded shirt, at his carefully cleaned and bandaged hands, and to feel at his face and by his eye, where she had taped up some gauze over another split in the skin. He ran his fingers through his hair, apparently searching for more damage, and Misa realized that was a place she hadn't even thought to look. He must not have found anything, for his expression never changed as his hands came back down to his lap. "This was very brave of you," he said mildly.

Misa frowned, suddenly on guard. "Why?"

He shrugged. "Bringing a grown man you know nothing about into your home, where you have, so far as I can see, no means to protect yourself? And from the sound of it, you already doubt my trustworthiness. I would say that's pretty brave, girl."

Misa bristled slightly, and then remembered that her overseas reputation was still marginal. "My name isn't 'girl'," she said, keeping control over her voice.

"I didn't think it was," he replied with a small smile, and then winced, tenderly touching the bruised side of his face.

For a second Misa forgot her caution and came close to Beyond, handing him the sealed bottle of water and painkillers. Beyond seemed surprised by what was offered to him and stared at it blankly. "It's medicine," she said by way of explanation. "It'll help dull the pain."

The man snorted, quirking another smile, but took the water and the pills. He swallowed the pills dry, and then drained off more than half of the bottle before stopping for breath. When he finished he looked up at her, and really seemed to be examining her for the first time, from the top of her hair to her stocking feet. It made Misa want to squirm. It was a different kind of discomfort than when Takagawa's eyes had raked his eyes over her. It was a very clinical, appraising look. She doubted whether he even saw her as female or male. "Who are you?" he asked at last, he voice deeper and smoother since his drink. "Where am I?"

Deciding quickly on how honest she would be, she replied, "Takahashi Yukiko is my name. And I've already told you where you are: safe in my apartment." Halfway through telling him her false name, she remembered she should ask for his. It was hard to remember that little point of etiquette when she already knew everyone's names just by looking. "What's your name, person-I-have-rescued?"

He paused, then, "Rue Ryuzaki."

Misa couldn't help the tiny glance over his head, even though she knew it was false name as soon as she heard it. What took a moment to sink in was exactly what name he had given for his alias. 'Ryuzaki', the same name L went by. Misa's pretty eyes narrowed. He looked and dressed like L, and now he used the same name as L; who exactly was he? He could be a relative of L's, she supposed. He looked like him, but there were some differences: the eyes were not as round, more angular, as was his nose, giving him a more assertive profile. He also seemed to be a bit younger, closer to Misa's age, though that was hard to tell with his extensive scars. More than his appearance, though, his choice of name, 'Ryuzaki' confirmed he had significant connections to the detective that was hunting Kira… but did that make him friend or foe? His scars, especially the track marks, suggested he wasn't on the best of terms with L, but they didn't confirm anything…

The man shivered, catching Misa's attention. "Do you have something I could wear?" he asked, his accent slurring one or two of the words slightly. "It's a bit cold in here. And…" he glanced down at himself. "…a little embarrassing, too."

Misa rather doubted it, but considering his appearance decided it might be true. He might be self-conscious about his disfigurement. She nodded and went to her hallway closet, she was fairly certain she had something in there left by a friend that would fit him. As soon as she thought she was out of earshot, she murmured to Ryuk, who was following her. "Watch him for me, Ryuk. Make sure he doesn't try to leave and tell me what he's done while I was gone when I get back."

"Why should I do that?" the shinigami challenged.

The idol gave the death god a sly smile. "If you help me with this, and don't tell Light, I'll bake you an apple pie to try."

Ryuk's eyes widened so much Misa was afraid they would fall out of his head and roll across the floor. He went straight through the wall in his haste to get to the living room and watch over his charge.

It didn't take long to find something that would suit, and she came back with a man's medium sized burgundy zip-up sweatshirt and hood draped over her arm to find Beyond, aka Rue Ryuzaki, exactly where she had left him. Ryuk, taking advantage of the male's inability to either see or hear him, spoke up immediately. "He's not moved at all except to look at the magazines on your table and his hands. He hasn't said anything, either. Now, about this piiiieeee…" Misa walked straight past the apparition, pretending not to see him from Beyond's benefit. "Oh. Right," he mumbled to himself. "Probably not the best time."

Misa handed over the jacket and meant to step back again, but was caught by a lightening quick grab. He gripped her, just shy of hard enough to be painful, and jerked her close, nearly pulling her off her feet completely, so they were amber to garnet eye. Any protest she might have made dried up in her throat under the intensity of that stare. "What do you want?" he snarled in her face, his breath oddly sweet.

"What?" she managed to squeak. "What do I want?"

"Yes," Beyond Birthday growled, not loosening his hold on her by a single ounce. "What do you, Misa Amane, want from me?"

The blonde swallowed hard, starting to realize just in how much trouble she was in. The sheer stupidity of bringing this man here was finally settling in, accentuated by the fact that her notebook, and even the loose pages she had torn out, were all far out of her reach. And unless by some fluke either Light or some other kind-hearted shinigami wrote his name down, she doubted he was about to keel over from a heart attack any time soon.

"Amane?" she tried to sound genuinely confused, knew she was failing. "My name is Yukiko, Takahashi Yukiko, I told you! I don't know what you're talking about!"

"Yes, you do, Ms. Amane," he replied more calmly, still not releasing her. "Please don't insult my intelligence, or your own by continuing this charade. I know you are Misa Amane, popularly known as Misa-Misa, the rising pop idol. I happen to have a good portion of your career memorized, in fact." He let Misa back away from him a little, but still didn't let go. "But that's public knowledge, available to anyone. What I know that isn't publicly accessible is that you, until recently, were suspected of being involved with Kira, or what the investigation team were calling 'the second Kira' since they believed there to be more than one. At least, such was the case before the arrest of Kyosuke Higuchi, who proved to be Kira. Or so it seems." He smirked at her. The effect it had on his face wasn't pleasant. "And you, my dear, know or at least suspect that my name isn't Rue Ryuzaki. Your face is a little too open when you're surprised; you'll have to work on that before any new film deals come your way. My guess is that you have heard that name recently, attached to someone else, also as an alias. Perhaps someone who looks like me…?"

"How, how do you know all of this?" she demanded, then kicked herself for having just confirmed everything he said as his smile widened.

"I have some sources for the bulk of it. For the rest I used inferences and logical progression. For example: Is it logical that model and budding actress Misa-Misa should, upon finding an unconscious and bloodied man in an alley, bring him into her home and bandage him up herself rather than call an ambulance, or even the police? Is it logical that she should give a false name, or attempt to conceal the location of her apartment? Not until you add the element of Kira, and then it resolves itself." He paused, considering. Misa remained silent, fascinated.

"Misa Amane," he continued at last, "is connected closely to Kira, and knows of, more likely has met the infamous detective L during his investigation. She comes across a vagrant that looks like him, and who later uses his same alias. She must determine whether or not he is a threat to Kira, and quickly. Under these circumstances, your behavior and my presence are quite logical, wouldn't you agree?"

Misa's head was swimming a little bit. Where had he gotten all that information? There was no way he could have gotten all of that off of inferences. "And if it does?" she found herself saying. "If it's true and I'm involved with Kira, or am Kira, then you're in even more danger than I am. What if I decided to kill you? Would you even know how to stop me?"

She thought she saw his mouth twitch, the beginnings of another smile, but it evaporated quickly. He shrugged one shoulder, and let go of her so abruptly she stumbled. She hadn't even realized she had been pulling against him. "There's no guarantee that I would even try to stop you. I have no fear of death beyond the purely visceral. And I believe I would only be in danger from Kira's wrath if I were a threat to him, or if I were a criminal whose identity became known to him."

"You're saying that you're not a threat to Kira?" Misa rubbed at her arm, sure Beyond's fingers had left marks behind. Those would be hard to explain on set.

Beyond, apparently having meant it when he said he was cold, shrugged into the hoodie. It almost fit, though it was a little oversized for him. "I'm saying that, while I could be problematic to the man – or woman – known as Kira, I could also be quite useful to his cause."

"Useful? You want to help Kira?"

"In a manner of speaking."

Misa settled her weight into one hip and looked at Beyond with fresh interest. Out of all the possible reasons for someone like him to appear, an alliance wasn't one of the ones that had occurred to her. "You believe in Kira's vision of justice, that he is working to create a perfect world?"

The man shifted. "My first and foremost reason for seeking him out is because I know he's working against L. To that end I would offer my services, to be used as Kira saw fit. Once L was dealt with, then if he still has need of me, I won't refuse him."

Something he said caught Misa's attention, and made her remember her caution a little bit. "Your services. What might those be?"

Now Beyond sat up entirely, swinging his feet to the floor and facing her directly. His posture was terrible, his shoulders and spine rounded forward in a stoop, his head thrust forward, all very much like the detective he resembled. But bad posture or not, sitting up he lost all appearance of weakness. It was easier to remember that the scars that covered him were all old damage, and they would not hinder him in any way. Underneath the twisted skin there were still the fine muscles of a young man. Misa took a step back, watching him carefully for any sudden moves.

He made no further movement after sitting up, but he did stare at her, his garnet eyes making her pulse quicken so she could feel it throbbing at her throat. "It was a talent I was born with that I would have offered," he said lowly, conspiratorially. "One that I had thought only I had, out of every other human on this planet. Until I met you just now."

Misa found herself blushing again, but she wasn't at all sure why. Maybe it was an odd fear reaction. "Huh?"

"If I were to say, perhaps…" he licked his lips, and it occurred to Misa that he was nervous. Nervous about what? "What would you think, Ms. Amane, if I said that when I looked at you, I saw no numbers? No... red numbers at all?"

She didn't understand at first, and could only stare blankly until Ryuk, whom she forgot was there at all, suddenly burst out laughing, making her jump. Beyond, who heard none of the shinigami's cackles, titled his head in confusion. Misa ignored that and listened to the specter, all the while fighting the instinct to turn her head to look at him. "He possesses the eyes of a shinigami! He can see your name as clearly as you can see his."

"But he can't see my lifespan…?" she whispered to herself. She looked up, saw the floating Beyond Birthday above his head, followed closely by the string of numbers that represented his lifespan. I can see his, which means he doesn't have a notebook. How can he have the eyes without a death note?

It was one of those obscure rules of the death note that anyone who possessed the eyes would see both the names and lifespans of anyone they met, save any other human who owned a death note. For them only the name would be visible. It was how she had found Light, and known he was Kira, by using that rule to her advantage. But she had traded half her remaining life to gain the vision of a shinigami, how could he have the same without owning a notebook?

Beyond was still watching her, awaiting her reply patiently. She cleared her throat. "I would think that… even if you had never heard of me before, you would have known that my name wasn't Takahashi Yukiko."

Something passed over Beyond's face, an expression, but one that was driven by too many emotions to interpret. "Well," he said, sounding distant. "There lies one of Kira's powers, and a most unexpected one. And unfortunately," he leaned back on the sofa, jacket falling open, "it also robs me of one of my more valuable bargaining pieces to offer Kira. If Kira already possesses this… talent, then why should she invest any trust in a stranger offering the same? Much safer to do it herself."

"I'm not Kira," Misa put in quickly, catching the subtle insinuation.

"Of course not," he said, smiling knowingly at her.

She decided to ignore that for now and tried to think. "You said 'one of your bargaining pieces'. What other pieces do you have?"

"Well, for some of my more minor offerings, there's my intelligence and my vast connections to the underworld and its workings. During the course of my own pursuits I've had to cultivate a broad number of contacts outside polite society, but I feel no particular attachment to them. Kira could use them to his own ends or kill them all off, whichever he prefers. Besides my eyes, my most valuable trait is that I know more about L and his operation than anyone else outside of it, and most of the people on the inside of it."

"And how do you know all of that?"

"I won't go into too many details," Beyond Birthday demurred. "But I will say that I have known about him since I was a child. I was brought up to emulate him, I not only know a lot about L, but also about his methods."

"Are the two of you brothers?"

Beyond tossed back his head and laughed aloud, but it was so humorless it was almost mechanical. It set Misa's teeth on edge and she was glad when it was done. "No, we are not brothers. We have no relation to each other save the circumstantial."

"Why do you want to help Kira against him, then?" Misa asked, trying to shake the laugh. "You do know that in that battle, the loser will die. Do you want L dead?"

Beyond grew still for a moment, his eyes becoming unfocused as he looked into some place Misa could not. A hand came up to the left side of his face. He covered one eye and the majority of that entire side, hiding himself and his scars. "You have seen these burns," he said quietly. "They cover nearly my entire body. I was in a hospital for months, contracted two infections and needed many, many graphs to survive it." The hand moved to his chest, where he absentmindedly rubbed at the place between damaged and undamaged skin. He arrested Misa with his gaze. "L did this to me."

Misa recoiled, her hand coming up to cover her mouth.

L? It didn't seem possible. He was against Kira, it was true, but she had never truly thought of him as evil. To set a man aflame, to subject him to that kind of torture… it was monstrous.

"No wonder you want revenge," she murmured through her fingers.

He only nodded his agreement.

Misa made an abrupt decision. Normally she would balk at what she was about to do, but she had already come so far, and the alternative, letting him roam free, seemed far riskier than what she was about to propose. "Beyond Birthday."

The man's head snapped to attention. He seemed surprised to hear his own name, even though he must have known she knew it.

"I am not Kira," she said. "But I am close to him. I think you could be useful, but I won't take you to him straight away. I can't. Instead I'll watch you, and I'll decide if you're trustworthy or not. If you are, then I'll find a way for you to meet him. Until then, you are not to leave this apartment." Misa took a deep breath and held it. Keeping a man under house arrest was no small thing to attempt, and she had no idea how he might react.

Beyond, far from reacting with any sort of passionate outburst, seemed frozen to the spot. Misa wasn't reassured. She was afraid of what he would do once what she'd said had a chance to sink in. She had no real way of restraining him if he got violent or made a break for it.

However, his response was surprisingly mellow. He only smiled softly and said, "As you wish."

At first the new arrangement of keeping a man in her apartment was incredibly awkward. Misa wasn't used to turning around corners in her own home to find a quiet figure, normally huddled up in a crouch, just being there like he belonged. The closest she'd come to a similar situation was when she and Light had been confined together in a set of rooms at the investigation headquarters, and that had almost been like living together in their own place. But then that had been like forced confinement, and it hadn't been her space she was sharing, and Beyond Birthday was patently no Light Yagami.

If she had thought that L was Light's opposite, then B made her acknowledge that there were more extreme opposites out there. At least L, for all of his other eccentricities, walked from place to place. More often than not Beyond's chosen method of locomotion was to scuttle about on all fours like a dog or an overgrown toddler still not used to only having two points of contact with the floor. It turned Misa's stomach thinking how dirty his hands must become, but to her relief he was meticulous about his hygiene, washing his hands quite often. It was even more of a relief to know that after she saw him eat for the first time, as he used his fingers for practically everything.

Still, after the first few issues of adjustment, Misa gradually became used to Beyond Birthday's presence. He would read or watch television for portions of the day like a normal person, so that helped, and would occasionally use the computer – under the secret watch of Ryuk, of course. Beyond, or 'B' which he said he preferred, seemed to be perfectly at home from the start , needing none of the time Misa did to acclimate. Nor did he seem particularly troubled over his confinement. If she hadn't known otherwise, she would have said that he was a normal houseguest visiting from out of town, judging purely by his behavior. He even offered to cook once or twice, but she wasn't so trusting as to allow him to handle what she was about to eat. If his tastes in food ran the same way as his coffee, she would just keel over from a sugar overdose even if he didn't mean to poison her. And she was still wary whenever she came home, sending Ryuk in first to make sure he wasn't lying in wait for her on the other side of the door. Every time the shinigami would come back out with a negative report and a not-so-subtle hint about the promised but unseen apple pie.

While Misa had promised to watch him and judge on his intentions, though, with him restricted to her apartment there was nothing for her to judge. He spent the days lounging and the nights – she hoped – sleeping. She could glean nothing from that, and B seemed in no hurry at all to prove himself. It was frustrating. Worse still, Light was getting impatient to make some move on L. The investigation team had caught Kyosuke Higuchi, so they held his notebook and Rem, her original shinigami. Apparently L had gotten the notion to try out the notebook on someone on death row in order to test it, which would prove disastrous to Light and Misa, but had just barely been outvoted by his team. They were safe for now, but Light was getting increasingly bad tempered. He wanted her to come to the headquarters, but she didn't want to leave B alone for that long. She only left to shop for food at a convenience store at the corner, seeing Light would take hours. When she did return to headquarters she intended to have either a new ally or news of a neutralized threat with her.

When she started talking with B about Light, it was out of her own impotent frustrations and after B had been living with her for nearly a week. She didn't think about it, she just started verbalizing her exasperation to whomever would listen, which happened to be B. By the time she thought of some of the reasons why she should keep her mouth shut, it was too late. She stalled out, realizing her blunder, but B had only said, "I take it this Light person is Kira?"

Flushing all the way to her hair, Misa nodded.

"It sounds as though you love him very much," he said softly.

"Yes," Misa had whispered. That someone could perceive her love for Light, even when she was frustrated and venting over him, made her feel surprisingly good.

"Tell me about him," B had invited her. "The way you see him."

So she had. She told him how they had met, without telling him how exactly she had tracked Light down, and how they both planned to make the world a better place with their powers as Kira. She told him how smart and handsome Light was, how he had always been top ranked at his school, and how now he was outsmarting even L. She spoke long and lovingly of how good and kind Light Yagami was, working so hard to stamp out the evil in the world so only the good would be left, making the world pure, where none need fear the dark ever again. She even told him about how she had begged Light to let her help him, even if all he did was use her and cast her aside, and how he had taken her on. It was a day she would always remember, because that was the day she became Light's girlfriend and his right hand in the mission to make a better world.

B listened with the attentive ear of a friend, and the few questions he put to her were well placed and innocuous. If he were probing for more sensitive information about Kira, then Misa couldn't detect it, and she carefully edited out anything that might come back to bite her later.

In a strange way, B was becoming a kind of friend. She fought against it, reminding herself that he was a potential threat to her and to Light, even more now than before. He had too much information, and if he knew so much about L, he probably knew how to contact him as well. If he turned out to be an enemy, it would go badly for Kira.

She used every trick she could think of to keep herself from befriending him, even trying to make herself feel nauseated over his scars. Even that failed. She hardly noticed the scars anymore; they were just a part of who B was. In a life full of things like shinigamis and notebooks of death, Beyond only remained the strangest thing for a certain amount of time before becoming almost background.

So perhaps that's why it took her some time to notice the tenor of some of his questions, and what they were insinuating. They started out just as the kinds of questions someone would ask about their new friend's significant other: What was he like, what was his family like, what sort of activities he enjoyed and so on. All of which Misa was happy and more than happy to answer. Then he began asking about how Light chose who was guilty or innocent, if he planned to set forth laws of his own or continue to rely on those already in place, how he intended to enforce them if death wasn't called for, if he had ever thought of providing for families whole sole provider also happened to be criminal and had met Kira's justice…

The more she thought about it, the more uncomfortable Misa became. Normally she would have shrugged the questions off and trusted that Light would know best, but with B in her apartment, she couldn't do that. Whenever she thought she was beginning to move past the uncomfortable considerations that B's questions stirred up, he would begin a new line, innocent to begin with, but eventually coming to the point of almost-accusations. It set Misa to thinking longer and harder over things than she ever had on her own. What were the families of the executed doing to survive? Some may be relieved to have that criminal element removed, but surely not all of them. And what if Light and Misa were inadvertently creating more criminals? People who wouldn't have gone to the bad ordinarily, but were given no choice when they were faced with the harsh realities of life? And future laws, the continuation of Kira's legacy after they had died of old age? Misa had never heard Light mention it.

As for how he chose who was guilty and who was innocent, well, that at least was clear-cut. Light only judged those who had been judged already and were rotting in prison, or those who escaped that kind of justice but were so obviously guilty that even a child could see the world was better off without them.

"Ah, but how can Kira be so sure of the guilt of a person, even after a court has pronounced it so?" Beyond argued amiably one gray morning over the breakfast table. It was a reflection of just how much Beyond had become of her routine that they now ate at least one meal of the day together, more often two. Misa tried not to think of what else it might have been a reflection of as she worked her way through her portions of fish, rice and nattō.

B spread a generous helping of strawberry jam on his toast, preferring to add some Western items to his morning meal, holding the knife in the same particular way she had observed L held his utensils. "One hears such disturbing things about false persecution, innocent lives forever marred by their time spent in prison, all started by misunderstandings or stupid juries manipulated by prosecutors. What of them?"

"I'm sure Li- Kira has considered that," Misa said, flustered. "I know he has…" she trailed off, sensing how weak her argument was.

"How is that?" The knife clinked back into the jam jar. "Has he scoured every inmate's personal file, read between the lines, and examined the evidence himself so he knows beyond doubt whether or not they are guilty? Even then, how can he be sure, without actually being a God and able to peer into the hearts of men? And then there's the discrepancies of what qualifies as an arrestable offence between countries."

The girl hesitated, food halfway to her mouth. "What do you mean?"

"Well," B spoke around a mouthful of toast and jam. "Suppose we use homosexuality as an example? In most countries the gay community has little to fear from the local law enforcement for simply being as they are. But in some places it's punishable by life in prison or death, even now. Will Kira execute those prisoners, too? If he does, but then turns a blind eye to people in other countries who haven't been arrested, but who are committing the same 'crimes', how is that level handed? How will that be addressed in the future? By applying only the most stringent of laws from each country to all?"

Misa put down her eating utensils. The food was beginning to taste quite sour to her. "I don't know how Kira plans to handle these things," she said with as much coolness as she could muster. "I'm sure he's put some thought into them, but we've not had very much time to talk about them together."

"Very well, then. Something that is grounded in the present. Tell me what you think of Kira's handling of the FBI agents that were investigating the case not long ago."

An angry flush rose to Misa's cheeks, and whatever was left of her appetite evaporated instantly. She knew what Beyond was driving at, of course. It was almost impossible not to see exactly what it was he was suggesting. Slapping her hands into the table hard enough to make the dishes dance, she stood up and glared down at the scarred gaijin. "What is this?" she demanded hotly. "I thought you were for Kira, and wanted to become his ally? So why are you making him sound so awful?"

B stared up at her blankly, cheeks bulging with toast and red eyes wide. "Am I? I haven't accused him of anything he hasn't done, have I?"

"No, but-"

"I am merely analyzing his motives, Misa. What I've told you before about wishing only to help him to bring down L, that is still true. If I question him it's to ascertain whether or not I will stay after that goal's completion." He tilted his head. "Haven't you ever questioned his motives, his methods?"

Misa felt caught, by the garnet eyes pinning her in place, by the sudden feeling of stupidity and naiveté, and by the ever-present gaze of Ryuk, hovering near the ceiling in one corner, always watching. She knew Ryuk wasn't likely to repeat anything to Light, but she was still highly aware of him, as though he were a piece of Light Yagami sitting in silent accusation of whatever she might say. If she admitted that she hadn't thought about it, would she seem unutterably juvenile? But if she followed such an admission with a promise to do so in the future, would she seem disloyal, or a traitor to Ryuk?

But then, if she remained completely loyal, and answered as though Light were there, would she ever learn anything about Beyond?

"No," she said, deciding. "But I think I will be, now."

And for the next couple of days, she did.

A/N2: So this is the first time I've really written Misa. You would think, after writing so many Death Note fics (30+) that I would have gotten around to her sooner, but the truth is, she's never held that much interest for me. I'm not sure why, it's just always been that way. So when I got a request to write her, the first response was to groan. 'Misa?' I thought to myself. 'Seriously? Writing Light wasn't bad enough, now I have to do Misa? And pairing her off with my darling of darkness, Beyond? (sigh) Fine, it's a challenge, I guess, and those are always good…' But to my surprise, as I got further and further into this, the more I liked writing Misa as a bit of a change from the usual characters I write while remaining within the Death Note 'verse. And to my slight horror, I grew to like having Beyond and Misa interacting, as well. It's an odd match up, but I found a lot, personally, that I liked with it, and may have to do more in future. …my poor brain.

Jihi no Tenshi: Title of the piece, I suppose I should translate it, eh? It's Japanese for 'angel of mercy'. I had trouble thinking up a title for this piece, but eventually I came up with the idea of Misa acting as an attendant angel to Light, and then to Beyond. Light is acting as a shinigami, God of Death, so to him she would be a shino tenshi (angel of death) but for Beyond… yeah, you'll see later on. However, I didn't like the title 'Angel of Mercy' for some reason, so translated it to Japanese. You know. Because it's more foreign-y. 8D

Ichigo Television: 'Ichigo' is Japanese for 'strawberry', which I thought would be a cute name for a rival of Sakura TV, since 'sakura' means 'cherry'. …I'm easily entertained, I can't help it.

Nattō:Nattō is a dish made from fermented soybeans that's most popular as a breakfast food.

Traditional Japanese Meal: Obviously the phrase 'traditional Japanese meal' doesn't need explaining, but why did I have one show up in the story at all? Well, while doing random research on the interwebs, I found several sources that say traditional meals in Japan are still fairly common, occurring in about 50% of homes, depending on the specific demographic being looked at. While Misa doesn't scream 'tradition', there's nothing that says that she isn't about some things, and I thought it would work well as a device to show some of the differences between Misa and Beyond. Culture!

Gaijin:Gaijin literally means 'outside person', which translates to 'outsider' or 'alien', and is generally used to describe any and all non-Japanese people. However, it's also considered to be a bit rude to refer to someone as gaijin, kind of like if you called someone 'foreigner' to their face in English. Or a broad, general word similar in sentiment to terms like 'gringo' or 'wop'. Apparently a more polite phrasing would be gaikoku no kata or gaikoku jin. And yes, before anyone asks, I had Misa think of Beyond in the ruder term on purpose. Feel free to speculate on that. ;D

As always, thanks for reading, everyone! With any luck the next part will be up soon!