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The Role You Gave Me

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The cell was not cold or dark. There was no damp on the walls and the meals were good. The bed was comfortable and he even had books, and a television. A computer, without internet access. A schedule of activities he could take part in, so long as he played nicely with the prison’s rehabilitation programme.

He didn’t have to share a cell with some idiot. He didn’t have to beg, borrow and steal just to get by.

In all, it wasn’t actually a bad life. He even had all the healthcare he needed to heal his burns, though the doctors did insist on prescribing him antipsychotic medications. They knew he was not mad, not in the conventional sense anyway. But the moment the word “psychopath” was mentioned they wanted his thoughts slowed, his intelligence blunted. Side effects utilised for the ease of those who would imprison him.

He didn’t care. He hadn’t intended to still be alive after his crimes. Having failed to beat L at his own game hadn’t changed that.

After he had been cast out from Wammy house he had been sent to another orphanage Wammy funded overseas, all the way across the ocean to America. It was a comfortable enough home, but tainted with rumours. Word had gone before him of the bully who was developing into a dangerous young man. The stories extended to whispers about A’s death.

They blamed him.

They always blamed him.

He couldn’t stay there. He ran away.

He spent the night in the cold under an overpass that held the stench of stale urine. He made his way on trains to the next state – no one who could hack the automatic ticket machines would ever need money to look like a legitimate traveller. He hid out in outhouses until eventually he found his way into the criminal underworld, and there he made his home.

The LABB murders were not his first, but they were at least the first of his own volition. For a nobody sixteen year old to make a name for himself in the criminal world he had to prove that he could hold his own. He turned his intelligent mind to the task of killing, and he quickly became proficient in his work.

It hurt. Every time he took a life, it hurt. Not because of those he killed. No, they were going to die anyway. He could see that. See their numbers, see that their last breath was due.

It hurt because it felt like a betrayal. He knew that if there were really an afterlife, if A was watching him now, that his best friend would be disappointed in him. In what he had become.

It had to come to an end somehow. He couldn’t carry on forever.

He hoped A wasn’t watching him. That if there was an afterlife, A would have found happiness and not be seeing him turn into the psychopath that Roger had always thought him to be.

He had spent two years planning, two years dreaming about how he would best L. If it were not for L, Wammy house would not exist – not in its current form. If it were not for L, Roger would not have taken charge of Wammy house. Wammy had loved the children in his care, he had valued them each for who they were as individuals. If Wammy had still been in charge of Wammy house A would never have been able to run away. He would still be with them.

Roger didn’t care about children. All he cared about was creating the next L.

But even in this, Beyond had failed. L had beaten him. Worse, a detective from the FBI had beaten him with L’s guidance.

And he had failed A.

Still, he wouldn’t be alive much longer if the guards continued to be so careless with his medicines. He had made quite a stockpile, hidden in his pillow. He was nearly sure that he had enough to end this ridiculous charade of life, and he would use them in about one week, when he had the final few he would need to be absolutely certain of a first attempt success.

Which made it all the more infuriating that he had been brought out of that room today to see a visitor, his first since he had set foot in the prison.

“Roger.”

He bit out the word through the telephone, considering the glass that separated them and wondering whether the cracked bolt at the top of the screen would hold if he struck it at the perfect angle.

It was L’s fault that the orphanage had become what it was, but what it had become was directly the result of this man opposite him. What he had become was the direct result of the man opposite him.

“Why are you here?”

“Why else?” Roger looked about as disgusted by him as he always had. He looked at Beyond like there was a foul smell under his nose and he was doing his best not to notice it. “L sent me.”

“Why else.”

The bolt would hold, Beyond concluded with a disappointed sigh, sinking back into his chair so that his entire body was at an angle, as far away from the screen as he could possibly be without actually leaving.

“Don’t start, Backup,” Roger already looked irritated. “I’m not here for your games.”

Ah, so Roger was going to be even less tolerant than he had always been. It was no secret that he hated Beyond, even more than he hated the other children. Well, that was fine with Beyond. The sooner he could get away from this man’s presence the better. “Then get to the point.”

“L sent these,” Roger laid out some papers in front of the glass, looking expectantly for Beyond to read them. B did not oblige, staying lounged back in the chair. “Shall I tell him you wouldn’t help?”

“Why should I?”

“That’s what I thought,” Roger swept up the papers, immediately getting to his feet to leave.

Well, that didn’t take long. If Roger thought that making a dramatic show of walking out would make Beyond shout for him to come back, make him want to prove himself, he had another thing coming.

No, Beyond would not give him the satisfaction.

Instead, he threw back his head and laughed.

He didn’t try to hide his inhuman laughter. What would be the point of that? No, the noise he made was as unnatural as Roger had always believed him to be.

All eyes turned to him, the prisoners and the guests alike. Some of the guards even raised their weapons, though he did not move from his chair.

Roger turned back to him, his eyes narrowed. A moment passed before he snatched up the phone. “Stop that.”

Beyond laughed harder.

“Backup,” Roger leaned in toward the glass with all the confidence of a schoolmaster looming over an errant child with a cane. “Enough.”

“Why?” Beyond bit back, grinning broadly with his head tipped down. A perfectly sinister pose, and though he tried not to show it the look made Roger squirm uncomfortably.

“You know Backup? I told L you wouldn’t help. Told him before he even sent me. Do you know what he said?”

“Something about how much of an idiot you are,” Beyond mused. “He’s right of course.”

“No. He said that you would help. That you’re a better man than I think you are,” Roger laughed now. “He’s the wrong one. You’re a monster. You always have been.”

A monster. Beyond told himself not to bite, not to lose his temper and rise to the taunt. He knew full well what Rodger was trying to do, but he couldn’t resist.

“No. Once upon a time, I was a child,” he almost heard himself saying the words before he could stop himself. “You made me a monster. I’m just fulfilling the role you gave me.”

“You killed people,” Roger pointed out. “You were always heading that way. It was obvious.”

“I am what you made me. We all are. I won’t be the last.”