He doesn't answer.
"Come on, Beyond. You can't stay here sulking forever."
"I'm not sulking," is the curt answer.
A sigh. "That means you're totally sulking."
The boy waits a while for Beyond to respond, and when Beyond doesn't, the boy crawls up to the attic of his own volition.
He sneezes. "Jeez, don't know why you like this place so much. So dusty." Another sneeze, as if to prove his point. "But, I guess it does feel cozy. Safe." He smiles, although he is only facing Beyond's back. "Anyway, Beyond, come down. It's time for lunch."
"Don't want to."
"Why? Because of your little temper tantrum this morning? Just forget that. Everyone gets angry once in a while."
"It's not because of that, Matt!"
Matt is unfazed by the sudden change in temper. (He is best friends with Mello, after all.) "Then what's wrong?" Though Matt has never been as smart as Beyond (or Mello or Near), Matt is infinitely patient and understands in unexpected ways.
"It's L!" Of course, it is always about L with Beyond. "I always, always, always try my best, but he just never notices me. All I want is that once, just once, he would take the time to really look at me. Just once!" An angry kick to the wooden floorboards.
Matt waits for Beyond to calm down before saying, "L never really looks at any of us, does he?"
Beyond finally turns around to look at Matt, but he does not know how to answer the statement, so, instead, he replies with, "Why is the world so disgusting and annoying and hateful?"
"That's just what makes it beautiful, I guess." A small smile.
"Well, I don't see it."
"Ah, that's just 'cause you aren't looking close enough," Matt quips. Then, "Here," he takes off his goggles and snaps it on Beyond's head, "you can wear these for a while. They protect me and help me calm down."
"They look stupid."
A small frown. "Well, even if they look stupid, they're useful," he protests. "You'll be able to see the world differently when you wear them."
"I'll be able to see orange, that's what." It is sarcastic, almost biting.
Matt doesn't seem to notice. "And, orange is a beautiful color, don't you think?" Without waiting for an answer, he pulls the goggles down to cover Beyond's eyes.
After a short silence, "Everything's orange now." Even the horrible, wonderful (red, red, red) names and numbers.
"Everything's orange now," Matt repeats, agreeing.
Then, "It's nice."
Matt helps Near construct the Eiffel Tower using building blocks while Beyond watches.
"You can join in if you want, you know," Matt tells Beyond. To Near, "You don't mind, do you, Near?"
Near shakes his head. "I think the only one that would reject a helping hand is Mello," the boy says, dryly. It is not meant as an insult, only a statement of fact.
"It's fine. I like watching."
Actually, in truth, Beyond does not want to help because he does not particularly like Near (although Beyond does not particularly hate him either). Beyond does not particularly like most people. (He is even unsure as to whether or not he likes Matt.)
The only one that Beyond really knows that he likes is L.
Everything is about L with Beyond.
"Hey, Matt!" Linda calls, in greeting, as she enters the room. As an added bonus, she ruffles Matt's hair, making it more messy than it usually is. "We're going to play football outside. You want to come?"
Matt adjusts his slightly askewed goggles and tries to get his hair under control again before answering with, "No, thanks. I'm helping Near, see. We're building the Eiffel Tower."
"Mello wants you to come, though," Linda adds. "He's the one that sent me over to ask you."
"Jeez, I don't always have to do what Mello wants to do, though." Despite saying that, Matt nearly always does the things that Mello wants him to.
Linda shrugs, in response, unconvinced ("well, if you say so"), and turns to leave the room. She stops at the doorframe, however, turning back to ask, "Hey, Beyond, you want to play?" (Only Linda would be so daring as to ask Beyond. No one ever asks Beyond.)
Beyond is almost caught off-guard, but he answers, smiling in his usual way, "My idea of recreation isn't exactly one that involves having to chase around a ball while constantly being pummeled to the ground."
Linda rolls her eyes, replying with, "I'll just take that as a no," before leaving.
"It is an improbable maybe," Beyond corrects.
"It's a no!" Linda shouts back. (Linda always wants to have the last word.)
Beyond is slightly disconcerted.
Matt chuckles. "Don't try and argue with Linda, Beyond. She'll always one-up you."
"Is that so?" Beyond is not familiar with Linda, like he is not familiar with most at Wammy's. (Linda is assigned the same status as Near: not particularly liked.) However, he supposes that maybe he should try to become more familiar with the other residents. (It might prove to be unexpectedly useful in the future.)
Without really thinking, Beyond says, "I think I will help you two build the Eiffel Tower after all."
Beyond has never really liked A.
And, it isn't the particular dislike that came with familiarity that Beyond felt for most of the residents.
Beyond really has never liked A.
A is too overconfident, too self-assured, and yet still too anxious, too scared. He fears failure and hides it behind a flimsy mask of control. He constantly breaks and shatters, never fixing himself back up quite properly. A is a number of extremes all rolled up into one human entity.
Beyond is not surprised to find that A has committed suicide.
Beyond is not surprised to find that he feels nothing for A's death.
But, Beyond is still agitated, still frustrated, still angry, at the fact that L doesn't even show up for the funeral.
"I can't believe that he's dead," Matt whispers to him as they watch the burial. "I never thought that Arthur would be the type to commit suicide." The boy is visibly shaken. The thought of someone killing themselves because of the pressure from having to match up to L can make almost anyone frightened.
"A always hid behind a mask, Matt," Beyond answers. "What you saw of him wasn't the real him. He had always been afraid, uncertain. He had been cracking under the pressure for a long time already."
At that, Matt looks at Beyond. "You're not like Arthur, are you, Beyond?"
Beyond smiles. "No, I'm not."
"You didn't come to his funeral, L."
Those are the first words that Beyond says to L the moment the detective steps through the door, returning to Wammy's after months of absence.
"Please move aside, B. I have no time for you," is the answer that Beyond receives in an exasperated tone.
Beyond is used to L's callousness. Beyond is used to L trying to avoid him. (But, it doesn't mean that Beyond is not annoyed.) "L, at least explain why you weren't at his funeral."
"I'm a busy man, as you have sure realized, B."
"He died because of you." Beyond tries to keep his voice neutral, cool.
"He died because of his own decisions. I was not the one that tied the rope for him and left him to hang." A sigh. "I don't have time for your games, B." With that, Beyond is forcibly pushed aside so that the detective could continue on his way .
The day before, Beyond had been thinking the exact same thing, but he finds that he absolutely hates it when L says them. "But, you gave him the rope, L! You were the one that pushed him over the edge!"
L ignores Beyond and does not answer.
But, of course, the detective does not turn back.
"Jeez, what's with all this shouting?" Footsteps, then a child, blonde, peers down the hallway at Beyond, still standing near the door. "Oh, it's just B. Should have known." A scoff. "What're you screaming about, anyways? A?" He rubs his eyes, yawning. (It is early morning, and most everyone else is asleep.) "I thought you didn't even like him."
"I did not like him, Mello, but I still think it is extremely cold-hearted of L to not even attend his funeral."
Mello leans against the wall. "L's a great detective. He's always busy. I mean, if it was me, I would choose saving some lives by apprehending criminals rather than attend a funeral of someone long dead." A smirk. "You're just too obsessed over L, B. That's the only reason why you wanted him to come, so you can stalk him even more than you do now."
"Of course I--" Mello stops. Then, "Wait. I'm what?" Mello is not told that he is right very often.
"You're absolutely right, Mello. I am too obsessed over L."
Mello, for once in his life, is honestly speechless.
Beyond, however, has gotten more talkative. "I suppose this problem could be remedied by forming some distance between me and L. Maybe it would be best for the both of us to do that." A pause. "I still don't like the thought of having to be away from L, though..." (What he really wants, what he has wanted all along, is for L to notice him, and he couldn't do that if he is away from the detective.) "But, what should I do? I want him to notice me, but this current arrangement is obviously wearing on both of us."
Mello stares for a moment longer before regaining use over his vocal cords. "Then, why don't you take time away from L to try to think up a way to get him to notice you?"
"That's," Beyond considers, "that's actually a pretty good idea."
"Well, of course! I always have good ideas!"
Beyond waits a week so that he could get rid of his attachments, so that he can get rid of any lingering regrets, so that he could finish everything he has started cleanly.
He helps Near build the Tower of Pisa (which is, admittedly, much harder than it sounds).
He agrees to play football with Mello and Linda and everyone else (and gets trampled, as predicted, but has fun regardless).
He goes to visit A's grave properly (leaving behind a few daffodils as his acknowledgment of A's abilities).
And, finally, Beyond goes up to the attic to watch the sunset.
Matt finds him there eventually.
"Jeez, I still don't get why you like it up here." A sneeze.
"It's my safe place."
"So, in other words, this is like your goggles then?" Matt asks, laughing.
"Yes, I suppose so."
"Hm, it's nice," a short pause, "but," a small frown, "but when you leave, you won't be able to see in orange anymore."
Beyond is surprised by Matt's choice of words. "Well, Matt, it just means that I have to grow up, stop being dependent on a security blanket." He meets Matt's gaze. "You'll have to grow up someday too."
"This isn't about growing up, Beyond."
"It isn't?" It is asked as a question. Beyond is uncertain. "Then, what is it about?"
"It's about you."
"No," Beyond says, shaking his head.
"It's about L," a mere whisper.
For what seemed to be an eternity, neither speaks nor moves.
Then, Matt silently takes off his goggles and pushes it into Beyond's hands. The redhead holds it with Beyond, tightly, not allowing the other to let go. Finally, after a few moments, Matt retrieves the goggles and snaps it back on his head.
"What was that for?"
"For luck." A smile.