Author's note: Alright, this is the first part of a lengthy Elfen Lied fic I'm planning on writing. I've got lots of plot built up for this one, so please review and let me know what you think. :) Not written much for the series before, so I hope everything here works.
Disclaimer: Surprisingly, none of this is mine.
Act I, Scene I
When she was Nyuu (and as such, less of herself, and more of what she should have been) Lucy was rarely completely unconscious.
She'd always be there, waking in a haze and whispering things in Nyuu's head—kill, kill, kill—that she knew her alter-ego couldn't hear, and more importantly, couldn't comprehend, even if her twisted words somehow reached her; but she struggled through the girl's sickly-sweet behavior nonetheless, always aiming for that slightest hint of corruption.
It wasn't that she particularly disliked being torn that little bit further away from a cruel reality—in fact she appreciated it, almost. When she was silenced, it was one of the few opportunities she had to stop thinking altogether, and escape from a present that promised less than her past.
And so, Lucy slept, ignoring her surroundings, and all the words from strangers (friends?) around her.
Even if she couldn't quite feel through Nyuu's body, and felt altogether disconnected, Lucy always saw through her eyes. It wasn't a clear picture, or a distortion of the truth; she just saw through a rose-tinted screen, nothing quite in focus, and no real perspective existing. It frustrated her to no end, and in her all-too-common bitter moods she pretended that it was blood trickling down their skin, and washing red-dye into their eyes.
Lucy gritted her teeth, breath heavy as she fell against the inn door. She always became so philosophical when she was laying there bleeding.
Both of her horns where shattered now, probably swept up and laying in some lab like shards of broken glass, and so the pain seemed to originate from there, even if they had stopped bleeding weeks ago—although the bullet puncher on the right side of her stomach was probably contributing to something.
But more than the blood and pain, Lucy was more concerned about where it left her; was a Diclonius without horns still a demon, or had the war of vectors and gunfire left her as nothing more than a petty human?
She laughed at the thought, and vaguely wondered where Nyuu was. Lucy was weaker than she had ever been, and completely without defense—she wasn't sure what could make her more vulnerable, mentally or physically.
She had stood behind Kaede Inn's screen door for as long as her feet had permitted her to stand and vectors had propped her up against the wooden frame. There was the echo of a clock's chime still ringing in her head. It was only lies when she told herself she didn't know exactly why she had come back—she only hoped that someone had spotted the silhouette of a murderer quietly begging for help.
Her eyes closed and they seemed like too much of a burden to open again; if Nyuu wouldn't come and rescue her, then she wouldn't wait to sleep.
With a twisted smile, she sang in a murmur, "Bei Nacht... im Dorf der Wächter rief: Elfe..."
Waking up was a grueling task; her senses snapped back the moment her eyes opened, yet she didn't realise they weren't connected yet. It took time for her to remember the dissolved feelings of pain, and that all consuming urge to kill, and just where she was: home.
Even the air smelt familiar. However, as soon as she had settled down, she realised the room was once again painted red.
A bit late, Nyuu, Lucy though sharply. Looks as if it's my blood this time.
Lips pressed together, a little hesitant at first, and spoke words Lucy didn't tell them to. "Nyuu?" she felt herself ask.
"Nyuu!" a voice echoed back, and then called off to the other side of the room, "H-hey, she's finally woken up!"
Lucy forced herself to look through the misty haze—it was his room, to be sure. The boy whose life she had ruined; the boys whose mind she had left fractured and incomplete, all because of her own selfish reasons.
"Nyuu Nyuu... Kou-ta!" she heard Nyuu mew happily, albeit with a certain hazy weakness in her voice.
She had sworn to herself that she'd never come back here, not to him again. She had done all she lived for—apologised to him—and so there was nothing more for her here. Kouta's smile was blurry and seemed so far off, but it cut through her nonetheless.
She wanted Nyuu to retreat, to begone and silent, so that she could sit up, wrap her fingers around his neck and scream at him for helping her. Scream at him for not leaving her to die.
"You had us all worried for a while," Lucy heard him whisper as he lent close. There were probably other people in the room. Yuka, most likely.
Nyuu leaned in affectionately as Kouta brushed a hand lightly over her forehead, letting his fingers rest on her shoulder. It was all too much for Lucy—somehow through the spilt personality she actually felt the warmth of his touch seer over her, and mentally she screamed, cursing him over and over.
For once, Nyuu took notice of her other-half, eyes-wide open with fright, and hands clamped over her ears to make the horrible noise stop. Finally, she closed her eyes, and fell back onto the futon—the others had gathered around her, only to step back once she finally opened them again.
The colours of the room webbed their way back with disturbing speed. The next thing Lucy knew she was on her knees, still screaming out incoherently, and thrashing against the wooden floor with her still-weak vectors.
She was more aware of what she did next; moving that little distance across the room towards Kouta, who, unlike the others, was still kneeling by her side. Little Mayu had resigned to hide behind Yuka, hands clinging onto the older girl's shirt tightly; and Nana stood in front of them both, in a half formed fighting stance. Lucy shot her a glare, and her fists clenched.
They were out of the way, and she looked to Kouta. His neck looked so perfect and smooth; another voice in her head was whispering viciously how beautiful he'd look if her fingers dug in and left perfect red-purple-black bruises.
Lucy was no fool, and could tell she was still seriously injured—a quick glance down told her that they had ripped up old bed sheets for makeshift bandages, white once, but already stained dark red. She breathed heavily, lifted arms towards Kouta—who of course, made no attempt to defend himself—and let her fingertips glide ever-so slightly over his throat, before wrapping them around his body.
The moment was almost perfect—no newly spawned revelations of murdered love ones or armies standing by—save for the intrusive, almost burning eyes of Yuka and Nana, and the curious, uneasy look that crossed Mayu's face. Kouta sighed happily, and pulled her closer.
Choosing to ignore Yuka, and feeling to neutral too question Mayu, Lucy bit her lip and turned to Nana.
"Calm down, itoko," she murmured rather curtly, a blunt smile cutting crossing her face. "My vectors won't reach further than these pathetic flesh arms."
Scowling, looking on the verge of either yelling or bursting into tears, Nana settled for saying nothing, and leaving the room with a "hmph!" and dragging Mayu along with her.
"I hope you understand our situation here," Kakuzawa said firmly, one hand resting on the desk, and the other making a fist to illustrate his point.
Arakawa stood by his side, a respectful distance away, toying with a phone between her fingers—Kakuzawa had such an awful habit of shooting people without warning, even when he wanted them to work for him. If anything, it certainly gained him their undivided attention; after being shot for the second time, Arakawa had never questioned the director again.
The director could only pray that this man wasn't an utter idiot like Kurama had been—claiming to be loyal to him for so long, and then getting himself and one of their most potent specimens blown up. If there was anything left of the man, Kakuzawa would have most happily thrown it into a pit of hungry Diclonius children.
Nousou grinned, half a stick of pocky hanging out of the side of his mouth.
"Sure sure, I got it," the young man said with a mock salute. "You lot here at this research lab give me a load of money, and I get to play with a whole bunch of mutant kiddies?"
Kakuzawa cleared his throat and sighed. Everything about the man screamed unprofessional, and he certainly didn't live up to Kakuzawa's ideal of a scientist in anyway at all. Nousou didn't even bother to wear a suit to work—one of the unwritten rules of scientists—opting for jeans and a scruffy shirt, long blond hair tied back in a pony tail, with a box of pocky sticking out of his breast pocket.
It was just a shame that the man was a genius, and the only one fit to take over from Kurama. He only knew a little of Nousou's research, as Kurama had always stolen the spotlight in the past; even at the young age of twenty-one, he had been working with Dicloniuses for almost four years. He believed Nousou specialised in cloning, or some such.
Whatever it was, Kakuzawa wouldn't complain about Nousou's appearance, so long as the man did his work, and did it well.
"Yes, Nousou. Being Kurama's successor, due to some... unfortunate circumstances, you're in charge of the Diclonius research here on in, providing that you help us to recapture the Queen."
Nousou winked. "Ah, the Queen herself! Always thinking of her, aren't ya boss? Well no worries—I'll make sure my mutants are kept in check."
There had always been a certain tension between Nousou and Kurama in the past. The two scientists had never once got on, Kurama saying his methods were unethical and refusing to fund him, and Nousou constantly on his back, always making sure his research was one step ahead, no matter lengths he had to go to. Morality simply did not belong in sterile-white labs.
Kurama's problem was holding far too much affection for the Dicloniuses that he was given to play with, treating them as if they were actually human, as if they were equals. No matter how many times he reminded Kurama that they were doing nothing more than playing God, Kurama still insisted that it was for the good of mankind.
Pathetic. No wonder he had committed suicide over a plaything. Nousou always had the last laugh when it came to Kurama.
The next few days were unusually quiet in the Inn, but far from peaceful. Even Wanta could sense something was wrong. Lucy spent long hours sleeping, but the other residents were still on edge—Yuka and Mayu were confused by the changes in their Nyuu, Nana was not sure where she stood (as an annoying relative, or an enemy?) and Kouta spent long hours in deep thought.
He found that he dreamt more with Lucy around, even if sleep was harder to obtain when he knew she was only a room away. They were horrible dreams, the type he hadn't had since he was a child, but he couldn't quite class as nightmares; because in his nightmares, he only ever saw monsters and ghouls, things that should not be, but in these dreams there were nothing but mirrors.
There was never blood or violence, only ever the cruelty Kanae smiling happily, playing on the beach and telling her big brother that she loved him—and when Kouta woke in a sweat, his breathing heavy and his eyes stinging, he remembered the way she was torn in two in front of him, and how it felt and have her still-warm blood spill and run down his face.
Kouta wondered if he would feel any better with Lucy gone, out of his life forever. Things would certainly be easier, and his family at the Kaede Inn would be so much safer. Still, no matter what he though, or how many restless nights he was forced to endure, he couldn't bring himself to throw her out on the streets, not when she was like this.
Besides, he knew just what Lucy was capable of when angered.
Nana wasn't happy the other Diclonius was back, that was for sure. Lucy wasn't to be trusted, she always said, even if she had saved her life at least once. Kouta would wake in the early hours of the morning sometimes, only to find Nana crouched outside of Lucy's room, hugging her knees and forcing her eyes to stay open. Just to make sure nothing happened, she said, feeling it was her duty to protect the others.
Kouta had tried his best to assure her that Lucy wasn't going to do anything, but he found that he couldn't explain it to Nana when he didn't know why he was so convinced of her purity himself. When he'd said "I love you," to Lucy and Nyuu, what he really meant was "I'd love you, if only you'd stop the killing," and he was determined to make sure she never hurt anyone again.
He wasn't sure how he'd accomplish such a task; Lucy was seventeen years old, had already killed hundreds of innocent people without a glimmer of remorse, and all he had were heart-felt words to stop her.
However, his contemplation did prove useful to Yuka. Strangely enough, he seemed more than eager to help her with the cooking and cleaning. In reality he was only trying to keep himself busy and distracted, but Yuka, as a result of his bizarre behaviour had checked his temperature several times, refusing to believe his claims that he felt fine.
"But," Yuka protested once again, voice full of genuine concern, "Don't you think we should take Nyuu-san to the hospital? She's been bleeding for days."
Kouta laughed a little, thinking back to when they'd first met Nyuu, naked and washed up on a beach. The situation wasn't so different now—there she was, laying wounded and vulnerable, with no one in the world other them to help her.
Neither of them had any idea why the police were so determined to get their hands on "just a missing girl, whose family miss her," back then. Kouta was glad he had been wary of the men, especially when they told him to simply forget about an assault that could've very well killed him—all he knew was that he had to deny her existence to the death.
Not much had changed, even if he did know the whole truth now.
"You know we can't," he said softly, placing the half-pealed carrot down on the chopping board and resting his hand on Yuka's shoulder. "The police are probably still after her."
Yuka frowned, and then sighed—really, Kouta never told her anything. She still had no idea why the police and those military men had been after Nyuu, or why it was so secretive. She was only a young girl, after all.
"Fine. But if she bleeds through anymore of my bedsheets, you'll have Hell to pay."
Kouta didn't doubt her for a moment. She might not have vectors, but if looks could kill... well, Kouta wouldn't stand a chance around his cousin.
"Heh, got it!" he said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
The bleeding wasn't so bad now, anyway: they were only getting through one sheet every other day. They had treated it the best they could, and the gunshot wound had pretty much closed up. It was probably something to do with her Diclonius genes—a normal person would've died from blood loss by now—but Kouta didn't really understand the technical details of it all. Even if Lucy was a little worse for wear, she was alive, and that's all that really mattered.
There was a whistle as the kettle boiled, and reaching over Yuka poured the hot water into a mug of herbs she had brought from the store that morning.
"Here," she said, handing the steaming cup to Kouta. "Herbal tea; it'll make Nyuu-san feel better."
Kouta smiled warmly at her, taking the tea gratefully. Really, he didn't know how he'd manage without her—or any of the girls, for that matter. Even Nana was trying to help, in her own misguided way. Yuka had been so helpful for the entire week since Lucy's return, always doing whatever she could and never asking why, even though he could see the questions burning on the tip of her tongue.
Sliding the screen door open Kouta peered in, wondering if it was such a wise decision not to knock. Well, let sleeping dogs lie, and all that—he whispered "Nyuu, are you awake?" as quietly as he could manage, and slid a foot through the doorway.
Lucy was laying with her back to him, the duvet bundled up and covering almost all of her—only her head peered out of the top. She made no attempted to move, only giving off a disgruntled "Yeah," to let him know it was safe to come in.
"Feeling any better?" he asked, taking a seat next to her, but not quite bold enough sit the side she was facing.
Kouta put the cup down beside him, and let out a heavy sigh. Women really were impossible, and whether they were human or Diclonius didn't seemed to matter. But Lucy, she was the worst—rarely awake lately, when he had so much to ask and tell her, and in a constant mood when she wasn't sleeping.
Still, Kouta wouldn't push her; she'd come around on her own, he only hoped.
"... would you like some tea?"
In truth, Lucy refused to talk to him because of the way her stomach twisted whenever she did, and the harsh, gnawing feeling that spread across her chest when he was there. How had it come to be, that a Diclonius like herself had come to be so disgustingly in love with a human like Kouta? It was nothing but a weakness, and she was just as angry with him. Were all humans really like this, willing to let the person who had taken their childhood away back into their lives?
No wonder her blood craved the death of them all.
Reaching over, he placed the tea in front of her face. A arm snaked its way out of the bed covers, and her fingers wrapped around the cup, but she made no move to drink it.
"Yuka made it for you," Kouta explained, his conversational skills at their limit.
"Yeah," he echoed.
"... thank her for me." Kouta grinned widely as Lucy finally muttered more than a single word.
"You can do that yourself!" he suggested, pushing his luck, hoping to get her talking to the rest of the house again; just to ease the horribly awkward atmosphere.
"... yeah," she said flatly, pushing the tea away with one finger.
This was really getting irritating now, bullet wounds or not, the girl could at least talk to him. Opening his mouth to say something rather rash, Lucy cut him off—
"Kouta hates me, right?" Lucy asked, fingers digging at her pillow as she spoke.
He honestly had no idea what had brought that wild assumption on, but Kouta decided now would be a good time to move around, so that he was face-to-face with her and painfully honest.
"You do," she stated, eyes cold and bitter. "After what I did to you, I'd hope you hate me."
Taken back by her words, Kouta paused for a moment; caught off-guard and flooded with unpleasant memories, he couldn't form a coherent reply, especially with Nyuu's eyes piercing through him like that.
He felt his chest tighten as she spoke such accusations, and half of him wanted to pull her up and into his arms again, to hold so tightly that she'd never have to ask such questions again. The other, more rational side, was too hurt by her words to make a move.
"Is that what you want?" he asked softly and sadly.
"No," Lucy said firmly, looking away from him. Somehow, she was sure Nyuu was confused and crying in the back of her mind.
"Listen," Kouta said firmly, wrapping a hand around her jaw and forcing her to look at him. "I don't hate you. I can't hate you—neither Lucy or Nyuu. I want to sometimes. I know I should... I almost do when I dream, and wake up screaming because of what you've done. I'll never, ever forgive you—never!—but you have to know that I don't hate you. Understand that."
I'll never tell someone I hate them, not again, he though, Kanae's twisted face filling his mind.
There was a silence, long and drawn out, and Lucy's features seemed to soften.
"It'll be just like Elfen Lied," she whispered, a half-hearted smiled painted on her face.
She spoke in riddles when she wanted to, Kouta knew that much. "Elfen Lied?" he asked, not sure if he really wanted to know the answer.
"How does it go?" Kouta had never really appreciated any form of literature, but there was something almost haunting about the title.
Taking Kouta's warm hands in her own, Lucy began to sing, her smile a little sadder now. "Bei Nacht im Dorf der Wächter rief: Elfe! Ein ganz kleines Elfchen im Walde schlief—wohl um die Elfe! Und meint, es rief ihm aus dem Tal..."
Kouta listened carefully, not understanding, and Lucy trailed off, knowing full well her words fell on deaf ears.
"That's German... what does it mean?" he asked, shifting his body so that he was laying by her side.
Lucy shook her head, not entirely willing to explain it to him. "It's about an Elf who becomes curious and wanders into the territory of you humans. It only ends up getting hurt, and sent back to its own kind."
Kouta was silent under the weight of her words, not sure what she was trying to say.
Lucy twisted under the sheets, using her weakened vectors to push herself up into a sitting position. Kouta followed the motion, and placed a hand on her waist to support her. She froze, almost forgetting what she wanted to say. She wrapped her fingers around his wrists, and kissed his forehead softly.
"Do you remember, Kouta, what we promised when we were children?" There was venom in her words, thick and deadly.
This time Kouta was silent because he knew exactly what she was trying to say. He felt her lips brush gently against his face. Was this the only reason she had come back to him?
"'If I were to ever kill a lot of people, Kouta would have to kill me,'" she whispered in his ear, reciting it as if it was an ancient prophecy waiting to be fulfilled.
This time, she brought Kouta's hands to her throat, pressing them down as hard as she could; vectors shot out and wrapped around Kouta's arms, forcing them to put more and more pressure around her thin neck.
She smiled as Kouta unwillingly choked her, eyes alight as she heard his voice screaming a million miles away, stopped breathing as he struggled to pull away, to stop hurting her. But this was the only way to settle it; Kouta was the only person with a right to kill her, the only person she wanted to kill her.
Behind them, the tea was already cold.
Well? Worth continuing? Thanks for reading!