Lucy was about to quietly open the gate when Wanta started barking.
She began to regret her choice and made to pull away and leave Kouta's life for ever, not wanting to cause him any more pain.
She was slowly limping down the stone stairs, when the gate behind her opened; she heard a small gasp and something warm against her back and around her waist.
The thing was making her shoulder wet.
Lucy, her head lowered and pink hair covering the upper half of her face looked around at Kouta, not understanding.
"Nyu, you're back." He said, with far more relief than she expected.

"I'm not Nyu." She said calmly.
"Lucy?"
"That is not my name either." She said flatly.
Kouta's hold on her body released and he gently turned her around to face him.
She glumly looked him in the eye and muttered; "Its Kaede."
Kouta just smiled warmly.
"I'm glad you're home again, Kaede."
'Lucy' was in turmoil as he gently led her inside.
She came to say the last good bye to Kouta, apologize for everything she'd done to him.
She was ready to die after that, she'd thought about it, and accepted that it was her only escape from the guilt, the pain, and the fear.

She didn't expect Kouta to do this.
He gently led her by the hand up the steps and into the house.
With the first genuine smile he'd had since she went missing a few weeks ago, Kouta said; "Look who came home!"
Home. That was something Kaede was certain she didn't have until now.

They all genuinely pleased to see her, even Nana, although cautiously, she was still pleased to see her back at the inn.

"It's her! What's she doing here!? Wait…it's like Lucy, but not quite Nyu…" The distinct change in 'Lucy' troubled Nana.
Mayu was happy they were a family again, she felt the house was somewhat less happy without the constant activity that Nyu provided.
Yuka looked glad that she had come back in one piece…'Lucy' looked at her indifferently.

Kaede gave a small sad smile to Nana and Mayu, and sat down to eat the weird noodles Nana seemed to be in love with.

Both Kouta and Kaede were experiencing inner storms of emotion; she was infinitely glad she returned to Kouta, yet seeing him ripped her fragile heart, the guilt still stung.

Where as Kouta, was glad that the girl he considered the most precious peron in the universe had returned to him, but he felt horrible for all the things that had happened to her, he heard from a teary Nana about the things they were subjected to at that disgusting place.

Kouta decided when she was missing he was willing to forget about the pain she inflicted when she butchered his father and sister, it was partly his fault in his mind. He promised himself and more to her that he'd never let another bad memory plague her already ravaged and tortured mind.

After the lunch Kouta took Kaede off to get cleaned up.
He gently lead her into the bathroom, and while it filled up he went to get her some clean clothes.

He came back to find a shocking sight; She was quietly crying, huddled next to the bath.

Kouta closed the door and sat with her; he made small comforting noises and gently stroked her shoulder to comfort her more so.

"Why don't you hate me?" Her voice was eerily calm through her tears.
"I could never hate you." He had a small smile on but his eyes were pure melancholy.

"But what I did to you…" She didn't understand how he could still give her the love she needed all those years ago, and still did.

"While I said I couldn't forgive you for it, I can't also forgive myself for lying to you."
She understood, he didn't directly say it, but he didn't hate her in the slightest for how she ruined his young life.
Her tears came harder. "But I'm a monster…" she sounded so broken and small it hurt Kouta to the core to hear her like this.

"No. You are not a monster. The ones at that facility are monsters, and they tried to turn you into a monster too." She looked and the floor while he turned off the taps.

He gently stood her up and silently undressed her; he wasn't as embarrassed because this wasn't the innocent, naïve Nyu. This wasn't the sadistic Lucy either, both we one again, she was Kaede, the sad girl that Kouta fell in love with all those years ago.

As he gently washed her back, she began to hum their tune, Lilium.

Kouta grinned at the nostalgic song, it sounded sad, but to Kaede it made her remember the happiest days of her life.
"That reminds me," Kouta began, "You left some stuff here."
"Mmm?" She tilted her body around to look at him over her shoulder.
With his arms crossed, he struck a silly thinking pose.
"Yes! A small blue hat and a little box that plays a tune."
She was stunned, not only was he willingly giving her the music box they both treasured; he'd also recovered the blue hate she missed all those years.

Kouta thought back to the police questionings in hospital, and the hat they found with his name on the tag at the scene of the massacre at the festival.
He'd kept it all those years, he could never remember why, or how he got it.
Until a few weeks ago, when his memory came back.

After her bath (Kouta made sure he got all the dried blood and sea-smells off of her) he took her to her room, but the lonely look she had made him ask her if she wanted to sleep in his room. She nodded silently, so with a grin he picked up her mat and she carried her pillow and linen, he looked over his shoulder at her, and told her the last one to reach his room was a rotten egg. She remembered doing things like that at the Zoo…she smiled for the first time in a long, long time and ran with him.

He set her bed up next to his, and told her to wait for a second.

While he was gone she stared at the small, dark music box that he kept in his room, the one with 'lilium' printed in the small plaque on its front.

She sat on the foot of her mat, she didn't hear Kouta walk up and plop the blue beanie on her head.
"I guess those horns what be giving you trouble anymore anyway, but the hat looks cute on you still!"
She slowly took the hat off and looked at it in her hands.

She looked at Kouta, he was looking at her with warm, loving eyes.
She owed him so much, she took so much from him, yet he still gave her what she wanted more than all the blue beanies in the world,
Love.

(She didn't mind the baths and food too much either)

With a yawn Kouta announced it was bedtime.

With a faint smile Kaede crawled into her bed too.

With the lights out they laid there in the dark.
Kaede rolled over to face Kouta, and moved closer to his bed.
"Kouta?"
"Mmm?" He sounded utterly content.

She paused a second….

"Do you…love me?" She needed to ask what she wanted to so many years ago.

She heard him roll to face her.
"Of course." She felt him gently pulling her into his bed; she got the idea and wriggled in with him, amazed at how much warmer his bed was.
When they were settled in he added "I always did, I had just forgotten how much I did." She heard that 'Kouta-Smile' in his voice.

He felt her adjust closer in to him, clutching to him like her life depended on it.
He gently kissed her and bade her good night.
With this Kaede gave into her tremendous fatigue, and slept.

Kouta silently promised her he was going to provide her with a good life from that moment on.

He was glad he didn't have any classes the next day, and that night was the best nights sleep he'd had in a while.

Yo!
I went through most of the Elfen Lied fics, and there weren't any to my liking, so I wrote my own!
I figured Lucy/Nyu/Kaede had gone through enough, so I plan to not have anything too bad happen to her, at least I promise it'll end happy.