Orlena Uno, Matron of the Kamakura orphanage looked up from her desk as someone knocked on her door. She sighed and shuffled the papers on her desk into a tidy pile, pushed back her hair from her eyes and folded her hands on her desk. "Enter" she commanded.

Her office door slide open and her receptionist Megumi peeked in. "Your visitor is here Orlena" the older woman said.

The matron brushed a hand over her eyes, "Is it that time already? Sorry, I lost track of time with all this damn paperwork"

Megumi stepped through the doorway giving the matron a sympathetic look, "Orlena what have I told you about overworking yourself. You'll do yourself harm if you keep this up"

The headmistress smiled at the older ladys fussy words, "I'm sure to get some sleep over the weekend Megumi. Eventually exhaustion will force me to" she said with a smile.

"Well it better be soon or you'll be grey before your time girl" Megumi said, brushing a hand through her lengthy grey hair with a grin.

"Hey that's what dye is for"

"Bah. Filthy chemicals Orlena. Natural is the way to go" Megumi sniffed.

"Heh we can't all be as special as you" Orlena smiled.

Megumi smiled back, "Well now that I've woke you up, she clapped her hands briskly, ready to see your visitor?"

The matron nodded, "Maybe today I'll get lucky and this guy will actually be a decent sort and give some poor child a home, she sniffed dubiously, though with this schools track record that's not likely"

"This is a coastal town. Most folks here are already older, settled family's or tourists. When someone comes for the sea they leave with a tan not a child" Megumi noted sadly.

Orlena couldn't help but find herself agreeing, "Send him in please and bring some coffee too would you? I'm gonna need it by the end of the day" she said waving her receptionist away.

"Overworked much" Megumi said with a smirk as she sauntered out. The matron grinning to herself as she picked up her visitors file and did a quick scan.

Lets see... recently moved to the area, has a job as a mechanic in town, doesn't have any criminal record. No wait. Did some time in juniovial detention for robbery? Hmm.

'He's also a foreigner. Sounds exotic. Lets see what he's like' the matron thought to herself.

Another knock sounded and was swiftly followed by a young man who gave Orlena a curt nod as he entered. "Have a seat Mr Thompson"

The man gratefully slid into a chair and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket, he noticed her stare and gave a sheepish smile, "I'm nervous and I've always found a smoke makes the jitters go like nothing else. Do you mind if I?"

"Go ahead" the matron said and her visitor gratefully light his fag and took a deep pull, sighing afterwards.

"Thanks again for giving me an interview at such short notice. I understand that you're probably pretty swamped and don't like sudden surprises"

His words were friendly and his manner warm. Despite herself the severe headmistress found herself smiling at him, "I welcome any break from my routine I can get"

He smiled back and his rugged looks Orlena found herself appreciating. His file said he was twenty six and he did look it. His face was lined round the eyes but he still had smooth tanned skin and a fair amount of stubble. His hair was a messy chestnut flare, and he had equally bright auburn eyes. His figure was lean and wiry and he wore a simple white shirt and jeans under a long black trench coat.

His features were also not Japanese but clearly western. The exoticness added to his appeal. 'All in all quiet a looker' Orlena thought with a leer.

"Forgive me but I'd like to get straight to facts" she said trying to get back on track, "Now you wish to adopt but your file says you are currently engaged?

Thompson waved the hand holding the cigarette. A bright band of gold flashed on the index finger. "My bride to be. Shi Kai Wang. We meet shortly shortly after I moved to Japan from America and we just hit it off. That was two years ago"

He took another drag and his gaze became sombre, "Me and Shi been trying for a kid for awhile now. We're both pretty settled with life and figured a kid was a natural next step. We both knew we could support a child no problem and... to be honest after all my drifting I figured the family life would be a nice way to solidify my life"

He sighed and closed his eyes as if remembering something painful, "Me and Shi tried for ages, all sorts of stuff and we're pretty healthy too if you get my drift. But no kid. Nadda. So we both went to the docs and decided to see what was wrong"

"It was me, low sperm count, he said with a disgusted chuckle, chances of getting her pregnant were like ten thousand to one"

"I'm sorry to hear that" the matron said gently.

The man waved a hand, "I got over it. But we still wanted a kid. So when we moved here we saw there was a local orphanage and figured 'what the hell' lets give it a shot"

His eyes became serious, "I've never been a dad before, and I'll be honest the idea scares the hell out of me. But I want to have the chance to make a difference in someone's life and I'll do whatever it takes to make Shi-chan and my future son or daughter happy"

The matron watched him silently gauging his sincerity when there was a knock at the door followed by Megumi and two cups of steaming coffee.

"Thank you Megumi. Mr Thompson would you like a cup of coffee?"

The man nodded eagerly, "Yeah I'm parched" he said, gratefully taking the offered cup.

He waited for the matron to take hers and gave her a wide smile. "Oh and please you don't have to keep calling me 'Mr Thompson' sounds way too formal."

He took a sip of his coffee and leaned back in his chair, taking another breathe of his cigarette.

"Call me Mark"

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Lucy tapped her feet impatiently. Where had Kohta got to?

A bird chirped nearby and Lucy's ruby eyes flicked upwards. Though the waiting was annoying she at least had time to appreciate the beauty of the day. Summer was in full swing now and the sun was high and bright in a cloudless sky. Outside on the grounds was a carpet of bright green grass that was already filled with laughing and playing kids.

The horned girl closed her eyes as a soothing breeze caught up playing gently with her hair. It was such a nice day...

'shame I can't enjoy it with Caneene'

She gasped as a pair of hands covered her eyes. "Relax it's me Lucy" Kohta chuckled from behind her.

She relaxed and leaned back against him, "Where have you been?" she asked lightly, arms folded across her chest and his hands blocking her sight.

"Making a surprise for you. Now. You follow my lead and keep your eyes closed and I'll lead you to it kay?"

Lucy grinned. She liked this so far.

Kohta had lead her to a secluded part of the grounds and told her to keep her eyes closed while he set up. The girl had excited complied while he busied himself with whatever he was doing.

She shivered as he stepped behind her again and when he covered her eyes again she leaned into his warmth without bidding, breathing in his scent with relish.

"I know you're upset that we can't see Caneene. With all those people coming over to visit the home it's too busy to slip out the grounds without being seen" Kohta whispered.

"Stupid review days"

"Now now. Someone might actually find a home soon. That's what these days are all about"

"Stupid grown-ups" Lucy said bitterly.

Kohta pressed himself against her back tenderly, "And to cheer you up I did this for you. Open your eyes Lucy" he whispered and removed his hands.

Lucy blinked her eyes rapidly and focussed on what was before her. She stared in confusion not knowing what Kohta had done.

"It's a sheet?" she said dryly.

Kohta stepped forward spreading his arms wide, "This my friend is a picnic" he said with a broad grin.

"Notice the beautiful sun, shining down on us but with a cool breeze to cool us. But if its gets too warm we only have to scoot over a mere two meters to the welcome shade of this tree before us"

"Its pretty" Lucy conceded hiding her smile. The tree in question was a cherry blossom in full bloom and it did look beautiful surrounded by bright green grass.

Kohta waved his hand towards a basket on the sheet, "Inside this hamper are sandwiches, cheese, an assortment of fizzy drinks, now lukewarm but still fizzy, and other snacks"

"To my right is some music to add atmosphere to this beautiful setting" Kohta said with a laugh as he pointed out his music box.

"I haven't heard that for awhile. I missed it" Lucy said, now openly grinning.

Kohta raised a finger for attention, "And lastly once the meal is over!" he hurried over to the hamper and rummaged inside.

"We have a delightful selection of tasty puddings to enjoy for desert!" he cried in triumpth holding up a plastic cup of caramel pudding.

Lucy couldn't help it. Seeing the devilish smirk on his face she burst out laughing. Kohta watching her with a fixed grin before his shoulders shook and he started to laugh too.

Lucy sat beside him in a sprawl wiping tears of mirth from her eyes, "Great performance Kohta"

"I always deliver Lucy" he said beaming cheerfully.

She chuckled again and picked up a pudding turning it this way and that, "Howed you get these?"

"Stole it from some kids who weren't looking"

"Hah! Well played, Lucy gave him a grave look, you are learning my apprentice"

Kohta smiled then started to unpack. "And now the feast awaits"

Lucy watched him sort out the food with loving eyes. "Thanks for this" she whispered.

Kohta looked up, "You say something?"

Lucy shook her head and smiled at him, bemused he smiled back and handed her a sandwich.

"Let the meal begin!"

Kohta wiped his mouth and laid back on the sheet feeling pleasantly stuffed. 'Ahh that was nice'

He felt Lucy sit beside him and looked over to find her fiddling with his music box with a look of concentration. She found the latch and flipped the lid and Kohta sighed as the sweet melody of 'Lilium' started to play.

"Its so beautiful" Lucy whispered.

Kohta nodded quietly and closed his eyes. Familiar memories played through his mind and basking in the peace of the moment he didn't feel such pain when he thought of his family.

"Where did you get this again?"

That question did, however, bring a dull throb of pain from Kohtas heart. "My father got it for me in an antiques store back home... " he said softly.

He tensed as he felt Lucy settle down beside him, the girl resting her head on his chest and Kohta felt his thoughts spiral at her distracting presence. "Why?" she asked.

"It... it was my birthday. We were shopping in town, dad told me to look for something I liked, I picked that and he got it"

"Why an antique though?" the horned girl asked curiously.

Kohta sniffed, "Its not really an antique, he said amused, just an old music box that happened to be in the store"

"Why get it?" Lucy asked, her words caressing his chest and sending shivers down his spine.

"I was curious. I had been doing some Latin at school and I recognised the word 'Lilium' as being Latin so I picked it up"

He sighed as he thought back to that day in the musky old shop, "When I opened it and heard the music... I was... so amazed... caught I guess by it. I begged dad to get it and he did"

"He sounds like a really great guy"

Kohta swallowed hard, "yeah he was" he said thickly.

Lucy heard Kohta repress his sob and hugged him closer. "I'm sorry if I brought up bad memories" she said sincerely as she listened to his heart. Above her Kohta gave a sad chuckle, "No not bad memories. It's the good ones that you're helping me remember"

"Can I hear one?"

Kohta was silent for a moment and they both lay listening to the soulful song of Lilium. Kohta coughed, the melody sparking a memory and started to speak haltingly.

"Dad... he um... he told me one day what the words actually mean. In the song. I asked him one day and he said he didn't know. I was really bummed, I needed it for a school project and I just knew if I could translate it I'd get top marks"

Lucy listened intently as Kohta laughed quietly, "I came home the day after I asked and dad handed me a sheet of paper with the translation. I was so happy cause now my work would be the best"

"That was nice of him" Lucy said.

Kohta shook his head, "It's funny but it's only now, after everything that's happened, that I can really appreciate what he did"

"See dad was a dockworker. Some kind of head foreman I think, I'm not entirely sure. Anyway he had to be all over the place as he had a lot of clients and that week he was juggling like a dozen jobs at once all down the coast... he was really stressed out..."

Kohta paused to take a deep breath, his throat hitching in sadness, and Lucy nuzzled his chest for support, "Go on" she whispered.

"He... he was really busy... any other dad would have just ignored their sons request, 'It's just a lame school project, he'll still do fine and even if he gets low marks it's not gonna affect his education.' Other dads would say that"

Kohta closed his eyes and smiled in fond remembrance, "But not my dad. He knew how important this was to me and even with all his work he still found time to do this little thing for his son"

Kohta now did let out a sob and Lucy twisted round to look up at his face. His tear streaked sapphire eyes looked down at her with such pain that the horned girls eyes misted in pity.

"What does the song say then Kohta?" she asked, trying to distract him from his pain.

Kohta blinked his eyes and frowned as he tried to remember. As if some deity was taking pity on the poor boy the music box reached the end of its playing and starting to repeat the song.

"The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom... and his tongue shall speak judgement" Kohta whispered, eyes glazed as he read the words from the scrap of paper in his minds eye.

Lucy listened closely as Kohta continued, "Blessed is the man that endurith temptation. For when he hath been proved... he shall receive a crown of life..."

"Lord... Fire divine... have mercy" Kohta sang, his eyes trailing tears.

"Oh how holy, how serene..."

His eyes had wandering down and where now gazing into Lucy's demon red eyes, "How benign... how pleasant"

The song reached its ends and Kohta licked his suddenly dry lips, "Oh Lily of purity." he whispered.

Lucy took a moment to blink away her stupor. Kohta had just... when he been singing the song it had been so beautiful... so heartfelt...

"It's beautiful" she said wondrously, and wasn't sure what she was referring to.

Kohta nodded his head, his eyes bright with tears and emotion, "Yes it is" he whispered.

The two stared at each other in silence as 'Lilium' played for them and they were both aware that something could happen. Their was a deep connection between then that, while already powerful, could change into something much greater if only one of them would... just... take a chance...

Lucy ducked her head and rested herself on Kohtas chest, "Thanks for the picnic" she said quietly, scowling at nothing as she struggled to understand her own emotions.

"Your welcome. Thank you for cheering me up" Kohta said, his words genuine.

Lucy smiled as she gazed out across the grounds, the rippling grass, the singing birds, the bright sun and cherry blossoms. This moment was so perfect.

'Anything for you my beloved Kohta'

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"Yeah. I think this is the one. Yeah. She's here that guardian, the headmistress, it's definitely her"

A deep breath and a smoky sigh, "Of course they believed me. That's what you're paying me for remember? When I give a professional act it 'is' a bloody Broadway hit"

Silence for a moment, then an irritated cough.

"Yes that's New York. Extra points for Griff. What? No I haven't seen the kid yet. Seen more brats then I can stomach so far. It's depressing the way they look at you, part hope, part 'oh my god let him not be a creep'."

Another pull then a choked splutter, "Dammit boss shut him up! I don't wanna hear about his sick fantasy's!"

"... yeah. Yes I'll keep looking. I'll do a sweep today then come back tomorrow if I don't find him. I'll ask for a more 'specific' search that's closer to his description. I don't wanna try it yet or she'll get suspicious. Heh thinks she's got the hots for me actually"

Another pause then a dirty laugh, "Yeah I wish. I can hear someone coming gotta go."

The door opened and the matron poked her head into the staff tearoom and smiled at Mark, "Ah there you are. You ready to view the grounds Mark?"

Mark finished his cigarette and fixed a bright smile on his face, "Lets go say hi to the little rug rats"

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Lucy hummed happily as she walked lightly through the springy grass towards the home. She felt more relaxed then she had in a long time, full of stomach and high in spirit. Lunch was ending now and the children were returning in droves, thankfully too full of life due to the wonderful day to bother the horned girl or her blue eyed friend.

She closed her eyes, the sunlight warming her cheeks, and twirled like a ballerina her skirt spinning out and her hair dancing as she laughed joyfully.

God it felt so good to be alive.

She heard a grunt of pain behind her and turned to look at Kohta with sparkling red eyes. She grinned mischievously as Kohta stumbled under the weight of the packed picnic gear.

He met her gaze and gave her an embarrassed grimace, "I kinda hoped it'd be lighter once we had eaten most of the food"

The girl giggled and bounced over in energetic hops. She surprised Kohta by taking a hold of the hamper bag and helping him lift it.

"You know you can just ask for help silly" she said beaming.

Kohta blushed, 'God she looks so nice with the sun over her... it's like her hairs on fire, but in a good way'

With her help Kohta found the going easier and soon the two had made their way to the main building. They hung back as the other children fought their way into the building, happy to just wait for the scrum to die down in each others company.

"I'll have to drop this off at my room quick or I'll be really late for class... so I can't walk you to your own lesson" Kohta said apologetically.

Lucy nodded, "Will I still see you later tonight?" she asked hopefully.

The boy smiled widely, "Of course! I wouldn't miss it for the world"

Lucy smiled back and for a moment the two stared at each, again finding themselves entranced by the other. Just as quickly they broke the gaze, both looking away with a blush and coughing nervously.

"So I'll meet you later tonight and then we can head out and see Caneene-" Kohta began to say.

"Ah-hem!"

Both youngsters looked up in surprise at the stern features of the matron. The headmistress staring down at them suspiciously and being met by similar looks from both girl and boy.

"Who is this Canteen you're talking about?" she asked.

Lucy froze. Her heart did a double tap of terror and her eyes glazed with fear. Oh god she had done it. She had finally made a mistake. Someone had heard her mention her dear puppy and he was going to be taken from her.

'No, no, no!' she thought in anguish.

"Well?" the matron snapped when neither child answered.

Lucy curled her hands into fists, ready to spit out her own cutting words of anger, denial, anything to throw this witch of her pets trail when Kohta coughed and crossed his arms moodily.

"If you 'must' know Caneene is Lucy's toy doll. Tonight we're acting out one of her adventures with the teddy bear king"

Lucy almost spluttered in shock and disgust at this terrible lie, as 'if' she'd play with dolls! The matron seemed to be thinking the same thing as her features were twisted up in disbelief.

"That's... rather childish, she looked down at Lucy, I didn't know you still played with dolls girl"

Before she could hiss a response Kohta grumbled something. Both females looked at him as he ducked his head down and held himself tighter in a good act of being nervously defiant.

"S'mine idea actually" he muttered.

The matron looked downright shocked, "You 'are' joking"

He gave her a moody glare, "Well it's not like there's a lot to do here"

The matron seemed to be considering this when she noticed the hamper Kohta was holding, "And what's this all about then? Princess tea parties?"

The look Kohta gave her was real anger. Now it was Lucy's turn to jump in, "please headmistress"

The matron looked down at her as Lucy stared at the floor gnawing her lip, "please just let him be... he's having a hard time these last few days... please don't make him any more sad then he already is headmistress"

The matron sighed and rubbed her eyes tiredly, "Ok, ok, she said hurriedly, just get to your classes"

"And Kohta. I know you don't like it but you have to stop skipping P.E. I'm only asking once young man then I'll have to get creative ok" the matron warned.

"Yes miss" Kohta responded with relief.

"Your names Kohta?"

Kohta and Lucy glanced behind the matron and for the first time noticed the man you had been following the headmistress along. Lucy figured him to look ok with his rough hair and stubble and lean figure, though he looked a little too crafty for her liking. A trickster like herself could spot another one a mile off.

Kohta took the man in finding himself a little disturbed by the triumphant light in his brown eyes. The smile he had was a little too creepy and Kohta was immediately wary of this man.

"Yeah... why do you ask?" the boy asked carefully.

The man shrugged, "I got a cousin named Kohta. Need to call him at some point, your name just reminded me that's all"

"yeah right" Lucy muttered, just low enough for only Kohta to hear. The boy nodded in agreement.

"Mr Thompson and his wife are considering adopting." the matron said with a lot of dropped hints.

"Oh goody" Kohta said dryly.

Lucy snorted then frowned as she noticed the man glancing from his mobile screen to Kohta. His eyes looked calculating.

"What are you doing with your phone?" the red head barked her temper rising.

"Just checking my messages cool your jets kid" the man said looking at her irritably.

His eyes fell on her horns. A disgusted look came to his face as he stared at them, "Ew gross. Are those real?" he said.

The demon eyed girl met his gaze with a blank look. She carefully licked her lips and only the rock-like stillness she had showed how angry she was.

'What's the point in getting angry though. It's not like this isn't gonna happen again at some point'

Lucy sighed and looked away, "Yeah they are. I'll see you later Kohta" she said without emotion and went to walk away.

'It's funny. These last few days being around Kohta I ha actually forgotten the pain these horns cause. Back to the real world now Lucy' she thought bitterly.

But before she could slip out of sight a hand grasped her arm and stopped her. She looked back with surprise to find Kohta holding her back and glaring daggers at the matron and 'Mr Thompson'.

"Apologise to Lucy" the boy hissed, his eyes ice cold.

The man raised an eyebrow in amusement, "Big man aren't you" he said sardonically.

"She didn't deserve that. Apologise to her 'now'"

"Yes an apology would be the right thing to do right now" Said the matron, surprising Kohta and Lucy by looking at the man with distaste.

Noticing her anger too Thompson looked abashed, "Sorry kid, just surprised me that's all" he said with an apologetic smile.

Lucy saw right through his fake cheer, "Whatever" she mumbled and ripped free of Kohta, marching off in silence.

"Lucy!" Kohta called after her. Sending another sharp glare at the man who insulted her he raced after her friend.

"Whoa that was weird" Mark said grinning at the matron.

The headmistress merely stared at him as if seeing him in a new light. Finally she gave a discreet cough and said, "Mr Thompson thanks for coming to visit our orphanage. I'll have the necessary paperwork sent to you and if we feel we have someone that you and your wife may be in a position to help I'll notify you"

Mark looked at her shrewdly, "I messed up didn't I"

Now the matron finally smiled, albeit coldly, "Yes you did"

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'Stupid man. Stupid matron. Stupid humans! Hate them all!'

Lucy struggled to keep her anger in check as she stormed through the halls towards class. Barging past other kids and meeting their retorts and surprised looks with bestial snarls the girl cursed all the gods all over again for her horrible stigma.

Her horrible horns.

'I just want to be normal. I'm sick of the constant ridicule' she though with an equal mix of fury and despair.

She spun round a corner and spotted her class gathering outside Mr Kimuchii's classroom. The red eyed girl hung back taking deep breaths as she forced her anger down. At the moment it felt like a caged beast trying to rip its way out of her breast. Ok calm Lucy, calm.

"Hey freak!"

The horned girl let out a low hiss as she looked up at the group before her as a familiar figure detangled itself from the throng and strutted over to her.

Her eyes narrowed. It wasn't Tomoo but one of his cronies, the black skinned one named Mike. The boy glared at her with equal anger, "You think you're so big eh girl. Think just cause you got a big boyfriend to protect you that you can walk all over us? Well you just wait freak. You and your friend are gonna pay"

'Now is 'not' the time' Lucy thought with growing agitation.

"Back off" she whispered. Her eyes flinty red coals as she dug her nails into her palms so clenched were her fists.

Her anger was so hot she felt she should ignite yet as she glared at the smug looking boy in front of her she found something strange happening to her. Hers eyes were losing their focus, the edges becoming blurred and greying out as her heart raced with the force of her fury. Again she felt that strange 'otherness' take over whenever she reached a high emotional state and for a split second a part of her panicked and tried to rein back her anger.

'Do not fear... let out your fury... give in to your anger and teach these filthy primates how furious a god can become'

'But I don't want to kill... it's wrong' Lucy thought as visions of blood and mayhem flooded her minds eye.

She shivered as she felt a gentle hand take her shoulder and tenderly caress her. A figure drew close but stayed just out of her peripheral vision so all she could see was a hazy outline.

'Is it wrong to defend yourself? You've taken so much abuse from this world. From the monsters that inhabit it. Maybe it would be best to cleanse this world, wipe out all the bad and leave only the good.'

'Leave only the ones who will love and worship you and your power...'

Lucy thought this over. The idea had some appeal to it. To live in a world free of all the ridicule and hate she had suffered all her life. To get rid of all the evil in the world and leave it free for her and... Kohta...

'But he wouldn't want me to kill, she thought in dismal revelation, he wouldn't see it like I do. After what happened to his family he wouldn't understand'

His smiling face flashed through her memory and she felt the 'others' presence start to fade. Colour started to return to the world and the boy in front of her started to frown ever so slowly to Lucy's time-stopped senses.

'As always we come back to Kohta'

The greyness was suddenly back with a vengeance and the hand on her shoulder squeezed tightly, not enough to hurt but to gain Lucy's undivided attention.

'He is a lowly mortal, unworthy of you, yet... he worships you and he sees the blooded lily that you are without fear. He has his uses.'

'But he is in danger. Out in that world are people who want to kill him, the same people that killed his family. People just like Tomoo and all the other sickly humans who inhabit this prison'

Lucy felt a thrill of fear at this reminder of how frail Kohtas life was. Sensing her hesitation the other drew closer, so that Lucy felt warm breathe on the nape of her neck and could almost make out a single red eye staring at her.

'He needs your protection. But how can you keep him safe as you are now? You're too weak, you need greater strength... you need to let go of your human weakness and embrace your destiny'

Lucy was intrigued, "But how? I'm just a small sickly girl. What power do I have?"

'The vectors Lucy. Our vectors are waiting for you to call to them. Waiting for you to unleash their might upon the world'

"My vectors?"

"Hey freak why are you talking to yourself? Been taking drugs or something or are you just crazy?" the bully Mike sneered at her, his worlds dulled as if coming from a long distance to Lucy's negative world.

'They need to be baptised in blood and human terror. Kill this one Lucy. Let all your anger and hate and pain become the righteous lance that will pierce his heart and begin the cleansing of this world'

'Kill this one and all will be made clear to you'

Lucy considered the words and felt her body tense as her heart raced with adrenaline. She could feel something tightened and under incredible pressure inside her and for a desperate moment Lucy could almost make out the key that would unlock them.

"Hey freak I'm talking to you!" Mike yelled and pushed her roughly. The instant his hands made contact with her chest the demonic eyes of Lucy contracted to single points of flaring red and her lips drew back in a terrifying snarl.

"NEVER TOUCH US!" Lucy screamed in a voice not quite her own. Mike had a second to stare in puzzlement at her outburst before a tremendous force smashed into his chest and sent him skidding down the corridor.

Lucy stepped forward. Her pinpoint eyes staring with evil intent at the wheezing Mike and the remainder of her class who stared down the hall in fright and confusion, uncertain what was happening.

'KILL THEM LUCY! WIPE THEM OUT, CLEAN UP THE PLANET STARTING WITH THESE WORTHLESS HUMANS BEFORE YOU. EMBRACE YOUR HATRED!!"

Lucy was almost hyperventilating as she drew herself up to her full height. She felt the pressure inside reach critical mass and the memory of her ghost arms rose to the forefront of her mind. She remembered the feeling of release, pleasure, and freedom of her dream from long ago and whispered to herself, "Am I enjoying this?"

'Yes I am'

"Lucy stop!"

The girl let out a cry of surprise as Kohta barrelled into her bringing her down forcefully. Still gripped in the troughs of her dream she struggled in his hold, biting and clawing as he fought to contain her.

"Lucy stop it! He's not worth the trouble. Calm down, please!" Kohta pleaded with her.

His words started to have an effect and as her struggle weakened he quickly straddled her, holding her arms above her head as he gazed in confusion into her ruby eyes. The pin sized pupils scared him more then he cared to admit and as she stared up at him he whispered, "Where are you Lucy?"

The girl finally went still and after a few moments staring into space she blinked rapidly and looked at Kohta with confusion.

"Kohta? What- what's going on? What are you doing on top of me" she asked.

Kohta breathed a sigh of relief and gently eased himself off his friend, "Lucy, he began, we need to talk about what's going on with-"

"What's going on here?" demanded the self-important voice of Mr Kimuchii.

Both of them looked up in surprise to find the teacher standing at the class door scowling at them and with the class clustered around him like frightened lambs. The faces of the children looking at Lucy with shock and nervousness while Mike was glaring at her with wounded pride.

"She attacked me sir! Just knocked me down for no reason!"

"Is this true?" Mr Kimuchii asked.

Lucy collected her wits and glared back at the boy, "He started it! He insulted me and threatened me and-and pushed me too!"

Though she projected anger inside the horned girl was almost sick with worry. Just what the 'hell' happened just then? Was it another daydream or something more? Did she really think she had special powers or something? Yeah right! As if!

And yet... the memory of a hand taking her shoulder and a single red eye watching her was so powerful it couldn't be purely imaginary.

'And that rush of energy... how did I shove Mike away like that?' she wondered with a thrill of excitement and terror.

"She's right sir. He started the fight. Lucy doesn't just attack people for no reason" Kohta said calmly from her side. She glanced at him worriedly and found him staring at her intently, an unreadable expression on his face.

"That's a lie sir. She started it!"

"Prove it" Kohta said bluntly finally looking away from his friend.

Mike floundered for a moment then his eye fell on the class, "Hey she started it right!" he questioned them, a threatening glint in his eye.

The class was silent though at any moment Lucy expected one of them to pipe up in his defence.

"She didn't start it. You did" a voice timidly answered from the throng.

A girl with brown pigtails stepped forward, a scared but resolute expression on her pretty face. "Mike started calling Lucy names them pushed her Mr Kimuchii. She only pushed him back once he did that... then Kohta came and calmed her down" Miko said.

"You'll pay bitch" Mike hissed.

"Enough of that!" Mr Kimuchii ordered glaring down at the boy distastefully. He looked over towards Miko, "Thank you for your honesty young lady"

Miko bowed her head bashfully then hesitantly meet Lucy's eyes. Despite the help Lucy looked away, the pain of betrayal still heavy in her breast.

'I'll never forget what she did to me'

Crestfallen Miko turned away to her group of friends as Mr Kimuchii ushered them into class, "Everyone in now"

He turned to Mike and laid a heavy hand on his shoulder, "As for you Mr. Me and you will have a nice long chat after class understood?"

"Yes sir" Mike said sullenly and hurried into class.

"As for you two, Mr Kimuchii said glancing at Kohta and Lucy, Lucy get inside and prepare your notes. Kohta, shouldn't you be in your own class?"

"Yes sir. I'll go right away sir" Kohta said quietly and hurried off without another word.

"Wait-" Lucy started to say but Kohta had already vanished around a corner. She quietly lowered her hand that had been reaching for him and sadly entered the classroom.

Kids all around settled into their seats, eagerly chatting and laughing now that the drama was over. As Mr Kimuchii demanded quiet Lucy shuffled over to her desk, ignoring Mikes glares and Mikos hopeful look.

She needed time to think and understand what had just happened. These constant blackouts and now daydreams were starting to really worry her.

The girl reached her usual seat at the back of the class and scowled in annoyance as she noticed someone was sitting there already. Another girl with her back to her.

"Hey that's my seat" Lucy barked angrily, in no mood for more trouble.

The figure turned slowly and Lucy's eyes widened in shock as the naked girl looked up at her silently, her mind scarcely believing what she was seeing.

The girls face was hidden behind tight bandages except for the left eye that glowed a bloodied red. A demonic eye that looked at her with a mocking gaze that seemed to see right through Lucy's soul.

"Times almost up Lucy. You can't keep me out for much longer" the girl whispered with a silk smooth voice.

Lucy was starved for words. Frozen in place she fought to get her stalled mind back into first gear as the naked young girl continued to stare with her single, amused, eye.

"W-who... are... you?"

The girl chuckled, soft and musical but tinged with madness. "I'm the truth Lucy. The truth you're hiding yourself from"

"What truth?" Lucy demanded, her anger helping to focus her.

The girl reached up and played with something on her head. Lucy followed the delicate pale fingers and gasped as she saw them caressing twin horns that peeked out from the girls bandaged skull.

"That you are a killer Lucy" the other whispered.

"Ms Lucy would you stop playing with your hair and take your seat!"

Lucy blinked and stared in confusion at her empty chair. What the hell?

She glanced over to the front of the class finding Mr Kimuchii and the class staring at her with bemusement. Lucy glanced up and let out a squeak of surprise when she found her hand holding her horns of its own accord.

She snatched it down, staring at the floor and hiding her terrified eyes behind her bangs as she took a seat without a word. Mr Kimuchii cleared his throat and began the class but Lucy tuned out his words, her eyes wide with fear as she stared at her hands.

'What is happening to me' she thought as she realised her hands were trembling.

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Kohta tapped his feet impatiently as he waited for Lucy to appear. The day had ended and night had fallen. As promised the dark haired boy was hiding out in the bushes outside Lucy's window with a small bag of food for Caneene. His contribution to the little puppy's nightly feed.

'Dammit Lucy where are you' he thought in part annoyance part nerves. He had tried to find her between classes and during lunch and supper but every time he had caught a glimpse of her she vanished before he could catch up.

Was she avoiding him?

He hoped not although he could guess why. After that fight with Mike he had legged it without even saying goodbye to her and he bet she had been hurt by that.

'But I had to. I was too confused to talk to her then. I needed time to figure out what to do'

Though he had tried to convince himself it was his imagination he was 'certain' that Lucy had never touched Mike, yet he had seen the bully fly across the corridor like a rag doll and Lucy was the only one next to him.

He had the perfect angle as he rounded the corner and he had seen Lucy scream at him then the next second the boy was flying. But... how was that possible?

'Is Lucy... psychic or something? Can she move things with her mind?' the boy wondered with a mix of fascination and disbelief. He knew it was impossible but he couldn't work out any other reason for how Mike was thrown back so effortlessly with no physical action on Lucas part.

But as strange as that was Kohta didn't really care, Mike was a jackass pure and simple. No. What was scaring him was Lucy herself.

That was the third, 'Or fourth?' time that Lucy had gone all cold and scary in front of him. Kohta had come to dread these 'episodes' of Lucy's where the horned girls eyes became pinpoints of rage and all trace of his friend vanished.

That wasn't his friend. Whoever that person was it wasn't the Lucy he loved and Kohta 'knew' Lucy didn't approve of her either. Otherwise his friend wouldn't have these memory losses whenever she came back from her trances. No this person was a threat and Kohta was determined to do everything he could to protect Lucy from her.

'Noble intentions. But how to I save something from that could be some kind of multiple personality?'

The boy considered this problem until the sound of a opening window woke from his daze. He glanced up and immediately his face beamed as he saw Lucy climb out of her room and, without even looking around for him, dash off towards the main gate.

The girl made it to the gate and out into the streets without any noise and with such haste Kohta wondered if she was being chased.

Lucy hurried down the street, a bag of food slung over her shoulders, dodging street lamps and ducking her head when a car passed she reached the forest paths without incident.

She stiffened as a figure rose from the shadows before her and her ruby eyes narrowed threateningly. "So hows it going Lucy?" Kohta asked conversationally as he strolled up to her.

The girl let out a sigh, though of relief or annoyance Kohta wasn't sure, "Kohta... what are you doing here?"

The boy looked surprised and in answer held up a bag of food, "I was gonna come see Caneene with you tonight remember?"

"You... you didn't forget about it, did you?" he asked with some hurt.

The red haired girl winced at his words, "I-I didn't forget as such just... I was in a hurry and... well I didn't want to be late to see Caneene"

'That's a terrible lie Lucy'

The girl clutched her head suddenly and let out a hiss of pain. Kohta stepped forward, concern plain on his face, "Stay back" Lucy snapped at him.

"W-what?" Kohta was clearly confused as he hesitated. Lucy let go of her throbbing skull and gave him a false smile, "Headache" she said in explanation.

But Kohta didn't look very convinced, "Lucy is everything ok?"

"Everything's fine"

"Really? Cause recently you've been acting strange"

"Hows that?" the horned girl asked with a twitch.

Kohta struggled for words, "Just... well... I'm worried Lucy. Something's up that's for sure"

"I'm fine" Lucy said firmly. Kohta stared at a loss what to say and taking the chance Lucy stepped past him.

"Lets go see Caneene"

But Kohtas next words stopped her dead.

"Lucy. How'd you knock Mike back without even touching him?"

Lucy didn't turn round. "What do you mean?" she asked in a small voice.

Knowing he was on to something Kohta carefully drew closer to her, "Back at the school I'm sorry I ran off like that but it was for a good reason. I needed to check my own memories and see if what I saw was really true or not"

"You screamed at Mike and... your eyes Lucy... I've seen them change like that before and its... its scary. It's like it's not really you any more. Then Mike just went flying across the corridor and I 'know' you didn't touch him"

"How'd you do it?" Kohta asked again.

"I... I pushed him Kohta. I was so angry I must have been made pumping full of strength or something. I just wanted him to get away so when I pushed him it must have been much harder then I thought"

"Liar. I know what I saw"

Lucy whirled on Kohta, a snarl on her pale lips, "How dare you call me-"

She froze, eyes widening in disbelief as Kohta looked at her strangely. "Lucy what's wrong?"

'Drip... Drip... Drip...'

Her friend was looking at her with worry but all Lucy could see was blood. So much of it covered her friend in great splashes and streaks that made him almost glow with how much spilled fluid coated him. All she could hear was the 'drip.drip.drip' of his blood leaving his body and all she could smell was the rank stench of rotting blood.

"Lucy?"

She looked down and let out a choked cry as she saw that Kohtas left arm was crudely severed below the elbow and that thin streams of his blood were flowing from it.

"Lucy what's wrong?" Kohta said, now really worried.

'This isn't real. It can't be. Its not possible!' Lucy tried to tell herself as she looked back up at his face but something even more terrifying then her friends ravaged form was before her.

The bandaged girl was leaning over Kohtas shoulder, resting her head against his cheek and staring at her with that blood coloured eye again. Lucy swallowed with revulsion and rage as the girl drew her naked body up against Kohtas bleeding form, running her pale hands over his chest and hips.

'Like what I've done with him Lucy?'

"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" Lucy screamed and lunged for the horrible creature, hand outstretched in a claw to rip out that hated eye.

"Lucy stop!" Kohta caught her and held her back, face mortified with puzzlement as she clawed at the empty air past him. "Lucy what's wrong. Please!" he pleaded with her.

The girl went slack, her eyes confused as she blinked away her vision. She was silent for a moment then drew in a shuddered breathe and pulled back from Kohta.

"Oh Kohta... I... I..." she sobbed.

Kohta sprang forward, taking her slender hands in his own and holding them tight as he forced her to meet her eyes. "Lucy... I'm here for you... I'll always be here. Anything that's wrong I wanna help you. So please let me. I couldn't survive watching you in pain and not being able to help so please... let me help you"

'Oh Kohta. My dear friend'

"You'll think I'm insane... a freak" she whispered with self loathing, especially with the last word.

Kohta squeezed her hands and shook his head, "Never! I'd never think that" he said fiercely.

The girl took a deep breathe and sniffled. She glanced around her wincing as a car crawled by, its headlights burning her dark-adjusted eyes.

"Not here. Lets get to Caneene then we'll talk. I'll... I'll be better around Caneene"

Kohta nodded, "Then lets go see our furry friend" he said softly and taking her hand led her into the woods.

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"Stop the van!"

"W-why?"

"STOP THE DAMN VAN NOW!"

A screech of tyres and a rapid hooting of a car horn as a white van skidded to halt forcing traffic to swerve around it.

"Je-zus! Dammit boss I almost got on first base with a 4x4! What the hell did you stop us for?"

Joseph didn't even look at his confused driver. "I saw him. I saw him!"

"Who?"

"What going on boss?" asked Griff from the back.

"Kohta! I saw the little bastard just now!"

With that the man ripped open the passenger door and dived out into the night. Griff and Mark swiftly followed, the lean man melding in with the shadows despite his confusion while Griff stood out like a boulder as he stomped after them.

They came to a halt next to a dirt path almost invisible in the pitch darkness. Mark lit a cigarette and took a drag as he considered what lay before him.

"The kid went in there?"

Joseph smiled, a glint of gold in the shadows. "Yes. He's in there. Him and some girl"

"A girl?" Griff echoed. Mark glanced at the huge man for a second, unnerved by the strange gleam in his eyes.

"Are you certain?" Mark asked his employer.

"Yes. I'm certain"

"So what do we do?"

Another sinister smile, "We hunt him down... and finally put an end to all my troubles"

"So what should we do? Bribe him? Rough him up? Make him keep quiet? I'm sure Griff could think up enough unpleasant stuff to make him rethink squealing" Mark said.

The mad took another drag of his cigarette and the pinpointed eye leader noticed with some amusement that his hand was trembling slightly.

"Rough him up? Bribe him? Why would I do that Mark?" Joseph asked with a smile.

The smoker paused his mind considering, "Well... I figured those options would have less chance of having drawbacks. Killing the kid would create a mess... people would question his disappearance"

"Leaving him alive would leave a mess. Even if I could force his silence there is a chance he may double cross me later in life. Or even grow up and try and kill me"

"Yeah but-"

"No buts" Said Joseph, and now his words were ice devoid of mercy. "The boy has a history of running off, that much I've found out on my 'own'. If he vanishes now there will be a hundred theory's as to what happened. Did he run away? Did I get to him? Or maybe he was murdered by some random crazy like so many other orphaned children in this world. The possibilities are endless"

"I do 'not' like leaving things unresolved Mark. I want that boy dead now and I don't have the time or patience for colleges who second guess and doubt. I can't afford any... disloyalty Mark. Not even the slightest"

Behind Mark the heavy bulk of Griff moved closer. His arms slowly drew apart and his body tensed as he awaited a signal. Mark glanced behind him, keeping his cool magnificently as the menacing shadowy presence hovered above him.

Another puff of the cigarette, a flare in the dark and then Mark calmly said, "Just checking what the plan was boss. Making sure you're aware of all the eventuality's as per my job sir."

Throwing down his cigarette and stamping it down he tidied his coat and stood to attention.

Joseph nodded, "Better. Lets go. And Griff"

The huge man stepped back from Mark and looked down at his boss, "Yes?" he droned.

"Find the kid. Capture him. And hold him for me. Don't kill him until I get there"

"What about the girl boss?" again the perverse anticipation.

Joseph paused and searched for Marks eyes, "As long as the boy doesn't get away you can do what you want with her" he said watching Marks expression.

The man just shrugged, "No witnesses has always been my work effect"

Joseph nodded then fixed his gaze on Griff. His eyes glinted with his controlled madness and his smile was pure predatory excitement.

"Go get them Griff"

The huge thug nodded his shaven head once and then dashed past into the undergrowth with surprising speed. He was completely swallowed up in the dark undergrowth but try as they might neither man could hear his movements.

Joseph pulled out his gun, a large modified Glock and Mark drew his smaller Beretta. "Lets go" the leader hissed and followed after his unleashed minion.

Mark followed and in his mind he remembered back when Joseph had last sent Griff after a rival who had tried to run away from one of his raids. That man had been another crime boss, well experienced, lethal, and running through his own territory with full knowledge of all its short-cuts, dead ends and ambush sites.

Ten minutes after Griff had been sent after him he called back on his cell and told the gang where he was. When Mark got there he and most of the gang emptied their lunches in shit and vomit seeing that Griff had 'literally' pasted the man across an alley.

And all Joseph had done was smile, walk up to the bloodstained giant and said, "Good boy".

'God I really feel sorry for those kids' Mark thought wretchedly.

But... in the end his own skin was worth far more then anyone's else's.

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"Caneene please I'm messy enough no more!" Kohta said with a chuckle as the little puppy eagerly tried to lick his face for the thousandth time.

Sitting opposite him with her knees drawn to her chest Lucy giggled as all Kohtas mild pushing did was spur the little puppy on. "Help Lucy I'm drowning!" Kohta cried as he fell back with a laugh, Caneene pouncing on his chest yapping excitedly and slobbering over his cheeks.

"Ok that's enough Caneene. Here boy! Quick! Before Kohta drowns." Lucy held out her arms and with a bark Caneene sprang free of Kohta and raced into his mistresses arms. He licked her coyly and snuggled against her as she closed her eyes and held his furry body close.

Kohta wiped his face and sat up rocking slightly as he watched Lucy's peaceful expression. "You always look so happy around him Lucy. Its nice to see you smile and laugh so much" he said with a grin.

Lucy smiled back, "I feel safe here. I don't have to keep a constant watch out for enemies"

"Yep. The only danger here is getting pounced on by our puppy friend"

Caneene barked and both children smiled, 'he is ours... mine and Kohta's. Together' Lucy thought with bliss. She watched as Kohta started to sort through his sack of food. Gods above he was so amazing.

"Hey got some chicken here. What do you say Caneene? Fancy trying it?"

Caneene yipped and Lucy set him down as the puppy trotted over to Kohta and took the proffered meat. He ate from Kohtas hand and Lucy smiled noticing the little dog was careful not to snap on Kohtas fingers.

As Kohta fed their pet Lucy leaned back, settling herself on her elbows and gazing up at the stars that could be seen poking through the forest canopy like candle flames. With the cool wind blowing through the forest and the summer warmth radiating from the ground Lucy felt her tension uncoiling in the pleasant environment.

Better then all that though was the silence. But not in the physical sense. Across from her Kohta was giggling and Caneene barking as the two played and ate but it was a different silence Lucy enjoyed.

The girl wasn't here. And since coming to Caneene the whispering voice in her horned skull had completely ceased. Banished by the tranquillity of this place.

But Lucy wasn't stupid enough to think it was over. As soon as she left and returned to the orphanage that bandaged monster would return. Whispering in her ears and trying to make Lucy think terrible things.

She shivered as she recalled that horrible dripping sound of Kohtas blood. That terrible image she had imagined of a torn and ravaged Kohta and that horrible siren hugging him would give her nightmares for the rest of her life.

And the most terrible thing was that... Lucy couldn't shake the suspicion that it may be a vision of things to come. Over the last few days strange things had been happening to her. The humans at the school were getting ever more tiresome and after what she did to Mike she was 'really' becoming scared. How had she thrown that lousy human so far without touching him?

'And why am I referring to everyone as 'human'? I'm a human aren't I?'

Lucy gripped her horns and squeezed her eyes shut. Oh god the headache was coming back. Not now, not now, not now!

"Lucy you ok?"

The girl looked up through misty eyes to see that both Kohta and Caneene were looking at her with worry.

"I..."

Kohta frowned and carefully put down Caneenes meal, the little dog eagerly accepting it, and shuffled over to Lucy.

He placed a hand on her knee, Lucy watching silently, "We've seen Caneene. Now you gonna tell me what's wrong?" he said carefully.

He rubbed her knee gently, "Please?"

Lucy sat up and with slow movement pressed herself against Kohtas chest, burying her head into the nape of his neck. Kohta curled his arms around her and held her close in a tight ball of paired bodies.

"Once I start don't stop me until I'm finished Kohta. I only think I can get this out once"

"Ok" Kohta whispered. He rested his chin on her soft hair as Lucy took a deep breath.

"There's another girl... a girl who only I can see. And... she's me, I think... but she's also not me... she's a lot more... vicious then me..."

She took a shuddering breath, tightening her little hands hold on Kohtas shirt, "She says I have a gift... something that no'one else has. A power that is locked inside me and she wants me to let it out"

Her body trembled and Kohta held her closer, his eyes staring out into the dark as he listened intently.

"And she says... the only way to gain this power... is to kill people..."

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Smashing through undergrowth, moving snakelike round fallen tree trunks and leaping over ditchs and ravines the beast hunted its prey.

Bursting into a clearing Griff hunkered down, his huge body a loathsome squatting monster in the dark as his eyes scanned the darkness and he breathed deep of the air.

They were here. They had passed through here for sure. A dog too...

Griff had hunted and killed for most of his life. When he was barely ten he had killed a fellow student for trying to steal his lunch and as he contemplated the stabbed mess that had been another human he knew he had found his calling.

He had had many employers, some professional, some beasts like himself. Some had hired him out of necessity, and discarded him in disgust once a gruesome murder had been committed.

Even the beastly masters had eventually grown disgusted with his murderous ways.

Griff hadn't cared. Once out of their employ he had gone back and killed them. And the hunters sent after him in retribution.

He hadn't cared. His only vice was death and the more enemies he made the more hot blood he got to spill and taste. So far his life had been good for a psychopathic killer like himself.

He sniffed the air again, his years of killing and stalking had honed his senses in ways 'normal' men could never achieve. The dog was a little mutt by the smell, still a puppy, so no threat.

He could smell the boy. He grinned as he picked up the strength of purpose in that boy. Here was a fighter, one honed by conflict and changed by a harsh life into something stronger then his original form. Griff could understand that.

The last... Griff breathed deep... was a girl...

Young... vital... and just approaching the cusp of adolescence. And judging by the smell she too was a fighter with spirit.

He felt himself stir and remembered his masters words. His fanged teeth, filed regular every month, glinted dully in the dark as he contemplated the pleasure ahead.

Of all his masters he liked Mike the best. The man with his pinprick eyes even gave Griff some uncertainty, that was good, and he too enjoyed others pain. He hadn't been squirmish about Griffs 'hobbies' concerning his younger prey and as long as Griff did what he was told he could indulge to his hearts content.

It had been awhile since he had made a child scream. He wasn't biased towards girls or boys, all were special in their own way. The master would want Kohta unharmed so he could play with him himself and Griff wasn't gonna be so cruel as to spoil his fun.

But the girl... she was gonna be his.

With a snarl of delight Griff stalked forward, making excellent time as he stalked his prey. He carried a tracking device so that master could find him so he could be as careful as he wanted when hunting.

He breathed deep again and curled his huge hands into mighty fists. 'Almost with you children. Wait for me'

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"And that's how it is"

Kohta sat silent just absorbing what his friend had told him. All in all it sounded pretty crazy on the outside but Kohta wasn't one to dismiss things out of hand without considering them.

"So that time you pushed Mike that was this 'power' that girl is talking about?" Kohta said slowly.

Lucy nodded against his chest.

"Well... it sounds to me... like your psychic or something"

Lucy scoffed and drew back to give Kohta a doubtful look, "You are joking"

He stared down at her thoughtfully, "Well isn't that what psychics are? People who can move things with their mind alone"

"Hey you were angry too! All the comics I read psychics always gain their powers when stressed or being attacked. Emotion is what triggers it!"

Kohta beamed at Lucy, "This is so cool!"

Now Lucy was outright shocked, "No its not cool! Its bad, very bad! I want to stop this not make it 'come out' as you put it!"

Kohta smiled sheepishly, "My bad"

His horned friend huffed and looked away sulkily. Kohta grinned and pulled her back into a hug, "Hey at least I believe you Lucy. I know you're not fibbing" he said softly.

"I know. It's just... I'm really scared Kohta"

Kohta nuzzled her hair as she trembled against him, "Lucy whatevers' going on we'll get through it together. I know you're a bit temperamental, (He grinned at her glare) but your a good person. A lot better then the scum at that place we live" he said with feeling.

"I won't let you be a killer Lucy. I think this girl is... like... you know... the bad side of you. That little voice we all have inside us that tells us to do bad things. Like steal those cookies or push that kid off his bike"

"She tells me to rip peoples limbs off Kohta" Lucy whispered.

"... ok. That's a bit worse. But even so she's just a voice. You don't 'have' to listen to her and you shouldn't. Violence isn't the only way in life"

"You fight viciously though Kohta" Lucy pointed out with a questioning look.

Kohta flushed, "Yeah. Yeah I do. But I wish I didn't have to Lucy. I wish I could go back to being the dork I was before I came here"

"You're still a dork Kohta" the red head said with a smile.

"Shush you" Kohta became serious again, "Lucy... I only fight so hard to protect not to maim... well sometimes to maim but only to those who really deserve it. And even then I pray I'd have the strength to pull back before I did something terrible"

"But some bad people do deserve to die. People like Tomoo... and the man who killed your parents"

Kohta stiffened at those words and his grip tightened in anger. Lucy didn't care. She just watched intently waiting for his reaction.

"Tomoo... is messed up... and so is the man who butchered my family. In some ways they deserve to die" Kohta hissed.

But then he closed his eyes tight, "But my father wouldn't see things like that. He believed all life was worthy. That even the act of killing something evil will stain the soul. Murder is wrong and to do so out of protection could be forgiven... but any other reason is just something that will corrupt"

"So no. If I had the man before me I'd try and turn him in to the police before anything else. Only if I had no choice would I kill him. Same for Tomoo"

Lucy watched him closely, "You really mean that don't you" she whispered.

He nodded, "And that's why I won't let you do anything to people Lucy. No matter how bad they are your soul is worth far more then theirs so I can't let it be corrupted"

"You're... too beautiful to become evil Lucy" he said with a deep blush.

Lucy was silent for a moment as Kohtas slightly tanned skin flushed hot and then she smiled wetly, "Oh Kohta..." she gasped and buried her head against his chest again, clutching his shirt tight in her small hands as she sobbed against him.

"Lucy! Wha- what's wrong?" Kohta said in worry as he curled his arms round her. Her smaller shaking form fitting against him so well.

"You're so nice. Even after what I've told you. Everything we've been through... you really do believe in me Kohta. Even when I told you I wanted to kill people" Lucy sobbed.

"You're suffered Lucy. But you can rise above it. We both can" the boy said firmly.

"What if I can't?" Lucy said in a tiny voice.

Kohta shuddered with emotion and laid his head on Lucy's soft hair, gazing dully at her horn, "You're strong Lucy. One of the strongest people I've ever met. You 'can' hold onto this dark part of you. I'll be here with you all the time ok. I'll help if things start to slip up"

"Oh Kohta..."

Lucy drew her head up, her blood coloured eyes wet with tears as she gazed at her friend. With a gentle hand Kohta reached out to wipe them away, his own misty ocean eyes staring into hers.

"You'll be ok Lucy" he said with iron-clad conviction and a warm smile, trying to show all his trust and faith in her in that action.

Lucy didn't reply but a strange yearning took root in her eyes and with slow, halting movements, she raised her hands to Kohtas face.

The boy let out a gasp as her pale hands took hold of his cheeks, the slender fingers tracing circles over his flesh and his eyes became hooded at the soothing attention.

"Kohta..." then her hands were gently pulling him forward and the boys eyes grew wide with fright as he realised her intention. Though his body flushed hot with adrenaline, fear and excitement his mind was completely stalled as he was slowly brought down towards his friend.

'Lucy' her lips drew closer, her beautiful face filled his world as he slowly closed his eyes in time with hers. His heart pounded in his chest and as he reached her he began to to feel her warm breath on his skin, her sweet smell all around, oh god...

"BARK, BARK, BARK!"

Both children jumped apart in surprise as Caneene barked loudly. They flushed and both avoided each others eyes as their bodies shook with pent-up hormones.

Kohta rubbed the back of his neck and stared at the ground with embarrassment. His body felt so warm...

"Caneene what are you barking at?" Lucy asked her pet. Though she was deeply annoyed and confused she still controlled her tone. She never wanted to snap at Caneene, ever.

But the little dog didn't turn to look at her and as both kids focussed on him they realised he wasn't barking now but snarling, his hair standing up and tail held out low as he stared out into the darkness growling at something unseen.

Kohta slowly reached in his pockets taking firm hold of his knife as Lucy stepped forward towards Caneene. She stared at the spot her pet was growling at with a look of confusion.

"Whoevers' there stop being so creepy and so yourself!" Lucy snapped with bravado.

"If you insist" a deep voice said and with a burst of foliage something enormous sprang from the shadows and lunged for the horned girl.

"LUCY!"

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Griff knew his cover was blown as soon as that damn dog had barked. Still, unprofessional as it may be he had to make his own little quip when the cute little red head had called out to him.

Bursting out from the foliage his beady eyes focussed on the girl to the exclusion of all others. Her beautiful crimson eyes were alive with the vitality of terror and when he had drunk in the sight of her tiny, petite body, her pale skin and blood coloured hair he knew he had to have her.

His huge paw of a hand lashed out and grabbed her by the throat hoisting her into the air without effort. She let out a choked squeal of denial and scrabbled madly at him. Griff heard the dog barking furiously and the target roaring in anger but he didn't care. All that mattered was the unsullied angel he held fast under his power.

"Hello pretty" he said with a leer. He laughed inside as she read his intentions in his eyes and her face took on a new height of desperation.

"LET HER GO!" the target yelled and raced at Griff, a knife held out to stab at his flesh. Without even glancing at him the giant man lashed out with a swinging fist smashing the boy back with a sound like iron striking meat.

"I'll get back to you soon. Now pretty thing... do you know men are much better then boys at pleasing little girls"

She spat in his face. He paused to collect what moisture he could reach with his tongue relishing her disgust.

"Hmm... sweet. Wonder if other parts of you taste as good?"

He felt the dog staring to scrabble around his feet and made a move to stomp its brains out when something made him pause. Bringing the girl closer he let out a murmur of surprise as he saw the stubs of bone growing from her skull.

"Wow. That's so cool. Maybe I won't throw you away as quickly as the others" Griff said with a dirty chuckle.

"Screw you" the girl hissed through a constricted throat.

"In time pretty girl" he laughed.

He reached out his other hand, trembling slightly as he carefully touched the soft flesh of her leg. She shrieked and tried to kick him away but the action just excited him further.

"Oh yes..."

He let out a grunt of pain as the dog stopped gnawing his shoes and went for something warm. Namely his leg. He felt skin break and blood spill as it sunk its little teeth into his ankle and kicked it away furiously.

"You little shit!" he hissed looking down for a moment. The distraction cost him.

He roared in greater pain as something wickedly sharp stabbed into the meat of his hand. As he let go of the girl and recoiled in automatic reflex he saw the target catch the girl, holding a bloodied knife in one hand, and glare back at him with hate.

"Lucy lets go!" the target yelled and grabbing her hand he dashed into the forest, soon disappearing into the darkness.

Griff shook his hand, flinging of droplets of blood away, paused to kick the dog into silence then drew a large knife not unlike a machete.

"You'll pay for that kid" Griff promised.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Come on come on!"

"What about Caneene!"

"He's fine its us that maniacs after!" Kohta screamed as he took deep breathes to fuel his legs and try and talk at the same time.

Too breathless to reply Lucy followed as best she could as Kohta barged through bushes and foliage. In the deep shadows she didn't have a clue where she was or where they were going. She guessed Kohta was just running blindly, anywhere to get away from that creep behind them, but at the moment she would gladly accept any distance between them.

"This way!" Kohta cried and forced them through a dense cluster of bushes. Lucy came through, blinking rapidly as they came out into clear ground, the moonlight forcing her eyes to adapt.

All around her were crypts and gravestones, many dotted with small candles or lamps left by still living relatives, "How'd you know what way to go?" Lucy asked with surprise.

"I've haunted these woods and grounds for so long now I have the area memorised, come on, this way" Kohta replied in a hurry as he dragged her deeper into the graveyard.

Soon they found shelter in the shadowed alcove of a large crypt. Like a gazebo it was with a sealed gate leading down to the resting occupant below and a huge stone statue of an angel kneeled atop the roof. As Lucy was dragged under cover she snuck a peak at the immaculate figure. Though old and lined with cracks and chips there was still some warmth in the hooded figures smile.

Kohta pulled her down and the two children huddled together on the cold floor trying to hide in the darkness. Just as their hearts started to slow a gentle pattering sounded which quickly became a light shower in the darkness.

"Well that's perfect" Lucy growled as the rain outside became a sudden torrent. Was some god determined to make their life hell?

"Actually that's good. The rain should help hide us from that crazy. Jesus who was he?" Kohta muttered.

He shifted round and gazed at his friend with concern, "How do you feel?"

"I'm fine" Lucy grunted, ignoring her sore throat.

Kohta tutted and drew closer. Lucy considered slapping him away when he examined her neck but his gentle hands calmed her down. He growled as he made out the livid marks the mans fingers had caused on Lucy's pale flesh.

"Bastard"

"You're right there"

"I can't make it all out in this dark. It's probably bad though" Kohta said nervously.

"I still have a neck. That's all that matters"

Kohta didn't reply. During his checking Lucy had leaned towards him and he had gladly taken her into his arms. Though his thoughts were filled with anger and some fear as one arm tucked her against him and the other held his knife in a vice grip. Just who was that guy? Why did he attack them?

Though he could dismiss this as some random crazy he had a strong suspicion that man hadn't attacked them just for sick desires, (though he undoubtably wanted those too) no he had a feeling that it was him the man had been looking for.

'I'm a marked man, I have a price on my head... maybe dad and Kanaes killer sent him after me?' Kohta mused.

He remembered the man who killed his father. The man who he had learned was called Joseph from the detectives. He was a renowned mobster, renowned for being nowhere near crimes or killings but being very rich and very feared after them. Apparently killing his father and being seen by him in the first place was the first slip up he'd ever done.

All Kohta knew was that man who had broken into his home and gunned down his father and sister had been someone who radiated pure malicious evil. A lean man with short brown hair and dressed in simple cut clothes. But his eyes had been almost pure black and when he had shot his fighting father the man had smiled a grin of gold.

No. That pervert hadn't been the figure who haunted Kohtas nightmares. But he must have some connection to him.

"We'll hide here Lucy for tonight. Tomorrow once its daylight we'll sneak out of here and go to the nearest police station. I'll turn myself in and explain what happened and that I'm in the witness protection program. Then... then I'll see what happens"

Lucy was silent for a moment then when she spoke it was heavy with worry, "Will... will you have to move away"

Kohta was quiet too. The thought had just occurred to him. If the killer knew he was here then the police would wanna send him somewhere else and intensify searches here.

But Lucy would be alone...

"No. No I won't leave. I'm staying here" he said, his lips drawn to a tight line of purpose.

Lucy nodded and cuddled against him. The heavy rain outside was not helping her sense of isolation and fear. At the moment a deranged pervert chasing them was less worrying then the prospect of losing Kohta.

"I don't wanna lose you Kohta" Lucy whispered.

Kohta was surprised by the confession, "You'll never lose me. I promise"

Lucy bit back a sob and stared out into the graveyard. All she could make out was shadowy shapes of angels and gargoyles in a crowd of headstones.

'Kohta won't leave me. He never breaks a promise' Lucy said to reassure herself.

So absorbed in her thoughts Lucy didn't notice the intruder until it drew right up against the bars of the rails that circled the crypt. Lucy froze, her eyes widening in horror as a terrifyingly familiar girl stared back at her.

Pale clammy hands gripped the bars as a single red eye stared at Lucy through a mask of bandages. Rain trickled from her naked body but the other showed no signs of discomfort. Instead her single staring eye was glaring at Lucy with something like annoyance.

'That disgusting ape dared touch you and you didn't make him pay for it? How much humiliation must we suffer before you will finally act and save us from the predations of the filthy humans? Must I always act for you Lucy?"

Lucy struggled to find her voice, "Kohta says it's wrong to kill" she said fearfully. Kohta shifted and looked down at her with confusion.

The other gripped the rails tighter, (was it Lucy's imagination or was the metal starting to warp under the pressure?) her eye blazed with fury.

"He is naïve. Some people are little more then vermin that need to be exterminated. Turning the other cheek will only take you so far. Eventually you have to turn and fight for what is yours"

The other blinked and her gaze focused on something behind Lucy. She drew back from the bars and stepped back into the gloom slowly disappearing into the darkness.

"I expect you to do better this time Lucy"

Lucy had just a second to frown at the others words when a heavy thump behind them made her and Kohta spin round in shock. They both gaped as the huge beast that attacked them before grinned widely at them and brandished a large blade. His sudden appearance terrifying as he stepped towards them.

"Found you" he said sweetly.

Kohta didn't hesitate. "LUCY RUN!" he screamed and throw himself at the enormous man.

With reflexes and speed far above the norm for a young child Kohta lashed out with his small blade, a snarl of defiance on his lips and with the courage of a hero he aimed for his adversary's heart.

But the bravery of youth is no comparison to the trained and experienced mind of an older killer. As Kohta attacked the giant slid round the attack with surprising dexterity. As Kohta overbalanced the villains massive hand grabbed Kohtas arm and with a quick and efficient move wrenched it back with punishing force, easily dislocating if not breaking it.

Kohta screamed in agony, Lucy wide eyed and frozen with shock and terror as her beloved cries sounded through the rain. "KOHTA!" she cried with running tears as her champion fell limp in the brutes arms, the man pulling him close in an almost tender embrace as Kohta whimpered in pain.

"There there... it's ok. The pain won't last long. You're very brave for such a tender little thing" the man whispered as he hugged the boy close. Kohta struggled weakly as the man buried his face in his jet-black hair and breathed deep of the scent. His flails made him shriek in pain and he shuddered like a trapped mouse in a pythons coils.

"So soft... so sweet... shame that you have to die" the man continued. Lucy watching in horror as the man licked Kohtas cheek, her friend closing his eyes and shaking.

"Let him go!" Lucy shrieked, at a loss of what else to say. Though every fibre of her being wanted her to charge and force that fiend to let go of her beloved Kohta, kicking and biting like a demon, she knew that she stood no chance against the huge man.

And besides. The part of her mind still capable of thinking was worried what might happen to Kohta if the man decided to use that massive knife on her friend if she did anything rash.

"No. I don't think I will. But tell you what. You wait right there and keep quiet and still or I will stab your little friend here" the man said in a hauntingly calm voice.

"And I may get carried away and not stop until there is very little left of this... sweet little boy"

Lucy gaped in astonishment. Part of her terrified beyond all measure at the gentle, almost bored tone of this stranger as he held her dear Kohta in a vice grip. The threat of this death so alien to her young mind that it had stalled her.

But another part of her. A dark and hidden part. Was snarling and roaring at this desecration of 'her' Kohta. He was hers! He belonged to her, no one else should have power over his life or death! He was 'hers'!

"Lucy get out of here! I'm dead anyway! Save yourself!" Kohta yelled at her.

"I won't leave you" Lucy snarled, unknowingly her pupils had dilated to twin specks of deepest black.

"Lucy you have to escape! Get to the home and tell everyone what's happened it's the only way to save me!" Kohta bellowed though in his heart he doubted it. He knew he was dead. But he'd be damned if he'd let his past harm his friend.

But Lucy continued to stare at the brute before her, and the mans expression became calculating as he examined her stare. Despite his initial dismissal he was beginning to think there was more to this horned girl then her obvious mutation.

Lucy felt her heart pound and the world grey as the other whispered in her ear. "I can kill him Kohta" she whispered.

Kohta looked stricken, "No you won't! Lucy I'm not worth that. It's wrong to kill" he said forcefully.

"The scum deserves it"

"Your better then that Lucy. I won't let you become a monster like him"

"That's very rude" the brute said with a smile and twisted Kohtas arm painfully. The boy shrieked and Lucy snarled. "Leave him alone!" she roared.

'Let me out Lucy. Give into your hate. Dream sweet dreams of blood and death and let me save Kohta. I can do it... we can do it..."

Lucy panted heavily, her little chest rising and falling and her hands curled into tight fists as that wondrously tight and electrifying feeling took control of her. That pressure that had been steadily building inside for days begging to be released.

"What are you doing little girl" Kohtas captor asked with curiosity. His deep mad eyes staring without fear into Lucy's demonic orbs as the girl grew more worked up.

"I'm just about to ask you a question" Lucy said softly, her tone almost sweet.

"Kill him Lucy. Tear him apart"

"And what's that?" the brute said with a smile.

Lucy smiled back and Kohta was amazed that such an evil smirk had no affect on his captor.

"Are you enjoying this?" Lucy said with a sneer and reached deep inside for the gift she 'knew' she had.

"Yeeeesssssss!"

She felt the onrush of power, a feeling so powerful and ecstatic that if she were a little older she would relate it to orgasm. Her arms rose at her sides as her skin tingled with energy. She felt something inside her body stir sluggishly into life as she looked at her horrified Kohta and his intrigued captor.

'They're about to see something no one on this earth has ever seen before' the dark part of Lucy thought with glee.

But then as she was about to unleash her power, (even she wasn't entirely sure what it was) Kohtas eyes widened in surprise, "Lucy watch out!" he yelled a warning.

But so focused on the loathsome face of her prey, and with her inner voice screaming for bloodshed, she didn't even register Kohtas words.

All she understood was a second of shock as she sensed a large presence stand behind her then a sharp pain and grogginess as she was struck hard on the back of the head.

Falling to the ground she barely made out Kohtas panic filled cries and his minders gruff orders not to kill her as she fought for consciousness. As darkness began to fall and as her eyes dimmed she saw a pair of slender feet step into her eye line then a bandaged girl kneel down to look at her.

"This could be a problem" the red eyed girl whispered before Lucy completely passed out.

"BASTARDS!!" Kohta screamed in fury as he watched Lucy crumble to the ground. The man who had struck her stepped forward, his gun held low and loose in his hand as he looked haughtily at Kohta.

"Been a while kid" the murderer said teasingly and flashed a golden grin.

Kohta gaped at the man, too amazed to see his family's killer before him to properly reply. For a moment he just stared at the man, remembering all too clearly that arrogance stance, that handsome but deranged face, those pinprick pupils and disturbing leer. Except in his memories the man was coated in the blood of his family.

The next heartbeat Kohta threw himself at the man screaming bloody murder. He'd tear out his heart, cut up his eyes, smash those loathsome golden teeth in. Though he was easily held back by his captor his hate refused to let him bow down and his struggles and animalistic snarls didn't abate as he struggled to get his hands on his foe.

"He must hate you a lot" the brute said dryly as he held Kohta back. Twisting his arm, though painful, wasn't stopping the boys struggles.

The murderer leered at Kohta, "You have no idea Griff"

"KILL YOU!" Kohta roared much to the mans amusement.

"I don't doubt you wouldn't hesitate, but unfortunately for you I intend to live for many years to come"

The man nodded at 'Griff', "Shut him up"

Griff shifted his grip and with a terrific 'whack' dealt a heavy blow to Kohtas skull. The pain was eclipsed by the sudden blankness and disorientation as Kohta went limp, his eyes struggling to see as he almost passed out.

"Tough kid" Griff murmured as Kohta stayed conscious but limp and dazed in his grip. Picking the boy up Griff threw him over one shoulder and trudged out into the rain.

Kohta blearily looked up, terrified for Lucy. Too his relief he saw the murderer and another shape pick her up and follow them. At least they hadn't killed her on the spot.

Kohtas head dropped and all he could feel was the rain soaking him and the weakness in his limbs. He tried to focus on where they were going but his near unconscious state prevented him from focusing on anything but staying awake.

It could have been ten minutes or hours when Kohta realised they had left the graveyard and were walking along streets. He tried to find the strength to call for help but it wasn't happening.

The next clear moment the boy was carefully being deposited in the back of a van. Griff being surprisingly gentle as he lay Kohta down and climbed in after him. Lucy was unceremoniously dumped beside him and Kohta weakly reached for one of her delicate hands. He squeezed it but got no response.

The journey was uneventful. An oppressive silence filling the van as Kohta and Lucy were driven to god knows where. Kohta still hovered over the brink of blackout but he had something unexpected keep him awake.

He flinched and groaned in pain as a heavy hand stroked his hair. "Stop... it..." he protested. Griff merely chuckled and ran a finger down Kohtas cheek.

"You're the best yet. Never seen a kid as tough as you before... wish the boss didn't need you dead. I'd have loved to keep you" Griff said with a longing sigh.

"Maybe I can play with her" he added with a leer at Lucy. The sight alone brought a surge of anger fuelled strength to Kohta, "Don't... touch... her!" he snarled trying to rise. The huge brute lazily kicked him back down.

"Save your strength for later. You may wanna say some choice last words" he said with a chuckle.

Kohta panted for breath as he tried to focus his wits. Laying on the floor of the van, huddled close to Lucy he felt a powerful rush of fear as the true extent of his situation hit him. He and Lucy were in the grasp of a group of pitiless killers, one of which had killed Kohtas family, the other was a paedophile or some other deviant by all accounts. He was a marked kid as his testimony was the only thing that could reliably put his captor into jail. To top it all off not a soul knew where they were. If he and Lucy died it would be as if they vanished off the face of the earth.

'Oh god Lucy' His worse nightmare had actually happened. Because of his past his dearest friend had been dragged into this mess along with him. She could die...

"Oh Lucy... I'm so sorry..." he whispered as low and close to her ear as he could. He finally shed a tear as he huddled up next to her, praying fervently for some miracle to save his friend.

"We're here" the murderer called from the front. He glanced into the back and Kohta glared through his tears as the man smiled at him.

"Get them inside"

"Well boy here we are at last. You've caused me no end of trouble. Been real shite these last few months in hiding. Having to spend a lot of my money just to track you down"

"All in all it's a weight of my mind to have you here at last" the man said with a glinting smile.

"Screw you" Kohta hissed, glaring up at the man hatefully.

"He's got guts boss. Gotta give him that" the third man said. He hadn't stopped puffing on his cigarettes since Kohta had woken up. He was definitely nervous.

"True Mark, it's a pleasant surprise. Till now it's the only thing that's making me keep him alive. Curiosity" the murderer replied.

Kohta fought back his gulp at the reminder of his upcoming death. He looked away examining the room he had found himself him, searching again for some way out.

After the van had stopped he and Lucy had been dragged out and taken into this single house. Kohta was surprised to find himself at docks but as this house had a whole stretch of beach to itself and no neighbours for at least a mile he bleakly realised it was a perfect place to commit a murder.

Taken into this sparse living room. Just a table and chairs and lots of paperwork strewn about the place. Kohta had been tied to a chair despite his struggles and know was being stared at by the whole group.

Well... almost the whole group. The huge man named Griff was sitting on the floor beside Lucy's sprawled body idly touching her hair. Kohta felt his body burn in rage as the man traced a finger down the slumbering girls horns.

"DON'T TOUCH HER YOU BASTARD!"

Griff looked up in annoyance, "Boss can't I have a quiet moment with her. Alone?"

"Jesus" Mark whispered.

The 'boss' smiled, "Sorry Griff. But I'm enjoying watching him squirm"

"Look you have me. Lucy has nothing to do with this. Just let her go!"

"Sorry kid but I can't have any witnesses. That was the problem in the first place with you and your dad"

Kohta felt his eyes mist up at the reminder, "My dad was a good man. He never hurt anyone... he was good and kind and the best father anyone could have. Why'd you have to kill him. Why'd you have to take my family away from me"

"DAMMIT WHY'D YOU HAVE TO DO ALL THIS TO ME!" Kohta screamed.

The man stepped closer to Kohta, the boy tensing against his bonds, a genuinely incensed look on his face.

"Because your idiot of a dad happened to stumble upon one of my business meetings! That's why! I always make sure my ass is covered. I don't get spied upon!"

"He didn't want to stumble on your stupid meetings. He was just doing a really late shift that night to help out a friend. He wasn't supposed to even be there!" Kohta argued back.

"Besides he may have just forgot it and carried on with his life if you hadn't murdered someone!"

"Yeah Joseph. Why did you kill that guy?" the smoker known as Mark piped up. Kohta noting the name of his family's murderer for the first time.

"Because though I had planned to make a deal with him to share profits in a lucrative trade I was planning I decided it would be more worthwhile to kill him and take all the winnings for myself. Plus he annoyed me and I enjoyed the idea, and action, of killing him"

"And if you ask me foolish questions again Mark I will rip you open and remove your heart" Joseph said with glacial coldness. Mark quailed under his stern gaze and looked away mumbling a, "just wondering".

"You utter bastard! I hope you rot in hell for what you've done! When they catch you I hope you get the chair with lightning rod stuck up your ass!" Kohta hissed, determined to hurl as much abuse as he could.

Joseph grinned widely, "My my what an imagination you have. But what makes you think I'll ever get caught?"

"Last time I checked 'Joseph' there was a massive manhunt for you and I was still a protected witness. If I die don't you think the police won't put two and two together and realise it was you that murdered me" Kohta sneered.

"Maybe they will Kohta. Unfortunately some of the police do have working brains. But still there's a little thing called evidence they'll need to justify convicting me"

Joseph walked around Kohta in a lazy circle, the boy straining to follow his movement.

"See Kohta your little 'escapades' with your friend there were the worst thing you could do right now. You have such a bad reputation at the home that when you're missing the staff there will probably neglect to search for a while believing you'll saunter back in your own time"

He laughed mockingly, "Amusing isn't it. How well protected you were left by the police. By the time your corpse is found... if it is ever found, Joseph sniggered, I'll be long acquitted of my crimes"

"You still killed my father. You're on the run. That will be enough to have you dogged for years" Kohta hissed. His heart burning with hate but his mind finding horrible truth with this bastards words.

Joseph nodded, "Yes you're quite right Kohta. This case will have the police watching me a long time. But I'm good at covering my tracks and, above all, I'm very patient. I don't mind keeping a low profile for months, maybe even a year just to cover my ass"

The man fingered his gun as he smirked down at Kohta. "Oh and I'm not 'on the run' Kohta. The police actually have a very good idea where I am. And they're waiting eagerly for me to come back"

At Kohtas confused look Joseph sneered, "At the moment all trails and even very expensive, and very authentic, doctored video records have me in the Bahamas's at the moment. On a well deserved holiday. At the moment the Japanese authority's are trying to secure my deportation and return to Japan. Thankfully a few friends of mine in the Bahamas are keeping the investigation as slow as possible"

"Once you're dead Kohta. I'll simple take my holiday and when I return to Japan I will be pleasant and complying to the police and after explaining that I've been away on business for ages and have no idea who your family are and that I deplore the horrible tragedy that happened to you"

Kohta was barely breathing by this point so tight with rage did he feel. His eyes were slits as he stared hatefully at his family's killer. "You'll never be free forever..." he hissed.

"Perhaps Kohta. But the future is impossible to predict. Maybe this will all fall apart and I will be executed for your murder but believe me when I say I very much DOUBT that will happen"

The mans smile had gone and now his icy eyes were fixed on Kohta with purpose as he slowly raised his gun and pointed it at Kohtas forehead.

"It's a shame boss. He was special" Griff said as he watched the exchange.

"That he is. But he's a threat to me and all threats have to die"

"Pity... well can I still keep this one boss?" Griff asked.

Kohta flicked his eyes away from the gun barrel in his face and almost choked as he saw Griff running a hand over Lucy's thigh. The girl was still unconscious and the huge man had the sickest look of delight on his face.

"Jesus Christ! Let her go! She has nothing to do with this! Let her go damn you!" Kohta screeched his voice finally cracking.

"As long as you dispose of her without incident you can have her for the night" Joseph answered, his eyes mocking as they bored into Kohtas.

There was a click as the golden toothed killer pulled the hammer back on his pistol and pressed it hard against Kohtas skull. To his credit Kohta didn't pull back but continued to damn the man with his incensed eyes.

"Goodbye kid" Joseph said cordially and pulled the trigger.

"BANG!"

"So are you gonna get up and sort this mess out or lie there and die?"

"..."

"He will die. You will be raped and die. Do you want that future?"

"...no"

"Then why are you cowering here and not doing something about it?"

Lucy raised her head from her knees and stared at the others single glowing eye. "I'm afraid" she whispered and hugged her knees.

The girl drew closer to Lucy and kneeled beside her. A pale hand reached out and rested on her shoulder reassuringly.

"You are a living god Lucy. Your power is something so new and wondrous humanity will have no choice to bend their knee to you. You don't have to afraid of it. That special part of you yearning to be free... if you could see it you wouldn't be able to not love it"

Lucy bristled slightly, "I'm not afraid of power. I've wanted that my whole life!"

The others single eye was confused, "Then what do you fear?"

Lucy swallowed hard, "Kohta..."

"Ugh..."

"If I kill he... he will reject me... he said he wouldn't let me become a killer... he has such faith in me. I can't ruin that"

"Do you not know what is going to happen out in the world? Those people who have us will kill Kohta and you! I think he won't mind you saving his life"

"Though being a human it wouldn't surprise me that he could be that conceited" the other said with disgust.

Lucy snarled and slapped away the hand on her shoulder, "Don't talk about him like that! I saw what you did to him earlier!" the girl raged rising hotly to her feet.

"He is a weakness you could do without Lucy! He continues to hold you back from your true potential!"

"I won't be a killer!"

The other thrust her head forward, her single eye burning into Lucy's, "Liar. It's all you think about. All you've ever wanted"

"No... it isn't" Lucy whispered.

The other sniggered, "How pathetic. You've been around humans too long Lucy. You've become weak"

Lucy opened her mouth to scream abuse at her tormentor when a horrible sensation overtook her body. She hugged herself and shuddered as the other went rigid.

"What was that?" Lucy wondered aloud.

"Someone touching something he has no right to touch"

"That man! The sicko who has Kohta!" Lucy thought in horror.

"Yes... you see Lucy? You see how corrupt and disgusting humans are?"

"Not all of them..." Lucy defended weakly, her body shivering as unseen hands traced her skin.

"Maybe not all but enough. Lucy no more games you have to act now. There's no time"

"Oh Kohta... I... but I promised"

Unbidden the other snatches at images from Lucy's memories and played them back against the grey sky of the void. Lucy stared up at the sights of Kohta being attacked as they played over and over again. She saw her friend beaten and broken, held in punishing grips and mocked and tormented by his family's murderers. She saw his bleeding face, still defiant and proud, and she saw dark spectres close in around around and raise their hands to strike him.

"NO!"

Lucy felt tears trickle down her pale cheeks, "I won't let that happen! He doesn't deserve that! He 'never' deserved to be hurt so much!"

"He's so kind... so nice... oh Kohta. Oh my dear Kohta"

"Then save him"

Lucy tore her eyes from the horrible sights and blinked as the other drew right up against her. The young girl could feel the others breathe, warm but stale, against her skin. The others single eye burned into hers.

"Unleash your power. Tear these fools who dared to threaten you both apart. Kill in his name. For him"

"For him" Lucy echoed.

"To protect the one you love. To protect Kohta. It's not being a murderer. It's being his saviour"

Lucy was silent for long seconds then she gave a small nod. Closing her eyes she took a deep breathe and focused on the tense energy that was growing inside her. Unnoticed the other stepped behind Lucy and raised her slender arms like a priestess at prayer. Her own concentration focused on the girl kneeling at her feet.

Lucy let out a sigh as she felt the power within at last reach its focus and start to awaken. No more games. No more fooling around. They were coming. Lucy's arms were coming out to play.

"That it... that's it Lucy"

Lucy leaned back, her spine stretched taunt as she opened her eyes and stared out into the void. She felt the terrible energy inside uncoil itself from her and her eyes registered no fear or surprise, just resolute purpose, as four ghostly hands swayed above her.

"For you Kohta" she whispered, and with a single thought the arms raced into the sky and entered the material world.

They were no longer dreams. They were terrifying truths of reality. And all who encountered then would know the power of a young god.

With eyes of shining crimson and a fearsome visage to match Lucy looked out into the waking world and hissed, "Now you bastards are gonna pay"

For Kohta this moment had crossed his mind dozens of times. Not this particular death per say, but dying in general.

Until he meet Lucy he had had no fear of death and in many ways still didn't. Dying would bring him back to his family and free him of the terrible emptiness in his heart. In fact until recently it had been something he had looked forward to. An escape from this hell that had become his life.

But with a gun barrel pointed at his face he found himself wanting very much not to die. It wasn't for himself. He didn't want to leave Lucy alone with these fiends. Nor did he like the idea of his family's murderer going free after wiping out all of them. Even worse his death was about to be quick but he had no doubts that his friends would be much more drawn out.

But as Joseph drew back the hammer and that horrible click sounding like a bell to his panicked brain he found himself completely out of options. There was nothing he could do. He was really gonna die.

Joseph pulled back on the trigger and in that split second before his brains were about to be blasted out of the back of his skull Kohta felt a moment of complete peace. Nothing could change that so what was the point of being worried any more?

Still he had to get in a parting shot. "I hope you die horribly you fucker" he said boldly.

Joseph just smiled and fired.

"BANG!"

Kohta flinched back and shut his eyes tight but the instant agony of the bullet striking was never felt.

'Did I die so quickly I didn't even feel it?' he wondered.

"What the hell?" he heard Mark say in shock.

Kohta let out the breath he had been holding and opened his eyes. He was amazed to find himself still alive and breathing. But what amazed him even more was the lump of metal hovering before his eyes.

He blinked and the bullet dropped to the floor with a ping. "That was unexpected" Joseph said bemusedly. He looked at his gun, then the bullet on the floor, then back at the gun.

Kohtas mind was already in overdrive as he tried to understand what had just happened. Waving a flag for attention his memory reminded him of something important and his eyes fell suspiciously on Lucy.

What he saw made him gasp.

Griff heard the noise and looked up at Kohta curiously. Down on the floor, still with the mans hands on her, Lucy looked back at him with eyes of purest crimson.

"Holy..." Kohta gulped as the girls eyes stared back blankly. Her pupils had practically disappeared and all he could see was the blood red of her eyes stark within her pale face.

The girl twisted away from Griff, the movement so careful and without aggression that the man looked down dumbly as Lucy stood up tall and turned to face him, lowering her head and hiding her eyes behind her hair.

Griff cocked his head as the frail girl stood still as a statue, "What's up with you?" he asked.

Mark was watching the scene raptly but Joseph was still fiddling with his gun. He had picked up the bullet too and was staring at it critically. "Griff would you sort that kid out. I ain't got time for her to start screaming when I kill this brat" he said as he cocked his gun again and leered at Kohta.

The boy felt his body sweat with fear but it wasn't of the gun any longer. That horrible feeling of dread and terror had engulfed his senses again and though he had a gun in his face all he could focus on was the horned head of his friend.

Griff eyed his captive for a moment longer then shrugged and raised his meaty fist high above the girls red head. "Lights out kid. Stay asleep this time" he said then brought it down.

"No!" Kohta yelled.

Yet mere centremeters from striking Lucy the mans fist stopped dead. His brow furrowed as he tried to move his arm but found it locked in place. Under his fist the girls head slowly rose and for the first time in many long years Griff felt a sharp stab of fear.

'God what... what's wrong with her eyes?' the murderous thug wondered as the girls ruby red eyes stared up at him. There was no pupil in those demonic orbs and so enlarged were her iris' that it seemed her eyes were glowing with crimson light.

One moment Griff was staring in amazement at the tiny girl who, somehow, was holding his considerable strength at bay.

The next he knew nothing but pain.

The others in the room, two men and one boy, gaped in astonishment as Griff let out a howl of agony as his arm was wrenched back with punishing voice. The man had perhaps two seconds time to try and rip himself free of the force holding him at bay when there was a wet ripping sound and Griffs arm was torn off at the shoulder.

Blood jetted from the open wound and Griffs screams reached a new octave. "Bloody hell!" Joseph shouted as he swung his gun to bear on Lucy.

He fired. But the instant the gun thundered Griffs moaning body was thrown in the way, the man shrieking again as a bullet thumped into his back.

Blood spurted over Lucy but the girl paid no heed as droplets of red fluid ran down her cheeks. Her eyes suddenly narrowed and the unseen force holding Griff tightened its grip. The man let out a final choked grunt and then his body was pulled apart into gory chunks.

The fountain of blood was like a red geyser. Some even splattered over Kohta and he felt his stomach heave as the copper tang filled his nostrils. Mark had already vomited and collapsed to the floor and Kohta tried desperately not to follow his example.

Josephs' eyes were wide with disbelieve as Lucy stepped dainty over the mess that had once been a full grown man and stepped towards him. As her eyes looked up and meet his the man snarled and went to fire again.

"Bitch!" he roared and pointed his weapon towards her heart.

Lucy blinked, just that, a blink, and the mans arm was sliced off at the elbow. The shot from the gun going wide as the hand and forearm thudded as it hit the floor.

Joseph screamed and cringed back, holding a hand over his spurting wound.

Lucy stepped forward again and now she was barely two meters from the mobster. Mark looked up from his wound, madness and pain in his eyes, and reached for something under his jacket.

He pulled out a stiletto knife, the click as it sprung barely heard over Marks sobbing, and charged at the young girl.

Despite his hatred for the man Kohta felt some admiration for his final act. Still he couldn't help but feel like a weight had been lifted from his heart as the man was viciously cut in half as he swung for Lucy.

Josephs' two half's flew across the room, the floor now flooded with blood and gore, and her eyes glanced across at Kohta. The boy swallowed hard and forced himself to gaze back with question, "Lucy what have you done?" he whispered, more to himself then her, as the girl absent-mindedly shook some blood from her hand.

"Ohgodohgodohgodohgod"

Kohta looked across the room at the smoker who was huddled up against a wall, his eyes wide with terror, and practically trying to force his way through the brick to get out.

Lucy's eyes flicked over him and for a moment she just stared. Kohta felt his mouth go dry as that feeling returned, the sense of wrongness with the world. Some kind of haziness came to the air around his friend and a tingling feeling ran over his skin.

She took a step towards Mark, splatters of blood thrown gently upwards with every step, and Kohtas conscience finally raised its head and screamed out, 'this has to stop now'.

"Lucy that's enough, you have to stop now" Kohta said in a small voice.

The girl didn't reply, just took another step towards the last man.

Mark was openly crying and though he had a gun in his hand he was clearly too terrified to even think to use it. "Please just let me go kid. I'm sorry about what I said about you earlier, I'm sorry about everything! Let me go and you'll never have to see me again!" he pleaded as he huddled in a ball on the floor.

"Dammit Lucy that's enough! He's given up now, he's no danger to us, just let him go!" Kohta yelled hoarsely.

Lucy was now within touching distance of Mark and with graceful movement she reached out and carefully laid a hand on the mans skull, rubbing his hair gently. Mark was frozen with fear and confusion and could only stare up at the silent girl.

"He knows about us. He will always be a danger" Lucy said frankly.

Before Kohta could yell a denial, or even Mark let out one last scream, Lucy tightened her hold on his hair and a flash of light raced across Marks throat.

The mans head parted from his body. The arterial spray drenching Lucy as she stepped back and held Marks head up like a trophy. His body slumped back and steadily soaked the world around it in crimson as Kohta stared in utter disbelief.

Lucy lifted Marks head and examined it curiously. The look of surprise was still etched on his dead features. "A quick end" Lucy said calmly and dropped Marks head on top of his body.

Kohta felt tears prick his eyes and looked away with a snarl of disgust. What had just happened? How had Lucy done all this? Should he be grateful or upset?

In the end he cared not for those scum's lives, though he would still rather be merciful, no his worry was what had happened to Lucy. What she appeared to become.

'Oh god... I'm sorry I forced this on you'

He heard footsteps and looked up to find Lucy standing tall above him. He had to admit her bloodstained form was pretty intimidating, and her staring red eyes, haughty and terrible, did make a chill go down his spine.

Yet. Kohta had always known he was a marked man and such fear had no effect on him. He gazed back at his friend, feeling the tingle on his skin and suspecting what she was considering, and mustered up the best smile he could manage.

Whatever happened he'd always be grateful for the time they spent together.

"If this is the end Lucy I'll say I was happy being your friend and I'm sorry that my past caused all this mate" he laughed humourlessly and gave as best a shrug as he could while tied. "Pretty lame I guess but... I'm grateful for the kindness you showed me Lucy" he finished with heartfelt feeling.

For a moment Lucy stared back at his watery smile without emotion. Then she blinked and let out a sigh, "Oh Kohta"

She lowered her head, hiding her eyes, and that electric feel returned to the air. Kohta didn't bother to brace himself, he was just sad he couldn't see her eyes as he died, but what happened next shocked the hell out of him.

He felt hands, small slender hands running over his body. He shivered not with discomfort, but with pleasant surprise at the gentle touch, the hands running over his body and soothing him.

His mind whirled as he looked at Lucy and saw her arms held loose at his side. 'Invisible hands' that was her power?

Yet hands with obviously tremendous strength and speed. One traced his ribs and he giggled at the touch, "Tickles!" he yelped with a laugh.

Lucy finally looked up and Kohta felt himself beam when he finally saw a smile on her pale bloodstained face and her eyes back to their previous warmth.

But she had a very mischievous smile...

Kohta screeched as unseen fingers tickled his sides mercilessly. "Stoppit! Hahaha! Please I, hehe! I give!" he laughed as he tried to squirm away from Lucy's other hands but it was impossible while tied up.

The tickling continued and Kohta laughed so hard he started to cry. Lucy was openly smiling, pleased with her conquest of him.

'I'm bound in a chair, with three dead men who have been horribly ripped apart in the room, and I'm being tickled with the very thing that did that to them... and I'm enjoying it' Kohta thought with, what was probably, an unhealthy thrill.

The tickling stopped and Kohta fought to catch his breath. Lucy's expression grew serious, "Stay very still Kohta" she ordered as her pupil contracted to a pinprick.

Kohta nodded and fought not to flinch as the haziness returned and the ropes holding him were sliced off in a matter of seconds.

The boy gingerly stood up, rubbing life back into his hands, and took in the room again. His stomach turned threateningly at all the blood and when he looked back at Lucy she frowned at his expression.

She was shaking, trembling, and the boy noticed the horned girl was swaying slightly, "I had no choice" she said defiantly.

Kohta didn't answer, he wasn't even sure what his answer should be. But as he looked back calmly at his friends tough eyes he started as they suddenly drooped and felt shut.

"Shit!" Kohta darted forward and caught Lucy as she passed out. Her body hung from his arms completely limp and Kohta held her close, brushing the hair from her eyes and feeling his heart panic as she refused to wake up.

"Lucy. Lucy! Lucy wake up you red haired annoyance! Lucy!"

Kohta sighed and hefted Lucy into his arms holding her close to his chest. He stood tall, feeling Lucy's breath rapid and strained against his neck, and took in the devastation around him.

Idly he wondered if hell could compete with this slaughter house of a room.

Lucy's breath hitched and her body trembled violently, Kohta held her tight and quickly made his way towards the exit.

As he stepped out of this room, where so much had changed in his life, and into the world he knew with certainty that nothing was every gonna be the same again.

But... as he looked down at the bloodstained angel in his arms he knew that already his choices in this life were clear.

"Whatever happens Lucy, I will always be by your side" he whispered.

He laid a chaste kiss on her brow, ignoring the copper taste of the blood on her skin, and walked out into the next chapter of his life.

With his angel forever in his arms.

End Vector Two.

On the next volume of Elfin Lied: the little girl struggles to control the darkness within her as her champion watches helplessly. Peace is lost and a friendship tested to breaking point as more enemies strike at the young goddess unaware of the chaos they will reap.

Blood flies and lives are lost in the next episode of Elfin Lied 'Escape'.

Curtain falls and this show is over... for now. I hope to the bottom of my heart that you all enjoyed this and you'll find the time to give this lowly writer a little feedback just top make his winter a little warmer.

I'll work on the next chapter ASAP and believe me, it's gonna get worse for our hero's very soon.

;) laters!