Kurama was alone in his office staring out into nothing. He'd found her. After years of searching he'd finally found her. All he'd needed was a few more days to for SAT to work out the best way to capture her. She'd been within his grasp.
And now she was gone, vanished into thin air. A nationwide manhunt had begun. Her picture was on every news show all around the country. The story that she had killed a detective, two police officers, and a Yakuza boss among countless others was all over the headlines and the airwaves. A hundred million yen reward was being offered for any information that led to her capture. Everything possible was being done to mobilize Japan's police forces and citizenry to help capture Lucy.
Kurama did not hold his breath. The girl was simply too skilled at hiding herself. Only hours after her little killing spree and escape (damn you Kurusawa) the body of a small time fence had been found in Tokyo. He had died of a brain aneurysm. Along with being a fence he was known to make high quality forged i.d.'s and documents. Which meant that Lucy almost certainly had acquired many sets of fake i.d.'s. All she needed was a camera and she could become anyone she liked. Given all her experience in avoiding notice all she needed to do was not start killing again and she would be impossible to spot.
In all this gloom he did have one very tiny ray of hope. Every June for seven years she had been in Kamakura. For the last six of those years she had been living in a beach house. From what he had been able to gather questioning neighbors and other witnesses he thought he knew the reason why.
Apparently she had fallen in love with a boy by the name of Kouta. He had the boy's picture and a file on him on his desk. From all reports the boy and his younger sister had been living in the beach house when she was away. There had also been many gifts, including a brand new sports car. He'd had multiple of the two of them being seen together and a few people had assumed they were a couple. Even more interesting, sic years ago the boy's father had been killed in a mysterious train accident just as he and his family were set to leave Kamakura. It was only after the father's death that Kouta and his sister had moved into the beach house permanently.
Did you go that far to make sure you could see him Lucy? Or did his father somehow get in your way? That Lucy would be ruthless enough to kill the father of someone she supposedly loved he did not doubt. Just as he did not doubt that a diclonius could feel emotions like love. He'd seen it with Nana and with other test subjects. Despite their inherent urge to kill their psyches remained essentially human. There was no reason to doubt that Lucy felt the need for love as keenly as any other fifteen year old girl. That was what he was betting on.
Kouta would be kept under constant 24 hour surveillance and his home phone line would be tapped. Though returning to Kamakura would be extraordinarily foolish for her he believed she would. No matter what her head would say her heart would demand she see him again. He believed that she would listen to her heart.
Come back home Lucy, give me one last chance.
Kouta was sitting glumly at the breakfast table pushing his food around. The last few days had been miserable. He listened to the news with only half an ear. It was supposed to be a little chilly today. Gas prices were expected to go up again this summer. A local marine supply shop had burned down last night after an apparent break in. And…
"More information on the gruesome killings in Tokyo," the newscaster announced. The pictures of five people appeared. One was a pretty girl who'd been some model / actress. One was some detective and a couple of cops. And one was of a face of a man he'd talked to at Lucy's apartment. His real name was Tenzo, and he'd been a real live Yakuza boss. And Lucy had known him.
The five pictures faded out and were replaced by a single one of a beautiful red haired girl in a tan hat. "The efforts to track down wanted fugitive Zetsumei Lucy continue as…"
Kouta stood up and turned the t.v. off. For the last few days since the story broke it seemed there was nothing on except stories about Lucy, the wanted killer, the wanted assassin, the wanted criminal, it was making him sick. He couldn't believe it. He just couldn't! He knew her. Yes she would get kind of moody sometimes, and her anger could be impressive to behold. And he was the first to admit he didn't know everything about her. But she was no killer! She was just a normal girl in all the ways that really mattered. There was no way she could have done all the things the news kept saying she did. There had to be a mistake! There just had to be.
His little sister hadn't suffered any from all the revelations. Her appetite certainly diminished and neither had her desire to talk. "I'm sure glad we found out about Lucy before she wound up killing us too." Kanae said.
"Kanae!" Kouta said sharply. "How can you say that after everything she did for us!"
Hearing her brother yell at her like that the girl looked upset. "Stupid brother! That doesn't change the fact that she's a killer! If she hadn't been caught she might have killed us someday."
"How can you even think that?! Who gave us a place to stay when dad died? Who took care of us? Who was always taking you shopping? Who was always there for us? How can you be so ungrateful?!"
She stuck her nose defiantly in the air. "Why should I be grateful to a killer?"
"She's not a killer!"
"Then why does everyone on the t.v. say she is?!" Kanae demanded.
"I don't know but just because they say it doesn't make it true!"
"Of course it does! You're a baka! You just don't want to believe it because she's your girlfriend! Well you can't have a killer for a girlfriend!"
"I'm sick of this," he got to his feet. "I'm going to school."
"I'll come with you Kouta!" Yuka got up as well.
He sent her annoyed look that stopped her in her tracks. "No thanks, I'd rather go alone."
Yuka slowly sat back down. "Ah, o.k."
He was a pariah at school. He got nothing but silence and hard looks. It had never been any secret that he and Lucy had shared a very close relationship. Most of the boys in his school and even a lot of the girls had always been jealous of that. A lot of people had tried to weasel their way between him and Lucy. Only to have her shut them down.
When the news had hit all of his, 'friends' had come up to him and asked what it had been like to be so close to a killer. That had been the first time he'd ever gotten into a fight at school in his life. Since then he'd become persona non grata. His so called friends had cast him out once he made it clear he would never turn on Lucy.
School was miserable but he endured it. The whole time he wondered where Lucy was and if he would ever get to see her again.
That evening Kouta was doing homework when the phone rang. "I'll get it," he called and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Kouta?" A girl's voice spoke his name as though it were a prayer.
"Lu… Lucy?" He remembered to keep his voice down. "Lucy, where are you?"
"Kouta," she spoke nervously. "Would you meet me? Can I see you?"
"Yes," he said without a second's hesitation. "Where and when?"
"Right now. I am on the bridge waiting for you. Please come Kouta. I love you."
"I love you too," he whispered. He heard the phone line go dead and hung up. He grabbed the keys to his car and hurried out the door.
"Kouta! Where are you going?" Yuka called after him.
"Out," he called back without even looking over his shoulder.
Yuka saw him leave and felt a cold dread crawl up inside her. Somehow she had a terrible premonition she would never see him again. Kouta…
The phone on his desk rang and Kurama answered it. "Yes?"
"Director! The target just contacted Kouta and instructed him to meet her on the bridge in town."
"I want two squads of SAT in choppers and ready for takeoff within ten minutes!" he slammed down the phone and got to his feet. He was already running for the helipad. He needed to be there to direct operations.
You've come home Lucy, and I'll make sure you don't ever leave again.
It was dusk and everything was getting dark. With all the damage from the storm still unrepaired a lot of the street lights still didn't work. Only one light in three was working on the bridge. He drove onto it looking around desperately for her. He didn't see her. The only person on the bridge was a girl in a red dress with blonde and a blue wool hat on her head.
The hat. He slammed on the breaks in the middle of the north bound lane. He recognized the hat. He opened the driver side door and ran out to her. "Lucy!"
She looked up at him. Her eyes were filled with tears. "You came. Kouta you really came." She lifted wide her arms and waited for him.
"Lucy!" he ran to her and grabbed a hold of her squeezing her as hard as he could to make sure she was really real. "Lucy! Lucy, I was afraid I'd never see you again!"
"Kouta my love!"
They kissed. A passionate and desperate kiss. A kiss to remind them that they were alive and together again.
"Lucy," he spoke with a voice that was filled with relief. "What happened? What's going on?"
His arms were wrapped tight around her. She shut her eyes and enjoyed the comfort of those arms holding her. She knew the safety she felt was an illusion. But she treasured the feeing whether it was real or not. "Just hold me Kouta," she whispered. "Let me feel your embrace for just a little longer."
"O.k., I'll hold you forever like this if you want."
She closed her eyes. "Yes, forever, that's what I want. That's all I have ever wanted, to be in your arms forever."
He didn't understand. But then he didn't need to. He was with the one he loved. They were together, that was enough.
It was a beautiful peaceful moment. And if it really could have lasted forever that would have been plenty for both of them.
But it couldn't last.
After what seemed much too short a time they heard the sounds of helicopters. Even in the darkness they were able to make out two large helicopters making to land at either end of the bridge.
"What's going on?" Kouta shouted.
"They've come for me," Lucy said calmly.
"But how could they have known you were here?!"
She smiled at him. He was so sweet and innocent! How had he managed to love someone like her and still stay so pure? "Kouta, they know who I am and who I care for. They probably had the phone tapped and you under surveillance. I knew when I contacted you we'd only have a little bit of time before the police came."
He looked at her in shock. "Then why did you contact me?"
Smiling she gently reached up and touched his sweet face. "Because this world is Hell. It has always been hell, a cruel and uncaring place where I have never belonged. And the only moments I was allowed to escape this hell was when I was with you Kouta. You are my angel. When I am with you I am in heaven. You are my sun, my stars, my everything. No matter what happened I had to see you again. The only happiness I have known in this life has been at your side Kouta." Reaching up she removed her hat and put it in her purse. Then she pulled off her wig and tossed it aside, revealing not only her red hair but her horns.
"What are you doing?!" He knew she never revealed her horns in public.
"It doesn't matter anymore," she looked at him with sadness but without fear. "I won't go to prison Kouta. This life is hard enough without being put in a cage. And if I can't be with you there's no point to it anyway."
Kouta paled as he realized just what she was saying. "Lucy don't say that! You can't mean it!"
"Kouta," she hesitated. This was the hard part. "I want to apologize to you. I've been lying to you from the very start. You see… I'm a monster."
As Kouta watched an empty soda can and three rocks rose into the air and began to go around and around in a circle.
"Wha… what's happening? What is this?"
"I'm a monster," she repeated. "My horns aren't the only things that are different about me. I have invisible arms that I can use to lift things… or break things. The first time I ever really used them was at the orphanage seven years ago. The cruel children there had just killed my little pet dog and so I used my arms to kill all of them."
"What?" he gasped and stared at her and at the items floating around her.
"Then I started killing people in their homes so I could have somewhere to stay and something to eat. It was easy for me; killing humans didn't seem hard at all." She looked down in shame. "I was going to kill you too that day we met. The only reason I didn't was because you said my horns were cool." She looked back up at him ashamed and sorrowful. "If you hadn't said that…"
He couldn't say anything. All he could do was stare at her.
"All those stories I told you about my father and my life growing up? They were all lies. The man I told all of you was my father was nothing but some petty thief. I paid him to pretend to be my father, and later, when he tried to black mail me, I killed him and buried him in the beach. Your father figured it out though. He was smart and he knew that man wasn't my real father. He knew I was a liar and he wasn't going to let me see you ever again. So that night at the train station… I killed him."
"You… you ki… killed my father? You made him fly into the train?"
She slowly deliberately nodded. "I'm sorry. I know how horrible it had to be, but it was the only way for me to keep seeing you. And I couldn't bear to not see you." She saw the devastation and betrayal on his face. Looking about she could see the police in their black uniforms and masks and helmets formed up on each end of the bridge. There was little time left. "I've killed hundreds of people since then Kouta; I don't even remember most of their faces. Everything they accused me of on the t.v. and papers I did and lots more besides. I killed to protect myself and to make money, but most of all I did it for you."
"I did it so I could be with you. The money was never important except as a tool to let me be with you. You are the one and only thing that has ever mattered me Kouta."
"Why… why are you telling me all this? Everything… everything I thought I knew about you was a lie."
"Everything except my love for you, that was always real."
"Why?!" he suddenly grabbed her roughly around the shoulders. His hands squeezed do hard it hurt. She didn't say anything though. "Why are you telling me this?!"
"Because if I die tonight I wanted to do it having told you the truth! I don't care about the lies I've told to anyone else, but I didn't want to leave this world without confessing my sins to you. And… and I wanted to beg your forgiveness."
"Forgiveness?" he stared at her. "Lucy you killed my father! Lucy I can never forgive you for that! Do you hear me? Never!" He shook her violently back and forth.
"I… I understand, I'm sorry Kouta." She shut her eyes and let the hot tears flow. It's what I deserve. He has the right to hate me. If he'd had a gun and wanted to kill her she wouldn't have stopped him.
But then, all at once, he stopped shaking her. His hands on her shoulder eased up and stopped hurting her. "But… but even though I can never forgive you. I… I still love you."
"What?" She opened her eyes and looked at him.
His hands touched her face and gently, so gently, wiped away her tears. "No matter what you've done, I can't stop loving you. I've loved you since we were children and I can't stop. No matter what you are, no matter what you've done, I love you."
He pressed his lips tenderly to hers. With this kiss all the fear in her heart left her. He knew what she had done and he still loved her in spite of it. Kouta my darling! Thank you! Whatever happens now I am finally at peace!
From both ends of the bridge the police began to slowly advance with rifles at the ready and aimed at them.
"Thank you Kouta. I will love you forever." She have him one more small kiss. "You have to go. Put your hands over your head and walk slowly towards them. They'll let you surrender and then they'll let you go. They only care about me."
"But what's going to happen to you?"
She smiled serenely and touched his cheek. "I've already told you I'm not going to jail."
He wrapped his arms around her protectively. "I won't leave you!"
"If you stay they'll kill you."
"It doesn't matter," he said. "I'll die protecting you."
"Kouta," she said slowly. "Would you give up your life to be with me? Would you give up everything just to be with me?"
"Yes." There was no hesitation.
She took a deep breath. She'd hoped for this, planned for this, but hadn't really expected it. "Do you trust me?"
He nodded. "I trust you with my life Lucy."
She smiled, she was so happy. "Then Kouta my love, close your eyes and take a deep breath."
Nodding he did just that. He felt two additional powerful arms wraps protectively around him. In the next second he and Lucy were catapulted off the bridge and into the dark water below.
Kurama was about to order that Lucy and her lover surrender when the saw them both go flying over the railing into the water.
The officers did that but there was no longer a target. They raced to the bridge railing and began to pour down fire into the water below.
After about thirty seconds of concentrated fire they finally stopped. There were no lights shining down into the water. The men took out their hand held flashlights, but given the distance the beams were too weak to show them anything. All they could see was blackness and all they could hear was the restless surf.
"Did we get them?"
"Do you see anything?"
"I want a full search of the area!" Kurama shouted. "I want boats and divers in the water! I want them or their bodies found! Get the helicopters in the air they can help!"
The men scrambled to obey. There were a couple rubber rafts in each helicopter and the helicopters themselves were equipped with search lights. Divers would take more time to arrange. They searched the area around the bridge for the rest of the night and into the following morning.
They never found any trace of either of them.
One year Later
Yuka, Kanae, and her family had come to his memorial stone in the cemetery. His body had never been recovered and the police had refused to say just how he had died. But he was gone.
Yuka laid a flower down at his memorial. She would always blame Lucy for her cousin's early death. Even if she had been nowhere near the scene she was sure that if he had never met that horrible girl that Kouta would be alive and well today, and probably with her.
I will always love you Kouta. Wherever you are now please be at peace.
There was a knock at his office door. "Come in Kigaragi."
The door opened and his secretary entered with her usual cheerful smile. A mug of coffee in her shaky hands. "Good morning Chief." She placed the half empty mug on his desk.
"Good morning," he took the mug and had a long drink. It was even sweeter than usual! It took a real effort not to make a face. "Perfect."
He could see how happy his comment made her. "Please do your best today Chief!"
As soon as she shut the door he poured the rest of the overly sweet coffee out into his wastepaper basket. Today was the one year anniversary of his greatest failure and he was not in a particularly good mood. The fact the bodies had never been recovered meant, for him at least, that Lucy was still alive and out there somewhere. The Director was satisfied that she was dead and considered the entire matter closed. He'd been unable to change the old man's mind and so was continuing to conduct research on his own time.
So far there had been no trace of her. The only way he had of finding her was using her victims as trail markers. If she didn't kill he had no way to track her down. But he wasn't worried. Lucy had excellent control, but sooner or later she would give into the diclonius urge to kill.
I will never stop searching for you Lucy. I will always be out here searching.
A young girl was standing outside near a small hut looking out at the beautiful sunset. She was on a small farm in a little rural village in the province of Hizen. They had rice patties and scratched out a living growing some vegetables too. The place was as far in the middle of nowhere as was possible in a country as overcrowded as Japan.
The girl's name was Kaede and her equally young husband was Kazuhiko. They had come to this quiet place a few months ago and bought this little plot of land. The few locals had welcomed them with open arms. They all complained that the young people were all leaving for the towns, so it was good to have some new youth come here.
This place was very rural even though it was the twenty first century a few of the old homes still did not have electricity and most did not have televisions or other modern conveniences. That suited the young couple perfectly. All they wanted was to be left alone to raise their family and live a quiet peaceful life.
Kaede patted her belly fondly. She was six months along with their first child. Somehow she just knew it would be a little girl, and she would have horns. She and Kazuhiko had already bought books and taken lessons on child birth. They were not going to a hospital, they would not even use a mid wife, the child would be delivered in their home. No one would see her horns.
She could still remember the night one year ago she and her love had escaped the police. The previous night she had broken into the local marine supply shop and stolen a small boat with an outboard motor. She'd burned the shop down to hide the theft. Then prior to her meeting she had unobtrusively tied the little boat to the far end of the bridge. No one had taken any notice of it.
When she and her love had leapt off the bridge they hadn't gone into the water. Using her vectors she had expertly swung them beneath the bridge using the steel girders like monkey bars. While the police were shooting up the middle of the bridge she'd gotten them to the far end of it and into the waiting boat. The sound of gunfire easily covered up the sound of a motor and even as they were beginning to search the bridge she and her beloved were getting away as fast as they could under the cover of night.
After that everything had been easy. She had fake i.d.'s and a couple million yen in cash and experience in keeping a low profile. She'd also taken the precaution of sewing a hundred million yens worth of diamonds into her treasured blue wool hat.
Now she finally had what she wanted. She was Kouta's wife and they were living together and getting ready to start a family. Money would never be a problem and she was quite willing to sacrifice a few modern conveniences for the privacy of their current existence. She would never kill or use her powers again. She was content to spend the rest of her life as nothing but an ordinary wife and mother.
It will never last. Her old friend spoke. The voice was not mocking. For once it actually sounded sympathetic. This quiet life can't last. They'll find you some day, or someone will spot your horns and it will start all over again. That child growing in your belly will turn into a monster just like you. Someday you'll have to kill her, or else she will kill you or him or both of you. There will be no happy ending.
I know, she thought calmly and continued to rub her belly. In the end I am still monster, and there is no place for me in this evil world. He and I have made this place together, but the world will never leave us alone. For a monster there can only be a tragic ending.
"I'm happy now," she whispered. "I have found heaven in this hellish place. I have found peace. I will treasure every day, every hour, and every minute of it and squeeze all the happiness I can from my time with him. And whenever it does end I'll die with him, and I will die happily because I got to love him and be loved by him."
The door to the hut opened and her husband came outside. "Something going on?"
She smiled happily and waved him over to her. "I'm just watching the sunset, come and watch it with me."
He came over and put his arms around her and they did just that.
"I love you," he told her.
"And I love you."
Together they watched the sun set on another perfect day in heaven.