Salve For a Bloody Rose, Continuation

Note: I have tweaked around my writing style ever so slightly to make everything more coherent. Hope it doesn't affect the story negatively in any way. (It's too fucked up to untie the stupid STUPID OOC-ness I made now….what was I thinking!?) Anyhow, please review and don't flame. If you feel the need to flame, flame constructively.

And nicely if possible…..if 'nice' flaming even exists….

CHAPTER THREE, LUCY'S DECISION

Lucy's drenched hair was plastered rather unattractively over her forehead, caused by the pouring rain that threatened to drown her.

She stared blankly into space and tried to rationally recount the events that had just transpired.

'Step one, I went into proverbial 'rehab' at Kouta's for several weeks, step two, something inside my head snapped, step three, I got it on with Nana.'

She laughed hoarsely at this.

'Haha. Get it on. It's more like coerced rape. I bet she's feeling rather violated right now….'

She brushed a strand of reddish pink hair out of her soaking forehead and heaved a heavy sigh. She had been crying for over an hour now. (Was it an hour? Or was it two? Didn't really matter.)

She thought about many things, primarily focusing on how a rash decision probably confirmed Kouta's inner thoughts about her being a nutter.

A rash decision.

It seemed rather premeditated to her. Like they said, you didn't become gay, you were born gay.

That would mean she was one confused bisexual who was now torn between (frankly and honestly) doddering Kouta and innocent Nana.

'She's thirteen, for fuck's sake.' Lucy said to no one in particular.

She could literally feel a small artificial lake building up in her pants. She should have caught the last minute 'storm warning' on the weather channel before she bolted out the door.

Some thunder cracked through the air, strangely lengthening her train of thought as opposed to cutting it off abruptly.

She remembered Nana's pretty delicate face the day they met at the graveyard. (which was incidentally, where she was sitting right now. She wondered absentmindedly if there were any traces of Nana's original limbs in the forest.) She finally had an epiphany.

She was jealous of Nana at the time, jealous of her blissful unawareness of her own misery-jealous at her blind servitude she called a purpose.

At least she had a purpose.

'I'm just a wandering killer. A regular Cassie and Butch without the Butch. How utterly productive.'

Still, she had felt a slight tinge of attraction the day Nana had tried to intercept her, however twisted the way she expressed it was.

She knew at that exact moment in time that she could not have had Nana, ever. She had stuffed those lingering feelings from the past into the bulging and rotting box that was her psyche and attacked her mercilessly, like the saying said, 'The fox couldn't reach the grapes, so therefore, he implied that the grapes were sour.' She had probably taken this saying into an extreme context and (literally) ripped apart her subject of desire.

What was it that made her feel so alienated towards Nana?

'That's just great. I'm psychoanalyzing myself in the rain. I'm really Freud now.'

She suddenly took a peek into her rotted treasure chest of psyche and let some proverbial mold flow out.

The girl covered with bandages inside her head told her some things….

'She'll only giggle and ridicule you if you say that you like her.'

'You're a cold blooded killer with no concept of 'love' in any form. Hell, you KILLED the closest thing you had to a FRIEND'S DAD AND SISTER. So really, don't delude yourself. You cannot love and never will. Why not keep killing then? That little pink haired bitch is mocking you. She's trying to take away your freedom. Don't tell me you find her ATTRACTIVE, because A. big dangerous and slightly retarded Lucy is scary to pretty innocent little Nana, and B. She seems rather happy, something YOU don't have. Don't you feel pissed at this?'

She remembered she had told the creepy little bandaged beast floating in the darkness the following:

'I could go back to the laboratory with her and possibly get in a joint experiment with her- some companionship perhaps? I can convince her to run away with me…. either way, I could potentially live a good life with her. I'm too much of a burden to Kouta….and he probably hates me for killing the better half of his family. I don't want to kill her. Can't we just talk this over? Please? I just want peace in my life.'

The little bandaged shadow had moved into her face, almost close enough to kiss her.

'Don't idle dear Lucy, and don't kid yourself. She wouldn't want to become friends with an emotionless bitch like you, let alone start a romantic relationship. Remember, the whole world is your enemy. You are the 'queen bee' designed to eradicate everything and start over with your own race. We wouldn't want you to be dawdling away in solitary confinement, would we?'

She remembered the utter vividness of the rotting breath that spewed out of the bandaged shadow's mouth. It had hissed, 'What gives her the right to live in ignorant bliss while you suffer?'

'But-

'No buts, dear Lucy, or should I say, Kaede? You got it all wrong, putz, I'M Lucy, and you're weak little Kaede who gets so many boo boos because of her inability to be more…..assertive.'

'Fuck you, stop that right now. I don't want you anymore….you have made my life a living hell.'

'You said that last part with a little bit of hesitation, Kaede. YOU and I are the same. There is no split personality. Kaede is Lucy, and Lucy is Kaede. I appear because you NEED somebody to keep tabs on your wounded conscience.'

'That's not true.'

'Oh, but it IS. I have protected you from all harm and THIS is what I get? Denial and a 'fuck you?' I am your armor dear Kaede. You WILL gather up your will to hurt that little bitch because she has a life that you were denied.'

'That I was denied….'

'That's right. She's living happily and you're a suffering schizophrenic. PULEEZE.

'I never thought of it that way.'

'That's what I was saying in the first place, you dumb cow. Get the fucking crust out of your ears and LISTEN to me.'

'I give up then. I don't really know what to do….'

'Just give the reins over to me, and I'll handle it. As long as I'm around, you needn't suffer, and I guaran-fucking- tee that you'll never be happy living your fairytale life with her. Pfft. Like that's even possible. She's sitting there, all smiling , pretty, and yapping in that annoying voice. Don't you just want to fucking RIP HER APART? LIMB TO LIMB?'

'You're right….her voice IS grating on my nerves….'

'Her smile laughs at you, laughs at your PREDICAMENT. LET ME IN NOW!'

Kaede was pushed aside by the bandaged Lucy and then….the rest was history.

Lucy breathed a shivering sigh of relief and felt hot tears run down her cheeks again. She found that she had a goofy looking smile on her face from (finally) figuring out the tangled mess that was the inner workings of her brain.

'Fine brain, you've gone through more than enough probing today. I'll just close the lid and stop prodding you….' Lucy squinted and let the tears run down her cheeks. Though she had figured out the reasons, she still couldn't put her finger on whether to choose Kouta or Nana.

Or both. Both would be very nice.

But does Kouta even love her? Was that kiss they shared just out of pity on his part?

'Probably. I'm a self pitying murderer that sits in the rain like a pedophiliac waiting for a little child.'

Lucy moved her legs a little and gave a small tsk when she found out her ballet flats were reaching a dangerously high tide. She suddenly felt the rain stop….

'Lucy?'

She almost fell down the cemetery steps in her startled reaction, but regained her composure and spun her head around.

Kouta was standing there with a passive and unreadable look on his face. He was carrying a large umberella.

'Yup. That would explain why the rain stopped all of the sudden. Thank God for good generous Kouta….'

'Is this a good time?' Kouta asked, immediately feeling immensely stupid after the question.

Lucy said nothing and nodded slightly. Kouta sat down beside her, oblivious to the fact that as soon as he sat down, a his underpants filled up like a water balloon.

'Erm….' Kouta was looking rather constipated now, scrunching up his face ever so slightly at the awkward situation that just took place at the Kaede in.

'No need to mince words. Just spit it out.'

'Alright, why?'

'I honestly don't know myself, but I'll explain it the best I can.'

The absence of the sun hid Lucy's tomato red face as she explained her motives in almost the exact order she figured them out in her head. Thankfully, Kouta's face did not, in fact, register any trace of disgust or anger, but instead took on a look of sympathetic understanding.

And slight befuddlement, as his eyebrows raised every now and then when she talked about her sexual orientation.

'I….could see why you would turn to girls….sort of….' Kouta trailed off and broke eye contact with Lucy.

'Not to excuse you by any means from my dad and sister's….' Kouta looked for something a little more delicate to supplement 'murder', but the justice mongering part of him spat out, 'murder, but I can understand the trauma you experienced after possibly losing the only male companion you had in the world. Of course….I could be wrong….' He trailed off again and looked into Lucy's red eyes.

His voice shook a little when he reopened his old scar, but he kept it under reasonable grips.

'All I wanted was to find peace, one way or another. I didn't want to kill again, I really didn't.'

'I have forgiven Kaede and Nyuu, so just let those bygones be bygones. You snapped because of….that….'

'Lucy.' She said dejectedly. It was funny, calling that bandaged alter ego in her head the name she had been called by for so long. From what she had heard from the tidbits of information that was whispered around during her time in the laboratory, 'Lucy' was her natural drive, a reverse conscience to be more precise, imprinted into her instincts.

'Like a shark that naturally eats other fish alive. I'm a shark that wants to be vegan. Haha.'

'Right.' Kouta shifted uncomfortably on the steps. The rain didn't seem to want to let up, as another crack of thunder echoed through the sky.

'Here we are, sitting in the middle of a hurricane.'

'Yes, a hurricane.' Lucy parroted distantly.

Lucy finally wracked up the courage to ask.

'How's Nana doing back at….' She wanted to say home, but instead, ' The Kaede Inn?' came out.

'Oh, her.' Kouta wriggled ever so slightly at this. 'She's ummm….refusing to talk to anyone. She just stays in her room and cries….'

'Like always.' He added, in a weak attempt to inject some lightheartedness into the news.

'Yuka?'

'She's….kind of mad about the erm…..mess you two made….tell m-me….' Kouta's face was turning a shade of puce now.

Lucy inwardly giggled at Kouta's schoolboy tendencies to turn embarrassed at the slightest suggestion of sexual innuendo, but kept a straight face.

'What?'

'Are….are….diclonius fluids washable?' He almost said the last part in a strained whisper.

Lucy said nothing a looked at the ground. They now resembled two tomato headed humanoids growing from the cracks of the staircase in some kind of strange mutation from the pollutants in the rain.

'I guess….not then. Yuka's having considerable trouble….you know….' Kouta almost had his head turned a full 90 degrees away from Lucy, not wanting to see her reaction.

'No. It's thicker and more viscous than a normal human's. It'll eventually dry up and possibly chip away?'

She could have sworn she heard a small whimper from Kouta as he said this, followed by a sudden jerk of the canopy-like umbrella.

'Anyways, I think Nana really misses you. If I'm not mistaken, I think she likes you too.' Kouta said in an almost hyper speed yammer. Something felt heavy in his heart as he said this. Although he kept reminding himself time and time again that the impossibly beautiful horned girl sitting next to him was his father and sister's killer, he couldn't help but feel love towards her.

It wasn't just any love either. It was a sort of relieved love in a sense, the type one felt when recovering something very dear to them. He frequently had dreams about his quirky pink haired childhood friend before his suppressed memories were awakened. She had always seemed so familiar to him in those dreams, he always felt this….feeling of fuzzy nostalgia whenever they had conversations in those dreams. When he woke up, he would have felt this bittersweet feeling of loss simmering in his heart that would most likely last for several hours, often lingering all the way into the early afternoon, at which point he would brush off the feeling as a simple projection of his ideal girl and attribute it to his innate lack of relationships with the girls at his school.

He had almost been relieved (he felt quite guilty as he thought about this, picturing the mangled remains of his father and sister thrashing in their respective graves.) when he found out that 'ideal girl from the hazy forest in his dream was, in fact, real. Also real was the fact that she was the one who caused the death of his kin. But that was beside the point. (cue more thrashing) Despite all her visible flaws, Kaede was still the sweet, insecure girl that he had befriended so many years ago, so was cute and clueless Nyuu. Lucy was the one he hated, and the one that was responsible, so ergo,( he pictured his mind as a calculator now) If 'Lucy' stayed in her 'Kaede' state( which was manifested itself rather consistently ever since her confession to him on the staircase.) he could love her with no guilt in his mind.( Cue some quieting of the thrashing.)

'Can I call you Kaede from now on?'

Lucy was rather startled when he said this, but felt a pleasant tingle go down her spine as he said this.

'He's accepting me. By God, he's forgiven me!'

On one condition, 'If I keep that bandaged little freak under wraps. Yes. That's right-as long as SHE fades away, I'll lose my instinct to 'kill and conquer.' Yep. Score one for Kaede. It'll take some getting used to though….'

'I haven't been called Kaede for the longest time, not since….grade school.' She said this last bit quietly, remembering her bullying at the hands of those vicious little boys who used her little dog as a sandbag.

'Lucy was the name they gave to you at the lab. Why keep that memento of suffering?'

Kaede smiled and decided, 'I'll get rid of 'Lucy' once and for all then. That little fuck in my head isn't going to run my life any longer.'

To her surprise, the 'little fuck' didn't even protest when she said this. This strangely disturbed her a little, but she kept her flow.

She tossed away the namesake of her evil alter ego and suddenly heard an almost muting in the rain.

'Yes, you can call me that. Kaede….' She felt the words on her tongue. It certainly felt less evil than the almost gothic twinge of 'Lucy'.

'Shall we go home then? We can sort things out there, Kaede.' Kouta smiled warmly and stood up, a literal downpour cascading down from his jeans. He held out his hand, ' I'll always be there for you Kaede, don't ever forget that. You'll always be my best friend.' Feeling a little strange after he said this, 'Best friend? Isn't that a little mild for the moment?'

'Yes, but she still has to figure out whether she likes YOU or Nana. To be or not to be, that is the question.'

He suddenly felt smooth soft skin entwine with his hands and walked home with Kaede in a daze. The rain still beat down- (no clichéd sun peeking out of the billowing clouds for them!) creating oceans in potholes and roaring down depressingly, accompanied by a good measure of gusting cold air from time to time, bringing a whole new definition to the word, 'soaking wet.'

For some reason though, the two felt nice and dry.

There was an awkward silence that pervaded the Kaede Inn in the week that followed. Nobody dared utter a peep about the 'incident' that happened one 'that day'. Kouta and Kaede had made their amends and were living comfortably together, though with some degree of awkwardness.

Kaede however, had grown to a level of emotional intimacy with Nana that she had never thought possible. Through night after night of Tete a tete talks and sorrowful amendments, Nana had finally begun to understand Kaede's motives.

It comforted her somewhat that it was Kaede she had had sex with and that it was Kaede that was starting up a skeleton of a formal relationship with her.

Kouta had full knowledge of their relationship and kept rather quiet about it, fearing that 'Lucy' might come out again as a product of simple agitation.

Of course, Kaede was resolute about keeping her evil alter ego under wraps. She had even promised to try her very best to keep the (admittedly ) dimwitted 'Nyuu' under her thumb.

So far so good. One week without any disturbances from her alternate personalities.

However, there was one slight problem that was quite overlooked during the chaotic events that occurred.

Lucy and Nana were illiterate.

They didn't know how to do math.

And to plop the cherry on the proverbial cake, they had no concept of using modern technology.

To remedy the problem , Kouta and Yuka signed them up for online courses.(after giving them a crash course in how to use computers.) Much to Lucy's utter chagrin and embarrassment, she had to start from the lowest level of education, which was a concept known as 'grade one.'

Lucy and Nana were given their own laptops, (courtesy of reaching deep into Yuka's family's pockets.) in order to insure utmost convenience for their admittedly embarrassing situation.

Kouta, Yuka, and Mayu were rather astonished at the quick learning rate the two dicloniuses possessed. They had literally sped all the way through to the fourth grade curriculum in a mere two weeks, suggesting that they would eventually catch up to the two university students in a year or less, considering the rising difficulty of the work.

Another nasty little problem reared its head once the whack-a-mole of Lucy and Nana's education issues were whacked.

Poor Mayu was caught in a rather compromising situation in when she was caught doing things with Nana's panties, to which she ran to her room and locked herself in for a whole entire day.

Yuka later deduced with minimal effort that Mayu had a hopeless crush on Nana.

The raven haired girl kept to herself most of the time, giving very little chance for the rest of the house mates to effectively communicate with her.

Yuka almost counted off the various signs she was so blind to.

First, Mayu almost always lowered her voice considerably when Nana was near, complemented by a bright red that always enveloped her face.

Secondly, Yuka had almost always found that some of Nana's sleep wear and undergarments had tiptoed over into Mayu's closet. She had dismissed it before as a simple organizational slip on her own part, but she had always failed to grasp the consistency with which they materialized.

Thirdly, she had found some girly love confessions to no one in particular crumpled to oblivion in Mayu's waste basket. Yuka felt a pang of guilt for giving into the temptation of reading them, but sheesh, did she have to use her Hello Kitty pink stationary?

Yuka and Kouta discussed this while rolling up Gyoza to be wrapped up for the next day's lunches.

'We've found ourselves in a rut here.' Yuka said quietly, silently setting the consistent volume for the entire conversation.

'Tell me about it. We've got a love triangle going on in the inn….'

'A love square if you're included.' Yuka said rather with a pouty voice. She still harbored feelings for Kouta, but she had partially accepted the Kouta would never reciprocate her romantic feelings for him.

Partially.

'Baby steps man, baby steps.' She thought deliriously as she ran through this thought.

'Well….I haven't talked to Lucy-er Kaede in a rather long time…. She spends all her time studying these days.'

'Don't give me that shit Kouta, you know what happened two days ago.'

'What?' Kouta's reddening face was giving away his secret.

'That 'long conversation' in your room with her?'

'We just kissed for….for a long time!' Kouta sputtered, not unlike a broken lawnmower.

'Sure.' Yuka smirked at Kouta's discomfort.

'You do realize she's flitting back and forth from you to Nana and back, right?'

'I know that.'

'Doesn't that bother you in the least?'

'N-n-not at all.' Strangely enough, Kouta didn't really mind Kaede's travels from him to Nana. He hoped she would eventually decide and go him. It wasn't too farfetched to compare his situation to choosing from the last two squares from a scratch and win lottery card.

'I feel kind of left out, you know.' Yuka was clearly enjoying herself now. She would stop this once Kouta the lawnmower eventually broke down.

'It's-it's we used condoms at least….' Kouta realized his mistake and wanted to gut himself with the kitchen knife he was holding.

'Ha. So you admit it.'

'I want to commit Hara Kiri right now.'

'Don't. We still need a cyclic cook's assistant here. We can't have you disembowel yourself so soon.'

Kouta gave a heavy sigh and stuffed some ginger inside the powdery dough.

Yuka lowered her voice again, 'You do know that Mayu's got a crush on Nana, right?'

Kouta raised an eyebrow, 'That's peculiar. She's never shown any signs of it.'

'You're always so oblivious.' Yuka heaved an almost silent groan and wrapped up an end of the dumpling.

'Aren't you going to talk to Lu-erm Kaede about whether she's going to commit to you?'

'I don't really know….she and Nana seem quite suited for each other.' Kouta said in a small voice.

'That just like you, never having a backbone. Take some initiative for once! Be aggressive!'

The inner Yuka was screaming now, screeching and caterwauling, 'He's mine!WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS! TRYING TO BE THE MODERATER NOW EH!? I WANT HIM AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT!'

'Shut up.' Rational Yuka intoned coldly. 'You know my pursuit of him is a lost cause, so just can it.'

Inner Yuka shut up.

' C'mon, you've been like….practically in love with her your whole life! Can't you….' She saw the downcast look on Kouta's face.

'I just can't get the fact out of my head that she killed my father and sister. Even if it was done by her alter ego. I just can't picture myself living in marital bliss with Kaede. It would be….' Kouta tried to search for the right word.

'awkward.'

Yuka put a finger on her chin and smeared some flour on it in the process. 'I guess you have a point there….but still, don't you want to start a life with the literal girl of your dreams? And I stress the word literal?'

Kouta stuffed some chives into his already bloated Gyoza, ' I can live with Kaede, but the prospect of Lucy popping up at some random moment chills me to the bone.'

'She's learning. Lucy almost never pops up now.'

'Almost. Remember that incident two weeks before?'

'Don't remind me, but Kouta- she's trying her best. Can you at least try and snag her?'

Kouta sighed, rather deflated. The turmoil filled battle in his mind was being perpetually won by the 'pro Kaede side' rather than the 'freaked out about Lucy and worried that she will go crazy and dismember someone close to me side.' It was a seventy percent win, still shadowed by the lurking little 30 percent of the opposing side.

That 30 percent was something he would have to overcome before Lu-whoops. Kaede decided that he didn't want her after all and run away with Nana.

A new sort of macho determination coursed through Kouta's veins as his brow furrowed slightly. Who did that pink haired little 13 year old jailbait think she was, stealing his Kaede from him? He would show her who was the better man….well….the better person. He would demolish that remaining annoyance of a 30 percent and-

'Kouta, why are you spaced out like that?'

'Oh! Errr….nothing! It's nothing. I've just decided that I'll try a little harder and snag Kaede before Nana swoops her away.'

'That's more like it.' Inner Yuka bubbled up to the surface like a pimple now.

'NOW YOU'VE DONE IT! WE'LL NEVER HAVE KOUTA NOW! YOU BITCH! YOU BITCHBITCHBITCH….'

'Like I said, shut up.' Yuka said, mentally picturing herself bashing inner Yuka's head in.

'Well, it's quite out of context on my part,' (Yuka said this to quell the festering Inner Yuka) 'But I actually hope that Mayu will somehow catch Nana's attention and draw her away from Lucy. By the way, have you even noticed that Lucy is sharing a lot of 'spilling the beans' talks with Nana these past months? Especially when they've started their independent learning programs? You'd better fill in the part of the 'personal therapist' before Lucy starts regularly seeing Nana the shrink.'

This time, Yuka's own stomach knotted as opposed to her crazed other self.

'Hey, what AM I doing? I'm completely out of character here….I've partially accepted Kouta's love for Lucy, PARTIALLY. Why am I so comfortable with it?'

'Because you want him to like you and not despise you. You subconsciously want to worm into his mind as the 'helpful girl' that prevails SO much in anime stereo types. You know? The best friend under his nose the whole time he didn't even notice but finds out is the right one for him in the end?'

Yuka swallowed hard and held back her fear.