|“||I thought...I just thought it was a pretty song. That's all.||”|
–Young Lucy, trying to avoid another potentially false friend.
Following her slaying of the children in the orphanage, Lucy is disillusioned with the idea of becoming friends with other people. As she buries her dear friend, the first and thus far only one she's ever had in the whole world, she doesn't think about the awful powers that killed the puppy's murderers.
Instead, she laments how she's different from other children, as, in her mind, that's what led to the poor dog being killed in the first place. Other children saw her only as a means to take out their frustration at being abandoned by their parents, and the orphanage bullies' torment of her is the kickstart of a pattern of humans using not only Lucy, but other Diclonii as scapegoats for the horrible things in the world both on a personal level and at large. Ignorant to how this prejudice would again come up against her later, Lucy apologizes to her beloved friend and pet for her inability to save it. Without it, she foresaw, she would be crushed, and that certainly seems to be the case as she stands over the dog's grave.
That is until she meets a little boy.
By this point, she's used to being stared at for her horns, even if she doesn't like it, so the boy's curious gawking is, sadly, not that new at all. In the manga, the two merely stare at one another for a moment, but in the anime, the ice is broken by the music box playing Lilium, which the boy realizes she likes. Lucy, blushing, counters that she just thought the song was pretty. In either version, as she prepares to kill him as well while he stares at her horns, the boy interrupts her by asking if her horns are real and that they're amazing. Instead of finding her horns disgusting, they're the most awesome thing he's ever seen, and he even admits to being envious of something so cool. Though she's shocked and touched by being complimented rather than insulted for her appearance, Lucy is, understandably, skeptical of his honesty, saying he has no idea how troublesome her horns have been for her up to this point and brushes off his attempts to be friends. As she leaves, he calls out to her, saying his name is Kouta and that he'll see her at that same spot the very next day.
She has no reason to be hopeful he'll arrive, yet she dares hope anyway. Sure enough, Kouta appears just as he said he would, and he gives her the first gift she's ever been given: a knitted woolen cap to hide her horns. Later that night, Lucy again gives in to her impulse to kill, as she kills a family in their own home in order to use the house for the night. This marks the first time she'll kill a family in order to use their dwelling as a place to stay, at least, in the manga. While going to meet Kouta again, she hears more whispers of the Voice that's been speaking to her lately, and it tells her it's alright to like killing and that she was born to do so. This voice continues to come to her during her last day with Kouta, both before and after they go to the zoo together (though in the anime, she hears its voice during the zoo visit). The zoo gives Lucy a spectacle she's never quite seen before: amazing animals from far and wide to behold in wonder. She does a poor job hiding her excitement, but thankfully, her new friend doesn't tease her too much about it. After their trip to the zoo, the two go to cool off in a lake, resulting in a splash fight that soaks the both of them. As they wait for their clothes to dry, Kouta gives her a jade stone he found in the water, noting that it's good for making rings according to his grandmother. Lucy thanks Kouta for letting her experience the best day of her life, which he considers to be just an exaggeration.
During the bus ride home, Lucy cautiously asks if they can go to the next day's festival together, but the notion is rejected as Kouta explains he already promised to go with his cousin, the gender of whom Lucy questions. Jealousy rears its ugly head, and once more the Voice speaks to her, telling her it's alright to kill him before he gets the chance to break her heart. Upon breaking out of the trance brought on by the voice, she discovers, much to her shock, that she's had her hands wrapped around Kouta's throat to do as the Voice ordered even while she was trying to resist its words. In a brief moment of clarity wherein she realizes how precariously she sits on the edge of becoming a mass murderer, she asks Kouta to kill her should she ever kill people en masse. Kouta seems to not understand or believe what she's asking of him, as his response is to stare at her, puzzled. When they finally reach Gokurakuji Station at night, she asks if his cousin he mentioned before is a girl or a boy, and Kouta, wanting to spare her from "suffering," says his cousin is a boy. She appears placated by this information, but ultimately, as the two part ways for the night, it would lead to a tragedy much greater than either of them could ever think possible.
Meeting Kouta is one of the more important moments in Lucy's life. Kouta's friendliness startles her out of her thoughts of killing, and also shows the first of few true kindnesses she'll ever be shown in her life. Rather than being repulsed by her horns, Kouta immediately wants to befriend her. Unlike with the girl from the orphanage, there's no immediate promise that she can trust him. He's human like the rest of them, but there's no reason to doubt him that she can see...at least, not yet. Kouta is the first person to give her something as well, with his gifts being the woolen cap, the trip to the zoo, the jade stone from the river, and overall, the feeling that she's a normal little kid instead of just some strange child no one wants around. His kindness is enough to stir romantic feelings within her, but given her mental and emotional instability at this point in her life, just as much bad comes with the good. However, making such an important friend laid the groundwork for her to continue to hold onto the hope for friendship in the world, though the next friend she'd make wouldn't fare so well.
Meeting Kouta also shows the first glimpse of the way she views not only her powers but her existence as a whole. As she contemplates killing Kouta, she muses that if she didn't have horns, he too could live. This infers she sees her horns, or rather, her nature as someone so clearly nonhuman, as the source for those children's deaths, albeit it's not clear if she sees it as the direct or indirect cause of the deaths. Already she sees her killing others as something that's just part of her nature, something unavoidable. At this point, she also takes to killing people in their homes in order to have a place to sleep at night. The anime illustrates her willingness to do this right away, as she murders a family the night before meeting Kouta for the second time, then does it again later that night once their playdate is over. The manga, in contrast, only shows her beginning to kill people for this reason after she meets with Kouta the second time. She almost kills Kouta again during the bus ride home, and while he's trying to catch his breath when she releases him from a stranglehold, she admits to herself:
|“||By that time I...already knew that I couldn't oppose that voice no matter what I did. At that time, I had admitted to my own instincts...the voice of my DNA...I can't stop my own DNA from bringing down the current humanity. For that purpose, I was born with the power to kill people.||”|
Already she's accepted her supposed nature as a killer, yet at the same time, she asks Kouta to kill her if she should ever start killing a lot of people at once. It's something she can't do to herself, as she says she would become reluctant to die if the choice and the task were left up to her. This moment of clarity and realizing the horror of her actions is brief, however, as she thinks to herself that she would've followed the Voice's directions and killed Yuka if Kouta had said his cousin was a girl. She hasn't truly come to understand the gravity of her choices, and such a revelation, sadly, wouldn't come until later, when she acts upon her instincts and commits an act so violent and dire that the reverberations are still strong eight years later.
|“||I know my time with you is going to be the only happy memory I have to show for my whole life.||”|
–Young Lucy, making a sadly prophetic and mostly accurate statement.