Chapter 3: Cosplay Party"My loooooooooooovvvvvveeee"Hope heard the sound of a door slam behind him as he typed away at the Ark's computer terminal."You are sooooooooo""Annoying."He swiveled on his chair and turned to see a stonestill figure. "Hi !ight"" he said.#he didn't answer right away" aggravated by his mocking tone. "$ow you're singing that stupid song"" she said finally" shifting on her feet."Yesssssssss"" he sang.!ightning rolled her eyes. "He's rubbing off on you.""%www&" Hope giggled" a #nowlike smile on his face."'his is e(actly what ) am talking about"" !ightning said" e(asperated. #he crossed and then uncrossed her arms.") am *ust *oking" !ight"" Hope answered meekly" looking down at his fingers."$o more fooling around. ) came here to track down that +ehemoth that is causing trouble." #he placed her e,uipment down" a blunt" metallic sound echoing off into the emptiness of the Ark.Hope e(amined !ight" placing his hand underneath his chin."-hat&" she said" trying not to grit her teeth."#now is right" !ight.""%(cuse me&""You are too serious and can't take a *oke."#he didn't reply" her already rigid posture becoming even stiffer. She can't deny it" thought Hope."And he said you were what's the word& A tsundere" was it&"'his did e(tract a response from !ighting. #lamming her fist down on the terminal" she whispered" ")am not."A response expected from a typical tsundere. "You were doing better after everything that has happened over the years" but you seem to have reverted back." Hope smiled again."#top smiling like that. !ike him. ) can't stand it." #he saw Hope's grin disappear" but she continued. "At least ) can take matters seriously" unlike him who is always reckless and running off without thinking" trying to play the" #he looked at Hope. "Hero"Hope didn't reply. He rotated in his chair" picking up speed as he played with his fingers. -hen he finally stopped" his back was to !ightning. "/o you" He turned toward her. "/o you really hate him that much&"0or once in her life" !ightning stuttered. "$no it's *ust""At the supermarket a few weeks ago" #now told me that he spoke with you and that he got through to you ) thought that maybe you would accept us now"!ightning sighed. "-e did talk" but that is the problem" #now is all talk ) am not sure if ) can believe him.""#o you don't trust him&""How can )& He is rash and irresponsible and he hurt my sister." #he looked away from Hope. "And"#he ,uickly glanced at him. ") don't want the same to happen to you."") understand that and ) appreciate the concern" but ) can take care of myself. ) mean" ) am how old now&"!ightning laughed. ") don't even know anymore" but you certainly act older than him. And you have grown up a lot since you were bloodthirsty and wanted to kill him.""1gh" don't remind me." He laughed. "+ut #now has grown up a lot himself. He learned from the whole #erah thing and he doesn't want to repeat the same mistakes." !ightning regarded him coldly. ") know he is far from perfect" but don't ) seem happier now that ) am with him& And you know" not trying to murder him&"A glimpse of Hope came into her mind. A vengeful Hope A lonely Hope An emotionless Hope A vibrant, smiling HopeThat new grin of his boils my blood. ut#he sighed. "You seem more flamboyant. And irritating." Hope frowned. "+ut yes" ) suppose" you seem happier." 2olor came back to his pale face. ") guess you can be with him *ust no singing."He chuckled. ") can't promise that for #now" but ) will try.""And that includes your phone."He laughed again.") mean it. #hut if off."He did. 3uickly."And try to keep the *okes to a minimum. ) can handle only so much of his humor." #he gave Hope an awkward pat on the back to show her approval. "$ow let's focus on finding that +ehemoth." #he leaned over him and began clicking random things on the computer screen."1mmm !ight" please give me the mouse""-here is the tracking system&""$o /4$'' 2!)25 'HA'.""-hat& -hy&"#he saw instantly why.'he screen was flooded with very interesting pictures of #now doing all kinds of poses in various different outfits."-HA' )# 'H)#&" !ightning yelled."6esearch&""-HA' )# H% /4)$7 -)'H Y416 +44M%6A$7&""1mm" well )" umm""A$/ A6% 'H4#% MY +44'#&"") can e(plain."") don't want to hear it. And *ust when ) was going to accept you two." #he began storming off" her enraged pace giving true meaning to her name."My looooooooove"#he halted and glared at Hope" thunder behind her angry eyes. "-HA' did ) *ust say about singing&"")t wasn't me."'he glare intensified."4r my phone."")s he here&""-ho" #now& $o" he isn't.""'hen who&""My looooooooooooooove." )t reverberated again.")t sounds like it is coming from the entrance."!ightning approached the door" weapon in hand."#now&" she called. ")s that you&" Her grip tightened."!ight" don't kill them please. -hoever it is" don't kill them"" Hope begged.") can't guarantee that.""My loooooooooooooove"" the voice answered. "Your Aladdin +oy is here.""Aladdin +oy&" !ightning and Hope said simultaneously" e(changing confused glances.!ightning" slowly" apprehensively" opened the doorAnd in burst $oel" dressed fully in Arabian clothing" a turban on his head and his pants baggier than ever.And that wasn't all.He was riding a magic carpet.)t glided into the Ark" right over !ightning's head. "My looooooooove"" $oel sang. "#noooooow" where are yooooou&" He continued to fly" circling around !ightning who was resisting the urge to stab him. "2ome with me" #now. +e my 8asmine. ) can show you the world"Hope stood motionless" unable to fathom the ridiculous sight in front of him. -hen he came to his senses" he shouted" "Hey. -hat do you think you are doing& #top trying to steal my boyfriend." He ran toward $oel" attempting to grab the magic carpet. His fingers brushed the tips of the tassels" but to no avail. He was too short. He desperately chased the carpet around the room" *umping and trying to sei9e the tassels again."Honey" ) am home."!ightning turned toward the door.#now had suddenly appeared.And $oel wasn't the only one who had come dressed up. #now was wearing !ightning's 7uardian 2rops uniform" down to every last detail" including her cape and the satchel on her leg. 'o make it worse" the uniform barely fit him" his broad shoulders stretching the white material."4h um" hi !ightning." He looked down at his apparel. "1m" ) can e(plain"+ehind them" Hope had managed to grab onto the flying carpet and climb onto it" snatching $oel's hair and biting into his scalp."H4:%" Y41 +)'2H."!ightning watched them for a moment and then turned toward #now" strangely calm. ") don't care. You are all idiots" she said" walking out the door. ") hope the +ehemoth gets all of you"#now watched her leave. -hen he noticed that the ruckus behind him had stopped" he looked back toward Hope and $oel to see them passed out on the ground" the carpet still flying on its own in the background."1mm" He ad*usted his uniform. "/id ) miss something&"