A Star Named Hope

Lester woke up suddenly.

It was morning… or at least, that was what the clock next to his bed indicated. Lester quickly got out of bed and opened the blinds. What he saw was the darkness of space. Slowly, he remembered where he was. He was the commander of a space fleet—why wouldn't he be in space?

He rubbed his two healthy eyes and quickly got dressed. He had his duties as a captain, after all.

At around the same time, Kuromie was also getting up.

"Good morning, big-brother!" said his step-sister Melissa. She had gone into Kuromie's room and was sitting at the end of his bed.

"Morning, Mel…" said Kuromie, groggily. He looked at his younger sister. She had dark-brown hair—similar to that of his step-mother's. However, her eyes were a dark blue, instead of green like Miss Suzuki's. She had inherited her blue eyes from her father, Thomas.

"Big-brother; you should get down to breakfast!" chastised Melissa. "Mummy's waiting!"

"Ah, right; the school festival!" said Kuromie, remembering. "I'll be right on down! You go on first, Mel."

With a girlish giggle, Melissa ran out of the room.

"Commander Lester!"

This was said by a low-ranking soldier.

"We're almost out of fuel… perhaps we should land and re-fuel?"

"Well… if we must." Said Lester, who at the head of the ship. "I was hoping to patrol the outer galaxies today, but it's best to be safe rather than sorry. What's the nearest planet?"

"It's… Forestia." Replied the soldier.

"Very well, then. Make way for Forestia!"

Kuromie was milling around at his booth. The school festival had been going-on full swing, yet his club's booth hadn't really had much business.

"You look pretty down today, Kuromie." Said a girl classmate.

"Oh, it's nothing, Jessica." Said Kuromie, faking a smile.

"Is it because our club hasn't had much business?"

"No… nothing of the sort…"

"Well, since we don't have much business at the moment, perhaps a small walk around the grounds will cheer you up?"

"Eh? But I can't leave you guys here to man the booth all by yourselves!"

"Don't worry about it!" said a boy student. "We can handle it just fine. Right guys?"

The other club members shouted their agreements.

"Well… alright." Said Kuromie, leaving the booth. He walked for a length, past many colorful stands selling food or set up with games. His parents and sister would come later that day. It was going to be fun showing his sister around the fairgrounds! But yet… he felt an emptiness that he couldn't quite place his finger on.

He was living a perfectly happy life—he had everything he ever wanted. And yet… there it was, this deep sadness. He didn't understand it one bit.

"It's not that I don't appreciate my family…" said Kuromie to himself, sitting on a bench a ways from the fairgrounds. "I just… feel as if there's a large part of my life I'm missing…"

"Commander, why don't you take a short walk around?" asked Almo.

"Huh? Why should I?" Lester responded back.

"Well… it has been quite a long time since we've been on land again. Everyone seems to be enjoying the change of scenery."

Lester sighed.

"It's just that you seem so depressed lately… perhaps a walk will do you good." Continued Almo, looking sincerely concerned.

"Yeah, I guess it would. Almo, take care of the ship-work for a bit, will you?"

"I'll be glad to, sir!"

With that, Lester exited the large spaceship. It did make him feel a bit better to have his feet on natural ground again, though he still felt a nagging sadness within him.

Walking aimlessly without looking at where he was headed, he soon noticed a bench with a boy sitting on it. A few yards away was some sort of fair.

"What are you doing all the way out here?" asked Lester, sitting next to the boy.

"Oh!" said Kuromie, startled to see a strange man appear next to him. After taking a quick look at the man's uniform, Kuromie realized that the man was a space commander.

"A-ah!" said Kuromie, quickly getting up to bow.

"No need for formalities, kid." Said Lester. "I'm only a space commander—I'm not royalty. You don't need to bow to me."

"Ah… I see." Said Kuromie, sitting back down. "Oh, about your first question… I actually run one of the booths in that fair over there." Kuromie pointed towards it. "I just wandered out here because I was feeling a bit… down."

"It's odd for someone as young as you to be depressed." Said Lester.

"Y-Yeah. I know." Responded Kuromie. "But I can't help feeling this great sadness inside me. As if there's a part of me missing…"

"…You know." Said Lester slowly. "I think I feel the same way."

"Huh? But you're the commander of a space fleet! It's one of the highest positions in the galaxy—at least, one that you can achieve without being royalty. You get to have all kinds of adventures in space! You should be happy!"

"…I should. But I'm not." Here Lester sighed. "I also feel as if there's something bigger out there that I'm missing."

The two people fell silent for awhile. Suddenly, Kuromie looked up at the older man, as if he were trying to remember something that wouldn't—shouldn't have happened.

"You are… Le…Lester?"

Lester looked up in surprise.

"How do you know my name, Kuromie?" Lester gasped at the same time Kuromie did.

"See, you know my name too!" said Kuromie, a sudden realization dawning on him.

"But how is that possible?" said Lester, shaking his head in disbelief. "We've never met each other before!"

"No, that's not quite right…" said Kuromie, furrowing his brow in deep concentration. "It's hazy, but… I seem to remember us being together at one point… along with another person. I think his name was Ta… Tako…?"

"Takuto?" said Lester.

Suddenly, Lester's and Kuromie's memories all seemed to come flowing back to them at once.

"Oh my goodness… Takuto!" cried Kuromie. "He was shot! He… he…"

"He died." Said Lester solemnly.

"We… we don't know that!"

"What other explanation is there?" asked Lester. "We both saw it with our own eyes. Noa shot him… and then he fell into the pool! That's the last thing I remember..."

"But then… what is this place?" cried Kuromie. "What's going on?(!)"

"I think… this is a test."

"A test?(!) What for?"

"I don't know…" said Lester, running a hand through his hair.

"Maybe… maybe this is a test to bring Takuto back?" suggested Kuromie, but Lester remained silent.

"Well, either way," continued Kuromie. "This is all just an illusion. No wonder I felt that empty feeling inside. Although I believed I was happy, my consciousness knew that something was missing. And that missing part was Takuto. We have to give up this illusion to save him, Lester…"

Lester continued to be silent.

"We have to save Takuto! Even if it means… even if it means having to give up the perfect family I've always wanted…" Here, the younger boy's voice trailed off, and Lester looked at him in surprise. Kuromie had tears in his eyes.

"No, I have to be strong!" said Kuromie, quickly wiping away his tears. "I can not be selfish! Takuto was never selfish when it came to us. I have to do the same for him."

Kuromie looked at Lester expectantly, but the older member was looking hard at the ground. That's when Kuromie noticed that Lester wasn't wearing an eyepatch.

"Oh… Oh. Lester, I… understand if it's hard for you to let go of this illusion. You've… suffered more than I have."

"No, that's not quite right." Said Lester, suddenly standing up. "You can not compare a person's suffering so simply. Even though you may think your suffering is smaller compared to mine; nonetheless, you have still suffered."

It was Kuromie's turn to stare at the ground. Lester raised a hand to his left eye longingly, but dropped it quickly.

"What's done is done. And there's no changing the past." He said, sighing deeply. "Even though it's painful to leave this place, it is still an illusion. Everything here is just a lie—just a manifestation of our deepest desires. Only a coward runs away from reality to hide within his dreams. We must bring Takuto back."

The younger boy beamed.

"Yes, we must!" said Kuromie happily.

"Whoever you are out there that's doing this… we want Takuto back, you hear? We've had enough of your illusions!"

"That's right! Although it's been really fun, this has gone on long enough. We want our own lives back. Our misfortunes might have been painful, but it's what makes us who we are today. I wouldn't have it… any other way."

Back in the gap in the universe, the spirit of the necklace had been watching the two through the screens. Although the conditions hadn't been met and the wish called off long ago, she still felt compelled to keep watching for some reason. When she heard their declarations, her eyes widened in honest surprise.

"Amazing…" she said, her face still unchangingly solemn except for her eyes. "For them to have broken free of the illusion after being immersed in it for so long… and for them to throw all their happiness away to save their friend… Takuto, you are one lucky man."

With that, the spirit waved her hand again, and a small glowing orb appeared in it.

"Go, Takuto. Go back to the world below. Your friends have spoken with their hearts. Such powerful friendship is a rare thing these dark days. I hope that you will all learn to treasure it all the more."

With that, she sent the orb through a small opening at the bottom of the bubble of light.

Lester and Kuromie blinked in unison and looked at each other. They were both standing in front of a pool of water, with the Hell Hounds standing on a balcony above them. Although they were unsure of what had transpired, they somehow felt that they understood each other more than ever.

Meanwhile, on the balcony, Noa was giggling, still holding the smoking gun. Camus turned to face her angrily.

"It didn't have to end this way!"

"Oh come on," said Noa, exasperated. "Aren't you guys supposed to be the villains here? And yet you get upset when I can actually kill one of them."

"If anyone's going to kill the Galaxy Angel Guys, it will be the Hell Hounds—on our own terms!"

"Since you guys were just planning on 'blowing up' this building with them in it, were you really planning on killing them? I mean; what's to stop them from escaping?"

Camus just gritted his teeth. The rest of the Hell Hounds weren't looking too pleased either. Suddenly, Noa looked towards the pool with a concerned look on her face.

"Did any of you guys…" said Noa slowly. "Feel like a long amount of time has just passed?"

The Hell Hounds looked at each other quizzically.

"What the hell are you talking about?" asked Riserva.

Suddenly, there was a large splashing sound that came from the pool, startling everyone.

"Takuto!" cried Lester and Kuromie, as his head popped out of the water, gasping for air.

"H-how is that possible?(!)" cried Vermouth, as the other Hell Hounds were too shocked to say anything.

"It shouldn't be!" said Noa, enraged. "I killed him! And I'll kill him again!"

"Not so fast." Said Red Eye, as he swiftly took the gun away from her.

"Who's side are you on?(!)" cried Noa.

"As I said before…" said Camus, smugly. "The only ones who can kill them are us, the Hell Hounds."

"You're all idiots!" shouted Noa. "Every single one of you!"

As this in-fighting was going on above them, Lester and Kuromie were both busy hauling Takuto out of the pool and hugging him.

"I can't believe you're still alive—I don't care that it doesn't even make sense!" sobbed Kuromie happily.

"Yeah… don't you dare scare us like that again!" Lester was a little better at restraining his emotions, but he still couldn't help smiling.

"Eh, you guys…" said Takuto, grinning. "If you guys don't give me some room, I'll catch a cold and die!"

"You just had a near-death experience and all you can say is that?(!)" exclaimed Lester.

"That's our Takuto!" said Kuromie.

"Guys, I'm really happy to be alive too, but…" stammered Takuto. "How are we going to get out of this mess?"

It felt like a candle being doused with water as the two other member's smiling faces turned to frowns.

"Uh… good question." Said Lester.

"I miss Space Whale Jr…" said Kuromie in a small voice.

Suddenly, there was a loud crashing noise and the whole building shook.

"What's that?(!)" shouted Guinness.

"An earthquake?(!)" shouted Riserva.

The roof above them gave way to reveal—a spacepod!

"Hey, isn't that OUR spacepod?" asked Takuto to Lester and Kuromie, who just had their mouths open like goldfish out of water.

"But… how in the world did it get out here?" said Lester finally.

"Oh! Space Whale Jr!" said Kuromie happily, pointing to the window of the spacepod. Indeed, Space Whale Jr. was there, mewing happily.

"What?(!)" exclaimed the two older members and most of the Hell Hounds.

"But… how…" sputtered Lester.

"Eh… we'll think about that later!" said Takuto hastily. "Let's make our get-away before the Hell Hounds fully recover!"

"But what about Prince Shiva?(!)" cried Kuromie.

"Oh crap, we have to rescue him, don't we?" said Lester through gritted teeth.

"I'm right behind you—no thanks to you guys!"

The three Galaxy Angel Guys members swung around quickly. The voice belonged to Prince Shiva! Albeit a very annoyed looking one.

"Y-your highness!" said Takuto. "How did you escape from the Hell Hounds?"

"It wasn't THAT hard." Said Shiva. "Since no one was guarding me."

Camus turned an angry eye upon Guinness. "Wasn't it YOUR turn to guard the Prince?"

"Uh…" muttered Guinness, looking guilty. "Sorry boss, I guess I forgot."

"How could you forget something like that?(!)"

"Well, no one else remembered!"

As the Hell Hounds continued in-fighting, the G.A.G. and Prince Shiva quickly took the chance to clamber on-board the spacepod.

"Shi—I mean, you highness, are you feeling alright?" asked Kuromie, noticing the younger's somewhat drunken movements.

"Y-Yeah, I'm fine." Said Shiva. "I'm just a little bit groggy from that sleeping gas…"

Meanwhile, Takuto and Lester were busy trying to operate the spacepod.

"Alright, time to lift-off!" said Takuto.

"Space Whale Jr, I'm sorry I tried to eat you all those months ago." Said Lester, looking at the Space Whale calf. "You're not so useless after all."

Space Whale Jr looked pleased.

"They're getting away you buffoons!" cried Noa. "Do SOMETHING!"

"…It's too late." Said Vermouth, as the spacepod shot away into the skies.

"…Oh well." Said Camus, smiling. "It would have been boring for them to have been destroyed so easily." The other Hell Hounds slowly nodded in agreement. Noa just glared at them.

"…I'm telling my brother about this!" she threatened.

"…Fine." Said Riserva. "We'll take whatever punishment he gives us."

"Uh, we will…?" asked Guinness, who was immediately elbowed by Riserva.

Noa glared at them for a while longer, before finally giving a loud "hmph!" and turning her back on them.

"Let's go back the fleet." Said Camus.

"Are you coming with us, Noa?" asked Vermouth. "Since you DID hitch a ride and all."

Noa glared at the Hell Hounds some more, but nonetheless reluctantly followed them as they made their way to the exit.

"Takuto, how in the world did you survive that?" asked Lester, who was at the wheel.

"Yeah; you'll have to tell us!" said Kuromie, hugging Space Whale Jr. tightly.

"Survive… what?" asked Prince Shiva groggily.

The three teammates gave each other quick glances.

"Uh… maybe we'll talk about this later, guys." Said Takuto, and the other two members nodded to show that they understood. It was probably best not to worry the Prince about what had happened! Fortunately, Shiva was still too dazed to care, so there were no objections to this.

"I think… I'll walk around a bit in the back." Said Takuto.

"Knock yourself out." Said Lester. "Just be careful not to accidentally open any doors or anything—unless you want to get sucked into space."

With that, Takuto made his way to the back section of the spacepod, which was meant for storage. It was small, yet separated from the main room. Although Takuto was glad to be in the company of his friends again, after having a near-death experience, all he wanted was some time to muse.

"Oh… the necklace is still here!" said Takuto, who had reached up to touch it. He quickly took it off to get a better look at it. Although the necklace was still… there, it looked as if it was slowly starting to fade away. The chain dissolved, and the star pendant floated in the air. With a final flash of white light, the spirit of the necklace appeared before him again.

"I… wanted to see you one more time before this portal completely disappears." Said the spirit, her face still solemn.

"Ah, I wanted to see you one last time too!" said Takuto happily. "I still can't believe what had happened… This is something we'll be talking about for years!" Takuto looked happily towards the main room where his friends were.

"…Takuto." Said the spirit, after a pause. "Your friends won't have any recollection of what happened in that place."

"Huh? But why?"

"Do I have to keep reminding you about this? My residence is a gap in the universe, where time and space do not reach. Humans are mortal creatures; without time and space, it's as if the whole thing never happened."

"But…"

"Trust me, Takuto. It's better this way. I don't think your friends would be very happy to remember how selfish they were."

"So what do I tell them?" asked Takuto.

"You can tell them anything. It doesn't matter anymore once the necklace finally disappears."

"…I guess this is goodbye, huh?" said Takuto, looking a bit sad.

"Yes." Said the spirit. "But… I'm glad I met you." When Takuto expressed surprise at this, the spirit continued.

"You restored my faith in humanity. I thought that your world no longer had any good or honest people anymore. But I suppose people like you still exist somewhere out there."

Here, the spirit fell silent, so Takuto spoke up.

"Will you ever be free from granting peoples' wishes?"

"As long as the necklaces exist, then no."

"Well… thank you for saving my life." Said Takuto, smiling.

"…You're welcome." Said the spirit. "I must go now. Farewell."

"Wait! At least tell me your name!"

"My name is much too complex for a mere mortal to understand. Its power alone could destroy you."

"Then can I give you a human name?"

"I don't see why not."

"I'll name you 'Hope!'" said Takuto, a wide grin on his face.

"… 'Hope'… That's a nice name." said the spirit, smiling. With that, she faded away, leaving a trail of stardust that also soon faded away.

"You're free from this world now… Hope." Said Takuto, looking out the window as a beautiful shooting star passed the ship.

"I bet Lady Sherry's going to be pretty pissed at us now, huh?" said Vermouth, as he and the rest of the Hell Hounds were in their spaceship, flying back towards the Eonian fleet. Noa sulked in a corner.

"Whatever will be will be." Said Riserva calmly.

"Oh? A message from Lady Sherry!" said Guinness, noticing the flashing button on the dashboard. He pressed it, and the screen changed from blue to the face of an angry woman.

"A-ah, Lady Sherry…" started Camus nervously, but Sherry cut him off.

"What the hell are you guys doing?(!) I'm pretty sure that plan of yours doesn't cost 50 million dollars!"

"Huh?(!)"

"You heard me! Out account has been debted 50 million! What the hell are you guys trying to do with that amount of money?(!)"

"Bu-But WE didn't spend that much!" said Guinness. "…Did we?"

"Of course not!" said Camus. "With that amount of money, we wouldn't have to resort to such cheap plans—we could just nuke them with an atomic bomb if we had wanted to!"

"Uh guys, I think I know what happened." Said Vermouth, holding up the disk they had gotten earlier. "I think… I think they were somehow able to hack into our systems using this as a tracer."

"So they're the ones who stole from us?(!)" cried Riserva, fuming.

"Well… that's not all. The disk we worked so hard to get all this time… is a blank."

It took a moment for the rest of the Hell Hounds to wrap their brains around what Vermouth had said, but when they did…

"AUUUGH, DAMN THOSE GALAXY ANGEL GUYS!" shouted Guinness.

"WE SHOULD HAVE KILLED THEM WHEN WE HAD THE CHANCE!" added Riserva.

"LORD EONIA WILL PUNISH US FOR SURE!" sobbed Camus.

"…How noisy." Said Red Eye, in a far corner.

"I can't believe… you were actually able to hack into the Hell Hounds' account and steal 50 million dollars from them." Said Lester, still at the steering wheel.

"Well… a little computer knowledge goes a long way!" said Takuto, looking proud.

"It still doesn't feel right to steal from them like this, though…" said Kuromie, as Space Whale Jr floated beside him.

"They deserved it for all that happened today." Said Lester, looking at Shiva, who had gone back to sleep again. "I guess he's still feeling the effects from that sleeping gas…"

"So… does that mean our debt is fully paid off now?" asked Kuromie.

"I suppose it is." Replied Takuto.

"But then… What are we supposed to do now?"

"We're the Galaxy Angel Guys! There's always missions to do!"

"Unfortunately." Put in Lester.

"No matter what happens, as long as we're together; I think we'll be okay." Said Takuto.

The other two members nodded in agreement, as their spacepod docked into the base. Kuromie happily exited first, while Lester stayed behind to pick up Prince Shiva. Looking up, he saw that Takuto had also stayed behind.

"Oh… Lester." Started Takuto. "Before I forget, here." With that, he shoved a small pile of coins into Lester's hand.

"Eh? What's this for?" asked Lester.

"It's payment…" said Takuto. "For that milk you bought me all those years ago."

"What?"

"With that, my debt is finally paid. You don't have to stay friends with me any longer if you don't want to…"

"Takuto, you are an idiot if you think I chose to stay with you all this time simply because of some chump change." Said Lester flatly. "You're my… best friend. Well, you're pretty much the only friend I have. So I guess we'll be stuck together for another few years."

"…Lester!" cried Takuto happily, running towards his friend to give him a hug. Lester quickly kicked him out of the way.

"…Sorry, hugs are still a little too gay for me."

"…It's okay!" said Takuto, crumpled over in pain.

Lester sighed and helped Takuto up. With that, the two older members happily exited the pod, as the stars shown brightly in the skies. What other adventures will the Galaxy Angel Guys have? Will Eonia and the Hell Hounds someday strike again? Will Takuto and Lester ever be free from eachother? Only time will tell.

FIN

Final Notes:

Yes, it's finished! Although I initially had more adventures planned for the guys, I think 25 chapters is long enough for any fanfic! If I had the time and leisure, I'd definitely write a better ending for this. I mean… the ending was really cheesy and full of DUEX EX MACHINA. But this was the ending I planned on using over two years ago, so I stuck to it. At least it's somewhat fitting, I hope?

This will probably be my last fanfic on the site (unless I decide to do that HE one) since I'm trying to go towards more original writing, soooo… I guess this is goodbye? I don't really know what else to say, so I'll just say thank you to anyone who has read this far! Thanks for your time!