(Pen-chan: Alright, the second chapter! Gwuahaha. Hopefully it isn't too crappy. ^^)

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Death Note. But Hope is MINE! ALL MINE! *hugs Hope protectively* Oh, and I own Mayu, too!

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Hope-san is cold.

Misa decided that instantly the day she first saw her. Her face; it was like a statue's. It hardly shown any emotion at all. It was even worse than Ryuuzaki's, at some points. Sometimes she could stay silent for hours on end, while the rest kept on talking and talking, as if she wasn't even there. It was odd. Misa hadn't bothered to think about such an odd person like that.

Hope-san is cavalier.

Hope hardly spoke at all when it wasn't necessary. However, when she did open her mouth, the sentence that came out would often be a rude one. No matter who she was talking to, there was always some form of arrogance hidden in her words. Misa didn't like this. She didn't like rude people.

Hope-san is sarcastic.

This was also part of Hope's rudeness. Sarcasm burns. It was offending. Why did she need to use it so much? Misa thought that it only made her seem more unfriendly, more haughty. Such attitude should not come from such an elegant-looking person such as her. It didn't match. Misa-Misa didn't like Hope-san's sarcasm.

Hope-san is mysterious.

Ichigo. That was Hope's second name. Her alias. However, besides her name and her personality, there was nothing more Misa knew about Hope. She had not heard of her past, her family or even where she was living. Was she a full-blooded Japanese? Did she have any siblings? Did she prefer sweet or spicy foods? These were things Misa didn't know but wanted to.

Hope-san is unpredictable.

Misa had just recently decided that. From the way she acted that night, who knew she could be so... nice? Sure, she had acted like it was no big deal, but still... She didn't seem like the person to show even that amount of concern towards someone. To a friend. This caused Misa to wonder... did Hope even see her as a friend..?

Hope-san is alluring.

Who knew that this girl, this stone-faced, girl full of odds and ends would fascinate Misa so much? How did this even happen? This was crazy. This was wrong, weird, twisted even! Yet, Misa failed to hide from these feelings. She was indeed, very, very captivated by this certain girl. She wanted to get to know her more. She wanted to talk to her. She wanted to catch her eye. She wanted to appear interesting to her. A part of her didn't care if she was out of her mind. She just wanted to know more...

Hope-san is L's.

Misa's heart sank. Sudden realization smacked her right in the face. She had been so hooked up in her thoughts that she had even failed to miss such an agonizing fact. The girl she had been daydreaming about for these past few days... she already belonged to someone else. She belonged to L-san. She had forgotten that they were actually a couple. It wasn't her fault, really. They hardly even acted like a couple. However, there were a few obvious differences from the way Hope treats L from everyone else.

For one, she talks a lot more to him than anyone else. Their conversations would be a whole different style from how she usually talks. The topics could be as random as random could be, but Hope-san didn't seem to mind. No, she didn't. It was more like she enjoyed them. One could tell. The way they talked, it was as if they could talk on and on for hours without getting tired. Sometimes, Hope would get annoyed. But it was quite obvious that she did enjoy his company.

As long as she's been there, Misa never did once hear Hope label L as "boring".

Instead, she would call him "interesting" and sometimes even smirk while saying it.

For a normal person, this wouldn't be much. But for Hope, it was a whole lot.

Hope belonged to L. She was his. He had her heart. And for some reason, Misa felt angry at this. Angry at L. Angry at him having something she didn't have. Before this, she already hadn't really liked him in the first place because he was a nasty pervert. Why would Hope want a pervert like that? Misa shuddered with disgust. He wasn't even that good-looking! He had so many flaws that Misa couldn't even count the number of them with the limited amount of fingers and toes she had. Most importantly, she disliked L because he was out to get Kira, aka, Light.

Misa stopped.

That's right. Light.

Guilt washed through her system as she recalled her precious boyfriend. Why was she being so silly, getting all work up about that girl? She already had what she wanted. A handsome, charming boyfriend. She, herself already belonged to someone of her own. She shouldn't care about the relationship between L and Hope.

Confidence returned to her as she thought about her beloved Light and reassured herself. She was sure she loved Light. Dead serious. He was the one who helped avenged her parents, he was the one who accepted her into his arms. For that, Misa told herself that she would do anything for Light, give up her body and soul for him. To be by his side and love him with all of her heart as he tried to create a new world.

Her love for Light swallowed up the lingering thoughts of Hope inside of her head.

That's right... she didn't need Hope-san. She didn't need these unwanted feelings. She had all she needed right here.

...Still, Misa-Misa thought that being friends with Hope-san wouldn't hurt.

She got up and skipped out of the room merrily.

xXxXxXxXxXx

"Misa-Misa wants to go shopping!" She declared loudly, bursting into the room where the rest were in. She already had her wallet and cellphone inside of her handbag which she swung around readily.

"Misa, I don't have time for this..." Light's voice groaned in response.

"But Misa hasn't bought any new clothes in such a long time!" the blond whined in protest, stomping her feet onto the floor. "Besides! It was getting really boring in there!"

"Can't you go by yourself?"

"No! It'll be lonely to shop alone!"

"Why don't you take Ichigo-san with you?" L, who had been listening to the conversation, suddenly suggested.

Light and Misa turned to him and stared. They were startled by his unexpected idea.

A part of Misa wondered why he was so eager to offer giving up his girlfriend so quickly. Yet, another part of her thanked him silently.

"No way." the target objected against the idea, upon hearing her name being mentioned. Misa felt shot down by her blunt answer.

"Why me, anyway? I'm busy sorting out these documents."

L raised his hand-cuffed hand and waved his wrist slowly, causing the chain to rattle noisily. "It would be extremely inappropriate for Light-kun and I to appear in public in this fashion. We would surely attract unwanted attention. Plus, those documents can wait until later, they aren't of any huge or urgent importance. Besides, being a part of the task force means that you have the authority to watch over her as she goes into public, Ichigo-san." he explained calmly.

Hope dropped the documents with a slight scowl. He had a point.

"Get someone else to follow her shopping, then."

"The rest of the task force aren't present in the building at the moment."

"... get Watari, then."

"Watari is busy running an errand that I sent him on this morning."

".... God." the black-haired girl grumbled under her breath, running out of excuses to use. Damn him. He had her beat. She stood up and stuffed her hands into her pockets.

"This better not take long." she said grumpily as she left the room.

"Ryuuzaki, I swear you're the only one who can persuade her that easily." Light remarked, smiling a bit. Smugly, he cheered on the inside. Good, now he didn't have to go shopping with Misa and get dragged around in the women's clothes section.

The detective took a sip of his sugar-filled coffee indifferently.

"Don't give Ichigo-san too much trouble, Misa. And come back before six." the brown-haired boy said. Secretly, he wanted to add, 'Scratch that, come back as late as you want.' but decided not to.

Misa left the room after a small nod, a nervous pit in her stomach. She couldn't believe her plan had worked out so perfectly. Was she really going to go shopping with Hope-san? Alone?

She smiled as she approached the outside. She was going to use this chance to get closer to Hope-san as much as possible. Hope was already waiting for her outside, her arms folded across her chest.

"Ichigo-san! Where do you want to go first?" she sang, as they both walked together down the people-filled sidewalk.

"I don't know. You choose."

Misa's smile vanished at the lack of Hope's enthusiasm. It reappaered again, seconds later.

"Ah! I know this really cute clothes shop down town! Let's go there!"

"Ah, it's fin--" Hope got cut off as Misa pulled her eargerly into a yellow cab that she had hailed.

This was going to be a long, long day.

xXxXxXxXxXx

Soon, they reached their destination and were walking down the sidewalk again. This part of town was way more crowded than from where they were previously walking and Hope gritted her teeth irritably as she got squahsed inbetween sweaty bodies that reeked of sweat mixed with perfume/cologone. To make it worst, the sun was beating down onto her head, causing her to sweat a little herself. Misa was holding tightly onto her thin wrist, dragging the poor woman through the sea of people, seemingly immune to everything.

They passed rows of different shops, all of them mostly selling clothes of different styles. Hope was wondering when all of this would be over when she finally got yanked into one of the shops by the young model.

"This shop is one of my favorites!" Misa gibbered happily, looking through a stack of tops that were piled neatly on top of each other.

Thankfully, the shop wasn't as crowded as compared to outside, and the air-conditioning made it quite pleasent on the inside, blocking out the sweltering heat. Hope glanced about the shop skeptically. As suspected, it was a shop that offered Gothic Lolita clothing, the type of clothing that Misa adored the most.

She eyed said model as she picked up a checked green and black skirt that came with a studded belt adorned with tiny skulls making grosteque expressions.

"Don't you think this is cute?" she asked, placing the skirt against her abdomen, pretending that she was wearing it.

When she didn't reply, Misa looked back up at her and found her staring at the wall emotionlessly, ignoring her as if she was as invisible as air. Misa narrowed her eyebrows and was about to say something when a woman, one of the shop-keepers, suddenly interrupted her.

"Ah! Well, well, well! Isn't it Misa Amane, our favourite customer! Long time no see! How're you doing, girl?" the shop-keeper asked in a high-pitched voice.

Hope turned to look at the new woman. She scoffed inwardly. She had long, chocolate-brown hair held up in a high ponytail, and thick, fake extended-eyelashes applied onto her etelids. Her tanned face was also caked with thick make up expertly, eventhough it looked a tinsy-bit overdone. She also had on clothes that looked like that came from the store was was working in.

The shop-keeper saw Hope staring at her and grinned back.

"Cute friend," she commented, a small pur in her voice. "What's her name?"

"Mayu! Hi!" Misa greeted, beaming. "This is Ichigo-san. Ichigo-san, I would like you to meet Mayu!"

"Ichigo, eh?" Mayu grinned wider at her. "It's nice to meet you."

"... Likewise." Hope answered after a short while. She gazed deadly at Mayu, her mouth clamped shut in a straight line. She didn't like the grin on her face. It was somehow creepy-looking... in a seductive kind of way. It gave her tiny shivers.

"So," Mayu started, putting a hand on one of her shapely hips. "Can I help introduce you girls to some of our newest stuff?"

"Misa would love that!"

"..."

Mayu led Misa to a corner where some clothes were displayed on a hanger, the two girls engaging in an animated conversation.

Hope just walked away, uninterested, without uttering another word, leaving the two to talk and gossip among themselves.

"What about this?" Mayu asked, holding up a black and white top. "It's personally one of my favourties."

"Wow! Misa thinks it's really cute!" she says happily, feeling the fine material of the shirt with her fingers.

"Thanks. It just came in last week." Mayu's hazel eyes wandered over to where Hope was. The black-eyed girl was looking at some accessories. She was holding up a chain necklace and inspecting the pendant closely, the same look of dead boredom slapped across her face.

"Your friend's pretty quiet." Mayu said, absent-mindedly. "Is she shy or something?"

"No, Ichigo-san's always been like that." Misa told her in a 'matter-of-fact' tone. The foxy brunette grinned, her white teeth gleaming. She rubbed her chin as she continued to observe Hope, a look that ressembles a predator stalking its prey present in her lively hazel eyes.

"Ah. That's too bad. Well, she's a real doll. I wouldn't mind dating her~."

"W-what!!" Misa gawked, her green eyes nearly buldging from their sockets, the top slipping from her hands and dropping onto the floor. She wondered if her ears weren't as clean as she thought they were.

Mayu laughed heartily at Misa's naive reaction. She lazily waved a hand at her customer, reassuring her. "I'm kidding..." She teased, winking.

She paused for a while before deciding to add, "I wouldn't dare take away such a beauty from Misa Aname!" in a playful voice as Misa bent down to pick the top off the polished floor.

"M-MISA ISN'T LIKE THAT!" Misa squeaked loudly, causing several heads to turn her direction. She blushed a bit and glared daggers at the sniggering shop-keeper who looked like she was having the time of her life.

"For your information, Misa-Misa has a boyfriend!" She announced proudly, pointing a finger at Mayu. Her eyes were squinted in irritation. "And so does Ichigo-san!"

"Oh, that's too bad then... you two would've made a lovely couple." A devilish smirk played on Mayu's lips. She was shamelessly flaunting her pleasure she found in Misa's embarassment. She sniggered again.

Misa fumed. She couldn't believe the crap that was coming out of her big mouth! Seriously, one of these days, she would just slap that girl silly until her cheeks were so red and puffy that she would have trouble seeing the next day.

She shoved the top back into Mayu's hands and stuck her tongue out childishly at her, saying loudly, "Mayu is a BAKA (idiot)!".

Then, she turned around and stomped over to Hope, grabbing her wrist and storming out of the shop. Hope blinked, looking over her shoulder to give Mayu a questioning look as she walked forcefully along with the raging girl.

Mayu grinned weakly and let out a small chuckle as she waved to her goodbye, leaving Hope even more confused.

"Didn't you buy anything, Amane-san?" Hope questioned, looking at Misa's empty hands.

"N-no...There wasn't anything Misa saw that she liked." She lied uneasily, glancing away, unable to look her in the eye after what Mayu had said.

Hope studied her skeptically, detecting her nervousness.

"Anyway... Misa-Misa is hungry... let's go to a cafe to eat." she hurriedly said, trying to hide away her uneasiness, once again pulling Hope down a route. Hope was still wary about her behaviour but didn't press further.

"...Alright..."

xXxXxXxXxXx

Misa picked out the destination and they both entered a cozy-looking coffee shop. It was fairly empty and they quickly found a vaccant place to sit at. A waiter went over to take their order and Misa ordered a piece of sponge cake and a cup of tea, while Hope just settled for a cold strawberry shake.

Their orders arrived in a few minutes and they begun to eat and drink, an akward silence growing in the air.

"...."

'This is killing Misa-Misa...' Misa thought with much difficulty, the intense atmosphere choking her sanity. She gazed over at Hope who seemed to be just listlessly sucking on her straw, her eyes focused out of the window they were seated next to. Although there was something about her that made Misa nervous, Misa couldn't help but feel a bit upset that she would find random people passing by more interesting than her. So she finally mustered up enough courage to try to strike up a conversation.

"... does Ichigo-san like strawberries?" she squeaked directly, her voice turned out to be much more meeker than she had hope for it to be.

Hope gave her a weird look, raising her eyebrows slightly in question.

Misa wanted to slap herself. What kind of question was that?! It was completely random! Her eyes downcasted onto the wooden table in front of her and she bit her lip, praying that she didn't mess up too bad.

"....Ah. I do."

Misa looked up, blinking. Hope put back the straw into her mouth and was sucking away again, but this time her eyes were placed carefully onto Misa.

Misa smiled a bit, feeling triumph that she managed to direct her attention to herself. "Erm, that's why you call yourself Ichigo-san when your real name is Hope, right?!"

Unexpectedly, Hope suddenly shot her a harsh glare and Misa froze, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck standing.

"Not so loud." Hope hissed in a low voice. She didn't want her cover to be blown just because of Misa's overly loud voice.

"Sor-Sorry..." the blond bowed her head in guilt. She picked up her fork and started to poke at her cake in depression.

"...."

"Does... does Ichigo-san hate Misa?" Misa asked sadly, the triumph she felt earlier on had slipped away, leaving her with no appetite to consume the delicious dessert placed in front of her. She felt gloomy.

She was sure that Hope hated her. She seemed so irritated all of the time when she was around. Was Misa really that annoying to her? Nothing more than a splinter in her thumb? Maybe being friends with her was an impossible task, afterall.

After observing her drastic change in behaviour, Hope sighed, swirling her pink drink with the rainbow bendy straw.

"I never said I hated Misa, did I?" she muttered nonchalantly.

Those words perked Misa up immediately. She jumped up onto her feet, pushed everything on the table to a side and leaned in closer, an overjoyed smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Hope wanted to back away as she leaned in closer, her eyes shining like sparkling emeralds.

'Eh... then... are Misa-Misa and Ichigo-san... friends?" she asked, hopefully.

Hope was about to say something when Misa Misa caught her off with a hug across the table, nearing knocking all the dishes over.

"Misa is very, very happy!" she squealed in over excitement into Hope's ears as she threw her arms around Hope's neck and squeezed tightly.

"A-Amane-san, calm down!" Hope's voice breaking into a slight stutter uneasily, surprised at Misa's unexpected touch. She used her hands to peel the clinging girl off of herself and push her lightly back into her chair.

Misa sulked.

"Amane-san? You're making me sound so old!" She complained. "Misa insists that you call her Misa!"

Hope rolled her inky black eyes at the request.

"Fine. Misa-san."

"Noooo!" Misa protested with a long groan, a pout growing onto her face. She shook her head in disapproval, wagging her index finger as a mother would to a child when he did something wrong. "Drop the 'san'! Use 'chan' instead!"

Hope wanted to slap her hand over her face.

"Fine, fine... Misa-chan." She gave in with a low grumble.

Misa smiled sweetly in content and satisfaction. She looked down at her sponge cake and jabbed the strawberry that was sitting on top of it with her fork.

"Here, a token of our new-found friendship!" She bubbled, holding out the stawberry on the fork out to Hope's face.

At first, Hope just stared blankly at it, not making a move.

"Eat it!" Misa urged, waving the fruit in front of her face.

Hope's expession only darkened in disinterest as the red fruit dance about in front of her face.

This caused Misa to to worry a bit, wondering if she was being too childish about this whole thing. She was about to pull the strawberry away when Hope leaned in forward and bit the tip of the stawberry in between her teeth, taking it off the fork.

"Itadakimasu." She muttered and pushed the fruit into her mouth with her finger, chewing softly. She shut her eyelids and savored the delightful sweet taste in her mouth, looking mildly pleased.

As Misa watched her new friend eat the strawberry with closed eyes, she could feel a small blush appearing onto her face again. She put her chin onto her hand and smiled, letting out a giggle of content.

She was happy... for now.

"Let's go shop some more later, okay?"

The mometary look of mild pleasentness flushed away faster than a flash of lightning when she heard those dreaded words come out of Misa's mouth.

She swallowed loudly and Misa smiled even wider.

"After all, we have all the way until 6!"

"... kill me."

xXxXxXxXxXx