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HEIDERN FLEET BASE DORMITORIES, LOCATION UNKNOWN
1900 HOURS

Leona Heidern was a hardened woman. She had seen the horrors of the battlefield, witnessed death after death, personally killed some of those people herself, and had even dealt with some of her own...personal problems nearly endangering her life as well as others.

And yet, here she was, staring blankly at a computer screen, completely befuddled and confused by its contents. It wasn't as if she was looking at something confidential or shocking, however.

She was sitting on the login page of the want-ad/personals website Yakovlist, and she was now regretting the suggestion that her friends had made to her earlier.

---

HEIDERN FLEET BASE RECREATION FACILITY
SEVERAL HOURS EARLIER

The 14th King of Fighters Tournament had only just ended a few months ago, but the Ikari Warriors: the silent but strong and amicable Clark Still, the significantly more loud and brash but no less friendly Ralf Jones, their on-again-off-again partner-in-arms "Whip", and Leona were already busy in the gym training and honing their physical prowess in preparation for whatever fights would come in the future.

However, while Ralf, Clark and Whip were taking it easy, Leona was going all out on the barbells, powerlifting with such speed and force that the average gym rat would be downright terrified by her strength. However, beneath her stoic, unflinching face, her actions were secretly being fueled by a rage in her soul that had been slowly, but surely, coming to a boil over the past few months.

Leona and her comrades had only been able to observe the conclusion of the KOF Tournament from a distance (due to being eliminated partway through by Team Mexico), but what she had seen then was well and truly unbelievable. A mysterious pandimensional creature, later codenamed "VERSE", had descended upon the Antonov Super Arena, bringing with it an unimaginable wave of evil and destruction. Though it was thankfully defeated by the tournament's victors, Team China (Tung Fu Rue and his newest proteges, Shun'ei and Meitenkun), there was something that Leona had seen in the beast that, combined with information she'd received in an emergency debriefing, had begun to haunt her every waking moment.

She had seen THEM.
Chris, Yashiro, Shermie, and Goenitz.
The Four Heavenly Kings of Orochi.

Since the tournament's end, the mere paranoia of them being alive once more had begun to give Leona horrifying nightmares. Memories of people she had hurt and killed while under the influence of Orochi's blood rage had come barrelling back with full force, and even in the less outright terryfing dreams, the Four Heavenly Kings continued to taunt her, laughing at her, proclaiming that she'd never truly be able to leave who she was behind.

And truthfully, no matter how much her adoptive father had done for her, there were still some deep, deep, sealed away feelings that just would never be able to go away....

"YO." The sudden appearance of Ralf's face directly in front of her own broke her out of her trance, nearly causing her to drop the extremely heavy barbells in her hands. Still, she was able to maintain her composure and finish her last set, before gently placing the weights on the floor.

She followed Ralf and Clark, at their request, to the locker room in the back. "Leona, you okay? You were going ham on that iron, and didn't have anyone spotting you! I was gettin' a little worried that you might snap your arms in two after a while!"
"Yes, I'm fine. There were just things I needed to get out of my system, and heavy exercise helps me in that matter."
"Yo...I don't know if you realize it, but that's what you've said the last few times we've done rec center sessions. Are you *really* alright?" Ralf placed his obscenely large hand on Leona's shoulder, as if to silently say *we've got your back on this, you can tell us what's wrong without fear.*
Leona turned away from Ralf for just a moment, looking off into the distance, before turning back to her comrade. "Truthfully...I'm just worried about something that Da...er, Commander Heidern brought up. All those once-dead people from past KOF tournaments are alive again, right?"
"That's the allegation, at least. We've got no proof for sure, though apparently there's word through the grapevine that Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami, and Chizuru Kagura were spotted sealing...something away a while ago. Again, nothing is certain here."
Leona looked down, her face now giving way to a distraught emotion, something she rarely showed in front of her fellow soldiers. "Whatever the case may be, I'm....just a little worried I might lose control again, if....certain people are back around again. No amount of pills or anything will be able to get rid of the Orochi presence in my blood, and I..."
Clark finally spoke up. "Leona. It will be fine. We, and everyone else in the Heidern Fleet have got your back."
Ralf turned to Clark, nodded, then turned back to Leona. "Listen, me and Clark have been talkin' with each other lately, and I think we've figured out a good way to help you keep your emotions and stuff in line, without anything medically related or anything else like that."
Leona felt a glimmer of hope in her soul. "And what would that be?"

"Leona, we've been kinda...studying how you've been acting around some of the new recruits lately, and frankly....well...we think it's time you got a girlfriend."
Her hope turned back to fear.

---

She reclined back in the computer chair, still stricken with an irrational fear over the whole thing. Was there any girl out there who could handle her? She'd even questioned Ralf and Clark on why she couldn't just date someone on base, but she was met with a stern *don't dip your pen in the company ink* response from Clark, something which felt kinda hypocritical coming from them, considering the high likelihood that the two were very likely at this moment making a thick roast pork sandwich.

As she continued to puzzle over her situation, something in the back of her mind spoke to her, egging her on. *Follow your own fate.* It was the voice of her birth father, a memory from long ago. While it was true that he didn't mean what he said back then in this particular context, Leona needed that extra little push, and if that push came from that source, then so be it. She grabbed the paper that Ralf left for her, with login info for an account he'd made for her earlier (wincing at the username "BloodRiot96", which sounded more like something that Iori Yagami kid would use, but at the same time proved to be at least *somewhat* stealthy), and finally logged in to Yakovlist.

After a bit of confused digging, she finally made her way to the "woman seeking woman section and began to peruse the pages of the potential partners contained within, offering her personal commentary on each one to no one in particular.

"'Idol seeking temporary girlfriend to dodge stalkers'? That's...no, that's way too high profile for me. And...I'm looking for something more permanent. I wish you well, though, young idol. Ah...what's this? 'Taekwondo secret weapon seeking training partner...' Well, that's not bad....oh, '...and fashion model.' I'll....have to come back to that one, but I don't think I'm particularly interested in that modelling thing..."

She continued to scroll down the page, undeterred by the two missteps.

---

HEIDERN FLEET BASE DORMITORIES
2300 HOURS

Leona was on the brink of despair. As she progressed deeper and deeper into the pits of Yakovlist, the requests started to get more and more desperate, and she was having a hard time dealing with all of it.

"'Girl looking for one night stand to replace missing boyfriend'? I'm...ergh, no, no, I'm not into that sort of thing. 'URGENT: Need girl to take care of bird during long vacation'? That's...ma'am, I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong section for that. At least, I hope you have the wrong section for that. 'STRANDED SKY CAPTAIN AND UNINTENTIONAL MOTHER OF TWO LOOKING FOR FIRST MATE'? Urgh."

She planted her face on the computer desk, having finally reached the point of pure exasperation. She didn't know how much more of this she could take. Still, she was nothing if not curious, and mustered up enough mental fortitude to go forward one more page...

...and there, finally, Leona Heidern found a sliver of hope.

"GIRL SEEKING DATE WITH AN EDGE (19, MEXICO)

So I'll be frank, I've been pretty bored lately, and I've really really wanted to go on a date with a cute girl to help fix that problem! But unfortunately, I've got really really specific standards for girls, so I had to turn to the internet to help me out! Won't you help a girl in need~? :3

ONLY CONTACT ME IF:
1) You're buff, tough, and got the stuff. Cause I just...can't get enough of that. Seriously, if I can't do laundry off your abs, don't even dream of the concept of the THOUGHT of emailing me.

2) You're cool and mysterious. Brooding optional. (Tragic backstory is a bonus!)

3) You're a huge, HUGE lesbian. Seriously, I'm not looking for a wine mom platonic friend playdate here! I want someone who's romantic as hell and GAY AS SHIT.

4) You've got great tits. Like...right up there with mine. Like big tits? Got big tits? I'm your girl Call me. Or email me. Whatever works. I don't know what else to write here. I actually lost track of my entire train of thought because I was thinking about big tits. Oops. :3"

Perhaps it was because she was slowly succumbing to sleep deprivation, but Leona felt like...she'd found a hell of a connection with this strange lady. She didn't exactly know how this personals system worked, but she decided to send an email anyways, mostly just saying how she was interested in her and everything and how she'd like to meet up sometime. Standard lesbian things.

Leona didn't think she'd get an immediate response back, but she could at least sleep *somewhat* well tonight knowing that a proverbial line was out there, and that she was making SOME progress in her life.

-----

THE NEXT MORNING

Leona awoke with a start, with two simultaneous problems overwhelming her: the first being a particularly bad nightmare involving her being kidnapped (along with other KOF competitors) and taken to a castle where she was forced to wear extremely revealing and embarrassing clothing, and the second being that Shermie was present in that nightmare, her mocking nature ever-present as always. She shook off the megashock quickly, though, after remembering how the prior night had ended.

What she wasn't expecting, however, was the response she got.

["Awww hey cutie! :3 I'm glad someone finally got back to me on this~ But sadly, its at an awkward time- I'm on a tour right now so I won't be available for a few weeks...but I see youre a military girl so wherever I end up should be fine for you right? Oooh, ooh, there's this restaurant in South Town that I've been to before on a date with someone else, and my last show of the tour is there anyways, so if that's okay with you lets go there~!]

She stared at the response email, completely befuddled. For starters...she was on a 'tour'? Leona worried that she'd somehow ended up with that one idol girl from a prior want ad, and while idols and pop stars were...kinda cute, she couldn't exactly handle the extreme pressure of dating one and being in the public eye at all times. She had to ask her anyways, just to quell the paranoia in the back of her mind.

[You're talking about the Pao Pao cafe, right? I've been there once and it was pretty nice, so I wouldn't mind going again with you. Though...I have a question to ask. What do you mean by being on a 'tour'? Are you a singer of some kind? You didn't really list muh info on your profile so I was kinda curious.]

The response was almost instantaneous, as if she were deliberately waiting by her phone or computer with bated breaths for Leona to get back to her.

[Idol singer? Nah, that's too much for me. I mean, I like to *think* I can sing, and I like GOING to concerts and stuff, but frankly I prefer my actual job more...I do combat sports! I used to do other things too but the sorta stuff I had to do is...perhaps a bit too iffy to mention here. That's all in the past though! It's combat sports for life now!]

Combat sports. Now that was something that Leona could get into. (Truthfully, she actually did try to get into it a few years ago, but was immediately barred from it after accidentally breaking a trainer's arm.) She was far more confident about the date now.

[That's about all you're gonna get from me for now though~ I wanna keep the rest a surprise! Don't want a spoiler about who you're dating now, do you? Of course, if you wanna tell me more, I wouldn't mind~]

[No no, I think that's okay. It'll be nice if it's a surprise for both of us. So then, let's meet at the Pao Pao Cafe in...er, how long from now?]

[Two weeks! Don't be late, cutie~!]

Leona wasn't used to being called things like "cutie" before (at least, not in a 'rude soldier who was probably three steps from facing god and walking backwards into hell catcalling her' kind of way), and she was having a difficult time processing any of it. She couldn't see it, but her face was practically beet red.

"Heeeeey Leona, you look like somethin' special happened to ya just now~"
The whiplash from 'being completely flustered and embarrassed' to 'socking Ralf Jones square in the middle of his gut' was so rapid and fierce that the sound barrier was nearly broken in one fell swoop.
"*Oof*....I....I probably deserved that...." Ralf crumpled to the floor in a heap, with Clark behind him quietly giggling at the situation.
"I trust things went well, then?" Clark's voice was far less mocking, and as a result Leona felt less of an urge to deck him....not that there was much satisfaction in doing so compared to Ralf. "I hope you didn't mind us setting up the whole profile and everything, and not just the username."
"I didn't mind....well, not *too* much, at least. Dunno how I feel about you guys putting my military status out there for everyone to see, though."
"Ah, don't worry, it's not like we blatantly said you're with the Ikari Warriors or something. Ralf, though...I had to stop him from putting 'former KOF participant' on there though."
Ralf squirmed on the floor, struggling to get words out. "I.....I thought it would get you *cough* more girls, girls love fighters and stuff..."
Leona shook her head in a feigned disgust. "I get your sentiment, Ralf, but god, if you combined that with me being a soldier, I'm pretty sure people would've surmised who I was really quickly, and it's not too far from there to having less than savory people just show up on our base without any approval."
Clark nodded. "That being said....since I assume you got a date and everything, don't you think....yknow, you should get some better clothing for that? I mean, military fatigues are fine and all, but if this ends up being a fancy candlelight date or something, it would look very awkward."
"W-wait, you want me to go clothes shopping? I uh...I don't know how I feel about that..." A minor bout of paranoia started to well up inside of her, building on top of a latent fear of being in a crowded, people-heavy place like a mall on her own.
"....ahh, right." Clark slapped his forehead. "I forgot that you're not fond of doin' stuff like that in big public places...Hey, why don't I call in a favor from the SPARROWS for you? I'm sure Eri and Fio wouldn't mind hanging out with you and helping you out, provided they're not too busy...."
The SPARROWS were a fellow mercenary unit, in the same vein as the Ikari Warriors, but they mostly dealt with higher profile missions, usually revolving around stopping dictatorships and, allegedly, alien invasions as well. Ralf and Clark had worked with them quite often, and Leona even accompanied them on a mission once, so she knew they were trustworthy. Heck, they were trustworthy enough for her to tell them about who she was deep down. If there was anyone who she could trust when backed into a proverbial corner such as this, it was definitely them.

----

ANTONOV MEGAMALL, EASTERN USA
THE FOLLOWING DAY, 1200 HOURS

 

"LEONAAAAAA!" On the roof of the Megamall, two girls anxiously awaited their soldier compatriot as she disembarked from the Heidern Fleet's transport helicopter. Antonov had willingly agreed to letting them use the helipad to avoid the weekend traffic ("Anything for some of the folks that helped give me the biggest ratings my television networks have ever seen!"), which made the shopping journey far less of a hassle than it needed to be.

One of the girls, a small Italian lass with long brown hair and big glasses, wearing nothing but a tanktop, short brown shorts, socks & boots, greeted Leona with probably one of the biggest hugs she'd ever felt in her life. Through crushed lungs, she managed to eke out a simple greeting to her friend. "Hello...erk, hello Fio. It's good to see you again..."
"Fio, I get that you're happy but please ease up on poor Leona, I don't think we need to be visiting the hospital today...." The other girl, a slightly taller blonde Japanese lady, in a green sundress and gold/brown sandals, managed to successfully cease her friend's iron grip on Leona with her voice alone. Fio bowed and apologised profusely, but the other woman simply giggled and patted her head.
Leona, after a few coughs to get her respiratory system back in order, let out a stifled giggle of her own. "It's been a long time since the Landfill Mission, huh? I forgot how strong your huggin' was, Fio...and Eri, you're looking pretty good yourself, too."
Eri laughed again. "Well, I suppose having a life changing moment happen to you in peacetime does wonders for the psyche."
"Wait, what happened?"
Fio turned her hugging energy to Eri now, though judging by the reaction, it was far less of a deathly hug than the one she gave to Leona. Eri rested her hand on Fio's head, before lightly grasping her chin, and pulling her up for a kiss on the lips. "*She* happened. We've been dating for the past few months now. The whole Regular Army has been nothing but supportive, too!"
Leona clapped her hands together, her face turning to a rare state of surprise. "Oh! Congratulations, you two!"
Fio ceased her hugging once more, sheepishly grinning and blushing while pushing her fingers together nervously. "So...yeah, now you know why we were more than willing to help you out with this little project. If we can find happiness together, then we believe you can too!"
"Oh, that reminds me...Fio, Eri, is it just the two of you today? Where are the other SPARROWS?"
"Ah...uh...well..." Eri paused for a moment, putting her finger on her chin, as if she was trying to remember something incredibly important. "Well....Marco, Tarma and Trevor are off doing their own things somewhere else. I couldn't really tell you *what* they're doing though, mostly because I never really asked. Nadia, on the other hand...." Eri turned towards the horizon, looking off into the distance with a wistful look on her face.
Fio piped in, breaking the awkward tension. "Don't worry. Nadia's okay, we just kinda chose not to invite her for the sake of our budget and...your personal style. Eri's just been really worried about her being super pissed at us for not inviting her for the entire trip here."
Nadia Cassel, one of the members of the SPARROWS, was a model by trade prior to her army enlistent, so naturally she *should* have been the perfect choice for a fashion-based shopping trip. Unfortunately, her fashion tastes tended to be both incredibly bizarre and obscenely expensive at times. (It was at this point that Leona remembered the blindingly yellow fatigues, incredibly tall pink boots, and matching hot pink hair dye that she'd relieved as a gift from her a few years ago, and immediately understood Eri and Fio's situation completely.)
"Enough moping around, though!" Fio put one arm on her hip, and used the other to point towards the roof access door leading into the mall. "We've got shopping to do, so let's get this mission started!"

Naturally, the group's first stop was a "trendy clothes for super cheap" store, Fio's personal choice. It was a far more colorful sort of store than Leona was used to, but in the pursuit of looking nice, decided to just roll with it. However, though Fio was able to pick out some things that she thought would look nice on Leona, none of it seemed to fit her, figuratively in a lot of cases, but literally in a few other cases. Bright and colorful clothing just didn't seem to work with Leona.

The next stop after that was Eri's choice, and she aimed for a more refined sort of store, the kind that catered more to the "mature and adult but still young and trendy at heart" kind of clientele. She particularly enjoyed some of the formal clothes in the store, but then she immediately remembered her date's request for a "girl with edge" and realized that "girl in suit" probably wouldn't fit that sort of description.

The group briefly passed by a "pop type" clothing store, though when they arrived, they were greeted by the sight of a silver-haired man with his arm in a sling in the midst of arguing with the store clerk, frantically pointing and gesturing towards a poster on the wall for the "New Asamiya Athena Psikyo Idol" clothing collection. For their safety, the trio opted to go look elsewhere.

Eventually, Leona, Fio and Eri got tired of walking around aimlessly, so they opted to rest at the food court and figure out a new plan of action. As Fio chowed down on a comically large burger, Leona and Eri brainstormed over a pair of salads.
"Leona, may I be the first to say that you're a very strange woman when it comes to buying clothing." Eri stifled a laugh as she stuffed a forkful of cherry tomatoes into her mouth.
"Well....you know how my upbringing was. I never had much time to think about that sort of thing, let alone what would look 'cute'. My priority was always just 'whatever was most comfortable and appropriate for the mission."
"Comfort over fashion, huh? Hmm...you sound just like Fio." Eri leaned in close to Leona, just so Fio wouldn't be able to hear her whispering. "You know, she's just wearing her wartime clothing right now. Like all she did was take off her tactical vest, gloves and hat and that's it. I worry about her sometimes, y'know?" She leaned back, resuming her salad-eating ways. "Anyways...now that you say that, I think I have one more idea, but...actually, you never told me or Fio much *about* your date, now that I think about it."
Leona shrugged and shook her head. "That's the thing, *I* don't know much about her either. Just that she does combat sports, has ginormous boobs (according to her), and really wants a 'girl with edge'. This is, for all intents and purposes, basically a blind date."
Eri dropped her fork, stricken with a sudden idea. "Wait, go back a second, what did you say before that?"
"That....that she wants a 'girl with edge'?"
The blonde soldier snapped her fingers in inspiration before wolfing down her salad at an unheard-of speed that would make the average hotdog eating contest participant afraid. "Leona, I have one more idea. Fio, hurry and finish your burger, we've got work to do." Fio looked over at Eri, completely confused (she'd completely zoned out of the conversation as soon as her burger had arrived at her table), but nodded anyways and practially swallowed the remainder of the burger in one gulp. Leona was a little terrified, both of their sheer eating skills and of whatever Eri's idea could possibly be.

Thankfully, that terror didn't last very long. The store that the three were standing in front of was one that catered more to the "hardcore" types, boasting a fair amount of shirts for various bands, lots of leather-based clothing, and quite a bit of *black*. It seemed like the kind of store that Team Yagami would likely frequent (or at least Iori) but somehow, Leona felt at home too. Everything in the store just screamed "intense, edgy lesbian" to her and she was absolutely overjoyed, even if her face didn't really show it very well.

When they entered the store, Leona went straight to town and never looked back. For some reason, something about the style of this particular store made her feel right at home, moreso than all the other stores they'd been to. She still had a fair amount of trouble finding a good suitable outfit, but after about a half hour or so she finally found the perfect fit. It was an ensemble consisting of a black bomber jacket, a white tank top with "LOVE AND PEACE" in big black letters, blue plaid leggings, and tall laced boots that were very similar to her usual combat boots, but built more for fashion than practicality. She even decided to let her hair down, just to finish off the look. Fio and Eri were staring at her, practically drooling at the sight of her ensemble.

"God, I'm gay." "Me too, Eri."

Leona felt ready. There was nothing in the world that could possibly stop her now.

----

THE PAO PAO CAFE, SOUTH TOWN
TWO WEEKS LATER, 19:50

[I'll be there tonight at 8! Just look for the big blue motorcycle~]

South Town was a rough place, full of all sorts of fighting from ne'er do wells and street protectors alike, but the Pao Pao Cafe was one of a few safe havens in the town. Granted, it had its own fair share of barfights, but they were kept relatively in check due to most of the cafe's patrons being actual established, trained fighters instead of ordinary thugs and criminals. Leona had never been to the cafe before, but based on what she'd heard from the locals it was the best place for her first date.

She was early, on instinct, so the promised blue motorcycle was nowhere to be found. She grew slightly impatient, nervously clutching her arm and tapping her foot on the ground, a sudden bout of nervousness starting to well up in the back of her mind. Leona began to picture all the ways her date could possibly go wrong, began to fear the image of her sitting in her bunk crying her eyes out, before all that was broken by a loud motorcycle motor in the distance. She excitedly looked towards the origin of the sound, only to be blindsided by a blue chopper speeding into her field of vision, drifting into the parking spot right in front of her.

Its occupant was dressed....rather strangely. She was only wearing a short leather jacket barely covering her comically large breasts, chaps, what seemed to be wrestling trunks, and...rather huge cowboy boots. Something seemed familiar about the whole nonsensical getup to Leona, but she couldn't quite place her finger on it...until the bike rider stumbled off her motorcycle and took her helmet off.

Beneath the helmet was the face of a young Mexican girl with short white hair covering one of her blue eyes, and her mouth consistently stuck in a cat-like smile. Leona's excitement quickly turned to terror as she realized exactly who it was that she'd gotten a date with.

The flirtatious ex-NESTS agent, and the girl who was responsible (along with the rest of her team) for her elimination from the last KOF tournament: Angel.

"Uwaaah~ I thought I wouldn't make it here in time! I hope that cyclist is okay tho...oh. Oh. My God." She had turned to see Leona in front of her, all gussied up. "Oh my god. Don't tell me *you're* BloodRiot96?"
Leona turned away, her face practically beet red. "Y...yeah. Yeah I am."
"OH my god. I'm practically speechless! Of all the good luck to have! I'm getting paired up with one of the cutest ladies in the whole tournament! No hard feelings for eliminating you and the big boys, though, right? Anyways, I'm starving! Let's head in and eat already~"

The inside of the Pao Pao Cafe wasn't terribly busy, due to it being the middle of the week. Unfortunately, this only made the situation more awkward for Leona, as she didn't have noisy crowds of patrons to drown out her increasingly awkward state of mine. The waiter led them to a small table, with a fancy candle in the middle, leaving two plates and some bread rolls at their table to keep the two of them fed until they were ready.
"As god is my witness, my sides are broken in half! It was so long ago that you and I were standing across from each other, as the bitterest rivals, and now....here we are, sitting next to each other at a candlelit restaurant, as a cute couple! Oh, how the tables have turned!"
Leona could do nothing but stare at the empty plate in front of her, her embarrassment levels steadily rising as she wondered what she could've possibly done in a past life to cause this awkward situation to happen. Her blind date, on the other hand, just continued to cut a proverbial promo, blissfully oblivious to her date's emotional state.
"So then, big lady, real talk, what's your game here? Did you just happen to set me up on some kinda ridiculously elaborate sting operation? Are your two big burly bara bisexual buddies gonna come busting through the door, ready to cuff me and haul me off to some big boat in the middle of nowhere? Am I gonna have to deal with your dad grilling me on NESTS stuff again? Cause I gave up on all that a long time ago, and anything I did know I've already told to the requisite government people. And I swear, if they do show up, I'm ready to lay the smacketh down on their roody-poo candy asses if they so much as--'

Leona had enough.
She threw her hands down on the table, hard enough to interrupt Angel's rambling and briefly silence the cafe, but just restrained enough so as to not disturb the carefully arranged table setup.
"**ANGEL, YOU *USELESS* LESBIAN, DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A DATE OR NOT?**" She exhaled sharply and sat back down, straightening out her jacket.
Angel briefly paused, before giggling and smiling, seemingly undeterred by the outburst. "Oh my god, that's adorable. I don't think I've ever been called a 'useless lesbian' before. God, I feel validated now. I'm gonna have to tell this to Ramon later."
Her date just stared slackjawed at Angel's flippant attitude. No matter what Leona did, she was always so relaxed. She could not comprehend anything that was going through Angel's mind. Leona was so befuddled by the sheer absurdity of the situation that she failed to notice Angel suddenly appearing next to her, briefly leaving a ghostly afterimage in the seat she was previously in. The ex-NESTS girl lightly grabbed her chin, turning Leona's head towards her.
"Hey. You're pretty cute when you're angry, you know. I mean, I saw that happen a lot when we fought too, and god, it just made you look hotter. I like that in ladies. Well, and big tits too. But mostly the fierceness." Leona, in response, turned away, embarrassed by Angel's statements. Angel was...far more forward than she expected, and the pressure of the date was starting to build further and further. Something else was stirring down below too, and it was starting to become overwhelming as a whole for her. Leona got up, pulled a 20$ bill out of her wallet, left it on the table and walked away, only saying "I'm sorry" to Angel as she left the Pao Pao Cafe.

Leona, for the first time since that time where she missed several KOF tournaments, found herself crying. The alleyway next to the cafe was certainly a strange place to do so, but it was the only safe haven she could find at the moment. She was understandably overwhelmed by everything that had happened to her tonight, but at the same time she felt immensely guilty for leaving Angel behind in the cafe without a date to speak of.

At least, she *thought* she left her behind.

A warm pair of arms grabbed her from behind, and a familiar voice spoke to her as a head laid against her back."

 

"Hey Leona, are you okay?"
"Angel...I'm sorry I left you behind like that."
"Hey, I don't blame you, you looked kinda...off. Was I coming on to you a little too quickly?"
"Well...maybe a little, but...I just didn't know how to deal with romantic feelings as strong as that. I've never really had anyone approach me like that before. I mean, I've had familial bonds, strong ones, all my life but...I don't think I've ever felt true romantic love before."
"I mean...there's always a first time for everything, y'know. T'be honest, I just flirt a lot because I....kinda feel the same way. You don't get much chance to really love anyone when your job keeps you moving from place to place, and when your life before that was entirely spent killing people and babysitting illegal experiments. So I just kinda project that sort of emptiness in the form of rapidfire flirting. I mean....not that any of it isn't genuine or anything."
"Angel...can I ask something?"
"Fire away."

Leona turned around and reciprocated Angel's hug, the two of them embracing each other's warmth.
"Do you think you're prepared to love me?"
"Look, if you're worried about the evil blood thingy, I don't think that's too big a deal..."
"No no, there's something else..." She leaned over and whispered something into Angel's ear, and her eyes widened and her face turned red.
"Ahhhh, okay, I understand. Honey, I don't care what you've got going physically, it's what matters in here." She put a finger to Leona's chest.
"....My boobs?"
"Yes. I mean no, I mean yes, but...I mean your *heart* you dummy."
Leona giggled. It was a genuine giggle, too, not the stifled one she always managed whenever her father told a poor attempt at a joke during a briefing. She hadn't done that in what felt like a long time. The giggle eventually grew into a solid laugh, which caused Leona to break the hug and sit down against the wall of the alley. As she settled down, Angel followed her over to the wall, sitting down next to her, laying her head on her shoulder. Despite the dirtiness and griminess of the alley, Leona felt strangely comfortable.

...Moreso after Angel moved her head down to Leona's lap.
"Heeeey, you're pretty warm down here, you know~"
Leona could do nothing but stammer once again, her face a bright red. Angel turned over, facing Leona's grinning, blushing face with an calming, yet inviting smile. Leona felt something stir below, but she didn't feel comfortable talking about it...so she just shyly turned away from Angel. Her date, however, simply giggled at Leona's predicament.
"Y'know, you don't gotta be so shy about it...Like I said, I'll love ya no matter what. And if you don't feel comfortable doing certain things either, that's fine too...I'm more of a hopeless romantic girl anyways~"
"Heh...well...that makes two of us. At least, the hopeless part. Heh."

 

The two of them chuckled again, before Angel sat up and shuffled back to her original position next to Leona.
"Hey...Leona, I know this might be weirdly comfortable and stuff, but we look kinda silly sitting on the ground like this. You wanna split for the night? Of course....I wouldn't mind going home with you too~"
"Well...I'd probably have to explain everything to Dad and the other Ikari Warriors first...dunno how thrilled they'd be with me dating a NESTS agent..."
"*EX*-NESTS agent."
"Ex-NESTS agent, right, right. But yeah, I think the commander would...probably need a lot of persuading first. Best case scenario, he'd be okay with it but would proooobably want you to put on more modest clothing and stuff."
Angel scratched the back of her head, giggling sheepishly. "Yeeah, sorry about not arriving in something a little more publicly appropriate...these are kinda my work clothes and stuff, and I was coming straight here from a show."
Leona reeled a bit in surprise. "W-wait, these are your *work* clothes?"
"What can I say? People go wild for this look for some reason. It's pretty comfy to wrestle in too, even if the leather jacket gets a *little* warm on some days." She shrugged, almost uncaring with regards to her strange attire.
"Wait, then what do you wear for casual clothing? Because I never see you in anything *but* this getup."
"Oh....well....uh....okay, truthfully, I don't really *have* any real casual clothing. I've got like beach clothing, and a few alternate costumes for special wrestling events, but....when I'm on the road I kinda just chill in hotel rooms in....well, my birthday suit."
Leona nearly laughed again, but put her hand across her mouth. "Oh my god. I gotta get you in touch with some people I know in the future, then. I think their gay asses could help keep things within the budget of a travelling lesbian wrestler. In the meantime, we could probably figure something out..."
"If that happens, I wanna wear some of your clothes! That's what cute girlfriends do, right?"
"Geh!" Leona's plan of action was interrupted by Angel's proposition, and she didn't know how to respond to it. "Er...uh...are we girlfriends already? That seems a little quick, don't you think?"
"Weeeeellll....okay, maybe that's jumping the gun a little bit...but I mean, we are friends that are girls, right? Teehee~"

Leona could not comprehend Angel at all. Everything she did seemed to be incredibly impulsive, maybe a little stupid, but somehow...as the night had gone on, she found it *adorable* somehow. She couldn't tell if maybe it was some kind of desperation, but...at the same time, she felt a sort of kindredness in Angel. They had both grown up in the field of battle, they'd both been hiding dark pasts, and they were both extremely gay as hell, to some degree.

Maybe...maybe all Leona needed was a bit of impulsiveness herself. She needed to take a leap for once in her life, and not stay sheltered.

"Angel, I'm going to do something stupid right now. Please tell me if you find it uncomfortable."
"Ehhh?"
Leona turned to Angel and planted her lips right upon theirs. Truthfully, it was her first kiss ever, but she did the best she could to make it pleasurable in some way for Angel...who seemed to be enjoying every second of it, reciprocating the passion in turn. The two of them hugged once more, bringing each other closer together, boobs squishing against boobs as they went deeper and deeper into the kiss.

After a minute or so, they finally broke apart, each of them exhaling in turn.
"Oh my god, Leona. That was the stupidest thing I've ever seen you do, and I loved every second of it. You should do stupid things more often."
"So...you liked it, then?"
"Oh my god, I absolutely did. You sure you've never dated anyone before? LIke...good god, I've kissed a few people before [mostly in ring kayfabe stuff though] and you're like...the best. The literal best. I wanna do that again."

...and so, they kissed each other once again, moaning with each and every second that passed. When they split once more, Leona rubbed her hands through Angel's hair, while Angel giggled again.
"Hey...Leona. Does this make us girlfriends now?"
"Fuck it, why not? I mean, you're...you're the first person to make me feel like this, so I don't see why we can't make it a steady thing."
"Hooray!" Angel threw her hands in the air, nearly coming close to decking Leona in the chin in the midst of her excitement. "I can't wait to be the best girlfriend ever~"

The two of them finally got up off the alley ground and headed back out into civilization. Leona made the call to base ("Yeah, my date's coming with me. Please don't panic when you see her.") and rode off on the back of Angel's bike into the night.

For the first time in her life, Leona Heidern felt love.

And she never wanted that feeling to end.

----

HEIDERN FLEET BASE
THE FOLLOWING DAY

"[Mission, start.]" Angel was attempting her best impression of Leona's cold, emotionless pre-battle quotations, while doing a comically stiff salute to no one in particular. Leona was sitting on her bunk, laughing to herself.
"Oh god, I don't sound like that, do I?
"You *totally* do. You gotta relax, girl! Speaking of relaxing..."

Angel shifted around in her newfound clothing. As she'd previously suggested, she was now wearing Leona's old military uniform, though this time it wasn't a goofy idea; rather it was a demand from Leona's commander and surrogate father Heidern, who wanted to make sure that she would be 'safe while on the base.' (Leona doubted that anyone on base would ever get to be that horny, but at the same time she understood his motivations.)

"Leona, I gotta know, how did you even *wear* this back then? My tits feel like they're gonna burst out of here like an alien!"
"There was a time when I didn't have any boobs to speak of, you know."
Angel paused her shuffling upon hearing her talk about boobs and turned to Leona, her face suggesting that she had some kind of devious idea."You know what? Since we're already sharing clothes, and you've got big tits now, why not try wearing some of my costumes sometime~?"
Leona, shocked, put up her hands, waving them around in a negative manner. "WHOA no. I couldn't do that. I do not see myself squeezing into a thong that tight anytime soon. Not now, not EVER."
"Aww come on, not even for your girlfriend~?" Angel stared at Leona with big, sentimental, puppy dog eyes, using all of her power to try and coerce her girlfriend into taking her suggestion. Leona, on the other hand, looked away, doing everything in her power to resist Angel's charms. The two were locked in a stalemate.

...but the stalemate didn't last long. Leona was far too gay to resist a cute lady's charms, and she reluctantly accepted her fate.
"Alright, *fine*, you win. We'll do this right here, right now. But I'm gonna need to do some *extra* tucking for this."

----

"You sure you're okay with this, Commander? With all due respect, sir, I'm a bit confused by your motivations. Like...even if she's not with them right now, with all of the NESTS leaders potentially back in the picture, we can't rule out the possibility of her running right back to their side..."
In another room, Clark and his commander, who simply went by the codename of Heidern, were conferring about the current situation. The Ikari Warriors had collectively agreed to allow Leona and Angel to start dating, though under strict scrutiny and security, in case Angel tried to do anything particularly malicious.
"I understand the risks, Still, but I guarantee Leona does as well. It is ultimately her decision to make at the end of the day, and I'm sure that she's well aware of any consequences that come with that decision. And...besides...."
Heidern turned away and closed his eye, a single tear falling down his cheek.
"They're just...so darn cute together."
Clark made a goofily concerned face, immediately returning to a stonefaced state once his superior faced him again.
"Anyways, Mr. Still, keep me posted on any further developments with those two. You are dismissed."
Clark saluted and left the room. Heidern, on the other hand, sat down in a nearby chair, looking off into the distance with a wistful look on his face.
"Gaidel....Wherever you are now, I hope you're a proud father. Your daughter is finally growing up to be a good, normal girl..."
----

"You owe me BIG time for this, Angel."
Leona stood in front of her girlfriend, more embarrassed than she had ever been in her life before now. Angel's "work uniform" was slightly ill-fitting on her (especially around the chest) but Angel didn't care. She was practically having the time of her life at the sight of her girlfriend's current getup.
"Ohmygod, ohmy*god* you look so ADORABLE!"
Leona simply shuffled around in place, not knowing how to respond to Angel at all, or how to deal with her current situation. Suddenly, without any warning, she heard an all-too-familiar "woo~", and just like that, Angel was right up in her face. Caught off guard, she fell backwards onto her bed, with Angel following suit. As she lay prone on top of Leona, she started giggling. At that moment, Leona realized the gravity of the situation, and giggled a little bit herself. The two embraced each other on the bed, engaging in passionate cuddling and kissing, laughing all the way.

Suddenly, Ralf Jones, master of untimely entrances and king of poor room reading, burst into the room like a deuteragonist from a sitcom.
"Hey Leona, have you seen my...uh....dumb.....bells....?" Comrade or not, Ralf could not have been prepared for the sheer fury that was being directed his way through Leona's firey, red-eyed glare. He moved to dart out of the room, but before he could, he found himself face to face with a head of white hair....and next thing he knew, he was being lifted off the ground and thrown upon the cold steel floor in a powerbomb. Angel dusted off her hands after pushing Ralf's dizzied corpse out of the room and closing the door behind her.
"Now, honey, where were we~?"
"Holy shit, I have never seen anyone completely *destroy* Ralf like that before. I think I love you more now. Get over here and try some of those wrestling moves on me, you...uh....you cutie? Is that how you would say it?"
"Aw hon, you don't have to imitate me just cause you're wearin' my stuff~ Just be you, and we'll be in love forever~"

The sounds of romance rung through the halls of the fleet base, as two lonely girls finally reconciled their feelings for each other...and no one dared bother them, due to Ralf being an unfortunate example of their passionate fury.

THE END.