A/N: I don't own FMP!, but I do like to play with their characters. I wrote this because I love Mao. She's just cool. Please read and review.

Full Metal Panic!

Lonely

Sergeant-Major Melissa Mao was lonely.

She sighed as she admitted that to herself. She'd been denying it for awhile now, but she was simply too mentally exhausted and worn down to continue the internal struggle. It wasn't that she was particularly unhappy. She loved her job and found great satisfaction in fighting terrorists and maintaining world peace. She had some good friends: Sosuke, Kurz, Tessa. But when she watched Sosuke with Kaname…well, she just felt so alone. And as a tough, badass chick who was more at home putting her dirty boots up on the table with her men, most guys were too intimidated or put-off by her to bother even thinking about her romantically. Sure, she knew that some of the guys (spurred on by Kurz no doubt) thought she'd be amazing to sleep with and she'd had to sock a few for daring to suggest it to her. But now she was feeling just so lonely that she was starting to think she might take one of them up on the offer just to feel better even for just a little while.

Melissa sighed again. Sleeping with anyone from Mithril was a terrible idea, though. For a top of the line mercenary organization, the soldiers gossiped like high school girls. For the most part, she didn't care what they might say about her, but that was largely because she knew that any negative comments about her weren't true.

Things were a little quiet now and she and Kurz had been granted some leave time in Tokyo again. Kurz was god-knows-where. She was walking dejectedly down the street.

"I need a beer." Melissa said to herself, looking around for a bar.

She'd been walking pretty aimlessly and was currently in a part of town that she hadn't been to before. It looked sort of seedy, but that had to mean that there was a bar nearby. Sure enough, it didn't take her long to find a place.

Melissa pushed the door open and strode inside. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the lighting and when they did, she found that she'd attracted some stares. Looking around, Melissa found that while she wasn't the only woman present in the place, she was definitely the least provocatively dressed. Melissa spared a glance down at the plain slacks and tank top she was wearing. Now she needed that beer more than ever.

Melissa moved over to the bar, now walking with less confidence than usual. She slid onto a bar stool and ordered herself a pitcher.

She had finished the pitcher and a second by the time someone worked up the courage to approach her.

"Hey, beautiful." the drunk who looked to be in his forties slurred at her, swaying unsteadily on his feet, "I hope you're a doctor 'cause you look so good I'm in pain."

Melissa was about to snap at him that he'd need a doctor if he didn't leave her alone, but stopped herself. She looked the man standing near her stool up and down. He was rather unremarkable in almost every way.

The man must have taken her momentary silence as encouragement because he flashed her a smile and continued, "Want to go to my place and work on your bedside manner?"

Uncertainty flashed across Melissa's face and in her large, purple eyes. She couldn't believe she was really even considering this, but…

"Yeah, okay." she agreed, standing up.

The man almost fell over he was so surprised. He stared at her in disbelief.

"Well, let's go already." Melissa snapped, irritated.

"Okay!" he yelped, jumping towards the door.

Frowning, Melissa followed after him, her eyes on her scuffed boots. The man led her to his car and Melissa got in. Before starting it, he leaned uncertainly towards her. Melissa fought down her disgust, letting him put his hands on her and pull her towards him. His hands were sweaty on her arms. He looked deranged as he leaned in to kiss her. Melissa closed her eyes and tried not to think about it. At least he wanted her.

"Hey, Sis!"

Melissa's eyes flew open and she jerked back just before the grubby man's lips mashed into hers. She could hardly believe her eyes. What the hell was Kurz doing here, knocking on the car window? Melissa quickly grabbed the handle and threw the door open, nearly hitting Kurz with it as she did so. He grinned at her as he jumped out of the way, but the smile didn't reach his eyes.

"Hey! Come back!" the man in the car called after her.

"Forget it. Go home." Kurz called back, leaning to the side to see past Melissa, "Me and Sis got some catching up to do."

"What?" the man asked, confused.

"Go on. Leave." Melissa shot over her shoulder dejectedly, shutting the car door and trudging away from the man, the bar and Kurz.

The only thing worse than going home with that disgusting guy was being caught in the act by Kurz. She'd probably never hear the end of it and she was in no mood to hear it now.

"Wait up!" Kurz called after her and she heard him hurrying after her.

Melissa wished the ground would open up and swallow her.

Kurz fell in step next to her, but Melissa didn't dare look at him. She could already see the look that would be on his face, hear the comments he would undoubtedly make.

"Melissa, what's wrong?"

Melissa's step faltered at the concern in Kurz's voice. That wasn't what she was expecting at all! She opened and closed her mouth a couple times, but couldn't think of what she could say. And now she couldn't look at Kurz for a whole new reason. She didn't want to see pity in his eyes either.

"I'm fine, Weber." she finally managed several moments later than she should have answered.

"Melissa…" Kurz tried again, now even more worried. He reached out a hand to grasp her shoulder, "…stop."

Kurz had tracked Melissa, mostly because he was bored, but also because something had seemed a little off with her lately. He couldn't put his finger on what it was, but he was pretty certain it was something. And now, seeing her get in a car with that creep, seeing her about to let him kiss her even though she was obviously repulsed by him, he was downright upset. This wasn't the Melissa Mao he knew, the tough as nails sergeant-major who rode his ass and took shit from no one. His Melissa Mao would be laughing in his face right now, calling him a loser for wasting his free time following her around. She definitely wouldn't be avoiding his eyes like she was afraid to look at him. His Melissa wasn't afraid of anything.

"Talk to me." Kurz insisted, "You're freaking me out here."

Melissa stopped walked, but her eyes were still on the ground, her short, dark hair hiding most of her face from him.

"No, Kurz." she finally spoke again, "Leave me alone."

"No can do, Big Sis." Kurz replied immediately.

Melissa clenched her fists at her side and her head shot up, eyes flashing with anger, "Damn it, Kurz! Leave me alone before I put my boot in your face!"

Kurz smiled slightly with relief. This was more like the normal Melissa Mao.

"Aw, you wouldn't wreck this pretty face, would you Sis? That's like ruining a work of art." Kurz quipped, flashing her what he liked to think of as his trademark grin and striking a pose.

He was more than half expecting her to pop him one right in the nose, but Melissa simply turned and started walking away again. Kurz frowned after her for a moment. He wasn't usually one to fight his battles face-to-face. That was more Mao's thing. He was a sniper. He observed the situation from a distance, then acted at just the right moment with surgical precision. But there was just no way he could let her walk off like this. He was going to have to step outside his comfort zone on this one.

"Sis!" Kurz called, running after her, then walking backwards in front of her so he could face her, "Answer one question for me and I'll leave you alone."

"What?" Melissa asked warily.

Kurz felt like an amateur boxer moving within swinging distance of a prize fighter. He tried to stay light on his feet.

"Why were you going to go home with that sleazeball?"

"What do you care?" Melissa asked back rather than answer.

Kurz warned himself to be careful. One wrong move and she'd nail him with that knockout punch.

"Hey, my sergeant-major is way too good for a creep like that." Kurz answered.

Melissa laughed dryly. Kurz's eyes narrowed. He was starting to think that maybe Mao might be feeling lonely. But that was ridiculous! Why would Mao feel lonely? And even if she was, Mao was gorgeous. She could certainly pick up a much better guy than that loser. Any guy would feel lucky if Mao decided to pay attention to them.

"If you wanted a big, fat kiss, all you had to do was ask." Kurz said, injecting some of his usual humor into the statement, but really watching to see how Melissa would react.

"Yeah, right." Melissa snapped, fumbling in her pocket for a cigarette, almost unaware that she was speaking out loud, "Like anyone really wants to kiss the hardass military nut field commander. That's Melissa Mao. She's probably great in the sack, but who'd want to be with a butch girl like her. She wouldn't know ladylike if it kicked her in the teeth. Nah, she's too scary. Great in a fight, but worthless as a love interest. That's what they say about me, right?"

"Sis…" Kurz whispered, shocked at her confession.

How could she think that? Sure, he'd never really seen her on a date or anything. It was actually kind of hard for him to imagine Melissa hanging on the arm of some guy, acting shy and flirtatious. Melissa was just way too direct for that kind of thing, too confident. But she certainly didn't seem confident now. Maybe he'd never seen Melissa date anyone because no one had been brave enough to try. Was everyone so stupid that they couldn't see past her scary combat skills and gruff exterior? Sure, she was fierce, but that's because she was brave and passionate. Kurz had often imagined that Melissa was like the Amazons of Ancient Greece. Of course, he'd also enjoyed imagining Melissa dressed like how he thought an Amazon might dress and that would just get him beat to a bloody pulp if she found out. But there was clearly more to Melissa Mao than the soldier. She was also a devoted friend, a caring commander, and obviously, a vulnerable woman with the same feelings as everyone else.

Kurz decided to push his luck and risk some serious bodily harm. He moved closer to Melissa. She was currently cursing under her breath at her lighter that didn't seem to want to light. He gently took the lighter out of her hand, satisfied when the motion drew her attention to him, made her look at him.

"None of that's true." he told her, for once being completely serious, "Anyone would be the luckiest guy around to even getting a glance from you. Anyone who says different is just a wuss whose intimidated by how strong a person you are."

For a moment, Melissa just stared at him, her cigarette hanging limply from the side of her mouth. Realizing this, she yanked it from her mouth and shoved it back in her pocket.

"If that's true, then why hasn't anyone…" she began to demand.

Kurz decided in that second that he had absolutely no choice. If he had to forfeit his life as a result, then so be it.

Kurz leaned in, lightly grasping Melissa's arm with one hand and pressing his lips gently, but firmly against hers. She stood frozen. He slowly pulled away.

"Kurz…" Melissa whispered, raising a hand to her mouth.

"Sorry." Kurz said quickly, "It's just…well, even I'd kill for a chance to be with you. You're the most amazing woman I've ever met."

Melissa lowered her hand and her face became unreadable. Kurz backed up a step, wondering if he was about to feel the full wrath of Melissa Mao.

"Weber," Melissa began in a steely tone, making Kurz wince in anticipation of the pain that was sure to come, "you dumbass, pretty boy moron."

Kurz closed his eyes. Any second now, the punches would start.

He was prepared for brutal blows. He was not prepared for the feel of Melissa's lips against his for a second time in this life. His eyes shot open. Had she already hit him and knocked him unconscious and this was all a dream? Melissa would never really be here, kissing him with all the urgency and passion he could possibly imagine. Well, if he was dreaming this, he might as well make the most of it. Kurz wrapped his arms around her and kissed her back for all he was worth.

When the two separated, they were both more than a little stunned. They stared at each other silently for a long time before Kurz finally spoke.

"Are you…are you going to kill me now?" Kurz ventured.

"I ought to, you no-good, worthless pervert." Melissa said affectionately. Her face hardened and she stuck a finger in Kurz's face, "I better not hear you making any comments around the de Danaan."

"Yes, ma'am." Kurz saluted.

"Let's go back to the safe house."

"You said it, Sis."