…with bits of wire, falalalalalalalala! Look! Cyclonus is on fire, falalalalalalalala!

…'tis the season. 'tis the obligatory silly Christmas fic. The world didn't need it. But I'm happy, so you must all be subjected to my over-sugared wrath.

Wreck The Halls

Megatron looked at the information Cyclonus had placed before him and frowned.

"Cyclonus", he said, in a voice which the copter-bot knew to translate as 'Beware Imminent Doom, Ye Worthless Nuisance'. "What is…this supposed to be?"

Anyone else, hearing that particular tone of voice would have flinched, pleaded or tried to smarm their way into the clear. Not Cyclonus, of course. He stood there, practically vibrating with manic, nervous energy, a look of terrifying eagerness upon his faceplate.

"Yep, sir", he said, adding the 'sir' only as a hasty afterthought. "It's bad, sir."

Megatron frowned again and transferred his attention back to the sloppy collection of data pads. He had to admit, it did seem as though the aerial warrior's pointless research hobby had finally proven its worth. Hmm.

Admittedly, the report was a tad…disjointed here and there, but Megatron had become accustomed to working his way through Cyclonus's haphazard data pads. Shifting through, he quickly selected what seemed to be the most important points.

He sees you when you're sleeping…

Naughty or nice…

Be good…

Hmm.

Megatron thought for a moment, before the answer dawned upon him, blindingly obvious.

"It would appear that we have discovered some kind of…Earth demon", he stated, inspecting the text and hearing Cyclonus gasp.

Megatron had encountered demons before. Generally, they were trouble. Most planets had a selection of the things, ranging from the hairy and/or scaled monsters with fangs of most organic superstition, to the incorporeal, shell-stealing viruses that haunted Cybertronian mythology. Most were merely irritating, not large or powerful enough to bring down a well-trained Decepticon warrior. A few more were clever, a more serious threat, capable of silently gliding past one's defences and poisoning the mind without the victim being aware of anything more than a slow depletion of their strength. And one or two were lethal.

Megatron was in no way superstitious, but he did maintain a healthy respect for anything able to flourish on so many different worlds. Especially anything which would cheerfully rip off a fully-armed transformer's head, given half the chance.

"Red. And white", he murmured thoughtfully.

"Yeah, that's weird, isn't it, Megatron?", piped up Cyclonus, in a voice which always foretold of some feeble effort to make an intelligent contribution. "Not normal colours for a demon, right?"

Not so feeble, actually. Megatron magnanimously rewarded him with a grunt of agreement. "Indeed not. A tad too…cheerful. Hmm."

"You want we should hunt it down and blast it, sir?" asked Cyclonus with a disturbingly touching eagerness.

Megatron was silent for a minute. After all, he supposed, it would relieve his men of the growing tension and boredom that was beginning to set in. Keeping three restless, irritable war machines amused was a task akin to herding cats, and Megatron decided that it was time for a break. Besides, if this annual creature had managed to so frighten the humans that they put up lavish ornaments and deceased greenery to keep it at bay, it was best that the Decepticons dealt with it before it could become a threat.

"Very well", he granted thoughtfully, as Cyclonus gave a yell of delight. "But take Demolisher and Starscream with you. And do not alert the humans to our presence. And don't engage the Autobots. And don't damage the base."

"Gotcha, sir."

"Oh, and Cyclonus? Put the exterior defence system on full alert, would you?" Just in case.

"The lasers?"

"Yes. Apparently this demon frequently attacks from above, infiltrating a human domain via a large, open duct built into the basic structure. To the sound of 'jingly bells', apparently."

Nothing in the report mentioned an ability to survive in a non-oxygen zone, but it never hurt to be cautious. As the copter-bot left, Megatron glanced once more upon the phrase that kept leaping back into his mind.

"'You'd better watch out…'"

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Blurr did not know what was going on and was quite sure that he didn't want to.

For a start, watching Decepticons stalk the snowy forests of Lapland hardly felt like the sort of life-threatening mission he had become accustomed to. Especially when said Decepticons were camouflaged in taped-on bushels of heather and wielding oversized nets. The fact that they were talking in loud, paranoid whispers did nothing to calm Blurr's fears.

"What should we do?" he murmured to Red Alert, who looked up at him wearily. The children had all gone off home to prepare for "Christmas", leaving Red Alert free to enjoy an afternoon of peace and quiet. When Laserbeak had spotted Cyclonus, he'd agreed to come along with the scout purely as a way to stretch his bored limbs. He hadn't bargained on nets. Or the fifty odd sprigs of mistletoe Starscream had strung from his wings.

Major headache coming any time now.

"Do we have to do anything?" he asked, getting to his feet and laying the binoculars aside. "Technically, they're not really doing anything."

"They're up to something."

Of course they are. They're Decepticons, thought the medic.

"Something bad?" he sighed.

"Obviously. They're Decepticons."

Of course, thought Red Alert, resigning himself to his comrade's paranoia.

After trying to work out some cunning, subtle plan which would allow them to discover the Decepticons's motives, both mechs decided that the best option available would be to simply remain concealed and crawl closer to try and pick up any incriminating fragments of conversation. They agreed, nodded, started forward and abruptly slipped over twin patches of ice. As a result, Blurr and Red Alert were sent hurtling down the slope at breakneck speeds, landing in a groaning, snow-covered heap at the bottom.

It was, quite obviously, one of those days.

When Red Alert next dared reactivate his optics, he was greeted by the sight of Cyclonus's face. Because Red Alert was brave and experienced in the horrors of battle, he managed to choke back the urge to shriek effeminately at this awful sight. Instinctively, he froze and waited for the shooting to begin. Privately, he ran through the locations list of every weapon he had all him. All one of them.

He was relatively surprised, therefore, when Cyclonus gave him a frantic stare and whispered, "SHHH!".

"…What?" he tried. Beside him, he could make out the figure of Blurr, slowly untangling himself from a small, personal world of pain.

"Shut up, Auto-dork! You'll scare them away!"

"…What?" Red Alert said again, feeling helplessly stupid.

Before Cyclonus could offer any form of explanation, Blurr successfully stood up, trying not to sway. Drawing out one rifle with a growl, he aimed at the helicopter's face.

"Alright, what's going on here?"

Cyclonus looked owlish, before annoyed contempt wound its way across his face. He gave an indignant snort and held up the net.

"Get lost, Autobot. We're busy", he claimed, waving the net as though it explained matters entirely. Blurr looked somewhat less than amused.

"And just WHAT are you doing?" he demanded coldly, jerking his head towards the net. Cyclonus twitched, gave him an outraged glare and looked from side to side. Seeing that no ambush was evident, he lowered his voice and gave Blurr a look of conspiratorial shiftiness. Momentarily intrigued despite himself, the Autobot leaned an inch closer to hear the explanation.

"Hunting reindeer", replied Cyclonus in a manic whisper.

It took a minute for Blurr to process this properly.

Seeing his colleague silenced (and ignoring that little inward voice that went 'yippee' and burst into applause), Red Alert refocused his optics upon Cyclonus.

"Hunting reindeer", he repeated flatly. The orange Decepticon nodded vigorously.

"Uh huh! But that ain't the best part!"

"It ain't?" enquired Red Alert in fascinated, awe-struck horror.

"Nope! We 're hunting for flying reindeer!"

Something in the back of Red Alert's memory for trivia twitched faintly at this, but it was soon swamped beneath the wide sea of incomprehension that swept majestically across the medic's consciousness. Nodding slowly in what he hoped was an intelligent manner, Red Alert mentally braced himself for the next, dreadful question. Blurr, he noted, was still just staring.

"…Why?"

Cyclonus suddenly blinked as a thought occurred to him, before an evil grin parted his lips. "I don't need to tell you!", he retorted haughtily, pleased at the opportunity to feel superior. "We're on a cov…cove…coverse…operation thing… It's a secret!"

The look of proud ineptitude fell away as Blurr regained enough presence of mind to raise his rifle once more. "I believe he just asked you a question."

To their amazement, the haughtiness was replaced by, not fear, but moral outrage.

"Oh, yeah?! Hah! Shows what you know! For your information, we're doing the planet a favour! Hmm, yeah, that's gratitude for ya…"

Sniffing with disdain, the copter-bot turned, oblivious to the gleaming barrel inches from his cranium, and stormed off, muttering to himself.

"I can still get him…", commented Blurr after a short period of silence, levelling his gun at the Decepticon's back.

Red Alert shook his head. "No. Enough. This is…that was… That's enough, Blurr. Alright? Let's just go home and watch the kids set something on fire again. Please?"

Aware of a note of pleading in his own voice, far away, Red Alert could hear the faint sound of someone whistling for a reindeer in the same manner in which a human might whistle for a dog.

Grumbling, Blurr sheathed his rifle and they both transformed. Tires squealed and snow flew as they headed for the highway in twin blurs of petrified speed.

Later on, the Autobot commander would sternly lecture them both for raking uncharacteristic speeds of eighty miles an hour, narrowly avoiding nine old ladies in the mad rush to escape. Over the next month, whilst helping the kids to string lights around the base, Hot Shot would notice Blurr and Red Alert's sudden, strange tendency to look nervously around corners, mutter something about reindeer and stalk off in search of a drink.

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"Hey, Dem?"

"Yes, Cyclonus?" replied Demolisher as he unloaded yet another crate of Earth goods Swindle had successfully swiped from some factory.

"Look at this, wouldja?"

Demolisher moved over to where Cyclonus was feverishly examining a data pad. It seemed to that his friend was, perhaps, taking this Christmas business a bit too seriously. Wisely, however, he decided not to raise this point. Most of the Decepticons knew well that the only way to remove a concept from Cyclonus's head was to watch and wait until it finally broke apart in the furnace of his mind. Trying to dissuade Cyclonus was a useless endeavour, one that only Cyclonus seemed capable of.

Peering closely atthe data pad that had captured the copter-bot's flashing interest,Demolishersawthe diagram of some Earthly piece of fungus.

"Hey, isn't that the stuff that Starscream found out about?" he realized suddenly.

"Yup." They'd discovered the herb's vague connection to the annual traditional celebration 'The Fat Man' (as Cyclonus had taken to calling him) was associated with, but had yet to discover just what the point was.

"Ooh…", trailed off Demolisher as he examined the foreign text. "So…they string this stuff up to ward off this Santa guy, right?"

"Guess that's it."

Cyclonus looked down at the box. Then he looked down the hallway that lead to the control room. Demolisher looked towards their personal quarters. Then they looked at each other.

"Okay", sighed Cyclonus. "You take this box and go that way, I'll take this box…"

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"WHY do I have to do this?"

"Aw, c'mon, Screamer, you promised! Besides, we need a decoy in red and white, so you were the only choice."

"And hold still", grunted Swindle, securing a piece of 'bait' to Starscream's shoulder with a Cybertronian version of sticky tape.

I will never forgive myself for this, thought Starscream bleakly, looking sulkily mollified. This is not the sort of thing a member of the Decepticon Elite should be subjected to!

"Hey, Dem, get some more tinsel, would ya?"

I hate my life.

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Megatron stared fixedly out the window, trying desperately not to laugh as the swordsman stormed into the room. Demolisher and Cyclonus had done an admirably thorough job, he noted. He'd have to consider rewarding them.

"Do you know what those idiots that call themselves Decepticons just did to me?" snarled the red and white ball of hissing irritation. Megatron's lips firmly remained in a straight line.

"Is something wrong, Starscream?" he asked mildly, not yet turning around. The resultant growl told him all he needed to know.

Megatron turned and…somehow, there were no words. He didn't laugh, mainly because his every reaction modulator had gone into instant lockdown to prevent falling into spasms on the ground in an undignified manner. He merely stared.

It was the hat. Or possibly the brightly coloured lights. The green and blue tinsel had been a nice touch but the hat was the work of a master. It was red. It had a white trim and a jolly red bauble on the top. How Demolisher had made the thing, Megatron had no idea, but the short Decepticon had thought to string a row of extra-bright green lights around the rim. The effect was interesting. Somehow, it even seemed to work well with the murderous scowl on the seeker's face. Cyclonus really had outdone himself.

"See?!" Starscream spat, wings aquiver with muffled fury.

Megatron cocked his head to one side and said, "Well?"

Starscream gaped.

"Well WHAT?" he screeched.

"Did you succeed in luring out our quarry?"

Starscream's toxic scowl became positively venomous. "No. I was too busy trying not to deactivate myself out of sheer embarrassment to keep a lookout for these 'reindeer' of yours, Mighty Megatron. Are you entirely sure that they aren't merely figments of your paranoia?"

"Shut up, Starscream. Next time we shall have to be more vigilant."

"Indeed", muttered the seeker, ineffectively trying to paw off the tinsel, to Megatron's silent amusement. The corners of the warlord's mouth twitched into a smirk.

A scrabbling behind and both turned to see Cyclonus rushing into the room . The deranged helicopter threw down his binoculars and swiftly withdrew his oversized energon net from a compartment in the wall. Spinning to go once more, he turned and caught sight of the two watching him with identically wide-opticed expressions. He stopped.

"Cyclonus", rumbled Megatron, "what are you doing?"

Cyclonus blinked, before replying, "Uhh…nothing, Megatron, sir."

The stares continued. The seconds stretched. Cyclonus shifted.

"Well…Demolisher says he thinks he saw something moving real fast up in the ninth quadrant but he says it's probably a meteor fragment but I say we should check it out just in case, so…"

Megatron nodded, said, "I see", before turning back to gaze out of the hole at the galaxy, despairing of his troops for the twenty fifth time in two hours. Starscream snorted and did the same.

Cyclonus observed the two warriors worriedly. Demolisher and he had long debated the concept of stringing mistletoe up in the throne room, before Cyclonus had pointed out that hey, they didn't want their leader to be eaten by a reindeer, did they? Now, the orange Decepticon nervously wondered whether or not to tell the two commanders about the sprig of leafy green that was hanging suspended above them.

In the end, he decided against it.

Eagerly contemplating an afternoon off spent destroying meteor fragments with Demolisher, Cyclonus grinned, gripped his net and ran from the room, trailing a merrily insane cackle behind him.

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Happy Christmas to all and to all a Bud Lite. ((swigs back eggnog, stalks off to bed))