Disclaimer: MINE! Er. I mean…borrowed!

CATverse A/N: If, for some reason, you feel the urge to need to know where this goes in CATverse canon, go to www. freewebs. com/ catverse (for ease, I would suggest looking at the Story Arc Listing rather than the muddled timeline table, I'm just sayin'); though I dunno why you'd want to...I'm only in this to amuse myself and the Captain, really. This story comes right after 'Of Debts and Debt Collections'.

A/N: It's not even Christmas. I still couldn't stop myself from writing the following. Shoot me, please.

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It was charmingly routine, domestic and utterly, disgustingly Christmassy when the Scarecrow entered the common area of his lair of the month to find three henchgirls huddled around the most garish aluminum tree he'd ever laid eyes on, wrapping, of all things, presents.

Not making bombs, not with blueprints and silver markers, making a plan for their next big coup--no, they were wrapping presents.

(And no, he most certainly was not wondering what they're gotten for him…though it was sure to be either interesting or macabre…or maybe both. Probably both.)

As if the wrapping presents wasn't enough, they were also conducting a slightly out of tune rendition of 'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas', acting as if they were all seven years old instead of rapidly nearing thirty.

God, how he hated the holidays. They turned everything upside down, inside out and wrong way 'round, as far as he was concerned. In truth, if he had known they'd started preparing for their silly little celebration, he never would have left his lab in search of a midnight snack; but now it was too late to turn back without rousing suspicion…

And Henchgirl suspicion was the sort that included grilling for information and simultaneous rib cracking hugs; which was, without a doubt, the most effective form of torture that Crane had ever come across.

With trying to avoid physical contact in mind, he started for the kitchen, ignoring their little sing along, intent on getting a sandwich as quickly as possible and then returning to his lab.

Even though they saw him, they didn't pause their performance, working with unnerving efficiency to wrap their presents; Techie meticulously folded the wrapping paper around each box, the Captain taped it up and Al drenched each present with ribbons and various other gaudy decorations.

Crane entered the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, setting to making himself a ham sandwich with all the trimmings.

The fact that there was a large jug of eggnog in the fridge that smelled suspiciously like it was laced with a barrelful of rum didn't escape his notice.

Liquid Christmas cheer. He snorted at the sight. That certainly explained the singing that was getting louder, more annoying and more raucous with every passing minute…

"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas--"

"Only a hippopotamus will do--"

Taking the components that would become his sandwich in a few minutes out of the fridge, he plopped them down on the rickety folding table and started building the ham sandwich to end all ham sandwiches. He told himself he was only doing it because if they saw him leave the kitchen with something less, they'd force feed him and lecture him on the importance of eating something more than a piece of dry toast.

It took him only a few minutes to complete his task and then wrap the sandwich in a paper towel to keep its innards from trying to make a break for freedom. He left the kitchen, still hearing the all too irritating song being sung so loudly it was as if the source of the noise was right next to him instead of in the other room.

The sight that greeted him once he was out of the kitchen was startling. More startling than anything else he'd walked in on recently.

All three women had their eyes glued to him and their mouths were agape…

Unless they'd all mastered the art of ventriloquism, they were mouths which were most definitely not the source of the song…

But then…where was it coming from?

Crane nearly dropped his sandwich when he realized his throat was moving in an unfamiliar fashion that he hadn't even noticed.

"DAMN IT!"

They dared have the audacity to beam at him.