AN: Well Merry Christmas , and to all the people out there who actually read and enjoy the things I write, this one's for you guys.
"I do not understand this... Christmas holiday."
Jail Scaglietti, Mad Scientist extrodinaire, flipped through his stack of Christmas catalogs as he lounged on his couch. "Why do people need a holiday specifically to buy things?"
Quattro, his ever loyal Yes Man, rubbed his shoulders as he skimmed idly, "That's what makes you special Doctor~ you aren't like all those stupid fools who fall for a bit of commercial foolery."
Jail nodded and circled a fake rock advertised in one of the catalogs, it would be nice to have a place to hide his keys. "Still... there has to be something about it that's so special."
"Santa Claus?" Tre offered with a smirk, pouring herself and Cinque a bit of tea. "Everyone likes free things."
"Food?" Sein wondered out loud, "Everyone loves to pig out."
"The love and affection this time of year gives?" Nove said in a very small voice.
The entire room looked blankly at her.
"Awwwwwwww," Wendi hugged poor Nove's head to her chest, "Nove's so sentimental~"
"Let go of me!" The squeeze toy flailed.
The rest of the numbers started to chime in their suggestions, tinsel perhaps, possibly carols or maybe even cheesy television movies. But not a single one of them could put their finger on what exactly Christmas was supposed to be.
The Doctor remained silent, thinking quiet thoughts to himself. That's when he got an idea, a greedy idea, the Doctor got a wonderfully awful idea. "I want it."
The girls stopped chattering and turned their attention to the Doctor himself.
"I want it," he stood up, "I want it, I want it, I want it." Jail spread out his wings like a drama queen about to take flight, " and I'm going to steal it."
"Excuse me?" Cinque blinked her one good eye.
"I'm going to steal Christmas!"
"It was a great idea to go back to Earth for the holidays wasn't it Nanoha?" Hayate said happily.
"It certainly was Hayate," Nanoha agreed. "What do you think Fat- Fate?"
Nanoha looked behind herself, she looked in front of herself, she looked to both sides, but Fate was no where to be seen.
"I saw her staring longingly at the teleporter," Zafira informed them as he wandered by, ladened down with their various bits of luggage.
Ten minutes later, Nanoha, fully clothed in her barrier jacket, dragged Fate through the streets as she flailed and pouted. "But I can't leave! Jail Scaglietti might do something!"
Nanoha sighed and rolled her eyes, "Fate it's Christmas, give yourself a holiday."
"Fate, it's not like he's going to try to steal Christmas."
"Is that a Santa suit?"
Jail brushed off of his bright red suit, "Uno made it for me." He had a hat too but he didn't wear it, instead opting to twirl it around in his hands.
"It is with pride that I introduce," Jail smashed his hand against the wall, a long banner unscrolled and revealed the words... "Operation Grinch."
"Grinch?" Came the unanimous confusion.
"Uno suggested it!" Jail grinned and snapped his fingers, "Now, tomorrow is Christmas, we have less than twenty-four hours to steal it from Carnagan." He turned his attention to the sheet of paper in his hands. "each of you have an assignment of great importance!"
He cleared his throat. "Cinque! Sette!" Jail pointed dramatically, "I need you two to steal the Christmas trees of the city!"
"... All of the Christmas Trees?" Cinque really wanted to point out the logical fallacy of his plan but he was so enthusiastic...
"Every one of them! With all their trimmings!"
"And all their trimmings?" Cinque glanced at Sette to see what she thought of the idea but she merely nodded with everything The Doctor said.
Jail moved on down his list, "Nove, Wendi, I require you to grab all the city's mistletoe!"
"...Mistletoe?" Nove fidgeted uncomfortably, "Are you sure you want to steal mistletoe?"
"It's a Christmas tradition," Jail nodded solemnly, "New lovers meet and old lovers reunite under the mistletoe. He who controls the mistletoe, controls the season itself!"
"I understand sir!" Wendi grabbed Nove by the arm and ran out of the room, completely dedicated to her task for completely altruistic reasons.
"The rest of you! You must go throughout the city and take all the presents and decorations you can, I want not a bobble nor a trinket of Christmas to remain, it must all belong to me!"
The numbers warily saluted and made their way out of the room, save for Quattro who Jail waved over.
Jail leaned down, whispering in her ear, "I have one final assignment for you Quattro."
She shook with anticipation, "What is it~~"
He pulled on his Santa hat, "Kidnap Santa Claus."
"You ladies lookin' for a Christmas tree?" The Christmas tree seller was at the end of the season. He was at the point where whatever tree he didn't sell would have to be hauled back to his farm, in other words he was desperate. That's why he nearly jumped on the two girls who walked into his patch of Christmas Trees.
Cinque, on the other hand, was rather wary about the entire Christmas Tree ordeal, she respected and obeyed her boss but... every Christmas tree was a little much. Actually, the whole "stealing Christmas" idea was a little big for a giant city. Why couldn't he have wanted to steal, say, Arbor Day? No one would care if he wanted to steal Arbor Day.
"Yes, we are looking for many Christmas trees," Sette answered before Cinque could get her thoughts together.
"Woah woah," Cinque rushed to wipe that eager look from the man's eyes, "we're looking for one tree, just one."
"But the Doctor wanted all of the Christmas trees," Sette reminded Cinque.
"All?!" The seller nearly jumped out of his skin in excitement.
"No!" Cinque hurriedly corrected, "just one tree."
His face sunk but he was still happy to sell them one, "What kinda tree you gals want?"
Cinque looked befuddled, "a wooden one?"
The man's face broke into a gigantic grin as he laughed, "No I mean what kinda type."
Cinque stared at him for a moment before asking, "There are types?"
"Ya got ya cypress, ya blue spruce, ya red ceder, ya pine, ya fraser fir, ya balsam fir, canaan fir, douglas-fir, grand fir, and ya noble fir."
Cinque's eye rolled in utter confusion. She opted to turn to Sette instead, if that guy had his way they'd be buying the biggest and most expensive one out there. "Sette, go pick out a single good tree."
"What constitutes a 'good' tree?" Sette asked, studying the various trees around her, there were still quite a few despite it being Christmas Eve. Apparently he wasn't a popular seller.
"Umm..." Cinque rubbed her chin, she had very little tree experience, "Big and... full of needles, and um... pretty?"
Sette nodded affirmative and began to look among the trees with the same severity she did everything from fighting to brushing her teeth with.
Cinque awkwardly twitched around, thumbing through old, drying wreaths. She had never actually celebrated Christmas, let alone attempted to steal it. Perhaps she'd just purchase... er... "steal" the one tree and claim to have stolen all the others, it wasn't like Jail would find out.
She sighed and leaned against one of the trees, despite the seller's protests, it wasn't like the others would be any more successful. But... maybe if they got a tree, and a few decorations and maybe even a present or two, they could have a real Christmas, whatever a real Christmas was.
"Cinque." Sette called in her usual neutral tone.
"Hmm? Did you find a tree you like?" Cinque poked her head between two trees to find Sette.
"I..." Was Sette... hesitating? "I have found one that I find satisfactory but... I do not believe it is... good."
"If you like it," Cinque pushed past the trees, "I'm sure it's fine." Cinque looked around but she couldn't see any trees. "Where is it?"
"It is right beside you."
Cinque looked, and she saw... barely. It was a very small tree. As in actually smaller than Cinque. The little tree had seen better times, hopefully much much better times. It was shedding more than a middle aged man. A rather large ring of green surrounded its base. Just watching it was sad. It's little bare branches wanted love but just couldn't seem to grasp it.
All in all it was a horrible tree. But Sette liked it.
"Let's get it," Cinque smiled and waved over the seller to Sette's barely noticeable surprise.
And that was all that really mattered.
"Why is there mistletoe in a nursing home?" Wendi wondered out loud as she plucked the twig off of the ceiling and plopped it in their ever growing bag of love branches.
Nove shrugged, "The same reason why it was in the police station, coffee house and elementary school, apparently you're never too old or young to be horny."
Wendi scoffed, "It's about love Nove, not everything's about sex."
"Then why don't you confess your feelings under the mistletoe instead of kissing under it?" Nove pointed out as they began to leave the home, it was fortunate the elderly couldn't see worth squaddle.
"Kisses don't have to be sexual."
"Maybe not on the cheek, but there's a reason we don't go around kissing everyone on the lips."
Wendi's eyes turned predatory. "Oh~ is there?" She purred.
Nove backed away slowly, "Um... Wendi..."
Wendi pounced! With the speed of a leopard and the ferocity of a kitten she... lightly gave Nove a .5 second peck. She bounced away from the tomato that was Nove with a large grin.
"W-what was that for?!" Nove scampered in the opposite direction of Wendi.
"To prove that kisses can be light and innocent too." Wendi opened the door out of the nursing home, "Now come on."
"I won't." Nove crossed her arms and shook her head rapidly.
"What? Why? Are you some sort of reverse vampire now?"
"Above the door," Nove motioned upwards to the little sprig, "If I walk under it you'll attack me again."
"No I won't," Wendi sighed, "now stop being silly Nove."
Nove eyed Wendi suspiciously and slowly but surely made her way to the door and under the mistleto-
"YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T!"
"What sort of store is this?" Tre was really rather confused. Sein had merrily dragged their group of six along to this gigantic complex. Tre was utterly bewildered by it. Who, besides the TSAB, could have need of such a thing? "What can they possibly sell that is so large?"
Sein replied with an almost evil grin and a word, "everything."
And so they stepped into Walget Mart.
"Hi can I help you find anything?" Within seconds of stepping in to the automatic doors the six cyborgs were bombarded by a man with a cheery grin plastered on and a button reading 'how can I help you?'
"We desire your holiday goods and presents!" Tre declared, standing as imposingly as she could over him.
His smile almost faltered, almost, but he carried on in his stepford manner and replied, "Holiday decorations are in aisle 125, toys are in aisle 126."
Sein steered Tre away before she could order him to start giving her the items in the name of Jail Scaggletti. The others followed closely behind.
Tre scowled, "Why are we robbing such a frivolous store? The Doctor ordered us to steal all the presents and holiday gifts in the city!"
Sein and Dieci exchanged looks of concern with Otto and Deed, they didn't actually have any intention of stealing from a bunch of little kids. Besides, they weren't really in the mood to do that much work. But Tre was, Tre was really only second to Quattro in taking the Doctor's word as gospel.
"Isn't it far more evil to steal presents before they're even presents?" Uno stepped in to answer, "We will fulfill the Doctor's desires far better in this manner." No one could really argue with Uno, her word was practically the Doctor's, actually she was practically the Doctor. Granted a far more sensible Doctor but the Doctor just the same.
Tre nodded in agreement, "I see, I see. Then let us steal some shopping carts and journey force to these aisles."
And so they did, each took a cart and rolled down the aisles, looking a bit like some sort of bizarre shopping gang rather than one's average shoppers.
Aisle after aisle they looked, picking up anything vaguely holiday related as they ventured forth to the designated holiday and toy aisles. Be it a Santa shaped plunger or a Christmas Tree lighter (as in a lighter shaped as a Christmas tree, not a device to set your Christmas tree aflame, though with patiences it can be used to do that as well).
As they approached aisle 125 things began to change. While the previous aisle had been packed with item upon item, these aisle seemed more sparse. Until, finally, they reached the aisle and saw...
"Someone has already robbed them!" Tre declared in shock. "What a crafty thief!"
"More like it's the day before Christmas," Deici quietly mumbled to Otto.
"Hmm, they have taken everything... except," Tre picked up a small package, the only thing left on the shelf, save for some hooks and old wire, "This... What is this?" The plastic bag contained dozens of little silver strings all bundled together.
The four younger sisters all looked at each other and shrugged, they had no clue. Frankly, they didn't think they wanted to have a clue.
"That's tinsel," luckily their worldly older sister stepped in.
"It's the power source of Christmas," Uno nodded seriously, "I've even seen it be used to cut metal bars in two."
Tre laughed, "And to think those foolish thieves left it behind! All the better for us, now that we've captured their tinsel the store owners will be forced to hand over all these things to us!"
"Of course," Uno nodded with the care of a mother humoring her silly child.
"Your total is 1225 dollars," the woman working behind the counter scanned their last item and stuffed it in one of their 42 bags. "Will you be paying cash..." the woman, her name tag read: 'Maria', eyed their mountain of plastic, "credit?"
"We will be paying nothing! We have tinsel!" Tre whipped out her concealed silver "weapon". She held it threateningly... well as threateningly as one can hold tinsel.
She wasn't phased in the slightest, "Cash or credit?"
"Credit," Uno pulled out her card and paid for the items.
"Why did you do that?" Tre complained as she pushed their many, many items to their care, "I had her cowering.
Uno comforted Tre, "Oh but you see it is much much more evil to pay for the items now and then cancel your credit card."
"Oh! I see. You truly are the cruelest sister."
"Somehow... I thought there would be more things involved with Christmas." Jail looked over his pile of loot, one that consisted primarily of cheaply made plastic goods and a whole lot of mistletoe. "And you're sure there was only one Christmas tree Cinque?"
Cinque nodded, "Oh yes, there was an er... horrible fire, it wiped out all the Christmas trees except for this one," She patted the tree, making it drop nearly half it's needles.
"I see," He looked sober, "poor trees." Jail stroked his chin, "Well all we need is Quattro and we will have successfully stolen Christmas."
"I'm back Doctor~~" Quattro returned, decked out in a little Santa suit of her own, complete with a giant, and wiggling, sack.
"Oh goody~" Jail was practically giddy, "So you got him?"
"Of course I did!" Quattro unceremoniously dumped the contents of her bag out.
"It appears Santa went on a diet," Otto observed.
"And dyed his hair," Deed added.
"Um... where am I?" The not-so-Santa, Santa sat up and rubbed his, rather brown, head.
"Are you Santa Claus?" Jail bent down, peering into his captives face, "You look different in person."
Santa's eyes bugged out, "Me? Santa? No way." He shook his head, "I just play Santa, at the mall."
"Then who are you?" Jail raised an eyebrow.
The man held out his hand and grinned, apparently unconcerned by his current location, "Vice is the name, merriment is my game!"
"..." Jail sighed and ignored the handshake. "I see..." He collapsed into a chair. "All this work..."
"Actually we did most of the work," Otto added.
"...and I still don't know what Christmas is all about."
And suddenly they all understood why Jail had come up with such a ridiculous last minute scheme.
"If you wanted to know what Christmas is," Cinque patted her creator on the shoulder, "You could have just asked."
Jail looked up, his hat's white poof ball covering his face. "Then... what is it all about?"
"Um..." The girls all looked around from one to the other, but not even Uno had the proper answer.
Jail sighed in despair, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
"Sure Mr. Kidnapper, I can tell you what Christmas is all about!" Vice waved a floppy red sleeve and scrambled up. He grabbed a Santa shaped flashlight and tossed it to Sette.
"Lights please." He motioned for her to turn it on and shine it at him.
Vice cleared his throat, "And there were in the same country shepherd, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon the-"
"I don't care about any of that stuff," Jail cut Vice off before it became even more boring. "I'm on a planet in another dimension, why would I care about shepherds and some other planet's God?"
"Well ya don't have to be so mean about it." Vice sighed and went off to pout in the corner.
Sette spoke up, in a quiet voice, "Christmas is about..."
They all waited on bated breathe to know what she would say.
"Yes," to the surprise of everyone else, Cinque nodded in agreement, "And about picking a tree out together."
"Oh it's about mistletoe too!" Wendi waved a sprig around. "And about kissing people you love!"
"And about respecting what other people like and don't like," Nove growled, snatching the sprig from Wendi's grip. Wendi pouted, Nove sighed, "And doing things you don't like for someone you do." Nove grudgingly let Wendi hug her tightly.
"It's about shopping in extraordinarily large stores for things no one could ever need," Otto played with a Santa squishy doll.
"And buying them anyway," Deed lightly threw a beanbag reindeer at her twin's head, "And liking them."
"It's about TINSEL!" Tre held her trophy high. "The mightiest force of Christmas!"
"And about using that tinsel for the greater good," Uno gently pried the silver strands from Tre's hands and draped them on the tree.
"It's about being happy," Sein recalled the store greeter, "But not too happy."
Dieci nodded in agreement with all of the above, except maybe that part about tinsel. "It's about family."
"And about kidnapping Santa Claus!" Quattro proudly declared.
Jail stood up, "I see," he paced, "so that's it is it."
"Yes," they all spoke at once, "That's what Christmas is all about, Jail Scaglietti."
The Doctor laughed, "Perfect! Perhaps the operation was not a complete success but next year..."
"N-Next year sir?" Nove gulped.
"Next year I'll build a team of Mechanical reindeer!" Jail was already scribbling down the schematics.
"Yes!" He cackled maniacally, "And a sleigh."
"I won't just kidnap Santa Claus properly, I'll be Santa Claus! The best Santa Claus ever!"
"Wait, wait," Cinque waved her hand in the air, "I think you missed the point of the story."
Jail wasn't listening, his head was too full of Christmas fantasies. "Next year will be the best Christmas ever, no I'll change the name to Jailmas!"
Only 365 days until next Jailmas.
Start your countdowns now.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.