Welcome to my second Kick-Ass fic. I came up with the idea after listening to an irritating Christmas song for about the tenth time in a single day. It's also greatly inspired by "The Fat Guy Strangler" Episode of Family Guy. Warning: this is a rather grisly fic with violence and a lot of dark humour.

For those of you who liked my "Trick or Treat" fic, this might be considered a prequel. There are hints of a future Dave and Mindy relationship, but nothing actually transpires here.

A/N: I don't own the characters. I wish I did.

A/N2: This takes place approximately a year, or so, after the events of the movie

And awayyyy we go! :-D

The Case of the Santa Claus Strangler

It was the advent of the Christmas season in New York City. The end of November always brought about a change as regular as the evolving seasons themselves. The air got colder. Store windows became garishly decorated. Bands from the Salvation Army began to play familiar Christmas tunes on well-traversed street corners to solicit donations for their worthy causes. And, of course, there was a Santa Claus on nearly every major corner and every major store or shopping centre. New York City was blanketed in red almost as thoroughly as it was in green on the days leading up to the 17th of March.

To go along with the festive displays, shoppers soon began appearing in the hundreds and then the thousands. From Staten Island to Queens and from Battery Park to the Bronx, anyplace there were stores offering good bargains for Christmas shoppers. And where there were bargains, you would find the shoppers.

Sadly, though, where one found shoppers, one also found individuals for whom the good fellowship of the season was not part of their genetic makeup. In fact, they regarded the bustling Christmas shoppers the same way a Great White would look upon a pack of seals on the surface –they were prey and just waiting for one of them to stand out from the pack. It didn't take long for that to happen.

A heavyset man in what appeared to be a bowling jacket of a Hoboken house league was panting along the street. His wife, a rather skinny woman with a very large hairdo was clicking along in her heels, the staccato rhythm of her heels matching the cracking of her chewing gum.

"For fuck's sake Florence, why the fuck did we have to come into fuckin' Manhattan to go shopping?", complained her husband loudly as he sweated profusely despite the cold weather.

"Melvyn, watch your fucking language! You language is so goddamn filthy, I'm fuckin' ashamed to come into the motherfucking city with you!"

"Then why the hell did you drag me along? I had things to do tonight!"

"Oh yeah, you was gonna go bowling!"

"What the hell is wrong with bowling?"

"Ya does it three times a week! THAT is what's wrong with it!"

"I like to bowl! I spend all day fixing plumbing. I deserve to get outta the house, goddammit!", Melvyn yelled back as the argument continued.

Unbeknownst to the argumentative couple from New Jersey, they were being watched. And by more than one set of eyes, as well. From the rooftop of a store, a young girl in a dark purple costume, that allowed her to blend well into the encroaching darkness, watched the interchange.

Shit, she thought. Another set of victims-about-to-happen from New Jersey! Why can't these shitheads stay on their side of the river and let the Jersey muggers have something to do. It would sure as hell make things easier on us.

Looking down, she mentally marked where Mel and Flo were still engaged in their bowling versus shopping debate. She scanned ahead of them on the street and looked for potential hiding places. She raised her night vision goggles to her masked eyes and scanned a promising looking alley ahead of the New Jersey residents. Bingo! She thought to herself. In the alley were a pair of muggers, in wait. It was, she conceded, a good ambush site. Of course, if you could think as she did –like a predator- predicting where to find prey of her own wasn't a terribly hard thing.

She keyed her microphone. "You there?", she called to her partner

"I'm here."

"You have them?"

"Two guys in the alley across from me?", came a quiet reply from ground level.

"Those are the ones", she said. She was impressed with her partner's growing ability to spot the lowlifes. They'd been working together for a year now and they were beginning to function like a well-oiled machine. She thought wistfully that their smoothness together was almost as good as her and her father.

"They were scoping out this alley before. It cuts right across to near 34th Street. I think they'll come through here after they do it."

"That sounds right to me. So, stay put. Oh, and you'll be handling them solo."

"I am?"

"Damn straight."

"OK.", came a sigh over her receiver.

"Don't have a fucking seizure, dude. I'll be standing by."

"Right.", came the restrained reply.

The girl sprinted from her vantage point to the edge of the building where her rope awaited. As she made her fast descent to ground level she heard the unmistakable sounds of the mugging happening. She listened closely. It seemed to be going down like these things always did. A lot of threats, fear from the victims, then a quick grab of purses and wallets before someone happened by or called the police –not that people were likely to help or call the police. Things just didn't seem to happen like that in the city. It explained why she and her partner had resumed their costumed lifestyles.

As predicted the two muggers ran across the street for the alleyway that would lead them over to 34th Street. Once there, it would be a snap for them to merge into the crowds. Of course, there was no way in hell these two losers were going to be mobile for that long. They would be lucky if they weren't in a morgue wagon an hour from now.

The pair of lowlifes slowed to a jog once in the alley, congratulating themselves on their score. Their victims had not had the inclination to chase after them –and would have been stopped, even if they had such a desire by Flo's high-heels and Melvyn's forty extra pounds. They had no idea their identities had been switched from predator to prey.

"What the fuck man? Forty bucks and a bowling league card? Fat fucks from Jersey! Should've wasted the motherfucker, yo!"

"Fuckin'-A, man! Maybe we's shoulda done the bitch too. Make it worth our while, yo."

"Make the fat fucker watch it too!"

"Word, bro!"

OK, she thought. Time to get the game started. Listening to these two candidates for grammar re-education was making her head hurt and she was pretty sure causing her IQ to fall. From a concealed position she gave a garbage can a hard kick. It toppled over with a loud crash. The two thugs jumped in alarm and looked back.

"What the fuck was that, yo?"

"Fuck, I doesn't know, yo!"


"Fuck no, yo!"

Alright, she thought. If she had to listen to their lame-ass attempts at sounding 'street' for much longer, she was going to puke. It was time to give them a bit of a scare. With deliberate slowness, she stood out enough to be silhouetted by background lights from the street and waved her purple cape briefly. It had the desired result.

"Oh shit no!"

"Aw man, a Cape!", he said. In the street vernacular he was trying to speak, Capes were the slang term for any and all of the costumed crimefighters who had sprung up over the city, and now the country, in the last year or so.

"Run, yo!", said the first mugger now in the first grips of real fear.

"Is it them?", asked his buddy as he began to huff and puff.

"I don't fucking know! Just run, motherfucker!"

Nice to know that the word is spreading, the girl thought as she began an easy jog after them. She saw where they were in position to her, and thought that in about two seconds…

"Hi there.", a new figure calmly spoke as he dropped out of the shadows from atop a dumpster. He was dressed in what looked like a green wetsuit with yellow piping, although his torso appeared to have extra padding on in, as if he had some kevlar beneath the wetsuit. He wore a full balaclava type mask, of a matching shade of green, with only openings for his eyes and mouth, with a small slit for his nose. He calmly pulled a set of escrima sticks from a holster on his back and spun them in unison with practiced ease.

"FUCK!", the two thugs screamed out of both shock and fear over just who had found them. They did a screeching about face to run back the way they came, only to find the way blocked. Standing there was a girl of about 12 or 13. She was dressed in a purple costume with a matching cape. She also wore a purple tartan skirt, a purple wig, a purple mask and a pink utility belt adorned with the initials 'HG'.

The two punks shot each other looks of matching fear. In most places in New York City, their kind had operated with impunity… until a year ago that is. That was when a green wetsuit clad stranger calling himself Kick-Ass wound up on YouTube stopping a gang swarming. Before anyone could really figure all out, it seemed that wannabe superheroes were popping up everywhere. Anyone who'd read too many comicbooks, anybody who had been mugged one time too often, anyone who had always wanted to simply help their community (sometimes the individuals could check off all of these boxes) were putting together costumes and patrolling the streets in search of crimes to stop…with varying degrees of success, failure and bodily harm.

Kick-Ass himself seemingly retired about the same time all the new heroes made their debut. However, he returned to action a few months later, only this time he had a partner; a masked young girl who called herself Hit-Girl.

Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, the two names resonated within the city. Internet message boards debated what their relationship was –the theories bounded from an age inappropriate romance to them being siblings. All the new and aspiring heroes looked up to them. And there was a reason for that. While most of the new costumed crimefighters brought simple raw enthusiasm, mixed with varying degrees of skills, to the table, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl brought real ability (initially Hit-Girl provided the about all the ability, but as the months went by, Kick-Ass' skill levels were steadily increasing), focus and undeniable results.

The new crimefighters might stop an occasional mugging, find a missing cat, help a lost child, or –on one memorable occasion- save some people from a fire. (Even Hit-Girl, who was not easily impressed, said that it was a heroic thing to do when she read about it in the paper.) Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl tended to operate on a different level. They went after the drug dealers and cleaned off corners, putting the displaced dealers in jail -if they were lucky- or the hospital if they weren't. They stopped a home invasion and left the invaders wishing they had never bothered (the ring leader had made an inappropriate comment to Hit-Girl…after three months, he was still in traction at the Riker's Island infirmary). They would work their way up criminal organizations from the street hoods to the suppliers, to the bosses and gut as much of it as they could.

And that was just what could be verified. Rumours swirled about the two of them. There were rumours that they had single-handedly destroyed the vaunted D'Amico crime organization...and blew Frank D'Amico out of his penthouse with a bazooka rocket, to boot. There were rumours that if anyone tried to be particularly stubborn and didn't want to be taken alive…they go along with that and lay someone out on the morgue slab. There were rumours that if they caught someone trying to do a rape, or a murder, or some other particularly heinous act, the perp's one chance for assured survival was to put up their hands, take the beating that they would dish out, and wait for the police to haul them off the emergency room. Any other course of action could be considered suicide.

The criminals of the city also talked about the new order. Most of the costume types –or Capes, as they came to be called- weren't so bad. They didn't pack serious heat or know what they were doing. They ranged from a joke to a nagging problem. Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl were a different story altogether though. They invoked something in the city's criminal classes. They invoked fear. At the dives and hideouts, every two-bit gunman, mugger, safecracker and general lowlife in the sprawling metropolis could name a friend who was now in Sing-Sing, the hospital or the cemetery due to the pair. Bruce Wayne was quite correct in his estimation: criminals were a cowardly and superstitious lot, and they were now afraid of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. And for the small time hoods…meeting the costumed duo was a nightmare come true.

For the two muggers who'd just fed upon Garden State prey, they were now living their nightmare.

"You got a choice.", growled Hit-Girl without any preamble. "You can take me on, or you can take on Kick-Ass." To anyone unfamiliar with their reputations, it would seem like a lopsided choice. However, Hit-Girl had a reputation on the streets, a bad reputation. She was considered to be the fiercest fighter of all the Capes. One pickpocket, finding himself being chased by her, had made a beeline for a cop, confessed all his misdeeds and begged to be taken to jail so Hit-Girl couldn't get to him.

The two thugs looked at each other and began a clumsy charge towards Kick-Ass. Kick-Ass sidestepped and executed a low sidekick at the first mugger's knee. It gave with a painful sounding snap. The hood went down screaming and clutching his visibly bent leg. The second piece of trash decided stopped and the two faced each other for a brief second. The thug's eyes glanced away for a second then back –a dead giveaway for what he was going to do. From out of his back pocket he pulled a switchblade. Flicking it open, he swung it at Kick-Ass' face, trying to let speed do the work rather than aim.

Kick-Ass was ready for it. The punk had telegraphed his move well ahead of time. The knife didn't worry him at all. Mindy had done that to him so often when they trained that defending against one was pretty much second nature by now. In fact, he almost laughed at how slow and clumsy the guy was next to her.

Kick-Ass leaned back as the knife swished through empty air. The thug's momentum had carried him forward. Kick-Ass swung one of his Escrima sticks in a swift and savage movement. It connected with the radial nerve of his knife hand, a swift kick to the ulnar nerve on the wrist resulted in the knife going flying.

Now, it was getting interesting, thought Kick-Ass. The hood didn't seem to want to give it up. He was now assuming a fighting stance and wanted to take on Kick-Ass barehanded. OK, he thought, if that's how he wants it…

The mugger lunged at him with a roundhouse swing. He twisted and stepped in and to the side of the punch. At the same time he brought his arm out in a swift backhanded motion that connected with the punk's face. The hoodlum's nose crunched inwards with a spurt of blood under the weight of the sap glove reinforced fist.

"FUCK!", screamed the mugger as blood poured from his nose and tears filled his eyes. In a rage, he swung his fists wildly at the crimefighter. One of his fists connected with the side of Kick-Ass' head. Kick-Ass just seemed to shrug it off and gave his opponent a quick jab to the throat. The mugger gagged as his windpipe momentarily collapsed. Kick-Ass pressed his advantage by clapping both hands over the thug's ears and followed it with an elbow strike to the hood's temple and a kick into the solar plexus. The mugger fell with a moan as blood glutted out of his mouth and nose. The first mugger, meanwhile was still screaming and holding his leg with one hand. With the other hand he was trying to pull a gun out his waistband.

Kick-Ass, with a sigh, grabbed one of his sticks from his back holster and savagely swung it at the gunman's wrist. There was another cracking sound and the punk screamed as he saw his wrist now hang at a strange angle whilst the gun went flying. Kick-Ass crouched down and dealt the hood three fast punches with his weighted gloves –two to the mouth and one to the nose. His face a bloodied mess, the mugger fell back unconscious.

Kick-Ass stood and turned to face his partner. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught her smiling broadly and proudly at him. As he came face to face with her, he could see the smile be wiped off and replaced with Hit-Girl's familiar smirk.

"Shit, what took you so long? I was about to order a pizza while you finished.", she said as she looked at her left wrist as is she was checking the time. Kick-Ass kept himself from smiling as he knew she was –as she usually did- covering her true feelings with a layer of caustic brassiness. For her to say what she did meant that she was proud of him, very proud.

"It took, what, forty-five seconds?"

"Forty-eight seconds! It hasn't taken me that long to take out a couple of fourth-rate wannabes since I was seven years old."

Kick-Ass crossed his arms patiently as they went into their standard routine. It was always the same. Mindy would go on and on about how slow he was, how he was doing what she could do when she was still in the single digits of age, etc. It was all bluster. She was proud of what Dave had accomplished and how far he'd come after a only a year of intense training under her tutelage. He knew it, and what's more she knew he knew.

"One had a knife. The other asshole had a gun. They're both now waiting for the ambulance to take them to the Rikers' infirmary."

"Alright, I'll give you that.", Hit-Girl said with a grudging smile. "You're getting better. There's no getting around that." She raised up her arm and the two exchanged high-fives and matching grins.

"Want to go on over to 34th Street and see if there's anything going on there? Lots of people shopping.", Kick-Ass said as the two walked down the alley together.

Hit-Girl, who had been talking on a cellphone (a special one with a bootleg number that was used for patrol duties only) shut it down after calling the police with information on where to pick-up their latest opponents and rolled her eyes.

"Fuck! You said it!. It's not even Thanksgiving for two more days, and everybody in the five boroughs is out shopping!", she said with digust.

"I remember last year, Katie and I went shopping together." Kick-Ass said wistfully while looking up at the night sky. He didn't see Hit-Girl making 'gag-me' motions with her finger.

"Shit! You've gotta get over it. She's moving to Denver. It happens!", Hit-Girl said with forced patience –as this was hardly the first time they'd discussed the situation with Katie Deauxma. For Mindy, once was more than enough.

"Come on, it's not that…", Kick-Ass' complaint was cut off by the sounds of screaming. Without a word, the two costumed crimefighters took off at a sprint towards the sound of the screams.

Emerging onto 34th Street, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl raced to the source of the screams. It was a pair of girls who appeared to be around Mindy's age. They were gathered around a streetlamp that was blacked out. Hit-Girl noted the ramp and mentally made a note as to find out if the lack of illumination was due to overdue maintenance by the City, or due to intervention by someone who wanted darkness to commit acts of greater darkness.

One of the girls turned at the sound of the approaching footfalls. Expecting to see the police, she did a take at the sight of Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl. Nevertheless, she pulled her friend aside to allow for an unobstructed view of the crime scene.

Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass came to a screeching halt and stared dumbfounded at the sight that awaited them. Both of them had witnessed many grisly sights in their relatively short crimefighting careers. They had, to an extent, become jaded at most sights. This sight, however, was so strange their jaws were scraping the ground.

Lying on the ground, next to a charity collection pot (which, upon subsequent inspection was full) , was a man dressed in a Santa Claus costume. Wrapped tightly around his neck was a Christmas ribbon. It appeared that was the cause of death as the face was visibly contorted and there were ligature marks over the windpipe. The trademark red hat was stuffed into the mouth. The Santa's beard and mustache had become loose in the struggle and were half off. Finally, as if the sight could not be any more disturbing, the red pants were pulled halfway down and the collection bell has been violently inserted into the rectum.

Kick-Ass, who thought he'd seen a lot was utterly dumbfounded by the apparent violence of the crime, but also at the fact that the excessive brutality and the insertion of the bell had made it a very personal issue for whoever did this. He looked over at Hit-Girl, expecting to find her usual stoic toughness. Instead, even she was looking surprised at this discovery. She knew that the city was full of violent, sociopathic perverts who came out of the woodwork at dark. But this…This was something new, at least to her. She suppressed a shudder at the thought of what The New York Post headline would be the following day.

The two of them suppressed their surprise and disgust at the sight as they began to make observations of the scene. Each was thinking the same thing. Either the guy wearing the suit had probably been targeted specifically. Or, it had been a random act of violence, with the killer's next victim being completely different.

They could scarcely have been more wrong.