A/N: Hey, guys, it's me. I figured you guys might want some Christmassy stuff, so I decided to compile a selection of Christmas shorts related to Mass Vexations. All of them are based on well-known Christmas tunes, so… You can kind of see I'm having a ball here. Hey, it's not every day you get to make character studies based on Christmas songs!
Yeah... so beware, because there will be a ton of fluff here. If you're not fond of fluff... well, I warned you first.
And for those who are coming in for this: this will make a lot more sense if you read the entire Mass Vexations saga first. So... go ahead and do that, and you should be good.
I'll get to the actual shorts now. So here we are!
A Mass Vexations Christmas Special
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
Jack was almost disgusted with the Normandy in the state it was in. Everyone was getting all hyped up about some stupid holiday with gift-giving that she couldn't be bothered to give two shits about. For her, it all meant the same thing: yet another bullshit holiday to give people excuses to be pussies.
At least, that's how Jack saw it.
The only reasons she remembered this day was because it was the day she lost her first tooth.
Well… teeth, to be precise. It had been a particularly brutal battle, she realized. The other kid had been putting up quite a fight, and even though Jack was hurling objects at him like there was no tomorrow, he was still getting in a few punches here and there. One of the punches had been particularly brutal.
It was when Jack realized her teeth could fall out, as she then saw her two front teeth on the ground when she spit the blood out.
It had been somewhat… enlightening for her. But more than anything else, it had been the first really visible mark she had of her troubles. Granted, the teeth grew back soon after, but when they were gone she toted her mouth around like it was a fucking gunshot wound.
How silly it all was, looking back on it now that she was older.
The little girl in her wished someone would give her those two front teeth back, actually. Hell, she wouldn't mind if Art was the one to do it, even.
But it would be nice to have so she could make a tattoo out of it. The loss of her two front teeth just so happened to be on some useless fucking holiday that everybody celebrated with more reminders of how much they like to screw other people over. Now that was a damn good reason to go on the nostalgia train for Christmas.
She briefly laughed at herself at the notion of wanting her two front teeth for Christmas. As if anybody had ever wished the same thing before her…
Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas
Miranda brushed some of her hair back, looking on the terminal she usually worked at. Her mind was all aflutter, and she had been finding it difficult to concentrate on filling out the reports in anything resembling a timely manner.
Oriana had sent her an electronic Christmas card over the extranet. She had opened it on this day, not expecting the gesture at all.
And for the genetically perfect woman, it was quite a shock. She had never been given any such gestures by anyone before. Her father, of course, had never celebrated Christmas with Miranda, and so she never got any special treatment for as long as she could remember. Even when she was saved by Cerberus, she was too embroiled in her work.
So when Oriana's card arrived in her inbox, she was utterly confounded by the fact that it was the first time anyone had ever wished her a Merry Christmas.
It almost made her heart melt to see that someone actually did care for her, even from afar. Oriana was the only family that Miranda had in any sense of the word, and it was the last link she had to a time she had long since forgotten.
But for all the evils her father perpetrated on her, she could look at Oriana as a good thing.
She sighed, wishing against all logic that Cerberus didn't have to redact Oriana's location so she could visit Oriana on Christmas. But even if she could be there in her dreams…
She opened a new window and paused, rubbing her temples with a free hand while wondering exactly how she was supposed to word her thanks to her sister.
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Sturge was busy with cooking duty, overlooking the roasting of… whatever the hell it was that turians ate on this holiday. The assistant mess sergeant also had to watch the turkey as well; he had managed to make it look almost picture-perfect several times, and on the Normandy he was going to make damn sure it came out that way.
It was as he was watching when he heard footsteps walk over to the counter.
"Ah, Michael, still slaving over the turkey, I see…"
This caused the old man to turn. However, his eyes brightened a little when he noticed Chakwas standing there, her eyes cast at the old man. The smile on her face told him all he needed to know.
"Ah, Carolyn," he replied, looking over to the doctor. "It's good to see you before the big dinner tonight."
"Likewise," said the doctor. "Still… I worry about you here, slaving over the turkey…"
The old man shrugged. "I've managed to get the turkey to look perfect in previous years," he says. "With the mission we're on… I figured I might give the crew something nice to look at. And tasty, too. After all, if we're going to gorge on something, it might as well look appetizing."
Chakwas could only nod her agreement. "Of course," she said. "I imagine the chestnuts are roasting somewhere too?"
"Not on an open fire, but yes," replied Sturge with a smile. "I suspect we can share them in the med lab once the main festivities are over…"
The doctor looked at him, her smile only intensifying as one of her hands came on the counters. "I would greatly appreciate that," she said, her eyes lighting up slightly.
With this, the old man came to the counter, his own hand laying over hers as he gave her a rather broad smile.
"Merry Christmas, Carolyn," he said.
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Mordin frowned slightly at the decoration teasing him from across the room.
Mistletoe. Visual aphrodisiac. Meant to be kissed under. Silly human tradition from current time of year. Why mistletoe?
The thought of people kissing under certain plants was rather confounding for Mordin. He had worked on the genophage and more, and yet the thought of a simple stalk with a couple of berries at the end was enough to send him into questions. Why, for example, were two people supposed to kiss under it?
Why also sing certain songs? And in cold weather, too. Makes no logical sense. Humans freeze to death quickly during this month without proper precautions. Cold weather also harmful to vocal chords, particularly during times of illness.
To Mordin Solus, Christmas was a holiday where many people did things that defied all forms of logic for no reasons he could see.
Why give gifts? Most humans already have wealth of objects. Any more objects would be a detriment to movement, space, attention spans… And why erect a tree in a large room?
No matter what he thought about the subject, though, Mordin could scarcely deny the effect the holiday seemed to be having on the crew. Many crew members that were usually pretty grim about the mission were smiling in the mess hall, chatting it up with many other people. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, with the sole exception of Jack. But then, she was always angry at everything, so that was to be expected.
Possible effect on morale. Gifts, trees, other traditions for uplift of spirit. Yes, must be it.
And so, Mordin settled on the fact that all the festivities around the Normandy were for morale purposes only.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
Holly Jolly Christmas
Kasumi was still working at getting the decorations in port observation up, and to this end she was humming a merry tune quietly to herself.
"You know, Kasumi, I wonder why you're so busy in here when you could've gone outside."
The Japanese woman didn't pause as she continued stringing something up against the door. "Well, Jacob, I'll have you know that I almost never get to do something like this." She beamed at Jacob Taylor as he entered the room, walking over to the couch and sitting there. "I figured you'd have gone down with Shepard and the others. Nothing speaks about Christmas like seeing snow…"
"I figured you'd be here, though," said Jacob, looking over at the thief as she worked. "Looks like I was right."
The girl chuckled, putting the finishing touches on the decoration she was working on before agilely jumping down to the ground. She looked straight at Jacob, moving over to the couch and plopping down next to him.
"Just a word of advice," she said, a soft smile appearing to Jacob from under the hood. "Next time you and I are sitting somewhere during Christmas… you might want to make sure it's not under the mistletoe."
Jacob blinked for a split second, Kasumi's suggestion taking a second to register in his mind. When he realized what she was referring to, however, he quickly glanced up. And indeed, there was a bough of mistletoe directly above him and Kasumi, hanging there somewhat lazily.
But the Cerberus operative only smirked, looking back to her. "Oh?" he asked. "Putting mistletoe in places I can't see? Heavy risk… but the priiize…"
Kasumi could only chuckle at the cheesy manner in which he drew out his last word, and simply shook her head. "Well, you know what they say, Jacob," she says, her eyes alight with fun. "Better reclaim that prize sooner than later."
And with this, Jacob leaned closer to the Japanese thief, and for a second, their lips connected in a brief kiss. When it came apart, the thief could only smile at the dark, muscular man she was sitting next to.
"Merry Christmas, Jacob," she said.
"Merry Christmas, Kasumi," he replied, for once sporting a smile that beamed just as positively as the thief's did.
I'll be Home for Christmas
Jenny sighed, looking out the window of the Kodiak as she sat watching the snow fall on the planet they were on.
It was Christmas again. The time of year when all was well, everyone got presents, and people had all sorts of great gatherings to celebrate friendship and family.
And yet, this year, it felt a little empty. And the worst part was, she knew it had everything to do with Gregor.
Every year, she had taken part in Christmas dinner with herself, Gregor, and a group of colonists on Horizon that were very close. Hell, Nogond had even gotten the chance to participate in the festivities once while visiting Jenny just after he had started his Pilgrimage. There had always been great times for everyone, what with the gift opening and the great feasts on rare poultry that were worth a fortune these days. Most of all, though, Jenny McKansa loved singing Christmas carols with the people she knew best. She had loved every bit of Christmas there was to love.
But knowing that Gregor was in danger and wouldn't be there to celebrate Christmas with her was probably what offset her mood a little. For perhaps the one thing that she loved most about Christmas was being able to get Gregor a gift.
It was a luxury she wouldn't be able to take part in. The joy that would have been on his face from such a gift would be painted by the air this time. The feel of his really tight hug around her when he really, really liked the gift would be absent from her life on this Christmas.
She didn't know exactly why it was that she missed Gregor's presence so much on this Christmas. But she knew that without seeing her brother in such a good mood Christmas wasn't complete.
But she decided she'd celebrate it for his sake. After all, Gregor wouldn't want her to celebrate alone. And besides, in her dreams that night, she would see Gregor and her celebrating Christmas the way they always would on Horizon. That was good enough for her.
It didn't mitigate the pain of his absence, though, and it was something she would feel as she wished against all hope that he would be able to come home for whatever Christmas would follow after the mission was over with.
Nuttin' for Christmas
Grunt looked over to the table, a scowl forming on his face as he looked at the man sitting on the table.
"You haven't heard of Santa Claus, have ya?" The gruff voice of Zaeed greeted the tank-bred krogan as he sat there.
"I don't get it," replied Grunt, turning to the human mercenary. "All these fleshy things keep talking about Santa Claus and all these other things the tank had no imprint for. Who is Santa Clause? And why do they keep talking about him?"
The battered mercenary sat on the table, a light smirk gracing his lips as he began. "Well, I hear that he's some fat guy on Earth who goes around the universe leaving presents for all the children of the world. Well… I guess."
"So he's that fleshy thing in the red suit that's been talked about?"
"Exactly," said Zaeed, holding up a finger. "The bloody crazy part is that the children have to be good children if they want the man to give them anythin'."
"So if I'm not good… then he doesn't come?" he asked.
"I don't think so," commented Zaeed, shifting his legs slightly. "Only problem with that setup is that 'good' for the little kids means ya don't get into fights with people. So I imagine that would mean he's not comin' for ya. Or any krogan, for that matter…"
The silence that followed was pretty palpable to both parties, with Grunt simply staring. The krogan seemed a little unsettled at this at first, but there were no signs of aggression. Zaeed simply sat there, looking blankly to the tank-bred as he paid no attention to the human.
Finally, Grunt simply shook his head. "Works for me," he replied.
Zaeed rose the eyebrow on his good eye, pulling his legs in.
And it was left at that.
"Siha, it is… quite cold down here."
"I know, Thane. It's really cold for me too. Is this supposed to be bad for your illness?"
"I am not certain. But perhaps it is worth the risk for moments such as this."
Shepard smiled at this, her hand entwined in Thane's as they walked down a rather wooded area of the landing zone.
Shepard had figured it would be a good idea to set foot on a certain planet for Christmas. And luckily for her, it was also one of the snowier planets of the system they were in. And through some stroke of insane luck, she didn't have to go in full envirosuit. So she had just dressed in her armor and invited Thane down to the planet for a nice leisurely stroll through snowy woods.
They walked in silence for a little longer, the two of them admiring the scenery around them. Finally, Shepard felt the need to be close to the drell she had come to care for so much, and so she leaned her head against his shoulder, pulling herself closer.
"You know, Thane…" she began. "I've wondered what we'll do after this mission…"
The drell hummed softly, appreciating Shepard's closeness. "I would like to see… a desert," he replied. "I have never seen one in my life."
Shepard nodded. "Well… it'll be a first for both of us," she commented. "Just like this is the first time I've ever walked in the snow with someone I care deeply about in my life."
"As it is for me, siha," said the assassin. "I must admit… it is a comforting thought that you are the first person I've ever walked in such conditions with."
The human nodded her agreement as they tarried on. "I couldn't picture it with anyone else either," she says. "If only we had a fireplace where we could cuddle up to afterwards…"
The drell's eye ridge rose slightly. "Fireplace, siha?" he asked.
Shepard glanced to her companion, a little surprised at this. "It's… a long story…" she said.
And so, she began to talk about the way homes on Earth used to look in the storybooks dating from the days long before relay travel had been discovered.
Garrus had been exceedingly confused when Madison had pulled him over to the nearest high hill with a couple of disc shapes in her hands. Even more so when she had mentioned something about… what was it called? Sledding?
But when he got to the hill and saw the rather happy look in her eyes, he seemed to catch on that this was supposed to be a good thing.
When Madison had to demonstrate what it was that people did when they sledded, he found his mind wandering to other things for no reason that he could immediately pin down. But she seemed entirely happy that she was engaging in whatever it was that this 'sledding did'.
She went down the hill first, and when he saw the natural laughter that came out of her body when she slid down the hill at such a large speed, he couldn't help but feel happy that she had pulled him away from his daily calibrations for something like this.
He figured he'd give this 'sledding' business a try all the same.
And so, he boarded the disc for the first time that day, and slid down the slope after Madison. And there was something about it that just struck him as being so much fun to engage in. He didn't know what it was, but the exhilaration of flying down the hillside at such a high speed seemed to be doing quite a bit for him. It was a very short ride down, and he nearly ran over Madison towards the bottom of the incline.
But had it been worth it?
"Entirely," he told her when he had managed to slow to a stop.
Madison simply giggled at this, looking at the top of the hill they had just rushed down quickly. It was something that the journalist had never been able to do in a long time, and it brought back all kinds of memories of her brothers from the days before she ever became a journalist. Garrus did have to admit it reminded him of his family when he was still living on Palaven before he had ever enlisted in the turian military.
And at the bottom of the hill, they spent time reminiscing about their respective childhoods. It was… one of those times they rarely used to talk about their past, but this time there was a happier tinge to it than the somber quality such talks usually took on.
And so, when Madison eventually brought up the fact that they still could climb back up the hill and do it all over again, the turian could only agree.
And so, they spent most of the rest of their time on the planet sledding down the same hill multiple times, exchanging the fondest memories they had of their childhoods after they were down on the hill.
And many, many times, they had linked hands, even leaning their foreheads against each other for a few instances.
Garrus decided there that some human traditions may have been strange, but there were so many good times to be had from them that he couldn't bring himself to care.
Christmas Time is Here
Rael'Zorah looked at the results of his handiwork that he had spent the entire day preparing.
It had been quite a difficult job to make such a thing in such short notice. But he felt it would be entirely worth it as a gesture to his daughter. Not just because they still had quite a rift to repair in their relationship, but because the thought of his daughter's happiness at receiving such a gift from him would mean so much to him.
And what better time to think of such things than this human holiday that was being celebrated around the Normandy?
The elder quarian had to admit he had been quite baffled at the concept of giving more gifts than usual on a certain day of the year. He had asked so many people about it when he first heard about the holiday that he still hadn't gotten any answers.
As usual, it was Art who had provided the most enlightening answer of all: it was tradition, to show that they cared, he explained. Gifts in human culture meant that people appreciated the person they were giving the gift to. Everything else they did was more or less also a show of appreciation; singing carols with those you cared about most, dinner and socialization with everyone else… to the human he had come to trust so much, it meant less about the material wealth and more as a way of saying "I care about you".
And suddenly, the holiday made much more sense than it probably would have to a quarian who had no human friends to speak of to enlighten him on this aspect of the holiday. With that said, he suddenly seemed to understand why there was so much Christmas cheer going around the Normandy.
And so, he had settled on making his daughter a gift with his own hands.
Looking it over, he smiled underneath his helmet. Yes… this gift would do nicely for Tali.
With this thought, he began the ever-painstaking process of packing the gift so it could be added to the rather large pile of presents that had been gathering mass ever so slowly within the mess hall.
Art looked at the snow-topped ground all around him, his eyes set on an indentation he had made on the ground next to where he was standing now. He admired it, nodding his head as his free hand brushed some strands of his hair that had escaped his ponytail back.
Tali looked on at the indentation there, her body showing her confusion as she looked at it.
"What is it?" she asked, looking down at the strange indentation.
"A snow angel," replied Art, smiling. The imprint of his body was rather deep, so Tali knew it had to be him, but something had confused her about the arms and the legs when they seemed so… disproportionately large. "It's… a long story. But angels are a pretty big Christmas image. So sometimes, the little children will lie in the snow and make an impression of an angel. Hence, snow angel."
"I see…" says Tali. "You always have something sentimental about your holidays…"
The human shrugged, letting out a small chuckle. "What can I tell you?" he asked, looking to the quarian he was standing next to with a goofy smile on his face. "I still have a few childhood fantasies I need to put to rest."
"Well, I doubt that's a priority, Art," replied Tali.
Art shook his head then, his expression turning more somber. "For me… it is, querida," he said, turning towards Tali. "You know, Tali… I never experienced a single Christmas in my life in a town where there was snow."
By now, Art was exemplary at reading quarian body language, and from the way Tali's head tilted he could tell she was curious. "Really?" she asked.
The human nodded. "It's… one of the problems growing up where I did," he replied, gesturing all around him. "Some say that living in a zone that's always summer all year round is a bit of a blessing. I… think it deprived me of a chance for a Christmas like this."
"I'll bet it was jarring hearing about snow on Christmas, then," she said.
"Not jarring, so much as it made me envious," commented the human. "I always wanted it to snow on Christmas so I could do all the things the kids up north could. Like, build a snowman. Or make angels in the snow. Or, hell, even engage in a snowball fight. And… I'd never get to do it at all. Even when we were vacationing in cold parts, it was never cold enough for it to snow… or the precipitation didn't feel like coming."
With this, Art turned to face the quarian, taking a deep breath. The fog that came out of his mouth distracted him for a moment before he looked over at the suited woman he was with. "Well… until today," he replied. "Tali… I… I never imagined I'd ever be so far away from home to experience my first white Christmas. But here I am… on this planet… and I'm seeing snow on Christmas. Not just fake snow, but real, frozen precipitation."
Here, his hands came forward slightly, and before the quarian could reply his hands were clasped in hers. "I…" he continued. "I don't know how to thank you for this. I've always wanted to see snow on Christmas. And now… I have. I don't know how to tell you how much this means to me… So thank you."
Art could tell Tali was offering him a smile as his head came up against the top of her helmet. They stood there, admiring each other as both parties closed their eyes, the quarian's fingers massaging Art's hands as they stood there in the snow. They held this pose for around five seconds before Art pulled away, giving her a broad smile.
"Come on," he invited with an excited voice. "We still have to build a snowman!"
"We're going to build one?" asked the quarian.
"Why not?" said Art, leading her away from his snow angel. "I've always wanted to build one! Come on, let's go build one!"
Tali was at first nervous, but as Art ran off to find a suitable patch of open land, she found herself following in his footsteps. Some human customs were very strange, she decided.
But it was worth letting it play out for seeing Art smile so broadly, she realized. And so, she followed the human as he went off to indulge in the white Christmas he had always dreamed about.
A/N: Well, that was Christmas Vexations, all. Fun times were had for all in this small little collection of shorts, and yes, since they're all based on Christmas songs you can listen to them and come to your own conclusions on stuff.
And as for certain stages of character relationships? Consider it a preview for things to come in the main Mass Vexations saga.
So yes, this was disgustingly fluffy. And bright. And happy.
So consider this your Christmas special.
Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for an update on MV2 coming in the near future!