Reader: What the hell is this, Tokyo?
Me: It's... it's nothing. Just, uhh...just a Christmassy fic I've been working on, and-.
Reader: Christmassy? But it's November!
Me: That's why I was thinking of uploading one chapter a week.
Reader: Before I soil my eyes reading this garbage, tell me what to expect.
Me: Okay... *ahem* No yaoi, no shipping, little if any romance and maybe some gore and weirdness thrown in.
Me: Don't worry, it's more disturbing than anything.
Reader: ...If I read this, will you stop stalking me?
Me: I can't promise I'll try, but I'll try to try.
Badlands, New Mexico, Christmas Eve, 1970
Christmas Eve. For some a time of joy, love and caring, a glorious break for the gloomy year before. For others, it was a day like any other day, with a slightly more festive atmosphere, somewhat better cuisine, and irritating music playing a bit more frequently on the radio. But for all of mankind, it was a day of celebration, no matter how unnecessary. Some would go to parties; some would meet the loves of their lives. Some would spend time with their families, and some would stay at home alone, rewarding themselves for surviving the year with a glass of sweet liquor. Everyone found a way to enjoy Christmas, children frolicked in the snow, spouses reminisced the good times they had with each other, and even the grumpiest of elders found a smile on their face, watching all the young people enjoy the holiday season.
And then again, there was the RED team, tucked away somewhere in a military base in New Mexico.
"This is bullshit!" yelled the Scout, kicking a sofa before plummeting into it, his arms crossed on his chest. The rest of the team ignored the Bostonian's outburst. Nobody wanted to be in the base, but orders were orders. The Soldier and the Heavy were playing poker with a stash of bullets; the Engineer was plucking at his guitar strings uninterestedly while looking out of the window and onto the reddish field illuminated by the soon to be setting sun; the Demoman continued his gritty mission of getting drunk, while the others were pacing around the base, rather nervously.
"I was supposed to visit my Ma for Christmas dis year. 'Aven't seen 'er in forever. I booked a freakin' flight and everything! And then dis old hag decides that we're fightin' tomorrow! On Christmas Day! Can you believe dis? Can you possibly compre'end the current situation?"
"We can, boy," responded the Texan rather angrily, but still managing not to snap completely. "We were there when she announced it. We are all mad about it, but we don't go 'round kicking furniture. Keep quiet, boy. No one is happy 'bout this."
"Fucking bitch," Scout commented before turning to his side.
It was strange, silence at the RED base. Soon, the Spy uncloaked in the centre of the room, with a frustrated expression on his face.
Or at least, a more frustrated expression than he usually had.
"Any news, private?" Soldier asked, flicking the ashes of his cigarette onto the floor as Heavy scooped over a small pile of bullets. The Spy clicked his tongue.
"I'm afraid ze Administrateour ees relentless. We are to fight the BLUs at seven a.m. sharp. No exceptions."
"So wat? Not only do I hafta stay 'ere, I hafta get up early, too? Worst. Christmas. Ever." Scout rolled once again in his sofa.
"Oui. She also added zat we could use this chance to practice for ze upcoming battle." The Frenchman took a cigarette from his jacket, lighting it almost immediately. The rest of the team protested in annoyance. The Sniper revealed his face, appearing in the back of the room and slightly lowering an old issue of Saxton Hale's Mildly Thrilling Tales.
"Loike Oi aven't 'ad enough of you as is," he scoffed before returning to this week's less-than thrilling issue, Saxton Hale Eats Salisbury Steak. The Soldier squinted at the magazine.
"You read that senior-friendly drivel, maggot?"
The marksman looked down at the magazine cover, featuring Saxton Hale stuffing six steaks in his mouth while simultaneously fighting off a grizzly bear. A couple of distressed old ladies were gasping in the background. The Sniper shrugged.
"Oi normally use it to wrap fish. But since there isn't anything to do 'round 'ere but to sit on our asses all day, Oi decided to take a peek at it." He looked at the magazine once more, promptly tossing it behind him and hitting the arriving Pyro on the head.
"Honestly, Oi feel bad for the fish."
The Pyro rubbed its head and let out a slight groan. It made its way towards a small wooden stool and sat on it, propping its hands up on its knees. The awkward silence continued for a few more moments.
"Worst. Christmas. Ever."
"Yep," the Engineer agreed, plucking once more at his guitar. Suddenly, the group heard quick footsteps coming from just outside the room. They were getting louder and louder, until a certain German doctor waltzed into the living area, a big smile on his face.
"Guten Abend, Frauleins! I haff spoken to zhe Administrator's assistant. Ze battle vill commence as planned. Ve are going to dominate zhose BLUs! Are you as excited as I am?!" he cheered. Sadly, none of his teammates gave out a response, save the crickets chirping in the distance as the Scout mumbled something into the sofa cushion. The corners of Medic's lips dropped, and he walked into the centre of the room, looking at the three bullet holes in the wall, possibly formed in their previous battle.
"Vatt ist ze matter vith you today? Vhere is your battle spirit?"
"Eet died when we found out zat we're not getting our Christmas leave," said the Spy, flicking his cigarette ashes on the floor. He didn't need this battle at all. Not one bit.
"Ach, but surely, you are at least ein bisschen excited about it, ja?" he looked around the room, nervously. The Heavy remained quiet, not really caring about answering the German's question. The Sniper pulled at the fabric of his fingerless gloves.
"Eye," the Scot lowered the bottle of Scrumpy from his lips, "We might be a littl' eager ta fight, but we don' won ta fight on this eve, lad. It's against our contracts. The old lass that yells at us really did dew it this toime."
Some other mercenaries nodded in agreement. The Medic's gaze switched from one uninterested colleague to another, until it stopped on a burly patriotic American.
"Et tu, Herr Soldier?"
The Soldier dropped his cards to the table in annoyance upon losing all of his ammunition. He sighed and looked up at the German, his helmet covering his eyes.
"Look, Fritz, there is nothing I love more than destroying the BLUs for all they're worth. Killing, fighting and America are my three absolute favorite things in the world. But…" he tilted his head down, dealing the cards again upon finding a spare pellet in his sock; "Fighting at this time is… it's un-American, private. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy."
"Worst. Christmas. Ever."
"We heard you first time, leetle baby man," the Heavy responded, barely taking his eyes off his flush. The doctor sighed and shook his head.
"Vat is it about you and Christmas? Is it such a tragedy if you stay here and work?" he sat on an armrest of the sofa, making the Scout pull his feet away.
"You complain because you're stuck here. Is spending a holiday here is zuch a tragedy? Ze Administrator didn't give two shits vhen I asked her for mein holiday leave."
"Oktoberfest can't count as a holiday, mate." The Aussie tilted his head to the side.
"Vell it does in Stuttgart! Besides," he adjusted in his seat; "I know we haff all had our share of terrible Christmases. Believe me, zhis doesn't come close to some holidays I've had."
The group let out a series of grunts showing reluctant agreement. The Heavy squinted as the sun shined from the three bullet holes and onto his eyes. He turned to the doctor. At that point, a faint sound was heard from far beneath the sofa cushions.
"Well, it's my worst Christmas ever."
The Scout sat straight up on his seat, allowing the Medic to scoot off the narrow armrest. The REDs were now looking at the Scout, albeit coldly. The Scout didn't let this discourage him, and he looked down at his sneakers. As he sighed deeply, the REDs already knew that the rant he was about to conduct would be quite lengthy.
"Every freakin' Christmas I spent home. My Ma would cook, my brothas would come, man, we would have the best Christmas dinnah dis side-a Bowash. Freakin' turkey, freakin' gravy, freakin' cookies! Mmph!" he stomped his feet quickly as he thought about this, sticking his tongue slightly out the corner of his mouth.
"I should've been home now, stuffin mah face wit dem cookies! But nooo… I 'ad to stay 'ere witchu knuckleheads." With that, he crossed his arms and fell back into his seat. The Texan near the window sighed.
"Well, boy, ah 'ppreciate you bein' homesick, but ah really, really, don't wanna hear 'bout it right now. You ain't the only one feelin' that way."
"Oi think it's cute in a way. Lil' wankah misses his mummy. Koind of endearin' if you ask me." The marksman managed a small grin, quickly evading a pillow the young Bostonian threw at him in anger.
"I am not homesick, ya moron!" he crossed the palms of his hands together and looked into the distance. This time he spoke quietly, nostalgically.
"It was just Ma and us on Christmas, ya know? That's da way it's always been, since I can remembah. And it was always cool, I guess. Coolah den dis, anyway." The Scout looked out of the window, and onto the glistening surface of the wasteland sand. His mouth formed a straight line, something halfway between a smile and a frown.
"Except dat one time… Dat one time when I was five or so… Now dat was a pretty sucky Christmas."
"Oh please, enlighten us. 'Ow will we ever live without knowing about your terrible, terrible childhood?" the Spy said sarcastically. He didn't know, however, that the Scout knew no concept of sarcasm, except when he used it himself. Selective understanding, one would say.
"K, umm… where do I start? I think I was five then… Six? Nah, it was def'netly five. It was Christmas Eve, kay, and everything was goin' great. My bros were there, dinnah was there, everything was freakin' sweet! We had our presents, the tree… Normal stuff, right?"
The Bostonian then emitted something that resembled a slight chuckle. The team listened to him. They didn't really want to listen to him, but figured that it would probably be better than sitting around doing absolutely nothing.
"Yep, we were already havin' ourselves a pretty good time when our Ma told got one guest ovah. What started so well, turned into the worst Christmas evah. Well… secondworst."
The group groaned.
"Ya see, guys, dis was mostly a fam'ly event, Christmas and shit. And on that day, of all days, my Ma snapped. And she brought home her. Freakin'. Sleazebag. Boyfriend."
Reader: ...That was truly awful.
Me: You've had worse.