Dedicated to my bestie fatty_fat on LJ. Merry Christmas! XOXO

Although the threat of another kaiju attack seemed all but implausible in the week following the breach collapse, Mako Mori decided to take a stroll through the Shatterdome's jaeger hangar, just for old times' sake. The jaeger program, after all, had been her whole world since adolescence; it felt strange to no longer be in a constant state of preparing for or confronting a global crisis. Mako was itching to throw herself into some kind of work, but there was none to be had.

As she passed each jaeger, she mentally ticked off spec details she knew so well. Cherno Alpha with its iron fists, all the better for creating maximum damage, Striker Eureka's chest torpedoes and lightweight alloyed-frame, all the better for covering maximum ground in minimal time. She saved Gipsy Danger for last on her tour, approaching it from behind.

"That's odd," she thought to herself, as she drew nearer. Scaffolding had been set up around the front of the jaeger, but to her knowledge no repair crew had been commissioned. She heard rustling and hushed voices. Had someone infiltrated the Shatterdome with the intention of sabotage? She couldn't imagine why. Nonetheless, she sped up her walk all the same in order to find out.

She turned the corner around the massive right foot of the jaeger, ready for anything. What she encountered was even more absurd than saboteurs.

Perched stories up on the scaffolding with twinkly lights hung around their necks, and obviously delighted with themselves, were none other than Raleigh Becket and Tendo Choi.

"Raleigh?" Mako asked, questioningly. Raleigh spun around, looking very caught. It was supposed to have been a surprise. No matter.

"Mako!" he called down to her. "We're starting at the top and then working our way down to the bottom!" He gestured to the lights currently adorning him, as if Mako hadn't already put two and two together. It had all been his idea after all. Everyone was going to love it.

"Don't forget the pièce de résistance!" Tendo called out over his shoulder, jerking his head towards the ground near Mako while continuing to climb. Mako cast a glance to the side to see a Santa hat the size of a deflated hot air balloon. How Tendo and Raleigh had managed to procure the proper materials to make such a thing, she didn't want to know.

"You know, this would go a lot faster with three instead of two," Raleigh suggested with a smile.

Mako took a moment, considering what must have been two miles worth of white lights trailing them, and shook her head, wondering how in the world she had ended up with such a silly yet good-hearted co-pilot. Without a word she put her clipboard down, grabbed a harness, clipped herself onto the railing and started to climb.

"Goddammit, Newt, I do not find it amusing that you have replaced all of my writing utensils with candy canes!" Dr. Hermann Gottlieb exclaimed while riflying through all of his desk drawers in frustration, only to find more candy canes.

Newt held back a grin and rolled up the sleeves of his white button-down. "Oh yeah? Why do you automatically assume it was me?"

Dr. Gottlieb wrenched his wooden cane from its resting spot, which was now covered in red and white ribbon to resemble a giant-sized version of the peppermint confections currently covering his entire work surface, and stomped over to Newt, who was dissecting a kaiju sclera.

"Never in all my years did I imagine having to put up with such tomfoolery!" He continued walking out of the research lab in search of someone, anyone, who wouldn't infuriate him as much as Newt.

"Merry Christmas, Hermann!" Newt called out, scalpel in hand.

The only reply was a resounding harrumph.

On Christmas day, everyone gathered beneath Bipsy Danger, which served as a less than traditional Christmas tree, and exchanged gifts. It was a strange sight to see jaeger pilots, veritable kaiju assassins and war machines, carrying gifts of varying sizes and shapes wrapped in whimsical paper with cartoon reindeer and snowflakes. Although their hardened bodies were 97% muscle and 3% fat, Christmas seemed to bring out the soft side in everyone, including Stacker Pentecost. He ascended the steps of a nearby platform to address the crowd.

"On this day… On this day… December 25th… I look upon each and every one of you with pride."

"I, as much as anyone, eas surprised that getting back into a jaeger cured my radiation poinsoning rather than worsening it. Frankly, I wish I'd done it sooner," he said with a wan grin.

"Today, let us celebrate our accomplishment, never forgetting those that gave their lives in sacrifice for the peace we currently enjoy."

Herc Hansen raised his glass with his free arm, the one that was not in a sling. "Here, here!"

"Merry Christmas!" many added. The Kaidonovskys took large gulps of their favorite Russian liquor they'd brought from back home, still donning combat boots and military jackets as if they could be called back into action at any time.

Stacker stepped down. He was greeted by a slobbering Max, wearing reindeer antlers and dragging a miniature red sleigh behind him. Stacker looked upon him with slight disdain.

Across from him, Raleigh was opening his Christmas present from Mako. It was a thick cable-knit sweater. "Wow, I love it," he said, completely enthralled. Mako avoided eye contact, wishing her co-pilot would tone down the sparkles in his eyes and stop making such a big deal out of things. Battling 2,500-ton kaiju in a jaeger with him she could handle, but his uninhibited displays of adoration of late were a bit uncomfortable to endure.

"Do you want to go to the training room?" Mako suggested.

"Now?" Raleigh questioned, but it only took a beat of silence for him to be persuaded. "Sure," he said with an affable shrug as they walked away from the party.

"Zero-zero," Mako stated, as they each assumed their starting positions on the mat to commence what would be a long and dynamic stick-fighting sparring session.

"Zero-zero," Raleigh affirmed, turning around to face his co-pilot.

"Oh, and Mako?"

"Merry Christmas."