Written by Hunter
The place was empty. All lights were switched off, except for a spot above the bar. The jukebox started to play some Queen tunes.
Every year, it's the same. My customers head out to their respective places for Christmas. Every year, I close early on Christmas Eve.
My name's Henry, bartender of the place "where all successful villains hang out". They may look mean at first, but they know how to behave, and leave good tips : I've even been able to buy some arcade stations, and build a game-room with pool tables.
My pub never empties the whole year, but now that I'm the only one here... it's depressing.
I always wonder what my regulars do for Christmas, and I get a bit jealous : usually, it's whole Teams, or they just live in Skull Castle.
Where are they now?
The Mercenaries were preparing their battleship for the festivities, putting garlands and other decorations around. Only Hunter wasn't helping. He was standing, thoughtful, on his "throne". Kayorei noticed that first, and walked to him.
"Say, what's wrong?"
Hunter nearly jumped in surprise. "Oh, nothing. It's just that ... well, back where I came from, we didn't get to celebrate together a lot."
The purple Megaman Killer nodded. She remembered Hunter's tales, and it didn't sound the good place, or time, for festivities.
"Besides," he carried on, "I was thinking about old Henry. All lonely by such a night..."
"Great idea!" yelled Magnus, who overheard the discussion. "But ... who's Henry, again?"
All the Mercs gathered around the trio. "A bartender in Monsteropolis." explained Naoshi. His arm was wrapped up in a garland. "It's at his place we all met and formed the Mercenaries."
"That sounds good, but do we have any present for him?" asked Iga. His face looked concerned. "I mean, we're crashing at his place."
"I do have something in stock." said Hunter. "To Henry's, then!"
They all rushed out, leaving the Crew Joes confused. "So ... what do we do with the garlands?"
"I dunno. We'll leave them as they are."
"Next time any of the Warriors asks us something, bash his head with a shovel." commented a burnt Riff.
"Will do." replied a no less damaged Warpman.
The Fatal Five had gotten themselves trapped in a bet between Airman and Crashman. Under the cover of a "scientific experiment", the bet was actually "how long can trespassers stand in front of Ben's door without getting shot to death". Riff and Warpman had been gotten first, and the three remaining Fatalists were still running. It started three hours ago.
"I say we get out of the Castle for Christmas." stated Riff.
Before Warpman could reply, Karasū;, Staccato and Lento came in. The raven-bot's wings were still burning, and his kimono was in bad shape.
"Lento agrees with your suggestion." said the behemoth.
"Every year, it's the same : the Evil Eight bicker with everyone, the Rescue Force babbles and rants about how they're so mighty in Wily's eyes, and the Warriors play jokes on anything moving around." sighed Warpman. They didn't have a lot of Christmases behind them, but that's how the other WilyBots behaved the rest of year.
"May I suggest we go to Henry's place, this year?" told Staccato.
"Hey, why not. All in favor?" the Fatalists all raised their hand to Riff's question.
"Let's go, then!"
I was about to close the main entrance to my pub when I heard a stomping sound behind me. Mugglers often happened at Christmas...
I turned back, shifted my arm to a cannon, and aimed at ... Santa Claus' belly. I blinked, and noticed an important detail : he had way too much spikes on him. I was aiming at Punk, who had a fake beard glued on his chin. Needless to say, he seemed as confused as I was.
"Err ... Ho, ho, ho?" he muttered. Behind him, the other Mercs jumped out and yelled "Merry Christmas!"
Quint walked to me ; he was carrying a weirdly shaped present. "Well, we were thinking of having Christmas at your place with you. Do you agree?"
Before I could give my approval, another voice came from the street. "Ho, ho, ho! ... What was after this?"
"God damnit, Lento!"
The eight of us turned to see the weirdest scene ever : a red-painted Lento wearing a fake beard, surrounded by the other Fatal Five, their arms full of presents.
The two Teams stared at each other for a whole minute without a word. Then, Ballade spoke up : "What's next? The Hoff?"
A metallic sound came from an alley nearby, followed by imprecations in German. Finally, Riff said : "How about we spend Christmas the thirteen of us togeher?"
It only took a few minutes to set decorations all across the place. It finally was looking like a cheerful place.
We gathered to open the presents. Unsurprisingly, the Fatalists had nothing for the Mercs, and vice-versa. But both Teams had a present for me.
I opened the Fatal Five's first. "That's a reinforced vest", explained Riff. "In case things get ugly at the pub."
"Mine has the same goal." explained Hunter. I opened it to see ...
"That's ... I mean ... Wow!"
It was Hunter's personnal plasma rifle.
"I modified it a bit. And don't worry, I have a spare one."
Then, Fatalists and Mercs alike, they used whatever game was in the pub - pool, table football, DDR arcade ... Except for Riff and Quint. Instead, they went to me.
"I suppose fighting is out of question for next week?" started the Fatalist.
"I think so. How about we do this again for New Year, Henry?"
I vigorously nodded. Christmas Peace was doing its effect - and it was nice.