It’s Christmas Eve and there are a million different ways you could be spending the holiday. You could be at home doing some shoddy last minute present wrapping. You could be with your family, trying to hide the disgust on your face as you tell your aunt how much you love the ugly sweater she bought you while trying to ignore your uncles arguing about politics. Hell, you could be lounging on your couch watching the shitty Jim Carrey Grinch movie on repeat and downing shots of Peppermint Schnapps every time something stupid happened, guaranteeing yourself a good long sleep and permanent kidney damage.
But you’re not doing any of those things. Instead, you are thousands of light years away from your home, sitting at a makeshift bar aboard a ship in the dark expanse of space with members of an alien robot race that have no reason for celebrating Christmas other than the fact that they heard you talking about it and will take any excuse they can to get overcharged.
Swerve especially has taken to the holiday. The entire bar is decked out in garland and bright colored lights and there’s even a real live evergreen Tree set up behind the bar counter. Christmas songs are blasting from his speakers and, to your surprise, a couple of the ‘bots are even singing along. Swerve himself is wearing the traditional-looking Santa hat that is just a smidge too small for him.
You’d ask the ‘bot where he managed to get all this Christmas swag in the middle of space but you’re currently distracted by the deadly-looking concoction he’s placed on the counter before you.
“So,” he asks, excitement in his voice as you pick up the drink. “What do you think?”
“That depends. What is it?”
Swerve’s brow furrows in what you can only assume is great offense. “Isn’t it obvious? It’s eggnog.”
“But it’s purple.” You stare down at the drink and gulp. “And bubbling.”
“That’s because your bartender just so happens to be an artisan of the craft. You’re welcome.”
You look up from the drink and stare at Swerve with a raised brow. “Are you sure this is safe for human consumption?”
“I am one hundred percent positive that it is definitely probably safe for you to drink maybe. At least, I’m eighty five percent certain it won’t cause any lasting physical damage if you drink it.” He garnishes the drink with a candy cane which instantly bursts into flames when it makes contact with the toxic brew.
The two of you stare at the flaming candy cane for a moment
“…Make that sixty five percent,” Swerve corrects.
You pick up the drink and are about to all down it in one go because sixty five percent isn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things, YOLO, and ‘tis the season and whatnot. And, hey, when you really think about it, this doesn’t even register on your list of top ten stupid and dangerous things that you’ve done and have had happen to you since joining the Lost Light crew. Just as you’re about to throw the drink back, a voice calls out from across the room, filling you with a sense of dread.
“Hey’a fleshlight,” Whirl’s voice echoes from the other side of the bar.
Your drink goes crashing to the ground in a mini explosion of broken glass and toxic fumes as you dive off your barstool to hide behind the counter with Swerve, for all the good it does you. The floor shakes as Whirl comes charging after you, a single claw reaching over the counter to grab you by the foot and snatch you up like you’re a cheap stuffed animal in a crane game.
He lifts you up high enough in the air so that you’re eye level with his single optic. “Hey’a fleshlight,” he repeats as he carries you away from the counter to a more secluded part of the bar.
“Hello Whirl,” you respond as all the blood in your body rushes into your head from being held upside down. You contemplate trying to wriggle free but a drop from this height would probably break a few bones so you decide to feign politeness instead. “Are you enjoying the festivities?”
“Why, meat bag, I’m glad you asked!” You let out a sigh of relief as he gently sets you down at an empty table in the corner of the bar. “I gotta’ admit, you fleshies believe in a lot of weird things; flying reindeer, a fat man that breaks into people’s homes to leave presents, good tidings and cheer? Hilarious! But, hey, you guys sure know how to make a fun holiday with some great traditions.”
“Funny. Last I checked, we didn’t have any holiday traditions involving abduction.”
“Well, that’s unfortunate, but I was actually talking about one of your lewder traditions.” For a ’bot without any eyebrows, he gives the impression that he would be wiggling them.
You run your hand through your hair as you sigh. “Whirl, I swear to God, if you tell me you want to help stuff my stocking, I’m reporting you to Ultra Magnus.”
“…I actually wasn’t going to ask you that and now I’m really disappointed in myself for not thinking of it. But I digress! Look up, fleshy!”
You do. “What am I supposed to be looking at?”
Whirl’s claw jabs up to point to the plant hanging above him. “Pucker up, sweetspark! I’m under the mistletoe so according to the sacred laws of Christmas, you gotta’ kiss me!”
“That’s not mistletoe.”
Whirl’s optic shutters off for a moment. “…What?”
“That’s not mistletoe,” you repeat. “It’s holly. You can tell because the fruit is red. Mistletoe is white.”
“…What,” he repeats, tone flat.
You shrug. “If it makes you feel better, a lot of people make that mistake.”
For a moment, Whirl is silent. The ‘bot says nothing as he stares dead-eyed up at the plant that you identified as holly as if it just grabbed a dagger and stabbed him in the back.
Then he explodes into a fit of screaming and flailing limbs.
“You have got to be fraggin’ kidding me!” he shouts as he slams his hand against the table, causing you to bounce. “Primus-damned fragging son of a glitch scrap-eating slag for brains! You had one job, Swerve. YOU HAD ONE JOB!”
You roll your eyes. “Oh my God, you are such a piss baby. Just bend down so I can reach your stupid dumb idiot face.”
The flailing stops instantly. Whirl looks down at you with a wide optic. “You’re… you’re still gonna’ kiss me?”
“Yes, if it really means that much to you, I’ll pretend the stupid holy is mistletoe and kiss you. Now hurry up and get down here before I change my mind, you shit lord.”
He does so immediately, leaning down so that his non-face is level with your mouth. Begrudgingly, you place a hand on his chin plate and place a gentle kiss where his mouth might be if he had one. The air on board the ship must be dry because you feel something like a static shock against your lips as they make contact with living metal.
Slowly, you pull away. “There. Happy?”
“Yes,” he affirms, optic half-lidded. “Though I’d be happier if you sat on my lap and told me if you’ve been good or bad this year.”
“Congratulations, Whirl,” you say as you stare up at him with a deadpan expression. “You’ve singlehandedly ruined Christmas for me. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Primus bless us, every one.”