((AN: I don't celebrate Christmas, but I wanted to write a fun little fluff about Smissmas with the mercs. I used a real Secret Santa generator to decide who was gifting for who, and then went with the results. Enjoy! Happy Holidays!))
"Alrighty. We're gonna draw ONE slip of paper from this here bucket, and that'll be your Secret Santa. Don't show anybody who you got, don't spend more than...I don't know, we all got the same salary, just don't go nuts with it. We'll hand out gifts Smissmas Day. Got all that?"
Engie looked out at his fellow mercs, searching for any signs of confusion. Everyone seemed to be in agreement.
"Alright, then fi-"
"I got a question!" Scout piped up. Engie looked over to see Scout standing and waving his hand, which he definitely hadn't been doing a moment ago.
"Can we give gifts to other people, too?"
"I mean, yeah, if you've got the budget for it. It's Smissmas, after all."
Scout nodded and sat down. Two seconds later he stood up again.
"No, Scout. Ms. Pauling ain't in the bucket. God knows she's got enough to deal with year round without havin' to worry about getting something for one of us. I'm sure she'd appreciate a nice card, though."
Scout sighed and nodded, sitting down and not interrupting further.
"Alright. If that's all the questions y'all have, let's start drawing names. Scout, how about you go first?"
Scout hopped up and pulled a name from the bucket, making a face as he opened it. He opened his mouth, but a pointed look from Engie shut him up.
Heavy and Medic went next, with Medic grabbing a slip for Heavy so the larger man wouldn't have to worry about grabbing more than one. They slipped their papers in their pockets without looking at them.
Demo was next, followed by Soldier and Pyro. Soldier sat down with his slip of paper, squinting at it before nodding and putting it in his helmet.
Sniper and Spy looked at each other, as if daring the other to go first, but eventually Sniper moved towards the bucket, grabbing two slips of paper. He handed the other to Spy.
"And one for me." Engie pulled the last slip of paper out of the bucket, putting it in his pocket. "Now then, we've got about a week till Smissmass, so get gifting. And remember: This is a SECRET. Secret Santa. Don't go spoilin' it for everyone by announcing who you got. Got it? That means you, Soldier. And Scout. And probably Demo too, I don't know."
Engie shrugged, his piece said, and wandered off. Everyone else followed suit.
Spy, obviously, figured out his gift through sneakiness. It wasn't hard to follow Heavy around, assessing his interests. He eventually realized that he could double-down: get the man a nice covering for the prime stabbing area of his back, and perhaps a nice bottle of vodka to wash the festivities away. Both were wrapped individually and placed in a box, which Spy then had wrapped.
Heavy, however, had a much harder time. Soldier was a very vocal man about his dislikes, but what few likes he seemed to have he was more quiet about. Heavy eventually found himself in the baby clothes section of the Teufort shopping mall, wondering what size of American flag baby onesie would fit a raccoon. He found a gift bag with a nice American pattern on it and grimaced as the cashier checking him out congratulated him on his friend's baby.
Soldier spent more time choosing his gift than anyone would have really expected of him. Most of the crew had been nervous that they would get a fresh helmet or something else useless from him. But despite his eccentricities and lead-addled brain, Soldier was still capable of being a caring human being. And he'd hung around Engie enough to know that the man liked traditional-style egg nog and could probably use a few new wrenches. He put all of these in a big paper bag, folding it at the top.
Engie's gift for Demo was similarly alcoholic and practical. He had known though several nights of drinking together what kind of whiskey Demo liked but could never seem to get his hands on, and what new bomb-making supplies would come in handy. He put them in individually-wrapped compartments in a large box, making sure there was enough room between them not to cause trouble.
Demo struggled. He didn't spend enough time around Sniper to know what he liked, aside from being aloof and pissing in jars. Getting the man more jars seemed wrong, like he was enabling something he shouldn't be. So Demo settled for a portable coffee machine instead, along with an extra large mug. He kept the coffee machine in its box and wrapped it in newspapers, doing the same to the mug.
Sniper knew what Medic liked, that part wasn't hard. The part that was hard was deciding what to get him. There was no way he was buying the man human organs, and regular medical supplies seemed too complicated - he didn't want to get the wrong thing. He wound up settling on a more recent book of medical studies, which he found at the seventh annual "going-out-of-buisness" sale of Teufort's one and only bookstore. He bought some nice, snowflake-patterned wrapping paper, and that night he took careful time wrapping the book properly.
Medic went back and forth on a lot of ideas for Spy. Like Soldier, the man was enigmatic about his interests, though Spy was also very particular about the things he liked. Particular about his clothes, his cigarettes, his wine...it seemed as though the man was impossible to shop for. Resisting the urge to ask Sniper, Medic went with an unorthodox choice - a compact photo album, on the off chance Spy had any keepsakes. He'd heard rumors of a portfolio of pictures of Spy with Scout's mother, so surely he had something worth storing away. He placed the photo album in a plain white box, writing "Spy" on it in nice handwriting.
Scout wasn't too surprised when he drew Pyro's name. 'Just my luck,' he had thought. Though he was sure getting Pyro a My Little Pony blanket and a set of lighters wasn't a terrible idea, he still didn't feel too confident about it. He kept his gifts in the paper bag from the store, but he drew a unicorn on it. Pyro liked unicorns, right?
Pyro, meanwhile, had gotten Scout a pack of baseball cards and not thought twice about it. They threw in some sunflower seeds and bubble gum for good measure, putting all of their gifts in a cardboard box, which they then colored all over with crayons and put a pretty homemade bow on top of.
Finally, the morning came. Engie had bought a plastic tree their first winter together, and with Pyro and Scout's help had put it together in the conference room. Everyone had stuck their Secret Santa gifts under the tree the night before, planning to hand out their more personal gifts after the big event. By midday everyone had gathered around, and Heavy helped hand out the various gifts to avoid any ruckus.
Scout was the first to open his, fawning over the baseball cards and popping gum in his mouth. Pyro went next, quickly wrapping themself in their blanket. Engie grinned at the bottle he pulled out of his bag, and grinned more at the new wrenches. Soldier cackled at the onesie, stuffing it in his pocket and vowing to put it on Leutennant Bites the second he was able to. Heavy was a little confused at the armor, but chuckled at the bottle of vodka. He knew it would be nothing like the stuff from back home, but he appreciated the gesture. Spy froze a bit as he realized what the photo portfolio was for, but quickly hid his reaction, nodding stoicly. Medic cooed at his new medical novel, wondering aloud what dreadful experiments those youngsters at medical school were coming up with these days. Sniper declared his coffee machine "a beaut" on first sight, and chuckled at the mug, which had some nonsequitur about needing coffee to survive written on the side of it. Demo roared with delight at the whiskey, finally his after so long, and gingerly placed the bomb supplies to the side for later inspection, praising whoever had taken the time to package his ingredients so carefully.
"Well, fellas," Engie said, "this seems like a mighty fine Smissmass. Thanks for participatin' so nicely. Can't wait to do it again next year. Now, which of you gentlemen wants to try some real egg nog?"
Of course, more gifts were handed out privately after the group event was over.
Medic and Heavy wound up getting each other slippers. Heavy's had little bears, while Medic's had doves on them. They both shared a good chuckle about getting each other the same gift. For the next month, seeing the other wear their slippers would make both men grin uncontrollably.
Sniper, meanwhile, had taken the time to find Spy's favorite brand of cigarettes, while Spy had gotten Sniper a new hat. Spy had considered getting Sniper a new watch, but Sniper was a practical man, so a flashy watch wouldn't do. With the new hat, however, whenever Spy saw Sniper during battle he would be able to pick him out, and he would always know when someone was pretending to be him - the hat looked like his normal one, but was slightly different, so as not to arouse suspicion. Spy also savored the cigarettes Sniper had gotten him, rationing them out so they'd last longer. Though they were exactly the same as the ones he already had, the fact that they had come from Sniper made them feel different, more of a luxury.
Engie had gotten Pyro a snowglobe with a little merry-go-round in it, and Pyro had gotten Engie a coffee mug, which they had painted "#1 Engie" on. Engie always smiled when he watched Pyro gaze rapturously at the snow globe in action, and he always toasted to Pyro whenever he saw them while he was drinking from his mug.
Spy had gotten two gifts for Scout as well, though he didn't give them to Scout directly. One was a framed photo of his mother and a sweater, which he had coordinated with Scout's mother to acquire. These, he put into a box, wrapped up with a bow, and wrote "From Mom" on the top, in practiced flowery handwriting. The other present was a signed Tom Jones casette tape and a small casette player, which he also wrapped in a separate box, leaving it unsigned. He placed both outside Scout's door, knocked, and cloaked, leaving once Scout discovered his gifts and went back into his room.
Having genuinely listened to Engie's suggestion, Scout wrote Ms. Pauling a card. It was hard, since letters didn't come naturally to him, but he drew a nice little portrait of her on one side of the card and wrote "MERY SMIMSUS MZ POWLIN - SCOUT" on the other. On the front, he doodled a tree. He put the envelope in his mailbox - Pauling usually brought their mail in every so often when she did supply runs - and went to bed smiling as he thought of how she'd react to it. Unbeknownst to him, Ms. Pauling did wind up finding the card, and kept it in her office drawer, looking at it on bad days.
Demo and Soldier, while not the giftiest pair, spent Smissmas night drinking together. They usually spent weekend nights drinking together, but that night they shared stories of holidays past, stupid snow-related incidents they'd gotten into as kids, and nostalgic tales of wintery wonder. Demo watched Soldier try to get Lieutennant Bites into his onesie, and patched up the cuts on his hands when he eventually succeeded.
Meanwhile, Ms. Pauling sat at her desk, going through the last of the day's paperwork. She heard a throat cleared behind her, and turned around to see the Administrator standing at her office door.
"Administrator!" Pauling said, moving to stand up. The Administrator held up a hand, motioning for her to sit down.
"Sit. I just wanted to give you something, for once you've finished your work."
The Administrator handed Ms. Pauling a long gift bag. Inside was a bottle of wine.
"This is lovely, thank-"
"You can thank me by finishing that paperwork before midnight." The Administrator turned on her heel and went to leave, stopping and looking back.
"But you're welcome. Merry Smissmass, Ms. Pauling."
"Merry Smissmass, Administrator."