Shadow: When challenging someone to do something, never leap in and announce 'And I'll do it too!' as a point of your argument. –wry grin-

The challenge – write one one-shot a day for every day of December up till Christmas.

My take on it – a one-shot a day with a vaguely Christmas theme, focusing around one of my favourite pairings (in no particular order). Most of them are shonen-ai (yeah, there's rather a lack of females in Yu-Gi-Oh, isn't there?), so you've been warned.

Disclaimer: Wish I owned Yu-Gi-Oh, but I don't.

Pairing: Angstshipping – Marik Ishtar x Ryou Bakura.

Little Gifts

1: Storage

"You're kidding me."

"I must assure you, I'm not."

"But…but there's tons of stuff up there!"

"Exactly why I asked you to come over here and help." Ryou Bakura stood at the base of the pull-down ladders leading up to the attic in his house, Marik Ishtar at his side.

December had finally rolled around, and so arose the need for the Christmas decorations to be hauled down from their place under the eaves and strewn about the house. Ryou had asked Marik, his ever-willing boyfriend, to give him a hand with fetching everything down, but now the day had finally come the Egyptian was being stubbornly awkward, refusing point blank to even set foot on the attic's ladders.

Said blonde crossed his arms over his chest at Ryou's latest entreaty, rejecting the imploring brown eyes fixed upon him and the cajoling voice that went alongside them. "You cannot pay me to help you fetch that lot." Marik's tone was flat.

"Marik, please?" Ryou pulled out his best pleading expression. "I can't fetch it all down by myself."

"Then ask Bakura to help you. He lives here as well!"

"I asked Bakura last year." The beseeching eyes weren't going away anytime soon. "He broke three-quarters of the tree baubles, smashed my angel, and tried to garrotte Yami Yugi with the tinsel. It wasn't a very good idea. Besides," here Ryou pulled out his trump card, "you promised me you'd help, Marik Ishtar. Are you going back on your word?"

"I – er -"

"You are, aren't you?" Ryou looked disappointed. "And after you said you'd never… Do I really mean that little to you? It's only a few Christmas decorations – is it really that bad? Surely not. So…if it's not the decorations, is it me? Did I do something wrong?"


"I did, didn't I?" The almost albino looked so pitiful, so mournful, that –

"Alright, alright!" Marik scowled. "I'll help you fetch your stupid decorations down. Just stop it with the guilt-trip!"

Ryou grinned a little wickedly, sliding forward a little so he could wrap his arms around his boyfriend's neck and plant a quick kiss on the blonde's lips. "I knew you would."

Marik tried vainly to keep his scowl in place, but most of it melted away into an exasperated smile. "And they still say you're the innocent one…"

"Appearances can be deceiving, Marik Ishtar!" Ryou sprang from his arms and up the ladder with a leap and a laugh, as delicate and pretty as the angel he handed carefully down only moments later. "Are you coming up?"

Sighing, reluctantly, Marik slowly ascended into the murky depths of Ryou's attic. His first thought: "You should really clean up here more often." The place was a mess. Boxes, trunks and stacks of other odd items were sprawled around the roughly rectangular space, the wooden beams of the roof overhead slanting in at the sides to give the area a much more cramped feel. Everything was dusty and in need of a clean, the lone light-bulb swinging overhead casting a dull, aged-yellowish glow over the entire affair.

Ryou smiled at him, brushing away an ancient cobweb away from where it dangled beside his head with one hand. "I know, but would you come up here any more than you'd have to?"

"I see your point." Marik's words were dry.

His boyfriend shooed him over to a corner of the room. "The fake tree's over there for the living-room downstairs, as well as the stuff to decorate it with. Drag it out please and take it down there?"

Marik obediently got to work. Pulling the tree out didn't really take much; all he had to do was shift a few cases and lumber the dratted thing down all the stairs. The decorations though, were an entirely different matter. They were kept in a big box nearly as tall as him when turned on its smallest side, covered by a piece of thick cloth that looked like it was an old curtain. Lifting the curtain didn't do much nor did pulling it – the material appeared to be snagged on something at the top of the box, out of Marik's sight.

Getting ever-so-slightly frustrated with the thing the Egyptian gave the cloth a shap yank, Marik rewarded with a soft shh of cloth, the curtain coming down – and bringing a heavy box it had been trapped beneath with it. Brightly coloured baubles rained down all around the teen, bouncing off his head and shoulders with wild abandon before rolling around the attic floor. Scowling Marik glanced up to curse the dreaded box that was the new bane of his life, and found himself getting bonked in the head by the golden star Ryou stuck at the top of his Christmas tree.

There was a smothered giggle from the other end of the room. Ego dented, Marik whirled about to glare at the culprit, giving one of the baubles nearest his right foot a vengeful boot. "Do you do this every year?" He dropped the curtain he still held in one hand, stalking across the dirty floor to glower accusingly at his still-chuckling lover.

"Each and every." Ryou's eyes were glittering with laughter, his smile impish as he leaned forwards to press a kiss to Marik's nose. "You're all dusty, and covered in glitter."

A pout. "This is all your fault, you know."

"I know; I wish I had a video-camera."

"I'm never helping you fetch out your stupid decorations again."

"Of course not." Ryou petted his sulking boyfriend on the top of the head, cheerfully patronising.

"I mean it."

"Of course you do."

"Ryou-" Words cut off, Ryou kissing Marik quite firmly on the mouth, only drawing back when both of them were breathless.

"Help me take this lot downstairs?" A bright suggestion, still breathless.

Marik knew he was going to say yes. Ryou knew Marik knew he was going to say yes. Marik knew Ryou knew Marik knew he was going to say yes. Against Ryou, Marik always eventually caved in, and said yes.

Damn manipulative boyfriends…

Marik surrendered to the inevitable. "Fine, but I want some form of compensation after all of this."

"Okay." Ryou waited till his lover was looking up at him again, before smiling slowly, pose suggestive. "I can think of some things that would be very…fun for both of us."

Marik suddenly found himself forgetting completely about dratted stars and baubles, concentrating solely on getting all the Christmas decorations downstairs as fast as physically possible. Working at a slightly more sedate pace sorting out the streamers, Ryou laughed.