Disclaimer: I have an Amazon preorder of the MCD&J DVD, but that's about as close to owning these boys as I can get. Very Sad.

Author's Note: A five things fic, which I love, but which always make me nervous when I try and write them. Small spoilers for Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh. With huge thanks and a lot of love to Katybeth.


1996

On Christmas Eve, their Christmas tree falls over. It crashes down to the ground, and little pieces of ornaments and lights break off all over their living room floor. Megan cries for hours, and his mom paces the halls, trying to call neighbors, relatives, anyone who could possibly come and help them pick up their Christmas tree, to help fix a Christmas that was already broken. Drake is pretty sure it doesn't matter. All he really wants for Christmas is for his dad to come home and make things right again. Christmas can't be Christmas with just the three of them anyway, Drake is sure of it.

Eventually, his Aunt Libby and her new boyfriend make their way over. They bring cookies, and help his mom put the tree back in its stand. It's not the same. Most of the ornaments are broken beyond repair, and they don't have a spare string of lights to replace the broken ones. It's just a tree with some hooks, and a few lone sparkling objects that now look out of place. Drake glares at it from his spot on the couch, refusing to speak to his aunt, her boyfriend, or his mother. Megan's not speaking to anyone either. She's pouting at the wall, kicking her feet against the couch in anger.

Later, after Aunt Libby leaves, promising to come check on them again the next day, his mom tries to get him and Megan to leave out cookies for Santa, but Drake still doesn't feel like talking, or doing much of anything. He just sulks up to his room, his new room, with the loft bed his dad had built for him just a month before he'd left. Megan had needed his old room, since it was closer to their parent's room, and Drake had moved up the stairs, up to his own little world. He and his dad had spent weeks picking out all the new details, the bed, the desk, the wall paper. At first, it had been amazing. His bed was so cool, and he loved how quiet it was at night. No crying Megan. No parents fighting until the numbers on his clock were blurry. Now it's too quiet, too far away. It was quiet the night his dad left too. Drake thinks he could have heard it from his old room, thinks that maybe then he could have stopped his dad, made him stay.

He doesn't remember anything he gets for Christmas that year, he doesn't actually remember much of Christmas Day at all. He just remembers all the things they didn't have.

1998

Over the summer, Drake had found an old guitar of his Dad's in the garage. He'd been playing with it ever since. Not playing, working. He spends most of the fall in his room, trying to find notes and play cords, trying to teach himself things from the books he finds at the library. He's never really worked hard at anything before, but he loves the guitar. He loves the way it feels in his hands, loves all the sounds he's learning to make it play. Loves the way it makes all his days happier.

That Christmas, there is a box under his tree. It's almost as big as he is, and it's wrapped in blue paper, with snowflakes. His hands actually shake as he opens it, and when he finds the guitar inside it, he thinks he's the happiest he's ever been in his whole life. He jumps around the room, hugging, his mom, hugging Megan (she hits him, but he doesn't care.), and yelling about how it's the best present ever.

He doesn't put it down all day. He doesn't want to let it go, ever. It's new and shiny and it's a guitar and it's his, all his. Every note he tries sounds better and comes to him easier with this guitar in his hands. He plays every note he knows, every little song he's taught himself to play, singing along and changing the words so that they're all about his new guitar. Megan calls him noisy, but for the first time Drake can remember, his mom actually tells her she isn't being nice, and shushes Megan so that Drake can play more.

2002

Somehow, he convinces his mom to let him to go to Michigan for Christmas. His dad has actually written a few times, responding once for every twelve e-mails Drake sends him, and around Halloween Drake had asked if he could visit. It had taken a lot of convincing, a lot of pouting and begging, but he'd finally gotten his mom to say OK. Megan had been invited too, but she'd said that she'd rather spend Christmas on fire. So, Drake had packed a suitcase, and his guitar, and gotten on a plane, all by himself.

He walks off the plane slowly, not sure what to expect. He hasn't seen his dad since he was six-years-old, and he doesn't want to ruin anything. It takes him a minute to spot his dad, but when he does he can't help but beam. His dad waves at him, but doesn't bother to hang up his cell phone, and Drake's heart sinks, just a little. He tries to tell himself that it's probably just really, really important, and he walks faster, wanting to get to his dad before he disappears.

His dad drives fast, asking awkward questions about things Drake is pretty sure he already e-mailed him all about. Several times. The house they pull up to is big, with a pretty lawn and blue shutters. A blonde woman greets them at the door, his dad's girlfriend. She's pretty; she looks kind of like Debbie, Drake's old babysitter. He tells her that, and she laughs and says he's just like his father. His father takes him to a guest room, and Drake tries to sleep, but ends up tossing and turning most of the night, trying to think of things to say to his dad, things that will make him proud.

There's snow on the ground when Drake wakes up the next morning. It's sparking, and it makes the world look like one of those old Christmas movies his mom loves so much. It's the first time Drake's ever seen snow, and he wants to go play in it. He wants to sled and throw snowballs and do all the other things he's seen on TV, but when he asks, his dad just rolls his eyes and tells him to come back later. Drake goes up the guest room and plays his guitar, hoping his father will come up and listen. He never does, he doesn't seem to hear, but Drake hears him. Hears him laughing with his girlfriend, talking about work, and sports, and other things Drake doesn't understand. It goes on that way for three days. Drake barley sees his dad. He keeps saying he's busy, keeps saying he and Drake will do something a little later. Drake doesn't know what to do, so he just keeps playing his guitar, just keeps listening.

On the forth day he's there he finally figures out how to play a song he's been working on for weeks. It's fast and complicated and super technical and he's so excited to be doing it right that he wants to jump up and down, he wants to show everyone. He wants to show anyone who will watch. He stands up, hoping that maybe even his dad will be impressed by this, but before he gets to the door his dad's voice carries up the stairs. He's talking to his girlfriend again, but this time he's talking about Drake's mom. He says things that make Drake want to throw up. Things that make him want to crawl home and sit in his mom's arms forever. Things that are just… mean. Then he hears his father laughing again, and kissing his girlfriend. They leave a few minutes later, leave without even telling Drake they're going. The door shuts, the engine starts, and his father is gone. Drake wonders if that's what it sounded like years ago, mean words and shutting doors and car engines that roar as the speed away. For the first time ever, Drake is glad he didn't hear it.

He calls his Mom, and tells her he wants to come home. She puts him on the next available flight. He gets his own taxi, using the money he has in his pockets, and the twenty he finds has been left out for pizza. He lets his Mom call his dad and explain. He's home by Christmas Eve, and he sticks close to his mom's side the whole time. On New Year's Day he redecorates his whole room, tearing down the things he'd been holding on to for the past six years.

2005

Josh and Walter put up more decorations than Drake has ever seen. They put up a big tree, and garland, and wreathes, and about a million tacky, glittery things, and it actually ends up looking pretty awesome. They bake cookies and sing and try to pull the Parkers into the Christmas spirit. Josh even decorates their room. (Their room. Not just Drake's room. Not this year. He's slowly starting to think that might just be a good thing.) He makes Drake watch cheesy Christmas specials, and asks him about million questions about what they used to do, and what Drake wants for Christmas, and if he'd let Josh send out Christmas Cards from both of them, and what's Drake's favorite kind of Christmas cookie- and Drake actually finds himself answering, or at least sort of answering all the questions. Josh's enthusiasm is always weirdly easy to get pulled into. There is something about Josh that makes Drake want to tell him things.

On Christmas Eve, Josh gets him to play songs for the whole family on his guitar, and it's surprisingly fun. Drake plays every Christmas carol he knows, and Josh sings along, off key, but still kind of amazing in his own way. Megan calls them boobs and goes back to plotting special Christmas evil, and his Mom and Walter snuggle together on the couch. His mom's eyes are glowing, and that makes the whole night even better.

That night, in their room, Josh whispers across the darkness,

"Drake? I know you probably hear this all the time, but you're like, really good."

"Thanks," Drake says, grinning like he always does when people tell him he's good.

"No, seriously, you're like, you're going to be famous one day. You're amazing," Josh says, and even though Drake can't see him, and even though he's only known Josh, really known Josh for like, six months, he knows Josh means it. He can feel it.

"Yeah?" He asks, beaming now.

"Totally," Josh says. Then he asks more questions, about how Drake learned to play the guitar, and music, and Drake, and Drake's music, and Drake answers again. He tells Josh about his father's guitar, and his guitar, and about the first time he played in front of people, and the way it made him feel like he could take over the world. Josh listens, like actually listens, and when he talks back he says things that make Drake smile even more. It's funny, because Christmas Eve has always had a lingering weird feeling, but this one is making that all fade.

2008

After a really, really long shower (Snow cheese is fun, but it leaves him sticky and sort of weird smelling. Plus, he'd been knocked down by a wood chipper the night before, and he was really, really starting to feel it. He counted ten bruises while showering.), Drake walks back into their room. Josh is sitting on the couch, waiting for him. Drake grins and sits down as Josh presses play on a cheesy Christmas Special, Drake doesn't really know what they're watching. He doesn't care. They're not in jail, they're safe, and together, and it's Christmas and his house has all the right people in it. He's sore, and achy, and so tired his body actually feels heavy, but he's also really, really happy. He leans his head against Josh's shoulder, and grins again when he feels Josh shift closer to him on the couch. Josh turns his head to look at him, eyes going to a bruise on Drake's upper arm.

"You too, huh?" He asks.

"Sally is tough woman," Drake says. Josh laughs,

"She got us good."

"I have, like, ten bruises," Drake complains.

"Ten?"

"Yes. Ten," Drake says. Josh flicks his eyes over Drake's body slowly. Stopping at the places where Drake t-shirt has come away from his pajama pants, then at his neck and along his arms. Drake shivers.

"I can only see four," Josh says, swallowing.

"Yeah well, when I counted them I wasn't wearing clothes," Drake says, not sure if he should smile or not. This is one of those moments. One of those weirdly serious moments they have sometimes that he's never quite sure what to make of. It's like, the seventh one they've had today alone, which is high. Not an all time high, but it's up there. Josh swallows again, blushing, and then he smirks.

"How could you tell? You're like a giant freckle, didn't they just blend in?"

"My freckles are sexy. Bruises are not. They stand out," Drake says, picking his head up off Josh's shoulder so he can glare at him fully. Josh blushes again, and mutters something Drake can't quite hear. He turns his attention back to the special, and Drake puts his head back down.

"What about you?" Josh asks after a few minutes of silence.

"What do you mean?" Drake asks.

"Was this your best Christmas ever?" Josh asks. Drake picks his head up again. Josh is looking at him, big blues eyes sparkling, and Drake has a flash of three Christmas's ago, and the way Josh had made him feel then, a feeling Drake is so used to now. A feeling he can't imagine not having. He flashes back to getting his first guitar, and the way he had thought nothing could ever, ever be better. He flashes to Josh spending his life savings to buy him a guitar, to Josh doing a million different things for him over the past few years. He flashes to being alone, to before his room was their room, to sitting in a cold guest room wanting to go home. He flashes to weirdly serious moments, to touches that go on for too long and to hugs. He flashes to skin against skin and to the way Josh had swallowed, counting his bruises. He grins; pretty sure he's just figured something out.

"It will be," He says, leaning up to kiss Josh softly. It takes a second, but then Josh is kissing him back and wrapping an arm around Drake. Drake scoots in closer, because kissing Josh is like falling, only not normal falling, it's like some sort of awesome, best- feeling-ever falling. It makes Drake want to fall faster. Josh seems to be feeling the same way, because he shifts too, and runs his fingers under Drake's t-shirt.

They don't move from the couch all night. This whole kissing thing takes a lot of exploring, a lot of time making amazing little discoveries. Eventually, they fall asleep, both half dressed and still smiling and planting little kisses even as their eyes fall shut. The next morning Drake wakes up in Josh's arms, and it's not the first time, but it's the best time. Drake grins as he looks over at Josh, and he thinks that maybe this was the answer all along. Christmas, like everything else, is about a million times better when he does it with Josh.