DIS: I love Christmas. It's my second favorite holiday, right beside the Fourth of July.
Title: It's Just Christmas
Summary: Manipulashipping. Malik is in a bad mood from all the Christmas cheer and the last thing person he wants to bother him is the only person who knows could cheer him up. Holiday One-Shot
Disclaimer: I do not own YuGiOh
Notes/Warnings: Manipulashipping; holiday one-shot; Christmas
It's Just Christmas
Malik hated Christmas.
Naturally, there was more to his hate than the naked eye could see. Born in Egypt, where the temperatures were warm and the sun constantly burned down on the average Egyptian, the cold air and freezing snow did not agree with him in the least. He hated that he started to shiver if he went outside for five seconds, even if he was decked out in pants, boots, a sweater, heavy coat, scarf, and a hat. He also hated staring at deformed snow creatures anytime he left the house.
The temperature aside, there was the whole "Christmas spirit" that went around immediately after Thanksgiving Day. He could not understand why people stuck glittering, lit-up Christmas ornaments in their yard or lined their roofs and windows with blinking lights. He had trashed a person's house more than once since the beginning of December in pure rage at seeing a smiling Santa Clause from the middle of someone's yard.
There was also all the Christmas movies on television, the Christmas songs littering the radio so that he could not listen to anything tasteful, Christmas shopping that was purely for commercial use, and people ringing bells outside of grocery stores. While Isis always donated money, he glared at the person ringing the bell, imagining himself ripping it out of their hands and beating them in the face with it.
And there was the whole moral of the holiday that got on his nerves. Jesus this, Mary that, blah, blah, blah. He was tired of seeing documentaries of Mary and Joseph on KSPS and how Joseph was baffled at how Mary had gotten pregnant because they had never had sex. (Of course, they never said 'sex,' because it was too crude of a word for the parents of Jesus to be saying.)
Needless to say, Malik did not see the appeal of Christmas and was not interested in ever seeing the appeal. The only thing that did not annoy him was all the chocolate and caramel popcorn that Isis bought. He didn't mind her getting pissed off and telling him, "Malik, that was for Christmas Eve!" He was doing it both to spite her and because it tasted good. Any time she complained, he would innocently reply, "But sister, we don't believe in Jesus. That's not our religion!" He enjoyed seeing her get indignant and stomp out of the room, muttering such and such about being respectful to the Christians. They had gone through this process too many times to count. She did finally stop buying goodies for him to eat, though, wisely choosing to wait until the last minute so he wouldn't be given the chance to eat them.
Presently, Malik was brooding over the season in class, his head in his hand and gracefully spinning his pencil between his fingers. Beside him was Bakura, the only other person in Domino who seemed to resent the holiday as much as him. Atemu, who was supposed to be of the Egyptian religion just as they were, was taking pleasure in the holiday despite how much of a farce it was. Bakura's opinion of this was, "The Pharaoh knows their so-called God doesn't exist and he still insists on celebrating the damn holiday."
At least we get out of school for two weeks, Malik mused to himself, watching as more snow fell from the gray expanse of sky above. His mouth twisted unpleasantly. Another reason he disliked snow was that he could not ride his motorcycle. It was currently locked away. Out of sheer defiance, he had rode it when there was snow out and Isis had found out by Rishid, his traitorous brother, and she stole his keys from him and padlocked it with thick chains inside the garage. For the first time in awhile, she had screamed at him and instead of getting moody like he might have, he had merely stared at her, fascinated and amazed that he had managed to make her lose control for once.
"Mr. Ishtar, perhaps you know the answer?" The teacher said, rudely breaking into his thoughts.
Malik sighed and straightened. "I doubt it." He looked to the teacher, raising an eyebrow mildly. "What was the question?" As the man rattled off some mathematical equation, Malik's eyes strayed to the eyes of his peers that were staring at them. Only one person out of the entire group was not staring like a flock of dumb sheep. Anzu Mazaki who, up until recently, had been a mere acquaintance, was waving a hand, mouthing a number to him. When he continued to stare at her, unable to comprehend, she signed with her hands, '5x-2y.' Thankfully, he was able to understand her before the teacher moved in front of his sight.
Malik raised his eyes to the teacher's irritated, bloated expression. "5x-2y," Malik answered with an ingratiating smile. The teacher became even more furious than he had been a moment ago and snorted, turning from him and moving back to the board. Malik glanced at Bakura, who flashed an amused smirk before laying his head down, his arms covering his face. He raised his eyes to see that nearly all eyes had turned from him in disinterest; only Anzu's were still on him. She smiled at him and then turned back to the board as well.
Out of the Pharaoh's group of friends, Anzu and Yuugi were the only ones who were comfortable with talking with him, the latter more so. Atemu accepted him on some level because he was not nearly as sadistic as Bakura, but Jounouchi and Honda did not trust him since he hung with Bakura, whom they considered the very essence of evil. Anzu had tried befriending him immediately after he, Isis, and Rishid had returned to Japan. He had not been entirely pleasant with her, yet she persevered and when he asked her, weary with rejecting her, why she continued to bother him, she had laughed and said, "I think you and I both know that you need a friend, Malik. Until you can find someone else, why don't you accept me?"
Although Malik had found Bakura to be a well enough companion, he never dumped Anzu off his doorstep like she had been expecting. He chose not to talk to her while with Bakura because of their polar opposite personalities, but he made it apparent that he still considered her a friend. She was, in fact, the reason that his re-settlement in Domino City had been smoother than he initially expected.
Malik turned his attention back to the window and sighed, staring without really seeing the snow that was falling. Thinking of his friendship with Anzu, let alone Bakura, was not enough to get him out of the black mood the upcoming holiday had set him in.
Later in the day, the students were released from their last day of the year. Nearly everyone ran out of the school, screeching with laughter, their scarves trailing behind them. Malik grimaced, watching as snowballs were thrown and found their target – or sometimes unintentional targets. Bakura had left earlier that day, likely knowing how difficult it was going to be to avoid the havoc of cold, cold snow that was being flung through the air. Malik wished his sister wasn't so anal about him missing school or else he would have followed.
"Hey, Malik." He turned slightly to see that Anzu had broken away from her crowd of friends to join him. Jounouchi and Honda were rolling around in the snow with each other while Atemu and Yuugi watched, Atemu looking a bit uncomfortable with the weather.
"Not going to enjoy yourself in the snow?" He caustically asked.
"I'm wearing a skirt, if you haven't noticed," she informed him, pointing to her skirt and the high stockings. He glanced down, taking note of the slit of flesh between her skirt and the top of her stockings. He politely averted his gaze, looking back to the students thrashing around in the schoolyard instead. "Then again, I suppose you wouldn't notice," Anzu continued with a teasing smile on her lips. "I swear, you and Bakura seem like zombies sometimes. Don't you two do anything fun?"
"I'm not sure our idea of fun would be the same as yours," he responded.
"No, probably not." She paused, a thoughtful expression crossing her features. "Say, Malik...What are you doing for Christmas Eve?"
"Escaping Isis's Christmas party as soon as possible," Malik said, turning his head a bit to meet her gaze. "And before you ask me if I want to do anything, the answer is 'no.' I'm trying to avoid any and every Christmas gathering, seeing as how they seem to be springing up everywhere." He hunched his shoulders against the cold wind that blew into the schoolyard. "I hate Christmas."
"How come?" Anzu sounded genuinely surprised.
"I'm Egyptian," he dryly told her. "And before you bring the Pharaoh up as an example of an Egyptian that likes Christmas, I should mention that I don't adjust to new ideas very well and prefer to remain devout to my gods rather than convert to a god I know that is false." She fell silent at this, absorbing what he had said. He could see that she was working out the logic in his statement and seemed to accept it for what it was. She eventually lifted her shoulders and her smile reappeared.
"I wasn't going to suggest a party anyway, Malik. Ice skating is free on Christmas Eve at Kanau Pond in the Shiniisan Park. Jou is going into Shibuya to celebrate with Shizuka and his mom, Honda is going to be with Miho, and Yuugi and Yami are going to the festival at Domino Square. I don't really want to go to the festival since I go every year, so..." She trailed off, her smile turning almost shy. He gave her a blank look and then noticed a familiar, stuck-up snob step out of the school.
"Thanks, but I don't do anything that has to do with winter or Christmas, Anzu," he said. "I have to go. Kaiba is sure to part the waves and that's my only chance to avoid snow." He brushed a hand over her cheek in a fleeting, apologetic gesture. He could tell by the brief glimpse he had of her face as he ran to follow Kaiba that she was disappointed. He felt a bit guilty for hurting her like that, but he knew he would ruin her night if he went along with how bad his mood was when it came to the Christmas season.
When Malik made it out of the schoolyard and was on the sidewalk, Kaiba went towards his limousine and said in a flat voice, "If you want to avoid the snow, get out of class earlier rather than use me as your personal snow shovel." Malik blinked, watching as the door shut and the limousine slid away from the curb.
His feathery brows drawing down in outrage, Malik muttered beneath his breath, "What a dick."
Malik walked home to the two-floor apartment that he and his two siblings lived in. Just before he entered the apartment, a snowball hit the door in front of him and he jumped back, swearing. He whipped around, expecting a smug child, but instead found Bakura snickering and wiping his hand on the pants of his uniform. "Hate the snow much?"
"Shut the hell up." Malik opened the door and Bakura followed him inside. "I see you decided to skip and leave me to deal with the chaos without so much as a warning."
Bakura shrugged good naturedly as they boarded the elevator. "Why should I have? You and I both know that you would have stayed either way, what with Isis riding your ass about you being even a bit late for class. I figured you could learn it the hard way like I did last year. It seemed fair if you ask me."
"As it happens, I didn't ask you." They fell into companionable silence, both in their own thoughts. All that Malik could think of was the invitation Anzu had offered and his response. His mouth pursed petulantly as he recalled her crestfallen expression. Her smile had remained in place, but it was sad and her eyes were enough of a frown that she needn't form one with her lips. "Ice skating..." Malik spoke up as the elevator came to a stop. Bakura glanced at him.
"What of it?"
"How exactly do you ice skate?"
"They have shoes made especially for it," Bakura replied, falling in step with Malik to the door to the Ishtar condo. "They have blades at the bottom for skating on ice. Why?" Malik shrugged, pushing the door in and removing his shoes. Bakura knew of his friendship with Anzu, but he rarely ever spoke about her to Bakura because it seemed that his male companion would not have much to say about her. "Mazaki ask you to go ice skating?" Malik scowled at him over his shoulder. Some days it seemed that Bakura had the talent of telepathy, usually with him only.
"Yes, but I'm not going. I just wanted to know what it was."
"What's this I hear about Anzu inviting you to go ice skating?" Isis's voice rose from the hall. Malik uttered a groan as Isis moved to the entry hall with a water pitcher in hand. The last person he wanted in his personal business was Isis, especially if it included Anzu, who was close enough to Isis that she could constitute as a best friend to his sister. "Hello, Bakura," she added as he popped up from removing his boots. "Malik?" She prompted, raising her eyebrows.
"I've barely got my shoes off, Isis," he grumbled, moving past her. "You could at least let me inside the living room before interrogating me."
"I would not necessarily call it interrogating," she said, leaving him to water one of her plants. "I just want to know if I need to throw a bucket of ice water over your head or not. I imagine you told her that you did not want to go ice skating?" Malik sighed exasperatedly, falling on the couch while Bakura went into the kitchen, helping himself to the food. He was practically a part of their family at that point that he was allowed to do so.
"Sister, this really is none of your business," Malik told her, shoving a hand through his hair and glaring at her from beneath his hand. "You know that I want nothing to do with Christmas or this damn season. Besides that, I've never even heard of ice skating, so how am I expected to go out and do it?"
"Don't swear," Isis told him distractedly as she moved to another plant and arranged the leaves carefully to pour some water in it. "You know I don't like it." He let loose another sigh, closing his eyes and hanging his head back against the arm of the couch. "And it is my business when you are trying to break the heart of a close friend of mine." Malik opened his eyes and frowned at the words she used. Bakura chose that time to enter the living room, taking a bite from a sandwich and holding a glass of milk.
"Break her heart?" Malik repeated, sitting up. Bakura spun around and returned to the kitchen. Neither Ishtar noticed him. "She's a friend, Isis, nothing more. How could I break her heart?"
"Never mind, Malik," Isis airily replied, her dress making a swishing sound on the hardwood floor as she stepped towards the kitchen. "I tend to forget how dense males enjoy being." Just as she entered the kitchen, Bakura exited it for the second time, nearly half of his sandwich gone. Malik slumped back on the couch, sending a mutinous look towards the ceiling. Bakura sat on the other end of the couch, chewing on his food.
"Enjoying that, are you?" Malik muttered darkly.
"Quite a bit, thanks for asking," Bakura answered with a mouth full of food. Malik wrinkled his nose in disgust and threw his arm over his eyes.
"...I am not dense," he said so lowly that Bakura did not hear him.
It was only four days after winter vacation began that Christmas Eve arrived. Bakura went to the festival at Domino Square while Ryou had a party amongst his family members. Bakura had invited Malik, but Malik chose not to go, saying that he was not going to have anything to do with Christmas. The once-thief had merely rolled his eyes and said, "Have it your way, then, and be bored for all I care," before leaving.
A few hours after it got dark around six o'clock, Isis's guests were arriving, so Malik bundled up to leave. He had almost made it out the door when a female guest that was chatting to Isis giggled and asked, "Is this your handsome brother, Isis?" eyeing him in a too-interested way. He stifled a groan and before Isis could turn around, bolted for the door. He heard the woman laugh and say, "What a shy one he is!" He was certain Isis was inwardly rolling her eyes at that. He released a grateful breath when he made it to the elevator and out the apartment building without any other unfortunate happenings. Cars were building up, people in elegant dress emerging from them, likely to attend Isis's Christmas party.
He pulled his knitted hat over his head more firmly, pressing the flaps over his ears and hurried down the street. He wasn't all too sure where he was going, just so long as it was far away from where he would be. He pulled the tops of his gloves that came apart at the knuckles over the rest, wondering why there was even such a type of glove. A moment later, he understood why. His cell phone was ringing from his pocket and he knew he would not be able to open it with his gloves on, so he tore off the top of them so that the his fingers were bared to the cold. He dug his phone out of his pocket and glanced at the screen to see that it was Anzu calling before answering, "Anzu."
"Hey, Malik," she answered cheerfully. "How's your night going so far?"
"I managed to get out of the house before I was assaulted by every female guest at Isis's party," Malik replied, "so it went better than I expected. Did you end up going to the festival?"
"No, I wasn't really in the mood. Listen, I know that you said you didn't want to have anything to do with winter or Christmas, but I'd really like it if you came and kept me company. My parents are out of town this Christmas to spend it with some of the family and I wanted to stay home. I was going to spend it with my friends, but they all split up. If you're not with Bakura – "
"I'm not," he interrupted, feeling guiltier than ever for declining her earlier invitation. "He decided to go to the festival. Where are you?" He glanced around his surroundings. "I'm almost at Orange Blossom."
"I'm at the Angel Café, it's right outside Shiniisan Park."
"Alright, I'll be there in awhile."
"It's fine. I'll see you."
He hung up and stuffed his phone in his pocket and pulled his glove back over his fingers and shoved his hands in his pockets, dancing a bit at the cold. He came to a lamppost and saw the banner clinging to it that announced that he was in Shiniisan Park. Orange Blossom was a pathway in the park, which encompassed a good deal of Domino City. Malik looked around thoughtfully. He had a good idea of where Angel Café was in relations to the park, but he needed a landmark to tell him where he his specific location happened to be. He stumbled up a snowy hill and peered over the trees, seeing the lit up carousel building and the café only some ways from it, looking out over the river.
Satisfied, he jumped down the hill and moved more quickly to the bridge that led to the other side of the river where the café was. People were streaming across the bridge, coming from Domino Square. Children were holding balloons, hot chocolate, stuffed animals, and other paraphernalia. Adults were either laughing with each other, drunk with eggnog, or trying to control their children. Malik could see teenagers his age mingling in groups or in couples, clasping hands. Irritated with every person he went by, he slid past everyone to the café. He was immediately thankful for the warmth that swept over him as soon as he entered. A hand waved to him and he maneuvered around tables and baristas to join Anzu at a table.
"You look freezing," she told him, startled. She pushed her cup towards him. "Here, this will warm your hands." After he shed his hat, scarf, and gloves, he closed his hands over the cup and was surprised at how red his fingers seemed to be despite his darker skin colour. Anzu called over a waiter and asked for another cup of warm apple cider. "Geez, Malik, why are you wearing these flimsy gloves if you get cold so easily?" Anzu teased, lifting one of his gloves with two fingers and letting it drop on the table. "Here, let me see them." He removed his hands from the cup and she took them in her own hands. Although her hands were smaller, they managed to warm his hands faster than the cup of cider could have.
"Would you like me to fill this cup?" The waiter asked. Anzu looked up and smiled at him.
"Yes, please." She turned back to Malik, who was staring at their hands a bit transfixed. It felt like his entire body was going hot from the feel of her hands on his. Uncomfortable with that feeling, he slid his hands from hers just as the waiter returned with the cider. He handed it to Malik, who took a cautious sip of it. "So many people are out. It's amazing."
"Mmm. I forgot how close Shiniisan Park was to Domino Square." She shrugged helplessly. "I suppose there is a similar celebration on New Year's Eve?"
"Of course. It's a lot different, though. There isn't a parade and there's more stands. Most of the festival is in the mall with the Santa's workshop and stuff like that. It was a lot more exciting when I was a kid." She lifted her own cup of cider and took a drink of it. "They have fireworks on New Year's Eve."
"Well...Maybe I'll go to the celebrations with you." She lowered her cup and gave a tiny smile.
"That'd be nice. My ice skating offer is still up for grabs, you know."
"Anzu," he sighed, turning his eyes to his cup. Perhaps it was the guilt or the not-quite-dying warmth from her hands, but his resolve to not do anything that related to Christmas of winter was threatening to be shaken and torn down altogether. "I'd never even heard of ice skating until you mentioned it. I don't know how to do it. I would hardly be a fun person to ice skate with."
"I can teach you. It's really very simple." When he said nothing and simply raised his eyebrows skeptically at her, she continued, "Please? I promise you won't regret it."
"Oh, I'm sure I will."
"Then let's...make a trade, okay? If you go ice skating with me, then I'll give you something you want."
"You mean you didn't get me a Christmas present?" Malik asked wryly. "Now I'm hurt."
She gave a small roll of her eyes, stating, "You said you didn't like Christmas, so I decided I wasn't going to get you anything. I figured you would just throw it in the trash when I wasn't looking. As if I need to spend money just so that it could be wasted." He was momentarily stunned at how she thought he would have reacted to a present from her. He didn't like Christmas, that was true, but he did like getting things and if it was from Anzu, one of only two of his friends, he would never have just thrown it away.
Instead of saying this, he told her in a soft voice, "I wouldn't have done that." She eyed him and then dropped her gaze, taking a drink of her cider. "Alright, Anzu, I'll go ice skating with you. I'm not yet sure what I want, but I'll be thinking about it. Is it a deal?"
"Deal," she instantly said, grinning from over the rim of her cup. "Shall we finish and then go?"
Malik sighed, grumbling, "I suppose so."
After they finished their cider and both had gotten their winter gear on and Anzu paid the bill, they left the café and headed across the bridge to where Anzu told him the pond was. It wasn't as crowded as Malik had been ranting it would be. There was a building that they went inside and received a pair of ice skates. Malik was clearly nervous wearing them and did not like walking on them at all. Anzu held onto his arm, showing him the safest way to walk on them. When they came to the pond, his face paled significantly. "Are you scared?" She asked him.
"I am not scared," he haughtily said. After a pause, he continued, "I just don't trust this pond to be completely frozen." Inwardly, he was seeing horrific scenes of the ice breaking and them reliving Titanic, freezing to death before anyone came to save them. Logically, he knew that could not be true since they were surrounded with people passing by and there were people lingering outside the pond, chatting and enjoying warm cider, hot chocolate, or coffee from the stand that stood beside the building that provided the skates. Nonetheless, he was content to take a dramatic view on the pond just so that if it did happen, he could say to himself in the afterlife, "I told you so."
Anzu stepped onto the ice and took his wrist, guiding him out on the ice. If possible, his skin turned paler. "If you keep that up, you're going to have the same skin tone as me," she told him with a grin.
"Don't be a smartass," he muttered.
"Just move your feet, Malik." She moved her gloved hand to his and clasped it, pulling him alongside her as she swept the blade of her skate against the ice in a slight curve. He watched her for a moment, mute, before attempting it himself. After the first few tries, he was skating himself, but chose not to release her hand. He told himself that if the ice cracked, he could use his nonexistent superhuman strength and toss her into the grass so that she didn't freeze to death. Then it really would be Titanic all over again, except without the cheesy kiss scene on a boat, the naked drawing, the sex in a motor car, and being shot at by some crazy ass.
"It's not that bad, is it?" Anzu asked him, smiling.
"Yes, it is," he told her despite his continued skating. "This pond is going to break any minute and I'm going to die a pathetic death – freezing in a damn pond."
"Well, so will I."
"You were going to die pathetically anyway." He smirked at her outraged glare. She smacked him while he laughed. "Alright, let's show these fools that a first-rate ice skater can go faster than them."
"But you don't know how to stop!"
"So what if I don't? That's why there's snow, remember?" He grasped her hand tight and she let out a tiny shriek as they sped past people. The shriek turned into hysterical laughter almost instantly as the two of them nearly crashed into several people that managed to avoid them before obtaining a broken tail bone or a concussion. Their skates slashed at the ice beneath them at their speed and for some reason, the cold that whipped into Malik's face did not bother him as much as it should have. The heat of Anzu's hand and her bright, glowing face was enough to keep him warm, enough to keep him from thinking of the cold weather and that he was participating in an activity that was closely related to Christmas, the holiday he so despised.
Eventually, they came upon a person that would not move and Anzu was not willing to collide with, seeing as how the woman was of a rather large stature and there was no possible way to get around her. Anzu grabbed Malik's arm and jerked it so that they curved to the snow and went tumbling into it. "Cold!" Malik gasped, stumbling to his feet while Anzu lay laughing on her back. "Why didn't you just let me handle that? This is why women don't drive." That only made Anzu laugh harder. He pulled her up as she tried to catch her breath. "I think I've had enough ice skating for one night, thank you very much."
"Ah..." Anzu grinned up at him as they half-hopped towards the building to return the skates. "You're amazing, Malik."
"Women do tell me that," he remarked. She just chuckled and concentrated on not falling in the snow.
Once they had got their boots on, they stood beside the pond, drinking cider and watching other people ice skate. The lampposts around the pond gave the skaters an almost enchanting look about them. Snowflakes began to drift downward, enhancing the effect. Malik warmed his hands with the cider, thinking of what he would extract from Anzu after the ice skating fiasco. Admittedly, he had enjoyed it a bit. He doubted he would have as much fun with someone else as he did with her. He sighed very softly so she did not hear.
Isis had said he was dense and maybe he was – about both Anzu and himself. In no circumstances would Anzu have stayed home by herself, especially if she knew her friends would be otherwise occupied unless she felt that she could convince someone else to spend Christmas Eve with her. Malik was beginning to understand that she had sacrificed time with her family and friends to be with him and it filled his treacherous heart with warmth, a place where he had been sure was eternally frozen after his experience with his evil half. He supposed he should have realized that Anzu liked him as more than a friend when she broke away from her friends whenever she saw him and Bakura was not alone. He supposed he should have realized that he liked Anzu that way when he looked for her every day before and after class.
So I'm dense, he thought flippantly. It's not like I never figured it out.
"Have you decided what you want?" Anzu interrupted his thoughts. "I could get you something for New Year's, I suppose, or money..."
"Money, Anzu?" He queried in amusement. "Do you really think I need your money? Material things lack interest for me."
"Well, someone's egotistical!"
"No, not really." He took a last drink of his cider and after taking her empty cup, tossed them in the trash. When he returned, he asked, "So...I can have anything, can I?"
"Yeah, I guess."
She was oblivious and that worked fine for Malik. Clearly he had not been the only dense one. He smiled at her and then pulled the tops of his gloves off, plunging his fingers in her hair, knocking her hat off. She blinked and a light blush covered her cheeks that he knew was not from the cold. He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers, tasting the cider on her mouth. Almost immediately did her lips soften against his, causing a slow, beautiful burning like spiced cinnamon or peppermint. When he withdrew, he said the last thing that he had expected: "Merry Christmas, Anzu." She grinned up at him and pulled his face down to hers, kissing him again.
"Do you want to go to the festival?" She murmured against his mouth.
"Yes, I think I'll do that after all." He paused thoughtfully. "But only for you. I still hate Christmas."
Anzu laughed. "I bet you do."
DIS: So, actually, I was not going to do two Christmas one-shots. Originally, this was going to be Malik/Bakura, but I felt the plot worked better with this couple. Also, I do realize that Malik is a bit OOC and the end is, well, a bit cliché, but most Christmas stories are cliché. Please leave a review telling me how you liked it and MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!