I don't own Young Justice. This was written in response to a prompt on the anon meme for a Roy/Kaldur version of the ages-old "somebody's under the Christmas tree with only a ribbon on" trope.

Better, Watch Out

This was ridiculous.

In retrospect, he should have known better than to make a bet with Robin, of all people. But the incentive had been too great – the tension between the Boy Wonder and a certain hyperactive speedster had been getting downright irritating lately, particularly on missions, and Robin had pledged to profess his love in front of the entire team should Kaldur win. It had been simply too good to pass up. And besides, Kaldur had been so sure that Artemis and Zatanna had just been having innocent girl time upstairs…

"Girl time?" Robin had smirked, one eyebrow arching over the top of his sunglasses. "Sure you're not missing an 'on girl' in there somewhere?"

And of course the Bat Brat been right. Of course he'd been right, and damn smug about it to boot. Kaldur blamed his own foolishness on the eggnog (what had M'gann put in there?) and his own boredom, but none of that was making him feel better as he sat shivering in the darkness of Roy's empty apartment, the pine branches scratching at the tattoos on his bare back. The ribbon was chafing his gills. The bow was tickling his chin. And worst of all, the shame was making him burn all over, but not in any way that helped with the cold – it was fucking freezing, and though he knew Roy was on a budget since rejecting Ollie's sponsorship, when even an Atlantean was cold in your flat, you were doing something wrong.

And beyond all that, it had been hours and hours since Robin had smuggled him in here, gleefully singing some lewd variation of 'Deck the Halls,' and Roy still hadn't showed. Kaldur was beginning to get stiff (and not in a fun way), he'd lost all the feeling in his legs, and at this point he'd decided that this had been a very bad idea from the start. The more he thought about it, the surer he felt that Roy was about to come home with his latest buxom conquest, drunk from one of Ollie's upper-crust Christmas parties, and the last thing he'd want would be a frozen fishstick under his Christmas tree. Particularly not when said fishstick was one of his oldest friends, about whom he'd probably had sexy thoughts about as often as he'd had sexy thoughts about actual fish.

In fact, Kaldur was about to just get up and get out of there, tell Robin that he'd do some other ridiculously embarrassing thing, just anything but this, when there was a weird sound from somewhere below him. Given that Roy's flat was only one floor, that was pretty damn unnerving. He held still, eyes flickering about the darkened room, his grip on the end of the tree lights tightening until he realized that Christmas lights were about as useful as a weapon as…well, the "fish" comparison was getting old, but it remained accurate.

All of a sudden, a trapdoor opened in the living room floor just a few feet away, and a dark but recognizable figure pulled himself out of the hole, his back to the tree. Roy was in costume, and he was alone.

Kaldur closed his eyes and grimly prepared himself for the end of what had been a long and beautiful friendship.

Sending a tiny jolt of electricity through the prongs of the Christmas tree lights, Kaldur lit the whole thing into full Christmas splendor and opened his mouth to deliver the agreed-upon "Merry Christmas," but he never had the chance – in an instant, Roy had let out a strangled yell, drawn a knife from the sheath strapped to his thigh and whirled around and down press it to Kaldur's neck.

Kaldur, just as startled as his friend, yelped and toppled backwards into the Christmas tree, which teetered dangerously but (thank God) did not fall over. For a second, the two boys stared at each other, faces inches apart and chests heaving with mutual panic, until at last, Roy slowly lowered the knife from his friend's neck and let it fall from his hands and clatter to the hardwood floor.

"Kaldur?" he said disbelievingly, pulling off his own mask and casting it aside. "What the fuck?"

"Merry Christmas?" Kaldur mumbled.

Roy stared.

Then worse, his eyes flicked down and back up. Even in the dark, Kaldur could see the faint pink flush that had crept onto the archer's face.

"What the actual fuck," Roy muttered, not a question this time, just a flustered expletive.

"I am very, truly, extremely honestly sorry."

Rising from his crouch, Roy ran a hand through his hair in distraction, looking around the room, at the shuttered windows, at the entry into the kitchen, anywhere but at his (naked) friend.

"It's fucking freezing in here," he finally muttered, rubbing his bare arms. Kaldur couldn't have agreed more, but felt like he probably shouldn't talk right now. At least the bet was fulfilled. He could go home, be done with all this, explain it all to Roy at some better time…

"Get up. I'll make you hot chocolate or something."

Kaldur blinked at Roy confusedly from the floor. The archer was staring down at him, holding out one gloved hand expectantly. After a moment's hesitation, Kaldur reached out to take it and let Roy pull him to his feet, at which point he realized his legs were indeed completely asleep – he staggered against his friend, who swore even as he grabbed the Atlantean's waist to steady him and determinedly did not look down.

"Jesus, Kaldur, how long have you been sitting there?"

Kaldur extricated himself from Roy's grasp and regained his balance as quickly as he could, cursing his own existence.

"A long time," he said.

Roy reached out to touch his arm, frowning.

"You're freezing. Even for you."

"You are cheap with your heating, it seems."

"Well excuse me, I don't usually heat my flat for intruders. This is my patrol time."

"Even on Christmas Eve?"

"Crime doesn't celebrate Christmas."

Kaldur chuckled softly. Roy unbuckled his quiver and tossed it unceremoniously onto the couch, letting out a long breath and turning back.

"Um, so. Hot chocolate? Hot shower? Clothes?"

The archer's eyes flicked up and down Kaldur's exposed body once more, lingering a little longer this time (or was it just Kaldur's imagination?). Kaldur found himself feeling rather self-conscious all of a sudden.

"Any of the above would be welcome," he replied, averting his eyes.

"Wait. I haven't asked you why you were sitting naked under my Christmas tree with a bow around your neck yet, have I?" Roy asked.

"I do not believe you have."

Roy gestured invitingly.

"Do tell."

"It is, as they say, a long story."

"It's Christmas Eve," Roy replied, raising an eyebrow. "Tomorrow's my day off. I got time."

"It is a long story you may prefer not to hear."

"Oh no, I really think I'd like to hear it."

"Roy, please," Kaldur groaned. "Is this not humiliating enough as it is?"

"For you, sure," Roy smirked in reply, leaning against the wall and folding his arms over his chest. "I'm sort of enjoying myself, actually. After the whole initial 'having the shit scared out of me and thinking my civilian identity was compromised' bit, of course."

Kaldur grimaced, rubbing his arm in discomfort and wishing he had some way to cover himself.

"I believe the intent," he began slowly, "was to suggest that I was to be your Christmas present. If you…if you would have me."

"This wasn't your idea," Roy surmised after a moment's silence.


"Yet you did it anyway."



Kaldur shifted his weight uncomfortably.

"I was duty-bound."

"You lost a bet."

Kaldur flushed.


Unexpectedly, Roy's smile turned a little sour and he turned his head to look off at the other side of the room.

"That's it, then?" he asked.


Kaldur frowned, unsure what his friend was asking.

"You lost a bet. That's the whole story."

"I…" Kaldur began. Decisions, decisions. But it was Christmas Eve. Why the hell not? "I did not say that."

Roy turned back to him, expression guarded, but Kaldur thought he could read a faint hint of hope in his eyes.


Kaldur stared at him awkwardly, unsure what to say. Straightening out, Roy pushed off the wall and took a tentative step towards Kaldur.

"What is the whole story, then?"

Kaldur hesitated, then decided that if he'd come this far, caution could be damned.

"Perhaps we could discuss it somewhere warmer," he suggested.

"Yeah?" Roy replied, a trace of a smirk beginning to tug at his lips. "Got any suggestions?"

"You have just come off of patrol. And I am, as you helpfully pointed out, fucking freezing," Kaldur said, casually reaching out to run his cold fingertips over Roy's arm and watching the gooseflesh blossom. "Perhaps…a hot shower would be good for both of us."

Roy's eyes lit up and his smile blossomed into a full-blown smirk.

"I've heard worse plans," he murmured, turning his palm over as Kaldur's hand approached it and catching the Atlantean's hand in his own. With a sudden, sharp tug, he pulled Kaldur flush against his chest and leaned in agonizingly slowly, just barely brushing his lips across Kaldur's jaw.

"Merry Christmas," he whispered as Kaldur turned into a quivering mess in his arms.

"Merry Christmas," Kaldur replied shakily.

As Roy dragged him off towards the bathroom, Kaldur suddenly noticed something he hadn't before – a small box, tied off with a ribbon like the one around his own neck, with a little tag - Love, R.


Dammit. The little bird had thought of everything.