Hey, y'all! ^^ So, this is my first Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfic, with Dark Magician and Dark Magician Girl ('cuz they is one of my OTPs 3). And just in time for Christmas!

**Note: When I refer to them in the story, I use their real names, Mana and Mahaad. At first it was easier to type, but then I decided to incorporate it in with their interactions. :3

Mana sits in the corner of her young master's living room, completely invisible to all (except Yugi himself). It was a few weeks before Christmas, and the snow was falling quite heavily outside the window. The young spellcaster was reading through her spell book when Yugi and his grandpa walk through the door carrying various boxes marked "Christmas decorations." She peeks over to see the contents of the boxes. They held strings of multicolored lights, ropes of shimmering garland, and sparkling ornaments of all shapes and sizes. A look of wonder crosses her face as she wanders closer to the boxes.

"Yugi," Grandpa says, "I'll be right back with the tree." Yugi nods in response as he begins unpacking the decorations.

Mana waits for Yugi's grandpa to leave the room, then asks her master, "What are all these for?" She picks up one of the red ball-shaped ornaments and examines it closely. It was quite lovely, the way it shone in the light.

Yugi chuckles as he digs out his old Santa hat from the box next to him. "It's for Christmas, Dark Magician Girl. Don't you know what Christmas is?"

Mana tilts her head in curiosity. "I don't believe I do. Master, tell me more about this...Christmas." She sits cross-legged on the floor and rests her elbows on her knees with her chin in her hands, looking like a child waiting for story time.

Yugi proceeds to explain to the card spirit about what humans typically did at Christmastime: decorate a tree, sing songs, exchange gifts, and be with family and friends. He also told her about the famous legend of Santa Claus that so many children believed in, as well as a little historical background on the holiday itself. Mana's eyes widen with wonder and amazement that this time of year held so much beauty and magic. "Wow! Christmas sounds wonderful! I think I want to celebrate this year, too! I'll see you later, Master." And with that, she vanishes into her own realm, to the little home she and Mahaad kept there.

Mana appears in the living room of hers and Mahaad's home and looks around, thinking of how she wanted to decorate the space. She turns to one particular spell book for help. It was one that could show her anything at any given moment. "Book," she says to it after taking it off the shelf, "show me some Christmas decorations." In an instant, the book flies open and the once blank pages now displayed different pictures of wreaths and lengths of holly, shimmering garland and tinsel, twinkling lights and candles, and trees decked out in ornaments of all shapes and sizes. Mana puts a finger to her chin as she flips through the book, trying to figure out exactly which decorations she wanted to use. She simply shrugs after looking at all the pictures and says, "I guess I'll try a little of everything."

So, Mana approaches the record player, which she had cast a spell on to play any kind of music she asked, and told it to play some popular Christmas music. The first song that plays is "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," which she instantly starts dancing to. "This has a very catchy beat," she says out loud, giggling as she grabs her staff. Almost to the beat of the music, Mana begins creating the perfect Christmas atmosphere. She places white candles of all different heights and widths in each of the windows, filling them with a warm, orange glow. She wraps lengths of holly around the stair banister and frames the mantle and windowsills with it as well. A large pine tree appears in the far corner of the living room, filling the whole house with its scent, then Mana adorns its branches with ornaments shaped like snowflakes, spheres, and teardrops in colors of silver, red, and green, while yards of gold garland spiraled all the way around the height of the tree. Atop the tree, on the highest branch, was a gold star, shining with a magical light of its own. The final touch the young magician adds to the tree are strings of rainbow colored lights. The lights reflect off of the shining ornaments as well as the garland, and make the tree practically sparkle. Mana stands in the middle of the living room and looks around, grinning at her job well done. "Now, for outside!" she says with a giggle.

The minute Mana steps outside the door, she frowns. There was one thing missing that didn't quite make the house feel like it was fully in the Christmas spirit: snow. It was all over the human realm this time of year, and she felt that it added to the wonder and excitement of the holiday. She floats up to the top of the roof and casts a quick weather spell over the whole area of the house. It begins to snow heavily and quickly, and soon the whole yard was covered in a blanket of white fluff...as was Mana herself. She shivers at the cold and shakes the snow off of herself, then floats back down to the ground, rubbing her arms and hopping up and down to get warm again. Once she was warm enough, Mana makes strings of white lights shaped like icicles appear along the roof's overhang, as well as on the top of each window. A few baby Christmas trees pop up here and there, twinkling with little lights, as well as a couple of reindeer light statues. She steps back a little bit, wondering what else to add.

Meanwhile, Mahaad was on his way home when he sees a light in the distance. He tilts his head curiously, then chuckles softly and walks on. "I wonder what she's up to?" he asks himself, knowing only his apprentice would be responsible for something such as that. As he approaches the house, he pauses for a moment, surprised and a bit amused at what he sees. The whole house was lit up with Christmas decorations, as well as more candles in the windows. He smirks and takes the view in for a moment. "Is it that time of year already?" He had been around Yugi and his grandfather long enough to know what Christmas was all about, but he never saw a point in celebrating. After all, he was a card spirit, and the holiday was more of a human thing, at least in his eyes.

Mahaad sees Mana standing in front of the house, deep in thought. He chuckles softly to himself and approaches her quietly. Since she obviously had no idea he was even there, he decides to have a little fun with her. He leans in close to her from behind, his chin barely touching her shoulder, then asks, a little louder than necessary, "What are you doing?"

Mana lets out a startled squeak and whips around, only to see it was Mahaad. Her entire face lights up in a grin as she wraps her arms tightly around his middle, giving him a squeeze. "Master! You're home! Did you see what I did with the house? Isn't it pretty?" She begins bouncing excitedly, her arms still around him.

Mahaad laughs and ruffles Mana's hair slightly. "I saw, it's very nice. Just one question though...since when do we celebrate Christmas?"

Mana shrugs and looks up at him. "Since now. The young master had boxes of decorations at his home today and I thought it would be a nice idea. I...hope it's alright with you, Master." She looks into his light blue eyes hopefully. She did sort of decorate their house without asking him first, and wasn't sure what his reaction would be.

Mahaad looks down at Mana, gazing into her emerald eyes, and can't help but smile. He lightly pats her head and replies, "Of course it's alright. Why wouldn't it be?" Honestly, it has been a long time since he's seen his student this excited about something, and figured it would be nice to do something different this year.

Mana's smile returns and she hugs Mahaad closer. Not tighter, closer. So that their bodies were shaped to each other almost perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle. Mahaad wraps his arms around her shoulders and closes his eyes, loving the feeling of being with her like this.

Wait, where did that come from?

Mana was his student. His apprentice. His comrade...his friend. He had never thought of her as anything more. Although, he was just recently noticing how beautiful she was, and how happy she made him. Her light, bubbly energy (despite being a Dark Magician), her smile, her entire being just made him feel...right. Content. Whole. However, he would never admit his feelings to himself, and he especially wouldn't feel right admitting them to her. At least, not yet.

After a minute of embracing, Mana drops one of her arms from around Mahaad and looks around the yard again. It was almost perfect, but there was something missing that she couldn't quite put her finger on. She looks up to Mahaad again and asks, "Is there anything you want to add? I feel like it needs one more thing, but what?"

Mahaad thinks for a moment, then releases Mana and directs his staff downward, into the snow. "Close your eyes," he instructs her, which she does immediately. As soon as she does, snow begins to swirl around and gather a few feet away from them, then takes shape, grows, and condenses into ice. A few seconds pass, and Mahaad smiles and nods to himself. "Perfect. Alright, you can open your eyes now, Mana."

Mana opens her eyes, and lets out a small gasp at what she sees. Before her is an ice sculpture of herself, with every detail just right. "Oh, my gosh. Mahaad, it's beautiful!"

The male magician is taken a little off guard when she says his name. It was something she rarely did, even after she became a full-fledged magician and was technically no longer his student, but his equal. He had become so used to Mana calling him "Master" that his heart skipped a beat when she said his actual name. He smiles gently and looks down at her. "Good, I'm glad you like it. Now come on, let's get inside. It's a bit chilly out here." Mahaad chuckles and makes his way to the door, leaving tracks behind him in the snow. "The snow was a nice touch, by the way."

Mana beams at his compliment as she follows close behind him. "Well, the decorations would have looked weird without them! It was practically necessary!" She giggles as she knocks the snow off her boots once she reaches the front door, then waves her hand to make a wreath with a large, pink ribbon around it appear on the door itself.

Mahaad smirks and shakes his head as he does the same with his boots. "I suppose you're right on that one. It does add a little something extra to everything else. Once Mana was inside, he closes the door and removes his pointed, purple hat, and examines the living room. He nods, impressed with Mana's work. "Not bad. That's a very nice tree over there. However, there is one thing missing."

Mana looks to him with shock and darts her eyes back and forth, wondering what he could have meant. "Really? What?"

Mahaad points his staff to the fireplace, and immediately a warm, inviting fire blossoms to life. And now hanging from the mantle were two large Christmas stockings: one a deep violet, and the other a soft pink, each with their names elegantly embroidered with silver thread. Mahaad shrugs and says nonchalantly, "Just a little extra atmosphere, that's all."

Mana smiles and walks over to the fireplace, sighing contently as the warmth washed over her. She looks closely at the stockings with mild curiosity. "Oh yes, Master Yugi told me about these. He said that some small gifts usually go in here, or even candy." She giggles at the thought. "Candy in an oversized sock. What strange traditions humans have." Mana removes her hat and fluffs out her golden hair. The record player had changed songs by now, and was playing "White Christmas." She moves over to the window and looks out at the yard. "I think we're going to have a wonderful Christmas. Don't you think so, Master?" She smiles at him as she holds her blue cone hat to her chest.

Mahaad smiles back, taking in the beauty before him. Mana's eyes and hair glistened in the fire light, and the expression on her face made him nearly weak in the knees. He nods to her and replies, "Yes, Mana. A wonderful Christmas indeed." He then stretches and lets out a yawn. "I don't know about you, but I'm going to bed. It's been a long day."

Mana nods. "Well you may go ahead. I think I'll stay up for a little bit, listen to some more music."

"Very well. I'll see you in the morning. Good night, Mana."

"Good night, Master. Have a good sleep." She bows to him slightly, then approaches him and gives him another hug. Mahaad hugs her back, then makes his way upstairs to his room.

Mana removes her shoes and leaves them by the door, along with her hat, then goes to her light blue bean bag chair next to the fireplace and flops down, her personal spell book in hand. She tries to read from where she had left off before, but finds herself distracted. So, with a soft thud, she closes the book and sets it next to her on the floor. Mana leans back and closes her eyes, trying to find the source of her distraction. After a minute, she finds that her thoughts keep wandering to Mahaad.

Really? Mahaad? How strange...for the longest time, even in her human life, Mana had been in love with Atem, who was now in the form of the Millennium Puzzle's resident spirit. However, she found that she wasn't as attracted to him as she once was. Perhaps it was because he was now the other half of someone else, and not one separate entity. She still saw him as a good friend, and Mahaad too, except...Mahaad's been there for her throughout time, in their human lives and as cards. Mana smiles, recalling everything her teacher has done for her. He's been a mentor, a brother, a friend, and a comrade. Is there any chance he could be a lover, too? She sighs and shuts off the music, then stands up and moves toward the stairs. Briefly, Mana glances to where Mahaad had his cloak haning up, and notices how tattered and worn it is. Her eyes instantly light up and a grin spreads across her lips as she is struck with an idea. An idea of what to get Mahaad for Christmas.

"A new cloak, just like the one he had. It'll be perfect!" She giggles softly as she ascends the stairs to her own bedroom.

The evening of Christmas Eve arrives quickly, and Mana sat in her room putting the finishing touches on Mahaad's cloak. To add some personal flair, and to make it less plain, she designs a large, silver Ankh to embroider onto the back. After much hard work and hours behind a sewing machine, Mana holds up the finished cloak and smiles at her job well done. "Whew, finally finished. I really hope he likes this." She hums to herself as she wraps the purple garment in silver paper and ties a light blue ribbon around it, securing it with an elegant bow. After making sure every last detail was perfect, Mana skips down the stairs to the living room and gingerly places the present under the tree, as was tradition.

Mahaad had been sitting in the living room reading a book, and listening to more Christmas music, when Mana came downstairs. He studies her curiously, and asks her, "Who is that for?" partially knowing the answer already.

Mana giggles and walks over to him, then leans in really close to his face and pokes his nose with her finger. "It's for you, silly. But you can't have it until tomorrow. 'Cause those are the rules, right?" She chuckles softly, making no move to stand up straight again.

As Mana leans in, poor Mahaad's face turns a deep shade of red and becomes very hot. Her smiling, inviting lips were a mere inches away from his own, and he wanted nothing more than to close the gap between them. However, he restrained himself from doing so and clears his throat. "Uh, correct. Those...are the rules, heh heh." He chuckles nervously, trying to keep himself calm. Mahaad had never been one to get nervous and uneasy before, but being this close to Mana was driving him insane. He was about to lose it until she finally stood up and flopped down in her beanbag chair. He breathes a sigh of relief and attempts to regain his usual calm composure.

Mana leans back in her chair and smiles at Mahaad, then conjures up a fire in the fireplace. She looks around at all of the decorations, happy that they had somehow stayed just as shiny and fresh as the day she put them up. She takes an extra amount of time admiring their tree, because it was admittedly her favorite part of the whole setup. She heaves a sigh as a slight frown crosses her face. "It's going to be such a shame taking it down. It's so beautiful."

Mahaad follows her gaze and senses the sadness in her voice as well as on her face. In an attempt to cheer her up, he says, "Well, there's always next year. We'll put it up again next year and it will look just as beautiful, if not more. And trust me, the time will go by before you know it. You'll see."

Mana glances to her mentor and smiles hopefully at him. "You promise?" she asks sweetly.

Mahaad nearly melts from the look in her eyes. They were filled with such hope and promise, and...something else he couldn't quite put his finger on. In return, he smiles at her and nods his head once. "I promise. And we can even do it together, if you'd like."

The emerald-eyed girl grins happily and scoots toward him, then leans sideways to rest her head on his knee. "That sounds wonderful," she responds. "Nothing would make me happier."

Mahaad is taken a little aback by this at first, but accepts the gesture while a slightly wider smile tugs up the corners of his lips. He rests one hand on her head and lightly strokes her hair. It was so soft and silky, as it always was, and sparkled like gold in the fire light. Something about being with her like this deeply touched his heart, and thought back to other times where they both sat in complete silence, with her leaning against him in some way or another. There were only a rare few of these moments, but he cherished each one, more than Mana would ever realize.

As Mahaad stroked her hair, Mana lets out a content sigh and closes her eyes. She never realized before how being with him truly made her feel, but she knew she would remember this feeling forever. After a minute, she looks up at the man she loved and admired so much and stared into his aquamarine eyes. Like the fire, they burned brightly through the darkness and made her feel warm all the way through to her core. A blush ever so light dusts her cheeks as she stares at his handsome face. "Mahaad..." she begins to say, when suddenly the song "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" plays over the record player. Instantly Mana is filled with energy as she giggles excitedly and hops to her feet. "I love this song!" she squeals as she begins to dance around the living room.

About halfway through the song, Mana scurries back over to Mahaad, her hips still keeping time to the music, and holds her hands out to him, summoning him to stand. "Master, come on! Dance with me!"

Mahaad looks up at her, but does not stand. He drops his head slightly and replies apologetically, "Sorry, but I don't dance."

Mana rolls her eyes a little and grabs his hands, trying to drag him up. "Then I'll help you. Come on, please? For me?" Mana's happy smile fades a bit when she notices her attempts were getting her nowhere.

Man, she was killing him. Usually that phrase would have gotten him to break down and give in, but sadly, not this time. Mahaad looks up into her disappointed eyes, with his hands still in hers. "I'm sorry, Mana. I just can't. It's hard to explain but...this is just one thing I cannot do."

Mana's face droops as she releases his hands. To try to hide the fact that she was hurt, she puts on a smile and shrugs her shoulders. "Oh. Well, that's alright. We don't have to then." Having lost most desire to dance, she retreats back to her seat and sits cross-legged on the cushy, oversized beanbag. She still keeps time to the music by tapping her fingers on her knees until the song comes to a close. In her head, she thinks to herself, "Nice going, Mana. Now he probably thinks you're a fool for even trying that. What was I thinking?"

Mahaad shifts his eyes to her and feels a pang of regret in his chest. He didn't mean to upset her, it's just that dancing was never something that came naturally to him, at least not at that tempo. He breathes a soft sigh and was about to lean back in his chair when, to his luck, a slow song begins to play. "I'll Be Home for Christmas," to be exact. "Perfect," he thinks, "this is my chance to make it up to her." Mahaad slowly stands up and moves in front of Mana, extending his left hand to her. "Is it too late for that dance?" he asks with a slight smirk on his face.

Mana looks up at him with slight shock. He really wanted to dance with her? Wait a minute...She chuckles and asks, with a smirk of her own, "What happened to 'I don't dance'?"

The violet-haired magician shrugs and replies, "This is a little more my speed. Please, Mana? For me?" He chuckles as he uses her own words against her, and wonders what her reaction will be to being on the receiving end of them.

Sure enough, Mana's face is crossed with surprise as Mahaad utters the last words she ever expected to hear from him. She knows he is only messing with her, however she gives in, smiling and taking his hand. "You know I can't say no to you."

Mahaad's smirk turns into a soft smile as he helps Mana to her feet, then he extends their entwined hands out to the side while he rests his right hand on her slender waist, moving more toward the center of the room. After Mana gently rests her free hand on his chest, which made his heart flutter, he gently but awkwardly sways to the music.

Mana chuckles softly at his awkwardness, and sways along with him, slowly rotating as the song played on. To break the sudden silence between the pair of them, she says softly, "Uh, I'm sorry I tried to get you to dance with me before. I didn't realize you were so strongly against it."

Mahaad shakes his head at her concern and replies, "It's alright, you didn't know. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings by rejecting your offer. I didn't mean to upset you."

Mana shrugs it off. "No biggie. I was just trying to help you, that's all. You're so serious and tense all the time, and it seemed like you could've used some loosening up. It seems like you hardly ever relax." She leans her head forward and rests it against his chest. "I worry about you sometimes, you know?"

Mahaad sighs as he rests his chin on top of her head. "I know, and I'm sorry. But don't worry too much about me. I'm not worth spending all that energy on."

"You are to me."

Mahaad was at a loss for words. He had no idea he meant that much to her, even after all this time. A smile spreads across his whole face as he laces their fingers together and gently kisses the top of Mana's head. "Thank you, Mana. You have no idea how much that means to me to hear you say that."

Mana smiles as well and nuzzles against his chest. "You're welcome. And always remember this: you mean so much to me, Master. You've taught me so much and you've always been there for me when I needed you, as a teacher and a friend. I don't know what I'd do without you." She decided she wouldn't go too deeply into her true feelings for him, considering she didn't know how he felt for her.

As they circled around, Mana caught a glimpse of Mahaad's perfectly wrapped gift beneath the tree. She giggles with excitement and says, "I can't wait to give you your present tomorrow. I just know you're going to love it." She sighs softly and continues, "It does look awfully lonely though."

Mahaad suddenly felt a bit guilty after hearing Mana's words. He hadn't gotten her anything, only out of not knowing what to get her. He chuckles sheepishly and says, "Yeah, sorry about that. I'm not very creative when it comes to gifts. I've never actually given one before." Almost as soon as he says this, the song changes to a slower version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and Mana can't help but smile. She had heard the song a few times before in the past couple weeks, and thought it was rather sweet.

Mana reaches her free arm around Mahaad and holds him close. "Don't worry about that. All I need is you being yourself. And of course, you let me have Christmas, which might be one of the best gifts ever. You've already given me all I could ever ask for." She smiles up at him and kisses his cheek as they continue to dance.

Mahaad's face turns a but red when Mana kisses him. It was the last thing he was expecting her to do, and now his heart was pounding like crazy. He could barely contain himself as he reached both arms around her and held her close, ceasing their movement. "Mana, I promise that I will give you the best first Christmas ever."

Mana gasps as Mahaad pulls her into an embrace. After he speaks, she smiles and brings her arms around him, hugging him back. "Thank you, Master. So, why so serious all of a sudden?" she asks.

Mahaad chuckles and pulls back slightly, but keeps his arms around her waist. He smiles into her eyes and lightly brushes a lock of hair out of her face. "Sorry about that. It's just that when I make a promise, I always intend to keep it. No matter what."

Mana chuckles. "Well that's awfully sweet of you. But you don't have to go through all that trouble for me. I'm sure it'll be perfect no matter what happens." She grins at him and hugs him once more, then drops her arms and steps back. Attempting to bring back the light mood from before, she asks, "So, how about a movie? I've already looked up some good ones."

Mahaad chuckles and shuts off the music. "Sure. If you want to set it up, I'll make us some hot chocolate."

"Mmmm, that sounds yummy," Mana replies. "But sure, I'll set everything up." As Mahaad retreats into the kitchen, Mana makes a movie screen appear above the fireplace, as well as a list of movies for the two of them to watch. After everything was ready, she snaps her fingers and instantly a light pink nightgown appears on her body in place of her usual clothes. Within minutes, Mahaad returns with two steaming mugs of cocoa in his hands. He hands one to Mana as they take a seat on the floor.

Their movie marathon goes on for quite a few hours, with Mana watching them intently, and Mahaad paying more attention to the beautiful blonde next to him. Some movies made them laugh, others made Mana cry, and others she even hummed along to with the music. They ranged through musicals, cartoons, and live-action, and Mana enjoyed every single one. The pair ended up going through at least a dozen movies before Mahaad noticed Mana had fallen asleep. She was lying on her stomach, with her head resting on her arms. He takes in her entire current form: her golden locks glistening in the remaining fire light, the calm, peaceful expression on her face, the way her nightgown hugged the curves of her body. He was about to look away when he hears her sigh. Mana suddenly rolls on her side so she was now facing him, and mumbles Mahaad's name softly (but clearly) in her sleep. Mahaad bites his lip and shakes his head. "Oh Mana, if only you realized how much you torture me," he thinks to himself.

Mahaad then looks to the window and notices the sun is rising. Christmas morning has come, and soon Mana would wake and throw an excited fit like a little child. He laughs quietly, amused by the thought. Mahaad then stands up to take their mugs into the kitchen and washes them. When he returns, Mana was still sleeping like an angel, and he unashamedly stays back to stare at her. He couldn't help himself. He rarely got opportunities like this to watch her sleep, mostly because they stayed in separate rooms. But when he did get the chance, he seized it, and didn't care what became of it.

Sunlight soon filled the living room, and Mana began to stir. She sighs audibly as she stretches her body out, then looks next to her to find Mahaad wasn't there. She finally looks up and sees him standing in the kitchen doorway, with a rather sexy smile on his face. Mana flashes a smile of her own and says in her still sleepy voice, "Good morning."

Mahaad's smile widens as he approaches her. "Good morning," he replies. "Did you sleep well?"

Mana nods and sits up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "I did. I guess that hot cocoa really did the trick." She doesn't bother asking Mahaad how he slept—he rarely did so anyway. After yawning widely and stretching a bit more, Mana is struck with a sudden burst of energy. She crawls over to the tree and retrieves Mahaad's gift, then stands up and scurries over to him, holding the package in her delicate hands. "Now you can open it!" she says excitedly as she bounces on her toes. She can't wait to see the look on his face upon seeing his present.

Mahaad chuckles at the girl's excitement, and takes the gift from her. "Alright, calm down, I'm opening it." He unties the ribbon and tears through the paper, letting them both fall to the floor. He gasps in amazement at the new garment that was now in his hands. He unfolds it, letting the end cascade to the ground, and looks it up and down. When he sees the silver Ankh on the back, he gasps and his jaw goes slack. "Oh my...Mana, did you make this?"

Mana grins and rocks back and forth on her heels with her hands folded behind her back. "Yup! I designed it myself, then knit it all by hand. No magic used." Her chest swells with pride as she explains, still quite happy with her work.

Mahaad nods in approval and moves to retrieve his shoulder guards, which his old cloak was still attached to. He removes the tattered garment and tosses it onto a chair, then fastens the new one in place. Once secure, he pulls the armor over his head and makes a mirror appear before him, so he can get a look at the cloak. He looks at it from every angle possible, especially the back, and smiles at how good it looked. "I've got to hand it to you Mana, you did a great job on this." He turns to her and bows in gratitude. "Thank you so much for making this for me. I'll treasure it always."

Mana giggles happily and dashes to Mahaad, then glomps him once he was within range. "You're so welcome! I'm thrilled that you like it!" She glances over at the clock and notices the time. Young master Yugi would be waking up soon as well, and she wanted to be there when he did. She releases Mahaad and hurries upstairs to her room after saying, "I'm going to go freshen up and get dressed, then we can go to Master Yugi's house."

Mahaad nods and watches her go, then moves to pick up the wrapping paper from the floor.

Mana soon descends the stairs wearing an outfit similar to her usual pink and blue getup, but instead they were red and trimmed with white fur, and atop her head was an oversized, fuzzy Santa hat. She stands before Mahaad and turns around, modeling the outfit for him. "So, what do you think?" she inquires.

Mahaad was struck speechless for a moment, then stutters out, "Uh...you look..." Lovely? Stunning? Beautiful? Gorgeous beyond all reason? "...very nice. Festive." He mentally slaps himself for saying that, and chuckles uneasily.

Mana doesn't notice her teacher's discomfort, and simply smiles at his compliment. "Thank you! Now, shall we get going?"

Mahaad nods. "Indeed we shall," he replies. He casts a teleporting spell over the both of them, and they travel to Yugi's home.

When Mana and Mahaad arrive, Yugi and his grandfather are already sitting by their tree, about to open presents. Mana giggles and runs up behind Yugi, wrapping her arms around him in a hug, to which he responds with a rather audible gasp of surprise. He knows who it is instantly, and runs back to his room for his Duel Disk. Grandpa looks after him curiously, then smiles in understanding when he sees the Disk. Yugi has summoned his cards outside of duels before, so he was used to seeing this.

As Yugi places the cards in the board, Mana waves at both Yugi and his Grandpa. "Good morning, you two! Merry Christmas!"

Yugi chuckles and smiles at her, then to her companion. "Merry Christmas to you both! Dark Magician Girl, you look very nice today. It's different from what I'm used to seeing you in."

Mana's cheeks turn a light shade of pink as she rests her hands on her hips. "Well, I wanted to be festive today! It's just something I threw together last minute."

"Well like I said, it looks very nice."

Mahaad chuckles softly and shakes his head. "I'm afraid that is an understatement, Master," he thinks to himself. He thought Mana looked absolutely beautiful. Then again, he always did, no matter what the occasion. He then turns his attention to Yugi and says, "I apologize if we interrupted. Dark Magician Girl wanted to come and see you." Mana and Mahaad never called each other by their real names around Yugi, to prevent confusion and questions.

Yugi laughs and replies, "It's no problem at all. The more the merrier!" He then notices Dark Magician's cloak. "Did...you get a new cloak?"

Before Mahaad can answer, Mana nods. "Yup! I made it for him. Master, turn around so we can see the back!" He does so, and Yugi and Gramps gasp in awe.

"Wow, Dark Magician Girl," Yugi says, "you did a great job!"

"Indeed," Gramps chimes in. "I especially like the Ankh in the back. Very nice touch."

Mana beams at the compliments, then turns to face the door when there is a knock. Gramps opens the door, and there stand Joey, Tea, and Tristan, Yugi's three best friends in the world. "Yugi, you have company!" he calls.

Joey is the first to enter. "Merry Christmas, Yug!" he says in his unusual Brooklyn-style accent.

Tea and Tristan follow after him, but Tea is the first to notice Mahaad and Mana in the room. She waves to them and Mana waves back cheerfully, then approaches her. "Hello, Tea! How nice to see you again!"

Tea smiles and replies, "Nice to see you as well. You too, Dark Magician."

When Tea acknowledges him, Mahaad smiles politely and nods to her. He wasn't a very social creature, but he still enjoyed the company of other people, especially Yugi's friends.

After all necessary greetings were out of the way, Tristan says, "So, we gonna open presents or what?" The rest of the group agrees happily, and takes seats around the tree. The rustling and tearing of wrapping paper soon fills the room, and excited "Thank yous" burst from each person. Mana started off sitting somewhat behind the group, but then notices Mahaad standing by himself in the hallway entrance. She instantly stands up and walks over to him.

"You look like you could use some company," she says, smiling at him.

Mahaad smiles back at replies, "I'm happy with your company any day." Mana smiles wider and moves next to him, still watching the others open their gifts. She leans on Mahaad's arm, and his smile softens, glad to be near her this way. Suddenly, Tea looks their way, her gaze aimed above Mahaad, and she chuckles slightly. Mahaad raises an eyebrow curiously and looks up, finding out why Tea reacted the way she did. He sees a green plant with little white berries hanging above their heads, a plant he would recognize anywhere, and can't help but chuckle as well.

Mana looks at Mahaad, slightly confused. "What's so funny?"

"Look up," was all Mahaad says in reply.

Mana gazes above their heads and sees the plant. She tilts her head curiously and asks, "What is that?"

"That, Mana, is mistletoe. It's a rather common decoration to be used around Christmastime, for it has an interesting legend behind it. Centuries ago, the tradition was started that if a man and a woman were standing beneath it..." He hesitates only slightly, then continues, "They must kiss." He does not look at her when he says this, but anxiously awaits her response.

Mana's cheeks immediately turn a deep shade of red, and must turn away to prevent Mahaad from seeing her like this. "Oh, really?" she asks nervously. "That's...interesting." She begins fiddling with the hem of her skirt and scuffs her toes on the floor. Meanwhile, her mind was racing. "I cannot believe he said that! Kiss him?! I mean I really want to, but...what if he doesn't want to? And it would be so sudden,and random. And what would happen after? And..." Any thoughts she had suddenly vanish when she glances back to Mahaad and sees he is staring at her, and quite longingly, too. His brilliant aqua eyes glimmered with a hidden sense of desire as a slightly crooked smile tugs at the corners of his lips. She bites her lip and averts her eyes back down.

Mahaad turns to face Mana when she falls silent. He smiles at her behavior, and even more when she looks at him. She was acting so unbearably cute that he almost couldn't take it anymore. He wanted so desperately to kiss her. Unable to restrain his actions, he reaches a hand over and brushes Mana's golden locks over her shoulder, then tucks a little of it behind her ear.

Mana's heart skips a beat at Mahaad's touch, and heat rises quickly to her face. She turns her head to look at him, knowing now what he truly wanted. A nervous smile touches her lips as she turns her body more, now facing him fully. She inches closer to him, but keeps her head down, still slightly insure of how to do this.

Mahaad looks down at Mana, and could tell she was nervous. Of course, he was as well, but he was letting his body do most of the work. His left hand reaches to her face and gently strokes her cheek, then he rests a finger under her chin and tilts her head up. He gazes deep into her shimmering green eyes and slowly leans down toward her, but waits for her to meet him in the middle. Mana soon gives in to the pull, and leans upward towards Mahaad's inviting lips. She instinctively tilts her head slightly to the right and closes her eyes, as does he.



Hearts race. Lips touch. Spirits soar. Mana brings her arms up and rests her hands on Mahaad's broad chest. Mahaad slides his right arm around Mana's waist, resting his hand on the small of her back, and uncurls the fingers of his left hand so that his hand was now gingerly cupping her face. They pull apart for only a moment, opening their eyes and smiling at each other, then go right back into the kiss, this time a little more stronger, confident. Mana slides her hands up and around Mahaad's shoulders, pulling herself closer to him, wanting to be as close to him as possible in this moment. She also stands on her tiptoes to reach him better. Mahaad's hand on her cheek inches slightly back, weaving his fingers through her silky hair, and rests on the back of her head. This kiss, this moment, was possibly the happiest both of them have felt in a very long time, and didn't want to let it go. However, they felt they had had enough for now, so they break the connection of their lips and rest their foreheads together. This did not last long, for Mana was quick to pull Mahaad into a hug. "Oh, Mahaad," she sighs.

Mahaad wraps his arms protectively around her, thinking something was wrong. But it was quite the opposite. Mana was grinning from ear to ear, and nuzzles into his neck. "I can't even describe how amazing that was," she continues.

Mahaad smiles with relief, and hugs her close. "I know, neither can I. You have no idea how long I've been wanting to do that." He thought that was the only thing he had to say, but it seemed his heart had other plans. "You make me happier than I have ever been before. Whenever I see you, I can't help but smile. You've done more for me than I could ever repay you for, and all I want to do is make you happy. I've felt this way for so long, but I never knew it until recently. I guess what I'm trying to say is...Mana, I love you."

There they were. Those three words Mana had been expecting. Her grip around him tightens as she responds, "Oh, Mahaad. I love you, too. I didn't even realize it until a few weeks ago, and I feel awful for it. You mean so much to me, and I don't know what I would ever do without you. And you do make me happy, believe me. You are one of the most amazing people I know, and I cannot thank you enough for all you've done for me."

Just as they were about to kiss again, Mahaad remembers that they are not alone in the room. He looks over to the others, and is suddenly overcome with a feeling of embarrassment. Mana wonders why he stopped, then blushes three shades of red when she sees the others staring at them.

Joey is the first to speak. "Well, well, getting' cozy, are we?"

Mahaad then does the unexpected. He looks straight at Joey, chuckles, and says very seriously, but with a smirk on his face, "What's wrong, Joey? You jealous?"

Everyone in the room, including Mana, is struck speechless. Mana is the first to break the silence as she bursts into hysterical laughter. She is in such shock at what just happened that all she can do is laugh. Soon everyone, including Joey and Mahaad, were joining her. When they had gotten it all out of their systems, Yugi speaks up. "Well I, for one, am very happy for you two. And I hope you are very happy together."

Tean nods in agreement. "Me, too. I actually thought you two would make a cute couple from the beginning."

Mana smiles at them. "Thank you, both of you. Now, how about some Christmas music?"

Everyone nods and cheers in agreement with her as Gramps gets up to turn on the radio. Mana and Mahaad continue to hold onto each other as the group, even Mahaad himself, burst into song. The whole time, Mana is smiling with joy. She had gotten everything she had wanted for Christmas: amazing friends, finally uniting with the love of her life, and of course, actually having Christmas in the first place. This was something she was truly never going to forget.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!~ 3