DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Yu-Gi-Oh! and all related characters are the creations of Kazuki Takahashi.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written especially for Christmas 2007. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Midnight Sneakiness
by Shadow's Mirror


Bakura's spirit form slowly and carefully eased himself out of his sleeping light's body and started inching towards the side of the double bed.

He silently cursed the fact that the bed was so big. It was taking longer than he liked for him to get out of it. Time was not on his side that night. But as little as he could afford the time it took to go slowly, he could afford the horror of his light waking up and seeing him up and about so late at night even less.

His toe touched the floor and Bakura froze as Ryou shifted and murmured something inaudible. The yami waited, tense and more nervous than he had been in quite some time. The moments stretched into a minute, then two, but there was no soft voice saying, 'Bakura? Where are you going?' as the white-haired boy feared. He relaxed again and proceeded with the slow and painstaking task of getting out of bed without Ryou waking up and stopping him.

There could be no mistake. Tonight was his only chance.

When Bakura finally stood beside the bed, he couldn't resist taking one last look at his light. The boy was sleeping peacefully and looked so sweet and innocent that Bakura found himself reaching out a hand without meaning to. He quickly pulled it back before it could brush the stray lock of hair off Ryou's peaches-and-cream cheek and forced himself to turn away. Touching would mean waking and waking... Bad idea.

The next step in Bakura's master plan was to leave the room, but first... He hesitated over casting the spell to give himself a physical form, but ended up doing it. As he reasoned to himself, being in his spirit form would make things far too easy. It wouldn't be half as much fun if there wasn't a little challenge to the night's activity.

As soon as the spell was completed and his body was as real and human as Ryou's, Bakura began to sneak towards the bedroom door. He used all of his skills as a talented Tombrobber to move silently through the...

With a thump that sounded overly loud in the silent room, Bakura's hip hit the chair beside Ryou's desk. He bit back the oath that automatically rose to his lips and glared through the darkness at the inanimate object that had no right to be in his way.

Rubbing his sore hip, the yami continued to use all of his skills as a talented Tombrobber to move silently through the darkness.

Maybe he should have waited until he was out in the hall to cast his physical form spell...

As silently as a shadow, Bakura eased open the door of Ryou's bedroom and slipped through the gap. As he crept along the hallway, his senses were alert and he tensed and froze at the slightest sound. Even though Ryou was the only other living being in the house that night, he couldn't afford to take any chances. A burglar or other intruder could just as easily raise a ruckus upon seeing him and wake Ryou.

He definitely did not want that to happen. Definitely not.

When he reached the top of the stairs, Bakura paused to listen intently. He frowned slightly. Had he just heard a floorboard creak? No, it must have been something else. A mouse, maybe?

As he moved slowly and cautiously down the stairs, the yami made a mental note to promise his clever kitten a fish dinner if he did a mouse check in the morning.

By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, Bakura's heart was pounding and his palms were sweaty from tension. He wiped them on his pants and paused for a few moments to calm his nerves.

He was surprised at himself. His nerves were usually as calm as the desert sands on a moonless and windless night. He'd sneaked into tombs galore and had never had more than a few minor panic attacks. Even those had usually been because he'd set off giant rolling balls or a massive pit had opened up beneath his feet and left him dangling from the edge with snakes, sharp spikes or crocodiles beneath him.

Although there had been that one time when he'd unexpectedly come face to face with another tombrobber and had jumped back so far he'd set off the arrow trap he'd just so cleverly managed to avoid.

Bakura quickly shook off the thought of the incident that he refused to ever admit had happened and began to move again. His goal was so close he could almost taste his victory. Just a few more steps and he'd be there.

Bakura took those few steps.

A predatory smile curved his lips as he paused in the doorway of the living room and took in the wondrous sight before him.

Forgetting his caution in his eagerness to complete his long-anticipated task, the yami strode quickly across the room to his target on the far side. As he moved, Bakura pulled the item he'd 'borrowed' from Ryou's desk drawer earlier in the day out of his pocket. He unsheathed the blade of the pocket-knife with a practised flick of his wrist and advanced on his prey with a smirk on his lips and a gleam in his eyes.

He knelt down beside his first chosen victim.

He lifted the knife.

He froze in shock and horror as the living room light suddenly snapped on and the last voice he wanted to hear broke the silence he had hoped would remain unbroken.

"Bakura... what are you doing?"

'Oh... Shadows...' Swallowing hard against the sudden lump in his throat, Bakura very slowly turned his head to look at the white-haired boy standing in the doorway behind him. "Um... Ryou... Hi... This is... Um... It's not what you think!" His heart sunk all the way into his feet as he watched his light's eyes take in the scene bit by bit. He knew what the other boy was seeing without having to look through his eyes.

The Christmas tree standing tall and proud with its ornaments and tinsel and those pesky twinkling lights that had taken both boys several hours to untwist after finding them in a tangle of knots that would have made a sailor or cub scout proud.

The two stockings hanging on the chimney, bulging with little items that Ryou had slipped into them earlier that evening, after telling his yami to go into his soulroom and sleep and definitely not to peek and he would know if he peeked and he would be very cross if he peeked.

The gifts set out around the tree, their brightly coloured papers and ribbons and bows a stunning contrast to the simple white paper snowflake gift tags that Ryou had made so very carefully one afternoon, a few weeks earlier.

The yami kneeling beside one of the gifts marked 'Bakura'. One of the gifts that Ryou had placed there with tender care earlier in the week, right before glaring at Bakura and telling him that if he tried to get a peak into any of them before Christmas Day, he would be very disappointed in him. Which, in light-speak, meant that he would pout at him for at least a week and give him a stern talking to that would result in Bakura feeling as if he was guilty of a lot more than opening a present a little early.

The pocket-knife in the yami's hand, poised to cut the ribbon around the gift marked 'Bakura'.

The look of shock and horror in the yami's eyes, turning to dismay and desperation as he realised that there was really no good way to explain this to his other half.

Bakura's sinking feeling intensified as Ryou pouted at him.

"It is not?"

Bakura looked at the knife and quickly hid it behind his back. He smiled weakly at his light. "Um... well... Maybe it... sort of... kind of... is what it looks like."

Ryou sighed the sigh of the long-suffering and gave Bakura 'The Look'. "Bakura..."

The white-haired yami winced. "I know, I know... We're going to have a long talk about this, right?"

A slight smile touched Ryou's lips. "No Bakura."

Bakura blinked and then looked hopefully at his wonderful, lovely, sweet light. "You're not going to lecture me?"

Ryou smiled very sweetly back at his impossible, impatient, naughty yami. "I said that you could open your presents on Christmas Day. It is past midnight on Christmas Eve." As the other boy stared at him in shock, Ryou smiled more widely and continued. "You really did not need to sneak around so much, however considering that I heard you before you even left the bedroom, you probably needed the practice." He blinked as Bakura sighed and joined him. "You are not going to open them now?"

Bakura shook his head. "We'll open them together in the morning. Let's go get some sleep." He took Ryou's hand and headed back to the bedroom.

There was just no fun to be had from opening presents he had permission to open.


The End