A/N: This was created last December for the USUK Christmas Countdown, and I worked with DiurnalDays on creating this. I hope you enjoY
Day 9: Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Summary: Alfred knew that Arthur was looking forward to their Christmas party, and when his lover decided to back away from the Secret Santa event, he is resolved to find out why.
If there is one thing that the majority of people in this world would agree on, it would be the fact that Christmas is a time for gift giving. That’s exactly what Alfred and Arthur had in mind; they decided to hold a Christmas party at Arthur’s house, and everyone was invited. A gift exchange was part of the plan. The rules were that everyone had a Secret Santa, and that Secret Santa’s gift had to be handmade.
Initially, the idea of giving handmade gifts seemed special and so everyone agreed to it. However, Arthur decided to back away from the plan at the very last minute – just a day before the Christmas party would be held at Arthur’s house.
“I-I’m sorry, okay?” Arthur was defensive despite himself. “I wasn’t able to come up with a gift, you see?”
“You were so excited about this before,” Alfred replied. His expression was aghast.
There was no hiding the guilt in Arthur’s green eyes. “I’m truly sorry, I just…it’s a real cock up, understand…”
“I get it, it’s just…not fair, you know?” Of all the misfortunes that could occur before the party, cancelling the gift exchange was something that Alfred had dreaded the most. There must be something he could do to help. “Hey, maybe I can help you come up with a gift? The two of us working together could get the job done on time!”
“What? No!” Arthur exclaimed. “There’s nothing you can do about it – my gift is a disaster – “
“Well, since I know that you’ll be giving that disaster to me, I think it’s gonna be okay!” Alfred had already known that Arthur was his Secret Santa after noticing Arthur’s strange behavior in the past few days. Blushing in embarrassment when asked about the gift, yelling when questioned about who he will give his gift to – for someone who has known him for centuries, Arthur’s behavior was easy to understand.
I guess this is what being part of an old married couple feels like, Alfred thought fondly.
However, Alfred could not get his suspecting eyes off of Arthur. Just weeks ago, he remembered seeing Arthur grinning and getting excited all on his own. He was certain that Arthur already had something in mind to give to him, and for some reason he had suddenly become reluctant about giving it.
It was clear that Arthur was hiding something from him.
“Why are you acting so weirdly?” Alfred whined. “You’re making me feel curious all of a sudden.”
“What? No!” Arthur insisted. “I’m not hiding anything! And stop being so curious!”
“You know that saying that only makes me even more curious. Come on, tell me. What are you hiding?” Alfred tried to look past his lover’s shoulders, at whatever it was inside the room whose doorway Arthur has been blocking.
“I’m not hiding anything. Now shoo!” Arthur held Alfred’s shoulders firmly and gently pushed him away from the door. “You’re doing the cooking, remember?”
Finding out what Arthur was keeping inside the room was not easy. Alfred had to be a little sneaky; after telling a white lie or two, or three (Arthur was clearly on guard after the incident earlier, making sure that Alfred would never be out of his sight), he finally escaped him.
Now the only thing left to do was to search for the gift. Alfred could not suppress his curiosity; he just had to know what Arthur had been keeping from him. Was the gift really horrible enough to make him guard it it like some sort of national secret?
Alfred chuckled to himself. He was home to the CIA and the FBI; finding out the truth would be a piece of cake.
Gathering all his courage, Alfred opened the door into Arthur’s bedroom. Luckily for Alfred his lover had forgotten to lock the door. Alfred glanced around for a moment – one could never be too sure, he thought — just in case Arthur was sneaking up behind him. He entered the room once he knew that the coast was clear.
Arthur’s room was clean and organized, as to be expected, lined with antique hardwood furniture and tall windows that were always sealed closed but nonetheless gave a lovely view of the snowy white landscape outside. Alfred almost got distracted by the wonderful sight, and barely remembered why he was sneaking around Arthur’s room.
Now, where did he hide the gift? Alfred began to look around. He searched every nook and cranny of the room for anything that seemed to be a Christmas gift.
It was when he was about to give up on finding Arthur’s apparently horribly messed up gift that he found a pair of sweaters, one jolly green and one bright red, neatly folded right inside Arthur’s closet.
Well, they were supposed to be a pair of Christmas sweaters. That means that they were meant to be separate, weren’t they? Alfred thought in amusement. He realized that the two sweaters were knitted together and joined messily by the sleeves. He touched the green and red threads of yarn, which were tightly interlaced together. Then he noticed the small, images on each sweater: he could discern the hamburger on the red sweater and the white teacup knitted on the green one. Arthur’s sweater design choices were absurd yet cute, and the combination of colors he’d picked really suited the holidays.
“I knew you’re going to be here.”
Alfred jumped in surprise. He immediately turned around and found Arthur standing by the doorway, frowning.
He’s gonna kill me, he thought nervously.
“I knew it,” Arthur pouted. “You can’t help but follow your curiosity, and now you’ve found out about my gift.” He grabbed the sweaters from Alfred. “My ugly gift for you. Francis suggested that I make something along the lines of a couples shirt, and these blasted sweaters were the outcome of that. Merry Christmas, Alfred.”
“Wh-what?” Alfred was shocked. But more importantly, he was confused by Arthur’s statement. “Arthur, what are you taking about? What do you mean by ugly?”
Arthur gave him a look. “Can’t you see? I knitted these, and they ended up a disaster. How can I possibly give something like this to you? And in front of so many people?”
Alfred could not believe what he was hearing. Arthur knitted a pair of Christmas sweaters as a gift, probably for the first time in his long life, and he was embarrassed about accidentally knitting their sleeves together.
He could not think of anything that was more adorable than that.
“Are you kidding me?” he exclaimed. “You just made the most adorable gift in the world.”
“S-stop joking around,” said Arthur. His face was red. “These sweaters are the ugliest – “
Alfred wrapped his arms around him, in a tight, warm hug.
“France is going to laugh at it – “
“It doesn’t matter.”
“It’s an embarrassing thing to wear – “
Alfred wanted to assure him that everything was alright. He wanted Arthur to know that he had given him something that he had made with love and care, and because of that it was the most wonderful gift in the world.
“Well, we’re going to wear it together, right?” he told him.
Arthur’s body stiffened against him. “At the party?”
“That’s right,” Alfred grinned at him in response. “I think we’d make a sensation.”
And he was right; when they wore the Christmas sweaters, knitted sleeves and all, everyone’s attention was on them. They were pair of sappy lovers, literally inseparable that night. The holiday could not get any better than this, Alfred thought as he walked around together with Arthur, hand in hand.
Clearly, he could not ask for a better gift than this.