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Mrry Crisms.

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“I can’t believe he never even bothered to decorate for Christmas. What a grinch, sheesh.” Kate muttered as she carried a box into Clint’s apartment, pushing the door open with said box in one hand as she turned the key in the lock with the other.

Lucky perked up as soon as she entered, wagging his tail, his tongue lolled out as he strutted over to her. She reached down and patted him on the head despite her foul mood. It wasn’t the dog’s fault that his master was a miserly Scrooge, after all.

“Merry Christmas to you, too, buddy.” She paused in her task to walk over to the cupboard, searching through it until she found what she’d been looking for. Kate opened the container of dog treats while Lucky’s tail thrashed faster and harder, thump thump thumping against the floor. He didn’t jump up, however, which made her smile.

“Who’s a good boy, huh? Is it you? It is you!” she said, taking a treat out and tossing it into the air. With one deft move and a snap of his jaws Lucky had the treat in no time, chewed and consumed in a heartbeat. She laughed and took out one more before closing the container and returning it into its cupboard, noting just how empty of human food the same was.

“Clint, Clint, Clint. What’s going to become of you?” she mused aloud, making a note to pick up some damned groceries for him before her next visit.

Kate took the last dog treat and kneeled down, patting Lucky with one hand while holding the treat in the other. The dog sat up straight and panted, drooling slightly but otherwise being the very poster pet for Good Boyseverywhere.

“Give me your paw, Lucky,” she requested, shaking it once he did. “now the other one. Good boy!” He followed through, sitting there stoically while eyeing the last treat. “Now, wait for it… wait for it… ok, take it nice!” He quickly vacuumed up the treat from her palm, careful not to bite her hand or even touch it really, so accurate and delicate was his movements.

“Wow, Lucky, you could probably teach your master a thing or two, heh.” she said, patting him one more time before getting back to her feet.

That done, Kate surveyed the room, clucking her tongue as she did so. No lights were struck up, no gifts were in sight, there wasn’t even a tree up for pity’s sake.

“Well, we’re going to fix things, aren’t we, boy?” she said. Lucky gave a quick bark to the affirmative, then promptly lay back down on his blanket on the floor.

“Heh, maybe you and Clint aren’t all that dissimilar after all.” she muttered with a shake of her head. Sighing, she opened the box she’d brought up, taking out a few presents. Kate brought them to the one empty corner in the apartment and kneeled down again to place them on the floor. She laid them out in a neat fashion, spreading them out in a semi-circle. Most of them were for Clint, with one big box labeled for Lucky - more of his favourite treats of course - and the final touch was a little stocking, which she placed over her shoulder as she got back to her feet.

Walking back over to the box, she picked up her quiver and slung it over her shoulder, then hauled out her bow as well. With a quick flick of the wrist she tossed the stocking towards Clint’s fireplace, then whipped out an arrow and fired, firmly pinning it to the mantle with the arrow, precisely through the knitted hole intended for hanging the sock.

She reached into the box and took out several wreaths, putting her arm through the lot of them and letting them hang there. Once she’d removed them all, Kate took them off one by one and threw them into the corner with the presents, lancing each and every one with an arrow and making a ad hoc Christmas tree outline with them on top of the presents.

“There we are, better than nothing, right, Lucky?”

She looked down to see the dog fast asleep without a care in the world, his little paws twitching and moving ever so slightly as he was dreaming. Probably about treats and eating, Kate figured with a chuckle. Again, not so much unlike its master.

There was one wreath left in the box, a much larger one, and she removed it from the container. This one had a large red box on the bottom with the words ‘Merry Christmas’ emblazoned in yellow embroidery on it. She hefted it to gauge its weight one more time, then chucked it at the apartment’s front door. Kate drew one more arrow and let it sail, grinning at the satisfying ‘thunk!’ it made as it hung the decoration in the perfect center of the door…

...which then swung open, revealing a very surprised and confused Clint on the other side.

“Kate? What the hell?” he asked, his own arms full with bags and boxes of various sizes and shapes.

“There you are, where have you been?” she demanded, putting her bow down and unslinging the quiver off of her back. “And why haven’t you done any decorating? It’s Christmas Eve, Clint, for pete’s sake! And another thing-”

He entered the room and waved one of the bags in her general direction, then tossed it at her. She caught it and peered inside, seeing several packages of Christmas lights and various decorations.

“I’ve got them all here, sheesh. They all go on sale for a mad discount the closer you get to Christmas, don’t you know?” Clint walked in and put the bags down, bending down to lay them carefully on the floor so he didn’t break anything. He peered around the apartment, admiring her handiwork. “I can see you’ve been busy though, yeah?”

“Well, someone had to do it.” Kate sputtered, “I mean, honestly, waiting this long to get decorations? And they’re all done now anyway, so.” she said, crossing her arms.

“Ah, not all. You forgot one of the most important things, my padawan.” he said, reaching into one of the bags. He pulled out a small plastic flower, holding it up and wagging his eyebrows as he did so. “Mistletoe, it’s just not Christmas without it.”

Before he could move to put it in place or say anything further, Lucky, who’d woken up when his master returned, strode over and placed a long, wet kiss on Clint’s cheek, then continued to lap at his chin and lips. Clint just stayed kneeled down, eyes and mouth firmly closed as he wordlessly received his affection.

“Yup, that seems about right.” Kate said with a grin. “Merry Christmas, Clint.”

“Mrry Crisms.” was all he could manage to utter.