At the sound of bells, Dawn turned and, with a "shhhh", put a finger over her mouth. Spike glanced down at the shoes she'd made him wear, bright red felt with toes that curled up to a point where tiny bells dangled down. Glaring back at her, he raised his hands in a 'what do you want me to do?' gesture.

Dawn raised her hand, palm outwards in a stop motion, and then tiptoed along the stone walls of the castle until she was at the main hallway. After carefully looking each way, she waved her hand in a circular motion, telling Spike to join her. Listening very carefully and hearing no heartbeats other than Dawn's, he raced down the hall, around the corner, and into the conference room, jingling all the way.

Chasing after Spike, Dawn shut the door behind them and lit into him. "You were supposed to be quiet," she whispered. "You're going to ruin everything."

"Don't see how," he said, not bothering to keep his voice down.

Dawn glanced around the room, checking for listeners, which was a waste of time since they were obviously alone. "We don't want anyone to see you too soon."

Spike glanced down at his outfit, a red short-sleeved shirt and red shorts, both heavy on the gold trim, and opaque green tights. "Don't want anyone to see me at all," he replied.

Ignoring him, Dawn handed over a red felt hat, covered with dozens of small bells, but that wasn't the worst part. It had felt ears, pointed ears, sewn on the sides. "No," Spike said. "It was over the top even without the hat, but this…" As he shook the hat at her, it jingled pleasantly.

Grabbing the hat, Dawn placed it on his head. When Spike tried to take it off, she yanked at his wrist. "You're the one who didn't tell Buffy you were alive again."

"Not fair," he interrupted. "When we went looking for her, Andrew told us, I mean me, that she'd taken up with the Master."

"Then it's your fault for believing him. I mean, really, how obvious a lie was that?"

"He seemed all innocent and trustworthy," Spike grumbled.

"I can't believe my ears," Dawn said. "Look, Christmas is Buffy's favorite holiday. You want her forgiveness? Then you need to dress the part, let her know you'll do anything for her."

"I look like a bloody idiot. What am I supposed to be again?"

When Dawn told Spike he made a cute Christmas elf, he gave her a two fingered salute in response. "Oh, and here," she said, picking up a tray of brownies from the table. "Give her these."

"What's in 'em?" Dawn rolled her eyes. "I mean it. Giving Buffy anchovy brownies isn't going to get me on her good side. Fruitcake brownies would be even worse."

Dawn looked up in awe at the idea of fruitcake brownies. "I mean it, Dawn."

With a wave of her hand, she dismissed his objections. "They're just brownies." At the look Spike gave her, she added, "Willow made them."

Giving her a suspicious glare, Spike sniffed the brownies. "OK, then," he said, having determined they weren't some weird concoction of Dawn's.

"Nice to know you trust me," Dawn grumbled as the door opened.

"After you," they heard Willow say.

Buffy walked into the room, took one look at Spike, and burst out laughing. Spike's hopeful smile gave way to a wounded and lost look. As he bowed his head, the bells on his hat jingled. Tears started rolling down Buffy's face as she fell back against the wall, too overwhelmed to hold herself up. Willow placed her hands over her mouth, obviously trying to hold back a laugh of her own.

Spike tossed the brownies onto the table with a loud clatter and started storming towards the door, jingling cheerily with each step, causing Buffy to laugh even harder. As Willow held out one hand, golden lights twinkled out from her fingers, blocking his exit. "Oh no you don't, mister," she said. "You and Buffy are going to work this out."

As Spike tossed the hat to the ground, where it landed musically, Buffy, laughing too hard to speak, held out a hand, her lips forming the word "stop." Spike pulled off the red shoes and tossed them onto the hat. He started working the golden buttons of his shirt, but then with a "sod it", ripped the top off. By the time he'd removed his shorts, Spike was so busy grumbling that he didn't notice Buffy wasn't laughing.

"Stop," Buffy shouted as Spike started yanking down his stockings.

Spike's gaze dashed around the room, to each of the three women. "Now there's a man who can wear a pair of green tights," Willow whispered. Buffy's jaw dropped open.

"See something you like?" he leered.

Taking three steps across the room, Willow, grabbing Dawn by the hand, started pulling her towards the exit. "Come on. Leaving now."

"But they're just about to make up," Dawn complained.

"Which would be why we're leaving."

Buffy slammed Spike against the wall, latching her lips onto his. "Take it easy, Slayer," he murmured around her kisses. "Don't want to bring the house down."