"Spike," Drusilla said with a slight pout, "my Christmas tree is crooked, leaning to the left."

Spike pulled on the chain to the right, taking it in by two links. "How's that pet?"

"Perfect," Drusilla said, clapping her hands excitedly.

Spike, fed up with the shouts for help and cries begging for mercy, flashed into vamp-face and growled at the man chained to the wall. "Shut it, or I'll give you something to really cry about."

"Spike," Drusilla said, sounding shocked. "Surely you don't want to deprive me of the sound of wind singing through the branches."

"Sorry pet, don't know what I was thinking."

Satisfied, Drusilla turned to the trunk behind her and pulled out an ornament, a toy soldier, wearing a bright red coat and shiny black pants, standing straight at attention. Picking an ornament hook off the table, she carefully attached the smaller loop to the toy soldier. Dangling the ornament from the hook, Drusilla carefully scanned the tree, so focused on finding the perfect place that she barely noticed the goosebumps covering bare skin. "Here," she said with a happy grin, and in a flash had shoved the hook through the meat of her tree's upper arm, just an inch below the wrist.

As the cries for help turned into screams of pain, Spike sighed with relief. "Much better."

"Oh dear, I've hurt my poor tree. It's leaking sap." Standing on her tippy-toes, Drusilla licked the few drops of blood pooling at the edge of the hook.

"Planning to make syrup, are we?" Spike asked.

"Oh no," Drusilla replied. "It's sweet enough already, but you didn't have a chance to try any."

Leaning down and reaching into the trunk, Spike tossed a snowflake ornament over. "They'll be plenty more," he replied. Looking down at the trunk and then over to the man chained to the wall, he said, "Pet, were you planning on using all these ornaments?"

"Of course, silly, it wouldn't be Christmas if the tree wasn't properly decorated," she replied, attaching a hook to the snowflake.

"Don't you think all of them will look cluttered on that one man, er, tree?"

Drusilla glanced back and forth between the pile of ornaments in the trunk and her tree about a half dozen times, looking as if she were trying to work something out. Finally her eyes lit up. "Then we'll just have to get more trees and place them all throughout the house. It'll be the best Christmas ever."

"All right then," Spike agreed. "You finish decorating this one, and I'll go get some more."

"Oh no Spike, I have to go with you to pick out the perfect trees. Here," she added playfully, "you add this ornament, so you can taste the sap before we go."

Drusilla, curled up behind Spike, wrapped her arms around him, leaning her head on his shoulder to watch as he ever so slowly pierced the hook through the tree's nipple. Once the snowflake was dangling below, she hit it to send it swinging to and fro, and listened as the wind sang through its branches.