Steel glared at the clothes on the bed as if sheer determination could drive them away.

"This is idiotic. It is a waste of my time and my energies." He gestured at the clothes and shook his head so resolutely that it took his hair half a second to catch up. "This is pointless and time consuming. This is –"

"Our assignment." Sapphire was adjusting her collar and considering her reflection in the mirror. "Not my best color."

"Then have Them reassign someone. I am ill fitted for this."

"Steel, are you saying that they make mistakes?" Sapphire purposefully kept her tone light as she held his jacket for him.

"Not usually, but this time, yes. Most definitely, yes. I cannot do this." Steel slipped the jacket on even while he grumbled. "I'm ill-suited for this role." Instantly he felt a drop of sweat tickle its way down his spine. "Surely someone else, anyone else would be more convincing."

"Perhaps in your eyes, but not in Theirs. Your part in the assignment is fixed, Steel. You might as well just admit defeat and deal with it. It wouldn't be the first time you'd had misgivings about your abilities to perform."

"I have no problem performing my job, Sapphire." He sat to pull on the pants and blew a piece a hair from his forehead. Slipping on the boots, he had to admit he did like their look.

"At least there's something you're happy with." Sapphire held out a mass of white material to him. "Don't forget this."

"What is it?"

"Your beard. You must have a beard. It's the best way to hide your identity."

"I can only hope that this charade will bring us nearly to our goal of tracking down that missing time weaver. "

"He loves gatherings, raucous energy, and laughter." Sapphire helped him adjust the facial hair. "And look at it this way, Steel. If you do fail at this assignment, you can always get a job moonlighting."

"Ha, ha, ha."

She laughed and kissed him on the tip of his nose. "No, Steel. It's ho, ho, ho." She wrapped an arm around her red-and-white costumed partner and pushed him through the door. "Let's go, Santa. Your public awaits."