Cost/Benefit Analysis
by Minim Calibre

Anya wishes she had popcorn as she adjusts the binoculars. Of course, the branch she's perched on doesn't seem to have room for snacks, and she's pretty sure that loud crunching sounds might alert her quarry, and that would ruin the show.

At first she'd been spying because she was actually worried for Xander's safety. Now she's just spying because it's educational entertainment. Perhaps she should film it and see if PBS is in need of new programming. It's not like it's any more risque than your average nature program. Once you've seen gorillas mate, there's not much that will shock you.

Not that she wasn't shocked, at first. But it makes perfect sense, now that she thinks about it. They both liked her, so obviously they have something in common.

Oh, good. It's clean up time, or will be soon.

Spike looks around, doesn't see anyone, and drops a towel smack dab in the middle of the living room. She imagines him whistling (his mouth looks like it's whistling, so her mind supplies the tune--something kind of jaunty and retro) as he leans against the kitchen counter, waiting for Xander.

It's a short wait.

Xander comes into the room, all dark and blustery (the big faker can barely keep from grinning--no wonder she always cleaned him out when they played poker) and starts shaking his finger at Spike. Anya's shaking with laugher.

Spike hams it up, dropping his head in a parody of abject apology before dropping to his knees to "beg forgiveness". She feels herself get a little warm as she watches the familiar contortions of Xander's orgasm face, and wishes again for popcorn. There should be snack demons, who will come and grant wishes like that at the cost of horrible intestinal cramping. She wonders how she could set up a guild as Xander collapses against the couch, taking Spike with him.

The pre-show's over. Time for the main event.

She adjusts the binoculars as Xander pulls himself to his feet and goes to... the hall closet. This should be good. Strong, muscled arms stretch all the way to the top shelf, and his large, firm hands hit against the edge of a box until it falls at his feet. She's grinning, knowing exactly what's in the box. Anya can't wait to see Spike's face when Xander opens the thing.

Spike's looking at him, his head tilting this way and that. Xander gives him a big, goofy grin, and gently removes the lid. Anya can see the word XMAS written on the top in her bold, yet feminine handwriting. She grins back at them, not caring that they can't see her, because this was her gift to Xander last year, and this year she's getting it back, new and improved. Xander's eyebrows wiggle lasciviously as he slowly pulls out a soft, fuzzy, red... hat. He puts it on, and folds his hands across his belly before letting out what is in all likelihood an exaggerated Ho! Ho! Ho!, which is even funnier without the sound effects.

Confusion and suspicion chase each other around Spikes face like kittens, then freeze in place when Xander pulls out the rest of the items. Technically, it's women's wear, but as there's not a lot of actual fabric to it, she suspects the elf costume is functionally unisex. It's too bad she has to hold the binoculars, because her first instinct is to rub her hands with glee (and maybe rub a little something else while she's at it, but that can wait) as Spike strips and starts putting on the outfit. Okay, the glitter pasties look a little silly covering his nipples, but the green cap is charming, and the short marabou-trimmed skirt is adorable. Xander Claus seems to think so too. He sits down, lets out another Ho! Ho! Ho!, and pats his lap.

Elf Spike sits down gingerly, the wary expression still firmly in place. Then Xander Claus slips a hand under the elf skirt, and it's time for them to be naughty and nice. She makes a note to drop off an anonymous donation for the dry-cleaning as Spike's hips start to buck and twist in Xander's lap, and the front of the skirt darkens with moisture.

Sated and exhausted, the boys conk out. Typical men.

Anya slips the binoculars back in her coat pocket and climbs back down the tree. She walks home with visions of dark and light sugarplums dancing in her head, and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" escaping from her lips. Someone really should film them and show it every year at Christmas.


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